How I’ve Been Treating My Acne

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’re familiar with my acne-prone, sensitive, oily skin. I feel like I’ve tried an endless flood of skincare regimens from the drugstore, from high-end brands, from gimmicky infomercials (cough, Proactiv). I’ve tried exercising more often, drinking more water, getting more sleep, hormonal birth control, a cocktail of antibiotics and a handful of prescription topicals. (Haven’t tried that viral charcoal face mask, though, and don’t count on that ever happening) If you’ve dealt with stubborn acne before, you can understand that the struggle is real. I’ve spent a crazy amount of time and money trying to feel less insecure about my skin, an unsuccessful endeavor until recently.

Moving to Okinawa was not kind to my skin – I don’t know if it was the stress of an international move, adjusting to the climate or both, but my skin really did not like moving here! The photo on the left was taken in late November and the photo on the right was taken in March of this year. Crazy, right??? I feel like I may be jinxing myself just by posting this. If you can believe it, I actually reduced my skincare regimen to just THREE steps 😱 I know. You’re probably thinking I’m about to go multi-level marketing on you (I’m not) or that it’s unrealistic given the transformation of my skin, but it’s the real deal. I do occasionally add steps as needed, like masks or a night cream, depending on my skin’s condition, but I try to keep it simple on a daily basis.

  1. Wash // Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash // $22 @ Origins
    • I use this with my Clarisonic at night and usually skip this step in the morning and go straight to toner.
    • My skin has never felt dry or tight while using this cleanser. I’m low-key obsessed.
  2. Tone // The Body Shop Pomegranate Invigorating Toner // $15.50 @ The Body Shop
    • This toner surprisingly feels moisturizing and removes any impurities my cleanser didn’t wash away. Bonus: it smells good.
  3. Moisturize + Treat // This step consists of the following two products combined:
    • Holika Holika 99% Aloe Soothing Gel // $8 from Amazon
      • I got this for free with other Holika Holika purchases while in Korea, but you can find it on Amazon and MemeBox for a reasonable price!
    • Plant Therapy Zit Fighter Synergy // $15 @ Plant Therapy
      • I mentioned this in my last blog!
      • This is an undiluted essential oil blend of geranium bourbon, pink grapefruit, cedarwood deodara, peppermint, rosemary, Roman chamomile. You must dilute it to use it safely!

I emptied the entire tube of aloe gel into a separate container and added 10-15 drops of the essential oil blend. I apply it every morning and evening with a cotton ball and voila! My skin has never been clearer or more balanced. I started to see results within a few days of using the Zit Fighter Synergy and I’m so grateful that I took a chance on it after reading reviews. It has a bit of a strong smell and will make your eyes water if you apply it too close to the eye area, but I don’t mind the odor. And I can handle the occasional accidental eye stinging if my skin looks this fab all the time! I feel much more comfortable wearing BB cream or even going foundation-free than I ever have before. The aloe/oil combo doesn’t make me oily, either. I actually feel like it balances my skin and makes it less oily! I’ve also noticed that my skin redness has been significantly reduced as well. After 12 years of dealing with acne, I’m incredibly thankful for a break.

I should also add that I got a shower head filter, which I also believe helped with the rapid reduction of my acne. I got the Zit Fighter Synergy and the filter on the same mail day, and it was the start of a beautiful friendship 😅 I purchased the CaptainEco 8-Step Advanced Shower Filter from Amazon for $30 and highly recommend it if your household water is treated with chlorine. It’s helped my skin and my hair.

I still have occasional minor blemishes, but the majority of the marks remaining on my face are scars. I recently picked up Boots Vitamin C Smoothing Serum (sadly only available in Thailand, so I’ll try not to get too attached to it!) in hopes it might help fade them. If you have recommendations for scar-fading skin care products, please let me know in the comments!

Wishing you well,

xx Shelbie

 

holiday favorites | 2016

A brief note | The last few months have been silent on wisconsinwhimsy, and I’d like to apologize and explain why. As many in the blogging community know, it can be overwhelming to constantly generate content, create/shoot/edit images, respond to comments, and keep up with the maintenance of a website. For those of us whose blogs are a passionate hobby rather than a source of income, finding the motivation to tackle all of the intricacies of blogging in addition to our jobs, families, and outside commitments can be incredibly challenging. The past few months have been stressful and at times unhappy for me mentally, but I am pleased to say that I have accepted a new job and am hopeful that this new endeavor will take a heavy burden off of my shoulders, allowing me to dedicate more time to blogging. Thank you for your patience and readership! I adore you!

The ChrismaHannuKwanzaaka season is my favorite time of year. I would keep a Christmas tree and decorations up year round if my husband would let me! There’s something about twinkling lights, rich jewel tones, chunky sweaters, warm food, cozy blankets, and the joyful spirit of friends and family that makes this season feel particularly special. Did I get carried away there?

Unfortunately we won’t get to experience the same kiss of winter air that we’re used to in Okinawa, but I can’t really complain about sunny and 75 in December, can I? This [comparatively] warm weather won’t stop me from rocking a wine-red lip, glittery lids, and a chunky knit sweater though! Here are my 10 picks for this holiday season:

1 | Coty Airspun Powder – Translucent Extra Coverage / $11, Amazon / I recently scooped this up and have been loving it. I have extremely oily skin and this keeps me matte for nearly my entire work day! I also have very textured skin and it somehow works voodoo magic and makes me look flawless. Great stuff. Fair warning, it smells very strongly of ‘old lady smell,’ so if you’re scent-sensitive, you might want to skip this one. Also: you can get it for cheaper if a Walmart is nearby!

2 | Colourpop Lippie Stix Matte in Ellarie / $5, Colourpop / My obsession with Colourpop is basically never-ending, I know, but stay with me: the Lippie Stix are the creamiest, dreamiest, pigmentiest (not a word, roll with it) lippies ever. And you need them. Especially this one – it’s a deep cranberry with a finish somewhere between satin and matte and perfect for embracing your inner sugar plum fairy.

3 | Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Radiant Lights / $6, Ulta / I’ve raved about this highlighter before on wisconsinwhimsy, and it’s still in my regular highlighter rotation. It’s not glittery at all and packs a buildable glow that’s perfect for icing out your extended family at holiday dinners.

4 | L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black / $10, Ulta / My go-to mascara. If you want long, dramatic lashes, this should be in your hand and on your face. It’s pretty cheap and I reach for it more than I do my high-end wands. Stay fierce, my friends.

5 | Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown / $21, Sephora / Need your brow game on point this holiday season? Brow Wiz is your friend. I love the quick, precise application, and it’s easy to find your shade. This is my favorite ABH product!

6 | Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner / $22, Sephora / If this eyeliner can survive my wedding day tears, it can survive your inevitable forced-to-be-in-the-same-house-as-your-relatives holiday meltdown tears.

7 | elf Studio Blush in Berry Merry / $3, elf / I’ve repurchased this blush a handful of times now, and I love it for the holidays. It’s a deep berry with gold shimmer. The ideal blush to go with Ellarie!

8 | China Glaze Nail Lacquer in Ravishing, Dahling / $7.50, Ulta / If Kissin’ Kate Barlow were alive in 2016, this would be her new signature polish. It’s bold, daring, and bad ass, just like her.

9 | Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray / $18, Ulta / I’m going to be honest with y’all for a moment here. I can’t do hair. My hair styles could be considered worse than most Pinterest fails. That said, this hairspray is pretty fabulous and even helps disguise my dry shampoo’d, poorly curled locks as voluminous magazine hair.

10 | Philosophy Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Body Wash in Christmas Cookie / $12 ON SALE, Ulta / I raved about this last Christmas, and maybe even the Christmas before that. It’s one of my favorite beauty products of the holiday season EVER, and that’s why I’ll forever include it on these lists. This scent is like bath crack. I want it as a body lotion, candle, and pillow spray. Because I’m that in love with it.

Have a merry Christmas, happy New Year, and festive insert-other-holiday-here!

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Daiso/Don Quijote Haul!

As if there weren’t already enough cute, fun things in Japan, there are these neat stores called Daiso, where everything (almost) is ‎¥‎100. AND most of the inventory is much more practical and better-made than some of the things I’ve seen at dollar stores back in the States! I was like a kid in a candy store walking through there, y’all. I went to the pink Daiso in Ginowan, and it was comparable to a Walmart in terms of selection and products, and I was able to score almost everything in this haul for $20! I also paid a visit to another store, Don Quijote (or Donki/Don Q) which is more of a discount store with lots of imports. I actually thought it was a little pricey! I still snagged some goodies, though 😉

Here’s a list of the things I bought at the Daiso:

  • frilly scrunchie (they’re making a comeback)
  • heart shaped earring backs
  • mini hair elastics
  • sock bun thingamajig
  • strawberry scented glitter nail polish remover
  • aloe vera facial cleanser
  • makeup brush/sponge cleanser
  • silicone vegetable scrubber (I bought it as a makeup brush scrubbie)
  • ceramic lotus soy sauce dish (repurposed as a ring dish)
  • heart-shaped sunnies
  • oven mitt
  • mason jar sippy
  • no-show socks
  • doggy poo bags + holder
  • not pictured: dog toy
  • 3 different plastic organizers
  • not pictured: pasta strainer
  • not pictured: burlap pouch decoration
  • not pictured: fake decorative herbs

What I picked up at Don Q:

  • 7-pack of LuLuLun brightening sheet masks
  • peel-off lip stain
  • Alice in Wonderland DVD (bonus: it plays in english and was only ‎¥‎148)

I’ve had the chance to test out some of the products I bought and I have to say, I am really impressed with the quality of the items I bought! I could probably spend hours in the store, wandering through the aisles and justifying purchasing things I don’t need. Have you ever been to a Daiso? What are your favorite dollar store finds? Let me know in the comments below!

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June Favorites

I cannot believe it’s already July! I hope everyone in the States had a wonderful Independence Day weekend. June was a wonderful month for me – I finally started to settle into our new house, we completed the adoption process on our adorable 3-year old Labrador, and I made some amazing new memories with my husband. I’ve been wearing less makeup than ever – but (and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell based on my faves!) only because I have been loving a natural, glowy look with nearly-bare skin, highlighted cheekbones, and soft pink lips.

Clinique Color Surge Eyeshadow in Lucky Penny // $16, discontinued // I’ve owned this shadow for quite a long time – I want to say I purchased it two summers ago, but since I usually reach for one of my palettes, it’s been a little neglected. Recently I’ve been trying to cycle older products into my routine, and I realized how much I love this shadow! It’s an intensely shimmered copper that blends like a dream and has that coveted creamy texture of high end powders. I love it. Sadly, Clinique discontinued it, so unless you want to fork out the big bucks for it on eBay or Amazon, you’ll have to settle for a dupe such as CoverGirl’s Mink.

Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick // $25, Ulta // I reviewed this a while back (read here) and really liked it, but for some reason it got tossed into the abyss that is my lipstick collection. It’s a buildable lipstick that can go from a tinted balm to a pigmented stain in just a few swipes. I think it’s so fun that it looks green in the tube but shows up rosy pink on the lips! It’s a great lippie to keep in your bag.

Yankee Candle Wax Tarts in Lemon Lavender + Sage & Citrus // $1.99 ea, Yankee Candle // Y’all. I have a Yankee Candle addiction (my husband will confirm this). It’s one of those iconic brands that follows you into adulthood – I still remember my mom burning their candles as a kid. I used to be a huge candle junkie, but here in our new house, we have a lot more space – so I’ve been using my wax warmers more often because, quite frankly it’s a lot more cost effective to melt wax in each room than it is to buy full size candles. These two scents are pretty self explanatory, and they’re perfect spring-to-summer transitional scents.

Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Radiant Lights // $6, Ulta // This highlighter is really popular in the blog world lately, and I know I’ve written about it before on wisconsinwhimsy. It’s cheap, it’s gorgeous, and you get a good amount of product. I have a handful of high end highlighters, and yet this is the one I reach for almost every day! I would say the pigmentation is middle of the road, but that’s actually a pro for me, since it gives me a little more control over the opacity.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone // deluxe sample, but full size is $41 at Ulta // If you read my last beauty blog about the Best of Becca Blushed Radiance kit, you probably already know why I love this product. It’s perfect for a sheer-to-medium intensity glow, and it feels really lightweight on the skin. Moonstone is a great shade for light skin like mine!

Wet n Wild 1 Step Wondergel in Stay Classy // $4.99, Target // I purchased this at the Exchange with a coupon, so I only paid $2.99 which was a steal! Stay Classy is a cool-toned mauve, and I would definitely say it’s a year-round color. I didn’t bring my UV gel kit with me to Japan, so I’ve been using regular polish on my nails lately. I’m hard on my nails, though, and it’s hard for me to find polish formulas that I actually like! I’ve had this on my nails for 5 days now, and while it doesn’t look like a fresh mani, it does still look pretty good for a home nail job. It hasn’t chipped at all, rather just worn down on the tips of my nails. I’ll definitely repurchase this in other shades!

What were your favorite beauty products this June? Let me know in the comments below!

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Review | Best of Becca Blushed Radiance

Happy Fourth of July weekend for those of you in the States! Becca is a hot brand right now thanks to the beauty world’s obsession with all things #glow. I bought this kit in Seattle as a last-ditch effort to use up some of my Ulta points before we left for Japan. I’d been wanting to try Becca products for a while, but I already have a handful of highlighters, so I thought it would be fun to try a few different products from Becca rather than investing in a full-size product! The kit retails for $32.50 at Ulta. //

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The kit comes with four products – Becca’s flagship product, which is their pressed shimmering skin perfector in Opal, backlight priming filter, shimmering skin perfector spotlight wand in Moonstone, and mineral blush in Flowerchild.

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From top to bottom: Opal, Flowerchild, Backlight Priming Filter, Moonstone

I’ll cut to the chase – the pressed shimmering skin perfector was my least favorite! It was the product I was most excited to try, and I just wasn’t that impressed. I thought the texture was a little grainy, and it looked more glittery than glowy on my skin. Opal is also very gold, and I haven’t built up much of a summer tan yet, so the shade itself is a little too dark for my skin tone. This is one of those products that got tons of hype, and the first couple of times I used it I was blinded by the hype and thought it was the greatest highlighter I’d ever tried. Now that the novelty has worn off, I think it’s just an okay product.

The spotlight wand in Moonstone is fabulous. I love using this product with the L’Oreal Lumi Cushion foundation for a 5-minute makeup dewy glow! Moonstone suits my skintone much better than Opal, and the liquid has a much finer texture than the powder.

As you can see, I dropped the blush compact and shattered it a bit 😢 Flowerchild is a pinky-coral with gold shimmer. I don’t think this particular shade is anything special, but I do think it’s a universally-flattering shade, which is probably why it was chosen for the kit. The pigmentation and longevity are great! If I were to buy a full size blush from Becca, I think I’d get Sweet Pea or Lantana.

Finally, the primer. I wasn’t impressed. I liked how it looked on my bare skin in indoor lighting (outdoors it looked obviously shimmery), but once I applied foundation, it basically disappeared. I think this primer would work best for someone who wears sheer coverage foundation and naturally has smooth textured skin – it definitely emphasized my pores. I usually wear medium to full coverage foundation on a daily basis, so this product just isn’t for me!

Overall, I like the items in this kit, and I think it’s a great way to try out a few different products from Becca without splurging on expensive full size products. However, I don’t know that I would repurchase the full size of any of the products, at least in the shades that were in the kit – other than the liquid shimmering skin perfector in Moonstone, which I really liked! Have you used Becca cosmetics before? What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

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Colourpop Haul!

I have been dying to try some Colourpop products, so when I saw that they were having a birthday sale and that they ship to FPO, I hopped on their website to pick out a few things. I love that Colourpop celebrates all skin tones and embraces color as a cornerstone of their brand. It’s refreshing to see such bright, punchy colors at an affordable price! Aaaand they’re also cruelty free!

First up are these Lippie Stix in Cami (top) + Lumiere (bottom). Cami is a “neutral mauve pink ” and in the Matte X finish, which is highly pigmented and a true matte, while Lumiere is a “dusty mauve pink” in the Matte finish, which is obviously still matte, but creamier – and also still really pigmented. I love both of these! The shades are kind of similar, but not really. They each have their own vibe. Lumiere, born through a collab with Kathleen Lights, shows up darker on me than I expected, but I am honestly really pleased with both of them! They are very comfortable on the lips and I love that the applicator is somewhere between the size of a lipstick and a lipliner – it makes it easy to be precise on the go.

I also got two Ulta Satin Lips, Lyin’ King (top) + Naked Ladies (bottom). Lyin’ King is a “saturated raspberry” and Naked Ladies is a “bright coral red.” I haven’t tried Naked Ladies on my lips yet, but I wore Lyin’ King today and was really impressed. The formula was super pigmented, so I didn’t need to layer the product. I have extremely dry lips and am an anxious lip-picker, so I was worried that the formula would draw attention to that, as many other liquid lipsticks do. *Drumroll please* It didn’t! It was so comfortable on my lips and I didn’t feel or see any obvious dryness. I am very impressed with these and can’t wait to purchase some more shades. I’m looking for the perfect nude-pink, so if anyone has a suggestion, let me know!

Finally, I got my hands on some Super Shock Shadows. Trois (top) is part of the Jenn Ne Sais Quoi collab with Jenn Im, Birthday Boy (right) was the free gift for Colourpop’s 2nd birthday, and Beverly (bottom) is from the Kaepop collab with Karrueche Tran. These have the craziest texture! They’re bouncy and creamy, but feel like a powder once they’re on your skin. Birthday Boy and Trois are very pigmented, though I had to swipe Beverly a few times to build it up. I had been eyeing some rich, fall shades of eyeshadows (because fall is clearly the best season) and these are exactly what I was looking for!

I am honestly super impressed with everything that I ordered! I highly recommend trying out this brand, which is also known for its Ultra Matte Lips (which I didn’t try because my lips are probably waaaay too dry for them!). Everything is very affordable, and shipping was free over $30! I purchased everything pictured for $32 and shipping was really fast. The quality and pigmentation has me hooked ass well! What are your favorite Colourpop products?! Let me know in the comments below!

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MOTD | 06/14/2016

It’s been terribly rainy and stormy here, so I’ve had plenty of time to play around with makeup for fun. Today I kept telling myself that I was going to do a natural look, and then I had an oopsie with my eyeliner and ran with it 😬 What are you wearing today?

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Details are as follows •

Face | Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 foundation in classic ivory • Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in fairly light neutral • Rimmel Stay Matte powder in translucent

Cheeks | Benefit Hoola bronzer • Nyx Baked Blush in foreplay • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal

Brows | Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in dark brown • Nyx Auto Eyebrow Pencil in taupe

Eyes | Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette (I used creme brulee, salted caramel, hazelnut, milk chocolate, & marzipan) • Wet n Wild creme eyeliner in black • Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara

Lips | Clinique Almost Lipstick in black honey

Have a great day!