What I’ve Been Doing to De-Stress Lately

The past month has been, in a word, consuming. I have had so much to do and fallen victim to so many stress and anxiety triggers that I haven’t been my best self. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably aware that I struggle with clinical anxiety. I recently returned from a trip to visit my husband, and it could not have happened at a better time – I really needed his support. Now that I’m back in Wisconsin, it seems like I’m even more aware of the things that are causing me anxiety: school, finding a post-graduation job, moving across the country, keeping up with friendships, and maintaining my own sanity…to name a few!

Coping with anxiety is complex, and it can be difficult to explain to others, often leading to isolation. I often find myself retreating to my bed, both out of exhaustion and because sometimes it’s simply too difficult to share how I’m feeling with those around me. There are a few things that I’ve been doing lately to try and ease my response to triggers:

  • Aveda Stress Fix composition oil // $30 at Aveda – I bought this about a month ago and have been using it almost every day. This is a light, moisturizing oil with an extremely calming aroma, derived from lavendar, lavandin, and clary sage. My favorite way to use this oil is by dabbing it on my wrists and neck, closing my eyes, and taking deep breaths. It helps me refocus and balance my breathing, which has been especially helpful while using it at school. This oil is also great for scalp massages and for applying during/after a bath! I know a lot of people think aromatherapy is a crock, but I have definitely experienced a reduction in my anxiety while using this product.
  • Temple massages – These are free! 😉 I get frequent headaches as a result of my anxiety, and I find temple massages to be very therapeutic when I’m trying to cope with them. I like to start at the hairline of my temples and massage around my forehead, eye sockets, and then up to the scalp. Sometimes I even use the Stress Fix oil while I do it! This is a simple way to distract yourself, and you can do it anywhere: close your eyes, take deep breaths, and focus on the movement of your fingers.
  • Reading books! This is another great way to distract a wandering mind. I like being able to focus on the words of the book and getting lost in the storyline. Here’s what’s on my reading list/what I’ve recently read:
    • The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
    • #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
    • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    • American Wife by Taya Kyle
    • Mercy by Jodi Picoult
  • Candles and wax melts – I’m a very scent-oriented person, and for some reason I am soothed by burning candles and wax warmers! Lately my favorites have been the Bath and Body Works 3-wick candle in Leaves  // $22.50 at B&BW and the Yankee Candle wax tart in Balsam & Cedar // $1.99 at Yankee Candle. Wax warmers are great if you like to swap out scents frequently and/or don’t like the idea of having an open flame in your house! I have this one from Kohl’s and love it. I have also previously used warmers from Walmart and Scentsy and had liked them as well. I tend to buy most of my wax melts from Yankee Candle and Walmart.
  • Yogi Kava Stress Relief Tea // $4-ish at Target. I am an avid tea drinker, and picked this up at Target on a whim one day and never looked back. I’ve even gotten friends and coworkers to try it! The taste is slightly reminiscent of the Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat tea (at least to me), but I can’t think of any descriptive words to explain the flavor…I guess you’ll just have to try it! It’s relatively inexpensive, so if you’re on a budget, I would encourage you to try this. I like to drink the tea before bed while I unwind, but I’ve also been known to stash a box of it at my cubicle for daytime drinking as well.
  • Music! I’ve listened to this playlist probably hundreds of times:
  • The app WordBrain // free on the iTunes app store – this is a word puzzle game. I have a fear of flying, so this was a great distraction while on the plane to North Carolina! I feel like I’m getting a brain workout when I “play” it, and it’s a great way to channel your mind activity into something other than all of your anxious thoughts.
  • Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book by Johanna Basford // $16 at Urban Outfitters – Adult coloring books are awesome! I’ve been channeling my inner four-year-old and coloring to relieve stress for the last couple of years, but my motor skills are sometimes a little too sharp for coloring in minions and Barbies, so I was psyched when I found out about these adult versions. Coloring is fun, relaxing, and nostalgic, and can be done with a trusty old box of Crayola colored pencils. These books are also at Barnes & Noble and Target, if you don’t have a UO nearby!

If I’m being honest, I’ve also been channeling my stress into food lately…and as a result of that, I’m going to try and channel it into exercise instead! (lol) How do you cope with your stress and anxiety? Let me know in the comments!

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Battle of the Brush Cleaner: Blue Dawn vs. Dr. Bronner’s

If you’re anything like me and struggle to keep your makeup brushes clean, (read: lazy) this post might be useful to you. I’ve been really slacking on cleaning them lately, which is gross for several reasons.

1. Brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria, and you’re using them to smear old bacteria all over your face every day. (You’re welcome for the mental picture)

2. They don’t perform as well when there’s weeks – and I know some of you are really grody and have months – worth of foundation, blush, concealer and powder all caked up inside the bristles.

3. Brushes are expensive, and if you take really bad care of them, they will become sad, unusable, bacteria sticks and you’ll have to throw them away. And wasting money is gross.

Of the brushes I own, my least favorite to clean are the ones that get the most use – flat top kabuki brushes. I use them to apply both powder and liquid products every day.  Pictured below are my three flat buki brushes: e.l.f. Studio Powder Brush // $3 at e.l.f. | Lamora Flat Kabuki T01 // price flexible, currently $7.90 at Amazon | Sigma F80 // $24 at Sigma

 

The Lamora & Sigma brushes are especially dirty, and here’s a nice close-up of my Sigma F80 to really drive home the point that brushes get 50 shades of grotesque after a week or two of regular use:


I typically use Dawn dish soap to clean my brushes because it’s super effective at breaking down the oiliness and waxiness of the gunk in my brushes, but recently I ran out of it and started using Suave shampoo because I had it laying around. The Suave worked well enough on other brushes that didn’t develop a lot of buildup, such as my blush and bronzer brushes, but it didn’t work as well for my foundation brushes. I’ve heard that many people use olive and coconut oil to break down the buildup in their brushes and more gently cleanse, but both cause my acne to flare up, so I avoid using them near my face. I should note that I have been using Dawn to clean my brushes for two years and have never had any issues with shedding or damage as a result of using it.

I paid a little visit to my beloved Target to pick up some Dawn, and happened to see some of Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure Castile Soap (wow, that is quite the name). I’ve actually used the soap before, many years ago, and have heard many bloggers recommend it for brush cleaning. I found a smaller bottle of it in the travel section for $3 and decided to compare it to my trusty Dawn.

I clean my brushes by squirting about a teaspoon of soap into my palm and swirling the brush – dry- into the soap in my palm. I then turn on the faucet and continue to swirl the brush in my palm as the water suds the soap, continually rinsing my palm and the brush until all of the soap and makeup are rinsed.

My Lamora brush was the clear winner of griminess, and I was able to get all of the gunk out with one go with the Dawn original blue dish soap. I used the Dr. Bronner’s soap on my Sigma brush, and while it did remove a considerable amount of makeup, there was still quite a bit left. I repeated the process twice with the Dr. Bronner’s soap, and ended up giving it a third wash with Dawn before the bristles looked white again (both of the pictured brushes have pre-existing staining). In the following photo, the top row shows my Sigma F80 after two rinses with Dr. Bronner’s and my Lamora buki after one rinse with Dawn. The bottom row shows both brushes after being fully cleaned, the Sigma F80 with 2 rinses of Dr. Bronner’s and 1 with Dawn, and the Lamora with 1 rinse of Dawn.


The Verdict:

Dawn is a better brush cleanser. That being said, I used the Dr. Bronner’s on my e.l.f. brush, and was able to clean it completely with one wash. It had about 3 days’ worth of makeup built up in it. I think the Dr. Bronner’s is a great multi-purpose product, and can definitely be effective as a brush cleanser if used regularly. For tough jobs, I would skip it. It does smell great, though, and is an option for those of you who want to stick to more natural products: it’s fair trade and made with organic oils, has no artificial preservatives, detergents, or foaming agents, and can be used for – you guessed it – 18 different things!

Dawn, which can be purchased nearly anywhere – grocery stores, Target, Walmart, even Kwik Trip! – is relatively cheap. I picked up a 9oz bottle of Dawn Ultra original blue at Target for $1.02. Dr. Bronner’s is significantly more expensive (for obvious reasons), running $17 at Target for 32oz. Dr. Bronner’s magic soaps can also be purchased at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, if those retailers float your boat more than Target.

What do YOU use to wash your brushes, and how often do you clean them? Let me know in the comments!

Fall Look + Full Acne Coverage

  It is finally starting to feel like fall outside, and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve officially packed away my short and sandals and brought out my tights, boots, and jewel colored tops and dresses. This is my favorite time of year for three reasons: weather, holidays, and fashion. Mid to low 50s, a crisp breeze, and swirling leaves + family and friends gathered together for a meal to share their thankfulness and culinary skills + sweaters and boots = everything I love about fall!

One thing I don’t love is having acne. I’ve struggled with it since I was around 12 years old, and I’m now 22. I saw a dermatologist for almost 6 years and have taken more antibiotics than I can count on two hands. Creams, lotions, cleansers galore and not one thing made it go away! My derm had always suggested two possible solutions: hormonal birth control and Accutane. My parents and I were not keen on the risks and side effects of Accutane, some of which I was more at risk for than others, so I never tried it. I have been using hormonal birth control for 5 years now and have seen such an amazing difference in the condition of my skin – which is saying something, considering I obviously still have acne in the photos above. For the most part, my birth control helps to keep the cystic acne along my jawline at bay, but I still get inflammatory acne mostly everywhere except for my forehead. I am strict about skincare routine and never, ever, ever go to sleep without taking my makeup off and cleansing my skin. I used to use many more products to cover up my acne than I do now, but I find that the two products I use for coverage provide exactly what I need without a heavy layer.

The very first thing I do is cleanse, moisturize, and prime my skin.

  1. LUSH Herbalism // $15-ish
  2. Clinique Dramatically Different Gel // $26
  3. Arbonne Makeup Primer // $40

Once I’ve prepped my skin, I move on to concealer and foundation.

  1. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer // $24 / in the shade Light
  2. It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Illumination // $35 / in the shade Light

I apply the concealer with my fingers (after I’ve washed my hands, of course!) because I find that I get the best coverage while using the least amount of product. I have applied this product with both a sponge and brush before and still prefer my trusty old phalanges. It’s extremely pigmented, so I use a pinhead-sized drop under each of my eyes in a triangle shape – #KimKwannabe – and then continue to use other teensy pinhead drops on my blemishes and redness on the rest of my face. It’s a thick, creamy, consistency and blends flawlessly into my skin’s natural texture. I have quite a few (who am I kidding, I have a lot) of freckles, so I use the concealer extremely sparingly on my forehead to let them show through.

Once my concealer is nicely blended, I move on to foundation. The It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation Illumination, as contrasted to the original Celebration Foundation, which comes in a black compact and is matte, is an illuminating pressed powder foundation. The concealer is matte, and I like that the foundation has illuminating qualities to give off a lit-from-within glow. I buff the foundation into my skin with a Sigma F80 brush in circular motions. It offers medium-buildable coverage, and despite the fact that I have extremely oily skin, I do not experience any shininess for several hours, and no separation all day. It’s a great foundation for all skin types that I think works very well in conjunction with the concealer. In the following four photos, the one in the top left shows how my skin looks with the foundation + concealer combo.
Those two products conclude the acne coverage portion of this blog, and I highly encourage you to give them a try! They are quite pricey, but I anticipate the concealer lasting me at least a year, and I’ve used the foundation daily for two months and have yet to notice any obvious usage in the pan.

For alternatives, I recommend

  1. Dermablend Cover Creme // $38 / this product is very expensive, and I don’t think it offers as good of coverage as the Bye Bye Undereye. If you have the time to really work with this product (which I think is best applied with sponge or fingers) it might be worth it, but I think there are better alternatives. It is a cream texture in a pot, rather than a tube, which I also do not like for sanitary reasons. Everyone has different preferences, so it may work for you! 
  2. Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer // $6 / the consistency is similar to that of the Bye Bye Undereye and gives full coverage, but it appears more oily and the shades can edge into Oompa Loompa territory. I will not repurchase this, but it is a great product if your budget only allows you to stick with drugstore products.
  3. Aveda Inner Light Dual Foundation // $25 / very similar in coverage + concept to the Celebration Foundation, but does not come in a compact. You must purchase the compact separately, which I consider a huge disadvantage and just plain annoying, so I don’t use this anymore in protest. The product itself is wonderful though, and if the compact isn’t important to you, you can keep it in the plastic packaging and use it that way.

To complete the rest of the look, I used Tarte Park Ave Princess bronzer, Clinique blush in New Clover, Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow pomade in Blonde, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner, Urban Decay Perversion mascara, Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette, and Lancome L’Absolu Rouge lipstick in Creme de Marron.

IMG_0908What are your favorite fall looks? Share with me in the comments below!

Why I Did My Own Wedding Makeup & What I Used To Do It

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I think most brides have dreamed about their wedding day since they were little girls. They build Pinterest boards and watch entire seasons of Say Yes to the Dress and take 13 months to plan their wedding and it. will. be. perfect. Most brides aren’t me, though, so I planned my wedding in three months, DIYed almost every part of it, never dreamed of my wedding as a child, and ~ spoiler alert ~ did my own makeup. I also may have waited until the week before my wedding to try and find a makeup artist, so that was working against me. I had originally figured that my wedding day would bring imminent floods to my eyes, so I wanted airbrush makeup. Well here’s two things about airbrush makeup: 1. it’s freakin’ expensive and 2. it’s not a very popular trade where I live. I made the executive decision that $200 spent on getting my makeup done would be better spent on an adventure with Alex instead.

I didn’t practice my makeup at all before my wedding day (because clearly that would mean I’d have to prepare in advance for something, and we all know I don’t do that), so, as with most aspects of my life, I kind of just winged it and hoped for the best. I picked up the BareMinerals I Do kit at Ulta for $50, which is actually a pretty great deal for everything that you get, and it was a hookup to have at the chapel for touchups. The only photo I have of my makeup is this really awkward selfie below (you’re welcome and I give you permission to laugh), and I took it after the floodgates had already broken, so it’s a little less than perfect in the eye area. *sniffle* But quite frankly, I felt beautiful, it saved me money, and I find applying makeup to be therapeutic, so it may have also saved me from having a few extra bridezilla breakdowns. (My mom would probably say otherwise. Sorry, Mom.)

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I used a lot of makeup, so I won’t go too into detail on the ins and outs of each product like I usually do, but below is a list of the products I used to create this look. Almost everything can be found at Ulta (which is where I primarily shop), and some of these products will actually be featured in more detail in upcoming blogs. If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below or send me an email and I’d be happy to help!

Products used:

  1. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place makeup in 2W1 Dawn – $38 at Nordstrom
    • If you never want your foundation to come off, buy this (exaggeration).
  2. it Cosmetics Celebration Illumination powder foundation in Medium – $35 at Ulta
    • This made my skin look flawless, and added a healthy glow since the Double Wear is so matte – this is especially beneficial if you don’t want to look flat in photos.
    • Note: this foundation is medium/full buildable coverage, so if you are one of those magical fairies with already beautiful skin, I recommend using this alone, rather than on top of a liquid foundation like I did.
  3. Benefit Hoola bronzer – $28 at Ulta
    • Y’all already know I love this stuff.
  4. Tarte Parke Ave Princess Contour Palette v2 – $34 at Ulta
    • This is a recent purchase and I dig it – I only used the highlighter on my wedding day. More to come on this in the future!
  5. BareMinerals Ready blush in I Do (from the I Do kit – $50)
    • If you have fair/light to medium skin, this pink flush will look universally gorgeous on you.
  6. Urban Decay Naked 3 palette – $54 at Sephora & Naked 2, also $54 at Sephora
    • From Naked 3 I used: Nooner, Liar, & Darkside
    • From Naked 2 I used: Booty Call, Tease, Busted
  7. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown – $21 at Sephora
    • My personal favorite brow product.
  8. Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara – $23 at Ulta
    • I used this pre-falsies to darken my natural lashes.
  9. BareMinerals Lasting Line eyeliner in Absolute Black – $16 at Ulta
    • I used this on my tightline and outer 2/3 of my bottom lashline.
  10. Stila Stay all Day liquid liner in Intense Black – $22 at Sephora
    • This is amazing, and if you plan on crying, you need to buy it. Now.
  11. L’Oreal Collection Privee lipstick in Julianne’s Nude – $8 at Ulta
    • My holy grail nude-pink! I topped this with Urban Decay Naked lip gloss in Nooner, $20 at Sephora (borrowed that from a friend, but I really liked it!)
  12. Benefit Porefessional primer – $31 at Ulta
    • Not my favorite primer, but I think it held up well throughout the day!
  13. BareMinerals Flawless Definition waterproof mascara in Black (from the I Do kit – $50)
    • I used this to blend my falsies and natural lashes together, and on my bottom lashes. It’s definitely waterproof! It lasted through more tears than I think I’ve ever cried before.
  14. Ardell Natural Lash 110 – $3.99 @ Ulta
    • These are gorgeous and definitely more natural looking than other false lashes. They were also pretty comfortable. I didn’t feel like I had wings on my eyelids, so that was a positive.

I think that concludes the long list of products that I used for the day! I also used the Fake Bake Flawless Darker self tanner (per usual), which you can learn more about here. All in all, I am pleased with my handiwork, and it photographed beautifully! DIYing your wedding makeup isn’t for everyone, but it worked out well for me and allowed me to take control over something on my wedding day. I love makeup, and as much as I would have enjoyed getting it done professionally, it was something unique and special that I did for myself. To all of my brides-to-be, congratulations, and to all of my readers, have a fantasmical day!

Photography courtesy of Jordan Snyder Photography
Photography courtesy of our dear friend and talented photographer Jordan Snyder. Check out Jordan here and on Facebook!

Review: Lipstick Queen Frog Prince

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Hi friends! I have been seriously MIA…sorry about that. I got really caught up in my wedding, Alex being home, moving, starting school, and all of the curveballs in between! Rest assured that I’m alive and I’ll have plenty more blogs up soon – including all the details from my wedding and a couple of Ulta splurges!

Today’s topic is the Frog Prince lipstick from Lipstick Queen, which can be picked up at Ulta for $25. It’s a “lilypad green lipstick that transforms lips into a pretty rosebud pink.” The green shade reacts with the temperature and pH of your lips to create a sheer, glossy rose that wears off into a stain.

I thought this was a seriously cool product when I came across it at Ulta, and similar in idea to the Dior Addict Lip Glow ($33 at Dior), but slightly cheaper and more accessible as I don’t have a Sephora or high-end department store nearby. I picked it up and ripped the packaging open in the parking lot because I was so excited.

It’s definitely green (prepare for stares when applying in public – I thought my mom was going to flip when she saw me put it up to my lips!), and the first couple of swipes will leave your lips slightly greenish for the first few seconds to a minute, but soon enough your lips will transform into a your-lips-but-better-and-pinker shade with a glossy sheen. It’s bizarre! I’ve had this lippie for a few weeks now, and I still get excited every time I apply it. As far as moisturization goes, I think this product has the consistency of Chapstick and is quite moisturizing. If not eating and drinking, it’ll last several hours. If I eat or drink anything messy, it will come off, but leave a light stain. I’ve been keeping this in my purse rather than in my makeup bag, and it’s a great on-the-go product to look put together on the move. This lipstick definitely shows up differently on different people; my mom used this and it turned her lips a medium-deep berry shade, whereas it’s definitely a rose shade on me. I imagine this would be a flattering lipstick on most fair and medium skin tones, although I’m not sure how it would compliment olive skin and the pigmentation is sheer, so it may not show up on deeper skin tones. Side note: the packaging is divine – it comes in a pink metal casing, which is equal parts badass and chic.

Unfortunately, as much as I really like this product, I don’t plan on repurchasing it. $25 is just a little too expensive for me since I have so many other sheer pink lippies for less $$. However, if you are looking for a fun “treat yoself” gift, I definitely recommend trying this!

July 2015 Favorites

Hi friends! It’s been a while. I’ve been doing this thing, wedding planning, and it’s consuming my life. Plz 4give.

I’ll cut to the chase – here are my favorites from July!

  1. Up & Up Luminous White whitening wraps, $16 at Target – I hate Crest Whitestrips. I think they’re slimy, inconvenient, and they give me awful tooth sensitivity. Oh, and they’re heinously overpriced for essentially being a film of hydrogen peroxide. SO, on my quest for white teeth many moons ago, I decided to try this product. (The packaging has since been updated in stores) They’re purple wax trays that mold around your teeth. I love these because they actually stay adhered to my teeth – you can talk with them in! – and do pretty dramatic whitening in a short amount of time. I am  usually able to get a good deal on these with Cartwheel or in-store coupons at Target. I’ve been using them since I was in high school, so you could say I’m biased loyal to the results. I do experience mild tooth sensitivity, but I have normally sensitive teeth anyway.
  2. Plus White 5 Minute Speed Whitening System, $11.49 at Walgreens – This is my holy grail whitening product, and with my wedding coming up, I’ve been using it non-stop! The only part of the kit I use is the whitening gel – the rinse exploded while I was moving, and I don’t really like the tray. I put a thin strip of the gel in a 99-cent mouthguard and leave it in for ~20 minutes, 30 if I’m really bored. This process tends to be a little drool-ier, so you won’t really be able to talk while whitening. I usually do this while showering. The gel foams up and gets in all the little nooks and crannies of your teeth, and it’s pretty cheap. It’ll last me forever and it works really well.
  3. CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Primer, $12ish at Ulta – I like to explore all beauty trends. Primers have been a pretty big thing in the beauty scene over the last couple of years, and I’ve had a difficult time jumping on the bandwagon. This particular primer has the consistency and texture of a moisturizer, and soaks into your skin in the same way. It doesn’t have the silicone-texture of the Smashbox or Benefit primers. When used in combination with the ELDW (see below) foundation, I can wear my makeup for 18 hours with minimal touch-ups. What did you just say, Shelbie? 18 hours with minimal touch-ups. I have super oily skin, so it’s practically a miracle. I really like this product.
  4. Orlando Pita Revive Dry Instant Boost Shampoo, $50 for 2pk at Beauty’s Most Wanted, purchased at Costco – My mom actually picked this up for me at Costco, and I’m in dry shampoo heaven every time I use it. It gives my hair such a silky, dry texture (bye-bye, evidence of unwashed hair) and smells lightly floral. I haven’t experienced any white residue, and the powder itself is very fine, so it blends into my hair nicely. I don’t believe Costco sells this anymore, and I haven’t had much luck locating it online, which is a bummer. Anyone know where I can find some more?
  5. Jergens Instant Sun Tanning Mousse, $12 at Target – After falling in love with my beloved Fake Bake Flawless Darker, I pretty much swore off drugstore tanning products. I was a sucker at Target a few weeks ago, and bought this. I’ve been applying it with a mitt, and I really like the color it gives. The mousse is really runny, which I don’t like, but I’ve been enjoying the results of this product and have used it several times. I would maybe repurchase this to keep in my bathroom in case I run out of the Fake Bake. It does transfer onto clothing and take about 10-15 minutes to dry completely, but I would recommend this!
  6. Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation, $38 at Sephora – ERMAGERD LERVE THIS. (It’s past my bedtime) I have pined over this foundation for close to two years, and I finally took the plunge and bought it. I have the shade Dawn 2W1, which is a light-medium warm tone. It looks great with my fake tan and this stuff seriously lasts all. day. long. The sales rep told me it should be applied with a brush, but I prefer it with a damp beauty blender. I get a slight sheen after ~5ish hours of wear, but it’s more of a natural glow and can be easily blotted away. With other foundations of mine, I get mega-greasy after 2-3 hours, so I’m definitely satisfied with the oil controlling properties of this foundation. It has a runny, thin consistency, which is a positive as well, as it doesn’t feel thick or heavy on the skin. 10 million/5 stars.
  7. Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Acne Moisturizer, $6.50 at Walmart – I’m trying to conserve my Clinique moisturizer, so I’ve been using this every other day. I think it does a decent job of light moisturization, and I have noticed a slight decrease in my acne as well. I don’t think this product is something to write your great aunt Sue about, but I will probably repurchase it.Also, it smells good.
  8. L’Oreal Quick Dry Primer Spray, $5 at Ulta – This is sorcery. You spray this in your hair and it cuts down on the time it takes to blow-dry your hair. I’m honestly  not sure how, but it smells delicious and really works. I have a ton of hair, so I hate blow drying it, but this has actually given me a little bit of an incentive. At the time of this posting, Target has a Cartwheel on this product for 20% off, so it’s a great time to try it!

What were your favorites for July? Anything I should try out in August? Let me know in the comments!

xx

•June 2015 Favorites•

Hi friends! I know, it’s a week into July, and I’m just getting around to posting this. I’ve never been known for my punctuality. Also, how is it already July?! Time escapes me. This month, I’ve got a couple random things on my favorites list because I haven’t been wearing makeup every day like I usually do – I no longer interact with customers face-to-face at my new job, so I’ve been loving my newly-five-minute morning routine.

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Up first is the Neutrogena Shine Control primer ($14 at Ulta). I’ve blogged about this before in my 14 Beauty Favorites of 2014 post, and recently started using it again. It’s not a primer for skin perfecting or smoothing, rather it’s more of a lotion-type product that sits under your makeup and soaks up oil throughout the day. It got mediocre reviews because of it’s lack of silicone-like texture, but I love it for what it does.

In combination with that, I’ve been using the Arbonne Intelligence CC Cream in Fair, ($40 at Arbonne through Brittnee Bidwell) which is a sheer-medium coverage color correcting cream. Even though I don’t spend as much time interacting with people face-to-face at work as I have at previous jobs, I’m still not totally comfortable going in to work without any coverage on my skin in order to maintain a professional and put-together appearance. This is lightweight and leaves a natural skin finish. I love this over the drugstore BB and CC creams I’ve tried. It does a lot for eliminating the natural redness in my skin without looking like I have makeup on. It has not broken me out or irritated my skin in any way, which is a big plus. Disclaimer: I received this product free for testing purposes.

Pantene Beautiful Lengths Conditioner ($4 at Walmart) has been a favorite of mine lately. I have noticed that my hair feels softer and stronger since I’ve been using this conditioner, and the fragrance is amazing and long lasting. It doesn’t weight down my hair, and although I haven’t been paying close enough attention to notice if my hair is getting longer, I do think my hair looks healthier overall. Win!

CoverGirl Outlast Longwear Lipstick in Magnetic Mauve ($7 at Target) has been a purse staple for me over the last month. I love the smell (vanilla-candy-ish?) and creamy consistency of this lipstick, and it definitely lasts 4-5 hours on me. I think this particular shade is a great on-the-go color to keep in your bag to complete any day or nighttime look. I wish there were more shades of this!

EOS Shave Cream in Vanilla Bliss ($4 at Ulta) also surprisingly made my list; I am an outspoken opponent of EOS lip balms after experiencing a terrible allergic reaction. (Seriously – Google it! So many others have had awful experiences with these balms. The packaging is adorable, but there are better, more moisturizing options out there.) I was skeptical to try another product from this brand, but I’m glad I did. Due to my extremely sensitive skin, I still get razor burn when I use this product, but it has helped a lot. I only have two complaints: 1. it kind of clogs up your razor, and 2. it doesn’t smell like vanilla…or anything, really! I’m not usually one to complain about scents, since fragrance is seldom good for your skin, but it kinda just smells like plastic. If I were to repurchase this, I would choose a different scent!

The next product, Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Dry Shampoo ($3.50 at Walmart.com), appears to have gotten awful reviews – not because of the product itself, but because of the packaging. This product is produced by Procter & Gamble, just like the Aussie dry shampoo that I just now realized I never blogged about, and they have identical packaging. I did have issues with the sprayer on the Aussie bottle clogging up and no longer working. I refused to give up on it, so after washing the cap (I pulled it up from the can) under warm water for about a minute, I was able to unclog it. Inconvenient, yes, but I’ve had the same issue with several other brands of dry shampoo. Packaging aside, this dry shampoo smells fantastic in true Herbal Essences fashion, and leaves my hair feeling clean and refreshed. I will absolutely repurchase this product! I don’t think it really brightened my hair color, but I do think it did a great job at volumizing and mattifying without leaving a white powder finish.

Finally, a product that I used almost every single day in June, the Sun Laboratories Ultra Dark Tanning Lotion ($20-ish on Amazon). This product has mixed reviews on other blogs due to poor customer service from Sun Laboratories. I purchased my bottle on Amazon with Prime shipping, so I can’t confirm or deny any complaints made elsewhere. This is a very green-based tanner, so the nozzle ends up looking like a swamp after a while, but the color is very natural. The smell is a sweet cherry-almond scent, which I find pleasant if not almost too sweet. Compared to other self-tanning products I’ve tried, I find the smell to be a positive. This product MUST MUST MUST! be applied with a mitt. It does transfer onto clothes if they are tight-fitting and put on soon after application. It looks best on legs and arms, and lasts up to a week on me. I probably won’t repurchase this, just because I can get the Fake Bake Flawless for cheaper, and I prefer the color from that product better, however if you are interested in trying a green-based tanner or are searching for a tanner that doesn’t smell bad, I do recommend trying this one. Check out my How I Stay Tan Without Tanning post for more information on what I use to self tan!

Bonus favorite: I’ve been loving the band Kodaline this month. Check them out on Spotify!

That’s a wrap for June favorites! Let me know what you were loving this June in the comments below!

xx