Try It Out Tuesday: Rodan + Fields AMP Roller

Some people might say that I am more than slightly obsessed with skincare.  I have spent countless hours reading about various moisturizers, face washes, exfoliants, serums, oils and devices.  During one of these skin care research binges I came across a micro needling roller.  It had fantastic reviews but I couldn’t tell what you did with it.  I quickly went to YouTube (the answer to most of my questions) and found numerous videos of women rolling needles over their faces.  I was quickly scared away and blocked these images from my mind.

As weeks went by, micro needling kept coming up in my reading.  Reviewers swore that their skin had never looked better.  Wrinkles were diminishing.  Their skin was soft.  Pores were disappearing.  I decided to put my fears aside and try one out!

Around this time a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page  about the effects she saw after using the Rodan+Fields* AMP Micro-Exfoliating Roller. It instantly caught my attention so I asked her about it.  Of course I asked the usual “How long have you used it? What effects have you seen?  What does it feel like to rub needles on your face?”  She quickly answered all of my questions, brought it for me to explore in person and assured me that it doesn’t hurt that badly.  Then the sticker shock came, $180!As a preschool teacher, I am on a fairly limited income and don’t typically have that kind of money laying around so I wasn’t jumping at the chance to spend $180 to injure myself.  Of course, it came with a night serum, cleaning tablets, and the assurance that it is dishwasher safe.  Ultimately, I chose to purchase from her for one reason: it is FDA approved.  I decided that if I was going to roll needles all over my face, I wanted to make sure they were the safest needles out there. 

The Product

Rodan+Fields is a skin care line developed by the makers of Proactive.  They have multiple regimens that focus on different skin needs.  You can adopt entire regimens or pick and choose products that fit what you are looking for (this is what I did).  This is the extent of what I know about R+F.  I am not a consultant of theirs but will include the website of the friend I purchased from at the bottom if you have more specific questions.

Rather than buying a complete regiment, I purchased the AMP MD System – 60 day supply.  This system is part of their REDEFINE line which focuses on diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, pores and the loss of firmness.  The AMP system comes with the AMP Micro-Exfoliating Roller, Redefine Night Renewing Serum, and purification tablets (used for cleaning the roller).  They recommend dividing your face into four sections (forehead, right side, left side and chin/neck) and rolling each section 3-10 times, varying directions.

60 Day supply

AMP Roller

Common Reactions

Oh my goodness, that thing looks likes a medieval torture device!

I can’t disagree, it totally does.  The idea alone of rolling needles all over your face seems like something that should be outlawed by the government. 

That’s got to hurt.

I’m not going to lie, the first time you roll it is shocking.  Not so much because it hurts, but because you don’t know what to expect.  When applying moderate pressure it actually doesn’t hurt too badly.  It stings, especially in sensitive areas, but I would never say it hurt. 

Doesn’t it make your face bleed?

I never had this reaction.  I have read that minimal bleeding can occur when you first begin but this (thankfully) was not the case. The only “adverse” reaction was redness and minor itching at first. I turn red if I sneeze, so I certainly expected redness after rolling.

Does it work?

Review

As with many other items I try out, I took pictures before, during and after my trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the product.  These pictures demonstrate the progress made over a 6 week trial using the AMP roller and night serum 4 nights per week.  It’s of note that my skin tends to break out during my cycle, which is evidenced during Week 4.

This was my face on my first day of rolling.
This was my face on my first day of rolling.

Following one week of usage (rolling 4 times), I already noticed a change.  My skin was already starting to even out. The large inset wrinkle on the left side of my forehead (the whole cause of my rolling) was already slowly subsiding.

Wk1 - Face

Wk1-L Wk1- R

Week 4 found me with some stress and hormone related acne.  Although I was experiencing a flare up, the overall texture of my skin has continued  transforming.  This week I began using the entire serum caplet, rather than half. My skin has never felt this soft on a daily basis.

Wk4 - Face

Wk4 - R Wk 4 - L

By Week 6 my acne had mostly cleared up and I was able to see the effectiveness more clearly.  It is no longer looking as dull as it did a few weeks ago.  The soft, smooth texture of my face has become a permanent fixture. 

WK 6 - F

Wk6 - L

wk6- R

Final Thoughts

Overall I love this product.  Possibly even more than the roller itself, I love the serum that it came with.  I wasn’t planning on maintaining my subscription but I can’t imagine finding another serum I love more (sorry Philosophy). Although I don’t have many wrinkles, I will definitely continue using this product.  The exercise of injuring your face with the needles promotes new collagen growth, preventing the formation of wrinkles.  Who doesn’t want that?

 Unfortunately what is not evident in pictures is the feel of my skin.  It has really softened my face.  Additionally, a lot of the below the surface bumps that have plagued me since my teens are starting to vanish.

Through this process I began noticing sun spots on the sides of my face.  A childhood spent in the California sun has definitely taken a toll on my skin.  Because of this,I have decided to try another R+F product, the Dual Active Brightening Complex from the REVERSE line.  Results to be continued…

*I am not now, ever been, or plan to be affiliated with Rodan + Fields.  I tried their product, and am sharing the results, out of my own personal interest and love of talking about my experiences.

**If you have any questions about any of the other R+F products, I am not the person to talk to; instead, talk to Clea: https://cmattingly.myrandf.com/Shop

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Monday Masks: Skin Food Rice Wash Off Mask

This week I am starting a new feature: Monday Masks. Facial masks are my favorite part of skin care and I use various masks, 3 times per week.  This week I tried a new mask: Skin Food’s Rice Wash Off Mask

Recently, I have been exploring the world of Korean skin care.  Through this research I was introduced to the brand Skin Food.  This Korean brand prides itself on optimizing high quality ingredients in food and incorporating them into their beauty and skin care products.

On a whim I chose to purchase their wash-off Rice Mask.  This mask aims to brighten your skin tone while also moisturizing the skin. 

Review

After cleansing my face with my favorite micro-exfoliator, I let my face air while I read how to apply this mask.  The directions were pretty straight forward: apply a thorough amount to a clean face, focus on your nose, avoid your mouth and eyes, let sit for 20 minutes and wash off.

When opening the packaging I discovered that the mask was a white, whipped, cream like consistency.  I rubbed a small amount between my fingers and was surprised to find a grainy texture (I don’t know why I was surprised, of course a mask made from rice would be grainy).  After my face dried, I applied the mask to my entire face. 

IMG_2299IMG_2394

Because the mask had a grainy texture, I decided to massage the mask into my face.   The first thought I had while wearing the mask was that I loved the smell.  It is very light and refreshing. I kept thinking to myself that this is a perfect summer treat.  When I glanced in the mirror, I noticed that my face looked like it had a ton of lotion on it, rather than a mask. 

IMG_2301
You can barely tell I have anything on my face. It looks like I have some thick lotion on, rather than a mask.

The mask didn’t harden, unlike most masks I wear.  Instead, it seeps into your skin.  After 20 minutes, it was time to remove.  Using warm water and my hands I rinsed my face and the mask came right off.  Instantly I noticed my skin was super soft!

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is a nice mask to add into my rotation.  Unlike other masks I use, I don’t feel it working when it is applied, so it was difficult to determine when the mask was “done”.  It doesn’t target any of my specific needs, so I doubt this will climb to holy grail status for me, but I will certainly use it again!

June Beauty Challenge – Week 2

I had another fun week participating in the @bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge on Instagram (the complete challenge is shown below). While last week (linked here if you missed it), I was able to instantly come up with ways to participate, this week’s tasks were a little more thought provoking for me.  Here are all of my favorite products (with links to purchase*) from week 2!

@ bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge
@ bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge

Day 8: Mani Monday

Nail polish was my first true love, so I have a polish collection that rivals most high-end nail salons.  I have recently discovered, and fallen in love with, Butter London’s new Patent Shine 10x line.  Seriously, these polishes are soooo shiny.  Butter London claims that you do not need a base or top coat with this polish and it will stay shiny for 10 days, promote nail growth and health, all while giving the cushioned look of a salon gel manicure.  I have yet to try the polish without base and top coats, but the combination of Orly Bonder Base Coat and Dior Gel Top Coat (my all time favorite top coat) I am able to rock a pristine manicure for well over a week.  This week I am wearing one of my new favorite summer colors, Jolly Good!

Day 8 - Mani

Day 9: Repurchased Products

I am admittedly a product junkie. Very few things make me as happy as walking into my favorite beauty stores and finding a new product to try out.  With that being said, I am also extremely loyal to favorite brands and products.  Once I find items that transform my skin, nails, or makeup looks I repurchase and repurchase.  For this challenge, I chose 8 items that I currently have backups of (and in some cases, backups for my backups). 

IT Cosmetics You’re Skin but Better CC+ in Light.  This is the best CC cream you can imagine.  It is light with great coverage and makes my skin look immaculate! 

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness.  This was a complete impulse purchase.  I was at Ulta one day and one of the sales ladies asked if I wanted to have my world rocked.  Of course I said yes, who doesn’t want their world rocked on a random Thursday afternoon? I let her apply this product to my red cheeks and nose and couldn’t believe the difference it made.  I have never been without it since.  This is not a product I use every day but it is perfect when I want a more polished look!

Trader Joes Spa Tea Tree Oil.  Tea tree oil has so many fantastic uses but I use it to maintain my weekly blow outs.  I apply it 4 nights a week to the tips of my fingers and massage it into my scalp.  This curbs the effects of dry scalp, which is a huge problem of mine.

Maybelline Lash Stiletto Mascara. Back when my makeup routine consisted of nothing but mascara and lipgloss, this was my go to mascara.  Now that I have discovered all sorts of new products, I still keep this mascara around.  I often use it as a bottom layer mascara to lengthen my lashes before adding a higher end, volumizing mascara.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes.  Another fantastic mascara that I keep on hand.  The combination of this mascara and my Lash Stiletto provides my favorite lash look.  With a primer or on it’s own, Lights Camera Lashes is amazing and my lashes love it!

Tarte Maracuja Oil.  When I first began exploring skin care, I watched a YouTube blogger named Miss Jen Fabulous who raved about this product.  To be honest, I had no idea what she was talking about and the notion of putting oil on my face totally freaked me out.  I slowly began reading more and more about it and when it went on sale last September as a part of Ulta’s 21 days of Beauty, I picked it up and it quickly became an integral part of my skin care routine.

Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil.  If I had to choose one product to bring with me to a deserted island, this would be it!  I have been a Julep Maven for a few years and received this in one of my monthly boxes.  Of course at the time I didn’t even wash my face so I had absolutely no use for this product and placed it in a basket beneath my sink.  Then one day while watching a KellyLovesBeauty1 YouTube video, she started talking about the benefits of using cleansing oils in removing makeup (something I had just begun wearing) during your nightly routine.  I quickly went and found this item and haven’t stopped using it since!

Julep Blank Canvas.  Like Bare Face, I received this in a monthly box, had no use for it and put it in a basket of unused products beneath my sink.  One day last summer, shortly after I began washing my face, I noticed how shiny my forehead was.  I couldn’t decide if this was due to the Texas heat or because washing my face had somehow changed my skin.  Either way, I knew I had a problem on my hand.  I began reading about what to do and someone somewhere recommended mattifying primers.  Again, I knew I had some under my sink and the transformation of my summer skin, both with and without makeup, was miraculous!

Day 9 - Repurchased

Day 10: Favorite Colored Liner

Confession time: I hate colored liners.  I don’t wear them on my lips and can’t stand them on my eyes, so when this challenge came about I was stuck.  While I do have a few that I have accumulated over the past year, I don’t have strong feelings for them and didn’t want to give them my stamp of approval.  Instead I chose to share the opposite of a colored liner: a reverse liner!  The clear colored reverse liner I use is by DuWop.  I love this liner.  It’s the perfect shape to give me full protection and does not leave the area around my lips looking waxy.  It excels at preventing bleeding and (when applied 3 times in a row) does not need to be reapplied later in the day. 

Day 10 - Liner

Day 11: Red

Red is my absolute favorite color so the only trouble I would have with this challenge would be deciding how exactly to accomplish it!  Rather than focusing solely on red makeup items, I decided to display an entire red inspired outfit.  At the time of this picture, it had been raining in Dallas for (what felt like) months.  I was rarely seen without my two favorite red accessories, my Lulu Guiness umbrella** and red Hunter Huntress Glossy Rain Boots.  To complete my black and red ensemble I added my favorite red lipstick and lipglass: Viva Glam Rhianna

Note: The photo I posted for the challenge was cropped to fit the “Instagram Square.”  I am sharing the full photo.

Day 11 - Red

Day 12: All Glammed Up

Most makeup lovers probably found this to be one of our easiest challenges.  Not me.  While I do love makeup I do not consider myself even remotely glamorous.  I wear fairly basic looks topped off with bright lips.  For this task, I went through some pictures and chose a selfie that I took at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April.  I loved my look that night!  My hair was done at The Hair Bar and I had my makeup done at Mac.  I showed my makeup artist my dress and a basic idea for my eyes (a smokey ombre look) and she took it to the next level! 

Note: the lighting of this picture is a little funky due to the lights at the awards show, the photo is not filtered!

IMG_2390

Day 13: What’s in my Shower

For this photo I decided to show the full size products of what is in my shower.  My actual shower contains dozens of travel size items for two reasons: I have limited space and I like to alternate products (especially shampoos regularly).  Here is a sample of what’s in my shower:

Clarisonic Plus.  When I bought my first Clarisonic, it took me nearly three weeks to warm up to it.  Once I did it became the focal point of my skin care routine.  I quickly began coveting the body brush function.  Around Christmas, the Clarisonic Plus was on special at Ulta (and 5X points!) so I snatched it up.  My skin has never felt cleaner or smoother.

Trader Joe’s Lavender Salt Scrub.  Although the Clarisonic Plus came with a body polish, I already had this scrub in my shower.  The combination of this sweet smelling scrub with my Clarisonic Plus is amazing!

Joico Color Endure Violet Sulfate-Free Shampoo.  As I have mentioned in previous blog entries, I only wash my hair once a week.  This is one of the few products I use EVERY wash because it keeps all of the brassy tones out of my highlighted blonde hair!

Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo.  It takes numerous products to maintain a blow out for a week so product build up is fairly common.  My hairdresser recommended using this shampoo to help diminish the buildup and maintaining a shiny, healthy look.  It’s important not to overuse this shampoo or your hair will begin looking dull!

AG Hair Cosmetics Conditioner Deep Reconstructing Treatment.  I typically use this products on the same days as the clarifying shampoo.  While it should be used sparingly, it leaves my hair so soft and healthy!

Redken Smooth Lock Shampoo and Conditioner.  I am a huge fan of Redken products, but this is my favorite of their lines!  It leaves my hair frizz free (always a plus) while also protecting from the various heat tools I use throughout the week.

Day 13 - Shower

Day 14: Best Sun Care

Sun care is always important, but living in Texas, where the sun is always blazing, it is especially imperative.  I take numerous strides to keep my fair complexion safe!

Panama Hat.  I look terrible in hats!  I have a huge head so they rarely fit me right.  I often sport short hair which makes me feel like I look manly when wearing them.  This hat is different.  It’s a little bigger and now that I have longer hair, I don’t feel self conscious about wearing it. 

Ray Ban Purple Mirrored Aviators.  I am obsessed with this line of glasses.  I own numerous pairs and they make any outfit pop.  When they released mirrored aviators in purple, I quickly snatched them up.

ColoreScience Sunforgettable – SPF 50.  This stuff is amazing!  A lady I work with mentioned that her dermatologist recommended it and asked if I had heard of it.  I hadn’t but began reading about it and couldn’t wait to try it.  It is a mineral sunscreen that comes inside an application brush.  You apply it directly to your face and you are good to go.  My favorite part of this product is that it doesn’t leave me greasy looking, which is a huge issue in the summer.

Kiehls Lip Balm – SPF 15.  Lip protection is often forgotten when considering sun safety.  I make sure I always have a lip balm with SPF and in the summer this is my favorite.  Not only does it protect my lips from the sun rays, it is also super moisturizing. 

Ocean Potion Cool Dry Touch – SPF 50.  Surprisingly enough, I don’t have strong opinions about sunscreen brands (I’m sure that will change).  I like a lot of Ocean Potion products but what I specifically like about this one is that it applies cool (always a bonus in Texas) and does not leave my skin greasy, which I hate!

Day 14 - Sun

That concludes this week’s challenge.  Stay tuned for next week when I will reveal my hair essentials, pink, best sale purchase, neutral nail polish, Friday favorites, green, and skin essentials (my favorite!).

*I have linked to the website of each product whenever possible.  In cases where the product is not sold directly from the brand’s website, I linked to Amazon.

A Sunday Night in the Life of…

I would consider myself a systematic person in most parts of my life.  I work full time, I am a full time doctoral student and I babysit for multiple families consistently; additionally, my friends and family enjoy the pleasure of my company occasionally. If I didn’t follow routines my life would be chaos and I would never get anything done.  They are what help me make it through the day feeling slightly less overwhelmed about everything I have going on.  It shouldn’t be surprising that these routines have followed me into my new found beautysphere. 

My night time routines are somewhat epic.  My friends like to tease me about these rituals and saying I only have time for them because I don’t have children.  I don’t think this is true.  I have always set aside enormous amounts of time for things that I enjoy, and I genuinely enjoy my skincare and makeup regimens.  What I don’t specifically enjoy is the weekly maintenance. 

Each Sunday I set aside time to take care of things that I have avoided all week.  Below is a “Sunday Night in the life…”.  I have detailed more or less everything I do to keep up the various beauty regimens (and their devices) I have in place. I have included links for where to purchase items from the products website, Ulta or Amazon!

I have been blessed (and at times cursed) with extremely thick, coarse hair.  Thank goodness my hair came from my mom’s side of the family or else this would be an entirely different blog!  One of the benefits of having hair as thick as mine is that it can hold a style for days.  I easily get away with washing my hair once a week and you would never know (of course, I take steps throughout the week to extend the life of my blow out, but I’ll save that for another time).  A major downfall of my hair is that it takes what feels like years to dry.  Every Sunday I take the time to wash and blow dry my hair.

Once my hair is washed and I’m out of the shower, I put on a trashy reality show that I have DVR’d during the week.  I choose shows like this because if I miss something I don’t particularly care.  Also, I can typically keep up just listening to the drama without ever watching it.  This week I “watched” the Teen Mom OG Reunion Special.

2. TeenMom

Next, I get my hair ready to be blow dried.  First, I spray It’s a 10 Miracle Leave in Conditioner throughout my hair and then comb through it with a wide toothed comb.  Next, I spray my hair with Kenra Blow Dry Spray.  Not only does this product smell amazing, it speeds up the drying time and leaves my hair feeling super soft!  Because I know I will curl my hair at some point during the week, I sprayed it with Tresemme Curl Activator (this used to be fairly hard to find, but I can consistently pick it up, on sale, at Ulta).  Before blowdrying I pin back about half of my hair.  If I skip this step, the middle sections of my hair never dry!  Using my T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i hairdryer and Olivia Garden Fingerbrush, I blow dry the bottom sections of my hair.  I don’t do this neatly, I just need to get it dry.  Once 75% dry, I take down the top sections of hair and messily dry them.  I prefer styling my hair after one sleep, so I don’t worry about giving myself the perfect blow out.  I put my hair back and continue with the next task.

1.Blow Dry Hair

I am trying out new products and devices all the time. Because of this I take weekly pictures of treatment areas.  I like doing this as part of my Sunday routine so that the lighting and my rest levels are about the same.  Pictures are taken in the same area each week, right after I have showered and blow dried my hair. This helps ensure that I am adequately measuring the performance of whatever I happen to be trying.

Face

I love exfoliating my lips and look forward to doing it each week.  I have a number of different lip exfoliators but received the Pure Vanilla smoothing lip scrub as a gift and LOVE it!  Using the LUXE Satin Precision Brush Head for my Clarisonic, I rub the lip scrub over my lips, brush over it with my Clarisonic and then remove any excess product with a damp cotton ball.  Lip scrubs often remain on the brush head, leaving it grimy, so make sure you clean it right afterwards!  The final step is applying a moisturizing lip product.  I have recently been loving the Yes To Coconut Cooling Lip Oil!

3.Exfoliate Lips

After exfoliating my lips I apply the Aztec Indian Clay Healing Mask.  This is my absolute favorite mask!  Just mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and the mask powder, slap it on your face and feel the pulsating begin.  Although I love this mask it takes a tad more work than the others I apply throughout the week, so I save this bad boy for Sunday’s when I know I have the time!

4.5. Mask 4.Azec Mask

With Teen Mom playing and my mask tightening I begin my most dreaded chore: cleaning my brushes.  Words can not describe how much I hate cleaning my brushes.  Even though I am always excited to use my fresh brushes the next morning, I despise cleaning them.  To clean my brushes I use two items: a homemade solid brush soap and a Petmate glove (I would really love the Sigma Spa Glove, but can’t justify the purchase price.  I will happily pay $10 for this glove instead; it works great).  I wet my dirty brush, rub it into the soap and then swirl the brush around on the ridges of the glove.  The glove ensures that the soap is being applied evenly to all parts of the brush and provides a deeper clean.  Once clean, with the extra water is squeezed out, the brushes are inserted upside down into my brush tree to dry over night. I follow the same process with my various Clarisonic brush heads, aside from putting them in the Magik Drying Pro Brush Drying Tree.

I finish up by cleaning my Rodan and Fields** AMP (microneedling roller).  I simply add warm water and a purification tablet to the tumbler, submerge the roller and wait for the water to transform from blue to clear (approximately 15 minutes).

5.Wash Brushes 6.5 Rodan and Fields

After removing my mask and completing my skin care routine, I get out a power strip and charge my Clarisonic Plus, Clarisonic Opal and Philips Philips Sonicare Toothbrush.  Some of the devices can go longer between charges, but I wouldn’t be able to keep up with that, so I charge them all on Sundays.  Note, this is not the place where I normally charge them, but I could not get a decent picture from their “normal spot.”

6.Charge Devices

The final step of my routine is hand care.  A few years ago I was obsessed with nail polish.  I acquired it quickly and would spend hours looking up nail art.  Because of my love of all things nail related a friend of mine bought me the True Blue Spa 60 Second Manicure Hand Sugar Scrub for my birthday.  It is amazing and will completely transform the texture of your hands.  I follow this up with Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and Julep’s Age Defying Hand Brightener (no longer manufactured).  As I have previously mentioned, I am not that into lotions, but I received this in a Julep Maven Box around the time I discovered the 60-second manicure and they seemed to work well together so I kept buying it.

7.Hands

That completes a Sunday night in the life of Jessica’s Gone Viral!  All in all I typically complete this process in the time it takes to watch one episode of trashy television!

*Whenever possible I provided links directly from a brand’s website

** I am in no way affiliated with Rodan& Fields, I just decided to purchase one of their products.

June Beauty Challenge – Week 1

Last week, a friend of mine suggested that we participate in @bellereneebeauty’s #JuneBeautyChallenge on Instagram.  I was instantly on board knowing that: (a) I love sharing my favorite products with the world, (b) I am obsessed with discovering new products and (c) it gave my friend and I something fun to do together, especially in the summer months when we won’t see each other as frequently.  The challenge is simple: each day you post a picture to Instagram with the hashtag #JuneBeautyChallenge that corresponds with that day’s theme (the complete challenge is shown below).  The rest is up to you.  Here are all of my favorite products (with links to purchase*) from the first week!

@ bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge
@ bellereneebeauty #JuneBeautyChallenge

Day 1: Most Flattering Lipstick

As a self proclaimed lipstick junkie this decision was nearly impossible for me!  I finally landed on Mac Viva Glam Miley with the matching lipglass.  I have been obsessed with this lippie duo since the day it was released, and it is one of the few lipsticks that I will wear more than once in the same week.  Not only is it  flattering for my skin tone but is also bold without being too bright.  I can wear it anytime of the year and with almost any ensemble.  It has slowly become my signature color!

Day 1: Most Flattering Lipstick
Day 1: Most Flattering Lipstick

Day 2: Favorite Matte Product

I don’t have particularly oily skin but during a Texas summer, even the driest skin gets shiny.  For this challenge I chose two products that work together to keep my skin remarkably shine free.  The first product is Urban Decay’s De Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray.  I spray this on after applying my makeup and it keeps my shine down and my makeup in place all day.  This product alone keeps me happy most of the year, but now that the temperature is (finally) climbing, I needed a backup product; enter Mally Beauty’s Face Defender w/ Sponge

This product is a sheer, weightless, waxy consistency.  Using a sponge you apply the product directly to your shiny spots and your face returns to a matte-like state.  This is the perfect product to keep in your purse and use throughout the day.  It is an amazing product but I must be honest, there are a few design flaws with the compact.  First of all, it is really heavy and I can’t figure out why since the product certainly isn’t heavy.  My other concern is the sponge.  For some reason the sponge doesn’t fit in the compact (I don’t know who thought this was a good idea).  Because I don’t want a dirty sponge floating around in my purse, I usually pack up the whole box it came in, making it even heavier to haul around.  All in all, this does not change the holy-grail status of this product for me, so I make do and hope that they will redesign the product in the future!

Day 2: Favoritte Matte Product
Day 2: Favoritte Matte Product

Day 3: Favorite Body Lotion

I am not a huge lotion girl (I know I should be), so this was a little harder for me.  I ultimately chose St.Ive’s Naturally Soothing Oatmeal and Shea Butter and Ocean Potion Ever Glow.  Because I am not a connoisseur of body lotions I don’t know if either of these are any more or less moisturizing than other products but my skin seems to like them so I continue to replace them.  I do enjoy the slow “tan” that the Ocean Potion gives my fair skin.  I never turn orange and it provides a subtle change of color over time, so it isn’t too shocking!

Day 3: Favorite Body Lotion
Day 3: Favorite Body Lotion

Day 4: Purple

This was an easy decision for me.  5 days before (and way before I knew about this challenge) I dyed the tips of my hair a shade of purple.  This is something I had contemplated doing for almost a year but, due to professional obligations, wasn’t brave enough to try .  With summer here I felt like now was the ideal time and it worked out perfectly for the challenge!

Day 4: Purple
Day 4: Purple

Day 5: Two of a Kind

I went back and forth on how to complete this challenge.  As a product junkie, I couldn’t decide if I should show dupes, multiple items from the same line (i.e. my collection of Too Faced Melted Lipsticks), or items I have backups of.  Finally I decided to show products I have in multiple sizes.  I love to travel but never want to take 5,000 full sized products with me, so anytime I see a product I use in a sample or travel size, I snatch them up and throw them in my cosmetic bag!  Here is a collection of (some of) my favorite items in full and travel sizes. 

Philosophy Purity cleanser, Microdelivery Exfoliating face wash and Hope in a Jar moisturizer

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave in Conditioner

Kenra Blow Dry Spray

Urban Decay B6 prep spray, All Nighter setting spray and eyeshadow Primer Potion

Tarte Maracuja C Brighter Eye Treatment

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye and Your Skin But Better CC Cream

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Benefit Porefessional face primer

Day 5: Two of a Kind
Day 5: Two of a Kind

Day 6: Best Bang for Your Buck

I have had a longstanding love affair with witch hazel, making it an easy choice for this challenge.  Long before I had any sort of skin care regimen, I consistently used witch hazel.  I never knew what the purpose of it was, but my mom talked to me about it quite a bit as a teen, and it was the only thing product that ever stuck with me.  I have always used the store brand of wherever I bought it from but recently took the advice of a friend and tried Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel, I paid $9.80 on Amazon . As a fan of both witch hazel and rose petal water, it seemed like a no brainer.  Of course I tried it and fell in love.  I apply this product every night as a toner (I use it at different times, depending on the other treatments I use that night, but typically right after I wash my face) and each morning in lieu of washing my face.  I always apply this product with cotton pads and Ulta’s Exfoliating Rounds are by far my favorite.  Making these cotton rounds even better is the fact that they are often on sale!  They are $3.49, but the last time I purchased them they were buy 3, get 3 free. 

Day 6: Best Bang for Your Buck
Day 6: Best Bang for Your Buck

Day 7: Favorite Mask

I am a huge fan of facial masks.  They are my favorite part of skin care and I use about three a week.  Without a doubt my favorite mask is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mask.  This stuff is amazing.  It comes as a powder which is then combined with Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.  You can feel the mask working instantly.  Not only does your face begin to tighten, it also pulsates as the mask penetrates deeply into your pores.  After 10-20 minutes the mask is removed and your skin may be red from the treatment.  When this happens I often spritz my face with Heritage Store Rose Petals Rosewater and the redness subsides within 15 minutes.  The internet is full of different recipes for this mask, which focus on specific skin needs, but I haven’t tried any of them yet.

Being the dedicated Amazon shopper that I am, I found a small bowl to make my mask with!  For less than $3 it came with a bowl, spreading/mixing stick, three sizes of measuring spoons and an application brush.  This makes the preparation of the mask even easier!

Day 7: Favorite Mask
Day 7: Favorite Mask

That completes the first week of the #JuneBeautyChallenge.  I can’t wait to continue this week sharing: mani Monday, repurchased products, favorite colored liners, red, all slammed up, what’s in my shower and best sun care! 

You can keep up with my challenge by following my Instagram: @JessicasGoneViral

*I have linked to the website of each product whenever possible.  In cases where the product is not sold directly from the brand’s website, I linked to Amazon.

Try It Out Tuesday : Clarisonic Opal

My eyes are what forced me to reevaluate (or rather, create) my skin care routine.  One day while looking in the mirror, I became hyper focused on my eyes.  Years of poor sleeping and lack of skin care maintenance had caught up with me.  I had dark circles that were so puffy they looked like cushions.  Near the corners of my eyes were deep crows feet.  I knew I was way too young for that and I became obsessed with finding ways to fix the problem. I tried various solutions, some of which helped with the darkness but nothing I did would rid me of the puffiness!

My expensive taste has always exceeded my teacher/grad student salary, making me a staunch supporter of the Ulta Rewards Program. I religiously keep up with their bonus offers, so I can earn extra points when purchasing all of the items I can’t live without.  Over time I realized that if you save your points and redeem them in increments of 2000 you earn a bonus $25.  Who doesn’t want extra money? 

Recently I decided to redeem 2000 points ($125) on a Clarisonic Opal.  The reviews were great and Ulta.com had a special promotion package: the device, a full size eye serum, 4 replacement heads, a brush head for their face brushes and 3 trial sized products for their new Radiant Skin line for $150 (normally the device and serum alone has a $185 price tag).  

Progress Report

I knew I would never notice a difference on my own so I decided to document my progress using the Clarisonic Opal.  Throughout this trial I periodically took pictures of my eyes to help me determine if the device was working.  I used the Opal and the serum that came with it every night.  Each picture was taken at approximately the same time of night and in the same location. 

Clarisonic Opal Week 1 - eyes

Week 3 showed the greatest change.  Not only are my under eyes brighter but the puffiness has mostly subsided.

Clarisonic Opal Trial - week 3

During Week 4 I began suffering from seasonal allergies but was incredibly pleased that my eyes didn’t revert to their previously puffy state!

Clarisonic Opal Week 4 - eyes

Week 7 was the final week of my trial.  I had numerous work and school commitments during the week resulting in minimal sleep.  Previously this would have caused dark purple pillows to pop up, but they stayed away!

Clarisonic Opal Week 7 -eyes

Final Thoughts

I am obsessed with this device.  When people ask me about skin care, I have a ton of advice but the first thing I suggest is hopping on ulta.com and buying a Clarisonic Opal.  My eyes have never looked better.  It is difficult for me to say for sure whether the Opal or the serum is making the difference (it is probably a combination of the two) but I definitely notice when I stop using it consistently.

During this trial I did not try out any other new products around my eyes because I didn’t want them to interfere with my results.  You are able to use other eye serums with this device, but I have not tried that yet!

*I did this review out of morbid curiosity only. Nobody asked me or paid me to.

It All Started With a Lipstick

I have always been a fairly high maintenance girl which made the sparseness of my bathroom shocking to those nearest and dearest.  Since I was young I have always befriended gorgeous, fashion forward, girly girls who looked as though they were stepping out of a magazine.  I was never that girl.  This is not to say I didn’t look fabulous.  I have always been very capable of dressing my body type, but I never felt the need to cake on makeup.  On big nights out my makeup routine took five minutes, consisting of mascara (always Maybelline) and a pinky neutral lipgloss (always Tarte), and was typically applied in the car of whoever was driving.  My skincare routine was even simpler: it didn’t exist.  I never removed makeup and I never washed my face. 

Last year, everything changed. I began loving the bold lipped looks all of my friends were wearing and frantically “pinned” favorite looks of mine on Pinterest.  I would send friends screenshots of my favorite looks saying “I could never pull this off, but this would look great on you.” By the time the Too Faced Melted Lipsticks premiered I was obsessed and ventured into my local Ulta to purchase my first lipstick, Melted Ruby.  Once I got home I realized I didn’t even know how to apply it.  Thick, colorful liquid oozing out of a squeeze tube was intimidating, but I went ahead and applied it. I looked in the mirror and as much as I wanted to love it I didn’t.  I couldn’t understand how something that looked so beautiful in every picture I had seen could look this terrible on me.  That’s when I began taking a closer look in the mirror.

When I actually looked in the mirror, my years of ignored skin care was evident.  My skin was red with dry patches.  I had multiple blemishes (although I haven’t suffered from acne since high school, I do have occasional flare ups).  The most disturbing discoveries were near my eyes.  Fine lines were starting to creep up and my circles were not only dark but puffy.  I was only 31 and wanted to curb the aging process as much as possible!  I quickly turned on my computer and began researching skin care essentials for a woman in her thirties.  Immediately I went back to Ulta and came out with my first skin care regimen (Aveeno foaming cleanser, Olay Regenerist sculpting cream, night recovery cream and eye cream).  As time has gone on all of these items have been removed from my routine and replaced with items that work better for my skin, but they were an excellent starting point and I still think they were perfect for what I needed at that time.

Today my bathroom is filled with various electronic devices, moisturizers, serums and masks;  all helping me achieve the clear, glowing skin I have today.  With my skin in better condition I have learned what makeup looks best on me (including Melted Ruby!) and the best ways to apply it.  In addition to the long term benefits of having healthy skin, I have also noted an increased confidence (something I never thought I was lacking).  As people began asking me more and more about my skin care routines and makeup essentials I began toying with the idea of writing a blog.  A  blog is certainly the last thing I have time for.  I am a full time Ph.D student, I have a full time job and babysit the coolest 4 year old on the planet 3 days a week.  I have always been a tad impulsive and a quintessential procrastinator so I have decided that this blog might be the perfect diversion for when I should be getting all of my real work done!

December 2013
December 2013
March 2015
March 2015