Due to traveling with limited internet access over the past few weeks, I was unable to participate in @bellereneebeauty’s #JuneBeautyChallenge (weeks 1 and 2 are linked in case you missed them).As the challenge continued, I tried hard to highlight new and different products I use, but it was a real challenge!I was able to discover my true “holy grail” products!
Day 15: Hair Essentials
Confession time: I only wash my hair once a week.I have crazy thick hair which takes forever to fully dry and I don’t have the time, or patience, to worry about it too often.In order to keep this mane of mine under control all of these products are extremely necessary!As with most things in my life, I have a fairly consistent hair care routine which allows me to wear various styles through out the week but still refrain from washing it.
Today I realized that I had not shared anything from my first true love: nail polish.Long before I cared at all about makeup or skin care I had a true infatuation with all things nail polish related.I wanted to show love for many of my favorite brands by showing off (some of) my pink collection!
Day 17: Best Sale Purchase
One of my favorite times of year occurs around this time each summer: the Beauty Brands Liter sale!I tend to go way over board, thinking that I need a shampoo and conditioner for every single hair type, just in case my hair changes during the year.It is more than a tad insane, considering I only wash my hair once a week.Confession: these are just the products out of the shower, there are tons in there as well!
Day 18: Neutral Nail Polish
I have a love hate relationship with neutral polishes.I adore them when I see them.I think they are so pretty and clean looking, but I have never found a shade that didn’t make my nails look grimy.Instead I opt for super dark colors in the fall/winter and bright colors in the spring/summer.This is as neutral as I get!
As a self proclaimed product hoarder, I have an endless supply of “favorites.”When looking back at previous challenge entries, I realized I hadn’t shared my love of the Urban Decay Naked Palettes!I have all three of the UD Naked palettes (and both Basic palettes) but Naked 2 and Naked 3 are the eye colors I am constantly reaching for!
Day 20: Green
I really don’t use many products with bright colors, so I didn’t know how I was going to complete this challenge.Then I realized that I have tons of pictures wearing various masks and thought that would be fun!Earlier this year, my favorite little four year old, H, was begging to do a mask with me.I was really hesitant to let her wear one, because I wasn’t sure any would be safe on her skin, so we decided to make our own mixing together avocado, honey and greek yogurt.This picture remains one of her very favorites because she thinks we look like Shrek.
Day 21: Skin Essentials
I am currently completely obsessed with all things related to skin care.Narrowing down all of the products I use to essentials was a nearly impossible task.I was traveling at the time of this prompt so I figured that if I had bothered to pack a product up and bring it with me, it must be essential!
That completes the third week of the #JuneBeautyChallenge!Stay tuned for week 4: most recent buy, best subscription, products I regret, travel essentials, hard to find products, blue and best exfoliator.
Life has been a little crazy the last two weeks so I haven’t been quite as “viral” as I usually am!Today I am starting a new feature called Sample Size Show and Tell.I have been doing a ton of online shopping recently and received an abundance of samples.Confession time: I am terrible about using samples.I am so attached to the items that I use, that I have a hard time branching out and trying samples. I thought that featuring them on here would help me kill two birds with one stone.My first show and tell is for Murad’s Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30.
Murad’s Invisiblur is targeted as a single step makeup/skincare treatment that will blur facial imperfections while also leaving your skin with a matte, velvety texture.They also recommend using this product as a mattifying facial primer.
The Invisiblur container has a pump which allows you to distribute small amounts of the product directly onto your hand.The clear gel-like consistency applies easily and evenly over your face, and a little bit goes a long way!
I used this product solely as a primer.I am always on the lookout for a good mattifying primer during my shiny summer months and this product was a good option.It does not have a strong scent, which I like, and I loved how smooth my face felt.It really did a great job minimizing my shine throughout the day.While I liked the product, I don’t think I would purchase the full size which retails for $65.00.I did not feel that it did anything over and above the other mattifying primers I use, Julep Blank Canvas and Tarte Clean Slate Poreless 12 Hour Perfecting.
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 pageabout 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 continuedtransforming.This week I began using the entire serum caplet, rather than half. My skin has never felt this soft on a daily basis.
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.
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.
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!
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 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 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 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 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 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!
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!
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 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!
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.
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!
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 itflattering 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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!
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!