Holiday Gift Guide 2015 — Part 1

I am a total sucker for holiday lists. As soon as they start popping up all over my social media accounts, I excitedly click through them discovering items that I never knew I couldn’t live without. This year I am creating my own list for all of the beauty loving, techie, fashionistas in your life! These are my very favorite products that make me happy and make me, “me!” I am starting off with my favorite beauty and skincare products, stay tuned for part two!

For the makeup enthusiast in your life

I haven’t been wearing makeup that long (roughly a year and a half), but in that time I have researched, tested and reviewed countless brushes, palettes and products. Below are a list of my very favorite products that any makeup lover would love to add to their collection.

  • Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush. I am absolutely obsessed with this brush. If I could take only one face brush to a deserted island I would quickly pack this one away. It smooths out my cc creams and foundations with such ease and smoothness. I haven’t found another brush that remotely rivals this one!

blurring brush

  • French Kisses Melted — $25 Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Too Faced Melted Lipsticks. The colors! The shine! The length of wear! I love them. Too Faced has released this set 4 of minis which is the perfect way to try them out.

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  • Butter London RSVP Set — $29. Nail polish is my first love, and Butter London has always been one of my favorite brands. This spring they released a new 10x Shine formula and it is fantastic. Polish stays shockingly shiny (and stays put) for days and days. This set includes minis of 4 classic shades.

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  • Urban Decay Naked Palettes — $29 – $54. I love the UD Naked collection. I have every full size palette, basic palette, even Naked on The Run. My personal favorite is Naked 2, but everyone has a strong affinity to a specific palette based on their skin tones and preferences. If you aren’t sure which one to grab, go for the original. It’s a classic!

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  • Sigma Basic Eyes Kit — $77. I know many people rave about Mac brushes, but personally, I prefer Sigma. I have slowly acquired most of their eye brushes, and this set includes all of my faves. This set includes 7 brushes that will help you achieve all of your favorite eye looks!

SigmaBasicEyes

  • Benjabelle Daisy Brush Tree — $19.99. This is one of those items that you don’t know you need until you have one, and can’t believe you lived so long without it! Cleaning your brushes is one of the downfalls of loving makeup so much and it is important to dry your brushes upside down so that you can make them last. This stand fits brushes of various shapes and sizes and removes wasting time trying to find ways to keep your brushes upside down!

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For the hair/skincare enthusiast

  • Clarisonic — $99+. When people ask me about improving the skin, the first thing I ask is if they have a Clarisonic brush. For me, it was the most essential part of my skincare routine. Not only does it get my face incredibly clean, it also exfoliates! There are always promotions for these brushes during the holidays, so snatch one up!

Clarisonic

  • Aztec Clay Mask — $9. This is a little set that I have started putting together for gifts. It is no secret that I love face masks, but my absolute favorite is the Aztec clay mask. I mix a little with some Braggs apple cider vinegar and wait for the pulsating to begin. When I take it off, my skin is the softer than it has ever been. For the holidays I would purchase the duo and put a pretty bow on it!

Aztec

  • The Face Shop Living Nature Face Masks (Set of 15) — $16. With the increased awareness of Korean Skincare routines, paper face masks have become extremely popular. I have tried multiple brands and my favorite remains The Face Shop. Each mask is soaked in natural essences, smell incredible and soak nicely into my skin. One of my complaints with face masks is how they slip around, so I use a mask cover ($3.50)to keep it in place!

FaceShop

  • Boar Bristle Brush — $12. Boar bristle brushes are an essential component of my weekly hair routine. They help diminish my natural frizz while also massaging my scalp (to reduce dryness). Everyone should have one!

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  • Silk Pilowcases — $10 each. For years I heard about the benefits of sleeping on silk pillowcases. They reduce wrinkles and keep your blowouts from getting out of control while you sleep! This summer I finally purchased some and my hair has never looked better!

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This completes my beauty and skin care gift giving guide! Stay tuned for my favorite gifts for all the fashionistas in your life.

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Monday Mask: Dermal Cucumber Collagen Essence Mask

About a month ago I became obsessed with Korean skin care.  I constantly read about different products, their functions and how frequently to use them.  My poor friends were inundated with text messages about various essences and face masks all the time.  

I LOVE face masks and fortunately for me, face masks are an integral part of Korean skin care.  Numerous online sources suggest using a sheet mask once a week.  I had never tried a sheet mask before but found a set of 16 Dermal Korea Collagen Essence Full Face Facial Mask Sheets on Amazon.  Each mask has a different function, aiming to improve your skin in various ways.

Thursdays have always been a “mask day for me” so after a particularly stressful Thursday I decided to try out the Dermal Cucumber Collagen Essence Mask.  This mask aims to provide your skin convergence, nourishment and soothing. 

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Review

Each time I do a mask, I begin by exfoliating my face.  On this night I used Philosophy’s Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. I let my face air dry and attempted to figure out how to use this mask.  Once dry I opened the package and found a white material, folded and soaking wet.  I was shocked at how wet the mask was (in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised, it was soaking up the assorted liquids).  After I removed it from it’s packaging, I attempted to unfold it.  For some reason I struggled to get it completely unwrapped and was confused as to why there were so many extra flaps and tabs (around eyes, nose and mouth).  

Finally I got it apart and placed it on my face.  The mask was really cold and repeatedly slipped out of place.  I decided that the best way to keep it in place was to take the time to lay down and relax for 20  minutes.  This helped!  

I have learned that there is no way to not look creepy when wearing a sheet mask
I have learned that there is no way to not look creepy when wearing a sheet mask

I expected to know when to remove the mask.  While it did dry a bit, it never fully dried.  After 20 minutes was up the mask came off and my face was still covered in the magical concoction.  I decided to massage the excess product into my face to receive the complete benefits of the mask.  

FINAL THOUGHTS

Once the mask was off, I realized that I should have completed the rest of my skin care routine before applying the mask.  Next time, I will use my serums, toners and moisturizers prior to applying a sheet mask.  I really enjoyed this mask.  Not only was it nourishing it forced me to lay back and relax (two things I rarely do).

For extra beauty ramblings follow my Instagram @jessicasgoneviral

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. 

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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. 

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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!