The Mask Set You Need For Radiant Skin

I’m a fan of single serving face masks. They’re great to throw in your bag while traveling, can be selected based on how your skin is behaving at any specific moment, are inexpensive, and make a great addition to any girls night in. Recently I’ve been into sheet masks, which is why I added the Sephora Collection Face Mask in Pearl and their Pearl Eye Mask to my cart when I placed my last online order. The face mask is designed to brighten up your complexion with natural-origin pearl, while the eye mask uses the same key ingredients to minimize irregularities in the eye area and illuminates the skin for eyes that appear more uniform, radiant, and fresh. The smell is a bit funky and the texture was so oily that I got really nervous, but the results were good. Also, the refreshing cooling sensation was a welcome de-stressor after a long day at work.

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Blackberry & Bay

I have long been in love with Jo Malone. I first fell for their packaging, which I came across while doing research for a design project in college. The elegant balance of masculine and feminine found in their cream base tone with black edging and copperplate typography made the designer in me cry out with joy. When it came time to experience their products a few years later, I fell in love again – this time with their fragrances. Their scents were refined and elegant, but also accompanied by a playful abandonment that was irresistible.

jo malone packaging

However, their prices were far too high for me to casually purchase a bottle of their signature Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne that had me so enamored. So, imagine my excitement when the elegantly wrapped bars of soap sitting on the edge of the sales counter caught my eye. At only $20 a pop they were definitely within my spending budget. I left the store with a cream and black gift bag, the Blackberry & Bay Bath Soap, and a smile. When I next showered, I became even more enchanted with the rich lather of the soap and the fresh and verdant scent that reminded me of the bike rides I’d take in California summers as a child. It was quite an experience, and one I highly recommend at that.

jo malone bath bar

Expert Defense

Today’s post is special because it is one of the only times you will ever see me recommend a product I found at Walmart. This is primarily because going into Walmart terrifies me. It wasn’t something I grew up near, and it’s not in the best area of my current city so believe me when I say it is not a regular stop on my shopping list. Yes, Walmart freaks me out.

However, it is the one place where I am able to consistently find my favorite drugstore brand of eye cream. It’s safe to say that L’Oreal Paris Dermo Expertise Eye Defense Cream is the only reason I will venture into Wally World. It works every bit as well as more expensive brands to de-puff and get rid of dark circles and it’s also packed full of anti-aging ingredients specifically designed to for skin that is just starting to age – meaning it’s not going to be harsh and irritating. It’s fragrance free and safe for contact-wearers, and the pale pink gel is really pretty. (It’s right at home next to all my Glossier products.) The best part, in my opinion, is that I can get all these wonderful effects for a mere $12 as opposed to the $75 I’d been shelling out previously. So, for savings as big as these I’ll face my fear of Walmart and make a quick trip. Thankfully I only have to every six months or so since this gel lasts FOREVER.

Caudalie

We all know that the French understand natural beauty better than almost any other culture. They value pure ingredients and fresh faces. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the first ones to say that the best makeup is the makeup that you can’t tell you’re wearing. Their beauty culture emphasizes skincare above all else, so it’s no surprise that an iconic French brand, Caudalie, is one of my go-tos when it comes to advanced skin care.

the elixir

Now, I adore my everyday skincare routine and don’t foresee ever changing it, but there are certain times when every women’s skin needs a bit of tlc. That’s when I turn to Caudalie. With powerhouse ingredients, their products never fail to provide major results. My current favorites at the moment include their Premier Cru The Elixir, which smooths, plumps, and brightens has helped erase some of the minuscule lines I’ve noticed forming on my forehead (I realize I’m likely the only one who notices them.) It’s a very rich serum and a drop goes a long way, which is why I only use it once a week as part of my pampering routine. It works exceptionally well when combines with Premier Cru The Cream, which works to amplify the elixir’s effects and brighten your skin. I also like to use it as a hand cream.

premier cru la creme

By far my favorite Caudalie product is their Instant Detox Mask. I use it when I’m feeling down in the dumps because the packaging and fragrance make me smile every time. Plus the mask is super refreshing and leaves my pores tightened, skin detoxed, and imperfections diminished. It’s become my go-to for stressful weeks and is especially decadent when enjoyed in a bubble bath 😉

instant detox mask

Moisture Surge

Overnight masks are truly a gift from God. Well, that may be a bit dramatic, but they’re certainly lifesavers especially  you’re skin is literally begging for mercy from the constant recycled-air berating it has endured after 14 hours of travel.

clinique moisture surge.jpg

That’s the exact boat I found myself in this past weekend after a trip back to my alma mater. My skin needed some serious TLC, and an overnight mask was about the only treatment I had energy for. My go-to  post-travel choice of mask has recently been Clinique’s Moisture Surge Overnight Mask. It’s oil-free which definitely helps when my skin is parched, but somehow manages to feel greasy (don’t ask me how that happens…I’ve yet to find an answer.) I simply slather it on in lieu of my traditional moisturizer and hit the hay. When I wake up I’m fresh-faced with no sign of redness, puffiness, or sallow skin that would typically accompany post-travel mornings.

Are you ready to play?

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I recently was taken off the waitlist for Sephora’s monthly subscription box. Play! by Sephora consists of 5 sample sized products sent monthly along with a fragrance bonus and a cosmetic bag. Oh, and it’s only $10/month.

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I have to say that other boxes have fallen short for me, but Play absolutely exceeded my expectations. Everything included was something I wanted to use, and they were all from brands I was interested in. The May 2016 box was their The Forces of Nature themed box, and included a gift card for 50 extra Beauty Insider Points, a free beauty consultation, and a booklet describing each of the products. They also emailed me a video that ran through all the products so that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.

So now for the product rundown:

atelier cologne

Up first is Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine perfume. I ended up purchasing this fragrance because it is so damn delicious. With a bursting mix of blood orange and geranium it deserves its own post, so I won’t say too much about it here other than IT’S AMAZING!

tarte

The one dud of a product was Tarte’s Tartiest Lip Crayon in Latergram. I REALLY REALLY wanted to like this lip pencil, as Tarte is one of my favorite brands. Unfortunately, I found that while the color and packaging were beautiful the formula needed some help. It was hard to apply and the crayon kept breaking. Overall this product – with Vitamin E and mineral pigments – was a great idea that unfortunately missed the mark when it came to execution.

bite

There was however a lip product that excelled. Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Kimchi blew me away. With coconut and pomegranate oils this lipstick is every bit as moisturizing as it is bright. It’s a zinger of a pink that made me want to pucker up and take more than a few selfies. My favorite thing is that Bite Beauty uses food grade ingredients in all of its lipsticks, so I never have to worry about ingesting icky chemicals.

origins

One product that I had been curious to try was Origins’ Maskimizer. This innovative priming mist helps to prep skin to absorb the intensive ingredients in face masks. Thankfully, Sephora included samples of my favorite Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and the delicious smelling Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. I used these one after the other with the prep mist and my skin was left clear, soft and radiant.

korres facial

Another mask that was included in the mix is Korres’ Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. I have been wanting to try Korres products for years now, but it’s only been recently that they’ve been back in stock as Sephora. Based in Athens, this brand partners with local farmers to make use of unique natural ingredients native to Greece. This soothing mask is applied after your normal evening skincare routine and then slept in overnight. Rose oil is one of the best ingredients for your skin, and the only oil I allow to touch my face. I definitely noticed happier skin the morning I woke up after using this and its mild scent gave me the sweetest dreams.

briogeo

The final product of the bunch was Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask. While this brand is most widely known for their co-washes, this treatment was one of the best conditioning masks I’ve ever used. It smells wonderful, and the combination of argan and avocado oils left my hair smooth, shiny, and bouncy – just the way I like it!

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All in all I definitely recommend Play! by Sephora, and will keep you up to date on future boxes. I highly recommend you get on the wait list now if you’re interested in signing up. It took me a few months to be selected, but I’m sure glad I took the plunge.

Have any questions? Know of any other subscription boxes I should check out? Let me know by clicking on the comments link above and writing me a note!

Shea- Butterfingers!

Don’t you love my pun-y titles? 😉

Today’s post is going to be a quick one since this week is crazy busy. I’ve been juggling work, my best friend’s birthday, and planning an upcoming trip so my apologies if this seems a bit rushed! I did want to get some content out to you today though!

You all know how much I love hand cream. It keeps me feeling feminine and in control, especially during busy times. Taking a minute to smooth some over your hands is just enough of a break from stressful work situations that I highly recommend everyone keep a tube in their desk drawer. My current favorite is one I found on Amazon of all places: IBI Shea Butter Ultra Hydrating Hand & Body Cream. It’s lightweight and perfect for summer, ultra moisturizing, and unscented so it won’t clash with your perfume. Throw one in your purse, keep one in your desk drawer, and stash a few around your house so you’re never caught with dry and scaly hands. You won’t regret it!