The Greatest Concealer on Earth

amazing-cosmetics-amazing-concealerI haven’t talked about this at all, but 2017 was the year my skin completely freaked out. I developed adult onset acne–persistent cystic acne that formed deep within my skin and lasted for weeks to months. It was the worst my skin has ever been in my life (my teenage years were a breeze compared to this). How I got it under control is a story for another time, as it’s still an ongoing process, but how I dealt with covering it every day is what I’m talking about today.

The acne itself was very difficult to cover throughout all cycles of breakouts. The eruptions left lingering red marks on my skin that lasted well after the acne had healed. Concealing the acne and scars seemed impossible. I tried so many products that did nothing, and facing the world with a horrible complexion made me extremely self-conscious. I was at my wit’s end.

And then in early December, my mom gave me a beauty box filled with products, and tucked inside was Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer ($28). I figured I’d try it, because I was desperate.

amazing-concealer2Honestly, my life changed as soon as I blended it into my skin.

If you’re struggling with acne in any form, please read on!

Continue reading

Posted in Beauty Basics, Eyes, Skincare | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Natural Deodorant Showdown

I’m making a conscious effort to phase out any products in my regimen that are not clean.  Deodorant is one of the most toxic personal care products on the market, with traditional versions containing chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other nasty side effects. I have tried several different versions of natural deodorant, and while I liked the ones that worked for me, every body reacts differently, so please don’t hold fast to my recommendations! Try a few for yourself (and believe me, it is definitely a trial-and-error process) and see which ones you react best to.

schmidts-deodorantSchmidt’s Lavender & Sage Deodorant Stick ($9): This was my top pick. It had a nice, non-traditional scent, and it really worked! I did not have any irritation from it, and best of all, it kept me odor-free, even through a few grueling (aka sweaty) workouts. (Image via Macy’s)

primal-pit-pastePrimal Pit Paste Lavender Stick ($10.95): I’m going to be honest, I really wanted this deodorant to be the winner. I love the formula, which is similar to a firmer, non-greasy Vaseline, meaning it doesn’t go on white or chalky (no clothing stains!). But pit detox is a real thing, and I definitely experienced it with this deodorant. My skin was red, irritated, inflamed, and just generally gross for the duration of using this product. Because I’m a wuss, I gave up after a few weeks, which was probably premature and didn’t allow me to fully reap the benefits of this product. I’m actually going to give it another shot. (Image via PPP)

Click to see the other products I tried.

Continue reading

Posted in Bath & Body | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Two Favorite Blushes

rms-blush-beautycounterFor me, several factors go into choosing a blush: color, intensity, and longevity. I’ve found two clean options that check off all these boxes for me: RMS Beauty’s Lip2Cheek in Demure ($36) and Beautycounter’s Powder Blush Duo in Bloom/Tulip ($40).

The RMS version is a cream blush formula, which I love both for its ease and longevity. It layers on skin really nicely, so I can create a flush to the intensity I prefer. It also doubles as a lipcolor, which comes in handy when I forget my lip gloss because I’m always switching bags. I like that I can tap this on on cheeks with my fingertips and get a really nice glow in a few seconds flat.

The Beautycounter version is a powder blush that glides on skin really beautifully. It’s more subtle than the RMS version, both because of the shade, which is a little lighter, and because it’s a powder, so the finish is “airier.” I definitely have to swipe more on when I want more color, but it blends effortlessly and always looks natural no matter how much I apply.

I know prices of both of these products are on the higher side, but they really do last a long time. And they’re both clean, which so you’re paying for high-quality, non-toxic ingredients. I’d love to hear what your favorite blushes are! Creams, powders, stains — give me all your favorite formulas!

Posted in Cheeks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kari Gran Essential Balm – Perfect for Winter!

kari-gran-essential-balmWe are in a snow-covered deep freeze here in the Northeast, and it’s taking its toll on my skin. Every time winter weather rolls around, I find myself wishing for a product that can multitask when it comes to dry skin. Like a lip balm, but multipurpose — for my entire body. I know that products like this existed before, but something about them always felt off; either I didn’t like the way they felt on my skin, or they just didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. I’ve finally found the holy grail of balms! Kari Gran Essential Balm ($98) is perfect for literally your whole body. This balm is my new go-to for winter!

Patches of dry skin that are caused by cold weather? A tiny bit of this balm will soften them. Irritated skin under your nose from an illness? This will moisturize it so it’s gone in a few days. Dryness under your eyes? A few gentle dabs of this will help hydrate. Hangnails? Put this on them! You can literally use this anywhere (yep, it works as a lip balm, too). A little goes SUCH a long way; a dab half the size of a pea is enough to use on several areas of your body. It glides on smoothly and thins as it warms from your touch, making application gently and quick.

kari-gran-essential-balmIt’s made with natural, organic, non-GMO ingredients (and cruelty-free), so I don’t have to worry about toxins being absorbed into my skin. In short, this will be with me until spring (and probably after that, too).

The product in this post was provided by the brand for consideration. All opinions are my own.

Posted in Skincare | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last-Minute Gift Idea: Trade Joe’s Lip Treatment Duo

trader-joes-lip-treatment-duoNeed an inexpensive last-minute gift for someone? Trader Joe’s has you covered with their Lip Treatment Duo ($3.99).

I picked this up for myself (and a few others) a couple weeks ago, and am so glad I did. The balm is hydrating without being gooey or tacky, and the sugar scrub really works to slough off dead skin so you don’t look like you have chapped lips. They are both made with jojoba oil, shea butter, and macadamia oil, and are lightly citrus-scented. The tiny tubes are perfect for throwing in your purse. I’ve been using mine endlessly since I bought it!

trader-joes-lip-treatment-duo[Image via Trader Joe’s]

It’s even packaged nicely, so it looks pricier than it is. I think this is the best gift you’ll find under $5!

Posted in Bath & Body, Lip Service | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best times of year for scoring major deals–especially when it comes to makeup, which rarely goes on sale! Here is the annual roundup of deals. Some are active now, but most start on Nov. 25 (Black Friday). Since this is primarily a beauty site, I stuck mostly with makeup/skincare companies, but also threw in a few clothing/jewelry/home deals I found while researching. Happy shopping!beauty

Posted in Budget Beauty, Recession Beauty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beautycounter’s Flawless in Five Clean Makeup Collection

beautycounter-flawless-in-fiveIn an effort to purge my stash of products that are not clean, I ordered Beautycounter’s “Flawless in Five” collection ($148). This is a bundle of six of their essential products (foundation, concealer, mascara, lip gloss, blush, and brow pencil) offered at a slightly discounted rate (compared to purchasing them all individually). I did a good amount of research on clean makeup before making this purchase–and found this list of products really helpful. I decided that Beautycounter’s products got the best reviews, and I was happy with their safer ingredients. The Flawless in Five collection includes the following products, with their individual prices listed behind them, in case you want to purchase any separately:

  • Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation ($41)
  • Touchup Skin Concealer Pen ($32)
  • Volumizing Mascara or Lengthening Mascara ($29)
  • Color Define Brow Pencil ($23)
  • Powder Blush Duo ($40)
  • Lip Gloss ($29)

You can choose your preferred shades for any of the products when you order this bundle.

beautycounter-tintskinbeautycounter-tintskin-2Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation: I really wanted to like this foundation, and for the most part, I do. It’s the closest thing to a tinted moisturizer that I’ve found that will replace my beloved Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Illuminating. But to me, it can look a little cakey. I don’t like the finish or feel of traditional foundations, and I feel like maybe because the finish on this is matte, it throws me off. I thin it out with my moisturizer for dewier, sheerer coverage, and I like the way that looks. Since I like some shimmer in my foundation, I add in a few drops of a clean luminizer to give this a little glow and fake the effect of the Laura Mercier product. The shade itself is an exact match to Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer Illuminating in Natural Radiance.beautycounter-foundation

beautycounter-gloss-bare-shimmer2Lip Gloss in Bare Shimmer: I was totally surprised by how much I love this gloss. It’s comfortable to wear, and on me, the shade is a my-lips-but-better hue. It’s so pretty, surprisingly long-wearing, and I feel good that since you end up eating most of your gloss, this is free from chemicals and toxic fillers.

beautycounter-mascaraVolumizing Mascara: This is a solid mascara. I like it a lot; it gives excellent definition and fullness, a nice inky-black tint, and it does not smudge, flake, or run. My only complaint is that it takes several coats to notice that you’re wearing this. For example, I usually only apply one coat of mascara to my bottom lashes. With this, I have to apply at least two for it to show up. I’m not sure how many coats I layer on my top lashes, but it’s more than a few, and this stuff still doesn’t budge. I’m a fan.

beautycounter-concealerTouchup Concealer Pen: I ordered this in the shade Light, which is not light enough, and it’s too much of a yellow tint for my skin tone. On my skin, because it’s the wrong shade, it’s not noticeable enough to brighten any areas where I typically apply concealer (under the eyes, on blemishes). I’m frustrated because this wasn’t cheap, and Beautycounter doesn’t do exchanges. You can return individual products, but not one item from a set, and since I want to keep the other products I ordered, I’m stuck with this product that I can’t really use. See it swatched on my skin below.beautycounter-concealer-penbeautycounter-blush-duoPowder Blush Duo in Bloom/Tulip: This is a silky powder formula that glides on skin. I swirl my brush through both shades and swipe onto my cheeks for a natural flush. I tend to need a few swipes of the brush to make the apples of my cheeks pop. This is a nice blush, and I do like it, but the price point would probably steer me away from repurchasing. But this product is generously sized at 0.35 oz., so it should last awhile!

beautycounter-brow-pencilColor Define Brow Pencil in Light: It’s ok; it does the job. I wouldn’t necessarily pick this out as the best brow pencil ever, because it does take a fair amount of pressure to deposit color onto skin. I prefer mechanical pencils, but I do like the spoolie at the opposite end for blending. The color is nice for blondes and those with lighter hair.

All in all, these products are mostly quite good, and they perform very well. They really help squash the notion that clean products don’t perform as well as their chemical-laden counterparts. While I would pass on repurchasing a few of these products, there are some I will buy again without question. There is also the disadvantage in purchasing things like foundation online, where it can be difficult to match you skin tone sight unseen. My hesitation is mostly with the price points, which are high on some items. But you’re paying for peace of mind and the knowledge that what you’re putting on your face probably won’t contribute to health issues down the line. beautycounter-blushHave you tried any Beautycounter products? What did you think?

Posted in Beauty Basics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Esqido False Lashes

esqido-false-lashesI’d heard about Esqido false lashes years ago, but never had the opportunity to try them until recently. The gorgeous mink lashes are a glamorous addition to any makeup kit, and they complete a spectrum of makeup looks, from daytime to special occasion.

9E46BBAB-BFB9-4000-9A24-D93B468A6B40The high-quality lashes are handcrafted with genuine mink hair, which creates a long-lasting, luxurious false lash. Because the lashes are designed to be reworn several times when properly cared for, you need to take a bit of extra care when removing and storing these lashes. More on that later in this post.

Esqido sent me the Lashlorette style ($29), a full, wispy, dramatic set, which is great for me because when it comes to false lashes, I don’t do natural. They’re thick, inky black, and comfortable on the eye. They’re handmade with mink hair and are held together with a cotton band.esqido-false-lashes2Although I LOVE fake lashes, my biggest complaint with them is that sometimes they feel “scratchy” on my eyes. After a few hours of wear, I’m dying to take them off because my eyes and lids inevitably get so irritated. These lashes felt different; they were more comfortable than traditional synthetic falsies, and they didn’t feel heavy on my lids.  I actually forgot I was wearing them.

Although these lashes are pretty dramatic, Esqido offers a range of styles from natural and understated to full-on glam. You have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to finding the right style for your personal taste. They have lashes at three price points: the Classic Collection, which has a single layer of lash hairs on a band and retails for $29, the Noire Collection, which features stacked, layered lashes, priced at $32, and lower lashes, which go for $24.

esqido-lash-glueEsqido also sent me their Companion eyelash glue ($10), which I love partly because of the thin brush tip applicator. It’s skinny and perfect for  applying glue directly to the lashband without making a mess. I usually apply a dollop of glue to the back of my hand, and then, holding the lashes with tweezers, drag the lashband through the glue. It’s so much easier and less messy to apply the glue directly to the band. Although the formula is white in the tube, it dries clear, so no worries about making a mess on your lids. The glue is a nice consistency, and won’t run when you’re waiting for it to set. I had no issues with hold (my lashes held on tight till I removed them). It’s latex-free and didn’t irritate my eyelids. Continue reading

Posted in Eyes, Mascara | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back in Line with LoveBug Probiotics

lovebug-probioticsProbiotics are “good” bacteria that naturally occur in your stomach and do a host of beneficial functions for your body, including immune system support, mental development, digestion support, and more. But because of our modern lifestyles and traditional Western medicine, many of us have an overpopulation of bad bacteria in our stomachs. One way to get your stomach balanced is through probiotic supplements, which replenish the supply of good bacteria.

LoveBug Probiotics offered to send me a trial package of some of their products. I received a one-month supply (30 tablets) each of Here’s the Skinny, Yeast is a Beast, and Colds Suck formulas. (They also offer Labor of Love with folic acid for expecting moms, Little Ones for kids, and Tiny Tummies for babies.) All formulas range from about $27-$35.

lovebug-probiotics-2LoveBug probiotics have a patented “BIO-tract” technology that delivers 15 time more live cultures to your stomach than standard probiotic capsules, which mean they’re more effective. The tablets are non-GMO, don’t contain artificial colors or flavors, and are free of gluten, yeast, lactose, sugar, and preservatives.

After the jump, see what I thought after trying these!

Continue reading

Posted in Health & Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Watch out boy, she’ll chew you up

tarte-maneaterEvery time I pull Tarte’s Maneater mascara ($23) out of my makeup bag, the Hall & Oates song rolls through my mind. And then it gets stuck there for days. So take that as a warning that this may happen to you if you buy this mascara!

tarte-maneater-2I typically hate mascaras that have plastic bristle wands. The only exception is Benefit’s Roller Lash, which is amazing because it holds a curl for so long. When I saw a bunch of YouTube videos about Maneater, I immediately noticed the plastic bristles, and was skeptical–but of course, I had to try it.

More details after the jump.

Continue reading

Posted in Mascara | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment