Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School Basics: Top Five Beauty Products

Top Five Beauty Products

to make your school days easier

Every September I'm reminded that I don't have an hour to spend showering, doing my hair, figuring out what I want to wear and doing my makeup. Back to school shopping is so much fun, and why not include some beauty basics to make your morning routines just a little bit easier?!

1. Skin: A cleanser, toner, moisturizer set

During the summer it's easy to test out different cleansers and moisturizers and serums and sprays for your face, and if you breakout or if the products don't work for you, you can just move on to something else. For school, however, I like to know that what I'm putting on my face is going to leave my skin clear, controlled and beautiful with or without makeup, just incase I'm running late and don't have time for foundation or concealer. Find a good skincare set, like Proactiv's Renewing Cleanser, Revitalizing Toner and Repairing Treatment Moisturizer, or my personal favorite if you want something cheap and simple, Boot's Expert Sensitive Line's Gentle Cleansing Wash, Gentle Refreshing Toner, and Hydrating Moisturizer available at Target. Whether it's Clinique or a Drugstore favorite, find the three products that get you from the bathroom sink to beautiful skin and out the door faster.

Boot's Skincare Products mentioned above and Benefit's Skincare Products:
Total Moisture Facial Cream, Triple Performing Facial Emulsion and Refined Finished Facial Polish 

2. Face: Tinted Moisturizer or BB Cream

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to figure out whether you have time to do a full face of makeup or if mascara and lipgloss are just going to have to do. I find that tinted moisturizers, and now the fabulously famed bb creams, save the morning routine with a quick solution to covering up breakouts and evening skin tone. Concealer might always be necessary, but with tinted moisturizer or bb creams you don't need to fuss with brushes. Just a dime or quarter amount on your hand of product, apply dots to your nose, cheeks, chin and forehead, and then spread them out and around away from the center of your face, the way you would apply moisturizer. I recommend Dr. Jart + Water Fuse BB Beauty Balm with SPF 25, or if you want a less expensive option I am currently obsessed with my Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream. I also recommend Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with spf 20, or Benefit's Some Kind-a Gorgeous Foundation Faker for a quick and easy morning routine.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, Benefit's Some Kind-a Gorgeous,
Dr. Jart + Water Fuse BB Cream, and Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

3. Eyes: Mascara

If you have zero time to mess around with brushes and liners and eyeshadows, the easiest way to make your eyes pop is mascara. I would never leave the house without it on, and I instantly feel more confident, not to mention I feel like I at least tried this morning! I don't recommend a super black or thick formula for dramatic eyes for the day, and especially not for school or work. My go to mascaras for my day time makeup or daily routines always include brown, brown/black colors or thinner formulated black shades that elongate rather than excessively volumize. My favorites for everyday are Benefit's Bad Gal Brown, Covergirl's LashBlast Fusion Water Resistant in Brown/Black and Maybelline's the Falsies Volum'Express in Brownish Black. I really recommend water proof or water resistant formulas for all day wear.

Benefit's Bad Gal Brown, Covergirl's LashBlast Fusion and Maybelline's The Falsies

4. Lips: Tinted Lip Balms

If you don't have the time to go the whole balm-liner-lipstick-lipgloss route, may I suggest a tinted Lip Balm? I love my lipsticks, but not all of them are moisturizing, I know that when I'm running between classes I don't want to lose the color on my lips, but I do need a quick fix of moisture. My all time favorites are Revlon Lip Butters in Strawberry Shortcake (a berry wearable pink :) and Creme Brulee for a nice nude. I also recommend Maybelline Baby Lips, which come in plenty of tints but my favorite is Fruit Punch, and Fresh Sugar Lip Balm in Honey.

Revlon Lip Butters in Strawberry Shortcake and Creme Brulee,
Fresh's Sugar in Honey, and Maybelline's Baby Lips in Fruit Punch

5. Scent: Body Sprays and Fragrance Samples

By lunchtime, it is quite possible that whatever you spritz on this morning has faded and you want to freshen up a bit. I like to leave my lighter, fruitier or more florally scents for school and use my nicer, more expensive fragrances for other occasions, and anything that fits right into your school bag is always a plus. I love my two Victoria's Secret Pink Body Sprays, and whenever I get a fragrance sample, like these two Juicy Couture, (in the original and Viva La Juicy La Fleur), it definitely makes a rotation in my bag.

Victoria's Secret Pink Soothing Body Freshening Mist with Organic Oat Extract  (possibly no longer sold?), Victoria's Secret Pink Body Mist in Wild and Breezy, samples of Viva La Juicy in La Fleur and the original Juicy Couture fragrance 

Hope you all have fun back to school shopping, and if you're already at school I hope these quick routine changers make your mornings faster, easier and your days more beauty-ful :)  

Ciao for now, M

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beauty Review: Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream

in Light/Medium Sheer Tint

I'd been dying to try a BB Cream since Ingrid (missglamorazzi) and Jen (frmheadtotoe) on YouTube had raved about the asian beauty skin sensation years ago, (links to their reviews and videos below). When the trend broke out here in the west, drugstores and higher end shops started carrying BB Creams in all shades, sizes and brands. I was skeptical, because if Asian bloggers said they didn't compare to the real thing, then they must not be that great, right? Wrong. On recommendation from one of missglamorazzi's videos, I swatched, then purchased, the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream in the Light/Medium shade on myself in a Rite-Aid about a month ago, and I totally fell in love. Since then I have tried two or three more higher end BB Creams, in Birchbox samples and at Sephora, but nothing has compared to Dream Fresh as of yet. 

Quick Note on BB Creams: Started in Asia, BB Creams (or Beauty Balm Cream) are the most well-rounded skin cosmetic on the market. While most claim between 6 and 10 skin benefits, they generally conceal imperfections, skin pigmentation and adjust skin tone, hydrate like a light moisturizer, and contain some amount of SPF for sun protection. Some are as light as a tinted moisturizer, and some as heavy as foundation, but they are meant to be used either alone for a more natural, easy look or layered with concealer for more coverage. They come in different shades, brands and price ranges, but they should be easy to find in drugstores and beauty shops across the U.S.

I swatched the Light/Medium shade and it was just right for my middle of summer skin, about four trips to the beach with a light tan. I went on vacation to Cancun, however, and now I need to use bronzer along with my Dream Fresh to get the right shade, but as my tan fades I'm sure it'll work for me in the fall.

The formulation is light and smooth, easy to apply with just fingers, but you could always use a foundation brush. I do find that if I have a breakout or any redness, I have to use two or three coats, but just a dime sized amount is enough for one application, so the 1.0 fl oz may seem small, but after using it for a month almost daily, it is still half full. The coverage is totally buildable. I have used just one coat on a good skin day and it has left my face flawless and one beautiful soft tone. I have used a max of three coats on a bad day and had the same beautiful results. 
The packaging, while seemingly small, is compact enough for bags and travel, but lasts longer than you'd think. The squeeze tube tip hasn't been messy for me, and excess product doesn't come gushing out of the tube or into the cap, which is great news, (I've had some bad experience with leaky tinted moisturizer bottles and tubes). 

One Gripe: This product needs to be reapplied because it certainly is not long lasting. Maybe 6 hours is the most I've gotten out of it, which is fine, but it begins to fade quickly, so I wouldn't recommend it for a long work or school day unless you have time to reapply, which is easy so I guess it isn't terrible lasting time. 

Conclusion: For the price (around $8), the accessibility (you can find this product at Ulta, drugstores, Target, or wherever Maybelline is sold), and shade range (five shades: light, light medium, medium, medium/deep, deep), I'd say it is a worthy investment and a great starter BB Cream; it has certainly made me want to try an Asian BB Cream for my pale winter skin, and perhaps a higher end one for the fall and spring.  

BB Cream Review Videos:

MissGlamorazzi: July Favorites 2012!

Ciao for Now, M

Monday, August 27, 2012

hello there!

if you stumble upon this blog...

you'll eventually find 

  • a health journal: filled with fun workouts, yummy and nutritious recipes, and thinspiration :)
  • beauty reviews: cosmetics, hair care, fragrances, the works!
  • beauty and fashion hauls: what's more fun than unloading your shopping bags and sharing steals and deals?
  • fashion inspiration: trends, ideas, outfits and accessories 
  •  DIY: my attempts at DIY crafts, pics, reviews and links to great ideas!
  • wit and charm, for what else could a lady need :)
my name is M and i'll be posting new posts every monday, wednesday and friday! 

Ciao for Now, M