Product Review: Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer + Swatch

I've always been one of those people who uses primers because they're supposed to extend the longevity of your makeup. And with oily skin, anything that might help I'm going to use. But I've never felt like one primer stood out over another...or that by using one, I saw a significant difference in finish or longevity of my makeup. The hype of Benefit's Porefessional or Smashbox's Photo Finish never produced the results for me that people were flaunting all over the internet. Not to say they don't work (my mom loves Porefessional), they just weren't wow on my combo/oily skin. (This is a perfect example of making sure you find the product that works best of YOU!) So when I finally came across a primer that made me see it's full potential, I knew I had to write a review on it.

Sephora did it again to me, converting me to an amazing product, when they provided me with a sample of Dr. Brandt's Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer. The first time I used this, I felt like one of those girls on the CoverGirl truBLEND commercials where she swipes the foundation across her cheek, you see some sparkles, and magically her entire face is flawless. Hahaha...

Let's start with the consistency. This primer is sooooo smooth. They define it as velvety, and that's exactly how it is. Have you ever rubbed velvet on your skin? I know you have! To say the least it's a very luxurious start to my makeup routine. I was thrilled to see that this product was transparently non-transparent...or more specifically that it wasn't white out of the tube. The primer appears to have a slight tint to it, but instantly disappears when applied to the skin not leaving that white haze I've experienced with so many primers. I haven't had any issues with it affecting my foundation color in any way. 

Dr. Brandt claims that this product absorbs excess oil, minimizes pores, blurs fine lines and is resistant to sweat and humidity. I can attest to all of these claims except the blurs fine lines as I don't (yet) have any. Knock on wood. But based on how true the other claims seem to be, I can't imagine it to be false! I was most impressed by how well it minimized my pores and kept my oiliness at bay.  Like I mentioned above, this product turned me from a user to a believer. 

So what makes this product unique and straight up wonderful? The secret is in the ingredients...ok, I had to say it. But it's true!...This primer is actually a dual product, primer + treatment. With tea tree fighting bacteria that can harvest in the skin, and powder flax seed extract to absorb and reduce oil production by balancing your skins pH levels, you'll see results with and without makeup on!

For instant results, this product also has microspheres. Yep! Uh huh. Huh? What are microspheres you say? Microspheres are a microscopic polymer mineral powder that is perfectly spherical instead of irregular. So how does this benefit you? When these spheres are opaque, the spherical surface scatters light. This means discoloration, uneven skin tone, fine lines and pores will appear to have faded, due to optically reducing contrast on the skin. Science at it's best :)

If you look at the pictures to the right, you can see just how well this product works. This is my naked skin, no makeup applied yet. My pores are largest on the upper parts of my cheeks, so I felt that would yield the best results. To the left is the right side of my  face without primer. To the right is the left side of my face with primer. My pores are "blurred", thus making them look smaller. My skin generally looks smoother and more even.

After testing this product out with all of my foundations, I can say with complete confidence that this primer increased the longevity of my makeup. On average, I can get between six to eight hours of wear in before the ugly oil beast begins to rear its head (foundation finish being the main variable). It does claim to work patted on top of makeup as a touch up, but I have not yet tested this claim.

So, if you're like me and just haven't had the best results with primers or are simply in the market for a new primer, I strongly recommend you try out Dr. Brandt's Pores No More Refiner Primer. I'd love to hear what you think!

Liebster Award

Big thank you to Julia at Style and Cheek for nominating me! If you don't know her already...well...you need to. Her content is filled with dedication, variety and loads of helpful tips!

Not sure what this award is? The Liebster Award is given from one blogger to another as a way build the community and spread the word about new(er) bloggers. There are different variations of the "rules", but primarily you answer 11 questions given to you by your nominator, nominate a few more bloggers for the award (I've seen anywhere from one to ten), then write 11 different questions that your nominees are to answer. It's a great way to find out a little more about the people you love!

Let's get down to business. Here are my answers to Style and Cheek's questions!

1. Who was your style icon growing up? And who is your style icon now?

Kate Moss was definitely my style icon growing up. She was tall, skinny and sexy...everything I wasn't...but while I couldn't make myself grow, I could lose the weight and change up my style. She helped influence a lifestyle change that would forever alter how I felt about myself and my fashion choices.

As I've...*cough cough* matured...Miranda Kerr & Olivia Palermo have greatly influenced my style. They depict the perfect mix of chic, feminine and casual.

2. What’s your favorite hot sauce?

Cholula, oh Cholula. No matter how many times I try something new, I always come back to you.

3. What little things make you smile?

Old people walking hand in hand, people who write in cursive, old books, the sound of halyards clanking on a mast, baby laser noises, and seeing people singing in their car.

4. What is your go-to brunch cocktail?

Usually a mimosa...so unoriginal. If I'm looking for something warm, hot chocolate with Kahlua.

5. Name five places you’d love to visit.

English countryside & London, Virgin Islands, anywhere in Ireland, Martha's Vineyard, anywhere in Scotland

6. How did where you grew up influence your style?

I grew up on a small island where Merrell's and frizzy hair were the trend...Influence isn't exactly the word I'd use. Divert perhaps is better...All I knew is I wanted to look nothing like the people I was surrounded by. Ha.

7. What do you hope to accomplish in 2015?

Expansion & change. I really hope 2015 will be a big year for me. First, get married. Check! Now that wedding planning is done (boo) it's time to focus on my other loves! A few things I'm planning already are upping my blog game, going back to school (this time to become an esthetician), and chopping off my long hair that I've had since I was little (eeee *bites nails*).

8. What do you love about blogging? Writing, the creative aspects, the community?

Blogging allows me to share my true passion with others. To know that by sharing this info it might help someone...even if it's just one person. 

After moving to a new city where I knew no one, it was difficult to make friends...Being apart of such an amazing community allowed me to connect with people who love beauty as much as I do! The community can be a beautiful and frightful world at the same time, but making friends and finding people who truly admire your work is humbling and thrilling.

9. What song(s) have you been listening to on repeat lately?

Taylor Swift 1989 album...specifically Wildest Dreams...I know...   :\

BeautydelaMerOutlander

10. What’s your current favorite “guilty pleasure” tv show?

Outlander - BEST book series to best TV show!

11. Do you consider yourself an introvert? Or an extrovert?

Definitely an extrovert...but a very homey extrovert...if that makes sense. Yes.

 

I NOMINATE:

Questions:

  1. If you could sum up your personal style in five words, what would they be?
  2. What was your biggest accomplishment in 2014?
  3. What is the #1 thing on your wish list right now?
  4. If you could meet one blogger, who would it be? Why?
  5. What is one hobby you've always wanted to do?
  6. What is the most helpful tip you've ever received in regards to your blog?
  7. Describe your best friend in three words.
  8. What picture is on your computer desktop background right now?
  9. You're broke and you have to sell everything you own. You can only keep the clothes on your back and ONE item. What would that item be?
  10. If you could only shop at one store for the rest of your life, what store would you shop at?
  11. How has blogging changed you?

 

I can't wait to see all of your answers! 

**Beautiful Liebster Award badge created by Work Play ** Photos courtesy of Pinterest**

The Skin Miracle!

I've found it! Oh yes I have! The one thing that took my skin from okay to amazing...

So what's step one you ask? Go back to basics. This is seriously overlooked. Cleanse, tone, exfoliate, treat and moisturize. You'll be amazed at just how much your skin can change when you religiously follow these steps.

 
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I can personally attest to the benefits of this first step. Since I got engaged, I've visited two estheticians - one when I lived in San Luis Obispo and another here in Seattle since I moved - both focusing on completely different techniques. Back in SLO, we focused on chemical peels and LED light treatment. Now don't get me wrong, I did find I had less acne and the spots I did get seemed to heal faster. But I was still oily, my redness had barely diminished, and I still had spots consistently every month. After a few visit to the lovely Cristina here in Seattle, my skin has, in my opinion, done a one eighty. Her focus? The basics. Consistently. Can I stress this enough? Since I've been seeing her and using what I call the dream team of products, my redness is 80% gone, and my oil production is faaaaaar less (I now consider myself to have combination skin instead of straight oily...wahoo!) Talk about a happy girl who now actually leaves the house with no makeup! An unspeakable thing just a few months ago. Now you may be thinking "what about your breakouts?" Yes, yes, my breakouts too have decreased because of "the basics," but as these were mostly hormonal I accredit most of my near breakout-free skin to step two...

BeautydelaMerZinc

Two words: Zinc supplement. Holy-oh-yes-where-have-you-been-all-my-life. It's been an interesting journey to get to the conclusion that zinc was the mineral helping cure my acne. I had been taking zinc a while back for dry scalp (yep, it has multiple benefits!), but quit taking it shortly after my issue was resolved. At the time, I didn't even blink at what it might be doing for my acne. A few months back, I was going through my vitamin cupboard and found a near full bottle of zinc. Literally, all I thought was "maybe I should take this before it expires." So I added it to my daily vitamin routine.

Month after month, I'd go back to see Cristina and she'd ask me "how's your skin?" I was so pleased to tell her how ALL of my skin concerns were drastically improving! We were going over any changes I had made, and I first thought of the natural energy supplement I had been taking before the gym. I was convinced this was my miracle product, but couldn't seem to find anything on the ingredients benefiting skin. Then, it hit me. Zinc! I had started taking it again around the same time as my energy supplement. Sooooo after all this jibber jabber, I'm so happy to say that I really only get a spot every two or three months. Yep! You read right! And when I say "a spot" I truly mean one.

So why did Zinc improve my acne breakouts? Making up six percent of our total body zinc in our skin alone, zinc is found to repair damaged tissue and improve the recovery time of wounds. Direct skin care translation: zinc helps increase our skin cell turnover. If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know that this is essential to achieving amazing skin. By shedding the top layer of dead skin cells, which can make your skin look dull, it exposes the healthy skin cells below giving you radiant looking skin! Think about it, if your skin is constantly turning over, that means the life of a pimple is shortened as it's being pushed to the surface faster (and pushing out all that nastiness with it) and pigmentation and scarring is going to fade. If we experience slower skin cell turnover, ALL of those skin conditions stick around longer.  Additionally, zinc is known to reduce the production of sebum that makes our skin look oily throughout the day. If your acne is caused by excess oil clogging your pores, then this is just one more reason I would recommend taking a zinc supplement.

Now, zinc doesn't only benefit the skin. You'll find zinc in eye drops, shampoo, toothpaste...the list goes on and on! It's immune system boosting properties make it something EVERYONE should use. Note: if you plan to take it daily, make sure you take no more than 50mg per day. Excessive zinc can cause stomach and kidney problems. Please consult a physician before taking if you have any concerns.

 

Product Review: Marc Jacobs Lip Lock Moisture Balm

Officially, I think my lips hate me. No matter how much water I drink, how many moisturizing lip products I use, my lips are chronically chapped. I am forever on the hunt for the miracle product that cures all...

My lifelong journey eventually led me to Marc Jacobs Lip Lock Moisture Balm. After using Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gels and loving them, I was so hopeful that I might actually find THE lip balm that worked for me. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.

Let's start with the pros: gorgeous packaging. The product feels heavy, and the lid is sturdy, sleek & black with silver lettering. What I really like is that the lid screws on so there's no risk of it opening in your bag.

It also has SPF 18, and my lips need all the protection they can get. Don't forget, you lip skin is the most sensitive skin on your body!

This product contains nourishing ingredients such as Blackcurrant Seed, Jojoba Seed Oils, Shea, and Avocado Butters and NO Lanolin, a big deal to me as I think I might be allergic...

Unfortunately, the cons for me out weighed the pros. Product glides on okay, but after just a few it begins to feel quite waxy...like when you run out of your favorite smooth eyeliner, pull our your spare pencil and it just drags horribly. This is what it reminds me of. But even aside from terrible consistency, probably the most annoying thing was that I had to reapply this constantly. Had the product worked, I might not have complained so much. When I hit the bottom my first thought was "really? I used it up already? But I haven't noticed a difference yet..."

Overall, this product did not moisturize very well and having to reapply was a nuisance. With its hefty $24 price tag, I can not say I would ever recommend this product. Maybe it's time to try the much raved about Dior Crème de Rose...Do you guys have any recommendations? Let the hunt continue... 

UK Beauty Exchange (Haul)

How many of us hear about products people rave about, but we just can't seem to get our hands on??? Ir-ri-tating! A couple of months ago, I felt like everything I wanted to try was available in the UK, but difficult to get here in the US without paying exorbitant amounts in shipping. Maybe it was the age old saying "you always want what you can't have," or maybe it was that so many of the beauty bloggers I had been following were based out of the UK. Either way, on a whim, I decided to send a tweet out to the world asking if anyone would like to do a beauty exchange.

To my very happy surprise, there were others out there that understood my pain and agreed to further feed my beauty addition. After a few exciting emails back and forth, the lovely, UK based Ella of Every Little Thing 07 and I agreed on a budget and sent our wish list items over. But ohhhh was this decision tougher than I thought it would be. Drugstore or high end? Lips or face? Tools? Brushes? I felt like my options were endless and how was I ever going to decide! *sigh* Finally, after unnecessary mental stress I caused myself, I made a decision. 

**Ella was too generous and threw in a few extra goodies for me to try :) She's. The. Best. She blogs every other day on beauty, fashion and life...Go check out her blog!

First peek into the box!

First peek into the box!

Shu Uemera Eyelash Curler, Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Grab and Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair

Shu Uemera Eyelash Curler, Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Grab and Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair

Sleek Blush by 3 in Californ.I.A and Sleek I-Divine Palette in Garden of Eden

Sleek Blush by 3 in Californ.I.A and Sleek I-Divine Palette in Garden of Eden

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation #51, The Body Shop Mango Body Mist and Topshops Lip Marker in Berry **special appearance by Jack :) **

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation #51, The Body Shop Mango Body Mist and Topshops Lip Marker in Berry **special appearance by Jack :) **

Soap & Glory's No Clogs Allowed, Lancome Lip Lover in 313 Rose Ballet and Bourjois Lip Crayon in Peach on the Beach

Soap & Glory's No Clogs Allowed, Lancome Lip Lover in 313 Rose Ballet and Bourjois Lip Crayon in Peach on the Beach

BaByliss Curling Wand

BaByliss Curling Wand

Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Souffle Body Creme

Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Souffle Body Creme

I must have looked so cheesy when I picked up the package from the mail box. Huge grin on my face, excited to rip it open the moment I got through the door. I felt like it was my birthday and Christmas combined!

This was such a wonderful experience, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. An opportunity to interact with fellow bloggers and try out new products =  dream come true!  I can't wait to try out all of the products! 

Stay tuned. Reviews of all of the products to come!

Jouer Haul + Swatches & Reviews!

Hello Lovelies!

Today I have for you a beauty haul, woo! With all the hype around Jouer products, I reallllly wanted to try some, but getting my hands on their products wasn't easy in my area. When it comes to beauty products, I'm an instant gratification type of gal. I don't like to order them, I want to go pick them up to touch and feel.

After finally finding Jouer's Matte Moisture Tint and loving it, I knew I wanted to try more of their products. And as if the Jouer gods heard my plea, I received a promo in my email that offered three free full size lip products with the purchase of any of their bags. I just couldn't pass this up!

BeautydelaMerJouerHaul

After much deliberation and a gazillion swatch searches later, I decided on seven lip products (went a little crazy) and the bag I wanted.

  • Two Hydrating Lipsticks - These were both a hit and miss for me. While extremely hydrating as the name suggests, the color payoff left something to be desired. Both colors required numerous swipes before I began to see the color. Note: I have quite bright lips naturally, so I often search for nudes to tone down this color. Results may be different for persons with more neutral lip colors. As a result of having to pack this product on, I felt that if my lips were dry prior to applying, the pigment pooled in the cracks no matter what application method I used. That being said, for a more natural makeup day, the hydrating benefits would cause me to reach for this product. The texture is ultra creamy as if you've applied butter to your lips. And can we just talk about the packaging? Gold, sleek, and heavy. Beautifully done.
    • Meg - creamy honey pink
    • Gigi - creamy true nude
  • Three Moisturizing Lip Glosses - Out of all of the products I purchased, the lip gloss was what I had heard most about. I feel like people love them or just find them mediocre. Personally, I love them! Until this past year, I've never been much of a gloss person. But recently, I feel there's been an slew of products that now work for my overly sensitive lips. I couldn't be more thrilled! I was pleasantly surprised with Jouer's abundance of colors, offering 32 shades. Like all of their lip products, their lip glosses are not tacky and glide on my lips like satin. The creamy formulas offer decent color payoff, and the sheer shimmers are subtly romantic. 
    • Mist - sheer baby pink with shimmer
    • Starfish - sheer peach with champagne shimmer
    • Nude - warm creamy nude
  • One Lip Sheer - This is the one product I haven't tried enough yet to accurately develop my opinion. As for first impressions, I felt the packaging was beautiful and heavy (FYI, heavy for me is a good thing :P ). The product was smooth with a sheer hint of color...Everything it promises to deliver. Additionally, unlike the other products, this lip sheer has an SPF 15 which is great for the sunny weather that's finally coming out to play! Remember, your lip skin is the most sensitive of all the skin on your body. It too needs to be protected!
    • Capri - sheer baby pink
From left to right, Jouer swatches for Meg lipstick, Gigi lipstick, Nude lip gloss, Starfish lip gloss, Mist lip gloss, Capri lip sheer, Essential Lip Enhancer. 

From left to right, Jouer swatches for Meg lipstick, Gigi lipstick, Nude lip gloss, Starfish lip gloss, Mist lip gloss, Capri lip sheer, Essential Lip Enhancer. 

  • One Lip Enhancer - This is the first lip product that promises to plump and doesn't dry out my lips. Enriched with Vitamin E, Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil, within the first day of use I noticed my lips were noticeably softer. Unlike most lip treatments which can be thick and tacky, this product allows for a sheer, smooth application without compromising results. You're left with soft lips and beautiful sheen that almost mimics a satin lip gloss. The package says "For softer, fuller lips apply 3 times daily for 29 days." I haven't used it but for a week, but I am putting the promise to the test. I'll update this review at the end and let you know how it goes!
    • Essential Lip Enhancer
  • One "It" Bag in Ooh La La Pink - I love this bag more than I thought I would. Measuring at 9" W x 6 1/2" H, I first thought this would be a little small when I ordered it. But after using it, it's turned out to be the PERFECT size. Advertised as a makeup bag, it doubles as a clutch. It's the perfect size to fit in my purse, but I find I reach for it as a stand alone more. The color is best described as a nude with a pink undertone, perfect for matching with any outfit! And the leather...oh the leather...you are so soft I could pet you all day :) I'm not one to usually purchase makeup bags more than $20, simply because they get dirty to quickly. So, the $65 price tag would've been hard for me to swallow without the free lip products. But now that I have it, I want to buy three more just to make sure if I lose it or it gets dirty, I won't be without it! So, if your anything like me and don't always want to carry a purse, but a wristlet is to small, I would definitely recommend the splurge for this product. 

Overall, I'm still quiet happy with Jouer products. What would you recommend I try next? Let me know in the comments below! xx

My Skin Care Routine: Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream

My skin care journey + product review continued! Part III - Eye Cream.

Long live eye creams. Seriously, I couldn't live without them. With my fair skin, even the lightest of darkness under my eyes stands out like a sore thumb. So, finding a great eye cream was pertinent in my search for the perfect skin care routine.

It always amazes me how much you think you love one product until you find something better...this was definitely the case when I tried Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream. I feel everyone has been talking about this, but after trying it, I just couldn't resist expressing my feelings.

BeautydelaMerOriginsGinZingEye

Origins defines their product as "...natural, clinically-proven morning-after eye cream instantly reduces dark circles. Unsightly bags and puffiness virtually disappear. And Origins' proprietary complex of caffeine from coffee bean, Panax ginseng, magnolia extract, and natural optic brighteners rapidly wakes up, refreshes, and restores radiance to tired eyes. Best for all skin types."

First off, it's natural +1. Secondly, not only do you get the conditioning properties of ginseng, caffeine enhances dryness and restores suppleness. The optic brighteners defined by Origins act almost as if like a brightening base for natural makeup.

Use: AM (But will be using AM & PM when I run out of my other eye cream!)

First Impressions: Immediately brightened eyes. Pleasant cooling feeling, giving me a nice pick me up in the morning.

Overall Impressions: Loving this product. Since I've started using it, my dark circles have diminished dramatically. I quite literally can't wait until I run out of my other eye cream so I can use this day and night! With the brightening particles, it's perfect for my days when I don't want to wear makeup but would like to look refreshed. Opposingly, as I mentioned above, it makes a great base for my under eye makeup.

But one of my absolute favorite things about this product is it absorbs into the skin. I've had such an issue with raccoon eyes when I wear mascara in the past. I've tried all sorts of concealers but finally realized the issue started at the base...my under eye cream. Most didn't fully absorb, allowing my mascara to rub off with the residual oil. With Origins GinZing cream I can pack it on, and within minutes I can apply my under eye concealer flawlessly and without fear of raccoon eyes.

Note: I don't often get puffy eyes, but I've been sick and stressed lately and have experienced minimal puffy eyes. I personally noticed this product worked great to depuff, but could not confidently comment on this products depuffing abilities for people with chronic puffy eyes.

So with all of the hype, have you had a chance to try this eye cream? Let me know what you thought, or what your current favorite is in the comments below! xx

My Skin Care Routine: Origins Zero Oil Toner

My skin care journey + product review continued! Part II - Toner.

Toners seem to be a very controversial issue amongst the beauty world. You either swear by them, or you hate them. But what do toners do? Toner can actually be used to combat many different skin types. There are toners for moisturizing, toners for neutralizing acne and promoting skin cell turnover, and even for anti aging. 

Many of the toners on the market today have alcohol, giving them their bad rep for being to drying. But much like looking for the right moisturizer...or any skin care product really...you just need to know what to look for for your skin type. You want to look for key words that you look for in your face wash and/or moisturizer. Then look at the ingredient list. Make sure you don't see anything you're adverse to (like alcohol for example). Trust me, there are toners out there for your skin type, they just may not be the ones you see on TV or the one your best friend is using.

I like to think of toner as my cleanser after my cleanser...removing any remaining makeup, soap residue or dead skin cells. But also, by finding a product that contains active ingredients beneficial to my skin type, it's a treatment. 

Personally, I fight oiliness, large pores and occasional spots. For this reason, I wanted to take every step possible to help combat these issues. So I found myself a toner that contained salicylic acid to promote skin cell turnover, declog and "shrink" my pores. My pick? Dun da da dun! Origins Zero Oil Toner.

BeautydelaMerOriginsZeroOil

After trying Origins GinZing under eye cream and loving it, I knew I wanted to try other products of theirs. When I was in the market for a new toner, I just couldn't resist trying this. Origins describes it as an "invigorating, multi-tasking toner formulated with skin-clearing Saw Palmetto, cooling Mint and pore-minimizing Salicylic Acid instantly reduces shine and removes excess oil. Leaves skin with a smooth, matte finish." Exactly what I was looking for!

Use: Morning and Night

First Impression: My skin felt clean and firm, but not dry or sticky as some toners have left me. I felt refreshed and properly prepped for my additional treatments and/or makeup.

Overall Impression: Very satisfied with this product! After a few months of use, my oil production is significantly less, and my pores are clearer and smaller! The saw palmetto really helps in treating any spots I have with it's antiseptic properties, and the salicylic acid percentage isn't so high it leaves my skin dry and flaky. Overall texture of my skin has improved, and any spots I do get heal fairly quickly. My hyperpigmentation is fading, leaving my skin looking more even. I couldn't be happier!

Have you found your dream toner? Let me know what you use in the comments below! xx

My Skin Care Routine: Hada Labo Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Over the past few months, pretty much all of my skin care products ran out...like ALL of them...I take my skin very seriously, and it is most certainly an area I don't hold back on. So the first thing that crossed my mind was "Really? They're ALL out?!?! Cha-ching! Cha-ching!" My second thought was that while I liked my current products, I still had some skin concerns I wanted to address. So I decide to switch up my routine and try a few new products. Well, I couldn't be happier I did! My skin is much more even, I only get a spot(s) every now and then, and I feel my skin is far less oily than it used to be! 

One of my absolute favorite blogs/vlogs to read are skin care routines. Having suffered from acne and oily skin, there's nothing more hopeful to me than a product that works! So, in light of my new, successful discoveries, I've decided to do a series on my latest skin care routine.

One of the first products I picked up took me back to the essentials - a cleanser. I previously used the Michael Todd Charcoal Detox Cleanser and wasn't to impressed. I love their Honey Oat & Cleanser and had full intentions of purchasing that again, but I was completely out of product and couldn't wait for it to ship. So I popped by Walgreen's in search of a hold-over until then. 

After strolling the aisles, I had decided on a Noxema cleanser...The product isn't my favorite, but the smell takes me back to my childhood and it was only temporary. As I was making my way to the front, I was stopped by a beautiful new display featuring Hada Labo products. I was immediately enticed as I've had such great experiences with Japanese skin care products. Not to mention there was a $3 off coupon! I quickly put back the Noxema and picked up the Hada Labo Tokyo Hydrating Facial Cleanser.

BeautydelaMerHadaLaboHydratingFacialCleanser

Hada Labo's Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a deep cleansing, rich lather face wash. Free of alcohol, parabens, fragrance, dyes and mineral oil making it a great product for all skin types. The listed active ingredient is Hyaluronic Acid Plus. So what is that? 

Hyaluronic Acid is a fluid naturally found in your body. It can be found in your connective and nerve tissue, as well as your skin! This fluid is made up of tons of sugar units. When more sugar molecules are added, it grows longer and the overall shape becomes spherical. So what does that mean for skin care? Youthful looking skin. Hyaluronic acid is labeled as an anti-aging ingredient when used in beauty products. With its great water binding properties, it reduces the look of wrinkles, dull and/or dry skin. Restoring the skins natural pH levels, you're left with healthy, glowing skin. Who doesn't want that?

Q&A: Do you have oily skin? Using products that balance your skins natural pH levels drastically reduces oil production.

Use: Morning and Night

First Impression: I was impressed that truly a pea size (as directed) really does develop into a lush lather! My skin was left feeling very clean without feeling stripped, dry or powdery as other foaming cleansers have done in the past. ++

Overall Impression: After two months of religious use, I am very impressed by this product. I feel this is a great prep step for my skin care treatments, really removing any makeup and debris on my skin. Plus, it's only $12! My skin feels and looks healthier, and my oil production has undoubtedly reduced...Yay!!!

Any esthetician will always tell you, if you can't afford all of the fancy skin treatments that's fine, but make sure you find a great cleanser for your skin. 

Stay tuned for the rest of the products I use in my skin care routine! xo

The Inspiration Tag

I was so excited to be tagged by Kemples in her new inspiration tag. I particularly love reading my favorite bloggers more personal tags. It's a wonderful (and fun!) way for all of us get to know each other a little better!

So, without further ado, I give you me! in this Inspiration Tag.

BeautydelaMerInspiration

What was the inspiration behind starting your blog?

Since I was little, I've loved all things glamorous. First, I wanted to be a princess (wanted? no, want... =P ), then I wanted to become an actress and/or a model. Of course, life did not play out that way. But just because I couldn't play dress up professionally, didn't mean I needed to give it up entirely. I've always loved the whole beautifying process and fantasized over creating my own blog to share my passion...but I never had the guts to do it. After moving to Seattle, away from family and friends, I really needed to find a creative outlet. I received such positive reactions after mentioning the idea to some close family and friends, I finally felt comfortable taking the plunge. My best friend even helped create my dream logo! Shout out to Leah! XO

What inspires you to take your blog further?

Definitely helping people. I am (as most of our generation is) always consulting the internet before purchasing products. But every time I search for products, I feel like there is a lack of informative information. While some people just want to know what their best friends favorite products are, I really want to know why the product worked...or more accurately why, in some cases, it worked for some and not for others. 99% of us have skin concerns, be it dark circles, acne, aging or dry skin. These are usually the primary reasons we spend money on beauty products. Deep down, most of us would rather not spend 40 minutes trying to hide our imperfections when it could be spent on trying out that new killer contour trick that makes us look ten pounds thinner! While there is no miracle product that can erase time and take us back to our baby smooth and flawless skin, using the right products can certainly point us in the right direction. And if I help even just one person with my blog, it's well worth it.

BeautydelaMerInspiration

Who/what are you inspired by?

Oh gosh, the answer to this question could be a book. The question should be what doesn't inspire me? So much has led me to where I am today and the person that has created Beauty de la Mer. Bloggers & vloggers who share in my passion for beauty, to random strangers who've complimented me when I needed it the most. Beautiful faces in a crowd, inspiring me to try new looks. Watching shows like What Not to Wear and seeing people's confidence sail with a makeover. Editorial photography. Artists - we all have our preferred canvases. 

Out of your blog goals, what have you achieved so far?

I may be a newbie blogger, but I've gotten so much supportive feedback from readers. Not only has this experience been the perfect creative outlet for me, but I feel like I'm finally doing what I wanted to do...And I may not have come to this conclusion without my blog. It's so fulfilling to know what direction you want to go in your life. I wouldn't change it for the world!

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Not to long ago, my stylist and I were discussing her skin...I recently went back to find out she had changed some of her skincare routine after we had talked...and the changes were positively affecting her skin! Some of the recommendations I suggested were undoubtedly a result of research for my blog. Check & check for blog goal achieved!

What does the future hold for your blog plans?

Hopefully, more than I can dream of! I started my blog with a simple passion to learn and better understand all facets of beauty products. Then share that knowledge with people, helping take the guess work out of what products to buy. I'd love for the opportunity to work with other bloggers and beauty companies that share this vision. 

Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.
— Mattie Stepanek

I hope to become a certified esthetician this year and continue to share my ever expanding knowledge!

What is your ultimate goal for your blog?

To help as many people as I can find products that truly work for them. Makeup or skin care, none of us can deny that we feel our best when we look our best. I want to reach people both through practice as well as my blog and help them find the better them.

I tag Sally Fazeli (I still want your wardrobe...), UggyNog (go cats!), Gumboot Glam (your website is so pretty!), Nicola (one of my favorite F/B/L blogs!) and all of you, Lovelies!  I had so much fun creating this blog and I hope you all join in! Send me your links in the comments below! xo

Fresh Look: Wantable February 2014 Makeup Box

Hello, Lovelies!

I have always loved the idea of subscription boxes...Receiving items monthly is like your birthday all the time! Plus, one for makeup? Heck yes! However, every time I get ready to sign up I just never convince myself to hit that confirm button. I'm always left wondering if I'll get items I want, or if I'll just end up wasting my money. That was, until I discovered the Wantable box.

Wantable is a startup in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that launched in August of 2012 to give customers hand picked, curated, boutique makeup, accessories and intimates in a monthly subscription box. In the makeup box, they offer 4-5 full full-sized products for only $36/month subscription!..($40 if you order a single box)...It's a little more than other subscription boxes available, but offering full-sized products really made this box speak to me. Since I buy at least one $30+ makeup product every month from Sephora, I look at it as swapping one product for five! It's the first box I REALLY wanted, and this month I was given the opportunity to try it out.

When you first log on to their website, you are given the option of three different boxes: a makeup box, an accessories box and an intimates box. I obviously chose the makeup box =D From there, you create your profile selecting items you love, like or dislike. Love items being more likely to receive and Dislike items being items you'll never receive. For me, being able to select which [makeup] categories I didn't want to receive removed the hesitation and doubt I normally had with other subscription boxes. With my profile in, my order was ready. Shipping FREE, a few days of impatiently waiting passed, and my box finally arrived!

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My order arrived in a very clean looking black box, with their simple logo on the top.

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When you open up the box, you're welcomed with a beautiful presentation. A simple greeting overlays the receipt and a postcard inviting you to use their app. I was quite impressed with the receipts detailed information. Not only does it give you an overview of what you ordered, it reminds you of the preferences (love, like, or dislike) that you chose as well as descriptive information on the products included.

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I received five products in my February 2014 Wantable Makeup Box.

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1. Laqa & Co. Fat Lip Pencil in Bossy Boots - Value $18

I love lip pencils, so when I saw this I was very excited to try it out. The consistency is buttery smooth and glides on beautifully, creating enough sheen to not need a gloss. Bossy Boots is a sheer wine hued shade that allows for buildable color. This pencil has been a great pick when I'm running out the door and I don't have a moment to think about applying lipstick. It makes my lips look done with minimal effort, but also looks great when layered over lipstick!

2. Be a Bombshell Eye Base in Undercover Lover - Value $14

I found this color to be a little orange for my skin tone. However, the pigmentation and formulation were fantastic! Extra emphasis on the formulation...seriously. The product applied flawlessly and didn't crease throughout the day. I really wish this was in a different color, but under a smoky eye this product will work wonderful for me. This is definitely something I'm strongly contemplating getting in a different color....Ok, I was going to leave it at that, but I can't say enough good things about this formulation. It blends sooo easily and can be worn sheer or built up to high intensity. Perfect for creating dimension using only one product. Why?! Why couldn't you have been in a different color!

3. Glam Natural Cream Blush in Ashley - Value $32

The packaging for the product was truly luxurious. When you open the box, you find a beautiful gold bottle wrapped in a velvet bag. I often associate luxury with weight, and this bottle was definitely more weighted than your average product...Kind of a strange critique, but maybe there are others out there that feel the same...maybe...? With that first pump, out came a creamy petal pink blush. I was very surprised at how much I liked this product as cream blushes have been a hit or a miss for me in the past. But this one was just right, offering minimal sheen and a perfect natural flush to the skin. Definitely something I'll use more as we get into Spring.

4. Sorme Perfect Touch Treatment Concealer in 304 True Ivory - Value $24

Alight, it was bound to happen...a product I was disappointed in. I love concealers. I think its one of the most versatile makeup products, but I think the art of concealing can be one of the most difficult to master. While this partially has to do with technique, a great product is your foundation. And this one seriously did not cut it for me. I tried with primer, without primer, moisturizer, no moisturizer, below and on top of foundation...under my eyes, around my nose and my chin...but no matter what I did the results were the same. The amount of congestion after only a few hours made me look like I had splashed oil and water on my face and then patted powder over top. Clearly they were not mixing. I'm thinking this product may be good for dry skin, but definitely did not work on my oily skin type. On the plus side, the color match was perfect! Too bad = (

Side note: My sister has very dry skin. I'm going to give this to her and see how she likes it. I'll let you know what she thinks!

5. SKIIN Instant Skin Tightener and Line Filler Sample - Value $0

I am no stranger to SKIIN products, so I was excited to receive this product as part of my box. I don't have to many wrinkles yet, but after years of pulling on my eye because of contact lens wear, a few are starting to peek through. I dabbled this product just below my eyes in the a.m. only. I did have to wait a little to make sure the product was fully absorbed before applying my concealer, but overall I felt a slight tightening and no visible wrinkle throughout the day.

From left to right: Sorme Concealer in True Ivory, Laqa & Co. Lip Pencil in Bossy Boots, Glam Natural Cream Blush in Ashley, and Be a Bombshell Eye Base in Undercover Lover

From left to right: Sorme Concealer in True Ivory, Laqa & Co. Lip Pencil in Bossy Boots, Glam Natural Cream Blush in Ashley, and Be a Bombshell Eye Base in Undercover Lover

I'm quite happy with the products I got and really want to try their accessories and intimates box. My box had a total value of $88...not bad! For anyone who is contemplating a subscription box, I would definitely recommending trying Wantable! The customization to each box really helps to insure products you want to try, and if you're not completely satisfied you can cancel and/or return the box for free. Can't go wrong with that!

Check out Wantable's site!

Have you tried any of these products? Or a Wantable box? Let me know in the comments below!  xx

Fresh Look: Urban Decay Melt Down Makeup Remover

I am a girl who LOVES waterproof makeup. Hardly ever will I buy a mascara, concealer or foundation that doesn't say something along the lines of "long lasting," "waterproof" or "extended wear." But with that staying power means that when I'm ready to take off all my makeup, a little extra TLC is required to properly remove it all. Leaving any makeup behind can clog your pores causing blackheads, all forms of acne and even boils. Yuck!

BeautydelaMerUrbanDecayMeltDown

I've always used the standard makeup wipes and liquid formulas to remove my makeup. I'd never really branched out or thought of using anything else. More from lack of knowledge than anything else... But, a few months ago, I was introduced to the Clé de Peau Cleansing Cream. It removed my waterproof makeup flawlessly, but came with a hefty $72 price tag...Something to consider, but not in my budget at the time. I was left feeling like the whole experience was much more luxurious and felt like less of a task, as so often removing makeup does. And so it stuck with me, and I decided to begin searching for other companies that offered cream makeup removers.

I started my search at the drugstore and was only presented with two options: a Noxzema cream (a product that used to be really drying for me, so I was a little weary) and the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser. I ended up choosing the latter after reading that it removed waterproof makeup and was HUGELY disappointed. It literally became super chunky when mixed with my makeup and felt disgusting. There are no other words...it quickly was returned and my hunt continued.

Shortly after, I stumbled across the Urban Decay Melt Down Makeup Remover during one of my many trips to Sephora. And after testing with a few waterproof products on my hand, I decided to give it a whirl. When I first tested the product, the consistency was good, creamy and smooth. The instructions say you can use it with or without water. I think this starts off better without water, but if you rub to long it begins to get dry and "sticks" to the skin. You then have the option to wipe it off with a tissue or rinse with water. It claims to be non-greasy and nourishing for the skin with ingredients such as:

BeautydelaMerUrbanDecayMeltDownSwatch
  • Sea Fan Extracts to combat inflammation
  • Gatuline In-Tense to stimulate collagen production
  • Fruit & Nut Oils to moisturize

Unfortunately, I do feel like it's a tad greasy after use, so I wouldn't feel comfortable just wiping this off and carrying on with my routine. I always wash my face after using this product to achieve that squeaky clean feeling I love. The smell is mild and the only way I can describe it is a mix of sunscreen and grandma = P So I guess more of a powdery smell to it... Not my favorite, but I didn't buy it for the smell, and I wash it off any way.

All in all, I think this product performs very well. It removes all of my waterproof makeup in one use except my Dior Diorshow Black Out Waterproof Mascara. This is the only mascara I've had an issue with, requiring two uses before removing all of it. Still, I find this is much easier and more luxurious than any liquid makeup remover that I've used. Gone are the days of trying to rub off our eyeballs! Don't deny it, you know you've done this...

If I go to compare it to my original love, the Clé de Peau Cleansing Cream, I'd give it an eight out of ten. Ten being Clé de Peau. But for only a third of the cost, I'd say it's well worth it. Not to mention I use far less than if I were using a liquid formula, thus lasting way longer.

What do you think? Have you tried any cream makeup removers? Let me know in the comments below! xo

Haul: Skin Care ++

Hello Lovelies!

So as of late, I ran out of all my skin care products...like all of them. My moisturizers, sunscreen, face wash, masks, toner....the whole shebang. Normally, I run to my favorite products, but I've been feeling like my skin was starting to adapt to them, and they were no longer performing to their utmost capabilities. While tragic, I never can wait for an opportunity to try new things. After compiling my goodies, I realized I had enough for a haul! So without further ado, here are the things I picked up...

 
BeautydelaMerHadaLabo
 

To start off my list, one of the first things I purchased was the Hada Labo Hydrating Facial Cleanser with Hylauronic Acid. I've actually heard very little about this brand, but I've been loving Japanese skin care lines lately (hasn't everyone?) I was looking for a new foaming cleanser, and this captured my attention with its clean label and it's affordable price tag.

Note: Walgreen's has a $3 off coupon bringing this down to $8.99 ! Look for it at the Hada Labo display.

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Next, I pick up another package of Exfoliating Round Cotton Pads. I love these. They really help get any last bit of makeup off my skin. A must!

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I have done a lot of research on different toners over the years. I've been so in love with my Michael Todd Blue Algae Toner, I had a hard time finding something I actually wanted to try. So many of them either contain alcohol and are to drying, or leave me feeling just the opposite with a greasy, filmy layer. After trying the much hyped about eye cream from Origins and loving it, I decided to explore their world of toners. I ended up choosing the Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner with Saw Palmetto and Mint to try to help combat my oily skin. With salicylic acid to promote skin cell turnover, I'm hoping it'll also turnover my aversion to trying a new toner and maybe discover a new favorite. We'll see!

BeautydelaMerLushOceanSalt

By far, my latest skin care obsession is sea salt. Seriously, it has done wonders for my body and I have been on the hunt for anything sea salt related for my face in hopes that it would do the same. I found this Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub while on my hunt for some bath bombs and was astounded that I had not seen it before. With sea salt and citrus for exfoliating, and coconut and avocado for hydrating, I seriously hope that this becomes a favorite. It sounds like everything I was looking for! Did I mention it smells wonderful??? I can't wait to try it! 

BeautydelaMerLushBubbleroon

As mention, while at Lush, I also picked up a Green Bubbleroon bomb. Infused with shea butter, coconut oil and citrus, it sounds like a winner. BUT the biggest selling point for me? It seriously turns your bathwater to a mint green color.  A. Mint green is my favorite color.  B. It's like stepping into a bubbly tropical oasis. Who wouldn't want that?

BeautydelaMerSephoraSkinCleanse

One of the main products I wanted to get when I began my search was this Sephora Favorites SkinCleanse Vol. 2. It features nine different deluxe sample size skin care products, and a reusable black dotted cosmetic bag. I've had my eye on four of the products in here and was so excited to find something were I could try them all without purchasing the full size versions...and for less the cost of one item alone!

 
BeautydelaMerH2OLotion
 

The labeling/packaging for this H2O+ Body Balm pretty much speaks for itself. Mint Green. Check. Sea mineral infused. Check. Lovely scent. Check. Affordable. Check.

BeautydelaMerMudMask

The last of my skin care products was this Dead Sea Mud Spa mask from Ulta. My fiance and I had tried a mud bath a while back and I LOVED it. It's a weird mix of childhood dreams of submersing yourself in mud and complete relaxation. Together they make the ultimate experience. I have full intentions of going back, but until I can a mud mask will have to do. Side note: I despise this packaging...It looks like a demon is being extracted from her, doesn't it???

BeautydelaMerNYXButterGloss
BeautydelaMerNYXLipLiner
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I picked up three different NYX products while I was at Ulta. First, I found the much hyped about Butter Gloss (this took me forever to get my hands on!) in Cherry Cheese Cake. I really want the Tiramisu as well, but it was all sold out : ( I also picked up a new Retractable Lip Liner in Vanilla Sky - a nice light beige color. And lastly, the Butter Lip Balm in Marshmallow. I loved this swatched on my hand. It wasn't to light in color that it would sit in all of my lip lines, but it toned down some of the pink/red that I'm always trying to get rid of.

Oh! I also purchased the Wonder Pencil in light to clean up and line the outside my lips. A great way to clean up your brows and line your water line too! Sorry I forgot to take a pic : ( 

Note to Girl at Ulta: You were incredibly rude. Just because I walked in with no makeup doesn't mean you can disrespect me. You're getting paid to help customers, not talk to your coworker about your trip to CA...then proceed to look me up and down like I'm not even worthy of being in your presence. It's because of people like you that girls/women develop insecurities. Please do us all a favor and get a new job.

BeautydelaMerBatiste

I won't go on about this as so many people already rave about it, but I repurchased a can of Batiste Dry Shampoo. I'm really firm about not washing my hair every day so as not to strip its natural oils. However, I have really fine hair that looks oily very quickly. When dry shampoo took off in the market, I immediately began researching different brands. To date, this is still my favorite. Wild is my favorite scent, but it's so hard to come by in the US. 

BeautydelaMerFaceBrush

The last item, and one I'm most excited about, is the Japonesque Dual Sided Brush 110. Half the brush is real hair and the other is synthetic. One for applying, and one for blending. It looks like a mix between a foundation brush and a buffing brush, both sides being super soft to the touch. I think this will be a great all-in-one face brush, perfect for travel. Don't let me down brush!

I hope you lovelies enjoyed this. Let me know in the comments below if your tried any of these and what you think! xo

First Impression: Boscia Cool Blue Calming Mask

I am always on the hunt for a great mask. Clay, charcoal, DIY I love them all. But my first love was peel-off masks, and I feel I have neglected them lately. The anticipation of peeling the mask off boils inside of you as the mask "cures." And after what seems like a forever wait, you just can't wait to see the results...like Christmas all over again!

I received a sample of Boscia's new Cool Blue Calming Mask and decided to give it a whirl.

My first issue, the sample size was to small, so I wasn't able to coat my face as much as I'd like to. However, I still think I was able to "experience" the product as needed. That being said, the fact that it was blue was just awesome. As most masks I've been using have been quite earthy, I felt like a kid applying it. The texture was something to remark on too. It kind of felt like I was putting paint on my face...(I'm starting to see a theme here)...thinner than a gel and not too sticky. When rinsing my hands, I didn't feel any oily residue or film as some masks leave. +1 for Boscia. Once on, I had to wait 25 min. for it to dry, and oh man, do you feel the effects. They didn't lie about the "cool" part. If I weren't so cold last night, I probably would've enjoyed it...but I was truly freezing...so I bundled up in a blanket and waited for it to dry.

As I waited I decided to investigate the ingredients:

  • +++ Made without Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates
  • Key Ingredient: Deep Sea Whip - known for its powerful natural anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Key Ingredient: Aloe - which we know is good for healing, hydrating and promoting collagen growth.
  • Key Ingredient: Willow Herb - reduces redness.

Ding! Time was up! So I scrunched up my face and began to peel away. And surprise surprise was it fun : P It's always a game trying to see if you can get it off all in one piece...does anyone else do this? 

Positive Results: My skin felt clean, hydrated and refreshed. I had a few spots and I felt they look less red and not as irritated. No filmy residue or dried, overly tight skin.

Negative Results: None. The product delivered as promised...

...that being said, I prefer masks that help minimize pores and exfoliate. I didn't feel this helped with either. However, it didn't promise to. My conclusion left me feeling that this would be a GREAT product for anyone who has a sunburn. It kind of develops into feeling like you've put ice water all over your face. And then combined with the healing properties of aloe, it becomes a must for sunburns (and hot flashes)...it will be something I keep in mind if and when I get one again.

I've never tried Boscia products, so this was a positive first experience. So much so, I plan to try their exfoliating peel-off masks in the near future. Tell me what you think. Have you tried any of the Boscia peel-off masks?

Fresh Look: Carolina Herrera 212 NYC Fragrance

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I am the girl who has worn the same perfume since high school. Not because I was apposed to trying new scents, but simply because nothing compared! I've always worn the original Juicy Couture for my bolder, night out perfume, and the Ralph Lauren Romance for my every day, romantic perfume. Recently, I have been on the hunt for a more "grown up" scent, and Carolina Herrera's 212 NYC checks all the boxes for me.

This product is hugely underrated, and when I was searching for reviews before purchasing, hardly anything came up. The product was so new to Sephora when I went late last year that the consultant couldn't even tell me what the fragrance notes were...it wasn't even in their Fragrance IQ...thing...! But, it stole my heart so I took the plunge. I actually really wanted to put this in my 2013 favorites post, but the product was still to new to me I felt I hadn't adequately tested the product...

Now, after a few months, I write this review to whomever may find this helpful...

Top Notes

Mandarin, Bergamot, Rosette

Middle Notes

Gardenia, Camellia, White Lily, Peony

Base Notes

Sandalwood, White Musk, Satinwood

Eau de Toilette - Availabe in three sizes: 1 oz, 2 oz & 3.4 oz

First Impression:

This perfume is truly heavenly. When it's first applied, you're hit with a sweet, flirty scent that transforms into a sultry, deep fragrance. The bottle is quite nifty with its two in one spray nozzle (on either side), and its sleek modern design. Although, I personally prefer more of a girly, traditional perfume bottle.

BeautydelaMerCarolinaHerrera212

Final Impression:

I'm so happy I purchased this product. It's the perfect mix of fun-and-flirty with sophisticatedly-chic. For an Eau de Toilette, I'd say that the wear is quite long lasting...It definitely lasts a full work day, but I would consider reapplying if I were to be going out at night. My only disgruntlement about the product is that while the unique design of the bottle is refreshing, it is not very practical for storage. With a cylindrical shape, if your counter is all but even (or if your cats like to "play" as they like to call it :P ) this bottle will be everywhere but where you want it.

Bottle aside, I would definitely repurchase this product again. I get compliments on it wherever I go, and it's one of my fiance's favorites.

Product Review: Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gels

Today is a sad day. It is the day I resolve that it is true...my FAVORITE lipstick in the world is, in fact, lost. I have checked EVERY corner of my home, each jacket and purse pocket and every car to no avail. 

So, I write this review as a tribute to my long lost lipstick, the best lipstick ever...Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gels.

On August 9th, 2013 Marc Jacobs released his first ever cosmetics line, and he did not disappoint. The makeup was as luxurious as the brand itself. While the eyeshadow palettes were amazing, his lip line stole my heart - Lovemarc Lip Gels.

For a girl who has the worst chapped lips ever, my biggest issue is finding a lipstick that not only moisturizes, but looks good while doing so. If not applied right, so many lipsticks look TERRIBLE on me. I dream of having perfect lips one day...but until that day comes, I will constantly search for the best lipstick.

Well, dun da da dunnnnn! I found my new favorite! I cannot say enough good things about this product. It's available in 16 different shades of amazing, with a formulation to match.

Currently I have purchased two shades:

  1. 122 All the Way - a rich coral/orange
  2. 112 Severine - a warm beige (my absolute favorite shade in the world!!! Truly a "your lips but better" nude.)
 
BeautydelaMerAlltheWay
BeautydelaMerSeverine

I wish I could've swatched them for you, Lovlies...if only I hadn't lost it :( I will update with swatches as soon as I replace my Severine.

Each shade glides on so smoothly with it's gellified consistency. With great pigmentation, these lipsticks can be worn sheer to opaque (depending on the application). And not only is it well pigmented, but the wear time surpassed my expectations! Most creamy lipsticks have a tendency to slide and come off with the simple pat of your napkin, but this lipstick holds up great! I'd say I had an average wear time of 4-5hrs and was left with a nice stain when the product began to wear away. The formulation also has an additional gloss ingredient, making it the perfect on-the-go option.

Looking at the ingredients can be a bit daunting in their chemical form. So, I thought it would be helpful to breakdown the primary function of each one in the order listed on the label. 

  • Octyldodecanol - Binder, Lubricant
  • Polybutene - Binder, Thickener
  • Phenylpropyldimethylsiloxysilicate - Gloss
  • Polyglyceryl-2 Tetraisostearate - Conditioner
  • Ethylene/Propylene Copolymer - Binder, Thickener
  • Vp/Eicosene Copolymer - Binder
  • Synthetic Fluorphlogopite - Thickener
  • Dicalcium Phosphate - Opacifying Agent
  • Cetyl Peg/Ppg-I0/I Dimethicone - Conditioner
  • Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate - Conditioner
  • Ozokerite - Thickening (wax)
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride - Fragrance, Conditioner
  • Silica - Opacifying Agent
  • Hexyl Laurate - Conditioner
  • Stearalkonium Bentonite - Gel Former
  • Propylene Carbonate - Solvent
  • BHT - Antioxidant (anti-aging), Slows Down Deterioration of Product
  • Methicone - Helps Water Retention in Skin, Conditioner
  • Ethyl Vanillin - Vanilla Scent
  • Hydrogenated Coconut Oil - Conditioner
  • Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil - Lubricant, Conditioner
  • Commiphora Myrrha Resin Extract - Fragrance, Antioxidant (anti-aging)
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E) - Conditioner
  • Gardenia Tahitensis Flower - Fragrance, Conditioner
  • Tocopheryl Acetate - Antioxidant (anti- aging), Conditioner
  • Carmine - Colorant
  • Titanium Dioxide - Opacifying agent, Colorant
  • Iron Oxides - Colorant
  • Red 6 - Colorant
  • Red 7 & 7 Lake - Colorant
  • Blue I Lake - Colorant
  • Yellow 5 Lake - Colorant
  • Yellow 6 Lake - Colorant

As you can see, conditioning agents definitely dominate the list. And after using the product consistently, I can truly say my lips looked more supple after use than any other lipstick I've tried. This all while delivering great color payoff and long wear. If there were one lipstick I would recommend, it would be this one hands down.

For now, I must wait until I can get another one after my no spending challenge is complete....Or(!) I could get Cory to get it for me as a Valentine's gift! :P

This product was in my Top 2013 Products and I'm sure it will forever in my favorites so long as they keep making it! Give it a whirl and let me know what you think about it in the comments below!

My Top Ten 2013 Beauty Products

Happy Monday, Lovelies!

I can't believe 2013 is almost over! I'm so excited for the new year, but first we must commemorate the great year that was 2013 and all the wonderful-ness that it entailed. I found some great products this year that will most likely be amongst my favorites for years to come. And what better way to end the year than to share them with you! So, without further ado, I give you Beauty de la Mer's 2013 Top Ten Beauty Products.

2013 Top Ten Beauty Products

2013 Top Ten Beauty Products

1. Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gel in Severine

I cannot say enough about this lipstick. I have the driest lips in the world, and finding a lipstick that helps moisturize my lips AND looks good on is tough for me. (I always welcome suggestions!) I have very reddish/pink lips naturally, and trying to find a good nude can sometimes be difficult without making them look...well, pink. Congrats Marc Jacobs for making such a wonderful lipstick!

2. Kerastase Masque Elixir Ultime

So rightfully dubbed "liquid gold," this is the peanut butter to my jelly. My twice processed, once bleached and dyed-who-knows-how-many-times hair LOVES this masque. It puts life back into my otherwise dull hair, adds shine, and did I mention it smells AMAZING?!

3. Urban Decay Naked2 Palette

I may have been slightly behind the bandwagon picking up any of the Naked palettes, but to no surprise, I was not disappointed. I decided to only get one and choose between the original Naked and the Naked2...and the winner was...option numero dos! The taupe hued colors work PERFECTLY with my skin tone and eye color. Shout out to the color Tease for being the best color...ever...!

4. Michael Todd Blue Green Algae Toner

During the popular craze of Michael Todd products late last year/beginning of this year, I purchased a whole shebang of products from them including face washes, scrubs, serums, masks, moisturizers, toners and an under eye cream. After using up most of the products, the one I repurchased was this toner. I found my skin was more even toned, more even textured, and less oily after using it...something I had not achieved with other toners. Every time I try something new, I always find myself coming back to this. Definitely a must have in my skin care routine.

5. NARS Guy Bourdin Limited Edition One Night Stand Cheek Palette

Wishlist: cheek palette. Check! Ever since I saw the old LE NARS cheek palette that Fleur de Force had, I wanted one. As if someone finally answered my prayers, they came out with a new palette this holiday. Having the ever popular Orgasm and Laguna, the pleasing peachy tone of Deep Throat, the perfect pink opposites of Mistinguette and Goulue, and the handsome highlighter Devotee who could live without this??? Pretty colors. Check. Easy to travel with. Check. Great price. Check check check!

6. Cle de Peau Cream Foundation in I10

There's not really a moment when I don't want to try a new foundation. I find it's the hardest product to leave me feeling holy grail worthy. Constantly combating oily skin, foundation always leaves something to be desired. That is, until I found this foundation. It's light, has wonderful build-able coverage, and probably my biggest point, it doesn't leave me looking congested. Splurge? Significantly. Worth it? Definitely.

7. Dermalogica c-12 Concentrate

Looking to even out your skin tone? Try this. Enough said.

8. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly

Here was my issue: I have quite long lashes...darn...and every under eye concealer I used seemed to leave me with raccoon eyes. Yes, I use waterproof mascara, and no, I don't put mascara on my bottom lashes. I actually stumbled across this by accident. I had been looking for an under eye concealer for, well, years, and that day I had popped into Sephora to try yet another product. To my fortune, that product was out of stock. NARS had just released this concealer, so I thought I'd give it a try. The rest is history. Most concealers labeled "under eye" were to oily, while general concealers were way to drying. Not this concealer. Great coverage, great consistency, and an abundance of colors. I am happy to announce my dark circles are well hidden, and my mascara is staying right where it belongs.

9. Bath and Body Works Forever Midnight Perfume

I have worn the same perfume since I was seventeen. This year, I thought I should branch out and try something new...and I may have gone a little crazy...To my surprise, I found myself frequently reaching for B&BW's newest scent line - Forever Midnight. From the sweet plum nectar and midnight jasmine, to the rich caramel liqueur, it keeps me coming back every time!

10. Shiseido Sheer Matifying Compact in O00

After trying many powders, I've always reach the same conclusion: congestion. A part of me always thought that it was a part of my life, but this powder minimizes this on a bad day and resolves it all together on a good day! It's great over your daily moisturizer for a natural look and flawless when layered on top of a foundation. It feels smooth, light weight, and it controls my oily t-zone like no other. I hadn't heard anything about it, but after using it religiously I would recommend it to anyone trying to achieve a matte look. A must in my daily beauty bag!

Let me know some of your favorite products from 2013 in the comments below. Be safe and Happy New Year!

Dull, Dry Skin? Top 6 Tips to Help Winter Skin!

Tomorrow, December 21st, will mark the first day of winter, and the temperatures are dropping quickly! We'll see chunky knit scarves, twinkling lights, and Christmas trees on every block. But with the crisp, cool weather and the toasty, warm fires also comes dull and dry skin. Here are my 6 best tips and tricks to combat winter skin!

BeautydelaMerWinterSkin.jpg

Tip #1:

Wash your face well at night, removing any makeup or products from the day. The next morning rinse your face off instead of washing, and then pat dry. By rinsing only, you're not stripping your skin of its natural oils. This will help your skin retain its natural moisture content. I do not recommend this if you have super oily or acne prone skin.  

Tip #2:

Salt it up! Sea salt has numerous beneficial properties for your skin. It helps balance your skins pH levels, detoxify your skin, soothe many skin conditions (like psoriasis) which can flare up even worse during winter, and it's a natural exfoliator. So take a nice warm bath weekly (or more if you'd like!) and add sea salt. 

Tip #3:

Keep it natural. Dyes and perfumes can irritate your winter skin, where they wouldn't in the suppleness of summer. During winter, our skin becomes extremely vulnerable, battling the extremes of climate. You may experience light allergic reactions, such as itching or burning, when you use products normally used without any noticeable issues. To avoid this, use natural or organic products.

Tip #4:

Wear sunscreen...! It's still very important to wear sunscreen during winter. Our skin is just as at risk to UV rays as it is in the warm months of summer. There's nothing worse than a sunburn on top of dry skin! Ouch! If you're in a part of the world where it snows, this is extremely important. Not only are you battling direct sun rays, you also battle snow glare. 

Tip #5:

Don't forget your lips! Your lip skin is one of the most sensitive to outside elements. Cold air, wind and dry heat from heaters and fireplaces can make your lips look drier than the Mojave Desert in the height of summer. Keep them moisturized with lip balms throughout the day. Try to find something with SPF...your lips can burn too!  Exfoliate twice weekly, and don't lick or pick!

Tip #6:

This last one is obvious, but a must for the list...Pile on the moisturizers! Switch your lotions to thicker body butters and balms. If you have really dry skin, I recommend looking for products that are oil based instead of water based. The oil will act as a protective layer and keep moisture locked in. One of my favorites is the Eucerin Original Healing Soothing Repair Creme $12.49.

Let me know if you'd like to see more Tips and Tricks in the comments below. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

My Skin Guide

As a beauty blogger, you can imagine how much time I spend reading and watching videos on new products and/or product reviews...a lot. And unless I've been following a blogger for a while, I can honestly say my number one bête noire is tzhat I have no clue what type of skin they have! So, for all of you out there that are like me, I thought it would be helpful to give you all a breakdown of my skin so you can better understand why certain products work for me. I like to refer to this as My Skin Guide.


My Skin Type:

Combination to Oily Skin

My Skin Tone:

Warm Neutral...with a greater influence of Warm

Skin Care Goals:

  1. Control Oil
  2. Even Out Skin Tone
  3. Diminish Dark Under Eye Circles
  4. Control Minor Acne

Makeup Goals:

  1. Control Oil
  2. Hide Dark Under Eye Circles
  3. Hide Hyperpigmentation from Acne
  4. Achieve a Porcelain Finish
  5. Help my pathetic excuse of cheekbones better frame my face...

It's very important to keep all of these factors in mind when you're searching for any type of beauty product. Check out my Back to Basics series to create your own Skin Guide!