My Latest Skincare Finds for Combination Skin

Published in: Guest Post, Skin Care

combination skin

Fresh-faced in my work-from-home uniform of gym clothes and funky glasses

Over the past year or two, my decidedly normal skin became very “combination.”

Maybe it was my cross-country move from NYC to the Bay Area, or maybe it’s just that I’m in my 30s now, but I’m constantly looking for the right products for my sensitive, combination skin.

Here are some things I’ve been testing:

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The skincare products I’ve been testing lately (L to R): boscia Charcoal Mattifying Makeup Setting Spray, Erborian Bamboo Matte Lotion, Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 and Sephora Clarifying Booster

I don’t like heavy skin products, especially now that it’s consistently over 85 degrees every day, so I’ve been trying out all kinds of different things, from setting sprays and toners, to SPF and skincare boosters.

First up is Erborian Bamboo Matte Lotion (available at Sephora for $34). It’s the product I’ve been using the longest of this bunch, and for good reason. I love it! It’s definitely earned a place in my skincare routine.  

It’s actually a toner, and I picked it up randomly one day at Sephora because I’d been curious about it for a while. As you can see in the photo above, a powder settles at the bottom of the bottle. I just give it a quick shake and apply directly to my face.  

Since my skin is classic combination right now — dry on my cheeks and shiny along my T-zone — I can’t really get down with strong toners because they just make my skin feel too tight, but this Bamboo Matte Lotion manages to work well wherever I use it.

The water is infused with moisturizing bamboo, but the powder helps soak up oil. 

I love applying this after I wash my face. It just balances my skin so perfectly.

I’ve also been testing Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 (also available at Sephora, and it’s $40).

It’s a moisturizer with SPF, and I definitely like the convenience of having one product that does both. It does a great job preventing shine, but at the end of the day, my cheeks feel a bit tight when I use it. I don’t think that translates into visual dryness, but I can feel it!

Also, I feel like SPF 15 is pretty low for a sunscreen, and I like to wear SPF 30 at least. My uncle was diagnosed with skin cancer when I was in junior high, and even though he was able to get treatment in time and is doing just great now, that experience alerted me to the danger of not protecting myself from the sun. 

I’m gonna get off my soapbox now, but outside of the low SPF, I think this Murad does a good job at keeping my skin matte.

combination skin

Testing serums, sprays, toners and lotions

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How Do You Store Your Makeup Brushes?

Published in: Just For Fun

brush-storage

What’s your current makeup brush storage situation?

Do you stick them in your favorite mug (the one that says “Crazy Cat Lady” on it), throw them in your makeup bag, or drop ’em in a box all willy-nilly? Or do you do something else?

For the longest time, I kept mine in this roll-up travel bag contraption with different compartments, and served me well for many, many years, but — SADNESS! — I guess I loved my brushes so hawd that a few of the compartments have holes in them. The bag is falling apart. 🙁

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So I’ve been looking for a replacement, or another solution to this obviously pressing dilema, for a few months…

On a recent trip to Homegoods with my friend Marisol, Marisol picked up a desktop organizer similar to the Sheffield Home 6-Section Desktop Organizer ($19.99) pictured at the top, but she got it in black.

They’re kind of like a lazy susan for desktop accessories — ya know, pencils, pens and whatnot — but you can also use it as a makeup brush holder.

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I didn’t get one that day because I wanted a different color to fit my office decor, but every time I’ve gone back to Homegoods since then I’ve looked specifically for that twirly thingamabob. I’ve seem it in brown, black, white and gray, and a different version where the carousel sides are shorter and more squat.

But then this past weekend I went and saw this mint green one, and I was like, “Yup! That’s it!”

I think the beauty in this thing is that you can separate your brushes in whatever way makes sense to you, whether it’s by brush function, shape, whether they’re clean or dirty, or how often you use them.

Oh, and it twirls, which is nice.

If you live by a Homegoods, keep an eye out for this bad boy. I found mine in the section where they have office furniture and supplies, but I’ve also seen it in the aisles near the big storage boxes and baskets by the bathroom items.

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Let me know how you store your brushes in the comments. Bonus Q: Are your brushes currently clean or dirty? I’ve got a whole pile of dirty ones waiting to be washed.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

The Benefit Brow Collection Has Everything You Need to Tame Your Brows!

Published in: Benefit, Guest Post, Product Reviews

I could not wait to review these new Benefit brow collection products! I’ve been teased and tortured by all the sneak peaks on social media, and y’all don’t even know the level of restraint it took for me to snap these pictures before tearing apart the packaging. 🙂

benefit brow

Basically, everything you’d ever need to do your brows!

Benefit recently released these new-and-improved brow products, and I’m pretty sure there’s something here for everyone.

First up, there’s the Goof-Proof Brow Pencil.

benefit brow

Talk about a great specimen of a brow pencil!

I wanted to try the $24 Goof-Proof Brow Pencil first because it’s what I would typically use for my brows — a brow pencil. I like the ease of just doing a few swipes with a pencil and then blending it out with a spoolie. 

The level of pigment surprised me! I mean, you definitely want to use a light hand when filling in your brows with Goof-Proof because this smooth, creamy pencil is no joke.

It’s flat and rectangular, unlike most brow pencils, and it took me a couple of tries to get used to the shape. But I like it. You can use the wider end to quickly fill in your brows or the thin edge to get more precise. 

I still haven’t *quite* mastered it yet, but I love the pigmentation and the sturdy brush at the other end.

Although this is one of the softer brow pencils I’ve ever used, I haven’t had any issues with it fading throughout the day.

benefit brow

Comparison of Benefit Goof-Proof Brow Pencil and the Colourpop Brow Pencil

I tested these Benefit brow products over the course of a week or so, and here’s a quick snap of me trying Goof-Proof:

benefit brow

Wearing Benefit Goof-Proof Brow Pencil and 3-D Browtones (love the natural look)

Next up is $24 3-D Browtones. I pretty much always wear some sort of brow gel because my brows are bushy as hell, and I need something to tame these bad boys! So, while brow gel isn’t new to me, I was really intrigued by 3-D Browtones, which is described as a subtle highlighting gel for brows.

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:)

This One-Trick Pony Broke Away From Browns Today and Swapped Them for Mauve #FOTD

Published in: Face of the Day (FOTD), Guest Post

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I have a horrible habit of only wearing browny/goldy/bronzey eyeshadow.

I’m kind of a one-trick pony when it comes to that.

But it’s good to break out of your routine every now and then, so I decided to try using some mauve and taupe shades, and I loved it!

Obviously, I’ve used mauve and taupe before, but I just forgot how pretty they can look! I was super happy with how this look turned out, so I thought I would document it and share the products I used.

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NARS Sheer Glow Foundation has crawled its way back into my heart. I always do this — I rediscover things and wonder why on earth I ever stopped using them! Sheer Glow gives such a flawless look to the skin without looking like heavy makeup.

Nars Sheer Glow in Monte Blanc

NARS Sheer Glow in Monte Blanc

Under my eyes, I used Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer, of course, because it’s the only concealer I ever use these days. It’s literally the best concealer I’ve ever used.

I’m pretty sure I’ve blabbed about it a lot before, so I’ll keep it short today. It’s lightweight, lovely and covers everything I need it to without going cakey. I use it to conceal under my eyes and to highlight my cheekbones, nose, chin and center of my forehead.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Light Neutral

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Light Neutral

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Light Neutral

Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Light Neutral

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What an Amazing Moment… I Remember It Like It Was Yesterday #sponsored

Published in: Dove, Sponsored Post

"So, are the shrimp appetizers ready?"

“Are the shrimp appetizers ready?”

As a participant in the Dove Clinical Protection Amazing Moments campaign, I received compensation in exchange for creating this post. Although the post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. @Dove #DovePartner #SimplyStylist #sponsored

Thank goodness for waterproof mascara, because every single time I watch this video from Dove, I get super emo.

Part of the reason — and I still can’t believe this is real — is that my 10-year wedding anniversary is coming up (first week in July!), and this short film is about a young lady named Louisa and her proposal story with her fiancé Rob.

All of us have amazing moments in our lives, and some of them seem almost impossibly unexpected and unreal. In this short film by Dove, a real woman named Louisa surprises the love of her life with a marriage proposal and puts Dove Clinical Protection Antiperspirant to the test.

When I watch it my insides turn to goo. It also brings back memories of my wedding day…

I know that everyone says this, but for reals! — it seems like it was yesterday. El Hub and I got married on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, which is where his family is from. It was at a resort on the North Shore called Turtle Bay, and I’ll never forget how nervous I was about everything going smoothly because we decided to do the planning ourselves instead of hiring a wedding planner (note to self: it was MUCH harder than I expected).

On the actual day, literally as I was getting my hair and makeup done, I was also on the phone making sure the musician got paid and that the caterers were remembering to put the toppers on the wedding cake — basically handling all of those little last-minute wedding details — and this was going on right up until the instant I put on my shoes and my veil!

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