Section: Skincare & Fragrance

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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Mist Me, Please, With the TOCCA Hair Fragrance Collection

Published in: Fragrance, Product Reviews, Tocca

tocca hair fragrance

I can imagine seeing these bottles laid out on a vanity in Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, all nestled amongst the feathers and powders and potions and other opulent things…

Every time I spray one of these TOCCA Capelli Profumatis fragrances, also known as the scents in the TOCCA Hair Fragrance Collection, which is available now exclusively at Anthropologie, into my hair, I can’t stop sniffing my strands!

I’m an unapologetic TOCCA super fan, and these hair mists are just as lovely and fresh as the other fragrances I love in the line.

You mist them on your hair for scent, obvs, but they’re also supposed to moisturize and add a subtle shine, too, which comes courtesy of coconut oil.

tocca hair fragrance

There are five $36 scents in the collection, all of which are inspired by fragrances in the TOCCA line, but they aren’t exact replicas, as TOCCA pulls on some of the notes to bring them to the forefront.

I think these versions smell a little lighter and a little fresher than the original TOCCA fragrances on which they’re based.

I can’t get enough of three of the five. Those are Liliana, which has notes of peach muguet; Collette (which is my FAVORITE, favorite, ahh!), which has notes of vanillla and sandalwood; and Stella, which has notes of Italian blood orange (which is different, ya know, than California blood orange…).

There’s also Cleopatra (grapefruit and cucumber) and Florence (bergamot and gardenia), but I haven’t smelled those two yet. I’m hoping and guessing they’re also lovely.

Official fragrance notes

  • Florence: an alluring combination of bergamot, crushed violet petals and blond wood (floral)
  • Cleopatra: rich amber patchouli blends royally with vanilla musk and hints of tuberose and grapefruit (spice)
  • Colette: a lush mix of bergamot, citrus, juniper and pink peppercorn mingle with florals, musk and woods (fresh)
  • Liliana: neroli, gardenia and faint peach (fresh)
  • Stella: a flirtatious combination of sheer musk, white freesia, blood orange and spicy lily (fresh)

— anthropologie.com

I bet these would make great gifts for a girlfriend’s birthday or… Oh, I gotta remember this! — for Mother’s Day next year. Or maybe this Christmas, but I’m not always sure about giving perfumes as a present because they’re so personal, and because an entire bottle of perfume seems like such a huge commitment on the receiver’s end, ya know?

But a hair scent, I dunno… For some reason, that seems more like an accessory. Plus, TOCCA’s scents have been pretty universally pleasing, in my experience. I’ve never run into a girl who doesn’t like TOCCA.

tocca hair fragrance

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Try the $4 Miss Spa Deep Recovery Pre-Treated Gel Lip Mask for Smoother Lips and a Fun Experience

Published in: Beauty Tips, Guest Post, Lips, Skin Care

Now that summer is here, there are many things I’ve been enjoying that I don’t usually do during winter…like drinking iced coffee without getting strange looks. I also haven’t had a head cold since April, at least, and I’m on the prowl again for the perfect plus-size maxi dress.

But one thing I can never seem to find, no matter the season, is a cure for my dry, flaky lips.

My bag usually has at least two or three different lip balms in it, and I literally hoard them at home, but none of them really, really work. They help, but they aren’t a solution, so now I’m looking for answers outside the realm of everyday lip moisturizers.

I’ve tried exfoliating my lips, but this time I’m going with a more popular approach. I’m testing a mask!

So, face masks are nothing new, as I’m sure you’re aware. Single use sheet masks, in particular, have been extra popular lately (Jen liked this one by Amore Pacific), but have y’all ever tried a lip mask before?

They sound weird, right?

But this affordable little treasure — the Miss Spa Deep Therapy Pre-Treated Gel Lip Mask — was too hard to resist (I’ve seen it at Target for about $3).

This was my first time trying a mask like this, and I was a little surprised when I opened the package for the first time at how thick the mask is.

I assumed it would be a thin sheet mask that would just cover my lips, but as you can see, it’s a little bigger than that.

The Miss Spa Deep Recovery Pre-Treated Gel Lip Mask

I didn’t expect the illustration on the front to be quite so…literal.

The Miss Spa Deep Recovery Pre-Treated Gel Lip Mask

I sort of love the illustrations Miss Spa uses.

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Products I Have Completely Used Up! Will I Repurchase Them?

Published in: Beauty Tips, Guest Post, Makeup Tips/How To, Skin Care

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Do you get that intense feeling of satisfaction when you use the last drop of something you’ve been working on for months? It makes me feel like an actual responsible adult who got her money’s worth! If I completely use up a product, it’s usually a testament to how much I love using it…usually.

Rather than chucking my empties into the garbage, I channeled my inner hoarder and kept my trash in a box to take pictures of and show you all. Totally normal!

1. Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes ($5.99 at Ulta)

Simple Cleansing Towlettes

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes ($5.99 for 25 wipes, available at Ulta)

I’ve gone through an absurd number of these wipes — like, literally more than 20 packs of 25 wipes! I really should collect the empty wrappers to see how many I actually use…

These are my all-time favorite go-to makeup removers. I’ve tried countless different wipes and even micellar water on cotton pads. Some of them are nice, but I always, always, always come back to these.

The actual cloth wipes are so nice and soft and don’t irritate my skin, and the cleanser they’re soaked in is super gentle and doesn’t burn my eyes, but it still does the job and gets off all of my makeup.

Will I repurchase them? Yes, I already have, and I’m quickly burning through my last pack!

2. Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner ($15 for 3.4 oz.)

Pixi Glow Tonic

Pixi Glow Tonic ($15 for 3.4 oz.)

Ugh, I hate how fast I go through these toners! I get the smaller, cheaper 3.4-oz. bottle because I feel like I’m being oh, so thrifty, but I fly through them in about three weeks (I use it twice a day).

I really should get the bigger bottle, huh.

I fell in love with this toner a few months ago and have been religiously using it ever since. I like that it’s exfoliating and helps get rid of some of the bumpy, uneven texture I tend to get on my skin. It really does leave my skin super soft and glowing.

I’ve talked about why I think toners are so important in my Pixi Skincare Routine post, but you really should use one. Really.

Will I repurchase? Yes! As soon as I make it back to Target, which is about an hour away from where I live!

I know. Feel sorry for me. 🙁

3. Yes To Tomatoes Acne Clearing Facial Toner ($9.99 for 8.5 oz.)

Yes To Tomatoes Toner

Yes To Tomatoes Acne Clearing Facial Toner ($9.99 for 8.5 oz.)

You know how when you use something and you’re trying to decide what you think about it, but you really don’t know? That’s how I feel about Yes To Tomatoes Acne Clearing Facial Toner…

I picked it up when my skin was acting up and used it off and on for about six months until I finished it.

I really don’t know what to say about this one!

Obviously, it didn’t “wow!” me, but I didn’t hate it either. It did the job and got my skin super clean, but I can’t really remember if it helped me with breakouts or not. My guess is that if I don’t remember, it probably didn’t.

I wouldn’t completely write this one off, though, if you’re looking for something with salicylic acid and witch hazel to keep your pores nice and tight. I do really like the ingredients in this.

Will I repurchase it? Probably not…mostly because I wasn’t wow’d by it.

4. Ole Henrikson Nurture Me Moisturizer ($40)

Ole Henrickson Nurture Me

Ole Henrikson Nurture Me ($40)

I wish I remember the name of the guy who helped me that fateful day in Sephora when I was encouraged to give this moisturizer a try because he changed my life!

OK, that’s a little much, but I love this moisturizer so much. I went in looking for something, anything, to help calm the redness that I was experiencing on my skin and came out with this.

First off, I have to tell you how good it smells, because if something smells amazing, that makes me love it 100 times more. It legit smells like the most delicious orange Creamcicles… My mouth waters every time I use it.

Of course, the smell isn’t why I use it, though. Not only does it soothe my skin and relieve the redness, but it makes my skin feel so smooth and comfortable. There are no massive, angry breakouts, no redness, no rough texture. My skin is happy!

Will I repurchase? Absolutely! As soon as all the bills are paid and everyone has what they need, I WILL buy my magic orange Creamsicle again.

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This Summer Skin Routine Will Get You Glowing, Sexy, and Glam

Published in: Guest Post, Skin Care, Too Faced

summer-skin-8

It’s been hot here in Georgia lately…like SO hot that I’m running to my car now, yet despite the heat and sun, my legs refuse to tan, no matter how many skirts and dresses I wear. I think my legs might be invincible, guys, LOL!

To combat my blindingly white legs, I’ve been using a bronzing oil, Too Faced Royal Oil Coconut Oil Body Bronzer, and I think it may be a go-to this summer.

But that’s not the first step in my summer skin routine.

It all starts with the bath…

I finally get it… Baths are great. In my new home, I finally have a separate bathtub to relax and lounge in, and the new Shea Moisture “African Water Mint and Ginger” products inspire me to make time for them.

I start with a capful of African Water Mint & Ginger Detox Bubble Bath & Body Wash ($9.99) in the bath. It’s not SUPER soapy — which I like — so there’s no need to jump into the shower to rinse off.

But hands down, my favorite product of the set is the African Water Mint & Ginger Detox Hand & Body Scrub ($9.99). I love the feeling of the sugar breaking down as I rub it into my skin. I feel squeaky clean AND moisturized at the same time because of the oils and shea butter in the formula.

shea moisture detox & refresh african water mint shampoo conditioner

shea moisture detox & refresh african water mint

shea moisture detox & refresh african water mint scrub

An up-close of the sugar scrub

Before I hop out of the bath, I’ll quickly finish up with the African Water Mint & Ginger Detox & Refresh Hair & Scalp Gentle Shampoo ($10.99) and African Water Mint & Ginger Detox & Refresh Hair & Scalp Conditioner ($10.99). 

The conditioner doesn’t wow me (it’s very thick and lotion-y), but the shampoo makes my scalp feel brand new. I use it once or twice a week to combat the hot, humid hair situation (you know — life in the South).

Adding glow and bronze

too faced royal oil

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