Bobbi Brown makeup and my foundation switch

I just found a new everyday product and kicked an old one to the curb. Remember my post on Dior foundation? Well, it was time for a change. After having two friends and my mom in the same week ask me what I thought about Bobbi Brown products, I knew it was time for a review.

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I went to the Nordstrom Bobbi Brown makeup counter and talked with an incredibly nice guy about my foundation needs(something lightweight and non-oily that can be layered for heavier covered but is natural for daily wear) and he headed straight for Skin Foundation SPF 15, the same thing the Bobbi Brown experts online had recommended.

Skin Foundation is so named because it’s supposed to feel exactly like your skin. I like the fact that they kept it simple, no crazy alluring name or elaborate bottle and packaging. (Although, not going to lie, I’ve been a sucker for both of those things in the past)

He did a color match and found Warm Beige was the winner. I bought a bottle and left the store really happy with the quick test makeup he’d applied.http://s7d9.scene7.com/is/image/Barneys/189095127?$feed$

I LOVE it. Seriously, I don’t swoon over products very often but this one is swoon-worthy. To the point where I’d confidently say if you need a light-coverage foundation, you need to try this. I’ve been using it for a solid week now and can’t seem to find a thing wrong with it. You’ll notice there’s been an update here, to my everyday product list. This one is going to stick around for a while.

If you’d like to try Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation, click here to give it a try from Nordstrom. Remember, Nordstrom has free shipping and free returns so if you don’t like it, it’ll be easy to return or replace with another color.

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Road Test: Eye Primers

In my recent Sephora purchase, I bought the NARS Smudge-proof Eye Shadow Base. It was a test to see if I could replace my Bareminerals Brightening cream eye shadow primer. I was looking for something faster to apply because, honestly, the Bareminerals cream is slightly time-consuming to put on and periodically I end up squeezing WAY too much out of the bottle and therefore wasting some of my $18 eye primer.

First, these primers are completely opposite and both great in their own regard. One is more of a true primer (NARS) and one is more of a pre-eyeshadow cream (Bareminerals). The Bareminerals has a pinkish sheen to it, as you can see on the left in the picture below. The NARS Smudge-proof Eyeshadow Base is on the right.

Here they are with a little bit of smearing. The NARS would be completely clear if rubbed just a tiny bit more but even when blended, Bareminerals keeps a pearly sheen.

So here’s the down and dirty of the review:

Price: NARS is $24, Bareminerals is $18

Application: NARS wins. It’s faster to apply due to the wand and it can’t be wasted by over-squirting like Bareminerals.

Crease after long wear: They are very close, but I’d say NARS wins by a slight margin. There was absolutely zero crease after 10-12 hours where with Bareminerals, there would be a slight line.

Ability to work with all shadows: Bareminerals wins. Because it’s creamy and doesn’t dry as matte, Bareminerals works better with both cream and powder shadows. Pressed powder was a little dry when applying on top of the NARS.

Which one will I keep for everyday use? NARS. I like how it doesn’t have any color but I will still continue to use Bareminerals when I don’t have time for a layer of shadow or I want the pearl undertones. But overall, NARS is my new everyday product!

Where are the Cyber deals for beauty products?

Good morning ladies,

Today is one of my top 10 favorite holidays. 🙂 Cyber Monday! Online shopping at its best. But so far today…I’m not finding any major beauty deals. Are you? Why is Ann Taylor offering 40% off and Banana Republic selling the store for 30% off when Sephora is offering a “free secret gift?” Why is Saks putting designers on clearance for 40% off and Beauty.com is offering a “valuable gift with purchase”? Where are the beauty Cyber Deals? Even Anthropologie is giving free shipping.

It’s a conundrum.

But I will say, Saks has some amazing gifts with beauty purchase today. (click here to find them) And in all fairness to Beauty.com, one of their gifts is a Voluspa candle, which is one of my favorite candles of all time. (click here to see it) So while all is not lost, next year I want to see the beauty retailers step it up a notch. I want to see 20% off or some big savings. Lots of us buy beauty products online and Cyber Monday should celebrate that!

What do you think about the beauty deals on Cyber Monday?

 

Thanksgiving Makeup Tips

Tomorrow is Turkey Day! I can’t wait. It’s the ultimate dinner party holiday. My husband and I hosting again this year and it’s going to be a day full of cooking, eating, drinking and indulging. Now Thanksgiving isn’t nearly as hard on my skin as the annual Christmas cookie swap but between the chocolate pecan pie and buttery sweet potatoes, it’s still not a skin-friendly holiday. I’m definitely prone to butter-induced breakouts but have never let that stop me from having a cookie over the holidays so here are a few of my products and tips for staying clear through Christmas!

1. Use a primer on long days or big occasions: Primer helps absorb oils on the skin and puts a layer of protection between your skin and your foundation, which can pick up oil and dirt from your hands and the air. My favorite primer of all time is Hourglass Mineral Primer. It literally feels like rubbing the softest silk on your face. The big size is $52 but jump in with the travel size (click here) for only $18.

2. Have a spot treat on stand by: Having a fantastic sulphur-based spot treatment ready at the first sign of a blemish is critical to any beauty routine! Salacylic acid is a thing of the past, bring on the sulphur. Sulphur not only reduces redness but it also heals the skin. The salacylic acid mostly worked by trying to dry out (and often irritate) your skin. I absolutely love the Sanitas Tea Tree Clay Mask as a spot treatment because it has both treatments!. I’ve never used it as a full-face mask but I’m sure that works great too!

3. Get a facial. I know, I know. You’ve heard me mention this one a few times.  But it’s worth it! It deep cleans your pores and any sausage stuffing or pumpkin pie that is ready to break your face out will be stopped in its tracks.

Enjoy! Cheers to a happy Thanksgiving holiday!

xoxo

Emily

DiorSkin Nude Foundation: Love/Hate Relationship

Ladies, I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time. It’s a long-standing issue I’ve had with my (so far) favorite foundation. I’ve been using the DiorSkin foundation for over a year and love it. It’s a great match for my skin, it delivers the perfect amount of coverage and it never looks too matte or chalky. However, there’s one big reason why it doesn’t deserve a permanent spot in my makeup drawer. 

After using a bottle for 2-3 months, it becomes chunky and granular when it comes out of the bottle. (See photo below) I have taken it back to Sephora for replacement bottles three times now because I just love the stuff, but it never lasts more than three months. Is that because you’re supposed to replace your foundation that often? Is it because Dior wants you to replace your bottle? I have no idea. But every single time, without fail, it becomes clumpy.

So ladies: what foundation should I replace it with? I’m really considering Guerlain Lingerie de Peau but what others would be worthy tests? Let me know in the comments!

Road Test: Makeup Sponges

As you’ll notice in this photo, I got my box from Sephora! Woohoo! There are two everyday products in here, the Jack Black balm (it’s sold out on Sephora, go here to get it fast from Beauty.com!) and the Brown Sugar body spray, and two new products I’m going to try and review! The first of the newbies is a package of makeup sponges.

Here’s a picture of my Sephora brand make up sponge next to the Laura Mercier contoured makeup sponge. Pretty big difference, right? The Laura sponge is bigger, thicker and much more pourous. A four-pack of the contoured sponges is $15 and a two-pack of the Sephora sponges is $6.

Now if you’re applying liquid foundation with a sponge correctly (there will be a future post on this!) you know to wet the sponge and squeeze out excess water and then use it to apply foundation. Otherwise, the sponge will absorb your expensive foundation and you’ll go through it twice as fast. Plus, the moisture helps apply foundation more evenly. This trick is 10 times more important with the Laura Mercier sponge. It really absorbs foundation otherwise because the pores on this sponge are much bigger than the pores on the white Sephora sponge.

I loved the shape and the larger size of the contoured sponges. It was a faster foundation application than usual with very even coverage. It will be under scrutiny for a few more days before earning a permanent spot in my makeup drawer, but so far so good! In the near term, I could see it replacing the smaller more foamy (instead of spongy) Sephora sponges.

What do you use to apply foundation? I’d love to know! Leave it in the comments.

My three favorite Scented Holiday Candles

In my world, candles fall into the same obsessive category as beauty products. Maybe it’s because I want my house to smell like Anthropologie or maybe it’s because a great holiday candle makes it truly seem like Christmas. Either way, I love me a great smelling candle.

I have a few favorite candles but since Thanksgiving is only 8 days away, I thought it would be timely to share my three favorite holiday candles! Here they are, in no particular order. 🙂

Yankee Candle in Mistletoe

This candle smells exactly like Christmas when we start to unpack the decorations and put up the tree. You detect hints of ornaments right out of the box, freshly cut Christmas trees, cider, dust and even snowy air. All of it. It’s wonderful. Definitely not a candle I start burning before Thanksgiving though.

Bath and Body Works 3-wick candle in Winter

This candle is fresh, sweet, pine-scented and snowy. It’s a great one to have burning on cold days and doesn’t scream of Christmas nearly as much as Mistletoe (above).

Anthropologie Hobnail candle in Frosted Pine 

The priciest of my three picks but the prettiest, this is a great splurge candle. I usually buy one or two each year as “gifts” then just give them to myself. The jar is beautiful and the scent is divine. Even though the Frosted Pine is my favorite, the Hobnail candle also comes in a Pomegranate and Applespice that are very good, but a little sweet for me.

What are your go-to scented candles? What is burning at your house right now? Leave it in the comments, I’d love to know!

Some seriously strong self tanner

I actually received LORAC Tantalizer in a set of samples from Sephora. I’ve tried many self tanners and bronzers over the years but never found the perfect one that you can easily slather on the day of a special occasion and have a nice glow

without the streaks OR the icky self tanner smell. My go-to in the past had been Philosophy’s The Big Skinny (right), which is skin firming and gives you a very subtle tan but in my opinion smells like tanning lotion and if not applied super carefully, can create streaks.

Tantalizer was different! I used it a few times before my October 20 wedding and each time it gave me an ever-so-slightly shimmery bronze. Warning: it is not for the fair of skin. It is a really dark self tanner.

Before the wedding I used it across my shoulders and collar-bone and it was the perfect sun-kissed glow. I even got compliments on how perfectly tan I looked! Tantalizer is NOT your everyday tanning lotion but for a last-minute glow on a night out, it’s perfect. Plus, it smells really nice. Note: they do have a lighter version! Click here for their Luminizer, which is not as dark as Tantalizer.

Why I spend more on facials than on clothes

Okay, so I haven’t exactly done the research or added up my checking account to confirm this, but I do spend a lot on facials. Your skin is more integral to an outfit than any accessory. And while you might wear your favorite pair of jeans every week, your skin is on display every single minute. Plus, while you can get rid of a pair of shoes or replace a beat up purse, your skin doesn’t work the same way…so take care of it!

Facials are my guilty pleasure but also one of the best things I do for my skin. If you haven’t gotten a facial before, you are SO missing out. A good facial smooths skin, tightens pores, clears clogged pores, helps maintain elasticity, slows aging and just all around feels great. But not all facials are created equal! Here are my tips for choosing a great esthetician and booking your first facial:

1. Get a recommendation. Ask a friend who gets regular facials who they use and why they go back to that person. A good esthetician is just as important as a great hair stylist!

2. Never book a facial that is less than 50 minutes. Any less than this and your skin really doesn’t have time to open up under steam and you won’t get the full impact. A shorter facial, sometimes called “express” facials can end up bringing dirt and bacteria to the surface of your skin and causing breakouts a week later.

3. Ask what products the spa uses and do a little research. I have probably had between 50-75 facials in my life with a variety of products and brands. But hands down, I have the best results with the Sanitas line. My esthetician swears by the products, which are natural and made in Boulder, CO.

Here are some other handy facial details!

Cost: Facials are an investment in the present and the future of your skin. A good facial will be between $70-$100.

Timing: Don’t forget the timing rules of facials! Never get one right before a date or night out and never try a new facial for the first time if you are less than 2 weeks before a big event. For some people, they will see irritation for a day or two after their facial. I schedule a facial every 6 weeks typically and I can always tell when I’m overdue. My skin feels unbalanced and I’ll have an extra blemish or two. After a facial, I can tell a huge difference within 3 days and my skin is at its best after 7 days.

Where I go: Personally, I go to the Oxford in Denver, CO and see Jenn for my facials. She’s wonderful and one of the sweetest people and has been taking great care of my skin for nearly a year now.

Do you get regular facials? Are you going to try one for the first time? Leave it in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

Makeup Disappointment: All Nighter Finishing Spray

There are a variety of makeup setting products and while I don’t use one daily (who really needs to set their makeup for the day? If you do, you’re probably using the wrong makeup) I’d love to find one worth using on special occasions. I had such high hopes for All Nighter, a spray makeup setting product from Urban Decay but it only gets a B- grade.

I tested All Nighter 5 times total with a combination of makeup. I used it with a foundation primer and liquid foundation and also when I used only a light layer of powder Bare Minerals foundation. I thought the results were better with the foundation primer…but that could have been a result of the primer.

Overall, it didn’t make my make up stay any longer than it would have otherwise and while it didn’t make my face oily, I thought it increased the shine. Urban Decay makes a few variations of All Nighter, including a shine-reducing finishing spray, which might solve that problem.

Also, unless you’re going to make this a daily product, it would take ages to go through the fairly large bottle. If you want to give it a go with less investment, here is a smaller size.