Everyday Eye Makeup

Copy of 5 Minute makeup

Hello, hello again Beautiful! For today, I would love to share with you my go-to eye look for days that I wear eyeshadow. I have a formula for my hooded eye shape that really works to lift and brighten my eyes. I can use this method with any color palette – but I almost always choose neutrals for myself (Naked palette is my holy grail!). Let’s go!

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I always start with an eyelid primer because most shadows on my eye lids will travel into the creases very quickly without it. Urban Decay Primer Potion is my go-to, it has the perfect dry cream texture that really helps when blending shadows over it. My eye makeup wears flawlessly the entire day (or night ;)) without budging. This is one of my pricier options, but you only need the tiniest amount and it just works so well. I do have a budget friendly option that works exceptionally well – Wet n Wild Photo Focus Eyeshadow Primer. This primer has a tackier texture so I have to be a bit more precise with my application, but it works so well at keeping your shadow on!

Next up, I like to take a fluffy brush and apply a shadow that’s close to my skin tone, maybe a tone or two lighter, all over my lid and up into my crease. This base shadow really helps me to blend the areas of shadow, it’s more important when you’re using a tackier primer.

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I have been using and loving this Naked Basics palette for every day looks and as a good option for having good blending colors for any other look. I often will just pack this palette for vacations and trips. UD shadows are some of my absolute favorites and they have been since I started really getting into makeup.  They have deep pigmentation, a creamy perfect texture, and no fallout.

From here, I like to deepen my crease with a mid tone brown (Lockout in the UD palette) and my absolute favorite eye brush for hooded eyes – a Mac 217. Because of my hooded eye shape, I start this color just above my natural crease while still following the shape of my crease. I find that deepening the area just above my crease I am able to open up my eye look by pulling the crease area up. Then blend, blend, blend! The 217 is perfect for a nice controlled blend.

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After deepening and lifting my crease, I use the pad of my ring finger to apply a lighter shadow with a bit of shimmer directly on to my lid.  A quick blend with my trusty 217 and I’m good to go!

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If I want to add a bit more depth (to transition from day to night, or just darken up your look a bit) I like to add a deep brown to my outer corner and blend into my crease. I love to use a smaller brush (my personal favorite for this job is the Sigma E27) for darker colors because it helps to give me more control over placement. I can really direct the color to exactly where I want it. Lately I’ve been loving to blend out these outer corner/crease colors with an angled brush, a Sigma E70.

Next up, my favorite liner – Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil. I love this pencil for so many reasons. It glides on like a gel and is easily blendable, and once it’s set it will not budge! NYX Slide On Eye Pencil is a fantastic budget friendly alternative.

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I always place my liner on my upper lash line and start with small swipes to get a nice, even line. Blending my liner softens my look and gives me that smoked look that I love. I normally use my ring finger pad again, or a cotton swab to blend it out just a bit. I sometimes will add just a bit more liner right on my lash line to deepen that up, and on to mascara! I almost never line my lower line, but when I do I like to blend it out a bit too. It’s amazing to me what this liner technique does to open my eyes! In some cases liner can really close up the eye, but having this subtle smoked line really opens up my eye shape.

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My favorite mascara at the moment is L’oreal Lash Paradise. I push the brush in to the base of my lashes, give it a good wiggle to press the product on to all the lashes, and turn while you are pulling the wand up. This technique really surrounds each lash and coats them root to tip so you’re getting a really full, lengthened look.

This is my go-to formula for my everyday eye look, but it’s also a great foundation for a multitude of other looks! I love to do this technique with different colors, too. Try it out, and let me know what you think! Oh, and don’t forget to check out my IG for a quick little video tutorial if that’s more your speed :)!

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My 5-Minute Makeup Routine

Hello Beautiful! I’m back today to tell you about my 5 minute makeup routine that I do just about everyday.  I’m a mom to 2 young guys and I work full time as an RN so I need a quick routine in the morning that will also last all day. Using a few key products I can go from tired and dull to fresh and bright without taking forever or costing a small fortune. Let’s get started!

First a quick thin layer of primer. This is an extra-credit product that might not be necessary for everyone’s skin type or need. I use one for multiple benefits – I love how it minimizes the look of my pores, smooths the application of foundation and keeps it from breaking up on my skin, and, most importantly, makes my makeup last longer. The one I’m using currently is Urban Decay’s Optical Illusion. I really like this product, it’s got the consistency of a dry cream and it smooths on to the skin very easily. I use a small dot and smooth it around my face focusing on patting it in my t-zone area. It has a little bit of an illuminating effect.

Now we are ready for foundation! I plan on doing a full post just on this topic because it’s the one product I get the most questions about (understandably!). For now though I am using and loving Estée Lauder Double Wear. I am in the shade Desert Beige. I really love this foundation for how well it wears for a full day, the smoothness and skinlike effect it gives, and how well the color works for me. I normally apply with my fingers and blend all over my face, up into my hair line and down my jawline. I’ll blend even further with my beauty blender for a flawless, skin-like finish.

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For concealers I have been really loving Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in the shade moderately fair. I will apply this with my fingertips and blend super gently with my beauty blender. My under eye area is a bit of a trouble zone for me. I have some pretty dark circles that have gotten worse with age (I’m 35) and some fine lines. I love how this concealer helps plump and tighten the area while being moisturizing with great coverage. I set my under eye area with a quick swipe of e.l.f. Smooth and Set Eye Powder. This is a recent discovery for me but I am LOVING it. I love that it’s a super finely milled powder that has a bit of a pearly, illuminating effect while setting my thin under eye area without looking cakey or creasing. At $4, it really can’t be beat. I used Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder for years, and loved it. It set my under eye area, brightened, and the product lasted a long time. However – I actually like the e.l.f. product more! It looks more natural to me (no visible reflective “glitter” like pieces) and stays on my skin longer.  I use a small eyeshadow blending brush (like this) to apply this powder just around my eyes and up on to the lid.

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My all-time favorite setting powder is Mac’s Mineralize Skin Finish Natural in the shade medium. It is pricey but I despise the way powder can make you cakey so fast (especially as I get older), and this product doesn’t leave that powdery halo behind.  It will also last a super long time! I use this product with a powder brush mainly in the center of my face and over any concealed area. I love that it doesn’t dull my skin or make it look dry, it really does have a skin like finish.

I always go straight to my eyebrows after I’m done with foundation, for some reason it feels very needed after evening out my skin. I only use one product on my brows most days – NYX Micro Brow Pencil in the shade Ash Brown. This is a soft, but finely pointed brow pencil that gives amazing pigmentation and stays on all day. I only twist up a small amount of product before I apply because it is a softer pencil that can break off. I love the fine tip for applying hair like strokes through my brows and MY GOD what a difference it makes.

A quick blending of blush on the apples of my cheeks really wakes up my face and helps me glow. Right now I am loving (and have loved for years) Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in the shade Seduce – a perfect rosy nude. I also have Blissful which is a bright peachy rose. I love this blush for it’s pigmentation and how long it lasts on my skin. The colors are just so pretty, too. Another shade I reach for often is NARS Orgasm (love that name). There’s a reason this is a classic shade that everyone loves. It’s just such a perfect neutral toned peachy pink that has a pretty shimmery finish that really looks like a natural glow.

Last up I apply two coats of mascara. I had been hearing so much about Loreal’s Voluminous Lash Paradise, so I decided to give it a try. I really like it, I do find it very comparable to Too Faced Better Than Sex (which is one of my all time favorite mascaras). However, for me, it dries out so quickly. I find that after a week or so of using it I have to put a few drops of contact solution in to loosen it up again. Having said that though, for the price it really is a great mascara.

From here, I am good to go! Some days I finish with a quick spray of my go-to Setting Spray to really keep my makeup locked in all day so I don’t have to worry. Other days, I’m out the door!

I think that these few basic steps help elevate my look and keep me polished for a quick and unfussy day look. It is so easy to touch up and add to for transitioning to evening (future post idea!). I filmed a highlighted video on my Instagram showing my step by step routine – it’s my first time filming myself but I think it could be helpful for some so I went for it :). Let me know what you think! We’ll chat about my go-to eye look next!

 

Easy Every Day Waves: Hair Tutorial

Easy Everyday Waves

Hello again, Beautiful! Today I would love to share with you my easy everyday loose curl look. This is something that I love to do when I wear my hair down, and I’m able to get them done in the morning in about 20-25 minutes. It’s a bit of a time commitment in those early morning hours when I’m usually rushed but I can generally stretch it out 3 or sometimes 4 days so it feels worth it. I like my waves to be a little messy and full but still clean. I can also use these loose curls as a base for other styles (half up, messy bun) that I’ll share in a future post. I’m in no way qualified to do hair but this definitely works for my hair type (fine, straight) and after some experimentation with loads of products. I’ll give some tips on time saving, making them last, and how to keep them fresh after a workout too! Let’s do it!

With my first styling, I start with freshly washed hair. The shampoo and conditioner I absolutely love is R and Co Television Perfect Hair.  It’s pricey, but oh so worth it. It’s color safe and it really cleans the hair without making it feel weighed down or stripped. You only need about a nickel sized amount because the formula is concentrated, so the bottle will easily last at least a month (depending on how often you like to wash your hair). A great drugstore option is Love Beauty & Planet Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower.  I love this set for the same reasons I love the R and Co – it cleans my hair well without leaving a ton of buildup and making it feel weighed down. My hair is fine and will get oily much faster if there is lot of product left behind, so I love that this formula cleans and conditions my hair while rinsing clean. I like that neither of these products have a super strong scent, I like my hair to smell clean but not perfumed. Both lines are safe for color treated hair like mine, too.  About once a week I like to use this deep conditioner from about mid-shaft down to my tips. I love that this is affordable, works really well at giving my hair a moisture boost, and rinses without weighing my hair down or making it look greasy.

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After washing and conditioning I use two products on my wet hair: Aquage Uplifting Foam focused on my roots and a styling cream on my ends. The Aquage foam gives my roots lift like no other, plus just a touch of texture that keeps it full throughout the day. I recently found and have been loving the Living Proof Prime Style Extender as a styling cream that works almost like a modern day mousse, without the tacky crunchiness. I use about a quarter size amount and apply it from root to tip. I love the green tea scent it has and I really have noticed a big difference in the way my hair holds a style with this product. I have also noticed that I don’t really need any additional styling creams when I use this (my hair is pretty fine, so more layers tend to weigh it down) but if you have a different hair type you can layer this product under your favorite styling creams and still get the additional hold.

From here I blow dry my hair in two sections, just top and bottom, with my favorite round brush. I desperately need a new blow dryer, I’ve had mine for an embarrassingly long amount of time and it’s not awesome. I’ve been looking closely at the BabylissPro Nano Titanium Dryer and possibly even a refurbished Dyson. I have seen a few people mention that getting the very pricey Dyson this way can be more affordable.DSC_0211

Once I’m done drying I go right into curling. I’ll usually have my curling iron heating up while I’m drying. I section my hair in to 2 sections again, just top and bottom. I then bring in a secret weapon, Paul Mitchell Hot off the Press spray. This is like a pre hair spray, it provides heat protection and a bit of hold for my curls. My hair doesn’t hold curl super well, especially since I stopped adding a lot of blonde in (I do have some balayage highlights added in the front sections about twice a year).

I start in the back and make my way toward the front, curling away from my face. I prefer to always curl away from my face instead of alternating curl directions because I feel like it looks better on me and it’s easier to touch up the next few days. I like to come in and curl a few pieces higher up but still in the same direction to give it extra texture and to keep it from clumping together. Check out my highlighted stories on Insta for a quick video tutorial (if your like me and seeing the process helps!).DSC_0219

When I’m done curling a section I do not touch it until it’s cooled completely. Once all the curls are set I’ll spray everything with my go-to OG hairspray. I’ve used this hairspray for years, it works really well for holding the curls without being too stiff or crunchy. I want them to look soft and touchable, albeit messy, and this spray delivers at a price point that is hard to beat.

After everything is set and the spray is dry I will go in and touch up and curls that look limp or add a few higher curls for texture. I don’t use anymore hairspray but most days I do come in with my favorite texture spray, another R and Co winner. A quick spray with this from about mid shaft down and I’m good to go!

Usually by day two my curls are more like loose waves and that can be really pretty without touching up, but I almost always like to come back in with my curling iron and bring in a few more defined sections. I like to hit my roots with a dry shampoo to keep any oiliness at bay. My current favorite is the Kristen Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo.

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On the days that I work out I love to wash my hair afterward and start fresh, but it’s not always possible. Enter one of my star products – another dream product by R & Co – their Spiritualized Dry Shampoo. This product is actually not dry but it does contain a bit of alcohol and micellar water to help clean the hair. I shake and spray all over in sections next to my scalp. If I’m super sweaty I will come in again with my blowdryer after spraying this product on to dry any sweat and keep bacteria and odors at bay. I found this technique really works for me to give me an extra day or two before washing again. By drying the sweat in your hair you’re removing a lot of the moisture (and oils with the spray) that bacteria need to grow and produce odor, making it fresh again. A quick pass with the curling iron to touch up and I’m good as new!

I have loved doing my hair like this for a few years now. It’s versatile and easy, but still gives me polish and personality. Let me know what you think!

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My Favorite Manicure – That Lasts

Hello again, Beautiful! Let’s talk nails today. I’m here to give you a step by step guide to my gel-like manicure that will last 7 solid day (or more), my go-to favorite products, and some tips I’ve learned along the way. This process normally takes me about an hour (including drying time).

I start with clean, dry nails. My first steps are:

  • Clip – I like to keep my nails on the shorter side, so I will clip them about every two weeks or more. I love a clipper that is straight across, like this.
  • File to shape – I file my nails to a square, or “squoval”, shape. I have used and loved this nail file for years, it has just the right amount of grit for my nails.
  • Buff – I use this buffer to give a quick buff to the surface. This removes the tops of rough ridges and also helps to remove surface oils. This step is like extra credit for making your manicure last. It’s definitely not required (especially if you have weak or brittle nails – you can use a ridge filler, like this) but it definitely helps.
  • Cuticle care – Next I use this cuticle remover gel on my cuticles to help remove any dead skin. I apply it to my cuticles and then use a cuticle pusher, like this, to gently push back my cuticles and removed any traces that might be adhered to my nail bed. I do have a pair of cuticle nippers that I use to very gently clip any hang nails or things like that, but I do NOT clip my cuticles off with them. Cuticles serve a purpose and as long as I keep them clean and maintained I don’t find them to be unsightly.
  • Exfoliate – Once I’ve got my cuticles cared for I go to the sink and do a hand scrub to soften and exfoliate my hands. I love this scrub but I have also made a quick scrub with a teaspoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of sugar, and a small pump of hand soap. I rub it around and make sure to get all of my knuckles and any other rough areas that need some love for at least a minute or two. Once rinsed I dry my hands thoroughly and use the towel that I’m drying with to give my cuticles an extra gentle push back.

Now we are ready to paint!

  1. First I wipe a cotton pad soaked with rubbing alcohol over each of my nail beds to help dry any remaining water and completely clean them. I find that this is another thing that really helps my nail polish to last longer.
  2. Next up, a quick thin layer of base coat. I really love CNDC’s Stickey base coat, I have also used this for years and it works really well. I love that it prevents dark colors from staining my nails, is super thin, and it really does anchor my polish on.
  3. For my polish this time I am using OPI Lincoln Park After Dark. I typically will do one stripe of polish down the middle of my nail bed and then a stripe to each side. I am not typically concerned if the polish is streaky or thin on this first layer, the second layer will even it out. I also try to keep just a tiny space from my cuticles, but I can’t lie, I normally get some on my cuticles. I don’t worry about it though because it will come off in the shower.
  4. Next I do a layer of ACI’s Gelous. You may have heard of this product before, it is one of the two key products that make this manicure last. It does tend to be on the thicker side, especially the longer you have it, so I try to apply it as thin as I can to avoid it looking gloppy or bubbling. I let this dry for just a few minutes then do my second layer of polish.
  5. Last, to seal it up, I use CNDC’s Vinylux Weekly top coat. This is the second key product to making your manicure last. I apply a thin layer on each nail and then chill for about 30 minutes to give my nails a chance to dry. It probably takes closer to an hour for them to really “set” because of all of the layers but after 30 minutes I find that I can (carefully) go on about my way.

 

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When the nail are fully set I apply a cuticle gel, like this one, and whenever they are looking dry. Keeping the cuticle moisturized really helps to prevent me from picking at them and keeps them looking good. In the dryer months, I keep it in my nightstand and apply it most nights. I love Eucerin’s Advanced Repair lotion and Soap and Glory’s Hand Food for keeping my hands soft and moisturized day to day.

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I love OPI and Essie polishes, and the color I choose tends to change with the seasons. Lately I’ve been loving very pale opaque pinks and very dark shades. I tend to love one end of the spectrum or the other! What are your favorite nail colors or brands?

I would LOVE to see and hear what you think of this manicure routine! Share a comment if it worked for you and if there are any tips you’d love to share!

Let’s Talk About It: Sensitive Summer Skincare

Hello Hello Beautiful! For today I’d like to start an ongoing conversation with you about something a little more sensitive to me – my skincare journey – what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what I’m willing to try next.  It’s a bit of a sensitive topic for me because I’ve not been blessed with perfectly clear skin. I’ve been struggling with hormonal breakouts, the hyper pigmentation that gets left behind, and my biggest struggle – learning to not pick at my skin. Of course I think it’s necessary to mention that everyone’s skin is different, what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. I’d still love to share with you and get your recommendations as well because I’m still on my journey to get better skin.

A good skincare regimen includes some basic steps:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Serum or Treatment
  4. Moisturize and Sunscreen
  5. Extra Credit – exfoliators, masks, and eye creams

First, my biggest issue – picking at my skin. I can have the best skincare products but they won’t even touch the damage that I cause by picking. I’m still working on this most days but like most things in life I’m making progress. Has this been an issue for any of you? What has worked or not worked for you?

Another thing I want to mention is the unique state my skin is in right at the moment and how I’m working through it.  I began using a prescription retinol cream in February,  mostly for the anti aging benefits and to help with minor hormonal breakouts. I had heard wonderful things about retinol – how it helps your skin produce collagen, clear breakouts, and minimize fine lines by increasing cell turnover. While these are all true, unfortunately it did not work for me. My skin was inflamed and reddened most of the time and I had some very bothersome pealing around my mouth that would get worse as the day went on and start to flake off (talk about embarrassing!!). Also, I still experienced breakouts that I would, of course, pick at to make them worse AND my skin got so dry in certain areas. I really tried to have this work for me, I changed all my products to super gentle ones and I gave it several months to be effective.  Now though I’ve stopped using the retinol cream and I’m working towards rebalancing and letting my skin heal. I do intend to add in a few more exfoliating products and wrinkle reducers as time goes on, I’ll let you know when I do!

You’ve heard it before but it bears repeating – good skin is the foundation for any great makeup look you’re trying to achieve, or for that oh-so-desirable no-need-for-foundation bare skin, so it’s totally worth the little bit of time and effort to take good care of your skin. Here are some of the best products I’ve used recently that are gentle but effective.

Cleansers

Right now I use 2 cleansers for different purposes. I have my really good Ultra Gentle Cleanser by Neutrogena and Pacifica’s Rose Kombucha Cleanser.

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I really love using a gentle cleanser that’s not going to strip my skins natural oils completely bare. Most day’s I don’t wear a LOT of makeup so both of these cleansers do and awesome job of removing what makeup I have on and cleansing my skin. I use the Neutrogena typically in the morning with my clarisonic brush (for some gentle but effective exfoliation) and and Pacifica at night.

Toners

I’m in love with a lot of Pixi products, but the Rose Tonic toner has been a life saver in rebalancing my skin since stopping the retinol. If you have dry and/or sensitive skin this product is a must try. It smells so nice, a  very light rose scent. I have heard wonderful things about the Glow Tonic and I’m excited to try this next. I’m a huge believer in exfoliation of the skin, second only to sunscreen, as one of the key steps in healthy skin. The glycolic acid in this toner is an excellent chemical exfoliant that will help to break down the outer layers of skin so that the younger newer layers can shine through.

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Serums and Treatments

I have been using Pixi’s Milky Hydrating Serum for the past few months as my daytime serum and I’ve being loving the extra dose of moisture it gives and the powerful antioxidants it has. It feels smooth and soothing going on and has a pleasant light scent. For my night serum, before the retinol fiasco, I loved the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum.  I plan to go back to this wonderful, moisturizing product in the next few weeks.

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Once I’m done with the Milky Hydrating Serum I plan on starting to use the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum as my daytime serum. I’ve heard wonderful things about this serum for it’s brightening effects. I also really love Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair as a night serum.

As you can probably tell, I believe serums are worth a small investment because they pack such a punch in your skincare routine. I will definitely keep you updated as I switch up my routine.

Moisturizers and Sunscreen

One of the oldest and most well trusted products in my entire life is Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. The Lotion version is my go-to in the colder dryer months here in Virginia. I tend to have combination skin that is more balanced in the summer months so this gel formula is absolutely perfect as the base layer. It is so gentle and has a light almost undetectable scent (that I personally love!).

The H2O Plus Waterbright Moisturizer has apparently been discontinued, but I’m not sad about it. I tried it out be cause I love the idea of having a sunscreen in your moisturizing step, but I have yet to find one I truly love. I did not experience a brightening effect and the product felt a tad oily on my skin. The search continues for this combination that works and feels as good as the Clinique. Until then I either use a separate sunscreen (Clinique’s Mineral Sunscreen) or my much loved It Cosmetics CC Cream.

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As a quick side note, the clinique 3 step system is a great place to start if you are looking to restart (or even start) a skincare routine. They make them customizable for your skin type – 4 types that range from dry to oily. It’s super easy and free to pop by a Clinique counter for recommendations or just go to the website to see what they recommend.

In my makeup artist days I would always recommend Clinique products to people who were looking to start a good skincare routine or needed products that were known to be safe and tested for their sensitive skin. I always keep a bottle of the Moisturizing Gel in my train case for application on clients before makeup as base layer.

Moisturized skin is balanced skin. What does this mean? Basically, if you add a layer of moisture to the skin after cleansing and toning you are not only replenishing the dryer areas but your oilier areas as well. You keep you skin from overproducing oil in those areas by balancing the moisture level with something that won’t clog up your pores.

I love moving through the steps of a skincare routine in the morning and at night. My skin goals moving forward are to continue to be gentle and to fade the dark spots of hyper pigmentation that I have left behind from breakouts and picking. Next up – let’s chat about the extra credit products!

 

A Few of My Favorite Things

Hello Beautiful! Let’s kick this off with a chat about a few of my favorite go-to products. I’ll do an updated post from time to time with different kinds of products and update with any new things I’m replacing old loves with. So excited to share with you!

First, let’s talk about foundation. One product that I have used for several years and continue to love is IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream, I wear the shade light pretty much year round. It’s got SPF 50 so you’re covered well (don’t forget to reapply though!) and it’s got a lot of ingredients that are good for your skin. I don’t use a heavy moisturizer with it, sometimes I don’t use any at all because the product feels moisturizing on it’s own. It’s super easy to use and it’s got great coverage. The only complaint I’ve heard about it over the years is that it wears off or slips off the face quickly as the day goes on. I don’t personally experience this when I wear it but I also have “normal to dry” skin so if you have oilier or combination skin you could try it and maybe use a setting spray to keep it in place.

That brings me to my next two recommendations: a light but wonderful moisturizer – Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing GEL and Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray. This moisturizer is perfect in the summer months when you need a light layer of moisture. It’s great for sensitive skin, I use it on my clients all the time because I never have to worry about it clogging pores or causing a reaction on their skin. If you have skin on the dryer side I also highly recommend the traditional Dramatically Different Lotion.

Urban Decay is one of my favorite makeup brands! Their All Nighter Setting spray is a super fine mist that doesn’t feel like it’s adding another layer to the face after applying your makeup. It really works to lock your makeup on so that you can go about your day without worrying about touch ups. Try spraying it on your brush or sponge (I love the Beauty Blender!) before applying and blending cream or liquid products for a lasting effect!

Let’s chat again soon! I love trying different products and recommending things that are tried and true, not just for me and my particular skin type and preferences, but also for those of my clients.