Sunday, June 29, 2014

Weekly Favorites #5


























I feel like my Weekly Favorites posts have all had a tendencancy to be skincare heavy, and this one is no exception! The majority of these goodies are products I received in my June Birchbox, which ended up just being a treasure chest full of gems that I didn't know how much I needed! So let me tell you a little bit about the products that I've been loving this week...

Natura Bisse The Cure Sheer Eye - I know, I know, I really need to shut up about this product but it's just so freaking good.This eye cream is a makeup skincare hybrid (leaning more towards skincare) that manages to illuminate your under eye area with color-adapting pigments while also hydrating and fighting dark circles, puffiness, fine lines and just about any other problem your undereyes might be facing. It's insanely expensive, but you really get what you pay for with this thing. My dark circles are never going away (thanks to genetics) but after one week of using this cream I can say I've noticed a real improvement. Part of that comes from the hydration it gives my eyes, but even with that the results have been above and beyond any other skincare product I've ever used. This stinker has wet my appetite for it's counterpart, The Cure Sheer Cream which is possibly the king of all tinted moisturizers (for it's chameleon-like pigment adapting, hydration and all around insanely great benefits). Unfortunately the cream is also an insane amount of money (let's just say I'm too embarrassed to even type it here) so it'll probably be a little bit until I bring the full size of that one home.

Suki Exfoliating Foaming Cleanser - As soon as I saw this came from a vegan brand I was intrigued...plus, an exfoliating foaming cleanser? Exfoliating and foaming are not words that usually go together, so my interest was definitely piqued. This skincare product has a lovely citrus-y scent which makes me adore it for morning use. Along with waking me up, this provides the benefits of exfoliating with small beads that turn into a foamy lather after rubbing them into your skin. The result is some smooth, refreshed and clean skin that I love. This far exceeded my expectations, and was a definite hit for me.

Laqa and Co Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Bees Knees - Interesting name, no? I received this guy in my latest Birchbox and was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this sheer option! This offering from Laqa and Co is basically like Clinique's Chubby Sticks or Revlon's ColorBurst Balm Stain in that it provides a sheer amount of color and some hydration for your lips. I find this option particularly moisturizing, and the sheer coral color is lovely and natural looking. If that weren't enough, I'm head over heels for the adorable name, so I probably could've been sold just on that (I'm a sucker).

Davines Love Smoothing Shampoo - I was quite excited to see this in my June Birchbox as soon as I saw that the brand was cruelty-free! That was enough to get me psyched for trying this, but the hydration and softness it gave my hair were the real deal sealers. This shampoo (and its conditioner counterpart) not only has a lovely scent but also leaves my hair looking and feeling absolutely wonderful. When paired with the conditioner form Davines, my hair was left looking and feeling wonderful! While I think the deluxe sample I received was a very generous size that will last me awhile, the results I've gotten so far have me convinced I might be purchasing the full size in the near future.
 
Egyptian Magic Skin Cream - I was intrigued the moment I saw this. A cream that can be used for your face, eyes, hair and nails? Yes please! This all-natural gem does not disappoint, and is a truly moisturizing option for a plethora of different uses. I've personally been using it as a lip balm, as well as a way to fight the spots of eczema I have from my dry skin, and I've noticed results after only a few minutes. It's only a matter of time before I cave and buy the full size of this dude (yes, I said dude).
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge: Day Seven



Related Posts: Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge, Challenge Day One, Challenge Day Two, Challenge Day Three, Challenge Day Four, Challenge Day Five, Challenge Day Six

I'm 23, ahh! I cannot believe I'm 23 today, it's just too weird. I sincerely still feel like I'm in my teens...sometimes I have to stop myself from saying I'm 18 when people ask my age. Is that weird? Anyways, for my birthday I treated myself with a trip to my local Space NK. My main purpose for the trip was picking up a full size of the incredible Natura Bisse The Cure Sheer Eye after using up most of the sample I'd been given. It is far and away the biggest skincare/makeup/anything except clothing splurge I've ever allowed myself, but with the results and benefits I've been getting it was worth it!

While I was in Space NK, one of the amazing women working there offered to give me a little makeover just for kicks. I wish I could say I didn't fall in love with each and every product she put on my face, but I did. And the best part was that she specifically picked out cruelty-free products after hearing about my blog challenge! The sales associates at Space NK are always so ridiculously knowledgeable about their products (the woman I worked with knew every little detail about the company of Natura Bisse!) and so clearly passionate about what they're selling. It's something I really appreciate, and a big reason that Space NK has become my favorite place to shop.

I left with a bunch of samples, a hole in my wallet, and tons of new items added to my wishlist but the trip was well worth it! I left with a face full of skincare products (with a few bit of makeup sprinkled in) that were all cruelty-free and natural looking. Perfect for the hot, humid day (seriously hot, I apologize for the sweaty picture above) that has been my birthday thus far!


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*Cruelty-free brand owned by a parent company that practices animal testing

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge: Day Six


Related Posts: Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge, Challenge Day One, Challenge Day Two, Challenge Day Three, Challenge Day Four, Challenge Day Five

I need a little more color to my skin. Since starting a strict skincare regimen, my skin has been softer and exfoliated but at the cost of any sort of tan. Because of this I need to apply self-tanner daily to add a bit of glow to my skin. I've been favoring the Tarte Brazilliance Marajuca Face & Body Self-Tanner* because it doesn't have that awful self-tanner smell, and also because the marajuca oil leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated. I love it!

I have a long day of work today, and after spending most of my time doing errands and household choress the past few days I wanted to spice up my makeup just a bit. Not much is different than my regular look, but I did have some fun using the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette to add a little more definition to my eyes. I gotta say, as someone who doesn't wear a ton of eyeshadow (and when I do it's always very basic colors) this palette is really all I need, and all the colors are simply perfection!

Another slight change I've been trying out is using the By Terry Touch Expert Advanced. I'm a big fan of By Terry's Touche Veloutee, which is sort of a concealer/highlighter hybrid, so I recently picked up a sample of this product which is more of a concealer with an illuminating factor. So far I've really been enjoying it! I will say that I absolutely picked up the wrong color in Vanilla Beige, but as far as the formula goes it's really nice underneath my eyes without accentuating any fine lines. It has the same perfume-y smell that the Touche Veloutee has, so that is one thing I would warn to anyone that has especially sensitive skin. I think I prefer the TV option for underneath my eyes, but I'm definitely going to keep the TEA option in my mind for a future purchase.

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*Cruelty-free brand owned by a parent company that practices animal testing

Sources Used: Leaping BunnyChantecaille Mission / Paula's Choice / Not Tested / Logical Harmony / PETA / Humanely Chic

P.S. Sorry for the real up close and personal picture! I swear I'm wearing a tank top and am not naked, as it appears.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge: Day Five


Related Posts: Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge, Challenge Day One, Challenge Day Two, Challenge Day Three, Challenge Day Four

Today was another skincare heavy day. I've had a few blemishes pop up over the past week which has made me focus my attention on nourishing my skin rather than covering it up too much. The makeup I've been choosing has not only been cruelty-free, obviously, but the choices have also been some great skincare/makeup hybrids (my favorites!). I've been partial to the NARS TM and Chantecaille TM for bases because they provide light-coverage, SPF and some lovely skincare qualities.

As for any spots and blemishes I've been loving the Evologie Skincare Trio, which I will have a full review of up soon! I finish off the look with some very sheer coverage underneath my eyes from the ah-mazing Natura Bisse The Cure Sheer Eye and I'm good to go! So simple (and probably boring, from a makeup bloggers perspective) but a nice look for a teensy bit of coverage while still letting your skin breathe.

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*Cruelty-free brand owned by a parent company that practices animal testing

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Essential Makeup Products 1234


I'll be the first to admit I am a total makeup addict. I have a ridiculously extensive collection, which is made up of more products than any one person would ever need. I love beauty products, and am always looking to try out new ones, so my drawers are kind of overflowing with foundations, blushes and more.

While I might have more makeup than necessary, there are a few types of products that I will fully admit I could not live without (not a dramatic statement or anything). They're the products that I would recommend to anyone starting out with makeup, or who might just want to have the essentials in their beauty arsenal. I'm narrowing it down to four products that I feel are essential to any woman's makeup bag, and both high-end and budget options I would recommend for each. So let's get started, shall we?

1. Tinted Moisturizer

 

I'll fully admit to being biased towards tinted moisturizers for a base...If this is your first time reading this blog than I'll just come right out and say that I am obsessed with them. Having said that, I do think it's an essential part of anyone's makeup collection, whether they're a makeup expert or newbie. It's an easy way to moisturize and even out your skin, and applying it is usually fairly foolproof because it's such a sheer amount of coverage. Many tinted moisturizers are also packed with lots of skincare benefits, so they provide that for you as well!


Splurge: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer/Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer - I honestly couldn't choose between these two! If you're just starting out with makeup, and want just a basic TM to throw on during the day then I would recommend choosing the NARS option. It's a great all-rounder that comes in a great variety of shades than Chantecaille's option, and it can even be built up to medium-coverage. If you have a little more experience with makeup and want to treat yourself a bit than I would say to give the Chantecaille Just Skin a try. The coverage is amazing and (similiarly to NARS') it has some lovely skincare benefits. It's my daily go-to for it's glowing, natural looking finish and, while it's insanely expensive, I absolutely love it.

Save: CoverGirl Smoothers Tinted Moisturizer - Before I really got interested in makeup and started trying out more high end brands, my go-to was this very low-coverage, moisturizing option from CoverGirl! It's really affordable and, while it doesn't provide much coverage, it's a really nice low-maintenance option for summer. It's now called the CG Smoothers BB Cream, but I'm fairly positive it's still the same old formula with a new name slapped on to be part of the BB trend.

2. Concealer


Again, if you've read my blog this option's gonna seem a bit obvious. But I truly believe that concealer is a necessity in every girl's makeup stash! Whether it's hiding a lack of sleep or covering up an angry blemish, concealer does it all. Even on days that I choose to go bare faced, I usually swipe just a bit of concealer underneath my eyes to look a little more awake. It's one of my essential beauty products, and one I think every makeup wearer wants in their arsenal.


Splurge: Origins Plantscription Concealer - Now, I should start off by saying that this is not my personal HG concealer. I usually only use concealer underneath my eyes, and I personally find this option to be a bit drying for my needs. However, the high pigmentation and creaminess of the formula as well as the travel-friendly case make this a fantastic all-around choice for a concealer. It has some great skincare benefits, as well as a supposedly "anti-aging" formula so it's a great choice for anyone that just wants one concealer to get everything done.

Save: NYX HD Concealer - This is another great all-round concealer, although the formula comes in a variety of different shades and colors that each serve a specific purpose for your skin. It's usually sold for the affordable price of $5 which is pretty awesome, and it also comes from the brand NYX which is cruelty-free! If you're looking to start out with your first concealer this is one I'd recommend trying out for it's ability to cover up both blemishes and brighten undereye circles.


3. Lip Gloss/Balm


I don't tend to write about lip products all that much on the blog, but I really do believe that everyone needs a lip gloss or balm in their collection. These lip products are a perfect way to add a bit of color, hydration and shine to your lips, and simply changing the color can take your entire look from day to night. All in all, these type of products are ones I think anyone could use.

Splurge: Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss - This is easily the most amazing lip gloss formula I have ever come across. It's shiny, colorful and moisturizing all without being sticky or tacky. It's also $33 which is fairly outrageous for a lip gloss. I usually buy my lip products for cheap at the drugstore but splurged on this guy after hearing about how amazing it was. While I could never afford to pick up the entire collection, I'm happy that I have one of these because it really has a formula unlike anything I've ever tried before. If you're looking for a truly "brilliant" (see what I did there?) lip gloss, and you're okay spending the money, this is the one for you.

Save: Maybelline Baby Lips - Unlike the splurge option this is not a lip gloss, but it is a tinted lip balm. Out of all the lip products I own this is probably the one I reach for the most because it's hydrating while also providing a gorgeous tint of color to your lips. The range has expanded to include tons of different colors as well as a few "rescue balm" options that are extra moisturizing for especially chapped lips. The line is also quite a bargain (I think I've picked most of mine up for $5 or so) so I've picked up tons of colors which gives me the ability to change up my look every so often.

4. Mascara


Out of all the items I've listed, this is one category that I usually tend to save on instead of splurge. I naturally have fairly long, thick lashes so for me a quality mascara isn't necessary. However, for those that want to lengthen or volumize their lashes a bit more I would recommend splurging on a slightly more expensive mascara, as usually the formulas and brushes go above and beyond to

Splurge: The Balm What's Your Type Mascara - I'm a huge fan of any and everything from TheBalm, they're an amazing cruelty-free company that produces some fairly dreamy products. This mascara is no exception, and the formula, brush and packaging are all fabulous. In all honesty, I originally bought this mascara because I thought the name and concept was so stinking adorable, but everything about it ended up being perfection and it's been an all-around great mascara that I've returned to time and time again.

Save: Maybelline Miss Manga Mascara - This is actually my go-to mascara of the moment (thought technically not this week, since it is from a brand that is unfortunately not cruelty-free) because of its affordability and great formula. The brush is an interesting looking one, but manages to volumize, lengthen and coat every lash without any clumps in sight. It's a great mascara option for any and all eyelashes, and a fantastic drugstore buy.


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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge: Day Four

Related Posts: Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge, Challenge Day One, Challenge Day Two, Challenge Day Three

Today's routine was pretty minimal. In fact, it's so minimal I chose not to even wear tinted moisturizer or concealer (gasp!). I have a ton of errands and chores to do around the house today, so I really have no need for a full face of makeup. In lieu of a tinted moisturizer, I combined a little drop of The Body Shop's Honey Bronzing Gel with my Trader Joe's Face Moisturizer to add just a hint of color to my skin.

I finished off my look with some mascara, lip gloss and blush and I was done! It's a super simple look, and perfect for just running out to the grocery store and back. As the weather gets hotter this summer, I've found myself doing simple looks like this more and more because it's just so low-maintenance while still adding a hint of a summer glow.

I'm fairly self-conscious of letting my dark circles roam free without their usual covering of concealer, but on days like today I just can't bring myself to care! Instead of slathering on concealer, I've been using a little bit of the (amazing) Natura Bisse The Cure Sheer Eye which is a very slightly tinted eye cream that hydrates, illuminates and helps fight dark circles/puffiness/fine lines and so on and so on. It is truly a gem, and I will be using the little sample packet I have until the very last drop because I am head over heels in love! I might treat myself to the full size for my birthday (because it is hella expensive) because I don't want to live a day without this skincare gem.

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*Cruelty-free brand owned by a parent company that practices animal testing

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge: Day Three


Related Posts: Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge, Challenge Day One, Challenge Day Two

So today's routine had a few changes. I went into my local Space NK yesterday looking for some cruelty-free products, and was actually given samples of some real gems! They gave me a sample of the Natura Bisse The Cure Sheer Eye and..guys. It is so. good. I might've gasped when I saw the actual price of the full-size version, but it is so luminous, moisturizing and all around amazing that it might just have to be picked up as my birthday treat this upcoming weekend.

While shopping in Space NK, obviously I needed to pick up a little makeup goodie as well. I am absolutely loving everything Chantecaille does so I treated myself (don't I always?) to a shade from their Brilliant Lip Gloss selection. It is ridiculously expensive for a lip gloss but when I used it I fell in love. Never have I used a lip gloss that is so hydrating, colorful, long-lasting and gorgeous (and all without being tacky or sticky, like so many other glosses are). It's one of those products where you really get what you pay for, and while I probably will just stick to the one shade for now because of the price, I can already tell it's going to be getting some daily use.

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*Cruelty-free brand owned by a parent company that practices animal testing

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge: Day Two


Related Posts: Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge, Challenge Day One

I ended up going to my local organic food store and found an entire aisle dedicated to cruelty-free, all natural products. This was especially helpful for items such as deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I had had trouble finding previously. It was in my quest for CF hair products that I came across the Renpure options, which I ended up falling in love with and writing about in my weekly favorites post this morning.

I've been pleasantly surprised at how many skincare and makeup options have come from companies that are adamantly against animal testing, although I'm still disappointed some of my absolute favorites come from brands that are not CF. So anyways, here is a list of products that I am wearing/have used today.

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*Cruelty-free brand owned by a parent company that practices animal testing

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Weekly Favorites #4


It's that time of the week again, time to compile my most used products from the week. Since I've been doing my cruelty-free challenge this week, you'll notice that a lot of my favorites are from brands that refuse to test on animals. Since starting the challenge, I've become hyper-aware of whether or not a company is against animal testing, and so I've come to fall further in love with some brands that I hadn't previously been using as much.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette - I feel like I haven't mentioned this nearly enough to emphasis just how much I've been using this beauty. My (amazing) roommate bought this palette for me for my graduation, and I can honestly say now that I don't know how I lived without it. This palette just has so many basic, neutral colors (my absolute favorite) and they're all housed in a gorgeous case with a huge mirror and double-ended brush. The shades are all gorgeous, highly pigmented options, and there's not one that I couldn't see myself using. While I've been favoring a few shades recently for lining my eyes, I can't wait to play around with all the shades further in the future and come up with some fun looks.

Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser - I've actually been using this for a few weeks now, and I'm not sure how I haven't written about it sooner because it is absolutely lovely! I usually use it with my Clarisonic, but because the Clarisonic brand is not cruelty-free I've simply been using it with my hands and a wash cloth and the results have still been delightful. As someone with dry skin, it's hard to come across a cleanser that doesn't dry my skin out further. But with this option from Eve Lom I've found a cleanser that manages to hydrate, clean and freshen up my skin with lots of great skin-loving ingredients. I could definitely do without the smell (a scent I can only describe as unfortunately herbal), but with all the positive attributes this guy has I'm hardly gonna hold a little thing like the scent against it.

Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant in True Vanilla - When I first started the cruelty-free challenge, I had no clue how damn near impossible finding a CF deodorant would be! There are so many chemicals jam packed into deodorant that it's truly difficult to come across any brands that don't test on animals. I ended up coming across Lavanila's Healthy Deodorant by chance while standing in line at Sephora, and after seeing it's all natural ingredients listing, as well as it's "not tested on animals" disclaimer I decided it was coming home with me. Now the one major let down with this is that, while it's a deodorant, it is not an antiperspirant. Unfortunately, I have yet to come across any CF deodorant that is also an antiperspirant, but I'm still searching! Anyways, while this healthy choice really does not help with the sweat situation, its incredible smell makes this a product I'm certainly happy to own. The brand makes several different scents, but the one I bought (True Vanilla) smells like pure, sweet vanilla sugar. It's so yummy and I love it!

Renpure Originals Coconot Cream Shampoo - Aside from deodorant, finding a cruelty-free haircare product was the hardest part of the challenge. I ended up coming across the brand Renpure Originals at Walgreens (they were having a BOGO Free deal that I couldn't pass up!) and I am so glad I did because I've fallen in love! In addition to being a cruelty-free brand, this shampoo (and its  conditioner counterpart) is free of sulfates, parabens, sodium chloride and other chemicals found in most haircare. Instead, this coconut scented (yum!) goodie offers a far more natural, equally nourishing option to use on your hair. I am really glad to have come across this brand, because not only does it practice ethical behavior but it makes some great products.

Stella McCartney Stella Rollerball - I am insanely picky with my perfume choices, but this scent was seriously love at first sniff. The scent is a combination of "floral and sensual", and (on me, at least) it smells strongly of rose and amber. I find it to be the perfect blend of masculine and feminine, and I truly find the scent to be remarkably pretty and unique.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cruelty-Free Beauty Challenge: Day One


So after only one day of this challenge I think I can safely say that the hardest parts have been finding cruelty-free body and hair care products. Yesterday I took a trip to Sephora to look for a cruelty-free deodorant (because they're near impossible to find in the drugstore!), but still had trouble finding cruelty-free shampoo and conditioner. I'm planning on taking a trip to find a few CF hair products today (and if you guys have any suggestions I'd love to hear them!) so that I'll be able to use them tomorrow, but for today here are the products I decided to use: 

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*Cruelty-free brand owned by a parent company that practices animal testing

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Cruelty-Free Beauty: The Challenge


I think it's safe to say that cruelty-free beauty, and the topic of animal testing is a hot topic issue within the beauty community and industry. While many companies have stood up against animal testing, deciding to go "cruelty-free", many others have chosen to stick with it because it is the most inexpensive option out there.

In a perfect world I think everyone would agree that they'd prefer to use products that weren't tested on animals. Unfortunately, that's just not the world we live in, and many of the most popular brands and cherished products out there have been tested on animals. I'll be the first to admit that some of my favorite products do not come from cruelty-free brands, and many were bought without the subject of animal testing even crossing my mind (which is a really sad thought to put into words).

Sadly, many brands that once did not condone animal testing now do (either for their products, or for the ingredients used for their products). In China, it is now required for companies to test their products on animals, so any cosmetic companies that choose to sell in China (which is obviously a gigantic market) have to put their products through animal testing. While some companies (such as Urban Decay, Josie Maran and Tarte) have stood up and said it goes against their ethical code to do such a thing, and thus refuse to sell in China, many other companies couldn't stand to lose the Chinese market and decided to undergo animal testing so they would be able to sell their products there.

So I decided to challenge myself. I want to go one week using beauty products that solely come from cruelty-free brands, and show myself that it's very much possible. It's been in the back of my mind for awhile now that I would really like to only use cruelty-free beauty, and I'd like to prove to myself that it absolutely can be done.

Just to get an idea of how many cosmetics companies test on animals, I looked at the brands that made the products listed in my recent Holy Grail post. Out of the six products listed, only three are from brands that do not test on animals (and they are Chantecaille's Just Skin, By Terry's Touche Veloutee and Tarte's Amazonian Clay Blush). That's crazy to me that half of my favorite products come from brands that test their products out on animals.

What makes finding products that aren't tested on animals all the more difficult is the fact that many cruelty-free brands are owned by parent companies that don't practice the same ethical behavior. For example, I love my Stella McCartney "Stella" perfume, and was happy to read that McCartney never tests any of her products on animals. However, this is tainted a little bit by the fact that her products are owned by the parent company of Proctor & Gamble, who are known for their use of animal testing. It's a bit of an iffy ethical dilemma that each person must make their own decision on, and I myself tend to look at it on a case by case basis. For the products I'll use in my posts I will try my best to only use products that neither test on animals themselves, nor are owned by companies that use the practice. If I do end up using a brand that's owned by a non-CF company than I will be sure to state it within my post.

So for the next week I am going to only wear cruelty-free beauty products, and I plan on devoting a post each day this week (along with a few regular posts) devoted to what cruelty-free beauty products I used each day. I'm excited to share this challenge with you guys, and if anyone would like to join in with me I would love to hear about what you chose (or chose not) to use!

What are your thoughts on the issue of animal testing in the beauty industry? Do you choose your beauty products on whether they're cruelty-free or not? Let me know in the comments below!

P.S. I will compile all seven days' worth of posts here as they go live on the blog:
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    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Holy Grail Status





























    Within the beauty blogging community, the term "holy grail" gets thrown around a lot (often shortened simply to HG). When I first began reading blogs several years ago, I'll fully admit that I saw the term HG tossed around a lot without any clue what it meant. Fast forward to today, and I can finally understand the elusive quest for the best beauty products, the "holy grail" products that outshine any and all competition.

    Now, as I'm sure many of you have noticed, I'm a bit fickle when it comes to makeup. Often I'll rave about something one day then find a new favorite the next. So perhaps for me, my HG products are a little more on a short term basis. But for right now, there are a few products I love that I have found just completely and totally surpass any of the competition (and I have tried a lot of competitors). And today, I'd like to share a few of those with you!

    Foundation

    Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua -I am forever grateful to Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup for writing about this foundation, because without reading her rave reviews of it I probably wouldn't have even bothered to try it out. Up until this foundation I was strictly a tinted moisturizer/BB Cream type girl - a low-coverage option with hydrating properties was always my go-to. However the Vitalumiere Aqua completely changed my perception of foundations, and the water-y formula for this guy showed me that foundations can look completely natural and radiant. Unfortunately, the one downside to this formula is that I find it clings to my dry patches during the colder months, so it's strictly a Spring/Summer base for me. That being said, it's still the only foundation I've come across that I've really fallen head over heels for, so I can deal with that minor inconvenience and still safely call this my HG foundation.

    Tinted Moisturizer

    Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer - I know, I know, I need to shut up about this already. But it's just. so. good! I am all for low-coverage base options, and this product provides just enough coverage to even out my skin tone and add a hint of radiance that brightens my face. While it's named as a tinted moisturizer, the coverage and consistency sit somewhere between a higher-coverage TM and a low-coverage foundation. This all adds up to the most natural looking makeup that I've ever had the pleasure to put on my face!

    Corrector

    Giorgio Armani Master Corrector - With my dark circles I've tried out my fair share of correctors, but nothing I've used even holds a candle to the amazing formula that is Armani's Master Corrector! This thin liquid corrector comes in two shades (a pink and an orange) and is specifically formulated to correct darkness underneath the eyes. I personally own the pink shade, and the highly pigmented corrector helps to drastically cut down the darkness underneath my eyes. Once I layer a little concealer on top, I'm good to go for the day! This corrector is also incredibly natural looking (a theme I'm sure you're starting to see in all these products) and gives a skin-like finish that I had never had the pleasure of coming across with a corrector. Overall, this is a real winner in my book, and there's no competition for it being named as HG Corrector for me.

    Concealer

    Giorgio Armani Maestro Eraser -What this concealer lacks in coverage it more than makes up for in skincare benefits and a natural, skin-like finish. As someone with ridiculously dark undereye circles I'm always looking for something that will cover them up, and ironically my HG came in the form of a low-coverage, liquid-y concealer. I have this in shade 3 which is a wonderful pinkish beige color that works to color correct and cover. While I usually need to layer a bit of a highlighter on top of this, it's well worth it for all the benefits I get from this awesome concealer. 

    Highlighter

    By Terry Touche Veloutee -I often layer this on top of my Armani Maestro Eraser for a (still natural looking) brighter finish to underneath my eyes. I've tried many different highlighters, but this thin formula is the only one I've tried that I would consider to be both a medium-coverage concealer as well as an ultra-brightening highlighter. Aside from working wonderfully underneath my eyes, this highlighter is also perfect for brightening other areas of my face, such as my cheekbones and down my nose. This gem is an all-around great buy, and one that I have a feeling will be a future repeat purchase (even if it's ridiculously expensive - I'm crazy).

    Blush

    Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush Now I must start off with saying that while this is HG status for me, it's not just for one shade. I currently own four different shades of this gem, and I fall in love with each one more than the next. At the moment, my favorite is Natural Beauty, which is a gorgeous rosy red (my rather repetitive description) that adds the perfect flush of colors to my cheeks. The reason this holds HG status for me is the color range, the pigmentation, the longevity and a never ending list of other lovely features.

    What are your HG beauty products? Let me know in the comments below! 

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    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    My Makeup Bag & Me #1


     I originally wanted to do a post on what's in my purse, but I'm such a hoarder that the post would have turned into a short novel. So instead, I've decided to focus on what's in my makeup bag at the moment. The items I decide to tout around in my bag are always changing, based on the season as well as my favorite products at the time. Right now there are a lot of basic summer essentials that I can use to touch up on the go, as well as a handful of my favorite brushes.

    To start off, I have my Icing Kabuki Brush which is my foundation brush of choice for my bases. Namely, I use either this brush or my hands to apply my lovely Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer, my base of choice (also the easiest one to do touch ups of, even though it's long-lasting to begin with!).

    Next up I have my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush which is an great all-around brush that can be used for different parts of the face. I personally use it to touch up my concealer around my eyes as I find it gives a natural finish. While I have dozens hundreds of concealers in my possession, the one I've been carrying around recently is my By Terry Touche Veloutee because it's so easy to use on the go and perfect for highlighting and concealing underneath my eyes while still looking lightweight and natural.

    The last makeup brush I carry around daily is my Bare Minerals Angled Face Brush which I use for applying my blush. The blush I've been carrying around recently is my Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Natural Beauty which is a gorgeous red color that comes in a cute little compact with a great mirror. It's a great flush of color for day and night and, while it doesn't require many touch ups to begin with, it's easy to use on the go.

    For my lips I always carry around my Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me, a great moisturizing lip balm that adds just a hint of color to your lips. I could go on and on about my love of this product (which I own in several colors), it is just such a great item to carry around and add a pop of color to your face. I also carry around my Bare Minerals Moxie Lip Gloss in Party Starter which is a pretty coral color, absolutely perfect for summer. I love the Bare Mineral's lip glosses for how moisturizing they are without being sticky, plus the colors are just extraordinary! I sometimes layer this over the Baby Lips for a little added color.

    I rarely have eyeliner or eyeshadow in my everyday makeup bag (unless I'm going out somewhere at night) but I do always have my Loreal Miss Manga Mascara in case I need to touch up my lashes during the day. And finally, I always carry around my Dove Deodorant in Pomegrante in case I need to freshen up during the day. I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like a sweaty mess in this summer humidity so bringing my deodorant around is a must!

    What do you guys carry around in your makeup bag?


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    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    Prêt-à-Perfection



























    Just a little note: As some of you may have read on Twitter, my dog recently was diagnosed with cancer. She's an 11 year old golden retriever, and is very much an important part of my family. The cancer unfortunately has caused her to lose the majority of her eyesight within a matter of days. I've been commuting home this past week to be with her and just help out and make her happy, so that's why I've been a little slow on posting this week. I hope to have a few more posts up soon but I so appreciate everyone's patience and support while this has been happening. I know it might sound silly to be so devastated about a dog being diagnosed with cancer but she is truly part of my family and I love her with all my heart. Anyways, thank you for dealing with me and now onto my post!

    Last week I got a momentary wave of courage (or insanity) that inspired me to cut off about 8-inches of hair. I've been loving the "lob" (re: long bob) trend that has been taking over Hollywood recently, so after getting a little fed up with my ridiculously long, thick hair I decided to just cut most of it off. In all honesty, when I originally went into the salon I was hoping to only cut off about 4/5 inches, but my hairstylist went a little scissor crazy and I just went with it.

    Anyways, while I'm actually really enjoying the style, I will say that the short 'do has required more maintenance than the longer hair did to get it where I wanted it to be. Enter Bumble & Bumble's Prêt-à-Powder! Described as part dry shampoo, part volumizer and part style extender, this 2 oz gem will set you back $26. The price tag for such a small item really held me back from buying this guy for awhile (even after reading tons of rave reviews about it), but after looking for a way to keep my new haircut looking good I decided to just take the plunge.

    So what's the verdict? I have been really impressed with this product! In my experience with dry shampoos, I've come across a lot of duds. Most dry shampoos leave my hair feeling dirtier than it originally was, or leaves behind a weird chalk-y residue. This magic powder manages to leave my hair clean, volumized and smelling lovely and fresh! It's super fine and vanishes in your hair  instantly, leaving it even softer than it was before. I've been using this on both day old and freshly washed hair to add a bit of volume, and once I curl my hair after this also helps hold the style for awhile.

    Honestly, I have never been disappointed by a B&B product, and this beauty continues that trend. For anyone that is on the fence about this (as I was) I would really recommend giving this a try! It's a 3-in-1 product that I have a feeling will be lasting me for awhile, because (just another positive) you don't even need to use much for each use. Here's a picture of me (with my short hair!) wearing Prêt-à-Powder.



    Has anyone else tried this product out? What are your thoughts?

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    Monday, June 16, 2014

    The Scents of Summer


     I've mentioned in the past that I worked at Bath and Body Works for a few years, and during that time I developed quite the stash of candles. Even though I no longer work with the brand, I'm still a bit of a hoarder when it comes to their candle selection...When they came out with their recent summer candle collection it was love at first sight! The gorgeous candles not only come in some amazing summer-y scents, but each come in a beautiful frosted glass container that reminds me of sea glass.

    My two favorites have been the scents Endless Weekend and Sunset Beach which are both perfect warm weather scents that fill up the room with a relaxing aroma. Endless Weekend contains notes of raspberry lychee sorbet, vanilla sandalwood and magnolia, creating the perfect combination of a floral and fruity scent. This scent also comes in the store's body care line, so of course I've already added the perfume, shower gel and lotion to my collection so I can take the scent with me everywhere I go.

    As much as I love Endless Weekend though, my real obsession has been with Sunset Beach. It contains notes of pineapple, papaya and sugarcane which combine to create a scent that reminds me of tropical drinks and the beach. Every time I light it I'm immediately put in an amazingly relaxed mood, the scent just makes me smile! I've since bought this one in Bath and Body's wallflowers as well so I can smell it at all times - it's just that good!

    What candles have you been using this summer? Let me know in the comments below!
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    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    Weekly Favorites #3


    It's that time of the week again! Time to collect my thoughts on my favorite products that I have been absolutely loving this week. While it's been a fairly skincare heavy couple of weeks, there are a few makeup and haircare products that I just haven't been able to get enough of as well.

    Bumble & Bumble Prêt-à-Powder - This guy has been on my shopping list for quite some time, and after deciding to cut off 8 inches of hair this past week I decided it was time to take the plunge and finally pick this up. Described as a hair powder with the benefits of "dry shampoo, volume and style extender", I was curious how this would hold up with my hair. I've always loved dry shampoos, but haven't been able to find many that have suited my needs and satisfied by (picky) requirements. With this new short hairdo, I've really been enjoying rocking a messy, curly style and this hair powder ended up being the perfect solution for that! You simply sprinkle a bit of this on your roots, or throughout your hair, and rub it in like you would a normal shampoo. The soft powder virtually disappears, but leaves behind a voluminous, grease-free style. Unlike many dry shampoos that feel heavy or dirty, this one is powder soft and actually manages to leave my hair softer than before! I am absolutely loving it, and have definitely found a summer staple hair product.

    Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush (in Natural Beauty) - I've spoken before of my absolute obsession with Tarte's Amazonian Clay Blush line, and the newest color addition to my stash has been no exception. I started noticing that most of my blushes were of the coral and peach varieties, so when I chose to pick a new shade I decided on Natural Beauty, a gorgeous "strawberry red". Like all Tarte blushes, this one is extremely pigmented and comes in a gorgeous design and case. While the shade isn't normally one I would've gone for, I am in love! It's been perfect on my slightly tanned skin, and will definitely be one I'll be reaching for constantly this summer. I really have nothing but amazing things to say about this product.

    Evologie Stay Clear Cream - I received a sample of this on my last visit to Space NK after asking the staff for suggestions on ways to clear up some blemishes that are a result of my Clarisonic "purging" stage. Anyways, they gave me a few samples of cleansers, and then this sample of the Evologie Stay Clear Cream. It's basically a acne fighting moisturizer that helps keep your skin clear and hydrated, which is perfect for my skin type. Often my breakouts are caused by my skin being dehydrated, so to have a formula that not only fights the acne but helps hydrate the areas around it is really a great thing for me. I've been trying to use each last little bit of this sample, but can already tell that I'll be shopping for a full size once I run out!

    Lush Enchanted Eye Cream - I actually picked this eye cream up on a total whim from Lush, but it has truly been a gem! I had run out of my previous eye cream, so when I was shopping at Lush recently I decided to give this guy a go. The lightweight formula immediately hydrates underneath my eyes, sinking into my skin without leaving behind any kind of residue. It's perfect for underneath makeup (which is a hard thing to come by with eye creams, I find), and also hydrating enough that I can wear it overnight and get all of the moisturizing benefits. Plus, like all Lush products, it's made from completely natural ingredients! All in all I'm pretty darn happy I picked this up, and could definitely see myself making repeat purchases in the future.

    Clarisonic Mia 2 - Let me start out by saying I am in love with the Clarisonic, but my boyfriend thinks I'm crazy for having it (and having spent as much money on it as I did). He asked why I couldn't just use an electric toothbrush on my face, which I responded to by giving him an incredulous look and rolling my eyes. Anyways I haven't given a full, proper review on my Clarisonic yet because I wanted to give it a few weeks use before forming my opinions. I will hopefully have a full post up later this week, but for now let me just say that I adore this product. The first few weeks I used it, I was unsure how to feel because I was going through the dreaded "purging stage" and thus feeling self-conscious and kind of hating the Clarisonic by association. Now that my purging stage has ended (I pray) I am finally seeing the amazing benefits that the Clarisonic has provided me, and my skin has truly never looked (or felt) better. My moisturizer absorbs more, my makeup looks smoother, and overall my skin just looks cleaner. I can honestly say that I feel I have already gotten my money's worth with this product (sorry, Jake) and that this is one product I cannot do without. 
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    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    Battle of the Tinted Moisturizers


    As you all now know by now, I looove my tinted moisturizers. Seriously, I cannot get enough of them. I am all about sheer, low-coverage bases that even out my skintone while still looking very natural, and I collect them like its my job.

    Since I'm a bit of a tinted moisturizer connoisseur,  I decided it would be fun to do a post on the strengths and weaknesses of the various TMs I own and compare and contrast them all. Not all TMs are made the same, and there are aspects of each that I like and dislike.

    While these grades are based off of my own opinions, I chose the overall ratings based off of how I think these selections would work for the skin types they work best for. For example, I have normal to dry skin, so while one moisturizer might work for me, it might not work as well for someone with more oily skin. So I tried my best to base the overall rating based off the price, finish and coverage to gain a more general rating for each TM.

    All of these pictures were unretouched, and also taken with nothing but the tinted moisturizer on. I'm completely bare faced except for each tinted moisturizer, because I wanted to accurately show the coverage and results of each. So without further ado, here are the tinted moisturizers that I put to the test!

    Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer

    Price: $36
    Finish: Dewy
    Best For: Normal to oily skin types. This works great for me during the summer, when my skin is on the oilier side, but I don't find it to be particularly moisturizing during the Fall/Winter when my skin is more in need of hydration
    Coverage: Sheer to light coverage.
    Strengths: Formula provides just the right amount of coverage to even out your skintone while still being fairly sheer. SPF 20
    Weaknesses: While I love a dewy finish, there are small sheeny bits in this formula that I sometimes can find a little obvious in bright sunlight. There also aren't many shade options (in a total selection of 7 shades) for ladies with dark skintones. 
    Overall Rating: 7 out of 10. I really don't have anything negative to say about this guy, it's just simply not my favorite. It's the most affordable option of everything here but I personally find the formulation to just be average, and I usually only wear this on my lazy makeup days where I might just be out running errands for the day.

    NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

    Price: $42
    Finish: Dewy, radiant
    Best For: Any skin type. While I tend to have normal to dry skin, during the summer I some times do get a little oily and this guy lasts through it all. It dries down to a lovely radiant finish that lasts for several hours, even with slightly oily skin.
    Coverage: Low to medium coverage
    Strengths: This has some seriously impressive coverage while still looking completely natural. There are also 11 shades which boasts a pretty great range of colors. SPF 30.
    Weaknesses: Many of the lighter shades are predominantly yellow-based. Personally, my skin has naturally yellow undertones and even I find some of the shades to be just a little too yellow (for reference, I have shade Light 2 Alaska).
    Overall Rating: 9 out of 10. Up until recently this was my HG tinted moisturizer, and I still have a special place in my heart for it for everything from the great coverage, radiant finish, all the way down to the refreshing scent.


    Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer

    Price: $67
    Finish: Dewy, hydrated
    Best For: Normal to dry skin types. This stuff is incredibly moisturizing, and will most likely not sit too well if you have naturally oily skin.
    Coverage: Low to medium coverage.
    Strengths: Amazingly natural looking on the skin (while still having genuinely impressive coverage). A dewy, natural finish without the use of any sparkly bits.
    Weaknesses: Ridiculously overpriced. I'm in love with this stuff, and I still think the price is just absurd. There are also no shade options for those with a darker skintone. Isn't a great formula for those with oily skin. Only has SPF 15.
    Overall Rating: 8 out of 10. This is my personal favorite of the bunch as I find it hydrating with decent coverage, all while looking just like skin (hence the name). However, the price, the lack of shades and the possibility of this not working well on all skin types takes away points for my overall rating. While for me it's a 10 out of 10 (well, maybe 9 out of 10 because my bank account is kind of bitter for the hit it took) I think there are definitely aspects that others might not like as much.

    Jouer Matte Moisture Tint

    Price: $38
    Finish: Satin-like
    Best For: Normal to oily skin types.
    Coverage: Medium coverage.  
    Strengths: Great for pictures, amazing coverage. Really great that there's a matte tinted moisturizer so those with oily skin have a low-coverage option.
    Weaknesses: Not especially hydrating. While I can wear it well now, during the summer, it's way too dry and chalky on my skin during the fall/winter months. Also only has SPF 15
    Overall Rating: 7.5 out of 10. While I'm not much of a matte fan, the coverage and natural finish on this is certainly impressive! For anyone that prefers matte coverage but is looking for something lighter than foundation, this is definitely one that I'd recommend.

    Joeur Luminizing Moisture Tint 

    Price: $38
    Finish: Dewy
    Best For: Normal to dry skin types.
    Coverage: Sheer coverage.
    Strengths: Very hydrating, incredibly luminous finish (hence the name). The dewy-ness helps blur some imperfections while still being very low coverage.
    Weaknesses: It is incredibly shiny, to the point that I sometimes feel a bit Edward Cullen-y if I wear this alone out in the sun. Only has SPF 15
    Overall Rating: 6.5 out of 10. I love a dewy finish. Really, I do. But, if possible, this is just too dewy for me. While it might just be me micro-analyzing, I just feel like there are so many sparkly bits in this formula that wearing it alone makes me glow like a disco ball. That being said, adding a drop of this to a formula like the Matte Moisture Tint makes for an amazing combination, and makes me truly appreciate this TM much more!


     Have you tried any of these tinted moisturizers? Which tinted moisturizers are your favorites?
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    Friday, June 13, 2014

    Date Night Makeup: A Tutorial




































    I  love date nights. Having said that, they have been few and far between lately, as Jake has been working in another state for the past few months. He's now back home for a few weeks, though, and that means the return of date nights! Usually Jake and I are pretty laid back, and are perfectly happy cuddling up and watching an episode of the The League or Modern Family together, but occasionally we get get all fancy and dress up for a real, live date!

    I'm very simple and low-maintenance with my makeup (which is hilarious considering how much of it I have, and how obsessed I am), and while I change my look slightly when I go for a night out I can't say it changes by all that much. I decided the best way to show off the look was another YouTube tutorial, so I'm posting the video below! You can find all the products mentioned in the description to the video.

     

    How do you guys wear your makeup for a night out? Let me know in the comments below!
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