Clean Those Brushes!

Clean. Your. Makeup. Brushes.
Seriously, this cannot be stressed enough!  It’s so crucial to clean your makeup brushes…and often.  I’m not gonna lie, I’m not always so perfect when it comes to thoroughly washing them every week like you’re supposed to.  BUT, I do spot clean them constantly with the Sephora cleansing wipes.  I love these wipes and they’re so handy to have around.  For example, if I’m using dark shadows, I don’t want to mix those dark colors with my neutral ones the next day…duhhh…and it gets rid of any potential bacteria brewing about.
Photo: Sephora.com
There are abuncha reasons backing up constant brush cleaning…bacteria being the most obvious and yuck.  This bacteria can cause mayjahhhh breakouts — especially on concealer brushes that were used on a breakout.  Also, if you don’t wash your brushes, or at least use wipes on them often, you’re mixing up colors and you may not get the results you want…which would be sad.
Photo: Sephora.com
Now, there are different ways to wash your brushes.  You can use any mild shampoo on them, I like to use the Sephora purifying brush shampoo.  It has an anti-bacterial in it which is super important, and it’s very gentle which is alsooooo veryyyy important to make sure the bristles on the brush are a-okay through washing.
Some quick tips
-Don’t use too much cleanser, you don’t want to have any excess dry up in the brush
-Always point the brush down while washing it, water can get into the brush handle, which isn’t cool and will ruin the brush
-Don’t play with the bristles too much, move them around enough to get out all the makeup and clean them, but try to do this while keeping the shape of the brush
-Hang your brushes off the side of a counter…you don’t want to dry them on a towel, I’ve read that mildew can build up in them if you do this…yuckyyy  
After writing all this, I’m gonna go clean my brushes now!!

What’s In My Beach Bag???

I’m going to the beach today and since I’m up so early I figured I’d do a post on what I bring with me down the shore.  I have a lot of beach bags, but so far I’ve been using my Tory Burch one this summer.  Most of my other beach bags are from Victoria Secret, they were free with a Pink purchase.  I love those bags, they fit so much in them and they’re made well for being free!
Anywayyyy, I got this bag the day after Christmas in Bloomingdale’s, it took me forever to realize that it was printed in pink bugs.  My friend said to me, “why does your bag have cock roaches on it??” — I thought it was just pink and pretty…wrong.  But, oh well, i just ignore the bugs…whatever species they are.
Aside from my wallet, towels [I bring two, one to lay on and one for my head…makes it more comfortable] and sunglasses [with case for extra protection against sand scratches!] here are some essentials I always make sure come with me to the sand.
Most importantly, here are the two sunscreens I use while I’m at the beach.  I use Aveeno Face 30SPF, and I love it.  I’m really picky about the sunscreen I put on my face, Aveeno isn’t super oily, and I’ve never broken out after using it…which can sometimes happen to people with oilier prone skin.  The formula is light, and doesn’t leave a gross residue.  I def suggest this for your face if your looking for a new facial sunscreen!  For all over sun protection, I took my mom’s 48SPF sunscreen the other day.  It’s from Walgreens, it worked really well.  I applied every hour and still got tan without being burnt.  Since it’s not a facial sunscreen it’s a little bit thicker than the Aveeno, but it applies pretty dry which is always a plus…as opposed to streaky and yucky white goo everywhere…bleh.  It worked just fine for being a generic brand, so I’ll keep that in mind from now on! 
I prefer to read while I’m at the beach, as opposed to listen to music.  Since I’m always with my friends I think it’s more fun to read so I can still talk, rather than be zoned out in music.  Today, I’m bringing the August issue of Cosmo [Kim Kardashian…yay!] and one of the books I’m currently reading, Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl.  It’s a very cute and easy read, I’m almost half way through…I feel more like a French glam girl already!  I bought this book in Anthro a few months ago, and while I can’t find it on their website now..here’s a link to Amazon for it! 
I make sure to have a compact with me, I always need a mirror.  This compact is from the Hello Kitty collection from Sephora.  I also always carry blotting papers, I hate to feel oily whether it’s just from the heat or my sunscreen.  I really love these tea tree oil blotting tissues from The Body Shop.  I know the link doesn’t exactly look like the ones I have, but I’m 100% sure they’re the same ones!
Lastly, while I don’t wear a lot of makeup when I go to the beach, I still need to have something on.  I always put on Laura Mercier oil-free tinted moisturizer spf 20 [I use bisque] on in the morning, and I actually add the Aveeno sunscreen to that before I leave.  I don’t put much else on besides mascara [Maybelline Falsies is my new favorite], because nobody will ever see me in public without mascara on. 
I bring a bronzer with me because we usually go out to lunch so it’s nice to have a glow-y look after I’ve been laying out.  Right now my summer bronzer is MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in medium deep.  I use it as an all over bronzer or sometimes just as a blush which looks great too. And lastly, I always have my Burt’s Bees Replenishing Pomegranate Oil Lip Balm with me…everywhere.  Some people don’t like this Burt’s Bees balm, they like the original better, but I love this one.  It’s so hydrating, especially after being in the water.  
I keep my makeup in this oversize Coach wristlet I got a longggg time ago.  I don’t want to bring my everyday makeup bag since I have other unnecessary stuff in it.  Everything fits in here just fine, and with a zipper I can make sure nothing falls out of it and gets sandy in my bag!
This is all the stuff I’m bringing with me today!  Also, a quick tip…I put water bottles in the freezer the night before and wrap them up in paper towels [for when they start to super sweat from the hot sun, the water doesn’t get everywhere] to bring with me to the beach.  Cold water for hours in 95 degree weather sounds perfect to me.  It’s SO important to drink water all day when in the sun, but I’m sure you all already knew that!
   

My First Birchbox!

I was SO happy today when I came home from the beach…I saw a bright pink box from Birchbox!! YAY.  I wrote about Birchbox a couple of posts ago, I while I said I was hesitant at signing up, the good news is…I LOVE EVERYTHING IN MY BOX!
First off, the packaging is so cute.  When I opened the box I saw that Cynthia Rowley was a contributor to this month’s box.  I love Cynthia Rowley, I have a super cute silver sequin pillow by her and I take it everywhere with me…literally…it’s in my car right now.  The products in this month’s box are her favorites, which works perfectly for me because my favorite facial product of all time is in it!  
I’ll begin with my favorite, “Purity made simple” facial cleanser by philosophy.  This is my favorite makeup remover ever.  My mom and I both use it, and we’re addicted.  Of course, it’s a travel size, which is perfect because I’m going to Chicago at the end of the month, so I’ll def need it then.
My next product is “Redken shine brillance” glistening mist.  I thought maybe at first this was a light hair spray, but I sprayed it on my hand and it’s not sticky at all…which is what I was hoping for.  The smell isn’t so lovely, but we’ll see how it works out.
The next two products are Joya perfume and Nuxe dry oil.  I’m not familiar with either of these brands, so I’m excited to see if I like the products.  I don’t typically use shower oil in the summer (spray tan killer), so I probably won’t start using that until the fall.  The Joya perfume is a roll on, it smells very clean and fresh but I’m not sure I would really consider it a fabulous scent.
The last two products are a ybf beauty eyebrow pencil, in taupe, and a KIND almond and apicot snack bar.  Um, I was slightly confused as to why there was a snack bar in my beauty box…but then I read the note in the box and Cynthia Rowley says she always has one on her, so it’s an extra for this month.  I’m excited to use the eyebrow pencil, I’ve honestly never used one before because I really love my eyebrows, but whenever I go get my makeup done professionally they always still fill them in.  It’ll be a good experiement…hopefully.
SO, that’s my July Birchbox!  My expectations were definitely exceeded with this first box, from the products to the packaging.  I hope next month makes me just as happpyyyyy!

Just Because…Birchbox

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Last night I took the $10 plunge and signed up for the beauty-box-of-the-month club, Birchbox!  This club is relatively new but so far the press and reviews have been great!  In case you haven’t heard about Birchbox here’s a quick rundown…every month, for $10, you get a box with four or five beauty samples.  The samples cover hair, skin, makeup, body, and fragrance.  

Also, you can earn reward points, there are different things you can do to earn these points like purchase full size products (recieve 1 point for every dollar), refer friends (50 points for every friend who signs up), and review products (10 points for every review you do).  Once you get 100 points, you’ll get a $10 reward that you can put towards a full sized product.
I’m super excited to recieve my first box in July.  I took a beauty quiz so my box is more tailored for me.  For example they ask about skin tone, hair color, etc.  It’s very similar to the jewelry profile Jewelmint asks you to complete. It’s all about narrowing down the best options for you!  
I was slightly skeptical about this club for the past month, samples are samples.  They’re small, and although you get 4 or 5 per box is $10 really worth it?  Well, I decided it was once I took a look at their brand page.  I think Birchbox has done a great job of securing deals with amazing brands, I recognized and think highly of almost all of them!  bareMinerals, benefit, Cargo, juice Beauty, laura mercier, Nars, Oscar Blandi, stila, too faced, and Kate Spade are some of my favorites from the list!  I use these brands, and others listed, almost every day.  So I know I’ll use, and hopefully love, every sample given to me!
I’m constantly looking for ways to build up and evolve my beauty routine.  Rather than spending $30-$50 for a new product, I can try the sample first and then really think about whether or not I want to purchase it.  And if I do, I can purchase directly from Birchbox and get rewards points!  While I’m not really looking to spend money on full sized products any time soon, I’m loving my beauty routine right now, it’s always a good option down the road.  
For now, I think I’m gonna have fun sampling new things every month!  I’ll do a review with pictures once I get my first box!

Benefit High Beam Highlighter

I leave for London in a few hours, but I really wanted to get a post in first!  One thing I know I will be wearing every single day while I’m in London and Rome is Benefit’s High Beam liquid highlighter!
I purchased my first High Beam about a year ago– and I can def say it has become a year round staple in my makeup bag.  I bring it everywhere with me!
High Beam can be used anywhere on your face…I use it on my eyes, on the top of my cheekbones, and a tiny bit above my brow bone and on the bridge of my nose.  It instantly brightens up my complexion without doing too much….so easy and effortless!!
I also sometimes mix a small amount into my tinted moisturizer…but depending on how you apply bronzer, it may lose its effect.  If you just go through the day with tinted moisturizer on, I suggest mixing some High Beam in…you’ll have an awesome glow throughout the day!

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