The Body Shop Body Butter

I was in the Body Shop about a month ago and picked up their Body Butter which I’ve been wanting to try for awhile.  I was instantly hooked.  I chose the Pink Grapefruit body butter, I had a birthday coupon so I thought it was a perfect time to try out something new!
Bodyshop.com
I knew the Body Shop was known for their body butters, most recently the Body Butter Duo, one side is regular body butter while the other side is formulated specifically for dry skin.  I’ll buy that the next time around to try out.
Anyway, the smell of the pink grapefruit is lovely for summer, and in the morning after I shower really wakes me up.  It’s super refreshing and natural.  Some people don’t like using a body butter in the summer, but I enjoy using it all year…I love the results it gives, my skin is always super soft and healthy looking.
The main ingredients are shea butter, cocoa butter, and glycerin.  When applying this moisturizer you can literally feel it melt into your skin, which proves just how much of these great ingredients it’s really made of.
There are so many different types of body butters, and they all serve different purposes depending on your skin type.  I have normal skin, which is why I can use this product all year round…and the pink grapefruit is in this category.  There are a bajillion different types, so click here to see which would be best for you!
PS: I’ve recently become obsessed with abuncha Body Shop products, and I’ll be doing a lot of reviews since I’ve been using them long enough now to have solid opinions. I love how the Body Shop supports community trade by getting ingredients from poorer countries to help villages generate income.  They also do not test on animals, and currently have a campaign running to raise awareness of human trafficking.
Watch this video to learn more about the Body Shop’s Community Trade efforts!

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

I just wanted to put up a quick post about my favorite lip balm.  I ran out of it today, and it made me think about how many of these I go through…I think I’m addicted. 
This stuff is amazing.  I wrote about it in my beach bag post, but I would just like to reiterate how fabulous I think this lip balm is.  I’ve used all types of lip balms/ chapsticks…Blistex, Rosebud Salve (which I still love), Softlips, and Carmex.  But, for some reason I love the texture of the Burt’s Bees the best.  I also like that I can feel the pomegrante oil, and I really think that has helped keep my lips protected in both the winter from the harsh cold, and the summer from the strong sun.  Lastly, this lip balm uses all natural ingredients which I prefer and has an SPF of 20.
Which remindssss meeeee, it’s SO important to make sure your chapstick or lip balm (whatever, they’re the same thing) has SPF in it.  Usually making sure your lips are protected from the sun is the last thought someone has while at the beach ready to get their tan on.  Howeverrrrr, your lips don’t tan, duh, so they must be protected from the harsh rays.  So, make sure you have a lip balm wth SPF 15 or higher, I’d always opt for the higher.  
PS: Sorry I haven’t updated in a few days, life has been super hectic the past week!

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!

Dove Advanced Care Deodorant

Some may find this post comical, kinda it is…but it’s important! 
I’m obsessed with my deodorant.  I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.  I’ve been using Dove Solid: Ultimate Go Fresh Cool Essentials since it came out, and it’s the best. Really, the best.  The “Cool Essentials” are cucumber and green tea, it smells divine and super fresh.  It works the whole day, I’ve never had to worry about feeling gross during the middle of the day whether I’m in class or running errands. 
Dove advertisements say you don’t have to worry this deodorant about staining your clothes, that statement isn’t entirely true– but that’s okay I’m just careful.  I love that you can buy a pack of two of these at a time, or you can get a deodorant and the spray in a pack.  I’ve only used the spray once when I used my friends, and I really liked it.  I just feel the better value is to buy the double deodorant pack.
I used to use Secret Scent Expressions in Ohh LaLa Lavender, which I really loved too.  It’s the gel deodorant which I know many people don’t like, but it worked fine for me!!  This smelled amazing, but I prefer the Dove more because it smells more fresh and clean than this Secret scent.  I’m sure there are other Secret options comparable to Dove, but I don’t want to part from Dove just yet.
 
Many people don’t think about how important deodorant really is.  But seriously, it’s super important.  If you’re not using a deodorant you love, you won’t feel fresh and clean — and that’s my favorite feeling!!

Budget Beauty: CVS Eye Makeup Remover

I spend a fair amount of money on my skincare routine, but one area that I seriously save on is my eye makeup remover! I’ve been using CVS’s Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover a long time now and I love it.  It seriously gets the job done on stubborn eye liner, waterproof mascara, and heavy shadows for only $5.99 a bottle.



My main draw to this product is that you don’t feel oily after using it like most eye makeup removers that rely on oil to get the waterproof makeup off.  To remove the makeup I soak a big cotton pad and hold it to my eye for about 10 seconds then gently wipe away everything.  I don’t wear false lashes so I layer on mascara like crazy so I have to take a lot of extra time to get all of that off, but this remover has always worked best for that! 

I’ve used both L’oreal Dermo-Expertise Eye and Lumene Waterproof eye makeup removers and hated them.  I don’t like the consistency and I felt like I had to rub and pull to make the makeup come off — totally not good for the sensitive eye area.

Neutrogena makes a similar oil-free eye makeup remover to the CVS brand, but it’s $2 more and honestly they both work the exact same.  If you don’t have a CVS near you Target brand Up and Up’s eye makeup remover is exactly like CVS’s (and for a $1 less!!).

It’s super important to take off your eye makeup, and all of it at that.  I know it gets annoying to take off so much mascara or eyeliner, but you can seriously damage your lashes if you don’t take that extra minute or two to make sure it’s all off!!

Oil Free is the Way to Be

Summertime is my favorite time of the year because my BIRTHDAY is in July!!  However, with the greatness of this season comes one annoying factor: oiliness. gross.
I focus heavily on products controlling oily skin because it’s my biggest problem that I’m still trying to overcome.  Below are two great products that have been able to help me look matte and fresh despite feroooosh humidity and sweaty days. again, gross.
First, as soon as you wake up in the morning you need to prep your skin for the summer day ahead.  I use the same 2 facial cleaners all year round (it works best for me), you may want to sub in a oil-free cleanser during the warmer months. If you think that would work best for you I suggest Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Cleanser.  If you click on that link it’ll bring you to Allure’s website, I’m the first (and right now only) person who wrote a short review on it — what can I say? I was a tad bit bored earlier.  I use it occasionally (way more so in the summer), like when I can sense a breakout, but this  is not one of my everyday, OMG I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU cleansers.

As I’ve mentioned before I use Origins Vita-Zing moisturizer religiously.  I still use it everyday but now that the weather is changing I’ve been combining my Vita-Zing with Murad’s Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15.  I really love to mix the two together, and just by looking I can see the results of both after I’ve applied them.  The Murad moisturizer really does control shine (their website says 8 hours, I’m not sure I 100% agree with that) and having the SPF, minus the greasy-look, is perfect too!

Go to Murad’s website and check out their entire line of skincare– I got interested in this brand when Massage Envy began using this brand for their facials.  While I haven’t tried out as many products as I would like, what I have tried so far I’ve loved (reviews to come)!  Right now they are offering 20% off until tomorrow– just enter the promo code “THANKS” at checkout. ALSO, just like the wonderful Sephora, Murad’s website offers free samples with every order and has some great limited edition promotions!!
PS: I’m taking advantage of this 20% off coupon as I type this. =]

April Favorites

I know I’ve been seriously MIA lately, but with junior year almost ending things have been hectic and for some reason, super dramatic!  BUT, I’m back with my April must haves and I’s super excited about them!! 
 
The first product I’ve noticed I cannot stop using is my Bumble and Bumble Classic hair spray.  This hair spray definitely isn’t light– and I’m going to have to disagree with the website’s claim of it’s easy to brush through.  BUTTT I LOVEEEE using this for when I go out at night– I know I won’t frizz or fall limp (meaning my hair of course) while dancing the night away.
Urm, this is actually empty…  
I have combination hair, it’s have wavy but not really…and can get super frizzy.  Most hair sprays in my opinion are too sticky and just leave my hair gross– the Bumble and Bumble Classic spray doesn’t do either.  I would use another one of the Bumble and Bumble hair sprays to begin with while styling your hair, but def end with the Classic for the strongest hold and shine.
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My second love of the month is my Present Clear Makeup Primer by Philosophy.  It really is like clear makeup.  The key to using this product is not using too much– a little bit seriously goes a long way.  During the warmer months I like to go light on makeup, so using this product def helps me have that bright, clear, and super even complexion without loading up on foundation or anything else (besides concealer).  When I used too much (although I didn’t think I had) it made me look shiny, so make sure you use a small amount.  Remember, even though it is a thicker formula and you’ll think you need more to cover your entire face…YOU DON’T!
Can you tell I love this?
You can also use Present at night before you layer on your bedtime products.  I would suggest you trying it for a week with just layering serum on top since Present is already moisturizing.  If you don’t think it’s moisturizing enough then add a small amount of your typical nighttime moisturizer on top of the serum like usual!
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My last favorite product I’ve been using is Zero Oil by Origins.  You already know I loveee Origins, so this product was quick to become another one of my favorites.  I tend to have oily skin in one area of my face, so this is a perfect way to mattify and treat that one area.  I put this on top of my VitaZing in the morning (esp since it’s getting hot outside which equals humidity yuckkkkkkkkkkkkkk).  HOWEVER, Zero Oil is totally liquid…like water…so I just pat it into my skin–VitaZing has pigment in it so if you rub in Zero Oil on top it’s not too pretty.  
Shake the bottle well before using!
As great as Zero Oil is I reallyyyyyyyyyy wish it came in a spray bottle, it’d make it way easier to use! Nonetheless, I have seen a great improvement in my complexion throughout the day when I don’t always have time to touch up and focus on my shiny areas!! 
 
Click the links above to shop each product!!

Summer Skin

Thank god winter is over and spring has sprung. I can tell because I can’t stop seeing and my eyes are always watering. Gross. ANYWAY yesterday it was 80 degrees in DC and everyone was wearing their shorts, sundresses, etc. and it made me think of one thing…exfoliating that yuck winter skin away. I have three fabulous remedies for getting lackluster winter skin ready for sundresses!
The first is my absolute favorite, Trish McEvoy’s N° 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk Body Polish Sugar Scrub.  This is a little pricey at $48.00 but I got it for my best friend and I last year and we both love it!  To conserve it, I only use this product once every other week.  I got it last summer and I’m just about to finish it, so it lasted me about a year!  The smell of this scrub is so good, it’s not super overpowering and it makes the bathroom smell great too after you use it, which is always a plus.  
I put the scrub on pre-shower which is extra exfoliating.  It also has tons of moisturizing agents in it so your skin feels hydrated instantly, you don’t even need to moisturize once out of the shower (although you always should)! You can find this product at BlueMercury (one of my favorite stores) or the Trish McEvoy website!    
Photo: TrishMcEvoy.com
My second favorite exfoliate comes from my first love, Lush Cosmetics.  This exfoliate is a little different than most scrubs you’ll find, but its amazing none the less. Buffy Body Butter will literally leave your skin feeling like silk, even more so than the Trish McEvoy scrub.  The reason I like the Trish scrub better overall is because it does what it’s supposed it do, exfoliate.  I find the Buffy Body Butter bar to be more relaxing and accomplishes more moisturizing (hence butter) than exfoliating.  
The bar contains ground rice and almonds, and is a vegan product, like most Lush products!  One down side to this product is that it melts away very quickly, I never use very warm or hot water because it just melts away and that’s no fun.  This product is less expensive than the Trish McEvoy ($23) and can be bought at any Lush store or online!
Photo: The Gloss
My last option for getting beautiful sundress-ready skin is Neutrogena’s Energizing Sugar Body Scrub, Fresh Citrus.  I really like this product in the morning before I shave if I know I’ll be wearing a dress/ shorts that day.  The citrus smell is amazing and wakes you right up!  If you tend to use a lot of product in a short amount of time, this is perfect for you!!  This citrus scrub is sugar based and basically has the same effects as the Trish scrub, although I would def still moisturize after using it, but is much more less expensive at $10! Click the link above to purchase this scrub from Ulta!  You can also find it at CVS and Walgreens, super convenient!
Photo: Total Beauty
So, here is the final break down (in order of how much I love them)
Trish McEvoy’s N° 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk Body Polish Sugar Scrub: luxurious “save for something special” exfoliate
Lush Cosmetics Buffy Body Bar: more moisturizing, less exfoliating
Neutrogena’s Energizing Sugar Body Scrub, Fresh Citrus: everyday exfoliate, gets the job done