Your beauty routine should change from season-to-season. Reality is that many do not change things up due to getting stuck in a routine. Having a baby threw my hair and skin through a loop, and having the season change simultaneously really did a number. I have been focusing on improving my hair and skin game. Below are what I found this last month and a half to be the best spring skin & hair products.
There is a lot of hype around Urban Decay’s Naked line. If you are a female who wears make up chances are you have heard of some kind of UD Naked product. While I do wear eyeshadow, I didn’t feel the need to splurge on the full sized palettes quite yet. I wanted to see how I felt about the Basics first and then grow my collection from there. Long story short–I fell in love with a palette.
I am excited to start writing about my favorite products for each month. I honestly love products, and I love sharing what I find. For this last month, I developed a major adoration for Boots No7 Serum, Equate Original Clean Facial Towelettes (yes, from WALMART), and Urban Decay’s Primer Potion. Onto my January beauty product favorites with reviews & tips!
I am a reader. Growing up, I was always reading for pleasure. In high school, I was constantly marking my books–even though I didn’t have to (#nerd). Though I read great amounts of literature in my English undergraduate and now graduate programs, reading for pleasure is still a huge part of my life. Enter A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison.
I have gnarly combination skin. I go through phases of bad acne and dryness. The winter makes this worse every year. Over time I have gotten better at combatting my skin’s drama. Thus, I present to you five skin products that I firmly believe to be the greatest moisturizers to cure your winter dryness woes.
With back to school just around the corner, a huge portion of the population is about to get kicked into overdrive. Mom will be soon be back on the grind–making lunches, being a bus driver, cleaning, running errands, cooking, trying to not forget carpool duty, making work calls in between it all, and heaven forbid trying to look presentable in between all of this. If you are a student or a working student like me, then you know the pressure of looking semi-presentable even though you stayed up till 3:30 AM trying to finish “one last homework assignment.”
We are all about to get busy, my friends. and not like Sean Paul circa 2002 (I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m totally jammin’ to it now, mon’). Stepping up your back to school game can often feel like a shock to the system and usually by week 2 you will likely start feeling extra tired and tap that snooze button a few too many times. If that is the case, then it is likely your hair is what will suffer. Enter the first world miracle that is dry shampoo. Dry shampoo had its first wave of popularity in the 70s. With dry shampoo’s recent comeback, nearly every hair company touts of its own dry shampoo product.
Dry shampoo is about more than making your hair clean. It is extremely helpful when you volumeless hair (raises hand). It doesn’t matter if you thick or thin hair we all go through two of the same hair lamentations:
- Dirty/greasy/sweaty (that shiz happens–don’t pretend you’re above it)
Dry shampoo can help with one of this issues or even both. Over time I rounded up my favorite dry shampoo products and made a little cheat sheet.
Psssst! Dry Shampoo
I bought this when I was in a pinch traveling, and I love it. Psssst! ($5.99) is definitely for “dirty” hair. It does give volume, but it is made to absorb grease. It sprays on really white. Spray it on 6-8 inches away, leave it for minimum 4 minutes, then brush it out. I usually do my makeup while I’m waiting for the spray to absorb. Once you brush it out, the “white” should go away, and you should be left with gorgeous clean-looking, volumized hair!
Paul Mitchell Dry Wash
I bought this on accident thinking I was getting the hairspray in this line (it is my all time fave). This ended up being a happy accident because I love this dry shampoo. It has clean smell to it without being overpowering. It dries very quickly and absorbs faster than any other dry shampoo I’ve ever tried. Paul Mitchell has great products that I generally trust (I love their Awapuhi line), so it’s of no surprise that I like their dry shampoo ($23.) I usually leave this on my roots for about 2 minutes max. This is great when you are on the go or doing a touch up.
Oscar Blandi Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray
This product sprays on clear, so if you worry about being able to brush all of the white out then this is the dry shampoo for you. This spray is definitely more for volumizing rather than “cleaning.” It absorbs some oil, but it isn’t for dirty hair. Sometimes when I shower before I go to bed my hair doesn’t totally feel perfectly clean where my head was resting on the pillow, and my hair looks extra flat in the mornings. This is the perfect volumizing dry shampoo. When I use this, I flip my head upside down and spray as I layer my hair with my fingers (lift and spray sections one at a time). Oscar Blandi’s dry shampoo ($11) is perfect for moments when you don’t have access to a mirror and don’t know if you’ll be able to get the traces of powder out of your hair.
Suave Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo
I tried Suave’s dry shampoo first per recommendation of my friend and cosmetologist (mentioned in this post). It is cheap–think $3 cheap. In my humble opinion this stuff is the best when you need to absorb oil and add volume. I use it on those days that I sleep in way too late. It’s also great when you’ve curled your hair and perhaps you put on a bit too much product, and you don’t want to compromise your do.
Batiste Dry Shampoo
This is the latest dry shampoo that I’ve found, and I adore it. For $7, Batiste is totally worth the purchase. I rank it up there with Suave. This is also great for genuinely dirty hair. I’ve used it when I’ve hit the gym and didn’t have time to shower before the next activity (gross but true). It absorbs next to everything. This is an extremely white product. I recommend spraying it while you are not wearing your outfit for the day. At the very least, throw on a robe.
Tips and Tricks
- Dry shampoo is meant to be sprayed on roots not on the body of your hair. You’ll have a nightmare on your hands if you spray it all over your hair.
- Like I mentioned before, don’t wear your #ootd while spraying on your dry shampoo unless it’s an “invisible” spray like Ocar Blandi’s.
- Let the dry shampoo “set” before brushing it out. Most dry shampoos need a few minutes to soak into your roots.
- Spray dry shampoo 4 to 6 inches away from your head. If you spray it on a concentrated area, you’ll have a big white nasty mess to deal with. The idea is to mist it onto your roots–not soak them.
So there you have it!
In honor of National Pink Day, I want to talk about my favorite shades of pink lipstick. Pink lipstick is a makeup bag staple. Let’s be real, you can be wearing nothing but mascara and lipstick and look fantastic. Trust me. My husband constantly reminds me that I don’t need as much makeup as I wear, so on the days where I need to keep it minimal, I rock pink lipstick and mascara and call it good.
Considering that pink is my favorite color, I have three shades of pink that I am dedicated to wearing. So let’s go through this: in the swatch on my hand from the left to right I have Revlon Just Bitten Lip Balm Stain in Smitten ($5-6 at any Walmart or Walgreens), Estee Lauder Signature Hydra Lustre in Pink Champagne (Macy’s or any Estee Lauder counter $25), and Covergirl Lip Perfection in Enchantress ($5.99 at Target).
What is your favorite shade? Do you wear lipstick very often?
Who doesn’t love getting something fun in the mail every month? Something filled with treats that could have been picked out by your best friend.That is EXACTLY what Birchbox is.
So let’s jump into the pros and cons of Birchbox, but I have a feeling that one of the lists will be longer than the other… 😉
1. Um, can you say MONTHLY?!
Birchbox arrives every single month. It is great. I never quite know when it is going to arrive (I don’t bother tracking it), but when it arrives, it makes my day. It’s small enough that it fits into my mailbox, but large enough to cover all of the bills that I want to forget about. haha
2. Extremely affordable
The women’s box is $10 per month. Over the course of a year, you spend $120 if you go month-to-month. Usually, if you purchase a year up front you can receive a free box; however, if you enter code “BBSUBYEAR” at checkout this month, you get two boxes free! Deal much?
I get makeup and skin products; sure, that is to be expected. I also get monthly health products. I have received granola bars and vitamins, as well. Birchbox is clearly looking out for me. Maybe a health item per month will level out all of the Diet Cokes I may or may not consume during a given month…or not. haha
4. Tailored to you
When you sign up, you enter your preferences. They base what you receive in the boxes based off of your preferences. You enter what type of beauty “personality” you prefer, skin type, and style preferences.
5. Excellent customer service
They didn’t send out my box on time a month ago. To be honest, I didn’t notice, but it didn’t matter. I got my box along with an email saying that they were sending a little something extra as a “sorry.” Well, lo and behold, two different boxes came that month. I didn’t have to say a thing. I am impressed with Birchbox’s customer service.
6. Rewards & Discounts
Birchbox provides rewards to its users for writing reviews on specific products, and purchases. You can use your reward points to buy full size products.
7. Easy to buy full size
Birchbox groups the monthly products together for easy buying. They offer all of the included box items on their site. They even offer deals on items included in the monthly boxes.
1. Little bottles EVERYWHERE
Now, I did mention that I love everything I get from Birchbox. The issue is that I can’t move through all of the products fast enough, resulting in tiny bottles everywhere. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve discovered tons of great new products without having to try full size, but the trade off is a ton of little bottles. Otherwise, I can’t think of any other cons. Birchbox provides great products accompanied with a low price.
My mailbox is more often than not filled with bills and junk mail. Nevertheless, every now and then something magical arrives in the mail–a subscription box.
I am not the only person who subscribes to curated boxes. It’s a fairly new phenomenon. Big players in the industry are tight-lipped about what they are making and who they are shipping to. The only statistic that I could find is the number of Birchboxes shipped as of last August, which is 5 million, according to Forbes. Since last August, subscription boxes are only on the rise. Some of the biggest boxes in the beauty and women’s category are FabFitFun (in partnership with Giuliana Rancic from E! News), Birchbox, and PopSugar Must Have. Over the last few months, I have tried all three and feel like I have gained some MAJOR insight into what works and does not work for these boxes.
First batter up at the plate is FabFitFun. I loved getting their Spring 2014 box. It was filled to the brim with full-sized goodies. The most memorable products included a full-sized Kai oil perfume, dry shampoo, a hair wrap, Cover FX primer, and an exfoliating mitt. These are just some of the awesome products included.
There are two downfalls to FabFitFun:
- It is seasonal. Yes, you have to be patient.
- If you don’t like a product, you have a full size amount of it; however, for me there wasn’t anything I didn’t like. Additionally, after peaking at past boxes, I don’t think there will ever be something I don’t like.
The box came quickly. It is set at a decent price. You can order a seasonal box at a time (you don’t have to subscribe for a full year). Rather than having a bunch of samples, you get full-sized products. In the process I discovered many new favorites. The packaging and presentation were adorable. There wasn’t a product included that I didn’t love. I highly recommend this box. I wish I would have discovered FabFitFun sooner.
- Kai Perfume Oil $48
- Cover FX SPF 30 Protection Primer (my favorite primer) $38
- Merrithew Mini Stability Ball & DVD $28.94
- Dermasuri Deep Exfoliating Mitt $19.99
- Cult Gaia Turband $48
- Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Invisible Spray (omgsh such a long name) $25
- Level Natural Shower Bombs: $7.99
- The Better Chip Spinach and Kale with Sea Salt $1.99
What I Spent on the Box: $49.99
So my fair ladies, check out FabFitFun’s box ASAP. Sign up for the Summer box here! So far we know that a full sized Sonya Dakar Flash Facial treatment will be included (the product is $95 on its own!). Plus, Gwyneth Paltrow loves Sonya Dakar’s products. I better see what this hype is about. I see a beauty review in its future. 😉
**This is the first post in a series of three. I will be posting about a subscription per week for the next two weeks. Be sure to tune it for reviews of Birchbox and PopSugar Must Have!
Have a great day!
Sign up for the Summer FabFitFun box here!
I’m a fan of liquid eyeliner. I, like many women, have experimented with eyeliner for many years. First, I started with a pencil. I lined all the way around my eyes on the ledges. This subsequently made my eyes look smaller. I moved on to gel liner. I found that gel liner tends to get in my eye and float on my contact. Gross, but true. Then my dear sisters introduced me to the liquid liner pen.
Here is the issue. My sisters swear on Stila’s liquid liner–that is what I’ve been using for the last two years; however, several other liners are serious contenders. I disliked Maybelline’s liquid liner. I bought it when I left my Stila liner at home, while vacationing. It rubbed off too easily and didn’t have a deep black like I prefer. In February I received a Cynthia Rowley liner in my Birchbox. It was love at first use.
It really does contend with Stila’s eyeliner.
Here are the pros and cons of each.
- Richest color
- Stays puts
Stila Not So Much Love
- Less control compared to Cynthia Rowley
- Thin lines take more work
Cynthia Rowley Love
- Total control of the eyeliner
- Stays put
Cynthia Rowley Not So Much Love
- Not as rich as Stila’s eyeliner
*A note about each of the eyeliners, when I went to remove the eyeliner, Cynthia Rowley removes MUCH easier. Now for many, this is a good thing. However, I just prefer a liner that is really hard to come off. If you’re crier, Cynthia Rowley probably isn’t for you. Yet, if you hate how you can never get your eyeliner off, then go with Cynthia Rowley.
So there you have it. Which one do you prefer? Stila or Cynthia Rowley? Comment below!