Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Beauty Box Five: August Box Reveal

It's that time again for this month's Beauty Box 5 reveal! 
 This month's box is a glowing nod to our last few days of summer and highlights a few must haves for us to shine on into the fall.  As a lucky member of the official BB5 review team, I receive complimentary boxes in exchange for my thoughts, and get to test drive some of the industry's top picks.  Don't be jelly.  You can get in on these fab items!
The beauty experts at BB5 select five of the beauty industry's hot items to have delivered straight to your door.  The nice thing about BB5 is the many subscription options.  You can experience enough boxes to see if it's right for you, without committing to too many.  Now that you got the run down, let's dive in!  
Nanacoco Lip Gloss
Retail: $3.99
This month I'm going to start with my favorite item!  I was so happy to see this full sized lip gloss from Nanacoco Lip Gloss.
  This Carmel Latte is a really lovely, natural looking shade with a touch of shimmer that can work with many skin tones.  It's a gorgeous choice for this time of year when you're transitioning your look from summer to fall. It's very close to a color from NYC (New York Color) that I used rock no matter what season, through my latter years of high school.  Needless to say I was heartbroken when I learned it had been discontinued.  Carmel Latte has amazing color pay off, with no stickiness and I love the glorious sheen.  The scent is a yummy mix of vanilla and caramel.
La Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes
Retail: $19.99 (48 packets)
One thing I can never get enough of are face wipes.  Whether they're for general face cleansing or specifically for make up removal like La Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes.  They're always great to have on hand, and these in particular proved very useful.  I've been using a new face wash that is a good treatment for my skin, but honestly doesn't remove makeup well at all.  That's where these babies came in and saved the day!  They're for all over your face and are gentle, oil free, free of parabens and do a really nice job.  I use these in sensitive areas like around my eyes to remove the left over mascara and don't ever experience irritation.   
Style Essentials Nail Polish
4 Nail Polish Collection
Retail: $7.00
Style Essentials Nail Polish is a brand that is new to me, but I really loved this polish!  It's a very deep navy- almost black- with subtle silver sparkles.  Its brush was dubbed "easy to apply" and I must admit I liked its capabilities.  It's slightly shorter and wider which allowed for better control and helped me achieve more even coverage.  I applied two coats and the color really popped.  I always apply my quick dry top coat, but this polish proved to have a pretty glossy finish on its own, as well as seemingly quick dry time.  Its definitely a brand to keep an eye out for and snag a few colors if you can.
Pur-lisse Pur Protect SPF 30 
Retail: $55.00 1.7 oz
No one out there can ever have enough sun screen and Pur-lisse Pur Protect SPF 30 was an awesome bonus.  This is ideal to toss in your purse for day to day use, or to have ready when you're caught unprepared.  I've been burned simply taking a quick al fresco lunch break, only to go inside and realize I soaked up a little more sun then I intended.    
Novex Brazilian Keratin
Retail: $19.50 2 lbs
The last item was Novex Brazilian Keratin.  It is described as an intensive treatment for all hair types to renew and reinforce strands right away.  My hair has a reputation for being unruly and quite dry so I imagine this could be a proper solution but kinda feel I need to research this one a bit before using.  Its packing is nearly all in Spanish so I can't say I'm totally informed on it just yet.  But I will state that the contents size is quite large at 1.05 oz.  If it proves to be good quality, this was certainly a good deal.
Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes?  Are you interested in BB5?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Review: Nair Hair Remover Shower Power MAX

I don't think anyone really looks forward to shaving.  It can cause irritation, the effects can be less then lasting, and I sincerely hate dealing with razors.  That being said you would think I'd have already tried one of the many hair removal alternatives out there, but I haven't.  At least, not until Nair Hair Removal Shower Power MAX moseyed on into my life, courtesy of a past beautypress event.

Nair Shower Power MAX is an ultra rich cream that comes packaged in a pump bottle, and even comes with a small plug.  The end of the pump has a little cap that snaps open and closed which is a nice touch to keep from added mess.  It also provides a soft foam sponge that is flat on one side (for application) and has small ridges on the other (for the removal process).  The cream is infused with Moroccan Argan Oil & Orange Blossom (which is what sold me on trying it) and its description states: 
- Effective on Coarse Hair
- Smooth Skin Lasts Days Longer than Shaving
- Dermatologist Tested
- Specially Designed Sponge for Effective Hair Removal

When it comes to using products like these, it's wise to exercise massive caution because you don't know how your skin will react.   Considering my skin is pretty sensitive and usually on the dry side, I started with a small test area on my ankle.  Directions state to wait a full 24 hours after applying to the test area before proceeding. But after applying it in the morning, and seeing that by evening time there was still no reaction, I went ahead and started on sections of my leg.   
To be perfectly honest I wasn't expecting much and I had doubts about whether or not that little sponge would even make it through to the end of the first use. 
I started out by putting the cream onto the sponge, and then applying it too my dry skin. But I started to notice that the sponge was absorbing some of the product, and I had to squeeze it back out onto my skin so I didn't waste it.  That became annoying so I started just using my fingers to apply it, being careful not to rub it in. 
Once the application is finished, directions state you must wait one full minute before getting in the shower.  After you're in the shower, it is advised to keep the area out of the direct stream of water, and then leave on another two minutes, making sure not to exceed ten minutes.  (Confused yet?)  
Since I don't shower with a timer and could quite possibly have exceeded ten minutes, I decided to simply wait out the ten minutes outside the shower, and then go at it with the sponge.  The cream had started to dry and was already starting to disappear.  By this point I was expecting to feel some sort of sensation on my skin but there was none.  I took the ridged side of the sponge and began gently rubbing in small circles.  This was easy enough but I wasn't really able to tell if any hair was coming off.  After I felt like I had gotten the whole area, I went and rinsed it off.  The result?.....................................

Retail: $9.00 (varies)
I LOVE this stuff.  I was genuinely shocked at how well it not just removed the hair, but removed it evenly.  My skin was incredibly smooth afterwards, and it actually felt like I got a closer shave then I've ever had with a razor.  Considering my skin is sensitive, I was amazed that I hadn't felt any burning, tingling, or discomfort of any kind.  I kept going with the other sections of my leg until I had done the whole thing, and then jumped in the shower.  When I came out, I did notice a few red spots here that felt a little sensitive, but by the next morning, every one was completely gone.
Those could have appeared for any reason, my guess is it was a possible reaction with my body wash after using the Nair, my skin getting used to the Nair etc.  In any case, they disappeared completely and my skin was smooth for several days.  The Nair seemed to have slowed down the hair growth, which was huge for me.  No matter how close a shave I've had with a razor, by the next day, I'm left with no choice but to shave again anyway.  
My only critique would be the a.) the sponge and b.) its scent.  I would imagine a wash cloth would suffice just as well (plus I'm skeptical about how long the sponge can actually hold up).  I was a little sad the scent wasn't more pleasant.  I thought it would be a little sweeter but the good news is, it vanishes once you rinse the cream off anyway.
Overall, I would absolutely repurchase this and was truly pleased with the outcome.
Check out more Nair here
Have you tried this product?  How was your experience?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Get the Look: Shailene Woodley

If you didn't catch last night's Teen Choice Awards, you missed celebs like Shailene Woodley work that red carpet like no one's business.  Celebrity makeup artist, Roxy, was behind the scenes to get Shailene ready for the big night, where snagged awards for Choice Movie Actress in an Action/Adventure for her role in Divergent and Choice Movie Actress in a Drama, for her role in The Fault in our Stars.
“We wanted to keep Shailene’s makeup clean and not competitive with her gorgeous and colorful Peter Pilotto dress,” said Roxy. “Using monochromatic colors on her eyes and cheeks, I defined her features to make them pop while not overwhelming her with color. Her soft plum rose lip – which we created using tarte’s LipSurgence™ matte lip tint in hope, was the perfect finishing touch to her ultra-feminine look.”
Roxy began by spraying Caudalie's Beauty Elixir Spray all over Shailene's face, neck and décolletage to revive, sooth and hydrate her skin. She then prepped her skin further, applying tarte’s clean slate™ flawless 12-hr brightening primer with tarte’s the buffer™ airbrush finish bamboo foundation brush which helped spread the primer all over the face, evenly and fast. “This primer gives off a subtle sheen while delivering a blend of vitamins to the skin and holds makeup for hours,” said Roxy.
Roxy applied tarte’s Amazonian clay full coverage airbrush foundation in fair-light honey with tarte’s airbuki bamboo powder foundation brush all over the face in circular motions to melt the makeup into Shailene’s skin. “I started at the center of her face and blended out to her jawline until it was seamless,” said Roxy. “This powder foundation does an excellent job at providing great coverage while leaving the complexion still looking natural with a velvet-like finish.”
“Since color was not a big part of this look, I wanted to do more with sculpting to bring out her beautiful features,” said Roxy.  She played up the definition on Shailene’s gorgeous cheek bones with tarte’s Amazonian clay matte waterproof bronzer in park ave princess™. For this look Roxy applied the bronzer right under Shailene’s cheek bones and softly at her temples.
“Since glowing skin is always a priority to us, I applied Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Illuminator down the bridge of her nose, around the outer corners and above her brows in a C shape manner,” said Roxy. Roxy used her fingers to get the right amount of product applied evenly and took a sponge over it to melt it perfectly into Shailene’s skin.
 Roxy started by applying tarte's clean slate™ 360º creaseless 12-hr smoothing eye primer. She wanted to sculpt the eyes in a monochromatic manner to keep it simple while still bringing out the best in Shailene’s gorgeous eyes. Roxy started by applying tarte’s Amazonian clay waterproof cream eyeshadow in shimmering bronze along the edges of her top and bottom lash lines. She diffused it softly with tarte's undercover lover™ bamboo concealer brush, which allowed her to blend it softly but keep the strength of the color intact. Roxy then applied some nude-taupe shadows in the outer corners of Shailene’s eyes from tarte’s rainforest after dark limited-edition colored clay eye & cheek palette. 
Roxy used tarte’s colored clay tinted brow gel in medium brown to give them a little more structure than usual and keep them in place. “This brow gel is awesome because the brush is so tiny it makes detailing the brows naturally very easy,” said Roxy.
Two coats of tarte’s gifted™ Amazonian clay smart mascara to finish the look to her eyes,” said Roxy. “This mascara added a bit more drama to her eyes by lengthening and curling her lashes perfectly.”
Tarte LipSurgence™ matte lip tint in hope straight from the pen. “This muted down-plum rose color was a wonderful finish to Shailene’s monochromatic look because it fit with in the color family of her eye shadow and cheeks, but added a bit of feminine softness to her over all look.”
Shop tarte cosmetics! 
Check them out on:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Latest Pink Goodies: LONDONTOWN Nail Polish & Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

It goes without saying that I'm an obvious pink fanatic.  So it was all I could do not to cover myself in it from head to toe with the latest glosses from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics and polish from LONDONTOWN . 
Retail: $22.00
After a little research I learned this GORGEOUS shade from LONDONTOWN, pays homage to its hometown of Radlett, England.  As a child, founder Natasha Dillon was taught a treasured family remedy that worked to maintain hydrated hands and nails.           
Deciding to share this valuable remedy has certainly be beneficial for all of us.  KUR is a naturally derived nail treatment system that is a thoughtful holistic approach to restoring, strengthening and hydrating nails and cuticles.  Its formulas combine nail care science with the nourishing and restorative properties of Britain’s rapeseed flower oil, chamomile, cucumber and other essential oils and extracts as it aims to work beyond the nail surface.  

I was infatuated with Radlett based on its colour alone, but quickly realized its ingredients were very effective.  For about two months now, I've been applying Quimica polish as my base coat before every mani, to help strengthen and grow my nails.  These manis, however, usually only last a few days before my nails start to feel weak again and I need to reapply it.   But I noticed that with LONDONTOWN my nails felt strong for over a week, and I was surprised to see that they were continuing to grow.  I also noticed there was NO chipping for that entire week, no matter how much of a beating my hands and nails took.  It gives solid coverage and has a pretty notable glossy finish.  I liked the look so much that I used it again for my next mani, only this time I jazzed it up with a little silver crackle from Sally Hansen.   
LONDONTOWN polishes are also:
Formaldehyde resin-free
Vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free.
Product is 12 ml - .4 fl. oz.
Learn more about LONDONTOWN's 5-Step treatment.

Retail: $20.00
OCC Crème Colour Concentrate
This was such a fun product to use.  It's versatile in use, appropriate for eyes, lips and cheeks, but personally for my skin tone, it worked best as a lip colour.  It's an interesting shade because at first glance it appears to be light, peach, but then once you swirl it around for application, it deepens into a vibrant peachy, red.  Above all, it is great quality.  It has buildable coverage so you can intensify the colour when you want, its lightweight, and I found its texture to be especially smooth. 

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Stained Gloss
Retail: $18.00
L-R: Aurora and Hedonist
I still remember the first time I ever tried Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics lip tars.  It was a deep red and I was so impressed that I went on a raved about it for weeks.  The fact that I had applied at 8am, and had the exact same vibrancy by 5pm, without any touch ups had floored me.  So of course I was excited to snag a few OCC Stained Glosses while at CHICSTUDIOS  5 year anniversary celebration!    
I received Aurora and Hedonist- two delicious variations of pink :p 
OCC's Stained Gloss collection was inspired by the effects created from lighting gels and stained glass.  They're supposed to combine the color intensity of the lip tars with a translucent, glossy finish.  It sounded as if they had taken the manifique lip tars one step further and my expectations were pretty high.
Now, these didn't end up blowing me away like the tars, but I do like them.  For starters, they were not sticky or tacky.  Not even a little bit.  The texture was one of the lightest I've ever worn, and they made my lips feel slightly moist.  The color pay off is amazing.  They do have a sheen, but it doesn't last more then a couple hours.  Personally, I don't mind this because after the sheen wears off, what you're left with is a really gorgeous stain.  Strangely enough, I didn't really feel like I was wearing a gloss per say, but more of a very lightweight lipstick.  This made sense when I learned they can also be use to add a little color to your cheeks. 
Overall, I did enjoy using these and would recommend them if you like versatility in your make up, and don't crave a constant high shine. 
Paraben-Free courtesy of refreshing Peppermint Oil.

100% Vegan & Gluten-Free
Organic Hemp Oil & Soy-Derived Vitamin E

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Three Must Serve Cocktails at Your End of Summer Bash

The summer is winding down and no doubt you've already started planning your ultra fabulous, end of summer bash with friends.  There's nothing better then getting together with friends and kicking back with a fresh, crisp summer cocktail to beat the heat and celebrate the season.  Below are three yummy summer cocktails that are easy to create, using delicious teas from Harney & Sons.     

1. Organic Green Margaritas
- 2 ounces silver tequila
- 1 ounce of lime fresh lime juice
-2 tablespoons light agave nectar


2. Peach Bellini:
- 4 ounces Champagne
- 2 ounces Harney & Sons Peach Iced tea 
- 1 ounce peach puree
Pour peach puree and iced tea into a chilled champagne flute.  Slowly pure champagne over peach mixture and enjoy. 
3. Ice Pick
- 1.5 ounces vodka
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup of Harney & Sons Plain (Black) Iced Tea 
Mix vodka, sugar and lemon juice in a tall glass.  Fill glass with ice and fill glass with iced tea.  Still ingredients together and garnish with lemon.

Want to try other tea options?

Harney & Sons is an amazing tea company that started out as a small family venture that has since exploded and acquired global recognition.  Starting production out of his basement in 1983, John began his own journey in mastering the craft of tea blending. Serving his distinctive blends with inn guests, he soon found they were coming back for more. Never did John Harney imagine that his small home-run business in Salisbury, Connecticut would turn into a global operation, now headquartered in Millerton, New York filling 90,000 square feet of warehouse space, and employing over 155 people, making it one of the largest employers in the Hudson Valley. The company, which sources, blends, and packages their own product from start to finish, has grown from their original six teas, to more than three hundred. Their story truly captures the essence of American business ingenuity.

I was so excited to learn that Harney & Sons now operates not far from my own hometown.  I've tasted several of their teas (reviews coming soon!) and loved each one so much I just had to share these summer drink ideas.  If you work any into your parties, let me know which ones were a hit!     

Please kindly note these drink recipes include alcohol and should be consumed only by those 21 and older.   
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