June 18, 2013

Beauty Blog: My Favorite Products

I am very excited about this blog post because it's something that is very near and dear to my heart.....BEAUTY PRODUCTS! I have always loved make-up and once worked behind a beauty counter. I also secretly love watching make-up gurus on YouTube talk about the latest products available and their take on different make-up application techniques. My husband and daughter think I am crazy for the amount of products I have and continue to purchase. Personally, applying make-up is like therapy for me (crazy, I know) and it allows you to play around with different colors and techniques. I also like beauty products because they can transform your normal "blah" look into something beautiful. I always feel more put together and pretty when I have my face on. I also find joy in walking into the local drugstore or Wal-Mart and finding those hidden gems and "Holy Grail" items. Many women spend a ton of money of high-end department store products when you can achieve the same look for less. I will admit that I will talk about two high-end products in this post but I contemplated buying them for months and once I did and actually used them I was impressed and I feel the money was well spent....well, for one of them, but I will discuss that a little later. I plan on telling you about the item and it's price point as well as the pros and cons (in my opinion). As we all know, what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Also to be fair I need to tell you what I am looking for and my face type. I have normal to dry skin with a few fine lines and my pores are larger than I would like. I am a contact lense wearer and my eyes are super sensitive to products I use so I have to be careful when purchasing items for this area....it's usually trial by error so I have used a TON of eye products!! I don't do a whole cleansing routine with my face; I occasionally use a moisturizer, cleansing towelettes and anti-wrinkle creams daily. I do try to use a clay facial mask at least once (if not twice) a week just to deep clean and purge my pores. I also use brushes from e.l.f. Cosmetics - "Essentials Line" and they are only $1.00 each!! You can find these online or at Target; I have also found them at the Dollar Tree!! I use the "All Blending Sponge" from MAC and it's $8 online or at your local department store counters. So, let me begin and hopefully I do not bore you ladies to death! I really want this to be valuable information because I do enjoy what others have to say about their beauty products!

(Please Note: The pricing for all of this was found on WalMart.com unless it was a department store purchase. Also a "Dupe" is a term for a product that is almost exactly the same thing as another...usually a ton cheaper too!)

I will start with my facial cleansing and care products first since that is usually what happens first! I will be the first to admit that I don't always remember to use my facial creams and there are times I am too lazy to take my make-up off....it's not good for your skin but it happens!



For the nights that I have time and feel like my face needs a good deep cleaning I use Freeman's Facial Clay Mask: Avocado & Oatmeal ($3.98). I typically put it on before I step into the shower and bath, letting it set for 10 minutes before taking it off. I like that this product dries on your face without being a cakey mess. Once I feel like it's been on long enough I take a washcloth and warm water to rinse/wipe it off. It comes off easy and you don't feel like you have to scrub your face off in the process. I have normal/dry skin and this gives a good deep clean without drying me out. I also love how my skin feels afterwards and it really seems to help minimize my pores. The only downfall to this is that if you don't wear one of the wide head bands that can cover your hairline it will end up getting in your fine hairs and then you are forced to wash your hair. For that reason, I always do it when I am ready to wash my hair so I don't have to worry about green hair later!



I have found that the Equate Beauty Refreshing Cleansing Towelettes ($3.48) take off my make-up better than any of the other name brand ones that I have used! These towelettes aren't rough so you don't feel like you're tearing your skin apart. The smell is clean and refreshing. It takes off all of my make-up including my mascara and eyeliner. However, I do use a separate product for that just to really get everything off that area since my eyes are sensitive. I will mention that in a bit. I also like these towelettes because they are a "Dupe" for the Garnier Refreshing Towelettes so that saves me a few bucks! I have found a lot of the CVS brand towelettes to be entirely too strong when using around my eye area so that is why I tried the Equate brand. I was impressed with the quality because the towelette itself is thick and soft without a ton of fragrance and product overload. It's really a good quality towelette that works and doesn't cost a fortune. Worth trying if you use towelettes instead of facial bars and soaps.


Before switching to the Equate Towelettes above I had been using the CVS Age Defying Towelettes (dupe for the Oil of Olay brand) but found that those really burned when used anywhere near my eyes. I couldn't even use them on my cheekbones because the scent and ingredients just sent my eyes screaming. It was really strange but I kept using them on my face just nowhere near my eyes so I purchased the Almay Oil-Free Makeup Remover Pads ($6.98). These little pads work well and they didn't send my eyes into panic mode. They are oil-free so you don't have to worry if you already have skin that's prone to be on the oily side. They don't burn your eyes and they aren't loaded down with a ton of product. The pads themselves are very soft and I found another use for them that makes me happy. These pads are just the right size to use right before you groom and fill in your eyebrows. You will never believe the amount of buildup you have on your brows from your foundation/powder. These pads remove all of that residue so you have a nice clean slate to work with when grooming/shaping your brows.

I am at an age where unfortunately I am starting to get fine lines so I am all about keeping those at bay and erasing the ones I have. I haven't used a ton of anti-wrinkle products so I honestly do not have a good comparison for you. I did try some of the Oil of Olay Regenerist products and they became too pricey for me to continue using them. However, my Mother swears by the stuff so it must work but it just doesn't work for my wallet! I decided I would try the L'Oreal Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate ($13.87). It is very silky and absorbs quickly into your skin. It has Pro-retinol A and a lot goes a long way which is good considering the tube is only 1 fluid ounce, which is a "con" considering it's over $10.00! I have used this product off and on for about 4 years and I must say that it's not like an instant face lift but it has kept fine lines away and the ones I do have they aren't getting any worse so it's working in my opinion. I also did some research online and you can purchase this through ebay and amazon cheaper than what I get it for at Wal-Mart but I am all about convenience and it's easier for me to just pick it up locally.


The last product that I use in my skincare management routine is one that is currently a new product that a lot of people are talking (good and bad) about. I have been eyeing this product for weeks but was hesitant about it because of the price point but I finally broke down and bought it after seeing rave reviews on YouTube! L'Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur ($19.97) is a skin care/preventative product that is supposed to instantly erase the look of lines, wrinkles, and pores. Another great feature that this product offers is that it has SPF30 in it so you are getting some sunscreen coverage during the day. It's also used as a primer before applying your make-up but it's not considered a moisturizer or foundation. When I first used this product I must admit I was skeptical and a little confused. The texture really threw me off (still does) and I think if you have Oily skin it may really throw you off but I still think it's worth trying because in my opinion it does what it says. First, back to the texture, it's thicker than most silicone based primers. It's creamy so it glides over your skin filling in your pores and fine lines nicely. I find that using less is more when using this product. I also think the more you try to rub it in the more frustrated you will become. I usually put it on first thing in the morning and let it "set" before applying my make-up because I have applied my foundation directly afterwards and I did not like it at all -- I felt like my concealer and foundation slid all over the place. When using this you will find that you don't have to use as much concealer and foundation because just a little will glide nicely along your face. I honestly feel that it does help blur my imperfections away and helps me save the amount of foundation that I have to apply afterwards. It's not as "heavy" as it may appear to be when you first squeeze out the small amount you are going to use on your fingers. If you can get past the texture and overall feeling you have when you first apply it then I think you will be happy you made the purchase.

My foundation that I have chosen to blog about is fairly new to me because I was still using my old foundation until it ran low a couple of days ago. I decided to try Revlon Colorstay Whipped Crème Makeup ($10.97) after hearing and watching non-stop rave reviews on the product. BEST.PURCHASE.EVER! This stuff is amazing. I hate that I haven't tried it sooner because I was missing out! This creamy, fluffy, whipped goodness just glides over your face giving it a flawless finish. It doesn't settle into your pores or fine lines so you don't have to worry about an instant aging effect like some foundations give you. It doesn't set into a cakey mess and it doesn't leave your skin with a shine. I would say it's more dewy than matte but still a great product if you have Oily skin. I am highly impressed with the quality of this product and the only downside would be packaging. It is a very bulky glass jar that takes up room. If you are used to applying your foundation with a brush that is not suitable because your fingers do it better. I just blend everything together with my MAC blender once it's applied and it looks great. This seriously might be a "Holy Grail" product for me!!


 I am new to trying my hand at the whole contouring craze that is going on right now because I tend to get a little overwhelmed with it all. However, I do know that you need a good blush, bronzer and highlighter to achieve the look. Finding the perfect bronzer was seriously the hardest part of achieving the right duo. I found that many of them were entirely too orangey leaving me looking like an OOMPA LOOMPA. I also bought some that left me looking very muddy, almost dirty. I took a leap of faith when I ordered a duo from e.l.f. because I had only read reviews about it online. After using this product for over 2 months I think I finally found a great combo - e.l.f. Contouring Blush & Bronzer in St. Lucia ($3.00). I would have to say that the pigmentation isn't as great as other blushes and bronzers I have so you do have to build on it. I like the fact that there is shimmer in the product but it's very subtle so you don't feel like you have dumped a bottle of glitter all over your face and neck. The packaging is very sleek and slender so it doesn't take up a lot of room in your makeup storage. This is also supposed to be a dupe for NARS - Orgasm Blush & Laguna Bronzer duo so if you prefer e.l.f. you are saving close to $45! If you are also someone "dazed and confused" about the whole contouring craze then you need to check out this link from BubzBeauty! She breaks it down for you and even gives an example for each face shape. 


I have found a blush that is a drugstore brand but has a high-end quality! Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso ($6.97) is the prettiest shade I have ever put on my cheeks. It's a peachy-coral tone that has nice pigmentation and blends well. I honestly think this would be beautiful on any skin tone and has been compared to NARS blush in Orgasm. I use this by itself when I'm not using the e.l.f. Contouring Blush & Bronzer as well as on top of it. I can't recommend this product enough because I firmly believe this is a shade that you will keep reaching for on a daily basis with your make-up routine. I am so glad I read about this product in a beauty blog because it's become my favorite blush...hands down!

So, this next product is one that I spent a lot of money on and isn't typically something I would purchase because of the price point BUT....I am SO glad that I did! MAC's Definitely Defined Extra Dimension Skinfinish ($30.00) is the bomb.  I have heard and watched reviews about this product for a while now and I could never bring myself to buy it until we had a gift card for Macy's. We don't have a Macy's in my town so I figured why not spend it online buying this gem. This is a nice highlighter that is a pretty shade of pink champagne. A little of this product on the top of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, your cupids bow and even under your brow bone gives a nice touch. I also found that too much of this product will make your pores more noticeable so a little goes a long way. It can also be "too frosty" if too much is applied so you need to take it easy when applying the product to your brush. All in all I am happy with the purchase and I use it to give my face a subtle and youthful glow.

Milani Baked Eyeshadow in Fusion ($6.47) is an eyeshadow that you can use wet or dry. It's a swirl of purple, gold and copper but once applied it is a pretty shade of purple/brown. I have used this shade both wet and dry. When applying it wet  it does give you a richer darker shade but it's still beautiful. This also has nice pigmentation and it's not "dusty" like some eye shadows are so it doesn't have a lot of fall out under your eyes. It's also long lasting because I can apply it in the morning and still have the same look when I am taking it off at night. This shade is one that I use probably 5 times a week because it's a nice subtle shade for everyday wear. I tend to use it wet when I am going for more of a dramatic look and apply it dry for my daytime wear. I'm really impressed with the Milani brand and their baked line so I will probably purchase a few more of their baked eye shadows. The only con is this brand doesn't have a lot of shades to choose from so you are limited in that aspect. This is also said to be a dupe for MAC's eyeshadow in the shade of Trax.

Another eyeshadow that I wear on a daily basis is Stila in Kitten ($18.00). Once again, this is a product I wouldn't typically buy because of the price but I also used the gift card for this. I kept seeing this shade pop up in YouTube make-up blogs and I finally broke down and ordered it. This is a MUST HAVE neutral shade because it's gorgeous on. It's highly pigmented so a lot goes a long way and I use it on my eyelid and inner corners of my eye; I have even used it under my brown bone as a highlighter. It has multiple uses so it's worth the $18.00 in my opinion. It's a nice champagne sheer shade but can be applied heavier for more of a dramatic look. The finish is a bit shimmery/frosty so if you aren't into "shimmer" then you definitely want to steer clear of it. You do have to mind when applying because it can accentuate those fine lines with this type of shade. This also claims that it can be applied wet or dry but I have never used it wet. I would say the only two cons are the price point and it does have fall out. Otherwise, this is a nice universal shade.

I have to be very careful with eyeliners because my eyes are super sensitive so I have been through tons of "eye" products. For eyeliner I have been using Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips for Hazel eyes ($9.63). It's packaged as a set of 3 colors: Taupe, Black and Purple/Pink. They are fairly creamy so they glide on nicely and you can blend them without tugging your eyelid. I feel that the shades really do enhance my hazel eyes when wearing the Taupe and Purple. Black is black so I can't really give a review on that. I have mixed feelings on this product because it's really GOOD but there are some things to be concerned about....is that possible?!? I like that Physician's Formula is a natural brand so I am not putting harsh ingredients in my already sensitive eye area. I also like the quality of their products but you can tell that they don't have the "staying" power of the products that have the harsh ingredients. Make sense? I don't feel like this has the proclaimed 24-Hour staying power because my liner does seem to fade by the end of the day. However, beggars can't be choosers so if you have sensitive eyes or like Organic products this is something you should try!

Physician's Formula FakeOut Mascara (8.74) in black is another great product if you have sensitive eyes or like wearing Organic products. This product is supposed to give you length, fullness and a curl....and it does EXACTLY that!!! Once applied this seriously looks like you have false lashes on without being too dramatic. It's seriously one of the products that does what it claims. I am super sensitive to mascara's and have also tried a ton of them! I can not seem to wear water proof mascaras because of the chemicals so I am kind of stuck with only a few to choose from. I would say the cons of this product is that it's not waterproof so it will run if you cry, swim or sweat too much. I also found if you rub your eyes it does rub off under your eyes and fingers so you do have to be careful if you mess with your eyes a lot. The great thing about this product is that if you are super sensitive to the brands that are waterproof and have harsh ingredients then you do have a really great product to use instead. I feel this is long wearing and comes off super easy when removing your make-up at night. I don't need to use an "eye remover" as it comes off with the cleansing towelettes or warm water.

Well, there you have it, my most used and favorite beauty products I currently use. I hope this helps some of you when you are out making that next beauty product purchase. I also hope that this gives you some more options in the drug store so you can spend less at the department store counters! I plan on doing beauty blogs throughout the month of products I love and hate because I think they really help and I love reading others blogs about their opinions on make-up products/brands.

















5 comments:

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