Friday, May 31, 2013

My Favorite Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

If you haven't heard, I'm pledging to go cruelty-free with my makeup!  There are so many fabulous beauty brands out there that make high quality, ethical products and they need your support.  As Yes to Carrots says, "beauty shouldn't hurt any living thing."  Since I don't want to support companies that hurt animals, I'm going cruelty-free!

Will you go cruelty free too?  Start small, there's no need to throw out your current stash, but when you go shopping for replacements or new products, look for a cruelty free label or symbol on the product.  Need a place to start?  Here are some products I've tried and liked!  See the full list and links here.

Do you have a favorite cruelty free product?  Leave a comment and let us know or share on our facebook page!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I'm Trying It: Going Cruelty Free with Makeup

Ever since I adopted my adorable puppy, Ella, I've been thinking more and more about the kinds of products I've been using...mainly, are they tested on animals?  I couldn't imagine my sweet little puppy being subjected to the horrors of painful tests just so I could put color on my face.  Then when the European Union banned the whole of cosmetic animal testing (read more here), I thought why not me?  Hopefully the US follows suit, but until then I'm trying it: going cruelty free with my makeup!

Going cruelty free is easier than you think.  While you will have to swear off big box brands that are available everywhere and take out glossy full page ads in your beauty magazines...there are a lot of brands out there that ARE cruelty free!  Good news for your wallet, they're not all expensive.  Using PETA's Beauty without Bunnies site, I rounded up as many brands as I had heard off.  To be on this list, companies have to take the pledge to not test on animals and not purchase ingredients tested on animals.  Unfortunately, some brands don't test on animals themselves, but buy ingredients that have been.  PETA's list is updated frequently, so check back often and encourage brands to take the pledge.

Makeup Companies that DON'T Test on Animals
Arbonne International
Bare Escentuals
Bath & Body Works (select brands)
Burt's Bees
CO Bigelow
Hard Candy
Kiss My Face
NYX Los Angeles Inc
Physicians Formula
Pur Minerals
Tarte Cosmetics
The Body Shop
Too Faced Cosmetics
Urban Decay
Victoria's Secret (select brands)
Whole Foods 365
Yes to Carrots

Do you support any of these brands already?  Check back on Friday for a few of my favorite cruelty free products!


Monday, May 20, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with Primer

By now you've probably heard how fabulous primers are for your skin and your makeup routine.  Why use one?  Glamour Magazine lists six reasons:

  • Smooths the skin's surface and evens out the skin tone
  • Helps to better disguise blemishes and lets you blend your concealer/makeup in more evenly
  • Makes your foundation stick around for longer
  • Fills in fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduces shine
  • And finally, like I said before, it doesn't clog pores!

I've tried a handful of primer products, some I love and some that were relegated to the bottom of my stage makeup kaboodle.  I don't use one everyday, I find I have to remember to use it, and the good ones are expensive, BUT it is great for days when you have to go from 8am to 11pm and need your base to look fabulous.  Selection isn't limited though, there's everything from generic face primers to primers for eyes and lips and color correction, you name it.  Primers have become increasingly popular and more readily available, most drug store makeup lines (as well as prestige brands) have one now.  If you're looking to try a primer, here are four facial primers and one lip primer I tried and my thoughts:

  1. e.l.f. Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer: I tried this one in the clear color, but it also comes in green, purple, and beige.  I wasn't a big fan of this one, it was a bit overly greasy and made my cream foundation more difficult to apply, but the $6 price tag was what lured me.  I normally love the e.l.f. products (they're cheap and cruelty free!), but this one I wouldn't buy again.
  2. L'Oreal RevitaLift Miracle Blur: It's not quite a primer, but it works really well for smoothing skin.  It makes your foundation go on super smooth and now comes in a small .05 ounce trial size for under $10, full size $24.99.  Read more of my thoughts on this product on my "I Tried It" post here.
  3. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance: I tried this great primer after winning a Pinterest Contest and loved it!  The pearlescent tint gives it a flattering look on the skin, and the super silky formula goes on smoothly and has a matte finish.  Of all the primers I've tried, this is my favorite. It made my foundation and blush look great all day.  A full size tube is $32.
  4. Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer - Adjust:  I picked up a trial size of this great primer in an attempt to correct some of the redness on my cheeks.  The green color helps cut redness a tiny bit, but it doesn't take the place of concealer as I had hoped it would.  It goes on smooth and lasts all day, but is a tad more greasy feeling than the Laura Mercier one.  $38 for a full size bottle, or $15 for a trial/travel size.
And finally, a lip primer.  I tried Mary Kay's TimeWise Age-Fighting Lip Primer, which worked wonders when paired with a lip scrub for making lipstick stay on a little longer.  It's super smooth and slick to put on and you barely notice it's there.  Just let it sit for about 30-60 seconds before slathering color on top.

Have you tried any primers?  Did you love them or hate them?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

3 Brushes with Multi-Tasking Power

Buffing is a makeup must - after applying product, buffing it into the skin (with small back and forth or circular motions) helps skin look radiant and keep product looking natural and well blended.  Instead of using a separate brush, save time and use a brush that applies product and buffs at the same time.  Here are three of my favorites that I use everyday:

  1. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush: Perfect for applying foundations and blending effortlessly.  It works fabulously with a cream foundation and is great for sweeping flakes out from under your eyes.   Bonus: it's flat base lets you stand it on the counter between uses.
  2. EcoTools Buffing Brush: The dense, flat head is thicker than a Kabuki Brush but easier to use than a powder brush.  I love mine for applying powder and circling over the apples of the cheeks after blush for extra blending.
  3. Real Techniques Stippling Brush: This brush changed my life in regards to apply blush!  It works great for cream foundation and cream powders when stippled on (small tiny dabs) and then buffed into place with small circular motions.  It's bristles are duo fiber, which means it can be used with powders, creams, or liquids.
Try one - it may just shave time off your morning makeup routine.
Full Disclosure: I also work for a company who has both these brands as a client, but I purchased these brushes all on my own!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Makeup & Beauty Rules it's Okay to Break

Photo Credit

I'm a pretty straight forward, rule following girl...but when it comes to makeup, there are a few rules I break on a fairly consistent basis.  While some rules are good: save the black smokey eye for evenings and weekends.  Some are okay to break: like the following four makeup rules that I tend to break:

  1. Never Wear Full Foundation: Since the advent of the BB, CC, and now (yes!) DD creams, full foundations have been getting a bad rep.  Especially this time of year, magazines and beauty blogs tell us to ditch the full foundation for a tinted moisturizer or BB cream.  Well guess what, I don't!  I proudly rock my full foundation year round.  As long as you apply it with a great brush (See my current fave here) and blend, blend, blend, you can wear it all year round!
  2. Always Use Primer: Unless I have a really long day, I usually skip the primer.  I still haven't found the perfect one and while it is great for creating a base for makeup to stick to and helps makeup last longer, it's not a necessity for me.  I will use it on days I want my makeup to last longer or look a touch better, but there's no need to prime for day to day makeup if you don't want to.
  3. Apply Concealer Last: Convention and makeup gurus all say to save concealer for the very end so you don't over use, but confession time.  I apply some of my concealer first!  To cover up redness that just won't go away or if you have a pimple, it's okay to use a thin concealer under your foundation.  It saves me some foundation!  I do save the thick, creamy under eye concealer for last as it helps cover up any tiny smudges left from fall dark eye shadow.
  4. Always Put On Blush Last:  Blush should always be a graceful transition from your eyes to your lips, but on days when I'm feeling my skin looks a bit sallow I'll apply my blush first.  Or or if I'm not sure what kind of eye makeup I'm in the mood for, sometimes applying blush before eyes can help inform your decision.
What beauty rules to you break?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lipstick Tricks to Try

Photo from Tumblr

Take it from someone who hasn't always taken care of her make your lipstick look extra gorgeous, you have to take care of your lips and apply a few tricks.  Here are some lip tricks that have worked for me:
  • Exfoliate: Use a gentle lip scrub to keep lips smooth and flake free.  You can also use a soft tooth brush or wash cloth, but a scrub works wonders, especially in the winter and when you'll be wearing a really bold, matte color.  A favorite of mine? Mary Kay's, pop it on, let it set, and then wipe it off.  
  • Pick a Pretty Color: If you're going nude, make sure the tone matches your lip color, if you go lighter it could look "off."  For colors, berries are always a safe bet too.  When in doubt, try it one.  Just make sure to use a q-tip at a makeup counter than sterilizes their samples or shop from someplace like Ulta, that will let you bring back opened products you don't like.
  • Create a Custom Color: This is a trick pro makeup artists use all the time.  Use more than one lip color!  Blend one, two, or even three colors together to create the perfect lip color for you.  
  • Skip Summer Gloss: Shiny gloss can look great, but in the summer it's more hassle than it's worth.  Glosses can also magnify UV light, eek!  So avoid a sticky, hot mess by opting for a balm instead.  Bonus: matte lips are in this season.
  • Use a Brush: If you want your lipstick to look extra thick and more detailed and crisp, apply it with a lip brush and use a liner.  Pick a matching color or try one of those new fancy clear liners. Another lip brush tip?  It's a handy gadget to have for getting that last bit of color out of a worn down tube of lipstick.  I like this new one by EcoTools since it comes with a cover for purse popping potential.  

What's your favorite lip color?

Monday, May 6, 2013

I Tried It: Silky Sexy Hair's Conditioning Styler & Soy Renewal Argan Oil

As part of my ongoing quest to repair and strengthen my hair, I tried two new products: Silky Sexy Hair Conditioning Styler Lite and Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Argan Oil.  I'd used the agran oi for a couple weeks and then swapped it out with the silky sexy product for a few days to see how I liked it.  And of course, I used the "lite" version for my thin tresses.  Here's what Sexy Hair says about both products:
Conditioning Styler Lite is a lightweight leave-in conditioner with styling properties for fine/normal hair types.  Its silk-infused formula delivers a lightweight hold and conditioning properties to leave hair soft and silky.
Soy Renewal is a nourishing styling treatment made with Moroccan Argan Oil that addresses moisture, frizz, smoothness, elasticity and shine concerns.  Also protects from environmental stresses and reduces drying time.

The verdict?  I liked them both, but the conditioning styler not as much as the argan oil.  It's easy to use and glides on easily.  It also works well with other products and doesn't build up a residue, but it just didn't feel as nourishing as the soy renewal.  It's really nourishing and helps with frizz and the same time, although is can be greasy, so I'm always careful to apply only a small amount.

Both products would be great for giving your hair an extra dose of tlc.  Which one do you prefer?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Flower Inspired Makeup and Beauty Buys

Happy May 1st!  Since April showers bring May flowers, I thought it only appropriate to oogle pretty, spring floral inspired makeup finds on the first day of May!

From left to right:
MAC 'Pearmatte - Baking Beauties' Face Powder
EcoTools Fresh & Flawless 5 Piece Brush Set
Viktor and Rolf Flower Bomb Perfume (My go to scent!)
Makeup Forever Pro Mushroom Flower Brush
Stila 'Awesome Blossom' Lip Glaze
NARS 'Cactus Flower' Cheek Color
Paul & Joe Pearl Foundation Primer

What are your favorite spring and floral inspired products?  Want clickable links?  Check out the Polyvore Page here.