Tuesday Thoughts: To Makeup or Not to Makeup?

5 minute face makeup

As I sit here with my coffee and one of my favorite YouTube channels blaring in the background, I shop through some online makeup shops while simultaneously checking for blog reviews. After an hour or so of this (having filled my Nordstrom’s cart to over $200), I pause to think about how much I will actually use these products.

Do I love eyeshadow? Absolutely!

Will I actually wear it? To be honest, most mornings are consumed by coffee and making myself look vaguely presentable for work. Of course, I do usually wear makeup, but only two or three products, and nothing that would require wielding a brush in any kind of precise manner (although my reliance upon concealer borders on addiction).

It feels weird to state that makeup fills any sort of utilitarian purpose in my life, that idea makes my life seem so trivial. However, having said that, the manner in which I actually use makeup IS quite utilitarian.

Am I trying to be artistic or relax myself every morning, hunched over my makeup mirror, attempting to apply products in a pleasing, yet mostly undetectable manner? No, I’m just trying not to look too sick or tired to work. That’s the truth of it, no matter how I attempt to delude myself.

Which brings me to the next logical questions…Am I uncomfortable with how I look? Am I not able to accept myself as I am? Why is that?

It’s true that over the course of history both men and women have worn makeup for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, status, class, culture, etc. The practice of painting our faces is in no way anything new. However, in this day and age of barefaced models posting selfies on Instagram and everywhere else, one would think that going “un-made” might be more the norm.

The thing that perplexes me the most is that while I desperately want to accept my face as it is and bear it to the world, I am also concerned about the perception it gives. Wearing makeup does give me confidence (by helping me not look dead), and yet it simultaneously saddens me that I can’t allow myself to go to work without it.

It seems like such a *ahem* superficial thing, but my internal conflict about the status of my makeup dependence can get rather deep at times.

There are so many folks I see everyday with beautiful faces, made up and not. I often wonder to myself why or why don’t they wear makeup. It’s one of those questions I wish I could pose to the masses.

Hey, maybe that’s what Twitter is for…

I’d love to hear from you about what your feelings are about wearing makeup; stay cozy!

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Review: Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Colour

The first thing to say is that, used with discretion, this is arguably the most natural looking blush that I have ever used.Laura Mercier Creme Cheek ColourI am still perfecting the precise movements of my application method, and so far I am preferring fingers to brushes. I know that many prefer to use brushes with cream products, however, I think this cream lends itself to the cheek better with the aid of the warmth and pressure of finger tips.

This product DOES NOT accentuate any dryness in my skin whatsoever, as I suppose could be expected from a cream product. I was surprised, however, by its lack of greasiness (we’ll see how it fares in the heat of summer).

The color is well concentrated, so not much is needed per use which means that this tiny container should last me at least six months. Also, its dainty size means that this product can fit into any makeup bag and would make a wonderful travel companion!

Speaking of colors, although the selection is small, the colors seem to be both powerful and versatile for most skin tones. I chose oleander, the lightest pink, to match my ghostly skin tone after this long winter. It can also be applied in varied amounts to give more or less color as desired.Laura Mercier Creme Cheek Colour

This product lasts all day on my skin, without accentuating texture or dehydration. Although I do not have oily skin per se, sometimes my cheeks can go a bit greasy and this blush still seemed to work well, not concentrating shine or oil. Therefore, I think most skin types, except perhaps the oiliest, could use this product with ease.

I am in love with the tiny, yet sturdy compact, and have been using this product with gusto over the last few weeks! Highly recommend!

Stay cozy!

*For links to products, go to our shop page!

Skincare Routine: Winter 2017

The weather has gotten a bit colder and drier recently where I live. While I love winter and truly look forward to some great snowball fights, snowshoeing, and the hot cocoa to be had afterwards, it does wreak some havoc on my newly middle-aged skin.

I have been trialing several creams and potions the last several weeks, including some old friends and some new discoveries. My experiments have led me to a somewhat simple, yet effective skin care routine (that also happens to be composed entirely of drugstore brands). Here are the players:

The Evening Routine

Evening skincare routine, Cetaphil, Simple, Aquaphor

Simple Micellar Cleansing Water

I have found that washing my face with soap at night tends to cause it to be dry and a bit tight in our current cold weather. This micellar water removes the small amount of makeup that I usually wear (see my 5 Minute Face here) and prepares my skin to accept moisturizers more readily. The addition of glycerin, niacinamide, coupled with the absence of harsh chemicals means that this is one of the few micellar waters that don’t need to be rinsed off after application.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

I was in love with the cream for so long (see that review here), I was shocked to find a product from the Cetaphil line that I liked even better! This lotion may be used on the body or face and is packed with moisture giving ingredients such as glycerin, avocado oil, and vitamin E. Even after experimenting with several fancy creams and oils recently, I find this to be the most comfortable lotion to wear. It feels as though it actually penetrates the outermost layer of skin and it leaves my face feeling very moisturized, yet not greasy (even until morning)!

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

I don’t usually use this on my face, unless the sides of my nose feel excruciatingly dry during a bout of the flu. Instead, I use it as a lip balm on really cold, dry evenings. It’s a bit greasy to wear during the day, but lanolin and panthenol help keep my lips from cracking overnight.

The Morning Routine

Day time skincare, Queen Helene, Purpose, Kiss My Face, Nivea, Clinique

Queen Helene Mint Julep Scrub

I have vacillated back and for between this scrub and other (much more expensive) competitors for years. Yet I always find myself back to this one. The packaging has changed a lot over the last decade, but the product is just as wonderful as it was back then. Made with very finely ground walnut shell and glycerin (sensing a theme?), this scrub leaves my skin soft and smooth and not dried out at all. Because my skin tends to be sensitive, I use this every other day, in the shower, and alternate with the Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash.

Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash

This is another product that I have adored for years. It is facial wash that does not dry out my skin, and best of all, it doesn’t sting my eyes! I am an absolute Neanderthal while washing my face, with water and soap everywhere; highly fragranced or stinging facial washes only make me cry. This is my holy grail facial wash.

Kiss My Face SPF 30 Face Factor

Speaking of holy grail products, here is my favorite sunscreen for the last several years. It is moisturizing but not greasy. It has a physical sunscreen, but doesn’t make my skin any paler (ghostly) than it already is. It contains ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and (you guessed it) glycerin, that help improve the texture and appearance of my skin.

What more could I ask for?

Oh, it also layers under makeup perfectly and, dare I say, acts a bit like a primer! (It’s also vegan and cruelty-free, just in case that’s important to you.)

Nivea Moisture Lip Care

Nivea has released numerous lip balms over the years. None though, have I like better than this one! It is one of my favorites (as you can see here), so much so that I generally order the 6-pack from Amazon. It works great in the summer, and I find that it layers nicely under a gloss in the winter.

Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss

Another perennial favorite (review here), this gloss is a must-have for me in the winter months. Nothing seals the moisture into my lips and prevents chapping like this gloss. I suspect that the linoleic acid and the squalene do a lot of the heavy lifting here, but I also believe the petroleum/wax base does something to keep it adhered (even after coffee) and prevent drying. Even if I am forgoing makeup for the day, I still layer on this gloss to keep my lips comfortable.

There you have it; my current evening and morning skin care routine. It’s not fancy or complicated, though it is complete chance that it ended up being entirely drugstore products. These products are what is currently keeping my skin pliable and non-flaky this winter, and I highly recommend them all.

My skin care needs usually change with the season, so stay tuned for upcoming routines. What does your skin crave in he winter?

Stay warm, and stay cozy!

Winter 2017 Beauty Wish List

As fall turns to winter and the air gets colder, it’s time for me to look at my current winter beauty essentials and see if there’s anything I may need to edit or add. My beauty routines are adjusted from season to season because my skin tolerates different products according to changes in temperature and humidity. And, well, I also just love trying new products…

Snowflake

Courtesy of Pixabay

I have always been a big fan of drugstore products, and many of them have made their way into my beauty staples. That said, lately, as was the case this last fall, I have been increasingly tempted to explore some more luxury-type items. My skin has gotten a bit drier and bit redder, given the new lack of humidity in my neighborhood, so I am definitely on the lookout for some help in that area. And while my old stand-by blush has done me well for so many years, my aging skin is beginning to not tolerate matte powders quite as well as it has in the past.

Here is my list of candidates for this season:

Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Colour

I have played with cream cheek colors in the past, but they have always made my skin appear quite greasy (with the exception of some cream-to-powder formulations). This time around, though, I’m considering the effects of the current drought situation on my face and thinking that perhaps a creamier compound might actually be favorable. This one gets great reviews on Beautypedia and comes in great colors, even if only a few. (Review here!)

Nars Blush in Orgasm

Yeah, I realize I just moaned about how dry my skin is and how powders are starting to accentuate that, but I’m intensely hoping that the sheen of this product will give my skin some life, rather than dull it down. This is a cult classic, peachy-pink, shimmery wonder that has been on my internal wish list for a long time. We’ll see if I actually give it a try now. Two blushes on one list? I know, I know. Blush is my absolute favorite beauty product of all time! It honestly couldn’t be helped . . .

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Foundation Stick Broad Spectrum SPF 21

I haven’t ever been a big foundation addict. For the most part, I try to look natural and not draw too much attention in my daily life. I like to look pretty, professional, and polished, but I am quite fearful of looking too “done.”

I’ve seen many a Youtuber review this product recently, with mixed results (oftentimes disappointing those who are looking for fuller coverage). One thing they have all mentioned though, is how easily it blends. My hope is that it can disguise some redness and perhaps some pores, for a more finished (but still somewhat natural) look.

Sara Happ The Lip Slip® One Luxe Balm

A tempting-sounding combination of jojoba, macadamia, and sweet almond oils, among other things, this lip balm has already made its way into my shopping cart. I first heard MakeupByTiffanyD extol the virtues of this balm in a recent video on YouTube and the finish it gave her lips after application gave me great hopes! I am optimistic that perhaps it can handle my dehydrated aperture.

Jojoba Oil

I haven’t yet decided on the brand, but I know I am looking for a pure, organic formula. I am inspired to try this for cleansing after watching Tasha do a video about her skin care routine on her family’s YouTube channel (in case you’re wondering, yes, I am a bit of a YouTube addict). Although she used olive oil, I am thinking that jojoba may serve dual purposes as both a cleanser and a moisturizer. I love ease and simplicity . . . and fewer bottles on my counter. I am also hoping the fewer ingredients will help calm my dry and finicky visage. As soon as I get my new night-time skin care routine figured out, I will be sure to post about it!

And there you have it: some of the items that I am looking forward to experimenting with this winter. Is it winter or summer where you are? What are you trying this season?

Peace to all. Stay cozy!

*Some product links available on our shop page!

Garnier Fructis Hairspray Review

As I’ve stated before, most of the items I share on this site are items that I absolutely love and have used for almost a decade. Today’s product is no exception. I have used this hairspray (in the #2 variety) for at least a decade, if not longer.

Garnier Fructis hairpsray

This hairspray works well as both a finishing spray as well as a styling spray. What do I mean by that? While it dries quickly enough to help keep styles, it has a long enough dry time to allow for a bit of manipulation. It is also flexible enough (as the front of the container would suggest) so as to allow for movement and thus, avoid the dreaded “helmet head.”

Although I wish I was, I have not been a fan of non-aerosol hairsprays. The fineness and area targeted by the actual spray of a non-aerosol product has never proved effective on my mane. They always seem to give a concentrated actuation in one area, that then has the appearance of being quite incongruous with the rest of my hair. Having said this, there have been a fair number of aerosol sprays that have had this unfortunate effect as well.

This hairspray has worked for me regardless of my hair length. It does not make my roots or bangs look greasy (although, I imagine this could be altered by the amount used). It works to help hold a flexible style, and it has a pleasant scent that dissipates quickly. I should mention, however, that if you are looking for an industrial strength hairspray that will hold in all kinds of weather, this product may not suit you.

Garnier Fructis hairpsray

This is currently the only hairspray I purchase, having chucked several unappealing ones in the trash over the years (I have little patience for hair products that don’t perform as proclaimed). If you are looking for a light, soft hairspray, this could be for you. While it probably won’t handle keeping your faux hawk upright all day, it usually manages to keep the frizz down a bit, without being shiny or sticky.

What are your favorite hair products? What should I try?

Stay cozy!

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray Review

 

I have always been a bit suspicious of facial sprays, especially those that claim to do something. I’m really unsure why I became so curious about this one. Perhaps it was the stellar review on Beautypedia, or my current insatiable need for all things Clinique (nostalgia?). Whatever it was, I’m glad it worked.

Clinique face spray

This is a facial spray that may be used morning or evening, under or over makeup or other skin care. Firstly, I’ll say that the spray itself is surprisingly refined for a pump mechanism. I was preparing for a deluge, when what I actually received was a very light and refreshing mist. Impressive for a non-aerosol spray!

I have been using this spray as part of both my morning and evening skin care routines and I have to say, I enjoy it very much. Not only is it revitalizing in the morning and soothing in the evening, but it does appear to top off the moisture levels in my skin. The blend of glycerin, aloe, and vitamin E seems to impart the last bit of hydration that my skin craves. It dries fairly quickly (while I’m brushing my teeth), so I can commence my makeup routine just five to ten minutes after application. (This is not a fixative spray and it does not make my makeup last longer…just fyi.)

Will this spray change my skin? Probably not, honestly. However, it does feel good to apply, and it does soften my skin just a bit beyond the ability of my arsenal of creams and lotions. If you’re looking for a facial spray that is refreshing a lightly softening, I highly recommend that you try this one. I have enjoyed it so much that I have already spritzed away almost one-third of the bottle, after just 2 weeks! Maybe I can see if they make a larger size…

*This product was on my Fall Beauty Wish List.

Thanks for stopping by! Stay cozy!

Notes on Beauty and Age (or A Very Minor Midlife Crisis)

grey beard

I think it was perhaps that midlife crisis issue that I swore I wouldn’t have, that made me do it…

Sometime before my 40th birthday, I tried coloring my hair. I suddenly felt as though I needed to hang on to my fleeting youth; this was a new and alarming sensation to me. I had never before concerned myself with age much. When asked by complete strangers I had no problem divulging the digits, as it never really seemed to have much bearing on my happiness, career, or anything else that was important to me. Age was simply that, just a number.

Age still has very little bearing on what projects I choose to take on or what new adventures I seek to have. I feel younger than my age, I suppose. Not young, mind you, I guess I just don’t feel how society tells me I should feel at this age. Not just physically, but, though I’m a little ashamed to admit it, mentally. I think that may be why those little grey hairs suddenly blossoming into faint grey streaks began to alarm me a bit.

Not to say that I don’t find grey hair becoming. In fact, I distinctly remember myself and a few girlfriends gushing over the elegant beauty of our high school counselor’s long grey mane. It was thick, and shiny, and grey as storm clouds, and we all prayed that it would be the kind of hair that we would inherit as we matured beyond middle age.

Nonetheless, now I was currently in middle age, and baffled by this blend of brown and silver that had evolved at my crown over the previous few years. So, I colored it. I went to a professional as I did not trust my clumsy hands and asked her to color my hair, something as close to my natural color as possible. She mixed scads of liquids and gels together and made a dark, henna-like paste that was then slathered over my coiffure.

It stung, and it smelled. Although my colorist was a professional and there was no one I know who could have done a better job, or attempted to make it more pleasant, the whole process was time-consuming and unpalatable. By the time I exited the salon, my scalp burned and I had a vague sense of regret.

Everyone I knew “loved” the new color. I heard about how beautiful it was from all my friends and family. I fully admit that it was pretty. It was shiny and soft and uniform in color, the frosted streaks masked seamlessly by a masterful mixing of colors.

It was just that, now when I glimpsed myself in the mirror, I didn’t recognize me anymore. Perhaps an exaggeration, but it’s true that after seeing (but not) the slow progression of my hair color over several years, having it all erased came as a bit of a shock.

I have a handful of friends who color their hair regularly in order to maintain their look. My theory is that maybe they started years before I did, and therefore never experienced the drastic change that I did. I love their hair on them, and I can’t really picture them with grey hair…

For some strange reason, though, after I had colored my own hair, I felt like a fraud. Not in an “I’m going fool everyone else” kind of way, more like a “what have I done to myself” kind of way. It seemed as though the change I made was accepted so easily by every one around me, but never by myself.

Since then, I have let the color grow out and am dealing with ends than are a different color than my scalp. I cannot say that I will never color my hair again, as I can be slightly impulsive when it comes to things involving beauty. However, I am also learning to accept my limitations when it comes to my own vanity (cost, time, and comfort).

This is obviously not an argument for or against coloring one’s hair (or doing any other beauty procedure-people should do as they like). It is an observation at how such a small, seemingly insignificant change bothered me so much, and how surprising that, in and of itself, was. I am still quite envious of those with a single color in their hair, be it brown, blond, red, black, or grey, artificial or not. Even so, I am attempting to be patient and hoping that eventually my hair will settle into the beautiful thundercloud grey that my high school counselor had.

If patience fails me, I still have my colorist’s number…

 

What are your thoughts on the details of midlife?

Warmth to all, and stay cozy!

Clinique Blended Face Powder Review

I’ll be honest, after the age of thirty-five, I had pretty much sworn off any kind of facial powders. That was about the time that I began to notice how crepey and crinkled my face could appear with powder applied to it. I spent years avoiding powders (with the exception of blush), and learned to accept that, while my face wasn’t exceptionally greasy, I was going to have some shine on my visage most of the time.

Much to my own surprise, and very much on a whim, I recently purchased the Clinique Blended Face Powder, more out of curiosity than anything else. I had seen rave reviews on both the Nordstrom’s website as well as the Beautypedia website. So, with a little trepidation, and full faith in Nordstrom’s excellent return policy, I gave it a try.

clinique powder

I ordered the “invisible blend, ” partly because I am so pale and partly because I enjoy a more casual, natural look on a daily basis. It does seem to blend into my skin pretty well, though I am a bit dubious about how “invisible” it would be on darker complexions. At any rate, I also chose the invisible blend because it contains silica (the other colors are rumored not to) and I was hoping for a bit of pore smoothing in addition to a little shine dampening.

clinique powder

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this powder. It does mattify quite nicely for me, without making my skin shrivel up with dryness. However, my favorite part is definitely the pore smoothing! It doesn’t necessarily make me look like a porcelain doll, but it does make my skin appear so much smoother. I have plenty of pores and a few scars, and while this doesn’t make them disappear, it does make them much less noticeable, even outside in harsh sunlight.

I’ll admit, it has cooled off recently where I live, so I can’t yet comment on how this powder would perform in high heat. I can convey that it seems to handle a bit of humidity quite well, not smearing or wiping off as easily as other products that I have tried.

All in all, it looks as though this may become a consistent addition to my Five Minute Face routine. (I can’t say much, however, for the brush that is included and I prefer using my own Sephora #55 Airbrush.)

What other powders should I try? Thanks for stopping by!

Stay cozy!

Clinique ‘Superbalm’ Moisturizing Gloss Review

This is another product that I have used on and off for about a decade. It is a necessity for me when we are traveling to very arid climates, or during chilly times of year. It is the one gloss or balm that can keep my lips from cracking when we visit the desert to see relatives. I have gone through at least one tube, I have one that I am currently using, and I have already ordered a backup. Always prepared!

Clinique Superbalm in lilac

Clinique Superbalm in lilac

While I would argue that this gloss is not at all sticky, it does cling to the lips tenaciously. Of course, I believe this is how it helps protect the lips from the ravages of polar winds and torrid climates. In very hot or humid weather it can feel a tad cloying or goopy, but those aren’t usually the situations in which I crave an incredibly moisturizing gloss anyway.

If you are looking for a gloss that provides intense moisture, protection, and shine, I heartily suggest this one! If however, you are relying on a gloss for color, this may not fit the bill. It comes in a small range of colors and they are all quite transparent. The palest lips may see slight variations in shade between them, but most of us will not.

Most of the shades have some shimmer in them, which you can see through the tube; yet, one of the aspects I love about this gloss is that it never looks glittery. The texture is absolutely smooth, if not just a tad thick. There is no odd residue left on the lips after it wears off, and wearing off does take a while. This is most definitely not one of those lip products that disappears minutes after application.

Clinique Superbalm, thickly swatched

Clinique Superbalm, thickly swatched

This is a petrolatum based product that also contains, amongst other things, vitamin E, squalene, linoleic acid, and aloe. It has very little, if any, scent, and no taste. It does not currently contain SPF.

This is unequivocally in my top 10 lip products of all time (and I love lip products). I hope this review helpful and I appreciate the read!

Thanks, and stay cozy!

*For a link to purchase the product, visit our shop!

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream Review

Cold weather is coming. The autumn equinox has happened, a chill has returned to the air, and winter is on the way. Something happens to my skin in the fall, it seems to sense the change in the weather a week before, and it begins to dry out. This is the time of year when an old friend of mine re-enters my life after our hiatus of spring and summer.

My trusty Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is my skin care workhorse during the cooler months.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

I discovered this product several years ago when my son was an infant and suffered from mild eczema. In addition to using the prescription creams we were given, we were also tasked with diligently applying a fragrance-free moisturizing cream twice a day, every day. This led to auditioning countless creams and lotions with the hope of finding one that would actually retain moisture in my son’s skin. This was one of the first few we tried, and it was the one we always went back to after every subsequent failure, until we finally decided that no other cream worked better for his particular skin.

Being the mother of an infant at the time, my own evening skin care routine went from a 5 step process in the sanctuary of my bathroom to a 2 step process that occurred wherever my son was. Baby wipes and Cetaphil cream. It wasn’t glamorous or even necessarily what these products were intended for, but this combination worked beautifully for me then, and does now, especially in the winter months.

Cetaphil moisturizing Cream

My face specifically can get very dry and crepey in the winter which can accentuate the growing number of wrinkles I now bear. My favorite summertime lotions don’t seem to be heavy enough for the winter months as the air can be particularly cold and arid, and seems to draw away light moisture as quickly as it is applied. This cream just feels good to apply, as it seems to absorb into the skin and moisturize all layers of it. In the morning my face feels soft and hydrated, even in the depths of winter. I use this cream on other body parts as well, including as a nightly foot cream, and for hands and elbows.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is a great all-purpose face and body cream that is very rich, and especially useful for the colder, drier weather.

Thanks for stopping by!

Stay Cozy!

*For a link to purchase the product, visit our shop!