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.

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!

*All products listed here are available at Nordstrom.com. This is not a sponsored post and does not contain any affiliate links. I just really happen to like Nordstrom!

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!

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!

Favorite Concealer/Foundation Brush

I’m not the first person to claim that makeup application is an art form or creative outlet. I consider the act of choosing and applying products in order to create a desired effect both an aesthetic endeavor, as well as a form of self-care. Although my morning ritual generally doesn’t vary much, it still allows me to feed my inner artist. And, like any artist, I have collected my favorite brushes over the years.

I have experimented with many different methods of applying concealers and foundations: brushes, fingers, sponges, etcetera. I have found several of these methods to either not be very effective at blending the product into my skin, or to create streaks in the finish. This Sigma F82 round kabuki brush solves both of these problems.

sigma f82 makeup brush

This brush is a study in both firmness and softness. The bristles are so silky that they are very gentle on the skin, without a hint of scratchiness. Due to the shortness of the bristles and the manner in which they are packed, this brush provides excellent control (a necessity for applying products in crevices or around the eyes). It does not shed, an absolute requirement for me!

As of late, I have not been wearing foundation (I find that the intense light of summer tends to make it look mask-like on my face), but I wear concealer daily. Because I always tend to have a few spots, and my perma-circles are present perennially, I do end up applying concealer to a large part of my visage. Although I have other concealer brushes that I like, this brush not only blends in my concealer flawlessly (no streaks, period), but also quickly. When I am getting ready for work in the morning, dreading my commute, I know that I can accomplish My 5 Minute Face with the help of this brush.

Sigma f82 makeup brush and Maybelline better skin concealer

My morning concealer routine.

When I do wear foundation, this is my preferred apparatus as well. It does not soak up too much product (a virtue praised by the Sigma website), nor is it difficult to clean. It performs as well with foundation as it does for concealer, producing no streaks or unevenness. This brush has been an indispensable part of my morning routine for several years now; if it ever needs replacing, I would do so without hesitation!

What are your favorite makeup brushes?

Stay cozy!

Clarins Joli Rouge Lipstick

Clarins lipstick

I generally wear lip balm most days. Occasionally though, for a special event or a day off and out shopping, I will wear lipstick. I find it a little funny how quickly a swath of lipstick can make me look pulled together and (dare I say) pretty.

I haven’t always been a lipstick fan. Painful memories of lipsticks that parched my lips or smelled like old play dough have haunted me for a long time. There was a period in my youth when I preferred red lipstick, exclusively. Unfortunately, the products available to me at the time tended to be quite drying and wore off in strange patterns that looked as though I hadn’t wiped my mouth after a meal. For years after I swore of lipstick completely and maintained a healthy relationship with glosses and balms.

I still gravitate to glosses and balms on most days, but I sometimes miss the way a hit of more opaque color can brighten my face (especially as I get older and paler).

It took me a bit of time to find a lipstick that I really enjoyed using. I stumbled upon this little gem at Macy’s while searching for a pink lipstick (I don’t think I could manage red anymore) to help perk up my complexion at an upcoming event.

It is the Clarins Joli Rouge lipstick in the color Candy Rose. The name describes the color perfectly, and while it not absolutely opaque, it provides so much more color than any of my lip glosses. It has a shimmery (though not frosty) finish, and helps disguise a few of the wrinkles in my lips. The scent and flavor are reminiscent of watermelon; it is not strong or unpleasant, and fades quickly after application.

Best of all, this formula is so pleasant to wear! This lipstick contains mango oil and honestly is so moisturizing that it feels more like a balm when being applied than a traditional lipstick. Likely because of the moisture factor, this product does usually require reapplication after a meal; though this is a small price to pay, in my opinion, for a lipstick that doesn’t fade weirdly or dry out my lips.

At this point, I am hooked and I use this product regularly on my casual days and even very occasionally at work! It is pleasant to wear and cares for my lips the way a balm might, a perfect combination.

Stay cozy!

*For more on my daily makeup look, go here.

Fall Beauty Wish List

As we bid summer farewell, and begin to embrace fall, we may contemplate editing our beauty routines so as to compliment the change of season. This time, I thought I would share some of the items that I am considering.

autumn

I have seemed to gravitate to more economical products for skin care and beauty over the preceding year, although I do have a long history of experimenting with products from all spectrums of the beauty world. Lately however, I am experiencing a “wanderlust” of the more expensive varieties (department store at least, if not luxury). Will I actually collect them all? We shall see, but these are the products that I have been secretly coveting for a while now…

Chantacaille Brilliant Gloss (Lucky)

I have had this lip gloss on my mind for almost 2 years, perhaps? Ever since I serendipitously saw Youtuber Amelia Liana feature this on her channel, I have fantasized about picking this item up. It is a beautiful light pink and is said to be very moisturizing. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to justify the over thirty dollar price tag, though this year I may take the plunge!

Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver Moisturizer for Face, Lips, and Body

Understanding that the onset of the colder seasons will most likely wreak some kind of crepey, and possible peeling, effects on my skin, I find myself craving anything that portends to help keep me moisturized! This moisturizer contains glycerin, squalene and sunflower seed oil, all of which would seem to be very promising aspects! It also comes in a four-ounce tube, which actually also makes it a bit of a bargain, given its pedigree.

Clinique Blush Brush

I love blush, it is my absolute favorite cosmetic product. So I guess it would make sense that my favorite makeup tool might be a blush brush. Given that they can shed, lose their shape, wash badly, etcetera, it can be difficult to unearth a decent one. I love the shape of this one, and I think it would suit my face shape perfectly! I’m not sure what the bristles are made of, but given the shape and the generally quality of the brand, I think I might be willing to take the chance.

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray Thirsty Skin Relief

This probably would have ideally been a summertime purchase, but I’m still considering adding it to my fall beauty routine. This is purported to have a fine, pleasant mist and contains aloe, glycerin, and chamomile to help moisturize and calm the skin. (I have heard this can be used on hair as well, intrigued!) This product also gets high praise from beautypedia.com. (Update: I purchased this! Review here.)

Herbivore Botanicals ‘Phoenix’ Facial Oil Roller

I must admit, I am curious about this entire line! I’m not usually too concerned (regretfully) about preservatives in my skin care, but I am wowed by some of the ingredients in these products. Specifically, the ‘Phoenix’ oil includes rosehip oil, sea buckthorn oil, and CoQ10; all components that are quite therapeutic for the skin in my recollection. This roller is a more economical version as compared to the full size, and the price just my tempt me to give it a try. (Their packaging is spot on as well!)

And there you have it, my list of beauty cravings for the fall quarter! What products are you lusting after this fall? What should I try?

Stay cozy!

*All products listed here are available at Nordstrom.com. This is not a sponsored post and does not contain any affiliate links. I just really happen to like Nordstrom!