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!

My Favorite Bath Oils

I evaded oils for the skin for a long time. As a teenager, blessed with greasy skin and zero wrinkles, anything vaguely hydrophobic seemed like a really bad idea. I avoided them like the plague, in fact, until I was a decade older and starting to experience parched, crepey skin (and a few bouts of mild eczema, no less).

For a long time I have utilized body lotion for skin moisture after a shower (unless the temperatures are quite warm). Sometimes though, especially as the fall and winter seasons approach, a warm bath can be especially comforting. I tend to find that as the weather turns frigid and my baths get progressively more searing (probably not healthy, but I have a huge distaste for lukewarm soaks, mine must, MUST be hot) , my skin requires a bit more lubrication than what can be had with body lotion alone.

I discovered Neutrogena Body Oil almost a decade ago during a particularly desperate bout of dry skin. This is a fairly light oil that features sesame oil and a light fragrance (a fragrance-free version is also available). While the instructions for use say that you may use it as a body oil after a soak or a shower, I prefer to add a few drops to my bath water. When I do this, and the weather is not yet too dreadfully cold (though I do love the snow), I can skip body lotion if I happen to be in a hurry; if my skin is super parched, the combo of the bath oil and body lotion work wonders! (WORD OF CAUTION: be very careful not to slip after using ANY bath or body oil. Spoken from experience. FYI.)

neutrogena body oil

Another oil that I love year round is the Almond Shower Oil by L’Occitane. This is a much more viscous oil that the Neutrogena Body Oil. It features almond oil and a lovely, inoffensive scent (it doesn’t necessarily remind me of almonds, still very pleasant though ). While this oil is enjoyable to use in the shower and does a very good job of moisturizing the skin, it really shines when used for shaving. I have never used a more pleasant or effective shave gel or oil; my legs are so smooth after using this! This L’Occitane product is a bit expensive, bit since I primarily use it for shaving it has lasted several months and is still going strong.

l'occitane oil outside

If there’s one thing (of many) that gets me excited for fall, it’s those long, hot, evening baths after a day of working and frolicking in the cool weather. These oils, along with my favorite lotion, help my perennially dehydrated skin from getting crepey, flaky, or irritated after my scorching soaks.

both bath oils

What body oils do you like? What should I try?

Thanks so much for reading, and stay cozy!

Medieval Torture Device

I understand that they look like something from a 13th century period piece that could be used to maim, or at least blind, someone. I remember thinking as a young teenager, “you actually put this next to your eye?” “How long does it take to heal?”

eyelash curler

It took me almost a decade after their discovery to actually realize the benefits of an eyelash curler.

For some background, I sometimes love mascara on my lashes; but more often, I feel like it’s a bit over the top on my particular face. I am amazed at how appealing mascara can look on other people, but it doesn’t always look, well, sane, on me. It always seems to me that I appear as though I am trying to mimic some sort of anime character (badly), or that I had a strangely gloppy set of false eyelashes put on. (Can fake eyelashes even be gloppy?)

Anyway, aside from the fact that mascara just usually doesn’t suit me, I also am hard-pressed to justify its use given the extra step(s) required to remove it at night. I can be very lazy with my makeup removal; when my son was born I discovered that a baby wipe was quite efficient at getting most makeup off in between the feeding, burping, spitting, diaper changing, napping-oh, he’s up again routine. But, it doesn’t really work for mascara.

Although my son is way beyond the diaper stage, I find that there are still nights, usually after toiling away at work, that I can’t bring myself to do anything more than scrub my face with a wipe, apply some lotion, and brush my teeth. Applying eye makeup remover feels as though it may be leagues beyond my abilities and energies on evenings like these.

Enter an eyelash curler! My first one, and the one that I have used for almost a decade, is from Revlon. It still works like a charm and gives my lashes enough curl to make my eyes look a bit more feminine. It can be tricky in the beginning to learn how to use and not pinch yourself, though it doesn’t take long to master. I find the curl (on my particular lashes) to last most, if not all of the day. I love best of all not having to worry about smudging, flaking, or anything that would add to my (already prominent) dark circles.

Using an eyelash curler also saves me time in the morning, as it only takes me about 30 seconds to curl my lashes. This is juxtaposed against the 30 minutes it would take for me to apply mascara, fix my mistakes, apply more mascara, get frustrated, take mascara off and reapply…well, you get the idea…

Do you use mascara or an eyelash curler? Both? What are your favorites?

(For more on my quick and easy makeup routine see My Guide to The Five Minute Face.)

Stay cozy!

 

 

 

CeraVe PM Review

To say that I have a temperamental face may be a bit of an understatement. My face can go from dry and crepey in the winter to pinguid and shiny in the summer. Then there are the many states in between. I am also nearing that stage in life where I am fighting both wrinkles and acne (when will it END?). Having said that however, I find that acne now can be a cagey beast; a moisturizer that is too rich can cause pimples, but a moisturizer that allows my skin to become parched and papery can also precede a breakout.

I started using CeraVe PM facial moisturizing lotion as my evening moisturizer several years ago after doing a lot of research regarding skin products and temperamental skin. It contains a lot of good ingredients, including ceramides and hyaluronic acid which I tend to look for. It is not really a treatment product in the sense that it is not targeted to treat either wrinkles or acne; it’s just a good basic moisturizer for times when the skin is volatile, or on nights in between treatment products.

Cerave PM

I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t overly impressed by this product, but I think after many years of using it, I have finally figured out why.

This moisturizer, while containing numerous superb ingredients, is not moisturizing enough for my skin in certain situations. In really arid climates, or in the winter months, my face can still feel dry and a bit sore in the morning after using this lotion.

Where this product really shines for me though, is in the summer. In the summertime it is too easy for almost any other moisturizer to break me out. This one, however, seems to deliver just the right dose of moisture in the heat and humidity that can abound this time of year. Because it is not fragranced I can also use it around my eyes (a boon for any prospective minimalist), and when I do, I notice no new formations of milia around my eyes (which can be a problem when I use richer lotions).

In summary, I am quite fond of this moisturizer for the summer months due to the excellent ingredients and its performance in the warmth. While it doesn’t work for me, personally, in the winter months, it may be quite remarkable for someone who already retains a lot moisture in their skin.

What’s your favorite nighttime moisturizer? Does it work for you all year round?

Stay cozy!

Current Fashion Accessory

I don’t like to wear a lot of extra “stuff” in terms of jewelry or accessories. I tend to prefer that things be simple and clean, unobstructed. I do wear a ring (always) and I do have a few other accessories that I tend to rotate through with the seasons. Though, because I prefer an effortless appearance, I tend to only add one accessory to my outfit per season.

I find that, though I love them dearly, scarves are far to cloying for the summer months, even the most lightweight of them. Bracelets and necklaces are nice, but don’t lend themselves to the constant running, lifting, building, playing, etcetera, that tends to come with chasing a young child around. I usually enjoy wearing a watch, though I have needed (and intended, unsuccessfully) to change out the batteries in several of my timepieces as of late.

What’s left? Earrings! Although, I can be insanely, and I do mean insanely picky about earrings. They must not be too heavy, dangly, or gaudy. Anything that might remotely get caught in my hair (when I choose to grow it longer) or become an object for my son’s tiny hands to pursue, is out. They must not be too large (see gaudy, above) or too small (i.e. hardly worth the effort).

*Please understand that this is my opinion about how I see them on myself; I can’t ever remember looking at another person and thinking any of these things about their earrings. I guess I have a natural tendency to look gaudy?*

I usually veer toward studs of some type; though I do have a few small-ish not-too-dangly earrings that I also enjoy.

For the last year I have been smitten with gold studs. I think gold tends to suit my skin tone better as it seems to warm my complexion a bit. I feel like a small-medium stud is perfect for an effortless, easy, and even timeless look. My favorites of late have been these two pairs below.

gold earrings

The smaller pair is gold plated and the larger pair is gold-filled. The saleslady when I bought the larger pair insisted that it would wear longer and therefore justified its (much) higher price tag. Some people may see a difference in wear, perhaps if you wear your jewelry in the shower, but I have had both of these pieces for almost two years and they both have faired well. The larger pair is about 1/3 of an inch across and the smaller pair measures about 1/4 of an inch in diameter (almost too small, but not quite).

They both offer that laid-back but sophisticated vibe that I am (again, probably unsuccessfully) trying to obtain.

These have been my jewelry loves lately, what are yours?

Stay cozy!

 

 

My Favorite All Purpose Body Lotion

In the mornings especially, I am a woman of simplicity and efficiency. I have a handful of products that I use almost every morning and that I have been faithful to for years. I tend to prefer multi use products as I cannot bear an overly cluttered counter first thing in the morning. So I very much appreciate a lotion that I can use for both my hands and my body. Enter Curél lotion.

 

curel 2

(Please pardon my dusty window sill.)

Like with most body and beauty products, I am insanely picky about body lotion. I cannot handle stickiness, greasiness, or sliminess. I also prefer to have something unscented so that it doesn’t clash with any body sprays or perfumes that I happen to be wearing. And because a cluttered bathroom counter can make my mornings seem so much more disorganized, I like a body lotion that can also double as a hand lotion.

I don’t have extremely dry skin, but it is pretty dry. I use body lotion quite often (except for when outside temperatures rise above 90 degrees). And I use hand lotion all the time! Although I prefer the unscented version, the scent of the regular version doesn’t bother me so I keep a bottle of that downstairs and another at work. I find that when my hands get dry they feel very uncomfortable, like the skin is thinner, and I lose the ability to grip sheets of paper effectively (weird, right? but true for me, anyway).

This lotion has been my favorite for almost 5 years now. It effectively moisturizes, but does not wear cloyingly on the body or hands. I honestly cannot tell you how many bottles I have purchased. It is a staple for me and I would be hard pressed to find a replacement!

What kind of lotion(s) do you use? What are your favorites?

Stay cozy!

 

My Favorite Summer Lip Balms

This is the third installment of my favorite makeup items from my 5 Minute Makeup post. I understand that lip balm is not technically makeup, but it is what I wear on a daily basis and what I feel most comfortable in at work.

I live in an area that can be quite warm in the summer and quite cold in the winter. I find that in order to maintain some level of moisture in my skin without too much greasiness, I need to change out my products from season to season. Although I prefer MUCH heavier lip balms in the winter, I find that warmer weather calls for a lighter (yet still moisturizing) lip balm.

I have two lip balms that I rotate between in summer months. One has SPF for days outside and the other is my nightly/for a day in lip balm. They are the Chapstick original with SPF 15 and the Nivea Kiss of Moisture lip balm.

I have been a sort of lip balm junkie my whole life. There is nothing I abhor more (well, maybe a few things, but you get the gist) than a lip balm that just sits on the lips and refuses to absorb and actually soften the lips. Overly waxy lip balms, or balms that disappear within minutes of application are eschewed from my list as well.

These lip balms do the job and are an essential and reliable part of my day. Not only that, they happen to be two of the most economical lip products that I have ever tried!

What are your favorite lip balms? Which ones should I try?

Stay cozy!

My Favorite Blush

Here’s the second in my series of favorite makeup products from my 5 Minute Makeup post. This is a product that I have been faithful to for almost a decade. Every once in a while I try something new, but after a bit, I am usually always pulling this one back out of my makeup drawer.

blush picture

This is the True Match Blush by L’oreal (my favorite color is C1-2, “baby blossom”). Please excuse my very well-loved pan; time for a new one! (Did someone say “shopping”?!!!!)

Blush is definitely my favorite makeup item! I am extremely pale; if I don’t wear blush I can look very, very ill. Even for those who are not pale though, as I have found from doing friends’ makeup, blush can take “healthy” looking to “vital”. Blush can make some people look extra youthful, but it can make almost anyone look more alive and awake, in my opinion.

I have experimented with so many kinds of blush in my lifetime, liquid, balms, creams, and powders. While I think there are positive attributes to all of these formulations, I have found over the years that I tend to gravitate back to powder blushes simply for ease of use (especially on my super busy, crazy mornings). I adore that I just have to lightly dip my brush in the pan, swipe it on each cheek, and run out the door, coffee in hand and ready to go!

So, now that I’m nearing my *cough* 40’s , you might be asking about fine lines and such. An exceptionally good question! I have experimented with other powders that have left my face either looking crepey or chalky, typically when my face was particularly dried out. I find that as long as I use a good moisturizer (or “my favorite spf”, see post), this blusher does quite well. It almost never appears dry on my cheeks, though when it does, I find a quick spritz of facial water seems to do the trick.

Thanks for stopping by! What’s your favorite blush?

Stay cozy.