Best of Beauty 2018 – Skincare

Best of Beauty 2018 – Skincare

To put it lightly, I LIVE for beauty products…and clothes and shoes and snacks…but today I’m talking about my favorite skincare products of 2018! 

If there’s any way to make my skin look younger, brighter, and more hydrated, I’m all in! (Unless it’s “all in,” in reference to gambling, then I’m ALL the way out! This one time my friend’s mom gave us each $20 to gamble with when we went to Vegas, and I wasn’t allowed to use it for anything except gambling. Long story short I lost it all to penny slots and could have bought one drink with that $20…yes, only one. Vegas is freaking expensive!)

Did I mention I get distracted easily?

Okay, back to the post.

I love beauty products and I use a LOT of them, so I thought I would list my favorites for you, including the prices, how to use them, and my tips for using each product.

MY SKIN & SKINCARE GOALS: I am 30 years old and have been using anti-aging moisturizers and serums since I was 16, first as preventative and now as maintenance. My skincare goals are to reduce dullness, even out my skin texture and tone (I have hyper pigmentation from popping blemishes – I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I just can’t stop), and to diminish any fine lines, luckily I don’t have any yet, but I’d like to keep it that way!

PLEASE feel free to DM me or comment on this post if you have any questions regarding any of these products and if they are good for you and your skin.

SERUMS:

  • NIGHT: Drunk Elephant – T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
    • What does it do?: This serum contains AHAs* as well as BHAs** that refine and resurface the skin. This serum evens out skin tone and texture, while brightening the skin and diminishing fine lines, wrinkles and pores.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (dry, oily, combination, normal)
    • How I use this: I use this T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum all over my face, right after I apply my Shaba Complex Eye Serum, but before I apply my Josie Maran Argan Oil or Acure Marula Oil.
    • Cost: $90 / 1oz. or $134 / 1.69oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: Because of its high amounts of AHA* (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA** (betahydroxy acids) that do wonders to resurface your skin, do not use this serum during the day, and please make sure to wear a sunscreen daily, because your skin will be more sensitive to the sun and UV rays.

MOISTURIZERS:

  • DAY & NIGHT: Drunk Elephant – Shaba Complex Eye Serum
    • What does it do?: This eye cream prevents signs of aging by reducing the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles and tightening up the skin around your eyes.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (dry, oily, combination, normal and sensitive)
    • How I use this: I use this Shaba Complex Eye Serum right after I wash my face in the morning and in the evening.
    • Cost: $60 / .5oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: Pat this eye cream underneath your eye area and onto your eyelid using your ring finger. Your ring finger has the lightest pressure and won’t pull or tug at your sensitive eye area, which could cause fine lines and crepey skin.
  • DAY – Option 1: Drunk Elephant – Protini Polypeptide Cream
    • What does it do?: This daily moisturizer helps with uneven skin texture, loss of skin firmness and elasticity, dullness and dryness.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (dry, oily, combination, normal)
    • How I use this: I use this Protini Polypeptide Cream in combination with the B Hydra Intensive Hydration serum and my C Firma Day serum every morning, after applying my Shaba Complex Eye Serum.
    • Cost: $68 / 1.69oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: The reason I use this moisturizer in the morning that doesn’t contain sunscreen is because my foundation has a 50+ SPF. Also, because all Drunk Elephant products are formulated without silicones, you can pump them all together and apply in one step!
  • NIGHT – Option 1: Josie Maran – 100% Pure Argan Oil
    • What does it do?: This naturally sourced, cold-pressed oil protects your skin from environmental damage and skin-aging free radicals, all while improving dullness and dryness, firming and improving elasticity and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (oily, dry, sensitive, and normal)
    • How I use this: I first warm up 1-2 drops of this Josie Maran – 100% Pure Argan Oil in my hands, then gently press onto my face using my fingertips, after applying my Shaba Complex Eye Serum and my T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum.
    • Cost: $16 / .5oz. or $48 / 1.7oz. or $96 / 4oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: I’ve been using this Josie Maran Argan Oil on my face, because I use it on my body (mixed in with my lotion, and I have a lot of it, but I’ve also used the Acure Marula Oil (listed below) and I like that one a lot as well. Personally, I love to buy the 4oz. deluxe sized Argan Oil from QVC, when it comes in a set with the body butter I love, but if there isn’t a set available (they sell out very quickly), you can also buy it from Sephora, which is 4oz for $96.***
  • NIGHT – Option 2: Acure Marula Oil
    • What does it do?: This oil is also cold pressed and unrefined (like the Argan Oil from Josie Maran) and will hydrate your skin, eliminate dullness and help with fine lines and wrinkles, while improving the skin’s elasticity.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (oily, dry, sensitive, and normal)
    • How I use this: I first warm 1-2 drops of this Acure Marula Oil in my hands, then gently press onto my face using my fingertips, after applying my Shaba Complex Eye Serum and my T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum.
    • Cost: $16 / 1oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: I started using this cold-pressed Marula Oil instead of the Drunk Elephant one because it was less expensive and seemed to work exactly the same. Make sure to keep this oil out of the light, since it is in a clear glass bottle.

MASKS:

  • ANYTIME – Resurfacing: Drunk Elephant – T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
    • What does it do?: This mask is basically a facial in a bottle! It has extreme amounts of AHA, as well as BHA, to completely resurface your skin. This pro-quality formula dramatically smooths your skin’s texture, while minimizing the look of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.
    • What skin type is this for?: All skin types (oily, dry, combination, and normal)
    • How I use this: I first make sure my skin is clean and dry, then I apply a VERY thin layer (about 1-2 pumps) all over my face, avoiding my eye area and leave on for 20 minutes. (I usually set a timer so I don’t forget and leave it on any longer) I rinse my face with lukewarm water and then apply either Josie Maran – 100% Pure Argan Oil or Acure Marula Oil by pressing gently onto my skin. The first few times it may tingle slightly, so leave it on for less time, if needed.
    • Cost: $80 / 1.69oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: I was hesitant to try this at first because of the price tag, but this mask is TOTALLY worth every penny! I’ve had this mask in my cabinet for a little over a year now and it’s still going! When they say use a thin layer, it really is a thin layer, only 1-2 pumps for your entire face. After washing it off, my skin has NEVER felt smoother or softer. Baby facial is literally the perfect name for this product because you have baby skin afterward.
  • ANYTIME – Purifying: Clinique – City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask & Scrub (wow that’s a long name)
    • What does it do?: This mask is exactly what it states; its both a mask and a scrub. It purifies and polishes the skin for an ultra deep clean in order to eliminate dullness, minimize pores and even out skin texture.
    • What skin type is this for?: Any skin type (normal, combination, dry, oily, sensitive)
    • How I use this: Apply a medium layer of the Clinique – City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask & Scrub to a clean, dry face, avoiding your eye area. Leave the mask on until it turns to a pale blue (about 5 minutes) and rinse off with warm water while massaging into your skin in a circular motion to exfoliate.
    • Cost: $28 / 3.4 oz.
    • Tips/Tricks: Because it’s only a 5 minute mask, this can easily be used in the morning and rinsed off in the shower. (which is way easier cleanup than removing a mud mask in the sink…if you know the struggle!)
  • ANYTIME – Hydrating: Eve Hansen Collagen Sheet Mask
    • What does it do?: This mask restores dry and dull skin, reduces fine lines and improves skin elasticity.
    • What skin type is this for?: Any skin type (normal, combination, dry, oily, sensitive)
    • How I use this: The Eve Hansen Collagen Sheet Mask is a lightweight material that has a protective film attached to help you apply the mask. Lay the mask, serum side down onto your face and slowly remove the white film from the other side. Gently adjust the mask to make sure your face is covered and stuck down to the high and low points of your face. Leave on for 15-20 minutes, and once removed, gently press the excess serum into your face.
    • Cost: $21 / 5 masks
    • Tips/Tricks: Because this mask is so hydrating, I like to let the serum alone on my face for awhile and I don’t apply and skincare, but the directions from the company recommends to apply your skincare routine after removing the mask.
  • ANYTIME – Eye Treatment: Nature Republic Marine Hydrogel Eye Patches
    • What do these do?: These eye patches hydrate and smooth the area around your eyes to diminish fine lines, reduce puffiness and inflammation while also increasing elasticity.
    • What skin type are these for?: Any skin type (normal, combination, dry, oily, sensitive)
    • How I use these: These hydrogel eye patches are ideal for those days when you wake up in the morning and your eyes are puffy, when you will be in front of the camera that day or when you’re looking for a weekend pick-me-up. The extra hydration around your eyes makes you instantly look awake.
    • Cost: $36 / 10 pairs
    • Tips/Tricks: Make sure you have time to spare in the morning, because these are a little more time consuming than a normal face mask. These you’ll want to leave on for 30-40 minutes to get the full effect.
  • ANYTIME – Eye Treatment: Deluxe Collagen Eye Mask Pads
    • What do these do?: These collagen eye mask pads quickly hydrate and smooth the area around your eyes to reduce daily puffiness and inflammation.
    • What skin type are these for?: Any skin type (normal, combination, dry, oily, sensitive)
    • How I use these: These collagen eye mask pads are ideal for those days when you need a little pick-me-up in the morning. They add hydration to help you look more awake than you probably are, and are fairly inexpensive, so you don’t have to worry about using these several times a week, if needed.
    • Cost: $6 / 30 pairs
    • Tips/Tricks: I like to keep these collagen eye pads in the fridge to add a little extra boost while reducing inflammation and puffiness in the morning.

Tips for Shopping Skincare

ALWAYS get samples.

Not every product will work for everyone, so you’ll want to try out a few different products by sampling them at your local Sephora, Ulta, or department store. This way you will weed out any products that may irritate your skin, before actually purchasing.

Don’t feel bad for returning.

Okay, okay, I KNOW what you’re going to say. YES I worked retail and YES people do abuse the system, but I’m not talking about taking the store for granted.

  • I’m NOT encouraging you to use half the bottle and then return the product.
  • I’m NOT encouraging you to return the item just because you had second thoughts or buyers’ remorse after you’ve already started using it. (This is because once you return an open product, the company is losing that money since they will have to discard the item due to sanitary reasons, and that isn’t fair to them, just because you “changed your mind.”)
  • What I AM telling you is that if you did purchase a full-sized skincare product before getting a sample, and it started irritating your skin, or you found out you were allergic to any of its ingredients, please don’t feel bad returning it.
  • What you SHOULD do, is let the beauty representative know your issue with the product, when you make the return, and see if they are able to give you any recommendations for something that will be better suited for your skin.
    • The beauty reps at a makeup store, like Sephora or Ulta should all trained in the different skincare lines and should be able to offer you a better suggestion based on your skin type and skincare goals. (However, if a brand vendor is in the store, usually on a weekend, they will be extremely knowledgable about the line they work for, since they attend multiple trainings each year and with every new product introduced in their line.)
Do your research.
  • Check the reviews before buying.
  • Review the product descriptions and preferred skin types for that specific product.
  • Check out one of my favorite resources, Beautypedia. This site helps explain exactly what is in each product and if it really works, or it’s just expensive because of hype, marketing or the brand name.

My Tips for Shopping Drunk Elephant Products

I know I’ve mentioned A LOT of products in great detail, but I wanted to make sure I was giving you as much information as possible. I was actually going to make this “Best of Beauty” only one post (including hair care, nails and makeup), but I quickly realized it would be WAY too much information for you to process (and for me to write) into one blog post!

I hope you got value out of these beauty favorites. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled, because there are going to be more beauty favorites launching this week!

From your favorite Type-A, Lazy Girl, I’m signing out!

Glossary:

*AHAs: water-soluble acids, made from sugary fruits, that help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place.

**BHAs: oil soluble acids that can get deeper into the pores to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum.

***I only recommend buying the 4oz. Josie Maran Oil if you will use it up within 2 years. It usually takes me about 2 years to use it all up, but I also use it on my body. (This could be a good option for you if you have multiple people using it in your home, or want to spread the wealth and give some to your friends! I recommend buying dark amber glass refillable bottles to split it up, since the oil should not be exposed to blue and ultra-violet light, which can break down the oil’s beneficial compounds and nutrients, which reduces it’s effectiveness and potency.)

The Body Butter You NEED For Fall & Winter

The Body Butter You NEED For Fall & Winter

Let me be honest, I am obsessed with my skin. I’m always trying to stay hydrated and attempting to look younger than I did yesterday (gotta prevent that crepey skin, #amiright?), so body lotions and body butters are a VITAL part of my everyday routine! I vary my lotions depending on the time of year, so I thought I would share my favorites for Fall and Winter with you!

Right now, it’s Fall going into Winter, so I really like having something a little thicker and more hydrating on my skin than what I wear in the Summer. These are the only two body butters that I use this time of year, and lucky for you, they fit any budget since they are at two drastically different price points.

Product image of Josie Maran whipped body butter and a bottle of organ oil on a fluffy, cozy blanket.
  • Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter: This body butter is made of some amazingly hydrating and natural ingredients like Aloe Vera, Argan Oil, Sunflower seed oil and Shea Butter. This body butter is extremely hydrating and goes on smoothly. It does take a while to sink into the skin, so you may want to rub it thoroughly and wait a couple minutes before dressing. (My favorite scent is Vanilla Bean, it smells like you added a bit of Pure Vanilla Extract to unscented body butter. It seriously smells INCREDIBLE!)
  • *PRO TIP: for extremely dry skin, I love adding a few drops of Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil to the Body Butter before applying to my skin. I literally stay so hydrated until the next time I shower!
  • Price Point: $35/8oz
Photo of girl's hand holding of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Body Butter with marble tray, candle, and crystal decorative jars.
  • Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Body Butter: I just found out about this body butter THIS year! Yes, I know, I know, I’m so late to the game with Trader Joe’s beauty products, and this is the first and only product I’ve tried, so I definitely must try more! This body butter is extremely affordable and is so hydrating! Made with coconut oil, shea butter and pumpkin seed oil, this body butter is full of some amazing natural ingredients, and smells incredible! For all you PSL lovers out there, this one’s for you!
  • *PRO TIP: buy this body butter in store only; it will be FAR more expensive online.
  • Price Point: $4.99/8oz.

Directions for best use of body butter:

  • Apply immediately after toweling off from a shower or bath. This is when your pores are open and your body will be able to absorb the most moisture. Think of your skin like your thirst, once your skin is dry, it is already dehydrated (Just like when you are thirsty).
  • When you apply body lotion/body butter immediately following a shower or bath, you end up using about half the amount of product to hydrate your skin than if you were to wait until your skin was dry (or thirsty) and it would STILL hydrate better than if your skin was dry to begin with.

What are your favorite body butters or lotions for Fall and Winter?

Oh, and don’t forget: be your most amazing YOU today!

–Ashley

Nail Product Favorites

Nail Product Favorites

I have to say, I do love having my nails done at a salon, however, I do NOT love having to schedule an appointment into my already overbooked day. This is why I do my nails at home.

There are certain benefits to having your nails done at a salon vs. at home and there are also benefits and disadvantages to having Gel nails versus a regular manicure, so here is my list of pros and cons, as well as products I use regularly and recommend to EVERYONE!

Gel nails:

Pros:

  • EXTREMELY fast dry time
  • lasts 2 weeks +
  • looks shiny and fresh until you remove

Cons:

  • takes forever to remove your Gel polish
  • ruins your nails (scraping top layers of nail before Gel is applied, and removal is done with 100% acetone)
  • sometimes, it peels up at cuticles, or peeling up completely (this is super annoying when your hair gets caught in the peel up when you are washing your hair.)
  • have to keep the same color polish on until removal

Regular Manicure:

Pros:

  • keeps nails healthy (for the most part)
  • very easy to remove polish
  • does NOT hurt nails
  • can easily change colors as often as you want

Cons:

  • dry time takes FOREVER
  • usually peels or chips in under 1 week

Because I enjoy changing my nail color often, and I don’t like the Gel removal process, I do prefer doing my nails at home.

The products I HIGHLY recommend are:

  1. Nailtiques Formula 2 Base Coat: This is an amazing base coat for using on its own or under nail polish. I love using this product because it helps keep my nails from peeling, and if you do use Gel nail polish and are looking to stop for awhile, this product truly helps rejuvenate your nails and heal them. I use this under every polish I use, and even if I’m not wearing nail polish, this is ALWAYS on my nails. It actually dries super fast for a regular polish and truly heals your nails. I recommend this to EVERYONE I know! ESPECIALLY if you are coming off of Gel or Acrylic nails.
  2. Essie Gel Topcoat: This product claims to be a “Gel” polish, but without the necessary light curing. It says it must be used with the other Essie Gel Colors, but I have found that this topcoat works AMAZINGLY with any nail polish that you have. I use this topcoat with all of my regular nail polishes and it works SO WELL! It seriously lasts a week or more without chipping! (and I wash my hands and dishes like a crazy person, so this is speaking volumes!)
  3. So this is a recommendation rather than a necessity (the two above are NECESSITIES for doing your manicure at home): Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Color: I highly recommend this nail polish. It lasts for over a week on average, and keeps your nails looking super shiny, as if you had Gel nails from a salon. I know her polishes are a bit pricey, but I think they are worth the money. My favorite colors are: “I’m My Own Hero” a dusty mauve creme, “Message in a Bottle,” a sheer holographic mauve shimmer, “Dirty Little Secret,” a sheer holographic greige shimmer and “Grey Day,” her icy cool grey collab with Jason Wu.
  4. If you’re looking for a fast drying topcoat, I HIGHLY recommend Out the Door Top Coat: I’ve tried other fast drying topcoats, such as Seche Vite and Butter London, which both work very well, but this one is my favorite. I’ve noticed that this particular topcoat seems to set the top layer much faster than the other quick dries do.

I hope these recommendations help you when you are deciding on which nail polishes to use during your home manicure!

If you have any polish recommendations that I need to try, please let me know in the comments below!