Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Kerastase Resistance Hair Line | Review

I've never been one to spend a lot of money on my hair. I get it cut once a year, never color it, and use the same $20 curling iron that I've had for what feels like ages. However I also feel like this makes me more aware of using the right products to keep my hair shiny and healthy. For me that means focusing on products that introduce lots of moisture, protect from heat, and have the ability to re-plump my texture. 

I have always been intrigued by Kerastase products but never made the plunge into the 'designer' brand. Recently I was introduced to their  Resistance line and was immediately intrigued. The collection is focused on rebuilding weak and damaged hair - which is fitting for the Summer months when the sun, salt, and chlorine are constantly battling moisture levels in your strands.

The Resistance line follows what I would consider a two prong strategy towards hair health. Not only is it important to nourish your hair in the shower but it is equally as critical to treat your hair out of it.


I start my cleansing routine by using the  Bain Force Architecte shampoo as I would normally lather up. Personally I always twice shampoo my hair: first with a conditioning scalp treatment that scrubs any oils/product out of my hair (normally a Head & Shoulders) and then I follow with a standard shampoo to give volume and body. The Architecte shampoo fell into that latter role. The product itself was very sudsy and felt like it stripped my hair a bit. I can imagine it's due to the sulfates, which I tend to stray away from. 

Post shampoo I follow with a conditioning treatment, which again is a two step approach. I use a small amount of the  Ciment Anti-Usure conditioner on the top of my hair and then the  Masque Force Architecte hair mask on the mid to bottom length. I find my ends to need a heavier product than my roots so I tend to use a hair mask every time I shampoo - which is twice weekly. The Kerastase mask states that it should be left on for 5-10 minutes which I feel to be a bit of a stretch of time. I normally leave mine on while I body wash and the benefits are the same. After rinsing the conditioner and mask out I found that about half of my knots were still there but my hair felt smoother and like it had less split ends. 


Air drying for me is key in the Summer months. I always try to let my hair naturally dry for as long as possible but do require pulling out the blow dryer to get the last bit of dampness out. Second to a conditioning mask, a good serum is crucial to my hair health. The Ciment Thermique - a leave-in treatment - and Serum Therapiste - a dual serum - partner together to protect against my need for a blow dry and the occasional styling. The products are similar in that they both are used on towel dried hair before any heat styling.

Out of the two products I found myself more impressed by the leave in treatment. It has a creamier texture than the Serum and better smooths out any remaining frizz or dryness. I tend to use the Serum more on dry hair throughout the week when I feel like a bit of shine is needed.

Packaging wise the collection is up to par. My only qualm is that majority of the instructions are broken out in about ten different languages on the small bottles so it takes me a few seconds to figure out what product is which and what I need to do with it. I also feel like some of the instructions are just un-realistic (i.e. applying a hair mask for 10 minutes while in the shower). I'm a big advocate for straightforward hair care that I don't have to think about. I want it to work, be simple, and smell good. Speaking of scent: I can't speak for all of Kerastase products as this is the first I've tried out but I was a bit underwhelmed. The Resistance collection is fresh but fairly basic. It could compare it to a cucumber scent or something similar. As a huge lover of lines like Kristin Ess and Oaui - both of which are known for their perfume-like scents - it's hard to compare.


Overall I think the Kerastase Resistance line is a well developed collection but it wasn't a showstopper for me. It's entirely possible that this specific line just wasn't the right fit for my hair type or needs. The Kerastase website does offer a fantastic Hair Diagnostic tool if you want to see what line is best for your needs and ideal hair type. Me? It recommends the Chronologiste line which focuses on scalp renewal so I may need to check out my nearest Ulta and give it another fair test...


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Urban Decay Born to Run Collection | Review

I'm always intrigued when Urban Decay comes out with a new release. Let's face it: they are the leader of the pack when it comes to amazing eye shadows and the palettes that host the shades. My first real step into the high-end beauty world was an Urban Decay eye shadow that I still have in my collection with a sense of nostalgia (hello, "Lost"). Next came my first shadow palette with a purchase of Naked 3. I find their products to be creamy, pigmented, and so easy to come up with looks that go from day to night. Their newest release - the Born to Run palette ($49) - does not stray from the Urban Decay norm. Along with the shadow palette comes three gorgeous lipsticks ($18), three 24/7 eyeliner pencils ($21), and a re-packaging of my go-to All Nighter setting spray. 

As a Jersey girl with Bruce Springsteen roots the Born to Run name lives near and dear to my heart. The collection is based around the idea of having one palette that can host multiple looks; going from sunrise to sunset, city to city, and everywhere in between. This past year has been filled with traveling for me so I love the idea of having one palette that I can throw in my travel beauty kit and go. I've brought this on multiple trips lately and find that it suits all of my plans.


I am a huge fan of the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils and these are no exception. All three shades within the collection are metallic, which adds a gorgeous glow to your eye look:

Double Life | reddish-brown metallic
Overdrive | deep green metallic
Lucky | dark metallic copper

The formula is amazing and sets all day so I don't need to worry about smudging. As it is waterproof based it is also perfect for the Summer months. I've been wearing Lucky in my lower waterline when I want a more dramatic look for nighttime and have been smudging out Overdrive on a nude eye when I want a pop of color. 

The Born to Run Vice lipsticks are the a great mix of neutral and dramatic. They're a great fit within the larger collection as they have the range to play off whatever eye look you aim to do. All three shades are highly pigmented and long lasting:

Ready? | bright rose sparkle, metallic
66 | rich mauve-nude, comfort matte
Marfa | dark berry with pink micro-shimmer, comfort matte

Ready? is the shade I've been playing with the most. I love applying a thin coat all over the lips then topping with a clear balm - something like the Glossier balm dot com. The metallic plays off the light so well and is a fun way to introduce sparkle that still feels grown up.


The eye shadow palette is my favorite of the collection, which is to be expected. Within the 21 shades - only 5 which have been from previous collections - there is a great mix of neutrals and colors. I find every shade to be wearable in one way or another. The colors tend to lean warmer and there are more shimmers than not, but that is what I prefer in my shadows.

For a daily look I love to use "Ignite" all over the lid with a mix of "Baja" and "Riff" in the crease. "Blaze" also is the perfect shade to blend onto the brow bone and inner corner for an eye highlight.
When I want a more bold look I love to use "Wanderlust" - a forest green with gold micro-shimmer - or "Radio - a deep emerald satin - as a wash all over the lid. As long as I blend out the edges I find even the most bold shades to still be wearable and flattering.

The packaging of this palette differs from the Naked palettes' metal casing. The Born to Run palette is made of heavy plastic that feels expensive and like it'll keep my shadows safe while they are hosted in my suitcase. There's nothing worse then getting to a location and realizing that the airplane ride shattered metallic pigment all over your clothes. I also love how big and well made the mirror is that sits on the interior. It's perfect for when there's limited mirror space where you are or if the hotel lighting is terrible and you need to do your makeup near exterior lighting. The photo collage on the packaging is neutral to me. I do enjoy though that the photos are apparently from UD employees' travels across the Globe. They seem fitting for the wanderlust loving end-user.

As expected this collection fell nowhere short of my expectations. Although the lipstick shades are probably the least worn for me, I reach for the palette, liners, and setting spray on a daily basis. I've taken them with me on every trip since I've received the collection and have never felt like I was ill prepared.

NOTE: products gifted by Urban Decay for review.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Skinesque Three Step Face Masks | Review

Applying a good face mask is one of my favorite weekly routines. I love the idea of taking 20-30 minutes out of my day to relax and treat my skin. When Skinesque asked me to try out some of their face masks I immediately said yes. After doing some quick research I realized that this Korean-inspired brand follows my commitment of taking care of oneself despite a hectic schedule. Skinesque believes in using gentle formulas, innovative skincare technology, and being ready for real life. Each product is made to create a luxurious and spa-like moment in the midst of being on-the-go.

Another value I share with the brand is the idea of using good ingredients in skincare. Their lines are all dermatologist tested, cruelty free, and formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, and synthetic dyes. Bottom line: your skin will thank you.

Each mask packet comes with three steps: a gentle foaming cleanser, hydrating essence, and the nourishing sheet mask.

Step 1: Gentle Foaming Cleanser | deeply cleanses and removes impurities for clear and smooth skin.
Step 2: Hydra+ Essence | provides intense hydration, retains moisture to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and promotes collagen formation.
Step 3: Face Mask | light texture allows for skin to breathe while seamlessly adhering to the face for effective absorption of its key ingredients

This is the first brand I've personally seen go beyond the physical face mask. They have thought through the entire application process and made it super easy to use - especially if you are on the go. I love the idea that you can throw one of these small packets into your overnight bag or on a flight and you have everything you need.  

Skinesque currently makes two different sheet masks for your skin needs. The  Aqua+ Super-Fine Mask focuses on ingredients like aloe vera, Centella Asiatica, and Sodium Hyaluronate to hydrate the skin. The  Brightening+ charcoal mask has Niacinamide, birch tree sap, Ceramide, and Adenosine to repair skin and brighten your complexion. Although I thoroughly enjoyed both masks I found the Brightening+ one to treat my skin needs better. It left my skin feeling smooth and looking fresh. I could see my dark spots minimize after use, likely from the Vitamin C, and my overall texture definitely improved.

I was super impressed with the essence step since I felt like it allowed for an extra boost of moisture before applying the face mask. It reminds me of how I enjoy applying a serum or face spray before applying my moisturizer each day. However, the most impressive thing of the entire package was the face mask itself. I find most sheet masks to be a bit flimsy but this felt like a super high-quality/luxe piece of fabric. It was so comfortable on my skin. I also felt like the mask carried enough product with it that it never felt dry. With that though, sometimes it felt like there was almost TOO much product on the mask. I used both masks at night and let the product soak in while I slept. I feel like if I used them in the morning then I'd need to wash my face before applying makeup.

KEY TIP: Once you remove the mask after 15-20 minutes, pat the extra product into your skin and neck. This is the 'good stuff' so you want to savor the most of it that you can!

This was my first dip into the K-Beauty world and I have to say that I understand the hype. The entire mask process from start-to-finish felt well thought out and innovative. It's no surprise that Refinery29 featured the brand as one of the coolest products being launched this year. I'm actually surprised more US brands don't promote a multi-step complete process for face masks.

I'll likely snag a few more of the Brightening+ masks for all of my travel (and stay-at-home) needs. I think these could be a great gift for friends or even for Mothers Day coming up. You can buy them directly from Skinesque's website individually, but I would recommend purchasing the five pack at $35. I'm a firm believer of having a few masks handy to treat any bad skin days or for a spontaneous spa night. Just add champagne!


Friday, March 31, 2017

Skincare Favorites

The older I get the more I realize the importance of good skin care. Good skin care also doesn't mean that it needs to cost a lot. I think it's all about finding products that work with your particular skin type and lifestyle. For me, that means calming products that help my redness, hydration for my dry skin, and products that are minimal and easy to apply. An added benefit is when the products are animal friendly and include a lot of natural ingredients.

Lately I've been super into testing out new formulas to find what works best for my skin at the moment. I've also found myself narrowing down my products to a few favorites that I use for both day and night.


The first step in my skincare is always to wash with Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser. I've used this product for a few years now and always re-purchase when I see that I'm running low. I find this cleanser to be the only one that cleans my face without leaving it feeling dry and tight. It's super gentle and just feels good when you use it. If I have a face full of makeup then I'll normally use a face wipe (Burts Bees and Yes To! make my favorites) to take majority of it off. I'll then follow with a pump and a half of the Milky Jelly and massage it into my dry skin. This way the product gets a chance to cleanse and treat your skin, not the layer of makeup on top of it. I then wet my hands and work the product into a lather - although it doesn't sud up. Instead it breaks down into fluid and really begins to take off the makeup. To finish it off I splash water on my face and pat dry. It seems simple, but the combo of the washing process with the cleanser really leaves my skin feeling so soft and clean.


After my skin dries off I apply a healthy spritz of the Glossier Soothing Face Mist and pat it into the skin. I find that this re-balances things and is super refreshing. I normally will use this time to brush my teeth and prep for the day or for bed (depending on the hour). After comes moisturizer...

For the day: I apply a light layer of the Glossier Priming Moisturizer. I then follow with a light layer of the Becca Backlight Priming Filter - patting both products into my skin after the application. This combo leaves my skin looking like it has a healthy glow and creates a perfect base for my foundation.

For the night: I tend to go for heavier products. My favorite nighttime moisturizer lately has been the Sunday Riley Tidal cream. It weirdly smells like kelp but is so lightweight yet hydrating. If I really need a good moisture boost then I'll go for the Mario Badescu Caviar Night Cream. This stuff is super thick so I use it almost like a leave-on mask while I sleep.


When it comes to face masks the Mario Badescu Flower & Tonic Mask is my absolute favorite. It smells beautiful and really balances my skin. I tend to use this mask when I'm breaking out or just need a deep treatment. Its texture goes on milky but dries down, leaving your skin feeling lifted and refreshed. I love using this at night but pull it out in the mornings when I want my makeup to look extra perfected. 

Have you tried any of my skincare favorites before? If not, which seems most up your alley?


Sunday, March 19, 2017

March Beauty Favorites

It's been a while since I've done a beauty favorites roundup, but surprisingly, a lot of my favorites have remained the same since Summer. Lately it's been all about efficiency and my love of cream products (which normally go hand-in-hand). I have a feeling that these favorites will continue into the Spring and Summer months as the temps rise. 


I have been wearing the Loreal Infallible Glow foundation nonstop since I tried it back in Summer. It's gone through two re-purchases (albeit in lighter shades) and I haven't swapped it for anything else since. This is major for me, considering 2016 was filled with trying all kinds of foundations. I just love how lightweight the formula is and the natural glow it gives. I did a full post of my thoughts back in September and they still stand strong.

Continuing with the glow factor: the Tanya Burr Cosmetics Cheek Illuminator in Golden Girl is another love of mine. I use it on my cheek bones and forehead to add a warm, yet natural, glow. The formula is so creamy so it blends perfectly into the skin. I also find that the coloring is perfect for my complexion. Unfortunately I'm nearing the end of my stick and it seems to be out of stock online so I'm looking for replacement options. So far my eyes are on the Charlotte Tilbury Beach Sticks or the Wander Beauty On-The-Glow Bronzer stick. Please let me know if you have any other recommendations!

Lastly I've been using a combo of Pearl and Champagne Pop from my Becca x Jaclyn Hill palette. I find that all of my golden highlighters are too intense for my winter skin, so the lighter mix allows for a proper match. I pat the mix with my fingers across my cheek bones, nose, and cupids bow for a healthy illumination.


Surprisingly there is only one eye product this month that I've been really going for and it is the MAC Pigment in Tan. This powder is such a beautiful tan shimmer and is so simple to throw on and go. On weekends I sweep the smallest amount across my lids, add a healthy layer of mascara, and head out the door. This is one of those products that will genuinely last for ages as there's so much in the little tube.


Another Tanya Burr product makes its way up the list. This time it is her lip gloss in Picnic in the Park. It's another great product to throw on and go. I love glosses but hate when I have to layer a color underneath. With this gloss I need a swipe across the lips to get the perfect blend of pigmentation and shine.


Come winter-time my hands go into full panic mode. Blame it on the heaters or the hot showers but they're normally in desperate need for hydration. Enter the L'Occitane hand cream in Cherry Blossom. I got a trio of these hand creams in my stocking and have been using them nonstop. This particular scent is my favorite. I keep the tube bedside and apply it every night before I fall asleep. In the morning my hands feel moisturized and so soft.


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