BeautyBlenders are amazing

BeautyBlenderI bought a Beauty Blender.

Then it sat in my make-up drawer for two years without being used. I was very skeptical on a silly little pink sponge being a life altering change to my make-up routine. But I already saw what the hype was about after using it just two times.

This sponge will cost you anywhere between $15-$20. Purchase it anywhere from Nordstrom, Amazon to of course, Sephora. I can only find fake ones at Target and Ulta. I’ve never used a sponge to apply my make-up in the past, so I cannot compare any other replica to the Beauty Blender itself. From what I’ve heard on YouTube, no replica compares to the Beauty Blender. I don’t know why.

BBlendersHow to use the Beauty Blender

You can use the Beauty Blender wet, or dry. I prefer dampening the tear dropped shaped sponge under water for it to absorb and grow to twice its size. Once it’s wet and springy, wring out the excess water, and apply foundation to the back of your hand. Bounce the blender onto your liquid foundation, and use the rounded bottom and start dabbing the foundation onto your face. Don’t swirl, just dab. Using the Beauty Blender when it’s damp creates a more dewy, flawless finish. I haven’t tried using it dry, but I can imagine it being patchy. Don’t quote me on that.

The base of the Beauty Blender sponge is ideal for the larger areas of your face. I leave my concealer for last, and use the pointed tip for precise application in your hard to reach areas, like the under eyes or around the nose.

If you want fuller coverage, Beauty Blender’s website suggests to stipple and twist the sponge over stubborn areas.

Why I love the Beauty Blender

  • Because hellewww it creates a flawless finish no brush has ever given my complexion, you really do get an airbrushed effect. I don’t know what it is, but I thought my Real Techniques brushes were the epitome of make-up brushes (even my high end ones didn’t compare), and I’ve been using those since last summer.
  • I don’t get brush strokes or lines on my face when I use a brush, yet I can’t even explain the way the Beauty Blender makes your skin look. If you’re interested in it that much, just go for it and I guarantee you another Beauty Blender, you won’t be disappointed with the finish it gives you.

Cons about the Beauty Blender

  • It is a $20 sponge that will only last a few months.
  • Just as any tool you use when applying make-up, you need to be vigilant about keeping it clean.
  • Using the Beauty Blender is a little messier than slapping product on a brush, and swirling it around your face. Since you have to wet the sponge before each use my hands are all slippery, and wet then I have to lay down the blender on a tissue to not get and dust, dirt or hairs on it, apply my foundation to the back of my hand, and dab the sponge into it.
  • The sponge is still damp when you’re finished applying your make-up for the day. I end up wrapping it in a clean tissue, and store it in my make-up bag. Kind of a waste, but I have no idea where else to put it.
  • I have found that the Beauty Blender uses more foundation than using a make-up brush would.

BeautyBlender-spongesHow to clean the Beauty Blender

I understand you would probably want to clean the Beauty Blender sponge after each use. But 100% of the time, I don’t feel like doing that. You can use this Beauty Blender solid cleanser, make up remover, or plain old hand soap like I do with all of my make-up brushes (and now sponges). Note that a damp sponge left to sit, is a breeding ground for bacteria and mould, so you’re going to want to clean it often and air dry it well.

My results are in. I’m completely sold on the Beauty Blender and how it trumps any make-up brush I have ever tried. But being completely honest I’m not sure I’d go out and drop $20 each time I required a new sponge every few months. We’ll see how it goes.

How do you apply your make-up?

Have you ever used the Beauty Blender?

Do you use liquid, mineral, or powder foundation?

Why I use retinol/retinoid treatments

Guys. I’m getting age spots on my hands. I’m getting old.

I have always looked younger than my age, whether or not I was into skincare and now I’m simply slowing the aging process with some beauty products. If in fact it works in the long run. Only time will tell. Since I’m in my thirties, I feel as if I know a lot about skincare than I ever did before. I’m forever researching the products I plan to buy to keep my skin looking youthful.

My biggest thing is, to always hydrate and drink as much water as you can in the run of a day. Water is my primary source of drink, and to keep me drinking it throughout the day, I keep 5+ water bottles in the fridge at all times. When one gets emptied, fill’er back up, place in the fridge and grab another cool one. It’s been working since we’ve moved to California. So that’s good, right?

 Philosophy is a trusted skin care brand that I keep going back to.

philosophyClearly.

I’ve been using Philosophy Retinoid pads and I have just started my second jar of it — the first one was complimentary thanks to Philosophy, but I’ve loved the product so much I bought it.

miracle workerPhilosophy Miracle Worker Anti-aging Retinoid Pads and solution:  $74USD / $98CDN

One side of the pad is more exfoliating than the other. I tend to use the rougher side on my face, and the other side the excess goes to the backs of my hands.  I was hesitant that the retinod pads would still be soaked by the end of the jar in 60 days, but they were.

philosophy with retinoid padsI use it at night after washing my face with Purity Made Simple cleanser. I apply a pad of the retinoid on right after using the cleanser before I put anything else on my skin so it’s the first thing to soak in.

This is a time in my blog-life that I wish I took before and after pictures. I didn’t know I’d enjoy the product so much. My skin feels rejuvenated, my cheeks are much less red, and I feel more comfortable wearing not a stitch of makeup, outside the house. As one should!

Benefits of using retinol/retinoid treatments:

  • To achieve radiant skin, use a product with retinoid in it as it will help get rid of any dry, dead skin cells on the surface
  • Retinoids also stimulates the skin to produce more collagen and hyaluronic acid, which prevents wrinkles or fine lines that haven’t appeared
  • Retinoid helps speed up the skin’s natural cell turnover. As it did with me, it helps fade pigmentation on the skin (my rosy cheeks)

Look at the packaging of your skin care products to make sure it has a retinoid in the product towards the beginning of the ingredient list. Over the counter, you will not receive more than 1% retinoid, as it’s pretty powerful. So look for something with 0.5% or higher of retinoid for best results.

 

Detox drybar Dry Shampoo review

Detox drybar Dry ShampooI want to point out that I’m still enjoying the $20 Detox Dry Shampoo I bought at DryBar in the Stanford Shopping Centre, not knowing we had a Dry Bar location closer, in Santana Row. It’s also available at Sephora, but they seem to always be sold out.

I’m not sure how much I have left, as the can that it comes in, is lightweight and I have no way in knowing when I’ll run out. I tend to wash my hair once, then skip two days (and use the dry shampoo) and wash it again on the fourth day.

I was skeptical on using a clear aerosol spray for a dry shampoo for fear of the white cast it so commonly leaves. For the past few years I was using Principessa (dark coloured) dry shampoo powder, which suited me well, but it was messy to apply, and left gritty bits on my scalp. I was worried using the Detox that it would leave a white cast — which it does when you’re not careful with it. Apply correctly, and it should blend in with your brunette hair just fine.

Note, I did not buy the Detox for brunettes, the sales associate mentioned that it would’ve been too dark for my hair.

Detox gives me a freshly showered feel to my hair and definitely gives volume and texture which my fine, limp hair is missing. There’s no gritty bits either on my scalp. Big plus. I’ll be buying this again, and I know for sure it’s not going to last a good year or more like my Principessa, but it’s worth it.

It has a scent to it. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s not my favourite. I don’t want to say it’s floral, but if you have used it — then you’ll know the smell I’m talking about. It’s not an obnoxious scent by any means, but a different one.

Quick tips on how to use dry shampoo

  • Shake the drybar can well.
  • Lift sections of your hair and spray a good 10 inches away from each section. Sometimes I do the head flick upside down and spray everywhere quickly
  • Apply generously (my problem area is the crown area – separates and makes me look bald)
  • Massage your head to make sure everything has been blended in
  • Comb and style your hair as usual

Matcha Green Tea Powder: Review

Matcha Green Tea PowderBack in May, Kiss Me Organics contacted me asking if I’d like to test out their matcha green tea. I’m a big orange pekoe tea drinker, and have been known to consume more than 1 cup a day. However, I’m not into the green tea as much. But their PR contact informed me that there’s much more things to do than just drink it. There’s a ton of baking, cooking and drinking recipes floating around where you can use powdered green tea — including MEAT. I know.

I rarely bake, and if I do it’s blueberry muffins. I stuck to a more simple task, putting it into our morning smoothies.

I sorta made the Berry Good Morning Smoothie from the Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder’s PDF recipe book (page 19). But I implemented my own berries and fruit. Inside this bad boy for two:

matcha smoothie1 banana /// 6 strawberries  /// 1 peach  /// 2 heaping tablespoons of nonfat plain greek yogurt 
1 tsp matcha with 2 tsp of warm water (to mix the matcha)  /// ice cubes /// skim milk

When I’m not using any powders in our drinks, I usually opt for putting in a few dashes of cinnamon, a squirt of agave sweetener, a dash of vanilla extract and a tiny bit of unsweetened cocoa powder.

A lot of these products I’m reviewing are impractical for me to keep purchasing and using each day. It’s not something I’m willing to spend my money on at the moment. The matcha green tea retails for $30, and the skoop I reviewed the other week, was twice that amount. I’m not sure I’d be noticing a significant amount of change in energy, or feeling overall wellness. I think we’d skip out on this if we were to purchase it ourselves. But luckily, I’m here to try a few things out on my blog, and give my full honest review. I know tons of people who LOVE this stuff, and I’ve already gave my 2nd package of the Matcha Green Tea Powder I received, to my climbing buddy, Ellen.

I haven’t tried making green tea with it yet, because I can’t simply say no to a cuppa orange pekoe over the green tea (yet). But apparently Matcha Green Tea contains more than 137 times the antioxidants found in a cup of brewed tea. Huh!

I have a bag of Matcha Green Tea Powder to share with one of you guys. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below, telling me how you’d mix yours.

Giveaway is open to residents of USA + Canada.

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