Skincare every 20-something should have begun yesterday

I constantly get asked how I look like a 14 year old when I’m clearly not 14. The truth is, I have really good skin genes but, I do work to take care of my skin, everyday. Are in a post-grad and still doing the same skincare routine you did when you were 12? well you probably need to get it together and re-vamp because your more sophisticated skin needs more sophisticated care.

The biggest tip I have is to stay hydrated. When I say hydrated I do not mean college ‘hydrated.’ I mean drink water. Why water? When you become dehydrated your body naturally draws water from your tissues (skin) and draws it into your blood. When you become dehydrated all those fine lines and wrinkles just love to come out to play, and nobody wants that.

The next tip is something that for some reason 20-somethings think they’re too young for, and that is eye cream. The skin around your eye area is delicate and often the first skin to age. I personally like to use a lighter eye cream during the day and a nice thick eye cream at night. Using an eye cream keeps your under eye skin hydrated, which makes you look younger and more awake.  If you suffer from dark circles around or under your eyes its probably due to poor circulation. Pick up your eye cream morning and night and do rotaries to increase circulation. Rotaries are exactly what they sound like: rubbing your fingers gently in a circular motion around your entire eye socket. Do it for 5 days straight, and thank me when people stop mistaking you for a zombie.

Another thing that 20-somethings think they are too young for but are not is a dedicated night cream. Why do you need a night cream? Night is when your skin rejuvenates, and you want to keep your cells hydrated so they can work most effectively. I personally have a dry skin problem so I use night creams that are targeted for dry skin. Also, night creams are usually anti-aging and I don’t usually use anti-aging products during the day, and its never too early to start.  Plus, I’m trying to not get wrinkles until I have at least one foot in the grave. Next time your at the store pickup a night cream, and thank me when your skin looks better than Beyonce’s.

A very important part of my skincare routine that I do not think gets enough love is multi-masking. Now a lot of you are probably like what is multi-masking? Multi-Masking is using different masks on different parts of your face. This is much more effective for your skin, because most people have different things they need to target on different areas of their face. Personally, I like to use a charcoal mask on my nose and on my chin because those are the two areas I am most prone to breakouts. I then use a hydrating mask on my cheeks, and depending on the week will either use a clay or anti-aging mask on my forehead. My biggest tip, is look at your skin, and break it into areas and treat each problem area individually. Make sure you don’t over do it with masks, once to twice a week is plenty.

The next item I’m not going to go into very much because we’ve all heard it probably about a million times. Wear SPF every day. Yes that includes the winter because the sun still is out in the winter. Or don’t wear SPF and look like a leathery wrinkly mess…. your loss, not mine.

Another thing you have probably hear all the time is remove your makeup every night. Yes every night means EVERY night. I’ve heard every excuse…. you’re tired, and its late, and you’re currently the number one customer on the hot mess express. Leaving your makeup on, ages you, clogs your pores, and makes you wake up with glued shut panda eyes. Just take a makeup wipe, and remove your makeup, even if you don’t cleanse your face, its better than nothing.

Last but not least, take care of your lips. Yes your lips, that means exfoliate and hydrate them, who wants to walk around with your skin looking flawless and then a crusty set of lips. Ew. Fact: Crusty lips will make your whole face look older. Use a good lip balm or treatment day and night.

So there it is my friends, my not so secret, secrets to keeping your skin looking good, and to continue getting ID’ed at bars into your upper 20’s and low to mid 30’s.

The Foundation Series: Choosing the Proper Foundation

No matter who you are, you should not have just one foundation. Why do I say this? Isn’t this a waste of money? Again, my response, is No, it isn’t a waste of money. Nobody’s skin is exactly the same every single day of the year, in the summer you might be on the oily side, and in the winter you might be on the dry side. Most people are darker in the summer than they are in the winter. Your skin may be breaking out because it’s that time of the month, or just because it wants to hate you. Your skin may be flawless because you just found the perfect skincare routine. Anyway, you get my point, your skin changes almost daily, so why treat it the same, when it has different problems.

If you’re having a good skin day, maybe you want a base, but you don’t need the coverage, go for a product with light coverage. If you’re having an okay skin day, go for a medium coverage foundation. If you’re having a bad skin day where your face is red and breaking out and you’ve got a big date to go on go for a full coverage, and double up on the concealer.

On my good skin days, I usually go foundation-less, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a base. On these days I use a BB cream or tinted moisturizer. Now how do you choose the correct BB cream or tinted moisturizer, these products don’t usually come in a million shades, so even if Laura Mercier makes the best tinted moisturizer ever, if there is no shade to match your skin, it’s not for you. I know some people mix 2 shades to get their color, but honestly, I don’t feel like doing that if I’m looking for light coverage. For me Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Porcelain is the perfect color for me in the winter, because I am extremely pale.  In the summer when I’m “tan” Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in Nude or Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint in Blush are the best for me.

BB cream (or Beauty Balm) is the newest craze and honestly I have only tried a few, and really haven’t found many that really work for me. My favorite that I’ve tried is the Dr. Jart Water Fuse BB cream, the only problem with it is, it only comes in one shade and my skin has to be between tan and pale to use. Honestly this is the only one that I’ve found that I like, but I kind of gave up on them, to be fair.

Some days my skin is not happy with me, or I’m going to an event, or out and I know pictures are going to be taken, so I want something with more coverage, to give my face a more even complexion. On these days I go for a foundation that is medium coverage. I do not really have problem skin, so I try to stick with products that I know are not going to clog my pores. I have found that the Clinique Even Better Makeup with SPF 15 in the shades buff and cream whip works best for me depending on how tan I am. This foundation does not make my skin feel heavy, and it has buildable coverage so I don’t have problems if I have few red spots. I also find this to be very hydrating, almost to the point where if I’m lazy I might be guilty of skipping moisturizer and going straight for primer (whoops).  A drugstore brand that I find is works pretty well is the Revlon Nearly Naked in Vanilla, however this product is not as moisturizing as the Clinique, and has slightly less coverage, but I’m pretty sure It’s about 1/3 of the cost so I don’t mind that much.

I am extremely lucky, and my “bad” skin days are some people’s good skin days, so I rarely need a true full coverage foundation. I do sometimes want to be glam though so for these occasions I have one full coverage foundation that I like. The Lorac Natural Performance Foundation in Shade NP 2 – light is flawless on me in the winter when I am pale. I mean seriously, when I want to look airbrushed, this is what I reach for. While it is oil, fragrance, and paraben free one time I accidentally slept in this stuff (I know I’m bad) and it did clog my pores and give me a few pimples. Other times when I’ve wore this and washed it off before going to bed there have been no issues so I really can’t complain. I do have to make sure that I wear a good moisturizer with this because I find it to be on the drying side as well, but I feel like this would be a problem with any full coverage foundation.

I rarely ever only use powder foundation as I do not think they look natural at all.  Sometimes I will use a powder foundation as my setting powder if I feel like I need just a tad bit more coverage. I personally like the Diorskin Nude compact, I have shade 33 Apricot Beige, but that is only for the summer months, because it is slightly too dark for me right now.

My best advice on finding a good foundation that works for you is to go to Sephora, be shameless, and tell them exactly what you’re looking for. They will ask you a million questions to find the perfect one. If you don’t feel comfortable buying something without sampling it for a few days first tell the associate who is helping you and he or she will make you a sample. I do not recommend doing this without buying something else though, because I always just feel so bad taking up a ton of someone’s time without purchasing something. Best of luck to you, may the foundation odds be ever in your favor!

The Foundation Series: Do I actually Need it?

Hello everyone, today starts my series of posts on foundation. I was going to make this all one post, then I started writing and it was becoming a novella, so I decided to break it down into multiple posts. I thought the best place to start was the internal debate that everyone has, of do I actually need foundation.

Honestly sometimes the answer is No, today I do not actually need foundation. I know a million beauty people may have just had a heart attack because they wouldn’t DREAM of going without foundation. Thats like going braless in a white top on a rainy day.

So how do you know if you need foundation or not? The answer to this question is; what are you doing today, and how does your skin look today? Are you doing nothing, running errands, going to work/school, or going to an event? Do you have a giant pimple on your cheek, do you look like Rudolph, does it look like you’ve been using sandpaper for tissues, and so o and so forth.

If you’re doing nothing or just running errands, you do not need foundation. Even if your skin is breaking out and crazy, your skin could use a break, and you shouldn’t wear foundation.  Let the people at the drug and/or grocery store judge you, all I have to say is Haters gonna hate, and YOLO. So dare to go foundation-less girls, your skin will thank you.

If you’re going to school or work foundation is debatable. If your skin is super red or there is something that you’re not happy with, then sure wear a foundation. If you look in the mirror and you think ehh my face looks pretty good today, then go foundation-less. If you have a presentation or interview today, you should probably consider a foundation. If you’re too lazy and/or tired to do any other makeup, you should probably just skip the foundation, and wear your glasses. If you spent an hour perfectly curling your hair this morning, then I’m sorry you essentially have to do a full face of makeup. If you were too lazy to actually do you hair so you just pulled it up into a tame bun or ponytail, you can skip the foundation, but do some mascara and eyeliner, to make yourself look generally pulled together but not totally done up. 

If you have something special to go to and you just want to look perfect in pictures, sure wear foundation, just make sure it’s applied correctly so your face is the same color as your body in the pictures. 

Unfortunately, foundation is not this simple, okay wear it some days, don’t wear it somedays. There are various levels and types of foundations and that is what I will go over tomorrow.

Urban Decay Naked Palettes – Worth The Hype?

It seems like EVERYONE is talking about Urban Decay with the recent release of the Naked 3 palette. Being a normal girl, who doesn’t have a ton of money to just spend on makeup and other non-necessity items, I was very skeptical about these when they originally came out. When the first one came out, I feel like there was a delay on people loving it. I went to the store, swatched it a few separate times, but could never bring myself to drop the $53 to purchase it. Then the Naked 2 was released, and to me, this is when the big hype started.

So one day, my roommate and I went to the mall and just stopped in Sephora for no specific product at all and was just walking around the store looking at new products. I swatched the Naked 2, and loved the colors, but really $53, REALLY. I thought the colors were very wearable, and could create a lot of looks, but really are these shadows really worth $53. So, I went on my way and did not purchase them, because there were other products that took priority. I met up with my roommate after we checked out (we shop separately when we go into a store, as to not skew each others opinions, or talk each other out of buying anything)  and we started listing the products we got, she said, I caved and got the Naked 2.

I was excited because since she had it, that means I have access to it, and can try it more than in the store. I suffer from severe love it in the store hate it when I get it home syndrome. You know, when you put something on in the store and think to yourself, oh this is  good, I’ve heard about it over and over, so obviously I am buying this.  Then you get it home and you think, ew I kind of look ridiculous in this. I didn’t want this to happen with a $53 eyeshadow palette. So, of course I tried hers and realized after wearing it a few times, I finally understood the hype. The Naked 2 has colors more on the cool side, which is why I think I preferred them to the Naked 1. When I say these shadows went on like a dream, I mean I dipped my brush in just barely, and the EXACT color that the shadow looks in the package came out on my eyes, in one application.  Blending them was a dream no severe dark spots where I start shading the crease, no harsh lines anywhere.  As if that wasn’t enough, I wore these to work all day, and didn’t have to re-do my eyeshadow at all when I went out after work. So, great pigmentation, great formulation, and little fallout. Obviously, I needed this in my life. So finally, I went out and got it.

When I heard  the Naked 3 was coming out, I actually wasn’t very excited. I thought it was going to be almost the same as the first two, and because I already had Naked 2 it made no sense for me, a normal girl who doesn’t even wear makeup on days I’m feeling lazy, to have two of the same palettes. Then I heard they were rose toned hues and I was like *GASP* I NEED to see real swatches ASAP. So here I am trolling the interwebs for REAL swatches on a real human being, preferably one with fair skin. Finally a few weeks after it was released I had seen enough swatches to commit to buy this thing, and man was getting my hands on one hard. I literally had to go back to the store about 5 times just to get one.

I got it home, and obviously had to try it ASAP. Of course, being a green-eyed ginger, this is now my go-to palette because the pink tones bring out the nice pinky undertones in my skin, as well as my green eyes. I. AM. OB.SESSED.

Anyways, so we have Naked 1, Naked 2, Naked 3, the only think left is Naked Basics. Naked Basics is only 6 shades and sells for $27. Watching the “Perfect Palettes” tag that was going around the youtube community I saw that a lot of girls were awarding this palette “best for travel” or “most versatile” and some even “most used.”  I found this VERY odd, because I had never even considered purchasing this. Only 4 of the colors are “new,” and I think most of these colors are on the lighter side, and then there was black, and the darker brown, and I want something in the middle. I did however like that this was 5 mattes and only 1 shimmer, because the Naked Palettes do tend to be on the shimmery side. Ultimately, I did not purchase this, because I purchased the Kat Von D “Ladybird” palette instead. (The Kat Von D “Ladybird” is all matte, extremely versatile palette that I’m surprised most of the more popular/big/famous beauty bloggers have talked about because personally I think this is AMAZING, I will write an entire post on this palette soon.)

Case and point, are the Naked Palettes really that good? YES. Yes they are. Do you need all three plus the basics? No. If you are not a pink person, don’t even think about getting the Naked 3 because it is not for you.  If you love pinks, knock yourself out, this is not at all the same as the Naked 1 or Naked 2, or anything else I have found really. I recommend choosing between either the Naked 1 or Naked 2. I know they aren’t “the same” but honestly, they are close enough and too expensive to just buy and not care. Now the debate is on about the Naked Basics, I personally think that mattes are more wearable, and somewhat more appropriate for work, and look better with certain outfits. If you do not like matte shadows, then skip this. If you do not have some matte shadows that you are happy with, or if you are looking for higher quality matte shadows, consider purchasing this.

10 Winter Beauty Must Haves

Hello Everyone. Today I wanted to give you all a list of everything I find crucial to my beauty routine during the winter months. I understand that not everyone is a beauty lover, and has the ability to drop a ton of money of beauty products so I will try and do a drugstore/affordable option if my personal preference is a more expensive product.

1) Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm

Personally I love Dior’s Crème De Rose. I have no idea what they put in this stuff but it really is worth the $27 price tag. Being such an expensive product, I try as much as I can to use this sparingly, but I find that no matter how cracked and dry my lips are, if i put this on at night before going to bed I wake up and my lips are back to normal.

If you can’t justify spending $27 (believe me I was in your shoes at one point) I find Blistex Daily Conditioning Treatment to work well also. It definitely does not feel as luxurious as the Dior, but for about 10% of the price, it works amazingly. This one definitely takes more than one application to get my super dry cracked lips back to silky, plump and smooth lips, it is one that I have been using and always repurchasing for about 6 years now!

2) Body Scrub

Does anybody else hate the looking in the mirror after putting on dress and looking at your dry, scaly, pale legs? This drives me absolutely insane, especially when I think back to how just a couple a months ago my legs were looking bronzed and fabulous. I personally have been loving Victoria’s Secret Midnight Exotics Soothing Body Scrub in the scents Sensual Jasmine and Forbidden Vanilla. For the record, I am not usually a Vanilla lover, but this one has a teakwood undertone, so it doesn’t smell super sugary like most other vanilla scents do. My favorite thing about this body scrub is that they pair a fairly creamy gel with the sugar so it feels very moisturizing as I’m slathering it on my legs and laughing at all the dead skin cells going down the drain.

3) Body Cream

Along the lines of the winter legs, they’re just going to come back if you don’t keep them babies hydrated. I have been using the Victoria’s Secret Midnight Exotics Deep Softening Body Butter, or the Victoria’s Secret Ultra Moisturizing Hand and Body Cream, depending on my mood. The body butter is obviously somewhat more hydrating; however, they are both A+ in my book, especially compared to their traditional body lotions.

Side note: I’m pretty sure the scents that I got were limited edition for this year (so sad I love them) but I literally just went back to stock up because they were on a 5/$19.95 promotion. I do know they make the same scrub and lotions in their tradition scents (love spell, pure seduction, ect.)

4) Day and Night Cream

In DC we have schizophrenic weather starting in the late fall until spring hits in April. One day it will be 70 then literally two days later it will be snowing. My face skin hates the weather in these 4-5 months so I have to be extra good about taking care of it. To be honest with you, usually I’m pretty lazy when it comes to skincare, maybe I’ll moisturize once a day, If I’m wearing a BB cream I count that as moisturizing in the morning, you know, whatever it takes to get that 5 extra minutes of sleep. In the winter  I cannot do that or my skin actually revolts and I get dry patches and oily spots at the same time. My skin is traditionally on the dry side of normal and sort of sensitive (ginger problems). I really have had to play with a lot of different products to find what works for me, so honestly, that’s the best recommendation I have for you. If I use super hydrating creams made specifically for dry skin in the morning I look like a grease bomb by lunchtime, and my already slightly large forehead does not need this added problem. So usually in the morning I’ll use something lighter like Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion, or Aveeno’s Positively Radiant. I used to use Clean and Clear Morning Glow , but for some reason that stuff started to burn my face after I got out of college.

At Night time I use the tried and true cult classic Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, or Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream if I’m feeling extra fancy, or I think I’m getting wrinkles. I have to admit the Kate Somerville is a little pricey for me, so I don’t use it as much. I do not really have a cheaper or drugstore brand that I use, because I haven’t found one that I like yet. The product that has come closest for me would have to be Ponds Dry Skin Cream.

5) Exfoliator

So I feel like I am one of the only people in this world who is not obsessed with the Clarasonic. My roommate has one and she literally forced me to use it one night, and I thought I liked it after the single use, but it was a little too abrasive for me. Being the genius that she is she told me to go out and buy one of the different brushes for it, and to continue to use hers and test it out until I bought one. So I went out and bought the sensitive brush head and used it a few times a week (some people use them daily, I was like umm not going to happen) and it was still too much for my skin, so I never purchased one.

An exfoliator that does work extremely well for me is the Dermalogical Daily Microfoliant, and I definitely owe this one to Birchbox. This came in one of my first ever boxes about two years ago, back in the day everything you got was a deluxe sample, so I literally had so much of this product that it lasted me a month or two using it two to three times a week. Again, I liked it so much, when I ran out I had to go to the store and get some. This is one of the only exfoliating products I have ever used that didn’t feel like I was literally scratching off all of my skin and I will forever love it.

A drugstore brand that I think is pretty good and cheap, would have to be the St. Ives Apricot Scrub this one is definitely more abrasive than the Dermalogica, however, I still think it is gentle enough that I can use it a few times a week.

6) Mask

After I exfoliate I like to put on a calming/soothing/moisturizing mask. Masks are always so tricky for me, I feel like every time I get one, I like it, then after I use it a few times, my skin decides it either hates it, or it is going to have no reaction to it whatsoever. For this reason I have been extremely hesitant to try a super expensive product, even though I know they probably would be fine.

The first higher end mask that actually works well for me is the Eslor Comforting Mask. I actually only tried this product because it came in my Birchbox. It came in a foil packet so before I tried it I assumed I was going to hate it, but decided to go for it anyway since my skin was already freaking out. I put it on, and literally instantly loved it after one use, to the point where I had to go and buy it, so I did. $38 is a little expensive, but luckily I had $10 from Birchbox points to redeem so I said $28 isn’t too bad.

The second mask I have been using is Michael Todd True Organics Avocado and Mango Mask. This thing smells AMAZING. I honestly am not one for organic anything, I never think the products work as well as non-organic ones, and I always think the companies price gauge to try and swindle people. I know it’s actually not true, but I want the most bang for my buck. This stuff is only about $18 a bottle, I know some of you are thinking this is still expensive, but for a product I use maybe once or twice a week, and it’s supposed to be a treatment (or just plain treat) I think it is totally worth it. It left my skin feeling and looking amazing. I haven’t used it that much so hopefully it continues to work just as well.

The final mask I’m going to mention is a mask I use when my skin is feeling extra gross. You know that feeling like you’ve got so much stuff clogged in your face you have no idea how it all got there. It is the Freeman Feeling Beautiful Avocado and Oatmeal Clay Mask. I do find this one somewhat on the drying side, so I only use this one if I’m going heavy duty with the moisturizer after. Also, a whole tube is only $4 so you really can’t argue with that.

7) Non-Drying Easy To Use Makeup Remover

Since I am on a skincare product roll, I will just tell you about my last skincare must have, an easy makeup remover that doesn’t make me look like a raccoon the next morning, or dry my skin out, or leave my skin greasy. I have tried about 20million different makeup removers and there are three that definitely stand out to me.

Winter is holiday party season, which means I am doing a full face of makeup, and getting home late about 5 out of 7 days of the week. When I get home after a party, and all I want to do is go to bed, the last thing I want to bother with is spending an hour getting all my makeup off my face. For these nights I use my Neutrogena Hydrating Makeup Remover Wipes. If I’m wearing waterproof mascara, it usually takes me two wipes and about 5 minutes to get everything off. If I’m not wearing waterproof mascara it usually takes one wipe and about 2 minutes everything off. These things are literally a lifesaver, I actually keep them beside my bed for those nights I forget to take off my makeup until I’m lying in bed and don’t want to get up. I think these are a great deal and worth keeping around for travel or lazy nights.

The second product that is pretty easy to use is one that I think every beauty blogger, and beauty vlogger has talked about. Yes, it is the ever coveted Bioderma brand. I actually have tried both the Sebium kind for combination/oily skin as well as the Sensibio that it seems everyone else uses. Honestly, I don’t see too much of a difference in these two and neither of them leave my skin feeling dry. Anyways, this stuff removes makeup like a dream. I did buy the tiny 100mL bottles first, just to try and see what I want, but honestly, they are so overpriced, considering I can get a 500mL bottle for only twice the price. I do not regret the buying the two small bottles, because now I use them for travel, because who wants to lug that big bottle of precious miracle water to burst all over your suitcase with you when you travel. Anyways, this is 100% worth the hype, I’m not kidding, and I think that its not too horribly expensive at around $30 for about 500mL.

The final product I want to recommend is for my heavy makeup days, and dry skin days. It is Ponds Cold Cream. There is a reason this stuff is the original, it works so easily, and no rinsing, all you need is the cream, and a clean cloth.

8) Hand Cream

Whenever I am doing paperwork all day, my hands feel crispy. To keep them hydrated throughout day I always carry at least one hand cream with me. My two favorites at the moment are the Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream and the EOS Evolution of Smooth Hand Lotion. I honestly don’t have too much to report on these the EOS berry blossom smells AMAZING. I think these both feel very moisturizing but don’t leave my hands greasy feeling so I can quickly get back to work.

9) Leave-In Conditioner

Let’s be honest, winter hair is THE WORST. I never want to deal with it, there’s like a million times more static in the winter, my hair gets dry, I always want to put it up, which breaks your hair, which causes worse problems. Anyway, case and point, I have to use a leave-in conditioner, ALWAYS. I have used the It’s a 10 Miracle Leave in Product for over 6 years now. My aunt is a hair dresser, so I think as soon as this product came out, she told me about it, and I started using it, because I was a swimmer, and my hair needed some extra hydration. This product is a holy grail and I will forever love it. For anybody who hasn’t tried it, seriously go get a small bottle, and you will be instantly hooked.

10) Hair Gloss/Oil/Serum

This is a new-ish obession of mine ever since one of my friends who actually does weaves introduced it to me. I was always like, why do  I want to add a oil based product to my hair, it’s just going to look oily and gross, then she did my hair one time with it, and ever since then I have been hooked.

My all-time favorite has to be hands down Kenra Platinum Silkening Gloss this stuff smells SO good, literally it has like a fruity kind of strawberry like scent that will keep your hair smelling good for hours. Since I have thick hair, I like to put this in when my hair is almost dry, then finish drying it. If my hair is extra dry I will put a little on after my hair is dry and it just makes it so silky smooth and good smelling.

My second favorite is It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum. This product does not smell as good as the Kenra, but is a little more affordable, and almost works just as well. I do feel like I have to apply this one when my hair is dry for the same effects that I get with the Kenra.

Well folks, those are my must have products for the month. Comment below if you think there is anything I should try or forgot!