Using Cream Blush and YSL Kiss and Blush Review

Quick Tips from Today’s Post:

  • Apply cream blush with a flat foundation brush to better sculpt your cheeks
  • Use the same brush that you applied your foundation with to keep your cheek color flawlessly blended
  • Apply a soft, muted cream blush along your cheekbones as a base for a brighter “pop” of powder color on the apples of your cheeks.

Read on for more details, plus a review  and swatches of YSL’s Kiss and Blush!


We got ghastly amounts of rain in Los Angeles today, and I am very happy to be inside with my computer while all of the spiders that live outdoors are presumably drowned. I realize that is a strange thing to think about when it’s raining, but I have had an intense fear of spiders lately.

Anyway, another thing that I’m thinking about is this versatile product, Baby Doll Kiss and Blush, from Yves Saint Laurent!

I have mentioned before that I used to work at a counter for YSL, the luxury brand most famous for their Touche Éclat highlighting pen (which I used in a look outlined in this post). But they also have a great deal of other products with exquisite formulations that fewer people know about or have tried.

The Baby Dolly Kiss and Blush is one such underrated product. While other brands have liquid lip and cheek stains, like Benefit’s Benetint, YSL has created an “air-whipped mouse” that can be used as a soft matte lip color and as a stunningly natural-looking blush.

The Kiss and Blush is available in 13 shades, and below I have swatched four of them; 08 Pink Hedonitste, 05 Rouge Effrontee, 01 Fuschia Desinvolte, and 11 Prune Impertinente.


productAs you can see, I applied each shade twice: straight from the product’s pearl-tipped applicator and then again blended with my finger. This will give you an idea of the Kiss and Blush’s pigmentation when used as both a lip and cheek color.

I have encountered many people who are a bit afraid of blushes that aren’t powdered, and that makes me sad. While creamy cheek colors may be less popular than powders, they are in many ways more forgiving and a lot easier to work with. The Kiss and Blush is no exception.

This product blends onto the skin effortlessly, eliminating the possibility of patchy or caked-on blush. Not to mention it is transfer resistant and long-lasting on both lips and cheeks.

foundatonI once had the pleasure of working with one of Yves Saint Laurent’s national makeup artists, Pamela Morgan. She taught me a great tip for applying this product, although I find that it works for all cream blushes.

Instead of smoothing it onto the skin with the fingers, she taught me to use a flat foundation brush. This allows for more control, letting you sculpt the cheeks (without contouring!) and build the intensity of the color from a soft wash to a bold statement.

A further tip: if you already use a flat foundation brush to apply your base or concealer, you can leave that residual makeup on the bristles when you pick up your cream blush. I like when the two products mingle together (pictured below), it helps keep everything extremely well-blended. Not a VPL (visible product line) in sight!


Another technique that I sometimes use with cream blushes comes from the teachings of Bobbi Brown. She likes to blend a cream blush in a natural shade (meaning a softer, muted color) along the cheekbone towards the temple, and then applies a “pop” of powder blush in a color several shades brighter onto the apples of the cheeks.

Not only does this bring instant life to the face, but it also helps cheek colors last longer because the cream blush works as a primer that the powder adheres to, boosting its intensity.

Do you use cream blushes at all, or are you all powder? Let me know in the comments! Also feel free to follow me on Instagram and Twitter.


Up In the Air with My Favorite Lip Balms (Drugstore and High End)

I’m flying back to Los Angeles, blogging from the skies again! The plane just took off, and I’m already having a less than pleasant flight. I’ve got a straight up repulsive cold, making everything a bit more uncomfortable for me and those around me.

Speaking of which, I’m also actively supressing my resentment towards the grown woman who asked me to give up my aisle seat so she could sit with her mother. I agreed, so now I’m in a center seat, like a chump.

But it’s all good. What I’m suffering from is discomfort, not mortal danger.

Know what else is good? I stopped in a duty free Kiehl’s store at the airport! They have one of my favorite lips balms; so I had to pick one up:   When I was putting the new balm in my ‘lil travel bag, it occurred to me that I am simply a compulsive lip balm hoarder. I always have a couple different kinds with me, and today at the airport I had four different ones just for walking around with.

I will qualify my lip care obsession by saying that I take a medication that completely dries out my mouth and lips. To the point where they would crumble off if left untreated.

It seems like my last three posts have all included strange visuals intended to convey how dry my skin is. I won’t be silenced!

Anyway, I have tried a lot of lip balms from both the drugstore and the department store. Here are my favorites:


Eos Visibly Soft Lip BalmThere are many fans of eos (“evolution of smooth”) lip balm, and I definitely arrived late to this party despite hearing great things about it for years. Why? Because while the spherical packaging for eos balms is cool, they are not pocket-friendly. I get the feeling they are designed for people who want to easily find the product when thrown in their purses, not to carry around in their pockets.

Eventually someone gave me one of these lip balms in the flavor Coconut Milk. In addition to being delicious (it makes my lips taste like the way I imagine Lana Del Rey smells), the Shea butter and natural oils of this balm condition my dry lips very effectively. It’s not convenient to carry around during the day, but I like to slather it on before bed as a night treatment. I feel it promotes sweet, coconut dreams.

Yes To Coconut Naturally Smooth Lip BalmThis is like a better version of the eos coconut milk balm, because in addition to containing many real oils (virgin coconut oil, no less!), it comes in a slim twist-up tube that fits nicely in my pocket and applies precisely.

As far as drugstore lip balms go (I get this one at Target), this one moisturizes my lips the best with the least amount of gloss. And it still gives me those piña colada sensations!

Department Store

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel No Shine Moisturizing Lip BalmThe balm that inspired this post! This is from Kiehl’s line of products for men (as evidenced by the masculine-sounding “FUEL” based name) and it costs $9 USD. To me, with my very dry mouth area, this is a price I am willing to pay for a balm that has ample amounts of Shea butter and goes on matte. Sometimes I like my lips to look shiny, but when I do not, I always use this as my go-to.

Ladies, please don’t shy away from this balm just because it’s in the men’s line. If you’re going to be putting on a matte lipstick, this balm will SAVE THE DAMN DAY by keeping the lips hydrated underneath without messing with the finish of your lip color. That’s a #nicholastip to hold onto, mmkay?


The Lip Balm by La Mer I know that not everyone is going to spend $55 USD on a lip balm, because I am not out of touch with the entire world.  In fact, I have not bought this product since I worked in the cosmetics department of Macy’s and got an employee discount (and I could take sample jars home).

I’m just saying that if you ask me what the world’s and possibly universe’s greatest lip balm is, THIS IS MY ANSWER. When my lips are at their worst and they seem hopelessly damaged, this product has a unique lipid formula that just magically fixes everything. It’s hard to explain, but I dare you to go to a La Mer counter and ask to try this on. Whether or not you want to drop the cash to purchase it, you are bound to agree that this is called “The Lip Balm” because it really is the best in its class.

Balms I Avoid

Burt’s Bees- I feel like this is an unpopular opinion to have, but I just feel that this brand puts too much peppermint oil in most of their lip products and it drives me crazy! It dries out my lips even more. Also, I know bees are great for the environment but products that brag about using beeswax as an ingredient are basically just advertising their use of cheap fillers. Sorry, Burt! Still love you. 

I must admit, writing about all of my lip balm babies has distracted me from my airplane misery quite well! I’m not even tempted to fee sorry for myself anymore! Los Angeles, here I come!

What products do you use to keep your lips hydrated? Let me know!

Thirsty Skin and a Review of OZ Naturals Ultra Ageless Eye Crème


I’m wrapping up my week-long visit to New Hampshire, where it is so cold that I wish I could light myself on fire. Clearly, freezing temperatures make me a bit dramatic.

Spending time with my family has been a joy! But this cold, dry, winter air can leave the face feeling parched. If I’m not vigilant, the dry skin struggle gets very real: sandpaper hands, flaky lips, and an overall dusty complexion. Luckily, I have been able to keep much of my thirsty skin under control thanks to this Ultra Ageless Eye Crème from OZ Naturals, which I began using five days ago.

I had previously thought that all eye creams were more or less the same. As long as they provided moisture to the delicate eye area without any irritation, I was happy. That’s why I had stuck to some basic L’Oreal formula for the last few years, applying it a couple of times a week (or whenever I remembered). Lately, however, I have started to see some new, very faint (but probably not imaginary) lines forming under my eyes. No good at all!

I decided that I needed to get serious about my eye cream, not only by starting to use it daily, but also by finding a quality one with effective ingredients.

OZ Naturals is a Top Seller of skincare products on Amazon, and this Ultra Ageless Eye Crème gets a lot of positive reviews. It boasts ingredients like Algae Extract and an antioxidant called Astaxanthin, which all sounds great. But will this translate to a healthier eye area?

In my experience, yes it does. In fact, I took a before and after photo of the first time I applied the product:

I was instantly able to see a reduction in the signs of superficial dehydration around my eyes, which is a lack of moisture at the outer layer of skin that causes more apparent signs of aging. Immediately, the lines were softened and the skin got some of its bounce back!

As I’ve continued to use the product every morning and night over the last week, I must say I have been very impressed with the suppleness it has given my skin, without any greasiness or eye irritation! The gel-like formula absorbs quickly and makes the skin visibly more radiant. I use about half of a pea-sized amount, which is plenty for both eyes (including the lids and the areas where I want to prevent “crow’s feet”).

OZ Naturals says that although this is an eye cream, it can also be used all over the face to prevent wrinkles. While I have just been applying it to my eyes, my sister has been using it on her entire face and absolutely loves it! She had been battling with flaky winter skin, and now she wants to buy her own tube of the OZ Naturals Ultra Ageless Eye Crème. As for myself, I can confidently say that I am going to keep buying this stuff. It’s a no-fuss, effective way to keep my eyes looking young.

The Ultra Ageless Eye Créme strikes me as a great option for people who are just beginning to delve into the world of eye creams in an attempt to prevent future signs of aging. It’s never too early (or too late) to start, although those with advanced signs of aging may need to find a more buttery formula that can really plump up deep wrinkles. But if you’re like me and you’re starting to see barely-there fine lines, or if dark circles are your personal demon, then I highly recommend this product! It costs $19.49 USD on Amazon, and can be purchased here.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me by OZ Naturals for review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own, and I am not compensated for any purchases made because of my recommendation.

Holiday Party Makeup For Mom Using High End Products


This is my beautiful mother, Kathleen! I feel so grateful to be home with my family for the holidays, and I was excited to do my mom’s makeup this morning for a Christmas party she’s attending. Here’s what I used:


Primer- E.L.F. Pore Refining Primer

Foundation- BareMinerals bareSkin Brightening Serum Foundation in bare-mineralsBare Beige. My mother purchased this foundation because she doesn’t like the sensation of full-coverage makeup on her face, and this is advertised as having a “no makeup feel.”

The company suggests applying it with their bareSkin Perfecting Face Brush, which I did. I applied two drops of the makeup into the well of the brush and swirled it onto the forehead and cheeks. Then I added one more drop and buffed it onto and around the nose, as well as onto the chin and down the neck.

At first I really felt like this wasn’t going to be enough foundation, but after I took a step back I was very impressed with how three small drops of makeup really evened out and warmed up my mother’s complexion. It really does look like healthy, bare skin. And it photographs beautifully.

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat in Radiant Ivory. This has been my go-to highlighting concealer ever since I worked at a YSL counter. This pinkish ivory shade that I used on my mother was the brand’s first (there are now 12 shades available) and it remains the most universal for highlighting.

I applied the Touche Éclat under the eyes, in the smile lines and between the eyebrows. I blended everything out using a beauty blender for a luminous glow. This stuff is like magic at brightening up dark circles and any areas of shadow, as diagrammed below.

unnamed-1 copy

_9886072Blush- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat. My mom naturally carries some rosiness in her cheeks, and because of this she tends to stray from most blushes out of fear that they might make her skin look too red. She usually chooses more brown-based, bronze shades, but often finds that they don’t show up on her skin very much.

We were shopping through Sephora together when I helped her pick out this shade, which she noted was more pink than she would have chosen. Because it’s on the warm side, I knew that it wouldn’t look dusty (like a baby pink would), but it isn’t so red that it will make her skin look irritated. Plus, knowing that Hourglass makes some of the best powders available, I was confident that this blush would give her a natural flush that really brings life to her face.

Powder- BareMinerals bareSkin Perfecting Veil in Medium. I swept this along the perimeters of the face and down the neck, simply because I knew my mom would be at a party where flash photography may be used. Powdering these areas will prevent the edges of the face and the neck from flashing back white.


unnamed-1 copy 2

Pro-Matte-Palette-600x800Shadow- Lorac Pro Matte Eyeshadow Palette. I suggested this palette to my mother a few months ago when she said she was having trouble finding eyeshadows that don’t appear too sparkly.

I used the shade “Latte” to fill in my mom’s brows, which are naturally quite light. I then blended the same shade all over lid, then
added “Corduroy” into the crease and along the entire lower lash line. I added the shade “Chocolate” to the outer part of the crease for some more
depth, and along the outer third of the lower lash line.

Because I didn’t want this look to be completely matte, I took the shade “Half Baked” from my Urban Decay Naked 2 palette and patted it just onto the lid, blending into the crease colors.

el_smoosh_R71R07_558x768Liner- I tight lined my mom’s upper lash line with Maybelline’s Master Kajal liner in Black Onyx. After gliding this over the upper waterline, I blended it between the lashes somewhat for a bit of soft definition.

On top of the black liner, but keeping to the outer third of the eye, I smudged Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Eyeliner in Blackened Saphire. I think this does a lot to bring out my mom’s beautiful eye color without looking like she’s wearing a blue eyeshadow, which might come off as a bit dated. Also, by accenting with a colorful liner at the outer corners of the eyes, they appear lifted and more youthful.

Mascara– Sephora Collection Outrageous Volume Mascara


Liner– I used a clear wax lip liner from Maybelline to keep my mom’s gloss from feathering and bleeding, but without creating a harsh line.

Gloss- For the gloss I chose a warm rosy shade called Azeala from  Smashbox’s Be Legendary Lip Gloss line, very similar to the shade of blush that I chose. I wanted to keep the lips soft so that the eyes could really sing.


There you have it! A makeover using high end products and my amazing mother as a model.

What are your favorite high end products? Let me know in the comments!


My Travel Essentials & How to Keep Your Skin Healthy While Flying

As I write this, I’m flying across the country from LA to visit my family in New Hampshire for Christmas. I was completely dreading going to the airport during the holidays, because I had convinced myself that it was going to be a nightmare. I don’t like crowds, and airplanes are just uncomfortable!

But I must say, this has been the most pleasant travel experience of my life (so far)! Getting through security was a breeze, and now I’m chilling in a hardcore way on the plane with a fully charged phone, Diet Coke, and wi-fi that lets me read all the beauty blogs I want! #blessed 🙌🏻

I have always noticed that air travel takes a toll on my body, but especially my skin. The stress, stale air, and high altitude can cause dehydration which leads to dull skin and redness. And while modern planes now have us surfing Instagram at 30,000 feet, they still expose us to plenty of bacteria that can cause the flu or (possibly even worse?) breakouts.

Preparation goes a long way in minimizing the damage that holiday travel can cause your complexion, so I want to share with you what can be done  before and during a flight to keep your skin happy!

Pre-Flight Check

1) Sleep well the night before. Like, sleep your damn face off. I used to always stay up late before flying, with the mindset that I would be able to sleep on the airplane.

Good intentions, sure. But then I would find myself at cruising altitude and there would be a crying baby, handsome flight attendant, or some amazingly terrible movie playing that kept me from getting the mile-high slumber I had planned on.

Sleep deprivation compromises the immune system, making it easier for you to get sick from a germ-filled plane. Also, it’s during sleep that the moisture barrier of your skin is replenished. When that barrier is compromised, you are left with dull, dry skin (not to mention the dark, puffy eyes that air-travelers are known for).

2) Chug that H2O, babygirl. The air inside of a plane is constantly being filtered, making it very low humidity. Dry air is going to start sucking moisture from your skin before the flight attendants even show you how to work your seatbelt.

Prepare your body for this upcoming drought by drinking plenty of water in the hours before you head to the airport. And don’t overdo it on the coffee,  which has caffeine (obviously) that flushes moisture from the skin.

The same can be said of the alcohol and soda that’s served onboard your plane, so water really is your best choice. I’m pretty sure I already admitted that I’m drinking a Diet Coke right now, but that’s only because my water bottle expanded during takeoff and splattered the people next to me. #excuses

3) Slather on moisturizer. Don’t be shy, really layer it on in the morning before you head out. The goal is to saturate your skin as much as possible to compensate for the moisture you will lose while flying. And even if you don’t normally wear an eye cream, this would be the time to break it out. A liberal application of these products will make a huge difference in how your face looks and feels after you land.

4) Bare it all. It’s really best to wear as little makeup as possible while flying. Your skin needs to breathe, and being in a plane wearing foundation has many of the same damaging effects as sleeping in it.

If you can’t be without makeup at the airport (I get it, paparazzi are waiting), then definitely at least remove your base as soon as you board the plane. Speaking of which …

My Essential Carry-on Products

1) Cleansing Facial Wipes- Use these to remove makeup after boarding the plane, and to freshen up shortly before landing. This way you way you can wipe off the gross filmy feeling that skin gets on mass transportation.

While on this topic: literally never touch your face while on a plane. Your hands will inevitably be crawong with germs, and when transferred to your face you can easily become sick or get a pimple. Hands off, please!

2) Oil Absorbing Sheets- I am always carrying these to blot my nose and forehead, and they are especially useful if your flight lasts for the better part of a day. You can even use them on your scalp to keep your roots from looking greasy.

3) Lip Balm- For travel, I always invest in a great hydrating lip balm. The lips dry out more quickly than the rest of your face, and they can quickly become flaky. Just don’t do what I did and forget to actually apply it after taking a picture of it for your blog.

4) Trail Mix- This has less to do with skincare than it does the principle that airplane food is outrageously expensive. As if I’m going to spend $4 on a can of Pringles. I’m nobody’s fool! 

Because I types this blog post on my iPhone, it has taken me a total of three hours to finish! Now I only have two more until we touch down in Boston. I may not post again until the day after Christmas, so to those who are celebrating any sort of winter holiday, I wish you the very best!

Are you going anywhere this winter? How do you like to take care of yourself while traveling? Let me know in the comments and follow my blog for more tips!

Bargain Makeup Hacks: Make Use of Cheap Cream Eyeshadows


One of my defining traits with makeup is that I am not obsessed with brand names. Don’t get it twisted, I love me some luxury beauty products. There are certain high-end items that just work like no other. Also, when a client is paying to have their makeup done, they deserve to see some pretty logos that assure them they’re getting great service.

But when I’m doing makeup for the screen, photography or other artistic purposes where frequent touch-ups are required, I truly believe that the brand of the makeup is not necessarily as important as how it’s applied. When it comes to things like lip glosses, for instance, there’s very little difference between how a dollar and department store version is going to look. #realtalk

That’s why when I’m at the drugstore I always keep an eye out for bargain products that I can use creatively. As it turns out, the holidays are a great time for this. You can often find gift sets where multiple products are packaged together for a great price.

This was definitely true for me last night, when spotted this at Walgreen’s:


This L.A. Colors Eye Stunner 6 Piece Eye Makeup Collection was selling for $5 USD, and it caught my attention because it has the same cone tip packaging as Maybelline’s Master Kajal eyeliner, which is one of my favorites.

Obviously, these are eyeshadow sticks and not intense liners like from Maybelline, and for this price I was not expecting a full pigmentation like you would see from something like MAC’s Pro Longwear Paint Pots. The set also includes a mechanical eyeliner, and I wasn’t expecting any miracles from that, either.

Here are the swatches:


The set includes silver, purple, blue, gold and black shadows, which as you can see, blend on rather sheer with a good amount of sparkle. The eyeliner (top swatch) glides on smoothly, but ends up looking like a soft charcoal rather than true black. The gold and black shadows definitely have the best color payoff, but all five have an emollient tackiness to them that feels as though they need to be set with a powder.

And that is exactly what I planned to do! In fact, my first thought when I saw these is that they would probably be pretty much useless on their own, but could possibly work as a base to increase the intensity and staying power of a powder eyeshadow.

I set out to test my theory with a powder that I felt could use some help, and in this case I chose a gold shade from my NYX Nude on Nude Palette. The pigmentation from this palette is not bad on its own, but the shades require some building and I wouldn’t use them without at least a primer underneath. Here are the results of my test:


As you can see, neither the powder shadow nor the LA Colors cream shadow stand out too much on their own, but when used together they really compliment one another and make for a more professional result.

This technique also scores us bonus points because whenever two products with opposing textures are layered (in this case a cream and a powder) we’re prolonging the wear of the look and preventing fallout and creasing. Use a shadow primer underneath it all and your eye makeup will be practically bulletproof.

So how does this hack work on the eyes? Let’s see!

This time I used the silver LA Colors eyeshadow stick as a base. You can see from this picture how wet and glossy it looks, and it didn’t take long for the product to start creasing in the folds of my eye.

Once I layered on a silver powder shadow (from the same NYX palette), I was left with a bold, metallic smokey eye that required almost zero effort. No brushes were harmed in the making of this look! I only used my fingers.

Now I have five great shadow bases that cost me a dollar each, making this “cheap” makeup set a valuable addition to my kit!

Makeup is an art, and as an artist it’s important for me to keep an open mind and experiment with how I can use different products to make something greater than the sum of its parts. So don’t ever hesitate to snag that dollar store lip gloss, because you can always find a way to make it look like a million bucks!

What bargain makeup products do you swear by? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to follow my blog for more bargain makeup hacks!

ELF Blush Palette Review and Swatches



New York City is like no other place on Earth. Why? It is home to the ELF Studio Flagship Store.

Screen shot 2015-12-18 at 4.39.10 PM

It also has museums and culture and it’s the financial capital of the world. Those things are cool too. But this ain’t a museum, culture and finance blog, partner.

The store is tucked between a parking garage and a restaurant called Soup ‘n’ Burger (try the tuna melt) and it carries in-store every ELF product that is offered online, making it very fun to explore.

It was here that I discovered ELF’s new palettes earlier this year, shortly after they were released. There are collections of foundations, blushes, bronzers, illuminators, as well as cream and powder contour kits! I will be reviewing each of these separately.

Upon first spotting all of these one summer day, I bought the blush, contour, and foundation palettes. When I got them home I was excited to discover this:

ELF Foundation Palette with a pan removed

The pans can be popped out! One could easily keep their favorite foundation, blush, highlighter and bronzer colors all in one place for touch-ups. ELF had previously made a customizable palette for lip colors and eyeshadows, but this reworking for face products is of a much higher quality.

After trying each of the palettes, the blushes are easily my favorite. They come in “light” and “dark” collections, each containing four shades. Tonight I’m just going over the shades found in the “light” palette.


I was very impressed with how much product you get for the $6 USD price of these palettes. The pans are large enough that you can easily swirl a full-sized blush brush around in there. The packaging is all black and generally professional looking. I found the individual pans difficult to remove, and I’m always afraid that I’ll shatter the powder with my thumb as I try to pop it into my hand. But to ELF’s credit, this has never happened, probably because even the metal pans themselves are housed in sturdy plastic. At the end of the day, I would rather have the pans be a little harder to remove than see them popping out unintentionally all the time.

In the palette there are three matte shades (a cool baby pink, an orange/bronze, and a brighter pink). The fourth shade (bottom right pan), is a coral color that contains a very reasonable amount of gold shimmer. I have seen some very glittery blushes from ELF in the past, so I was happy that they showed restraint here.

Let’s look at the swatches:


Strong pigment with a silky feel! It’s very easy to blend these finely milled powders out for a soft wash of color, though they are easily built up to a bold statement color. My favorite shade is definitely the brighter pink (third swatch from left). It is, in my opinion, the most universally flattering. I also have a good time mixing and matching these shades to create a contour blush. Although I find the orange/bronze color far too muddy to use on it’s own, it’s great for adjusting the other shades and warming them up a bit.

As with many ELF products, I found that these blushes needed to be applied correctly in order to obtain professional-looking results. I recommend using a very soft, fluffy blush to build up the pigmentation, rather than going in with a brush that has densely packed bristles. This will keep the color from looking patchy or uneven. Have patience while you swirl and blend those cheeks to perfection, and I’m sure you will be very happy with the results.

Follow my blog and stay tuned for reviews of other ELF palettes, as well as looks I’ve created using these products and more!

How do you feel about ELF blushes? Let me know in the comments!

Primed for Perfection: Living Proof Prime Style Extender Cream

It’s a dark, cold, winter morning and you’ve dragged yourself out of bed a half hour early, ending that amazing dream you were having about the hot tub full of Nutella. Despite all of your instincts begging you to hibernate, you march onward with a singular mission in mind: it’s time to curl your hair.

Screen shot 2015-12-15 at 3.47.26 PM

Thirty minutes later you’re looking in the mirror, and that lost sleep seems totally worth it. Your locks are so glossy and bouncy; you look like you just stepped out of a Pantene commercial. Sure, your arms feel like spaghetti from holding that curling iron over your head, but at least you’re feeling #fierce as you grab your coat and open the front door.

But suddenly you’re stopped dead in your tracks. So. Much. RAIN. How could this have happened? You had meant to check the weather forecast last night, before you were sucked into another episode of The Mindy Project on Hulu. Now all of that effort to blow dry, curl and spray your hair into a masterpiece is in the gutter. Destined to become a frizz monster as soon as you step outside, you once again feel like crawling back into bed and taking a sick day.

You don’t have to relive this nightmare ever again! We are living in the Twenty-First Century, and if technology can 3D-Print our eye shadow, surely it can prevent humidity from ruining our hair.

living-proof-prime-style-extender-19That’s where hairstyling primers come in. Much like how makeup primers keep your foundation looking fresh all day long, hair primers (such as Living Proof’s Prime Style Extending Cream) create a base for your other hair products. By forming an incredibly thin barrier that blocks out moisture from the air and oils from your scalp, your flowing waves will not fall out as quickly, while sleek styles will remain pin-straight for longer. Primers also protect your hair from heat damage, making them your best ally when you decide to go to town with your flat iron or styling wand.

More good news: this miracle primer is universal, meaning it works for all hair types. Just smooth it over damp strands before you begin styling, and your ‘do will shine on through even the muggiest of weather. Having a lazy hair day? You can use the extender cream on its own to prevent fly-aways and enhance shine, allowing you to hit the snooze button and still hit the streets with red carpet hair. Dreams really do come true! So, about that Nutella hot tub…

“Help! I fell asleep with my makeup on!”

If the following scenario hasn’t happened to you yet, know that your time will come: It’s the dead of night and you’ve been working (or partying) hard for hours on end. The call of your bed is just too much to resist! It lures you in like a Siren’s song…


Cut to eight hours later, and your eyes flutter open as the horrific realization dawns on you… You’ve fallen asleep face down on your pillow wearing foundation, mascara, everything! Despite all of the warnings and advice you may have received over the course of your youth, you’ve broken the cardinal rule of wearing makeup and fallen asleep without washing your face.

Well, this is a prime example of our fallibility as humans. Mistakes happen! And while it’s easy to empathize with anybody who has to choose the crash over the cleanse, that’s not a great comfort when you wake up in last night’s greasy concealer just knowing in your heart that a nasty breakout is soon to follow.

But hope is not lost! Read on for tips on how to treat your face and minimize the damage of yesterday’s sins (at least when it comes to makeup, you party animals).

1) Get Rid of the Gunk

By the time you wake up, your face has been secreting oil for hours. These oils have then mixed with your makeup, creating a barrier that robs your skin of oxygen. This leads to blackheads, pimples and enlarged pores that emerge throughout the night like little nightmares.
micellar-cleansing-waterThink you’re off the hook because you don’t have oily skin? You’re not. By failing to remove your makeup before going to sleep, that means you probably skipped your usual moisturizer as well. That means your face is desperately thirsty!

Furthermore, sleeping in your foundation will prevent dead skin from shedding at its natural rate, interrupting the body’s cell renewal process. This will cause further dehydration at both the surface of the skin and deep within. You may even find that you have a breakout in some areas of the face while flakiness occurs in others.

Whatever your skin type, use a makeup removing fluid to get rid of all the residual product on your skin. Try a micellar cleansing water, like the one made by Simple Skincare, which dissolves oil and makeup (even waterproof formulas) without stripping the skin of it’s natural moisture.

Once you’ve rid your face of yesterday’s makeup, cleanse once more with a product that treats your specific skin concerns. Reach for a foaming cleanser if you have acne-prone skin, or a cream cleanser for normal to dry skin.

2) Take Action

If there were ever a skin emergency that required a face mask, this is it. A mud mask or at-home acid peel, like the Caudelie Glycolic Peel Mask, is great for oily skin because it will rid the pores of dead cells that may be making them appear larger and inflamed. This will also help dry up existing pimples.

fresh-black-tea-perfecting-mask-enThose with sensitive or dry skin will favor a hydrating and soothing product. Try the Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask from Fresh, which provides much needed moisture along with a dose of antioxidants. Slept-in makeup creates an outer layer that traps toxins into the skin, and the black tea in this mask will prevent free radicals from forming and causing premature signs of aging.

3) Go Naked

aveeno.jpegAfter cleansing your skin thoroughly and treating it with a mask, you need to give your face a rest. Have a foundation-free day to allow the skin to continue breathing so that it can thoroughly heal.

If you simply must put something on your face before leaving the house, use a lightweight tinted moisturizer like Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30. This will not only protect you from sun damage (your face will be particularly vulnerable to harmful rays after a night of oxygen deprivation) but it also provides a healthy glow to otherwise dull and tired skin.


4) Live and Learn

The best way to save your skin from the consequences of sleeping in your makeup is to avoid doing it in the first place. Store a pack of facial cleansing wipes in your nightstand so that you can get your skin clean before hitting the pillow. It will only take 30 seconds, and you will thank yourself in the morning!

Cucumber_Cleansing_Towelettes.jpgThe Burt’s Bees Facial Wipes come in an astounding variety of formulations that include everything from clarifying Pink Grapefruit to relaxing Cucumber and Sage. No matter what type of care your skin happens to need, properly cleansing your face at the end of the day will be one less thing to lose sleep over.

What are your quick skincare solutions when you just can’t climb into bed fast enough? Let me know in the comment section!

Review: Cetaphil DermaControl Foam Wash & Moistuizer

I nearly dropped my phone in the sink while taking the following picture…


When I saw these Cetaphil DermaControl™ Oil Control products, I was immediately intrigued. I had been using the brand’s Daily Facial Cleanser for many years, but now they have a version formulated specifically for oily and acne-prone skin? I decided to buy both and I have been using them for three months. Read on for my opinions on each!

Oil Control Foam Wash

The product information given on the website reads as follows:

• Clinically proven to effectively remove oil, impurities and makeup from oily and acne-prone skin

• Light foaming action leaves skin cleansed without stripping or drying

• Innovative Zinc technology reduces surface oil and shine in acne-prone skin

• Maintains pH balance for healthier skin

4db19b36b15770cf667ae0349d6dfa61.jpgThis product costs $14.79, whereas Cetaphil’s original cleanser costs $13.29. So what extra benefits am I paying for here? As far as I can tell, the only real difference is that this bottle has a foaming pump while the original dispenses as a plain old liquid.

Other than that, I am not experiencing any substantial oil control from this cleanser. And what is this “Innovative Zinc technology” that they say is supposed to reduce surface oil? Cetaphil offers no explanation as to what that means, and I am not a consumer that just buys anything labelled “innovative.” (Yes I am, because I bought this).

There is maybe a slightly more- what shall we call it?- powdery feel to this foam as I massage it onto my face, which I suppose would be the zinc. I have a hard time believing that this removes the oil from my face any more effectively than the next facial cleanser, however.

Having said that, this product does rinse very thoroughly, has no scent or odor, and leaves my skin feeling squeaky clean without a hint of dryness. It removes foundation, as well. That’s all great, but I could have said the exact same thing about Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Cleanser and saved myself $1.50.

Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30

If we’re talking about products that deliver on their promises, now we can have a conversation! From the website:

Specially formulated for oily and acne-prone skin to relieve dryness and soften skin

• May help soothe the drying effects of some prescription acne treatments

• 3-in-1 formula to help control oil and shine, hydrate and provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection

• Contains Oleosome technology™ which uses a lower concentration of sunscreen filters for less irritation and greater hydration

• Micropearl technology absorbs surface oil, helps reduce shine and gives skin a matte finish

• Lightweight, non-greasy, absorbs quickly

2254341.jpgI have tried a lot of different prescription medications to treat my acne over the course of my life, and so many of them cause the skin to dry out and flake in certain areas while I’m still excessively oily in others! It’s a maddening situation, but I guess nobody said life would be fair.

This moisturizer is well worth it’s $19.99 price tag. It completely relieves my dry skin without greasiness, absorbs quickly even when I apply it very liberally, and gives me broad spectrum sun protection in SPF 30! Many facial moisturizers stop at SPF 15, which is not high enough when you’re on acne medications.

Does this product absorb oil? To a certain extent. Despite Cetaphil’s opulent-sounding “Micropearl technology,” I would not expect any miracles to happen in this department. Follow with an oil control primer if you want all-day oil absorption.

As for the “matte finish” that this product claims to have, I’m going to have to disagree. It’s not that it leaves the skin looking dewy or moist in any way, but it does just end up looking like my bare face.

And as for that “Olesome technology” that reduces irritation? I’m sure that’s a real thing but I simply don’t have the energy to research it right now. All I can say is that when I apply this moisturizer to the very dry parts of my face, there is a brief and mild sting like you might expect from putting an SPF on parched skin, followed by some redness that dissipates within a few minutes. But that is nothing compared to the long lasting hydration that this product has given me me.

Oh, one last thing, this stuff smells like straight up Coppertone Sunscreen. It makes sense because we’re working with such a high SPF, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The smell does not linger once the product has been absorbed into the skin, and the world keeps on spinning.

Overall, I love the moisturizer but could go without the cleanser. I will probably keep purchasing them both, however. I like when my bottles match one another.

What moisturizers and cleansers are you using right now?