L’Occitane, L’Occitane. How I love thee, L’Occitane.

I absolutely love L’Occitane. I love saying their name. I love walking into the stores and I absolutely adore the packaging of their products. I am in complete and total shock that I have yet to try their World Famous hand cream. Wellllls, I finally got my hands on it (hehe, no pun intended). I can totally see why just about everyone who tries it loves it.

Isn’t the packaging just beautiful? The limited edition packaging  for the Shea Butter collection, which includes Ultra Rich Body Cream, Hand Cream and Lip Balms are inspired by Bogolan traditional fabrics. I love when beauty products and packaging have some kind of meaning behind them.

But that’s not it…the scent of these products also come from an inspiration; more specifically flowers that are indigenous to the African continent. Desert Rose from Morocco, Hibiscus from Egypt and Cocoa Flower from the Ivory Coast are pleasantly placed in the Shea Butter collection products. Let’s rap about the Hand Cream first.

Retailing at $26 for 5.2 oz and $10 for 1 oz, this is perhaps L’Ocittane’s post popular product. Rightfully so. With a faint hint of hibiscus, this hand cream will find a permanent spot in my makeup bag. Yes, it’s a bit on the pricey side but if you don’t mind making a splurge on a skincare product, I’d definitely snag this hand lotion. The consistency is creamy and totally ash bashing.

It leaves the skin feeling moisturized without feeling greasy. It is absolutely perfect. Even more so because it’s an actual hand cream.

Meaning it fits in your hands; making it perfect for purses, pockets and briefcases. And then there’s the lip balm ($12)…

At first glance, this balm looks a lot like the hand cream. Even after you pop the top, it looks exactly like the hand cream.

I’m not digging that as a lip applicator. It doesn’t make application difficult, but it isn’t ideal. Lip applicators should be smooth, gentle and pleasant. This one, on the other hand, isn’t as pretty. In fact, I much prefer to put a bit on my finger and then apply on the lips. Which, of course, isn’t exactly sanitary. The consistency of the balm is a lot like Carmex.

It isn’t super thick nor is it super thin. It sits comfortably in the middle. I will say, though, the smell and fragrance are 10x better than that of Carmex. It’s a nice long-lasting balm that I think is great for every day use.

As if I needed another reason to love L’Occitane.

You can snag these from Loccitane.com.

 

Disclosure: I was compensated for the contextual link listed in this post.

Laura Mercier gave me a flawless face!

When approached with the idea of trying out some Laura Mercier products, I so couldn’t say no. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Madam Mercier’s foundations and concealers and was super de duper (name that show) to get the opportunity to review some thangs.

I was asked to test drive the Hydrating Foundation Primer, Creme Smooth Foundation, Secret Camouflage concealer and the Invisible Loose Setting Powder. Now keep this in mind — I am not a regular foundation wearer. Because of my skin’s crazy acne-prone tendencies, I like to keep as much product off of it as possible. Even though I’ve reviewed several foundations before, I am still a wee bit of a foundation newbie. Mascara pro? Yep! Foundation pro? Not even close. Before I go into how everything looked when used together, let’s highlight the team players first.

Coming in at $40 and 1.7 oz is the Foundation Primer.

Okay, I’ll be honest. I never really understand the point of foundation primers. Sure they can smooth out the skin and provide a bit more moisture before applying the foundation, but is it really necessary? I’m not sure if I can answer that question or not still, but I know one thing…this is one dynamic primer. The silky gel-like consistency was lightweight and felt great on my skin.

I like that it’s not silicone-based as primers with that consistency tend to bead up and feel drier on my skin. If I’m going to wear a primer, then I’d much rather rock one that feels hydrating and light.

Then there’s the dual-tone concealer they call Secret Camouflage ($28).

My sample shade is in SC-6 which is described to be best for those with rich, dark with yellow skin tones. I chuckled when I first read that description because yes, while my skin may be rich and dark, I don’t have yellow undertones. Buuuut, I found this concealer to work anyway. While I do wear concealer on a regular basis, it is usually a concealer that is close to my skin tone, not lighter.

Ideally, it is best to go lighter when using concealer and Secret Camouflage did that for. I did, however, find myself only using the darker shade over the lighter one. Still, I think it’s cool that you get two shades. It makes for great mixing for us gals with various shades all over.

Now the star of the show was certainly the Creme Smooth Foundation ($50).

Hold your laughter in, but I don’t think I’ve ever used a cream foundation. How un beauty blogger-ish of me, uh? My biggest fear was that I was going to make a complete mess. But look, Mommy…I’m a big kid! I didn’t make a mess. This creamy dreamy foundation in Toffee Brown was a pleasure to work with. Application was simple and painless. I was shocked at how lightweight the foundation felt throughout the day.

Because it was of a creamy consistency, I was expecting to feel a bit of weight to it. But no, darlings. Nada. In fact, until a coworker complimented me on how luminous my skin looked, I forgot that I had on foundation. For someone who doesn’t wear it on a regular, THIS is the kind of foundation I would prefer. Coverage was phenomenal in that it managed to cover my acne scars and hyperpigmentation. My only gripe with the foundation would be that there doesn’t seem to be many richly hued (coined by Sam Fine) color selections. After my shade, there is only one more. I so think line could cover a few more shades.

And coming in last is the Invisible Loose Setting Powder ($34).

I firmly believe in setting powders. Especially if you’re like me and tend to get a little oily throughout the day. Problem is, most translucent powders end up making me look like a ghost. I still got a bit of a white cast with this powder, but a whole bunch of buffing got rid of it.

Did I buff it all the way off or  is just that good? I don’t knowwww….8)

Now here’s where the magic begins. My skin without foundation.

See that hyperpigmentation?

Application of the Secret Camouflage.

I never feel like I need to applying concealer under my eyes but wanted to give it a try. Looks great!

To apply the foundation, I used a skunk brush…

Dapped the foundation all over.

And bam…

I only applied foundation on one side. Can you tell which side?

Scars covered!

With flash…

In natural light.

Yep, I’m impressed and I see why Laura Mercier has rave reviews all over. While the foundation has a high price point, I’m all about investing in something that I’ll wear every day. Serious foundation wearers may cringe over a price tag, but at the end of the day, if they love it, they’ll buy it and keep buying it. I’ll be going to a few super fancy events this season and can’t wait to rock the foundation and siblings. I’m an eternal fan.

Laura believes there are four steps to create a flawless face—primer, foundation, concealer, and setting powder. Each product has been specifically developed to allow every woman to achieve an incredibly even, smooth, yet natural-looking complexion.

For more information on Laura’s flawless philosophy and tips on how to use each product within each step is located here.

Have you tried anything from Laura Mercier?

 

 

Disclosure:

Compensation was provided by Laura Mercier via Glam Media. I received a sample to review as part of the program. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Laura Mercier.

 

Becca Mineral Blush in Wild Honey. It’s purty!

It’s been forever and a day since I’ve done a review on a blush. Which is madness because I really do wear them. Like once or twice a week. I’ve become such a minimalist in my makeup routine that even blushes get bushed to side. Buuut, I had the opportunity to try a new mineral blush and got re-excited over blushes all over again.

I am a HUGE proponent of blushes and bronzers. I love them so so much. And sometimes a blush isn’t always about POW and BAM. Sometimes it’s about a nice subtle highlight. Such is the case with the paraben-free Becca mineral blush in Wild Honey.

My girls and guys sensitive to talc will rejoice because this blush comes without that too.

According to BeccaCosmetics.com, “BECCA Mineral Blush is a luxury powder for cheeks, imparting natural, luminous colour that is ultra-kind to skin. This longwearing mineral contains a hint of highlight to lift the complexion, with a delicate formula that never appears cakey or chalky.” (source)

The blush feels silky to touch and applies like a dream to the ol’ cheekies.

My favorite brush to apply it with?

My darling ecoTools skunk brush. This brush does a great job at applying blushes effortlessly without applying TOO much. It is great at slowing building up intensity. Of course you can use any brush to apply this blush, but still…skunk brushes rock. It didn’t show up as well in pictures but here’s where I applied the blush…

Just a dab on the apples of each cheek and bam…


Not bad, uh? This is the perfect blush for those who are taking baby steps into blush wearin’ or for folx who want a bit of highlighting without a face that screams, “Look at me! I’m wearing blush.” I can also see this as being a gorgeous wedding blush for women of all skin complexions.

Because it’s paraben-free and infused with Vitamin A, C and E, I’ll ignore the high price tag of $32. You can grab this shade and 4 other mineral polishes from BeccaCosmetics.com.

Boscia Clarifying Detox Mask: Perfect for all skin types.

It’s been forever and a day since I’ve worn a face mask. In a sense that’s a good and bad thing. Good because I haven’t felt like I’ve needed one but bad because my skin isn’t getting any pampering. I think that regular use of a face mask can be beneficial to any and everyone. From us kids with acne prone skin to those of us wanting to keep our eczema at bay and my wrinkle bustin’ guys and girls….face masks can give our faces that extra bit of moisturization and smoothness. Not to mention they just feel hella good! Nothing spells “I don’t really have the funds for a facial but I still want to treat my skin” like an at-home face mask.

I am normally a make-my-own face mask kind of gal but this Clarifying Detox Mask from Boscia has me ob-sessed.

Have you heard of Boscia before? If you’re a lover of skin care products without parabens, synthetic ingredients, fragrances and dyes, you’ve got to get Boscia on your radar.

What Sephora has to say about the Clarifying Detox Mask:

“This  deep-cleansing clay mask contains pure botanicals, herbs, & select ingredients like kaolin clay and phellodendron bark to absorb impurities, control excess oil, detoxify/renew your skin from deep within.

A unique combination of anti-irritants and purifying agents soothe and refine the appearance of pores as powerful antioxidants along with other therapeutic elements revitalize skin and help protect against the appearance of aging. Ideal for all skin types, including sensitive skin.” (source)

 

It’s a simple face mask. It promises no tricks and doesn’t have any extra frills. I appreciate that. Simple is best when it comes to my skin and I’m glad that Boscia’s philosophy falls in line with that. The face mask feels clay-like; nice and thick and doesn’t have any prominent smells.

Right up my alley! Since testing it, I’ve been using it weekly. I looooove how it makes my skin feel. So much that I had to show y’all.

My skin before:

Mask on:

 

FACT: Voguing while wearing a mask makes the results 10x better. It’s true.

 

5 minutes later:

 

Super clean skin that isn’t doesn’t feel dry and tight. This is VERY important as dry skin can irritate my eczema and that introduces a whole ‘nother leap of problems.

PROs
-This mask is ideal for sensitive skin. It’s super gentle!
-Nice consistency
-Fragrance-free. This means A LOT to me
-It doesn’t tingle
-It is easy to apply and rinses thoroughly
-It’s only $25. Epic price for an all-natural face mask

Cons
-Like all masks, you want to moisturize immediately afterwards! Not necessarily a “con” but definitely something to think about.

Yup…only one Con. This mask is that fantastic and if you’re in the market for one, snag this kid from Sephora.

LUSH’s AvoBath Bath Bomb

Yep, I’m back with another one. This bath bomb smells like avocados. No, I’m kidding. How loco would it be if it did though? But it does contain fresh avocados and lemongrass essential oil. Lemongrass is by far one of my top favorite essential oils. This bomb is also infused with olive oil; a plus for ladies with super dry skin. AKA moi.

But it isn’t my favorite bath bomb. It smells just okay but I didn’t leave the tub feeling all silky smooth like I’ve felt after using other bath bombs. It wasn’t a total waste because I absolutely loved how green it made the water.

Yes, the little things amuse me. It was a good $6.95 but I wanted more from this bomb. It definitely can’t beat my favorite bath bomb. Oh well, off I go to try another one. Have you tried this bath bomb from LUSH? What say you?

Get additional deets about it here.

Too lazy to wash your face at night? Me too.

One of a travelin’ beauty’s best friends is makeup wipes. Words can not express how much I love these things, y’all. They are just SO practical. They take up very little space and are an all-in-one when it comes to makeup removing and cleansing the skin. Take Lumene’s Sensitive Touch Cleansing Wipes.

I have been in LOVE with these and they’ve been coming in handy on my road trips.

[Read more…]

As if the Clarisonic couldn’t get any better…

How much do I love my Clarisonic? A ridiculous amount, that’s for sure. I credit that face cleaning device for bringing my skin back to normal. While my skin likes to play tricks with me (one day clear skin, next day pimples galore), the Clarisonic’s love stays consistent. Clari always loves me. She is a total staple in the bathroom and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wellllll, the very cool b-glowing.com is now the first online retailer to feature the New Deep Pore Cleansing Clarisonic. I know, right? Didn’t think ole’ Clari could get better, did you? Using the same sonic oscillation technology as the original Clarisonic, the new kid on the block comes with a Deep Pore Cleansing brush head that was designed with a unique gradation of bristle firmness and dual-action movement. What does that mean? It means whether you’ve got oily skin, acne prone skin or suffer from large pores, the Clarisonic Blue Plus will work hard to gently smooth out your skin; leaving it softer and refreshed.

I am hands down loving this brush head over the brush head from my original Clarisonic. It cleanses so much better and even more thorough than I thought it would. I’ve done a video and written review of the Clarisonic and can’t imagine not using it at least 3 times a week.

I know, I know…it’s not cheap. It took a few months of saving for me to be able to afford my Mia, but come on, darling. Healthy skin is worth the investment, isn’t it?  Grabbing the Clarisonic from b-glowing.com will set you back a good $225 but you and your gorgeous skin are worth it. The Clarisonic Blue Plus also comes with a body brush head.

That’s riiiight, you can take it in the shower to for a spa-like treatment all over. If the Clarisonic Blue Plus isn’t in your budget, b-glowing.com has a Tangerine Clarisonic Mia and a Garnet Mia that are perfectly priced at $119. Woot!

How much do you love Clarisonic? Have you purchased one yet?

The Sweaty Betty Diaries: How a natural deodorant saved my pits.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with deodorant for as long as I’ve been allowed to wear it. Love because the stuff keeps me from smelling like a goat and hate because although it keeps the funk at bay, it wrecks havoc on my sensitive underarms. And then I got to thinkin’…the skin under the arms happens to be super sensitive. Why then are we using deodorants and antiperspirants with super harsh ingredients in them? Especially after shaving? A light bulb went off and to my beauty bin I went to retrieve a natural deodorant I’ve had for some time but stop using.

I received the Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal to review almost a year ago. I tested it for a good week but found absolutely no results. Fast forward to a few months ago and now you couldn’t pay me to go back to a traditional deodorant.

Here’s the thing about natural deodorants…you have to prep your pits for using them. No matter how hard you scrub, it is often pretty hard to remove deodorant from under your arms. I gave my pits a good scrubbing using baking soda. It took a good 5 minutes per pit, but I was ready! While a traditional deodorant have waaaay too many ingredients listed, this deodorant crystal has two. Dos. 2. That’s it.

My pits were already breathing a sigh of relief. The crystal looks just like, well…a crystal.

Cool, uh? To “activate” it, you wet the top and apply a generous amount under your arms. My issue was always that I’d be left with wet underarms but they dry pretty quickly. Ohmigoodness y’all…when I tell you this stuff works, I mean it WORKS. Aside from it keeping me from stinking, I found that it has kept my pits in so much better condition. My underarms are smoother and not as dark.

Pro’s

-It’s affordable. Retailed at $5.99, this crystal will last for months and months and months.
-It doesn’t have a fragrance.
-It is gentle enough for even the most sensitive of underarms.

Con’s

-It loses its power after 10+ hours
-It may be hard to find.

“Yo B, what do you mean it looses its power after 10+ hours?”

Good things don’t always last forever. The same can be said for this natural deodorant. I’ve been in situations where I went from smelling fresh to smelling less than pleasant in 3.2 seconds. What happened? The deodorant simply wore off. I have no shame in tellin’ y’all that me without deodorant is stinky. Funky. I mean, it’s bad… I have since learned and keep the Spray Mist version of this deodorant in my purse at all times. The Spray Mist is super small and tote-able so it makes transferring it to different purses a breeze. If I feel like I’m going to be away from home more than 8 hours, I head to the ladies room and attack the underarms. And bam…the stinkies stay away. I’ve also learned that I have to continue to thoroughly scrub my pits every time I shower. I scrub with a combination of my body wash and baking soda. A good cleansing creates a nice clean base for another fresh application.

I’m a believer and as much as I’ve loved my traditional deodorants, me and my pits are just happy rolling with Naturally Fresh’s Crystal Deodorant. I’ve heard many guys and gals say they’ve given up on the natural deodorant because they simply…don’t work. I say give ’em another go ’round. If you’re interested in using gentler products under your arms, it may take some time and diligence on your part. Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal comes in crystal, Spray Mist and Roll-On. You can grab it at Whole Foods and other natural food stores as well as online.

Any natural deodorant lovers in the house? If you aren’t one, would you give one a try?