Review: Herbal Essences Bio Renew Shampoo and Foam Conditioner

A few weeks ago I was sent the Herbal Essences Bio Renew shampoo and foam conditioner for free to try, thanks to Influenster!  The first thing I noticed with this product is the delicious scent – it’s so fresh and light!  On their website, Herbal Essences describes the scent as “delicate notes of ginger, floral bouquets and clean musk.”  The shampoo is light as well.  It lathers nicely but is not heavy and my hair feels clean after using it.  I love that it is clear and so is the packaging, so you can really see when you are running low.  The shampoo I had before is in solid packaging so I can only guess how much is left by how light it feels which can be a bit annoying.

Herbal Essences bio renew shampoo and conditioner
I am loving the new bio renew shampoo and foam conditioner from Herbal Essences!

The Herbal Essences conditioner is what I was most excited to try because it is not a traditional conditioner but a foam conditioner.  The bottle looks like a can of hair mousse and it dispenses exactly the same way.  The directions say to use a palm-sized amount and apply from root to tip.  Once you do that you feel it absorbing into your hair.  It is very easy to rinse out; does not have the slippery feel most traditional conditioners have.  The product boasts more volume with using a foam conditioner, as it is lighter and doesn’t weigh down hair.  I personally really like the foam.  This particular scent/formula that I use is for fine hair, but they have other scents available including:  White Grapefruit and Mosa Mint, Green Tea and Cucumber and Rosemary and Herb.

The Herbal Essences products are also good for color treated hair, which I have.  And it has no parabens which is important to me when selecting a product.  I definitely notice that my hair is shinier after using the product.

So my final verdict is A plus!  Even though I received the product for free, I really do enjoy it and would definitely purchase once I am out of it.   So if you are in the market for a new shampoo/conditioner or even just want to try out the foam conditioner for yourself, I’d highly recommend the Herbal Essences line!

New Holy Grail Moisturizer from Peter Thomas Roth

I hope everyone is staying warm and getting through the winter months.  If you’ve checked out my winter skincare post, then you know the products that I love and need to keep my skin from drying out!  Recently, I changed up my moisturizer and all I can say is WOW!  I don’t think my face has ever been so moisturized at this time of year!  Let me introduce you to Peter Thomas Roth’s Water Drench! This moisturizer is like magic in a jar!

Peter Thomas Roth moisturizer
My new holy grail moisturizer for winter!

This product retails for $52 (I found it on Amazon (affiliate link) for $48 here) and contains 1.6 fl. oz.  It boasts having 30% hyaluronic acid which draws “atmospheric vapor” to keep your skin moisturized for 72 hours.  That’s a pretty lofty claim!  The texture of this moisturizer is light and slippery – it almost feels like a primer going on the skin.  It is not heavy, greasy or sticky.  I do find that it absorbs quickly and my sunscreen goes on top with no issues.  I don’t know if the 72 hour claim is accurate as I don’t keep it on that long, but I do know that my skin is showing no signs of dryness or flaking and feels very plump and hydrated all day, even on the coldest days!  That is a first for me!  I’ve used some great moisturizers in the past, but none could seem to keep my skin from flaking on those really cold, blistery days.  This moisturizer is one I use confidently, with my usual Retin-A routine (you can read more about that here) and that is what makes me most excited about this product!

Don’t get me wrong, I am counting down the days to warmer weather, but in the meantime, I’ve found a fantastic moisturizer that has my skin looking like it’s already spring!  What holy grail products are part of your winter skincare routine?

New Favorite Products from Thrive Causemetics

I’ve recently been introduced to a line of makeup I have not used before called Thrive Causemetics and can I just say that I’m in love!  The two products I’ve picked up from Thrive Causemetics have soared up to all-time favorites in my collection!  I definitely will be trying more from their range, but let me tell you about my awesome finds and why I’m so impressed with this brand!

Infinity Waterproof Eyebrow Liner, $23

This product literally blew my socks off!  I’ve been a long-time user of the Anastasia Brow Wiz but this liner is now the one I’m using every day!  It gives a very natural look and the packaging is a bit more durable than the Brow Wiz (the spoolies always break off on me and I don’t like how the caps crack.)  It boasts “Buildable Smart Pigments” that adjust to the right shade for your brow and ingredients that encourage brow growth, which I certainly need.  I’ve been using this for about a month now and absolutely love it!  I feel the shade is a better match to my brow than some of the other products I have tried, it has great wear time and looks natural!  Also I like the packaging.  They have a clear cap over the spoolie vs. the pencil itself which other products I’ve used do not have and the overall packaging is very sturdy.

Thrive Causemetics brow pencil and mascara
This brow pencil and mascara are my current favs.

Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara, $24

If you’ve read some previous posts, then you know that a few months ago I tried lash extensions.  I liked how they looked, but the long-term maintenance and cost made me decide to not continue to use them.  Also, once all the extensions came off, I noticed that my natural lashes were not as long and strong as they were before.  I had heard some good things about this mascara and decided to give it a try and I was NOT disappointed!  Something about this wand literally finds every lash, even ones you didn’t even know you had and looks so nice with no clumps or flakes.  It also has an ingredient called Orchid Stem Cell complex that is supposed to help lashes grow and stay strong.  I absolutely LOVE it!

About the Brand

There are so many great makeup brands out there, but what touched me as unique and special about this one is that for every product that is purchased, Thrive Causemetics donates one to a woman in need.  Women fighting cancer or victims of domestic abuse are some that are helped by this brand and I love that they have a greater purpose than just the makeup.  Their slogan of “Beauty with a Purpose” is something that they truly bring to life.  Some of their products are even named after some of the courageous women that they have helped!  The brand is vegan and 100% cruelty free, which is another quality I like to see in makeup!

 

5 Great Red Lipsticks

The countdown to Christmas is on!  This is the time of year that I rock my red lips and nails!  I’ve gathered up five of my favorite red lipsticks to share and hopefully get you in a festive mood!

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in “Cruella” $27- The NARS lip pencils are awesome because you have a liner and lipstick all in one.  And, with red, staying neat around the edges of your lips can be a challenge, and with a bold color like this, it has to look right!  This is a deeper red, with more brown/burgundy in it.  NARS describes it as a scarlet red.  It has a matte finish and is long-wearing, which is a plus.  I don’t find this formula to be drying, as can happen with some matte shades.  If you really like this formula, they do have some other shades in the red family to choose from as well.

red lipstick swatches
It’s raining red! Colors from top to bottom: Tarte Pride, Maybelline Crimson Crush, Colorur Pop Trust Me, Bite Beauty Gazpacho and NARS Cruella.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche in “Gazpacho” $26- Bite Beauty is a brand known for using natural, edible ingredients in their products, so I feel good putting their lipsticks and balms on my lips.  The Amuse Bouche line is very popular and has tons of different shades but the Gazpacho is a beautiful bright bluish red.  This lipstick will absolutely light up your face and give you a festive look.  The formula is extremely moisturizing and has a slight sheen to it.

Colour Pop Lippie Stix in “Trust Me” $5- If you’ve read my other posts, then you know I love the Colour Pop brand!  It’s priced along a drug store brand but available online.  Hey for $5, this is actually a better price than some drugstore lipsticks!  Recently Sephora has started carrying their line as well, but this shade is not available there.  The lippie stix are small, longer shaped lipsticks that look like a fat pencil, which I like for throwing in my bag.  Also, the small tip allows for more control when applying, because, as I mentioned earlier, red is a color that needs to be applied precisely to your lips to look its best.  Of all the reds, I think this shade is the truest red – again this is a VERY matte formula, so if you don’t care for matte formulas, that’s ok, the next two I am sharing are very shiny!

Maybelline “Crimson Rush” $5.59- I love this formula and you can get this right in the drugstore.  It has a satin finish but does wear well.  The red shade has a slight pink undertone.  This exact shade was a limited edition but there are a couple of new red shades in this collection that are worth checking out!

Tarte Lip Sculptor in “Pride” (set $34)- This was part of a lip sculptor gift set I bought from tarte and I was so pleasantly surprised that such a gorgeous holiday red was included!  If you aren’t familiar with the lip sculptor, it is a dual -sided lipstick – one side the lipstick, the other a colored gloss.  This color is gorgeous with just the lipstick side, but when you add the gloss – BAMM!  Your lips are so plump and shiny looking you will be party-ready in a snap.  Plus the packaging on this (a Moroccan-themed pattern is on the lipstick) is so beautiful!  Unfortunately this shade is not sold individually, but I can tell you the set has four other shades that are beautiful and wearable.

What kind of makeup/ red lipsticks do you like to wear around the holidays?  I would love to read your comments!  Happy Holidays everyone.

Best Eyeliners for Hazel/Green Eyes

Do you know that feeling when you buy an eyeliner and it just flatters you in a special way?  Well, that’s how I feel about these five eyeliners.  I have hazel eyes, so, for me, colors in the burgundy family really make them pop.  Do you remember learning the color wheel in school?  Well, basically you look for colors opposite each other on the color wheel to determine what best complements your eye color.  Blue eyes usually look great with shadows/liners in the gold or copper family, for example.  Have brown eyes?  Well, you’re in luck because most colors look great on brown eyes!

Everyone’s eyes are so unique that even two people with hazel eyes might not experience the same result but I can tell you that these liners  are awesome!

For your flattering shade, just look across the color wheel.

 

MAC Costa Riche – This liner is in the brown family but is just warm enough to give those eyes a pop!  I use it in the upper water line also to intensify the effect.

Tarte Amazonian clay Smolder Eyes in Aztec Gold – I was not sure if this liner would work on me since it is an olive greenish color and usually using a similar color as your eyes actually washes out your look.  However, I think the flecks of gold in this color are what do the trick as I have some gold in my eyes.  It is definitely a smoother formula than the MAC pencil.  I use this in my lower water line and smudge under my lash line as well. Unfortunately Tarte doesn’t have this on their website any more, but I did find it on Amazon.

eye liners
The colors! From top to bottom: MAC Costa Riche, Tarte Aztec Gold, Estee Edit Bordeaux, Urban Decay Alkaline and Maybelline Striking Copper.

Estee Edit Eye Kajal in Bold Bordeaux – This is a gorgeous deep wine color and has the added benefit of a dual sided pencil with a  nude color on the other side.  I use the nude color to brighten the inner rims of my eyes and the bottom waterline (this makes you look so awake even on days you really aren’t) and I smudge the Bordeaux color on my lower lash line and upper water line.  This used to be available on Sephora but is not any more.  I want to order a few as back ups I love it so much!

Urban Decay 24/7 in Alkaline – This is in the burgundy family but has a stronger reddish undertone, so it’s less subtle than the other shades.  It can give a slightly reddish look which to some would be unflattering (no one wants to look like they have pink eye) but I like the effect it gives.  (BTW, the Urban Decay lip liners are bomb dot com  too, but that’s a whole different blog post!)

Maybelline Lasting Drama in Striking Copper – this is a beautiful shimmery copper that is so nice for the holidays!  I usually line it under something matte to give the eyes a more festive look.  I think it’s a bit too light to use on it’s own but it is a unique color that I was excited to find in the drugstore!  I think this color would also look stunning on blue eyes!

What eye liners are your favorites?

Lash Extensions – Are they worth it?

I’ve been hearing about lash extensions for so long now and literally have thought about getting them for years.  Well, I finally decided to try it and see if it lives up to the hype.  I wouldn’t say I have short lashes but I absolutely would not leave the house without mascara on.  I have larger, deep set eyes so it looks much more balanced when my lashes are noticeable.  I put off getting this done because from researching the process, I think it is not only expensive, but a big time commitment to maintain them long-term.  I’m already anxious about the 2 hour time I was quoted on the phone for the initial appointment.  This is why back in the day I stopped doing acrylics on my nails – I got fidgety sitting there for the fill-ins at the salon.  I decided to download an audio book to listen to because I didn’t think I would take a nap during the appointment.

lash extensions
Top picture of my lashes before the extensions; bottom is the after.

The application process did take the full two hours and having the book on audio to listen to is what got me through.  The tape that they used on the bottom of my eye (see before photo) was initially a little uncomfortable, but the process itself was not painful.  I’ve read some other articles about lash extensions and most people say they are addictive and once you see the results you will want to keep going.  When I first saw the final product, I did like it but was not “blown away.”  You could see that my lashes were more noticeable but I thought the shape of them was off – they were long in the middle but not on the outer corner.  I asked about that and my natural lashes in the outer corner were not long enough to apply the extensions was the reply I got.  I wanted to get used to them before I rendered a final opinion and really see how it was to live with them on a daily basis.  I was sold the benefits to “membership” where you can maintain the lashes for a fee of $69.99/mo (initial application was $89.99).  While pricey, if you research lash extensions, it actually is a competitive rate.  I decided to go ahead, even if I just maintained the lashes through the holidays.

Pros

lash extension
Here’s another angle on the extensions – see how long they go – almost to my eyebrow!

As time went on I really began to love the lashes.  Waking up and looking like I already applied mascara is a big advantage!  It makes those days when you aren’t wearing makeup much easier and gives me more confidence not having makeup on.  Not dealing with mascara removal in the evening was a nice benefit also.  Not needing mascara also shaves off some time getting ready in the morning which I enjoy as well.  And, the best pro is that they just look beautiful!  I chose the natural lash, so with makeup on, it just looks like I have a couple of coats of mascara on.  I didn’t want anything too dramatic, but there are lashes available that can accommodate someone who wants full on glam lashes.

Cons

I noticed after the second week wearing them that the glue can look a little clumpy at times.  Following the instructions so that the adhesive can dry was a bit inconvenient also (no water on the eye, no steam, sweat or rubbing eyes for 48 hours after initial application.)  I still apply mascara to the bottom lashes. so you aren’t really saving $ by not having to purchase mascara anymore, but it is a lot faster than doing the whole eye.

I wore the initial set of lash extensions for 3 weeks before returning to get them filled.  They still looked pretty good but after the 2 week mark I definitely started to see more lashes coming out each day.  Filling in the lashes was a much more pleasant experience and only took 45 minutes.  The shorter time span and also knowing what to expect is what made this more pleasant the second time around.  I was pleased with how they came out and this time my lashes on the outer corner grew so she was able to get some extensions there which improved the overall appearance.  I have, however, noticed more shedding of the lashes in the week since getting the lashes filled in.  Not sure if this is due to the natural growth cycle of my lashes or if the adhesive is not working as well this time.

Conclusion

Overall, I was glad that I gave this a try.  I am enjoying them and plan to continue to maintain them for now.  Although an investment, I think Amazing Lash Studio allows them to be more affordable than a lot of other places in my area.  The staff is very friendly and helpful so it is a pleasure to go there.  The decision to get them is really a personal one.  I think they are great if you have a special event or are going on vacation.  They are expensive to maintain, so if you are looking for more of a long term investment in lashes, I think using a place like Amazing Lash Studio is a way to enjoy the benefits while defraying the cost.

Tartelette Toasted Palette Review

Tartelette toasted palette
Ta Da! My new favorite palette of life!!

There have been so many new palette releases lately that can make it confusing to select one that best suits you, but I bought the Tartelette Toasted palette and feel like I have hit the jackpot on palettes!  This is not the first product I have purchased and loved from Tarte.  If you are not familiar with the brand, Tarte is a cosmetics company that is cruelty-free and vegan friendly.  Their products are formulated without harmful ingredients such as parabens, mineral oil, phthalates and sodium laurel sulfate.  This is an added bonus in my book!

Similar to many other palettes that have been released lately, this one provides 12 warm-toned shades, with a blend of shimmers and mattes.  I personally love warmer shades as they tend to best complement my hazel eyes.  However, I think these colors would really enhance blue, green or brown eyes as well.  This is the first palette I’ve ever owned where I can say that I have used and loved every single shade!  I start out with the best of intentions every time I buy a palette, but always end up having a shade or two that I really don’t like or that isn’t wearable for me on a day-to-day basis.  Also, I love that I can achieve a complete eye look using just this palette.  I hate when I have to jump from palette to palette to hunt for different colors to complete an eye look.  I don’t have the time or the patience for that!

The packaging of this palette is amazing!  It is a great size for travel, has a generous sized mirror and is very sturdy.  The front looks like a warm, cozy fire with gold letters, and when you open it up, there is a faint yummy fragrance that makes it even more delicious!

Look at these scrumptious shades!

As for the quality of the shadows, Tarte does not disappoint.  They use their Amazonian clay formula which is long-lasting and the shadows blend nicely.  Some of the shades are a little powdery but I have not experienced any issues with fallout on my face as I apply them.  I’ve had this palette over a month now and have used it almost every day that I’ve worn makeup.    There is no black shade with could be a con for some, but I use the color “Fireside” as an eye liner and it has worked great for me. Also, there is a rich chocolate brown shade called “Crackle” that might look a bit intimidating as it has gold flecks of sparkle in it, but I find that it is still a very wearable color on the eye.  The sparkles don’t translate like the other shimmer shadows so it can be daytime appropriate.

The palette retails for $46, which is in range for a lot of the newer palettes out there, but for me, it is worth the splurge because the shades are wearable, versatile and flattering.  Yes, you can achieve more dramatic looks as well as daytime looks, but for me, daily looks are what I most use in my lifestyle and this palette has been such a treat to use!  Let me know if you’ve tried this and what you think.

Fenty Beauty Lip Gloss Review and Drugstore Dupe

Rihanna Fenty Beauty
Fenty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer.

Recently Rihanna debuted her own cosmetics line called Fenty Beauty, complete with foundations in all shade ranges, highlighters you can see from outer space and some lip products.  She even has a holiday collection out now that you can check out if you like some edgier makeup. I’ve been checking out reviews for her products and they are very up and down.  It makes me wonder if people really don’t like them but are afraid to be brutally honest because they are a Rihanna fan?  Not sure.  But I did go ahead and purchase this universal lip gloss (Fenty Glow Gloss Bomb – Universal Lip Luminizer, $18) that had a great neutral color and seemed, unlike a lot of the other products, to have consistently positive reviews.

First off, let’s talk about the packaging.  I absolutely LOVE it!  I prefer a shorter, fatter size versus a long skinny gloss.  For me, it fits better into a lot of different size purses so it’s great for travel or just daily on-the-go!  The color is great – it’s a warm neutral that can be worn alone, with some lip liner, or as a topper for a lipstick.  Let me tell you, this gloss is SHINY!  I love it, because I have thin lips, so shiny glosses and lipsticks help them to look plumper.  The gloss is not glittery, but does have some flecks in it.  This has a smell to it – to me it smells just like the pink Starburst candies.  It is not unpleasant but I’d prefer no smell or more of a vanilla scent.  It does not linger so it’s not a deal breaker for me.

The Dupe

Fenty beauty and Loreal infallible pro gloss
These are pretty close, right? One on the right is Fenty. One on the left is Loreal Infallible Pro Gloss in the shade Dulce de Leche.

So I found a really good dupe for this gloss, really by accident.  Loreal has their Infallible Pro Gloss and the shade 825 or Dulce De Leche is almost identical to the Fenty Gloss.  This drugstore gloss is pricey for drugstore at $11.79.  The small differences I’ve observed are that the Loreal is a tad bit more sparkly and the formula is slightly stickier than the Fenty.  Size-wise, the Loreal tube has .21 fl. oz. and the Fenty is .30 fl. oz. so you are paying more, but you are also getting a bit more product.

Fenty Gloss Bomb and Loreal Infallible Pro Gloss in Dulche de LecheSo, which do I like better?  I think I prefer the Fenty gloss but both are really nice.  I just like the formula and packaging of the Fenty a little more.  Hopefully this review will help you if you are in the market for a new gloss.  I am not disappointed with my Fenty Beauty purchase.  Have you tried any Fenty Beauty products yet?  If so, I’d love to know your honest thoughts!

 

How To Train Yourself to Sleep on your Back

If you are wondering why you would want to train yourself to sleep on your back, let me tell you my main motivation- it prevents wrinkles!  If you have lash extensions, it extends their life.  It also helps with drainage in your sinuses!  Do I have your attention yet?  Well, let me share how I did this because for all my life, I have been a side sleeper and I couldn’t imagine a restful night without sleeping that way!

For a long time I was in denial that I needed to address my side sleeping habits.  I used a satin pillowcase, which I’ve read is more gentle on the skin for side sleepers.  It helped a little, but I really burrow my face into the pillow when I side sleep, so I would wake up with marks in my cheek and under-eye area and started to notice that they didn’t go away as quickly as in years’ past.  Still, I would try to sleep on my back only to finally give up when I couldn’t relax and fall asleep in that position.  I’d watch one of my favorite YouTubers, Angie from Hot and Flashy, and she mentioned that she had trained herself to sleep on her back and I remember thinking, “How can you even do that?”  I thought, you either slept on your back or you didn’t.

sleep on backIf you read my blog post about injectables, then you know that I recently got a filler in my cheekbone area to address my concerns about under-eye wrinkles and loss of volume in my face.  Making that investment really made me get serious about sleeping on my back because I don’t want to undo the efforts I have made to improve the appearance of my skin.

So how did I do it?  I arranged pillows all around me that first night – under my knees to make me more comfortable, and on my sides.  It did take me awhile to fall asleep but I was successful!  I knew it took about 2 weeks to either break a habit or instill a new habit so my goal was to continue this process every night until it sleeping on my back became easier for me.  Some nights were easier than others, but my determination to do this kept me trying until two weeks had gone by and I was still sticking to it!

I did learn a trick that allowed me to turn my body to the side, but keep my face from smushing into the pillow.  I hug another pillow and prop the top under my face so it stays somewhat elevated.  I don’t totally turn my face to the side, just move it about 45 degrees.  So far it’s working or me and now it’s been about 6 weeks of consistently sleeping on my back.

I guess it’s one of those things like taking a vitamin and eating your vegetables – you know it’s good for you and the right thing to do, but until you commit to doing it, you won’t have success.  I had tried and failed several times before, but once I realized the benefits were too numerous to ignore and saw what it was doing to my face’s appearance, I got serious and finally was able to enjoy success!

How do you like to sleep?

 

10 Benefits of Facial Massage – Your Cheap Anti-aging solution!

You can massage your face and enjoy all these benefits for free!

Do you massage your face?  Believe it or not, that is the least expensive anti-aging regimen you can do for yourself.  You don’t need to go for a facial to enjoy the benefits of a facial massage.  When I was in school for my esthetician license, we all learned massage techniques and practiced on each other and I saw a definite improvement in my skin.  When I get professional facials today, I am always disappointed that only 5 or 10 minutes of your hour is used for facial massage.  We used to do it for longer in skincare school and I think the power of massage is greatly underestimated!

So what are those benefits?

By massaging your face you are stimulating blood circulation which can give you a healthy glow.  You are also exercising muscles to prevent your skin from sagging and improve your overall muscle tone. The process of massaging your facial muscles actually will relax them (which in turn will prevent wrinkles)!  And, it just plain feels good!  There are absolutely stress reducing benefits of facial massage and who needs less stress in their lives?  If you are looking to maximize the benefits of skincare products in your regimen, facial massage helps to increase their absorption and effectiveness.  Massage helps slough off dead skin cells, cleanses skin of impurities and softens sebum (which helps in acne prevention).  Do you suffer from sinus congestion or puffiness?  Guess what – facial massage can help reduce those symptoms also!

So are you ready to start incorporating this into your regimen?  I am going to describe some quick massage moves you can do on your own face to keep it looking and feeling its best!

You can enjoy the benefits of facial massage free.

How do I massage my face correctly?

You want to hit some key areas on the face that will really benefit from massage – the forehead, around the eyes, the cheeks and the jawline. Note that when massaging, you should use your middle or ring fingers, not your index finger.

Forehead – Using upward strokes, and making small circles on the forehead is a great massage move.  As a rule of thumb, you always want to stroke in an upward direction, not down, as we want to go in the direction we want our skin to stay, which is not sagging!

Eyes– You can do light taps around the entire eye area, and also small circles in the undereye area.  You can also do two swift stroking motions, one above the eyebrow area and another under the eye.

Side of face – You can massage this area with upward strokes using your entire flat hand.  Perform this motion on each cheek and then also on forehead.  You can also perform a light tapping of fingers around cheeks (technical term is tapotement, if you want to get fancy!).

Jawline – To access this area you can use pinching around lower edges of face (technical term is petrissage).  Also, use light upward strokes from base of neck up to jawline using middle fingers of hands.

If you have very sensitive skin, inflamed acne or sunburn you should not massage your face until those symptoms subside.

If you are worried about how to make time to fit this in, you can do it while washing your face, which you are going to be doing at least twice a day anyway.  You can also incorporate some of the massage when rinsing off an exfoliating mask if you are using this in your routine.  Trust me, the benefits of taking a few extra minutes to fit this into your routine will definitely be worth the effort.  Let me know if you have any questions and happy massaging!