More Stuff I Buy: Caudalìe, Marc Jacobs, Dr Jart, Living Proof, Anastasia, & A Fan Brush

A few weeks ago Sephora had their VIB event where insiders (just like a frequent flier) got 15% off of anything in the store. It’s not a huge amount but if you’re out of something anyway, it’s a good time to pick it up.

I bought two more things from Living Proof hair care, the mousse which works great for volume without being sticky and their PHD shampoo which I also love. The only thing I’ve bought so far from the line that I wouldn’t buy again is this volumizer which doesn’t actually volumize because you aren’t supposed to use it on your roots so I don’t get the point. Everything else is magic and makes my hair look better. Really, give it a try if you aren’t loving what you currently use. I can’t praise it enough.

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My bronzer is now applied by this fan brush. Bronzer and blush brushes can apply color in a too-concentrated, streaky way but the fan dusts on powders like blush or highlighter really lightly so it’s hard to overdo it. Brushes make all the difference.

Fan brush

I bought another Caudalîe Beauty Elixir which I’m never without for my kit or my own bathroom. I also got another brow powder from the best around, Anastasia. My last one lasted me close to 3 years.

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Not pictured: Living Proof PHD Shampoo and the Fan Brush

Now for the best and worst of it:

I really wanted to love Dr Jart’s SPF 45 BB Cream mostly because I love a good BB Cream and this formula is wildly popular and really well reviewed on Sephora.com. But here’s the thing- see the color on my hand below? It’s like a weird clay color that looks really ashy and dull on the skin. It’s also really light so most women wouldn’t be able to wear it. I looked like I had a weird mask on and it never blended into my skin. It also broke me out which never happens these days. I hated it.

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The best for last. Believe what you’ve read- Marc Jacobs’ color line is pretty amazing. This pencil combines the longevity and of a gel with the ease of a pencil and comes in a rainbow of shades. The black one I have is so rich and glides on with barely a swipe. I can even use it to tight line without it transferring or running down. When I returned my Dr. Jart BB Cream I picked up his shadow palette (the starlet) and couldn’t be happier.

Best Beauty Buys at Trader Joe’s

When Trader Joe’s opened three (!) stores here in Colorado everyone was buzzing- even those who had never stepped foot into one were excited to see what all the hype was about. I knew what I was in for having lived in Arizona and California where I enjoyed all that TJ’s has to offer, but the things I was most excited about weren’t food (or wine..) related at all. It’s the cheap face washes, soaps, lotions, and oils in their concise beauty aisle. Here’s a rundown of a few along with their can’t-beat prices.

Top to bottom, left to right:

Spa Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil: This light castile-like soap cleanses skin and leaves a tingly fresh feeling behind from the tea tree. It’s a great basic cleanser for day and night and all skin types.

Moisturizing Shave Cream: This is one of my favorite shave creams. It’s so rich that a tiny amount goes a long way, this tube will last me several months.

Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50: You can’t do much better than $6 for a big can of SPF 50. You can spray down the whole family all summer long.

100% Pure Jojoba Oil: I LOVE this oil so much that I used to buy several of and bring them back to Colorado whenever we’d visit CA. I don’t know what it is about this body oil but it’s a perfect balance of hydration and slip. You can even rub it on your eyes to pre-cleanse to remove eye makeup or use it on your face. It’s that good.

All-In-One Facial Cleanser: I haven’t used this cleanser but at $6, another great deal.

Coconut Body Butter: I bought this and I’m obsessed. The smell of coconut is intoxicating to me and this has a balanced scent that’s sweet and tropical.  It’s the best bargain I saw, $5 for a body butter that’s normally sold for $20 at other stores. A must-have for sure.

Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Moisturizer: A good, lightweight all-purpose moisturizer for those who are looking for something basic and effective.

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Resveratrol For the Skin: Caudalîe Vinexpert Firming Serum

If there’s one thing I’ve always used (and tell others to use too) it’s an antioxidant during the day. They prevent oxidation on the skin from free radicals (things like pollution) that turn apples brown after being peeled and left out. Antioxidants like vitamin c and a few others fight the free radicals and slow the cells from aging, like what happens when you add lemon juice to fruit to prevent it from browning.

I’ve tried quite a few, most of them serums containing C and E but the one I was using wasn’t doing anything anymore so when Vinexpert Firming Serum arrived I was excited to give it a try. Caudalîe is known for its Resveritrol-rich formulations, a natural compound found in grape skins (it’s what makes red wine healthy.) Dr. Oz has touted the stuff as important to the body over and over which has many people aware of its powerful effects. This serum quickly wowed me and gave my skin much needed radiance and life in a matter of weeks. I noticed right away that after using it my face looked as if I was wearing foundation. Its soft focus pigments blur imperfections and give a more toned and healthy appearance right away while over time the Resveratrol firms the skin and protects it from daily stressors.

I don’t know if my skin was just tired of the same ol serum I’d been using and it lost its potency somehow, but this is something I will buy again once mine runs out because I can actually see what a difference it’s making.

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Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Oil

You must check out Sebu Beauty and their skincare made with the nutrient rich sea buckthorn berry. I just bought my second bottle of Sea Buckthorn oil from Sprouts today along with their cleanser. I bought my first bottle of the oil a few months back along with the cleansing bar (which is almost gone) and I use them both daily. The oil regulates my skin’s moisture levels and leaves it really glowy- a huge help since the cold weather is sucking the life out of my skin and I don’t always have time to slap on foundation.

Next I’ll order their supplements (I couldn’t find them at Sprouts) which I read are good for hair growth. Mine is still falling out in clumps thanks to my thyroid so anything right now is worth a shot.

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Post-Baby Skin Care: What I’ll Be Using to Get Rid of My Melasma (Round 2)

Well here we are, today is the day I’m giving birth to my daughter (Note: of course I’m not writing this in the delivery room, it’s actually the night before) and I’m once again planning my new skincare routine to banish the melasma that reared its ugly head from pretty much day 1 of this pregnancy. I actually think it never went away from the first pregnancy and just kept on building throughout this one. Either way, I’m ready to attack. I’ve done a ton of research and have come up with what I think is the best of the best as far as attacking pigment and restoring my skin without using hydroquinone or Botox.

Cleanser:

I was thinking about getting this Pigment Bar from PCA Skin, a medical line that I really like but I nixed the idea and will stick with my cleanser that I love. I’m just not sure how much help a cleanser is in fading dark spotting since it’s only on the skin for a few seconds and the ingredients are washed away. If you’re curious though, check it out- it’s a cool concept and people seem to really like it.

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Toner:

Hands down, one of the most effective things I’ve ever used on my skin has been Mandelic acid from Vivant, a line sold through skin pros and doctors that is really picking up steam in the industry for its skin-changing ways. Mandelic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid extracted from bitter almonds, so it’s a safe alternative to hydroquinone (a skin lightener that really works well, but has safety concerns.) This 9% solution will help to lighten while also making my skin soft enough to allow the serums and creams to penetrate and work that much better.

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Serum:

I was a little on the fence about this one so I ordered two and then canceled one. I wanted to get Skinceuticals Phyto + which I ordered from Amazon (before canceling) because of its botanical formula and kojic acid, a known skin lightener. In the end the shaky reviews mixed with the fact that I know Mandelic will definitely work were what swayed my decision to stick with a more potent formula. So I ordered Vivant’s Mandelic 3-in-1 Serum 15% which combines Mandelic with Lactic Acid, a combination that will lighten and brighten my skin without question.

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Retinol:

Can I use a retinol while nursing? My derm thought so and she recommended Afirm, a Retin-A alternitive (sidebar: Terntinoin and Retin-A both break me out because they put the vitamin a into a cheap cream that’s all greasy terrible so I can’t use it anyway) that’s easily absorbed into the skin and gives the same results as a prescription retinoid at a fraction of the cost. A good retinol will diminish wrinkles, fade discoloration, and give better clarity and tone to the skin. Another interesting fact: Retinoids are the only FDA approved treatments for wrinkles. I bought the 3X, formula which amounts to a 0.6% retinol which is their strongest treatment. Again, I’m getting the higher percentage treatments for all of the formulations just because my skin is used to really active stuff.. Start with the 1% just a few times a week if you’re just venturing into the world of retinol, but really if you have wrinkles or discoloration to get rid of this is a really good place to start.

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Antioxidant:

I always use an antioxidant serum during the day to combat further damage (and you should too), so I’ll use Vivant’s Spin Trap serum with vitamins C&E. I’ve used this one in the past and for some reason it seems to keep longer than others, it doesn’t turn that dull color vitamin serums turn after just a few months which means its potency is also in tact.

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Moisturizer:

I went out on a limb for this one. I’ve never used Nia 24 but I see it everywhere and am fascinated by it since it’s the only niacin-based product I know of. There’s a bunch of research they have on their site (independent from them) showing how niacin heals sun damaged skin and can even play a role in skin cancer prevention. Their signature treatment cream is this Intensive Recovery Complex, pricey at $118 but something I’ve literally looked at buying for years. Because it’s meant specifically for hyperpigment issues, I thought it would fit in perfectly with my whole skin-lightening regimen.

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SPF:

Good SPF is key when you’re using an active bunch of products like this. Even in the winter when you don’t think you’re getting sun exposure, you are. I’ve been using Coola SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint as a daily primer and skin perfector. The look and feel is just like a slightly tinted primer that helps to even out skintone pre-foundation. I love Coola’s sunscreens, it’s an organic line that only does suncare so they do it really well. It’s basically a really good SPF disguised as a great makeup primer that will help even out my skin on days when I won’t be wearing foundation (which will be quite often in the coming weeks.)

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Oh- and I’ll be using my Dermaroller to get super maximum penetration and faster results. Read HERE and HERE to catch up on the magical wonders of Dermarolling (aka microneedling) if you missed my past posts on the subject, and keep an eye on Hautelook (get the app) because they often feature them for just $20 or $30.

New Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

Advanced Night Repair (or ANR as I call it) is the original antioxidant serum. I remember selling tons of it when I worked at an Estée Lauder counter back in 1997 (my first cosmetics job!!) and trying to explain its benefits to customers in an era that was pre-internet and pre-Dr. Oz-type shows that regularly highlight products like this with supercharged ingredients that preserve your skin. Nowadays most savvy women are using an antioxidant on a regular basis and ANR is still one of the most popular around. Their new ANR Synchronized Recovery Complex II has even more benefits than the original and targets uneven skin tone, texture, hydration, and overall radiancy. It’s truly a do-all solution for all skin types.

Serums make the biggest difference in the skin. This is one to invest in if you’re looking to make changes in your skin and keep it looking great for years to come.

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Bonus: it’s a gentle formula that’s safe for pregnancy!