Andalou Naturals Chia + Omega Radiant Skin Polish

There was a time BC (before children) when I’d on occasion wander around the skincare aisles of Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage while I was grocery shopping. I’d look, smell, test, and spray every bottle that caught my eye. It’s these natural, organic, off the beaten path lines that I’ll first browse when it comes to my own skincare whenever I’m out of something. I’ve seen this Andalou line a million times but never bought anything until I saw this Skin Polish which is usually a term for a finer grain scrub versus a traditional exfoliant with larger beads or bits of grit.

Here’s what I love- the finely ground chia seeds are in a rich cleansing aloe base so it feels like a microdermabrasion and it quickly buffs away dry skin and dullness which leaves my skin noticably softer and brighter. I love the natural ingredients like jojoba, flax, vitamins, and walnut powder and the exclusion of GMO’s, Petrochemicals, Phthalates, Sulfates, Synthetic Colors, Dyes, Fragrances, Triclosan, PEG, MEA, TEA, DEA, or Paraben Preservatives which goes for every product they offer.

Online it sells for $15, but I got it for $10. Based on this scrub alone I’m excited to try more- like their BB Cream from their 1000 Roses line, and this Beta Hydroxy cream for pigmentation and skin healing.

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SHEMERGENCY KIT: The Perfect Bridal Shower Gift!

If you’re married and had an event planner for the wedding then you know that they always have these little emergency kits on hand filled with everything from tampons to chalk to make sure that any problem that arrises can be easily fixed. Such is the idea behind Pinch Provisions Shemergency Kit which contains 40 essentials for any beauty emergency. It’s a great bridal shower gift or just a good gift in general. Forget Fix-A-Flat, this is what you really need to have in the car at all times.

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Includes 40 essential items: folding hair brush/comb, mirror, hair spray, clear elastics (2), bobby pins (2), earring backs (2), hand lotion, nail clipper, emery board, clear nail polish, nail polish remover pads (2), mending kit, safety pin, double-sided tape strips (5), lint remover, stain removing towelettes (2), static remover, breath freshener, lip balm, single-use dental floss (2), pain reliever, deodorant towelettes (2), tampon, adhesive bandages (2), facial tissues, blotting tissues, tweezers, and blister balm. $35

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My Foundation and Skin Spray Dream Team

When clients ask what brands I use in my kit I always answer the same way, “the best of the best.” It makes sense, I get to try out so many amazing things from companies big and small so I promote the best stuff to kit status where they’ll make my job as a Makeup Artist much easier. The mistake I often make is leaving them there and not using them for myself.

I usually take a few winter months off from my wedding makeup biz which is typically when we vacation for a few months by the beach. This year we stayed in Colorado to focus on our baby girl and (finally) finding a house after a two year search. (I think we’re there!) So because my kit has been parked in the closet and I just ran out, I got my fave foundation (along with my miracle setting spray) out of my kit and into my bathroom.

I can’t say enough about Koh Gen Do and their moisture foundation, not that I really have to since so many makeup artists and celebs use it. Its perfect ratio of powder, emollients, and water give it a better-than-skin look that’s never heavy or drying. It’s the perfect photography makeup but it’s so light that I overlooked the fact that it’s a great everyday makeup too. My melasma is slowly fading out but I still need some coverage so when I have time I quickly blend it in with my fingers before setting it with my favorite spray.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir is another kit staple for many MUA’s because it somehow makes the skin look better. If ever I’m having problems getting foundation to blend into a client’s dry skin, a few sprays pressed into the skin using a Beauty Blender does the trick. I top my foundation with a few sprays and skip the powder. The result using the two together is healthy, even looking skin.

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Just a quick snap I took today in the drive through at Starbucks. I say ‘snap’ only because I’m too old for selfies. See? Even skin. (Side note: I wasn’t mad and I’m not cross-eyed. At least I don’t think I am but it might be because my wonky eye can’t see that it’s wonky.)

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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.

vivant mandelic serum

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.

Makeup Before and After: How to Use Yellow Primer

I was dying to try Koh Gen Do’s Yellow Primer ever since I saw this now infamous photo of it slathered all over Kim Kardashian’s face. Though my technique isn’t the same as her MUA Mary’s, I use it all the time and am addicted to the gorgeous highlight it gives the skin. How did I ever live without it? Pre-foundation I apply a good amount of it under the eyes- all the way across like a half moon and down to the tops of cheeks, I also use it down the bridge of the nose, the center of the forehead, and also on the chin. There are many ways to highlight the skin, but this is how I use this product and get great results.  Because it’s a primer and not a foundation or concealer, the yellow pigment isn’t too dense which can make the skin look sallow.

I used Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation over the primer which has been a staple in my kit for years. As you can see the coverage is perfection and it’s undetectable so it doesn’t look at all heavy. It’s a staple for so many Makeup Artists, but you can use it as a daily foundation too.

After highlighting the skin, I needed to put some depth back in so I used a ton of Jouer’s Mattifying Bronzer aroud her hairline, cheeks, and even down her neck and decloté to give her a bit more color and ensure that her face would match up with her neck. I don’t like bronzers that have shimmer in them which I think give a really tacky Jersey Shore sort of look. Jouer’s are shimmer-free and give a subtle, natural looking glow which is why they’ve become the most used in my kit. This new formula mops up shine by keeping the skin matte, an unusual bonus for a bronzer.

One of my very favorite things I’ve tried this summer is Laura Mercier’s Kohl Liner Extreme,. The black is so rich and deep that a little goes a long way, but it’s the ease of application that I love best. The slightly creamy formula comes to a dull tip that’s a bit wider than a traditional pencil so it’s easy to draw a line on the lid or smudge it into your waterline. If you feel like you can never get your liner on right, you have to try this one out. It will make your liner application 10x easier.

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Mally: The Perfect Bright Lip Kit

Girls who always wear lipstick: I salute you.

I’ve never been one to wear a lot of color on my lips even though I know it livens up your face, adds brightness, and just makes you look more polished especially when you aren’t wearing much makeup otherwise. I always look at women who are wearing lipstick during the day like they know something I don’t. They just look so put together like they have really important jobs and a perfect house and dinner already marinating in the fridge that they’ll cook promptly after their gym session which they never miss. *Sigh* Have you ever noticed? It’s hard to look sloppy when you’re wearing lipstick.

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I can’t say that I did anything amazing today while wearing Mally’s The Perfect Bright Lip Kit in Frisky Fuchsia, but I felt a lot more put together in my workout pants (I didn’t work out today) and maternity shirt at story time and the grocery store.

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Not sloppy from the neck up.

I’m loving this lip pencil. It’s creamy and light like a good lip balm so I forgot I was wearing it until I accidentally wiped half of it off with a napkin when I was eating so I looked like The Joker for probably several hours until I even noticed. Other than that- it didn’t bleed out and stayed bold and bright the whole time. It has the staying power of a long-wearing lipstick without the dryness and weird feel those formulas often have. The lip liner glides on so easily that I had to put it in my kit. It’s made to plump and not settle so it creates a good barrier that won’t allow the color to bleed out.

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Click to enlarge

My pink lips were a good reminder that bold colors should see daytime every now and again. It was nice to catch little glimpses of my fuchsia pout during an unglamorous day filled with diaper changes and errands. We all deserve to at least look like we might be doing something really fabulous later.