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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Products for Your Baby That You Should Be Using Too

One of the perks of being a Johnson’s Baby ambassador is getting to try all sorts of products. And because babies are small and bottles are big I’ve found myself borrowing from the girl’s supply. Here are a few things that are made for babies but make my life easier too.

Intense Moisture Cream is an end table mainstay now that Everly is born. When I’m pregnant (is this everyone or just me?) I never use lotion or lip balm or much of anything in terms of moisturizers because my skin is mysteriously smooth at all times. This lasts up until basically the second the baby is born, then my skin is beyond parched – like it’s making up for lost time.

Typically I’d use a little coconut oil but my hands are so dry that the oil doesn’t absorb. So now I’ve been using this cream throughout the day which absorbs quick and softens without a greasy feel. I’ve even put some in a small plastic jar that I keep in the diaper bag (ahem- travel size please?!) so I’m never without it.

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When our family was staying with us over the holidays, my sister in law ran out of her facial cleansing wipes she uses at night so I gave her some of these washcloths to use. They’re bigger and thicker than a traditional face cloth and they foam up with tear-free suds that clean the face gently without stripping the skin. I use them to clean off Everly when blowouts strike- they’re the next best thing to an actual bath- but I found they’re the perfect makeup remover and face wash on those nights where I can barely peel myself off the couch to stumble into bed.

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I’ve been removing my eye makeup with baby shampoo for about 15 years now. Its gentle formula doesn’t burn your eyes and the cleanser removes even waterproof makeup. A small dot on a damp cotton pad is all you need so one bottle can last years. I also use it to clean makeup brushes after I first noticed that harsher soaps broke down the bristles leaving me to replace expensive brushes too quickly.

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I don’t use baby powder on my girls but had some looking right at me when I ran out of my Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo a few weeks ago. A quick check to the label showed fewer (and cleaner) ingredients in the Johnson’s powder which uses corn starch instead of Blandi’s rice starch to absorb moisture (aka greasy hair) which also happens to bulk up roots and give some serious volume. My hair is still falling out in clumps because of my crazy thyroid so I’ve been sprinkling some baby powder on my roots to give some much needed lift. I have to say that I love the baby powder and think it works better than the hair powder. It is pure white of course so if your hair is dark don’t sprinkle it directly on top of your head, hide it underneath the top layers of hair and get it close to the roots to keep it undetectable.

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Post sponsored by Johnson’s Baby. All content and opinions are my own.

Happy 1 Month Birthday Everly!

On November 29th we took a long overdue family photo for Everly’s 1 month birthday. It’s amazing to see her mind working with all of her preferences she already has right out of the gate. She’ll search for my hand to hold when I nurse her, she doesn’t like pacifiers or being swaddled, and she locks eyes on you smiling and laughing once he has your attention. She has been a complete joy, we’re so excited for her to be here in time for Christmas.

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Happy Birthday Everly!

Happy Birthday to my daughter Everly Joy who was born October 29th. I just wanted to share a photo of her (all 8.12lbs!!) and let you know that all went well. I’ve barely set her down since she’s been home- it’s all so much easier the second time. Harper is getting used to having a sister and now gives her kisses and reaches out to touch her. We’re so happy and grateful to have a house buzzing with our happy girls.

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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.

Another DIY: How to Ombré A Dresser

Those sleepless/uncomfortable nights during this pregnancy meant lots of time on Pinterest. Instead of just pinning away and collecting photos of projects I’ll never do, I actually did a few things that I never imagined possible.

I debated for a long time whether or not to paint these dressers from Ikea once we decided to use them in the nursery. Both nurseries have white cribs and dressers because I didn’t like any of the wood options and black seemed too harsh for a girl’s room. This meant two similar looking rooms and the oppertunity to go a little more creative to try and make each unique.  I love the ombré painted furniture that’s so popular right now, and that look just seemed perfect in this room since I went big on color whereas my first daughter’s room has splashes here and there. Why not I figured?! The very worst thing that could happen is I’d just paint it white again.

It’s so easy and fast. Here’s what I did.

These are the dressers we used from Ikea which were originally intended to be nightstands for our room but turned out to be way too big. Because one was already put together when we discovered how massive they looked, I decided to re-purpose them in the new nursery instead of taking them back to Ikea to fight for a store credit. Harper’s dresser is never enough storage it seems and we already have these mostly filled so I’m glad this is what we went with instead of one smaller dresser.

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Here they are before the paint, just plain ol dressers. I went to Guiry’s and paid a few bucks for 3 of each color in sample sizes (pictured on the dresser) which was just enough to cover the drawers with 2 coats. Not shown is the priming step where I used this primer that we also used to stain our nightstands.

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Here are the colors I used. For the ombré look you just take any 3 colors in a row from a color swatch which will give you that progressive look. It’s that easy.

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I thought at first it was going to look too dark, but I love it. The darkest color is what’s used in the room for the curtains and accessories, so that’s what I matched to. More photos of the nursery to come (I’m thisclose to being done!!)

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I got the crystal pulls from Hobby Lobby which were $4 each and 50% off (I needed 12.) I didn’t want to add any more color so I think it worked out perfect.