Meet the $3 Solution for Flaky Lips — elf Lip Exfoliator

elf lip exfoliator

If you have flaky lips, or wear matte lipsticks, this is for you! I know you could easily make your own lip scrub at home, which I’ve done many, many times. But sometimes you need something portable for your purse or travel. My coconut/olive oil and sugar concoctions aren’t exactly purse or travel-friendly, so I opt for this! The elf Lip Exfoliator is a champ at sloughing off all the rough stuff for about $3 at most retailers. Not too shabby, eh?

elf studio lip exfoliator

I was skeptical about this baby to be honest, but I was SO wrong! I’ve been wearing mattes a lot lately, and this preps my lips for a smooth canvas. The ingredients are really simple and effective, too.  [Read more…]

I Switched to Paula’s Choice Skincare for 3 Weeks. Here’s What Happened.

paulas choice skincare

Like you, I believe that it’s better to invest in great skincare, than to spend a ton of money on cosmetics to cover things up. Over the years though, I’ve learned that you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money to have great skin. A few great basics, paired with some active treatment products will do the job, so I turned my skin over to Paula’s Choice for a few weeks and journaled about the changes that took place — here’s what happened!

I’ve known Paula Begoun to be a heralded industry expert for ages, but recently I realized she was the brains behind so many great products some of my friends are raving about. Paula is a cosmetics ingredient expert to the nth degree, and she’s a strong advocate for consumers burned by products in the past (often marketed with outrageous promises of extreme, seemingly overnight results). I’m sure you’ve seen her book, Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. She takes this stuff very seriously, meticulously breaking down products by the efficacy of their ingredients like no one else I’ve ever known. It’s serious business to Paula, so I had to try her products to see what would best treat one of my biggest skincare concerns.

Paulas choice earth sourced perfectly natural hydralight shine free daily mineral complex

A few days before my product test drive began, I had a brief telephone consultation with one of Paula’s skin experts to help find out which products would be best for me. (I highly recommend doing this! There’s no additional fee, and you can even ask product questions on via live chat on the Paula’s Choice website.) Since I wanted to see quick results for this trial, I narrowed it down to just one specific targeted skincare concern. I told her that my pores easily become congested, and I’d like to whip those blackheads into shape — STAT! I also told her that my skin doesn’t love Vitamin C, and tends to become irritated by it. Taking this into consideration, she came back to me with a regimen that was 100% ready to fight that battle!

Let’s start off with the daily basics…

Earth Sourced Perfectly Natural Cleansing Gel — I used this both am/pm for gentle cleansing. It’s a gel cleanser, that lathers nicely without stripping my skin. Since I went pretty gentle on the cleanser, I was able to really amp up the active ingredients my treatment products without experiencing irritation. (You’ll see those in the second part below!)  [Read more…]

The Best Summer Acne Busters

summer acne busters

For some reason, this is the time of year that I struggle the most with those pesky pimples. Even though I feel like I’ve reached an age where they should be a non-issue, summer always seems to bring out the worst in my skin, and I know I’m not alone. I can’t tell you how many frantic texts and email messages I’ve received from my good girlfriends recently, basically screaming, “HELP!”

Blame it on the heat, the climate you live in, excessive perspiration, perhaps even the sunscreen that doesn’t 100% get washed off (even when we think it has been). It can be hormones (Oh, don’t we just LOVE those?), and also—the carefree days of summer. We’re camping, we’re vacationing, we’re swimming. Maybe we’re just not being as diligent about our skincare routines as we normally are during other times of the year. And then—once all the acne is cleared, sometimes we head into fall with reminders of the acne we had in the form of discoloration—which makes it even more frustrating. Acne—the gift that keeps on giving!

I hope you find it comforting to know, that a few friends and I have suffered just the way you may be right now, and we’ve put products to the test! Here’s what we discovered to help minimize our summer acne frustrations.

best acne facial cleansers

Cleansers are the first line of defense to get the gunk off that initially clogs our pores. We MUST wash our faces, twice a day! Try incorporating one of these facial cleansers into your skincare regimen:  [Read more…]

5 Easy Steps for Healthy Winter Skin


Many people think that just because summer is long gone, they can slack off in the sunscreen department. This is simply not true! Often, the winter rays are even worse for skin, especially once they reflect off of the snow and onto your face. But how do you keep yourself protected since it’s not exactly necessary to apply thick, waterproof sunscreens this season?

nivea cold weather must-haves

Not only can UV rays be stronger in the winter, but your skin can be at its driest and most sensitive. Here are a few tips that will not only make your skin more comfortable this season, but will also keep it protected.

  • Regularly exfoliate — Gentle, regular exfoliation is great for removing the itchiest of dry skin. It will also help your skincare products work more effectively. Your moisturizers can do their best work!
  • Take shorter, less hot showers — I’ll be the first one to admit I love a steaming, hot shower when it’s cold, but it also strips the skin of essential moisture, leaving your skin even dryer than it already was. Turn down the temperature, and take a shorter shower or bath.
  • Multi-task with your daytime moisturizers — For daytime, try switching up your routine with Eucerin’s Daily Protection line of moisturizers for face and body. These gentle, effective formulas offer both daily broad-spectrum UV protection and deep hydration, with a lightweight feel. Great for even those with sensitive skin, I recommend Eucerin’s  Moisturizing Face Lotion with SPF 30, and Daily Protection Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15 for the body.
  • Avoid dry, chapped lips — Just like you’re multi-tasking with your skincare products, do the same for your lips. Try NIVEA’s “A Kiss of” line of lipcare products. They offer UV protection and comforting moisture to even the driest of lips. My favorites—A Kiss of Cherry with SPF 10, and A Kiss of Strawberry with SPF 10. They also offer a slight tint to the lips, bonus!
  • Switch to more mild soaps — Detergents and soaps can strip your skin of essential oils. Change your laundry detergent and body washes to sensitive skin formulas!

What are some of your winter skincare tips?

This post is in partnership with NIVEA. All opinions are those of the author, and do not reflect those of the brand.

What’s New: Perlier Volcanic Thermal Spa Thermo Renewing Scrub

perlier volcanic thermo scrub

People have known for centuries how beneficial thermal water is. While never a replacement for medical treatments or prescribed medications, this naturally alkaline water has been used for soothing painful sunburns, hydrating dry skin, soothing sensitive skin after shaving, reducing skin redness, refreshing skin during travel, and more. You’ll find a lot of international brands employing this theory in their thermal water products, but this is the first time I’ve seen the benefits coming from Italian thermal water, so it was a welcome addition to my beauty arsenal!

perlier scrub

Perlier recently launched their Volcanic Thermal Spa Thermo Renewing Scrub, an indulgent body exfoliator packed with volcanic stones for the smoothest skin, and Italian thermal water from the municipality of Abana Terme. Mineral salts and stones are immersed into this rich, cooling gel to help eliminate even the roughest skin to leave you feeling baby soft.  [Read more…]

What’s New: Kooba for AHAVA Limited Edition Set

ahava kooba 1

Give me a Kooba bag, and I’m a happy girl. Give me a Kooba bag filled with AHAVA products, and watch my face light up like a Christmas tree! AHAVA is known for their incredible line of body and skincare products loaded with rich Dead Sea nutrients and minerals that skin just loves.

ahava kooba 4

AHAVA Deadsea Water Mineral Body Exfoliator, Mineral Body Lotion, Mineral Hand Cream

Made with unique, scientific Dead Sea extract blends, the nutrients derived from their process translates into deeply moisturizing products that are naturally rich in magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium to restore suppleness, moisture, and comfort to the skin. See why I love AHAVA so much? Check out this packed clutch further—  [Read more…]

Best of Summer: Body Scrubs

best of summer body scrubs

The best scrubs of summer!

Whether you’re self-tanning this summer, or just want smooth, soft, and healthy skin—these body exfoliation solutions are the keys to your success. Check out eight of the best and brightest scrubs we could find this season. Fresher, smoother, brighter skin is just a few minutes away with these!

Simple Sugars Strawberry Sugar Scrub

I knew I had to purchase this product immediately when I saw the teenage founder and creator of Simple Sugars, Lani Lazzari on ABC’s Shark Tank. This savvy teen scored funding from Mark Cuban, and she really knew her stuff! I purchased a few scents, but I fell in love with the Strawberry—it smells like fresh strawberry jam, and the blend of sugar and natural custom-blended oils leaves my skin baby smooth and hydrated. This scrub contains a mild astringent quality due to the strawberries, and the berries are also a natural source of Vitamin C. $11.95-$16.95,

LATHER Coconut Foaming Scrub

Go coconuts for this deliciously scented body scrub that contains bamboo stem powder, fruit extracts, coconut shell, and cane sugar. When emulsified with water, it slightly foams and gives the perfect amount of friction that’s both gentle to the skin—but sloughs off icky dead skin with a quickness. Everything about this body scrub is divine, right down to the tropical coconut and vanilla scent. Paraben and sulfate-free. $19, [Read more…]

Bioelements Triple-Action, Rapid-Resurfacing Facial Kit Review, Photos

bioelements triple action resurfacing peel

Exfoliation is such a key step to any skincare regimen. If you’ve always been afraid of it due to your sensitive or easily irritated skin—this is for you. If you’re not sensitive, and you want a nice punch to your exfoliation routine, this is also for you! Deeply rooted in professional-grade skincare, Bioelements created a fantastic take-home exfoliation kit that offers a unique three tiered process to banish those icky dead cells that inhibit your skin from effectively accepting your skincare routine, and reveal smoother, brighter skin within minutes. Meet the Triple-Action Rapid Resurfacing Facial Kit.

bioelements facial peel

I can honestly say I’ve never met an exfoliator that’s so gentle, yet so effective at the same time. I can also say that I’ve never used Chinese herbs to exfoliate my skin either! Bioelements utilizes an exclusive pro formula of herb granules—dubbed Herbology. First, they offer physical exfoliation, and once activated with water and their olive oil-based cleanser to “melt” the granules, which release natural alpha-hydroxy acid to help dissolve the pesky cells that want to literally stick around. [Read more…]

Tried & Tested: 5 Facial Exfoliators That Rock

1. Ole Henricksen Power Peel

My current favorite, the Power Peel pairs a powerful punch of physical and alpha hydroxy acid-based exfoliators with a soothing mask in three pouches for a single use (3 steps per peel; scrub, peel, then mask). Each box comes with six perfectly measured treatments, and nothing goes to waste. My favorite part is step 2, the Lemon Strip Peel. I can’t stand a wimpy peel, and the glycolic and lactic acids add a bit of zing, which is then soothed by the Chamomile Comfort mask. My skin is left glowing, bright, and super smooth immediately after one treatment. I liked this one so much, that I actually just purchased another box. (Best if used once weekly.) –$45,

2. philosophy Microdelivery Dual-Phase Peel

This oldie but goodie never lets me down! The Microdelivery Peel uses two steps to reveal fresh, smooth skin after just one use. First, you use the physical exfoliator (bicarbonate vitamin C crystals), then activate it with the gel (lactic acid). A slight warming sensation occurs, and you rinse it off after one minute. The results are pretty much undeniable. –$69,   [Read more…]