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…]

It’s Back! Urban Decay’s Revolution Lipstick & Nail Color in ‘Gash’ — But Hurry!


Urban Decay Gash lipstick nail polish

This oldie but goodie is back again, for a super limited time — and with a matching nail polish! This is Gash, the iconic, old-school lipstick shade that Urban Decay retired long ago — but when we UD junkies get restless — they sometimes give into our cravings and re-release it again for a hot second or two. We’re also graced with a hot nail color too, in Gash! Let’s take a closer look…

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick Gash

The Gash Revolution Lipstick formula is far from the days of 90’s version Gash (in texture and packaging), but not color. It’s so much more hydrating, long-wearing, and purely pigmented in my opinion. Revolution Lipstick is one of my favorite lipstick formulas of all time, and ever since they released the new formulation a few years ago — I’ve collected my fair share of shades. I highly recommend!  [Read more…]

Urban Decay The Ultraviolet Edge Enigma Eyeshadow Primer Potion Review: 100% Goes to Charity!


Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Enigma

No joke, I receive a few emails a month from brands who have products that promise to donate pennies on the dollar to a worthy cause for each purchase. In no way do I negate that any donation is helpful to a worthy organization, but I think it’s time for brands to start putting their money where their mouths are — donating substantial amounts of money — like 100% of the purchase price of that product to a worthy cause. Sadly, all of the brands I know that do this with a specific product, I can count on one hand.

One of my favorite brands, Urban Decay, is doing just that. 100% of the purchase price of their brand new Eyeshadow Primer Potion in limited-edition shade Enigma is part of The Ultraviolet Edge Initiative, which will empower women in Uganda in ways that will make them self-sufficient, and substantially change their lives for the better  — giving them chances they wouldn’t have otherwise. Before I go more into the initiative and the benefits, I want to show you the primer. Because it’s AWESOME!

Urban Decay The Ultraviolet Edge Enigma Eyeshadow Primer Potion

UD recently upgraded the packaging for the primers, and they are seriously better than ever. I love the tube with the wand combo, it just makes sense! Enigma is a 24-hour wear shade that’s matte, and a neutral beige-nude. It does have some pigment to it for me, and I’ve actually worn it alone as a cream shadow to neutralize the redness on my eyelids. It’s got that same creamy texture we’re all used to when it comes to their Primer Potion. I’m not disappointed at all in the product. The only thing I am disappointed in — is that it’s limited-edition! So stock up, like yesterday!  [Read more…]

Nail Butter Review, Photos


nail butter

I’ve always been pretty fanatical about taking care of my hands and nails. My husband always makes fun of me — because some kind of cuticle oil, balm, or hand cream is never far out of reach for me — anywhere in our house. Exposing my nails and cuticles to acetone as much as I do with swatching polishes (and just the stuff you have to do around the house in general), causes them to look wrecked and dehydrated pretty fast. As much as I take care of the skin on my face, I want to take good care of my cuticles too. They definitely have a purpose!

Your cuticles aren’t a pointless part of your finger structure. They help shield new keratin cells from harm as they age and add length to your fingernails. The manner in which cuticles overlap your nail plate also helps seal the gap between your skin and nails. Without this seal, your fingers would be more susceptible to intrusion and subsequent infection by bacteria and viruses. — howstuffworks

And with that, I’ve been using Nail Butter pretty religiously for a little over two weeks. Let’s check it out!

nail butter 1

Nail Butter is a 100% natural formulation that’s over 30 years old, which was a family secret for decades. The benefits of their proprietary formula were first discovered by the CEO’s (Christina Cole) grandmother. She was a dental hygienist, her nails and cuticles were weak, split, and dry from having to wash her hands so much. After a lot of trial and error, Christina’s father was able to create a product for her that worked to stimulate circulation to the nail matrix, hydrate her cuticles, and restore moisture to the nail bed. Nail Butter was born, and now we get to partake in the benefits.  [Read more…]

Clinique Wear Everywhere Greens All About Shadow 8-Pan Shadow Palette Review, Swatches, Photos


Clinique All About Shadow Wear Everywhere Greens Palette

We’ve all been on a nakeds and neutrals kick for quite a bit, so I wanted to take things up a notch with bringing some color back into the equation. But don’t worry! These are colors you can feel comfortable wearing anywhere, everyday — with the Clinique All About Shadow 8-Pan Palette in Wear Everywhere Greens — you’re all set. Let’s face it, we’re not going to give up those nude shadows anytime soon, but these will be awesome as standalone shades — or even to pair with your more matte, nude-hued eyeshadows.

Clinique Wear Everywhere Greens

The All About Shadow 8-pan Palettes are available in a few different varieties; nudes, blues, pinks, and greys — but I’m pretty hooked on the greens. It’s a great range of softer and golden greens with very buttery, silky textures. I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but I think it’s been over a decade since I’ve owned a Clinique eyeshadow. For some reason, I don’t remember the pigmentation being this rich in their shadows. As a result, I’m jumping back on the Clinique eyeshadow train! I wasn’t disappointed with these at all.  [Read more…]

One of My New Product Crushes: Waxelene — An Amazing Petroleum Jelly Alternative


Waxelene

A few weeks ago, I went to the Natural Products Expo, and it was like the massive yearly Consumer Electronics Show, only it was for natural/eco-friendly products and food. I spent a fair amount of time in the beauty area, and found some new (to me) products I just love, and this is one of them!

Waxelene is a natural alternative to petroleum-based products like Vaseline. While I personally do not object to Vaseline, I know there are a lot of people who do — so I wanted to share it with you. Plus, I’m kinda hooked on this myself! Waxelene contains just four simple ingredients: organic soy oil, beeswax, Vitamin E oil, and rosemary oil. That’s it!  [Read more…]

Gillette Venus Swirl Razor Review, Photos


gillette venus swirl razor

I know a razor is a very personal thing, but it’s one of those non-negotiable things for me in my beauty arsenal. If I’m going to be forced to rake a sharp razor across my skin, it better be a GOOD one. And ever since I started using the Gillette Venus family razors several years ago when they first launched, I haven’t gone back to subpar shavers, I just won’t. I don’t mind paying more for quality in this case. This is an essential for me!

I recently upgraded to the new Gillette Venus Swirl, and I’m so glad I did. The Venus Swirl is a little bit different than the last Venus razor incarnation I was using—the Venus & Olay razor (which is also pretty darn good in its own right.) One of the key differences with the new Venus Swirl, is the fancy new addition of their proprietary FLEXIBALL technology. Let’s take a closer look!

venus 2

I feel like I have to describe what makes the razor cartridge itself special to me. It has five very thin blades that are contoured in such a way that it takes much less force and pressure than a typical razor. This results in an extremely effective and precise shave, that I never have to pass over a section twice.  [Read more…]

Salon Perfect Perfect Brow Pomade Review, Photos, Swatches


Salon Perfect Brow Pomade

Sometimes, I can be a bit of a skeptic when it comes to bargain beauty products. So when I found out that these new brow pomades from Salon Perfect were just $4.88 each, I immediately thought there was no way that they could be any good. Fast forward to a few weeks later when I had them in my hot little hands, and my attitude changed as if you had flipped on a light switch. To put it simply: I think these things are AWESOME.

The Salon Perfect Perfect Brow Pomades are available in three shades: blonde, light brown, and dark brown. One of the biggest problems I face with brow products is that they’re often too red for me, and the browns often don’t even look close to the shade I need. I didn’t have that problem with these at all. I actually thought I would need the dark brown, but I wore the light brown and really liked it! (I can get away with either, just depending how bold I want to go.) It doesn’t pull red on me like about 90% of the other products I’ve purchased in the past.

salon perfect brow pomades

I know there is an expensive and popular brand of brow pomade out there right now—and I’ve already received many questions about how the Perfect Brow Pomades compare to it. Okay, I’ll just say it—it’s Anastasia Dipbrow. Truth be told, I don’t own Dipbrow! I have too many brow products right now to invest in it personally. So I can’t give you a comparison from personal experience, and I’m sorry about that! But having looked over the ingredients for both, there are several duplicate ingredients. The composition is not exactly the same, but seems pretty close to serve a similar purpose. Dipbrow may also have more shades, but I think the three shades of Perfect Brow Pomade can be pretty universal for most of the population.  [Read more…]

L’Occitane Shea Butter Comforting Skincare Collection Review, Photos


loccitane shea butter skincare collection

Please join me in welcoming back Dilara! She’ll be here periodically reviewing her favorite products. She’s a mom of two from the Midwest, and she’s very, very cool! You’ll enjoy getting to know her. — Amber

It seems like every year I talk about how cold and dry the Ohio climate is and how much my skin is suffering. I hope you haven’t grown tired of those posts because guess what? It’s cold, dry and my skin is suffering yet again. When Amber handed me the new L’Occitane Shea Butter Comforting Skincare Collection, the timing couldn’t have been better.

I feel like I’ve seen shea butter products popping up recently as natural way to moisturize and protect your skin. Shea butter is a natural substance that contains plenty of Vitamin E and acts as an anti-inflammatory, which makes it perfect for multiple skin types. My skin is dry-to-normal pretty much year round. In the winter, it gets especially parched. Cold weather, hot furnaces and wicked winds beat me down to a dry, cracked, flaking mess. Shea butter has been called “the superfood for your face” and well, it’s time to put it to the test.

loccitane shea butter cleansing oil

Shea Butter Cleansing Oil

Sounds a little risky, slathering your skin with oil isn’t exactly the top beauty approach on most peoples’ list. But for me, I had nothing to lose. First of all, it is luxurious. The Shea Butter Cleansing Oil has a deep, silky texture that removed all of my makeup. I preferred to rub it all over my face first, and then I added a little water to create a milk on my skin. After massaging that all over my face, my eye makeup was completely removed, as was my foundation, powder and mostly everything else. I normally wear a very long-wearing lipstick which is difficult to remove. This product removed it effortlessly. It rinses off clean with no residue, and left my skin feeling supple and smooth.  [Read more…]