2016 Favorites

It's that time of year again...my 2016 favorites are here! This time I've done something a little bit different. I was sick last week and just haven't had the time to create my usual posts but I didn't want to completely ignore all of the products I loved last year.
So I added them all to a Pinterest board where you can see everything together. I included products from every category including hair, makeup, skincare, etc. and made sure to add favorites from the drugstore as well as high-end.
Most of the pins link back to my original review of the product so if you're curious to see my thoughts on a particular item, you can click through to read it.

I hope you all had a fantastic New Year's...here's to 2017!!

For more, please follow my new blog www.beauddiction.com

My Morning Skincare Routine


Earlier in the week, I posted my nighttime skincare routine, which is focused on correcting and treating fine lines, texture, and dark spots. Some of the products I use at night (such as retinol) break down and become less effective when exposed to sunlight, so they can only be used at night for best results.

The products I use in my morning skincare routine are all about creating a smooth canvas for makeup and protecting my skin from free radical damage. Free radicals from the sun and environmental pollution are a major cause of aging, so I like to use products that are rich in antioxidants (along with SPF) to prevent more damage to my skin.

Let's take a look!

Since I take my makeup off at night, I don't need to use a heavy-duty makeup removing cleanser in the morning.
Most days, I like to use Purity Made Simple from Philosophy. It's been my go-to cleanser for years and it removes any remaining eye makeup that I may have missed the night before.

Once or twice a week, I like to use a gentle exfoliating cleanser to brighten and refine my skin. I don't use this type of cleanser at night because they contain ingredients that can't be used near your eyes. I love Pixi's Glow Mud Cleanser ($18 at Target), especially during "that time of the month" when I sometimes get breakouts on my chin. It contains 5% glycolic acid and mud that deep cleans your pores, yet it doesn't leave my skin feeling stripped or tight, due to the aloe vera and avocado oil in the formula.
I've also recently discovered Skinfood's Rice Brightening Scrub Foam ($14 at Ulta). It creates a rich, foamy lather that's almost like shaving cream and it has micro-fine rice granules in it that gently exfoliate. It deep cleans my pores and makes my skin look brighter.
Since I can't use either of those cleansers near my eyes, I use Garnier's SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water ($8.99 at Ulta) to clean up any mascara residue that I missed the night before. I don't like to waste an entire cleansing wipe just for my eyes, so micellar water is a great solution...just a little bit on a cotton pad takes away everything gently and effortlessly.


There are two different toners that I like to use based on which cleanser I chose that day. If I used Philosophy Purity, I love Pixi's Glow Tonic ($15 at Target), which contains 5% glycolic acid to gently exfoliate. It makes my skin feel so smooth afterwards! 
If I'm using the Pixi Mud Cleanser or Skinfood Scrub Foam, I don't want to overdo it with the exfoliation so instead of using Glow Tonic, I love Skinfood's Miracle Food 10 Toner ($38 at Ulta). This isn't your typical water-like toner...it has a slightly thicker, milky texture and feels so soothing when I pat it on. It adds moisture, balances my skin, and also contains high levels of antioxidants from 10 different superfoods.

I know I have a ton of Skinfood products in this post, but they're one of my favorite brands when it comes to skincare...they're super high-quality and very affordable. I started getting into Korean skincare a few years ago, and used to have these scrubs shipped all the way from Korea (which was expensive). I am so happy that Ulta is now carrying them!
This is my third tub of the Black Sugar Mask ($10 at Ulta) and second of the Rice Mask ($10 at Ulta) I reviewed them in more detail here, but the Black Sugar one is holy grail for me when my skin is looking dull and I want it to be as smooth as porcelain. I use the Rice one when I want a light, fluffy scrub that makes my skin velvety soft.
Judging by the 5 star reviews on Ulta's website, I'd say these are becoming a lot of people's holy grail scrubs!

I like to layer serums because they typically contain the highest number of active ingredients and I've rarely found one that "does it all". In the morning, I use one that prevents and also corrects dark spots and one that contains a high level of antioxidants to protect my skin from free radical damage.

I'm on my second tube of Garnier's SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector ($16.99). It contains antioxidants like Vitamin C and E to prevent dark spots from forming and it also fades them over time. I love how effective it is and it's really affordable. My dark spots have faded significantly from using this daily and I saw some initial brightening and evening of my skin after only a week of use.
I've also recently started using Skinfood's Miracle Food 10 Solution Serum ($48). Just like the toner, this contains the extracts of ten different superfoods for a high level of antioxidant protection. This serum feels a little thicker than most...almost like a thin primer, making my skin really smooth and soft and and also making fine lines and pores less visible.


In the Korean skincare routine, there's a step in-between applying your serum and moisturizer...the "emulsion". An emulsion is more of a watery "light" moisturizer that can be applied underneath your face cream (if you have dry skin like me) or in place of your moisturizer if you have oily skin or don't need a lot of hydration. I usually skip this step in the summertime but as the weather gets drier, I've found it to be a lifesaver for my skin! Most moisturizers are made with water so they tend to evaporate during the day...an emulsion is one more layer that helps to seal in moisture and keep your skin hydrated.
I've been using Skinfood's Miracle Food 10 Solution Emulsion ($38) because it's so high in antioxidants and also contains niacinamide and peptides for anti-aging benefits. Layering all of the Miracle Food products during the day gives my skin a huge antioxidant boost and I've found that my skin stays so plump and hydrated all day. I would definitely recommend this line if you want to protect your skin from the environment and have normal to dry or mature skin!

Next, I've been using Colleen Rothschild Sheer Renewal Cream ($55- on sale for $41 this weekend with code HYDRATE25). This has been my go-to summer moisturizer because it absorbs quickly and has a matte finish so it creates the perfect canvas for makeup (I know some people who even use it as their primer!). It contains peptides to firm your skin and a multi-fruit complex to gently encourage cell turnover, so it's not just your basic, run of the mill moisturizer. If you have oily skin, you can likely use it year-round, but since it's lightweight I may have to switch to something heavier in October or November when we start running the heat a lot in the house.

Finally, I finish my routine with a dab of Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment ($29). It's made with avocado oil and it's really hydrating but it sinks in quickly so it's not greasy at all. I know people with oily skin that really like this cream as well because it's not heavy.  It also doesn't migrate into my eyes like some eye creams do, so it's great for daytime.

Well that's it...my morning skincare routine! It seems like a lot of steps but only takes about 5 minutes or so.  If you missed my nighttime skincare routine post, you can check that out here.

What are your favorite skincare products to use in the daytime?


 Press Samples | Affiliate Link |Subscribe to The Budget Beauty Blog by Email

Get Unready With Me | Nighttime Skincare Routine

It's taken me a long time and lots of trial and error but I finally have a skincare routine that works for me and I can honestly say that my skin looks better now than it did ten years ago. I was blessed with blemish-free skin in my teens and smooth, clear skin in my twenties, despite all of the neglect I put it through. I rarely took off my makeup before bed and hardly ever moisturized (I know, terrible!). But then things started to catch up with me around the time I turned 30. I started seeing sun spots from not wearing SPF and fine lines cropping up around my eyes. All of a sudden I had visible pores on my cheeks and a rough, dull texture as my skin got drier.
Foundation started to settle into imperfections and makeup didn't look as good as it used to. With my 30's came the realization that if I don't take care of my skin, no amount of makeup is going to look right. So I started focusing on getting my skin to a healthy state and as a result, I was able to turn back the clock a little bit. I can't say that I'm completely free of fine lines or sun spots, but realistically no skincare product alone can do that.

With the products in my current routine, I've enjoyed brighter, clearer skin, lessened fine lines, and a softer, smoother texture.

To show you the difference, I posted two photos below...the left one is from 3 years ago, and the right one was taken a few months ago. I'm not wearing makeup in either one.
*Please note: I have large bags under my eyes in the photo on the left because I had just given birth to my son a few months before and wasn't sleeping at all. I don't normally have bags under my eyes and that was a temporary thing, so I'm not going to compare that to the newer photo since it had nothing to do with my skincare routine.*
But the real difference is that now my skin is brighter and clearer and the freckling on my cheeks is greatly reduced (although you can still see it if you look closely...especially on my nose). I still have fine lines in my forehead and under my eyes but they're not as deep as they were.


I didn't think I was seeing many changes when I first started my routine, but looking back and comparing the two I can see how much of a difference taking care of my skin has made. I don't need as much makeup now and I never thought I would say that at 38 years old! 
As a result, I've started to shift more of my budget toward skincare and less toward makeup. At this point in my life, I would much rather create a clear, smooth canvas to work with rather than spending all of my money trying to cover it up with makeup. 

So without further ado, here's my nighttime skincare routine from start to finish (I'll do a separate post on the products I use in the morning next). 


The cleanser I use at night depends on one thing...how tired I am!

If I'm absolutely exhausted and don't even feel like turning the water on, I use Simple's Micellar Cleansing Wipes ($7.99). I've tried so many different kinds of wipes from many different brands and these are the best. They remove makeup easily, even mascara and they don't leave a film or sticky feeling behind. My skin just feels soft and clean...and they're unscented as well.

If I'm not too tired but it's late and I don't have a lot of time, I reach for IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup 3-in-1 Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm ($38- currently on sale for $34.24). This is the first cleansing balm I've tried that doesn't leave an oily residue on my skin! It rinses totally clean with just water and my skin feels velvety soft, with no double cleanse required. I apply it to dry skin and it melts into an oil on contact dissolving any type of makeup quickly and easily. It's also unscented and great for sensitive skin.

If I want a luxurious cleansing experience and have a little more time to spend, I reach for the Colleen Rothschild Radiant Cleansing Balm ($65- get 20% off using code BeautyBlog20)This balm has a beautiful, soothing, spa-like scent and a soft, melty texture (similar to the IT Cosmetics balm above) that you apply to dry skin. It comes with a muslin cloth that you run under hot water (not so hot that you can't put your hands in it) and then drape the cloth over your face and let the cleanser melt into your skin and the soothing scent relax you...it's like a spa treatment! Then, you use the cloth to remove the cleanser and it gently exfoliates your face at the same time. My skin looks the best after using this one...it just takes a bit more time since you have to remove it with the cloth.


The next step I use is an essence, which is like a thinner version of a serum. I've been following the multi-step Korean skincare routine for a few years now, which involves starting with the lightest, most watery-textured product and adding layers until you get to the thickest product. I found the May Coop Raw Sauce ($14) essence at Sephora a few months ago and I love using it as a "prep step" before my serums. It has a light, silky texture that goes deep into the skin to help your serums (which have the most active ingredients) penetrate further.

I use two different serums at night...one to address fine lines and one to lighten discoloration and smooth the texture of my skin.

First, I use the Colleen Rothschild Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum ($75 use code BeautyBlog20 to get 20% off). This contains both alpha and beta hydroxy acids to help fade sun spots, clean out pores, and exfoliate the dead skin sitting on top. I just started using it last month and I love how gentle (yet super effective) it is! Before that I was using the Pixi Overnight Glow Serum ($24) which is a great, affordable option if you're looking for an exfoliating treatment. The Pixi serum uses glycolic acid which is a very effective exfoliator (because it goes down really deep), but it is also more likely to cause irritation if you're sensitive. It also doesn't contain the beta hydroxy acid, which helps to clear your pores, but I still really liked the smooth results I got with it so I use it once a week in place of the Mandelic Acid serum.

Next, I use the Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM serum ($65). This is the best retinol treatment I've tried because it doesn't cause irritation and you don't need to work up to using it. I previously had tried a retinol from Paula's Choice among others and the sensitive skin underneath my eyes would always develop these really sensitive dry patches that looked red, almost like I burned my skin. This one doesn't do that because it contains micro-encapsulated retinol that's time released. It releases a little bit at a time all through the night so you're not hitting your skin with it all at once. It has a super light, water-like texture that any skin type can use and I have definitely seen the fine lines on my forehead and underneath my eyes decrease after using this product (retinol has been proven to help rebuild collagen).
I was previously using Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil ($105) as my retinol treatment and it's another great choice if you want to avoid irritation. It's just way more expensive than the Peter Thomas Roth version (which honestly works just as well if not better in my opinion).

I have really dry skin, so I like to use heavier products at night that will plump up my skin while I sleep. I actually mix a little cocktail together that includes a dollop of Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Cream mixed on the back of my hand with two drops of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate oil ($46).

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Cream ($60) has a soft, fluffy whipped texture that's moisturizing but not heavy or greasy at all.  It contains 6 rare African oils, hyaluronic acid, green tea and plantain extract (helps increase firmness and elasticity). It's completely unscented and great for sensitive skin.

I purchased Kiehls' Midnight Recovery Concentrate after seeing multiple rave reviews online. It contains evening primrose oil to boost radiance and squalene which is similar in molecular structure to our own skin's lipids. It makes my skin feel so soft and smooth and it's lightweight so any skin type can use it.

I used to switch off using both of these moisturizers alone but then I read that if you have dry skin, you can mix a few drops of facial oil with your moisturizer...it makes such a difference for me and I would never have thought to do that. My skin actually looks plumped up and the moisture stays with me longer instead of disappearing by morning. It does feel a bit heavy on my face but I don't mind when I'm going to bed...it feels sort of like a mask!

Finally, I finish my routine with the Kiehls Midnight Recovery Eye Cream ($37). I just started using this recently so it's hard to say whether I've been getting results from it. But I purchased it because I like the Midnight Recovery Concentrate Oil so much that I wanted to do the same thing for my eye area. It has a medium-weight texture, absorbs easily, and contains the same ingredients as the concentrate oil plus Butcher's Broom which increases microcirculation and reduces inflammation. I will say, my eyes don't look as puffy when I wake up in the morning, so that's a good sign!

The final step is to apply a coat of Bite Beauty's Agave Lip Mask to my lips. This is my third tube and I will never stop buying it as long as they make it! It has a delicious vanilla scent and is super thick and rich so it just seals in moisture for hours and hours. When I used to apply other balms at night, they would just sort of sink in and disappear by morning, but when I use this, it's still on my lips when I wake up so I feel like it's protecting them all night long.

That's it! It might seem a bit overwhelming to see all of these different products at once, but if you don't know where to start, I would recommend trying a serum first. You get the most visible results from them and they make the biggest difference over time.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on my daytime skincare routine!


Affiliate Link | Subscribe to The Budget Beauty Blog by Email

What's Old at the Drugstore | L'oreal Edition

Every so often, I like to forget about all of the new products that are coming out (lately they're just non-stop right?) and shop my stash. As a beauty blogger, I test out tons of products and when I find one that's really good, I always say, "I love this and will use this forever!". But then several months go by, and slowly but surely, it gets replaced by newer products and is left in a drawer.

A few weeks ago, I pulled out my bottle of L'oreal's Magic Lumi primer, because I was thinking about this new strobing trend and wanted to see how it compared to the newest illuminating formulas. Let's just say, I fell in love with it all over again, so I decided to go back into my makeup drawers and pull out all of the other L'oreal products that I happen to love, but haven't used in a while.


Starting with the Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base ($12.99), I have to say that this primer is holy grail status for me. It's definitely not for everyone...it's very thick and spackle-like. But on my dry, textured skin it's like magic! I have visible pores on my cheeks and an orange-peel texture on my chin and this minimizes those textures easily because it's so thick. It leaves my skin looking so smooth and feeling really soft and mattified. You only need a tiny bit, and a little goes a long way. It reminds me of the Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer quite a bit and is a good dupe for that!


The Magic Lumi Light-Infusing Primer ($12.99) and Magic Lumi Highlighter ($12.99) have been out since 2012 but are right on-trend again thanks to the strobing craze. The Magic Lumi primer comes out white (as you can see in my swatch below) but once it's blended on the skin, it gives you the most beautiful, ethereal glow that you can wear alone or let it peek through your foundation. It feels very light and silky on your skin as well!
The Magic Lumi Highlighter comes in four shades (I'm using Fair here which is very pink-toned) and is great for highlighting many different areas of your face...under the eyes, brow bones, cupid's bow, cheekbones, etc. It doesn't contain a lot of shimmer...it's more of a subtle highlight but it makes everything look brighter. It's actually a pretty close dupe for YSL Touche Eclat (L'oreal actually owns YSL) and I've been reaching for this every day lately!

Left: Magic Lumi Primer
Right: Magic Lumi Highlighter

The Visible Lift Blur Blush ($6.49) is a cream formula that feels like it has a primer-type base so it glides onto the skin easily and blends like a dream, making your cheeks look really smooth and minimizing the look of pores. It gives a really natural finish that lasts about 8 hours on me...I have dry skin but if you have oily skin and are wondering if this will be long-lasting for you, I suggest you check out this review that G from Nouveau Cheap did on this blush a while ago. She has suggestions on how she wears it to make it last longer. I have the shades Soft Peach and Soft Pink, but there's also a darker shade called Soft Berry (which is the one G reviewed).

Left: Soft Peach
Right: Soft Pink
Speaking of the Visible Lift Blur line, the Visible Lift Blur Foundation ($13.99) and Concealer ($6.49) are also gorgeous formulas...particularly for normal-to-dry or aging skin types. They go on so smoothly, have great coverage, and don't settle into lines or accentuate dry patches. They feel so creamy and emollient, making them great for the fall and winter months. I don't normally reach for these in the summertime but when the weather gets cold, these are so comfortable to wear!

I also want to mention another foundation favorite from L'oreal...the True Match Lumi foundation. It's a bit sheerer and more lightweight than these but it has a beautiful, luminous finish that my dry skin loves.


Visible Lift Blur Foundation in 203 Nude Beige and Concealer in Light
I've also been loving the Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Color ($8.99) lately. These are liquid lipstick/gloss hybrids, so they feel and look like a gloss on your lips but are creamy and pigmented like a liquid lipstick. I don't like liquid lipsticks because I find them to be too drying so these are what I reach for when I want more color than a traditional gloss can give. The only downside to these is that they don't last long...like most lip glosses. But the colors are gorgeous and they have five different micro-oils inside the formula that make your lips feel so smooth and hydrated with no stickiness. If you'd like to see some lip swatches of these (probably the nicest lip swatches I've ever seen by the way) check out this post from Nikkie Tutorials.


Left to Right: Purple Prelude, Molto Mauve, Blushing Harmony
Of course, I can't go without mentioning the Infallible Eyeshadows ($7.99). These are super pigmented and incredibly long lasting. My swatches below are one swipe of color...no primer. They're just gorgeous!


Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Rush and Glistening Garnet

Finally, I've been using the Brow Stylist Definer ($8.99)  a lot lately...I ran out of my Anastasia Brow Wiz and am liking this almost as much!

Have you shopped your stash lately? What products have you rediscovered?

 Affiliate Link Subscribe to The Budget Beauty Blog by Email

How I Get Sandal-Ready Feet for Summer

It takes a lot of work to keep my feet looking pretty...they're really dry so they tend to crack and split around my heels, plus I develop calluses easily from wearing flats and flip flops all the time with no socks. Over the years, I've tried tons of products that claim to moisturize, get rid of calluses, etc. and have had a lot of misses but also a few hits. Now I feel like I finally have a routine that keeps them looking great during the sandal-wearing, beach-going months and it's pretty simple!

The first thing I do in March just before it starts to get warm outside is use the Baby Foot treatment. If you're not familiar with Baby Foot, it removes dead, cracked skin and calluses leaving your feet as smooth as a baby's, hence the name! The treatment is inside a pair of disposable booties...just wear them for an hour or so, rinse, and in 5-7 days, the skin on your feet starts shedding off, leaving behind perfect, new skin. I try to do this treatment before I want to wear sandals (at least 2 weeks or so) because they'll be shedding for about a week-10 days...and warning- it's not pretty.

After using Baby Foot, my feet are back to the way I want them to look, so I try to maintain them daily so that they don't go back to being all cracked and callused. 

At night I use my Amope Pedi Perfect electronic foot file to smooth any areas that are starting to develop calluses. Then I finish with Nail Aid's 3-Minute Pedi Peel lotion. I found it at Walmart for $4.82 and it's great! It contains 12%  glycolic acid to slough away dead, dry skin but despite the claim on the package ("no filing!") this won't replace a foot file. It doesn't actually peel your skin in the way that Baby Foot does, so if you have really badly callused feet, this cream alone isn't going to do much. But it's fantastic as a maintenance product and it also works well if you have a little bit of dead skin built up. I just slather it on, cover it with socks, and wake up to smoother, softer feet.

In the morning after my shower, I've been using Sol de Janeiro's Samba Foot Fetish Cream ($27) recently. It's a little pricey, but I got sucked in by the 5-star reviews on the Sephora website. I figured I'd return it if I didn't like it, but I can honestly say it's worth the money for me! It comes with an adorable wooden surfboard foot file (it's like sandpaper on one side) that works really well and the cream itself is divine! It smells light and fresh, like cucumbers and it's the perfect foot moisturizer for daytime because it sinks in right away with no greasy feel and keeps your skin so soft all day long. It contains shea butter, cupuacu butter, coconut oil, and acai oil, which sounds like a really rich ingredient list, but somehow it manages to feel lightweight and non-greasy. It was definitely a splurge product for me, but I'm glad I purchased it now. 

I'm hoping I can keep up this routine and not get too lazy to do it everyday, but I know that once the fall weather hits and I'm covering my feet in boots, I'll probably have to buy another Baby Foot treatment come March. 

What are your favorite foot care products? I'd love to hear about them! 

Affiliate Link Subscribe to The Budget Beauty Blog by Email

My Favorite Peachy Blushes for Spring 2016

The best drugstore blushes

As far back as I can remember, my go-to blush of choice has always been some shade of pink. Ever since I started wearing makeup it's what I gravitated toward the most when I was out shopping for blushes...and it continued that way for many years. I'm a creature of habit I guess!
But once I got into blogging and started trying a lot more products, I discovered that peachy shades really complimented and warmed up my light skin tone. And so began my obsession and I've collected quite a few peaches and corals over the years. This post highlights some of my favorites of-the-moment and most of them are drugstore finds!

1. Makeup Revolution Blushing Hearts in Peachy Pink Kisses ($7.66 at makeuprevolutionstore.com)- I couldn't resist this adorable heart-shaped blush that's a near perfect dupe for Too Faced's Sweethearts Blush in Peach Beach (which is $30!). It gives a really pretty shimmery finish that looks so pretty on lighter skin tones and could totally work as a highlighter on darker skin tones.

2. Hard Candy Blush Crush Baked Blush in Honeymoon ($7.35 at Walmart)- I love these blushes because they give your cheeks such a beautiful glowy finish and the baked formula is so soft and blendable. I originally bought the shade Living Doll, which is (of course) pink, but I fell in love with the formula and picked up Honeymoon, which is just as stunning. It's actually really close in color to the Makeup Revolution one above and easier to get here in the States!

3. Jordana Powder Blush in Touch of Pink ($2.99 at Jordanacosmetics.com and Kmart stores)- even though it's got the word pink in the name, this blush leans more peachy coral on me and by the way, who can resist a $2.99 blush?! Especially one that's this pigmented...and made in the U.S.A. which is hard to find when you're talking about makeup that's this inexpensive. I own 6 or 7 of these blushes and they're all beautifully pigmented and most have a natural matte finish.

4. Flower Beauty Transforming Touch Powder-to-Cream Blush in A-Cor-Able ($11.00 at Walmart)- Oh how I love these blushes that magically turn from a powder into a cream! They last a ridiculously long time on my cheeks and give the most beautiful and natural-looking flush of color. I only hope Drew Barrymore decides to create some more shades! This is a beautiful coral shade that gives me that perfect "I just worked out" flush.

5. Milani Baked Blush in Corallina ($7.29 at Target, CVS, Walgreens)- This blends so well, is nicely pigmented and makes my skin look radiant thanks to a fine shimmer in the formula. This shade, Corallina really wakes up my face and adds warmth to my cool complexion.

6. City Color Be Matte Blush in Papaya ($4.99 at CityColorCosmetics.com)- I'm sure you've heard me talk about Be Matte blushes a thousand times so I won't go on and on, but these are probably my favorite budget-friendly blushes of all time. You get a ton of product so they last forever and they're super soft, pigmented, and blend like a dream. Papaya is the perfect peachy nude shade for everyday and I use it a ton.

7. Lorac Color Source Buildable Blush in Technicolor ($22 at Ulta)- I just reviewed these recently and the formula has become an instant favorite due to its buttery texture and high pigmentation. It's also really long lasting!

peach and coral blush swatches

What are your favorite blushes at the moment? Have you tried any of these? 

My Must-Have Drugstore Skincare Products

My skincare routine is always evolving. When I hear about new and innovative products that are coming out, I jump at the chance to try them and sometimes they earn a permanent spot in my routine (other times, they sit in the cabinet under my sink collecting dust). I also have my old standbys...the favorites I've been using for years and go right back to the minute a new product doesn't work out for me. 

A few of those standbys are splurges for me...Philosphy's Purity Cleanser ($24), Peter Thomas Roth's Retinol Fusion PM ($65), and a more recent addition, Sunday Riley's Good Genes ($105), mainly because I haven't found anything at the drugstore that I like better (I wish I did and so does my wallet for sure!). But being the budget beauty that I am, I will never turn my nose up at a drugstore product that works well just because it's inexpensive...hey, my skin doesn't know the difference right? 

So without further ado, these seven products are ones that I use on a regular basis and they can all be found at the drugstore (and Target)...some I've been using for years and others are newer products that happened to work out great and I've recently worked them in to my routine. 

1. Simple Micellar Cleansing Wipes ($7.99 currently BOGO 50% off at Ulta)- Makeup removing wipes are something I always like to have around...especially those nights when I stay up late catching up on DVR'd shows and the last thing I want to do is my entire face-washing routine. I've tried so many different wipes and these are my favorite. They have no scent, are super gentle, and remove makeup beautifully without a lot of effort. I usually only need one to clean my entire face (with some brands I've had to use two, sometimes three wipes to get everything) and these don't leave any residue or sticky feeling on my face...it just feels clean. 

2. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water (Waterproof Version) ($8.99 at Ulta and drugstores)- I've tried other Micellar waters, including Simple's version and I wasn't too impressed...I still felt like I needed to wash my face afterwards and they took too many cotton pads to get my face clean. But this one is amazing...it dissolves makeup so easily thanks to it's dual phase formula (you have to shake it up and mix it). At first, I was afraid it would feel greasy like those dual-phase eye makeup removers, but it totally doesn't! It removes everything, even waterproof makeup easily and leaves my skin feeling soft and clean. It takes a little more effort to use this versus a wipe but it's still a time saver if I'm wearing a lot of makeup or waterproof formulas and just want to get to bed quickly.

3. Pixi Skintreats Glow Mud Cleanser ($18 at Target)- I did a mini review of this on Instagram last month (see that here) and I'm still obsessed.  It's a little more expensive than other drugstore cleansers but it's a three-in-one product in that it cleanses, exfoliates and can be used as a mask. It contains 5% glycolic acid to exfoliate and clay to purify. It smells really nice...very spa-like and comes out of the tube looking like a light brown mud. When you apply it to your face, it feels slightly gritty and I like to leave it on as a mask for 5 min or so while I'm getting ready for the shower then I rinse it off once I'm in. You can't use this near the eyes so I don't remove makeup with it. I either use it in the morning, or as a second cleanse at night (after using a cleansing oil or balm to remove makeup). This leaves my skin fresh, smooth, and seriously glowing!

4. Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic ($15 at Target)- I reviewed this last year and I still use it every day. This toner contains 5% glycolic acid to exfoliate and witch hazel to reduce inflammation and oil so it's great for all skin types, both oily and dry! On my dry skin, the glycolic eats up those dry flakes on the surface of my skin, making it a super smooth canvas for makeup...and it doesn't make my skin feel dry or tight. My face has such a beautiful glow when I use this that I actually notice a difference when I don't use it after a few days...my skin starts to look dull and those flakes come back. It does have a strong floral fragrance, in case you're sensitive though. 

5. Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector ($16.99 at drugstores)- This was newly reformulated as part of Garnier's recent revamp and I've been using it for about a month, once a day. I have sun damage in the form of dark spots that look like freckles all across my cheeks and nose. This has faded them so much in just a few weeks...my skin looks more even, clearer and brighter so I don't feel like I have to wear as much foundation. I still have some spots, but they're noticeably lighter and blend into my skin more so they're not as noticeable. I'm hoping this can get rid of them over time, but I'll have to wait and see! I've used way more expensive dark spot treatments over the years but this one works just as well, if not better! Now I just have to work on wearing sunscreen religiously in the spring and summer so they don't come back every year! 

6. Boots Botanics 100% Organic Facial Oil ($6.79 at Target)- I'm not surprised that this has a 5 star rating on Target's website (and a 4.5 on Makeupalley)...this blend of Sweet Almond, Argan, and Rosehip oils is super affordable compared to other similar products. Rosehip oil is known to correct dark spots, moisturize, and even reduce scars and fine lines, so this little blend does more than just hydrate your skin (but it does that really well too!). It sinks right into my dry skin without leaving any greasy residue...and I've heard from a lot of oily and combination-skinned people who love this too. I posted a review here a few years ago and still love it!

7. Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep Night Recovery Gel Balm ($35 at Ulta, Target and drugstores)- This is the most expensive product in this post, but I included it because it's available in drugstores (and some Olay products are over $30 so I guess it's still within the "drugstore skincare" range). 
This gel-creme is supposed to mimic the effects of a good night's sleep on your skin and I would have to agree. It feels so wonderful...cooling, soothing and hydrating...almost like applying aloe to your face. It smells wonderful and sinks right in leaving your skin feeling like velvet. It has caffeine to improve circulation and fight the signs of fatigue, hyaluronic acid to plump your skin, and LHA and B3 to exfoliate and even skin tone. So basically, it does everything! I wake up to bright, smooth, hydrated skin that looks refreshed in the morning and I noticed a difference after using this the first night. I've been using it since the fall and it's my favorite sleeping mask!

Now I'd love to hear from you...what are your holy grail drugstore finds when it comes to skincare products? 

My Favorite Budget-Friendly Highlighters

I admit that I have a weakness when it comes to highlighters, and I've been collecting them for a long time...since way before "strobing" became a thing. The first one I bought was The Balm's Mary Lou Manizer, followed by Benefit Watts Up and Becca Opal. At the time, there weren't that many drugstore options, but lately there are a ton of amazing highlighters under $10! So whether you're into palettes, creams, or powders, I've got you covered...here's a round-up of some of my favorites. 

Snow Day Beauty Products

The East Coast is having a major snowstorm at the moment and while we're stuck in the house, all I can think about is tropical island getaways. So I took my favorite coconut-scented products into the shower with me to lift my spirits give me that summer feeling. If you're obsessed with coconut like I am, you'll definitely want to check these products out...GlamGlow's ThirstyCleanse Daily Hydrating Cleanser ($39) is a mud to foam cleanser for normal to dry skin types. It contains coconut milk, rare Brazilian yellow clay, olive milk and plumeria flower blossom to help remineralize the skin and boost hydration. It smells delicious... just like coconut milk and starts out as a creamy tan-colored mud. I like to apply it all over my face when my skin is dry and leave it for a few minutes (it's just like the GlamGlow ThirstyMud mask, but much cheaper and you get a lot more product). Then I add a little bit of water and massage it in, and it foams up and deeply cleanses without leaving my face feeling dry or tight. 

I recently picked up the new You Are Amazing Smooth It Out Exfoliating Body Scrub & Wash at Target and I'm loving it! Every product in the line is only $3.99 and there are body washes, lotions, body mists and scrubs in six different scents. I picked up the Coconut Water scent, but I was thisclose to grabbing the Vanilla Bean as well. This scrub has a really fine grit that's suspended in a shower gel so you can slough away the dead dry skin while you cleanse your body. I love scrubs like this because they don't crumble all over your shower...they stay put nicely on the skin because of the fine texture and nothing goes to waste. Plus, the flip-top cap is way easier than trying to scoop product out of a jar.

The Body Shop's Coconut Beautifying Oil ($14) is one of my favorite body moisturizers for many reasons. First off, the scent is to-die-for...it's a sweet, creamy straight-up coconut scent rather than a suntan lotion-type of scent. It's also perfect for locking moisture into damp skin the second you get out of the shower...since it's an oil, it won't evaporate from the surface of your skin like water-based lotions will. Finally, I can't say for sure if it was this or good genetics, but when I was pregnant, I used this on my belly twice a day and never got one single stretch mark. 

Glossier's Coconut Balm DotCom $12 is a coconut-scented version of their famous universal skin salve. This little tube works wonders on any part of your body...lips, face, cuticles, elbows, you name it. It comes out of the tube thick and rich and melts into the skin on contact for deep hydration. I love to use it on my lips and cuticles before bed and on my lips during the day, and the fact that it smells like the beach is just a bonus!

Finally, my favorite beachy perfume is from the indie brand Smell Bent and it's called St. Tropez Dispenser. It literally smells like being on a tropical island beach with notes of fresh coconut, jasmine absolute, aloe vera, and a light breeze over vintage musk. For me, it brings back memories of the beach in the 80's...there was a suntan oil my parents used to use on us that smelled exactly like this. I don't know what brand it was but I'm pretty sure they don't make it anymore because the sunscreens of today don't smell this good. 

Well, now that I'm officially in vacation mode, what are your favorite scents/products to use when you're in the mood for summer? Are you a coconut fan like I am, or is there another scent that lifts you up in the middle of winter? 

Favorite Eye Shadows of 2015

Looking back on 2015, I didn't review that many single eyeshadows (I kinda have a thing for palettes) but there were a few that really stood out to me. Here they are in no particular order...



NYX Prismatic Eyeshadows ($5.99)- These are soft, buttery and amazingly pigmented. They lay down some super-intense color with only one swipe and apply beautifully with your fingers or a brush. 


bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow ($19)- The first time I tried these shadows, I didn't expect to love them as much as I do, but my mind was completely blown from the first application. These contain skincare ingredients and SPF, plus they act as a primer and a long-wearing eyeshadow. They go on sooo smoothly and make your eyelids look flawless, taking away any crepiness and covering any signs of discoloration or redness. I love to wear them on their own, but when I need my eyeshadow to stay put, I use them as a primer too. They're just amazing and I now own every single shade, even though they're not cheap. I love them that much! 


Mally Beauty 5 Pc  Evercolor Shadow Stick Extra Collection ($44.54- no longer available)- I'm obsessed with Mally's Evercolor Shadow sticks, so when I saw this 5 piece collection on QVC that contained all wearable, neutral shades (for less than the price of 2!) I jumped at the chance. These eyeshadow sticks are totally bulletproof and stay on all day (until you take them off). I love how easy they are to apply...they're my everyday go-to! You can still purchase her original shadow sticks individually here.

See my Mally 5pc Evercolor Shadow Stick reviews here and an older 5pc set here.

Finally, the City Color Shimmer Shadows ($6.99) are a beautiful collection of intense metallic shades that are total dupes for the Kat Von D Metal Crush eye shadows! These are super soft and pigmented and come in 16 gorgeous shades. 


So there you have it...my favorite eyeshadows of 2015. Which ones did you discover this year? 

Favorite Face Palettes of 2015

I'm a total sucker for highlighters and blush, so when I can get a bunch of them all in one palette, I get completely sucked in and can't resist them. In 2015, there were quite a few face palettes that I've become totally smitten with. Let's take a look...

Earlier in the year, I hauled a ton of products from Makeup Revolution, including two gorgeous face palettes...the Ultra Blush & Contour Palette in Golden Sugar ($9.21) and the Radiant Lights Palette ($12.28). (Prices may be different from my original posts due to exchange rates)
The Ultra Blush & Contour Palette has the most beautiful shades including a pearly white highlight, shimmer and matte contour/bronzer shades and marbleized blushes that remind me of the Hourglass Ambient Blushes. The texture is so smooth and they blend like a dream. I use this palette constantly and am always amazed by the beautiful glow these shades add to my skin. 
The Radiant Lights Palette is an affordable dupe for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette...the shades are almost identical! Plus, the texture is the same...soft, blendable and just the right amount of glow. 

See my review of the Ultra Blush & Contour Palette Here.

See my review of the Radiant Lights Palette Here.

This holiday season, there were two beautiful palettes that I just had to have...the Tarte Bling It On Amazonian Clay Blush Palette ($44) and the Sephora Ombre Obsession Face Palette ($34). I had always wanted to try Tarte's blushes and the Bling it On Palette was a really affordable way to do it, since one costs $28. These are totally worth the hype...long lasting and highly pigmented. 
The Sephora Ombre Obsession palette was a total surprise to me...it was way bigger than I thought it would be and the quality was high-end! I love the variety of warm and cool shades, plus the highlighter in the middle is beautiful. I can't link to either one, since both are sold out. :( 



I was ecstatic to see that The Balm was launching The Manizer Sisters Palette featuring Mary Lou, Cindy Lou and Betty Lou Manizers. Mary Lou and Cindy Lou are two of my favorite highlighters of all time and having them together in a travel friendly palette is the best thing ever! 


Finally, I found two amazingly affordable palettes from Profusion that I absolutely love due to their high quality formulas and beautiful shades...the Studio Highlight Palette and the Studio Contour Palette.



So those are my favorite face palettes from 2015! Did you try any of these palettes? What are your favorites? 

Favorite Blushes of 2015

I officially became a blush addict in 2015. I've always loved blushes, but I got to try so many amazing new formulas this year I added a ton of new ones to my collection. Here are the ones that stood out to me the most...
There were two amazing cream formulas that launched this year and both are really affordable! Colourpop's Super Shock Cheeks have a beautiful, soft spongy texture that blends like a dream and they last all day. So impressive for only $8! I also fell in love with L.A. Girl's Velvet Contour Stick Blushes ($5). They're so quick and easy to use and there are so many beautiful shades to choose from! 

See my reviews of Colourpop Super Shock Cheeks here and here. 

See my review of the L.A. Girl Velvet Contour Sticks here. 

Quite possibly one of my favorite formulas ever is both a cream and a powder! The Flower Beauty Transforming Touch Powder to Creme Blush ($12.98) is super unique. It starts as a loose powder and morphs into a soft matte cream as you blend it into your cheeks. It's super long lasting and doesn't budge all day! 

See my review of Flower Beauty Transforming Touch Blush here. 

On a typical day, I like to use matte blushes, but I also love glowy formulas because they wake up my face when my skin is looking dull and lackluster. Two beautiful formulas I fell in love with this year were the e.l.f. Baked Blushes ($3) and Hard Candy's Blush Crush Baked Blush in Living Doll ($7). 

See my review of the e.l.f. Baked Blushes here. 

See my review of the Hard Candy Blush Crush Baked Blush here.

I'm so happy I discovered the City Color Be Matte Blushes ($4.99) at Five Below this year because they're my favorite matte blush ever! There's no reason to ever spend more on a matte blush because these are absolutely perfect. They have a silky smooth formula, are long-lasting, and come in a huge container that I'll probably never run out of.  I reach for these more than any other blush in my collection. 

See my review of the City Color Be Matte Blushes here. 

When Cover Girl released their new TruBlend baked blushes last month, I was super impressed with the soft, highly pigmented formula. Plus, the marbled formula reminded me of the Hourglass Ambient blushes at a much nicer price. 

See my review of the CoverGirl Tru Blend Baked Blushes here. 

Finally, there were so many amazing affordable blushes this year, I only ended up splurging on one...the Too Faced Love Flush blush. The formula is silky, smooth and highly pigmented, plus they last all day on my cheeks. Not to mention...the packaging is so adorable! 

See my review of the Too Faced Love Flush Blushes here.

So there you have it...my favorite blushes of 2015! What blushes did you fall in love with this year? 

Favorite Lip Products of 2015

2015 is almost over, so I wanted to look back on some the products I discovered this year that ended up becoming favorites. Since there are so many, I'm breaking it up into different categories and today, I'm kicking it off with my favorite lip products! Let's take a look...

Recent Favorites

As a beauty blogger, I'm constantly buying (or receiving) new products to try and a lot of times, the things I review aren't necessarily things I would buy for myself, such as matte lipsticks, contour palettes, and bright neon eyeshadow colors. But when it comes to posting reviews, I tend to choose the products that are most popular...things I know you guys are looking for reviews on. Still, once in a while, I like to talk about my personal favorites...things I've discovered and am totally loving, but haven't gotten around to talking about yet. So without further ado, here are three things I'm totally obsessed with at the moment.

IT Cosmetics Friends & Family Starts Today + My Favorite Picks

The IT Cosmetics Friends and Family 25% off sale starts today and ends Saturday, November 14th. You'll get 25% off any $30 order and also free shipping with code ITGIRLFF25! Read on to see what I'll be stocking up on during the sale...

I usually replenish my face products in the Fall and then again in the Spring for two reasons...one is that my skin color changes a bit (paler in the Winter and a shade or so darker in the Summer) and also my skin type changes (drier in Winter, normal in the Summer). So I usually need to switch up foundations, concealers, powders and lip products....luckily IT Cosmetics has some of the best so I usually wait for this sale before I stock up. 

Here's what I can't live without from IT: 

Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50 ($38 / $28.50 with the 25% off)- The CC+ Cream is probably my favorite foundation of all time...it's got all the benefits and creamy texture of a CC Cream but has full coverage like a foundation. It's not heavy and unlike thicker, full coverage foundations, it doesn't sink into fine lines or cling to dry patches. It's a holy grail for me all year round and in the Winter, I like to use the Illumination version to give my dull dry skin a bit of a lit-from-within subtle glow. (See my review of the Illumination version here)

Celebration Foundation $35 ($35/ $26.25 with the 25% off)- I have tried many powder foundations over the years wishing that I would find one that doesn't make my dry skin look worse, and I finally found it! Celebration Foundation feels so creamy and hydrating on the skin and gives close to full coverage on it's own! I love using it on days when I'm not putting on a full face of makeup or if I'm in a hurry because it's so quick and easy to use- 30 seconds and I'm flawless. I plan to pick up the Illumination version this time since we're heading into Winter. I haven't tried it yet but have always wanted to since I love the original version so much! (See mini review here)

Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer ($24/ $18 with the 25% off)- Best. Concealer. Ever. This miracle formula covers absolutely everything but somehow manages not to crease, cake, or sink into the fine lines under my eyes. It's my holy grail and I never want to be without it. (See mini review here)

No. 50 Serum Anti-Aging Collagen Veil Primer ($48/ $36 with the 25% off)- This isn't just a primer...it has so many amazing skincare ingredients inside and it adds hydration to your skin rather than feeling like it just sits on top. See my review here.

Vitality Lip Flush 4-in-1 Reviver Lipstick Stain ($20/ $15 with the 25% off)- I tried this lipstick for the first time over the summer in the shade Je Ne Sais Quoi and I couldn't get over how hydrating it felt...I thought I was wearing a lip balm all day. I can't wait to try more shades! (See my review here)

What will you be getting during the IT Cosmetics Friends and Family event? I'd love to hear about your favorite IT products! 

My Luminizer Collection + Favorites

It's safe to say I'm addicted to luminizers...I have them in powder form, stick form, creams, you name it! I'm not really a fan of contouring (it seems to look good on everyone but me) but when it comes to popping a little highlight on the ol' cheekbones, brow bones and cupid's bow, I'm there! I love how it lights up my face and gives it a lift- it's like youth in a compact. I typically reach for my powder formulas but I also love using my stick versions on the go or when I'm in a hurry. 

I figured that instead of a review, maybe I'd go in a different direction today and give you a peek inside my personal collection and tell you what my favorites are, both high-end and drugstore. This is just powder luminizers...I'll save the creams and sticks for another post. 

Older Posts
Blogger Template Created by pipdig