Category Archives: Skincare

favorites-copy2

Simple and Moody - November Beauty Favorites

favorites-copyfavorites5

The month of November simply flew by, and I’m already prepping for the holidays with gift shopping, planning our trip back home, and decorating with anything and everything that sparkles.  My beauty routine was simple and build for comfort - moisturized skin, a red lip, and a seasonal polish.

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter has been a life saver during these past few very cold days - subtle, soft, easy to absorb, and lightly fragranced, Tatcha Indigo is a great body moisturizer whether you are on the run or indulging in a skin pampering session (and no worries, the naturally-derived indigo shade disappears with use of the lotion but still makes for a fun product).

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope in Private Party was a gift I received from my fiance last Christmas - this lipstick is luxe, gorgeous, glamorous, retro, and most definitely a treat.  Although the Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope lipsticks are priced at $50 (gulp!), the texture and pigmentation of these products is unrivaled.  Velvet Rope in Private Party is a red satin matte, think soft without the shine, that is “the” shade for holiday parties  and celebrations.  While the price may be an issue, I recommend at least swatching the products (because seeing is believing!).

I’ve recently discovered REN Clean Skincare via the highly popular Flash Rinse One Minute Facial. REN skincare products are free of several irritants and bad-for-you ingredients - formulated for various skin types and at affordable price points, REN has a product for every one.  I had the opportunity to try several samples of REN Clean Skincare and each one is better than the other (even in sample amount!).  My favorites include the REN Ultra Moisture Dry Cream, the REN Firm and Lift Eye Cream, and the REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk.  My skin has been very happy, and therefore, I’m very happy with REN (be sure to ask Sephora for samples as you may just discover your new HG product)!

Essie No More Film is a moody, rich purple that is opaque within one application - it’s freezing and dreary outside, so I keep reaching for this shade to keep up with the season (in a chic way, of course).hand

 Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

aesop_final

Ultra Modern Apothecary - Aesop Rosehip Seed Lip Cream Review

aesop_finalaesop_product1aesop_samples copy2One of the perks of living in DC is that I can easily visit my sister in NYC (and a perk of my sister living in NYC is that we can always spend hours on end just beauty shopping on the busy streets of New York).  On my most recent visit, my sister and I visited the Union Square location of Aesop.  An Australian brand with several stores in the US, Aesop features skincare and haircare products that use both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients.  This interview with Aesop brand manager says it all - Aesop balances its ingredients for maximum effectiveness, the brand does no advertising but relies on its’ stores designs, and a certain type of lifestyle is encouraged alongside the basics of skincare.

The physical space of each of the New York stores is a work of art where you can comfortably discover and experiment with products.  When I was brainstorming the best way I would describe my shopping experience with Aesop, I immediately thought of an ultra modern apothecary.  With rows of minimalist, almost medicine-like products lining the sculpted walls, Aesop delivers the ability to shop comfortably in a simply beautiful space.

The customer service was also outstanding - my sister and I had the ability to try on products, and ask plenty of questions.  And when we could not decide on what we wanted to purchase, the representatives was more than generous with the Aesop samples. Some of the best Aesop sellers include their delicate but highly effective hand creams and natural derived Fabulous Face Cleanser.

I did however end up picking out one tiny product that has been somehow missing from my skincare collection.  The Aesop Rosehip Seed Lip Cream is a Vitamin E-rich, lightweight cream that is formulated to soothe and hydrate lips. Formulated without silicone or parafin, the Aesop Rosehip Seed Lip Cream is meant to soften and act as a lip treatment.  Keep in mind that this Lip Cream is not meant to be a gloss or balm - I think of it more as a healing treatment because the actual product absorbs into the lips within minutes of application and creates a protective barrier that can be slightly felt as a balm. I’ve been applying the Rosehip Seed Cream in the morning and evening and have noticed my lips being less dry and much softer.  The Lip Cream tube tends to dispense more product than needed, but I appreciate the hygienic and discrete packaging.

The one downside of Aesop products (which can also be its virtue depending on who you ask) are the fragrant ingredients.  While Aesop does not use synthetic fragrance, the products contain various natural oils, such as lavender and citrus, that may be irritating to those with sensitive skin.  Since using the Rosehip Seed Cream, I’ve had no reactions or issues, but I recommend going in store and sampling the Aesop products first.

The whole Aesop aesthetic is refreshing, just as Aesop products are.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

Staying Colorful in August - Monthly Beauty Favorites

Let me preface this post by reminding everyone that it’s still technically summer.  While we’ll have enough time to enjoy pumpkin spiced lattes and cozy knits, there is still the smallest linger of warm weather and sunshine.  And because of this observation, I’ve chosen to continue to embrace bright colors and floral scents.  Each more vibrant than the other, the August Monthly Favorites were daily staple products that worked for during the work week and for night-out happy hours.

Nars Amour Blush is like every other iconic Nars blush. Soft, pigmented, and shimmery, Nars Amour adds a bit of peachy love (eh!) to your cheeks.

Makeup For Ever Smoky Extravagant Mascara (which is a Sephora Birthday Gift freebie) creates voluminous, lengthy lashes without the dreaded spidery look.  I love the Smoky Extravagant Mascara because, despite the heat and humidity of DC, the mascara did not smudge or flake (and it’s not even waterproof which is another plus).

Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb perfume is a mini perfume bottle from a Sephora kit. Easy to carry and completely adorable, this particular product remains sealed and does not open accidentally (which is a big deal when placed in my black-hole of a purse). Flowerbomb stays true to its name with a lovely combination of jasmine, rose, orchid, and freesia scents.

Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is an absolute favorite of mine (and you’ll see it featured over and over).  The Rapid Tone repair is perfect for all types of skin (this moisturizer doesn’t break out or create dry flakes) and contains a good amount of SPF.  The Rapid Tone Repair is lightweight and absorbs easily which are ideal attributes for hot days.

Remember how I said I was going to embrace color? Well, Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Beauty Lipstick Duo delivered just the right amount of bright, happy shades. Bite Beauty Palomino is a neon fuchsia, and Bite Beauty Violet is vibrant purple that is perfect for lip staining. Created with natural and food-grade ingredients, Bite Beauty lip products are a girl’s best friend (my Bite Beauty collection is growing, so I’m a full convert).

My parting advice to you is to savor the remaining days of warm weather - embrace bright colors and floral scents to add a bit of sunshine to the every day.

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.

best-skincare-how-to-pick-skincare-products

Skincare Aisle Guide - How to pick the best skin care products

To say that buying skin care is difficult would be an understatement.  I’ve often found myself needing a new moisturizer, dragging feet into the skin care aisles, trying to decipher all the bottles and potions, becoming confused, and walking away with a new lipstick and no moisturizer.  The whole process of skin care purchasing is overwhelming and ranks up there with going to the dentist or working on a holiday, or any other “grr” moment you can think of.

For the past few year, I decided to learn more about skincare routines and skincare do’s and don’ts. From MakeupAlley reviews to actually researching completed studies, I wanted to become a more informed consumer.  This skin care info-graphic has been in the draft stage for a while and it’s now ready to share.  And because I’m an attorney where graphs and flowcharts reign supreme, I thought to may as well put my “analytical skills” to work (not to worry, lovely, pretty photos will resume after this post).

Now, let me walk you through using this skin care guide and how-to:

Step 1: Skin concern - In my research, I’ve found that “universal” products do not tend to actually work.  Skin care items that have targeted ingredients are more effective than the “do-all” items.  For example, I’d rather pick a moisturizer that combats dry skin and wrinkles because the ingredients will be formulated and concentrated to target those skin concerns (if a moisturizer combats redness, impurities, pores, anti-aging, and dry skin then you should be skeptical). For Step 1, pick one or up to two concerns you’d like to address.

Step 2: Stage in Routine - Here it is - the five steps in a skin care routine and the order in which to apply products (I needed it written down because I always forget).  To continue with our example above, know exactly what step in the routine you are trying to find a product for.  Are you looking for a treatment such as a serum or are you looking for a moisturizer? Skin care products are formulated based on a specific routine and their effectiveness depends on this routine.

Step 3: Personalize - This is an essential step with three major variables that will help narrow down your search. Consider price - if you have two products that fit step 1 and 2, pick the product that matches your budget.  Consider skin sensitivity - many products will state if formulated for sensitive skin (also watch for language on the packet that informs how strong the product will be).  Lastly, consider if you’ll be using for the day time or night time - for example, a day time moisturizer should have SPF and a night time exfoliant could be left on the skin overnight.

Step 4: Dos and Don’ts - The skin care market has a million and one products available - so narrowing down your best choice for you is the secret to finding the best skin care routine.  If you’ve gotten to Step 4, now is the time to make the final decision and walk to that register and walk out with a product. Consider the dos and don’ts above - if a product has fragrance and other doesn’t, pick the product without fragrance (sometimes listed as perfume) because fragrance is a known skin irritant.  If packaging differs, opt for the sealed, closed container product because ingredients are more likely to be stable and thus more effective.

Skin care is unique based on each individual but there is a universal code and method for picking the best skin care products.  Print this skin care aisle guide or pull it up on your phone next time you go shopping and the whole process will hopefully be much easier!

Do you have any other skin care process advice or tips or tricks when purchasing products? I’m still working on this chart and would love to update it in the future - let me know in the comments!

Stay Pretty, Miranda M.