Splurge & Save | High End & Drugstore Beauty Favorites


I don’t think that it’s any secret that I’m a huge beauty junkie. While I do have a ton of different make up, skincare, and hair products littering my vanity, they aren’t all from high-end, trendy brands. There are certain products that are worth splurging on, just as there are a few holy grail drugstore items that rival even their most pricey counterparts. From my splurge-worthy swear-bys to the diamonds in the rough, these are the best beauty products out there, regardless of your budget. 

SPLURGE 


1 // Fresh – Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream

I am a bit of a night owl and so a good eye cream is a must for me. This anti-aging formula brightens my eyes and makes me look like I’ve gotten a good eight hours of sleep when really I’ve only gotten five. It also packs an anti-aging punch with star fruit extract and tons of antioxidants.

2 // Urban Decay – Naked Eye Shadow Palette

This is the holy grail of eye shadow palettes. It has it all – neutrals, blues and purples, metallics, and mattes. Whatever my mood, there is a delightfully high-pigmented shadow ready to go. It also never creases and lasts for ages. This palette may be a little pricey but it’s worth every penny and when mine bites the dust, you can bet that I will buy another ASAP. 

3 // Benefit – The Porefessional Face Primer

Seriously, this stuff is better than any foundation I have ever used. I don’t even need foundation after using this primer. It goes on like silk and blurs pores and imperfections until all you’re left with is baby smooth, porcelain doll-like skin. Add a touch of mascara and some tinted lip balm and you’re good to go!

4 // Marc Jacobs – Highliner Gel Eye Crayon

This is my favorite eyeliner. Why? It goes on smoothly, doesn’t tug at the delicate skin around my eyes, is highly pigmented, and it lasts all day long. It is also self sharpening. Why is there even such thing as eyeliners that you have to sharpen yourself in this day and age? But for real, this eyeliner looks as fresh at 8 pm as it does 8 am. Give it a try and see why it’s perfection itself.

5 // Fekkai – Salon Professional PrX Reparative Mask

The key to silky smooth strands is hydration. Fortified with hair-nourishing vitamins and Argan extract, this vanilla scented hair mask penetrates deeply into each hair shaft to smooth and condition, leaving it lustrous and soft. It also never hurts when your hair smells like sugar cookies. 

SAVE


1 // L’Oreal Paris – Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black

I have tried many mascaras, from high-end designer to cheap dollar store versions. This inexpensive formula is one of the best out there. It leaves my lashes thick and fluttery. There’s practically a breeze when I bat my eyes. Bambi eyes are just a few clicks away. 

2 // Revlon – Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour in Addiction

This is the perfect matte lipstick. It glides on like a gloss and then dries to a plush, velvety magenta hue that brightens my face and makes me look polished and pretty. It also doesn’t dry my lips out which seems to be a common problem with matte and long-lasting lipsticks.

3 // Neutrogena – Hydro Boost Water Gel

Lightweight and cooling, this is my absolute favorite moisturizer in the summertime. It is formulated with purified hyaluronic acid and this gel formula sinks into the skin right away and deeply hydrates without leaving a greasy residue. It keeps my skin looking fresh and supple, but never shiny.

4 // Olay – 4-in-1 Combination/Oily Daily Facial Cloths

While I love indulging in a multi-step skincare routine on most days, sometimes I’m just too exhausted to cleanse, tone, and moisturize. Enter these delightfully multitasking cloths which whisk away makeup (even waterproof mascara), oil, dirt, and debris while toning my complexion, all in one go. They are absolutely perfect for low-maintenance ladies. Now there is no excuse for going to bed with a face full of makeup!

5 // Garnier – SKINACTIVE Micellar Cleansing Water (All-in-1 Waterproof Makeup Remover & Cleanser)

I’m sure you’ve heard of micellar water before – you know, that skincare product that all the models claim to use religiously and that every magazine raves about. It’s like this magical potion from heaven that takes off all of your makeup, cleanses and conditions skin. The best part? You don’t have to rinse it off! This formula is super gentle and removes literally everything, even my waterproof mascara. It’s like unicorn tears in a bottle. Lazy ladies, rejoice!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you have any favorite luxe/cheap beauty products that you think I should try? Let’s talk beauty! 

xoxo,

Alicia

Au Naturel

I have a ton of beauty products littering my life, ahem, vanity. Despite this fact, every now and then I like to put my Martha Stewart pants on and mix up my own skin elixirs using time tested natural ingredients, most of which can be found in my kitchen. What’s great about making one’s own beauty products, aside from it being a lot of fun, is that you can decide exactly what goes in it. This means that there will be no nasty preservatives or cheap, irritating ingredients coming in contact with your skin (mineral oil is the WORST and is in so many store bought moisturizers). You can also customize your potions to better suit your skin type, whether you have ultra sensitive skin or your complexion is a little more on the oily side. Below are four of my go-to beauty DIYs. They can all be made in five minutes out of four ingredients or less. So slice up some cucumber for your eyes, light a scented candle, and pamper yourself with an at home spa day.

matcha-rose-yogurt-face-mask

1 // Matcha Rose Face Mask

Matcha (finely ground green tea) is chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that your skin loves. Rosewater is a natural humectant (draws moisture into the skin, keeping it hydrated) and has anti-aging and antibacterial properties that keeps your skin soft, supple, and youthful. Plain yogurt is incredibly soothing and helps to hydrate your skin while calming redness. This mask is very gentle and excellent for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. I like to do a mask like this two or three times a week to keep it in tip-top shape.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until the mask turns a pale green and is a creamy consistency. Spread it evenly over your face and leave on for 15 minutes before removing with a warm washcloth. Rinse your face with cold water and apply a light moisturizer to lock in the hydrating effects of the mask. Easy peasy.

honey-lemon-sugar-scrub

2 // Honey Lemon Sugar Scrub

Honey has natural antibacterial and moisturizing properties, making it an excellent ingredient for fighting both acne and dry, flaky skin (combination complexions, this is your holy grail). Brown sugar softens skin and sloughs away blockages and dead cells, while olive oil deeply hydrates. Lemon juice is great for balancing oil production while brightening dull, tired skin. This scrub can be used on the face and the body. If your skin is sensitive, ease up on the lemon juice as it can be irritating for temperamental complexions. This is great for deep cleansing the skin, keeping it looking glowy and radiant. Because of the astringent lemon juice and scrubby sugar, I would not use this scrub more frequently than once or twice a week.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Enough olive oil to get a fluffy consistency

Combine ingredients in a bowl until you get a fluffy, snow-like consistency. Customize the mixture depending on your skin type – if your skin is dry, add more honey and olive oil, if your skin is oily, add extra lemon juice. Apply the mixture to your skin in gentle, circular motions. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry. Apply a light lotion to make your skin even more soft. Your face will feel like a baby’s tush, no joke.

balancing-witch-hazel-lavender-chamomille-toner

3 // Balancing Witch Hazel Toner

Toner is an important, but all too often skipped step in most people’s beauty regimes. This simple version only has three ingredients but powerfully cleanses the skin without stripping it of its natural oils. Witch hazel, a potent natural material in many clarifying skincare products, helps to kill acne-causing bacteria while balancing oil production. Lavender soothes the skin while acting as a mild astringent, and chamomile tea calms redness and irritation. Use this toner before bed to prep your skin for your moisturizer. Get ready to say ‘bye felicia’ to your pimples.

Things You’ll Need

  • 1 cup of witch hazel
  • 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1/2 cup of chamomile tea (brewed and cooled)

Mix all of the ingredients well and strain into an air-tight bottle. Keep your toner stored in the fridge to keep it fresh – plus keeping it cold adds to the tingly-clean sensation you will feel when you use it. After cleansing, apply it to your face with a cotton ball. Don’t rinse it off and allow it to sink it before applying your moisturizer. This is my favorite toner and I find it really helps to ward off pimples, even during shark week when my hormones make me breakout like cray.

coconut-argan-hair-mask

4 // Coconut Argan Hair Mask

If you have dry or curly hair like mine, this deeply hydrating mask is a god-send. Even if you don’t, it will help to keep your stresses glossy and softer than a baby bunny. I’ll tell you right now, the consistency is gross and it doesn’t smell great. I hate the smell of raw egg, but it is incredibly nourishing and helps to smooth the hair follicles while strengthening your strands and preventing breakages. Coconut and argan oil are also fantastic lightweight moisturizers that penetrate deeply into each strand, keeping your hair hydrated and unbelievable shiny. I use this mask once or twice a month (although I could stand to use it more) and it totally bans frizz, keeping my mane smooth and silky. I am also very prone to split-ends and this mask really prevents my strands from breaking, meaning that my hair stays a lot healthier in between hair cuts. It is worth braving the slightly unpleasant smell, and after you wash it out you will be rewarded with gorgeous, mermaid hair. You simply have to suck it up and let your hair soak it up.

Things You’ll Need

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp argan oil
  • 1 egg

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave so that it is a liquid consistency. Whisk it together with a whole egg and the argan oil and apply to your hair, focusing especially on the ends. Wrap your head in a shower cap (or towel if that’s all you have) and let the mask soak in for 30 mins to an hour. Afterwards, wash the mask out of your hair and shampoo and condition as you normally would. After using this mask, I like to apply leave in conditioner to enhance its hydrating effects. That being said, you don’t need to, and if your hair is oily you would be better off skipping it. Let your hair air dry and resist the urge to make everyone around you touch your silky soft hair.

What did you think of these DIYs? Do you have any all natural beauty recipes you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

august-beauty-picks

August Beauty Picks

Summer may just be my absolute favorite season when it comes to beauty. It’s low-maintenance, playful, and fun in a way that other seasons aren’t. This summer my focus has been hair and skincare more than anything else. My hair and skin both tend to be very dry and during the summer, with the hot, dry weather, it gets even more dehydrated. I have been trying to combat these beauty woes with a whole lot of hydration, not just in terms of drinking lots of water, but with my products as well. Hair masks, conditioning treatments, and non-drying breakout treatments (my dehydrated skin overcompensates in the summer by producing excess oil) have been my savior. Here are the five products I have been obsessed with this month.

1 // Β Marc Anthony – Argan Conditioning Treatment

Not only is this nourishing conditioner super hydrating, it is also very light and not at all greasy. It keeps my dry, curly hair shiny, soft, and manageable. And the fact that it smells like a bouquet of fresh lilies is a total plus.

2 // NYX – Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator in Gleam

I don’t like to wear foundation in the summer, but I do like to make sure that my complexion has a fresh, healthy glow.This illuminator has quickly become my favorite. It’s delicate shimmer and rose gold tint creates a natural, sunkissed look that is polished but never overdone.

3 // Formula X – Nail Polish in Dollface

Lately, I have been favoring soft, neutral colours on my fingernails because they are clean, classic and go with everything. This baby pink shade from Formula X is so pretty against a tan and is feminine without being too girly. Although I love a dark, vampy red on my nails in the Fall, I have a feeling I will be wearing this colour well into Winter.

4 // Essence – Longlasting Lipstick in On The Runway

I am an unabashed lipstick junkie with about twenty different colours in my makeup bag. This rosy, ruby red hue is just so flattering and makes my face looked polished and put together even when I’m wearing no makeup. This formula is inexpensive, long lasting and hydrating to boot – in other words, it’s everything I want in a lipstick.

5 // Burt’s Bees – Herbal Blemish Stick

My skin is always at its most temperamental during the summer. My skin gets super dry during the hotter months and produces way more oil than usual. That combined with sweat and melting makeup results in a complexion that is uneven and a little bit spotty. I love this product from Burt’s Bees because it clears up my skin without drying it out more. With natural, acne-fighting essential oils such as tea tree, fennel, willowbark, and juniper, my little bumps go away in no time after putting this on. Bonus: it smells like licorice.

xoxo,

Alicia

The Best (Gross) Hair Mask Ever

 

diy-nourishing-hair-mask

I have been using face masks on my skin for years to keep it healthy, glowy, and in tip-top shape but I used to neglect my hair and would simply slather it in mousse, gel, or hairspray to keep my naturally curly hair frizz-free and manageable (albeit crunchy and lackluster). A couple of weeks ago I was having an indulgent night at home (Netflix, a face mask, popcorn, and Ben & Jerry’s ‘The Tonight Dough’ ice cream were all happening) and I decided to do a simple hair mask. I googled natural hair care ingredients and found that honey, coconut oil/olive oil, and egg were all consistently listed as excellent, nourishing conditioners for the hair. The egg enriches the hair with proteins and nutrients while the oil deeply hydrates the hair. The honey acts as a natural humectant, drawing more moisture into each strand. It also has natural anti-bacterial/fungal properties and helps to kill the fungus that causes dandruff.  I was initially grossed out by the idea of putting a raw egg in my hair (it smells funny y’all) but I decided to include it anyways to see if it would actually benefit my consistently dehydrated hair. Needless to say, this simple but effective hair mask has become a part of my regular beauty routine. While I have used both coconut and olive oil, I find olive oil to be much more hydrating for my hair (although it is heavier). This mask works wonders on parched, colour-treated, and curly hair. Yes, massaging an egg into your hair is gross, but trust me, the silky Princess hair that you will be rewarded with afterwards will make it worth it. Here’s how it’s done.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

DIRECTIONS

1 // This hair mask is honestly so easy to make, it’s ridiculous. First things first, scoop 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil into a little bowl. If you choose to use coconut oil, heat it up in the microwave so that it melts from its natural solid state. Next, crack an egg into the oil and whisk it until it is well blended. Lastly, add the honey. I use liquid honey, but if you do choose to use solid honey, heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds so that it melts. Mix it all together until it’s smooth and well blended.

2 // When you put the mask in your hair, I would recommend doing so over the sink because it can get messy, and the last thing anyone wants is a raw egg, honey, and oil splashed all over the bathroom. Bend your head over, and massage the mask into your hair and scalp, trying to get as much of the mask into your hair as you can without letting any run down the drain. I like to focus on the ends of my hair because they are always super dry with the most damage. Finally, wrap your head in a towel and let the mask sink in for as long as you can stand. I would recommend waiting at least fifteen minutes. I usually leave it in for an hour or two while I relax and watch TV so that it really gets the chance to penetrate the strands of my hair.

3 // When you are ready to wash it out, hop in the shower and rinse all of the mask off before applying conditioner. Rinse out the conditioner, shampoo as usual, and then apply conditioner again to your ends before rinsing with cold water. Comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb and let your hair dry naturally. Enjoy your ridiculously soft, shiny hair. Seriously, I feel like a bunny after I use this mask, my hair is so silky.

So there you are. I love this hair mask and use it once or twice a week to keep my naturally curly soft, hydrated and frizz-free. It has totally transformed my hair and I can’t recommend it enough. For those who give it a try, let me know how you feel about the results!

xoxo,

Alicia

August Beauty Picks

August Beauty Picks

August is usually the hottest month of the summer and because of this my beauty routine has begun to center around hydration of both my hair and skin. As glorious as days spent by the beach can be, all of the saltwater, sand and sun can really do a nasty number on one’s complexion and hair. With this in mind, here are five of my favorite products this month.

1. The Balm Cosmetics – Balm Desert Bronzer/Blush

As someone with a very fair, almost translucent complexion, bronzer is an absolute staple in my beauty arsenal. While there are a lot of great options out there, I am incredibly choosy when it comes to what I use on my face. Overly warm, orangey hues and glitter flecked, shimmery formulas are my biggest bronzer pet peeves. What I love about this product is that it does double duty as both a bronzer and blush creating a gorgeous, flushed glow that perfectly imitates a natural, sun-kissed complexion. It’s incredibly long lasting and neither sweat, sunblock nor sea spray will make it budge.

2. LUSH Cosmetics – The Sacred Truth Fresh Face Mask

I have been a fan of LUSH cosmetics for a while. I love that they use all natural, fresh ingredients and that everything is always created in an ethical and sustainable way (in fact a lot of LUSH products support various social causes around the world, such as their Charity Pot lotions which gives 100% of its proceeds to its designated cause). The first of their products that I have ever tried was one of their fresh face masks. Made with real fruits, vegetable, clays and oils, these masks have a short shelf-life of about two weeks and need to be refrigerated at all times. While some may find that to be inconvenient, I love the indulgent feeling of putting these cool masks on my face directly from the fridge. I have tried every single one of LUSH’s masks and most of them are very effective and create visible results. Sacred Truth is a very rich, moisturizing, nourishing mask made with ingredients such as papaya, wheat grass, matcha green tea and egg. It has recently been brought back onto the shelf after being pulled to be reformulated. This is an extremely hydrating, sweet smelling mask that gives the skin a healthy, bright glow. It’s a great mask to use all year round, to cool sun-burnt skin and to quench, parched winter complexions. This is one of my all time favorite LUSH masks, along with Catastrophe Cosmetic (the calamine, rose and blueberry laden holy grail of face masks).

3. Vasanti Cosmetics – BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

If there is one step in my skin care routine that I strive to be vigilant about, it’s regular, gentle exfoliation. As a teenager I had a terrible experience using St.Ives Apricot scrub. The ultra-abrasive, crushed walnut shells irritated my skin and created microscopic tears in my skin which led to an overgrowth of bacteria and an acne breakout like I had never had before and have never had since (I know that there are many people who love St.Ives Apricot scrub but I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy and no esthetician I have ever spoken to about it has ever had anything nice to say. One woman I spoke to said that it is so harsh of a scrub that the only appropriate way to use it is on one’s calloused feet).Because of this experience, for years I had avoided products that promised any kind of exfoliation like that plague. After being told by an esthetician that my skin was congested due to a lack of exfoliation, I began gently exfoliating with non-abrasive, enzymatic products. What I love about this one is that it is very gentle – the papaya enzymes loosen dead skin cells while the incredibly fine micro crystals delicately polish them away. It is also very effective when used two or three times a week and anytime I feel like my skin is getting a bit congested, this cleanser clears it right up, like a great smelling, soothing buffer for my face. It smooths away blackheads, flakes, and can even reduce the appearance of fine lines, enlarged pores and an uneven skin tone. I discovered this in my Birchbox this month and have every intention of buying a full sized version. I would highly recommend this to anyone, especially those with sensitive or blemish-prone skin.

4. Essie – Nail Lacquer in Peach Side Babe

There’s no better summer accessory than a glossy manicure and pedicure in a cheerful, tropical inspired colour. I love this new shade from Essie’s Summer 2015 collection. Its creamy, Georgia peach inspired shade will warm up any complexion and transitions easily from summer to fall, evoking images of fiery-hued, crunchy leaves, just as easily as it does sun-ripened fruit from a summer’s orchard. I will be donning this playful, yet sophisticated shade all the way through till September.

5. RUSK Hair Care Heatshift Re-Styling Cream

My hair is extremely curly and therefore constantly drenched in some sort of serum, gel, or cream just so that it is manageable and doesn’t become a complete ecosystem of its own. I love to straighten my hair, if not to get perfectly pin straight strands, but to turn my tight spiral curls into loose, beachy waves. Because of all of the heated torture that I put my hair through, I try to use products that are made from heat-styling and this is my favorite of all of the ones I have tried so far. It is hydrating without being heavy, light without being sticky and it keeps my hair from breaking. I have been able to see a visible improvement in the healthy of my hair (almost no breakage). The fact that this stuff smells absolutely delicious is the cherry on top.

Are there any products that you are particularly loving right now? I am always on the hunt for new lotions and potions so please feel free to let me know!

xoxo,

Alicia