april-beauty-picks

April Beauty Picks

So I really had quite the opportunity to discover new beauty products this month. Why? I lost my entire bag of makeup in a cab on the way home from my friend’s house. Cue the violins. So after I had a good little cry (kidding, not kidding) I had to go out and stock up on all new beauty essentials. The silver lining of my taxi tragedy was that I found a few gems that I absolutely love. From a mascara that can withstand sweat, rain, tears, and naps, to a luxe serum that has pearls in it, these are my five favorite beauty finds of the month.


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1 // Artistry – Ideal Radiance Illuminating Essence

First things first, this serum is a freaking godsend. My cousin Marina actually introduced me to Artistry when she began selling the line and I instantly became intrigued by its quality and cult-like following (Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lopez are fans). It was difficult to choose which products I wanted to buy, but I ended up settling on this one. My skin is pretty clear but I have always been prone to blotchiness and dullness. With antioxidant packed ingredients like acerola cherry and skin-soothing pearl protein and flower essences, this oil free serum has already made my complexion brighter and my skin tone more even and fresh looking. It’s a splurge at $133 but I think it’s worth every penny.

2 // CoverGirl – LashBlast 24HR Mascara

If there is one thing I never leave the house without, it’s a few coats of mascara on my lashes. My biggest pet peeve however, is when it flakes under my eyes and I look like a raccoon at the end of the day. This is one of the few mascaras I have found that looks as fresh at 7 pm as it did when I applied it at 7 am. It makes my lashes full, long, and lush and doesn’t flake at all. The only flaw? It’s a bitch to take off. I find coconut oil does the trick though, and it’s a small price to pay for fresh, fluttery lashes all day long.

3 // Revlon – Kiss Balm in Berry Burst

I’m more of a lipstick gal than a balm girl, but this tinted formula is kind of like a hybrid between the two. It’s super hydrating and leaved a pretty wash of colour on my lips that brightens my whole face. It’s also SPF 20 which is an extra bonus. I love this for when I don’t want to have a dramatically bold lip but I still want a little colour.

4 // Marc Jacobs – Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer

I love this eye liner for the same reason that I love CoverGirl’s Lashblast 24HR Mascara. It. Lasts. All. Day. Long. I truly hate when my eye makeup smudges and this highly pigmented gem never fades. Unlike the mascara, this is super easy to wash off. It glides on easily and can make my eyes look subtly defined or sultry and dramatic. It’s pricey at $33, but I love, love, love it.

5 // Artistry Essentials – Pore Cleansing Masque

My favorite thing to do after work is as follows: light a few candles, switch on Netflix, apply this mask. My face always feels a bit greasy at the end of the day and this deep cleansing mask is perfect for soaking up excess oil. With mineral clay, brightening ginseng, and nourishing copper and zinc, this reaches deep into my pores to pull out dirt, debris, and sebum. It also tingles in a very satisfying way that makes me feel like it’s really working. I use this two or three times a week depending on what my skin needs, and it leaves my complexion soft, smooth, and matte. It also doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, but as always, you should always spot test a mask before slathering it all over your face.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

november-beauty-picks

November Beauty Picks

Although I love to experiment with my makeup and play with different hairstyles, the foundation of my beauty routine is a solid skincare system. This hasn’t always been the case. When I was younger I was quite rough with my skin – I would go to bed without taking my makeup off, I’d pick at pimples, I’d scrub my face with harsh, sandpaper like formulas (St. Ives Shards of Glass Apricot Scrub, I’m looking at you), I would always forego SPF. When it comes to universally known skincare sins, you name it, I did it. In my late teens I began to develop more of an interest in skincare and sought out help from estheticians and facialists to give me a better sense of how to take care of my complexion. What did I learn? Less is generally more and to exfoliate and moisturize regularly, albeit gently (there is no reason to rub sharp, overly abrasive scrubs into your skin, unless you are trying to remove calluses from the soles of your feet). In the winter, when the air is cold, dry, and unforgiving, my skincare routine becomes a little more indulgent – think masks, serums, oils, etc. I keep my makeup simple, focusing instead on keeping a glowing complexion. Behold, my five favorite beauty products this month.


1 // Lush – Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub

LUSH has become a favorite brand of mine over the years. Why? Their products are often vegan, are ethically produced, and are handcrafted using nourishing, organic ingredients. Ocean Salt is a tried and true classic and is one of the brand’s most popular products. I can totally see why. First, it smells like a margarita thanks to its clarifying blend of vodka, salt, and lime. Second, it manages to deeply cleanse and exfoliate my skin without making it break out – this is no easy feat. It’s not a scrub I use everyday (it’s quite stimulating), but it’s great for giving my skin a rosy glow and keeping my complexion free of blackheads and flakes. I use it about once a week.

2 // Lush – Let the Good Times Roll Facial Cleanser

Ahh. This may have taken Angels on Bare Skin’s place as my all-time favorite cleanser. With hydrating corn oil, maize flour, warming cinnamon, and exfoliating cornmeal, this moisturizing cleanser makes my face feel like silk. Plus it smells absolutely amazing – like sweet caramel corn or buttery pancakes. The texture is a little bit gritty but isn’t too abrasive. I use it everyday and it’s like a gentle polish for my skin.

3 // ModelCo- Contour Stick

I used to be a little bit hesitant about applying contour during the day. It felt too extreme and getting it juust right can be very challenging. Enter this delightful gem from ModelCo. I simply draw a little line under my cheekbones and along the sides of my nose before blending it well with a sponge. I then dust a little bit of bronzer on top. Bam! A natural, glowy, sculpted look that looks anything but clownish. I love how blendable this product is and the creamy formula lends a slight dewiness to my complexion.

4 // Naked Cosmetics – Advanced Skin Cream

Next to exfoliating, moisturizing regularly has made the biggest difference in my skin. I can be a little bit high-maintenance with my routine (I have night creams, day creams, serums, oils, and eye-creams) but this is the moisturizer I keep in my purse for when I’m on the go and I use it more than any other moisturizer. With light yet hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter, and algae, it never fails me and consistently leaves my skin feeling supple with a dewy glow.

5 // Too Faced – Better Than Sex Mascara

Better than sex? That’s a tall order for a mascara to deliver on. Still, this tried and true fan favorite lives up to its name. With plenty of collagen in its formula, it lifts, lengthens, and thickens my lashes in only a couple of swoops. Truly, I look like Bambi when I use this bad boy. Only sultrier. This is an expensive formula but it is one that I like to treat myself to. Try it. When you see your long, lush, fluttery lashes you will agree that it is worth every single penny.

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 //  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

june-beauty-picks

June Beauty Picks

Summer beauty should be fun, fresh and low-maintenance. Tousled, hydrated hair, a fresh, glowing complexion and vibrant, glamorous colours are key. With this in mind, here are the summer products that have become staples in my makeup bag.

1 // O.P.I – Nail Polish in It’s A Boy!

While I vary in my preferences when it comes to nail colours, I always find myself being drawn towards soft pastels. They are low-key enough to work with almost any outfit and look so pretty against any skin tone. This sky-blue shade from O.P.I is perfect for summer. It’s cheerful and evokes thoughts of azure waves, blue skies and inviting pools. I’m currently wearing this colour on my toes and it’s almost giving me a foot fetish. So. Cute.

2 //  Boo-Boo Cover-Up in Medium

Come summer I try to adopt a more low-maintenance beauty routine. I skip foundation, powder, and tinted moisturizer and instead use just a dab of concealer where I need it. This formula has become a favorite of mine. Not only does it cover everything from blemishes to bruises and bug bites, it also has a lot of healing properties. Ingredients like aloe, chamomile, green tea, vitamin e and tea tree oil nourish, protect and heal the skin. I keep a mini tube of this in my bag and it has definitely become a makeup bag must for me.

3 // Tini Beauty – Pink-Tini Satin Lip Color

I am a lipstick girl no question. I love a bit of gloss now and then (DuWop’s Lip Venom is a favorite of mine) but I rarely leave the house without a painted pout and always have at least two or three tubes in my purse. This compact lip colour came in my June Ipsy bag and while I was initially hesitant about using a swipe on lipstick (I don’t like to get the colour on my fingers), I quickly became obsessed with the colour – a rosy nude that instantly brightens up my entire face. The best part? It plays double duty as a cheek stain and lip colour. Rub in a few dabs into the apples of your cheeks for a dewy, flushed glow.

4 //  OGX – Quenching + Coconut Curls Curling Hair Butter

I have very curly, unruly hair that is always dehydrated. Deep conditioning products are a non-negotiable for me and every now and then I soak my hair in coconut oil before I go to bed. This cream from OGX gives my distressed tresses some much-needed moisture and keeps my curls looking fresh and shiny as opposed to flat and frizzy. It also smells ah-mazing. Even if your hair isn’t dry, this cream is an excellent way to protect your hair from summer damage (the ocean, pool, and hot sun can wreak havoc on your mane).

5 // ColourPop – Get Paid Creme Gel Liner

When it comes to eyeliner, I very rarely stray from classic black. This shimmery rose-gold liner is the exception to my rule. I love to wear it blended across my lids as an eyeshadow or on my bottom lashes (with black on my top lash line) and it adds instant glamour in a way that is still fresh and subtle. This luxe metallic shade also looks stunning against a glowing tanned complexion.

xoxo,

Alicia

may-beauty-picks

May Beauty Picks

When it comes to my beauty routine, I am a firm believer in paying a lot of attention to the basics. Sure, I love to play with makeup and try new things with my hair but a solid foundation of good skin care is so important and goes a long way when it comes to making sure the rest of your regimen stays on point. I recently came back from a two week trip to Europe with my boyfriend (pictures are to come soon when I finish editing them!) and let me tell you, travelling from country to country doesn’t give anyone much time for anything but the basics and eight hours on a plane or train can wreak havoc on the complexion. Luckily, I had a fantastic arsenal of products at my disposal to combat all of those travelling skincare woes.

1 // Simple Cleansing Micellar Water

I had been hearing about micellar water for a while in magazines and beauty blogs. As a favorite of models and beauty editors alike, I was curious to try it. I ended up buying a bottle in Berlin after customs threw out my face wash and I was shocked at how well it removed ALL of my makeup  while being very gentle and hydrating. Mascara, tinted moisturizer and lipstick, not a trace was left on my face. As someone who is sometimes too lazy to take off their makeup at the end of the day (shameful, I know), this was a godsend.

2 // Garnier Skin Active 5-in-1 Miracle Skin Perfector

Before I left for Europe I knew that I was going to have very little time to dedicate to primping. Hopping from train to train really doesn’t leave any time for a half an hour routine. I bought this with the idea that I could just dab some on my face with a bit of mascara on my lashes and that I would be good to go and it was perfect for that. Seriously, this brought my total beauty routine down to ten minutes. Before buying this I had never used foundation or tinted moisturizer and I was a bit nervous that it would make me break out. I have been using it for a month and if anything my skin has gotten clearer.

3 // Essentiel Elements Wake Up Rosemary Body Lotion

This fragrant lotion tackles two of my chronic issues: dry skin and having my default mode as high strung and stressed out. The formula is non-greasy and light, almost like a gel, but it sinks in right away and leaves my skin feeling thoroughly quenched. I can’t get enough of the refreshing rosemary and mint scent (my boyfriend hates it and says it smells like Vicks VapoRub, but what does he know?). The herb fragrance reminds me of being in a yoga class or at a spa and I find it to be very soothing. I keep a miniature bottle of this on my nightstand and in my purse at all times.

4 // Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist

I actually discovered this brand through work and I immediately fell in love with the brand’s minimalist, almost clinical packaging as well as their commitment to creating all natural products out of organic food-grade ingredients. This mist is toning and hydrating with coconut water, rose, witch hazel, aloe and hibiscus and I can honestly say that it makes the skin glow from within. It also smells amazing, like shoving your nose into an opulent rose that was freshly plucked from the garden.

5 // Smith’s Strawberry Lip Balm

I hoard lip products. Seriously, its ridiculous how many balms, lipsticks and glosses I have on hand at any given time (my former boss used to tease me about it every time she would bag check me and see thirteen lipsticks in my purse). I used to have Smith’s cult-classic, Rosebud Salve and while I liked the formula and its versatility, I never liked the smell which smelled more like baby wipes to me than rose. I fell in love with this lip balm for having the exact same texture but with a sweet, nostalgic strawberry fragrance. The scent is completely artificial but in an endearing way, like strawberry ice-cream. It may be packaged as a lip balm but I use it on my cuticles, elbows and anywhere that needs a little extra moisture.

xoxo,

Alicia

October Beauty Picks

OctoberBeautyPicks

I am always on the hunt for new beauty products and this month I found a few that I really love. From caffeinated eye creams and fruity peels that keep my complexion bright and radiant to a lipstick that makes me feel like Greta Garbo, here are my top five beauty picks for this October.

1. 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

I have always been a bit of a night owl. I am not a morning person and as far as I am concerned, any time before 11 am is ungodly. I come alive at night time and that comes with a price and that price comes in the form of dark circles and puffy eyes. I have always just resorted to using an industrial strength concealer to cover up my under eye bags and while I had considered using an eye cream, I had my doubts about their effectiveness. When I got this caffeinated eye cream in my October Birchbox, I was skeptical but introduced it into my night time and morning skin care ritual. While it did not provide immediate results, over the course of a few days I began to notice the discoloration around my eyes lighten and my eyes began to look brighter and more awake. With all natural, organic ingredients such as aloe, rosehip oil, coffee and green tea, this product is not only very effective but it is gentle and rich in antioxidants and nutrients for the skin.

2. Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive

Of all of the steps in my skincare routine, I am particularly diligent about exfoliating. Exfoliating not only removes dead skin, oil, dirt and debris from the surface of your skin but it improves circulation and enhances the effectiveness of other products. Because my skin is so sensitive, I am careful about the scrubs and peels that I use. Mechanical scrubs (those that physically polish away dead skin) can be a bit harsh for my skin, making my complexion ruddy and dry. This gentle peel uses fruit enzymes, hydroxy acids and raw sugar cane to break down dead skin cells and oil. Its also very easy to use. I simply spread a thin layer over my face like a mask, allow it to dry for ten minutes and then wash off. It’s a great way to brighten up my complexion at the start of my day.

3. Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream

Its rare that I rave about a body cream but I truly cannot say enough good things about this sweetly scented moisturizer. Thick and luxurious, this rich cream is jam-packed with hydrating shea butter and olive,almond and coconut oil. Its uplifting citrus fragrance comes from naturally derived mandarin and lemon extracts and leaves my skin feeling supple and deeply hydrated. I keep a little tube of this in my purse at all times, especially as the weather gets cooler, to ward off chapped, wind-burnt skin.

4. Eyeko Black Magic Mascara 

I enjoy wearing makeup and it is rare that I leave my house without at least a touch on my face to keep myself looking polished, awake and fresh. Mascara, however is an absolute essential. I usually don’t stray from my favorite tube, every now and then I will test a different brand to see if I can find anything that can top it.  This gem from Eyeko has become another mainstay in my makeup bag. When it comes to a good mascara, its all about the brush. This thick curved wand lifts and coats every one of my eyelashes creating a thick fringe and wide eyed effect. Enriched with conditioning shea butter and keratin, the formula is flexible and doesn’t flake (my biggest pet peeve). Its also easy to wash off – a warm wash cloth and coconut oil does the trick. I like my mascara to give me both length and volume and this nourishing formula delivers on both.

5. Loreal Colour Riche Collection in Liya’s Red

A true lipstick junkie, there is nothing I love better than a classic red lip. Bold yet elegant, a ruby red pout evokes images of old Hollywood sirens and retro glamour. As I wear lipstick everyday, I need a formula that not only lasts, but also hydrates (flaky, red lips are not a good look). This creamy formula keeps my lips smooth and moisturized. While it doesn’t last all day, I only have to reapply a couple of times. Inspired by the stunning triple threat Liya Kebede (this powerhouse beauty wears many hats and works as a model, actress and designer), this rich, crimson hue emulates her elegant, almost regal style and beauty. While its a beautiful shade for evening, I wear it any time that I want to feel a little more glamorous.

xoxo,

Alicia