Last month, as a birthday gift, my aunt and I went to Massage Envy Spa for facials. We arrived early, and after we finished with the paperwork, were asked about what we wanted to get out of our visit. We were both kind of stumped for a minute because we hadn’t really thought of facials in terms of anything other than something that was fun and relaxing, but we both eventually thought of goals. Mine was to lighten freckles that I have on my face due to sun damage. The facials were amazing (we both came out with soft, shiny skin), and I ended up learning a few things. The first being that the Vitamin C Radiance Capsules that I have from the Body Shop are great because they hydrate your skin and brighten it. The Body shop, you win again!

The second thing that I learned was about a product that will actually lighten and correct the sun damage from my face. Ok, if I have to be honest, the freckles are not dark and barely noticeable until I am out in the summer sun, and I always wanted to have them as a kid…but as an adult it’s another story. I can see the lightest freckle and I despise all of them. With the summer on its way, and some beach weekends already planned, I want to get a head start on getting rid of them and repairing my skin. Murad’s Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Serum does just that. It contains glycolic acid which removes dead skin cells, and hydroquinone which lightens sunspots and freckles. But, while these ingredients may be exactly what I am looking for, they can make your skin sensitive to the sun. It’s recommended that if using this product (or others like it), that you apply it at night and follow up in the morning with a moisturizer that contains spf. I love my Dior Hydro Life Sorbet Crème, but I use it at night so I don’t get the one with spf in it. I’ve done some research, and clearly, I am returning to the Body Shop and picking up their Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer with spf 30. I will report back with my findings.


Makeup & Skin Care Loyalties – Old & New

Those of you that know me, know that I have two go-to brands when it comes to makeup and skincare, the Body Shop (of which I’ve talked extensively) and Dior, but recently, I’ve started to add a third brand to the mix.

My love for the Body Shop stems from a random trip to the mall out in Huntington a few years back. I can’t quite recall what drew me in, but once I was there, I never wanted to leave. My first purchases were eye shadows, lip-glosses, bronzers, etc, and of course body butter (to name a few). I became obsessed with how soft the makeup was, and that’s when I went to their website and started reading about the company and found out how amazing it was. First, they are against animal testing of any kind – they neither test the ingredients nor the finished products – and even received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 by RSPCA because of this. Also, instead of going to China for ingredients and production (China has a policy where everything is tested on animals), they have a community fair trade program where they employ people in third-world countries, using ingredients from there and therefore encouraging growth in these locations.

Aside from the makeup (tons of makeup) that I get from the Body Shop, there are three products that I cannot live without. The Seaweed Iconic Clay Mask (which I have written about here) is amazing and always leaves my skin soft, youthful and glowing. The Vitamin C Radiance Capsules – an end of the summer discovery that I use as a boost under my moisturizer – also leaves my face unbelievably soft. And lastly, the Brazil Nut Shower Cream which smells like heaven.

My love for Dior started years ago with my first purchase of Diorshow mascara (it really is the best), and then from a trip to Sephora, where I got a sample of Dior’s Sorbet Eye Crème from their Hydro Life collection, which uses three flower extracts to help defy aging. Right away I noticed the difference under my eyes, the dark circles were less visible and they were less puffy. This of course made me decide to try their Sorbet Crème for the face. These easily became staples of mine for two reasons: one, because I love the texture of the sorbet crème, and two, because the formula is light-weight (not greasy), but still leaves my skin hydrated. I also use their Gentle Foam Cleanser and Toning Lotion.

A few weeks ago I made my newest Dior discovery. I was in need of an eye sorbet replenishment, so I walked over to the Dior section in Sephora and decided to peruse it. The eye makeup remover that I had been using sometimes burned my eyes, so I wanted to see if they had a product that was better, and I found it. I’ve always hated the fact that, makeup removers are usually packaged as for the face or for the eyes, and it is a rare treat to find a product that is meant to do both. So, of course when I saw Dior’s Instant Cleansing Water, I thought that it was too good to be true, but, I am happy to say that that is not the case. It is truly amazing. Not only does it remove all of my makeup, but it leaves my face feeling soft, and, perhaps more importantly, doesn’t burn my eyes. If you try nothing else, make sure to try this, because it really is worth it.

My newest brand obsession began over the summer when I purchased Bobbi Brown’s limited edition Navy & Nude palette. I really loved the subtlety of the nude shades, and also the use of navy as an eye liner instead of my usual midnight grey (almost black) look. Recently though, I had been getting a bit bored of my look. Not necessarily that I wanted more color, just something different. So, last Wednesday, as I found myself at Grand Central with some time to kill before boarding my Metro North train, I stepped into the Bobbi Brown pop-up shop and perused the lipstick options. After trying on three different ones of which I was not completely satisfied, I ended up trying on the color that the makeup artist was wearing. The base was their Sheer Lip Color in cherry pink, and the top was their Lip Gloss in baby pink. I ended up purchasing both. Two days later I was back and looking for new eye shadows, and although I did not make this purchase at the Bobbi Brown pop-up (I actually made this purchase at Sephora while shopping with a friend), I did spot them there. I ended up with a very dark brown (almost black) called Rich Caviar, and Champagne Quartz, the perfect champagne color with just the smallest hint of pink.

And while I plan on keeping my current loyalties to the Body Shop and Dior intact, I see another trip to the Bobbi Brown pop-up in the very near future. What new products will I purchase? Stay tuned!


Vitamin C Facial Radiance Capsules

On my most recent trip to The Body Shop, I was in search of a facial serum that had an extra boost of moisturizer. With the impending winter upon us, I know my skin looses moisture. I’ve tried all different things, even slathering a little vaseline on dry areas. Vaseline works, only I have always been afraid that using it too much on my face would be more detrimental than good – after all, it seals in the skin and doesn’t allow it to breathe, so for as much good as it does, I think using vaseline on the face is only a once in a while option.

Hence, The Body Shop. Of course, before going I had done a little research. I was torn between a normal serum, and one in the form of capsules. After speaking with a sales associate there, I was convinced that the capsules were for me. They ensured an exact dosage so as not to put on too much at one time, they were more concentrated in vitamin c so they would be more efficient, and they were capsules which I thought was cute. So, I bought them: Vitamin C Facial Radiance Capsules.

The way to use this product, is after showering and under your normal moisturizer; they’re supposed to act as an extra moisturizer, and also draw yours into your skin more. The first night that I used the capsules, I was in love. They did exactly what I was told they would; made my face velvety smooth…and I saw a little glow too.

I used the product two more nights in a row, obsessed with getting that velvety smooth feeling again and again, but I, who hardly ever breaks out, ended up with two visible pimples. Defeated, I retired the capsules for a few weeks, not knowing what to do with them. Then, Sunday I had a brilliant idea: I could still use them, just not multiple days in a row, and a bit sparingly.

I know my skin. Yes, it sometimes needs a little extra moisturizer, but there’s only so much concentration of a good thing it can take at once. The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Facial Radiance Capsules are amazing, but you need to know how much or how little your skin can take of them at a time. But one thing you will always get, is the velvety smoothness. Well worth the trials of calculating the percentage of use you need.

Cheating on the Body Shop

I am a Body Shop girl through and through, completely addicted to an array of products from there, however, my last couple of makeup purchases have not come from my belov’ed store.  They’ve come from Sephora.  It started with a lipstick…let me explain.

s1006840-main-heroI recently have given up lip gloss in favor of lipstick (don’t fret lip gloss, I will be back!), and have been into shades of pink that add noticeable color without being too much: I’ve always favored the natural look.  And it seems that I have sped further then the Body Shop.  Basically, I was waiting for their new lipstick line to come out, and I couldn’t wait anymore.  It is available online, but won’t be in stores until after Labor Day (which isn’t that far away now, but it was a few weeks ago), and makeup really is one of those things that should not be purchased online unless it is a color that you’ve already owned before.  So, I walked to Sephora, and with the help of one of their employees, picked out the perfect shade of muted coral from Givenchy’s Rouge Interdit Satin collection (No 03 – secret pink).  It has become my go-to lipstick for now, but I will be returning to the Body Shop next week to check out their new collection.

s1520352-main-heroWhile there, I spotted Bobbi Brown’s limited edition Navy & Nude eye palette, which has beautiful nudes and a very dark navy blue.  Initially, I left Sephora without it, thinking that I only line my eyes with a very dark grey or black and that navy would be too much color for me (did I mention that I like to stick with natural colors when dealing with makeup?).  Then I read the reviews for it, and it seemed that it wasn’t as noticeable a blue as I had thought.  After toying with the idea for a couple of weeks, I ventured back to Sephora, testing the colors on my hand and eventually purchasing it…and I’m glad that I did.  Honestly, you can’t really tell that the shadow (or in my case liner) is blue, it just adds a little something that you wouldn’t get out of my usual black or dark grey.  So, if you’re in the mood for a strikingly obvious pop of blue, this palette unfortunately is not for you, but if you’re like me, then it’s perfect.

As for the Body Shop, perhaps it isn’t a bad idea to branch out a little with my makeup, but I still will predominantly be making my beauty purchases from there.

Mask Obsession

For years I have searched for the perfect mask, trying a whole slew of different kinds – mud masks (one that I really loved has been discontinued for ages), a cucumber/avocado one that smelled awful and took forever to dry…I’ve even tried peel off masks, but found that they were just too much work.  Then, a few months ago I had an idea.  I’ve been obsessed with The Body Shop for a long time – about ninety-nine percent of my makeup comes from there with the exception of mascara and a couple lipglosses.  So, if I feel that strongly about their makeup, why not try one of their masks.

I was really looking for a clay mask, but since they don’t have one, I decided to go for something completely different.  My first attempt was their Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask.  As a mask, I was not completely thrilled with it, particularly due to the fact that it does not require any rinsing off, seeing as how it is a sink-in mask (of which I did not realize when I picked it up from the store).  The first time I used it, I felt like it would make my skin oily.  The second time, I put on a thinner layer before I went to bed, and when I woke up the next morning my skin was softer and the dry spots were noticeably less dry.  I liked the results, but it felt more like a night cream than a mask, so, back to The Body Shop I went, this time choosing their Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask (which I had been avoiding because I wasn’t sure about the seaweed aspect), even going insofar as purchasing a foundation brush with which to apply it.  Two days later, I tried it, and I instantly fell in love.  It didn’t smell awful, dried quickly (a lot quicker than I’m used to) and left my skin super soft.  I’ve used it once a week since, and every time I do I’m in awe over the level of softness and healthy glow.  It’s simply amazing, and just another reason for my obsession with The Body Shop to continue.

Experimentations with Lip Color

I have always been one of those girls who likes neutral make-up.  I have loads of lip glosses in a palate of different pinks, shades light enough that you can see a difference, but not so much that you pass by a mirror and think, wow.

Recently, I’ve gotten a bit bored of these pale colors.  I’d made multiple trips to Sephora without any luck, mostly due to the fact that there is just too much to choose from, but also because nothing seemed to ever be the right shade.  You can only try on so many colors before you get disgusted with all of them.

I was about to give up when I remembered the Body Shop.  Most of my make-up (save for mascara…I am addicted to Dior mascara) comes from there, but I had forgotten all about that place – tells you how much I buy make-up.  The Body Shop has a location nearish to my office, so I took a stroll over there a couple of weeks ago and was immediately glad I did, despite the fact that all of my colors seemed to be obsolete.  I walked away with a new shade of lip gloss (and a few other things) and have since returned and bought a lipstick.  These colors aren’t extreme, but they have more pigment than I usually do, and I love them.  I’ll definitely be going back there again sometime soon.