Current Face Routine

Lately, I’ve been going for a more no-makeup kind of look because the weather has been warmer and I haven’t been inspired by any foundations as of late. When I feel like I’m stuck in a rut, I normally don’t do a whole lot makeup-wise and I prefer to keep things simple. However, even with downsizing the amount of products I’ll apply, maintaining my skin is still a priority. In the name of keeping things simple, I used very minimal products (not pictured: eyebrow pencil and mascara).

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Rachel K CC Cream Renew
As a sun protectant and a product for evening my skintone, I refer to the Rachel K CC Cream Renew to save me time. I like multi-functional products like this to cut down on the amount of products I apply. And, since CC creams act like skincare, it’s great to know I’m not piling loads of product on when it’s so warm outside. With this, redness, pigmentation, and pores are instantly blurred — and, with decent oil control — it’s very low-maintenance throughout the day. Thus far, this is my favorite CC cream.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
Normally, I skip on powders but I’ve been really into my Ambient Lighting Powder in “Ethereal Glow” lately. It’s a “opalescent sheer, cool white powder” that doesn’t cover the glow of the CC cream; and, it brightens my skin without looking white or chalky. Described as a “sheer, cool tone that eliminates shine [that] mimics a moonlit glow,” I love this powder for being light and fluffy.

MAC blush in “Lovecloud”
After wandering around and experimenting with other blushes, I’m back to my MAC blushes this week. I recently picked up a new shade called “Lovecloud” and it’s such a fun, bright mid-tone pink that’s flattering and great for the warm weather. It’s pigmented so a light hand is all you need; and, it seems to last super long on my skin which is an added bonus.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush & Real Techniques Blush Brush
My go-to brushes are the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for base makeup and the Real Techniques Blush Brush for my powder. They’re easy makeup brushes to use that are low-maintenance. I’ve got multiple RT brushes on hand, and it helps that they’re easily accessible and so affordable. The Expert Face Brush is simply great for BB creams, CC creams, and foundations; and, they’re great for applying cream blushes as well.

What’s your current face routine?

Face of the Day for Gloomy Winter Weather

Now that Texas has transitioned into winter-mode, I’ve seen more gloomy and cloudy days here the last few weeks. It’s hard to feel inspired when it’s cold outside and it gets dark earlier, but I try to keep things interesting by adding some glow to my complexion. For me, I “shopped my stash” and put some items back into rotation like my NARS Illuminator and Bobbi Brown BB Cream.

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NARS Illuminator in “Copacabana” and Bobbi Brown BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 in Extra Light
Mixing the NARS Illuminator in “Copacabana” with the Bobbi Brown BB Cream gave me the perfect amount of both coverage and dewiness, without risking looking glittery or oily/shiny. I forgot about how much I really loved the Bobbi Brown BB Cream, so it was nice falling back in love with it.

Dior Addict Lipstick in “Diorissime” 249
The Dior Addict Lipstick in “Diorissime” isn’t a new product and I recently reviewed it as well. However, the subtle brightness is perfect for gloomy days because it reminds me that at least my lips feel and look pretty, lol. Even when I wear this without lip balm underneath, I have perfectly hydrated lips in the winter so that’s one less thing to worry about.

MAC Powder Blush in “Pink Swoon”
Occasionally, I’ll take a break from MAC’s “Well Dressed” and I venture off and try a different shade of blush. “Pink Swoon” has been a recent favorite of mine and goes really well with the Dior Addict Lipstick in “Diorissime” — the perfect amount of brightness and subtleness. I tend to reach for this blush when I need something a little different and interesting.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
My trusty Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is great for applying any base product. The Bobbi Brown BB Cream is very creamy and a small dollop goes a long ways. The Expert Face Brush blends the product out beautifully and seamlessly within seconds, which is perfect for busy mornings when I can’t be bothered.

What are you wearing this winter? What about on gloomy days?

Drugstore Beauties

Writing about drugstore gems can be tricky because it seems that so many people have such high expectations of finding dupes and replacement products for high-end items. For me, my drugstore beauties are consistent products that I choose to re-purchase over and over again — despite the fact that I can find them at high-end department stores. This is simply because they perform just as good or even better and I find no reason to spend the extra money.

Here, I’m showing you my drugstore favorites; and, besides some of the newly released items, I’ve been purchasing the rest for years and years.

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1. Cetaphil is my favorite morning cleanser because it’s so gentle for my sensitive skin. Whether you’ve been out in the sun or you’re going through a hormonal breakout phase, this is the best and most gentle cleanser you can use on your skin.

2. I stock up on the Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover whenever I can. This is my most favorite of all drugstore products in the world. This is because it truly removes all traces of your eye makeup, even waterproof mascara. Another reason why I’m so loyal to this particular remover is because it removes Japanese mascaras, which are seriously hard-core.

3. The L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Waterproof Mascara has been a staple of mine for at least 10 years. I use it as a layering mascara, after I’ve applied an initial layer of whatever Japanese mascara I’m using that week. This builds volume and is really, really black.

4. While I do treasure my high-end lip balms, I still equally rely on my drugstore lip balms like the EOS lip balms and the Nivea Lip Butters. They are both hydrating, easily portable, and wear well under lipstick and lip gloss.

5. Man, remember when the Revlon Lip Butters were released and everyone was flocking to them like they were going out of style? I do. I think the Lip Butters really set the bar high for the drugstore lip product department and I’m glad for that. These are great for on-the-go and are perfect options for when you’re strapped for time. They’re hydrating and my lips feel comfortable — while looking pretty in whichever shade I choose that day.

6. The Real Techniques Blush Brush (used for powder) and the Expert Face Brush (for foundation and cream blushes) are true drugstore gems. They are great value and are excellent quality. More often than not, I reach for RT brushes over many of my more expensive brushes. Because they’re affordable, I tend to buy multiples of my favorites and hoard, lol.

Remember that the drugstore has many reliable options, and they’re getting better and better as time goes on. It’s great that we can find great products that are affordable and easily accessible. However, there are some products in the high-end market that are worth investing in, and I will be writing a post on that as well soon. After all, expensive isn’t always better! :)

As always, thanks for reading.

Most-Used Makeup Brushes

Today’s post is about my most-used makeup brushes. I own both high-end and low-end brushes; and, these days, I limit myself to just a handful of brushes for convenience and ease. Like my makeup collection, my brush collection is quite vast. So, I like to keep them “on rotation” as well to get my use out of all the brushes I own. I have my favorites and not-so-favorites; but, nonetheless, the brushes I’ll be talking about today are the ones I’ve been reaching for the most as of late.

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MAC 217 – The MAC 217 is my favorite blending brush. However, lately, I’ve been using it as a general eyeshadow application brush — using it to also blend as well. This way, I can save a step and a brush.
Louise Young – I alternate between the LY31 Angled Sable Brow Brush and the MAC 266 Small Angle Brush. For the most part, I still with the LY.
Eco Tools – My trust Eco Tools Bamboo Deluxe Concealer Brush is my favorite concealer brush and it always has been. It’s the perfect size for spot-concealing because it conceals only what needs to be concealed without getting messy.
Real Techniques Stippling Brush – The Real Techniques Stippling Brush is great for foundation or BB cream application. It really sheers out the product but applies it evenly onto the skin for an even application. I’ve featured it in my Glowy Skin post because it’s also great at applying mixed products as well.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush – The Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is my all time favorite foundation brush and one of my all time favorite brushes in general. It’s best to own multiples of these because it’s great for anything and everything you apply to your face — including cream blush
Real Techniques Blush Brush (used as face brush) – I use the Real Techniques Blush Brush as an all-over face powder brush. It’s so big and bushy that I could never use it as just a blush brush. It’s fluffy but sturdy enough to control the product you’re applying.
Chanel Blush Brush (used as regular blush brush) – One of my recent and re-discovered favorites for blush application is my Chanel Blush Brush. It’s really not anything special, but I’ve been using to really pack on blush because I’m into the rosey-cheeks look right now.

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Highend or not, it’s important find brushes that work for you and the products you’re working with. However, there’s nothing wrong with investing in nice brushes since they will last forever (with proper care) and won’t expire. For me, my collection is so vast because I’ve been adding onto my collection for years now.

Budget-friendly options are great for on-the-go or travel purposes, but it’s also great to have them around because you can buy multiples of them (like my RT Expert Face Brushes). :)

Minimal Face of the Day

Despite stopping by Sephora and Ulta religiously, I haven’t really picked up anything new. And, now that we’ve entered the summer months here in Texas, keeping things minimal and simple has been key. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me, so I haven’t felt entirely inspired by anything or anyone — my daily look has been the same — just enough to even out the skin tone and a dab of cream blusher to allow me to look alive.

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I’m back to using the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, and recently re-purchased it in the shade “Terre-Neuve” which is a touch lighter than “Finland” and less yellow. It’s a good summer product to have because it does so much — moisturizes, protects, and conceals — much like a BB cream. While marketed as a tinted moisturizer, it’s like a light foundatio to me.

As previously mentioned, I’m still on my Illamasqua cream blusher kick. Currently, “Promise” is the only shade I own because everything else seems to be out of stock on Sephora’s website. When they’ve been re-stocked, I’ll definitely be trying out more shades. This is the best cream blush ever; and, if you’re like me and have lost faith in ALL cream blushes, try this one. Your faith will be restored.

As usual, I’ve relied on my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to do all my blending and applying. I own 4 of these brushes and have them stashed all over the place. It’s great for applying my base product and I use a separate one for applying the cream blusher. But really, any synthetic blending brush will do the trick.

Have a great weekend.

Face of the Week

Greetings! With the semester coming to a close and having a rough past few weeks in general, I’ve neglected to have “a routine” for awhile. Since being back home to re-cooperate, I’ve slowly found the inspiration to slap on some real makeup; and, these are the products I’ve resorted to…

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For my primer, I’m still using the Benefit POREfessional and it’s still my current fave. I admit, there are times I wear this on its own after sunscreen — just because, even on a makeup-free day — it’s nice to conceal and “block” your pores!

For base makeup, I’ve been mixing my GA Luminous Silk Foundation with the NARS Illuminator in Copacabana. It dilutes the foundation a bit, giving it a thinner and lighter consistency while giving my face a brightening effect. I apply the mixture with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush as always. Because the weather’s been getting hot and humid, I’ve been using the Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder for the t-zone to avoid looking like a grease ball.

Recently, I re-purchased MAC’s Well Dressed blush. That’s how much I love this blush; I actually finished the first pot and I’m now onto my second. That’s amazing! ;)

I’m still in a rut with lip products, so I’ve just been relying on Nivea’s Lip Butter in Raspberry Rose Kiss. I love these things and have purchased multiples to leave them in my purse, my school bag, my desk, my vanity, etc. :) I’ll be posting another Face of the Week soon. Now that I’m resting at home, my routine is totally focused on radiant and dewy skin rather than wearing foundations or BB creams.

REVIEW: Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

I’ve been enjoying a few of the Real Techniques brushes that I’ve purchased, but I specifically wanted to focus attention on one particular brush that’s blown me away – the Expert Face brush. Let me preface this post by stating that I’m quite picky with brushes, and I’ve rarely ventured off from my beloved high-end brushes.

For those of you not familiar with the Real Techniques range, it is a line of brushes created by Samantha Chapman . She and her sister, Nicola (aka Nic), create YouTube videos under the name Pixiwoo. I suggest you watch their tutorials because they are amazing.

I haven’t purchased any of the Real Techinques starter sets, and I’ve only purchased a few face brushes here and there that were individually sold. The Expert Face brush is new and is sold on its own – thank goodness. I found mine at Ulta here in the United States and they’ve been selling out like hot cakes!

The bristles are densely packed but they’re flexible at the same time. The slight dome-shape of the cut is great for hugging the contours of your face, and the taklon bristles are tightly held together so the foundation you’re applying doesn’t get streaky. It’s also very soft (even though it’s not a brush with natural hairs). It’s soft enough to feel good on your skin, but firm enough to blend easily.

This brush is described as an “ultra firm [brush for] broad application.” It’s great for “blending cream or liquid foundation.” It claims that your makeup will apply “pixel-perfect” and look amazing “even in harsh light.” The “ultra-plush, synthetic taklon bristles are hand-cut and 100% cruelty-free.” The design of the brush is interesting, as the rubber handle is easy to store because it stands up on its own. The “extended aluminum handle is light and easy to use.”

I loved my first expert face brush so much, I stalked local Ulta stores to get 2 more. In my opinion, the rubber handle gets annoying sometimes because it’s hard to store with my other brushes. I’ve gotten used to letting them stand on my vanity to avoid any mishaps during my morning routine.

It truly stands up to its claims – it’s easy to use and blends ANY foundation easily, seamlessly, and flawlessly. Even harder to work foundations – like Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere and Make Up For Ever’s Mat Velvet Plus foundation – blend well with the Expert Face brush.

Also, I like that you can use it 4-5 times straight without it getting gunky. I’ve noticed that traditional foundation brushes get foundation build-up after one or two uses; not this one, and to me, I feel like I’m not wasting excess foundation. Another thing that’s great about this brush is that it’s great with gel products too – like, gel foundations and gel/creme blushes. It’s so easy to use because application and blending time is like 5 seconds.

I own 3 of these and they’re totally worth it. I’ve neglected many of my other foundation brushes (Chanel, MAC, and Sephora brushes) because I’ve been addicted to using the Expert Face brush. And, I swear it’s a perfect match with my Chantecaille foundation. Seriously.

Available at Ulta stores for $8.99 each. You NEED this in your life. Trust me. :)

What are your thoughts on some of the Real Techniques brushes?

*Quotes extracted from http://realtechniques.com/shop-collection/your-base-flawless/expert-face-brush
*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)

Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Gel Foundation + Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

Before falling in love with Chantecaille‘s Just Skin tinted moisturizer, I was testing out the Future Skin gel foundation. I didn’t purchase them at the same time because I wanted to give each product its own fair chance during my experimentation phase.

The Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Gel Foundation has made it to the top of my foundation list; and for that reason, I’ve been using this for a month straight. The finish, texture, and formula is perfect and is exactly what I expect in a well-performing and high-priced foundation.

The formula is oil-free and does not claim to be long-wearing or long-lasting. Before purchasing this foundation, I did my homework and looked up reviews. It appears that it’s a highly popular foundation; however, those who disliked the foundation didn’t like it because it didn’t last long on the skin.

I would disagree. It lasts through the day for me – even though my summers here are humid and dreadfully hot – but, since I don’t wear this during strenuous activities, it seems to stay perfectly fine on my skin. I powder my t-zone and blot halfway through my workday, which isn’t unusual for me since I do that with all my foundations – whether they claim to be long lasting or not.

According to online resources, Chantecaille’s Future Skin “is an innovative oil-free gel foundation with a refreshing, lightweight texture. This unique formula is composed of 60% charged water, which transfers moisture into the skin without the use of oil as an emulsifier.” Apparently, this foundation “is made with reflective circular pigments that provide adjustable coverage (medium to full) and ease the appearance of flaws. It is also loaded with natural botanicals—including aloe, chamomile and arnica—that work to calm irritation and soothe sensitive skin. Rosemary, green tea and rice bran help prevent environmentally caused oxidation.”

I agree that the foundation is soothing. It calms my pinkish skin in the mornings and stays soothing throughout the day. My skin was not irritated by the formula and I didn’t have any breakouts or issues with this. The gel texture is light and fluffy; you can see its whipped texture at various angles in the photos. It blends seamlessly into the skin and disappears flawlessly after application. Coverage is medium and buildable; and, I like that I don’t have to use concealer with this product because I just dab a little more where I need it.

I use the shade “Alabaster” and it’s probably the most perfect matching foundation shade I own. This is excellent for pore coverage – it glosses over your pores and masks them perfectly. I’m usually not a fan of primer, but I use it reluctantly at times when I feel like my pores are gaping holes. My skin is left feeling and looking smooth and is perfected in a natural-looking way.

My biggest gripe is the packaging. I have BIG problems with this being in a tub and being exposed to air everytime I open it. The lid gets messy and I’m always scraping the product from the lid so I don’t waste it. I assume traveling with this would prove to be inconvenient and uncomfortable.

I’ve discovered you can use anything to apply this foundation – for me, it’s best to use my fingers or a synthetic buffing brush since it gets the job done quickly. Currently, my new favorite is the Samantha Chapman Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, which has been specficially designed to be used to blend cream and liquid foundations.

Made of ultra plush taklon bristles, it’s soft and dense and easy to use. The bristles grab the foundation just perfectly and helps it glides seamlessly. There’s no streaks when I use this brush and it buffs the foundation into the skin effortlessly. Plus, it’s affordable and came packaged on its own (and not with other useless brushes).

I’m in love with both the Chantecaille foundation and tinted moisturizer. It’s a hefty price tag to pay for either product and certainly isn’t necessary; however, I recommend them as good “investment products,” because you won’t be disappointed!

Retails for $72.00.
1 fl. oz.
Made in Japan.

*Quotes extracted from http://www.nordstrom.com.
*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)