Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 2015 Favorites

It's been another whirlwind of a month! I feel like June was especially crazy, as work had been particularly stressful and my time and energy for blogging was much less than usual. Fortunately I had a wonderfully relaxing week of vacation that got me back up on my feet and feeling recharged. I've got at least 12 posts in the drafting stages (including a delicious recipe for blueberry lemon cheesecake bars), so get ready for July to be full of amazing things!

Anyway, back to the real reason you're here. I've got a lovely little collection of makeup, skincare and other goodies that I've been using non stop this month to share with you.

This first duo totally renewed my excitement for skincare and made me actually look forward to washing my face every night. The Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil ($28) and Konjac Sponge ($12) are basically a match made in heaven, and will totally change the way you look at cleansing. Massaged into dry skin, the cleansing oil gently but effectively breaks down dirt, makeup and grime. Then, using your dampened sponge, you can gently buff the cleanser off your face, offering you an added boost of exfoliation without irritating your skin. Honestly my face has not been happier than it has since I started using this religiously. As someone with oily skin it might seem counterproductive to wash my face with an oil based product, but it's actually pretty genius. This gets my skin clean without making it the least bit tight or dry, which helps to keep it balanced and therefore produce less oil. In conjunction with the sponge, which does a great job of promoting cell turnover by exfoliating away dead skin and other buildup, I think this has helped loads with blackheads, blemishes, and other skin problems. While they are a bit pricey as a combination, they'll definitely last you quite some time. It's recommended that you replace your sponge every 2-3 months, and the cleanser will definitely last you that long, if not longer. Plus, if you're a Maven you can easily get these at a wicked discount by adding them to your monthly subscription box!

Words truly cannot express how magical the LUSH Ro's Argan Body Conditioner ($32.95) is, but I'm gonna try anyway. This heavenly scented skin conditioner is used in the shower after you've gotten yourself squeaky clean. Slather it on any of your bits that you'd like to feel silky smooth, rinse off and towel dry. It's full of luxurious plant and nut butters that will nourish your skin for the rest of the day, so you can totally skip the whole body lotion step. It's scented with the trademark LUSH Rose Jam fragrance, which for any rose lover (like myself) is absolutely addictive. While there is a part of me that basically wants to bathe in this every single day, I also know that it's a super splurgey product and don't want to use it up too quickly. I will warn that right after you rinse this off, it does feel like it's leaving a bit of a residue on your skin. However, as soon as you towel off you won't notice the slightest bit of greasiness. It leaves your skin feeling amazingly soft until your next shower, and the smell really does linger for a long time. I'll often catch a whiff of myself randomly throughout the day and think, "What smells so good? OH WAIT. IT'S ME." I should also note this makes an awesome substitute for shaving cream!

When it comes to makeup I've got a couple things I've been loving this month. With the recent relaunch of the Laura Mercier Eye Art Artist's Palette ($55) I dug mine out of the drawer and have fallen in love with it all over again. I've been testing out a lot of drugstore eyeshadow lately, so when I go back to a palette like this I'm reminded of why luxury brands are worth investing in. These shadows are so buttery smooth and beautifully pigmented that they're a total joy to use. In this palette in particular I'm really impressed with the quality of the matte shadows in particular, which aren't in the least bit patchy or chalky. The color African Violet, a soft purple with gold shimmer, is also a total stunner. I've never seen anything quite like it, either! If you're looking for a palette that has a nice balance of neutrals with a fun pop of color, this is probably my absolute favorite!

Now, that's not to say that the drugstore doesn't have some gems! After trying a sample from my Spring Walmart Beauty Box I knew I needed to get my hands on a full sized bottle of Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation ($6.99). While this is a little less long wearing than the L'Oreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation, it still will give you a good 6 hours of shine-free wear. It has a lovely, satiny finish and truly does minimize the appearance of pores for a flawless look. Considering how affordable this formula is, it's definitely one of the best new launches I've seen at the drugstore in a while!

Another surprise hit for me was the Physician's Formula Glowing Nude Blush in Natural ($8.39), which I picked up in my latest drugstore haul. As the name would suggest, this blush is incredibly natural looking on the skin. It's relatively sheer in pigmentation, but is very easy to build up if you'd like a stronger pop of color. When blended in it gives your cheeks a sort of peachy pink flush and a lit-from-within glow. It's the perfect compliment to a bold eye or lip, or for those days where you're going for a more subtle look. Also, while the packaging is a bit bulky, it's also kind of super cute.

Things are a little less exciting in the haircare department for me this month. I've been on a mission to make some headway through my existing stash so that I can feel less guilty about trying out new products. At the same time, that didn't stop me from picking up a full sized bottle of the Not Your Mother's Deja Vu Do Style Extender ($9), which I fell in love with from my May Ipsy Glambag. Just a small dab of this lightweight cream helps to keep your hair looking fresher longer, while maintaining whatever style you choose. I've seen similar (but way more expensive) products from Living Proof, so I was pretty happy to see a less expensive alternative. This stuff also smells absolutely delicious. It's infused with red apple and berries, and that's exactly what you'll get a whiff of when you comb this through your hair.

With what's quite possibly the prettiest bottle ever, and a totally killer formula, I would consider it a travesty to not include Smith & Cult Nail Polish ($18) in this month's favorites. I picked up the shade Psycho Candy, a vibrant coral créme that's perfect for summer, from the Birchbox shop a little while back, and am totally and completely in love. The polish itself is beautifully smooth, easy to apply, and has great opacity. You could probably get away with a single coat of this if you wanted, but I like to apply two for good measure. Paired with a quality top and base coat it definitely holds up well on the nail, and will last several days before chips appear. Yes, the price tag is a little hefty for a single bottle of polish, but if you're someone who really enjoys doing their own nails, it's totally worth the splurge. Plus, the packaging on this is incredibly gorgeous, and you'll totally want to display it with pride on your vanity or dresser. It sort of reminds me of the design of a fancy perfume bottle, with the rounded bottle and gold metal overcap. Basically everything about this just screams luxury, and I totally am digging it.

Last but certainly not least I have to share my latest tea addiction. After a glowing recommendation from Essie Button, I finally caved and bought a box of Teapigs Licorice & Peppermint Tea ($10). Finally I understand why she was so obsessed with this. First of all, don't let the liquorice scare you. This does not taste like a liquified black jelly bean in any way, shape or form. This tea gets its name from liquorice root, which has a naturally sweet (and not at all anise-y) flavor. Combined with refreshing peppermint, this is an incredibly relaxing and tasty herbal tea that you could drink day or night. I suppose you could drink this as hot or iced tea, but so far I've only tried it hot, even though it's summer. We've had quite a few cool and rainy days in the past month, so a little bit of cozy warmth has been quite welcome.

And that about round things out! This was very much a month of love at first sight. Or use, I guess. Sometimes I have to use a product for a while before it grows on me, but all of these are the kinds of things that blow your mind at how awesome they are right away. If you've also tried any of these products I'd love to hear your thoughts. If not, what would you be most excited to try? Sidenote, total honorary non beauty shout out to So You Think You Can Dance and Pretty Little Liars, which both started up again this month. These two shows seriously make my summer every year. I'm really curious about how the Stage vs. Street platform is going work on SYTYCD, and PLL is getting completely bananas and I love it. If you're also fans of either of these shows, I basically could talk about them non stop, so please feel free to gush with me :-p

What are you loving this month?

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