Sunday, August 9, 2015

July 2015 Favorites

With July being my birthday month I did some serious beauty shopping and discovered so many amazing new products that I completely fell in love with. I also chopped about six inches off of my hair, and have had a whole new appreciation for all of the styling products in my arsenal. Truly, my hair feels so much lighter now and I think I get way more out of my volumizing products than I was before. Basically, July was a good month, and I'm still in awe about the fact that August is essentially a third of the way over already. So before I waste any more time, let's jump right in and chat about the best of the best products from last month.

Makeup. I've absolutely been loving the makeup routine I've fallen into this month, and I have to give a ton of credit to Stila for the look. One of my birthday splurges was on the Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush in Water Poppy ($26), which is a very vibrant, coral red stain for your cheeks. You need the teeny-tiniest amount of this product to get a rosy glow on your cheeks, and when done right I think it looks absolutely gorgeous. It also is incredibly long wearing, which I appreciate at a time in the year where makeup will literally melt right off your face.

My Birchbox arrived super uber late this month, so it was a few weeks before I got my hands on a sample of the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Venezia ($24). When I did, though, I noticed that it's a spot on perfect color match for my Water Poppy blush, and the two of them together look fabulous when paired with a soft, nude eye, clean brows, and a flawless complexion. The formula on these liquid lipsticks is really interesting. It actually reminds me a lot of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, in that it has an a silky, almost mousse like quality to it. It dries down completely matte and has some SERIOUS lasting power. It does unfortunately feel a bit dry and tight on the lips because there is absolutely no slip to it once it sets, but I suppose if you layered with a gloss or balm you could make it more comfortable (at the price of it not lasting quite as long).

Speaking of a flawless complexion, I am OBSESSED with the NYX HD Finishing Powder ($10). I'm not usually a huge powder person, but since my skin is oily I thought it might be good to start experimenting with some products to help reduce shine and make my makeup stay put. I've tried quite a few different high end samples I've had lying around, as well as the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder, and this stuff is by far and above my favorite. First of all, I love that it's a pressed powder compact because it's just so much easier to use and transport. Second,  this stuff is just so finely milled that it does an amazing job of blurring pores and mattifying the skin without making your skin look cakey at all. For $10 I think this stuff is a total steal, and I would highly recommend checking it out!

The last makeup product that I've been reaching for a ton lately is the Maybelline Master Conceal Camouflaging Concealer ($8.99). This concealer launched earlier this year, and I haven't heard a ton of hype about it, but I don't understand why. This is a perfect everyday concealer. You get a lot of coverage, but it's still relatively light in texture and easy to blend. It doesn't crease and it stays put very well throughout the day. I apply mine under my eyes, around my nose, or wherever else I have a little imperfection to cover up, and blend it out with my Real Techniques Setting Brush. You get a ton of product in one tube, and since a little goes a long way I'm sure it will last for a really long time. Also, I think the squeeze tube is way more hygienic than something in a pot or with a sponge or doe foot applicator, giving it an even longer shelf life.

Haircare. I am seriously loving my new short 'do this month, and it's got me totally excited about playing with my giant stash of hair products. There are a couple of standouts that I found myself reaching for again and again last month that I wanted to share with you.

First up is the Stylist Ultime Luxe Fresh Dry Shampoo ($6.97). I actually bought this on a whim to complete a virtual Influenster badge and it ended up being one of the best products I've bought from the drugstore this year. It's less than $10 and it's truly AWESOME. I feel like it does a fantastic job of soaking up oil and making my hair look refreshed, but it doesn't leave my hair feeling gritty or dirty. This can leave a whiteish cast in your hair, but only if you spray it too close to the root in a concentrated blast. Basically, if you're thoughtful with your application this will be totally undetectable, even in dark hair like mine. I also did feel that it added some body and lift to my hair as it claims to do. Basically it's pretty much everything I could ask for in a dry shampoo. The ONLY thing that could make it or break it for people is the smell. This has a really heavy fragrance to it. I personally love the way it makes my hair smell, but if you're sensitive to fragrance or don't like the scent you may not be able to tolerate it.

My other hair favorite from July is the Serge Normant Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray ($25). I got this in a LE Birchbox in the winter time I believe, and I don't think I paid it nearly as much attention as it deserves. This spray smells awesome, and adds a ton of lift and texture to the hair without making it feel sticky or dirty. This travel sized can is perfect to throw in my purse if my hair needs a little mid-day lift.

Bath & Body. I suppose this first favorite is neither for the bath nor the body, but it's awesome and very much worth mentioning! I've been on the hunt for a good base coat for some time now and I think I might have just stumbled upon a gem. The Julep Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat ($18) is basically the answer to my manicure-related prayers. The formula is quite thick, so it does a great job of filling in ridges and bumps to give your nail bed a super smooth surface. It also dries down really quickly to a matte finish that makes it easy for you to see when your nails are ready for polish. One of the biggest struggles I've had with base coats is that sometimes when they are too tacky it becomes almost impossible to get your polish to go on evenly. This is especially frustrating when the color you're using is a little more sheer and you want to build up each coat without everything getting streaky. With this base coat, however, polish glides on like a dream and will also be more resistant to chips. To top it all off, the formula also promotes oxygenation to the nail bed and is 5-free, so you know that you're protecting your nails no matter what polish you use on top of it.

Another finger-friendly favorite of mine from July is the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Hand Cream ($22). The texture of this lotion is very light and airy, yet silky and moisturizing. It definitely makes my hands feel soft without being overly greasy and also smells lovely. The mini version I have is in the scent Sweet Citrus, but there is also a Vanilla Apricot scent available (which sounds pretty darn delicious to me).

Even though it's been crazy hot in the past month, I'm a lover of baths year round. Some nights or mornings are a bit cool, and it feels so great to take a nice long soak. One of my favorite things to throw in the bath lately is the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Muscle Relief Mineral Soak ($12.99). This stuff will make your bath smell like a tropical paradise, while also turning it into a magical healing potion for your achey body. My only complaint is that compared to the Dr. Teal's epsom salt bags, you get a lot less product for your money. It's definitely a bit more luxurious of a product, and I think more concentrated too, but not the most cost-effective way to take an epsom salt bath. Perhaps one of these days I'll have to try mixing the two together!

Skincare. I feel like most of the skincare that I've been using lately has ended up in the empties post I wrote a few days ago, so there's not a whole lot of other wow products I wanted to share. However, I did want to let you guys know that I finally tried the Simple Micellar Cleansing Water ($7.99) and HOLY WOW this stuff is amazing! After having tried the Caudalie Cleansing Water and not being super impressed I was sort of unsure about the whole Micellar Water craze and whether or not they actually were worth all the hype. I have to say, though, this stuff is basically a lazy girl's dream. Paired with a sleeve of cotton rounds, this cleansing water will remove all traces of dirt, oil, and makeup without you ever even having to get near a sink. It's really gentle and hydrating for the skin and doesn't leave any sticky residue behind. Also, I find that it smells lovely, and quite similar to how the Caudalie water smells, which is fresh and ever so slightly fruity. Whether you want to use this as a pre-cleanse prior to a proper face washing, or just on its own, this micellar water will be a serious game changer in your skincare routine.

It's probably no surprise to you that I'm also including my Z Palette ($28) in this month's faves. For those of you who haven't seen me raving about this in my birthday wish list or haul posts, a Z Palette is basically an empty case with a magnetic bottom that you can fill with whatever makeup you desire and create your own custom collections. I bought myself the extra large version (cause, you know, go big or go home) and have been thoroughly enjoying filling it up with makeup I've depotted. Speaking of which, if you're curious about how the whole process works, I've written a post outlining my first adventure in depotting and some tips and tricks I've learned along the way. I just think this is one of the handiest means of organization you can own as a beauty junkie, and I'm so so glad I decided to buy one.

Fragrance. Last up is an oldie but goodie of mine that I've revived from the recesses of my fragrance collection. A while back a friend of mine bought me the C.O. Bigelow Lemon Eau de Parfum ($34.50) as a gift and I basically used it non stop. I am such a lemon fanatic and am obsessed with the entire Lemon collection from C. O. Bigelow, so this was essentially the perfect perfume for me. Of course then I sort of got distracted by a whole slew of new perfumes that I purchased over the past year and this one fell by the wayside. After doing a little bit of organizing in my bedroom I rediscovered this in my vanity and decided to give it some love again. This is a very light perfume that balances bright notes of lemon with soft, musky undertones. I think it's great for a summer day, when you might want something a bit more fresh and light. Also I have to say that I really love the bottle. It's sort of simple and understated but in a total chic and classy kind of way.

And that about wraps things up! Writing this has got me seriously excited for all of the other posts I've got planned, including a few in-depth reviews of some new beauty launches. Here's to hoping that August will afford me a little more time to write! I hope you all are having a fabulous month so far, and I look forward to chatting with you all again soon.

What are your current favorite beauty products? Have you tried anything new lately that you love?

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