Brand Spotlight: Lush

OK, so I’m sure we’ve all heard of the beauty brand, Lush. I mean … I’m sure I’m not the only person who has seen those cool bath bomb videos on my Instagram Explore page (I have no life). Anyways, I’ve known of this brand for awhile now, and I’ve tried some products by them in the past, but it has been awhile since I took a trip to their store.

While in NYC this past weekend, I decided to pop into the store to see what they had. Literally so many products — from face masks, to foot creams, Lush has thought of every product, not to mention they’re all 100% vegetarian. My roommate has the Roots Hair Treatment from Lush — I tried it and it’s safe to say I fell in love. This mint-scented hair mask promotes hair growth and volume and feels SO refreshing on your scalp. Even though I love this hair mask, I was on the hunt for something new.

Hot Oil Hair Treatment

These immediately caught my eye when I saw them. I am all for pampering myself and having spa nights, so when I saw “hot oil treatment” I was instantly intrigued. The mask comes as a small block of solid oil. When you want to use the treatment, you boil several quarts of water in a pot and add the treatment (Note: be sure to add the water slowly. I added mine too fast, and the consistency ended up being more watery than intended … but hey you live and you learn!). Eventually, the mask will thicken and viola! You are all set for spa night. The treatment can also be used more than once, as there was a good amount of product left after my first use.

I chose the “Kinky” hot oil treatment considering my natural hair texture: wavy and frizzy. This mask is great for softening, hydrating and eliminating frizz, which is perfect for my unruly hair. The treatment is scented with ylang ylang and rosewood, so my hair is also left smelling like a dream. I kept this product in for several hours. When it comes to any type of mask or treatment, I like to keep them on for as long as possible to soak up all the benefits. This treatment is great if you plan to stay at home all day, or if you want to apply it before you go to sleep and rise when you wake up in the morning. Bottom line: I will definitely be purchasing hair treatments from Lush again.

Cup O’ Coffee

When I saw this face and body mask on the shelf, I picked it up and put it in my basket. I had to buy it. I have tried coffee body scrubs in the past and I seriously fell in love. First of all, I am a self proclaimed coffee addict, so the smell was enough to hook me from the start. Besides that fact, coffee grounds are great for exfoliating and revealing soft, radiant skin. Lately, my pores have been more clogged than usual on my face, and my body has been significantly more dry because of the weather. I like to dampen my hands and apply the scrub all over before I get in the shower. This way, the scrub won’t wash off immediately and the product has a chance to soak into the skin. This product was meant for me, as it is the perfect remedy for rough winter skin.

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Mastering French Beauty

If there’s one thing we can applaud Parisian women for, it is definitely their effortless sense of style and natural, fresh-faced beauty.

These days, I maintain a more simple beauty routine compared to previous years, and focus more on perfecting my skincare regimen. French beauty in particular focuses more on not covering up your face, but rather accentuating your best features. By observation, I have noticed that maintaining a clean, natural face with bold lashes and a darker lip is the simplest and most accurate representation of the modern French girl. For this post, I am going explain my look inspired by the modern Parisian woman. Previous trips to Paris, as well as some additional research (read this one by Vogue!) lead me to create my own take on French beauty.

Step 1: Fresh Face

The key to mastering my look is to wear minimal face makeup and maintain a healthy glow. To achieve this, I would recommend being as minimal as possible, with some concealer, highlighter and blush. Not too long ago, I was watching one of my favorite beauty guru’s on Snapchat, Alessandra Steinherr (I know I’ve mentioned her in a previous post). She’s the beauty editor for British Glamour, and she’s constantly having world renowned makeup artists creating makeup looks for her, while sharing their tips and tricks. On a Snapchat, one makeup artist recommended contouring with blush in the winter to create more subtle definition. When I heard this, it made complete sense considering I am significantly more pale in the winter and sometimes a deep bronzer or contour shade looks too strong against my complexion. Also be sure to add some highlighter on the high-points of your face after blush to add some glow! As I’m sure many of you know, a highlighter can seriously make a difference in brightening any look.

This look is perfect for mastering French beauty because it gives you a hint of color and glow, without being too overpowering. I like to use Nars blush in Dolce Vita or the Milk Makeup Lip Pigment in Swear By to create my perfect blush contour.

Step 2: Lashes

Long, dark and defined are important characteristics to keep in mind when creating your lash look. To start, I use a thin black eyeliner to line my upper eyelid as close to my lashes as possible. The key here is to line your lashes without seeming like you have eyeliner on. This isn’t necessarily a “Parisian” thing, but I personally always like to add some drama. I really like the Nars Kohliner or Marc Jacobs Fineliner to achieve a thin and dark line. Both create an extremely precise line (especially the Fine Liner). By smudging in the eyeliner slightly before it dries, you can create a more effortless liner look.

After lining my upper lid, it’s time to go in with the eyelash curler and mascara. This past break, I discovered the Chanel Volume Mascara (as I have mentioned in previous posts). It’s definitely a splurge, but I like to think of it as an investment. The formula and brush create a clump-free look that will not smudge. For the French look, I like to apply two coats to my upper lashes, and an extremely light coat to my lower lashes.

Step 3: Lips

This step is probably the most vital, and the most fun. A subtle yet noticeable lip color really pulls together the entire look, creating a very chic and clean face. I like to use a muted shade either a red, plum, or brown. Red would be the most classic French shade, but sometimes I feel like mixing it up a little. My personal favorite lip colors to use include the Milk Makeup Lip Color in OG Red, Chanel Rouge Double Intense- Ultra Wear Lip Color in Milky Blueberry, and the Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in 413 BLKR.

From left to right: Chanel Milky Blueberry, Nars 413 BLKR, and Milk Makeup in OG Red (this is the shade I’m wearing)

I hope these instructions were helpful in channeling your inner French girl 🙂

Alex

February Favorites

The cold weather has arrived and the month of February is in full swing. During the winter months, I feel like I need an extra boost of color or vibrancy … literally anything to help me not look as tired and pale. To solve my problem, I have been using a few key products to help liven up my February look, to create more warmth, and to overall give myself a more awake appearance.

Chanel Volume Mascara

Ever since I discovered a sample of this mascara … I was changed for life. Never had I owned a product that coated my lashes perfectly in just one swipe, while also delivering dramatic volume and curl. The cherry on top is absolutely zero clumps … always. It is a pricey mascara, but I rationalized this purchase based on the fact that I tend to not wear a lot of makeup during the week. I leave this gem for weekends and occasions where I need to turn it up a notch. I have had my tube for about two months, and it’s still going strong. The Chanel Volume Mascara has become an instant staple in my makeup collection.

Liquid Laguna Bronzer

I have been coveting this bronzer ever since I saw it at the 413 Bleeker NARS boutique in New York City last year. This past year, I have seen this bronzer pop up in Sephora stores, but for some reason I never sampled the product. While revisiting the 413 Bleeker location in January of this year, I decided to make the decision to purchase the Liquid Laguna Bronzer. After all … when has NARS ever failed me? Needless to say, this product was just what my skin needed for some extra warmth.

To achieve a subtle warm glow, simply apply a few pumps of the bronzer to a wet beauty blender and contour your face by blending in a “three” around your forehead, under your cheekbones, and slightly under your jawline (just to create a subtle shadow). As NARS lovers know, this bronzer is a makeup collection staple. It creates a perfect subtle tan, without any sign of looking orange. And let’s not forget the slight shimmer that creates a soft luminous sheen. Lately I have been addicted to applying all my makeup with a wet beauty blender, so I am currently obsessed with using this product, and I’m sure I will be for awhile.

Milk Makeup Lip Marker

I don’t know what it is about February, but I definitely feel more sluggish and have minimal effort to continuously touch up my makeup throughout the day. The Lip Markers by Milk Makeup became an instant solution to my problem. All you need to do is line and color in your lips, as if you were coloring with an actual marker. There are a definitely a few things to keep in mind when using this product and to ensure it looks as flawless as can be.

For one, I always like to apply a lip balm prior too using my Lip Marker to add additional hydration. The Lip Marker actually does hydrate your lips, but prefer a little extra something in the winter time. The lip marker can also be streaky sometimes, so using lip balm before or after can help blend in the marker to create a well-blended lip stain. It is also vital to store the markers facing down so the color stays in the felt tip (they literally work like actual markers). They come in a few colors: a dark purple, red, hot pink, and neon orange.

Dual-Intensity

I’ve been a fan of Nars Dual-Intensity for some time now, but let me tell you why I love it so much.

Sometimes I want to take a look from soft to dramatic, and get creative with my colors and application. This can all be possible with Nars Dual-Intensity eyeshadows and blushes. The way to use this makeup is simple: wet a brush or beauty blender, swipe the applicator in the product, and apply! Seriously so simple.

I first became addicted when I tried their Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Sycorax (black). It saved the day when it came to creating a smudgy liner look, or a defined cat eye. Literally anything was now possible with one simple product and my outlook on cosmetics changed with a swipe of my eyeliner brush.

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After trying the first shade, I had to have more. I then tried the eyeshadow in “Desmondona” aka a beautiful pinky-purple burgundy. The change from wet to dry was crazy… literally. When worn dry, it was a beautiful soft shade of burgundy, but worn wet, it was an intense deep shade that was perfect for a night out on the town. Not to mention … when worn wet, this product will seriously stay on forever.

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This past Christmas, Nars released a limited edition dual intensity eye and cheek palette called “Give In Take.” This palette changed the game. Seriously. This cosmetic masterpiece came with a series of shimmery and matte shadows, 2 blushes, and a highlighter. Now at first I was a little intimidated about the blushes. But my solution was simple once I decided to wet my beauty blender, swipe it in the blush, and dab on the apples of my cheeks. It seriously gave me the most gorgeous flush of baby pink that could be blended in to look totally natural.

Now as for the highlighter … I went all in. After applying the highlighter dry, I wet an eyeshadow brush, coat the bristles with the highlighter and apply layers of highlight on to the high points of my cheek and brow bone to create a seriously blinding strobe effect. The highlight looked so shiny and sparkly after using the water, and by using an eyeshadow brush I was able to create a more precise highlight look. Ever since trying this technique, I have not tried another highlight look since (obsessed much?).

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The highlighter in the “Give In Take” palette. I wasn’t lying when I said it was blinding…

Nars has tons of other dual intensity eyeshadows and blushes in an array of colors and shades. I seriously suggest trying one out next time you take a trip to Sephora. I am serious when I say that everyone who I show this product to is blown away and instantly puts it on their “things to buy” list. My dual intensity collection is far from complete, and I am soooo excited to see what innovations Nars will come out with in the future.

 

Alex

The *Magical* Milk Makeup Blur Stick

Hey Guys!

So I have a new makeup obsession …

A few weeks ago, I saw there was a limited release of the Milk Makeup Blur Stick before it was officially released shortly thereafter. When I interned with Milk over the summer in NYC, I remember trying out the prototype and knew I just HAD to have it! So sure enough, I ordered the product as soon as I read about the limited release in an email from Milk.

Looking for smaller pores? Try the Blur Stick. A totally matte and anti-shine complexion? Try the Blur Stick. A super smooth primer that will last all day? You guessed it … try the Blur Stick. The beauty about Milk Makeup products is that they are PERFECT for the on-the-go college student who sleeps until 20 minutes before class starts.

I remember before the line came out, I was always struggling to find a no-makeup makeup look that wouldn’t take 40 minutes to apply. Now, I use Milk products everyday, and subconsciously incorporate their products into every makeup look I try because the formulas are just that good (FYI… after I tried their Gel Brow Pencil, I refuse to use anything else).

But anyways … back to the magical Blur Stick.

Photo: @milkmakeup on Instagram

I feel like I have generally decent skin, but I do notice large pores on my cheeks at times. This smooth formula is awesome because it literally blurs pores together, without clogging them. In fact, according to Milk Makeup, this product will “blur your pores up to 68% with just one swipe.” The product is also oil-free, so essentially this product works for any skin type.

Using this product alongside Milk’s Sunshine Skin Tint, Matte Bronzer, Brow Pencil, and Lip and Cheek, is the perfect no-makeup makeup look. Job well done Milk Makeup, can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next.

Until next time,

Alex