Giveaway + Beauty Review: 3D Fiber Lash Mascara Set by Mia Adora

Happy Hump Day all! We are halfway to the weekend which puts us even closer to Thanksgiving. As a thank you to everyone who has joined me on this journey so far, I am hosting my first giveaway on Instagram.

This giveaway is open internationally and two followers will be picked at random. Each winner will receive a 3D Fiber Lash Mascara Set (retail value: $59.99), shipped directly from Mia Adora. It’ll be open until I reach 5K followers on Instagram or until December 1st, 2017 (whichever is later). Hopefully this will open the door to even more giveaways that I can host for you all. Head over to my Instagram to enter!

So let’s talk about this grand prize.

Mia Adora
I love this brand. They are a family-run company that supports amazing charitable organizations, such as Not4Sale, which helps build safe houses for sex trafficking victims. You can read more about this amazing cause and shop Mia
Adora’s products here. Currently they are offering free shipping throughout the U.S. and $4.99 internationally. No minimum purchase amount required. Recently they even had flash sales for 25% to 75% off! I love that this brand is socially responsible, uses recyclable material, and is cruelty-free!

I’ve tried several of their products so far including their vitamin gummies for strengthening hair and nails, blackhead charcoal mask, and lash lengthening serum (stay tuned on my Instagram for this one). The lash fiber mascara is one of my favorites of course.

3D Lash Fiber Mascara Set
This set comes in a travel-friendly case. It contains a tube of formula, a tube of fiber lashes, and three wands, including an extra pink one that helps separate hairs afterwards. The formula itself contains natural, non-toxic ingredients that help condition and strengthen lashes. It is long-lasting and easily lasts me throughout the day and night. It is easy to remove too. See below for easy instructions.

How to Use:
Apply Magnifying Gel from base to top. Brush on Natural Fibers from mid-lashes to top while Gel is still wet. Dry Fibers for 20 seconds then seal in place with Gel. To remove, wipe away with warm water.

I love this mascara because it’s a great alternative to falsies. Falsies take more time to apply and sometimes come off more easily too. They can also be painful and rip out some lashes if not done right. I do use false eyelashes occasionally but when I want to have the same effect on my natural lashes, this is my go-to mascara to achieve that look. It claims to magnify your lashes up to 300% and I was able to see results upon my first time trying it.

Have you tried this cult-favorite mascara? Would you be interested in this or future giveaways? Let me know your thoughts below!

Disclaimer: I received a free sample in exchange for my honest review.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @ExploreBeautyXO for more updates! See Instagram bio or home page for social media links—currently following back on all. Until next time, XO.

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KBeauty Review: Minnavi Skin Care

Feels like it’s been a while since my last blog post! I’ve been on a daily weekday posting schedule for Instagram to reach my goal of 5K followers, and creating that content has taken up most of my time this past month. Next month, I’ll be doing my very first giveaway (stay tuned) and hopefully will have more time to work on blog engagement more. Do you have any tips for growing your blog or social media? Would love to hear more about your journey too!

For today’s review, I’ve collaborated with Minnavi to test out three of their skincare products: (1) Time Release Delivery Fluid, (2) Damask Rose Jojoba Face Oil, and (3) Rose Hip Safflower Face Oil. Keep reading for more details!

About the Brand
Minnavi is a Korean beauty brand that recently just launched in the United States! Below is their company mission statement which can be found online at http://minnavi.us

Minnavi’s goal is to improve the health of your skin because the natural result of healthy skin is confidence and happiness. Our products are made in collaboration with the top dermatologists in South Korea. We are always striving to use the best natural and effective ingredients. We know you’ll love it. That’s the Minnavi promise.

Packaging
My first impression is that the packaging was so nice! The colors are simple and elegant. The design is attention-grabbing yet very clean. The instructions are both available in Korean and English so I had no problem figuring out how to use it. Products were also wrapped well so none of the contents spilled. If you order anything through their website right now, it comes with free shipping! See Instagram for picture.

Time Release Delivery Fluid (All-in-One)
This 4-in-1 fluid contains essence, lotion, face cream, and brightening/anti-wrinkle functionality. It claims to brighten and soothe skin, and it really does! The texture is so creamy, it literally just glides on my skin. It absorbs well and is very hydrating too.

My favorite part is that it is free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates! It contains natural plant-derived ingredients like Morus Alba and Cordyceps Ophioglossoides to soothe skin. It contains Adenosine to improve elasticity and low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid which absorbs into skin to improve wrinkles. It also has Whitenol, Malva Sylvestris, and Rhodiola Rosea to revitalize dull skin.

For best results, it’s best to mix this fluid with a Minnavi ampoule, depending on which one suits your skin concerns.

Damask Rose Jojoba Face Oil (Sensitivity Ampoule)
How does 100% all natural and vegan sound to you? Since it is naturally derived from plants without synthetic additives, it can be used for all skin types. Personally, I have oily-combo skin and this ampoule works well with it. Its scent is my absolute favorite too!

This is made of damask rose oil and jojoba oil. Damask Rose Oil tones and lifts skin. It also fade scars and acne marks over time. Jojoba Oil contains nutrients like vitamin E and B as well as minerals like chromium, copper, and zinc, which protect skin from environmental stressors.

Rose Hip Safflower Face Oil (Elasticity Ampoule)
This is also 100% all natural and vegan. This is made of pure rose hip oil and safflower seed oil.

Rose hip oil is a natural source of vitamin A which reduces sun damage and helps prevent premature aging (not that anything is wrong with aging, but preventative skincare is always a plus for me)! Rose hip oil is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids which help slow the breakdown of collagen fibers.

Safflower seed oil contains a high content of linoleic acid, which can combine with sebum to unclog pores and reduce blackheads, as well as acne. It also stimulates the regeneration of new skin cells to clear up scars and other blemishes. It contains vitamins A, D, E, and K.

I’ve only been using these products for about a week now, and already I can feel smoother, revitalized skin. I’ve used it after exfoliating and it soothed my red, sensitive skin as well. I plan to keep using it to test out the long-term effects from the safflower seed oil and rose hip oil.

Pro Tips
The recommended amount is mixing 3 to 5 drops of the ampoule oil with the all-in-one fluid. Personally, I’ve found a drop or two to be enough. It won’t hurt to use more but they are concentrated and work effectively either way.

Are you a fan of Korean Beauty? Have you heard of this brand before? What are your skin concerns? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Disclaimer: I received the products mentioned above complimentary from Minnavi as part of this collaboration.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @ExploreBeautyXO for more updates and stay tuned for my upcoming giveaway! See Instagram bio or home page for social media links—currently following back on all. Until next time, XO.

Social Nature Review: SunWarrior Plant-Based Protein Powder

Social Nature
This is the first product I got to try through Social Nature, a company dedicated to helping people try natural. It is a freebie site similar to my previous posts (Influenster, 08Liter, and Smiley360) except that Social Nature exclusively samples green products, which is perfect for someone on a wellness journey like myself! From their website:

As natural product enthusiasts we look for products that care for the planet, respect animal rights, benefit the community and promote wellness.

You can read more about their core values here.

Their website is pretty easy to use. You view different products listed and specify which ones you’d like to try. You answer a few questions about whether you’ve heard of the brand before or tried the product before. If you are selected, they will ship the product to you for free in exchange for your review. Sharing on social media is encouraged, but it is not required or spammy like similar sites. You become eligible for even more rewards (like a $50 Whole Foods gift card) should you choose to share. I really like how there is no pressure to promote the product and the high value placed on authentic reviews.

Personal Goals
Due to some health issues, I started to reflect on my eating habits and I wanted to be more mindful of what goes in my body. I want to be prepared for more procedures that I have to endure and to set up my body for success as best as I can.

I started a goal of eating or drinking vegan products at least once a week. I purposely set the bar low and am increasing it as I go. This protein powder, which is vegan, caught my eye when I was browsing through the website so imagine my ÷excitement when I found out that I was selected to try it!

SunWarrior
I’ve heard great things about this brand before. They believe in sourcing organic ingredients and utilizing recyclable packaging for their products. This was my first time personally trying SunWarrior and it definitely left a great first impression. I intend to use more of their products moving forward.

Warrior Blend
This protein powder is perfect for energizing me in the morning or right before my yoga sessions. It can even work as a meal replacement for those of us who are always busy and on-the-go.

Not only is it vegan, but gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and all natural as well. It is easy to digest and filled with nutrients. Here is the ingredient list for the different flavors:

Vanilla: Proprietary Protein Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Hemp Protein, Organic Goji Berry), Organic Vanilla Flavor, Organic Guar Gum, Sea Salt, Organic Stevia Extract, Organic Whole Ground Coconut.

Chocolate: Proprietary Protein Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Hemp Protein, Organic Goji Berry), Organic Cocoa, Organic Chocolate Flavor, Organic Guar Gum, Sea Salt, Organic Stevia Extract, Organic Whole Ground Coconut.

Natural: Proprietary Protein Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Hemp Protein, Organic Goji Berry), Organic Whole Ground Coconut.

Suggestions for Use
See my Instagram for the “Before” picture. I made a simple smoothie using a mix of fruits below:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 scoop of Vanilla protein powder

I’ve also mixed it with yogurt, honey, and coconut milk to change up the flavor. I can be pretty picky when it comes to taste but I actually like the taste of this protein powder! Again, you can easily mix it in a smoothie and mask the taste if need be. The Vanilla flavor is very versatile but I’ve heard that the Chocolate flavor is tasty as well.

Special Offer
Here is a coupon link for $3 off any flavor of this protein powder. It is redeemable at the Vitamin Shoppe, so look for locations near you. The coupon is good until October 31, 2017.

Feel free to comment and let me know what you think! Have you tried this product before or do you plan to? How will you use it? Let me know if the coupon helps!

Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary from Social Nature for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @ExploreBeautyXO for more updates! See my Instagram bio for social media links—currently subscribing back and following back on all!

Smiley360: Sharing Tools and Missions

I recently started as a product reviewer and want to share how others can do the same. Hopefully this blog post will be as helpful as my previous post about Influenster.  Smiley360 and Influenster are similar in that they are both free resources for trying out products before you buy and for giving feedback to the brands.

Missions = Campaigns
The product campaigns are called “Missions”, located on the right side of the Dashboard. Similar to Influenster, you can earn badges by completing these campaigns, making it more likely that you will get even more campaigns. Currently, I am on the “Lights, Camera, Action” mission, which is geared towards helping members learn how to use the Smiley360 website.

Sharing tools = Social media
“Sharing tools” allow you to earn points and unlock the badges. There are different types that are mostly self-explanatory: Facebook, Facebook Page, Photo to Facebook, Twitter, Photo to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Blog Review, Face2Face, SmileyConnect, E-mail, etc. The sharing tool I am using for this post is called “Blog Review”.

Q&A 

What’s your favorite Sharing Tool on Smiley360 and why?

My favorite Sharing Tool usually depends on the mission as different missions can have different Sharing Tools. For example, I have a mission for probiotics coming up and I am just waiting for the product to arrive. When it does, I plan to share it with friends offline (called “Face2Face”) and with other consumers via the Smiley360 discussion threads (“Smiley Connect”). I also like to post on my Instagram feed, so follow me on Instagram for more updates!

How has connecting your social media accounts to the Sharing Tools helped you earn and complete more Smiley360 Missions?

Connecting my social media has helped me with missions because I am able to unlock more Sharing Tools and earn more points towards the badges. For example, I created new accounts for Facebook and Twitter during my “Smiley360 Introduction Mission” to earn all 55 points for the badge. Building a following takes time but don’t be discouraged! I am happy to have a community of like-minded followers that are very kind and supportive. Speaking of which, follow me on any social media platform and I will follow back!

How do you create and share great content on your Missions? Share your top tips for writing a detailed post, taking a quality photo, or recording an engaging video.

I share my honest, personal opinion in hopes that it will inspire others to do the same. For a detailed post, I think about what questions I might have and try to provide answers for those. I do my best to make my post relatable and informative.

For a quality photo, lighting and composition is key. I pick a focal point and a clean background. I think of an inspiring message I want to share and try to build on how I can convey that. Personally, I’m not a fan of overly filtering photos and prefer a more natural look. An example is this picture where I am hoping to inspire others to find ways to drink healthy even on a busy schedule (I receive the featured product for free through Smiley360). It was the first Instagram photo I shared with Smiley360 so I was ecstatic when they reposted it!

As far as an engaging video goes, I am a newbie myself. I just finished making my own DIY ring light today, but I’m still a bit self-conscious about my first video. Stay tuned on my YouTube and/or Instagram for that! My username for both is the same as my blog name–ExploreBeautyXO. Feel free to share any tips about filming videos, editing videos, or even your YouTube link so we can support each other!

EDIT: Here’s my video posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUWuBGRYwu4. Would appreciate any likes, comments, shares, and subscribers! Also will comment and subscribe back!

Are you a member of Smiley360? Even if not, do you have any tips on sharing great content?

Disclaimer: This blog post is written as an entry for the “Lights, Camera, Action” contest on Smiley360.

BrandBacker Review: NeoStrata Sheer Hydration SPF 35

Firming? Check.
Moisturizing? Check.
Sun protection? Check.

Brand
NeoStrata is an innovative brand known for its breakthrough towards firming and retexturing skin. NeoStrata is sold in physician’s offices, but more conveniently, it can be purchased online: Neostrata Sheer Hydrator. This particular product costs $48 but I think it’s worth the splurge. Here’s why…

Product Information

– Broad spectrum sunscreen protects skin from burning and further sun damage
– Evens skin tone and improve skin firmness
– Formulated with patented NeoGlucosamine® which is clinically proven to help diminish the appearance of dark spots
– Phytotal®, a botanical blend, helps control and reduce oiliness without irritation
– Oil-free
– Fragrance-free
– Non-comedogenic/non-acnegenic

First Impression
I was curious to try NeoStrata and this is my first time doing so! I’m happy to get the opportunity to try it for free through BrandBacker. The packaging is simple and easy to open. It gives a breakdown of the ingredients used and is easy to understand.

What first caught my eye is its firming properties. I believe that we should celebrate beauty in all ages but I also believe in doing what I can now to minimize the effects of time in the long run. I think it’s good to be proactive and start your skincare routine sooner rather than later.

Personal Background
I started law school weeks after turning 21 years old, and that’s when I noticed that my metabolism decreased. “Freshman 15” easily doubled. I had to make more of an effort to be physically active while having enough time to manage my school (and work) load. Those few years through law school and passing the bar felt like an eternity, and it aged me both internally and externally. I transitioned to a full-time career afterwards, and it was even harder to feel youthful.

Fast forward years later, and I have taken a huge interest in finding amazing products that specifically address my skin concerns. For reference, I have oily-combination, acne-prone skin. So let’s get on with it.

When to Wear
As with most products containing sunscreen, it’s recommended to use this during the day for UVA/UVB protection. This moisturizer has SPF 35 so it meets the recommended SPF amount, plus a little bit more.

It is perfect to use on a hot beach day or even an end-of-summer BBQ, now that back-to-school season is starting up again. It’s a lightweight formula so it’s good to be used daily if needed.

How to Use
Apply liberally to face and neck daily, 15 minutes before sun exposure. Use a water-resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating. Reapply at least every 2 hours.

Results
I have only used it for a few days so far but my skin tone does noticeably look better. I think it works with my skin type too. I love that it does not leave a white residue unlike alternatives. It is hydrating, the smell is not as strong, and the formula is not as heavy compared to other moisturizers with SPF protection. Best of all, it is lightweight enough for me to use under my makeup! I have yet to find a similar product that does the same.

Final Thoughts
I am definitely going to continue to use it. This product has exceeded my expectations of the NeoStrata brand and I would love to check out more of their products.

No matter what age you are and your skin concern (dark spots, oiliness, etc.), this product seems to offer a little something to accommodate everyone. Would recommend checking it out.

Disclaimer: I tried Neostrata Sheer Hydrator free through BrandBacker for testing purposes and for my honest review.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @ExploreBeautyXO for more updates! My Facebook page went live recently and my YouTube will be going live soon too. See Instagram bio or home page for social media links—currently following back on all!

09/06/17 UPDATE: The words “firming” and “retexturing” were substituted in to fight against stereotypical views of aging, especially within the skincare industry.

Essential oils and migraines: any tips?


I started getting chronic migraines a few years ago. I’ve tried several preventative and acute pharmaceutical medications, but most come with side effects. Because of this I have been looking into more natural ways of relieving the debilitating pain that inevitably happens.

Meditation, yoga stretches, vitamins, and essential oils. It’s not an instant cure but it does help A LOT. I am slowly but surely making lifestyle changes to be a better, healthier me.

I’ve tried some basic essential oils already–lavender, peppermint oil, eucalyptus–using them occasionally to ease aches and nausea. Which essential oils do you use?

Most recently, I purchased the necklace featured above at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KHOKFSK, making it convenient to wear essential oils all day. It’s basically a portable mini-diffuser. You just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s) into it and you’re ready to go! What would you wear with it?

I’m so excited to wear this necklace as part of my wellness journey. I plan on accessorizing my yoga outfits with it, which is a lot, because I practically live in yoga pants. The necklace comes with 8 colorful refill pads so you can match it with different outfits.  It comes in a cute pouch too, making it easy to give as a present. It’s back-to-school season and you probably know someone who can use a little aromatherapy stress relief in their life. I know I can.

Do you have any advice about migraines or aromatherapy in general? Would love to hear your stories too!

Follow me on Instagram @ExploreBeautyXO to see other accessories I got from the same seller (owl earrings, leaf earrings, chakra necklace). I’m currently following back, and subbing back, on all social media—links are on my home page or in my Insta bio.

Disclaimer: I tried the items mentioned above through Tomoson and purchased these items at a discount in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.