PRO TIP: Can be used in anticipation of stressful event. Simply begin using 2 days in advance of the event, through the event and for 3 days after to help maintain a healthy complexion.
PRO TIP: Can be used in anticipation of stressful event. Simply begin using 2 days in advance of the event, through the event and for 3 days after to help maintain a healthy complexion.
Happy last day of January! Who else is excited for February?! Which reminds me, it’s the last day of my Pet Lover Giveaway so don’t forget to enter if you haven’t already! I have a new Beauty and Wellness giveaway lined up for the month of February, which will go live on my Instagram on February 5th so stay tuned for that!
So let’s talk about eyebrows. I got my most recent voxbox from Influenster which came with the Arch Brow volumizing fiber gel from Hourglass Cosmetics. Click here to see my Instagram photo (if you decide to follow, let me know your handle, and I will follow back)!
My introduction to Hourglass Cosmetics also happened through Influenster when I participated in their Confession ultra slim high intensity refillable lipstick virtualvox (click link for Insta photo). I was so impressed with the packaging of the lipsticks and how environmentally-friendly they were! I also loved the selection of shades and couldn’t just pick one!
After that virtualvox, I followed their Facebook page where they posted about an upcoming Master Class event. The event was in Los Angeles, not too far from me, so I went on a Saturday and figured, why not make an adventure out of it? I loved the Master Class and was in the market for foundation, so I bought the Immaculate liquid powder foundation along with the Vanish foundation brush (click link for Insta photo). This foundation works great on oily-combination skin like mine and has buildable coverage. I got to take home a few samples too, including their primers, lipstick, and mascara–all of which I love and continue to use.
Most recently, I received the Arch Brow volumizing brow gel and Ambient light correcting primer (click link for Insta photo), both from Influenster! The primer is available in three shades and mine was called “Dim Light”. It works well when worn as a foundation base or even alone! I think it was my prize for winning a Facebook Live event but I also won the lipstick virtualvox so it had to be from one of those missions. Deep down I’m still holding out hope that a Vanish foundation stick will also surprise me in the mail–that’s actually the next thing on my wish (aka inevitable shopping) list and would match the Vanish foundation brush I already have!
I could obviously go on and on about the Hourglass products I love. Check out this Pinterest board to see how pretty their products are!
Hourglass Cosmetics is a luxury, cruelty-free brand. Many of their products are also vegan–I love supporting brands that support good causes in return. They have a flagship store in Venice, California and are sold in retail stores like Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Sephora! You can buy online from their website as well.
Arch Brow volumizing fiber gel is a tinted gel for your eyebrows. It comes in six different shades (blonde, warm blonde, auburn, soft brunette, warm brunette, and dark brunette). I believe they have a clear brow gel formula available as well (and a sculpting pencil if that is more your style). I have naturally dark hair so I got the brow gel in the darkest shade “Dark Brunette” which works perfectly for me!
The formula is lightweight but it has staying power so it’s lasted me all day. It’s not quite waterproof in my opinion but it does seem to be smudge-proof. It’s easy to remove with a makeup remover and doesn’t make my brow hairs fall out unlike some other brow products I’ve tried.
The wand applicator contains both short and long bristles so you can change the intensity to natural-looking brows or more defined ones. To apply, use short upward strokes in the direction of hair growth. The gel contains micro fibers which I didn’t even notice until I saw a zoomed in picture on the Sephora website. The fibers work great and don’t get in the way of application at all. It doesn’t become flaky like other products containing fibers. Depending on the look I’m going for, I like to wear it alone or on top of other brow products to set my brows in place.
As with other Hourglass products, the packaging looks amazing and it is cruelty-free as well! I like to think that I am a savvy shopper and only like to splurge on quality products. This brand is definitely on the pricier side but it’s worth the splurge in my opinion.
Do you use any products for your eyebrows? Have you tried anything from this brand before? Let me know your thoughts!
Disclaimer: I tried this brow gel free through Influenster for testing purposes and for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
We’ve had to be on the road quite a bit recently due to bug issues in the apartment, so I figured why not use it as an opportunity to share what’s in my bag and my new beauty finds! I’m curious to see what you have in yours too!
I also made a video for this (Blog & Vlog–is that a thing?) so feel free to check that out too. I filmed it a little past midnight last night so I think you can tell I’m a little tired in the video (lol) but it was still fun! Here is the link for it: https://youtu.be/iU84E5sAxgA and my channel is called ExploreBeautyXO. Let me know if you want to Sub 4 Sub and I’d be happy to check out your channel too!
So back to my travel bag… As you probably already know by now, I LOVE trying new products, so my bag usually has a rotation of products that I’m trying out. Currently it has things that I’ve gotten within the past month or so. So here goes…
What’s in your travel bag? Any recent favorites you’d like to share? Feel free to leave any feedback on my video too (but please be nice, I’m still new lol)!
If you have been following my blog, you are probably familiar with the brand NeoStrata because of my previous posts (NeoStrata Sheer Hydration SPF 35, Exuviance Performance Peel AP25). They are an innovative, high-end company with amazing products.
Today’s post is about their foaming cleanser. At 40 USD, this luxury item goes great with the facial peel and the moisturizer I’ve reviewed before. The first PRO TIP I can give you is to make sure to wear SPF when using these products to protect your skin.
This foaming cleanser is a very potent formula that exfoliates and unclogs skin. It is part of Neostrata’s Resurface line of products, which help fade the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and blemishes. It helps prepare the skin so that the products used after washing skin (like a serum or a moisturizer) become more effective. It is soap-free, fragrance-free, dye-free, and PABA-free. Side Note: PABA stands for para-aminobenzoic acid and has many negative effects including liver damage, skin abnormalities, and allergic reactions. Needless to say, it’s most definitely a good thing that this does not contain PABA unlike many other products in the beauty industry. If you are interested in learning more about the ingredients in this cleanser, just keep reading below!
Product Link (click for more info):
As I get older, I am getting more conscious of what I put into my body (and not just through what I eat, but also things that are absorbed into my bloodstream) which is why I am researching product ingredients more and more. This cleanser, like the peel that I reviewed before, contains Glycolic Acid, the smallest molecule of the Alpha Hydroxy Acid family. It is readily absorbable into skin and enhances exfoliation by removing dead surface cells. This cleanser contains 18% Glycolic Acid which is a high amount but it is still pH-balanced, which means that it will maintain the skin’s protective barrier so it is neither dried out nor irritated.
Other key ingredients include Lactobionic Acid and Arginine-Amphoteric. Lactobionic Acid helps with cell renewal. Derived from milk sugar, it helps prevent and reverse the appearance of photoaging, including lines and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, enlarged pores and roughness. It also acts as an antioxidant and humectant, which binds water to the skin to keep it moisturized. Arginine-Amphoteric helps minimize the potential of irritation to the skin.
How To Use
Pump a moderate amount of foam into hands. Apply to wet skin and cover entire area. Rinse with water. Use twice daily or as directed by a physician.
First off, I should start by saying that this is recommended for experienced Glycolic Acid users and it is NOT recommended for those with sensitive skin. However, I do have sensitive skin from time to time and so far have not experienced any allergic reactions with this. To be on the safe side, I would recommend testing a patch of skin first anyway.
As you may know from my Instagram posts, I am currently undergoing monthly skin resurfacing laser treatment (just finished two sessions out of three) so I have been using this product sparingly due to its potency. I have only used it a handful of times so I can’t personally speak to its long-term effects… yet. So far, it does exfoliate well! As always, I will post updates on my Instagram so be sure to follow me there! (I also have a PET LOVER GIVEAWAY going on until the end of the month if you’d like to enter! There will be amazing prize packs sent to three winners total.)
Are there any ingredients you typically look for or even any that you try to avoid? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Disclaimer: I tried Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Wash free through BrandBacker for testing purposes and for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Dull skin concerns? Check.
Fine line concerns? Check.
Pore size concerns? Check.
I’ve written a blog post about NeoStrata’s Sheer Hydration SPF35 previously. Exuviance is a separate brand brought to you by the same innovative, high-end company. At $77, this luxury item goes great with the moisturizer I reviewed before and is a must-try for your skincare collection.
With regular use, up to twice a week, this peel has been clinically proven to:
-Refine pore size and smooth texture
-Visibly diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
-Improve clarity and brightness
-Brighten and even skin tone
-Provide an all-over healthy glow, suppleness and smoothness to skin
Product Link (click for more info): https://www.exuviance.com/product/exuviance+performance+peel+ap25.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=fn
I love the simple, clean packaging. The package comes with a 6-week supply of peels, plus an extra set in case you’d like to test a smaller patch of skin before using it all over your face, which is highly recommended especially if you have sensitive skin. In total, there are 13 individual packets of Step 1 (Activator Pad) and 13 individual packets of Step 2 (Neutralizer Pad). I love that they come separately because you can easily incorporate them into your bi-weekly skincare routine even if you travel or are constantly on the go. The packaging also comes with directions that are easy to understand and lists all the ingredients.
This peel, as well as other Exuviance products (click for more info) contain Glycolic Acid, which is the smallest molecule of the Alpha Hydroxy Acid family. It is readily absorbable into skin and enhances exfoliation by removing dead surface cells. Other key ingredients include Mandelic Acid and Gluconolactone. Mandelic Acid is found naturally in almonds and is also readily absorbable into skin. Gluconolactone is a natural substance that acts as a moisturizer and antioxidant. It is gentle and is usually suitable even for sensitive skin.
How To Use
Step 1. Apply a Step 1 Activator Pad over the entire face, avoiding eye area, lips and any area of sensitivity. Then discard pad. Carefully monitor the skin’s response to the Peel by observing any redness or discomfort, including stinging, burning, itching, tightness, tingling and peeling.
Step 2. Apply a Step 2 Neutralizer Pad to the face after 10 minutes, or sooner if you experience bothersome redness or discomfort. Apply over entire face (avoiding eyes and lips), and then rinse the face thoroughly with water.
Pro Tips: Cleanse face before applying and moisturize face afterwards. Don’t leave the peel longer than 10 minutes. A slight tingling sensation is recommended but if it becomes bothersome, the neutralizer pad should be used. Personally, I didn’t feel any bothersome dryness or stinging and I have fairly sensitive skin. It is recommended to use this regularly twice a week.
Based on their clinical studies, 100% of users saw improvement in fine lines and wrinkles after one month of regular use. Those numbers sound very impressive to me. I just received this product so I’ve only applied it once all over my face so far. Surprisingly I didn’t notice any irritation or discomfort at all! It was so easy to use. I’m looking forward to trying it more and will post any updates on my Instagram so be sure to follow me there!
What do you think? Have you tried a Glycolic Acid peel before or use any products with it? Will you take the #peelchallenge?
Disclaimer: I tried Exuviance Performance Peel AP25 free through BrandBacker for testing purposes and for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.