Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Makeup Travel Kit

There are two types of "tweeters:" the ones that post every second of movement, and the ones that slack off...all the time, and rarely mention more than their latest post. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter category, and, therefore, you're most likely oblivious to the fact that I've spent the last five weeks at a summer ballet program, away from my natural habitat--my home. You'd be surprised at how much stuff you need for five weeks; when it came to packing, I trotted around my bedroom and threw in everything, basically. But the makeup front was a more selective process. As much as I wanted to bring all three (okay, all seven) of my base options, I cracked the whip on my mental state and narrowed everything down to only the nitty gritty necessities. I've taken a little inspiration from my friend, Elizabeth (who blogs over at My Cup of Tea), and I decided to share what I totted along. Here's what I packed.





Monday, July 28, 2014

A Weeklong Pamper

The "Sunday night pamper" is a favorite among beauty lovers alike. Instagram photos depicting nestled groups of LUSH Bath Bombs, fancy shampoos, soft pink bath salts, exquisite face masks, and a line up of cleansers, toners, and serums make even my heart beat a little faster. A picture is worth a thousand words, and one phrase that pops into my head when I see such swoon-worthy photos is, "not for me." As much as I would love to recreate a scene as dreamy as those I'm describing, the whole "pamper session" thing is not really for me, on account of a few reasons. First, I hate baths. I have too much anxiety to sit in a tub and do nothing. Also, I don't really have the time for a full out routine, with nail painting, hair mask, even masks for every part other of your body. So I have my own version of the pamper: the weeklong pamper. I designate one day per week for a particular spruce, of course throwing out the tasks I don't need, but here's the agenda.


Even though I insist the week starts on Monday (not a very positive beginning, that is), Sunday is technically the start of the next haul. In the essence of maintaining the lavish Sunday night routine, I assign two tasks: a face mask and a nail spruce. Luckily, it works out quite well that you can keep your face mask on while you're pushing back your cuticles, clipping, filing, polishing, coating, and moisturizing your nails and cuticles to oblivion, so you're multitasking...and you can even watch TV during the agenda, too.


Now that your skin is in baby-shape and your nails are looking fab, Monday is really about boosting your conscience, because everyone hates Mondays. To make the worst day of the week a bit more bearable, perform a hair detox. It's quick, so you can roll into bed as soon as possible, and all you need is to wash your locks with a deep-cleansing shampoo and nourish the ends with a mask.


This is the time for your body spruce. Like I said, baths and I don't get along, so I scrub my limbs and bod, and even throw on some Liquid Dead Sea Salt (The epitome of luxury, no?) in the shower, then slather myself in the heaviest duty moisturizer when I come out.


You've made it through the hump. And alongside the champagne for celebrating (or sparkling water for those not yet of age), throw on another face mask. It can be the same as the Sunday option, or another variety for your skin's needs. Can you tell I like face masks? Why? Because I can watch YouTube and perform other tasks at my full ability while they do everything for me. 


At this point, your manicure is looking slightly chipped, so it's time to remove the dregs from the beginning of the stretch and re-polish. To keep it snappy, you don't have to perform the whole nine yards with cuticle care, again. Just polish, and they'll still be looking fab.


It's party time, whether you're going out on the town or staying at home to cozy up with a movie. Either way, prep yourself for the weekend ahead (the most important part out of the seven days) by shaving...everything--as needed, of course. I trusted that you'd do regular top ups throughout the week, to your heart's desire, unless you live in the South of France--my dreamland.


It's finally time for that bath. Saturday is the perfect time for such an indulgent treat: no early wakeup calls and, if you're like me, minimal plans. Do as you wish, accompanied with salts, fizzes, candles, and the rest of the lot. And if you have any tips for tub entertainment, let me know.

That's the way to a busy girl pamper. And, by the way, no, I'm not too busy to not make pancakes every morning. Priorities, people!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Favorite YouTube Channels

YouTube has a deep tie into my love for beauty. As a blogger, looking to cinematography is really inspirational and cues a lot of thoughts that then translate to my verbal niche. Nevertheless, this source of inspiration has become quite the obsession. I rarely turn on the TV (What's Mad Men?), and I can't tell you how many times I've sorted through the Vivianna Does Makeup and Essiebutton archives. Well, I just spoiled two of my favorites.

booksandquills: Sanne's channel is a recent discovery of mine, but her ability to get me excited about reading is truly magical. I guess I'm lucky that it's summer and I actually have time on my hands for somewhat pleasureful reading. (No, I don't consider reading with a highlighter in hand "pleasurable.")

clothesencounters: I mentioned cinematography above and Jen, hands down, has the best. Of course, her stellar style consisting of pieces I can only dream of pulling off are also a plus, but I'm the biggest fan of her vlogs and travel reels.

CloudyApples: Kassie does it all. Her recipes are amazing, her beauty tips dreamy, but I'm most drawn to her contagiously happy personality and her sound and ridiculously crave-able outlook on life.

essiebutton: The lovely Estée needs no introduction as one of my longest lasting channel loves.

essiebuttonvlogs: I'd go as far to say that this is by far the best vlog channel ever. Unfortunately, I may even have a small crush on Aslan, but it's nothing compared to that on Reggie. I wish I could move in with that family.

HelloOctoberxo: I found out earlier this year that Suzie reads this blog, which I'm still a little starstruck about. All I can say is that her channel is indescribably lovable and she'll have you wishing you could wear winged liner as well as she can anyday

Into The Gloss: Can this team do any wrong? Interviews, tutorials, and everything a beauty lover dreams of is right here.

lipstickandsunshine: If you couldn't tell, I have a thing for British YouTubers. Well, Tamira combines everything I love about those across the pond with the bond of living in the U.S. She's stunningly chic and I still can't believe she's so hot, she's a mom.

Lisa Eldridge: Okay, the name says more than I can describe. The queen.

missglamourazzi: I'm pretty sure that Ingrid is a favorite of everyone. Among all the remarkable things she has going for her, perhaps the most amazing is her perfect mix of beauty, fashion, and lifestyle that should appear in textbooks--or the YouTube handbook. Wait, does it not?

ViviannaDoesMakeup: I loved Vivianna three years ago, and I still love her to this day. Her taste is impeccable and she has the ability to make everything look chic.

vlogbrothers: This one is a little out of the mix, but vlogbrothers is the brain child of writer John Green (yes, that John Green, as in the TFIOS John Green) and his brother Hank Green. Their streams always add a laugh--or a dozen--to my day,

Now you know why there is an extreme lack of pop culture mentions on Parisian To Be. If you still don't understand how all of this takes up all my time, I forgot to mention that I spend five-eights of designated YouTube time to watching ballet videos, which I spared you the rave from. Ok, Marianela Nuñez is stunning; I just had to throw that out there.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Changing Limp Locks

When people say they're locks are limp, I glare at them, then tell them that I'd be happy to trade them mine. Then they figure out that mine have less grip than theirs...and they trade back. Nevertheless, changing my hair from drab to fab is slightly difficult, especially since my aspirations for a natural aesthetic doesn't mean I can just tease my hair into a rats nest--although, that would certainly do the trick. Although, despite my hair pain in the bum, I've found a routine that makes my hair slightly voluminous, manageable, and texturized; I've changed my limp locks.

Every haircare routine starts with shampoo. Perhaps my biggest epiphany when it comes to changing my hair is reducing dependence on sulfate-ridden shampoos. The John Master's Organics Bare Shampoo is certainly a favorite. It's sulfate-free, as well as unscented, so it's kind to your scalp. But beyond the sensitive awareness, it has also reduced the oil-levels on my scalp, has made my hair softer, has made my hair shinier, and has made it far more manageable than other 'poos I've tried in the past. Because I shampoo my hair everyday--when you load it with that much hairspray, as well as hair nets and bobby pins, you have to not look like bridezilla--a formula as gentle as this has certainly helped my bad habit. Nevertheless, I only wash the scalp of my hair everyday, and wash the ends twice a week. Another shampoo option that I've had success with is the LUSH Squeaky Green Shampoo Bar. It does contain sulfates, but I think it's the bar form that makes it so I don't use as much shampoo; in other words, it just doesn't make my hair as clean, equaling a more ideal hair state. On those two days that I do wash my hair all the way through the lengths, I follow up with the Bumble and bumble Surf Creme Rinse Conditioner. Above and beyond the smell of holidays, it adds weightless shine and nourishment, and always makes my hair look healthier.

Once I'm finished with the washing (if only laundry was this quick), I follow a few guidelines for the styling section. First, I don't blow dry my hair, mostly because I choose to enhance my hair's natural texture, which is always more defined when its air dried, but also because I simply prefer the way my hair looks sans heat. The one other styling trick that I have is the Sachajuan Volume Powder. Although this works more so like a dry shampoo (which I don't need thanks to the John Master's Shampoo, even if I do go a day without washing) it also adds weightless texture and volume without any grit or over-the-top appeal.

Whether this is old news or les nouvelles to you, all I can say is that my baby locks are disappearing...the texture, that is; I think I still have some baby hair.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Essie Nail Polish in Neo Whimsical

As I and the accompanying seven girls in my ballet class stood at the back of the studio, clad in our "boots" (i.e. pointe shoes), we leaned over our knees, enveloped in a veil of despair concerning our performance in that ridiculous pirouette from fifth combination. My teacher cued off the music and said, "Progress, not perfection, ladies." Her voice was high pitched, but also peaceful, like dripping water. We pepped up our spirits, as much as you could in a period of thirty seconds, and moved on to the next exercise. 

My metaphors are reaching heightened levels, because I'm about to compare none other than a nail polish to that principle: "Progress, not perfection." Last year, I was a neutral, sheer nail color lover. If it looked like I was bare-nailed, but actually wearing polish, that was the ideal. This year, I've stretched into new territory: reaching for colors. By no means is my penchant for neons inflating, but Essie's Neo Whimsical is my new love. I've worn it three times so far this month, and whenever I crack out the acetone remover and prepare to slap on another shade, all the other bottles seem to blunder into a ray casting down to this one. It's obviously purple (Essie describes it as a "rose-plum pastel"), but not really all that colorful. It's hard to explain, but I'll give it a go. Despite its pigmented appearance, at first glance, it almost makes my nails look like they don't have polish at all, which I consider a good trait. In other words, it mends so seamlessly with the color of my skin, it's just a pretty finger extension. Nevertheless, there's something about this color that's tricky. Although it looks absolutely stellar paired with my skin tone--those aren't my words, just a summary of the plentiful comments I've received--it doesn't look too fantastic on my mom's. Her complexion is warmer than mine, and a bit more tanned, as well; finally, the pasty situation is working in my favor. 

Back to the metaphor. In the nail polish arena, I'm making progress in expanding my nail color repertoire. But this nail polish exceeds the phrase, "Progress, not perfection," because while I'm making progress, Neo Whimsical is truly perfection.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Where To Start with Makeup

I look back at old pictures of myself and think, "Wow." And that's not a good reaction. In fact, that response holds a lot of sarcasm. I think the same thing when I look at my beauty stash. Okay, just as I look at some of the horrendous things in uncoordinated shades and textures and wish that they weren't there, mostly because I feel guilty now. I'm still getting to grips with what really suits me when it comes to makeup; I now know that eyeshadow isn't one of them. Nevertheless, I have some two cents to add in when it comes to starting with makeup. I did a post similar to this one last year, but I have some new advice and I look at the  previous lot and think it's a little novice. Here are some guidelines, and if you're looking for product recommendations to fit the match, I've linked those under their respective titles below; it's like an advent calendar.

Right now, I'm only talking about the necessities. You'll be able to tell from my own makeup preferences that I think base is the most important. When it comes to general coverage, I suggest starting off with a BB or CC cream. Yes, they may not be quite worth the craze they receive, but I'd say they're a good starting point for a few reasons. First, even though it may be a marketing hoax, they tend to be good all-rounders, supplying sufficient coverage that won't overload your complexion--even if you think you need it. Second on the pro-alphabet creams list is the fact that it's über simple to find a color match. I understand that girls with pasty complexions (i.e. me) and darker skinned babes may have difficulty, but, like I said, even I have had success, and it's a lot easier to match than foundation. Next on the base list is concealer. If you're a skincare junkie, or even just someone who has really good pH balances, you probably won't need this, but the normal lot of use require some extra coverage. In addition to the necessary two is a third: powder. I know that the step seems extraneous and, trust me, I was scared of the stereotypical powder, too. Nevertheless, I've come to realize that there's more to the finely milled formula than just oil control. I've found formulas that smooth over skin, others that add radiance, and some that do indeed mattify the skin. After the base comes only a few other constituents to the pack. Blush is another staple, and not just because I'm partial to its goodness; I know from my YouTube watching expertise that everyone looks better with a bit of color on their cheeks. When it comes to choosing one, try it on and if anything at all looks "strange," move onto another. The key with blush is to blend it well, so use a fluffy brush to apply a sheer layer in a centralized location, receding outwards. I think Queen Lisa Eldridge could help you with that one. Then, choose a mascara. I always think that lengthening formulas are the best place to start because they tend to fit in the clump-free zone and look the most natural. Lip balms are the place where you can have fun. They're low maintenance and gives the lip a healthy sheen unlike some of their relatives--the lipstick and the lipgloss.

I have to admit that most people look fantastic with as little makeup on as possible. But if you're just itching for some spruce, here's your guide--except I can hope it will only suffice.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Get Un-Ready With Me | Evening Routine

Although mornings hold a delicately (i.e. intensely) loved place in my heart, the evenings hit a close second. Why would I ever love the midday slump? In a typical fashion, I recorded my synopsis from beginning to end, from the moment I finally wrestled up the strength to shower to when I turn out the lights after all. Said time of day tends to be a bit more product heavy than its other blurry-eyed counterpart, but there's no fault for you, as you now have some videography to feast your eyes on: my evening routine.

In the shower:

Drying off:

At the skincare station:

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Blogger Made Me Buy It Tag

The day I discovered beauty blogs was the day after I came back from the Emergency Room, not allowed to go to school, but feeling a-okay; wow, I'm sorry to open with such a drab reminiscence. Nevertheless, I spent the day lounging in bed with my Dad's iPad and scrolled upon page...and page of said eye candy. A few years later, here I am. And, now, a large part of my life is run by this facet, one being my purchase history. In the essence of my title, online niche, and appeal, here is "The Blogger Made Me Buy It Tag."

Who are your most influential bloggers?

I have many favorite blogs, but, there are two favorites; they need to introduction, as I'm sure you, too adore their blogs. Both Vivianna from Vivianna Does Makeup and Rebecca from From Roses are the most persuasive. 

Who are the ones you rely on for reviews and swatches?

I don't really rely on any specific blog for reviews or swatches, as, if I have my eye on a particular treat, I will look it up in Google and read regardless of the site. Nevertheless, the two mentioned above, as well as my favorite Suzie from Hello October and Estée from Essiebutton are the among the members who spark my adoration for a particular something, most likely on account of their review.

Do you buy a product solely as a result from one review of your favorite bloggers, or do you look for more reviews from others?

I look to my favorites first, then look to others for more information; yes, I'm that into research.

What is your most favorite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?

I couldn't choose one, so I have three. The first two are makeup favorites that you may have never heard of before (I jest, I jest): the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream and the NARS Laguna Bronzer. I didn't think they were that amazing when I first got my hands on them, but, over time, they prove to be my most reached for and most loved products. The third is a skincare product, known by the name of the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. I'm on my second bottle and, although I have other skincare loves on par with this one, this formula, in particular, has opened my eyes to my skin the most and delivered a little skin epiphany, as well.

What is your least favorite product that you've ever bought as a consequence of blogs?

It's a tie between the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Oil-Free, which, I still don't find to be that effective or special in the slightest, and the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cream. You probably haven't heard about the latter on this blog, but that's because I returned it after one use and an induced face full of spots. I'd say it's the most disappointing because it sounded so good by its cover and, even to this day, I still lust after it, but it just didn't work for me.

Name five products that you have recently bought as a result of blogs?

The Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation, Diptyque's Candle in Figuier, the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy (I'm on a Tarte fettish at the moment), the John Master's Organics Bare Shampoo (which I need to talk about more on this blog), and the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer are among the few.

Have you ever given into any blogger hype? If so, which hype?

I'm sure it goes without saying, but I always give into hype--and there are too many to count.

Have you ever avoided any blogger hype? If so, which hype?

I wouldn't use the word "avoid," but the term "skepticism" applies more to me. Because I'm so selective about what I purchase, I always try to resist or approach hype with "skepticism" and, instead, focus more on what I know works for me, what I need, and my preference, this way, I don't end up with too many things I don't need.

Is everything you buy based on blogger reviews or are there some items that you buy without checking a review?

I'd say that everything that pulls my heartstrings is influenced by blogger reviews in one way or another, so I guess that makes the answer to this question, "yes." Nevertheless, I'd say there is one exception: the First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask with Red Clay. Said purchase was, indeed, a complete impulse purchase, but I have to say that I'm lucky that I live in the US because the return policies here are rather stellar.

When normal people ask me why I blog, I say it's because I like to write. But now, you also know the real reason: I've been sucked in by blogger hysteria. And it doesn't look like it's leaving anytime soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Summer Foundation Routine

In textbooks, summer sounds nice. Actually, correction, in Kinfolk Magazine's Saltwater Issue, summer sounded fantastique. Unfortunately, though, I live in a land-locked state, the only sea salt I'm seeing is residual on sea shells from long vacations past, and, for goodness sakes, the only salt I'm tasting is that from my sweat (I know that's rather graphic). The latter part has turned out to be one of the biggest haunts when it comes to my base, but my induced oily complexion is another pain.

To mend such matters means that I can't just slap on the same base I did back in January; trust me, I tried, but it didn't turn out so well. Said base? Well, it begins with the Smashbox Photo Finish Light Foundation Primer. Its silicon constituent creeps me slightly, but it's not too heavy and is light on the skin for oil-control and lasting power without the fear of it clogging my skin. After a smear of the first layer, I throw on the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: another product you're definitely tired of hearing about. Luckily, though, I haven't been needing too much of this because my skin adores summer (both the humidity and the vitamin D) and my skincare routine has pulled out quite the stunts. Now is the time that I introduce the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. Wow, I should have named this post "Lillian's most loved products, volume 11942." Nevertheless, I use this magical blending wand to mend in concealer, as well as tap on my summer skin savior: the Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation. A new catch, this mineral powder supplies a hint more coverage to my complexion to keep it looking perfect all day, as well as tones down the dew but keeps the radiance, while swishing away any surface oil throughout the day, because I don't need any more shine when my sweat glands are this active.

Although the introduction to this post sounds rather negative, my summer is turning out to be rather fantastic--especially since my face is looking swell with this trio; these are the things that make me happy...and ballet, too. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Summer Playlist

Summer. Books, reminiscence, stereotypes, and even Kinfolk Magazine (i.e. my Holy Grail) depicts it as a hypnose. Bodies caked in sea salt. Sandy sandwiches. Humid, lazy Sundays. Ice cream on the boardwalk. Sea gulls pecking at your towel. Unfortunately, mine isn't this picturesque. And, in the same bubble as that theme, this playlist isn't exactly what I wanted it to be. Other summer playlists to which I've listened embody exactly what I've mentioned above and sound as hypnotic as the accompanying sweltering daze. Well, this playlist isn't. It's not mellow, cool, or anything of the likes. 

I always say that I like all types of music, and that's true, but this playlist is overzealous with electronic dance music--it's a rather strange love considering its rave-y beat and my not-so-party-ish persona. Nevertheless, my summer is realistic. I haven't done any of the things mentioned above. In fact, this is simply the playlist I listen to when I'm working out; that's the dancer life for you. So, voilà, here is another summer playlist: Lillian style. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Another Chance

I dawn upon the topic an overzealous amount, but I always look back to my skin last summer when it comes to my skincare routine. I say so sheepishly because it sounds rather egotistical, but my complexion at that time was truly perfection. I remember holding concealer on the tip of my index finger (and that was the only base product) in the mornings and thinking, "Where do I even put this?" Since then, I've certainly gone through some rough patches, but everything is a learning experience. On the whole, I've learned a few things. First, oils and shea butter aren't the only ticket to moisturized skin, and, in fact, my dermis adores the humectant hydrators, specifically glycerin. I've also learned that over-exfoliating my skin will only send it down a rough path. Third, maintaining a solid routine is essential, as you won't see any miracle happen overnight. And last, but not least, simple is better--and is also rather wallet-friendly. So, while I was going through a skin crisis, in a way, I'm actually happy because I now know how to sort my skin.

After much contemplation, I decided to incorporate the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner back into my routine, which I was also using during this time of complexion heaven. Its classification as an exfoliating toner is one that may not suit everyone, especially considering I use it morning and evening, everyday. Nevertheless, using a manual and chemical hybrid twice per week wasn't doing my skin as great a treat as I had wished--mostly because it wasn't getting rid of some awful under-the-skin bumps that plagued my complexion (and, unfortunately, my conscience, too). Since adding in the Clarins toner, most of the peers among the lot have lost their way and have disappeared and I continue to see a difference in my skin's texture week by week. I've also seen a reduction in spot count since adding in this wonder. And my spot ghosts (i.e. scars) have also seen their way out. Another plus? (Yes, there are more.) The high glycerin content makes my skin feel fantastic after smothering this on, transforming it into a plumper version of its normal state. In other words, I couldn't be happier with this new skincare addition, or, shall I say, reunion of an old flame. And, even though I still have more steps in my skincare routine than my friends, I still consider a cleanse, tone, and moisturize rather simple; they're the problem, not me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thoughts On Castor Oil

If you look back through the Parisian To Be archives, it's rather obvious during which time I read the book No More Dirty Looks. In other words, just look for the surge of green, natural, and clean beauty ramblings.  Since then, I'm rustled through the fog and come up with a clean vs. conventional product mantra of my own. Now, I focus on effectivity rather than its aura. There are still a few lone standings, but "few" is the key word. Among them is castor oil

I'll admit that, initially, I purchased this bottle hoping for its promises of longer lashes and a less acneic complexion. Well, I didn't quite get that, but I'd also say that I didn't quite give it a long enough chance. Nevertheless, a peek at the oil from the chemistry-level certainly makes sense. Molecularly, it has a polar composition--more so than most fats--which, in layman's terms, means it attracts very well to many things (...like my heart). It's also composed of vitamin E, minerals, and proteins. All of this makes for antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which, in turn, often compose the reasons for such optimistic odes. Apparently castor oil is good for hair growth, lock strengthening, combatting scalp infections, and controlling split ends. Others also say it's good for acne, again, because of those polar properties that attract ridiculously well to bacteria, dirt, dead skin cells, excess oil, and other pore cloggers.

So far, I'm sure you're counting down the minutes until the end of this post, so you can go get a bottle of this magic yourself. But, don't stop reading here; I still haven't dished my own thoughts on this potion. In the hair growth arena, I haven't seen any difference in either my lash length or strength. On the other hand, I have had some success using it on my face. When I ran out of my "first cleanse" cleanser, I reached for this as a fix for such a desperate measure. I smother some all over my dry face, rub it over my eyes, then wet a muslin with hot water, steam my face, then rub it off. And, that's it--for the first cleanse, that is. With application aside, I have seen a reduction in blackheads amongst my face and no new spots, either; that's always a plus.

So I have mixed feelings on this hyped clean, green product, but I'd say I'm enjoying it at the moment, and I'm also no longer blundered by the green beauty hypnose.


Castor Oil. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jul. 2014.

"Castor Oil Effects on Hair Growth." Livestrong.com. Demand Media, 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 7 Jul. 2014

"Castor Oil." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., n.d. Web. 7 Jul. 2014.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beauty Empties | Six

The time has come, again, to discuss my beauty garbage in typical beauty blogger stylée. Such a fashion isn't at all reminiscent of a raccoon--those awful rascals who always create such a mess out of my trash can--but, instead, consists of dawning upon the products I've used up: Will they come back? Was I disappointed? Among other questions.

Skincare is always the empty-heaviest category, mostly because I don't chock my routine around much, so I use each concoction up to a pith. The Liz Earle Cleans and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is a beauty blogger favorite that I, too, enjoyed. I wouldn't say it's anything of miracles, but it worked well for my first cleanse (although it lacked in the waterproof mascara removal department). On the other hand, a firm favorite, and I'd even call it a "staple," is the Aesop Parsley Seed Deep Cleansing Mask; I even have a new tube on the go because I practically can't live without its  gentle, deep cleansing complexion magic. I've also made my way through two moisturizers. The Organic Pharmacy Manuka Face Cream certainly didn't last long considering the rather whopping price tag, but it was gentle and effective, while it also controlled surface oil throughout the day. On the other hand, the Kiehl's Skin Rescuer lasted ages--I'm still in shock--and did wonders at hydrating my complexion, mostly because my skin adores glycerin and it's the second ingredient in this bottle. It was gentle and, although I've purchased a different evening moisturizer, thank goodness for American return policies because I swapped it out for another one of these tubs. One product, though, that won't be repurchased is the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. I used to swear by this stuff, but I find, now, that I don't really need it. In fact, I tried another application with the dregs, but didn't notice any difference come morning. How things change, no?

I made my way through the Korres Fig Shower Gel; a dreamy scent and a standard formula, I'm always a fan. The Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap is another firm favorite and staple that is employed for body, brush, hair, and hand washing use. Another multi-purpose product is the Caudalie Divine Oil. It's aroma is popular among the beauty blogger community, and, while I did think it smelled nice, it certainly wasn't my cup of tea, but the formula was amazing for hair and body. On the makeup-front, I made my way through two all-time favorites. The first, the Rimmel ScandalEyes Eyeliner in Brown has already been repurchased and perches happily among my mascara and other eye candy, and, second, the Dr. Jart Waterfuse BB Cream, has brought tears to my eyes (not really, but you get the point) and, although my adoration is much effused, but I'm holding off an a repurchase, because I now have an excuse to stack my stash with more base lusts.

Finally, I don't have to receive any strange looks from anyone about the piling beauty trash in my bathroom. But, shhhh, I still keep it because you know my penchant with packaging. Hoarder? No.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Penchant for Pretty Packaging

There's a major part to my beauty obsession that doesn't have anything to do with pigment, color, changing the way I look, or taking care of my body at all. Actually, there are two parts. The first is too profound and philosophical for this post, so I'll spare you the brain strain. The second, though, roots from an obsession with pretty packaging. It's unfortunate, really, because my heart is drawn to any beauty product even if it lacks (or extremely lacks) effectivity. Luckily, though, the self discipline of ballet is migrating to my spending habits and it takes a lot for me to actually buy something. And I'm also fortunate that the few products above with swoon-worthy cases and lids are rather effective, too--but that part is for another day.

Fragrance brands tend to take the cake when it comes to beautiful casing. Diptyque is a prime example; their candle containers are so gorgeous, most keep the votives even when they're wax-less. Tied is Jo Malone. Their fragrance bottles are certainly simple, but also stunning with a heavy weight (and price...eeek), silver knobbed top, and gold accents. But whether it's candles or fragrance, it's fortunate that the molecules being spritzed or burned are aesthetically pleasing to the senses, too. On the makeup front, the packaging on the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes earns another spot on my list. After a recent overhaul, the compacts now feature a "Tarte," gold embossment and an overall color the same as that on the inside. That should go to show you how much I adore the shade Tipsy. NARS is another common favorite, consistent with matte black finishing whether it's a foundation or eyeshadow primer. Unfortunately, the matte factor seems to attract grime rather easily, but it makes showing a newbie to the light even more wondrous and it's nothing a wipe down can't fix. On the other end of the spectrum--showing light, that is, in contrast to the overtly black facet--is RMS Beauty. The milky, glass packaging makes what is inside visible, but the clean lid with the simple RMS logo looks stunning on any vanity (or set of Muji acrylic storage). Just like RMS, REN Clean Skincare has learned the way to a skincare lovers's heart, especially with the clear face that makes it easy to see how much cleanser, mask, or moisturizer you have left so you're not stuck without any in desperate times. Their ranges are also color-coded, making finding your product match a breeze. Essie, too, has the white look nailed; in fact, I'd say that the packaging is a large constituent as to why it is my favorite nail polish brand. And, last, although I don't stare at it often, the packaging on all Herbivore Botanicals products has me swooning. Forget the natural origin, the box on their Blue Clay Soap is what had me drawn in the first place.

I wish I didn't have such a lame excuse for my overzealous beauty stash, but, while I feel guilty, at least I'll have some nice faces to look at. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Choosing a Moisturizer

"Do you want to wash your face?" I asked my friend who, indeed, has a fettish with washing her face. "I mean, if you want to let me use some of your nice skincare stuff," she admitted, sheepishly. A chance to show off my skincare routine? You better bet I showed her the ropes. "I just have no idea where to start with my own," she added, as we both slathered castor oil all over our faces. Although I'm certainly no skincare expert, I had a response to her question, and, today, I'm going to respond, but focus strictly on the moisturizer category. I'm also aware that it's slightly ironic that I say I'm in no way qualified to write a post of this sort, but I am. Nevertheless, I think that I've finally blasted my moisturizer oblivion out of the water and finally have a grip on the constituents needed to nourish my skin, keep it clear, and nurse it back to it's baby state; maybe it's wishful thinking on the last part.

Some potions promise deep wrinkle release--when will skincare companies learn that this isn't the laundry business--brightening, tightening, or a clearer complexion. Although I don't think it hurts to use these varieties in the right situations, it's certainly not necessary. If you're looking to fix any of the above concerns, rely on a serum, not your moisturizer, for aid. Anyone can benefit from a moisturizer for sensitive skin, because it's really as gentle as it gets. The ingredients is the place you need to stand guard.

As a general rule of thumb, use a combination of humectants and emollient hydrators to get your skin back to health. Wow, it just got really chemistry-heavy, but, I'll simplify it for you. If you use oils, shea butter, or any type of lipid at all, that is an example of an emollient and they work by trapping moisture into the skin. They are certainly necessary, and they also help control surface oil by canceling the job that natural seeping oils would fix. But these emollients wouldn't work well without the help of humectants. Humectants come in the form of glycerin, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, among others, and they work by attracting moisture to the skin. Normally, they come in products labelled "oil-free," but that doesn't mean that people with dry skin can't use them, nor does it mean that oily skins can't use oils. Albeit, using a combination of these two in varied dosages based upon your skin will help nourish it back to health--or maintain its state if you're already successful in the complexion department. I use an emollient cream (The Organic Pharmacy Manuka Face Cream) in them morning and a humectant (the Kiehl's Skin Rescuer) at night, but you could also use a humectant serum and only an emollient cream, among other duos.

Hopefully, choosing a moisturizer is no longer so scary. Pointe shoes? I wish someone would write a blog on how to choose those.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy

I've been wanting to repaint my room for three years. My chipped manicure is proof that it really needs to be slicked away (and, oh boy, have I wanted to do so). And a new notebook has been on my "need" list for a solid three weeks now and the necessity is growing at exponential speed. You could say I'm a procrastinator, but among the things that I want to do, but haven't--key point, here--is a desire but satisfaction in keeping them the same. I stepped out of my comfort zone a few weeks ago when I totted away from Sephora with the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy. You've seen my blush stash, not to mention chromas, and it's overwhelmingly intuitive that this is by no mean a necessity. But I did it, and I'm more than satisfied.

I'm no newbie to the Amazonian Clay realm; the variety in the shade Exposed sits in my stash. Nevertheless, it's either the color that doesn't have me sold or the fact that I have a dud because barely any pigment from that compact even attracts to the brush. Tipsy is different. Like its promoters promised, it is highly pigmented, which is by no means a con; I want as much of that color as possible. It's darker and less subdued than other peachy-pinks I have--making it totally justifiable, right? Although, it's stunning in the compact, I get stuck in a blush rut easily and I had to practically force myself to slap it on everyday. But after a solid three times of forcefulness, I did so mindlessly and I now haven't gone a day without it since its purchase. (That may be an exaggeration, but the days it has been void, I regretted my cheek pop choice.) The Tarte marketing team advertises their collection of powder blushers with a twelve-hour lasting power. I'd disagree, but I wouldn't say that I'm the best focus group either. Although I don't quite notice the punchy coral lasting on me until I hit the hay, I also sense my genetic rosy glow peeking through not too far after I apply it--which isn't exactly Tarte's fault.

This coral beaute has been on my wishlist for ages, and it's now been satisfyingly crossed off, but not because my desire was lessened. And I'm picking out a paint color for my walls next week. I'm slowly breaking the "procrastination" trend. 
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