Five Minute Face with Tower 28 Beauty, Ilia, Kopari, & Bare Minerals

My favorite quick makeup products

I’ve been doing my makeup a bit more often these past two weeks, which is a refreshing change from the last couple months (since I had been neglecting my skin and my entire makeup bag). These are the four products I reach for most often, so I wanted to share some swatches and mini reviews. I can actually do this routine in three minutes – it’s so easy and efficient!

For my base, I dab a little BareMinerals Hydrating Foundation Stick on my chin and under my eyes. I find that this is brightening enough that I can basically use it as concealer. I love the creamy consistency and it doesn’t make my normal-but-currently-dehydrated skin look drier. It’s also a breeze to apply and blend in with a dense brush. The coverage is medium and I’m so happy it has a mineral SPF 25 as well!

Next I go in with a couple coats of the Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara. This is a new favorite of mine! There are no flakes or smudging, just pretty volume and length in 20 seconds. The brush on this is unique because there’s a comb one on side and then lots of bristles on the other; it makes building up volume and separation easy. I’ve only tried a few items from this clean beauty brand, but I’m consistently impressed! I’m eyeing their bronzers next.

Lastly, I choose between two lips products depending on my mood. The Tower 28 Beauty Lip Jelly in Fire is that gorgeous bright orange shade. It’s the perfect amount of sheerness, plus it’s moisturizing, the packaging is cute, and it smells great. It’s also really affordable, especially for a clean beauty brand!

If I want a little shimmer instead of a bolder color, the Kopari Coconut Lip Glossy in Birthday Suit is my go-to. It smells delicious – sort of like vanilla cake – and it’s decently hydrating. It’s not as hydrating at the original clear version, but I still really enjoy this for the beautiful shimmer and subtle color.

What’s the fastest part of your routine?

My Sephora Sale Haul & Reviews

A small haul, but they’re all wins!

I picked up three things from the Sephora Sale back in April and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying all three! That’s a win for me because I usually like to swatch or smell everything before buying, but with all the stores closed, I picked these sight unseen. 2/3 three times I do that, the product doesn’t work out for me (I get migraines from strong scents and I’m really picky about colors), but I’m so happy these three worked out!

Amika Flash Instant Shine Mask

The Amika Flash Instant Shine Mask ($25) is my favorite find from this haul. It is SO effective. I’m going to share a full review with photos of my results, but in the meantime, just know that this rivals my oil treatments from the salon and takes 1/100th of the time and costs 1/4th of the price of those!! If your hair is dull or frizzy, I highly recommend this 60 second mask.

Nails Inc Cosmic Blur Swatch

I had been looking for a sheer, shimmery polish with a blue reflect for months! This is the Nails Inc. Cosmic Blur polish ($15) and the formula is really easy to work with. The level of sheerness is perfect and I adore the blue shimmer (it’s super smooth – no glitter here). However, in certain lighting, it makes my nails look yellow, which isn’t super flattering and it also has a pink reflect. I was hoping this would be my wedding nail polish, but I’m not sure it’s exactly what I was going for. It’s still really fun and pretty for every day though!

Wander Beauty Lip Retreat Oil in Oasis

I absolutely love Wander Beauty and basically want everything they come out with, so I decided to finally treat myself to this Lip Retreat Oil ($22) since I just finished my Kopari Coconut Lip Glossy. It comes in four shades, but I chose Oasis (clear) because most days, I’m really just looking for hydration versus color. (Plus, if I do want a tint, I can’t get over the Tower 28 Beauty Lip Jelly in Fire!)

This provides a beautiful shine with a formula that feels very plush and moisturizing. The pointed applicator picks up the perfect amount of product without having to re-dip too. The Lip Glossy is only $13 and just as hydrating (plus it smells delicious), but I do like this wand applicator over the squeeze tube.

Did you haul anything this time around? Let me know your favorite pick!

Milk Makeup Swatches & Reviews

Four little products I love

I recently added a couple cuties to my Milk Makeup collection thanks to the Sephora birthday gift, so I figured I would share swatches of the few products I own.

Milk Makeup is cruelty-free and vegan and I love how user-friendly their products are. The cream sticks are super easy to work with because they blend out very easily and quickly. I’m all about a fast, multi-tasking product lately! They also have a great range of shades, especially in their concealers and brow products.

Swatches starting from the top:

This is the Holographic Stick in Stardust, a cool-toned pink with purple undertones. I love this as a subtle, glowy blush or as a beautiful eyeshadow. You definitely need to wear an eye primer underneath though because it will crease otherwise. This sinks into the skin SO nicely and blends with with my fingertips or a brush.

The Lip + Cheek in Werk is another blendable beauty and this warm, rosy color is unique in my collection. It looks so natural on the cheeks with its satin finish. It’s a bit more matte on my lips (which are usually dry) and I’m more of a gloss gal, but I’ve been impressed with the wear time.

My favorite brow product ever is the Kush Fiber Brow Gel. It fills in the scar in my left brow so well and I don’t have to be too precise (I really don’t have the patience to create tiny fake hairs with a pencil or pomade). It has enough hold to tame the rest of my hairs, but they never feel stiff either. The shade Dutch is also perfect for my dark, cool-toned brows. Thankfully there are eight options, which is pretty impressive for a brow product in my opinion.

Lastly, I had picked up the Kush Mascara a year or so ago, and while I LOVED it the first time I applied it, every time after looked like spider city. I received this mini from the Sephora Birthday set and I’ve finally realized that this mascara is best with only one coat. Because it’s a fiber mascara, more coats tend to clump instead of adding definition or separation. One coat adds plenty of volume and length, so I’m really enjoying this now!

And that’s my little collection! I’ve really wanted to try their skincare, especially the Serum Sticks, so maybe it will grow sooner rather than later.

 

What’s your favorite Milk Makeup product?

I’m a Skincare Blogger and I Have Skin Cancer

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Sunscreen is my favorite part of my 7 step skincare routine; as someone who is usually the lightest shade in any given foundation, I am not friends with the sun. I’ve been wearing SPF daily for at least five years, constantly wear sunglasses, and have a bit of a penchant for berets and baseball caps. I also pen skincare reviews almost daily and make sure to fit my annual skin screening in each February.

So, imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from my dermatologist saying my biopsy came back positive for skin cancer and I need to have Mohs surgery. I’d had my screening nearly two weeks before and she took a biopsy from a small, raised, reddish pink spot near my temple. I assumed it was negative when I didn’t hear back in the typical seven day window.

Having a biopsy isn’t too concerning; most doctors prefer to err on the side of cautious over-testing than risk missing a possible issue. I’ve had four biopsies taken over the past decade and all were negative. However, skin cancer has run in my family for generations and I’m sprinkled with freckles and moles, so annual screens are necessary. My parents have had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) unfortunately. From their experiences, I learned about the different types of skin cancer and thankfully wasn’t terrified when I was diagnosed with BCC, the most common form.

Still, I’ve been questioning my diligence around reapplying sunscreen throughout the day and wondering if maybe my chemical exfoliants or (infrequent) retinol usage caused this. I’ve taken a step back from blogging because being diagnosed with BCC made me feel like a bit of a failure as a “skincare expert.” How could I possibly share my opinions and recommendations when my own defense routine let me down?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, BCC is “usually caused by a combination of cumulative and intense, occasional sun exposure.” That means over the course of a period of time. Forgetting sunscreen once last September didn’t cause my skin cancer; I’ve had that spot on my temple for at least a couple years. No routine is a perfect shield and my genes are already vulnerable to skin cancer despite what I’ve done to minimize sun damage. In other words, this is not my fault. I’m a skincare blogger and having skin cancer doesn’t make me a failure. Noticing that the spot changed colors over the past few months and scheduling my appointment makes me proactive in supplementing my daily defense. We all should be more proactive when it comes to our skin, especially considering that non-melanoma skin cancers are the most frequent cancer diagnosis in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.

My Mohs surgery is scheduled for a couple weeks from now (planned around an overseas trip or I would have done it sooner!) and should completely remove the cancerous cells and hardly leave a scar after it heals. If you take one piece of advice from any of the hundreds of posts I’ve written, please make an appointment for your annual skin screening.

Drugstore Dud or Delight: Pixi Eye Reflection Shadow Palette in Natural Beauty

The perfect everyday palette

No secrets here: this one is a complete delight! I’ve exclusively been wearing the Natural Beauty Eye Reflection Shadow Palette since Pixi Beauty kindly sent this over a couple weeks ago. The shade selection is right up my alley and the formula is beautiful as well! I would highly recommend this palette, especially for $24.

The mattes and satins are soft without being powdery and they layer and blend out nicely. The shimmers are truly the star of the show here as they catch and reflect light better than any other drugstore shadow I’ve tried (and probably most of my expensive palettes too!). I apply the shimmers with my finger and get intense color and coverage in one swipe. You can also use a brush to diffuse the pigment a bit if you want something more subtle.

I’m loving the neutral color scheme with a great mix of warm- and cool-toned shades. There are a couple options for crease colors, the perfect matte bone shade, and several shimmers in a variety of depths. I love how you can create so many different looks with this palette! I’ve done a nice all matte look, a simple one shadow shimmer all over the lid, and even a dramatic smokey eye. Because it’s so versatile, I think this is an awesome every day palette and it would make a great travel option too.

Here are the swatches! From the top left we have Sheer Sand, Metal Mauve, and Petal. The second row is Antique Rose, Rose Clay, and Metallic Rose. Then there’s a warmer row with Deep Taupe, Foiled Bronze, and Soft Brown. Lastly, the bottom row is Chocolate Brown, Cocoa Shimmer, and Bronze Gleam.

I continue to be impressed with Pixi Beauty, you guys! The quality of everything I’ve tried is fantastic, plus the line is quite affordable and there’s the convenience of grabbing anything during your next Target run.

So there’s another delight this month! What have you been loving from the drugstore?