Outfits of the Week: May 2018

Rounding up a few recent outfits

It was a really busy week for me, so here are some quick snapshots! My cousin visited for Memorial Day weekend and we had the best time running all over the city. The weather varied from perfect at 85 degrees and sunny to chilly and 65*, so my outfits incorporated both Spring and Summer styles. I’m still obsessed with my birthday jacket, picked up this adorable midi skirt, and am thoroughly enjoying the square neckline trend.

Loft lace trim cami, layered necklace

Scotch & Soda printed bomber, Loft split hem jeans, Nordstrom gold slides,

Kate Spade crossbody

Loft heather tank, fabric belt, J Crew shorts (sold out), black sandals

J Crew tank top, Loft midi skirt, Gunmetal bow slides

Loft square neck tank, dark wash jeans

What Spring and Summer trends have you been loving lately?

May Birchbox

Monthly unboxing and reviews

I received my Birchbox right before my Chicago trip, which was perfect timing to test out new samples. My box had a bunch of skincare, which I absolutely love trying, and a shampoo and conditioner.

Here are some texture swatches of the three skincare items: the Hanalei Lip Treatment in Clear, the Comfort Zone Remedy Cream to Oil Ultra Gentle Cleanser, and the Nyakio Kenyan Face Polish.

I’ve been using the lip balm often and it reminds me a little bit of Carmex. The scent is pretty similar and the texture is just a bit more slippery.

I’m unfortunately not a huge fan of the Cream to Oil Cleanser. I generally don’t like makeup removers that you apply to dry skin and then add water. I felt like this one left a residue and didn’t remove all of my makeup.

The face polish is great thankfully! It exfoliates without being harsh and it smells great.

I haven’t tried the shampoo and conditioner yet because I’m saving them for my trip to Florida! They’re supposed to help with frizz, which sounds perfect for the humid weather on the beach.

Box Breakdown

Nyakio Face Polish .5 oz = $4

Hanalei Lip Treatment est. .25 oz = $10

Comfort Zone Cleanser .5 oz = $3.50

Matrix Shampoo 1.7 oz = $2

Matrix Conditioner 1.7 oz = $2

For $10, I received $21.50 of product this month. That’s lower than usual, so I hope I like the shampoo and conditioner. If so, this box will turn out to be a good one!

What did you get in your box this month? If you haven’t subscribed yet, I would love to refer you!

Target BeautyBlender Dupe Review

Will this replace the original?

I love the BeautyBlender sponge for blending in concealer and cream blush; it’s probably my favorite beauty tool besides a pair of tweezers. However, you have to replace them every three months and they’re $20 each.

I recently did a Target haul and had to spend a few more dollars to receive a $5 gift card. I’ve never tried a BeautyBlender dupe, but I thought I would test the Up and Up version out since it’s literally 1/5 of the price.

This one is obviously a bit different with the hourglass shape and slanted tip. I thought the top half might be good for concealer (it seemed like it would fit nicely around the eyes and nose) and then the bottom would be perfect for blending out blush.

I have mixed feelings; the first time I used it, I felt like I had a bad makeup day. The next time, I loved it! It made my concealer sink in well and looked very natural.

It’s really affordable and does get the job done, but I think I like the feeling of the BeautyBlender better. The density on the Target brand is off; it’s a bit thicker and stays feeling wet. I also think it absorbs more product than the original BeautyBlender.

So while this isn’t a true dupe for the BeautyBlender, it’s worth a try for just $4. Have you guys tried any of the other dupes? Which one is your favorite?

Target Beauty Haul

Swatches and first impressions

I usually try to stop at Target when I’m in Chicago because they have so many brands and everything is much more affordable than NYC. Most recently, I wanted to find the new Wet n Wild Not a Basic Peach palette and I really needed a new lip scrub. I also picked up a couple extra items since they currently have a promotion for a $5 gift card when you spend $20.

One of those items was the Up and Up version of the BeautyBlender, which was $3.99. I love the original BeautyBlender and have never tried any of the dupes until now. I’ll have a whole post on this coming soon!

I also happened upon these adorable mini Real Techniques brushes. They’re my favorite drugstore brush brand, so I had to pick up a travel size version of my Expert Face Brush. It blends like a dream and was only $5.99.

I haven’t tried anything from ELF in a while and loved the colors in this duo. It’s the Best Friends eyeshadow palette in Pink Pal. I love this for an everyday eye and I think it would make a great contour and highlight palette for travel too. This swatches beautifully and wears well on the eyes. It lasts about 8 hours without primer and 12 hours with my Sephora Collection Tinted and Cooling Eye Primer. I’ve been using it a ton this week and would highly recommend it, especially for $3!

Wet n Wild recently redid their eyeshadow formula and everyone was raving about these their palettes a couple months ago. The one I picked up is a new color scheme and I love the warm shades with a pop of blue. It’s easy to get different colorful looks from this palette, but you can use it to create a couple basic options as well. It’s very compact and would be perfect to travel with. Full review coming soon!

Lastly, I saw this cute lip scrub from Burt’s bees and decided to give it a try. I had been eyeing the Lush Honey one, and this Conditioning Lip Scrub with Exfoliating Honey Crystals seemed like a similar option for only $8. It has a very soft base that my finger sunk into, to give you a better idea of the texture. It still exfoliates well though and I enjoy the scent. My lips are always dry and I’m happy to have a lip scrub back in my routine. I think I’ll try the Lush scrub or Frank Body one when this runs out.

That’s everything! I’m really happy with this haul and will have to get to Target more often. What have you picked up lately?

My Brightening Routine

An easy routine for radiance

I’ve been using this new Bliss Mighty Marshmallow mask once or twice a week along with some of my favorite brightening products, so I wanted to share this easy routine.

After removing my makeup, I’ll use the Clinique Pep-start 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser. This has fruit enzymes as well as tiny silica and bamboo beads for a chemical and physical exfoliation. It’s effective yet gentle and I feel like it keeps my skin smooth.

Next I’ll use the Bliss mask, which only takes 10-15 minutes. It has a lovely whipped texture that makes spreading a thicker layer on the skin easy. It’s also a cute pink color (texture shot here). Marshmallow root extract and olive leaf extract provide hydration while a blend of vitamin C brightens and evens skin tone. I don’t feel any tingling or irritation and my skin looks more radiant after I use this.

I’ll follow that up with my Sunday Riley Good Genes. This lightweight serum has lactic acid for a deeper chemical exfoliation. I sometimes feel it warming or slightly tingling, but it’s mild and dissipates quickly. This serum does a great job of clearing my pores and plumping my skin with aloe. It also has licorice for brightening. Although this is expensive, even in the mini size, I think it really makes a difference in my skin.

Moving on to moisturizers, I’ve been using a sample of the Revive Anti-aging Eye Serum. I like that it’s hydrating without being a heavy cream; I’m really prone to milia around the eyes and this doesn’t make it worse. It also has light reflecting pigments to brighten and layers well with concealer. However, this is $285 for the full size. There’s also no information about what the ingredients do on their website, which I find really annoying from a luxury skincare company that claims to use so much technology.

Lastly, I’ve been loving this Juice Beauty Anti-wrinkle Moisturizer. The creamy texture feels great and sinks in quickly. It has Vitamin C for brightening and jojoba and shea for hydration. I also think the pump packaging is so smart and hygienic. It has a lemony scent as well, which is one of my favorite fragrances. I definitely need to try more from this line.

So that’s my easy routine for brightening. Vitamin C is key along with two methods of exfoliating to get rid of dead skin cells that can make my skin look dull or flakey. What do you use for brightening or radiance?

Reviewing Minis from Tatcha, La Mer, and First Aid Beauty

Would I buy the full size?

I’m testing out three minis this week and I’ve fallen in love with one, am confused on another, and dislike the last. It’s so interesting how cult favorite products may or may not work out; I’m glad I had smaller sizes of these products to try out before deciding to invest in the full size.

Starting with the one I loved: The Deep Cleanse from Tatcha. I had actually posted about this when I first received it in January (see below for a very old, shadowy picture…) My normal to somewhat dry skin was a lot drier back then and it felt a tiny bit stripping. Which makes sense, because this cleanser is really for normal to oily skin.

Lately, I’ve been using it after a workout, when my skin feels sweaty and oily. I think – true to the name – it’s great for a deep cleanse. My skin feels clean without being squeaky and it’s also a little softer due to the luffa fruit fibers. It doesn’t feel tight or dry thankfully! I’m really happy I gave this a second chance with my skin changing as the weather does too.

I think my skin might be a tiny bit too dry still for the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer. This seems like it’s hard to blend in due to the thicker texture. I’m wondering if it would be better over a hydrating primer or maybe mixed with a facial oil. I’ll have to try it that way and update you, because I really love the natural finish.

It also evens out my skintone a bit (even though Fair is almost too dark for me) and helps with slightly diffusing redness. I love how easy tinted moisturizers are in theory, so I’d love to try out a few more and compare. The SPF 30 in this one was a huge plus for me!

Lastly, the Creme de La Mer moisturizer didn’t work out for me. It doesn’t sink in easily or quickly in my experience and I don’t like tugging at my skin. I also disliked the scent, which almost gave me a headache. It’s reminiscent of powdery rose. So many people rave about this brand, so I’m open to trying their other products. The new bronzer looks stunning.

I like the Tatcha cleanser enough to buy the full size and and I would definitely pass on the La Mer moisturizer. I think the FAB tinted moisturizer will be great with a drop of oil, so I’m still undecided there. Do you guys have any recommendations for tinted moisturizer?

Giveaway: Some of my favorite brands!

I’m doing a giveaway on Instagram and figured I would share it here too! This includes 5 full size items and a few minis from some of my very favorite brands across skincare, makeup, and bodycare. It ends Thursday, so head over to this post to enter. If you’re following my blog already, you have 5 extra entries! Piece of cake.

What are some of your favorite brands? Any ideas for my next giveaway?