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?

Vapour Organic Beauty – Review and Swatches

Testing a green beauty brand

I’ve been wanting to pick up some Vapour products since swatching them at Credo Beauty a few months ago. I loved the sleek and convenient packaging, clean formulas, and beautiful colors.

Last month I needed to replenish some skincare and decided to try Dermstore. I was so excited when I noticed they carry Vapour! It was the first time I had ever shopped there so I received 20% off my whole purchase. I chose the Illusionist Concealer in 010, the Aura Multi-use Blush in Spark 202, and the Mesmerize Eye Shimmer Treatment in Cinder.

My favorite item is definitely the concealer. I rarely go for concealers in stick form as they’ve been dry and hard to blend in my experience. The Illusionist Concealer is completely different! It’s so creamy and sinks into the skin beautifully and quickly. It looks very natural while having a brightening effect too. I mostly use this under my eyes; there’s not a ton of coverage for spot concealing. It’s the only concealer I’ve been using since I received this package! I would highly recommend checking this out.

I also really enjoyed the blush stick – which I’ve tried on my eyes and lips as well. This color is a pretty darker peach that looks like a natural flush when blended. You just need a small dab on the cheeks and I’ve found it blends in well with my fingers or a BeautyBlender. It didn’t last perfectly all day on my lids, but it’s great as a blush. The stain version of this formula sounds amazing as well.

Lastly, the eye shadow was the only item I didn’t quite like. It was just a bit glittery for me without much color when I blended it. You can see some glitter flecks in this photo – especially at the bottom where it’s blended. I prefer more of a satin or shimmer finish. Love the easy application though and it’s very creamy, so I’m going to try some of the matte shades.

Have you ever tried Vapour? I’m really excited to explore the rest of their line now!

Drugstore Dud or Delight: Yes To and Pixi Beauty

One skincare review; one makeup review

I’ve used a few Yes To products in the past (the cucumber and blueberry cleansers and I think a tomato moisturizer back in the day) and I was pretty impressed with the line. I really believe in investing in your skincare, so when I find a drugstore line that works for me, I’m happily surprised.

I received this Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mask Bar last month thanks to the Preen.me VIP program. It came with this adorable little brush, which is super soft and perfectly applies this mask. I’d never tried a mask bar before, but it’s really a genius invention, especially considering how much I travel! There’s no mess and it doesn’t count as a liquid for carry-on bags.

The first step is to wet the clean brush and then swipe it across the charcoal bar a couple times. You should pick up enough product for about half of the face. I make sure I’m applying to clean skin since I have to dip the brush into the mask again for more product.

Then you let it dry for ten minutes and wipe away with a damp cloth. I’ve had drier than usual skin this season, but this thankfully this still works for me and doesn’t dry my skin out more. It does feel a little “squeaky clean” after rinsing, but a bit of moisturizer takes care of that. I only use this once every couple weeks when I really need a detox. It’s great a few days after flying when my skin starts to freak out.

I think this is a tiny bit pricey for the drugstore ($16.99 at Target), but I think it’s an innovative product and it’s effective. The travel friendliness alone is worth it to me. Definitely a Drugstore Delight in my book!

Next I’ve been testing out this Pixi Beauty Makeup Fixing Mist that I purchased on Dermstore. I hadn’t ever shopped there before, but so many people on Instagram have raved about it. They carry tons of amazing brands and I received 20% off my first purchase, which was awesome.

This product is really interesting too because you can use it in a few different ways. If you spray it before applying any makeup, it prolongs the wear of the products. You can of course use it to set your makeup once finished – which I’ve been doing most often – and then refresh throughout the day too.

I haven’t found a setting spray that I love enough to use consistently until this one! It really gives my makeup a natural looking finish and does seem to extend the wear. The only tricky part is the nozzle… I find it best to hold the bottle about a foot or arm’s length away from my face. The circumference of the spray is great there, but any closer and the mist turns into more of a spritz with noticeable drops on the skin. The packaging is also super cute and I like the scent. Another Drugstore Delight here!

It was definitely a great month for drugstore finds for me! What should I try next? Do you have an holy grail items from the drugstore?

April Birchbox Unboxing and Mini Reviews

Monthly Birchbox review

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Here are the five items I received this month! I requested the Oribe Grandiose Hair Plumping Mousse for my sample choice item. I love their wave spray and dry texture spray, so I figured I would enjoy this product as well. I do think it gives nice volume (and smells amazing, of course), but there was a bit of a learning curve with the amount of product to use. First I used too little and I couldn’t tell much of a difference. The next time I used too much and my hair was crunchy/stiff at the crown. Now I know to use about a golf ball sized pump.

The only skincare item I received this month was the Bioderma Sensibio Eye Contour Gel. I’ve actually never tried this brand before, but I’ve heard great things. I love how lightweight this is because I’m prone to milia and avoid heavy eye creams. It has caffeine to reduce puffiness and hyaluronic acid to hydrate. It’s also supposed to have a light-reflecting effect, but I don’t really notice that. I think this is a great size for travel and I’m happy to have tried something from Bioderma.

One of my favorite things about Birchbox is being able to try out unique and niche brands. I received the Fill and Tame Brow Gel in Brunette from Beautaniq Beauty which is the perfect shade for my dark brown brows. It holds the hair in place without feeling crunchy which is great; it’s also pretty pigmented and the brush shape is a perfect tapered cone.

This Cupuacu Butter Lip Balm is a cute mini from Adesse New York. It glides on very easily and leave a hint of color behind. I built up the swatch a little so the color would be visible. It makes my lips look just a bit lighter and pinker and moisturizes for a short amount of time. My lips are always dry and I’m a total lip balm addict, so this one wasn’t my favorite, but it’s not bad either.

I also received a mini of the Benefit Bad Gal Bang Mascara, which I did a whole blog post about. I’ve already put the new one aside for my next giveaway!

Box breakdown:

  • Benefit Mascara (.1 oz): $8
  • Beautaniq Brow Gel (full size!): $12
  •  Adesse Lip Balm (.05 oz): $11
  •  Oribe Mousse (.18 oz): $5.5
  •  Bioderma Eye Gel (0.06 oz): $2.4

For $10, I received about $39 worth of product! I absolutely love the full sized brow gel and was happy with all of the brands I received – any box with Oribe is a win in my book and I like trying smaller brands as well. If you’re interested in Birchbox, I would so appreciate if you used my link to subscribe.

What did you get in your box this month? What’s your favorite beauty subscription box? I just subscribed to Beautyfix from Dermstore!