Saturday, May 16, 2015

For Hydrated Skin Try Amara Organics Hyaluronic Acid Serum with Vitamin C and E

:::press sample/affiliate:::

As a Dry Skinned American, I struggle with getting enough moisture into my skin to help keep it looking and feeling healthy and well hydrated. Add Retinol to the party and the job gets that much harder. As much as I love Retinol, it can be drying and I need something that can help draw and lock additional moisture into my skin.

I recently invited Amara Organics Hyaluronic Serum with Vitamin C and E to my skin care party. Hyaluronic acid is an amazing substance. Hyaluronic Acid is hydroscopic, meaning that it can pull or absorb moisture from the air, attract it to the skin and hold it there to aid in overall hydration and help skin to look plumed up, fresher and feel softer and healthier. This serum contains Vitamins C and E, both vial elements to help skin rejuvenate and heal it's self.

Amara Organics Hyaluronic Acid Serum with Vitamins C and E is a clear, sightly viscous gel serum that applies easily, sinks in swiftly and is wonderful to use night and morning before my moisturizer, even under makeup. This serum makes using Retinol much easier on my very dry skin. I commonly mix my Retinol serum and this one together and smooth them over my face, throat, neck and upper chest. I firmly believe that this serum is a huge reason why I'm getting results from my Retinol serum while experiencing less of the extreme dryness or flaking that can occur with consistent Retinol usage.

Deionized Aqua (Water), Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide (Botanical Hyaluronic Acid), Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Carrageenan Gum, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Wildcrafted Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea), Pelargonium Gravolens (Geranium Essential Oil), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin, Organic Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola Extract), Organic Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail Plant Extract), Organic Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium Extract), Organic Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion Extract).
Amara Organics Hyaluronic Acid Serum with Vitamin C and E is vegan, contains high quality, plant based ingredients and is alcohol, paraben and cruelty free.

Amara Organics offers lovely, effective skincare at an affordable, attainable price for just about every budget. You can find the Hyaluronic Acid Serum with Vitamin C and E on their website and it is listed on Amazon. The price is a very wallet friendly $17.95 for a full one ounce.

Do you use Hyaluronic Acid in your skin care routine? Have you found it to be as effective as I have in aiding in hydration and moisture retention for your skin? Please share your experience or opinion in a comment, I'm truly interested.
:::press sample/affiliate:::

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Eyebrows... The Bane of My Existence


Crazy. Granny. Clown. Freak. Ugly. Weird. Disgusting. Gross. Puke Worthy. Stupid. Fucked Up. Wrong. Bad. Strange. And of course, my personal favorite (eat my sarcasm), Retarded. 

These are just a few of the adjectives that I have heard and read about drawn on or, as I like to call them, created eyebrows. 

Many of us, for a variety of reasons are compelled to make our own eyebrows in whatever way we can. Some lose their brows due to illness, medical treatment, over plucking or waxing in their misspent youth. 

In my case, I lost my left eyebrow in an accident when I was a child. My doctor told my mother at the time that he didn't know if my brow would grow back. It did grow back but it grew back all kinds of wrong. For a long time I just ignored it, and my other brow, too. I figured why bother with them? They looked so different and so bad I just wanted to pretend that they didn't exist. 

I was in my thirties before I got tired of having what I perceived as ugly brows and decided to do something about it. I tried plucking them to a shape and to match somewhat. Nope. My left brow was just too mucked up. So, I tried plucking my left brow down to practically nothing and just shaping my right brow to suit me then I would create (draw on) the left brow. I looked as if I had the brows of two different people on my face. Nope.

I finally came to the conclusion that in order to have two halfway decent eyebrows that look as if they belong on the same face, I would have to pluck both down to practically nothing and build them from the ground up. Over time, I have experimented with various products and techniques. Stencils. Wax. Powder. Tinted brush on gel. Pencils. So very, very many pencils. After much trial and error and mad frustration, I have landed on a few products and a relatively easy routine that get the job done for me. 

My chosen tool for plucking my brows is my petite Tweezerman tweezers. Similar here

An eye shadow primer. My favorite is the Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer but just about any will do. 

To create my brows I love the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Pencil. I use Taupe and Medium Brown (formerly Medium Ash). My Medium Brown pencil is a backup I had of the Medium Ash, the old packaging that would shed the printing. I'm so happy that they fixed that little problem. 

I create my brows before I put on any other makeup. I find that it is easier and my brows go on better and last longer if I start with clean skin with very little moisturizer and no primer or makeup. 

My tweezers are old but they still work perfectly. One of the best five dollar investments I have ever made. I use them to pluck my eyebrows just about completely away, leaving just a thin line of hairs in the front section. I have tried leaving various amounts of hairs and different shapes, this is the one that works.

After I have plucked, I apply eye primer to my brow areas and smooth it into the skin and let it dry down. 

Once that is done, I grab my Brow Wiz pencil in Taupe and I use the spoolie on one end to brush my brow hairs up and kind of into place. Then I start creating. I begin at the apex of my arch and sketch in the tail. Then I go to the front of the brow, determine where I want it to start and I begin, with light, short strokes to sketch on the main part of my brow. I start along the bottom line, working my way up, following the natural line of the hairs I do have until I hit the arch and connect the front and tail. Then I go back to the front, start filling in the middle then the top line. I refine my arch and the join and finish shaping and filling in the tail. I use Precision Tip Q-Tips to clean up, refine, even up. And finally, I use my Medium Brown pencil to sketch in "hairs" to make the brow look a little more filled in and "hair like" and not something I Sharpied onto my face. 

After I do all of that, I apply my makeup, working carefully around my brows. After I'm finished, if necessary, I touch up my brows with my pencil then run a little clear gel through them to set them and I'm done. Depending on how my day is going, the procedure takes me anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. If I'm in a tearing hurry I can just about guarantee that my brows are going to look like something that the cat dragged in and take way, way too long to do. 

I aim for brows that look as if they could live, naturally over each eye. I don't worry about getting them perfectly alike. Sisters, not twins works just fine for me. My brows never look exactly the same from day to day but I try to be as consistent as I possibly can. 

My eyebrows are far, far from perfect. They aren't "natural" or "on point." I would give anything to have natural, full brows that are easy to shape and would look fabulous in about a minute flat by just plucking a few stray hairs and running a little gel through them. You can't even imagine how much I would love that. Being forced to endure all of this ragle baggle just to have eyebrows is a time consuming pain in my ass. But it isn't in the cards for me. I just have to do the best I can. 

I hope that this post doesn't read too whiny or bitchy. This is a painful subject for me and this wasn't an easy post for me to write. But I kind of feel a little better for having done so. I hope that it will help others in a similar position. Maybe my how-to will be useful someone who doesn't have brows for their own reason and is struggling. If that is the case, this is all worth it. A thousand times over. 

This is a Beauty Blogger Collaborative post. Please scroll down to the gallery at the end of this post and go visit my fellow bloggers.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

For the Love of My Skin | Amara Organics 2.5% Retinol Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E

::press sample/affiliate::

Retinol is one of the premiere skin care ingredients for one reason. It works. Whether you are using it to help with your anti aging ritual or you have troubled skin that breaks out, Retinol can help. 

I turned to Retinol when I was younger to help clear my chronic, awful acne and to fade post acne discolouration scarring and even my skin tone. At that time, I couldn't afford a trip to a dermatologist to get a script for a higher concentration. I had to settle for a drugstore brand that contained .5% and I was happy to have it. It took some time but with consistent use my skin did start to clear up and to my delight, the terrible swaths of darkened, mottled skin along my jawline on both sides and just under my cheekbones began to fade and even out. As the months passed, I found that I was using a little less concealer and foundation. My overall tone was steadily improving and my skin was less congested and bumpy.

When I hit my forties, my skin changed, overnight. Like the flip of a switch, I could swear that I went to bed with oily, breakout prone skin and woke up with the Sahara Desert for a face. I didn't break out, after that and my main concern went from battling oil, shine and pimples to desperately pouring as much moisture as I could into my skin and trying, in vain to stave off the march of time across my face. For years I forgot about Retinol in my quest for what I felt could be the latest and greatest. The question I have to ask myself is, why? Why did I set aside Retinol when I started using other skin actives. Especially when, in my experience, it works so well with them. 

I was recently given the opportunity to receive and try out Amara Organics 2.5% Retinol Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E. Buffered with Hyaluronic Acid and organic Jojoba Oil, this powerful concentration is gentle and suitable for even sensitive skin. I would suggest of course that if you are very sensitive, that you test before diving in, just to be on the safe side.

Packaged in a light and air safe dark amber glass bottle with a pump delivery system this serum is packaged to last and to remain effective.

Amara Organics 2.5% Retinol Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E is nearly clear, viscous enough to mound softly when pumped out onto a surface but it doesn't feel thick or gummy on the skin. This serum spreads easily, sinks in swiftly and feels slightly tacky for a minute or two until it fully absorbs and dries. While this serum does contain Hyaluronic Acid and Jojoba Oil, I don't find it hydrating and I must follow it up with a nice, rich night cream.

I don't experience any stinging or burning when I use this serum, just a gentle warming sensation that fades away after a few minutes. The first time I used this serum I had done a very thorough exfoliation and I pumped out a little of this serum, lightly rubbed my hands together and as I was bringing it up to apply my only thought was, "This is going to suck. Retinol stings and I just scrubbed off half of my skin." *I am prone to exaggeration.* I was thrilled when this serum smoothed on painlessly and did not, in fact, suck. I can bring this serum in very close to my eyes without any irritation. I am careful to not get it on my movable lids or mucous membranes, of course!

 It is suggested that you start off using this serum every other night, see how your skin does with it before you go to every night. If you use an AHA treatment, be sure to alternate them. Retinol and AHA don't work and play well with one another. Retinol makes the skin more sensitive to UV and you certainly don't want those rays to undo all of the good work this serum will do for you so be sure to wear your sunscreen every day.

So, after using this serum for a few weeks, what are my initial thoughts? I haven't been using it long enough to get a solid read on results, yet but I can feel additional firming along my cheekbones and my skin appears to be getting that good Retinol glow. I'm enjoying using it along with my other serums and treatments and I am hoping that longer term use will give me firmer, perhaps even... Dare I hope it? More youthful looking skin. I will do a follow up, after I have used this product consistently for a longer period of time.

Deionized Water, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide (Botanical Hyaluronic Acid), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Pentylene Glycol, Phospholipids, Retinol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Phosphate, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Carrageenan Gum, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ Oil), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea), Wildcrafted Resina Propoli (Propolis), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin, Organic Gotu Kola Extract, Organic Horsetail Plant Extract, Organic Geranium Extract, Organic Dandelion Extract.
I like this serum. I plan to purchase it for myself once this sample bottle runs out and I recommend it. If you are looking for a gentle, effective Retinol serum at a very reasonable price, I urge you to give this one a go.

Amara Organics 2.5% Retinol Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E is available on their Website. You can also buy it from Amazon, This serum is very affordable at $19.95 for a one ounce bottle but don't let the low price fool you. Amara Organics makes affordable, effective skin care that is natural, vegan and cruelty free.

Do you use Retinol? A prescription formula or something you buy at retail? How is it working for you? Please do share.

:::press sample/affiliate:::

Afternoon Delight | Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner


Lip liner. Never much liked the stuff. Even in the nineties when everyone was rimming their lips in brown liner and applying a pale lipstick (what a look that was...) I just wasn't into it.

Then I got old. And little lines started running out from my lip line and my lipstick and gloss started grabbing onto those tiny vertical lines, making their escape and crawling all over my face. In an effort to dam the floods, I decided that it was time to start using. And appreciating, if not loving, lip liner.

I routinely use a clear barrier pencil just to the outside of my vermilion line to help fill and smooth over the tiny lines and keep my lip colour of choice corralled but I found that the barrier pencil needed a little back up. So I've started buying lip liners.

This is Rimmel London Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner in East End Snob: $5.99.

Available in thirteen shades, this lip liner comes in a plastic twist up tube. No sharpening required. The product comes to you with an angled tip to help make more precise lining easier. That angle doesn't last long. I had pretty much murdered it after just a few uses.

East End Snob is a soft, neutral nude pink that works with a variety of lippies in shades of pink, rose and mauve. It applies very easily and doesn't drag or tug as it's going on. It gives me a crisp, clean line and helps to contain my lip colour. Wear time is okay. Several hours. I just carry it with me when I am out and about so that I can do a quick retouch, if necessary.

Swatch of the lip liner. I like this shade, I find it to be versatile and useful. I'd definitely re purcase when the one I have wears out.

You can find the Rimmel Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Pencil at a drugstore or mass merchandiser near you and at Ulta.

Have you tried this lip liner? Do you like it? Please do tell.


Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre | Does it Live Up to the Hype?


I have been hearing so many raves about Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre for so long. How it is the greatest moisturizer, ever. The best under makeup primer... You don't need anything else! When I placed a recent Sephora order, I decided to buy a small tube to try it out. See if all of the hoopla bore out.

First of all, let me say thee yay! Embryolisse for packaging your Lait-Creme Concentre  in an air tight, light safe, sanitary tube. The fact that it is metal is a bit of a gripe, I find plastic easier to deal with but whatever. At least I'm not having to dip fingers or a stupid spatula into a jar.

The formula of this moisturizer is a light, slightly whipped texture. It reminds me of creme fraiche, it is very silky and softy mounds and holds it's shape when dispensed. It spreads onto the skin smoothly and absorbs fairly readily and is under makeup friendly.

The scent - there is a scent - is soft, creamy-clean-lightly floral. I love the fragrance, it isn't strong and it dissipates as it is applied and sinks into the skin. I don't notice it, once it's on and doing it's thing. If you are opposed to scent in your skin care or very scent sensitive, this moisturizer may not be your bag.

You can use Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre as a makeup remover, an under makeup primer (I prefer to top it with a face primer but that is me...) and even on babies and kiddos. I would skip using this on tiny humans who have sensitive skin. I could not have used this on my son when he was small as he has very sensitive skin and anything that was scented irritated him.

Le Ingredients. Yes. Mineral oil. I know that not everyone is okay with it but I don't have any problem using it. Cosmetic grade mineral oil is safe and effective and it doesn't break me out or clog my pores. Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre has no sunscreen protection, so you will want to use sunscreen before UV exposure.

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre is for me a lovely, effective basic day moisturizer. It doesn't contain any specialized anti aging ingredients; it isn't going to magically reduce wrinkles or brighten my skin tone. That's fine. I have serums and other creams that do those jobs. It works, smells delightful, makes my skin feel soft and comfortable and it's beautiful under makeup. It doesn't pack the hydration power punch I require in a night cream. I like this moisturizer and I will definitely re purchase when this baby tube runs out.

I bought my 1 fl oz tube at Sephora for $16.00. A 2.5 fl oz tube is $26.00.

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre is also listed on Amazon.

I almost forgot to mention. Well, I did, actually, which is why I'm popping back in to do so... Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre is cruelty free.

Have you tried Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre? What do you think of it?


Monday, May 11, 2015

Afternoon Delight | KB Shimmer Rollin' With the Chromies


How many times have you looked at a beautiful duochrome polish and wished for holo rainbows dancing over the glorious, shifting base colour as you move your hand and fingers? 

Wish no more. 

You can have it all with KB Shimmer Rollin' With the Chromies. This rich, multichrome shifter slides from blue, to purple, to pink... Even a touch of green. Then, as you bring your fingers up into the light linear and diffuse holographic dances across your nails. 

I managed to catch some of the gloriousity that is the insane shift that comes from this multichrome polish. Just... Look at it! You should see this baby in person, on your own nails. This is two coats and top coat. 

The formula on this beauty is fantastic. Smooth, fluid but not runny this polish flows off the brush, sits sweetly down where I place it and doesn't run, pool, streak or drag. Dry time, with a fast dry top coat is very good. I used KB Shimmer Clearly on Top Quick Dry Top Coat. Wear time on this polish is average for me... I kept this chromie rollin' four days before it fell apart and needed to go. I am happy with that. 

What are your favorite KB Shimmer polishes and other products? Are you as crazy for KB Shimmer nail polishes as I am?