Category: Beauty

French Skincare With Caudalie

“Nature gave you the face you have at 20. It is up to you to merit the face you have at 50”- Coco Chanel.

When it comes to skincare, the earlier you start the better. After all, your skin is going to stay with you for a long time. Though healthy eating, exercise, stress relief and sun protection do play their own roles in maintaining the youthfulness and beauty of your face so does a good skincare routine. It takes time and a lot of failed attempts to find what works best for you but in the end it will all be worth it. I had a hard time keeping breakouts at bay during my teen years. I tried almost every acne related product in the market without paying attention to the harsh irritants that were present in them – none of which showed any results. By this point my skin was in need of pretty intense repair. That’s when I decided to go for gentler more eco friendly skincare and I began to see drastic improvements with natural ingredients.

When I was on a shopping spree in San Francisco, the friendly ladies at Sephora pointed me to this french skincare line called Caudalie. What got me interested is that all of their products are based on one powerful plant – the grape vine- which is known for it’s powerful anti-aging properties (No wonder french women look so youthful – it must be all the wine they drink ūüėČ ). So I went ahead and splurged a little to see what this brand was all about. Fortunately, it worked for me! They have everything from cleansing, toning and moisturizing products to detox face masks, nourishing creams, lip balms and anti-aging elixirs. Not only do they contain natural ingredients that benefit your skin but they also don’t contain any parabens, mineral oils, phthalates sodium laureth sulfate and other such harsh chemicals. They are also animal testing free and eco-friendly ūüôā

3 basic skincare steps РCleanse, Tone & Moisturize

The Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk is a great start to taking the day off with the Instant Foaming Cleanser and the Moisturizing Toner  being great follows. The cleansing milk is very moisturizing and melts on your skin taking off most light makeup and the cleanser + toner combination gets rid of any remaining traces.

On most mornings you can get away with cleansing, toning and misting the Caudalie Beauty Elixr. It’s a refreshing burst of freshness formulated with essential oils and extracts of rosemary, mint, grapes and rose. Not only can you use this elixr on bare skin but you can also use it as a makeup setting spray to combat oily skin!

Their Vinoperfect Radiance Serum contains viniferine Рan ingredient from vinesap. This is one of my favorite of all. I found that this worked wonders with healing my acne scars and getting rid of sun damage to get back to my clear(ish) skin.

The Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet is a great moisturizer to layer on as the next step. It is packed with grape seed polyphenols that help combat free radical damage throughout the day.

Anti-Wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream¬†– With a tag line of “Don’t let fine lines turn into wrinkles”, this one was hard to resist. It claims to block 100% of free radicals while boosting collagen production with Vitamin C. I found it to be quite moisturizing as a lip and eye balm.

Day Serums and Detox masks

The Vitamin C Defense Serum like most of the other Caudalie serums, it is moisturizing but what makes it stand out is the high concentration of their Vitamin C ester. It claims to defend against UV rays, pollution and smoking damage. This most definitely is the showstopper of this set. Barely 10 days into using this serum, I noticed that it gave my skin a very youthful glow.

I got the Caudalie Detox mask in a set with the vitamin C serum. It’s enriched with coffee, grape, pink clay and papaya extract. A little bit most definitely goes a long way. It’s a refreshing mask and does a nice job at making your skin feel fresh and soft.

If you tried and loved any products by Caudalie or other similar brands, leave a comment below with suggestions! ūüôā

Play! By Sephora Feb’17 ‚Äď The Soft Side

This months Sephora PlayBox is all about making a radiant understatement with muted mellow shades and skin perfecting formulas. With a pop of lip color, some mascara and skincare, this box focuses on subtle makeup and achieving naturally perfect skin.

Too Faced – Lip Injection

Warning – This Too Faced Lip Injection¬†does not give you that slight tingly minty sensation that a Buxom gloss would. You start off with not feeling much but after about 20 seconds or so it begins to tingle and then slightly goes from that to a soft burn like you applied sriracha all over your lips. While it might work as a better alternative to getting lip injections for those cosmetically obsessed with having bigger lips, it’s not something I would use on a daily¬†basis – although¬†it is really hydrating!

 

Tarte- Rainforest Of the Sea Quench Lip Rescue

My box looked a little different from most of the boxes I was seeing around on Instagram- instead of the NARS lip glide that I was looking forward to, I ended up getting this Tarte lip balm that I never heard of before that quite pleasantly surprised me. This Tarte lip balm has the prettiest packaging ever! It smells and feels slightly minty and glides on really smooth. Packed with antioxidants and vitamins, jaboba, pepermint and coconut oil Рit is really hydrating.

 

Sephora Collection – Lash Craft

Lash Craft is an amazing mascara for the price tag it carries! It works better than most mascaras I have tried and is easily removable at the end of the day.

 

Clinique Pep-Start Hydration

This¬†Clinique moisturizer – it¬†mattifies your skin for an overall uniform blurred down look and does give you all day hydration. It works great as a primer but I don’t think I would add it to my night time routine. As per the Play Box pamphlet, you can even apply this above your makeup for shine control and hydration.

 

Origins GinZing Refreshing eye cream

Infused with coffee beans, ginseng and magnolia extract this under eye cream claims to de-puff and brighten the under eye area. It also claims to reduce dark eye circles. I have not used it enough to see many of the long term benefits but it is hydrating enough to instantly give your skin a boost.

 

Prada – Candy

This one was not my favorite but my mom loved it so I gave it to her. It’s another one of those musky more mature scents that older women would love.

Play! by Sephora March’17 – The Gleam Team

The theme for the month is ‘”The Gleam Team” which is all about attaining a glowing complexion with minimal effort. True to the theme – and something I got very excited about is that everything in this play box can be used as a highlighter except for the hair texturing spray – I honestly think I have enough highlighter to last all year at this point! That can be a good thing since it seems like this highlighter/ glowing skin trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon ūüėČ

Benefit Cosmetics – Watt’s up

Besides the gorgeous packaging and cute puns one thing I love about Benefit Cosmetics is their Watts Up highlighter! Even though this stick looks super tiny, it lasts forever and a little bit goes a long way! I’m still not even half way through my 2013 stick that was in the birthday gift but I’m glad I got a replacement for when it runs out! Since it dries off in a matte finish, it’s perfect for combination skin and the champagne hue means that it goes great with any skin tone especially olive/ tan skin.

Josie Maran Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm

The first product that caught my eye when I was un-boxing was the gorgeous packaging that this mini came in! It can be used both as a primer as well as a finishing balm Рwhich means that it claims to go well over makeup. With anti-aging properties and tiny speckles of shimmer in it not only does it feel soft and nourishing but it also gives you an instant glow that blurs away imperfections.This bohemian organic beauty blam is a great moisturizer for everyday use and it has a slight almost holographic pink hue which is excellent for brightening your completion. I would not recommend patting this on over combination skin because it can make your situation look a little shinier but I prefer using this by itself because that works best with my skin type.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow

This product came in the shade Golden Pink. I was quite pleasantly surprised by how well it worked. Usually Cream shadows tend to be on the messier smudgier side especially if they are highly pigmented like this one but as long as you gently dab it on (without excessive blending) it will last you quite a while. It’s an excellent choice to brighten up any smoky eye especially since it has a creamy consistency and won’t have any fallout. Again, the champagne pink color is highly pigmented and goes great with any skin tone.

 

Another great illuminating moisturizer just like the Josie Maran finishing balm! Except that this one is a lot more on the matte finish side. You can expect this to sit well under a full face of makeup without causing any major shine issues. Like the Josie Maran finishing balm it also adds a shimmery glow but is a lot more on the pink side which again really helps with brightening up a dull complexion. One thing you will notice right from the start is the smell – a mix of orange candy meets tequila sunrise sort of artificial citrus. I tried this for 4 days straight to the gym last week and I didn’t get a single breakout. It gives you a great finish without overdoing the shine.

Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast

This last product by Living Proof is a finishing spray! I’m not really sure about how it’s different from regular hairspray – I don’t think it’s that different at all. It smelled really strong and did a good job with boosting volume. It works best for limp straightened hair if you flip your hair over before spraying some of this. With curls – I don’t think it has as strong of a hold on curled hair.

I loved this months selection! Not only did I get to stock up on my Watts Up but I also got to pamper myself and play around with an array of nourishing moisturizers! What’s in your box?

Play! By Sephora September 2016 Subscription Box

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I’m super excited to use my version of the moisturizer for this months box themed “The Unbasic Basics”. Though the subscription only costed $10, the value of products added up to $37.64. Let’s dive into the breakdown:

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1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel ($ 6.68  Value)

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Brow Gel is so ideal if you have full brows that need some taming but not much added pigmentation – one of those products I would never think of picking up off the shelf but thanks to this subscription I got to try it out.

2. SEPHORA COLLECTION Rouge Shine Lipstick ($ 3.36 Value)

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What I like about this lipstick is that it’s moisturizing and the shade flatters most skin tones but it tends to settle in the creases if you try and layer it. It is best used as a sheer lipstick.

3. Kat Von D Tattoo Liner ($ 7.00 Value)

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This eyeliner is perfect! – everything from the felt -tip applicator to the formula to the packaging is worth it.

4.¬†Living Proof Perfect Hair Day¬ģ Night Cap Overnight Perfector¬†($ 7.00 Value)

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What’s so un-basic about this hair mask is that it leaves your hair hydrated for almost 5 days after use. It’s one of those products that would go well with your routine if you have really long hair and trouble getting natural oils from your roots to the ends.

5. Dr. Jart+ Water Drop Hydrating Moisturizer ($ 10.9 Value)

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Light weight, easily absorbed – great for oily/ combination skin especially if you prefer long wearing foundations. This one behaves well under foundation.

6. Tory Burch Tory Burch Jolie Fleur Verte ($ 2.7 Value)

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Another floral scented fragrance sample. This one smelled pretty strong though.

PLAY! BY SEPHORA NOVEMBER 2016 SUBSCRIPTION BOX

This months playbox has a collection of goodies to help you achieve a glowy finish from skincare to lip and face products.

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GLAMGLOWSUPERMUD¬ģ Clearing Treatment ($ 17.25 Value)

This is one magical mask that clears all that gunk out of your pores. I have to warn you all though… this clay mask will crack like dried mud¬†and shamelessly reveal every single pore on your face as it dries up but I’m not complaining. This mask is a god sent! ūüėÄ

 

COVER FXIlluminating Primer ($ 6.08 Value)

This primer reminds me of the Becca Illuminating face primer from one of the earlier sephora playboxes. It leaves behind a very beautiful dewy glow to your skin.

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Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour ($ 17.4 Value)

This Laura Mercier Caviar stick is super creamy. The packaging and the texture of the product allows for a smooth crease free application on the eyelid directly from the stick. The rose gold shade tends to looks a lot closer to a champagne shade for olive skinned complexion – the perfect eye shadow shade for a glowy finish.

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SEPHORA COLLECTION Ultra Shine Lip Gel ($ 10.90 Value)

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The Estée Edit Dissolve the Drama 2-in-1 Makeup Remover + Cleanser ($ 2.39 Value)

Unlike most makeup remover oils, this one is not at all greasy yet it manages to dissolve and remove all traces of foundation. It’s non greasy finish leaves it ideal for oily and combination skin.

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PLAY! By SEPHORA Jan ’17 – Beauty Set Go!

Hello Hello! and a Happy 2017 to you all! I’m sure you’ve been stuffing yourself silly with cookies and custard and eggnog and all of those festive season goodies this past December. With all of that behind,¬†some of us are ready to hit the gym to get a head start on that summer bod. With that- Sephora brings in the new year with a bunch of skin detox and ultra-hydrating products to motivate you. And with the new year comes new packaging! Here’s yet another playful bag to add to your collection.

This bag has a gym/ workout feel to it with the neon pink and the net at the back.

Tarte FRXXXTION Stick Exfoliating Cleanser

Scrolling¬†over¬†the Jan ’17¬†spoilers for this month, I was expecting some sort of a foundation stick by Tarte. To my surprise this product was actually a cleanser! It’s kind of like a black bar of soap in a twisty tube. You apply it after rinsing your face with water. It layers on a black/grey facemask like film. It doesn’t lather toomuch when you wash it off but it definitely leaves your face clean and baby-soft. Love!

FARMACY Honey Portion Anti-Oxidant Mask

This mask is supposed to be an intense moisturizing and anti-oxidant mask. As you massage it onto your skin, it turns into an emulsion and warms up to increase circulation to the face. Wonderful for the winter! Another great thing is that it washes off leaving no residue behind.

Clinique  Almost Lipstick

This is a lovely sheer lipstick with chap stick like properties. It’s wonderfully moisturizing and leaves behind a soft berry tint that looks different on everyone depending on your skin-tone. You can also layer it on for heavier pigmentation.

AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact

Whether this is a skincare product or makeup – you can’t tell. This one¬†blurs the line and almost disappears into your skin. I found that it’s best to set this with translucent powder – it tends to look exta glowy after a few hours… oh well, that was the theme of the box this month ūüėÄ

Ouai Treatment Masque

Another interesting sounding hair mask! Yay!.. I was quite skeptical when the info said that it repaired split ends but after leaving it on for 10 minutes (on washed hair), I noticed that it made my hair a lot silkier. It also¬†smells heavenly and doesn’t weight your hair down a ton.

Tory Burch РLove Relentlessly 

The perfume sampler in this months box was worth mentioning! I absolutely love patchouli notes. This perfume starts out with a strong patchouli and then tones down to a more demure floral rose-orris scent

I think this months box was one of the better ones for me! especially with the darker toned lipstick and Almond shade Amore Pacific CC cream. In the previous boxes, I found myself giving away some of the lip products because they were too bright but the shades in the past two boxes suite everyone.

Triumph over faded lipstick this Valentines Day

With valentines day around the corner, a lot of you are probably looking around for the best lipstick to last all day. Let’s be real… no one wants to go through the taboo of being left with a darker outer ring of lipstick after a hearty dinner while sitting across from your date or even worse- leaving behind red lipstick stains on cups and glasses … specially on v-day. So I went out on a haul and picked a couple of lipsticks to test out which of these are worth the hype. Hope this helps some of you to pick out a shade.

Here are my top 5 picks in 3 popular valentines day shades РRaspberry  Pink, True Red and Burgundy. I swatched all 5 of the shades on my arm at approximately the same time.  All of these look gorgeous on Medium to tan skin.

  1. Urban Decay Vice liquid ipsticks- Blackmail
    A gorgeous deep burgundy wine shade and the darkest one you can purchase at Sephora with the UD Vice matte lipsticks. This is the perfect shade to unleash your inner bad ass and can be perfectly paired with a subtle eyeliner and a neutral eye. Urban Decays Blackmail is a shade that will literally go with any skin tone and is one of the best dark berry lip shades out there right now besides the Kat Von D line.
  2. Urban Decay Vice liquid lipstick – Crimson
    Crimson is a slightly toned down red that gives out very passionate and confident vibes. It has excellent pigmentation and staying power. This one tends to look slightly different on each person based on their skintone. If you are on the tan side like me, this shade will look a little lighter on you.
  3. Sephora Cream lip stain- Always Red
    This bright energetic shade can transform you by projecting the more confident side of yourself. True red is all about making a bold statement and of all the shades of matte red in this review, true red stands out to the most – not just because of the beautiful bright hue but because of how well it compares to lipsticks¬†waay out of it’s price range. I first got this shade in one of my sephora playboxes – back then for some reason it didn’t really impress me as much but after a while it started to grow on me. I have most definitely changed my mind about it after seeing how it compared with the others.
  4. Chanel – Choquant
    In terms of color, Choquant is another really beautiful red shade. This formula claims to set with a velvet like finish without drying out the lips. While it does have a velvety matte finish and is hydrating, don’t expect it to set like your trusty Kat Von D liquid lipstick. It tends to take forever to dry – which is the downside to the added hydration. The only way this one will last on your lips all day is if you don’t eat.
  5. Kat Von D – Bauhau5
    This review on long lasting matte lipsticks would not be over without reviewing a Kat Von D shade. Bauhau5 is the most unique deep raspberry shade from her collection that goes well with tan skin. In terms of lasting power, this one trumps over all the other lipsticks I have tried including the vice liquid lipsticks.

I left these swatches on my arm for about 4 hours and then ran them under a stream of¬†water for about 15 seconds before smudging them. Here’s what they looked like after. As¬†you can see, the Chanel lipstick took the longest to dry and still managed to smudge after letting it set that long. I guess that speaks for the fact that you don’t always get what you pay for.

So what lipstick are you going with today?

Play! By Sephora July 2016 Subscription Box

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This months¬†bucket bag has a¬†cute pink pop sickle on it with the theme “Effortless Summer”! As usual there are 5 deluxe sized products and a perfume sample. This months box had two versions… I think one was for dry skin and the other was for combination/oily (the one I got). Here’s a peek of all the summer time goodies inside:July

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1. Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer ($ 6.8 Value)

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This bronzer smells so delicious that it’s hard to stop sniffing it (It contains REAL coca powder -Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Fruit Powder on the ingredient list). I got the shade ‘Chocolate’ which is a matte medium to deep brown with buildable coverage.

2.¬†Beautyblender Blotterazzi‚ĄĘ by beautyblender¬†($10 Value)

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This was one of my most awaited products in the box especially since it’s summer. The Blotterazzi is¬†reusable alternative to blotting paper … I have concerns about bacteria build up on this thing but I’ll still give it a try for at least a week.

3. Ouai Wave Spray ($8.84 Value)

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I had never heard of this product¬†before I got it in my box this month.¬†It’s a very non-sticky fragrant spray ideal for wavy hair especially to tame small strays¬†and “ondulate” waves. The fragrance tends to linger for quite some time¬†– another perfect product to use in the summer.

4. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser With Red Clay ($5.1 Value)

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For some reason I was expecting this cleanser to have a dense opaque consistency but I was surprised to find it more liquidy. It smells wonderful and does a great job getting rid of makeup and toxins at the end of the day.

5. Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing ($ 9.75 Value)

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The texture of this primer reminded me very much of the Benefit pore-fessional pore minimizing primer except that this was was twice as lightweight, humidity resistant and long lasting¬†as it’s Benefit counterpart.

6. NEST Citrine

I’m loving the citrusy playbox perfume theme this summer. This one has a perfect balance of citrus and floral notes.

Subscription Cost = $10

Total box value based on full sized prices = $40.49

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Play! By Sephora October 2016 Subscription Box

Nudestix BelleLip and cheek pencil ($8 Value)

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This warm pink lip & cheek stick makes a good cream blush but it can also be used as a nude pink lipstick.

Verb Leave In Mist ($1.75 Value)

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This is most definitely a non-sticky leave-in conditioner. It’s not too moisturizing but it sure smells lovely. I tried it both on dry and wet hair and it seemed to work better on dry hair for me.

Smashbox Always On Liquid Lip ($6 Value)

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Another lovely fall color Рthis liquid lipstick is indeed a very long lasting formula! However beware of dry lips. You definitely require some chap-stick application before you layer it on.

All In One Egg Mellow Cream ($4.30 Value)

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With a cream mousse desert like texture this is another lovely fall moisturizer. It smells heavenly and looks delicious :p

Skin Inc Pure Revival Peel ($4.68 Value)

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At first I thought this skin peel did nothing but it sure does bring a glow to a dull complexion. I was quite surprised. As usual… this box is valued a lot higher than the price ūüôā

PLAY! By SEPHORA December 2016 Subscription Box

The December 2016 playbox features products for the enthusiastic party goer. There’s some dry shampoo for those of you that don’t have time to shower between parties and a bunch of makeup that claims to last longer than you should have makeup on your face. Without any further ado, lets get on with the review ūüôā

Lanc√īme HYPN√ĒSE DRAMA Instant Full Body Volume Mascara¬†($16.875 Value)

I quite liked this one. It goes on smooth and works wonders with increasing eyelash volume but it can get pretty clumpy if you are working with a full. I would recommend scraping down the brush at the rim of the tube to remove excess product before applying it on your lashes. As for the lasting power Рif you remove all the excess and layer it on evenly, it lasts about 6 -8 hours which is excellent for most mascaras but if it clumps together expect this to flake before the party is over.

SEPHORA COLLECTION Cream Lip Stain ($3.31 Value)

The thing I liked about this lipstain is that the coverage is build-able. You can wear it like a full coverage lipstick if you want to or you can keep things sheer with a very thin application. The shade Always Red from this box is gorgeous and flattering to all skin tones. Even tough this is a beautiful matte lipstick, I wouldn’t compare the lasting power to something as strong as Kat Von D. It does give you a good 3-4 hours depending on how carefully you eat.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer ($5.92 Value)

You can never have enough primer. I won’t rave about this one though because I didn’t notice any hydrating effect on my skin. It does do a decent job at mattifying.

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray ($7.5 Value)


The idea of setting your face with some hairspray like concoction or inhaling any sticky mist is just not appealing to me. I am not a fan of makeup setting sprays but I won’t let that get in the way of this review… keeping that thought aside I think this product does a decent job of setting your makeup but it takes practice to get used to. It’s easy to apply excess and ruin an hours worth of makeup and best use is to keep it at arms length and slowly mist it on.

Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo ($7.43 Value)

This was my 2nd time trying dry shampoo after¬†batiste¬†so I was hoping Drybar could change my mind.¬†Again… not a fan of anything that can possibly be inhaled. I also don’t like brushing out the white¬†flakes left behind. Still not a fan. I always prefer real shampoo but this product does do a decent job at boosting volume and cleaning 2nd day hair. It smells nice.

Overall this was another box with a couple of hits and misses.