march ipsy

finally got my first ipsy glam bag last week after being on the waitlist for almost 3 months! Ipsy is a beauty subscription service that is $10/month. You receive 4-5 deluxe samples or full-size beauty products in a cute reusable cosmetic pouch each month. Bags are customized to your preferences based on a quiz you take, with products ranging from makeup to skincare. I have had other beauty subscriptions in the past, such as Birchbox and GlossyBox, so I decided to give ipsy a shot. Subscription boxes/bags are such an affordable way to try out new products!

Here’s what came this month:

MarchGlamBagOf the 4 products, 3 are full-size {the lipstick is a sample}.

From left to right:
Be a Bombshell Bora Bora Eyeshadow Quad– gorgeous, highly pigmented colors!
bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Get Ready– I’m not a huge fan of lipsticks but this one does seem moisturizing and is a pretty color.
Pixi Beauty Flawless Beauty Primer– I was pretty hesitant at first because the color of the primer is really bronzy {and I am not} but it sheers out nicely and leaves a glowy finish.
Nicole by OPI in Roughles- I’m not a fan of getting nail polishes in my subscriptions because I’m just not into collecting all the colors. And I’m super disappointed in this one. The color is a sky blue/turquoise mint with a rough, pebble-like matte finish. I do not like weird nail finishes and usually stay in the pink and purple undertone range. So I’ll probably give this one to my mom- she doesn’t discriminate.

So there you have it! My first glam bag! I look forward to the bag each month and will do an “unbagging” with you.


beauty randoms

Here are some random things that don’t have a home except on a randoms post:

1. My mom’s {and older sister’s} birthday is today {they share a birthday!} and she asked for a retinol night cream. My skincare obsession is rubbing off! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM & JAMIE!

2. I bought an eos lip balm in pomegranate raspberry and LOVE it. It doesn’t leave my lips needing more after using it like some chapsticks do, but I constantly reapply because it feels and smells so good.

3. I signed up for ipsy and am so excited! Maybe I’ll do unboxings?

4. Before I even consider a skincare product I research it on Paula’s Choice. Some products cost too much for no real ingredients or results.

5. My {identical triplet} sister and I are doing a 50-year longitudinal study of our skin and aging. To say that her facial skincare routine is basic is generous {sorry, hermana}.

6. I am in search of the perfect eyebrow pencil shade. I prefer a pencil over powder but have such dark eyebrows.

7. Vaseline has really helped some dry spots/a burned area of my upper lip {from cream hair removal}. Such a simple product but so effective.

8. I’m on book 2 of the Divergent trilogy. SO looking forward to the movie! {Ok, that wasn’t beauty-related but whatevs}

9. My coconut oil body butter has been so moisturizing.

10. My husband’s bathroom storage and counter space has been dwindling in size as I take over. Maybe he should just move to the other bathroom in the house?

Happy Monday!

diy coconut oil body butter

I have just started using coconut oil in cooking. I know, I know. I’m pretty late to the game. My sister gave me a huge tub of it and I have barely put a dent in it. I have also been reading about the many, many uses and benefits of coconut oil. If you peruse Pinterest you will find 100s of uses of coconut oil. I decided that, in addition to its benefits in the kitchen, it would also make a great beauty product. It’s a wonderful moisturizer, makeup remover, and hair conditioner. But to amp up the effect I decided to whip the oil into a body butter.

Coconut 1

Using my stand mixer I dumped about a cup of the solidified oil {not melted} in and beat it on medium until it became thick and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Whipping air into the oil makes it lighter and a crisper white color. I transferred the body butter into a small mason jar and store it at room temperature on my bathroom counter.

Coconut 2

I love multitasking products!

skincare: is toner really necessary?


Toner has become less popular as a skincare step since being associated as an alcohol-containing, skin-drying, acne-fighting treatment for only those in that skin category (read: hormonal teenagers). But this is so unfortunate! Toner has so many great benefits that are suited for any and all skin types. But in the same way, it certainly is not required in the same way that cleansing and moisturizing is. But if you’re up to adding a short step to your routine, the results will definitely be noted! I’ll try my best to synthesize all the necessary information about toners and list my recommendations for your skin type.

Toner should be used following cleansing. Cleansing removes the skin’s surface oils and dead skin cells, and a toner can help clean up what is left over. Active ingredients in toner help restore and repair your skin surface, providing a younger, fresher, and smoother face. Soak a cotton pad with the toner and gently stoke over face and neck after cleansing.

There are three major categories of toners:
1. Alcohol-based formulas contain a high percentages of alcohol and astringents. These products are over-drying, and can cause damage and irritation, even for those with oily complexions. Such products can also impede your skin’s ability to repair itself. Not pretty. {Read the ingredient list carefully: SD Alcohol, Ethanol, or Isopropyl Alcohol are to be avoided as these are true alcohols. Cetyl Alcohol or Stearyl are not the type of alcohols being referred to here.}
2. Water and glycerin or glycol-based formulas with fragrant extracts are often labeled as fresheners or clarifiers. These are often overly fragrant, causing much irritation to the skin.
3. Water-based formulas are recommended. These products should contain beneficial ingredients, such as beta and alpha hydroxy acids, antioxidants, and anti-aging ingredients.

Choosing a water-based formula for you skin-type will help maximize the benefits of your toner. Here’s a quick guide:
-Acne-prone/oily skin: look for products with beta and alpha hydroxy acids {salicylic and glycolic acids}, which work as exfoliants to get rid of dead skin cells and promote new cell generation.
-Dry skin: moisturizing toners with aloe and vitamin E are most helpful.
-Sensitive skin: anti-inflammatory ingredients such as vitamin B5 and Allantoin.
-Aging skin: products with antioxidants such as vitamin C and retinoids are most effective.

I have seen fantastic results from toners, including reduction of hyperpigmentation and increased skin smoothness. With so many benefits, why not add such a simple step to your skincare routine?!

{The toners in the photo above are toners that I have used and liked. I am still searching for my holy grail but these are a good starting point}.

Information sourced here and here.

5 beauty mistakes I used to make

I have learned a lot over the years regarding beauty, with some things being {forcibly} taught by learning from mistakes. There was a lot of catching up for me when I became interested in makeup and skincare because my mom was never very well versed herself, so I didn’t learn much beyond the very basics from her. I did learn by watching a lot of Youtube videos and reading reviews of products online, but still I was not left unscathed by embarrassing mistakes. Here’s a list of my top 5 beauty mistakes I’ve made:


1. Back in the day my sister, friend {hey, LA!}, and I were chronic users of Clean & Clear’s Invisible Shine Control Powder. This stuff came in a small compact with a sponge for easy application when we were feeling a little shiny. Oh, and the powder was a soft blue tint. Oh, and we live in South Florida. Hot, humid Florida = shiny, oil faces = over-application of shine control powder = blue smurf faces. I’m not even kidding. We were so young and stupid blue. All. the. time.

2. I shamefully must admit that I once committed the utmost crime against my face. A crime that I now preach firmly against: when I was younger I would often go to bed without removing my makeup. I know, shame shame. I will make this short: Sleeping in your makeup is just so bad. SO BAD! Your skin needs time to breathe over night. Additionally, during sleep your body detoxifies itself, often releasing impurities through your skin {your largest organ}, which is why some people sweat during the night. If you leave makeup on your face you could be blocking pores off from this detoxing process, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. Just wash your face, and for me, take it one step further and moisturize. Your 80-year-old self will thank me. {Off soapbox}.

3. My mom has always used those wedge makeup sponges to apply her foundation. So when I first started using foundation, I followed suit and used the wedges as well. The wedges weren’t bad themselves, except that I would use the same wedge day after day, only replacing it when the old one got really bad. Looking back it was so gross and unhygienic. If I use the wedges now I cut each in half and throw it away after one use. Also, an additional note: if you use makeup brushes or a sponge {like the Beauty Blender}, please, please wash them regularly. Like once a week if you use them each day. Good, clean tools will make all the difference for beautiful makeup.

4. In high school I didn’t wear any makeup through out the week {it was just too early and I honestly didn’t even care what I looked like = jeans and hoodies all day! Good times.}. But on the weekends I would and loved doing it. However, I thought makeup was all about eyeshadow, and barely put on any foundation, blush, or lip color. I did wild colors all over my lids {my only eyeshadows were from the Coastal Scents 88 Original Palette. whoa.} without even a thought about the rest of my face. I have now expanded my selection to many neutrals and enjoy a full-face of makeup each time.

5. Once I did actually, regularly start using foundation I was still doing it all wrong {though a step in the right direction!}. I would apply foundation in one color all over my face without adding dimension or highlight back on, making my face look flat. I learned about the contouring and highlighting technique a few years ago from Maskcara and have been changed ever since. She has some great series on HACing {highlighting and contouring} based on your face shape and skin tone. She has also recently released her own foundation line, which I will be reviewing soon!

So there you have it! My top 5 beauty mistakes. Please share any learning experiences you’ve had when learning beauty!