Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Favorite Things: March 2014

Hi, friends! I had too many favorites last month to shrink them down into a Fave Five, so this post is going to be a little longer than usual. There were products I discovered, rediscovered, undiscovered(??), and I will be covering them all in this post today! Without further ado, here are my favorite products for the month of March.

Tres Pure Face Tonic ($65 for 4oz)

I received this in my Sample Society box back in July and, like many products, it sat in my drawer for awhile. After going through my stash and finding this, I decided just use it up and get rid of it, since it's only the .33 fl oz sample size. One of the things I absolutely loved about this product was the smell. It smelled just like Pez! Do you guys remember Pez candy? Are they even still around anymore? Either way, it smelled sweet like Pez, but it was still mild enough that it didn't bother me. My skin usually isn't a fan of scented products, but I had no problem with this. This product got a zero on Skin Deep, something that I hardly ever see (the lower the number between 0 and 10, the more natural it is and the less harmful chemicals it has).  This toner has antixoidants for your skin, as well as soothes and balances it out, and it doesn't dry out my skin! It's a miracle! It feels so refreshing on the skin and if you have wrinkles, it is marketed to help soften the appearance of them (which I do not have, being 20). I would like to repurchase this, but I sure as hell can't afford to pay $65 for a beauty product. If I ever see it on sale for say, 50% off, I would most certainly consider buying a full size.

Olay Complete Daily Defense SPF 30 Moisturizer ($12 for 2.5 oz)

This was featured in my Morning Skincare Routine, as well as my 2013 Favorites. The Olay SPF 30 is my tried-and-true daytime moisturizer that I always go back to, no matter how many high end and drugstore ones I test out. It has SPF and hydrates my dry skin. If you have oily skin, this might make you look a little greasy in the T-zone area, but a bit of powder would take that away with no problem. I have also repurchased Olay's night cream multiple times, so if you have dry or normal skin, I would recommend both of them.

Honest Company Honest Healing Balm ($13 for 3 oz)

Honest Company is Jessica Alba's line, made with all-natural ingredients that are safe enough to use on everyone, including babies (this is actually marketed for diaper rash). I received this in the Total Beauty Mystery Collection back in June, and I think it's officially time to say that I can no longer call it the Total Crapbox, because I have found another great product because of it. My mother's hands are always rough, dry, and cracked (especially at the knuckles), so I gave her this to try. It helped immediately smooth out and moisturize her hands, and within two days, her hands look amazing. They were soft and smooth and like real people hands again, and she was ecstatic. I also love that it's affordable, though it's not available in the drugstore. You go, Jessica Alba. You go.

Aquaphor Lip Repair ($4 for .35 oz)

This was featured in my Lip Balm Bonanza Part Two. Boston winters are absolutely brutal on the skin and lips, especially if you are addicted to coffee and never drink eight glasses of water a day (oops). I was trying everything I could think of, and at one point started using argan oiil and Vaseline, but this takes the cake. I've found it actually does provide immediate relief, and on days when it was particularly cold and windy, I was able to coat my lips with a layer of this before going outside and keep them from getting chapped. It's affordable, easily accessible, and a tube will last awhile. It's perfect.

Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 ($49 for 1.5 oz)

I've mentioned this in previous posts (got it in my September 2013 Birchbox, mentioned it in my 2013 Favorites, bought a full size in my January Mail Time!), but it's so good that I just have to talk about it again. More specifically, I took a break from it to use up some other products, but now I'm back and more in love with it than ever before! It has SPF 45, good amount of coverage (definitely more like a true BB cream than most of the ones you see in the U.S.), and makes my face nice and smooth. It blends into your skin to make it look completely natural, especially when using a brush. I used to think that using a brush with BB creams was just plain unnecessary, but this time around I've found that it blends more evenly with one than with my fingers. I discovered the Sigma F80 in March (see below), and that's what I've been using with this. If you have dry/normal/combination skin, go for it. If you have oily skin, also go for it, since it doesn't leave a greasy finish (but you might want to powder as always). 

Sigma Sigmax F80 Flat Top Kabuki ($21)

I have mentioned Sigma brushes previously in my 2013 Favorites (the E40 Blending Brush, more specifically), and in March I discovered another winner! Everyone goes on and on about the Sigma Sigmax brushes, but it really isn't just hot air--these brushes are awesome. Sigma has a variety of different cuts and shapes using the same fibers that will all basically work the same, but I picked the F80 since it's flat on top and can be used to buff in circular motions. It's also a pretty decent size, so buffing my Dr. Jart BB cream on with this is way faster than using my fingers. Whether it be foundation or BB cream, definitely try out Sigma's Sigmax line. It's all synthetic hairs, so it won't soak up all of the foundation (because that's just wasteful). The link above is to Amazon, which sells the products for the same price as Sigma does, but with free shipping (if you have a Prime/Student membership like me. I've been a member since May 2012 because I literally buy everything off Amazon. --> Behold, a 30 day free trial. You're welcome.).

IT Cosmetics 7pc. Luxe Blurring Micro-Airbrush Brush Collection ($60)

This was in my Fave Five for January, and I've been using it ever since I got it from my brother for Christmas (thank you, Steve! :) ). These brushes sit in this beautiful stand on my desk and sometimes when I'm sitting there, not even putting makeup on, I'll touch them because they're that soft. I especially like the eye brushes, because they make packing on shadow and blending it out a breeze. They hairs don't splay out like some of my other brushes (like the E40, sad but true) so they don't get scratchy. Sometimes I feel like the bigger brushes are almost too soft that they won't pick up enough product, but they do an excellent job of blending everything out. And have I mentioned how soft they are? Seriously. I haven't seen these around lately, but I don't think they were a holiday-only item, so I'll keep my eye out for a link.

e.l.f. HD Undereye Setting Powder ($3 for 1.2g)

I bought this in my e.l.f. Haul not too long ago, and I have to say, I'm impressed! I was looking for a powder that wouldn't make my undereye concealer look cakey, and although having a separate powder for the undereye area sounds like a gimmick, it really works. It's an extremely finely milled powder, and I just take the tiniest bit on my Sigma E40 and roll it on (not pat, not sweep, but actually roll the brush). It also has some sort of super fine shimmer that when applied, it doesn't look like glitter, but rather has a subtle brightening effect. I would definitely repurchase when I run out, but since I'm using such a small amount, this will probably last me a crazy long time.

Stila Convertible Color ($25 for .15 oz)

Shown: Gerbera

I recently talked about this product in my Spring Product Picks. I LOVE this blush. The color is beautiful, but I think Stila might have cream blush formulation down to a science. It's smooth and doesn't feel like you're wearing anything, but the product is slightly tacky in the pan, which is what I think makes the product stay on all day. I don't understand this sorcery. This particular color is a beautiful, natural, slightly coral color that will be perfect on fair skin tones, probably also work on medium skin tones, and will most likely be too light for dark skin tones (but don't worry, they have more vibrantly pigmented colors). I actually ordered Gerbera on accident, since I had originally gotten a a sample of the Convertible Color but it didn't state the color name, so I bought this thinking it was the sample I had gotten. It turns out, my sample was in Peony, judging by Google searching for swatches, but I'm glad I ordered this color! It's perfect for spring and summer. I recommend trying out any of these Convertible Colors! In my experience, they go on too thick on the lips and make them look kind of dry, but I absolutely adore these as blushes.

Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional ($31 for .75 oz)

I received a few samples of these in my Mail Time! post back in June. This was one of those products where I said "I'll get to it later," and never did, so I figured I might as well use them up. I was able to get two uses out of each packet since I mostly needed it for my T-zone, and I got four packets. This foundation primer is supposed to minimize the appearance of pores (it doesn't claim to hide them completely), and I think it does what it claims to do. I definitely think it does a good job of blurring large pores, though it doesn't conceal them completely , but rather seems to fill them in and make them less noticeable. This is not a clear primer, but rather skin toned...if you are fair skinned. I don't know what they expect people with darker skin tones to do. Maybe it will blend in well enough for them to use it? I find it quite odd. It has a very silicone-y feel to it, which makes the skin very smooth, but if you are sensitive to silicones then stay away. If you have large pores, give this a go, since it also has a slight mattifying effect. I don't think this primer helps with staying power at all, so oily folks beware, and be sure to powder, and possibly use a setting spray. With this product, less is more, since if you use too much it just feels kind of gross and slimey on your skin. If I were going to invest in a new primer, I would purchase one that I feel comfortable using on my whole face, not just my T-zone (I need something more hydrating for my dry cheeks). If you're looking for a blurring primer, try this one. I think I'm going to try the Maybelline Baby Skin next and see how that compares.

Benefit Cosmetics Peek-A-Bright Eyes ($25 on Amazon, $32 elsewhere)

This was a Christmas gift from my mother, and I didn't try it right away. The colors just look so boring in the pan that I wasn't inspired. However, once I pulled it out, I was so surprised! The colors are so magical, because when you put them on, your eyes just look so big and awake. They have an iridescence to them that isn't visible in the pan, but once I got them on my eyes, I thought, "Wow!" It really brings light to that area of the face, and it's definitely a good palette for days when you didn't get much sleep. The cream pink product on the left is a potted version of their Eye Bright, which I like to put in the inner corner over any concealer I'm wearing. The brown is really pigmented, so those with light skin have to be careful of that. Overall, the products are pigmented and soft, and this palette gives a brightening, yet natural everyday look. I would recommend it!

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil

I received this in my February Birchbox, and since it has silicones in it, I waited until I was using a sulfate shampoo to use it. (*insert sulfates and silicones rant here* or check out Elvira's post on the Pink Sith Blog) I know everyone and their grandma has come out with a hair oil, but I really like this one! It seems to bring the life and shine back to my dull hair. I only use a tiny bit and concentrate on the ends before working my way up to shoulder-length. I enjoy watching my hair come to life every time I use this. I use it on dry hair, so typically on the days I don't wash my hair (every other day), I use this. I especially recommend this (and really, only recommend this) if you're using a sulfate shampoo, since those tend to dry out the hair, no matter what conditioner you use. I wish Beauty Protector was sold someplace else besides Birchbox, but even if you're not a monthly Birchbox subscriber, you can still shop on their website, so I suppose it's not a problem. I would consider buying the full size if I didn't have like three other sample bottles of argan oil sitting in my drawer. Seriously, no one wasted any time jumping on that bandwagon.

Elastic Hair Ties ($2.50 for pack of 3)

I know you guys are aware of the newish elastic hair ties that everyone is coming out with. The most popular brand (much like Jell-o is to gelatin) is Twistband. I was talking to my Her Campus Blogger Network (HCBN) girls about how most hair elastics I've tried in this manner never seem to last very long, since they always stretch out after a few uses. If you're seen my Facebook Post, the wonderful Miranda sent me two that she made! Just out of the goodness of her heart! How nice is that? I've been wearing them almost daily since I got them at the end of March and they haven't stretched out yet! I find these to be more comfortable than regular hair elastics, so if you have a problem with Twistbands stretching out like me, definitely check her out. You can usually find her on Instagram or purchase a pack directly from her Etsy shop for cheap. Thanks, Miranda! HCXO <3

The Body Shop Strawberry Shower Gel ($15 for 25.3 fl oz)

I talked about how amazing The Body Shop's Mango Body Butter smells nearly a year ago in last April's Favorites post, but that's nothing compared to this. This body wash literally smells like strawberry candy. Not necessarily freshly harvested strawberries, since it's sweeter than that, but definitely those individually wrapped strawberry candies (you know what I'm talking about). It smells AMAZING, but the scent isn't overpowering so it won't suffocate you in the shower or anything like that. The scent lingers on your skin when you get out, not in a perfumy kind of way, but just a nice subtle, fruity scent. I kind of want to get everything in this scent line and just slather my body in it. My only complaint is that the pump on this body is literally the wimpiest thing I have ever seen. With a bottle this size (it's the jumbo), you would think you would only need one pump to wash your body, but no. The product per pump is so small that I need around five pumps on my washcloth, or else it just disappears. Weird. Definitely go out and buy this if you're looking for a yummy shower gel. I got mine at Marshalls or TJ Maxx for $8, which is almost 50% off, so check there! (Because friends don't let friends pay full price) If you don't have either store near you, The Body Shop is currently having a sale, and selling this for $7.50 (they have a lot of sales--wait for a sale).

Pure Ice Nail Polish in Happy Hour ($2 for .5 fl oz)

I mentioned in my Spring Product Picks that this nail polish was inside the care package that my beautiful, glorious friend Lisa sent me. I underestimated at first how much I would love this nail polish. It is literally beautiful. It should be called "Sam's Happy Hour" because that's actually what it is. (Every hour is happy hour with this polish! *cheesy thumbs-up pose*) The formulation isn't the best--don't expect Deborah Lippmann level quality--but it's workable and the end results look just as good as any other polish out there. I did two coats for full opacity, so although the first coat looked a little streaky, the second coat evened everything out. This is all I have been wearing for two weeks, and I'll probably repaint my nails this color again this weekend, because who needs choices when you have a perfect coral color for spring? (probably a lot of people, but not me). I've accumulated a few of these polishes over the years, and I've never been unhappy with any of them. You can find Pure Ice polishes in Walmart for $2 a pop, so if you see a color you really like, buy it!

As you all probably know, Spotify is the love of my life, and this month I scored a half-priced subscription! You might have seen my Facebook post about it, but the lovely Emma from itsemmaelise told me about Spotify Student this month. Spotify Student is a new program that will be offering $5 subscriptions to college students. I am so excited to be paying $5 less a month for Premium (which obviously leaves me with more money to fund my beauty addiction). If you're interested in getting Spotify Premium for $5 a month, you can click here. Then, be sure to submit a selfie of you and your confirmation page / account info with the $5 price to my email address (in the About page) so I can let Emma know all of the justice she is bringing to this world (because discounted music is a form of justice, my friends). If you would like some examples of Spotify selfies, or are just interested in seeing a long-hair-don't-care picture of me, check out Emma's Instagram. (Thanks again! HCXO <3) 

Wow, that was a lot! Thanks for reading!

What were your favorite products for March?

Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any of the brands or companies mentioned in this post (not even Spotify, I just love Spotify and I love deals). I am an Amazon affiliate but I've been a member for months and haven't earned a penny so I guess that's just how my life is going to be. yolo inc. 

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