Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Drugstore Wonder - Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream SPF 15


The Asian continent used to be the primary producer of high quality and high performance skin-perfecting BB Creams. The main characteristic of these "real deals"  is the unique combination of skin-loving ingredients, replenishing minerals and skin-perfecting sheer tint, which when combined not only even out your skin-tone but also work to heal any skin imperfections. Essentially the BB Cream can be classified as sheer makeup that covers, polishes and ultimately cares for your skin - all at the same time! Most BB Creams are suitable for all skin types but acne-prone will especially benefit from the blemish treatment found in almost every formula. 

The Western world definitively had to be schooled in the formulation of these makeup-skincare hybrid wonders which of course led to a whole slew of brands tripping over themselves to release their own signature BB Creams formulas. 
Having used some of the popular Korean BB Creams with wonderful results I was curious to see how the Western formulas compared to their original predecessors, counting availability as one of the obvious perks for someone who prefers instant access to beauty  products as opposed to tracking things on Ebay

The Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream ($12.99) came highly recommended by a lot of beauty bloggers and after testing it for a few weeks now I can definitively join the Garnier Rave Choir. This particular dermatologist tested Garnier BB Cream comes in three shades - Fair, Medium/Deep and Dark. 

Official Description;
Save time with just one multi-benefit product that offers advanced skincare + immediate skin perfecting coverage. This hybrid formula renews radiance, brightens complexion, evens skin tone, hydrates and protects with SPF15 UVA/UVB sunscreen. Get results you can see and feel instantly.

Ingredients;
Active: Octinoxate 4%. Inactive: Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Isohexadecane, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetyl Palmitate, Nylon-12, Cyclohexasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Stearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Lithum Magnesium Sodium Silicate, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Caffeine, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Benzyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Citral, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate. [May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides].

Garnier claims that their BB Cream will renew, brighten, hydrate, even and protect your complexion from the damaging sun rays, preventing hyper-pigmentation and contributing some basic anti-aging abilities.

I am not entirely convinced that this formula actually renews anything but I can certainly vouch for the brightening, hydrating, protecting and skin-tone evening promises. 

I would place this makeup hybrid between a light coverage foundation and a tinted moisturizer leaning more towards the latter. The finish it gives off is very reminiscent of a tinted moisturizer as it's more of a dewy glow. The formula is very hydrating and so much so that I would only recommend using this if you have combination, normal or dry skin. 
Its creamy consistency and texture is very easy to blend though not buildable. After testing it for a few days (and paying attention!) I've come to the conclusion that the dewy glow lasts about six hours without any fading, melting or blotchiness, however the longevity increases to about eight to ten hours with just a light dusting of setting powder.
I should mention that the liquid has a subtle floral scent that dissipates within about 5 minutes of application, which means that even those sensitive to fragrance scents can use it comfortably with no irritation. 


Overall, it's a winner in my book. It's ideal for lightweight weekend wear, falling into the category of "my skin but better" radiance boosting type of product. 
In my opinion the Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfecter BB Cream SPF 15 ($12.99) is comparable to a lot of other higher-priced Asian BB Cream and the fact that its sold in almost every drugstore chain makes it even more appealing!

Have you tried the Garnier BB Creams? Do you have a favorite BB Cream? Please share! 

Thank you for reading and stopping by!

XOXO

ANJA



Wednesday, 6 November 2013

What Would Andrea Bring To the Zombie Apocalypse? The Beauty Edition!


Judging by the amount of messages, tweets and page views I received about my Zombie Apocalypse Beauty Edition Posts there are some really hard-core Walking Dead fans who like yours truly take their beauty routines seriously.
That being said my beauty goals for the End Of the World are most likely way more complicated than it would be reasonably feasible to accomplish and stay alive at the same time but hey at least we have an ambitious plan to start out with.
It doesnt hurt to be prepared!

In today's exploration of the grossly challenging world of the Walking Dead and my shameless snooping contemplation of the contents of the impressively strong leading ladies of that particular reality, I am revealing some of the beauty secrets the late Andrea might have been harboring.

Andrea was one of those characters that took a while to grow on me and with each episode I found myself rooting for her but more than anything else I started to understand her drive to transform herself as a strong member of the group. She refused to confine herself to the traditional female role in such a society dynamic and essentially pushed against what some may have expected her to do with a determination to become strong on her own. I know a lot of people disliked her attitude perhaps but I found it extremely refreshing to see her pull herself from the depths of despair and rise to become a woman who didnt need a man to protect her or speak for her. In season 3 she showed that she didnt need to wear her "female nurturing nature" for all to see in order to try and protect those closest to her. The death of her surrogate father, Dale, inspired Andrea to honor his memory and his life by reeling in her anger and regaining her humanity in her own way. Some may have found her frustrating but I found her inspirational. Her death was heartbreaking to say the the least but Laurie Holden portrayed the character with such heart and deep passion that I am sure her many fans will never forget her time on the TV screen.
Plus she awesome enough to get her very own action figure!

Andrea might have been the clear tomboy of the ladies circle in the Walking Dead group but her "California girl", blond-blue eyed striking brand of beauty were clear signs that she knew exactly how to enhance her feminine assets to turn heads. I am sure her cosmetics bag was definitively present each and every day, even though her natural good looks didnt need all that much help!

1. Andrea hit the beauty genetic jackpot that much is clear but one of the features I admired the most was the state of her beautiful golden locks. Her hair was absolutely perfectly styled, glossy and bouncy during the Zombie Apocalypse and her entire look seemed completely effortless no matter what disgusting situation she might have found herself in. While she was with her original family group the resident drugstore runner Glenn would have provided her with certain hair products that she could discreetly use in between watch duty and her favorite past time - gun practice. The sweetly scented and extremely portable Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme could have softened and defined her curls effortlessly, while the classic Sun-In-Hair Lightener enhanced her naturally blonde crown of glory!
Unless Maggie and Hercshel had some lemon trees on that farm!

2. I have already voiced my extreme jealousy of these girls perfect complexion's despite the lack of regular water access and constant dirty situations so I wont repeat myself too much. When the circumstances were right and they had a chance to stop and rest from all those walker runs Andrea would have once again relied on poor Glenn to pick up some heavy duty drugstore wipes to take all that grime off. My recommendation would have been a package of Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes when they were on the move but in Woodberry where she briefly partook in the luxuries only the Governor could offer something like the Philosophy Purity Made Simple could have been beside her sink.

3. With her naturally sun-kissed skin-tone and adorably slight freckles Andrea would have learned early on in her beauty journey the importance of protecting your skin with high SPF sunscreen formulas. The mere urgency of their run-from-the-undead lives would have required a no-fuss, quick makeup application so a drugstore tinted moisturizer with a built in SPF would have been perfect. Lucky for her Glenn is an expert at scavenging all kinds of supplies and Aveno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 and Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream SPF 15 are pretty much everywhere.

4. Andrea's features certainly didnt need all that much help when it comes to enhancing or contouring but I have a feeling that the sun-kissed glow look she was sporting all three seasons was achieved by a small amount of non-shimmery bronzer. Again time is of the essence when there are so many dead things to kill so fussy blending and touch ups were not exactly the safest way to spend your spare time but a powder formula only takes a few seconds to apply even when you are on the fly. Great drugstore bronzers that are actually suitable for fair skin-tones are Physicians Formula Bronze Booster Glow and Rimmel Natural Bronzer

5. We all know how much Andrea loved her guns and craved the protection that only comes with the power of such a weapon. Her wish ultimately came true and even though she almost killed Daryl in the process her skills improved more than anyone ever expected.
The overwhelming grimy and sticky environment that is the Walking Dead would have been hard to deal with for any girl so I am thinking that whenever the opportunity presented itself the hand washing would have been pretty furious. We all know what happens when you over-wash your hands - drying out, irritation, redness and a very uncomfortable tight feeling on the skin surface. The solution to this seemingly minor problem would of course be to moisturize the skin with an uber rich, hydrating hand cream.
However our girl couldnt exactly afford to have slick, greasy hands when the need to kill something is almost constant. The gun slipping out of your hands is the ultimate Walker killing fauxpa! Lucky for her there are plenty of amazing hand creams that absorb quickly and hydrate efficiently enough to make Andrea's hands soft enough to caress both that sociopath Governor Philip and her beloved shotgun.
The hand cream shopping list should definitively include Glysomed Unscented Hand Cream and my personal favorite EOS Berry Blossom Hand Cream

I hope you enjoyed this secret and certainly uncharacteristic look into Andrea's makeup bag.
Laurie Holdens portrayal of this independent woman whose fight for survival and courage throughout the series deserves more than a little recognition and praise.
Andrea stood along all of her male counterparts with the same conviction and bravery they had but unlike them her heart and compassion is what I noticed and celebrated the most.

She was cool enough for me to get my very own first action figure and that to me says a lot!

I hope you enjoyed my little investigation! Thank you for reading and stopping by!

What do you think Andrea brought along for her journey!

XOXO

ANJA

The Honest Company Canada Essential Bundle - This Is How Honesty Is Done!


The Honest Company has started spreading its ecologically and environmentally honest products and commendable customer care policies across Canada for a few months now and after my initial Free Trial Set (reviewed here!) I took the full plunge and ordered my first Essential Bundle order.
My initial overwhelming positive vibe continues now that I am full fledged Honest Member and for the first time in a very long time I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this company's products, shipping and the way they handle their customer concerns. Basically I am more than just a little impressed and naturally I want to share why!

The Essential Bundle is a collection of five core products of your own choosing, covering all of your basic needs: household, bath and body and personal care. The price is a flat fee of $35.95, plus $5.95 for shipping and handling with an option to add three additional products to the box without any extra shipping charges. That fact alone is pretty amazing if you have any knowledge of the kind of prices charged for shipping within Canada regardless of what method you end up using. I am not sure how they are able to do that but I am very happy that they can manage it!

The perks of being an Honest Member are many and include a savings of 35% off all their products, shipping frequency flexibility, flat shipping fee, special offers and seasonal discounts and a very generous referral program. The membership literally puts you in the driver seat - you decide what you get, how often you get and if there are issues or you need to hold your orders for any reason their customer service is only a phone call or live chat away.
All of the Honest Company products are exactly as the name implies transparent and honest when it comes their origins, ingredients, methods of production and customer service.
What can I say - they are just awesome!

For my personal Essential Bundle I decided to fill out all of my product spots right away and choose the full eight product for maximum capacity. If i had more spots left I probably would have purchased even more - that should tell you just how much I enjoyed my first free trial pack!


My choices were: Dishwasher Pods ($10.95 for 32 loads), Laundry Detergent ($12.95 for 70 loads), Multi-Surface Cleaner ($5.95 for 24 oz), Body Oil ($9.95 for 4 oz), Conditioning Mist ($5.95 for 4 oz), Conditioner ($9.95 for 8.5 oz), Shampoo + Body Wash ($9.95 for 8.5 oz) and Face + Body Lotion ($9.95 for 8.5 oz)

My entire order was processed within 24-36 hours after I confirmed my product selections and shipping date, they sent me a tracking number right away, shipped out fast and then delivered directly to my door within a week. This is Canada so I have to say that kind of fast shipping is pretty rare around here.

Keeping with this honest theme I will say that I have only had about a week to test out my new essentials but so far I am very happy with their performance, ease of use and feel (bath & body) on the skin. The stand out feature is the Honest Company signature orange blossom + vanilla scent which is so mild and refreshing that I am almost positive that even those who have fragrance sensitivities or aversions would enjoy it or not even notice it. Since the scent is of the unisex version even the men in my family are happy with it, which is something that has never happened in our household before.

I will most likely be doing individual reviews on each of the products in my bundle eventually but I will say that at this point every single one of them is a superstar in the making.
If I had to select an absolute front-runner then I hesitantly choose the Honest Body Oil that has been keeping my dry skin silky smooth, moisturized and smelling lovely. I love adding a few drops of this absolutely not-greasy wonder to my hair as an overnight hair treatment before my morning shower or spiking my body lotion with just a tiny amount if i feel like I need a bigger hydration boost. The formula is so concentrated that you really only need a small dose each time making this 4 oz bottle even a better value when compared to some other sub-par, more expensive body oil concoctions.
I am pretty much hooked!

The Honest Company has just released three new products to their arsenal - Organic Nipple Balm ($13.95 for 1.8 oz), Organic Belly Balm ($15.95 for 3.65 oz) and the Foaming Hand Soap ($6.95 for 8.5 oz).
You better believe they are already in my shopping cart! :)


If you want your very own trial kit you can use my referral link here (which would be so nice!) or visit their website directly

I hope this was helpful!

Have you tried the Honest Company yet? What is your favorite product? 

XOXO

ANJA

*Disclosure - this post contains a referral link but is in no way sponsored by the Honest Company!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

What Would Laurie Grimes Bring To the Zombie Apocalypse? The Beauty Edition!


First of all I want to thank all of you who took the time to message me regarding my last post - The Princess Guide To the Zombie Apocalypse! I am so glad that so many of you loved it and wanted to hear even more Princeza thoughts regarding the vanity I could bring to such a scary dead-people-walking phenomenon. My ability to over-complicate everything seems to have absolutely no bounds!

In order to explore the girly role in such a horrific disaster of disgusting rotten flesh walking around I thought it might be fun to take a peek in our leading ladies makeup bags. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a terrible beauty snoop so it's only natural to me to want to know what the ladies of the Walking Dead considered a must-have during such a chaotic time!
As crazy as things might have gotten during that kind of devastation you know they had to have taken at least something to remind them of their past normal "feminine" lives. It doesn't take that long to stash a few tubes in a purse, right???

In today's installment we are going sneak a few proverbial looks at the makeup bags of one the series fabulous characters that met her demise way too early and in the most heartbreaking of ways. She might have ended up as Walker chow but her loyal Walking Dead fans certainly haven't forgotten her stoic, painful memory.
In true beauty blogger fashion I decided to have a little fun with this and dispel some of the doom and gloom that is their blood-curdling reality. This really is meant just for entertainment purposes so please don't hate-bomb me over this post or the character herself!

Laurie Grimes is arguably one of the most hated and misunderstood characters to ever grace the AMC'S Walking Dead screen but one thing we can all agree on is that she was indeed very beautiful.
I am not talking about that stunning look-at-her kind of bombshell beauty, her looks were more understated with all but a whisper of classic girl-next-door features everyone can relate to. If it wasn't for her obviously terrible taste in men and perceivable minor character flaws she could have been our best friend, sister or that pretty neighbor from across the street. 
I don't want to dwell on her mistakes and shortcoming, my only purpose here is to take a quick snapshot of her makeup survival bag. My snooping was kind of successful and I managed to get some information about what she sneakily used in that tent at Herschel Green's Farm.

1. Laurie's long and thick hair obviously needed some serious conditioning, de tangling and frizz-smoothing. Seeing how Glenn Rhee only made scavenging trips to the drugstores (what no Sephora?) her choices were limited but she made do. I am betting on John Frieda Frizz Ease or Brilliant Brunette Line Up. That Extra-Strength Formula Hair Serum could have worked wonders despite the hot, drying weather in Atlanta, Georgia.

2. All of the The Walking Dead ladies had a perfect, blemish-free complexion despite the obvious lack of Clarisonic access and regular face washing. Yeah, I was jealous - my skin would not fare well at all and a pore rebellion would be a foot  in a matter of days. The drugstore wonder by Simple Skincare would have been very successful and useful in Laurie's tent.

3. For those of you that watch the Walking Dead you already know that Laurie was pregnant, which is a state she finally accepted after a few unfortunate mishaps,  so I am assuming she made some paraben-free, baby friendly cosmetic choices. Light mineral makeup would have worked perfectly to even out the skin-tone without interfering with that special "glow" that comes with that blissful state. 
Glenn would have picked up some Maybelline Mineral Power Powder Foundation at most drugstores easily. 

4. Laurie never struck me as a high-maintenance girl (unlike yours truly) but nobody likes chapped, cracked lips, especially with all the kissing going around (just sayin!) . Pregnancy friendly and drugstore accessible choice would have been the fun little EOS Lip Balm spheres

5. Pregnancy in real-life and during the Zombie Apocalypse comes with its own body changes and in turn challenges that need regular attention. Naturally thin women like Laurie are no exception so she too might have been plagued by unsightly stretch marks. Luckily both Palmer's Cocoa Butter & Oil are easy to locate and apply. 

To all my fellow Walking Dead and Caryl fans I hope that this little glimpse in to the cosmetic world of the late Laurie Grimes gave you a little more light-hearted look into the gloomy atmosphere that the show has taken since the season started.
There is always next weekend! The Walking Dead airs every Sunday at 10 pm Atlantic Eastern Time
Stay tuned for more character Beauty Editions to come shortly? 
I am stalking Andrea's bag as we speak! 

What do you think Laurie had in her bag?

Thank you for reading!

XOXO

ANJA

P.S. The adorable and equally morbid cosmetics bag can be purchased here

The Princess Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse - The Beauty Edition!


Ever since AMC'S hit The Walking Dead came bursting into TV land Zombies have landed into our everyday lives and are definitively not reserved for Halloween anymore. The zombie apocalypse has become very much a real thing in the past few years and I for one couldn't be more thrilled or more terrified about the whole concept.
As a girly girl the very idea of letting go of my "personal" necessities in order to go on a never-ending hard-core camping trip in search of some safe haven, makes me freak out and come to the painful realization that if by some chance this all comes true my survival life span is extremely short. 
Unless of course I hook up with Daryl Dixon and his crossbow. However life with Daryl would bring a whole other kind of gross challenges so unless I reform my girly ways he just might end up leaving me somewhere on the road, meaning my death would be pretty much a certainty. 

This particular kind of musing came to me during one of those Walking Dead marathons and I figured that it might be time to plan out my own brand of Survival Gear. This way if the dead come calling I might be a little more prepared and maybe, just maybe my girly comfy life could perhaps be extended for a little longer. As I already discussed with my friend Heather my lip gloss littering habit can finally be proven useful or end up killing me way too early. 

I am perfectly aware that my contribution to the "group" would not be all that beneficial but if I bring some supplies to make life on the run a bit more "homey" then they might keep me around. After all every girl has a bottomless purse laying around.

Here is my Zombie Apocalypse Beauty Set! Feel free to add stuff to it in the comments - help is greatly appreciated!

1. WIPES 

From what I have seen so far the zombie apocalypse situation don't provide access to running water to shower, wash your hands, face and clothes; let alone wipe down unsanitary surfaces or remove walker grime after a good massacre. Wipes are the next best thing to water and lucky for us there are plenty of varieties and brands to choose from and stock up. Seriously you can never get enough so buy in bulk and thank me later. 
My choices would be; POND'S Luminous Clean Wet Cleansing Towelettes ($6.00 for 30), La Fresh Travel Lite Female Hygiene Wipes ($2.49 for 8) and Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths ($8.00 for 25) 

2. CLEANSING MICELLAIRE WATER

I am not advocating using micellar waters as your primary cleanser during the "civilization" time but during the apocalypse where water is scarce these convenient solutions can be extremely useful. A few swipes on a cotton pad will remove sweat and grime quickly, discretely and beautifully until you can use the real thing. The added bonus is the refreshment factor and if you choose one of the natural formulas then the scent will be helpful as well. The Zombie Apocalypse does not smell all that nice! 
My favorite portables are the NUXE Rose Micellaire Water ($24.00 for 200 ml), Vichy Purete Thermale 3-in-1 Calming Cleansing Water ($17.00 for 200 ml) and Dior Instant Cleansing Water with Pure Lily Extract ($40.00 for 6.7 oz)

3. DEODORANT & ANTIPERSPIRANT STICKS

One of the things I will hate the most is probably going to be the smell. I am not even talking about the rotting-flesh scent! The thing i fear the most even today is my own sweat and embarrassing body odor. The mere whiff can make me feel very uncomfortable and can wreck my day so I am very familiar with the Deodorant Aisle World.
I am assuming that walkers are sensitive to scent so choosing unscented or even lightly fragranced formulas is preferred so keep that in mind when stocking up. The loose powder form is probably even better because of it's multitasking abilities (see here) so if you perfected the art of using them then by all means stash a few bottles for the road. 
My top choices are LUSH Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder ($6.95 for 55 g), LAVANILA Healthy Deodorant ($23.00 for 2 oz) and the very portable DERMAdoctor MED e TATE Wipes ($60.00 for 30).

4. LIP BALMS 

Now I know a girly girl packing some lip gloss isn't all that earth-shattering but I am not talking about the shiny, luscious kind here. The useful lip balms are the ones I consider unassuming and underwhelming today so collecting countless tubes of this stuff can really come in handy. Moisturizing, medicated and nourishing rich formulas preferably in a tube (sanitary reasons) are the best ones to bring with you. Make sure you take a few man friendly ones too - guys can get chapped lips too and Lord knows they are too busy to think to pack any for themselves. 
The lip balm choices are countless these days but here are some of the ones that I rely on today Jack Black Intense Therapy SPF 25 Lip Balm ($7.50), L'Occitane Moisturizing Lip Balm ($12.00) and my favorite eos Strawberry Sorbet Organic Lip Balm ($3.29). 

5. HAIR CARE 

If you can handle and pull off a pixie cut like Carol in The Walking Dead then that is your best bet because caring for long locks at the best of times can be taxing so doing so during the zombie apocalypse is probably gonna suck even more. Carrying huge bottles of your salon shampoo & conditioner is definitively inconvenient so an alternative must be found quickly if you insist on looking presentable. Dry shampoo can work in a pinch for a few days but eventually even that's not going to work very well. When you do have an opportunity to wash away the disgusting walker flesh from your person a solid shampoo and or conditioner is probably your best choice. 
The best ones that work that I tested on my thick, coarse, long hair are the LUSH Big Solid Conditioner ($9.95) and LUSH Jumping Juniper Shampoo ($10.95)
Dry shampoo's I love even today are Batiste Dry Shampoo in Tropical ($8.59), Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo ($17.00) and the ever colorful Bedhead Oh Beehive Matte Dry Shampoo ($20.00)

6. MULTI-PURPOSE BALMS 

I am already a huge multi-purpose, multi-tasking product fan so luckily for me I already have all kinds of experience with the best of the best balms out there. These little miracles do it all - moisturize, soothe, heal, smooth, replenish, nourish and protect the sensitive epidermis from the dangerous environment you have found yourself in. The portability alone makes balms an essential part of your bag of tricks because you don't have to worry about leaking, spilling or staining your other essentials. Medicated formulas can be used to treat all the typical clumsy, first-time-in-the woods girl, bumps and scrapes that are bound to plague me right away. I might not even make a good walker meal if I die from a scratch-induced bacterial infection. 
Here are some stellar choices to consider Antipodes Saviour Skin Balm ($50.00), Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Skin Protectant ($20.00) and my new discovery Moa The Green Balm ($15.00) 

7. TINTED SUNSCREEN + MOISTURIZER 

In typical girly girl style facing the world even if it is infested with ugly dead people , without makeup might set your heart in panic mode but sacrifices must be made for survival and really nobody is going to wait for you to finish your makeup when it's time to run! Tinted moisturizers with sunscreen are your friends and quite possibly your best beauty secret during these hard times. These miracle tubes will even out your skin tone, smooth out your complexion, add radiance and protect you from the harmful sun rays beautifully. And yes I realize that worrying about sun-damage, hyper pigmentation and wrinkles might be kind of pointless at that point but old habits die hard and I personally know my own vanity so I am sure polishing my look will actually be something I think about.
The cream if the crop are Chantecaille Just Skin SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer ($72.00), Josie Maran Argan Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 ($38.00) and my new love Tarte Amazonian Clay BB SPF 20 Tinted Moisturizer ($36.00)

8. SOAP 

I am not a huge fan of solid soap formulas because most of them seem to dry out my skin and leave some kind of icky residue on my skin no matter how much I rinse. However lugging luxury body washes while on the run will just because cumbersome very quickly so I can see my need-to-feel clean requirement winning out and a switch to a solid soap bars inevitable. Just make sure you invest in a nice soap container to make sure the soap lasts until you reach the next abandoned Sephora location. 
The few that haven't irritated me are Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap ($18.50), LUSH Banana Moon Soap ($7.95) and the classic Dove Beauty Bar ($3.00 for 2)

9. PRACTICAL ESSENTIALS KIT 

Aside from my own girly girl must haves there are essentials and basics that might not be very exciting to look at but can mean a whole lot when the need strikes. I am talking about things that most girls already have in their purse today or can find easily around the house that are just waiting to be organized into one kick-ass survival kit. The Miniemergency by Pinch Provisions ($15.00) at Sephora gives you a good start but DIY set, personalized by you for your own priorities and emergencies is even better.

My start-up bag includes: mini toothpaste & mouthwash, floss, disposable toothbrushes, hand sanitizer, q tips, cotton balls, band-aids, hair elastics, bobby pins, hand sanitizer, cuticle balm, blotting papers, simple manicure set, itch and bug bite relief spray, polysporin, feminine hygiene products, safety pins, double sided tape, mini sewing kit, Tide stain remover pen ($9.97 for 3), mini hair spray etc.

Bringing food-like provisions on this never-ending camping trip from hell might sound basic but fine tuning the choices you bring with you can definitively make a world of difference. You would be surprised how many friends you can make with an energy bar.
The food products you pack need to be non-perishable, have a long shelf life, easy to carry and eat on the run but above all everything should have high nutrition value. Look for high sugar, high protein, high portability and high digestion probability (stomachache while running away from walkers is not a good position to be in).

Here are some healthy snack choices that fill me up these days: Larabars Coconut Cream PieLaughing Giraffe Vanilla Almond SnakaroonsBarnanaWild Roots Greek Yogurt Trail MixHippie Chow Granola and Kashi Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars

10. BONUS GIRLY POINTS 

In true Princess style I seem to lack the ability to pack light when i am away from home (suitcase for an overnight visit?) but the zombie apocalypse will force the frilliest of us all to cut the extras and bring the bare minimum. Its not going to happen overnight but I bet that once I realize just how heavy my "essentials" really are I will learn to go without very quickly.
However there are a few extras that might be worth lugging the extra baggage for - after all I wouldn't be a girly girl without those little luxuries to perk me up. After all its the end of the world and after a long day of slaying the undead a girl needs and deserves a bit of pampering.

*Facial Spay Mist 
The wonderful hydrating, refreshing and cooling formulas of today's face mists will bring a touch of luxury to the bleak world you now live in. The best part you can use the spray to blind the incoming walker who dares to interrupt your day. I am not positive it will work but its a good theory!
Try the Josie Maran Rosey Mist - Refreshing Rose Water ($29.00 for 4 oz)

*Nail Buffer
These trying times of dead people walking around is definitively not a time where any girl can afford to worry about her manicure or nail polish. That of course doesnt mean you need to let it all go, become all Edward Scissor-hand like and ignore your hands completely. Just a few quick and simple strokes of the nail buffer in the car on the way to your zombie kill fest can make a world of difference in the aesthetics of it all. Your nails will look shiny, healthy, polished and even better preserve your femininity a little bit more despite all the gore and slimy that comes along with slaying dead flesh.
Try the Sephora 4-Step Nail Buffer ($7.00) 

*Hand Sanitizer 
This doesnt need an explanation - everything is gross, the bacteria rules the world and every little bit of fight helps! It will at least give you a little bit of peace of mind!
Try the Bath & Body Works PocketBac Anti-Bacterial Gel ($1.75)

*Aromatherapy & Essential Oils
I am going on the assumption that walkers are sensitive to scent and can smell a living, breathing and thinking human being pretty quickly, which translates into my theory that masking my own body odor will be beneficial. If I am correct in that then dousing perfume or fragranced oils on my person should work as a camouflage? From my own fragrance journey I know that oil scents last the longest so that's the one I am going for! If i am wrong then this smelling-good habit will only get me killed but at least i'll be the sweetest smelling corpse around?
Try my new favorite Benefit Bathina "soft to touch...hard to get" Body Oil Mist ($40.00 for 2.5 oz)

The cheesy cliche of the pampered girly girl, incapable of surviving the first 10 minutes of all the great horror films needs to change and this is my feeble attempt to diminish that stereotype. I am definitively no expert on this survival kind of stuff and I perfectly aware that my own vanity and human needs and wants are going to be my downfall if all this comes to a head. That being said I am recognizing my shortcomings and trying to change my vantage point but seeing how rough this regular world is I know I am probably not set up for the Walking Dead universe. 
That is unless Daryl Dixon finds me and I survive the first 10 minutes. Who knows i might even like camping!

What is in your survival gear? Any pointers?
And can we just talk about the Caryl ship and mean Rick Grimes was on Sunday?
That was not cool at all and warrants an arrow up the ass if you know what I mean :-)

XOXO

ANJA


Saturday, 26 October 2013

Call For Hydration With Pure+Simple Organic Rosehip Face Oil


My love of natural skincare and general quest for a healthier lifestyle has introduced me to several amazing brands that would have been otherwise overlooked had I not done the necessary research. In the past few years I have found myself paying close attention to clean, natural or organic ingredients in all my personal care products - skeptical at first (as usual!) but at this point the transformation and the obvious visible results are impossible to deny.

One of the main reasons I resisted the "natural path" was simply my own ignorance and the preconceived notions that these new "hippy with a side of hype" new brands couldnt possibly compete with the big beauty names who have all kinds of money and research to quote over-and-over again! Lets not forget that a lot of "natural" products also have a very different feel and look when it comes to their packaging and formula texture. It doesnt help that I simply despise the oily, tacky consistency and residue of anything  that comes into contact with my ridiculously girly persona. I was also completely hooked on the nice, clean fragrances that my "regular" brands come with, while the natural products had scents that were a bit more concentrated, herb-like and in some cases even pungent. My signature scent is PRADA Candy and that should tell you just how deep my girly notions can be!

Discovery of essential oils and their super individual powers changed everything about my attitude and how I viewed the field of natural-organic direction.The introduction and popularity of facial oils into the mainstream beauty world  changed my mind about the improvement in the oil medium textures and my own aversion to them. However it was essentially finding brands like the Canadian Pure+Simple Spa company that solidified my resolve to explore my options again and finally realize that the Big-Beauty-Brands might not be everything the vehemently claimed they were.
I guess you can say I had to eat my words and get re-educated!

If you know this blog then you are already aware how passionate I am when it comes to all kinds of skincare but the products I appreciate the most are definitely treatment serums and facial oil concoctions. In fact I already have several posts regarding those categories and if you want to see what other oils I recommend just click here! 

Today I wanted to introduce you to one of the first oil treatments that I started out with - the fact that this product  has been repurchased several times and used by a lot of people I personally know, is a testament to the quality and result driven formulation.
My own affinity to rose oils and love for multi-purpose products doesn't hurt either. 

Without further ado I give you -  Pure+Simple Organic Rosehip Face Oil ($39.95 for 50 ml) 

Official Description;
Rosehip oil contains 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs), predominantly linoleic
(Omega 3) and linolenic (Omega 6) and is naturally enriched with antioxidants like
beta-carotene and lycopene.
Naturally contains Trans-Retinoic Acids that helps regenerate damaged skin tissue
Helps to decrease and prevent hyperpigmentation, wrinkles + scars
A perfect skin rehydrator that restores moisture balance


Ingredients;
Organic Rosa Mosqueta (Rosehip) Oil

Directions for uses;
Use as a hot oil treatment for brittle, damaged hair or as a scalp treatment
Use in place of a moisturizer day and/or night
Use under your moisturizer for ultra hydration and/or to prevent/correct fine lines and pigmentation


The texture of this Organic Rosehip Facial Oil is one of the things I love most about using it. The oil is very lightweight, lighter than the Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil and even my favorite REN Rose O12 Moisture Defense Serum, making it perfect for the transitioning season period (Fall or Spring) for most skin types. I can imagine that girls with oily skin can get away with using this under a moisturizer in the winter or apply it alone in the summer. Since my skin is a little bit drier the Pure+Simple Organic Rosehip Face Oil works beautifully year round as a basic skincare hydration boost treatment.
Its the perfect everyday care oil that will not interfere with the rest of your skincare or even makeup like some of the richer formulations out there. The silky liquid sinks into the skin wonderfully and doesn't leave any tacky or greasy residue on the surface, making sure that the only thing you end up with  is hydration and deep nourishment. The complexion you get is soft, healthy, radiant and pampered.


The scent is very mild and certainly fits in the non-offensive category although I have heard certain people mention that they sense a slightly fishy fragrance. If you are very sensitive to odor this might be a slight issue but keep in mind that even this slight natural scent disappears within minutes once applied to the skin.
The purpose of the oil treatment is geared towards preventative anti-aging and soothing sensitive, irritated dry skin.
However where the Organic Rosehip Facial Oil truly shines and delivers the most is the area of sun damage or hyper-pigmentation trouble spots. For me this is one of the few products that has actually made a difference when it comes to fading darker post-acne scars and the unfortunate sun spots caused by sunscreen neglect. I paid the price for skimping on proper skin protection during my teenage years! Like with all skincare the transformation doesnt come overnight but after a few weeks the change will be very obvious in the mirror!

Heed my warning - sunscreen the heck out of it because as you probably already know its a lot easier to prevent something than to have fix, conceal or treat later!

Have you tried the Pure+Simple Organic Rosehip Face Oil ($39.95 for 50 ml)?
What is your favorite facial oil?

Thank you for reading

XOXO

ANJA

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

C.O. Bigelow My Favourite Night Balm NO. 306 - The Cockiest Lip Treatment Around?


What's in a name? 
The art of assigning a particular name or title when it comes to all products in general can be one of the driving forces that can heavily influence the brands commercial success or unfortunate market failure. This particular phenomenon might be most prominent in the cosmetic industry where branding, advertising and memorable product dubs are all intricately designed to attract the consumers and make them remember the item in question long after they leave the store. These days the beauty market is beautifully over-saturated with various formulations of products that share similar purpose and design, meaning that creativity is more important than ever to make something stand out and maintain longevity in the industry itself. 

Cutesy product packaging, clever advertisements and "catchy" names or descriptions are all wonderful ways to get noticed and stay memorable in the minds of your target audience. 

The C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm No. 306 ($7.50) is a relatively new addition to my lip treatment balm collection which starts growing at an exponential rate during this time of year. The freezing cold and windy Canadian winters are anything but kind and tolerable for my dry, sensitive skin and my lips seem to suffer the most due to these unfortunate weather elements. Lets face it dry, chapped, cracked and windburned lips are not a good look for anybody and it goes without saying that even your best lipstick or lip gloss will not look its best if the base is not taken care of first. 


The C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm No. 306 caught my attention immediately with its cocky name and despite the fact that I had absolutely no knowledge about the brand itself, that little blurb guaranteed its purchase quite easily. A big hand of applause for the C.O. Bigelow marketing team - their efforts obviously paid off and I am sure I wasn't the only beauty connoisseur that fell hard for such a clever name almost instantly. 
The scientist in me really wanted to test the lip treatment that claimed to be My Favorite Night Balm right from the get go. 
Bold statements like that should be able to produce bold results as well!

Official Description;
Heal your lips while you sleep with this deeply moisturizing night balm. Leaves lips soft and smooth. Contains healing Shea Butter



Ingredients;
Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Petrolatum, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ozokerite, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-1, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Mineral Oil, Lanolin Oil, C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate, Diisostearyl Malate, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax (CAndeilla Cera, Cire de Candelilla), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Isoprpyl Palmitate, Slica Silylate, Stearalkonius Hectorite, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Propylene CArbonate, Sodium Saccharin, BHT
The winter and environmental factors around here have a tendency to irritate and dry out my lip tissue and the vermilion border surrounding it. The sensation of slight burning and redness associated with it can be extremely uncomfortable and further element exposure can even add itchiness and flaking to the already "pretty" sight. Daily lip protection can be achieved with sunscreen infused rich lip balms, reapplied regularly and continuously however there are days when that just proves not to be enough. Heavy-duty, nourishing and hydrating night lip treatments provide healing and rejuvenation overnight, making them an essential step in my nightly skincare routine.
All my other lip balms, that used to be perfect for my summertime lips, now become basically useless and simply not good enough to tackle such extreme issues. Oh, what's a girl to do?

So yes, I was skeptical when I saw C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm No. 306 ; but the words "8 hour overnight recovery" intrigued me enough to put this lovely blue tube to the favorites test. 
I love that it's texture is very thick, but doesn't feel uncomfortable on the lips. The scent is light, but pleasant; not overpowering in the least and the nourishment is felt almost instantly. It feels and looks like its working almost instantly but the results are not as quick as the sales associated relentlessly claimed when I inquired about the formula itself. My lips felt better and there were observable improvements in lip condition but it took a few days for me to be convinced of its effectiveness. 

The promise of My Favorite Night Balm  formula is definitively solid and produces enviable results for such a small price tag but I can't say that I would classify this as a must-have or even a favorite lip treatment. I like it and would even re-purchase it once I run out but in all honesty there are other balms in my lip stash that preform better and quicker than this particular product. 
However if you are looking for a budget, good quality lip balm that will give you some consistent results then the C.O. Bigelow is definitively a good and reliable choice. 
The My Favorite Night Balm might not be my favorite lippie but I still give it high marks :-)

What is your favorite lip product?

Thank you for reading 

XOXO 

ANJA

New Skincare - New Skin Hopes - New Arrivals Featuring MuLondon and Melvita


My epic and ever-growing skincare collection has welcomed a significant amount of new hopeful products in the past month or so. Some of these are re-purchases and essential in my beauty routine as is the case with the MuLondon Organic Skincare while others were impulse purchases and gifts from the people in my life that enable my cosmetic addiction quite regularly.

The fact that most of these new-additions are natural and organic in nature is no coincidence since I have been making a gallant effort to transition most of my personal care towards a cleaner ingredient direction. As a matter of fact this change has been translated in other areas of my life as well, in an effort to improve my health and lifestyle in general. There are a lot of things to consider and pay attention to during these alterations but at the end of the day this kind of diligence and determination will and already is proving to be worthwhile. The expression "no pain - no gain" often comes to mind!

The change of seasons can do a number on your skin if precautions and appropriate skincare isn't utilized (see here!), which coupled with over-reactive, sensitive skin types can cause all kinds of trouble for the complexion. Whenever my skin "freaks out" my natural impulse always points me in the new purchase direction, meaning that my haulage can sometimes get out of hand due to desperation alone. Seeing how this time I had a clear cut goal to natural skincare options I was forced to consider, research and think through the new candidates a little bit more, resulting in smarter and more appropriate selections.

My MuLondon purchase was a no brainer! I have fallen in love with the Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturizer ($25.00 for 2 oz) (see review here!) which needed to be re-purchased so I took advantage of that instance and invested in a few other skincare products I had been lusting over. I truly believe in Boris and his vision so its my personal goal to spread his genius and his products to anyone who cares to listen (or read!). 

As a huge fan of true rose scents I knew that I wanted to try the Organic Rose Collection which led me to order the MuLondon Organic Rose Foaming Face Cleanser ($27.00 for 5 oz) and the MuLondon Organic Rose, Rosehip & Rosemary Moisturizer ($20.00 for 1 oz). The moisturizer is made with 100% organic Rose otto oil, Rosehip Extract and Rosemary Antioxidant and the fragrance itself is true to its origin completely. You will not smell a more genuine rose scent anywhere else! Both the cleanser and the cream are recommended for dry, irritated and sensitive skin so in theory this should fit my needs perfectly. 
Boris was kind enough to include the MuLondon Organic Marigold, Frankincense & Myrrh Moisturizer ($15.00 for 1 oz) with my order but that particular jar was already confiscated by my mother. Not surprisingly she hasn't stopped raving about it ever since! 

My devotion to the Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturizer meant that ordering the MuLondon LE Organic White Chocolate Elbow, Knee & Heal Cream ($32.00 for 2 oz) was pretty much a given, especially since colder, drier weather is approaching and my dry skin will be in need of some major pampering and care very soon. Once again the scent has me intoxicated with its realness - there is absolutely nothing artificial about the White Chocolate fragrance! 

Melvita is yet another French organic skincare company that has been on my radar for a little while now so receiving the Melvita Foaming Facial Scrub ($27.00 for 2.5 oz) and Melvita Essential Oil - Soothing Care ($48.00 for 1 oz) as a birthday gift was especially delightful. The French are well known for their skincare (as evident on this blog) and Melvita is no exception to that statement. I have only used the products a few times so its too early to be specific about the yielded results however I can already tell that the Soothing Care Oil is a definite standout! Full reviews will follow once I have a chance to properly test them out for at least a few weeks.   

I first discovered the Organic Surge Skincare lineup through my love of various UK Beauty Blogs where their products receive huge rave reviews not just for their efficiency and ingredients but also for their reasonable prices as well. I was pretty bummed out to discover that they weren't available in Canada and that online orders were the only means of me getting my hands on their genius formulas. Imagine my surprise when I spotted the Organic Surge First Class Face Mask ($15.00 for 1.66 oz) at my local Winners - Homesense store. I snatched it up without even a second thought and seeing how masks are huge when it comes to my skincare routines I am very excited to see how Organic Surge Skincare compares to the masks I already have in my arsenal. 

I am very happy with all the additions to my overflowing skincare cabinet and for once I can say that my choices this time around were a little more calculated and useful this time around. The fact that its all more or less in the nature department makes me even happier :-)

Have you tried any of these products? What was you last skincare haul?

Thank you reading

XOXO

ANJA

Sponge Worthy? The Original Beautyblender - Hype or a Game-changer?


I am not a true believer when it comes to the "necessity" of investing in expensive makeup tools. As much as I respect brands such as MAC, Chanel or NARS I am yet to be convinced of the superiority of their pricy makeup brush collections. That being said I do own a few expensive, highly recommended pieces myself however the ones I reach for are usually from the reasonably priced, high quality brands such as EcoTools or Sigma
Based on experiences such as that one and the fact that I have fallen for the beauty hype numerous times before I was very hesitant when it came to acquiring the cult beauty sponge by Beautyblender. My determination to avoid another purchase mistake held up for a lot longer than I expected and its actually only recently that my curiosity got the better of me and I finally caved. 

The price for us Canadians is a high $26.00 for one or $33.00 for two and the kit that includes the special cleansing agent is a whopping $50.00, making this to be a significantly high end purchase, especially when you realize that what you are getting is basically just a cool shaped, pink sponge. 
I will admit that once my Sephora order came in and I had a chance to examine this must-have makeup tool, my initial reaction was that of disappointment with just a touch of underwhelming amusement. To say I felt let-down is an understatement! 

However true to form I am now "eating my words" and I can honestly say that I judged this little wonder a little too harshly and a little too quickly. After taking a chance to experiment with proper application handling and having tried some "knock-offs" of the original Beautyblender, I can confirm what most of you already know - the pink egg sponge is a definite keeper!

Official Description;
The original beautyblender® is a revolutionary makeup sponge applicator with 360 degrees of usable surface for creating absolute complexion perfection. This five-time Allure Best of Beauty Award-winner is ergonomically designed to meet your makeup needs. beautyblender® is the first high definition, neon pink sponge application tool that gives you everything from amazingly sheer coverage to a buildable full coverage.

I have used makeup brushes, puffs and simple sponges to apply my foundation or tinted moisturizer before but my preferred method is almost always blending everything in using just my fingers. Sure it might be messy but on my skin that technique seems to translate itself into the most natural real-skin finish. 

The Beautyblender sponge comes very close to that kind of result and once I mastered the right "tapping - sweeping" motions the final look resembled very fine air-brushing. I never knew that was even a possibility! The bonus when it comes to using this sponge is that its able to finish and polish not just your base but can even be utilized with concealers, primers and even liquid or cream blush. Girls with prominent pores will be the ones to appreciate this little tool the most because not only does it seem to disguise them but also prevents caking and uneven blotchiness that can only make them look even bigger.   

I have had my Beautyblender sponge now for a little over a year and through trial and error I've developed my own little tricks when it comes to maximizing its performance. 


The first thing you need to do is wet the sponge itself until it about doubles in size. Once that happens, squeeze the excess water from it and blot in a few layers of paper towel until it feels damp. Avoid using your thumb to poke it because it might create a hole that way and damage the sponge interior - instead focus on a gentle whole hand pressure! Once you are satisfied that the sponge is not soaked anymore dip its edges into the liquid makeup base and start sweeping, patting and blending the medium on the desired area (face!). 

Everybody has their own unique ways to use anything so I have added the official Beautyblender training video that will give you the basic recommendations directly from their own genius! 



As much as I resisted this purchase at first I am now happy that I succumbed to my own curiosity. The price might be a little higher than I'd like but since this turned out to be a product I use a lot with excellent results, the investment for me was more than worth it. 

There may be significantly cheaper "knock-offs" on the market today but I haven't seen one that works quite as good as the original. Sometimes the real-thing is worth the extra expense and that is certainly true when it comes to the lovely Beautyblender
Plus it allows me to keep my fingers clean :-)

Have you tried the Beautyblender sponge? Or any of the other versions? 

Thank you for reading!

XOXO 

ANJA

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Turning On the Light - Mastering the Dewy-Glowy Radiant Look

Even the most hard-core makeup lovers sometimes crave a natural, fresh look that emphasizes natural beauty and a softer everyday youthful feel to your overall appearance.
Don't get me wrong, as a beauty blogger and a lifetime cosmetics fan, I appreciate the variety makeup experimentation can bring to the table and what fun we can have with the transformations resulting from such play time, however I admit there are days and occasions where the non-makeup look is just easier and perhaps even more appropriate. There are beauty queens that can pull off bold, glamorous looks every single day and I have to admire their dedication but for me personally that simply isn't feasible to accomplish. I might over-complicate my beauty routines from time to time but even I have days when I just can't be bothered to follow through with all my essential "steps"

The "natural" makeup look sounds deceptively simple and easy to preform but even such minimalist presentation needs a variety of products, time and technique to execute and perfect. Replicating the "no-makeup" look ironically requires a combination of both good skincare and you guessed it...makeup products!

The best way to get the dewy look is to have a good base to start with. What I mean by that is that having good skin in the first place, increases your odds of getting things right when it comes to this makeup style. It makes sense, if your skin is dry, uneven, dehydrated and lack-luster to begin with, you'll have much harder time accomplishing any makeup goal and this is no exception to that rule. If anything good skin condition is the most important for the "natural" look because the whole point is to use sheer cover-up products in order to allow your natural glow to shine through. 

Your regular skincare routine, including gentle cleansing, exfoliation factors and sufficient moisture levels are major players throughout that process. 

Beauties with already oily skin may have a hard time with this makeup effect for the simple reason that adding additional "glow" or "dew" to such skin types can only exasperate the "grease" problem. The silver lining for oily skin is that their skin cells produce an abundance of natural oils that can be tamed through the use (but on over-use) of oil-absorbing, mattifying products that will allow some natural dewiness to shine through and amplify the radiance everyone else is working so hard to get. 

STEP 1 - SKINCARE 

As i already mentioned, a good skincare routine created through the use of appropriate skin-loving products is going to be your best friend in developing long-term complexion radiance. Healthy skin is your best starting point but if that's not a possibility there are a few things you can do and products you can use to give your skin a boost and fake some glowy smoothness prior to actual makeup application. 

Replacing your usual, daily cleanser with a cleansing balm will allow you to gently remove skin impurities and add skin-plumping hydration just by washing your face. The ones that never let me down are the Antipodes Certified Organic Grapeseed Butter Cleanser ($42.00) and the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm ($70.00).


Good skin preparation following the cleansing step should include a radiance & hydration boosting serum topped by a nourishing moisturizer that will smooth out your complexion canvas and get it ready for additional products. My current favorite serums are the REN Radiance Perfection Serum ($66.00) and the Jurlique Purely Bright Radiance Serum ($72.00), which I follow with the MuLondon Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturizer ($25.00) almost daily. Taking a few extra minutes to massage these potions into your skin will stimulate the circulation and elevate the natural radiance factor as well. 

Using a light exfoliator before preparing this "no-makeup look" such as the Melvita Foaming Facial Scrub ($30.00) can also increase your natural radiance exponentially. When I am feeling especially productive I like to use the LUSH Bubble Gum Lip Scrub ($9.95), following it immediately with my beloved By Terry Baume de Rose ($60.00) to pamper and plump up the pout. 

STEP 2 -  FACE MAKEUP 

After completing your skincare routine you can focus on completing and perfecting the makeup steps of this transformation process. I am sure many of you will be surprised just how many products I consider useful and necessary to achieve this seemingly basic "no-makeup look"! However keep in mind that even though the number of beauty items may be high, the application technique and time needed is significantly reduced so once you master the steps the look itself will be easy to replicate each time. 

Depending on your coloring, skin tone and skin condition the type of products you end up choosing will differ but as long as the "sheer" theme is the main attribute of the choices you make, the basis of your personalized natural look should remain universal. The texture and feel of your makeup base needs to be sheer and light, with the goal being a satin-like glowy, real-skin finish in order to achieve the youthful, fresh look we are pursuing. 

The first product I start with is a radiance-boosting primer, typically looking for a formula with light-reflecting particles included in the medium itself. Some excellent primers I have used in the past are Tarina Tarantino Pearl Glow Primer ($32.00), BECCA Radiance Primer ($55.00) and Elizabeth Arden Let There Be Light Radiant Skin ($19.99). I find that using a radiance boosting formula primer can add glow to the complexion in a lot more subtle way than most highlighters and since the natural look is all about subtlety and natural lights a product like that can really pull the entire look in the right direction. 

Keeping with the sheerness theme my primary choice for coverage are usually tinted moisturizers, BB creams and very sheer, lightweight foundation formulations. To keep the finish natural I apply the base with my fingers or a damp sponge making sure to blend and buff everything in to perfection. The final result should be satin-like, sheer perfecting evenness that glows and gives the illusion of a healthy radiance. The one that's been getting the most play time on my vanity lately has been the Josie Maran Argan Tinted Moisturizer ($46.00) which has been making me glow for weeks - people actually noticed! 

To amplify the dewiness even more I sometimes apply a liquid or cream highlighter to the cheekbones, brow-bones and Cupid's bow, once again making sure to blend and smooth the targeted areas. My choice for subtle, light reflecting highlighters include: Guerlain Meteorites in Mythic ($67.00), Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up! ($36.00) and Illamasqua Intrigue ($32.00). 

Using a concealer where needed will add polish to your complexion, covering and neutralizing any redness or minor imperfections that the lightweight coverage of the tinted base was unable to deal with. Once again reaching for a creamy, illuminating concealer formula is your best bet and the cult classics NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30.00) and BECCA Radiant Skin Creamy Concealer ($39.00) will deal with just about anything. The hybrid formulas such as the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Radiant Touch ($50.00) and its budget dupe L'Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Lumi Concealer ($12.99) will do miracles around the eye area, illuminating and contouring all in one step. It takes some practice but with the right touch the results can be quite flattering. 

Light layer of translucent powder to set everything painstakingly applied completes the makeup base and ensures that the achieved results will last the day without smudging, melting or uneven fading. Keep in mind that the powder dust needs to be applied with a very light touch because too much product can just end up mattifying the dewy glow you were aiming for in the first place. Powders that haven't let me down and are still going strong in my stash are: Givenchy Prisme Libre Loose Powder Quartet ($60.00), Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder ($72.00) and the trusty bareMinerals Mineral Veil ($25.00)

STEP 3 - MAKEUP BROWNIE POINTS 

Perfecting the "natural look" complexion is the key when achieving this particular makeup look because skin is where most of your radiance comes from however adding a few extra steps to just finely enhance the rest of your features can elevate your look from plain and boring to polished and youthful. 

Sheer colour, glowy blushes can add a very healthy flush to your cheeks and if applied correctly actually imitate the outdoorsy, cheeky radiance. I personally prefer cream-based blush formulas because they blend in easier than their powder counterparts and just look more natural on my face. One of my most recent discoveries are the Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Blushes ($31.00) and they are perfect for faking naturally flushed cheeks. 

To maintain the no-makeup vibe the eyes can be enhanced with just a sheer wash of colour with a neutral, taupe or champagne low-shimmer shade while the lashes retain the natural look (try Benefit Cosmetics Velvet Eyeshadow, $18.00)with just a light coat of brown or clear mascara (try Sephora Collection Clear Defining Mascara, $15.00). 

Going the natural look route doesnt mean that you have to underplay your pout. Applying a sheer lip stain like the Buxom Full-On Lip Tarnish ($23.00) or a sheer balm like the L'Oreal Colour Riche Lip Balm ($7.99) will keep your look low key but still give you a believable sheer colour to draw some attention to your lips without the stickiness of a lip gloss. 

If you have bronzer experience adding a light layer to the the areas of your face where the sun naturally hits, can chisel and emphasize your features through expert contouring. That particular step is lost on me - my limited skills just end up making me look muddy and no matter how much I want to get the natural sun-kissed look every attempt fails miserably. But I am practicing with my Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel! 

The general consensus for this natural, no-makeup, radiant, glowy look is the sheerness of everything you use. This is not about strong colors, seductive smoky eyes, bronzed goddess like cheekbones, foundation masks or statement-making red lipstick. This look is about enhancing and bringing attention to our own natural beauty - spotlighting our own uniqueness and best features all the while celebrating the youthful spirit that resides in all of us. 

Sure, makeup makeovers can be extremely fun and empowering and sometimes even the most confident girl can have trouble taking the mask off BUT stripping the artificiality of it all gives us a chance to experiment on the opposite end of the spectrum and no-makeup look is still a makeup look regardless... 
Its just softer and prettier...for me anyways!

What do you prefer - nature or glamour? 

Thank you for reading 

XOXO 

ANJA