New year, new items: What’s in my beauty bag

Happy new year to all the ReadHead readers!  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year to the day that I’ve written my first post.  A big thank you to all who have supported my passion project.  If you’ve learned something new or tried something you liked, I’d love to hear it through the comments!

As a skincare fanatic, I try a lot of different items.  My goal is to give it to you straight, and to show you that more money doesn’t always mean better – but sometimes it does.

I took a look at the things that continue to be my staples over time, whether it be my other items didn’t continue to work for me anymore, or I found something to replace it.

If the new year means new you, here my go-to items to give you some inspo for your own makeup and skincare routine.  Happy reading!

Skincare items I can’t live without (everyday routine):

Cerave SA Renewing Face Wash – has ceramides, niacinamide and hydrators, plus removes all my makeup and has a kick of BHA to keep my pores clean and has a friendly drugstore price.

L’Oreal Hydrafresh Toner – while there may be options with better ingredients (i.e. sans denatured alcohol) this one boasts 99% alcohol free, is hydrating and you can’t beat the drugstore price & availability. It helps to remove any traces of dirt and makeup, is refreshing and has added BHA to help with clog-prone skin.

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum – is perfect for someone with skin like me – clog and milia prone (ultra rich eye creams are a no-go), anti-aging and reducing puffiness.  Luckily dark circles aren’t a problem for me (yet) but the ferulic acid will help.  This is a gel serum so it won’t be ultra hydrating if that is important to you. Pro tip: If puffiness is something you struggle with, put this in the fridge to get some extra benefit!

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Treatment – much like the above, it has fantastic ingredients that help to brighten, protect and refine skin, and is gentle yet effective.  I have other retinol products that pack a bigger punch (Peter Thomas Roth 3% for example), but I can use this consistently and layer with other acids with no irritation, and notice brighter, clearer skin.

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum – I did a ReadHead 2 Head on this vs. Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma (which continues to be my most reviewed post on ReadHead).  I recommend reading it if you’re new to vitamin C.  The vitamin C and additional layer of ferulic acid helps to give an extra layer of sun protection (key for someone with fair skin and correcting sun damage) while destroying free radicals and helping the skin function at its healthiest.

SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum – this is my ultra splurge item which utilizes growth hormones and antioxidants to trick older skin into think it’s a younger version of itself. This helps to regenerate new, healthy and less wrinkled skin.  It’s not surgery (nor should you expect the same result), but it’s one of the best topical cosmeceuticals on the market with clinical trials to boot.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Serum – a nice AHA acid that I alternate at night with my retinoids to keep my dead skin and clogged pores at bay. If I start getting little pimples, this removes the top layer of skin and away they go.

Neutrogena’s 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment – this is my ride or die BHA serum that I use when I’m needing an extra dose of pore cleaning and Neutrogena discontinued it.  I have absolutely no earthly idea why as this has a cult following that may have some feeling one would need to pry whatever’s left on the market from their cold, dead hands.  I think it’s because it worked so well people didn’t need their products anymore! Anytime I can find this, I snatch it up and use it like it’s as precious as 24 carat gold.

Belif’s the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb – this has become my HG moisturizer.  Calming, hydrating, basic and effective.  It leaves my skin feeling awesomely dewey and minus the clogged pores of overly heavy/silicone feeling.

Dr. Jart Premium BB 45++ – the last step in my skincare routine, this is similar to foundation but has amazing ingredients, helps to cover redness and has an awesome amount of SPF in  it.  Talk about a multi-tasker!

Obagi Professional-C Sunscreen – I use sometimes under my Dr. Jart, or on days when I’m going makeup free.  It has vitamin E and the most stable form of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid.  I like this formulation, but I received it for free from a promotion.  I like that it leaves me matte, but I wouldn’t say it’s an HG.  Great ingredients, and a good finish for oily-skinned folks who don’t want to layer makeup on as I find that it does pill up.

Rimmel’s Lash Accelerator – great lash conditioner which helps lashes grow by keeping them healthy.  I put this on at night (and not under mascara like it says you can do). It won’t compare to a Latisse or other lash growth items on the market, but it will help keep hairs conditioned and strong – plus you can’t beat the drugstore price!

Nature’s Bounty Hair Skin & Nails + Alive Whole Food Energizer  + Vital Proteins Collagen Peptide Powder – these supplements/powders help to give me the added amino acids, proteins, and goodies I need like B vitamins, biotin, collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin to boost my beauty routine from the inside and give me a little pep in my step.  The combination of these help my hair grow strong and my nails like a weed.

Just for fun (rev up that routine!):

There’s the steps that I take as an avid skincare connoisseur with skin that changes like the weather.  If you notice there’s a lot of de-clogging, brightening and exfoliating happening here.

If you’re new to the game don’t get overwhelmed – any steps beyond what you’re doing will bring improvements and take these slow.  You don’t need top of the line either, you just need to know helpful ingredients.  But, if you’re in the prime anti-aging years, it may be worth it to give your beauty counter a boost. And, if dry-like-the-Sahara skin is your concern (different than dehydrated) you may need to incorporate some extra moisture here.

I hope you got excited to try something new!  Have a favorite routine? Drop us a line in a comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer’s Hottest Makeup Trend In 7 Minutes

In a world of skincare in twelve steps and makeup with five layers, I’m excited about this summer’s hottest makeup trend. My daily messy-bun and sweatpants-self hopes it’s here to stay.

Drum roll: natural yet defined brows, understated eyeshadow, mascara and a swipe or five of bronzer. #Boom.

It makes sense that as the humidity kicks in and the heats starts sizzling, we are spending more time outside which means fun in the sun (and water) and sweat.  But interestingly it’s going a step farther this summer because even the best winged eyeliner is starting to fall back into the [eye]shadows.  Today’s magazine covers have replaced dramatic eyes with muted nude that take a back seat to wispy lashes, and dustings of freckles not covered by foundations make an appearance.  Freckles?! My heart can’t be any happier.

Time to put away the smoky charcoals, eyeliner and glittery get up.

How to get the look.

Eyeshadow: Opt for a versatile nude shade with some slight sheen to give you some brightness.  Add a lighter highlighter color in the corners for some extra pop.  Covergirl makes some great nude options in their Eye Enhancers line and bonus they are easy to find and so inexpensive! Have fun with a swipe of color that matches your favorite summer drink.

Lashes: growth serums are all the rage these days.  You can read my post about how to get those mega lashes on ReadHead which will give you that flirty, beachy vibe.  The trick is to be enhanced yet natural.  Put away the super thick falsie look-a-likes and opt for lengthening and fanning.  Do a quick eyelash curl and put on a coat or two of your favorite mascara. I like Benefit’s Roller Lash which has the best brush for lengthening I’ve come across and hear there’s a dupe from Covergirl called Lash Sensational.  Time to make a trip to the drug store!

Finish it off: Follow up with your favorite SPF, swipe some brow color for definition and hit the high points with your favorite bronzer.  That’s your forehead, bridge of your nose, chin, and cheeks.  Just a neutral swipe though, the goal is to look sun-kissed, not sun-mauled.

You can achieve this look in under 7 minutes and I’ll challenge you to skip the BB cream or foundation ::gasp!::.  It’s a little scary at first but dip your toe in.  I promise you’ll be fine.

Your skin will thank you for its own allotted summer break. You can always hide behind your sunglasses and hat, like me!

Have a favorite summertime routine? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Product Review: Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45

BB stands for beauty or blemish balm.  They were all the rage overseas with Japan and Korea leading the way.  I wrote a blog post about the difference in BB, CC and tinted moisturizers which can be helpful before digging into this review.

BB creams are fantastic options for those who want more than sheer coverage, don’t want the sometimes heavy or clogging feel of full foundation, and want a multi tasker with SPF and skin-improving properties. The down sides is that they can be hard to color match with the fairest and darker skin colors being left with little to no options, and sometimes finishes can be spotty.

Dr. Jart, a Korean-based brand focused on skin care readily available at Sephora, has a range of BB creams that target different skin needs.  They are all very different, and the Premium Beauty Balm is no exception.

Ingredients – Dr. Jart is a Korean company, and focuses on skin care as much as the makeup aspect.  Since my 20s I’ve been willing to forego coverage for skin care so this is a total win for me.  This BB cream has arbutin to lighten skin, hefty doses of UVA/UVB filters for an impressive 45 SPF and does not cause irritation.  The ‘cones, which can be problematic for some, creates a smooth surface.

List from Sephora’s website:

Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide: Provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
-Bio-Peptide Complex: Provides antiaging properties and supports natural collagen.
-Arbutin: Brightens skin; evens skin tone.
-Adenosine: Improves elasticity and firms skin.

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Arbutin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Magnesium Sulfate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Calcium Stearate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Polysorbate 80, Propylene Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Talc, Tocopheryl Acetate, Adenosine, Alcohol, Lecithin, rh-Oligopeptide-1, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, PVP, Platinum Powder, Steareth-20, Chrysin, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide.

Application – The product comes in a hard plastic pump (more on this in the packaging section).  One pump seemed to not be quite enough to cover my face and neck.  Two was too much.  So, for me 1.5 pumps is where it’s at.  I put this on with my fingers after I put my serums and moisturizers on and out the door I go.  It spreads easily, isn’t streaky and blends well into the skin. Lots of people use beauty blenders or brushes, but for me I’m no fuss no muss and fingers works just fine for me!

Color/Finish – Dr. Jart has two color options: light/medium and medium/tan which is newer to the arsenal.  I have only used the light/medium, so my review will focus on that.  The color is a light beige with a slightly gray cast to it.  This is typical in many Korean BB creams that are geared towards lighter skin tones.  It does adjust slightly once it dries down to fit an impressive amount of varying shades of skin.  For me it’s a fantastic color match as I range in a golden fair base but could pass for neutral with some redness, but for those with very warm undertones may find it makes you look washed out. The finish is slightly to definitely dewy depending on the types of moisturizers (if you use one) you put on before this.  Sometimes I do get a bit of high-wattage going on with particularly emolient moisturizers that I need to tone down with powder.  If you don’t like that finish or have very oily skin, this might not be for you.  You can also use that to your advantage if you have extremely dry skin – put on moisturizer and immediately follow up with this to have an easier time spreading. For those with dry or dull skin, this provides a beautiful finish that will give you a youthful glow without the down sides of a heavy foundation. It is light to light/medium coverage which does well with average redness but will not fully cover acne or dark circles.  Think your skin, but better.

Packaging – You will see 99% of reviews raving from the rooftops about this product.  And you’ll see a ton of complaints about the packaging.  The package is a hard plastic tube with a pump top.  If the tube lays on its side, you have to pump it a ton of times to get the product out.  You also can’t get the last drop, which I can only imagine how much is wasted without being able to squeeze or get into the tube.  It can be faulty, which is very annoying.  Not enough to keep me and the hordes of loyal followers away, though.

Overall – This product is a great one for sensitive, fair skin and is a Certified Readhead Best.  I still use other products (including sunscreen) but this can be a great multi-use product for people who don’t want a lot of steps in their routine.  At 45 SPF it’s great for protecting the skin and what I love most about it is that my skin looks and feels healthier when I wear it.  I’ve strayed many times over the years and although I may find a formula with a silky finish that can’t be topped (like Dior’s Hydralife) inevitably I start getting dehydrated and break out.  This one keeps me looking fresh and rejuvenated and washes off easily and CLEAN.  My acne subsides, and my skin looks more hydrated and bouncy when I use this.  And if I (gasp) fall asleep in it, I don’t pay with breakouts the next day. Definitely a great buy for winter dry skin.  Summer may need some extra setting powder.  At almost $40 it’s not cheap, but when you factor in the performance, convenience and that you don’t necessarily need a foundation, moisturizer or sunscreen, it’s definitely worth the splurge.  I’ll keep buying this and wishing they change the packaging for years to come!

Overall – 5/5

Packaging – 2/5

Price – $$$$$

Have you used Dr. Jart’s BB creams? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Product Review: Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion

For those of you faithful ReadHead readers (thank you!) you have read about my past abuse to my skin a la the sun.  I went from worshiper to demonizer in as fast as you can say UV.  Thanks to this trusty sunscreen – Neutrogena’s Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion – I can go back to feeling safe but not like I have to wear a head-to-toe shield from sun Armageddon whilst taking a brisk walk on the sand.

This sunscreen is readily available in drugstores and online, and frequently has sales.  I have become sort of a hoarder of this lotion for that reason and will impose my will of “you NEED to use THIS” to all my friends.

First things are first.  I am not an ingredient purist when it comes to sunscreen.  There are others, like the Honest Company and other organic/vegan/crunchy companies that probably make things a little (or a lot) less chemical-laden than this one.  If that is important to you, understandable.  What’s important to me is that it’s no hassle and WORKS.

That out of the way, this is the BEST sunscreen I have used hands down and is a Certified ReadHead Best.  Read on for more deets:

What it is

Here’s the description from Ulta’s website: The first line of sunscreen by Neutrogena clinically proven to provide multi skin defense from sun + water damage; a full body suncare and outdoor skin protection for the active family.

Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, Water, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Dimethicone, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Benzyl Alcohol, Silica, Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Trisiloxane, Cetyl Dimethicone, Beeswax, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Behenyl Alcohol, Trideceth-6, Disodium EDTA, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance.

This is a chemical sunscreen (vs. physical). There are a few ingredients in here that are of concern for the EWG – namely oxybenzone.  However, these ingredients are common in effective sunscreens.  To my earlier point above, you will need to weigh your options and decide for yourself on what you deem more harmful; the occasional sunscreen slathering or the sun’s rays.  I happen to be OK with some chemicals that will help prevent skin cancer and premature aging. Chicken or the egg, perhaps.

Options: There are both aerosol spray and lotion options in 30 and 70 SPF.  I prefer lotions because there is less waste and the coverage is better, but I utilize both.

Application: The spray option is just like any other.  It’s a constant stream of spray, doesn’t clog and goes on clear .  I happen to use the 70 SPF lotion.  Unlike others I’ve used in the past, this stuff goes on like a dream.  It spreads easily and is more of a lotion texture vs. the sticky glue-like consistency of others. Immediately after there may be a slight white cast, but after letting this dry down, you can’t tell you have it on.  It even gives you a slightly dewey look without being greasy.  It does have a slightly different fragrance than a typical sunscreen which I happen to really enjoy but it’s not faint.  Those who are sensitive to fragrance should do a sniff test first.

Performance: For a sunscreen to work as it should, you need to make sure you’re using the proper amount with good coverage, and let it soak in for 30 + min before you go outside.  I use the lotion for this purpose and then bring the spray with me for easier application with sand, etc.  If you use the product in its intended way and use other proper protection methods, the lasting performance of this will exceed expectation.  I spent a week in Jamaica and Costa Rica with 0 base tan (I was as white as I was out of the womb) and did not burn once.  This was while playing volleyball for hours on the sand and ziplining right near the equator. I even (gasp!!!) used this on my face because I didn’t think my 55 zero oil for acne prone weenies would work given my propensity for retinol and peels and did not break out. PERFECTO.  Pale friends rejoice!

Price: For around $12 a bottle, it’s not outrageously priced given it’s performance.  This is also why I like the lotion better to eliminate waste.

Overall:  This is my 100% go-to for sunscreen.  It smells great, spreads easily, is easy for me to get, leaves little-to-no white cast, still allows me to get some color and keeps me from burning.  I really can’t ask for anything more from a sunscreen.  Thanks, Neutrogena!

Overall Rating: 5/5

*Certified ReadHead Best

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have you used this sunscreen or have one you love? Drop us a line in the comments.