March: Creativity Birchbox

Gosh, it’s already March. Time sure flies when you’re having fun, and so far, 2015 has been pretty damn good. I’m excelling professionally and personally, and creativity has a lot to do with my growth. One of the things I am doing more in 2015 is switching up my beauty routine. It sounds so simple, but a new lipstick, or a new mascara can do a lot for one’s self esteem. That’s why I love receiving a Birchbox every month. It fuels my creativity, and in many ways, boosts my perspective and self esteem. Every month, Birchbox has a theme, and this month’s theme is ‘Creativity’. I feel most creative when I open up I Sort of Beauty on my computer. I am able to write down anything I want and share it with you all. If you don’t already know, Birchbox is a monthly subscription box that is curated from your personal beauty profile. Each month, you receive 4-5 samples of deluxe size beauty products. Here are the products I received:

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Beauty By Beauteque – Head To Toe Pink Bag

Product junkies who love receiving a little surprise every month can rejoice with Beauteque’s subscription service. Beauteque is a US-based website that sells Korean beauty products. They describe themselves as,

The sum of beauty plus boutique gives you an equation called Beauteque. The one stop shop haven of everyone’s dreams! An online store that is not just simplifying, but magnetizing the business of beauty, bringing on board elements and brands from the other side of the world, Beauteque brings together for you the East and West, as it continues to globalize.

I received my first beauty bag from Beauteque last week and am pleasantly satisfied with my Head to Toe Pink bag. The Head to Toe Pink bag has 8 products varying from skincare to cosmetic products. And as you can already tell from the name, all the products in the bag are pink! Here are the goodies that came in my February bag:

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Products from L-R: Hada Senka by Shiseido (lotion or toner), Blending Sponge, Capsule Wash-Off Mask, Femme Couture Highlighting Luminizer, Tony Moly Mascara, Etude House Sleeping Spoon Cream, Tony Moly Auto Lip Liner.

Hada Senka by Shiseido: I’ve tried Shiseido products in the past and have always loved them, so I was really happy to receive this lotion/toner in my bag. Hada Senka’s lotion works great as a moisturizer. It’s more runny than other thick moisturizers I am used to but works great under makeup since it is so hydrating. I have not tried this as a toner yet, but if you’re interested in picking up this 2-in-1 product, to use as a toner, pour a bit onto a cotton swab before applying it to your face. (Retail: $15.95)

Blending Sponge: I recently jumped on the beautyblender bandwagon late last year, so practically squealed when I saw this in my bag. If you have never tried applying concealer or foundation on with a sponge before, you must try it! To use, wet the sponge and ring out the excess water. Place a bit of your liquid makeup product on your hand and dab it on the blender. Apply the product in a quick-patting motion for a flawless finish. (Retail: $15.95)

Capsule Wash-Off Mask: Anyone who knows me, knows that I loveee face masks. I have not had the time to try these wash-off masks yet but I am excited to try it out on my day off sometime next week. The mask claims that it is perfect for dealing with pores… I’ll update you all next week when I test it out. Oh, I received 2 capsules, so double the fun with this product! (Retail $2.50)

Femme Couture Highlighting Luminizer: I’m not one to brag, but my highlighting skills have definitely gotten wayyy better lately. Sidenote: My boyfriend likes to throw actual highlighters at me when I’m doing this process in the morning. When done right, highlighting gives your face a natural and healthy glow. The packaging says that this product is a cream but it’s not thick like you would think. The product is runny and can get a bit messy if you squeeze too much so be careful! A little goes a long way. This can be used alone or mixed in with foundation. (Retail: $11.50)

Tony Moly Mascara: Just in time! I needed a new mascara so badly. So glad this came in right when I needed it. Want longer looking lashes? I’m siding with this one. (Retail: $6.50)

Etude House Sleeping Spoon Cream: I love going to bed packing on my creams, so am always excited to rotate new products at night. This spoon cream claims to brighten and moisturizer the skin around the clock. (Retail: $3.95)

Tony Moly Auto Lip Liner: Ladies! This is such a beautiful rose color! It’s a shade darker than the natural color of my lips so it’s perfect for me. I am going to be using this product as a lipstick color as well since the liner has more of a creamy texture. (Retail: $7.25)

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Overall, I am so stoked to try all of the products in my Head to Toe Pink bag. I was not expecting to be blown away by all the products, but I truly am. The deal is even better. It is nearly an $80 value bag for just $26. If you want this bag, it is available through March 15th at Beauteque. If you try it out, let me know what you think! xo


Beauty & Sun Protection Factor

I’ll be the first to admit that I always  forget to slather on some sun protection factor (SPF) before leaving the house in the morning. SPF is a sunscreen’s ability to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the skin. UVB rays contribute to sunburns, and at its worst, skin cancer. In an effort to take better care of my skin, I’ve been mindful of incorporating SPF into my beauty routine anytime I can.

If you’ve shopped for SPF creams before than you’ve probably noticed the SPF ratings. Most sunscreen products come in SPF 15, SPF 30, and SPF 45. SPF 15 products block about 94% of UVB rays. I own mostly SPF 30 products, which blocks 97% of UVB rays. SPF 45 products block about 98% of rays. My doctor and most dermatologists I’ve talked to recommend SPF 30 products since the difference between it and SPF 45 are not much different. However, keep in mind that none offers 100% protection.

Here are some products I currently own with SPF, AKA some of my faves:

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Sun Si ‘Belle: This is a light and non-greasy sunscreen protector. I love that it’s paraben free, gluten free, chemical and toxin free. It’s a tinted cream but leaves a bit of a white cast so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this product to wear under makeup. (SPF 30)

ELF POWDER: This is my go-to SPF product because I always powder my face after my makeup routine in the morning. I love this powder because it goes on effortlessly and I can easily apply more throughout the day without messing up my makeup look. (SPF 45)

SWEET SCIENCE: This one is the tiny, tiny, tiny container in the photo. I got this product as a sample in my Birchbox and absolutely love it! It is a silicon free, tinted moisturizer that works really well under makeup. I also love that it does not leave a residue behind. This can be worn with or without foundation. (SPF 35)

DR. JART: This is my tinted BB cream that I use when my skin is feeling a bit oily in the morning. Extra bonus points that it’s also free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Great for wearing with makeup. (SPF 30)

ELF FOUNDATION: I wear very little foundation. I don’t really like covering up my face with makeup unless it’s a special occasion. I probably grab this foundation once a week, on a night when I’m going out or going to an event. I love the light coverage it gives and touch-ups are really not needed with this product. (SPF 15)

MAKE: This primer is one of my favorites! It’s white but dries up translucent, and since it feels light-weight on the skin, it’s perfect to wear under makeup.  (SPF 30)

Clearly, I only remember to SPF when it’s a part of my beauty routine.

Do you wear SPF every day? What products do you use? Tell me in the comments section below!

Insta-Easy Skincare With InstaNatural

I have been very cautious of my skincare routine lately. As the weather gets colder, my face gets drier and needs extra care and attention. I’ve been rotating a couple of products that have been helping keep my face looking moisturized, but it’s been a bit tough with the weather temperature dipping. Some of the products I have been rotating are from InstaNatural. 

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My favorite product is the Age-Defying Retinol Serum. Retinol has so many benefits for your skin, and should be incorporated in any skincare routine because of it’s skin repairing technology. I’ve been using this product over my breakouts to reduce redness, but it can be used for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. I normally use it after a serum and before a moisturizer every morning and night, but the packaging says that it should only be used at night if you have sensitive skin. Overall, a really great prevention product to keep on your vanity.  Retail: $23.97

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I also like their Advanced Action Retinol Moisturizer. I don’t really like to put thick creams on my face because I feel like it just sits there, but this cream (although a bit thick) is actually super soothing and moisturizing.This cream can be worn under makeup, but I don’t really recommend wearing it during the day since the cream is heavy. I like to pack this on at night to keep my face moisturized. Oh, and one full pump is far too much for the face and neck, so about half a pump will do just fine when moisturizing both of these areas. Retail: $23.75

I have not been using the Youth Express Eye Gel as religiously as I have been with the retinol serum and retinol moisturizer, but I keep it in my eye cream rotation. I’m not sure it it really does anything for my dark circles just yet (I’ve been using it for about a month and a half now) but I really love using this eye gel in the morning to help reduce the appearance of puffy eyes. The gel is clear and a bit thick but absorbs really quickly into the skin. There’s a slight tightening sensation after putting it so I definitely feel and look more awake after using it. Retail: $19.97

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I’m disappointed to say that I am not a fan of InstaNatural’s Youth Express Eye Serum. I’m not sure if it has something to do with the orange color or the consistency of the serum, but it made my eyes look puffy and tired. I’ve never had this experience with any other creams, but I stopped using it after about 3 times of giving it a try. The product claims to “help to deliver exceptional results to the under eye area, resulting in a decreased appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles and puffiness.” Unfortunately, it didn’t wok for me. Retail: $23.97

Overall, I have to say that the InstaNatural products (with the exception of the eye serum) are pretty good quality, and they’re affordable as well. Worth a try if you’re looking to change up your skincare routine with the changing weather.

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