What I’m Using: October 2019

One of the losses you experience moving back to the West Coast from the Midwest is the deeply-felt absence of a true autumn. There isn’t much color change unless you head to the mountains, and the weather doesn’t give you that crisp brightness you long for while being basic and sipping a hot toddy.

However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised during this first fall week here. The weather has shifted, and perhaps it’s because I’m by the sea, but both my husband and I have walked out the door the past couple days only to head back in to grab a second layer. There’s even been rain. The jarring couple weeks skyrocketing back into the 90-degree weather are sure to come (and the dreaded Santa Ana winds with them- haven’t felt those in years) but in the meantime, I’m thinking positively and adjusting my routine with it. Here’s what I’m using this month.

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The early AM luxury- Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

I’m on the whole “eye cream is a scam” team, mostly because I believe if a cream is good for your face then it’s good for your eye area. However, I can’t deny that eye cream is such a yummy, simple ritual for my early mornings that I’ve so come to appreciate. Tapping just the tiniest bit of this creamy treatment on my lower lids and the area below it feels soothing and luxurious at 6AM. This particular cream is very brightening and adds a touch of sparkle to your inner eye area, too.

The anti-aging powerhouse – Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

A couple years ago I purchased a retinol oil from The Ordinary. I figured I’d give up my so-so Neutrogena retinol serum for the acclaimed budget brand and start my true foray into vitamin A territory. However, I managed to choose the oil with the least amount of active ingredient in it and saw little to no results (other than just being a nice, hydrating face oil- squalane is not a bad choice). And over the summer, it managed to spill open during the move. Oh well, it was only about eight dollars including shipping anyhow. It was time to move on to bigger and better things.

And so, with a Sephora gift card in hand along with the VIB sale, I pulled the trigger on something not budget-friendly- Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni Retinol Cream. This was an upgrade to say the least. The deal with this product is to use it along with your simplest skincare routine (no additional actives- it’s intense and you may feel the tingles!). The weird thing about it is the next day, my skin just looks nice.- nothing crazy But then, about a day after that, I will either have a couple whiteheads or I’ll peel a bit. But just trust the process. And then the day after that, my skin looks really, really nice. Like airbrushed nice. I’m using it once a week and the payoff is seriously worth the dime.

The classic – MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Highlight Powder in Soft and Gentle

Highlighting is one of those things that jumped to the front of the line about five years ago, with lines like Fenty, Becca, and any name imaginable trying to outdo one another with their most over-the-top versions they can dream up. Liquid, cream, powder, megawatt glitter finish or just a touch of shine … there’s a highlighter for everyone including your grandma. But while I do love glitter and shimmer and have always stopped to swatch Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick at Sephora, some highlighters are a little too extra for me (see Fenty Diamond Bomb). MAC’s Skinfinish powder is just enough to give your cheekbones that noticeable pop without making you look like a disco ball- it’s a classic, in-the-middle amount of highlight. I “windshield wiper” it on with my highlighter brush just on the top of my cheekbones.

The I’m-bored-with-Dove option – L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

There are two shower cleansers that I use: the original Dove Deep Moisture and Glossier Body Hero. I can only tolerate the most moisturizing of body washes because it turns out that I am driest person on Earth, particularly my legs. My legs are scaly and sand paper-y, so much so that they make that sand paper-y noise when they rub together. It’s pretty much all Dove all the time, and about every three months I’ll throw in a round of Body Hero because it makes your boring showers feel expensive. This past summer, however, I used L’Occitane’s almond oil while staying at someone else’s home and knew I’d have to buy it for myself. It has the same oil-to-milk texture that the Glossier has but it with a rich, sweeter fragrance. I would probably only go for two bottles a year because it’s not a fragrance I’d enjoy all year long, but it’s a great switch-up for the season.

Bonus! The absolute best fall candle on a budget – Trader Joe’s Honeycrisp Apple scented candle

While I’m all about celebrating the transition into autumn, I’m not keen on super-sweet candles (i.e. pumpkin pie). I still want fall to feel fresh and clean, and overly saccharine fragrances give me a sort of closed-in feel that doesn’t relax me. My solution to this problem is the Trader Joe’s Honeycrisp Apple candle. It’s a paraben-free soy blend that costs just four dollars. And it is the most unbelievably crisp, perfect apple scent that doesn’t cross out of sophisticated territory into cloying Country Apple (if you know, you know). For the price, I blaze through about one of these a week starting on the first day of fall, completely guilt-free.

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We Need To Talk About Perfume

Fragrance is a peculiarly emotional thing for me. I weirdly feel like my identity is tied up in the fragrance I wear, so I can’t just choose something that “smells good.” I have to choose one that feels as if it fits both my personality as I am and the kind of person I fantasize myself to be- mysterious, layered, not consuming jalapeño Cheetos late at night at age thirty-two.

But finding a fragrance that both fills me with a feeling of  wonder and relatability, of “beyondness” and a sense of grounding, of myself and very much not myself, is difficult. Identifying a smell that is both aspirational and cozy – two words that I often need to feel  if I am to love it – is a challenge. And what makes things more complicated is after finishing a particularly excellent scent, I’m not interested in just purchasing the same one over again. I want to find something new. There are too many options out there in fragrance, and there’s always something unexpected emerging. The right, new fragrance can seem to open up an unexplored cavern in your imagination, a possibility or way of sensing the world previously unknown to you. And once that perfect, unexpected combination of notes hits your olfactory system, you’re addicted.

So the problem for me arises during the turning of fall and spring, when the latest fragrances make their debut. I have an itch for something new! This August, there are a couple in particular that have grabbed my attention: Lancome Idolê, Yvés Saint Laurent Libre, and Azzaro Wanted Girl.

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Idolê is beautiful, with a lightly sweet and very feminine air to it. It smells like optimism! But for how wearable it is, I can’t quite identify with it. I love the ambassador for Idolê – Zendaya – but I can’t quite relate with her in an intimate, fragrance-type way because of 1. her age and 2. her HBO show, Euphoria. I’ve not heard great things content-wise, other than what I’ve heard about the makeup. It’s funny how much the face of a fragrance will affect me. It’s the same as when I smell Dolce & Gabbana The Only One and love it, but can’t quite pull the trigger on the purchase because its ambassador is Emilia Clarke, and I can’t identify with her most known work in Game of Thrones. While smelling Idolê, I asked the lady at the Lancôme counter if she thought the fragrance was too young for me (she insisted not), mostly because I wonder if Zendaya is too young for me? Who knows. And the bottle is gorgeous, but it does evoke the feeling of a phone in your hand. You can definitely tell what generation they’re targeting.

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I have a different issue when experiencing Yvés Saint Laurent Libre. The bottle itself is stunning, a true work of art that anyone would love to display on their counter with its over-the-top glamour. The fragrance itself is sophisticated and luxurious. It smells like wealth, like something a Bond Girl would wear. However, Libre is a little too much on the aspirational side for my taste. I think I’d feel like a fraud if I wore it regularly. There’s certainly a depth and mystery to Libre, but it’s missing the approachability I need to feel comfortable wearing it every day. It feels more meant for a night out at Marché Moderne and less for work days at churches and schools where I often find myself.

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Azzaro Wanted Girl is the sweetest, most easily likable of the three fragrances. It’s juicy and warm (dulce de leche!), with a coziness that I always crave in perfume. However, I feel like I’ve done this fragrance before when I wore Lancôme La Vie est Belle for three years. I loved the warmth and tranquility that perfume brought to my mind – I’d wear it again, even with the obnoxiously sparkly commercials with very shiny Julia Roberts teeth – but buying a new fragrance with a similar feel doesn’t sit right. While I often have an urge to repeat fragrance purchases, the call of the undiscovered is too strong for me.

And so, what do I wear this fall? What will feel new, but what will also feel like me? What will smell sophisticated, but somehow friendly too? Well, this go-round I’ve managed to do something I’ve never done before- I’ve purchased a fragrance sight unseen, or moreover, smell unsmelled. Yes, I’ve made an online purchase that I’ve not sampled or smelled before. How on EARTH, in my world of extreme preparedness, did this manage to happen?

A Google rabbit trail lead me to discover Jeremy Fragrance, an award-winning German YouTuber who thrives on reviewing fragrances of all kinds. I’m sure I’m late to the party but WOW- the content is GOOD, y’all. You wouldn’t imagine a YouTube channel about fragrance to be particularly intriguing – I mean you can’t exactly “participate” – but somehow Jeremy takes you there. His uber- classy German accent, combined with an impeccably tailored wardrobe and perfectly-rolled R’s, make for the greatest listening experience next to hearing Mary Berry praise a lovely bake. Seriously, listen to him say “Carolina Herrera.” It’s unreal.

So upon discovering his channel several days ago, I watched Jeremy’s video ago titled “Top 10 Most Seductive Perfumes for Women Romantic Date Night Fragrances 2019”. Bit of an awkward mouthful there but hey, I was curious. I listened to him describe a range of scents – all veering on the sweeter side – that he perceived as sexy and seductive. Now, I’m pretty sure no matter what fragrance I’m wearing, I’ll still cross my eyes too much in conversation and emanate more Liz Lemon vibes than Kate Beckinsale vibes, but anyone can agree they’d still like to smell like Kate Beckinsale even if they can’t look like her. And so, I chose to take maybe the biggest gamble of my life and purchase the number-one fragrance on Jeremy’s list without smelling it first (because it’s literally sold nowhere so I had no way to smell without buying): Hugo Boss The Scent Private Accord. Apparently it makes Jeremy want to “smash [his] head into a wall.” I mean that’s a little violent but ok! I had never heard of it but as the youths say …….. “Yolo.”  I am all about a good recommendation and this one was so off-the-wall confident that I thought, you know what, this is what I’ll buy.

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The (um gorgeous?!) bottle arrived just less than an hour ago on my doorstep. And yes, the scent is good. Very good. I have to give it a bit to feel like me, but wow- I am excited about this. The description provides the following: “Addictive Cocoa Absolute pulses at the heart of BOSS THE SCENT PRIVATE ACCORD For Her. The freshness of Sweet Mandarin and captivating Osmanthus contrast with warm Tonka, for an irresistible Eau de Parfum that seduces the senses.” I can confirm it is indeed like a mandarin orange dipped in chocolate. Aspirational? Yes, decently. Approachable? Definitely, maybe too much. Sweet? Yes. Mysterious? My guess is yes. But suited for me? We’ll have to wait and see.

What are you wearing this fall? I want to know! xo, MR

 

 

What I’m Using: August 2019

Wow. WOW. I can’t even believe I’m remembering to write this post, as this has been one of the wildest, longest-and-shortest months of my life. It was only one month ago yesterday that we hit the road for our new home in California, and with this month has come a cross-country road trip, a week of training in Texas, a new apartment, a new job (not counting my husband’s new job, too), a new church, an upcoming pet adoption, and just all the general weirdness that any transition brings. And a four-hour trip to the DMV …

July was all about being on the road and sticking with travel-friendly products, but August has been more about adapting to a new climate and tweaking skin and hair routines accordingly. My new job will also involve early mornings, which means easy, impactful makeup that I can count on in a rush will be key. Here’s what I’ve been relying on (so far) this month:

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The air dry that actually looks good: Virtue The One For All 6-In-1 Styler

Literally all air-dry stylers I’ve tried have simply air-dried my hair with mild, uneven wave and a lesser amount of frizz than usual. Big whoop. They’ve never left my hair with uniform waves or texture that’s made me feel like I can actually walk out the door without heat styling. Virtue’s 6-In-1 Styler is the first- I mean THEE FIRST – air-dry product that actually works for me. But it doesn’t leave me with waves … it leaves me with curls! So fun! I’ll work a dime-size amount into wet hair and it doesn’t matter if I leave it down or up after that; there’s basically no frizz, and lovely curls are easily coaxed out with just a little scrunching. Or who knows, maybe it’s the sea air I live near now.

The instant awake: NARS Blush in Exhibit A

I’ve used this blush for years on brides and more “intense” makeup looks on myself, but what NARS Exhibit A really is is the most underrated tool for natural makeup. Being so outrageously bright on first look, you would expect a blush like this to be anything but subtle, but just a tap actually provides the most gentle, complexion-brightening warmth that makes you look lit from within. It complements any skin tone and almost works as a bronzer in that it gives that kind of “lift” to the skin. Something like this is perfect for when your complexion looks dull and tired, and it looks awesome with the extra bit of color all this sunshine has given my face!

The easiest sunscreen on Earth: Sun Bum Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 30

The thing with me and sunscreen is that I hate it. I don’t know why or how not even a Glossier sunscreen can make me diligent about it, but sunscreen just feels like the biggest inconvenience in the world. And I know it’s easy to say that until you have melanoma, so I get it, but good heavens I have got to find a formula that doesn’t make me whine like a four-year-old.

And honestly? I think this may be it. And why? Because it’s in stick form! Duh! This is the most throw-in-your-bag, no-brainer formula that just swipes on clear. No white cast, no tapping it around with your fingers. Just wash your face, add your toner and essence, swipe this on, and add makeup if you like. Plus, it smells a little like banana, which is nice and vacation-y.

The recovery mode serum: Peach and Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten out as much as I did in July. Between fast food on the road, constant restaurant visits during training, and having to grab takeout frequently as we filled our fridge, I managed to really stuff myself full of chicken fingers all across America. Top that with stress and sleeping on all varieties of scratchy pillowcases that aren’t yours, and you’ve got breakouts. I got a couple of those giant zits that charitably refuse to fully surface, but mostly it was tiny little bumps all across my cheeks and jawline- tons of ’em. Mostly, my skin just felt totally rough and uneven to the touch and if I picked at any of it, I wouldn’t be able to stop.

This Peach and Lily serum gets lots of Instagram buzz and has great reviews, but when I used it back in the spring, it didn’t do much for my skin. In fact, it seemed to cause breakouts whenever I used it. Out here, however, its combination of skin-clearing niacinamide, peptides, and inflammation-reducing extracts like East Asian mountain yam have seemed to do the job during this odd season for my skin. The results seem more like what the product claims- excellent hydration and visibly calmer skin, with cleared breakouts! I’m also no longer on a diet of chicken fingers, so, there’s that too.

Bonus! My July makeup selfies

I managed to really do my makeup (as in taking twenty minutes, starting post-shower with a skincare routine) about three times in July. I used a few of the products mentioned in this post and the previous one, but of course there were others added. I went with the same general look each time: a bronze-y smokey eye, a peachy cheek, and a nude lip. I also managed to find decent lighting to capture it each time 🙂 The second one has no filter, while the other two have about forty percent of a filter.

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What I’m Using: May/June 2019

This past month and the next few will probably be some of the busiest of my life featuring a cross-country drive, some hard good-byes, a new apartment, a new (well, old) state, and a new job (at least for my husband). So, to think about beauty is an opportunity for grounding and practicing small rituals of normalcy. I’ve been traveling a lot and will continue to this summer, so much of what I’m using these days is tiny! Let’s see what we’ve got here.

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The travel essence: Origins Mega Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion

I can’t carry my whole beloved bottle of Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Essence with me when I travel, but this sample bottle of essence from Origins is so calming and soothing. It’s been the perfect substitute. My skin feels so soft and even after using it; I sometimes forget to apply moisturizer after because my skin feels so hydrated. And a huge bonus- the full-size bottle is $34, which is something like half the price of the Fresh essence. I may have to switch over to this after I finish the Fresh; the Origins seems to have similar effects on my skin for half the cost.

The travel conditioner: Virtue Recovery Conditioner

Whoa. Okay, so I typically just carry Bumble and Bumble’s Thickening line with me when I travel. This time, I decided to switch things up and bring along a little travel size of Virtue’s Recovery conditioner. This has won the occasional award in a magazine or blog, but it’s only carried online or in BlueMercury boutiques (really going to miss those when I leave Chicagoland). I tried it before my recent hair trim – when my hair might be feeling a bit dry – and ooooookkkkkaayyy. My hair felt so, so, so soft and even seemed to air dry better and with more definition (I have wavy hair). Grabbing the full-size bottle before I move this July! Oh and also, it smells like vacation. Trust me.

The tool saving my hairline from sweat: Sephora Collection Alligator Jaw Clips

When I do makeup, I sweat. And the other person tends to sweat too. And it’s always at the most inconvenient of places- the hairline. Not good for your foundation, and not good for maintaining a dry hairline (here come those cowlicks!). Enter these lil’ alligators. I’ll place a couple around the hairline to keep hair out of the way while doing makeup. They’re super lightweight and won’t put a bend in your hair over time, too. No more scrounging for bobby pins and hoping they won’t put a kink in your hair while doing makeup!

The thing I’m not sure I need but it works: Caudalie Beauty Elixir

So, apparently this stuff is good for setting makeup, tightening the appearance of pores, and giving skin an instant boost of radiance, but aren’t there so many other products made specifically for all the aforementioned needs? And I have them all, too! But there’s something very satisfying and very French about haphazardly misting Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir everywhere like it’s this magic stuff that takes things to the next level. I’m not sure if it does, but I love it. Ways I use it: mist my own face with it if my skincare has completely absorbed before doing makeup (because I like my skin to be just slightly damp when I apply makeup), spray my BeautyBlender with it before applying foundation, and mist myself and my clients with it upon finishing their makeup as this totally frivolous and unnecessary final step. It’s a thing!

Bonus! The movie that’ll make you wanna roundhouse-kick your mirror: John Wick 3 – Parabellum

There are four movies that have made me want to work out and get in the best shape of my life: Creed II, 300, Edge of Tomorrow (every time we see Emily Blunt doing that same vinyasa), and now, incredibly, John Wick 3. We only ever see Keanu in a suit so it’s not really about the “shape” he’s in, but the martial arts sequences are so utterly astounding that they had me shrieking in the theatre. The choreography and sheer stamina involved in those scenes was so inspiring, particularly for the supporting actors (who are, no doubt, highly-trained professional martial artists). I left the theatre wanting to destroy things and it felt AWESOME.

What I’m Using: March 2019

First day of spring! It’s a strange day when 50 degrees becomes what feels like barbecue and tanning weather. The sun’s been peaking out the past week or so here in Chicagoland, even though you still see the occasional snowdrift on the ground and there won’t be a flower in sight for three more weeks yet. In terms of beauty, this seems to translate into something more exciting and celebratory- more color, a new scent, and that whole idea of “feel good” beauty. It may not look like spring yet, but we can certainly pretend.

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The reputable classic: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate

This stuff is expensive, it really is. I’ve only ever purchased the mini size and I use a pea-size amount only once or twice a week to make it last. But … it works. This is the first chemical exfoliant I ever used and I can’t ever go back. The glow and difference in texture was noticeable pretty much right out of the shower. I should note that my skin doesn’t appear to be especially sensitive to chemical exfoliants (as in, my face doesn’t experience redness when I do AHAs and BHAs), so just beware if you decide to try it that you may react differently. I keep ExfoliKate in my routine during fall, winter, and spring and kick it out once summer hits and my skin isn’t so dry. So for now, it’s like my little spring cleaning routine.

The totally-unnecessary-but-super-fun extra: Glossier Play Glitter Geleé & Detailer Duo (Geleé in Phantasm)

Okay, this is just for fun. But it’s like, really fun. I used to wear glitter constantly in middle school. Every day I had a different color on- I did green, gold, red, anything. I love Stila’s Glitter and Glow liquid eyeshadow in Smokey Storm these days for some grownup glitter that can be subtle (or not!), but Glossier’s take on glitter is not for the faint of heart. It’s the chunkier stuff that’s really full-on craft store mode, and the Phantasm shade reminds of a the holographic Rainbow Fish. However, I especially love the Detailer tool Glossier has created for applying glitter- a silicone multitool that’s shaped like an angled eyeliner brush. It’s one of the things I’m surprised no one’s thought of before; it makes glitter application way easier, especially if you want to be really precise.

I’ve tested out the glitter once and plan to wear it on our quick vacation this weekend in Michigan. Because, you know, if there’s any place you think of when you think of wearing glitter for a night out, it’s for sure Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The luxurious shower addition: Weleda Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash

Another great Whole Foods sale find! While typically something like $12, I got it on sale for $8. And because it’s a smaller bottle, I use less of this body wash at a time than when I use, say, Dove, and unnecessarily squeeze out a giant blob because I feel like I have an endless supply. This formula is lighter than Dove but almost just as moisturizing (and much more natural). The smell is soooo relaxing too. There’s also primrose, pomegranate, and lavender for those extra sleepy night showers.

The fragrance I’ve been saving for spring: NEST Indigo Rollerball

Nothing – nothing, I tell you! – can usher in a new season like a new fragrance. But I have to be careful when I introduce a new perfume into my life because scents become so emotional, so quickly. You immediately start associating it with whatever memories you make while wearing it, so choose its debut activity carefully! I love several of NEST’s fragrances, and Indigo is mysterious and alluring. My nose always latches on to tea-based fragrances and this has a top note of Moroccan tea that’s creamy and a little mystifying to me. I love its moodiness; I just have to make sure it doesn’t make me feel too moody myself. :/

Bonus! The convenience you’ve been missing in your life: ClassPass

My friend introduced me to ClassPass with a $9 trial and I have to say, Kristin! Thank you! ClassPass is a service that allows you to pay a certain monthly fee that then gives you access to all varieties of fitness studios in your area. You can pick and choose what classes and studios you’d like to visit; there’s no commitment to one location or one type of fitness. I personally use it for yoga and have loved the freedom of being able to try different studios. Tried a class that’s a little too voodoo mama juju? Go somewhere else. Love one particular place? You can stick with it. Want a trial month? Get at my link: http://class.ps/maiA0

What I’m Using: February 2019

So it turns out, by happy accident, all the selected items I’m using this month are clean. But what do I mean by clean? Three of the four products I’m listing here can be found at Whole Foods, so we’ll start with their own Body Care Quality Standards linked here. The other product I’ve chosen is categorized as Clean at Sephora™, which, according to their site, means it’s formulated without the following: Sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, triclocarban.

Do I have time to explain how I know each of these aforementioned ingredients are harmful, and in what quantities, over what length of time? Nope. Would I want to even if I did have the time? Nope. You get to do the work on that. I just get to talk about the stuff I like.

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The everyday lipstick: Kosas Weightless Lip Color in Rosewater

I kept hearing about this brand around the Gram and on IntoTheGloss, and so I hopped over to their Sephora page to look at their oft-praised lipsticks. Lo and behold, there’s a cute lil video that explains how each shade (a seemingly perfect, approachable and ultra-flattering range of just eight) is meant to fit into your beauty wardrobe. And since I’m a sucker for the whole “your lips but better” thing, I went with the first lipstick described- Rosewater. It’s a cool-toned pink nude described as being the lightest of the bunch and kind of like your favorite t-shirt. I’m very familiar with the favorite t-shirt situation because, as my friends can attest, I’ve been wearing the same Bane t-shirt for about seven years now.

The formula is incredibly moisturizing and it’s so natural and wearable that I can treat it like a balm. I’m already eyeing Undone as a potential new addition once I run out of something else.

The obligation: Evanhealy Lavender Facial Tonic Hydrosoul

So I ran out of my Aveda toner and decided to pursue a much greener replacement. And you thought Aveda was green! Did you know Aveda is owned by Esteé Lauder?! And that since that ownership has taken place, that Aveda’s typically “green” character has very much changed? Don’t get me wrong- Aveda’s Dry Remedy line will probably be an on-and-off staple of mine for life (so long as they don’t change the formula, which they’ve made a habit of doing lately), but when I foolishly picked up a bottle of their new Cherry Almond shampoo a couple months ago without first looking at the ingredients, I was so disappointed to find it full of sulfates and all kinds of other ingredients typical of cheap drugstore shampoos.

But none of this really has anything to do with the Evanhealy toner. I’d eyed these Evanhealy “tonic hydrosoul” formulas at Whole Foods but never managed to smell the lavender one. I used an Amazon gift card to make this purchase from home one night and while I originally wanted the rose one, it was out of stock. Lavender is an ingredient I’ve used before and my skin has taken well to it, so I pulled the trigger. The reviews didn’t mention anything odd, though one girl said it smelled “more like vanilla.”

I have never smelled a nastier smell in all of skincare. I nearly gagged. This stuff smells like old milk. Get excited about the exclusively USDA organic lavender all you want- the stuff smells like garbage. And in case you haven’t gotten truly angry at a hypocrite today … I’m continuing to use it here and there. What?! Just because something smells funky to you doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad product! But truthfully, I’m continuing to use it because I wasted half a gift card on this and I now feel obligated as I can’t send it back. As to whether it’s effective or not, well, it’s toner. You pretty much don’t need it anyways. Hooray for that “green” Aveda replacement.

The secret to amazing foundation: Weleda Skin Food

About ten years ago in a fit of hypervigilance, I started “greening” over my entire face and hair routines. I read about three books, researched questionable ingredients for the ones most commonly agreed to be harmful, and scoured natural grocery stores in southern California for the best that natural beauty had to offer. It was around this time that I discovered Weleda Skin Food, an extremely rich moisturizer with a thick base of oils and beeswax meant as a cure-all for dry skin. I couldn’t imagine slathering the stuff on regularly (a little goes a really long way), but what did make sense was mixing it with makeup. Or at the very least, applying and massaging in a thin layer before applying foundation.

I had the fortune of doing a good amount of bridal makeup in my late twenties, and Skin Food was a staple on wedding days. It’s the perfect tool for giving a long-lasting glow under makeup, and everyone’s skin seems to take to it so well. I kind of forgot about Skin Food for a couple years as I experimented with other things, but I picked up a tube last month on Amazon and mixed it with a Lancome Teint Idole stick foundation for this look. How I’d missed the stuff! Oh also, I’m wearing the Kosas Rosewater here!

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The intoxicating fragrance: Nubian Heritage Goat’s Milk and Chai Body Lotion

This is another Whole Foods find I discovered via IntoTheGloss. Putting on lotion is one of the most boring things on Earth to me. You’d think something like data entry would be the height of tedium, not putting on lotion. But for whatever reason, if I have to put it on, I’ve got either do one of those in-shower lotion situations so it can be over quickly, or I’ve got to find a lotion I really love using.

Enter Nubian Heritage. Whenever I’m in Whole Foods I’ll always browse the body care section for anything that looks new and interesting, but lotion’s not typically one of those things. Very natural lotion formulas tend to separate and get messy or not moisturize as well as a couple drugstore lotions I’ve tried (yep- sorry), so I wasn’t sure how effective this stuff would be. But the smell!! Oh, the smell. The Goat’s Milk and Chai version of this lotion smells like … believe it or not … Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb. You know, probably the world’s best-selling perfume that they pump through the vents at the Crystals shops in Las Vegas? I cover my legs in this lotion and it leaves the most pleasant dry-down on my blankets and sheets. And, what do you know, it’s moisturizes like a pro.

Bonus! The midcentury jazz icon you need to know: Wes Montgomery

You know how you’d be walking around a department store as a kid, listening to that jazz guitar “elevator” music in the background that you thought was cheesy at the time and had no appreciation for? Turns out Wes Montgomery- a sound I know I would’ve written off as “elevator” during childhood- is the moodiest mood of moods, and it’s a sound you could use in your life. If you have no clue where to start, just look up “Bumpin’ on Sunset” on Youtube or something. And because you’ll be hooked from there, you can head straight to Wes Montgomery on Spotify and let him gently accompany you on whatever task is at hand: cooking dinner, folding laundry, writing this post, sitting staring out a window, yelling at your kids, anything. It’ll work.

What I’m Using: January 2019

I hadn’t planned on creating this post but the 2019 Polar Vortex practically made me do it. And when I think about it, it’s been a month of heavy product usage in order to combat dryness among other things, so it’s worth sharing!

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The dry skin saver: Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich

I’m just about out of this stuff, and it’s been a huge lifesaver for my skin in near sub-zero January temps. While currently out of stock (will probably be replenished in February), Priming Moisturizer Rich is maybe one of the best recommendations I can give for those in need of a serious grandma-style face cream. It lives up to its name: it’s incredibly rich, and my skin just drinks it up at night and still feels soft and supple in the morning. It’s got a wee bit of lavender oil in it so ensure you don’t have sensitivities to it before using.

The new launch: Kristin Ess In-Shower Gloss

This woman’s line of hair products, tools, and accessories at Target is like catnip for me. Her products look and feel professional (she is, after all, a celeb hairstylist), but they come at little more than $15 a pop and address a wide range of needs and styling desires. She deliver things like bubbling scalp masks, similar to Bumble and Bumble’s Scalp Detox, for half the price of legacy brands. Her latest launch- the In-Shower Gloss- was an easy pick-up for me (especially as an indoors activity idea on a frigid day). I chose Chocolate Cosmo to add some overall shine and warmth to my midlengths and ends as my color’s fairly grown out. Loved the results!

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The glow giver: Sephora Pro Angled Blush #49

I’m not entirely sure how others do it, but I can’t seem to apply blush without an angled brush. I have to have that angle for everything. I use an angled brush for contouring, bronzer, and highlighter too. This one in particular I’ve been loving for blush. Tip: Don’t “sweep” or “swipe” on your blush as that can leave a streaky, harsh look on the face. I like to tap on my blush while smiling (smile big!) so the apples of my cheeks are really prominent, where you flush naturally.

The yummy excuse for a double cleanse: Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

I was gifted this by a friend and wow– this stuff is all the motivation I need to put on makeup, just so I can take it off. It melts from a solid balm in a jar to an oily cleanser in your hands, and removes virtually all makeup. And according to Sephora’s Clean Seal, it has less than one percent of synthetic ingredients. Oh aaaand it smells like heaven. I like to do a double cleanse with this and Glossier Milky Jelly for a yummy, extra moisturizing experience.

Bonus! The winter cabin fever fix: Yoga with Adriene’s “Yoga for a Dull Moment”

Adriene’s yoga videos are comforting year round (the sleepy time ones! the ones for stress!), but I love a 15-minute little pick-me-up that I can do in my living room even when I’m just having a moment of boredom. Going through one of her routines feels so much better than doing a random bunch of jumping jacks just to get my blood pumping. I still end my Adriene with some sweat, but also feeling stretched and content.

Best of the 2019 SAG Awards

Alright, so Critics Choice didn’t have that much going on and I for sure won’t be blogging the Grammys, so SAGs it is! It’s kinda weird to see the nominations all jumbled compared to the Golden Globes and then jumbled up again with the Academy Award nominations. No Crazy Rich Asians Oscar noms? Really?! But anyhow, like I’ve said before, this is why I’m strictly here for the gowns. Things get too frustrating otherwise. So here we go!

Yara Shahidi in Fendi Couture

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Is this the most fun dress … or pant thing … or just, garment in general I’ve seen in my life? Maybe. I mean, it has sparkly pants, and it has a Peter Pan collar. And like, you can take the beautiful tulle cape thingy off and still be left with an insane sequined jumpsuit. It’s just too good. And yet, it’s still young, which I love. Makeup by Emily Cheng, hair by Nai’vasha.

Lucy Boynton in Erdem

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You really have to find a closeup of Lucy’s makeup- she’s got the whole graphic eyeliner thing going on, with a singular, curved black line placed just below each brow bone. And she’s doing the super bleached out hair- v trendy. Apparently her makeup artist was sponsored by Victoria’s Secret makeup? Interesting; I’ve not really been drawn to their makeup in years. I guess a sponsored post is how you get people back on the bandwagon, though. But I love the overall Victorian Goth vibe we’re doing here. Lucy’s clearly been going the FASHUN route as she’s gained more exposure, which I admit I appreciate more than the forever-playing-it-safe route a’la Amy Adams. Makeup by Jo Baker, hair by Jenny Cho.

Michelle Yeoh in Elie Saab Haute Couture

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So classically beautiful and Hollywood. We don’t get nearly enough of Michelle in the States, so I’m thrilled to have her around these days thanks to Crazy Rich Asians. Michelle’s been having Daniel Martin do her makeup during this awards season, who happens to be the artist responsible for the Duchess of Sussex’s makeup on her wedding day. Gotta love an artist that insists on keeping things natural and pretty, even on days when you’d have every excuse to go over the top. Also, if you can manage to find a closeup of her earrings, they’re crazy. I’m sure they’re worth a small fortune. Makeup by Daniel Martin, hair by Bertrand Delacourt.

Emily Blunt in custom Michael Kors

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I’m loving Emily in some serious color, but the style of this dress I love even more. This  reminds me of a Spanish dancer- you know, the really beautiful sea slug? Watch Blue Planet if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Emily’s matched her makeup to her dress as well, which is like, a cute thing to do these days. Her makeup’s been on point these past few months. Makeup by Jenn Streicher, hair unknown.

Mandy Moore in Jason Wu

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Well, this was pretty magnificent. Talk about fitting like a glove, and such drama! I’m not sure Mandy’s ever looked better (and I hate to say it but I prefer this look by a long shot to her recent wedding look, but hey- that’s not really a look up for public scrutiny anyhow). I loved Mandy’s look last year in the strappy cobalt Ralph Lauren gown, but this here is kind of like, “peak” beauty. And you know I’m a sucker for a sleek pony, so. Makeup by Kindra Mann, hair by Ashley Streicher.

Other comments include:

Margot looked beautiful as usual, but I’m longing to see her in some color. She wore so much neutral during last year’s awards season; I was bummed to see her in more white.

Constance Wu’s makeup by Patrick Ta … WOW.

I feel like we’ve seen Emma Stone do the gold and/or fancy-pant thing a couple times. I’m ready for more gowns and color.

Absolutely loved Rachel Weisz’s dress, but wasn’t too jazzed about her makeup. Seemed to be such a strong emphasis on the brow and it needed a little pop elsewhere to balance out all the dark elements of her look.

The suits these men are wearing … Henry Golding in a gold jacket, Darren Criss’s silver amazingness … might just force me to start listing men in these lineups of mine. Same with Idris’s green suit at the Golden Globes.

Tell me what you loved!!! xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Getty/Steve Granitz, Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images, John Shearer/Getty, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Rob Latour/Shutterstock

Best of the 2019 Golden Globes

Besides the smattering of celeb appearances that have already occurred this week – the Palm Springs Film Festival, Art of Elysium Gala, and BAFTA LA tea party – the Globes are kind of the first real REAL “back to work” moment for a lot of celeb hair/makeup artists and stylists. And I’m always keeping closer tabs on them than the celebs they work on, so cheers to a great 2019 for all the glam teams! Bang up job as always.

I’ll admit I’ve seen pretty much zero of the films and shows nominated for tonight’s awards (well, two movies and two TV shows to be exact) so in case you need any reminders, I am here for the red carpet. Here we go!

1. Anne Hathaway in Elie Saab

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This was just fun to me. The print, the length- and there’s a high slit up the front that makes it super fun! And I love Anne back in a long-term relationship with her long hair. It made me sort of sad that she went through her whole special Les Misérables awards season with her short hair, but oh well- no short hair, no face-melting Fantine moment to earn an Oscar. But here we are now, doing Miranda Priestly very proud I’m sure. Makeup by Beau Nelson, hair by Lacy Redway.

2. Rosamund Pike in Givenchy

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Rosamund’s grandma can officially *not* give her grief for going out without a jacket. She took a jacket with her, Grandma. She’s fine (though her hair may or may not be wet- the other reason grandmas cite as responsible for an early death). Also, love a severe look with severe brows and a severe center part. All about that. Well done. Hair by Bryce Scarlett, makeup by Mélanie Inglessis.

3. Constance Wu in Vera Wang

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So unexpected! Love the nude/orange combination. I anticipate seriously great things from Constance and her team this whole awards season. The whole cast of Crazy Rich Asians, I’m sure, will knock it out of the park (I mean, Michelle Yeoh? Please. Been obsessed since Memoirs of a Geisha). The CRA press and premiere circuits were dazzling just like the film, and I imagine there will be more looks that give a nod and a wink to the movie’s over-the-time opulence. Bring it. Makeup by Molly Greenwald, hair by Marissa Marino.

4. Rachel Weisz in Céline

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At first glance the dress was not my fave (and it’s now the controversial Hedi Slimane at the helm for Céline, who’s managed to justifiably raise some eyebrows with his new … “interpretation” of the brand), but it’s always in the details for me. The delicate Cartier art deco choker, the deep chocolate hair, the strong brow, the blotted lip- the dress brings the little details together in a way that makes sense. Also, it’s really hard to make Rachel Weisz look bad. Hair by Kevin Ryan, makeup unknown.

5. Danai Gurira in Rodarte

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And now for something completely different. I’ve been watching Planet Earth II and I can’t help but be reminded of all the electric-hued tropical birds we see in the jungle when I behold color and texture like this. Or Danai looks like she could jump in the ocean and turn into some sort of beautiful fish. And I loved the contrast of her red-orange with Lupita’s cobalt blue gown. You know I gotta say it … Wakanda forever! Makeup by Tym Buacharern, hair by Larry Sims.

6. Charlize Theron in Dior

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I mean, duh. I promise my inclusion of Charlize on all my lists is never obligatory. I really, truly look forward to her looks probably the most consistently out of anyone (besides Jennifer Connelly, who we barely see these days anyhow). Charlize is such a giant golden goddess Olympian statue that basically anything – avant gardé, classic, glamorous – is executed with perfect ease by herself and her team. I’ve yet to see anything on her (and granted, it’s mostly been Dior) that’s left a bad taste in my mouth. If anything, I’ve felt that her team could perhaps just push the envelope with her a bit (and again, that would probably mean stepping out of the Dior contract). But anyhow, all that to say, yes, I love Charlize’s look. Again. Hair by Adir Abergel, makeup by Kate Lee.

There were so many other gorgeous looks, but I was missing the Margot Robbie magic tonight. Surely we’ll see her soon. Let me know your faves! xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock, Jon Kapoloff/Getty Images, Jon Kapoloff/Getty Images, REX/Shutterstock, Shutterstock, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images