Cleansers for Natural, Textured, Curly Hair

Right now my hair looks and feels dry, lackluster and just downright sad. I know that I could've taken better care of my hair, but sometimes it's much too easy to neglect my hair care routine and just disguise less than stellar hair with a cute braid or bun. Agreed? I Read more

Winter Skin Care DIY

From your head to your toes, winter conditions are no fun for your skin. Not only does dry skin look unhealthy, it can be really uncomfortable, too. Did you know that everything you need to save your skin from winter is as close as your pantry or refrigerator? Below are Read more

Solid Lotion Bars from Faith, Soaps and Love

Know for their incredible handmade artisan soaps, Faith, Soaps & Love has another trick up their sleeves... or in this case, in their tubes. Good things come in 2 oz. packages. Don't let the small number fool you, as the Solid Lotion Bar tube is the size of my hand. Read more

How to Hide Unwanted Facial Hair #GoConfidently

No matter your age, unwanted facial hair can become a true confidence problem. From genetics to mature skin, it can be difficult to feel beautiful when dark excess hair lingers around. Bleaching the hair is an option and if you haven't tried it before and are curious, read on. First, Read more

nyakio ABC African Beauty Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen

I'm always on the lookout for a BB or CC cream that not only matches my skin tone but also has SPF 20 and over, covers without feeling heavy or oily, helps to reduce the size of my pores and gives me a little glow. My skin could be described as medium to Read more

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What’s in My Summer Makeup Bag? e.l.f. Lotion Wipes and Clinique Chubby Stick

Summer Makeup Bag: Clinique Chubby Stick and e.l.f. Lotion Wipes
As much as I enjoy playing with makeup, one of the reasons I adore summer so much is because I don’t need to wear as much product as I do during the colder months.  Thanks to a (very gentle) kiss from the sun, my skin is clearer, allowing me to nix foundation, concealer, and bronzer.

On days when I dare to go especially bare, I pack only the essentials in my beach bag.  Aside from a standard SPF 45 and a sun hat (must haves!), there are two secret weapons I’ve yet to leave home without this summer.

The first: tinted lip balm. After floating from brand to brand, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Clinique’s Chubby Stick. The tried-and-true classic packs a triple punch with a kiss of color, SPF 15, and serious moisturizing properties.  I’m a personal fan of the “Chunky Cherry” shade, but the color is so subtle that almost any shade will do the trick.  Read more

Posted on by Amanda Huggins in beauty, lip gloss, Makeup, skin care, Summer Beauty, Travel Beauty Leave a comment

Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Scrub

Summer is the time when I increase my exfoliation a bit (no one wants to see flaky pegs) and long for tropical or beach fragrances. Thanks to the folks at Laura Mercier, I get to experience both with her Almond Coconut Milk Scrub.

What I love about this creamy scrub is that it is a mixture of both sugar and beads (which are safest for exfoliation), olive oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil and sweet almond oil.  It comes in a hefty 12 ounce glass jar, which I thankfully have not broken yet.  I found this scrub to be gentle enough for everyday use, and it left a delicious scent behind on the skin (which makes me want to buy the Almond Coconut Milk Souffle Body Creme.) Not to mention that my bathroom smells heavenly during my shower and the scent lingers in the air for hours. Mmm. Seriously, I can’t begin to describe to you how yummy this scent is. You’ll just have to try it for yourself. Especially if you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.   Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, skin care 1 Comment

Dr. Jart’s Water Fuse Beauty Balm Gets Put to the Test

While I’m still pondering whether my full year subscription to Birchbox was a wise purchase or a poorly-targeted impulse buy, after two months I can say that it has given me the chance to test out a few products I’ve been on the fence about. Take BB creams for example – since they’ve really started skyrocketing in popularity stateside, I’ve been on the prowl for the perfect one, and Birchbox let me give Dr. Jart’s Water Fuse Beauty Balm a test-drive.   Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Makeup, skin care Leave a comment

Fade Scars and Dark Spots with InviCible Scars

Fade Scars and Dark SpotsWith reports of skin cancer, breast cancer, c-sections and cosmetic surgery – all on the rise – so too is the incidence of scarring. Not surprisingly, once the healing process sets in – both physical and psychological – the first thing people with fresh scars want to do is fade them. I know that when I had my gall bladder out, it left behind a large scar that I quickly wanted to hide. From working with the team behind InviCible Scars there are something things I’ve learned when it comes to fading scars (and dark spots) — there is more to it than just applying a cream.

Ironically, people’s first inclination in response to a new scar is to sit in the sun to help even out the color and texture. I know that with previous scars, this is exactly what I thought I should do. While sun exposure is essential for vitamin D absorption, it’s perhaps the worst possible thing a person can do for a scar. UV exposure not only darkens a scar’s appearance (sometimes even permanently), especially among more olive-toned complexions, but it can also impact texture, causing the scar to thicken. For those who can’t avoid the sun entirely this summer, Dr. Chrysopoulo (the plastic surgeon behind InviCible) recommends using a topical scar cream, like InviCible, and ALWAYS covering the area with a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30.  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in acne, beauty, skin care 1 Comment

Westlake Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery

westlake-logoWestlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery is a leading provider of skin care with 5 locations in Austin and Central Texas, specializing in all treatments related to skin care and body contouring such as a full range of medical treatments, plastic surgery, lasers, and injectables, as well as allergy and immunology treatments. (They have a 6th location opening at the Four Seasons Residences Tower in Austin this July.)

Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery is the team behind the popular beauty store, iderma.com where you can shop for brand name skin care, hair care and makeup products from companies like HydroPeptide (who I’ve reviewed before), Jan Marini, Obagi and more.   Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in anti-aging, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

Acne Treatment Review: Rx for Brown Skin Hydrating Acne Lotion and Acne Spot Treatment

My skin, for the most part, is pretty problem free but every once in a while…or more like once every month without fail…I tend to develop a serious case of acne that always seems to appear right before a big event or a photoshoot.  As soon as I notice that tiny red bump or feel that all too familiar tender spot on my skin, I start to attack it with lotions and potions intended to treat and prevent those bumps from transforming into pimples.  This plan of attack has resulted in one of two scenarios thus far; either it does not work and I just deal with a ginormous pimple for a few days…or a full week, or it works but also turns my skin into a dry flaky mess.

During this month’s battle of the breakouts, I used Rx For Brown Skins’ Clear Luminosity Acne Lotion and Precise Clarity Acne Spot Treatment as my weapons of choice and am ecstatic to say that I emerged victorious from this battle…finally.  The Clear Luminosity Acne Lotion did not leave my skin feeling dry and flaky like every other acne treatment lotion I’ve used in the past.  It was actually very hydrating and left my skin feeling softer and smoother, it also seemed to soothe my skin instead of irritating it.  The Precise Clarity Acne Spot Treatment helped to clear up my pimples, and while it was noticeably more drying than the lotion it still did not leave my skin a flaky, irritated mess.  With both of these products, the suggested application frequency is one to three times daily but I only needed to use it once a day and I generally used it at night, which worked out really well for me.   Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in acne, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

Anti-aging Review: Continuous Results by Elayda

I recently had the opportunity to try Continuous Results by Elayda, which is a Retinol-based anti-aging 3 step system. While I only reviewed Level 1, this is a “step up” type of system, where you would move to the next level of the program that delivers more ingredients as time goes on.  I used the Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Transforming Complex (used at night) and the Nourishing Hydrator with SPF for daytime (mine said SPF15, but on the website it says SPF29.) I definitely saw results in the time that I used it; I also saw some acne emerge in my chin area (which is now going away). However, I’m told that this goes away as you step up to the next level. Check out my video and let me know if you’ve used it!  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in anti-aging, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

eco-armour Shave Foam and Moisturizing Insect Repellent

Last year I tried eco-armour’s shave foams for the first  time and although my first review of their products was less than stellar, after using them  more than once I was absolutely hooked and needless to say HAD to give the shave foams an A+.  Not only does the shaving foam double as a body wash but it’s also plant-based  formula that acts as a first-aid to skin and razor blades and helps eliminates ingrown hairs, red bumps, razor burn, nicks, cuts and dull blades.  I also love the foam because it is not a creamy, oily mess  so there is less chance of me slipping in the shower…which has happened quite a few times.

Since this is now the only shaving product that I use, I was ecstatic to see that they have added an amazing new version of the foams which uses essential oils of pink grapefruit and bergamot…just in time for short shorts season.  The foams are also now called “Shave with Benefits“, which I think is fitting since there are so many benefits to using this product.  Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in bath and body, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

Face Mask Review: Murad Age-Diffusing Firming Mask

I’m a big believer in facials regardless if they’re done at home or at a spa/salon. The complete ritual of a facial is so relaxing even if you’re doing it at home; just light a few candles, put on some light music and maybe pour yourself a glass of wine.

As my birthdays seem to pop up faster each year, I’m always on the lookout for products that will, “ahem”, assist with those delicate face issues that some of us ladies and gents find on the other side of our bathroom mirror. Me, personally, I blame those harsh apartment lights. But just in case the lights aren’t to blame and it’s father time just one step behind you, I’ve recently found a little gem of product that just may keep that pesky fella away for a while. The afore mentioned birthdays and driving cross-country has made my face a bit unhappy so I was thrilled to try this new product from MuradRead more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in anti-aging, beauty, skin care Leave a comment

3 Sunscreens for Summer

The warm weather is here and since age spots become more prominent this time of year due to sun exposure and UV heat, I found 3 great sunscreens you’ll want to look into to protect yourself. I personally have wicked (said with my New England accent) brown spots on my forehead and under my eyes. I always use a dark spot lightener, but it always needs to be paired with sunscreen (or using it is basically void.) These are 3 sunscreens being used in my household:

Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 60 Soft Sheer Sunscreen ($30): Provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection and contains Vitamin E and white grape extract for healthy skin. It’s non-greasy and doesn’t really have much of a fragrance to it. It dries matte on the skin and isn’t too heavy to be worn on your face under makeup.  It also doesn’t leave a film behind like some sunscreens do. While it’s water-resistant, you do need to re-apply it 40 minutes after going in the water.

MDSolarSciences Mineral Screen Lotion SPF 50 ($34): I’ve written about the wonders of MDSolarSciences before and I truly love this silky sunscreen. Since it is silicone based, it works great under makeup doubling as a primer. Application is so easy because this lotion literally glides over your skin.

Pevonia Botanica Ligne Soleil SPf 30 Hydrating Sunscreen ($44): What I love about this sunscreen is that it smells like flowers. Most sunscreens either smell like coconut, chemicals or have no scent at all. I’ve never encountered one that was floral in its scent. It’s also non-greasy, dries matte and feels so soft and smooth on the skin, almost like lotion.

Have you tried any of these sunscreens? Which is your favorite? 

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in anti-aging, beauty, skin care, Summer Beauty 2 Comments