Beauty Boxes, Hair, Makeup, Skin

Birchbox September 2015 Review

Birchbox September 2015 Review

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

Here’s what I received in my “Pssst…You’re Beautiful” box this month:

100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
Full size, $24.  “An instant pick-me-up that reduces the appearance of fine lines and dark circles.”

When I first tried this eye cream, I looked around my bathroom, wondering who was drinking a sweet smelling coffee near me because the scent is very noticeable. It did de-puff my eyes after only sleeping for 6 hours a night for a few nights, which is not cool in my book.  It works under makeup as well. I just wish it wasn’t as strongly scented, but I will continue to use it as the sample size that I received was very large. I probably won’t throw it in my pro makeup kit because of the scent.  Some clients may not like it.  It is 100% natural and 100% vegan.

Amika Bombshell Blowout Spray
Full size, $24.  “A deluxe sample of lightweight styler that volumizes and smooths for a sleek, yet bouncy ‘do.”

I tried the spray on wet hair and blew it dry. I loved the scent but it left my hair somewhat dry feeling. I’ll try to use it on dry hair as a re-styler or for texture instead. It almost felt like a light hold hairspray, so I’ll use it as I would that type of product.

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow in Light/Medium
Full size, $26-$55.  “The water-resistant fiber gel adheres to hair while the precision tip lets you shape and blend with ease.”

I have a similar product from another line, but I was still excited to receive this in my box because it’s Benefit. My brows are a medium brown color and I received the light/medium color. It is a very neutral taupe color and works perfectly with my brows. The little mini spoolie brush combs through my brows, fills them in and makes them look thicker. Love it!

Harvey Prince Hello Perfume
Full size, $26.  “Best-selling spritz that mingles cheerful citrus with floral notes.  Well, hello there!”

Usually I like citrus and floral scents, but the Hello scent, I just can’t stand. I don’t know what aspect of the perfume doesn’t appeal to me, but it kind of makes me nauseous. Sorry Harvey Prince!

POP Beauty POP Portfolio Eyeshadow – Sugar Plum
Full size, $27.  “A trifecta of long-wearing, blendable eyeshadows in bold, pigmented purples.”

I received the trio Sugar Plum, an ivory, plum and dark taupe, all shimmery. Unfortunately, plum eye shadow makes me look like I was punched in the eye, so I avoid the color. The other two colors I can deal with. They are very pigmented and have great staying power. May try different colors in the future.


That’s my Birchbox September 2015 review for you.  My favorite product of the month is the Benefit Gimme Brow and least favorite is the Harvey Prince Hello perfume, it’s being donated to a friend.  I’ll probably de-pot the eyeshadows and add them to my pro makeup kit.  What did you get in your box?

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, please use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

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Beauty Boxes

Birchbox August 2015 Review

Birchbox August 2015 Review

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

Here’s what I received in my “Soak it up!” box this month:

Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer
Full size, $20.  “Packed with antioxidants and humectants, this rich cream hydrates and revitalizes dry or dull skin.”

I wanted to save this sample for an upcoming plane ride so I don’t feel like a lizard during my trip, but I decided to test it out beforehand. It absorbs easily and really sinks into the skin, refreshing and hydrating it.  Very nice for skin that is on the drier side or needs some TLC. 

dr. brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant
Full size, $78.  “Breakthrough at-home treatment for a glowing complexion, no pricey derm appointment required.”

I love microdermabrasion scrubs in general and the dr. brant one is no different. It smooths over the face easily and doesn’t fade away quickly like other scrubs. The strong lemony scent is refreshing but a little overwhelming, reminding me a little of lemon floor cleaner.  My skin does look and feel wonderful afterwards. However, there is no way that I can justify paying $78 for a scrub.  I like the Derma E Microdermabrasion scrub better because it has less scent to it.

LAQA & Co. Charm School Kit
Set of 3, $20.  “This creamy crayon delivers a rich, easy-to-apply color for both lips and cheeks.”

I received the color Cray-Cray, a matte peach. First, I tried it on my lips and it was a little scary. Too matte for me, rather chalky looking. After blending a few dots on my cheeks, I was in love. It blended into my skin well, didn’t clump or look patchy and looked awesome all day. Definitely a “love” product for cheeks.

Macadamia Professional Style Extend Dry Shampoo
Full size, $25.  “Weightless, translucent spritz that instantly absorbs product build-up and excess oil to refresh your ‘do.”

I love that this dry shampoo is made with translucent powder. Even though my hair is a light golden brown, I hate the white cast that some dry shampoos can leave. Not this one. My hair was shiny and refreshed after using. The scent was fine, not too strong or overwhelming for me. I will definitely toss this into my pro hair styling kit for work.

R + Co Park Ave Blow Out Balm
Full size, $16-$28.  “This smoothing styling cream adds bounce to your blowout while protecting hair from heat damage.”

BirchBoxAug15-1000268This product is not greasy, slightly on the drier side for blow out balms/creams. I worked a small amount into my hair and did a full blow out with one of my favorite tools of all time, the John Frieda Hot Air Brush. My hair was shiny and bouncy afterwards without the oily feel that other blow out balms can leave.


That’s my Birchbox August 2015 review for you.  My personalized box really didn’t reflect the “Soak it up!” theme, but I don’t really care.  I’m not disappointed with my samples this month, I actually really like everything and will use all of them either for myself or my pro makeup and hair kit.  What did you get in your box?

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, please use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

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Beauty Boxes

Birchbox July 2015 Review

Birchbox June 2015 Review

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

Here’s what I received in my “Go Bold” box this month:

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive
Full size, $39.  “An amazingly effective (and gentle!) peel with fruit-derived acids to exfoliate dead skin.”

The Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive was easy to use and didn’t bother my skin.  The texture was a little on the runny side, but it still glided on my face smoothly and dried quickly, not in a tight uncomfortable way.  After washing it off, my skin felt smooth and looked radiant.  I would definitely need to use it more often to see any diminished hyperpigmentation.

Davines MINU Shampoo
  Full size:  $25.  “Richly foaming wash that gently cleanses hair and safeguards color.  Bonus!  We’ve added in this Davines duo to protect color, smooth hair, and add shine.  (Full size, $23.30-$29)”

This shampoo lathered up nicely even with only a small amount in my hair.  It didn’t leave my hair feeling like straw either.  I wish the scent wasn’t so strong though.  I can only describe it as herbal/leafy, but not in a good way.  Other family members liked the scent.  My hair was super shiny and soft, so I’ll continue to use it until it’s gone.  The scent did dissipate some once my hair was dry.

Davines conditioner
I wish this sample was a little bigger, especially compared with the size of the shampoo that I received.  The conditioner was nice and thick and I didn’t need to use a lot.  My hair was shiny and smooth after, but I can’t stand the scent.

Davines serum 
This serum made my fine hair silky smooth, without any greasiness.  The foil packets are not my favorite, but I will be able to get about 4 uses out of it.  Same unpleasant scent, hair looks good though!

Masqueology Brightening Mask 
Full size:  $24.  “This refreshing sheet mask nourishes skin and leaves your complexion luminious.”

I love single use masks because they are so easy to use.  When I opened this one, there was plenty of serum or goo, so much that I actually had to squeeze a bit out of it before applying it to my face.  It mostly fit well, flattening down easily in areas that didn’t quite fit.  I left it on for 20 minutes then massaged the remaining serum/goo into my skin.  My face felt a little slimy, but that went away after applying some moisturizer.  I even received a comment later on in the day that I looked like I had a facial!

Stila Look At Me Liquid Lipstick Trio
Set of 3:  $20.  “This creamy formula glides on like a gloss yet lasts (and lasts and lasts) like a stain.”

I received the color Bella, which reminds me of my hot pink clothes from the early 1990’s.  I’m no sissy with lipstick colors, usually able to rock a red, coral, dark plum, raspberry…whatever suits my mood or outfit.  I like to switch it up.  My favorite formulas are the ultra long lasting as well.  I want to know that my lipstick isn’t all over my face after drinking and eating.  But this VIBRANT BRIGHT PINK is a little on the “cray cray” side.  Being a makeup artist, I will just throw it in my makeup kit.  I didn’t even have the nerve to test it on myself while blogging in the house.  One day, a client will need that shade of pink.  One day…..

Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream
  Full size:  $22.  “Infused with the best-selling citrus-floral scent, this hydrator leaves skin silky smooth.”

The Harvey Prince Hello Body Cream has a nice sweet citrus scent.  Not too perfumey or overwhelming to me.  It absorbs quickly with no greasy feeling and left my skin soft.  Not too keen on the $22 price though.

Well, that’s my Birchbox July 2015 Review for you.  I’m not disappointed with my samples this month, but I do wish that I got the red color of the Stila lipstick.  Once again, my pro makeup kit benefits from me not personally liking something.  What did you get in your box?

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, please use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

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Beauty Boxes

Birchbox June 2015 Review


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“Adventure is a State of Mind”

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Who doesn’t like adventure?  I sure do!   Is there a kayak in the box along with the beauty goodies?  Nope, just beauty products. (Rats, I really need a kayak!)

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s a monthly beauty subscription service.  For $10 a month with free shipping you get 4 to 6 beauty, grooming and/or lifestyle samples.  You fill out a beauty profile when first signing up, letting them know what your preferences are.  Birchbox also has a rewards points system.  You will earn 1 point for every dollar that you spend in the Birchbox shop, 10 points for every review that you write on samples that you have received in your box and 50 points for every person that you invite who purchases a Birchbox subscription.  100 points = $10 in the Birchbox store.  The points can add up fast!

Here’s what I received in my box this month:

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo  .75 oz.

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 Birchbox description: “Weightless spray that refreshes sans residue, in the brand’s signature obliphica scent.”  Full size:  $21

I first encountered this brand at a beauty convention in Las Vegas where my friend made me go back to the booth several times to get their free trade show bags because they were so cute.  Over the years, I have sampled Amika’s products and they all work and smell great.  I hadn’t tried the dry shampoo and was really excited to receive one in the June box.  Yes, a small bottle of dry shampoo excites me.  The smell is really nice, not too perfumy or fruity.  Unlike some brands of dry shampoo, this one does not leave a white cast to your hair that you have to really scrub to make it go away.  Definitely a keeper and getting put into my pro hair styling kit for work.

Dr Jart+ BB Night Beauty Balm  .17 fl oz

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 Birchbox description From the Korean skincare pros, this BB cream delivers sheer coverage and fights signs of aging.”  Full size:  $38

When I got the sample, I thought “Oh cool, a night BB cream.”  I immediately put a little blob of it on the back of my hand to see what the deal was.  It was clear with little white beads, which looks kind of fun.  Then I spread it on my hand.  To my surprise, the white beads turned into a light beige color.  Maybe I looked at the product wrong.  Why would a “night” BB have color in it?  The product description says that “the color self adjusts when applied.  It’s even gentle enough to sleep in!”  Yeah, I’m not one of those women that doesn’t let anyone ever see her without makeup, even while sleeping, so I will not be using this sample at night.  Maybe I’ll mix it with some sunscreen for daytime use.  I really don’t see buying this product and using it as a night BB cream.  Color in a night product is just weird and wrong.  My pillow cases thank me in advance.

Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in Electric Blue  .028 oz

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 Birchbox description “This blendable waterproof eyeliner goes on smoothly and stays put all day.”  Full size:  $11

Yes, I have a ton of eyeliners, but I am always looking for a new great long lasting one that I can use on myself or throw in my pro makeup kit or set bag.  Of course I received the one color that would look a little too crazy on me, Electric Blue.  I tested it anyway, the 80’s are back right?  The Marcelle eyeliner is very creamy and easy to apply with no tugging on the eyelids.  I found that it was pretty long lasting and there was even a little leftover after washing my face.  It had a lot of staying power in my waterline also.  The color was very pretty (not necessarily on me) and would look awesome on someone with medium or darker skin tones.  I’m pretty impressed with the liner because of the creaminess and would be interested in buying some more basic colors for my kit.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel  .17 fl oz

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 Birchbox description“This acid-free peel gently exfoliates for instantly softer, smoother, brighter skin.”  Full size:  $48

I read and re-read the instructions before using the peel, making sure I would do it right.  The bottle said to apply it in the shower, so that was my plan.  You are supposed to start with slightly damp skin, apply it, then massage it in.  The peel will activate and solids will form with your dead skin. Massage next for 2-3 minutes until all the gel has combined with the dead skin.

When I first spread it on my face it started to ball up almost immediately.  I kept massaging for a minute or so and then noticed that a lot of it had attached to the peach fuzz on my jawline.  No amount of scrubbing would get it off.  I had to resort to yanking the little balls of peel and peach fuzz off with my nails.  This was quite unpleasant so I will not be purchasing this product in the future.  A fail in my beauty book.  Sad face.  Sad face with less peach fuzz!

Supergoop! Everyday SPF 50 with Cellular Response Technology  .34 fl oz 

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 Birchbox description“This lightweight sunscreen provides water-resistant, SPF 50+ protection anywhere you need it.”  Full size:  $19-$48.

Many sunscreens are greasy and give off a white cast.  Not this one, it is oil free and rubs in easily.  Wonderful for everyday wear.  I did find that I really didn’t need much moisturizer under it, especially now in the summer.  If you are a little on the oily side, you could probably skip your moisturizer as well.  It also comes in a giant 18oz bottle with a pump for easy and convenient daily application.  This sunscreen will definitely go on my shopping list after I use up all the other sunscreens that I have now.  (My favorite face sunscreen is still CoTZ.)

L. Erickson Narrow Grab & Go Ponytail Holder  
Blonde/taupe color, 1 hair band

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 Birchbox description “We’ve added in this ponytail holder from L. Erickson for a chic pop of color.”  Full size:  $12

Socks, bobby pins and hair ties seem to fall into the same black hole, never to appear again.  Where do they go?  Another dimension?  Is there some other planet out there in another galaxy that is simply littered with single socks,bobby pins and hair ties?  I think so.  On this planet though, the L. Erickson hair band is cute and will make your pony tail look like you actually care about your hair style.  It even looks nice as a bracelet because of the bead.  My long hair held well during a furious kickboxing workout, which is the ultimate test.  I will definitely keep using it until it gets transported through the black hole to the “sock, bobby pin, hair tie” world.

So that’s my Birchbox June 2015 review.  I’m pretty happy with my samples this month.  Let’s face it, you’re not going to love every single product, every single month.  It is definitely fun trying out new beauty goodies though.  Looking forward to next month’s treasures!

If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, use my referral code and I will receive 50 points.  Thanks for helping with my beauty product addiction!

Tracy’s Makeup


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Great Show at IECSC 2013

The crowd at IECSC 2013

One of my favorite events of the summer in Las Vegas, the International Esthetics, Cosmetics and Spa Conference, just ended and it was a great show, as usual.  There was tons to see (and buy) and informative classes to attend for those in the beauty industry.  The great thing about IECSC is that it is co-located with the International Beauty Show, which is mostly hair and nail products.  Having the convention center filled with hair stylists, cosmetologists, nail techs, makeup artists and estheticians was inspiring.

I gave two presentations this year, one on organization and sanitation and one on mixing/substitutions for makeup products.  Both classes went very well and it was lovely to meet so many beauty professionals from all over the country.  A special thank you to those of you who attended.  I hope to have classes again next summer, so stay tuned!

Tracy and Noreen Young

Another special part of the show was getting to spend time with my friend and colleague, Noreen Young.  Noreen also had two wonderful presentations and a fun booth with her famous lip products.

See you all next year at the show, if not sooner!



Favorite Skin Care Product — Aloe Vera Gel

What’s my favorite skin care product that I have been using for years that has never failed me?  Is it a $200 moisturizer?  Or, is it a top brand of eye cream?  No, it’s something that you can buy at your local drugstore and will only cost you a few dollars for a large bottle.  Aloe Vera gel.  Simple as that.

Aloe Vera plant

Here is why you should be using nature’s miracle product on your skin every day:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Promotes healing
  • Moisturizes
  • Fights bacteria
  • Reduces puffiness
  • Reduces acne and eczema
  • Mostly made of water, it absorbs quickly and can be re-applied often
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Keeps skin tight and firm and helps skin cells regenerate
Inside of an Aloe Vera plant

Aloe Vera gel can be used by women and men, any age, any skin type, any skin color.  Everyone can benefit from it.

The best Aloe Vera gel to buy should contain NO ALCOHOL.  Read the label carefully.  It can usually be found near the sunscreen section of the store.

To add Aloe Vera gel to your skincare routine, after washing your face, apply about 1/4 teaspoon and lightly massage into the face and neck area.  Follow with your favorite moisturizer.

Use it daily and you will see wonderful results.
Disclaimer:  In the case that Aloe Vera gel irritates your skin, please discontinuing using it.Photos:  Wikimedia Commons
Beauty Boxes, Hair, Makeup

Ipsy Glam Bag April 2013




There are a ton of new beauty subscription companies available now, offering a bag or box filled with samples, trial sizes and possibly full size products.  I hate to waste money on crap that I won’t use, but I figured that I would give a few companies a try and see how it went.

After doing some research, one company that I decided to go with was, which is supposed to have more makeup products rather than skincare.  Their cost is $10 a month.  You are supposed to get 4-5 deluxe samples and/or full size products.

The April Glam Bag’s theme is Pretty in Pink.  Ugg, already turned off.  I’m not really an “all over pink” type of person.  The Glam Bag included the zippered pouch, Big Sexy Hair Powder Play, Station Nail Lacquer in Love At First Byte, Two Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Heartache and Be A Bombshell blush in Sweet Cheeks.

Big Sexy Hair Powder Play .07 oz.
I like Sexy Hair products so I was happy to get this sample.  The small bottle feels light as air, but it’s a fine powder so that’s to be expected.  Powder Play, when sprinkled into your roots, gives you added volume and texture.  I like this stuff and will definitely be using it with my clients.  It’s easy to use and really helps create volume in the hair.  Made in the USA.

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Be A Bombshell blush in Sweet Cheeks .17 oz.
This is a full size product.  The color is a bright pink with a rich pigment.  It is incredibly iridescent and very easy to go overboard with.  It did not look good on my skin.  Way too frosted.  I will probably never use this product on either myself or clients.  Maybe I’ll mash it up and make it into a Glow Lotion, see previous posts for recipe.  Maybe I’ll give it to a teenage girl somewhere.  The real turn off, other than the hideous crazy frosted color, is that the packaging feels very cheap and says “Made in China” on the back.  I would maybe pay $1 for this blush, if I was feeling generous.

Station Nail Lacquer in Love At First Byte .50 fl oz.
Another full size product.  From the bottle, the color is a peachy pink.  Pretty neutral, nothing that knocks your socks off.  On the nail it is very sheer.  There are two coats on my nail in this picture and you can still see through it.  I’m not into it.  Either make it very sheer or opaque, not somewhere in between.  If I ever use this, I will only use one coat.  Made in the USA.

Two Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Heartache .035 oz.
Sigh, another pink product, half frosted, half not.  The frosted part is almost exactly the same shade and frostiness as the blush.  Come on Ipsy!  What were you thinking?  You want me to put this color on my eyes?  Hah!  I would look like I got punched in the face.  Not going to happen.  The non frosted side would maybe be alright as a blush, but it’s too small to get a blush brush into without getting all the frosty pink all over it.  Cheap packaging again, made in China.

Ipsy does include discounts for the products in your Glam Bag if you choose to order them.

You may have received this bag and absolutely loved it, I just didn’t.  I may cancel my subscription in fear that next month’s bag will be more of the same.  Ipsy, please give us some good quality products!

**Update:  I just cancelled my subscription.  In the forum for this particular Glam Bag on the Ipsy site, I complained about the product.  My comment was deleted by Ipsy so others could not see it.  How nice!

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Copyright of all photos:  Tracy Sotirakis


Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream Review

Yeah, sometimes I cart this much around.

We have all been hammered by the beauty and fashion magazines lately about BB Creams.  BB stands for Blemish Balm, as they are sold in Asian markets, or Beauty Balm as sold in Western markets.  They are supposed to multitask and be a primer, foundation, sunscreen, moisturizer and serum.  You can wear them alone or with your other favorite moisturizer, foundation or powder.

Are they really worth the hype or are they just another sales pitch for one more product that we can’t possibly live without.  I have so much makeup it’s frightening (or drool inducing), but that’s my job.  See picture to the right and you’ll see what I mean.  Is a BB Cream really going to change my life?  Probably not, but I had to try one anyway.  Those magazine ads really do work.  I had received samples of different brands and I liked them but they always made my skin look a little shiny after a few hours.  For my personal use, I usually like more of a matte look to my skin.  I don’t wear a full coverage foundation, maybe just a tinted moisturizer or a very light coverage foundation.  Too many freckles to cover up and then I just look weird.   BB Creams seem to be marketed to gals like me.

In a beauty magazine recently, they had an ad for Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream for Combination to Oily Skin.  My interest sparked.  The ad came with a coupon and a handy color chart.  Most of us know what color spectrum we fall in when the cosmetic companies group us into only 3 different skin tones.  Although, light may not be light enough for you or deep is not deep enough.  Trial and error is sometimes the only way to figure out which color is appropriate for your skin tone.  I went with the Light/Medium for combination to oily skin.  I purchased it at my local gigantic one stop shop for $11.97 and used my $1.00 coupon.

Garnier’s BB Cream Skin Renew for combination to oily skin is supposed to control shine, minimize pores, even skin tone, and hydrate.  It also has SPF 20, which in my opinion is not enough for daily wear (SPF 30 is recommended), but at least it’s something.  It also has “Mineral Perlite + Mineral Pigments”.

I have been wearing it for a few days now and here’s my opinion:  OK, not a life changing “miracle”, but I kind of like it.  The color is a tad dark and a little too beige for me, so I have to use it sparingly and blend well down my neck.  Most BB Creams are supposed to be used very sparingly anyway.  I do really like the fact that it is not dewy like other BB Creams.  It does feel like more of a light coverage foundation.  My skin looks very pretty with it on and I did set it lightly with a loose translucent powder.  I wore it out one day and got caught in a rainstorm and it seemed to hold up pretty well, my hair was another story.  My only note of caution is that some users with very sensitive skin have reported that this product was irritating to them.  I haven’t experienced any blemishes or itchiness.

The texture is not thick at all, not what I would call a “cream” but more of a liquid.   You have to be careful when dispensing it from the bottle, a lot can come out at once.  The smell is alright, it doesn’t really bother me.  After it sets on the skin I can’t smell it.

While this product may not be technically a true BB Cream like the real ones sold in Korea, I will continue to use this bottle of Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream for combination/oily skin.  Are you going to be sucked in also and try a BB Cream for yourself?

** Update:  I have been using this product now for a while and I have come to completely love it.  I even put one in my professional makeup kit and intend on purchasing the darker colors as well.

D.I.Y, Makeup, Skin

Make your own Glow Lotion

Spring and Summer are here and it’s time to show the parts of our bodies that have been covered up by sweaters, scarves and long pants.  If you are anything like me, you probably have several broken or unused powdered eye shadows, blushes or bronzers taking up space in your makeup drawer that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away.  Why not find a new use for them?

I love making my own products and I always have tons of broken or unused makeup items that I save for later use.  Now that it’s time to bare our shoulders and décolleté, let’s make some Glow Lotion.

Items that you will need for your project:  (As always make sure your containers and utensils are clean and sanitized.)

Lotion:  If you are making something to go on your face, use a face lotion.  For the body, use a body lotion. You will need to use a good amount of lotion in your blender.  If it’s not enough, it won’t blend.  Body oil could also replace the lotion if you want a Glow Oil instead.

Broken or unwanted powdered eye shadow, blush or bronzer:  These can be a variety of colors, depending on what color you want your Glow Lotion to be.  Good colors to gather are browns, peaches, pinks, bronzes, taupes, golds and beiges.  Think “glowing skin” colors.

A Container:  If you don’t have a fresh container or bottle, you probably have a used bottle laying around somewhere that only has a tiny bit of product in it.  Clean it with soap and hot water to sterilize it and peel off the label if necessary.

Scent:  If you want your product scented, feel free to mix some essential oils (very few drops) or perfume oil into your personal blend.

Blender:  A blender is necessary to thoroughly mix your blend together, making sure there are no solid pieces of product left.  I will be using my trusty Magic Bullet, which normally cranks out smoothies.

Miscellaneous:  A funnel, small spatula, paper towels or napkins.

I will be making two different Glow Lotions because I can never just make one:  Face Glow Lotion, a nice pinkish highlighting color, and Body Glow Lotion, a bronzy color for the anywhere on the body, scented with “tropical coconut”.

I made the Face Glow Lotion with a light face moisturizer that I had and wasn’t using.  The shadow colors here are frosty light pink, very light neutral taupe, a beautiful busted rose gold and another rose gold cream stick eye shadow.  I did not use any scent in this mix because it will be primarily for the face.

Everything was scraped out of the containers and put in the Magic Bullet.  I already had the lotion in the bottle, so I just poured it out into the blender then washed and sanitized the lotion bottle.  Make sure that you have enough space for both the lotion and colored products to fit in your container or you will have extra.  It took a few times of blending and scraping the the sides of the blender to make sure that everything was incorporated, but the end result was beautiful!

For the Body Glow Lotion I made a large batch because I had some very pigmented products to work with.  The colors here are light orange bronzer, medium taupe eye shadow, dark reddish bronzer, medium copper bronzer and a bronze eye shadow stick.  If you are making a lightly tinted Glow Lotion, just use one or two powdered products.  You can always add more if you want to deepen the color.  Everything was blended and the result was a very nice bronze lotion that actually made me look tan, which I am not.

Oh how lovely!

The fun part about making your own cosmetic creations is that you can make them exactly how you want, light or dark, sheer or highly pigmented and whatever color you desire.  Now all you have to do is make a cute label and tape it on.

I hope you enjoy all the compliments that you get on your glowing skin!



Make Your Own Solid Perfume

Are you crafty?  Do you like to make your own bath goodies or signature scents for yourself or your friends?  I sure do.  My kitchen has been my “laboratory” since I was young.  Yes, there are always mishaps (I would NEVER (wink) spill anything) or stuff that turns out smelling like trash, but that’s the fun of it.

Looking around my house at my craft supplies, I decided to make my own solid fragrances for gifts for my loved ones.  A little research on the web told me that I needed a few basic things:  a container to put the fragrance in, grated beeswax, jojoba or sweet almond oil and fragrance, either fragrance oils or essential oils.  Easy.  Luckily, I have all these things.  I placed an order online a few months back from Wellington Fragrance, so I was stocked up on the fragrance and wax.  They have great fragrance oils that mimic favorite popular scents from big chain bath companies.  I didn’t have any small tins so I improvised with some sample size empty plastic containers that I got from a skin care trade show.  For the oil I used jojoba because that’s what I had on hand.

Gather your supplies:

Container for the final product:  Can be glass, tin or even plastic.  You can get creative with containers as long as they are fully sanitized and thoroughly dry.  You just need to be able to be able to get your finger on the product in order to apply it.

Grated beeswax:  I just grated my beeswax blocks with a vegetable peeler.

Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil:  Vegetable oil could work in a pinch. I wouldn’t use any oil that has a heavy scent like olive or sesame, it will make your fragrance funky.

Small glass Pyrex measuring cup or dish

Droppers or straws:  For getting precise drops of your fragrance oils and mixing.  Straws are easy because you don’t have to clean them afterwards.

Fragrance oil or essential oils:  I used mostly fragrance oils, but did add essential oils to a few mixtures.

Paper towels or napkins

photo by T. Sotirakis

The hard part is figuring out what scent to make.  I was making these for my family, and not knowing exactly what they would like, I did more research on the internet.  Astrological signs are always a good general way to start if you’re into that stuff.  For example, I looked up what fragrance an Aquarius would like and it said: floral, green tea, and sea.  For Cancer it said:  jasmine, lily, magnolia, honey, mandarin, rose and sandalwood.

If you know that your best friend just adores the scent of roses, you can just go with one scent.  Trial and error and a little instinct are the ways to go with blending scents.  Just remember, your nose and body chemistry is different from theirs, so what they love may give you a headache.

A general recipe for the solid perfume is:
3 parts oil
2 parts grated beeswax
1 part fragrance or essential oil

Start out by measuring out the oil and beeswax in your glass mixing bowl.  Melt the wax and oil together.  You can do this in a double boiler or by setting the glass bowl on an electric burner set on low.  Be careful when handling the bowl when the mixture is melted, it will be hot.  Set the bowl on a hot pad so you don’t scorch your counter top.

Photo by T. Sotirakis

Mix in the fragrance of your choice.  I used cocktail stirring straws to measure out my oils and another fresh straw to mix.  Before your mixture cools, pour into your container.  Let it cool for at least 10 minutes.  Label the containers so you don’t get them mixed up if you are making more than one scent.  Wrap them up and include a card telling the recipient of the fragrance mixture.

I made a whole bunch, which took me a few hours with a trial and error session in the beginning.  Each person receiving one of these got their own custom scent, according to their astrological sign.  They all also got one small pot that was scented with coconut, tangerine and hibiscus.  I hope they like them!

photo by T. Sotirakis

These solid perfumes are cute, easy to make and small enough to slip in your purse.  You can make a countless number of custom scents to suit your mood.  Just remember to document your favorite recipes so you can make them again.  They can also be used to tame a few flyaways in a pinch or to moisturize and scent the ends of your hair.  Post your favorite blends here for others!  Enjoy!