not-so-scary serums

not-so-scary serums

i’m easily intimidated by things like masks and serums. deep down i’m not always sure why i need them and don’t even get me started on trying to figure out which one is best. worst of all, even if i think i’m making the right call, how do i know that my skin won’t completely freak out? ugh.

but the results and impact that a serum can have on the skin is just too tempting to leave untested, so this little beauty blogger has gotten brave and i’m happy to say that i’m more than impressed with some of the things in serum land.

supergoop city sunscreen serum spf 30, $42
i fell in love with this one during the summer, but it has already saved me on more than one stunning pre-fall day on the soccer field sidelines. this broad spectrum spf protects skin, moisturizes, and combats premature aging. i like knowing that it’s fighting the effects of both future and past sun damage. the formula is lightweight, super smooth to apply and my makeup glides over top. i use it alone as an spf and also as a priming booster under my favorite foundation.

mark youth movement skin perfecting serum, $20
quite possibly the ideal starter serum, mark has created a lightweight and fast-absorbing formula. antioxidants like goji berry and pomegranate slow down any noticeable signs of aging and also fade acne marks with the quickness. my skin is smoother, brighter, and far less dull with fewer age spots and a much more even tone. for $20 i’m feeling like this stuff is worth its weight in gold. leave it to mark to create such a super-powered little skin saver!

murad advanced active radiance serum, $89
murad’s vitamin c-packed serum means serious business. if you’re looking for a potent product to tackle environmental damage, spur cell renewal, and prevent future pigmentation from occurring this is your solution. the formula exfoliates skin, supports natural collagen production and works aggressively to improve radiance. i find that my skin is plumper and clearer in the mornings and it hasn’t done a thing to irritate my sensitivity.

got a favorite serum in your skincare routine? do tell!

murad instant radiance eye cream

eye cream, murad

turn around, bright eyes: i have been full-on wowed by this brightening undereye treatment from murad.

the texture is unlike any eye cream i have ever tried, with a buttery (almost slight silicone) effect that hydrates and smooths every unwelcome nook and cranny underneath my eyes. it’s rich and heavy, but doesn’t sit on top of my skin or leave things greasy. it definitely blurs dark circles (superficially, but i’ll take it) and leaves me looking far less tired in the mornings. i can go a little lighter with the concealer thanks to the brightening effects and the younger-me glow it bestows is attributed to a vitamin c complex that plumps things right up.

i’ve been fighting some chronic under eye dryness (chock it up to my hellacious travel schedule), but this has cured me. i find that my makeup goes on more smoothly because things are far more hydrated. in truth, i was completely skeptical about all of the claims (and the price tag) on this one, but i’m kicking myself for not trying it sooner. it’s my current go-to and i don’t leave home without it.

murad instant radiance eye cream ($68) >

planet beauty x the glossarie giveaway!

planet beauty x the glossarie giveaway!

i’m so thrilled to partner with planet beauty for a giveaway featuring four of my favorite products. i was introduced to the cosmetic e-retailer last month and i’m still floored by how many of the best brands they carry. after a quick browse, i easily found dozens of products that i had reviewed in the glossarie over the years, ranging from popular cult favorites to those lesser known niche brands that i’ve got a soft spot for.

my lucky cali girls can actually visit this beautiful mecca in person and browse all of their amazing brands. for the rest of us, we can shop the incredible selection online enjoying free shipping on orders over $34!

to celebrate this pretty discovery, the lovely people at beauty planet have selected four fabulous glossarie favorites to give away to one lucky reader:

sara happ’s the lip scrub in vanilla bean ($24)
murad’s clarifying mask ($37)
deborah lippmann happy birthday ($18)
tokyo milk makeup bag ($14)

i don’t know if you’re doing the math, but that’s over $90 in beauty booty – not a bad start to start the new year, right? to enter the giveaway, please click through to raffle copter below. follow the simple instructions and watch your inbox. i’ll announce a winner one week from tomorrow. good luck!


top ten posts of 2012

top ten posts of 2012

10 - josie maran argan matchmaker powder foundation spf 20

9 - brand new nail candy

8 - essie spring

7 - independent beauty

6 - new hair ties and headbands from mane message

5 - photo-ready beauty with nicole of the city girl in me

4 - keep it pretty: diptyque

3 - glossrx: benefit stay don’t stray

2 - my acne arsenal

1 - essie puts a triple-shade twist on the french mani

i love taking a look back at the posts that reigned supreme over the previous year. one thing is for sure: nails are still very popular. i’m so excited about what’s cooking for 2013 and cannot wait to share my new projects and ideas with you in the new year!

what do you want to see more of here in the glossarie?

day to night: lip care

day to night: lip care

it is chilly outside! and i swear the first part of my body to feel the effects of the winter change is my lips. every season i can tell when the humidity is leaving town and colder days are on the way…brrr. i would love to know how some of you deal with the perma-chapped lips that come with winter, because the only way that i can seem to manage is with a super soothing one-two punch. i have needs beyond lip balm and chapstick. after washing my face in the morning and slathering on moisture, i’ve been using dhc’s lip cream for long-lasting hydration. oilive oil and vitamin e make this stick really luscious and wash my lips in smoothness before i layer on the day’s lip color. at night, i keep reaching for murad’s soothing skin and lip care to encourage healing whilst i get my beauty rest and it even exfoliates the dry damaged spots – it works wonders, i’m telling you. both products have drastically improved the look and feel of my lips and i’m really hoping that their combined magic continues as the weather gets colder.

do give your lips a little extra love this time of year?

murad hydro-dynamic ultimate moisture

fall is upon us, beauties, and a change in the air means a necessary change in the skincare routine. i don’t know about you, but the first day without humidity and my skin is dryer and tighter than it is through the warmer months. for everyone, but especially those of us who are blemish-prone, finding the optimal moisture level is essential to healthy skin. normally one to avoid, a rich heavy moisturizer, i was a little skeptical of murad’s new skin quencher, but the claims seemed too good not to give it a try.

the formula is designed to lock in optimal moisture levels for up to eight hours, meaning that regardless of your skin type, this stuff will help keep things comfortable and smooth. although it’s a heavier moisturizer, the technology behind it it keeps your oil glands from working overtime so that it actually combats shine and blemishes by calming and caring for skin in the best way possible. you’ll feel the hydration immediately and you will be amazed at how long that feeling lasts. murad has mastered the balance between a lotion that’s intensive but lightweight.

the formula is super concentrated so you only need the tiniest amount to cover your entire face (meaning: this jar might last you a lifetime, although it’s only 1.7 ounces). after a week of use, my insanely sensitive skin has been handling this stuff like a dream which is a true testament to its gentleness and development by dermatologists. in fact, i think it’s improved my skin texture and clarity, overall. hooray!

if you’re already on the hunt for your winter moisturizer, i would urge you to give this one a try. it’s full priced at $65, but you can snap it up as part of murad’s hydrate for hope set for $49.50.

the new summer essentials

it’s june and the weather is gorgeous, however, with the change in seasons, comes a change in … everything. i notice that my skin, my feet, my nails, my hair – it all starts to behave differently with the shift in temps. to combat all of the new beauty woes that come with the warmer days, i’ve rounded up my latest and greatest beauty picks for summer.

the new summer essentials

france luxe ‘madeau’ bobby pins (set of 2), $17: these look pretty pinned to the strap of my favorite tank when i’m not wearing them and they are a total saving grace for when my new bob starts acting up.

murad clarifying body spray, $37: there is nothing less sexy than bacne, especially during swim sweason. a few spritzes of this when i hop out of the shower keeps things clear.

goody double wear, $5: these hair elastics make an excellent addition to the arm party when they’re not working hard for your ponytail or top knot. love!

kinky curly spiral spritz, $12: this is hands down the best curl product i have found to date. it’s all natural and gives my curls soft shape and definition while zapping frizz. far better than what nature intended – i am addicted.

benetint lip balm spf 15, $20: my favorite staining lip tint with spf, since cherry popsicle lips are a true summer essential.

bliss softening socks, $48: a bit of an investment, but hear me out. you know how when you switch from wearing shoes to sandals all the time, your feet get super dry? calluses come out, heels crack, it’s bad news. well, wearing these for a few hours at night while you wind down helps to heal all of that and keep your feet looking great in those sexy summer shoes.

rosewater balancing mist, $22: this helps me to keep my skin in check when all of the drying products i use in the summer to zap oil have taken things a bit too far. it’s also great for summer travel (no more drying plane cabins!) and feels so good when you put it on after sun.

avon ideal flawless invisible coverage liquid foundation, $9: this stuff is light as a feather! it feels ah-mazing and has a touch of spf making it the perfect summertime foundation. a little goes a long way and you cannot beat the price point. winner, winner!

baggu standard tote bag, $9: if loving these bags is wrong, i don’t want to be right. the colors and patterns have stolen my heart and i want to carry them everywhere from the grocery store to the beach.

so there you have it, a serious stack of summer essentials. did i leave anything out? what’s saving you so far this summer?

poolside pretty

Poolside Pretty



hi lovelies! i hope you’re having a gorgeous long weekend. i’ll be lounging at the pool all day with my kindle (currently loaded up with jane eyre – have you read it? slightly ashamed that i’m just getting to it at age 30!) and a collection of summer day essentials that i blogged over at gina’s tulle & combat boots last week. clickety click on over to learn more! (major holiday weekend bonus, just in time for summer: i scored those marc jacobs sunnies for $60 at the nordstrom half yearly sale yesterday.)

ps – the voting ends TOMORROW. i can’t believe my allure adventure is coming to a close. please vote today if you can!

murad sensitive skin soothing serum

my skin is lo-ving this serum from murad. it’s like someone has waved a magic wand over my face and my pores let out a big sigh of relief. this light liquid feels so good on, my skin is instantly smoother (to the touch!) and redness is noticeably lightened the next morning. i’ve been using it lieu of an evening moisturizer and, unlike most serums, it’s not at all sticky and really sinks into skin instead of sitting on top of it. for someone who feels like her skin hates almost everything, this is a complete breath of fresh air and a very welcome step to my skincare routine.

sensitive gals, get your own bottle for $49.50 at sephora.

ps – allure week four is almost done! two more days left to vote and you’re just days away from seeing my and the other bloggers’ movie magic!

my acne arsenal

my acne arsenal

it’s about to get real on this here blog.

i have been struggling with an ugly bout of hormonal cystic acne since going off the pill a year ago. we’re talking 8-12 painful pink bumps rearing their ugly heads in a cyclical fashion on the left and right sides of my chin, monthly. thankfully all is clear elsewhere, but still. i’ll be 30 in april, this was ridiculous.

i have tried upwards of 50 products at all price points in an attempt to get things under control. (note: this is not recommended. i should have gotten myself to a dermatologist months ago, but i was determined to cure myself.) i finally found the elusive clearing combination and let me tell you, when you find it, things clear up QUICKLY. i was swayed by many a well-touted system that said “you will need 30 days” or worse “you will need 8-10 weeks” to see results. no, you don’t. when you find the right stuff, you will see results very fast.

i finally cleared things up this past week. here’s what’s been working for me:

cleanse and tone: i use the murad 1.5% salicylic acid clarifying cleanser every night, and every other morning. it removes all of my makeup and is not overly drying, plus it kills bacteria. i let it sit for about a minute while i brush my teeth, then rinse and pat my face dry.

mask: on alternating mornings, i spread the murad 4.0% sulfur acne treatment clarifying mask over my face right before hopping in the shower and let it sit until the very end. this mask sucks all the bacteria out of my pores and leaves me feeling cleaner than an exfoliant. it’s also gentler on sensitive acne-prone skin than a scrub would be.

moisturize: i use philosophy’s hope in a jar oil-free spf 30 in the morning which provides tons of rich moisture to soothe my skin (acne treatments can be drying) but does not clog pores. at night, i use murad’s skin perfecting lotion because it’s light, oil-free, and also contains retinol, an acne fighter among other things.

treat: should any of the dreaded pink spots crop up, i use eradikate overnight to treat them. this stuff is a dream for several reasons. it’s 10% sulfur and you just dot it on with a q-tip, no rubbing, no blending, just dot and let it dry. it’s brilliant because most other acne treatments out there need to be rubbed into the skin and all you’re really doing is moving it around, oftentimes picking up more product than you’re laying down. this dot method is the most concentrated and fierce way to fight acne. it makes a noticeable difference overnight and i even put some on while i’m getting ready in the mornings for extra fighting power.

the results of this fivesome have been more effective than anything i’ve ever used. when i tell you i went from raging teenager acne to the flawless skin of a 30-year old, i am not joking. this little system may not work for everyone and i know there are cheaper options out there, but if you’re battling cystic acne that seems to be moving in rhythm with your cycle, give some combination of salicylic acid and sulfur treatments a try.