Spring faves {continued}!

I recently talked about some of my current favorite finds, and realized that I have so many more to share!

1.  Coobie bras:

I love, love, love these bras!  I have been wearing these around the house and under my tank tops when I sleep.  These are one size fits all (for real!) and come in every color of the rainbow.  They are SO comfy and soft.  I also ordered a strapless version of the Coobie bra in nude to wear under tanks this summer, and love the fact that it doesn’t cause the “uniboob” look!  (Hint:  Google “coupon code” before ordering!)

2.  Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray:

I have been washing my hair at night, spraying some of this and my leave-in conditioner in damp hair, and letting my hair air dry.  The result in the morning is soft, non-crunchy waves – love it!  I’m definitely going to be using this over the summer as well.  This product does not have a lot of hold, so if you’re looking for a product to control frizziness or curls, it’s probably not the best product out there.  But for straight or wavy hair like mine, it’s good stuff.  It smells nice (like coconuts), it’s cheap, and you can find it just about anywhere (I purchased my bottle at Wal-Mart).

3.  Nuance Salma Hayek Smoothing Anti-Aging Eye Cream

Ok, so this is a pretty random one.  I was chatting with one of my coworkers about the onset of fine lines around the eye area, and realized I haven’t used an eye cream in oh, like, never.  I guess now that I’m in my 30’s I should be thinking of these things?  So I went to my local CVS where a ton of skincare products happened to be half off and perused the aisles.  After reading the ingredients on every eye cream in the store and comparing their prices, I settled on this eye cream by Salma Hayek of all people.  The ingredients include shea butter, avocado oil, and jasmine extract.  And at 50% off, it cost around $7 for the tube.  I’ve been using it for about a week now and really like it!  It’s very moisturizing without being greasy and feels lovely in the eye area.  I did get a teeny bit in one of my eyes and it did sting a little bit, but it has not irritated my sensitive skin at all.

4.  Essie nail polish in Haute as Hello:

I’m just as obsessed with coral shades as everyone else is this season!  I adore this shade.  Described as a “racy, scorching coral” on the Essie site, I’d wager this shade would look gorgeous on just about every skin tone.  It’s bright and girly and pretty and just right on my toes.  LOVE!

5.  Febreze Home Collection Wooden Wick Candle in Cherry Blossom Whimsy

This fragrance might be so last season, as I purchased it on super clearance during a short-lived “extreme couponing” phase last year and have just now gotten around to using it.  But I’m sure the other Febreze candles in this line smell just as delicious if you can’t happen to find this one.  What I love about this candle is not only that it’s pink and it smells sweet, but also that it completely gets rid of funky cooking odors like you wouldn’t believe!  In our house, for some reason cooking odors tend to waft upstairs to our bedroom area and stay there, and I can’t stand sleeping in a room that smells like a Burger King.  These candles completely remove funky odors and leave the whole room smelling fresh, clean, and spring-y.

6.  Yogi Organic Teas

Every night while relaxing on my couch with my puppy and my hubby, I enjoy a delicious steaming cup of Yogi Bedtime Tea:

From the Yogi Tea site:

 This blend is a soothing combination of herbs traditionally used for centuries to promote relaxation and sleep. Valerian and Organic Chamomile can help calm occasional nervousness and restlessness. Then we add Passionflower, used in Native American blends to helps reduce every day stress to support sleep. Licorice, Cardamom and Cinnamon add a delicious, warming flavor that’s just right for drinking before bedtime.

At work, I’ve been drinking lots of Yogi Blueberry Slim Life Green Tea:

 Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life is specifically formulated to help give you the energy you need to maintain an active lifestyle while dieting. We add Organic Green Tea and Garcinia Cambogia Fruit Extract in combination with Ginseng and Eleuthero Extracts to support stamina. Light and sweet Blueberry flavor and hints of Organic Hibiscus make Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life a fragrant and delicious addition to a weight loss program of exercise and a balanced diet.

That’s all the faves I have for now (I’m sure I’ll be back with more)!  What are some of your favorite finds for April?

Time for tanning!

I am naturally a very fair-skinned person.  As evidenced by this photo with my husband where I look like I could pass as an extra on a Twilight film set:

However, over the years I have perfected the art of sunless tanning, and now that spring is upon us, I’m excited to break out the sunless tanners and get glowing again!

Here’s my foolproof routine (bear with me – it may seem long, but I promise ideal results if you follow these steps):

1.  Exfoliate – Take a shower and exfoliate, head to toe, with a scrub that does not contain oils or lotions.  Pay extra attention to the skin around your knees, ankles, elbows, and the tops of your feet.  Tip:  Don’t forget your neck!  Obviously, be gentle in that area, but if you don’t exfoliate the neck area, you may risk looking patchy.

My favorite pre-tan exfoliator is from Sally Beauty Supply, and I couldn’t find it on their website.  But here’s a similar choice:

Pro Tan Get Buffed Pre-Tan Exfoliator

2.  Moisturize – SPARINGLY.  After you get out of your shower, do not apply any lotion except for the following areas:  your knees, your elbows, the tops of your feet, and the tops of your hands.  Put a very light layer of lotion in those areas.

3.  Tan!  Starting with your legs and working your way up, apply your self tanner.  My pick is St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse.  Trust me when I tell you that this is hands down one of the best self tanners on the market:

This is a mousse-style tanner, so I usually apply 2 pumps of mousse per leg.  Rub it into each legs and LIGHTLY over the tops of your feet.

 4.  WASH YOUR HANDS

5.  Continue to tan – now moving on to your arms, 1 – 2 pumps per arm.

6.  WASH YOUR HANDS

7.  Now tan your stomach, chest, and any areas of your back.

8.  WASH YOUR HANDS (are you noticing a pattern here?)

9.  Now apply self tanner to your face.  You can use the St. Tropez tanner if you like (I’ve used it without any problems with breakouts or reactions), but my favorite face self tanner is Dior Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow Face:

I’ve used this for years!  Yes, it’s pricier than the Jergens crap you can buy from the drugstore, but again…trust me from years of experience, this is the best!  It does not cause breakouts, it’s natural-looking, and it smells divine.  And a little goes a long way.  Use this on your face and blend down your neck.

10.  Wash your hands for the final time, this time using this:

The St. Tropez tan remover is my secret ingredient for a perfect tan.   I guess I could just wear gloves, but I feel like I get a more even tan application when I don’t.  So to avoid the dreaded tan palms look, just use this and it will remove any trace of tanner left on your hands!

11.  Finally, squirt a teeeeny pump of self tanner onto the top of one hand, and rub the tops of your hands together, so that your hands will be a similar color as the rest of your bronzed arms.

And there ya have it!

Because the St. Tropez tanner dries so quickly and does not leave your skin smelling funky like most self tanners, you could do this routine in the morning or at night before you go to bed.  If you use the tanner before bed, in the morning take a shower and just RINSE your skin (don’t scrub), and any extra tanner will rinse away, leaving a nice brown glow.

I do this routine about twice a week in the spring and summer.  Sometimes I’ll touch up my legs extra times during the week because they tend to be even pastier than the rest of me.  But this whole routine takes 10 minutes, tops!

Do you use a self tanner?  What is your favorite pick?

Skincare Goal

One of my 2012 goals is to take better care of my skin.  It may sound like a silly or vain goal, but I decided on this goal for two reasons:

1.  I’m in my 30’s and yes, I want to stay as young-looking as I can for as long as possible!  I’ll admit it!

2.  Skin cancer runs rampant in my family, and I haven’t done a great job of protecting my skin from the sun.

A few months ago, I took a questionnaire on Skin Type Solutions to help me figure out what kind of products I should be using on my skin.  From their site:

Did you know that 80% of people are wrong about their skin type?

Skin Type Solutions™ is a scientifically-derived resource developed and powered by dermatologists from around the world to provide unbiased and credible information for consumers and the beauty industry. It is based on Dr. Leslie Baumann’s revolutionary skin typing system that was unveiled for the first time in her New York Times bestselling book, now in it’s second edition, The Skin Type Solution (Bantam 2010). This book describes her innovative, patent-pending skin typing system and the 16 unique Baumann Skin Types®. This skin typing system is the new gold standard for skin typing in the dermatology world and has evolved from Dr. Baumann’s many years of scientific study, validation, and presence at the forefront of cosmetic dermatology research.

Cool, huh?  From the questionnaire, I disovered my skin type is OPSW, or Oily, Sensitive, Pigmented, Wrinkled.  (sounds just lovely.)

Oily, sensitive, pigmented, and wrinkled skin is characterized by either acne breakouts, facial redness or flushing, or frequent skin rashes and irritation.  These inflammatory problems are often followed by darkening of the skin in the areas of pimples or irritation.  Dark patches such as melasma or freckles often occur.  This type has a tendency to wrinkle due to current or past lifestyle habits which may include sun exposure or cigarette smoking.  Recommended skincare should include retinoids, sunscreen, depigmenting ingredients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Check, check…and, check.  Sounds like me!

After receiving my profile, I became slightly obsessed with researching skincare products online.  I wanted to find products that weren’t going to cost me an arm and a leg but that were still effective.  I love reading reviews and spent a ton of time on Amazon and Makeup Alley (love this site!) to narrow down my choices.

After all that, here’s what I’ve come up with as my current skincare routine:

AM Skincare, pictured left to right:
Facewash:  Bliss Fabulous Foaming Facewash.  It’s a bit of a splurge but I just love it soooo much.  It has little scrubby beads that help exfoliate, it smells nice, and it doesn’t dry out my skin.
Toner:  Murad Essential-C Toner.  Murad makes a bunch of products that are good for pigmented skin like mine, and I tried sample sizes of the whole line.  The only product I went back to purchase the full size of was this toner.  Love it!
Moisturizer (day):  La Roche Posay Hydraphase UV SPF 30.  My skin gets a lot dryer in the winter, so this is a nice product for this time of year.  I’ll most likely switch to something a little lighter in the summer.  I wanted a moisturizer that had an SPF higher than 15 but that wouldn’t irritate my skin, as most sunscreens really do.  I like it, but I’m not totally in LOVE with it.
Treatment:  Cosmetic Skin Solutions CE Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment.  I use this every other day or so, as it provides additional protection from the sun.  This makes my skin glow!  I love it!  And it’s over $100 cheaper than a similar product from another brand 🙂

PM Skincare, pictured left to right:
Makeup Remover:  Dermalogica PreCleanse.  I love this product and have used it forever.  It does a great job of removing makeup and smells like a spa.  I use this with a washcloth to take off my makeup at night.
Moisturizer (night):  Green Cream Level 3.  This is a cult favorite that I discovered on Amazon.  It is a retinol moisturizer that is not irritating to sensitive skin.  I have started with “Level 3,” which is the lowest level of retinol, but I’m planning to progress to Level 6 and then Level 9, which both contain higher levels of retinol.  I use this every other night.
Moisturizer (night):  GlyDerm Glycolid Acid 5% Cream.  I alternate using this at night with the Green Cream.  Glycolic acid also helps with skin cell turnover and therefore will help reduce wrinkles.  This cream is pretty heavy, but it has not irritated my skin at all or caused breakouts.

Other products, pictured left to right:
Clarisonic.  I have been using my Clarisonic for about 3 years and just love it.  Nothing makes your face feel cleaner!  Plus you can use it in the shower which is nice.  They have come out with less expensive versions of this brush lately, too.  The Clarisonic is worth the investment!
Emu Oil.  I use this around my eyes at night and on any dry patches.  This is a miracle product according to many people…all I can say is it feels lovely on my skin and has never caused me to break out.  I burned my forehead once with a curling iron and I swear my emu oil helped it heal in just a day or two!
Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion Treatment.  I use this once a week to help exfoliate my skin.  This makes your skin shiny and glowing!!  This is a great product for the price.
Latisse.  This isn’t necessarily “skincare,” but I’ve been using Latisse for about 2 months now (when I remember to, haha).  I haven’t noticed a huge change in my lashes, but my husband commented the other day on how long my eyelashes look…so I guess it’s working!

So, that’s my skincare routine.  I realize now that I use a lot of skincare products, ha!  But I hope all of these will help me turn back time a bit in 2012 to help me achieve one of my goals of better skin.

What are your favorite skincare products?  Have you used any of the products I am currently using?  What is your skin type?