Tips and Tricks

Dark circles are a thing of the past thanks to Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base!

Dark Circles. Dark circles. Dark Circles. Working in cosmetics, I talk about dark circles probably 45 times a day. This is something that a lot of women struggle with, and I have been noticing some darkness under my own eyes lately. Waking up early to shovel and defrost the ice cube that I call Ruby (my car), has started to cause issues underneath of my eyes.

Luckily, I have a product that truly helps me out. Clarins Radiance Boosting Complexion Base is actually meant to be used as a primer, mixed in with foundation, or wore alone to enhance the complexion, but this little gem packs a serious punch when layered underneath of your undereye concealer.

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I have this in the color Champagne, which has a pretty strong orange tone to it. It attacks the blue in my undereye area like no other. I will apply this product first, and then layer on top with whatever concealer I have on the go. Two of my favorites to use have been the Smashbox BB undereye concealer, and the Clarins Instant Concealer.

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This will be your plan of attack when using this product. Apply your face products (Moisturizer, Primer, Foundation etc.) try not to apply your foundation directly up to the eyes, as it will just create another layer of product, and nobody wants cakey undereyes. After your foundation is blended, apply a small amount of the Clarins Complexion Base with your clean fingers. Tap the product under the eyes, and avoid rubbing the product in. If you try to rub in a concealer, you will be working against yourself, and you will simply remove the product from the skin. If you work in very light layers, you can repeat this process twice. After the complexion base is applied, you can follow with an appropriate undereye concealer. Make sure that you are using a skin tone colored concealer, as the Clarins will be working as a corrector only. Tap the concealer onto the undereyes, and ensure everything is well blended. When you are satisfied with the coverage, set your undereye area with a very finely milled setting powder. This will make sure you avoid any creasing or smudging.

There are three shades of the Complexion Base. Rose, Champagne, and Peach. Rose has a very pink undertone, so wouldn’t do much for this purpose, however the Champagne and the Peach both have very orange undertones. Light to Medium skin tones would love the Champagne, and Medium to Deep skin tones would be better off to use the Peach Shade!

What are your favorite tricks for hiding your dark circles? I once had a pharmacist tell me to get more sleep and eat a steak because my dark circles were probably an Iron deficiency.

Follow me on Instagram! @girlmetblush

-Sara

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Exfoliating: What you need to know to get glowing skin!

Exfoliating. Just let that word roll around in your head for a few seconds. exfoliating… Oh I just love the way that sounds.

I am an absolute exfoliating junkie. Anything that promises to slough off dead skin and make my skin smoother, and more radiant? I am game. Someone could tell me that battery acid was an effective exfoliator, and I would definitely consider it. (I have good friends that would talk me out of it, luckily!)

Your skin will naturally go through it’s cycle, and exfoliate itself every 28 days. Which is wonderful right? But like everything else, as we age, things change. Our cell turnover slows down, leaving us with more and more dead skin cells on the surface of our skin. This will make the skin appear dull, and prevent our skincare products from properly penetrating. If you are using (especially an expensive) skincare regime, and not using an exfoliator, you are throwing money down the drain! Luckily, there are many different products on the market that we can use to speed up the process, and keep that skin glowing!

I have tried many different techniques for exfoliating. Manual, chemical, peel offs, powdered exfoliants … If it’s on the market, I have tried it. I have been using my Benefit Refined Finish, and as happy as I was with it, I recently went back to using an old favorite, and I am falling in love all over again.

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Number 7 Total Renewal Microdermabrasion Exfoliator is one of the finest exfoliators I have ever used. The micro beads are so fine and leave my skin feeling incredibly smooth, but not irritated. It rinses very clean, and doesn’t have any irritating scent to it.

I use this product about twice a week, or after days that I wore heavier makeup. Being someone who uses a Clarisonic once a night, I sometimes don’t get the satisfying smooth feeling after using an exfoliator. That’s what got me hooked on this product again. So smooth… I could just rinse my face over and over. My skin has really started looking better, and I have noticed that my products are sinking into my skin much better than before I had this product at my sink.

What is your favorite method of exfoliating? Manual Exfoliation is definitely mine!

Have an awesome weekend everybody!

-Sara

Follow me on Instagram! @girlmetblush

Christmas Morning Makeup! (Actual Christmas Morning!)

So … First of all, Merry Christmas Eve. One more sleep until Santa comes!

I was actually searching for a post or a YouTube video on Christmas morning makeup, and all I found was mostly heavy makeup, with winged liner and red lips. Beautiful makeup, but I’m after more of a “make me look semi decent in case I get caught in a photograph” look. Serious basics! Anyone with kids, or animals that refuse to sleep past 5AM on Christmas morning know that a red lip and a winged liner are not in the cards. So let’s aim for something reasonable. Let’s aim to look alive, and have some sort of pyjamas on that don’t have stains or rips in them. I decided to do the post myself, and I managed to cut down to 6 products. You could get away with only 5 products if you’re having a good skin day!

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Step one: I am showing Benefit Porefessional here, since it’s one of my favorites, but what you need to be on the lookout for while shopping in store, or shopping your collection, is something that will even out the texture of your skin. This will smooth lines and hide pores, and I find it helps reduce some of my redness as well. It makes your skin look instantly better, and can be applied in seconds with your fingertips. If you are lucky enough to be having a great skin day, skip this next step.

Step 2: This step is optional, or you could simply use a concealer where needed instead of an all over product. This is a super light foundation, that provides some coverage, but feels like nothing on the skin. It has a natural finish and doesn’t require to be set with a powder, so it’s perfect for non fussy days.

Step 3: This cream blush from Elizabeth Arden is perfect for this look. It’s a subtle flush of pink, can be applied in a flash with your fingers, and can double as a lip color if needed. It’s perfect to give you a little wash of color to take away from the zombie that lies beneath. This is an important step because adding some color to your cheeks will liven you up immediately.

Step 4: Brows. I don’t care how quick you need to get ready. You need brows. No brows are never an option. If you have a fire in your house, you secure your animals and children, grab your limited edition makeup products that you can’t replace, fill your brows in, and then get to safety. Recently I’ve been using the Lise Watier brow pencil in Universal Brun. It comes with a spooly on one end, so you don’t require an extra brush!

Step 5: Mascara! Even if you do the slightest coat of mascara, it will widen your eyes, and wake up your face. This is the Lancôme Doll Lashes, but whatever mascara you have will work just fine!

Step 6: This step isn’t really needed if you decided to double duty your cream blush, but if you want an actual lip color, opt for something that isn’t too heavy on the color, and something that has a very hydrating formula. No one wants dry flaky lips.

If you do these really quick simple steps, I guarantee you will look amazing in your Christmas photos. But not too made up! Another tip, is wear something flattering! I am always one to rock a flannel onesie, but Christmas Morning I will probably be rocking some black leggings and an oversized plaid shirt. It seems to be my uniform for holidays!

I hope absolutely everybody has an amazing holiday! Whatever you celebrate, I hope it’s filled with love, family, and limited edition makeup value sets.

Happy Holidays everybody, and thank you so much for reading!

-Sara

What’s in my purse makeup bag?

Let me be frank when I say, when you are out in public, and you realize you forgot something, or you need an emergency item to deal with a fashion crisis, I am not the friend you would want to be with. This is definitely Sabah’s specialty. She always has everything you need. Lint brush, bobby pin, safety pin, travel bottles of scotch … (Alright that last one might have been an exaggeration!)

None the less, I’ve gotten some questions about what I carry with me for beauty. Ask and you shall receive! Let’s jump right in!

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First, I always carry a compact mirror, a case of my business cards, and a fragrance. Lately I have been carrying around CK Shock because I found this super cute small bottle, but my fragrance changes frequently that I carry.

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Laura Gellar Baked Foundation: this product is supposed to give enough coverage on it’s own, but I like to use it as a setting powder on top of a liquid product.

Laura Mercier Highlight 101: I got this in a 500 point perk box awhile ago, and couldn’t be happier. This is my holy grail, must have highlighting powder, and I will never be without it!

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Cream Blush in Pink: This is one of my favorite cream blushes that I have. It applies amazingly with your fingers, and it doesn’t require a powder blush on top of it, because it finishes to a slight powder finish.

Benefit Watt’s Up: Yet another mini product that just makes me smile. (Who else freaks out about mini products!?) This product is great to sweep on cheekbones, and I love using it on my Cupid’s bow too! On days when in really wanting some glow, I will use this and set it with the Laura Mercier Highlight!

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Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara: This mascara is okay, nothing special to me. But it’s small, and it’s good for a purse mascara. I don’t use it often, as I usually don’t touch up my mascara through the day. It’s more of a safety net to have in case I unexpectedly stay the night somewhere!

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Sand: This product is nice! The coverage is okay, and I love the finish of it. Another product from the 500 point kit I got awhile ago.

Smashbox Targeted Pore and Line primer: This stuff is great to touch up with, I use it similarly to Benefit’s Porefessional, but I currently don’t have a small size of that, so for my purse this is perfect. Doesn’t make me break out, and hides pores mid day when they start creeping up on you!

Benefit High Brow: I LOVE this product. I have a similar product from Essence in my everyday makeup bag, and I needed one in my purse bag too. This product is perfect for highlighting under the brow, down the nose, and the inner corner of the eye.

NARS Via Veneto: Straight up, awesome black eyeliner. It stays in my waterline longer than anything else I’ve tried, and it’s creamy to apply. And I don’t need a sharpener which is a bonus in a purse!

And of course, a pen. Because we always needs that.

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Benefit SugarBomb Gloss: This is an awesome gloss for me. Everytime I wear it, I get complimented, and it is a perfect nude for me.

Laura Mercier Gloss in Rose: I love the color of this gloss, it gives me enough color without a lipstick underneath, and it’s not overly sticky.

Bobbi Brown Matte Lipstick in True Pink: Another great product. I do like to top this with a gloss, because it can be a bit drying, but the color is awesome, and low maintenance!

Fresh Sugar Balm: I don’t get a lot of color from this, but I wanted something in my purse that was good for hydration. Living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, we have dry lips about 328 days of the year. So this is a must!

Bite Duo Lipstick: This is the nude version of their duo lipsticks, and I love doing the ombré look with this. Line the outer part of the lips with the darker nude, and apply the lighter nude in the middle of the lips. Beautiful!

That’s all I have for now. I carry a small travel brush set with me, contact solution etc … Again, just in case I ever get stranded somewhere for the night. (I drive 45 minutes to get to work everyday, since I live outside of the city, and now that winter is coming, I will more than likely have to crash at Sabah’s house soon! I also carry an extra outfit in my trunk!)

What are the things you absolutely have to carry with you at all times?

-Sara

Beauty Blender Bombshell!

So not too long ago, I wrote a post on the Micro Mini Beauty Blenders. I love these little neon green gems, and I have been using them for just about two months now. Mine held up really well, but as I washed all of my sponges and brushes today, I was squeezing the water out of one, and I could feel a definite difference. It seems to be breaking down! For some reason I went and got the packaging and sure enough I find this…

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“With proper care, Micro Mini will last 90 days.”

Well that sucks! These sponges are not cheap, and I’m really disappointed that I didn’t know this before I purchased. My original Beauty Blenders seem to be indestructible (except the ones that came in the BFF duo, both of those sponges felt super different than the sponges that are sold separately!) I’m still not convinced they didn’t put all the reject sponges in those duo sets! But my regular pink ones, and my royal shade one have held up extremely well. Even the ones that I carry in my freelance kit! (And trust me, those get beat up! Constantly being cleaned and microwaved, and they still look brand new!)

I do appreciate that I got two of these micro sponges, but had I known that they would only last 90 days, I might have spent that money on something else.

Has anyone else had these little sponges give out on them yet? If you have, let me know! And all of you that want to purchase these, keep in mind that they come with an end date in mind 😦

-Sara

How to prevent and deal with frantic mornings!

There are some things in life that everybody can relate to. No matter where you come from, or what your lifestyle is, everybody in the world knows that feeling of waking up late. Or waking up super gracefully, only to realize your alarm didn’t go off, and you are supposed to be somewhere in 20 minutes. I honestly want to know, how many of you have had that jolt of electricity run through your veins? You go from a completely normal, semi sedated person, to a blanket throwing, multi tasking psychopath in about .38 seconds.

Well, I dread those mornings like nothing else, so I have put together some of my favorite tips to make the morning run smoothly for you, and everyone else in your household. (Even though the funniest part of mornings like that, are when you trample over your spouse to get out of bed, thus waking them up and sending them into a morning frenzy!)

1.) Shower at Night: I know a lot of people like taking showers in the morning, but for me, I would rather have the extra 15 minutes of sleep. Plus, if you shower at night, you can braid your hair, or put some product in it and throw it up in a loose bun, resulting in a tousled messy look when you wake. This way, you also diminish the chances of being so late, you have to skip your morning shower. And in that case, nobody wins.

2.) Pick your outfit out the night before: This is something I do mostly every night. Everything down to my bra, socks etc will be laid out on my ottoman in my bedroom. (Or in the wintertime, I tuck my outfit under my duvet while I sleep, so I change into warm clothes. Being cold is just not an option for me.) This is a huge time saver for me, as all females know, it can be a process to put together a single outfit.

3.) Cut makeup routine down to the most basic possible: Multi tasking products are your best friend in a situation like this. BB creams that can stand in as moisturizers, cream based products that can be used on cheeks and lips … These are the things to grab for. Me personally, I will apply Benefit Porefessional, fill my brows, apply my Baby Lips in Cherry Me, and a quick coat of mascara. Everything else can be dealt with later throughout the day.

4.) Play music: Another thing that eases my mornings all the time. Sabah does this too. If you are feeling groggy and just can’t pull it together, put on some music. If you don’t feel a little more energetic when Beyoncé comes on (or G-unit if you’re Sabah) consult your physician immediately.

Other things I do include turning on my lamp as soon as my alarm rings. (It’s impossible for me to get up when it’s still dark – I need light!) Putting my things (purse, keys etc) by the front door so I am not frantically looking for them in the morning, and packing my lunch the night before.

I hope these tips help you have a smoother morning, they sure help me!

Are there any other tips you guys have to share?

-Sara

What’s in Sabah’s Purse? Let’s take a look …

I’ve always lived a bit out of my car. I grew up outside of the city so when I left the house in the morning I packed for everything. As an adult, that has led to me carrying around a fairly ridiculous purse. If you need anything I’m the woman you want to track down in a bar when you realize that your ex is there and his new girlfriend is a doppelganger for Beyoncé and you aren’t even wearing lip gloss.

A lot of these are pretty clear as to what they are, but there are a few things I’d like to add.

•You should always have a makeup remover. Makeup on top of old makeup is rarely the solution ladies.
•If you struggle with under eye circles you need Benefit’s Erase Paste. I bought a kit with the sole purpose of having this mini erase paste for my purse.
•Try to find a foundation or BB cream with an SPF. Makeup bags like this become critical in the summer and we all know that we need all the SPF we can get on those patios.
•Pack tweezers, nothing shows unwanted hair like the rear-view mirror of your car. Have tweezers on hand at all times.
•Try to use lip-glosses in these bags as they are frequently left in cars and other such areas where a lipstick could melt.
•Make room for some brushes, did you ever try to apply bronzer with your fingers?

Sara laughs at me regularly when we are out for dinner at the strange things I carry around with me all the time. I’ll list a few for you…
•Band-Aids- Mine have Jane Austin on them, a gift from a bestie who knows me painfully well.
•A pretty blank card- I always have a blank card with me. Words cannot express how often this has come in handy to add to a bottle of wine for a friend or a forgotten birthday.
•Nail Glue: PS I don’t wear fake nails but this glue could hold a wing on a plane even though fake nails do tend to fall off at the worst times.
•Hair accessories- a small headband, bobby pins and elastics
•USB Stick- Lingering school habit I’m sure, but I do usually have at least one stick drive.
•A k-cup and/or a Starbucks instant coffee individual sleeve.
•Glasses wipes- these are amazing, the specialty wipes for eye glasses are a must have that thankfully my mother buys for me in cartons whenever she goes to see her eye doctor.
•Then there is all of the obvious, gum, wallet, phone, charger, hand sanitizer, hand cream, pills (Tylenol, Motrin, Midol and allergy) Dare hard candy (because I’m 95 obviously), sunglasses, floss, safety pins, etc.)

So, that’s my purse … What are the strange things you always try to carry around with you?

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Wedding Makeup Choices!

I have mentioned it a few times in my blogs that I’ve been in a few weddings. I had another one just last week and I spent a considerable amount of time agonizing over what I was going to wear for my makeup. Poor poor Sara, and Almira, and really anyone that even knows what a blush is, who had to hear my debates over everything from my moisturizer to setting sprays. So after weeks of testing, on the day of the wedding I was much more relaxed and my makeup was done. So without further ado I give you my makeup choices.

Clarins Vital Light Day Cream: I love this cream, and it has an almost balm like texture that I knew would help with a foundation base.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer: I know, weird right? A product that breaks me out and I went for it? Of course I did. When you want a great primer that smoothes and really adds to wear time this is your go to, so much so that I risked a massive breakout to get the look I wanted.

Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse Foundation: This was a surprising choice. It hadn’t ever really been in the running but I rediscovered it again a few days before the wedding and I went with it. The coverage is so full and the finish is almost velvety.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer: I just needed a bit of touching up on a few spots thankfully that day so I wanted a liquid concealer that had good lasting power.

Laura Mercier Undercover Pot: I gave in and bought this cult product in an effort to fight my dark circles. This was the perfect choice.

YSL Matte & Radiance Pressed Powder: I bought this powder a long time ago and only cracked it recently. I love it. This was the perfect medium coverage powder that evened out my skin.

Too Faced Chocolate Solei Bronzer: I needed this to help with my foundation being a bit too light. This is a great matte bronzer for this type of event to be used all over the face or for contouring.

Marc Jacobs Shameless Bold Blush in Rebellious: This is a blush that can be built or shockingly bold, exactly what I need for wedding pictures.

Benefit Stay Don’t Stray: This is a solid eye lid primer. I needed something to cover my dark lids and help with creasing.

Urban Decay Naked 3: I choose this because I love the matte shades in this palette.

The Balm Brow Pow: Logically I would choose the only Holy Grail product I have in my repertoire. This is the perfect brow powder for me.

Products that make you work for it!

Like all things, sometimes it just doesn’t come easy. There have been some makeup products that I’ve purchased for various reasons, that after I got them home and started to use them, I was wildly irritated. Thankfully after a bit of work these products pushed through my cranky face and I learned how to make them work for me.
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Marc Jacobs Blush in Rebellious: So this blush is an amazing shade of pink. The minute I saw it I knew I needed to have it in my life. That we needed to be together and I would introduce it to my other blushes and we all would live happily ever after with this amazing pink flush on our cheeks. And then I used it, like a lot and was considering returning it. NO PIGMENT! Like none. I know that some blushes have a bit of a film on them so I was going at this guy with a heavy hand. I was fit to be tied. And then I watched a YouTube video and this lovely British girl who I now can’t remember her name said that she took a tissue and rubbed the top of her blush aggressively and then the magic happened. I did the same thing immediately and then Rebellious came to life. And we now live happily ever after with pink cheeks, watching the notebook.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light: Like everyone else with even a slight interest in cosmetics I know about the Ambient Lighting powders and their wondrous powers. I obviously jumped on board. I’m on an endless hunt for my perfect highlight (and mascara). When I was wearing this as a highlighter I was silently stewing. I had used Essence highlighters with more wow. Again I was contemplating returning when YouTube came through for me. Use it as a setting powder someone said….. and whamoo ladies. I had a new face. It is beautiful. I can’t put into words what it is that it does which sounds like an excuse but I just know I like my face way better with this powder. What else can I ask for?

YSL Radiance Enhancing Pressed Powder: I’ve had this guy forever and never really used it. This may just be because the powder is a bit dark for me but I found that it made me a bit muddy. This powder I will now say is my favorite powder I’ve used in a long time. I’m not someone who really relies on powder I more look to setting sprays because of my fear of cake face. Radiance Enhancing Powder is amazing when applied lightly with a big fluffy brush. It completely combats the muddy face and leaves my skin looking more polished.

The Balm How ‘Bout Them Apples: Of course I had to own this, it’s a blush palette. Well a lip and cheek palette but we all know I’m way more interested in the blush aspect. I’m used to cream blushes being well, creamy. I was almost convinced I was going to have to delegate this to a lip palette that will never be used. The texture is bizarre. They are more gel like, oh and sticky as hell. I found it really hard to move them around. And then I gave in and tried them with a brush. Game changer. I avoid brushes with my cream blushes because I don’t want to bomb through the product or embarrassingly enough, take the effort to clean the brush after. This palette works so well with a brush, it helps move the product in a more uniform manner and it easier to move quickly. I love it so much I’m not even bitter about the effort required to clean the kabuki brush I use.

What are products that you guys hated at first, but then started to really like?

-Sabah

DIY Ombre Hair!

So something big has happened to me recently. I decided that I was tired of spending a crazy amount of money in salons on my hair. If you actually sit down and calculate how much you are shelling out to get your hair done, it’s frightening. Think of all the makeup I could be buying with that money!

Anyway, I found myself in the drugstore, cruising over all of the products, and I picked up two products to help me get the desired effect I wanted in my hair. Clairol Natural Instincts in shade 21 Medium Brown, and Revlon Frost & Glow Honey Highlighting Kit.
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I took the boxes home, and let them sit on my shelf for awhile, and as I was packing my bag for Sabah’s birthday weekend, I threw them in my duffle bag, and out the door I went. Sure enough, the Sunday after her birthday night, the bug struck me and I worked up the nerve to do it. Now I really think it’s important to have a friend with you while you’re doing this, to check things over, and just for mental support. Sabah was recuperating on the couch, but I felt better even knowing she was in the house!

I decided that it would be easiest for me to apply the darker color on top first, and then rinse it out, dry, and then apply the highlights. I applied the darker color on the top, and pulled it down to about my ears, and let it sit for the allotted 10 minutes. I jumped in the shower and rinsed. Easy Peasy, and not stressful at all. Once my hair was dry, things were about to get real. I mixed up the developer and the powder that came with the highlighting kit, and cut some tinfoil strips to use. I sectioned off the top part of my hair and tied it out of the way, as I was only looking to lighten up the bottom pieces. I chose pretty small sections (about 1 inch) and then backcombed them, to ensure I got a more natural look. (Awesome tip I picked up from my hairdresser!) I wrapped the hair in foil, and moved on. I only did about 12 foils, as I didn’t know what the result would be like, and then I paced the floor anxiously for about 20 minutes. When I rinsed, the very tips of my hair were alarmingly white, but I wasn’t too worried about it, because I knew I was going to get my hair cut the next day. Overall, I was impressed with the result, it didn’t look as amazing as when my hairdresser does it, but it cost under $20.00 to do. Below are my results! Before is on the left, After is on the right.

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I wasn’t too happy with the way it was cut, but overall it looks brighter, and the top darkened up quite a bit, which is exactly what I wanted. For $20.00, I think I will be the girl that will do my hair myself from now on! Next time Sabah will have to be more present though …

Do you guys color your own hair or get it professionally done?

-Sara