Beauty Topic: Quick & easy beauty fixes for summer

It’s been a while since I last blogged! Life got a bit cray-cray, but I’m super happy to have time to relax and blog just before Memorial Day holiday kicks off. Even though it’s not officially the start of summer, it seems that everyone is finally ready to start living life outside and in the sun this weekend. Naturally, that can pose a few beauty issues that only seasonal weather changes can bring as we start showing more skin. Let’s take a look at a few hot topics and tips below for quick and easy skincare / makeup solutions, just in time for summer:

  • Avoid sunburnt skin: I’m still a bit shocked with how many people I know don’t take sun care seriously. The amount of data that the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Cancer Society has published on the long-term health effects of improper sun exposure has been widely publicized and distributed. This is not to be taken lightly. Sunburn can create immediate damage to healthy skin cells, and adults need to pay attention for their own (and family’s) health. Over time, prolonged sun damage can cause serious heath problems. If you or your family do experience a sunburn this summer due to fun in the sun, there are a few quick fixes that you should utilize asap to soothe skin:
    1. Take a cool bath or shower asap. Sunburnt skin is not able to easily correct it’s own temperature, and you may need to take cooler showers or baths over several days to reduce swelling or pain.
    2. Add 2 cups of baking soda or ground oats to your cool bath and soak – this is safe for children, and also immediately offers relief of itching or painful skin.
    3. Hydrate and moisturize! Keep drinking cool water, and keep the skin hydrated by apply unscented lotion – this also helps to reduce peeling. TIP: Avoid any products with fragrance – this will irritate the skin even further, and create more redness.
  • Change up your skincare: If you live in an area that experiences the changes of seasons, then you do need to plan for switching up your skincare accordingly. For summer, I stress using formulas that are gentle and fragrance-free. This includes body lotion – per my first point above, if you get a bad sunburn, the LAST thing you’ll want to put on your skin is a scented lotion. This cleanser and lotion below from CeraVe are two product staples that I keep stocked for my family at all times – if skin is at all irritated from being outside too long, or feeling dry from chlorine, these two products are great at soothing skin quickly. TIP: Add Witch Hazel to your daily AM/PM routine too, as it will naturally soothe and refresh skin each day, plus regulate oily shine.

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  • Use proven formulas to deliver quick results: Restating the importance again of proper skincare also extends to products that can be multi-tasking to prevent and correct issues. These are two products that I actually use year-round, but are even more important coming into the summer months.
    1. CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Cream Serum tackles anti-aging with an all-in-one type of serum. Using encapsulated Retinol and ceramides, this serum not only reduces fine lines and wrinkles, but repairs the skin’s protective moisture barrier. This is crucial to reverse the damaging effects of UV exposure. I love using it at night on my face, neck, chest, shoulders and arms – Retinol lightens discolorations, dark spots, and evens out my skin tone overall for a more uniform appearance. For under $20 a tube, it’s so worth it! TIP: If you get into the daily habit of apply a serum like this, it helps avoid the awkward effect of your facial skin tone not matching your neck, chest or shoulders as you age.
    2. Olay Complete UV365 Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 Sensitive Plus is a lotion I use every single morning, and can be used head-to-toe all summer long. Head to toe?? Yes. Especially if you use a Retinol-based serum or anti-aging skincare (like I mention above), you NEED to use daily sunscreen. Otherwise, you basically cancel out the benefits that your anti-aging products are giving you. I love this lotion because it absorbs quickly, soothes skin, and helps makeup to stay fresh. TIP: This is great to travel with as an all-over daily moisturizer + sunscreen duo. For under $10 a bottle (6oz), you can’t go wrong! (Good skincare does not have to cost a ton)

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  • Use powder makeup to help your look stay-put in humidity: I love liquid foundations, but in hot or humid weather, they can often loosen up easily and slide due to sweat. Here’s two of my favorite powder makeup solutions for summer:
    1. I’ll reach for my favorite powder foundation, PUR’s 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 15, to help minimize shine for my combination skin. This mineral makeup contains skin-loving, anti-aging ingredients that balances tone and minimizes fine lines. For best results, use a shorter-bristle powder brush (or “chisel” brush) to apply in small circles. Make sure to blend along the jawline, and on to the neck and chest to help even out skin tone. TIP: Use a large eye shadow brush to dust eyelids BEFORE applying eye shadow or liner. This helps to set a base that absorbs sweat and moisture, and allows eye makeup to last longer. fullsizeoutput_76d
    2.  I love to use Wet n Wild’s MegaGlo Highlighter in Precious Petals: this rose-gold hued pressed powder looks amazing on pretty much every skin tone, and is under $5 for a big compact. I use it for eye shadow, and highlighting the bridge of my nose, brow bones, and cheek bones. TIP: Using a blush brush, apply in circles to your chest, shoulders, upper arms, and down the shins and calves of your legs to create a sexy overall glow during summer. The powder formula adheres to skin, resists sweat, and catches the natural light to give skin a warm, shimmery sheen. I like using this trick more than body bronzer!fullsizeoutput_765

A few simple tricks and switching up products can make a huge difference going into warmer weather, and give your skin an added boost to look it’s best!

© 2018 28daysbeauty

 

Product Review: Glossier skincare

This is the second part of my Glossier brand review, and since it’s focused on their skincare products, I needed a bit of extra time to see how my skin reacted to their formulas. Having extremely sensitive skin, and pushing 40, I wanted to see if the hype around Glossier’s dewy-fresh, moisture-boosting results was real. For the most part, I really love the skincare products that I’ve been using for several years. But there are several products in the Glossier lineup that have achieved cult-favorite status, and so I wanted to compare and see for myself.

As I mentioned in my Glossier makeup review, I’m impressed that Glossier offers kits to introduce you into their regimens and save money. In the kit that I chose, you get to choose the flavor of the Balm Dotcom all-purpose skin balm – I chose “mint”. The other kit components are their best-selling Milky Jelly Cleanser and Priming Moisturizer. Like their makeup, their skincare is paraben-free, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free. Let’s get into each product:

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a. Mint Balm Dotcom: I chose mint as I knew I’d primarily be using this as a lip balm. I have had issues in using other products that have peppermint oil added, but so far I’ve had zero irritation with this. The concentrated balm is super silky, and gives a non-shiny finish on lips, cuticles and other rough patches. I love using this at night, as it absorbs quickly, and I wake up with soft lips and healed cuticles. There are several flavors to choose from; from rose to cherry. I think the next time I order this, I’ll get the Original, which is fragrance-free, so that I can use it in more areas on my face and body.

b. Milky Jelly Cleanser: Of the three products that I chose in my kit, I’ll admit that I’m not as in love with this as I am with the others. This cleanser stays in a jelly-like texture, and does not foam. It is very hydrating, and can be applied on dry or wet skin. I found that it just didn’t stand out to me against my usual routine. While I don’t question that it is a best seller, and especially great for those with very dry skin or rosacea, I will probably stick to my other CeraVe, Clinique, and Trader Joe’s favorites. Having sensitive skin, I do appreciate the fragrance-free, super soothing formula.

c. Priming Moisturizer: I really like the results of this product, as it delivers exactly what is says it will do. Per the Glossier website, this is also considered a best-seller. The moisturizer creates a smooth / even base for makeup, instantly hydrates, and fights redness. It’s buildable as well, meaning that you can control the amount of moisture without it feeling goopy or greasy. I also love that it comes in a tube! Jars can create issues with bacteria growth, and pumps don’t always travel well or give the right amount of product when dispensing. I’ll be buying this again, especially since it works as a great moisturizer for anytime of day.

Overall, I have to say that I’m impressed with the Glossier brand, and their alternate approach to beauty standards and product staples. Their site offers a growing assortment of innovative products, and I’ll be keeping my eyes on their lineup additions. I can definitely say that I’ll be reordering their Balm Dotcom, Lip Gloss, Generation G lipstick, Boy Brow, Stretch Concealer, and Priming Moisturizer. One of their products that I’m looking to try soon is Haloscope, a dewy creme highlighter stick. I love finding new brands to mix it up and play within my daily routine, and especially that have products that are easy to use and deliver results. Give them a try!

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Glossier makeup

Indie beauty brands, to me, are always exciting to discover. They are often the rebels and innovation starters of the industry, and can really surprise you. Plus, they often market themselves completely differently than the rest of the competition. Glossier caught my eye about a year ago, and I’ve been watching the buzz around them grow. This past Christmas, I asked for a makeup and a skincare kit from them, and spent these first two months of the year giving them a try.

An NYC brand that was built off of the blog “Into the Gloss”, Glossier truly break rules in how they define makeup and skincare. I appreciate the simplicity and direct style of their website, and that they offer value kits of their best sellers to introduce you to the brand. Their product ingredient list is also what caught my attention – fragrance free, paraben free, hypoallergenic, and cruelty free formulas is what I look for in a beauty brand for my skin. This post will focus on their makeup, and my next post will focus on their skincare.

The makeup kit that I received contained three products: Boy Brow, Stretch Concealer, and Generation G sheer matte lipstick. In addition, I also ordered their Lip Gloss, pictured above. And I can confidently say, I’m seriously loving all of it! Let’s take a look at why:

1) Boy Brow in Brown: this has been one of Glossier’s most definitive products, because it shapes, defines, and colors eyebrows but does so in a completely natural-looking effect. Added bonus? It’s so easy to use, and is long lasting. The tube is small, but I’ve found that a few short swipes on each brow is all that I need to fill and define.

2) Stretch Concealer in Light: I’m super picky about foundation and concealer. But what I love about this is that I’ve found it actually acts as both. It’s super creamy and blends in with my skin completely. I use a Concealer brush to apply in patches where needed, as well as under eyes on my eyelids to lighten and brighten skin. I then use my foundation brush to blend in, and build coverage as needed. The formula uses natural waxes and oils to bend and flex with skin, and doesn’t look cakey or dry. I have combination skin, and I really like the semi-dewy finish.

3) Generation G sheer matte lipstick in Crush (hot raspberry pink): this lipstick made me rethink matte finishes. Many of the other matte lipsticks I’ve tried are pretty heavy, thick formulas. And some of the liquid versions that I’ve tried came off on my teeth, or coated my coffee cups with a weird goo-like effect. This is a very silky formula, and you can build for vibrancy. I love hot pink lip color, as I find it’s a shade that looks more natural than red. It also looks great on virtually any skin tone. I’ve also found that some brighter colors made my lips irritated – this felt comfortable all day, and didn’t irritate at all.

4) Lip Gloss: I was really excited about this, because I wanted a great, clear lip gloss to use alone or over any lipstick. This contains zero glitter, which I also like. Over the years, I’ve found that too much glitter or shimmer irritated my lips. This is super concentrated and hydrating. The finish is also mega-glossy, but isn’t sticky at all.

Glossier does not sell mascara, which is against the mainstream look of a “full face”. I get it – their approach is definitely skincare first, and looking more natural, which I appreciate. I love wearing mascara, so I just added it to my look by using one of my faves (L’Oreal’s Voluminous Carbon Black). In all, I loved the final effect – my face felt light and fresh, and at the end of the day, the colors stayed true. Their products do what they say, and are very low-maintenance yet polished. I also admit that I loved the simpler makeup routine in the morning. Give this brand a try – the prices are right, and the quality is fantastic!

©️ 2018 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) 5-in-1 Styling Treatment

I know that it’s been a while since I last blogged. Life got a little cray cray. But, the even though I didn’t get any time to blog, I’ve been able to try and test out a bunch of different products (yay!) during the last month and a half. And one of them, per this blog post, I REALLY recommend adding to your haircare arsenal just in time for Valentine’s Day! I have been trying the Living Proof brand for a while, and while I’m not completely yet sold on their shampoo and conditioner (let’s just say my love for TRESemmé and Shea Moisture is really hard to overthrow), I am in love with their amazing 5-in-1 styling treatment “Perfect Hair Day”. I’ll admit that skincare and makeup are my forte, and that means that haircare and styling falls a bit lower down the totem pole in priority for me in my daily routine. I’m always up for trying a product that tackles multiple functions at once, and allows me to save a bit of time in getting ready.

Over the years, I’ve also learned to go with the flow and let my hair do what it wants. I have very straight, thick auburn hair – it reacts best to being kept in a longer style, no bangs, and being washed every other day. About twice a week I either curl it with a larger barrel curling iron or flat iron it straight, so I try to keep heat styling to a minimum overall between washes. In addition, I color it every 8 weeks, so I notice that it gets dried out easily. That being said, I wanted a product that could treat and help with all of those factors. Enter the Perfect Hair Day!

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Let’s talk about what makes this product awesome:

  1. It handles 5 common, and essential, hair styling concerns: it volumizes, smooths, adds hydration, strengthens, and gives an overall finishing polish/shine. Score! I love the fact that I can use just 1 product, but achieve all of these benefits.
  2. It doesn’t weigh hair down, is silicone-free, and creates great volume and texture. Having straight hair, I definitely notice when a product causes buildup or makes my hair feel limp and dull the next day. Silicone can cause build-up on hair, especially from products that are left on hair strands all day. I love the fact that this product does all of the things it says it does (see item #1), but you can go into the next day using dry shampoo to refresh, and it still gives you the benefits you had the day before. I also like that it adds shine, but doesn’t make hair slippery.
  3. It’s super concentrated and a good value despite the $28 price tag for 4 ounces. It’s a cream formula, and you apply it to clean, damp hair. I shampoo and condition, like usual, and then apply about a nickel-sized amount all throughout my hair before blow drying.
  4. It delivers results! As one of the brand’s co-founders, Jennifer Aniston is one of my style icons, and my hair is actually very similar to hers in style and texture. I can see why she used to endorse this brand. My hair holds it’s style better, has had zero static or flyaways in this harsh winter weather, and has been healthier between colorings. She always looks amazing, including her low-key but polished hairstyle.

My only challenge to Living Proof is to change the packaging of this product – I think a tube would be a much better package, since the current cap gets clogged a bit. But this has now officially replaced my other serums and styling products that I used to layer. If I want a lot of added shine, I’ll use my Biosilk Original Silk Therapy on top of this, but I’ve found that I’m just not reaching for it as much as before. Other than my dry shampoo and hairspray, the Perfect Hair Day (PhD) 5-in-1 is my new go-to daily staple! Give it a try and see how it makes a difference with your hair.

Beauty Topic: Saving money in 2018 & top picks to stay on budget

It’s the start of a new year, and many of us make resolutions to improve our lives. Mine this year is to save more money. I want to travel more, and pay down debt, so in order to do that, I need to look at my overall lifestyle. If you Google “how long does it take to develop a habit”, there are few studies that come back with a variety of time ranges – anywhere from 21 days to 66 days is the average. But one thing that I think that can help in achieving a new goal, or fulfilling a resolution, is to think about the various factors that contribute to it overall. To achieve my resolution of saving money, I thought about the amount that I spend on beauty products in a given year and how I shop. Within the beauty industry, there’s a ton of marketing and advertising to drive the message home that you NEED to have prestige beauty products. But in reality, is that really the case? In a PeopleStyle.com study from March 2017, they determined that the average woman will spend $15,000 in her lifetime on beauty products. This doesn’t apply to services like hair cuts or pedicures, but just beauty products alone. I’m here to say “no” – you don’t need to spend a ton to look great and take proper care of your skin, hair, body and nails. Especially in this day and age, there are so many great brands that are delivering high-performance products that provide you with multiple options to spend exactly the amount you are comfortable with, without having to sacrifice quality or style. If you absolutely love a prestige beauty product (like perfume, foundation or lipstick), you can also look at splurging where it matters most to you, but then saving money in other beauty categories to make up the difference. Let’s take a look at some of these brands, products that deliver, and my top picks to help you spend less this year on beauty:

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Clockwise from the top:

  1. Trader Joe’s beauty: from skincare to body care, their formulas rival top dollar brands’ ingredients and performance, but cost a fraction of the price. The Nourish All-In-One Facial Cleanser is great for both men and women, and helps to combat acne while also being anti-aging. Their Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 15 is a great dupe for the Olay Complete SPF 15 lotion, and is safe for sensitive skin. If you love lavender, their Spa Lavender Hand & Body Lotion is naturally scented and soothes skin. I usually keep these stocked, as my entire family loves to use these products daily.
  2. e.l.f. Cosmetics: this brand was started years ago to provide quality beauty products for very low costs. I hate to call them “cheap” because it has such a bad connotation. What they do is remove the hype and high-cost markup that is found in prestige beauty brands, but still deliver on-trend and classic colors that perform. In addition to their Mineral Mascara (amazing!!), one of my favorite e.l.f. products is their “Tickled Pink” Blush, which is a direct dupe of the iconic NARS “Orgasm” blush. For $3, you can’t go wrong to give this a try and see for yourself.
  3. Simple skincare: available at almost all drugstores, this brand is focused on quality care for sensitive skin. I LOVE their Micellar Water, which gently removes all makeup, dirt, and oil as an essential pre-cleanse step in your nightly routine. This award-winning product rivals some of the most expensive French formulas on the market. I’ve often gone into a Walgreens or Target when traveling to pick up skincare products by Simple, especially if I realized I left an essential at home.
  4. LORAC makeup kits: yes, this prestige brand holds a special place in my heart. It’s founder, Carol Shaw, is an icon in my book. But what I also LOVE about this brand is that they often package their best selling products in kits or gifts at an incredible value! For example, a single LORAC Alter-Ego lip gloss is around $17 each. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I got this amazing Mod Goddess Alter-Ego lip gloss collection from ULTA on sale for less than the $26 sticker price! It’s a beautiful 6 piece set of high-performance lip gloss at a steal (worth $102). If you’ve never tried LORAC’s lip gloss, I highly recommend them – the color payoff is incredible, and the long-wearing formula deeply moisturizes. Makeup kits from prestige brands are a great way to save while shopping your favorites.
  5. L’Oreal mascaras: in truth, L’Oreal is one of the largest beauty companies in the world, and owns a large percentage of many beauty brands on the market. But one of their best performing values is the Voluminous Carbon Black mascara. If you want dramatic, long and full lashes, this is a go-to mascara for less than $10. Extra bonus, you can usually use coupons when purchasing or find a BOGO deal as well! Mascara needs to be changed out every 3 months to avoid eye infections, and there’s really no reason to spend more than you have to!
  6. EOS lip balm: while their classic round spheres are immediately recognized, I prefer the stick version of these awesome lip balms. I bought a few twin packs, as I keep one in my gym bag, desk drawer, night stand, and purse. Packed with organic ingredients and natural butters, they are a much healthier alternative to the petroleum-based lip balms and cost an average of $4 for a twin pack. I freak out if I can’t find my lip balm, so these packs make it easy to stock up and keep in convenient places.
  7. TRESemmé shampoo and hairspray: oh, how I love TRESemmé! One of my former coworkers once commented that she wished to be able to afford “fancy shampoo” someday. Why? There’s TRESemmé! I use their Extra Firm Control hairspray daily, and I’ll switch back and forth at times between their shampoos and other brands. They recently launched the Repair & Protect 7 shampoo, which is fantastic for color and chemically-treated or heat-styled hair. Shampoo goes down the drain, literally. So, I’m much more apt to switch up shampoos when needed, based on how much I want to spend. If your hair needs some serious repair, while maintaining color, give this one a try!
  8. Dove Sensitive Skin soap: this truly is a family-friendly, daily beauty product, and can be used from head to toe. It’s also incredibly budget conscious, and you can buy it in bulk at Costco, or multi-packs at Target. There are no synthetic fragrances to irritate sensitive skin, and it keeps skin healthy by cleansing without stripping moisture. Plus, it makes a really great shaving lather for legs!
  9. SheaMoisture skincare, hair and body care: this brand is fantastic! Not only for it’s social consciousness, but also it’s variety of quality, high-performing natural products. This brand is available at both ULTA and drugstores, and offers great solutions for beauty challenges, such as problem skin, dry hair, and anti-aging. If you want to take better care of your skin this year, and perform home facials more often, I suggest their African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask. Priced around $15 for a generously-sized jar, this mask deeply cleanses, soothes, brightens and unclogs skin, while being safe for those with sensitivities. Tip: Once a week in the morning, smooth this on your face, and then jump in the shower. The steam activates the charcoal in the mask, and allows it to work even better. As you wash your hair and body in the shower, let the mask sit for a few minutes to get spa-quality facial in a few minutes! Rinse and finish your shower as usual.

As you use up products in your daily routines, and want to cut back on costs, think about where you may be able to save while still maintaining your personal style and quality. Plus, all of the brands I mention above are raved about by beauty editors and magazines alike – the proof is in their performance, and you’ll see a savings!

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Burt’s Bees makeup

For those of you who got gift cards to ULTA this Christmas, and you are looking for a fresh, natural new makeup line to try, I suggest looking at Burt’s Bees! Earlier this year, Burt’s Bees expanded their collection of makeup beyond lip glosses, lipstick and BB cream. They’ve added a full line of blush, brow pencils, eye shadows, mascara, eye liner, foundation, and introduced new colors of lipsticks. If you’ve read my previous blog post about natural beauty picks, I recommend the lipsticks from Burt’s Bees as being a great alternative to mass or big label brands. Their new full line boasts formulas that are paraben, petrolatum and pthalate-free. But I was wondering about performance, as natural makeup lines in the past have often lacked in that department. You also may have noticed in my last post about using multi-tasking products in your gym bag that I show the Burt’s Bees makeup line in my bag – I chose to try this line out for just that purpose, apart from my usual routine. I wanted to try the performance of this all-natural line, as well as being a space-saving and multi-tasking line of essentials in my gym bag. After trying them for the past 3 months, I’m super impressed with the quality, pigmentation, and long-wearability of the Burt’s Bees makeup line! Let’s do a deep dive and see what makes these an awesome choice for people who want more naturally based, but high-performing, makeup.

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First off, I wanted to try the Burt’s Bees BB cream, as I needed to have a multi-tasking product in my gym bag to act as moisturizer, foundation, and anti-aging treatment, as well as protect with SPF. BB cream to the rescue! This BB cream is a bit thick, but it smooths on easily, and hydrates without making my combination skin feel too oily. The SPF is titanium dioxide based, and delivers broad spectrum protection. I especially like the light coverage to even out my skin tone. In this last month, I’ve mixed a little bit of moisturizer (First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream) on any drier patches of my face, prior to applying the BB cream. The finish is a little bit dewy, but mostly a satin effect – the coverage is light, so it’s a great post-workout makeup to show off a healthy glow.

Next, I grabbed the classic black Nourishing Mascara, which promised to lengthen lashes and increase volume. I usually just go for mascara when getting ready after a workout, as I feel the skin has an awesome glow about it – I want to let my complexion shine a bit, and not worry about too much eye makeup. This mascara is great! It does what it says, and lengthens and volumizes. I wouldn’t say that it beats my other favorites (e.l.f Mineral Mascara, or L’Oreal’s Carbon Black Voluminous mascara), but for an all-natural formula, it does not flake or smudge! My only wish is that the brush was a bit thinner – it’s a great silicone-style brush, but doesn’t allow for the control that a skinnier brush would give.

For my cheeks, I chose a blush in the shade Shy Pink. LOVE!! It’s a perfect blend of peachy-pink, and with just the slightest amount of shimmer. And wow, the pigment is really strong! Just a little bit goes a really long way, and I can easily blend it with my travel kabuki brush from Eco-Tools.

Lastly, I grabbed their brow pencil in Blonde, which has a spoolie brush on the end. This is super easy to use and convenient – the wax is soft, highly pigmented, and very blendable. Like the blush a little goes a long way, and just sharpen before each use. Even though the temperatures are a bit extreme right now, I haven’t noticed any fading or smearing of color. My brows look groomed and even, with just the right amount of color.

Not pictured is my Burt’s Bees Lipstick in Blush Basin – it’s a gorgeous rosy-pink neutral, and is so moisturizing that I don’t need to prep first with lip balm. The great thing about this shade is that it looks completely natural, yet polished, and goes with whatever outfit I’m wearing after my workout. I’m seriously considering making a few of these a standard product in my daily routine, and not just keeping in my gym bag. The line is also very reasonably priced, and is fully available online at ulta.com. Target has the lipsticks and BB cream as well, but not the blush or eye makeup yet. If you are looking for a more naturally based makeup routine, but want high-performance products, treat yourself and give this line a try!

©28daysbeauty 2017

Beauty Topic: Packing your gym bag like a boss

It’s that time of year that we especially need to keep up with our health and exercise routine, despite the holiday rush and busy schedules. One of the excuses that many of us end up making is that it takes too much time to prep our gym bags. There’s also the challenge of trying to fit in a visit to the gym during the day, but needing to be at a company party or holiday celebration that evening – you don’t want to show up without looking your best. I totally get it – and I’ve found a few ways to combat this and help ensure I have what I need for the gym on a daily basis. Here’s some packing tips and products I’ve been using, and had great success with, especially during this busy season:

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  1. Grab unused makeup bags and organize products into groups: If you’re like me, you often shop during “gift with purchase” timeframes from your favorite beauty brands. This can result in a bunch of empty, unused makeup bags hanging out in your closet or bathroom drawers. Put them to better use! I currently have 3 in my gym bag (above) and use them in the following categories: a bag for makeup, a bag for shower items (shampoo, conditioner, etc), and a bag for feminine products. That way my gym bag always stays organized, and I can easily refill these bags when needed rather than fishing through my entire gym bag. Ziploc bags can also do the trick if you don’t have spare makeup bags. I also am re-using a fabric drawstring sleeve that held my bedroom sheet set as a shoe bag. It’s perfectly sized to keep the items in my bag protected from the soles of my shoes. (Hint: old pillowcases work well for this too!)
  2. For easier showering, use a reusable shopping tote bag to hold shower-only items: I don’t like having to haul my whole gym bag into the showers with me. I found a simple solution in using a reusable shopping tote (like my Bliss one above), and keeping my soap dish, razor container, clean wash cloth, and makeup bag for shower items (per my mention of this before) inside of it. That way, I can just grab it out of my gym bag and go right into the showers – I also use the tote as my “laundry bag” to keep sweaty gym clothes and used wash cloths from getting the inside of my gym bag wet on the way home. These tote bags are thin, and fairly weightless, plus they don’t take up much space inside your gym bag. If it starts to smell a bit funky, simply toss and replace as needed.
  3. Use travel-sized toiletries of your favorite products: I’ll admit I’m always kind of surprised when I see people hauling full-sized products around locker rooms. Why? There are so many easy options to either make your own travel-sized versions of your favorite products, or simply purchase travel-sized options – this saves both weight and space in your gym bag. Clinique, for example, sells a large amount of its product line in travel-sizes. I caution against using products that may be at the gym, like complimentary body wash – these often are loaded with synthetic fragrances, so there’s a chance you could develop a reaction if you have sensitive skin. Instead, use a solid bar soap for head-to-toe washing – CeraVe, Cetaphil, First Aid Beauty, and Dove make bar soaps that are gentle and appropriate for both face and body. Solid bar soaps don’t leak, last a long time, and they transport easily. Target has a great selection of travel-sized and TSA-approved bottles for shampoo, conditioner, and lotion that you can fill from your full-sized products. Travalo perfume bottles are great for keeping your favorite scents in a travel-friendly size – they’re easy to fill and fairly inexpensive. They make great stocking stuffers too!
  4. Use up beauty product samples: If you order online often from ULTA or Sephora, shop gift with purchase promotions, or have a subscription to a beauty box brand, you probably get a bunch of beauty samples regularly. These are perfect travel-sizes! From skin care to perfume, these make great options for using up within your gym bag. I just got my birthday samples from Sephora (Caudalie facial moisturizer and serum), plus had enough rewards points to get a new Kat Von D perfume vial – they are the perfect size for just this type of usage. It’s a great way to test new products, but also a convenient way to prevent these from piling up in your bathroom vanity.
  5. Get a travel-size version of your favorite hair tools: Many gyms offer hair dryers, but I’ve had more than one occasion where they just aren’t the power that I want, or in worst-case scenarios, barely work. I picked up a tiny Babyliss hair dryer that I absolutely love for under $35 – it’s powerful, and super lightweight. I also have a small flat-iron in my bag, that I use for controlling the ends of my hair. One item that I have discovered as a must-have is a plastic claw clip for my hair – it can keep my hair up in the shower (when I’m not having to wash it) or helping to style post-showering with either the blow dryer or flat-iron. I also have travel-sizes of dry shampoo and hair spray, as I prefer to use the formulas that I know and love.
  6. Lastly, use multi-tasking products: To save space and weight in your gym bag, use products that can be used in multiple ways. For example, BB cream can substitute foundation, moisturizer, SPF and an anti-aging treatment in one makeup product. The bar soaps that I mentioned above are great for face and body. You can also find an unscented, antioxidant-loaded lotion that works from head to toe to care for skin, such as First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lotion. Use a washcloth for exfoliating your body and face – it also helps to ensure that sweat and odors are washed away, and give you a polished glow. I picked up a pack of baby wash cloths at Target, and they are the perfect size to have one in my gym bag at all times. For makeup colors, I advise to keep neutrals (blush and lipstick) in your makeup bag; this ensures that no matter what you’re wearing, the colors will look natural and fresh. Look for a separate product review soon on the makeup I currently have in my gym bag!

Each of us has our own preferences when it comes to workouts. But if you plan a bit ahead, and make use of some items you may already have around your house, you may discover that it’s easier to make gym visits a priority. Once I started getting into the habit of making sure my bag had my essentials, I found it less stressful to make the time and go workout.

I wish health and happiness to you and your family this holiday season – if you take time to care for yourself, I’ve found that it keeps you feeling more joyful and energized despite the hectic schedule.

©2017 28daysbeauty