Product Review: Thrive Causemetics beauty haul for summer

Happy official start of summer everyone! I’ve taken a few months off to focus on work and volunteering, but all during this time I’ve been testing some new products. And as we’ve progressed through the first half of the year, have you stuck to your resolutions? One of mine is to be a more conscientious consumer in all aspects of my daily life. Not only in beauty and personal care, but my overall consumer habits in general. That being said, I’ve done more homework, looked into brand stories and business practices, and taken a deeper look into what the companies that make their products actually stand for. As a consumer, you speak with your wallet and the purchasing decisions that you make – even the smallest tweaks in your spending can be powerful. Coming from a long career in retail and e-commerce, I have firsthand experience in seeing how consumers can make, or break, a brand.

Think about brands who have been disruptive to the retail industry (i.e. TOMS, Warby Parker), and turned the notion of social responsibility into sound business practices that give back to those in need. That brings me to this review of Thrive Causemetics – since I’d reviewed a few of their products way back in March 2017, I’ve remained impressed with their innovation and expanding product line-up while advocating for women’s health. I decided to treat myself and bought a full-face worth of makeup, and have been using the products over the last several months – sometimes all at once, or often interspersed with other brands’ products. Happily, I’ve found that as the weather has been heating up, these make perfect choices for summer beauty. Let’s take a deeper dive and explore what I bought!

Thrive Causemetics Beauty Haul

Clockwise from the top:

  1. Glossy Lip Hydrating Serum: In the shade “JoAnn”, a berry/plum/mauve, this feels and looks awesome! True color payoff while adding shine and hydration, it’s a perfect combination. In fact, I feel like this gives my fave lip colors (Clinique’s Different Lipstick in “Sugared Grapefruit” and LORAC’s Alter Ego Lipgloss in “Duchess”) a huge run for their money in daily use. This formula packs an antioxidant blend, along with anti-aging Vitamins E and B5, plus Sodium Hyaluronate to hydrate.  Hint – I also used this as a blush when traveling, and it gave a beautiful monochromatic look with my lips. LOVE!
  2. Focus Eye Shadow Palette: I got the shade “Palette 3”, which is a combination of four warmer earth shades (see below), and are all matte. These shades were deeply pigmented and all very blendable. The formula also packs antioxidants and Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate lids. While I really liked the formula, I realized that I think I’d want to try more cool / neutral shades, like Palette 2. Nonetheless, it’s a great quad eye shadow palette that features true color payoff and easy to wear shades.
  3. Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara: Ok, this is my new FAVORITE mascara. Hands down. The formula, brush, and performance are all fantastic! The shade is a universal deep black, and truly lengthens and thickens lashes almost immediately. But is still a buildable formula! Plus, it doesn’t flake or smudge – I’ve already been sailing this summer while wearing it, and it stayed put. Woot! Totally in love with this stuff, and it’s worth the more prestige price of $24.
  4. Infinity Waterproof Eyebrow Liner: The shade “Christina” (Light – Dark Blonde) is perfect for my coloring, easily blends, and the micro-point pencil makes application go on smoothly and accurately. The pencil has a spoolie brush on the other end, which is perfect for blending and grooming. I really like that even though this is a long-wearing, waterproof formula, it is easy to remove at the end of the day.
  5. Buildable Blur CC Cream and Blend + Blur Sponge: Last, but not least, these two hero products are amazing for summer! The CC cream gives even coverage, while protecting with SPF 35. The formula contains a blend of Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Octinoxate and Octisalate sunscreens, which provides a broad spectrum defense against UV damage, yet is gentle for sensitive skin. The Color-Correcting cream also contains Vitamin C to help brighten skin, and micro-pigments that “blur” the skin to cover fine lines, uneven tone and pores. The best defense against aging is wearing SPF every day, and this product makes it especially easy by combining powerful skin-friendly ingredients into a simple easy-to-use step. Use the Blend + Blur Sponge to apply the cream to skin and achieve a flawless finish. Always dampen the sponge to properly distribute the CC cream. Pump the CC cream on the back of your opposite hand (to warm up the product), and dip in the point end of the sponge to then apply the cream in sections around your face. Dot, build, and blend as needed! Make sure to wash the sponge and let fully dry before using again.

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Even if you aren’t a pro at makeup, Thrive Causemetics truly makes application easier through their thoughtful packaging and impressive formulas. I typically don’t justify a higher price-point on makeup unless I think the performance and payoff is worth it – these are absolutely worth it. And if you are looking to simplify your routine for summer, I recommend this full-face combination to achieve a simple, yet polished, look for everyday wear.

These are fast becoming my new favorites and I can’t wait to try more products from Thrive Causemetics – especially as my purchase helps women in need. ♥

©2019 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Best picks for travel makeup

Helloooo! I took the month of September off from blogging, as life got a bit crazy with work and travel schedules. But nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from continuing to try out new products, and discover a few favorites in the process. I’ve got a bunch of new blog posts that I’m composing, and my first begins with the subject of travel-friendly makeup. I don’t think this topic is covered very well in most normal beauty or fashion magazines and blogs. Most of the attention is paid to luxury or prestige products, but there’s a huge need for many women to get solid recommendations on makeup that not only travels easily, but performs too. This could also apply to women who keep a touch-up stash in their desk drawer, in their gym bag, or just want fuss-free products. Travel is stressful enough, let alone worrying about a glass bottle of foundation or a compact of blush breaking apart inside of a suitcase. So, let’s get into my picks per my recent trip to Europe, and the reasons why I chose them!

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Before we even get into the product details, there was one requirement that I used when choosing the products: all of those selected did NOT need to be applied with makeup brushes. Reason being is that I only took 2 makeup brushes with me (a foundation and a blush brush), as I was trying to keep my bags as light as possible.

Ok, and now for the products! You may notice a common theme within the brands shown, and that is that the majority of what I selected are Julep products. I looooove Julep – they are a USA-based, K-beauty inspired brand, and I’ve always had great quality and performance from their products. But what I also love is that their products are very user-friendly, and the packaging reflects a no-fuss type of application style. Here are 3 of their products that I nabbed for my trip and my thoughts:

  • Julep Cushion Complexion in 130 Ivory:  It’s the similar concept of Clinique’s Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer, but the travel-friendly twist-up sponge applicator made application a breeze. The formula contains turmeric (naturally anti-inflammatory and brightening) and camellia seed oil (lightly moisturizing) to care for skin, and is buildable for coverage. The finish is a semi-matte effect, and helps to blur imperfections and fine lines. Traveling from England to Scotland to Paris, this makeup held up between both climates, from country-side misty rains to hot and sunny strolls around the city.
  • Julep Eyeshadow 101 in Slate Shimmer: If you don’t like most eyeshadows, I challenge you to give this a try. The creamy, twist-up stick formula applies with super smooth and shimmery color, yet is easily buildable to be as low-key or intense as you want. Plus, it’s waterproof, and did a decent job of staying put all day. The sponge blending tool on the other end of the wand was awesome to easily smudge into place on lids. Slate Shimmer is a beautiful neutral – it can be dressed up or down, which makes it super versatile for travel.
  • Julep Skip The Brush Blush Stick in Golden Guava: This is by far one of my most favorite of the Julep line. This beautiful pink + peach + rosy-gold color gives a natural flush to cheeks, with a hint of shimmer. It also doubles as an awesome lipstick, which can be super useful in packing light. Simply dot onto cheeks, and easily blend with fingers or a blush brush for a soft effect.

And now for the rest! Most of these are routine favorites of mine, but there are 2 newcomers that I’m super happy I tried on the trip:

  • butter | LONDON’s Sheer Wisdom Serum Shadow in Rose Petal: I love liquid or cream eyeshadows that also act as a creaseless base for building on other colors. This product contains a blend of anti-aging peptides, and acts either as a solid wash of color or as a neutral primer. Easy to apply with a doe-foot applicator, it can be applied with or without a brush. As we traveled between various climates and humidity levels, this performed and stayed put all day.
  • Model’s Own Grand Master Lash mascara: From the UK, this brand has had limited distribution in the states, but if you can get your hands on it, it’s awesome! After e.l.f. discontinued the version of Mineral Mascara that I loved, I’ve been on the hunt for a replacement. Grand Master Lash (love the name, btw) delivers!! The wand is a dead-ringer for the silicone brush that made the Mineral Mascara awesome, and this formula does not disappoint. It’s buildable, smear-proof, and easily washes off. But I can’t find it at Ulta anymore! Hopefully this brand is not discontinued…

To round out my travel-friendly makeup assortment, I relied on a few tried-and-true selections:

  • LORAC Alter Ego Lip Gloss in Heroine: LORAC makes my absolute favorite lip glosses. They are hydrating, super pigmented, and made from high-quality ingredients. “Heroine” is a beautiful neutral rosy-gold pink, and has a slight shimmer. It was my main lip color through the entire trip, and can look either casual or super polished. Win!
  • NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in Chocolate: As I’ve written about before, this brow mascara is my jam. Simply stated, it’s quick and easy to use, and lasts through the day – without any touch-ups needed!
  • L’Oreal Brow Stylist Definer in Brunette: I’ve also written about this automatic pencil + spoolie before, and it was one of my go-to’s for the trip. I love pairing it with the NYX Tinted Brow Mascara to achieve super-defined brows in a snap.
  • e.l.f. Brush Cleanser Wipes: These are the travel-friendly versions of my favorite daily makeup brush cleaner. For whenever I chose to use the makeup brushes that I took with me, I used these to quickly clean them up.

So, after traveling through 3 countries, which product in the travel line-up was a true game changer? To me, the Julep Cushion Complexion was the winner! Quick and easy to apply, with skin-caring ingredients to boot, this product is innovative, packs easily, and is a new favorite.

Julep Cushion Complexion

©2018 28daysbeauty

Product Reviews: Cheap Thrills #3 – mascara picks from e.l.f & NYX

The last of my three-part series on cheap makeup thrills for summer wraps up with the topic of mascara; a product that a lot of people consider the “holy grail” of a polished makeup look, but can be a bit of a challenge to find one that delivers and lasts. Especially when its the one beauty product that needs to be replaced four times a year. A cheaper formula is especially beneficial to help with this, since it’s not easy to essentially throw away a product if you feel there’s still some left to use. To help avoid eye infections, it’s important to replace your mascara every 3 months, and never add any other liquids into the tube that could contaminate or introduce bacteria. Having been a former makeup counter manager, you wouldn’t believe the stories I encountered of women adding olive oil or water into their more expensive mascara tubes to make them last longer, and then coming to the counter to return it when it “didn’t work anymore”. Really?! Really. So, in short, finding a less expensive formula that you like, and stocking up on several tubes, can lessen the amount of buying trips you make and ensure that you have healthy eyes for the year.

But what are the basics of finding a good mascara? Quite frankly, the market is flooded with choices, from $2 to upwards of $70 per tube. But what are the main aspects that I look for in selecting my choices? The first thing I look at is the brush – it makes ALL the difference in the results of the application. And second, I look for multi-tasking formulas that also care for and condition lashes. Once I make my picks on those two factors, I’ll then wear the product for a full week in order to make my final decision. Here’s two selections I made on my trip to Target at the beginning of summer: NYX The Skinny Mascara and e.l.f. Cosmetics Lash Extending Mascara, both in black shades.

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To me, these brands are very similar – professional grade makeup that retails for a fraction of the cost of other brands. But there are a few subtle differences for each formula that I want to explain further:

  1. NYX’s The Skinny Mascara is not a new product, but captures a trend that is growing – full, dark lashes that look more natural and defined. For several years, huge, gargantuan mascara brushes were all the rage in makeup marketing, but unfortunately, they were a total hassle and awkward to work with. I’ll admit that I hate using big mascara brushes. But this brush is absolutely super thin, and I LOVE it! It captures every single lash, and suddenly brings them all into focus. Giving you complete control, you can build this formula from airy and light to bold and super-defined. I have found it takes a bit of practice to work with, especially if you are used to a larger brush. But once you get the hang of it, it’s hard to go back to a larger brush. Plus, this formula stays all day long – no smearing or smudging, even in humidity. It’s water-resistant yet easy to remove at the end of the day with coconut oil or makeup wipes.
  2. e.l.f. Cosmetics used to make my favorite mascara – the Mineral-Infused Mascara that had a total kick-ass silicone brush. But, unfortunately, they discontinued that formula a while ago (why, e.l.f., why?!). So, I picked up their new Lash Extending formula, and gave it a whirl. While it doesn’t mimic my old favorite, this newer formula is a good alternative as an overall multi-tasking mascara, with both volumizing and lengthening qualities. The formula conditions lashes with vitamins B and E, delivers bold color, and stays all day – it didn’t flake or clump. The brush is not silicone, but it does give an even coat on the first couple of strokes, and the formula is buildable. While the NYX formula was easier to use in defining each lash, this formula gives more length and a thicker texture from the start. If you want a good, solid formula for every day use, this is a great choice.

Both of these choices are affordable ($6.99 for NYX and $3 for e.l.f.) and easy to get at either ULTA or Target, plus both brands are coupon-eligible at ULTA. Both brands are cruelty-free, and the e.l.f. formula is vegan too. If you are on the hunt for a good mascara this summer, and don’t want to spend too much, give these a try! You don’t have to be a makeup artist to get great results with either of these picks.

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Product Reviews: Cheap Thrills Part #2 – Power Brow combo by L’Oreal & NYX

Per the theme of the first of my three-part series for cheap beauty thrills this summer, my second blog post is dedicated to achieving awesome eyebrows for a few dollars. As I said before, “cheap thrills” is meant with the most sincere praise! I’m all for looking great with quality products, at a low impact on my wallet. But there’s so much out there to choose from – let’s take a look at a few that I’ve come to love for my brows.

I think that one of the most misunderstood facial features to play up with makeup are the eyebrows – they can be either dramatically overdrawn and too dominating, or not be balanced enough and end up getting “lost” in an overall look. But there are two simple rules to getting your brows under control, and a part of your daily look. Rule #1: always clean up the brow area first by removing stray hairs. Whether it’s with waxing, tweezing or threading, it definitely helps to have a pro give you a great shape to start with – just make sure you maintain accordingly going forward. Rule #2: use products that give you a balanced, face-framing look that naturally complements you, and doesn’t overwhelm. Great brows are truly a powerful asset, even if you don’t have much other makeup on.

During summer, I’ve found that a solid combination to achieve great brows daily starts with a brow mascara, and ends with a brow pencil. Brow mascaras work two-fold: they lock down and tame unruly brow hairs, while adding color to even out and darken the brow.

I love NYX’s Tinted Brow Mascara since it reminds me a bit of Glossier’s Boy Brow, with a slightly larger brush. Begin with the thicker part of your brow (above the inner corner of your eye), and brush out to the end by following the brow’s natural arch. This formula does not flake, and darkens while blending in naturally. During a hot and humid day, a brow mascara definitely holds up better than powder or wax formulas. I use the shade Chocolate, which is a perfect golden brown that complements my auburn hair.

Next, I fill in and define where needed with a brow pencil – especially with a spoolie brush on the end. L’Oreal’s Brow Stylist Shape & Fill pencil is awesome for defining clean lines, filling gaps to give a fuller appearance, and is easily applied as a twist-up pencil. The spoolie is essential for blending the brow mascara and pencil products together, to create a natural effect. Plus, I love to use this spoolie to finish shaping brow hair into place, without adding more color. The shade below is 115 Brunette, and it blends well with the Chocolate shade from NYX. This formula is very long wearing, and does not smear – it’s held up during my regular sailing regattas, and attending an outside wedding this summer.

I also keep a spare L’Oreal Brow Stylist pencil in my gym bag makeup kit, as there’s no need for a pencil sharpener. It’s a quick and easy way to give color and control, especially if you are packing light for the gym or travel.

At ULTA and Target, it’s under $20 total for these two products together! Plus, both of these brands are coupon-eligible at ULTA, and often have BOGO deals – I’ve learned to stock up and have spares handy when needed. If you are in need of changing up your products, or are interested in playing with your brow look a bit more, both of these are easy to use and quality products to get you moving in the right direction without having to spend a lot.

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Cheap Thrills Part #1 – e.l.f. beautifully bare top 3 picks

Inspired by a recent trip to Target that has renovated it’s beauty department, I decided to grab a few new items from some of my favorite brands and write a 3-part series that I’m lovingly calling “Cheap Thrills”. It’s not a dig at all – it’s meant with the highest praise in the fact that not only are these amazing products, but you can get them at super low prices! Win – win!! Plus, I love that the products I’m providing a review on in this series are all perfect for summer – they are long-wearing, low-maintenance, and can take the heat/humidity that comes along with all-day activities. Let’s get into it!

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From left to right, my picks are from e.l.f. Cosmetics’ “Beautifully Bare” collection:

  1. Natural Glow Face Palette in “Fresh & Flawless” – the palette features a champagne highlighter, two blushes, and a bronzer. The shimmer is subtle – not sparkly, which gives the skin a beautiful satin finish. The formula is 100% vegan, and cruelty-free. The powders are silky, very lightweight, and blend easily together. I like using this as a full-face palette – I’ve used the bronzer as a contour shade on my cheeks and eyes, and the highlighter in a c-shape around my cheekbones up to my brow-bones. Powders are great for any skin type in summer – they stay put and help your foundation keep from sliding due to sweat or humidity.

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2. Smooth Matte Eyeshadow in “Blushing Rose” – there are several colors that this cream eyeshadow comes in, and “Blushing Rose” is a soft, pretty mauve with a hint of grayish-brown. I apply after foundation and concealer, and prior to any powders – using the doe-foot applicator across the lid, and blend easily with an eye-shadow brush. It locks down to a matte, dry finish, and wears all day. I like layering this as an eye-shadow base before applying powder formulas. I tend to stay away from eyeliner during summer, mostly due to the humidity and sweat-factor, and focus on a bright lip color (more on that in a minute) instead. This is great product to add a bit of polish to an overall easy summer look. Just finish your brows and swipe on mascara, and you’re done!

3. And lastly, Satin Lipstick in “Touch of Berry” – I love, love, love brighter lipsticks for summer. It’s super easy to go simple on the rest of your makeup, and let a bright lipstick take center stage. Plus, in super hot or humid weather, a bright lipstick is much less likely to look messy or runny through the day – just reapply when needed.  By using less makeup overall, your look will look instantly refreshed when a new coat of lipstick is applied. This formula is light, hydrating, and softly glossy. This berry color feels like a balm, and looks fantastic on any skin tone.

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All in, these 3 products together are under $20 total! I’ve also taken these with me on a few weekend trips – they pack light, and are great with multiple looks. Stay tuned for the next picks, and happy shopping!

© 2018 28daysbeauty

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 the 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

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!

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