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!


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

My best beauty of 2016: Top 10 Savvy Splurges & Cheap Thrills

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to recap for you the beauty products that I found myself constantly reaching for, as I think they are worth noting in the flood of beauty choices available. Many of them aren’t really “new” to the market, but they are the ones that I think a) deliver GREAT results and b) are worth the money. So, I divided my top 10 beauty products into 2 groups: 5 Cheap Thrills (which cost under $15) and 5 Savvy Splurges (which cost over $15). In the beauty industry, it’s surprising to me how many people think the higher the price tag, the better the product. There’s a certain perception people have, but in reality, it’s all about the performance. Check out my top picks – they all are great for ANY skin type, even hyper-sensitive skins.

Top 5 Cheap Thrills:

Who doesn’t love a great deal that is also a performance workhorse? I also love the fact that all the 5 products you see below can easily be found at Target, or online at Stock up on these if you can, since you’ll find that these become a part of your daily routine year-round (clockwise from the top):cheap

  1. Simple Micellar Cleansing Water – This is the fantastic alternative to expensive micellar cleansing waters that burst onto the American beauty scene a year ago. The best part is that this is truly great for sensitive skins, cleans deep, and removes eye makeup easily. For a new, large 13.5 oz size, it’s a mere $8.99 at Use as a pre-cleanse at night, with cotton pads, to remove all makeup and prep skin for your cleanser. Your cleanser will work even better, and your skin will be balanced.
  2. Dove Sensitive Skin Bar Soap – All hail this fantastic soap! It creates a luxurious, foamy lather, makes for a comforting head to toe clean, and doubles as a great shaving cream in the shower. For an 8-pack on, it’s only $9.39. The nice thing is that it’s great for kids too – if you need a soap that is safe for the whole family in the bathtub. Use with a bath puff for extra lather and suds.
  3. e.l.f. Mineral-Infused mascara – For only $3, it’s hard to pass up this awesome mascara. It’s buildable, doesn’t smear or flake, and can look natural or dramatic. The silicone brush lifts and separates, plus always creates a clean look without clumps. Mascara should be replaced at least every 3 months to avoid eye infections, so this price points makes it even easier to do.
  4. TRESemme TRESTwo Extra Hold Hairspray – I use this hairspray daily, as it’s great to maintain any style. It resists humidity, and holds all-day without feeling crunchy. Plus, you can get it in travel sizes, so I keep a bottle at my desk to help fix any hair emergencies fast, but it doesn’t irritate my scalp. The 14.6 oz size is $5.99 at, and it lasts!
  5. Up & Up Witch Hazel – If you struggle with finding toners that don’t burn and actually do something, then look to witch hazel as your daily skin fix. Witch hazel is a natural extract, and acts as antiseptic, soothing and balancing astringent for the skin. After cleansing, soak a cotton pad and wipe over skin – it helps clear away dead skin cells from dry skin (to allow your moisturizer to do its job properly), and clears/heals acne breakouts from oilier skin types. Men will like it post-shaving, to help soothe razor burn. At $2.49 for a 16 oz bottle, Target’s own private brand Up & Up version is a steal. It’s located in the first-aid section, since it’s always handy to keep for cleaning minor cuts and scrapes. Insider tip: witch hazel is a staple in many spa facial treatments and toner brands on the market.

Top 5 Savvy Splurges:

Some beauty splurges are totally worth it, since they deliver that extra-special level of performance and can be multi-tasking to get the most for your money. The ones that I’ve chosen below are the over $15 price point, which some people would scoff at for being too “low” of a splurge price point level. Yeahhhhh, sure. But how many times have you bought a higher price point beauty product with the promise of it being “totally worth it”, only to be disappointed and have buyer’s remorse? Probably more often than you care to admit. Also (this is important) – if you have a closet or drawer full of these miracle-in-a-bottle types of high price point beauty products, and you haven’t used them within the last year, then PLEASE toss them or return them. You don’t want to risk eye infections or breakouts due to expired products or bacteria buildup, just because you refuse to let your hard-earned dollars go to waste. Navigate beauty hype cautiously, and remember that $15 could also equal a fantastic bottle of wine! (clockwise from the top):


6) Clinique Different Lipstick (my favorite shade is Sugared Grapefruit) – this collection of lipstick shades from Clinique has been a fan favorite for years. This formula feels lightweight, yet delivers great color payoff. The shades range from cream to satin finishes, are long-wearing, and moisturize lips. I wear Sugared Grapefruit almost daily year-round, as it’s a beautiful pinky-peach color that matches my natural lip color. At $17 a tube, I love that these are available at Ulta and Boston Store, since I can earn points and use my rewards.

7) Cargo Color Stick (my favorite shade is Key West) – Cargo has a knack for developing multi-use makeup, with high performance formulas. For the past year, I’ve found myself constantly reaching for this as a blush, and multi-tasking it as a lip color when traveling. They are $28 per stick, and come in a variety of shades, plus a bronzer shade of St. Tropez. The great part is that you get a LOT within the tube, so they last a long time. You can easily find the entire shade range online!

8) Julep Skip the Brush Creme-to-Powder Blush Stick (my favorite shade is Sheer Glow) – Oh, what a fun brand Julep is! This Korean-beauty inspired brand also features great multi-use products, including this Sheer Glow highlighting stick. I love to use it under my brow bone and on my eyelid, to give shimmer under shadow. As well as a highlighter on my cheekbones, forehead, and bridge of my nose. The stick is super easy to apply, and the creamy formula is very blendable – it looks glowy, not glittery! Each blush stick is $24, and you can either subscribe to the Julep Maven beauty boxes, or find them at Ulta.

9) Altchek MD Glycolic Renewal Pads – This NYC beauty brand is dermatologist developed to give high performance skin care, without a super high price tag. A jar of pads (36 per jar) is $20, and delivers a great micro-peel, anti-aging treatment that you can easily use at night, under your favorite moisturizer. My family and I have super sensitive skin, and what we love about these is that they don’t burn. At. All! I use them about 2 to 3 times per week, after cleansing, and I wake up to glowing, softer, clearer skin. Find these online from the brand’s website, or at Kohl’s.

10) First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream – Hands down, this is one of my favorite moisturizers of all time. It’s soothing for all skin types, and doesn’t leave a greasy shine. It absorbs quickly, hydrates fast, and helps repair the skin’s natural moisture barrier. You can use it anywhere on the face and body, and a little goes a really long way. Even people with oilier skin need to hydrate, especially if you are in a seasonal or dry climate. A large 6 oz jar is $30 at Ulta or Sephora, but it will last for a while. People with hyper sensitive skin, such as eczema, will also love this – it calms irritated skin, contains colloidal oatmeal, anti-oxidants, and ceramides without any parabens. I consider this one of my anti-aging secret weapons, to help build healthier skin.

I hope these product recommendations help you in tackling your beauty challenges, and sifting through performance versus price. I’m looking forward to trying some new brands and products next year, so feel free to let me know if there’s any out there you have questions about! Be well, and have fun, in the New Year!

© 2016 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: Strobing in Fall? Yes.

This past Spring and Summer brought on a slew of new highlighting and contouring products to the market. And there as also a new word in our vocabulary, “strobing”. This is basically applying highlighter, and forgoing the contouring balance effect. And the result is beautiful and great for any age or skin tone. 

If you purchased a highlighter this past summer, don’t think that you cannot use it even though Fall’s makeup colors trend darker. In fact, strobing is a great means to keep a brighter complexion, and soften up features to give darker berry lip colors a perfect complement. Here’s a few products that I tried over Summer that I love, and that I’ll keep using until next Spring! 

From the top left, clockwise:

1) PUR’s Sunkissed Glow highlighting palette features cream-to-powder formulas that range from a light carmel to champagne. These 3 shades blend together easily, and I like applying them with my foundation brush to blend. I’ve used them as a highlighting eyeshadow as well, and they can sub in for blush or light contouring too.

2) LORAC’s Light Source Illuminating Highlighter in Twilight is a beautiful neutral champagne. The powder is silky, and a little goes a very long way. Makes a fantastic eyeshadow substitute, and creates an overall glow. 

3) Julep Skip the Brush cream-to-powder blush stick is actually a fantastic highlighter in the shade “sheer glow”. And it does just that – this a super versatile product in one convenient package. I love it for travel, or if you want a quick and easy means to try highlighting. 

So, what are some tips for quick and easy highlighting? After foundation is set,  think of only applying the highlighter to the areas of the face that are “high-points” or that would normally catch light. I.e: brow bone, forehead, tops of cheeks, bridge of nose, and tip of chin. Apply just a bit, and blend well. The goal isn’t to make the skin look “shiny”, but rather have a soft glow. This also lessens the appearance of fine lines, and conceals uneven skin tone. Apply blush after, as needed to warm up the complexion. In the darker months of November through February, these effect is really pretty if you go out for dinner or drinks – the sheer sheen will catch the light and play up your natural features.

Plus, all of these products I mention above are great for sensitive skin, and don’t give a glittery, disco-ball effect. I wear a highlighter every day, and I can tell the difference in my appearance when I don’t. Strobe on, lovelies, strobe on. 

©2016 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Julep Love Your Bare Face Cleansing Stick

Korean beauty innovations have made a huge impact on the retail scene in recent years, and are changing the way that many women shop for both skincare and makeup products. Some of these K-beauty products include cleansing sticks, which are basically solid versions of liquid facial cleansers. One of my favorites is from Julep – a Korean-inspired brand that has brought both simplicity and innovation to the forefront. Here’s what I like about their Love Your Bare Face cleansing stick:

1) It’s so easy to use!! Remove the cap, twist up a bit of the stick, and swirl across  a damp face. Then wet your hands, and work into a lather. This also works beautifully with a konjac sponge for extra deep-cleaning. Julep offers konjac sponges, but my favorite is the sensitive skin version from Eco-Tools. Rinse after 30-60 seconds, and your skin feels clean and soft!

2) The formula is fantastic! The base of this formula is coconut oil, with a blend of other oils that purify, comfort, break down makeup, and soothe skin. Plus, fruit enzymes work to exfoliate and purge skin of debris and dead skin cells. If you normally experience a bit of dryness or flakiness as the weather becomes cooler, this formula is perfect for combination, sensitive and drier skins – it helps skin keep hydrated as the climate changes. Green Tea extract and Vitamin E round out an impressive blend of ingredients, with no added fragrances. 

3) Perfect for travel or gym bags! Anyone who travels a lot can tell you that it’s tricky to find beauty product packaging that doesn’t burst open. Or how cool it is to find a multi-tasking product that takes  up minimal space or your bag. I was truly surprised how much product you get, and the size is the same as an average stick of deodorant. Plus, the package design is waterproof, and the cap twists on securely. I’ve had my cleansing stick now for about 2 months, and there’s still quite a lot remaining. It’s a great value! 

This is fast becoming a favorite cleanser of mine, and just may replace my go-to everyday Clinique Mild bar soap. Especially since the packaging is so easy to use and travel with. Don’t let the oils and extracts in the formula scare you if you have combination or oilier skin – this is a great cleanser for most skin types, especially as we go into Fall. 

© 2016 28daysbeauty 

Beauty Topic: Quick & Easy Summer manicure

I love getting pedicures. But to be honest, I hate getting manicures because I always end up messing up my nails within a day or two after if I get a bright color. Plus, my nails get easily irritated by chemicals and acetone. So, rather than waste money on a weekly manicure, I took it upon myself to find a few essentials that perform and give me an easy mani at home. 

There are two brands that I applaud for taking a serious stance on their nail product ingredients: butter LONDON and Julep. I purposely went direct to them, as they are making a concerted effort to help ensure their products promote healthy nails. This is a very controversial topic, and if you want more info, there are tons of articles on Google available from various bloggers and watch-dog sites. But for now, I will focus on these brands, as I’ve had great luck with their products.

I wear my nails short, and I love this combination of products as they give me a sheer, natural-looking, and easily maintained finish. 

butter london, essie, julep
essentials for an easy mani

1) Prep nails & cuticles with essie Apricot Cuticle oil: this oil is fantastic for quick absorption and hydration. This is one of the few essie products I have, and it’s always been great. It has a nail polish brush, so you simply swipe across the cuticles and then massage in.

2) Julep Cuticle Wand: this is super easy to use in pushing back cuticles without tearing skin. I love that it’s soft-edged, and easy to grip.

3) Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment: this is a fantastic alternative to nail polish. It allows your nails to breathe, while strengthening them. It delivers a delicate, sheer pink, glossy finish – looks beautiful against many skin tones. It also can be layered – I usually apply another coat about two days later, after my initial application. Another GREAT nail polish alternative is the new butter LONDON Nail Tinted Moisturizers. More on those later!

4) butter LONDON P.D. Quick Dry Conditioning Drops: this is magic in a bottle!! You could actually use this over any manicure process, but it immediately makes polish dry and keeps cuticles conditioned. Best stuff ever!

I can be done with this process in about 10 minutes flat – including time to initially trim and file my nails. Also, I don’t use water in the manicure process – it’s been proven to cause nails to become brittle. Also, my hands haven’t become raw or irritated since I’m avoiding harsh chemicals. Due to sailing, gardening, and other summer fun, my nails take a beating. But these easy essentials give me great, consistent results fast! 

© 2016 28daysbeauty

Product Review: My 3 latest beauty obsessions from Julep

For those of you who read my blog, you’ll know of my beauty box opinions. Julep has become my favorite (for their assortment and subscription functionality), and I’ve found 3 products in shades that I’m seriously loving for this Spring.

my 3 new favorites from Julep!
  1. Julep Nail Color in Whitney: this is beautiful nude taupe nail polish in a cream finish. I love it for my manicures, especially layering underneath essie’s Gel Setter top coat. It lasts incredibly well, and is subtle to wear with everything.
  2. Julep It’s Balm Full Coverage Lip Crayon in Nectar Pink Creme: Ok, straight talk? This is just a gorgeous nude pink in a fantastic formula. It reminds me of my favorite Cargo Essential Lip Color in Sante Fe, and it has a moisturizing core to care for lips. It has the slightest sheen to it, and wears beautifully throughout the day. In a pinch, I used it as blush, and it looked awesome.
  3. Julep When Pencil Met Gel Long-Lasting Eyeliner in Smokey Taupe Shimmer: I’ll admit I have VERY high standards for eyeliner, for two main reasons; 1) I have sensitive eyes, and 2) I want a smooth formula that lasts. And this eyeliner may have just unseated my all-time favorite “Eqyptian” Cream Shaper eyeliner from Clinique. This shade is gorgeous for most eye colors, and the formula is so smooth but long lasting. I’m totally impressed with this, as it didn’t cause me any irritation and yet contains shimmer. (Shimmer or mica particles are often a culprit of irritation in eye makeup)
it’s balm full coverage lip crayon and when pencil met gel eyeliner

This brand is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Not only is the box subscription model easy to use, the value is great and formulas are high quality. Also, their formulas are very user friendly and caring for skin. Julep is also starting to be featured in retailers, so keep your eyes on this brand!

© 2016 28daysbeauty