Top 7 Exfoliators

So the last few months, I haven’t done any updates. Good news is I am finally seeing some progress. So, at the bottom, I will have some 5 month progress pics to share. Until then I thought I would talk all about my favorite exfoliators.

 

BeFunky Collage

Overall, my time on isotretinoin hasn’t been too bad. I haven’t had any adverse effects. The only noticeable thing has been the dry skin. Mostly, I can handle it. Where it becomes problematic is when I want to put on makeup. If you try to put foundation over all that dry skin, well it just doesn’t look cute.

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Korres Wild Rose Exfoliating Cleanser  ($28) is a great choice if you are needing a daily exfoliator. It should be gentle enough to use frequently for most skin types. The only downside is that it has a light rose scent. I enjoy it but some people may not, especially if you have sensitive skin.

  1. Another great option for a gentle exfoliation is the Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Face Exfoliant ($33). I really enjoy this one because it is gentle enough for me to use daily and the brand is very clean and natural. These light exfoliators are great for people got don’t have a lot of dry patches.

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Ole Henriksen Transforming Walnut Scrub ($28) has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I love it becauses it exfoliates as well as cleanses. I would only use this one a few times a week. It is a little rougher on the skin but always leaves my skin feeling good.

For some people, the Boscia Charcoal Deep-Pore Exfoliating Peel Gel ($34) might be a intense scrub. For me, I have found that I can use it a few times a week. It works decently well, but doesn’t completely get rid of all the dead skin. It is a mix between a physical and chemical exfoliant. I think this is a good one to try if you are too worried to go straight to a chemical exfoliant.

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The Dior Hydra Life Glow Better Fresh Jelly Mask ($69) is a great option for beginners to chemical exfoliants. This one is nice because you only have to leave it on for three minutes. It has a nice smell and it stings just a little bit. It exfoliates fairly well. It smooths my skin, but I usually have one or two spots that are missed.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ ($80) is expensive, but it is so good. The packaging is great because it keeps the product from getting bacteria and gives it a longer shelf life. It does sting a bit when you put it on and you do have to let it sit for 20 minutes. That being said, it completely gets rid of any dry skin. You do want to make sure to use this once a week. There is a reason why this brand is so hyped, it is just that good.

I didn’t think I would find anything better than the one above, but I did. The Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel ($34) is a great price and it works so well. It doesn’t sting and you do not have to leave it on the skin. It is quick and easy to use plus it left my skin baby smooth. I would only use this every three days or so. It is truly amazing.

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The important thing with exfoliators is to always use a good moisturizer afterwards. Now that you know my top 7 favorites, here is a little update.


My skin has really been clearing up. I have only had one or two breakouts. Now, my biggest concern is reddness and scaring. I have also had a problem with my hands.


As you can see, they are so dry. I found out that it is a form of ezcema. The doctor have me a cream, and it is already clearing up a lot. So far, I only have a couple more months and I will be all done.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Xoxo Sammie

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NYX In Your Element Palettes

When I first saw the images for the NYX In You Element Palettes, I was instantly drawn to both Earth and Metal. Something about them just spoke to me and they were so different from the reds, oranges and yellows that everyone seems to be coming out with. The best part,l is NYX is a drugstore brand so I figured that I would be able to pick up both for somewhere between $30 and $40 USD. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.


On launch day, I rushed to my computer and anxiously waited for the NYX Cosmetics website to load. When it did, I was shocked. They were changing $30 PER PALETTE! Considering they sell $5 single shadows and other affordable products, I was dumbfounded. I decided that I would be much better off saving my money and picking up one higher end palette instead of spending $60 on two drugstore palettes.


So I waited and I am so glad I did. Right now, Ulta is having a sale September 24-30 and the NYX In Your Element Palettes are on sale. With the $3.50 coupon, they are only $17.50 before tax. Still a little pricey, but a bargain considering what they cost before the sale. So, I decided it was time I picked up both the Metal and Earth Palette.


The Earth In Your Element Palette was the first one that caught my eye in the press release pictures. The color selection screamed fall to me and gave me ABH Subculture vibes. While this is most certainly not a dupe, it is a good alternative if you had problems with the ABH formula or you were too concerned to purchase it.


When I swatched this palette in store, I was concerned. The colors seemed to be patchy and ill pigmented. I didn’t even pick it up at first and almost talked myself out of it. But, I kept thinking of how pretty the colors where and how it was on sale. I told myself that worse come to worse, I could always return the palette if I didn’t like it.


In the end, the palette performed much better than it swatched. The mattes were buildable and blended well. In the first look, I used colors 1, 3, 10, 4, 6 and 11. For the second look, I used colors 1, 8, 7, 2, 9, and 5. I didn’t have any problems with any shade in particular. The shimmer shades apply best with a stiff or damp brush and the green shades need to be packed on to show their true color.


Out of all six element palettes, Metal seemed to be the most fun. It is a palette of 12 different shimmer shades. So, obviously this is not a stand alone palette. But the colors seemed fun and unique.


When swatching all the colors, it became apparent that a couple of them would be used best as a topper or inner corner highlight as opposed to a stand alone shadow. The two that would be best as toppers are 1 and 5.


Also, I found that the shades did not work well with a brush. I tried with a dry flat brush, damp flat brush and with my finger. I decided to show how two different colors applied with each method. These can be placed directly on the lid, but will benefit being placed over the top of glitter glue or a tacky base. I found that there was a little bit of glitter fallout.


I do enjoy both of these palettes and think they are pretty. The colors definitely perform better than I expected after swatching in store. Both palettes did have a little bit of fallout but nothing too crazy. So the big question, are they worth the price?


In short, the answer would be no. At full price, it is ridiculous to pay so much for something from a historically drugstore brand. Where I think NXY went wrong is by partnering with social media influencers. Each palette was designed by a different influencer and the price reflects that. I wish NYX had created the palettes without the collaborations and kept the price around $20. However, if you see one that you like then I would definitely pick it up while it is on sale.

Do you plan on picking any of these palettes up?

Xoxo Sammie

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Clariol Professional Flare Me

I’ve always loved to experiment with my hair. I remember back when I was only 12 years old and had hair that fell all that way down my back. I decided that it was so long, why not donate it? My mom agreed and was so happy that she allowed me to add temporary purple streaks. That’s when my love for hair color began.


Now that I work in a professional environment, it’s been a really long time since I played with fun colors. When I received this VoxBox from Influenster, I was so excited! In the box was everything you could need to color you hair: bleach, color, developer, special shampoo and condition as well as a leave in treatment. I thought that the best way to play with color would be to create an ombré effect. Plus, if I messed up I could always get a haircut.


To start, I pulled my hair into pig tails. I thought this would be the easiest way to make sure I didn’t go crazy with the bleach. I mixed the Clairol BW2 Powder Lightener and Clairol Pure White 20 Developer. I applied the bleach to the bottom 2-3 inches of hair.


They say that you want the hair to be a light blond color and that you can leave the bleach on for up to 40 minutes. I was really terrified of frying my hair and checked it constantly. I thought I achieved the light blond after 30 minutes and washed it out. Though, for the pictures, it looks like I could have left it on a little longer. At  this point, I was really scared that the brassiness of my hair would turn the pull to a green color.


The next part was the hardest: coloring the hair. I used the Clairol Flare Me in Be You Blue. The dye comes in a resealable tube, so you can save any unused portion for a later date. For me, I decided to use the whole tube and all of the Clairol Pure White 10 developer. At first, I tried to apply the dye while keeping my hair in pigtails but it was too hard to keep it even. So I undid them and focused most of the dye on the ends and then worked it up past the bleach so as to create the ombré. Once all of the dye is placed, let it sit for 30 minutes.


I rinsed out the color until the water ran clear and then used the Clairol iThrive Vibrancy Shampoo and iThrive Vibrancy Conditioner. They have a light, fruity smell and left my hair feeling soft. I also used the Clairol iThrive Vibrancy Intense Repair Therapy to help with any damage. They also included a leave in treatment. The iThrive Keratin Reduce Split End Repair is a leave in treatment that not only leaves you hair silky smooth, but helps to repair any damage.

Now, the Clariol Flare Me claims to not bleed which can be a big problem for towels and pillow cases. In the picture above, you can see how the towel is still white. I used this to dry my hair the first two times I washed it. There was no bleeding on the towel, my white shirt or on my pillow case.


The color came out really well! I was happy to see it was more of a navy color than a bright blue. I am also happy to say that the brass tones in my hair did not cause it to pull green. I have not noticed any fading or bleeding. My hair feels so healthy, soft and shiny. I am so happy with this product and so excited to play with more colors.

Would you every dye your hair a crazy color?

Xoxo Sammie

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Boxycharm: September 2017

I have to say, this month I am even more impressed by Boxycharm than usual. First, even with Hurricane Irma, my box managed to get to me by the 15th. That alone seems to be a miracle. Second, not only did they include a full sized eyeshadow palette but there was a bonus sixth item.


So far this month, I am a really happy girl. To see all what we got along with swatches and spoilers for next month, just keep on reading.


I am always switching between a brush and a sponge to apply my foundation. Sometimes, I even like to go in with a brush first and a sponge second. The first item in my box was the Bare Minerals Perfecting Foundation Brush ($28). Unfortunately, I do not like this brush for foundation. I find it to be too small and kind of awkward to use. However, I think it could be really great for cream contour, highlight and even concealer. I am going to continue to play with this too see if I can find some other use.


I am not usually one for loose powder products. They can be messy, especially when traveling. However, I am always down to try something new. In my box, I got the Luminous Loose Blush from Studio Makeup ($30?). I really enjoy the color for fall, and it was easy to apply with a less dense brush. I wouldn’t purchase this product myself, but I will continue to use it. I would like it for you, but it seems that it is no longer available on the Studio Makeup website.


Probably the most exciting item in the box is the Soiree Diaries Eyeshadow Palette from PUR ($34). This palette contains 4 matte shades, 4 satin shades and 4 shimmers. It is a neutral/warm toned palette that is perfect for everyday looks. I found the colors to be beautiful, blendable and pigmented. I think this is a great everyday palette and would be perfect to travel with. I also think that it would work really well on most skin tones.


Another huge surprise was a MAC Eyebrows Crayon in Spiked ($18). I have fairly dense eyebrows and usually just use a brow powder to fill in sparse areas. This pencil works well and the tone is perfect for me. The only problem is that once it twists up, you cannot twist it back down. Other than that, it is not a bad product.


I haven’t tried a ton of products from them before, so I was excited about receiving a ColourPop Ultra Satin Lip in Mess Around ($6). I wasn’t too sure about the color at first and unfortunately it did not suit me. It was a dark grey/brown and looked patchy on my lips. The formula was comfortable and may work best over the top of a lip liner. For me, I think I will stick with my other lip sticks.


We receive a bonus 6th product, the Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! hair mask 2 oz (~$18). While this isn’t A full sized product, it a decent travel size. It left my hair feeling soft and had a nice smell but, I do not think it is worth the high price tag. I rather use the Clariol iThrive Keratin Rescue, which is 5 oz for about $10.

Overall, did I like this box? Yes! I really love the eyeshadow palette and blush. Although I wouldn’t have bought them myself, I will continue to use the eyebrow pencil, hair mask and foundation brush. The only product I will not use is the colourpop lipstick because I did not like the color. Overall, this box has a retail value of $134. That’s pretty amazing considering it only costs $21 a month.


If you’d like to sign up for boxycharm, you can get more information here. So far in October we will be receiving a Tarte Tartiest Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint ($20), Dr Brandt Pore Dermabrasion ($58) and either a liquid highlighter ($41) or pressed highlighter ($38) in Prosecco Pop from Becca. Pretty great huh?

What would you like to see in the next Boxyharm?

Xoxo Sammie

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Ulta Beauty Cosmetics Part 2

I love shopping at Ulta. They are continuously adding more brands to their shelves and their rewards system is the best. I mean who doesn’t want to earn money off of their next purchase just for buying things you were going to get anyway? What a lot of people do not realize is that Ulta has their own in house brand. It ranges from makeup and skincare to hair and body products. I recently received a bunch of these products as a gift with purchase. I figured, why not make a part two to my Ulta Beauty review. You can check out part one here.


With my recent Ulta Beauty purchase, I received an eyeshadow primer, eyeshadow palette, eyeliner, mascara, face palette, lip primer, matte lip crayon and a lip gloss. Along with the makeup there was also a compact mirror, pencil sharpener and blush brush. All of these products came in a pretty purple watercolor makeup bag.


In my first Ulta Beauty Haul, we received a matte tinted primer. I loved it and still use it daily. In this bag we received the Tinted Eye Primer in Satin Blush. The tube is full sized and has a ton of product. The primer is a pink shimmer. The color is so pretty, but I would use it as a lid color or base for another pink shade. You wouldn’t be able to use this as a primer over your entire eye unless you want to look like you have pink eye.


The eyeshadow palette contains four matte shades and two shimmer. I was impressed with all of the shades, though the mattes were a little dry to the touch. The mattes included were Plum Pop, Desire, Say What and Buzzword. For the price, these blend much better than a lot of drugstore shadows. The shimmers, Sunshine and Fearless, are very pigmented and creamy. I used Say What to set my primer, Buzzword in the crease, Plum Pop on the outer corner with Fearless on the lid and Sunshine on the inner corner. I love the look as it reminded me of a sunset.


We received a pencil eye liner that is double sided. On one end is a liner in Blackout and the other end is in Plum. I am not a fan of these liners. I think they they are too stiff and not pigmented enough. That being said, I really enjoy the Ulta Beauty Gel Liners.


The final eye product is the Ulta Beauty Maximum Lashes Mascara. This mascara claims to be defining and lengthening. I already have fairly long lashes, but this product impressed me. It really helped to lengthen and define my lashes without being too wet or clumpy. It was also very black.


Along with the eyeshadow palette, there was a face palette that included a translucent powder, bronzer and highlight. The Ulta Finishing Powder in Translucent is great. I haven’t used setting powder in a while because it has been too drying. However, this one sets my concealer without making my under eyes super dry. As for the bronzer,  I usually prefer something cool toned. But, I do like the Ulta Matte Bronzer in Warm. It isn’t too orange and it blends really well. The only product I did not like in this palette is the highlighter. The Ulta Illuminator in Radiant Diamond was just too stiff and chunky for me. It was also subtle and accentuated texture. However, it can be pretty as an eyeshadow when built up and applied with a damp flat brush.


The Ulta Lip Primer claims to enhance the color of any lip product. I thought that it would act as a concealer on the lips, but it applied clear. I am not sure that it enhanced the color of my lipstick, but it was very hydrating and helped the product to go on smooth.


The final two products were both for the lips. The first is the Ulta Matte Lip Crayon in Soiree. The color is very pretty and the formula is pigmented and smooth. I found it to be comfortable to wear, but not long wearing. It is also hard to apply because the tip is so fat. Also included was the Color Rush Lip Gloss in Olivia. This gloss is so pretty, smooth and pigmented. It feels hydrating and looks great on the lips. I would recommend wearing this over a lip liner to keep it from feathering.


Overall, Ulta continues to surprise me. A lot of their product I have tried, I have really liked. Their eye shadows have proven blendable and pigmented while the lip products are comfortable and smooth. I am excited to see what this brand will come out with next. I have my fingers crossed for a Stila Magnificent Metals dupe.

Have you tried anything from Ulta Beauty?

Xoxo Sammie

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Fashion Nova Curve Haul

A few months ago my husband and I moved to a new state for his work. We were lucky enough that his company paid to have all of our stuff packed and moved to our new apartment. I was so excited and found this to be the perfect time to go through my high school/college closet at my parent’s house. So I finally went and organized things to keep and take to my new home as well as things to donate. It was almost like going shopping since I rediscovered so many items. I packed them all in a giant suit case and left them in my apartment to be packed up by the movers. Unfortunately, that 60+ pound suitcase did not make it to our new home.


Fast forward to the end of July and I see an ad for Fashion Nova. I quickly fall into a black hole of online window shopping and creating a long list of favorites. At first I wasn’t going to buy anything, but then my husband surprised me with a trip to Punta Cana for our 2 year anniversary. I figured this was the perfect time to pick up some new clothes to replace the ones that were lost. So, I made 3 separate orders including everything from sandals and sunglasses to dresses and lingerie. I figured why not show what I got and give a little review of each item.


I needed this mermaid swimsuit the moment I saw it because holo and mermaids. The only problem, the legs are cut so high. So I will only wear this with some type of shorts. It also runs a little small.


The lingerie is so good! I love this Overdosed on Confidence Lace Teddy. It is so pretty, fits true to size and has snaps. The lace also covers the nipples so it would be so cute with black jeans for going out. The Chantal Bralette is cute, but a little too big in the band and small in the cup.


This Dope in Rope dress is so pretty. It has double slits and beautiful rope detailing. The best part is that even though it is white, it is not see through because it is double lined.


I bought this Mia Draped Dress to wear for one of the formal dinners on our vacation as well as for my cousin’s wedding. I love how it can be worn two different ways and it perfectly accentuates my curves.


I love the Avenue Romper! It fits my body and isn’t too short. I also love how you can play with how to tie it to change up the look.


The A View to Kill Floral Jumpsuit is so unique, but so cool. It is super comfortable and almost looks like a maxi dress. I get compliments each time I wear it.


Talk about a sexy little black dress! I love the Maura Mesh Dress, though I think it runs a little small. I have been loosing weight, so I am not too worried as it will continue to look better the more I loose. However, I would recommend buying it one size bigger.


The final things I got are these Lilia Knot slider and the Kelly sunglasses. I love the look of the slides, but they are way too small. Definitely get one size larger, especially if you tend to run in between sizes. I love the glasses, they are cute, comfortable and not too heavy.

Overall, I am really happy with all of my orders. They only things that did not work for me are the slides and the mesh dress. Overall, I love it and surfing their site has become my new morning coffee routine. Before you buy, always look for a 30% off code. Right now you can use the code EXCLUSIVE to get 30% off.

Have you tried Fashion Nova? Where are your favorite places to shop online?

Xoxo Sammie,

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Love it or Leave it: Wet n Wild Halloween

I am not sure what has happened. Last week it was sunny and 88 degrees and this morning I woke up and it was cloudy and supposed to be in the 60s all week. I guess that means it is officially fall, and that means that Halloween is just around the corner.


Although they only just release their Midnight Mermaid collection, I walked into my local Walgreens and found four limited edition Catsuit Liquid Lipsticks for Halloween.


The Halloween collection includes for new, unique shades. From top to bottom: Boo Blu, Terrifying Tangerine, Purple Panic and Emerald City. As of right now, the only places where this collection can be found is drug stores such as CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.


Now, the colors are clearly something new and unique for the Catsuit line. Unfortunately, I was not a huge fan of these colors or formula. I found them to be a little patchy, but they are not terrible. I also find that they are more moussey than the permanent line and do not dry down all of the way, so they are not transfer proof.

For me, personally, I do not see myself getting much use out of these. If I am going to wear a crazy color, I would prefer it to be darker like the ones in the Midnight Mermaid collection. That being said, these could be really fun for Halloween! They would be perfect for costume makeup. Since I will most likely be working in a high school on Halloween, I think I am going to skip wearing a full costume and just go with crazy makeup. I’m thinking a candy corn theme with the orange lip.

What about you? Do you see yourself in any of these colors?

Xoxo Sammie

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