Review: Kate Somerville Goat Milk Facial Moisturizer

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What It Is: Moisturizing Cream

What It Does: Hydrates and soothes dry skin

Active Ingredients: Jojoba and Avocado hydrate and condition, naturally soothing Aloe helps calm kin, and Grape Seed Oil and Vitamin E, natural Antioxidants, help neutralize free radicals

Verdict: I’ve used Kate Somerville’s skincare products before since Allure has sent me a few samples my way through the Beauty Box. The products I had been sent were indeed good, but nothing too life-changing for me to praise to the heavens for. Now, I recently subscribed to the Fab Fit Fun and I decided to select the Goat Milk Hydrating Cream as one of my selections for the Winter Box. I’ll admit it: I’ll automatically try anything that has Goat Milk. I just love the benefits that Goat Milk provides that I’m willing to give it a go with any product that contains this ingredient. Confession time: When I first got this product I wasn’t quite certain WHERE on the body I was supposed to use it since it simply said hydrating cream. So I’ve been using it on my hands and face, although a quick trip to Kate’s official site claims that it is a face cream. I guess you can use this cream anywhere you have dry skin. I love that it’s purely scentless because while I do like a good scent, some creams have odd scents that can be off-putting or ones that are incredibly overpowering. This cream seriously delivers. It doesn’t matter where on your body you are using it (my mum went so far to put this on her feet since she’s always had cracked heels) you’ll wake up the following morning with rejuvenated incredibly soft skin! The only downside of this cream? For me personally, it’s the hefty price tag. $65 for 1.7 oz. is a bit pricey if you’re going to use this beyond your face. But if you’re just using this as a hydrating cream for your face then it should last longer than if (like me or my mum) you’re using this on your hands or feet. It’s an excellent product and I totally recommend you check it out whatever skin concern you have because a good hydrating cream is hard to come by.

Price: $65

Where to Buy It: https://www.katesomerville.com/

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Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Moon Child Glow Kit

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What It Is: Powder Highlighter Palette

What It Does: Creates effortless glow

Verdict: Anastasia Beverly Hills’ name is synonymous with “Brow Wizard” being the one who introduced the two products that have made having “brows on fleek” so effortless. With her Dip Brow Pomade and Brow Gel, she revolutionized brows as we know it. However, she recently dipped her toes in the highlighting pond of miracles and has brought her sorcery even to the newest Moon Child Glow Kit. I knew Allure’s December Beauty Box was going to kick some major beauty ass once it was revealed that it would be centered around Anastasia Beverly Hills products.

I’ll admit that despite owning various highlighters and occasionally using them to some degree, I still feel like a highlighting newbie. This palette packs some serious GLOW that even a highlighting amateur as myself can create some blinding light cheeks.

The palette contains highlighting colours that will suit every skintone possible. Even ones that seem a bit daring (Green? Silver-grey? Violet?) can not only be used as highlighters but also moonlight as glowy eyeshadows.

The colours are highly pigmented and the shadows themselves feel phenomenal. There’s a luxurious feel that is similar to anyone who has tried highlighters from Becca Cosmetics.

This palette is perfect for those of us who wish to ring in the new year with some serious GLOW vibes.

Price: $40

Where To Buy It: anastasiabeverlyhills.com

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Review: Curology The Cleanser

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What It Is: A lightweight cleanser

What It Does: Cleanses skin without stripping it of its essential oils

Verdict: I’ve seen this brand being advertised both on Facebook and Instagram. They promise to take your skin concerns and tailor them into a skin routine that is made to target and solve your problems. I received this in a current Allure Beauty Box, and since they know what skin type I have (combination, oily) I figure that they probably sent me a cleanser that would target my skin issues.

As far as cleanser goes, I love that it doesn’t have any strange scents. It’s actually scentless, which I prefer. It also is a lightweight gel consistency, which is also one of my favourite textures for cleansers. I’m not a huge fan of the foam ones or ones that are too thick or runny.

I love that it gets rid of oiliness or residual makeup without drying out your skin. In fact, it leaves your skin feeling hydrated and soft. As a cleanser, I am happy with the way this one made my skin feel and may look into purchasing their custom skincare in the future.

Price: $19.95 and up for a set that includes the cleanser, a custom treatment cream, and moisturizer

Where To Buy It: curology.com/allure

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5 Tips On How To Keep Your Skin Beautiful During Winter

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Depending on where you live, a drop in the temperature can seriously wreak havoc on your skin, especially if your skin is on the dry side (but even oily and combination skin suffers during harsh winters). Below are some quick tips on how to survive the lower temperatures with amazing skin.

ONE. Invest in a humidifier.

It will help maximize moisture in the room. This will help keep your skin from drying out and keep it hydrated.

TWO. Eat healthy and stay hydrated.

I know a lot of people assume summer is the time to drink lots of fluids but when your skin is in need of hydration, drinking lots of water during the winter months will be a great help! Also, eating foods with Omega-3 or Omega-6 fatty acids (think salmon or avocados) can seriously help in keeping the skin healthy from the inside.

THREE. Moisturize frequently.

Invest in a good moisturizer for your face and apply it twice a day. Hands are more likely to get dry during the winter months, so use a very emollient cream. Apply the cream after washing hands and try to cut down the use of water on hands by using water-proof gloves to wash dishes or for housework.

FOUR. Switch to a gentle face cleanser.

Soap is infamous for causing dry skin. So invest in a fragrance-free cleansing cream. Cleansing creams tend to wash dirt or oil off of your face without stripping it completely of your natural oils and hydration. Some of my personal faves are Lancome’s Creme Radiance ($27) and Lancome’s Creme Mousse Confort ($27).

FIVE. Use sunscreen.

Many people assume that they can bid adieu to their sunscreen once the winter months roll around. WRONG! Even on grey days, you’re at risk of getting sunburned or causing damage to your skin. Your best bet is to invest in a moisturizer that has sunscreen built-in with at least SPF 15 (I personally prefer 30 or higher but I’m also Lydia Deetz pale).

I hope these tips can help you brace the winter months and keep your skin from suffering! Stay glowing!

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Review: Kneipp Mineral Bath Salt in Dream Away

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I always prefer a bath over a shower. However, being always on the run in the mornings I can’t really indulge in a luxurious bath. So, I often make it a staple for my Sunday nights. I love using bath salts cause they smell amazing, make my skin feel exfoliated and soft, and they just really relax me. When Allure’s Beauty Box for October included these bath salts from Kneipp, I was intrigued.

What It Is: Bath Salts

Active Ingredients: Valerian & Hops, Essential Oils

A little bit about the product: The high content of pure and natural thermal spring salt is obtained from pure natural brine in Europe’s only remaining open pan salt works, the Saline Luisenhall. The brine is free of chemical additives and environmental influences and contains natural trace elements.

Verdict: I wasn’t expecting the water to become an electric blue once I popped these salts in, however, the child in me kinda really loved that added perk. I liked to sit back and imagine that I was a mermaid chilling in some extra blue waters. The salts felt extra soothing, and the scent was also relaxing. Valerian root is known to aid with sleep, so I can see why this was used as a means to coax you into a night of better sleep. Luckily, I took a bath at night, so that I wasn’t expected to be uber perky after basking in this pond of chill for twenty minutes. I recommend these bath salts if you’re looking for a way to relax and also feel very glam about it too.

Price: $20

Where To Buy It: www.kneipp.com

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Book Review: Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart

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Before, I was a million things. Now I’m only one. The Burned Girl.

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Order on Amazon

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Price: $16.99 (hardcover)

Plot Summary

Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her.

A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever.

But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.

Grade: A+

Review:

Ava’s story is both heartbreaking and uplifting. After becoming severely disfigured by a house fire, she not only has lost both of her parents and cousin but also her face. Or at least what her face used to be. For months, Ava fights for her life as she undergoes surgery after surgery but once she’s deemed healthy enough to leave the hospital, her aunt and uncle think it’s time to transition back into high school. But Ava doesn’t think she can survive high school with the face she has. That is until she meets Piper, a fellow survivor with a spitfire personality.

It’s rare when the characters in a book feel so real to me. But Ava and Piper were incredibly real, and the situations they found themselves in were also real for their circumstances. There were so many heartbreaking moments in the book, but it was also very hopeful. It wasn’t all about despair, as it easily could have been considering the topic. Instead, Ava realized that she could either wallow in misery her whole life and not live or decide to live again and find purpose in her new life with her new friends and support group.

I loved how each character was their own person, and that even the so-called “mean girls” of the school ultimately had a soul and reached a growth of their own by the end.

I suppose this was the sort of book that I wish it hadn’t ended because I still wanted to read more about Ava and Piper. It’s probably why after completing the book I took a break from the novel-reading and instead focused on reading poetry books instead. Because a part of me still wanted to hold on to Ava and her strong spirit. This book is a must-read for readers of any age, but especially teenagers so that they can learn how you can overcome the worst in life if you have the right people standing by you.

 

Short Q & A With The Author

Why did you select fire as the source of Ava’s disfigurement?

SCARS LIKE WINGS was actually inspired by Marius, a friend of mine, was burned and severely scarred by a house fire as a child in Romania. Now 20, Marius’ story has always inspired and intrigued me, not only because of the power of his tragedy but because he chooses every single day not to let it define him. He has had children run screaming from him. He has had bullies call him Freddy Krueger. I wanted to write a story that would go to these dark, lonely parts of tragedies like his, but also to the beautiful, hopeful parts. As Marius has told me, the only way he survived was because every time he wanted to give up, someone was there, helping him choose to live. I hope Ava’s story can show readers that we all have a choice after a life-changing event: We can choose to be alone, isolated and angry that our normal is gone, or we can let people in and find a new normal, together.

Reading Scars Like Wings it looks like you did a lot of research in burn victims when it comes to the healing process and medical work needed. Did you speak to professionals that help burn victims or did you solely rely on books about the topic?

Oh, definitely! As I wrote this book, I felt heavily the burden of presenting an accurate, respectful representation of the burn survivor community. I spent a lot of time speaking with survivors, reading their stories, talking to doctors about wound care and recovery, and generally immersing myself in the terrible/wonderful/inspirational/reality of being a burn survivor. Learning about the physical and emotional pain of burns was gut-wrenching at times, but I wanted to preset a story that went beyond stereotypes and pity to the reality of what it’s like to live with physical and emotional scars like Ava’s.

I know that Ava hates seeing herself as a survivor, but she is a very inspiring character. The reader can’t help but want to root for her the whole time. When did Ava’s story first come to you (as in inspiration)?

Well, like I mentioned, Marius originally sparked the idea for this story, but the character of Ava took shape slowly as I started researching and drafting. She has some qualities just like Marius, like her thumbs on her hands instead of fingers, and then pieces of other stories that survivors have shared with me. The more I thought about her and wrote about her, the more she became a fully-formed character with interests like Broadway musicals and a personality all her own. I’d love for readers to see Ava this way by the end of the book, as a smart, funny, talented teenager who just happens to also have scars.

As much as Ava is wonderful, Piper is a true scene-stealer. I feel like everyone needs a Piper in their life. Was Piper inspired by someone in particular?

Not really, but I knew from the beginning that Ava needed someone like Piper to draw her out of her shell and remind her that she has a lot of living and loving left to do. Piper’s loud, out-there attitude is a great counterbalance to Ava’s initial belief that her life is over after the fire. Like a lot of people, though, Piper’s bravado is hiding her own pain and struggles. And when she starts to push Ava away, too, we start to see how deep her pain runs. Both girls finally realize that they can have full, happy lives after their trauma, but they can’t ignore the pain, either.

So many YA novels lately are being made into movies or TV series, which actress would you like to see bring Ava to life?

Oh, wouldn’t that be amazing! If I’m being honest, I’d love to see the role of Ava go to a burn survivor. I think it would be so wonderful to see someone who has actually lived a similar storyline portray this recovery journey!

(Editor’s note: I LOVE Erin’s idea of a burn survivor being the one to portray Ava, although if I had to choose an actress, I think Joey King would tackle Ava’s journey well.)

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Review: Huda Beauty – Liquid Lipstick

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What It Is: Long-lasting liquid lipstick

Verdict: Ever since I’ve started using liquid lipsticks back in 2016, I haven’t been able to go back to a bullet tube anymore. There’s something about liquid lipsticks that just hits the spot for me. They’re smudge-free, don’t bleed, and incredibly long-lasting. What’s not to love? I know some people have issues with their lips drying out but that isn’t something that I’ve had to deal with. So, in the past three years, I’ve tried my fair share of liquid lipsticks. When Allure’s Beauty Box centered on Huda Beauty, I was intrigued. Mostly because I hadn’t tried any of their products up to that point. But I know how much people rave about Huda’s products and how life-changing some of them have been. For this particular Allure Beauty Box, Huda Kattan made a special liquid lipstick hue specifically for this occasion, creating an orange-red shade appropriately named Allure.

Now, I have no qualms over the quality of the liquid lipstick. It is worth all the hype her liquid lipsticks have garnered. It’s long-lasting and it doesn’t bleed. So those are two things that I look for when determining the success factor of a liquid lipstick. However, the shade Allure is terrible for anyone who’s as pale as I am. It isn’t a universal red as I thought it might be. Instead, it’s more of a bold bright orange than red. It’s not very flattering for pale skins, but feel it would be an excellent shade for those who have darker skin and want a red that isn’t on the classic side.

So the product was good but the shade wasn’t. Can’t win them all!

Price: $18

Where To Buy It: https://hudabeauty.com/

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Review: Sweet Chef – Beet + Vitamin A Serum Shot

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About The Brand: Sweet Chef mixes the perfect daily shot of vegetables and vitamins to freshly boost your skin’s vitality and deliver a healthy radiance. Quenching your skin has never been so sweet.

What It Does: Refines Pores & Smooths Rough Skin

Active Ingredients:

BEET

Beet harnesses a variety of vitamins that leave skin feeling softer and visibly smoother.

VITAMIN A

Vitamin A is rich in antioxidants that help to minimize signs of aging for a youthful glow.

How To Use: After cleansing and toning, apply serum shot on face with a gentle tapping motion until absorbed. Follow with a moisturizer, if desired.

Verdict: If you’ve been following the blog for a while, then you’ll know of my obsession for Vitamin A and how it helps keep your skin looking radiant. So it’s no surprise that I’d jump at the chance to try out this new Vitamin A serum from Sweet Chef and see how it compares to my favourite Vitamin A serum (that sadly Amazon no longer stocks). The beauty of Vitamin A is that it doesn’t take long to see the benefits. In just of days you’ll notice a much brighter and smoother complexion. The packaging for this completely cute yet very efficient.

I love how this serum feels on my skin, and even after only one night, when I woke up my skin looked considerably better than how it did the night before. This company has various vitamins as serums (also B & C), and I’m sure they’re just as good although they target different skin concerns. You can also make up your own cocktail of sorts, mixing and matching various serums and creams.

Overall, this is an excellent product and I’m looking forward to trying out other skincare products that they have.

Price: $19.99

Where To Buy It: Target

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Review: Glow Recipe – Watermelon Glow Jelly Sheet Mask

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I’m currently vacationing in Italy and decided to spend a week at my home in Catania. I took that week to completely relax and unplug (no internet, no cell phone, in other words, complete bliss!). I decided to use that week as way to recharge and dedicate myself to all things self-care (which meant lots of face masks, manicure, pedicure, and complete relaxation). One of the masks I packed in my suitcase was the Watermelon Glow Jelly Sheet Mask.

The Watermelon Glow Jelly Sheet Mask is a hydrogel sheet drenched in a full bottle of hydrating skin-cooling serum. Formulated with a blend of watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and centella asiatica extract that helps quench dehydrated skin leaving it soft, supple, and bouncy.

What It Is: A hydrating mask

Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid

Verdict: The first thing I noticed when taking the mask out of the package was the pleasant watermelon scent. I really liked how the gel felt on my skin. It was very refreshing and there was a nice tingling feel. The package said to leave the mask on for ten minutes, but I left it for about twenty instead. Once I removed the mask, it left my skin feeling very hydrated and plump. I really loved how soft it was. The mask wasn’t sticky like some serum soaked masks tend to me, but rather when I removed the mask, most of the serum had been absorbed by my skin. I used this mask at night, but on the package, it stated that it can also be used as a prep mask to smooth the look of skin and depuff before morning makeup. Another way to best gain the cooling effect would be to pop this mask in the fridge for about ten minutes prior to using it and it will help with the depuffing even more. All in all, I was happy with this face mask and would definitely purchase it. This one I think was sent to me in an Allure Beauty Box several months ago and just hadn’t had the time to test it out. So, if you’re looking for instant hydration, this is the quick remedy to quench dry skin.

Price: $16.97

Where To Buy It: Amazon

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Review: Mario Badescu Dermonectin Eye Cream

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So I’ve been dealing with some serious itchiness on my eyelids since May. I thought that maybe it was an allergic reaction to something new so I stopped using any of the newer products, and still so no relief. I invested in Aquaphor and it soothed my problem for a few days, till it came back up. I’ve been Googling possible skin conditions, and finally, at the end of May, it became so unbearable that I made an appointment with my eye doc to find out what it is that’s been causing this itchiness.

Fast forward to July when I finally have my eye appointment only to find out that my doc can’t prescribe any eye creams, only eye drops. He didn’t think I needed eye drops. By then the rest of the month was consumed by ongoing dentist appointments for a root canal that I couldn’t fit in a derm appointment. SO….yet again I tried to self-medicate and just wanted a very nourishing eye cream that could help curb the itchiness as well as be non-allergic. So that’s how I ended up purchasing said eye cream.

Packaging: Simple and sleek

What It Is: Super hydrating Eye Cream for extremely dry skin

Active Ingredients: Vitamins A & E, with a special blend of vegetable, peanut, and coconut oils

Verdict: Emollient, soothing, and rich are three words to describe this cream. It feels very refreshing and moisturizing the moment you apply it, and for my recent condition, it even soothes the itching and doesn’t burn (which seems to be the norm with most creams right now). Did it stop the itchiness? Not entirely, but that’s not what this cream is designed for. Did it provide incredible moisture and calm the dryness? Yes, it sure did! I really recommend this eye cream if you’re looking for something that’s rich and intensely hydrating (it will quench any dry skin’s thirst for moisture). I’ll probably be repurchasing this eye cream again, whilst I still try to figure out exactly what it up with my odd skin condition (at least it’s not unsightly, just a tad bit bothersome).

Price: $18

Where To Buy It: Amazon

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