Sunscreen has gotten so good, guys. If you’re still struggling with chalky and hard to blend, then you’re in luck. We’ve got mucho options. I read an article at the start of “sunscreen season” awhile back and it basically said that human error is one of the main reasons it doesn’t work (assuming you have a formula that isn’t old or expired). Basically, we miss a lot of spots. The aerosols are especially guilty of a shotty application. I am not a big fan of the sprays anyway because I don’t like to breathe in the particles. In a pinch, I’ll coat my feet but generally steer clear.
Let’s break down the best, low-to-luxe.
I got in the habit of buying Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby when I was visiting Miami (both times last year) and I had to pick up SPF at the Publix on the way to the beach. This admittedly can leave a white-ish cast if you don’t blend well. It is really effective, though, so it’s a go to for all over body on beach days. If applying at home, I’ll mix in with a little coconut oil or body lotion to help it spread easier. As a rule, that is the best way to ensure your sunscreen feels and looks the most natural on your limbs. // Sun Bum Clear Zinc Oxide caught my eye at Ulta and it is legit. This tub is a whopping SPF 50 and has aloe and vitamin E so is very easy to blend in. Love that it’s under $10. // One of my go-to facial SPF moisturizers is Aveeno Positively Radiant SPF 30. I like that it doubles as a moisturizer and has some built-in radiance.
I discovered Clarins UV Plus Tinted in the heart of winter and fully appreciate its magical powers now that its melt your face off weather. It’s one of those formulas you need to shake to activate since it’s so lightweight. The tint has incredible coverage so it can double as makeup. Perfect for bare face days. // You can’t help but be drawn to the Tarteguard 30 bottle and it just gets better once you use. The formula has Tarte’s signature maracuja (passion fruit) oil and blends smoothly on your face and feels good under makeup. // If we’re so bad at applying sunscreen, surely Beautycounter Protect Stick is a saving grace. It’s ultra tote-able in your bag and perfect for swiping on the areas you never do: ears, toes, lips and an extra layer on your forehead when you’re standing square in the sun.
I’m so fancy $$$
Sun ages skin, yes, but pollution is the real enemy and it’s invisble! Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart has a high SPF 50 and also a special DNA Enzyme Complex to strengthen skin. Pollution is everywhere but city slickers, you need a little more help. I love how sheer this but it does have a slight tint that doesn’t show up on skin but helps it blend more into all skin tones. After I finish this tube, I will be restocking. // I got the Kari Gran Three Sixty Five in my July BeautyHeroes box—the best “beauty in a box” subscription service I’ve ever tried. This isn’t like any other sunscreen I’ve used. It’s filled with oils so it blends into skin and leaves behind a little slick. I love it blended with makeup for a dewy finish. It makes skin look really healthy and also helps strengthen skin while you wear. // If I’m splurging on SPF – which the last of this luxe trip definitely is – it needs to do more than just block sun. Tatcha Pore Perfecting Sunscreen helps tighten pores and improve uneven skin tone. The formula is like liquid silk – no, really, has silk extract in there – and is meant to be worn as a makeup primer. Any makeup you put on top of this looks better than if you skipped the step.
What are you using these days? Tell me everything.
Last Wednesday started like any other this past month. Set my alarm for 5:15 but snoozed until 6. Do some work while coffee brews and hunker down for an hour before realizing I need to get ready to actually leave my house. Get outside and realize I should have checked the weather because again, it’s a 20 degree difference from the day earlier. Oh, bipolar Chicago. Was only at the office for 30 minutes before I headed to a client meeting where I spent the next seven-ish hours in a conference room staring at my laptop at multiple tabs, documents and spreadsheets. In that time, I ate one grilled cheese and drank exactly 8 oz. of water. End of day hits and I have to run to meet a friend for a photoshoot and hurry as much as possible because another friend is throwing her husband a surprise party. Somewhere in between leaving work and getting to a party I was really excited for, I pick a fight with my boyfriend. At this point, I’m late to the party, cold (temp is now in the high 50s), (even more) dehydrated and isolating myself from the one person that can bring me out of any funky mood.
Is it any wonder that after a day (month) like this, I experience the mother of all flus? Was I just on a freight train and this outcome was inevitable? Lesson learned. I’m rested, medicated and on the mend. Just in time for the next two days, which is the pinnacle moment of something I have been planning at work since April. Life has a funny way of knocking you down at the worst moment. But you learn that you have to lean on those around you. None of us are on an island; an army of one. It can feel like it sometimes but that’s the Type A talking. Nothing like being sick to remember you are only human and your body has limits.
I slept more the past four days than I have in weeks. It was hard at first but then I started to feel so much better. I did an unintentional skin cleanse (ala Adina Grigore) and did the actual no makeup (not no makeup makeup) look. I did to my skin what I did to my body to heal: hydrate. I do love my beauty oils but come 95+ degrees and these water-based moisturizers feel like a dream. I actually first used Sunday Riley’s Tidal in the winter but I like it better in the heat because it’s more refreshing now. The formula is a water cream with two forms of hyaluronic acid and papaya enzymes. Basically, it plumps up your skin and smooths it at the same time. It’s really incredible. I notice a difference in my skin especially because I haven’t been wearing any makeup. I’ve also been testing Tatcha’s Pore Perfecting Water Gel. It has a pearly hue (that’s the hint of gold dust) and balances skin flawlessly —a tinted moisturizer will be the perfect layer on top. Now that I’m back to wearing light makeup, I’ll be trying that combo. And, new to me, the Honest Beauty Magic Balm…which I’m trying out in these 19 ways.
And, another reminder that all pain is relative? The horrible tragedy in Orlando. My heart goes out. Unfair and infuriating. A peaceful (and healthy week) to all.
I first read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up on a flight earlier this summer. At first, it irked me a bit. How many times can one person write the word tidy? I think that was actually misplaced mile-high anxiety. Reading about tidying my home really made me want to be in my home and not squished in a middle seat. I set aside the book and the mission to come to Canada, but the message has really set in from a distance. Are the items in your home sparking joy? If yes, keep. If no, toss.
I’m chomping at the bit to get home and KonMari my space for real. Unleash pure joy!
While in Toronto, I’ve been living with less (and thinking about ‘stuff’). My space is streamlined as a result of the situation but you can be sure that every item here has a purpose. I’m only bringing joy back in my suitcase. I’ve been practicing mini bits of KonMari-esque tidying. She recommends going by category vs. room by room so I’ve been doing that, sort of. I’ve been focused on the under stuff. The base items on my face and the garments I wear under my clothes.
I realized when packing up my stuff for this extended three month trip that my lingerie drawer was full of blah. Old bras with pilling and stretched straps. Not much joy in putting those on every day. So, throughout the summer, I traded in bulky underwires for cotton bralettes and delicate lace underthings. I feel sexier and more comfortable…and there’s the joy!
I’ve been appreciating the elegant Tatcha Sunscreen which feels like silk on the skin. It’s inspired by the porcelain skin of a geisha and makes the process of applying SPF every morning that much more joyful Pure silk, I tell ya!
I’ve also gotten into MAKE Beauty and love their POV on makeup. Everything is so conceptual but also really practical. They seem to make products to help you get more joy from everything else on your face. The Face Primer is a moisturizing base for makeup and the Lip Primer will help your lipstick last longer and even makes the color pop a little more. MAKE even has a dual-purpose compact that helps you give your makeup a dewy or matte finish. Joy!
It’s easy to overlook what’s beneath the surface. Those old bras were out of sight; you would never see them but I knew they were there. Somehow wearing them impacted me in ways it’s hard to communicate. It can seem ridiculous to express joy for something so superfluous but we all know the feeling when it’s right. In here somewhere is a lesson about taking care of what’s even deeper beneath the surface, in our psyche. Decluttering is really about connecting with the emotional joy.
Just read the book, guys. I haven’t totally lost my marbles!
Exfoliating as you know it is will never be the same, at least in Illinois. And it’s good news. The state became the first to ban the use of synthetic microbeads in soaps and scrubs. Usually made of plastic, these tiny beads are hiding in plain sight in your face and body wash and even in your toothpaste.Not surprisingly, they’re causing all sorts of problems. Think millions of tiny beads going down your drains, absorbing who knows what before making their way into Lake Michigan only to be eaten by fish and marine life. You’re right to question what their business is in our personal care. Are we seriously relying on plastic to smooth out our skin anyway? I ditched those formulas after realizing that they usually come with a nasty breakout, too. Not quite the package deal I’m looking for. Change doesn’t happen overnight so it will be a few years before shelves change dramatically.
The good news: we’ve got options. Incredible, plastic-free options. Let’s talk scrubbing sinkside, today.
1. One Love Organics Cleansing Sponge. Submerge this adorable heart-shaped sponge in water and it turns into a squishy heart-shaped exfoliator that removes your makeup and polishes your skin. It’s so gentle that you’ll wonder if it really is working…it is. // 2. Tatcha Polished. This creamy rice-based exfoliant makes me feel way fancy. It’s like massaging silk on your face and results in the smoothest baby soft skin. It’s water-activated so you’re in control of the consistency every time. // 3. Acure Brightening Facial Scrub. Sea kelp and chlorella are the buffing superstars and French green clay extracts oil and buildup form pores. There’s something so satisfying about the deep green color. // 4. M-61 Brilliant Cleanse. You don’t actually need grains, seeds or any other physical exfoliant to get the job done. M-61’s creamy formula has a blend of four alpha beta hydroxy acids – glycolic, salicylic, lactic and malic – along with grapefruit and orange peel extract to gently remove dead surface skin. This is great for oily skin since the creamy formula doesn’t dry you out. // 5. May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt. Clays, warming spices and healing salts are the base of this exfoliating cocktail that does wonders skin. It’s like at-home microderm. Blackheads will disappear, skin will be soft and toned and you’ll feel like a million bucks. // 6.S.W. Basics Exfoliant. This proves you only need a few ingredients. Oats, almonds and sea salt – that’s the full list. Simplicity at its finest.
This weekend was all sorts of emotional. That Badgers game. The series finale of How I Met Your Mother. I was able to avoid all spoilers this week but knew there was outrage. I get it now, though I’m still totally conflicted on how I feel about it. This interview helps. I chose this week’s pretty picks in part because pearls make me happy and because I can’t stop thinking about this necklace. Or this ring. Those two pieces are exactly how I want to wear pearl jewelry right now…with just a little bit of edge.
Here’s my other pearly picks!
The BaubleBar pearl collar is out of stock (sadly!) but this Anthropologie version is just as good. // I love the Jouer Lip Enhancer formula and this pearly nude hue is so perfect. Makes for very kissable lips! // Crushed pearl acts as a skin conditioner in Tatcha’s Rice Enzyme Powder. Water activates the formula and turns it into a super rich and exfoliating cleanser. // The highlighter of ALL highlighters…revealed to be the secret to the J.Crew model glow. // I went to a Clarins spring beauty event a few weeks ago and have been mixing this base in with my tinted moisturizer for a little glow since. // NARS does neutral eyeshadow so well and this opalescent pink is especially pretty and brightening.
I’m trading in my winter blues (of the SAD variety) for Tatcha’s new Indigo collection. Tatcha is at it again, bringing the ancient beauty secrets of geishas into the modern era. That delicious looking vat of blue is the Indigo Body Butter. And it is every bit as blue as it appears, even on skin until you blend it in. I’ll call what comes next the indigo glow. The bright blue plant is a natural healer for skin conditions, like rashes and dermatitis, and some looking for a more holistic treatment use indigo instead of steroids or other prescription treatments to treat. In ancient Japan, samurais were said to wear an indigo-dyed cotton beneath their armor to heal injuries. Talk about #ancientworldproblems. Though, I did nick my leg shaving last week, so there’s that. Nothing a little Indigo rub couldn’t handle.
And there’s more blue, too. Tatcha added a luxurious and seriously moisturizing hand cream (its first!) and a face BALM (cue my excitement) that I absolutely cannot wait to try. The product lover in me is fascinated by the blue, but the fact that it serves a purpose and isn’t a gimmick is why I’m a true fan!
I’m ready for this polar vortex to be over. I thought I knew cold, being a native ‘sconnie and all, but this is on a whole new level. I’m balm-ing like a mad woman to prevent dry skin. Face, body, lips — everything! I even put some argan oil balm on Betty’s paws because they were getting a little rough.
I’m over on The Naked Canvas today talking lip care with the adorable and stylish Stephanie. Naturally, there’s all sorts of balm chatter! From my favorite budget buys and luxe balms to the tinted varietals. Check it out here! Stay warm and cozy, guys.
Behold, tis the season for gift giving. But we’re all friends here, so it’s OK if I admit that I’m shopping for me, too, right? The holidays really test my self-control. I’m kicking off gift guides today and each is filled with the most incredible prezzies. For yourself, for others or both — I’m not judging. Or, in this case, gilt-ing you.
Sasha told me about the Gold Box at A Night for Green Beauty back in September and I have been eagerly awaiting! It’s so pretty in its special box and it’s Ilia, so you know it’s going to wear beautifully.
This ‘lip tease’ mug is the cutest. I’d couple this with a box of tea and a nice handwritten note.
The Threshold jewelry boxes are such a great Target find. I actually got the smaller size for my nieces and I can’t wait to see them fill it with their most special things.
I love how this bib necklace has a delicate and feminine feel.
This Jonathan Adler Metallic Zebra Dish is begging to be on top of my a dresser, holding tiny treasures.
Every girl deserves a little RMS Beauty in her life. The Solar Cream Eyeshadow is a beautiful golden beige hue.
P.S. Since it is Cyber Monday and all…worth noting that Net-a-Porter has 15% with code HOLIDAYBEAUTY (I already snagged an Ilia Gold Box for moi!) and Tatcha has a 20% Friends & Family sale through December 11. Go for the gold leaf!
The power of plant oils is well-documented on this blog. I use them to cleanse, moisturize my face and body and to tame my tresses. One oil than can do all of the above is camellia oil, which comes from a winter-blooming flower native to parts of Asia. Camellia oil is loaded up with essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B and E and absorbs into skin as quickly as water. If you look closely, you might see this ingredient cropping up in your skin care. And while we might just be catching on to Camellia, it’s been used for thousands of years in ancient Japanese culture.
Oh you know, just 24-karat gold leaf lip balm!
Tatcha dug into their archives filled with recipes and beauty secrets of Japanese geishas and found that these women would drench their skin in camellia oil as a post-bathing ritual. It inspired the creation of an opulent Camellia Beauty Oiland Lip Balm. Emphasis on the opulent. That’s actual gold you’re seeing. Have you slathered your lips in gold lately? Don’t you love how that gold leaf looks like its floating on top of nothing? Lemme tell you, spreading a blend of crushed gold camellia oil onto your lips makes you feel fancy. And watching the gold flakes percolate inside the glass bottle of the beauty oil is enthralling. Even better, is how many ways you can put that bottle to work. Try using a few drops as an a.m. moisturizer, pressing it on to your décolletage for shine or massaging it into the ends of your hair. Remember, it absorbs just as fast as a splash of regular old H2o. Tatcha created a duo that gives you a special feeling whenever you use it, like they’ve let us in on an old family secret. Which, in all truth, they sort of have.
The humidity in Chicago right now is the worst its been all year, but it still doesn’t compare to the seriously oppressive dew points I experienced while living in DC. If you live in that area and you see someone with great hair, pull them aside and beg them to share their secrets! Prior to making the 312 my home, I spent five years post-college in Washington. My first summer there was a shock. Working in a business professional dress environment and attempting to keep my face from melting was a daily task. When one of my favorite bloggers, Kara of Politics of Pretty, asked me to guest blog on the topic, I was more than happy to oblige! I like to think that the tricks I have up my sleeve now would have made those five DC summers that much more manageable. But if you’d told me back then that I’d be purposefully slathering oil on my face every morning, I would have laughed. Oh, how things change for the better!
Check out my post on summer skin over at Politics of Pretty! And while you’re there, catch up on her “Bill of Makeup Rights” posts. Does it get any cuter than that? Gotta love her cap-city themes!
Dewy skin is a whole different ball game come summer. What looks pretty in the comforts of air conditioning can turn oil slick within minutes of being outside. Lightening up your skin care and makeup helps, so long as you are still getting enough moisture into the skin. You know how it goes — drying out your skin produces more oil to compensate and breakouts happen. The solution for all summer skin woes, I’m convinced, is Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist. It is essentially the brand’s Moisture Rich Silk Cream in a spritz. It has many of the geisha-inspired ingredients the brand is known for using, like camellia oil, liquid silk, green tea and rice extracts. About 4-5 sprays followed by SPF and skin is primed and ready. It also makes for the most refreshing mid-day mist, especially because it spays on evenly, fine and completely weightless. It gives skin a dewy look and then melts into skin. The utility of this product thrills me, and beyond that, I can’t deny this chic blue bottle a place in my summer beauty repertoire.
It’s a full week of summer beauty! Catch up on the rest here!