Natural Skin Care Favorites

Natural Skin Care

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about anything beauty related, but lately I’ve been feeling really passionate about the natural products I’m using. While I used to be really obsessed with a shine-free matte look, I’m now all about hydrated skin with a little glow. There’s really no makeup that compares to having naturally healthy skin, and my new routine has made me so much more comfortable wearing minimal makeup and even going bare faced from time to time.

Before I get into the products I’m loving, here’s a little background… 

To be completely transparent, when I first moved to NYC in the heart of winter, my skin went ballistic and I truly felt hopeless. For starters, my skin was breaking out like crazy. I think the cause was a combination of stress from moving and starting a new job, and of course the polluted city-air (a far cry from Florida’s ocean breeze!).

I literally tried everything — salicylic products, facials, peels — you name it. Nothing was working and the harsh products ended up making my skin so dry that it almost looked worse when I tried covering things up with makeup. Eventually, I decided to go on Accutane. I went on it back in middle school and literally never had skin issues again until last year, so I’m a huge advocate for the drug (seriously, if you’re contemplating trying it, just do it). It definitely is a commitment, but as long as you use Aquaphor like it’s your job, it really isn’t as bad as they say it is. I’ve been off of it for about four months now and haven’t had a breakout since.

Now on to my current routine…

One Love Orangics B Oil Cleanser

When I started Accutane, I really needed to rotate any harsh products out of my routine because the drug is already extremely drying. I started using this One Love Organics Vitamin B Oil Cleanser twice a day, and it really changed my life. I had no idea that I could cleanse and remove my makeup without something that gets sudsy, but this stuff really does the job without stripping my skin of moisture — if anything, I feel like it adds moisture.

Grown Alchemist Cream Cleanser

On nights where I have on extra makeup or feel like I need a deeper cleanse, I like to follow up with this Grown Alchemist Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser. It feels like an absolute dream and smells even better. It basically feels like you’re applying a moisturizer — sometimes I apply it to dry skin, let my skin drink it up, then rinse it off. It’s formulated with natural antioxidants like Olive Leaf and Plantago, so it doesn’t dehydrate my skin like other cleansers. I like to think of it as a conditioner for my skin.

Image Skin Care Ormedic Cream

Alchemie Kantic Calming Cream

At night, I follow up with a rich moisturizer. I’ve been using this Image Ormedic Balacing-Peptide Cream. It smells absolutely incredible and the blend of organic Japanese green tea, aloe vera, chamomile and grape seed makes my skin feel so soft. Another favorite is this Alchimie Kantic Calming Cream, which also has an irresistible smell (can you tell I’m a sucker for scents yet?) and uses natural antioxidants like European blueberries. Both of these products are available online and at HeyDay, my go-to facial spot in the city.

Image SPF Moisturizer

In the morning after cleansing, I always use this Image Daily Ultimate Moisturizer SPF 50. For the past few years, I’ve been really dedicated to using sun protection everyday, but it’s been tough to find one that my sensitive skin agrees with. One of my pet peeves are SPF moisturizers that have that pungent sunscreen smell, but this stuff honestly smells like candy and feels so sheer. I started using it prior to going on Accutane, so even if you’re prone to breakouts, I think you’ll love this stuff. There’s also a SPF 30 formulation that has more of a matte finish.

Derma E Charcoal

As far as exfoliation goes, I just started rotating this step back into my regimen. My skin is super sensitive, so I was really excited when Derma-E offered to send me some free products because they use natural ingredients. I was a bit hesitant to try charcoal during the winter months, but their formulations are super gentle. I’m obsessed with this 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask. It detoxifies pores (much needed in NYC!) and exfoliates. I just leave on for five minutes, then once it feels nice and tight, I run my fingers under water and massage gently to activate exfoliants (especially in areas where I get flaky like my forehead, chin and nose) then rinse it off completely. I’ve been using the mask every other week. On the opposite week, I use the Purifying Daily Detox Scrub for quick maintenance once a week. It’s gentle enough for daily use, but this is just what works for my skin!

Benefit Its Potent Eye Cream

Two more musts for me are eye cream and lip balm. The It’s Potent! Eye Cream from Benefit Cosmetics is one of my favorites, and morning and night I always use a little Aquaphor on my lips. It sounds so simple, but there’s really nothing more hydrating.

What are your favorite natural products for achieving hydrated, healthy skin? Leave me a comment below!

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My Toiletry Packing Guide

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How to pack more beauty products in less space.

Let me just start off by saying my boyfriend is going to call me crazy for wanting to give advice on packing toiletries. Yes, I do pack a lot. But I think it’s important to note that I pack a lot in a very small amount of space. I keep the makeup and hair products pretty simple (at least I think so), but where I go a little overboard is with the skin care products. I really don’t have any justification for it except for that I never know how my skin is going to react to travel. I also really enjoy giving my skin a little extra love and attention to preserve my youth, so to speak. (At least I’m admitting it, right?)

Anyway, I used to pack three toiletry bags with me: one for my shower items, one for my skin care products and other hygiene items, and one for my makeup. I know, I know– it was excessive. But I didn’t want to remove all of my products from my bag. So instead, I got strategic with what I brought and how I packed it. I now travel with one cosmetics bag and another clear pouch for shower items. The only reason I don’t use one bag is because I honestly like to keep my shower items separate.

Now that we’ve got that all of out of the way (phew!), here’s my toiletry packing guide:

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First and foremost, pack everything in a three ounce bottle (or smaller).
For the products I know I’ll be using a lot of, like shampoo and body wash, I opt for three ounce bottles. I could probably get away with using two ounce bottles for my leave-in conditioner and face wash, but I already have these three ounce bottles, so they’ll do the trick for now.

Remember: You don’t have to fill them up all the way.
Consider the duration of your trip, and think about how much you’ll use. This will help to keep your bag light. I’m traveling for three weeks, and will probably need more than three ounces of these products, but I know toiletries will be available at most of my accommodations.

A full bottle of sunscreen is a must! I use Sun Bum because it’s not greasy and smells like bananas. Typically, I don’t pack dry shampoo. However, I’m going to Europe and may not always have the time or patience to wash my hair, so it’s coming with me! Whether you want to bring a sea salt spray or a small hair spray bottle is completely up to you. I use this one from Not Your Mother’s to create my beach waves.

Take toiletries from your hotel.
Whenever I stay at upscale hotels, I take the toiletry items home with me– especially lotion! They’re already travel sized, so you can refill them again and again for future travels if you don’t already have TSA approved bottles. I grabbed the tube pictured above from the Mandarin Oriental New York.

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Opt for multi-purpose products.
bobbi brown shimmer imageThis Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in bronze was actually a gift and not something I would’ve thought to buy, but it’s become a staple in my travel make-up routine. (Thanks Vanessa!) This one compact takes the place of my bronzer, blush and eye shadow! I typically brush a little on my cheek bones to highlight them, but if I’m going out, I’ll sweep the lighter stripes across my entire eyelid and press the darker stripes into the crease.

My retractable kabuki brush is one of my favorite items as it’s so compact. I use it to brush on my Clinique Almost Powder with SPF 15. I also bring a small MAC concealer brush that doubles as an eyeshadow brush. Hourglass concealer is my favorite for travel as it’s easy to apply and incredibly hydrating. For my brows, I use a Clinque pencil and Anastasia clear brow gel (one of my brows has a stubborn cowlick). Lastly, I swear by Maybelline’s Colossal Mascara. I’ve been using it since I was in high school and no expensive name-brand I’ve tried tops it. I bring both waterproof and regular as waterproof is more difficult to remove and doesn’t work as well. But that’s just me!

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This is where I start to get really strategic (or crazy?).

Confession time: I’m a sample jar hoarder. And by that I mean I intentionally go into Sephora and ask for a sample of something to get the jar. Try not the judge me. Anyway, I do this because they’re perfect for those products that you only need a small amount of, like eye cream and zit cream. I also bring a sample sized jar of moisturizer, brightening serum, and BB crème for when I want a little more coverage. I pack two jars of Peter Thomas Roth’s Cucumber Mask in case my skin freaks out from sun exposure or climate change.

The hydrating mist I use is from Benefit. I just started bringing this with me on trips because it’s perfect for refreshing my skin during flights and it sets my makeup. This may sound excessive, but I can fit it in my toiletry bag, so it’s coming to Europe with me. I also always bring this small rollerball of Flowerbomb.

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Instead of packing multiple pill bottles and a full first aid kit, I’ve put together what I like to call my ‘cure-all’ pouch. In it, I have Advil, Imodium, prescription strength nausea pills, Claritin, Unisom Sleep Gels, Band-Aids, bobby pins and Q-tips. I pack my toothbrush in a plastic bag instead of a toothbrush holder because mine was too bulky for my bag. Of course, I also pack a travel-sized toothpaste, floss and a razor.

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As you can see, I put everything I use in the shower in the clear pouch, and everything else in the purple cosmetics bag. I pack the clear pouch in the small, outer pocket of my carry-on suitcase and the cosmetics bag in my carry-on tote. Note: I’ve been searching for a travel toiletry bag that has multiple pockets for organization, but I’ve yet to find one that isn’t big and bulky. If you know of one, please let me know!

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It zips, I promise!

I hope my toiletry packing guide can help you to simplify and pack more in less space. But of course, you have to find what works best for you and your beauty routine.

Do you have a strategic way of packing your toiletries? Let me know in the comments!

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My Travel Skin Care Advice

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All my life, I’ve struggled with overly sensitive skin. So it’s no surprise that it tends to freak out from time to time when I travel. Breakouts, dryness, oiliness, and sunburns— I’ve been through it all! Between changes in climates to stressful layovers, globetrotting can take a major toll on your skin. Through all of my trials and tribulations, I’ve uncovered some surprisingly simple remedies for avoiding a skin nightmare during travel.

peter thomas roth mask imagePrep the night before.
In anticipation of the abuse to come, I always give my skin a little extra TLC the night before a flight. This hydrating cucumber gel mask by Peter Thomas Roth is a lifesaver! It balances out my skin and leaves me with a soft, glowing complexion every time. I typically follow it up with my hydramucine optimal gel and bota-peptide eye cream by GM Collin. The entire GM Collin line is absolutely amazing!

Water, water, and more water.
Nothing dehydrates your skin quite like a long day of traveling. Board the plane with a large bottle of water and never pass up the opportunity for another glass when the flight attendants come through with the beverage cart.

Keep the makeup on the light side.
Do yourself a favor and only bring the necessities on your trip. During the day, I typically wear a small amount of BB crème, concealer, SPF 15 powder, mascara, tinted SPF lip balm, and a touch of blush and eyebrow color. And the truth is, this is more than enough! I also pack eyeliner (which I rarely wear), bronzer, and an eyeshadow duo in case I’m looking to dress up a bit more. The trick is– the less you wear, the more your skin will thank you.

Wear sunscreen everyday!
As the former employee of a skin care clinic, I can’t stress this enough! Even if you aren’t traveling, applying sunscreen every day in a non-negotiable. Plus, we all know there’s nothing that can ruin a trip faster than a sunburn.

cache_240_240_0_100_80_16777215_single britt 600Don’t touch your face.
Airports and public transits are packed with bacteria that can cause breakouts. Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from you face. To stop germs from spreading to my face from my phone and laptop, I always travel with these beautifully packaged well-kept electronic wipes. I can’t live without them!

Pack your own products.
Even if I’m staying at a nice hotel, I’m always a little weary of hotel beauty products. I mean, do I really want to use a “fragranced facial soap bar” on my already irritated skin? No, thank you. Oh, and this may be a no-brainer, but pack travel-sized bottles!

Soothe your skin upon returning home.
After a long trip, I try to go in for a facial and go makeup free for a few days. That way, my skin can breathe and repair itself. I also always use my Peter Thomas Roth mask again as soon as I get home.

What are your favorite skin care secrets when it comes to travel? Let me in on them in the comments!

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Friday Favorites #3: Freshen Up

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Flower lovers rejoice: Spring has finally arrived! Unfortunately, this also means it’s time to tidy things up a bit. To take your mind off of standard cleaning procedures (like organizing your overstuffed closet), I thought I’d let you in on a few of my unconventional secrets. Most of my methods have to do with freshening up your appearance. From ditching wine stained teeth to keeping cell phone germs off your skin, here are my top five spring clean must-haves.

1. Clarisonic Mia 2— I was nervous to invest in this cleansing brush because my skin is so sensitive. But to my surprise, I don’t know how I lived without it now. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when purchasing a Clarisonic is using it twice a day right away. Under the instruction of Inner Beauty Skin Care, I started using it once every other day for the first week. I immediately found my skin to be much smoother and more balanced.

2. Well-Kept Electronic Wipes— Think about all of the things you touch on a daily basis before you touch your phone. From gym equipment to gas pumps and door handles, our cell phones collect more bacteria than we’d like to believe. All of that bacteria can not only make us sick, but also induce some serious breakouts when we hold our cell phones against our face. These wipes are the solution! They’re completely safe to use on any device, and come in fun patterned packages of 15 for just $5 at Inner Beauty Skin Care.

3. Method Cleaning Products— I may get some grief for this one, but these products have truly caused me to enjoy cleaning. Unlike its competitors, method’s all-purpose sprays comes in scents like pink grapefruit (my favorite), lavender, ginger, and rosemary. I also use the wood cleaner, which smells of almonds and leaves my table looking shiny without the greasy residue. The best part? The entire line contains naturally derived, non-toxic ingredients.

4. Borracha Wine Wipes— Where are my red wine drinkers at? I’m s0 excited to share these with you all! These wipes erase those pesky stains, so you can keep your pearly whites shining all night long without skimping on the pinot. I will say, the citrus flavor doesn’t exactly taste the greatest. However, the company claims the wipes won’t effect your taste palette, which I’ve found to be true. You can bulk order these babies on Amazon for a discounted price per wipe.

5. Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner— Let me start by saying this isn’t something I’d probably buy for myself. It was actually a gift, and a really great one I might add! Now that I know how well it works, I highly recommend it. This ultrasonic cleaner is super easy to use. All you have to do is add water, insert your jewelry and turn on the timer. I use it on my watch once every couple of weeks, and it makes it shine like new. You can pick one up at your nearest Brookstone or purchase it online here with free shipping.

Before you prepare for your spring cleaning routine, I recommend listening to this Ellie Goulding cover. It’s pretty incredible. And as always, reach out to me in the comments or through social media with any questions!

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Friday Favorites #2: Valentine’s Day Guide

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Happy early Valentine’s Day! Here are some of my favorite love-themed items, which coincidentally make really great V-Day gifts (*hint hint* boys).

1. Meiomi Pinot Noir— The perfect bottle for a post-dinner drink or a Valentine’s night in with the girls. I can’t get enough of this stuff!

2. Peonies— This is my favorite flower at the moment. Trust me… If you bring her these, she will melt. Unfortunately, they’re a little difficult to find. Tulips or long stem roses are a good back-up! Don’t have a special guy in your life? Head over to your local farmer’s market and treat yourself! You deserve it.

3. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment— I picked this stuff up in NYC after a recommendation from a friend (thanks, Vanessa!) and I’m seriously obsessed with it. It’s extremely hydrating and goes on so smoothly. The scent is also really lovely! I hardly ever wear lip color, but Sugar is so subtle and natural looking that I’m finding myself wearing it daily.  It comes in several colors, but I’ve been wearing passion. I would normally opt for a pale pink, but this deep raspberry color actually looks great on my fair skin. I will definitely be dabbing this on for Valentine’s Day!

4. Voluspa Goji Tarocco Orange Candle— I refuse to light any other candle after picking this bad boy up at Anthropologie. Not only does it smell amazing (to put it lightly), but it also seems to last forever. If you’re looking to get your bestie a little something to tell her you love her, make this your go-to!

5. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb— I know Flowerbomb is pretty mainstream now, but I’ve been using this perfume for years and never seem to get sick of it. I love how feminine and floral it is… Perfect for date night!

Oh, and of course you’re going to want to listen to the perfect mash-up to get you in the Valentine’s Day mood…

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Friday Favorites #1

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I wanted to begin posting content that tells you a little bit more about me and what I love. So, I decided to start a weekly post called “Friday Favorites.” I pulled my inspiration from none other than the lovely Lauren Conrad, who I shamelessly idolize (maybe a little too much). Another blogger I look up to, Julie Fagan, creator of Peanut Butters Fingers and a UCF Kappa Delta alumni, posts “Things I’m Loving Friday” each week as well.

Every Friday, I’ll be sharing five of my favorite things at the moment. I’m starting this week off with some of my MVP accessories and beauty essentials, but I plan to give each week a different spin. Here we go…

1. Naked 2 Palette— This is the only eye shadow I use anymore. It has the potential to create both daytime and evening looks. I primarily use it for a natural, everyday smokey eye but I’ve seen my friends use it for deeper, more sultry looks.

2. Bourbon & Boweties— These chunky stone bracelets are a new favorite of mine. I typically pair one with a couple Alex & Ani bracelets for a stacked look.

3. Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac— This crossbody bag is the real MVP. The cognac color matches almost everything and the shape is perfect to wear from day to night. I pack my mini mac for every trip I go on!

4. Mint & Rose Espadrilles— My favorite shoes right now are these soft leather espadrilles. I was a little worried about getting blisters from them initially, but to my surprise they have been nothing but comfortable. They’re perfect for days spent traveling and doing a lot of walking!

5. Wet Brush— After using the wet brush, I promise you’ll never know how you lived without it. I use it post-shower to get all of the knots out of my hair (without the ripping and pulling) then I switch to a paddle brush for blow drying. Seriously, it’s a great investment.

OH, and one more thing… My favorite mash-up at the moment. You’re welcome.

Thank you all so much for reading! I’m already so overwhelmed by how many unique visitors my site has attracted, and your encouragement means the world to me.

Be sure to check back next week for a new Friday Favorites with a Valentine’s Day flare!

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