Top skincare practices (& a product review!)

skin care

There’s no doubt about it that my most watched videos on YouTube are nightly skincare routines, probably because I love skincare and I love hearing about different products people use.

The funny thing about these videos and these kinds of posts is that they never really change my routine. What I like more about these videos is that they impart a little bit of wisdom to my not-so-beauty-proficient self. So I figured today, instead of just boring you with listing off everything I do after I shower and right before I go to bed, I figured I’d let you know some little tips and tricks I’ve collected from other, more knowledgeable girls than myself.

And! Super mega bonus! I have a product review tucked right in here, too!

1. Go organic.

I’m obsessed with Lush Cosmetics because they genuinely are cruelty-free and they’re easy to get to.

What Lush Cosmetics, or any other organic product, will do is tell your body to tell your skin what to do. It utilizes organic materials found naturally on this earth to make your body do what it needs to do. It’s like it treats your body’s proneness to breaking out, instead of the breakout itself.

Also, FYI, the sponsorship in this post is not from Lush Cosmetics. I just love them. (But hey, Lush, I wouldn’t be opposed… *wink wink*)

cleansers

2. You may be young, but use an eye cream!

And I wouldn’t cheap out on this, either– believe me, I understand the temptress that is the cheap price tag, but it’s so worth it to get something nice! I rock it out with Clinique’s All About Eyes Rich formula, which is definitely an investment, but I’d venture to say it’s worthwhile. This bad boy retails for a whopping $31 for .5 oz, but seriously, it’s worth every penny. And when you’re applying this eye cream, make sure you pat, NOT RUB, it in. You’ll thank yourself later when you have fewer wrinkles because you took the time to not tug on your skin.

3. Make your own BB Cream.

Alright, so while it’s definitely worth it to invest in a great eye cream that will help me in the long run, I think it’s stupid as heck to pay a bunch of money to get a BB cream that I’ll only use for like three months during the summer, so my roommate gave me this hack.

Mix around some of your favorite moisturizer (bonus points if it has an SPF) with your favorite foundation. This’ll sheer out the pigmentation of your foundation (and who doesn’t love a natural, angelic look during the summer) and give you the perfect amount of moisture. Plus, you can’t beat the price of homemade(ish…)

4. Make your moisturizer go further by applying to moist skin.

So when you spritz your toner on your face, leaving it cool and slightly moistened, apply your moisturizer right on top of that before it completely dries. This will save you on moisturizer in the long-run, which is really benefiting me right now because I’m almost out of mine, and I’m waiting on it to ship to me.

Ever notice that your moisturizer just feels heavy sometimes, or that it’s sort of just sitting on top of your skin? This hack will help your skin absorb the moisturizer quicker and deeper. As your skin naturally absorbs the “wetness” from your toner, it’ll take your moisturizer right with it. Shout out to the girl from Lush who taught me this one.

5. Clean your brushes.

So some people might think this is a little makeup related, which it could be, but for me, cleaning my brushes is all about the skin.

Your brushes, whether you like it or not, collect some of your makeup in them, which makes them a breeding ground for germs and dirt! Germs+dirt+skin = breakouts galore. Keep your skin clean by keeping your brushes clean.

I use Johnson&Johnson’s baby shampoo to clean my brushes. I just run them under lukewarm water, rub them in a circular motion in the shampoo in my hand, and rinse. I gently wring out the excess water and let them air-dry on my desk.

6. Use a mask that’ll clean your pores.

mask with lid

I used to use masks that sort of just leave my skin feeling really dry or flaky instead of super duper clean. I never really understood that the dry, flaky feeling I was getting wasn’t so good until I recently started using a new mask.

It’s the Pure & Essential Minerals Dead Sea Mud Mask, and boy oh boy do I love it. The jar claims it’s an “ancient natural skin healing formula direct from the source,” which makes me feel like a magical voodoo goddess, and that it’s made from “pure dead sea mud, all natural ingredients,” which is awesome because it’s goes along with my whole use organic products thing.

wearing mask

I’m going to be honest here, I’m not farmer or plant/oil specialist, so I’m not positive what all of the ingredients do. I do know that dead sea mud is like a magical skin nectar that scoops out all of your pore yuckies and eats them up. I know that organic shea butter will hydrate your skin when needed. I know that eucalyptus oil take down pimple inflammation while giving your skin a cool and fresh feeling. (I also know that xanthan gum is used in a lot of gluten free desserts, so there’s that…)

Overall I really like this mask. It totally did its job and made my skin feel nice and clean and clear. What sends me over the moon is that it is indeed an organic product and is cruelty-free and not tested on animals, because I like to know that my skincare routines back up my personal claim of loving planet earth a lot.

Bathroom sink

What are your favorite skincare practices? What am I doing like a dummy? And have any of you ever used Pure & Essential Minerals’ product and love it just like me? Let me know!

DISCLAIMER: I received the Pure & Essential Minerals Dead Sea Mud Mask very generously from the wonderful people with Pure & Essential Minerals via Brandbacker. All of my opinions are my own. This product retails for $24.77 right now on Amazon.

Rave Reviews: InstaNatural Argan Oil Products

<img style=”display:none;” src=”http://www.brandbacker.com/camp.php?qargs=view_type=V%26camp_id=169%26camp_mem_id=31801″/&gt;INSTANATURAL

Hey guys! So about a week and a half ago, the lovely people of InstaNatural sent me a few of their argan oil products to try out and review. These products included their Superior Hydration Argan Oil Hair Mask, their 100% Pure Certified Organic Argan Oil Multipurpose Moisturizer and their Age-Defying Skin Clearing Serum For Flawless & Youthful Skin. I’ve been using these products for about a week (they got sent to my house, so I had to wait until I stopped home to pick them up), and I have varying opinions depending on the product.

The Hair Mask:

INSTANATURAL_MASK

Let’s start with my favorite of the products first, shall we? This hair mask totally rocked. It has a really nice scent to it (banana? vanilla? something like that), and it lingers in your hair so you get compliments all day long after washing your hair with it. It made my hair really silky, soft and strong. The morning after I used this, I curled my hair with a curling wand for a basketball game, and it came out so much better than it ever had before.

I’ve only used this product once, but since it’s so hydrating, I think it’s one I’ll only use about once every two weeks. It’s really repairing, so I think it’ll be really good for using after a few weeks’ worth of damage. Here’s the consistency of the mask so you can see just how hydrating and thick it is:

INSTANATURAL_MASK2

One thing about this product: In the directions, it says you should apply the mask from root to tip. I don’t think I’d do that, ever. I have pretty normal hair, maybe somewhat dry because it is naturally curly, but I also don’t like to wash it all the time (twice a week… go ahead, judge me for being gross). By the time hair washing night rolls around, my roots are pretty oily, and I think applying this mask to my roots would make it even worse.

This product:

  • Retails for $17.95 for 8 oz. (full-size)
  • Works great for really dry/damaged hair
  • Works great for naturally curly hair (it really defined my curls)

The All-Purpose Oil:

INSTANATURAL_OIL

This was, without a doubt, probably the least useful of the products I was sent. I usually use a Sally Hansen cuticle oil every night before going to bed, and so I thought this might be a nice, organic replacement for it, but it wasn’t. I then tried to use it all over my hands as sort of a lotion, and that didn’t work so well, either. Then I noticed on the bottle that it claimed to work to fight acne, and since it’s my time of the month and my skin has a habit of going crazy during that time, I decided to try that (with no luck). I used it on the ends of my hair in place of my Organix leave-in argan oil, and the InstaNatural also didn’t do a good job of that.

Finally, two nights ago, I decided to relegate this oil simply to taking care of ashy knees and elbows during this dry wintery weather. This appears to be the best use for this oil. It’s doing a really good job of fighting those dry patches of skin, and I’m feeling better about not being wasteful of this really coveted product.

I’m glad I found a use for the product, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a holy grail body moisturizer.

This product:

  • Retails for $17.95 for a 4 oz (full-size) bottle
  • Has a decent scent
  • Works well for dry patches of skin, but not much else

The Skin Serum:

INSTANATURAL_SERUM

So I was a little nervous when I first got this product simply because it was called an “age-defying” skin serum, and being 21 and constantly mistaken for a high school senior instead of a college senior, I didn’t really think I needed “age-defying” yet. But then I looked at the bottle closer, and I saw that it was more like a “skin clearing” serum, and my period-only acne prone skin would really benefit from that. The main ingredients in this serum are vitamin C (20%), retinol (2.5%), niacinamide (3.5%) and salicylic acid (2%). The formula also contains vegan hyaluronic acid, which is super trendy in the beauty world right now, and I was pretty excited to try a product containing it.

The product claims to not only restore youth and reduce fine lines/wrinkles, but also to banish breakouts and reduce hyperpigmentation. Being a habitual zit-popper, I was really excited to see that it would rid me of pimples and the scars I’ve got from popping them.

I’ve got to say, this serum worked pretty well! The timing was perfect because I was in monthly breakout season, so I was really able to  see how it would work. The serum contained my breakouts to a few along my hairline (which were super small and easily hidden) and only one big guy! That’s a new record for me during my period. That big guy also wasn’t a real big guy, and the way it was formed, I could hide it really easily and I wasn’t compelled to pop it once.

What I was really impressed with was the way it started to break up the hyperpigmentation on my forehead that I have from popping zits. On my forehead it’s almost all gone, and I have two fresh zit scars that are starting to fade, too. Woohoo!

This product:

  • retails for $21.95 for a 1 oz (full-size) product
  • smells pretty nice (really clean)
  • works well if you break out often (or have normal skin all the time except when you’re on your period)
  • will do some work on your acne scars

A note about the company:

Although I only loved 2/3 of the products I tested, I have to say how great it was to work with InstaNatural. I was directly messaged via BrandBacker by a representative of the company, who was always really pleasant to correspond with. I was also pleasantly surprised by the products they sent me. I initially only signed up to review the hair mask, but the company reached out with other review options, which could include either one or two bonus options. Naturally I took as much as I could for free (graciously, of course). It’s really cool that they sent me all full-sized products, as well.

When InstaNatural sent me the 100% off coupons to order these via Amazon, life and travelling and other stuff got away from me and I hadn’t been able to order them before the coupons expired. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to continue with the campaign. I reached out to InstaNatural to see if there was anything we could do, and I promptly got a message back saying my rep had personally shipped my products to me and that I shouldn’t worry. The products came to me within two days, which is incredibly fast shipping time.

This was a really great company that I really felt good about working with, and although I’m not able to say super positive things about the all-purpose oil, I’m glad I will be able to enjoy my hair mask and skin serum and hope in the future to purchase more of those products.

Disclaimer:

This is a sponsored post. All products reviewed on this page were sent to me complimentary from InstaNatural, via BrandBacker. All opinions are my own.