The Seven Beauty Products of Summer

As I flipped my Boston Terrier 2012 calendar to August last week, I realized that summer is kind of winding down. Can you believe it? I may have shed a tear at the thought of summer Fridays coming to an end. But then I smiled at the idea of cooler temps. And then I read that this July was the hottest Chicago’s had in 57 years and I realized that the temps likely aren’t going down anytime soon. Now? I’m in “embrace it” mode. Time to live in the moment and appreciate all of the things there is to love about summer. For us, it’s paying special homage to seven products that are so unbelievably summer.

Hawaiian Tropic SPF 30 Lotion Sunscreen is such a nostalgia product, but the “sun safe” version. It’s got a protective SPF 30 (option to go up to 50 or down to 12 in this variety) and perfectly captures the essence of the tropics. Bonus points for the moisturizing formula, which keeps your skin looking and feeling smooth while beach/pool-side.

Wouldn’t be summer without self-tanner. The surprise hit for me this summer is Tarte Maracuja Self-Tanner. The applicator mitt is both handy and stylish, and the formula is top notch. About as scent-free as you can get and impossible to mess up. I couldn’t get a streak from this if I applied this half-asleep. For a really impressive (and believable) bronzy hue, I apply this as the follow-up to my beloved Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Body Pad. Doubling up is the way to go, people!

Stains are a must in the melting months, lest your blush just fall off of your face in three hours. Stila Passion Fruit Lip & Cheek Stain, launched with the brand’s summer 2012 collection, is the perfect summer color. It’s a pinky coral that leans more orange, less red. With just a few clicks to lips and cheeks, it brightens up the entire face. Bonus points for the fact that the formula includes actual passion fruit extract!

Bath time and hot summers don’t quite click, but a girl still needs to relax in the bath.  My sanity needs tubby time (+ wine).  I swap my candlelight in for something fresh and summery and lower the water temperature by several degrees. The absolute perfect summer candles are from Slatkin & Co., available at Bath & Body Works for major sale right now. I’ve peppered the refreshing orange blossom and jasmine Beach Cabana scent throughout my home.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow is the best thing to happen to my eye makeup this summer. There’s 12 colors — a mix of matte, shimmer, light and dark — and each one is completely waterproof. They just do not budge. If it’s in the Aqua line, you know it’s going to last. I’m obsessed with shade 20E, a pearly taupe, that looks especially phenom on the lower lash line.

Proof that beauty bloggers know everything. Our pal Beauty Bets raved about Coola Mineral Face Tinted Rose Essence SPF 20 and I picked up a tube right away. And all I can say is WOW. The rose essence is such a nice addition and the formula makes my skin look great. On those 95 degree days, this is really all you need on your face.

I stockpile bars of LUSH Buffy come summertime. It is by far my favorite product to use in the shower in the warmer months. It is part moisturizer, part exfoliator and smells like a fresh vat of shea butter. Skin is left polished from the ground rice, almond and beans. The exfoliants are so fine, that it reminds me of sand. This product just oozes summer.

Your turn! What beauty products define the summer season for you?

Coming Soon: LUSH Emotional Brilliance

LUSH will launch its long-awaited Emotional Brilliance collection July 21, venturing into the world of makeup more than it ever has before. And, in one of the most unique ways, too. Emotional Brilliance is more than just a color collection, but makeup mind therapy. What’s that you say?  It’s about how you feel when you wear these colors. With names like Glamorous, Independent, Strong and Decisive, you wear the corresponding colors but also the word. LUSH engaged Strategic Behavioral Therapist Lady Kennedy to develop the list of words to correspond with each color.

I attended a pre-launch party at Chicago’s Bucktown LUSH store and saw the Emotional Brilliance range of 30 shades, including 13 Liquid Lips ($22.95), 11 Liquid Eyeliners ($22.95) and 6 Cream Eyeshadows (22.95). To experience Emotional Brilliance, you spin a special wheel LUSH created and choose the three colors that jump out to you. Not an exact science, but a fun and innovative way to choose your makeup. It may be that each time you spin, different colors jump out at you.

Continue reading Coming Soon: LUSH Emotional Brilliance

Beauty VIP of the Week: Dry Shampoo

The longer my hair gets, the less I want to wash it. Not only to protect the ends and keep it healthy, but goodness, to save time! It takes some serious work to get it cleansed, dried and styled. I wear it as a badge of honor how long I can go between washes. I’m currently at about 2-3, but hoping to get it to 3-4. I might actually be a little too excited about it, as my husband keeps telling to stop bragging about how “dirty” my hair is. Whatever, I think it’s awesome.

3 days (unwashed!) and going strong

All of this unwashed glory would not be possible without dry shampoo. I can’t be without it. I’ve been testing them religiously, and have become quite selective. I found some that only seem to reinforce the fact that my hair is unwashed and others that magically infuse new life into my strands for days. I wanted to share my VIP picks, in hopes you can start living the dirty hair life, too. It’s a life that involves cool shower caps and more sleep in the morning!

The scent of Lulu Organics Lavender + Clary Sage Hair Powder ($30) is unbeatable. Very herbal and soothing — I actually think in the process of absorbing excess scalp oil it also manages to relax me. It also gives my hair a nice texture. Rub a dab of this between your fingers and then massage into your scalp and brush hair. Easy and done!

This brand is new to my radar, but they seem to do it all, including hair. Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell + CoQ10 Dry Shampoo ($12.99) is another powder formula that, in addition to Argan and CoQ10, uses corn starch, white clay and essential oils of lavender and chamomile to cleanse hair. It has a very fine, almost silky, texture. I like this one on clean, “first day” hair sometimes as I think it seems to work invisibly. There is no trace of this in your hair, but it does a great job of absorbing oil.

I’ve reviewed Lush No Drought ($12.95) before, and it’s still a favorite. I have a thing for powder dry shampoos, obviously. I love how citrusy this one is, with lime and grapefruit.

If I’m going aerosol, it’s Batiste ($8.99) all the way. I really like the Blush version, but this Brit can is adorable, no? This gives me serious volume and is super convenient on the go. I stock up on this when it’s on sale at Ulta! It’s practically the only aerosol dry shampoo I will use. No weird texture issues to be had with this one, which makes it a standout.

Valentine's Day Beauty to Heart

 In honor of cupid’s big day, we pulled together a list of pink, red and girly all over beauty goodies. Products that exude XOXO. Because if there’s one thing we heart, it’s beauty. Forget the roses and the chocolates, we like these kinds of presents.

Leila Lou Eau de Parfum –  Somehow this scent by Rosie Jane manages to capture the innocence of Valentine’s Days past. So fresh and girly!

EOS Berry Blossom Hand Lotion – We seriously love this pocket-sized, berry-scented lotion with shea butter, oat extract and plenty of vitamin E.

LUSH A Million Kisses – The intense scarlet stain resembles that of lips that have been nonstop smooching for days upon days. The addition of rosehip oil (first ingredient listed!) gives it an appropriate cupid scent.

Beauty Secrets Tweezers –What’s not to love about these at $1.49 each from Sally Beauty? They resemble Tweezerman for a smidge of the price!

What’s on your Valentine’s Day wishlist?

LUSH No Drought Appeals to my Citrus-Seeking Side

Dry shampoo is a staple in my life. I used to wash my hair every single day, and now I’m more of an every other day washer (or two, if I can get away with it). Now that my hair is to the middle of my back, it is a serious job to wash, dry and style. As an aside….sleeping is also much more difficult with long hair. It’s always getting caught under my arm and getting in the way of my requisite seven hours. But I digress…dry shampoo! More specifically, LUSH No Drought – brand spanking new and pretty darn good.

LUSH No Drought is a dry shampoo in the traditional sense: a loose powder that you massage into your scalp and through your hair. It contains corn flour and talc to absorb the oilies, which does the trick for me. What makes this so special, though, is the SMELL! Lemon, grapefruit and lime oils make this pretty much the best-smelling dry shampoo I’ve used. I absolutely love citrus smells, especially grapefruit.

The price is pretty attractive as well at $12.95 for 4.6 oz. I don’t know about you, but I can burn through an aerosol can of Batiste pretty darn quick. While that may be a less expensive option, I think LUSH No Drought will last through many more un-washings.

I also find that applying this before bed is the most effective way to wake up with fresh hair. I usually sprinkle some in, massage it and throw my hair up in a bun. Long hair is seriously challenging to sleep with when it is not up!

For more on No Drought, check it out at LUSH.

Currently Loving: LUSH Ro's Argan Body Conditioner

There’s a new product in my shower that I am SO EXCITED to tell you about. LUSH Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner is completely shaking up my morning routine and has me excited to get out of bed and into the shower. Seriously, my snooze button is on notice. Get this: it’s a ROSE JAM scented body conditioner that is so insanely moisturizing. It absolutely blew mind the first time I used it – the smell is heavenly, and actually very subtle once you get out of the shower and on with your day. Of course, that day will start that much more efficient because you will already have moisturized in the shower. You may, however, obsessively touch your skin and smell your arms because it’s just THAT GOOD.

Did I mention how moisturizing it is? LUSH spared no emollient. There’s Brazil nut oil, cocoa butter, cypress oil, capacu butter, shea butter, almond oil and of course Argan oil. There’s even a touch of spring water to cool the skin down. Simply amazing. And so perfect for winter.

Ro’s Argan just launched as part of the LUSH 15 — 15 new products and innovations, many of which are a first for LUSH. You can check it in stores or at LUSH online, where it retails for $29.

Beauty VIP of the Week: LUSH Big Shampoo

Sometimes, I can’t decide if I want to use LUSH Big Shampoo in my hair or pour it into a margarita glass and call it happy hour! While this Beauty VIP is intended for the former, the sea salt and fresh lime juice definitely pit this volumizing shampoo in a different category. It’s intended to give limp locks BIG volume, and the ingredients also have a clarifying effect.

The ingredients all have a special job to do. A seaweed infusion softens the hair, and strengthens in from root to tip. Fresh lime juice delivers crazy shine and gives hair that squeaky-clean feel. And the sea salt is full of minerals that blow up your hair in a way you wouldn’t think possible. The salt has an obvious gritty texture, and it feels fantastic to massage this into your scalp.

I love using this in the summer when my hair tends to fall into the “greaser” category more often. This whips it into perfect shape, and gives me that Texas hair I covet so much.  My tip to you if you too want BIG hair: use a healthy amount of conditioner on the ends of your hair after using this shampoo. Then, style and enjoy your new found BIG hair.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand…LUSH Tiny Hands Serum

Do your hands need a little TLC? LUSH’s Tiny Hands Serum was created with hardworking mitts in mind. And just holding this tiny little hand in mine gave me some warm (and moisturizing) fuzzies! All you need is a moment with this solid bar in your palm and the serum melts off nearly instantly. Tiny Hands is uber-moisturizing — with argan oil, cocoa and shea butters and aloe vera. It eases dry patches or cracked cuticles in an instant.

Its scent traces back to marigold and vanilla, and is actually on the fragrant side. It’s more floral than vanilla, and I found it to be a calming aroma. Word to the wise though: don’t leave this serum baking in the sun, it will melt. For ease, I store it in one of LUSH’s silver tins and bust it out when I need a little touch of the hand!

Get Dirty with Lush's New Unisex Collection

The new Dirty collection from Lush takes the idea of layering and takes it a step further. Instead of having a selection of products all with the same scent and building on the intensity of the fragrance, Lush has each product scented with individual fragrances and once you’ve used all of them together, the unisex “Dirty” fragrance emerges. The one exception here is the body spray, that product contains all the main notes that make up Dirty; notes of spearmint, thyme, tarragon and sea salt.

Here’s what is in this brand new collection:

  • Dirty Spring Wash Shower Gel ($9.95 for 3.3oz, $17.95 for 8.4oz, $26.95 for 16.9oz) – recreate your very own mountain spring and wash with this tingly, softening, minty shower gel that contains spearmint, thyme, and sea salt.
  • Dirty Shaving Cream ($12.95) – shave it all off using our ultra-softening oats and benzoin shaving cream. There’s also lavender and sandalwood in there to soothe any irritations.
  • Dirty Hair Gel ($12.95) – refresh your coif with their conditioning and softening, firm hold styling product.  Made with fair trade coconut oil, linseed gel and balm herb infusion for the perfect just-got-out-of bed style.
  • Dirty Body Spray ($19.95) – if you don’t have the time for a full-on Dirty routine in the morning, take a quickie instead and spritz yourself liberally with this body spray before you head out the door.

Continue reading Get Dirty with Lush's New Unisex Collection

Splurge vs. Save: Sara Happ & Lush Sweet Lips Lip Scrubs

I am a big fan of lip scrubs, keeping my lips smooth and flake free for whatever lipstick shade seems to brings out the worst in my lips, is an obsession of mine. I have a quite a few of these but I usually reach for the ones that have a stronger grit to them, the ones that really go to work on my lips are my favorites.

Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub has been out for ages but the $24 price tag kept me away for a long time. When I finally bit the bullet and gave in to the price tag, I found a lip scrub that is rich, gritty and effective. One of my pet peeves with some lip scrubs is texture. Some do not have enough grit to them, there’s too much oil or a carrier in them to use the sugar crystals effectively but that’s not the case with Sara Happ’s Lip Scrub. What you get is a dense paste with plenty of brown sugar to take care of flaky lip syndrome and keep it in check for good. A pot has 30ml of product and this scrub is now available in 6 other flavors.

On the right you have Lush’s Sweet Lips Lip Scrub retailing for $8.95 a pot. While it has slightly less product, it also costs much, much less and is just as effective. It does not have the same paste link consistency as Sara Happ’s Lip Scrub but it has a healthy dose of castor sugar crystals to keep lips soft and smooth just as well. I actually reach for this one more often than the other because Lush’s Lip Scrub is not as dense and spreads a little easier on the lips. Lush also has two other flavors available; Mint Julip and Bubble Gum, both of which I have just in case I feel the urge to mix it up a little.

Both of these lip scrubs are fantastic and are both eligible for holy grail status. I will tell you this, I do reach for these Lush lip scrubs more often simply because I do not worry about replacing them since they are much cheaper. I do understand that sometimes a splurge is necessary though. Either way, you’re in good hands with these lip scrubs.