Current Skincare and Makeup Loves

Makeup Peek
A peek into my current skincare and makeup routine.

Last year I resolved to use up all of the skincare and makeup I had been hoarding during the last few years. Some of it went in the garbage but most of it was used up to the point where my stash got pretty lean, something the old Carla would have hated. The current Carla is pretty happy with the size of her stash, there is plenty of room for new green additions.

I worked my way through quite a few cleansers, exfoliators and moisturizers. Along the way, I developed an interest in oil cleansing. I was reading everything I could on essential oils and carrier oils until I finally started using my own blends to remove my makeup and moisturize my skin. There was a period of adjustment but I found that I really preferred oil cleansing to how I use to cleanse my skin, it was relaxing and left my skin feeling better than ever. I was hooked but more on that later…

As for makeup, there are two things I have not purchased recently: foundation and concealer. I know a lot of you can relate to this, I had so many bottles of foundation and tubes of concealer that I forbid myself from buying any more. For the most part, I stayed the course. Small samples don’t count, right? I still have some foundation to work through but I’m almost at a point where I’m ready to scoop up some products I’ve been dying to try. I’m looking at you, Gressa and Kjaer Weis!

Do you know that feeling when you’ve gone for a long walk and you realize the end is in sight? That’s how I feel about this foundation/concealer “no buy” of mine, I’m glad it’s nearly over!

Continue reading Current Skincare and Makeup Loves

Holiday Gift Guide: The Eco Girl

Our holiday gift guides continue with green beauty goodies perfect for The Eco Girl. These natural and organic options are all pampering and earth-friendly. The Eco Girl gift guide is a really special one for us. This year, we discovered so many amazing brands and products that have totally changed our skincare and beauty routines around in the best possible way.  And all of The Eco Girl picks come from brands that are made by passionate women who are truly inspiring.

Talk about passion and heart. The ladies at La Bella Figura have traveled the world to discover exotic ingredients and use them to make the most eco-luxe skincare evah. The La Bella Figura Holiday Healing and Glow Kit is such an amazing gift. You get a little bit of everything with it — facial steam teas, the Bio Active Healing Mask, Barbary Fig Renewal Serum (thank you LBF for intro-ing this phenom ingredient!), a sample set of their fragrance oils and that chic chevron bag to tote it all in.

Team Product Girl had the delight of meeting Maureen Kelly in New York last year and it felt like we were reuniting with a gal pal we’d known forever. One with insane business savvy.  How is that everything Tarte puts out is a must-have?  Like this Tarte Lash Curler & Mascara set in that adorable ikat print. It’s more than cute — the curler is high quality (I prefer it to most others…even the Shu)

Next to sunscreen, RMS Beauty Living Luminizer is one of those products we’d take to a desert island. This is the highlighter that Victoria’s Secret models use! The gorgeous woman behind this brand, Rose-Marie Swift, uses this often on Gisele and Miranda. It puts most other highlighters to shame. Try this yourself, then pay it forward to The Eco Girl on your list.

We are obsessing over the One Love Organics Comfort and Joy set (exclusive to Birchbox). Does it get better than a duo of body serums made with organic plant oils in Lavender and Neroli scents? We first fell in love with One Love after President Suzanne LeRoux kindly introduced us to the line last year. The Skin Savior Balm had us hooked from day one and now we can’t get enough of the line. This set is the perfect way to share the (one) love.

Going sulfate free was a game changer for my hair and one of my favorite new discoveries is Acure Organics Morocccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo and Conditioner, made for gifting with this Acure Organics Healthy Hair Gift Set. It is one of the best smells I’ve ever encountered and it totally revitalizes hair. The Eco Girl will appreciate this duo and the fact that brand, founded by Kristy Guerra as a way to honor her grandmother who battled breast cancer, donates proceeds of each product sold to breast cancer research. This line is literally for a cure.

Ilia Beauty founder Sasha Plavsic is on a mission to change your mind about organic makeup. A designer by trade, she founded the line after evaluating her makeup bag one day and decided organic beauty could use a rebrand of its own — better packaging, performance and contemporary colors. We say success has been achieved because Ilia Beauty Lipstick is phenomenal. The colors are wearable and fresh, the formula good for you (and performs better than most non-natural offerings) and the packaging streamlined. Introduce The Eco Girl to a tube of Ilia and a happy holiday it will be.

For more holiday gift inspiration, see our recommendations for The Product Girl and The Party Girl.

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?

Tarte's What Has Your Makeup Done For You Lately Set – QVC's Today Special Value

I am a sucker for Tarte’s QVC Today Special Value sets, I really am. Today QVC’s Today Special Value is Tarte’s What Has Your Makeup Done For You Lately set, #A225763 I’ve probably said this before but they always introduce something new in these sets and there’s always something else for me to obsess over. Right now? I’m loving that Tarte has given us yet another great brush and a new chunky lip pencil… I’m all about the lip pencils.

This set retails for $49.96 and introduces us to Tarte’s new Maracuja Miracle Foundation with Broad Spectrum SPF 15. It also has a few products that will remain exclusive to QVC until January 2013, we’ll get into that in a moment. Another thing about this set? If you sign up for auto-delivery, your November set will include Tarte’s bronzing powder and the February set will include the original setting powder.

Continue reading Tarte's What Has Your Makeup Done For You Lately Set – QVC's Today Special Value

Beauty VIP of the Week: Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Tipsy

During this heat wave, I’ve been all about hues of orange. Tangerine looks great with sweat. Or something like that. I’m just being real, because there is no way to be put together when it’s this hot. But we do our best! One of our favorite summer shades is definitely Tipsy by Tarte, a bright coral. I latched on to Tipsy Cheek Stain way back when no one else was making that type of product and then, Product Girl HQ universally fell for Tipsy Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush and its long-wearing power (perfect for a heat wave!)

Naturally, I assumed that Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Tipsy would be similarly bright, when in fact it is a soft pearly peach on the lips. It’s nude without being nude, peach without being too peach and packed with shine that isn’t too shiny. It is DIVINE. It’s a go with everything lip gloss and perfect for that no-makeup makeup look and alternatively the heat wave look. It manages to softly brighten up my face and detract from all that glisten (a.k.a. sweat).

I happen to like when my beauty products surprise me. This Tipsy’s going down in history as a Product Girl Beauty VIP.

QVC Today's Special Value Preview: Tarte Miracle of Maracuja Set

We have a preview of tomorrow’s Today’s Special Value on QVC and it’s Tarte’s Miracle of Maracuja set. We are suckers for these great Tarte/QVC sets and this one kicks it up a notch with new maracuja infused products for us to obsess over, all of them full sized for only $59.96. This 8-piece collection (the Pure Maracuja Oil is not pictured here) is a steal and includes:

  • Pure Maracuja Oil
  • Maracuja Waterproof Creaseless Concealer
  • Lights, Camera, Lashes! Volumizing Mascara in Black
  • Envoke the Smoke Eye Shadow Quad
  • Airblush Maracuja Blush in Amused
  • Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Peaceful
  • Cashmere Waterproof Gliding Liner in Black
  • Airbrush Finish Bamboo Blush Brush

The Maracuja Waterproof Creaseless Concealer is available in your choice of shades in Fair, Light, Medium, Tan, or Deep and with the auto-delivery option, you will receive new shades in July and November.

Keep reading for swatches from this collection. Continue reading QVC Today's Special Value Preview: Tarte Miracle of Maracuja Set

Better Together: Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation & Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush

As a rule, I don’t really do full-coverage foundations. I equate the term “full-coverage” with masking or heavy. But I can be wrong. Tarte is giving new meaning to full-coverage with the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation, and it has the Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush to thank. While one without the other works, together, they are unstoppable. Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Foundation is a thicker, more dense formula. By using Tarte’s Foundation Brush, which has a dense, firm head of bristles, the Foundation goes on weightlessly. You can see it covering and working immediately but you don’t feel a thing. At all.

I tested this Foundation in many different ways. With my fingers, other foundation brushes (flat and fluffy) and Tarte’s brush is the best. I find I get the best results by dampening the bristles first and taking a small amount at a time. from the back of my hand. When the brush is completely dry, it tends to eat more product than it should.

Bottom line: these two products go together like a glass of wine and a bubble bath. Don’t split them up. They belong together.

Products on a Pedestal, February 2012

Products on a Pedestal is our version of a monthly favorites recap. The products that especially rocked the makeup bag and caught our attention. Last month, Kayla shared her favs. This month, I’ll share mine.

Every brand that is not YSL wants to have a Touch Eclat. Some come close, others not so much. For the price, Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer is perhaps the best budget option I’ve encountered yet. The color ‘Radiant’ has just enough pink in it and does a good job concealing and diffusing.  

What a nice surprise! Versace Yellow Diamond is so fresh and floral. I definitely enjoyed wearing this all month, and it is getting me in a spring state of mind. The base is amber and musk but it’s a very sheer scent with tons of floral and a touch of fruit (lemon and pear). Also, I LOVE the big yellow diamond cap.

A bright pink cheek feels so appropriate in the winter. And NARS Gaiety Blush is the perfect pink. The bright hue totally awakens the face. I love that it is matte, so I can wear it that way or layer with a highlighter for more glow.

My wear with everything gloss this month was Tarte’s Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss in Glisten. It’s a peachy nude, so it goes with everything and I remain enchanted by the floral tube. Can you tell I’m excited for spring?!

Benefit Instant Brow Pencil in shade medium helps bring natural fullness to my brows. I love how I barely have to press the pencil to my brows to get the effect I’m after. The spoolie on the other end is so convenient, too, and helps pull my entire look together in 3 seconds.

What products were you all about this past month? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadows Revamp Packaging + Welcome New Shade for Spring

How do you make something that’s already great even better? If you’re Tarte, you give your Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadows new and improved packaging, and introduce a new color to boot! These first appeared on the long-wear makeup scene last summer, and Tarte’s formula is one of the best. Intense colors, a boost of Amazonian clay to reduce oil and natural carnauba wax that acts as a built-in shadow primer and ensures smooth application. Staying power is something to brag about here.  But, the previous packaging, in a tiny round container, made these difficult to use. Brushes and fingers both had difficulty maneuvering in there.  

The new packaging features a square glass jar with a wide opening. It’s not unlike that of Bobbi Brown’s Cream Shadows if we’re comparing.  These are a vast improvement, and while the formula is as good as before, I appreciate the packaging upgrade so I can use these more. I also love how I can easily ID the color by the lid. It’s the little things in life that get me excited!

Four of these shades may look familiar, Plum Smoke from QVC and the others from, but Shimmery Bronze is new for spring. Here’s the breakdown in colors, left-to-right from the above photo:

    • Plum Smoke – The “smoke” really is the operative word here. Whenever I wear this it is instant smokey eye even if I’m not aiming for it. I love that it’s a one stop shop for a dramatic look.
    • Shimmery Moss – A really wearable green, that actually pulls quite antique and bronzey. Love the micro-sparkle in this one, too!
    • Shimmery Bronze (NEW!) – New for spring, this bronze is actually more chocolate espresso. I think that gives it a unique quality. It’s beautiful for blues eyes especially.
    • Seashell Pink – A frosty-ish pink that makes a great base. On my skin tone (and you can’t quite tell on my hand), this pulls a little peach. It’s very flattering on its own, too.

These appear to be an Ulta exclusive for now. Get on over there and use your next 20% off code on ShimmeryBronze!

Now in Bloom, Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Lip Gloss

Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Gloss, new this spring, is like a fresh bloom in our makeup bag. The bright floral pattern on these adorable and mighty tubes of gloss is irresistible. They resemble a garden of glosses when you see them together. I don’t have a green thumb, but I definitely have a gloss thumb. This type of garden is more my speed!

What’s so divine about these is the hydrating and nourishing formula, infused with maracuja oil, is the plumped-up effect on lips. And the shine. We can’t leave out that part. Gloss girls of all ages will appreciate these glosses. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but coral Blissful and peachy nude Glisten are the ones I’ve been clicking away on lately.

Oh, and about the clicking. It takes a good 50 or so clicks to get the gloss started. So if you try these (and you SHOULD!), just something to keep in mind. It’s kind of like the Tootsie Roll commercial from way back in childhood — Mr. Owl, how many clicks does it take to get to the center of a Tarte Maracuja Divine Shine Gloss?  The world may never know.