Archive of ‘Beauty’ category

BEL-AIR BEAUTY

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Happy Monday!! I am super excited to finally share this post. The last few weeks have been extremely crazy with travel, work, and the usual, so I am a little behind…

A couple weeks ago while we were on our routine LA trip, we stayed at the beautiful Hotel Bel-Air. Of all our visits, I never thought of touring this area, and apparently, I’ve been missing out. It was just gorgeous! The best part was the beautiful, luscious landscaping and gardens surrounding the property, and I’m sure you can guess who was especially happy about that!!

Seriously, the photos do not do this place justice, but hopefully you can see all the beautiful use of the outdoor space… Even the restaurants open into the outdoors. This was a little confusing for Santino, because a couple times on our walks he ran right into the Wolfgang Puck. Luckily the people at the table thought he was a cutie and didn’t get mad about it.

I got to wear some of my new favorites: Strapless Silk Romper by Parker (it is on sale, depending on where you get it) with my Celine Phantom Tote, and I have been living in those Aquazurra shoes I got a few weeks ago in NYC!!

A couple things about beauty… In these pics, I’m wearing Tom Ford lip color in Cherry Lush and Illuminating Highlight Pen in Peach Blush. Lately while traveling, I just ask the hotel restaurant for some olive oil to go and use that to remove my makeup every night. It is much simpler than carrying tons of product around on the plane and risk spilling it in my bag. Plus, it’s great for my skin and sometimes I put a little in my hair to smooth out the ends.

As always, thanks for stopping by! If I left out anything, just ask. Have a wonderful week, XO!!!

byrd girl

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HEALTHY HAIR TIPS

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It’s been four days since I washed my hair.

Of course it’s not as big and fluffy like it was days ago, and it’s definitely not it’s best. However, it’s not the worst. I’ve ranted on before about having dry, coarse hair and that my hair naturally looks okay if I don’t wash it for a day or two, but this is DAY 4!

Over the years, I have tried all sorts of routines and paid way too much money for hair sprays, creams, dry shampoos, etc to extend the time between washings. Finally I feel as if I have a little routine that works. Of course, everyone is different and no one system works for everyone, but here a few simple, easy steps that anyone can do to keep hair looking healthy longer:

  • WASH YOUR HAIR RIGHT & WASH IT TWICE! Once your hair is completely wet, take a small amount of shampoo and massage it into your scalp. Don’t just set it on top of your head and rub it around for a few seconds. Really massage it into your entire scalp and hair by gently scrubbing with your fingertips for one minute. Think of emulating the wash at the beauty salon. It’s actually really nice! Then rinse and do the same thing again. By washing hair twice, it not only gets clean, it also allows the product to penetrate into the scalp, creating healthier hair. There’s a lot of build up consisting of dirt, dead cells, hair product, etc. in our hair and on our scalp. Yuck, right?! Washing your hair twice allows you to properly cleanse and remove the build up without massaging it back in. Besides, don’t we select shampoos with ingredients that claim to work miracles on our hair?Just think of all those fruity benefits going down the drain! They can’t be very effective if they aren’t properly absorbed because our hair follicles are clogged :(  The process of washing twice may seem time consuming, but think of the time you will save between washings… Trust me, it’s worth the two minutes!! After the second wash, condition and rinse with cool water. It seems as if we’ve all heard this a million times, but it helps, I promise!
  • SWITCH SHAMPOOS. One last tip on hair washing is to alternate shampoos. Don’t buy dozens of expensive products, just start rotating the ones you already have. I’m sure you have half used bottles in your bathroom cabinets that have been sitting there for months. Just work those in to your routine and eventually add some new ones. I recommend adding organic, sulfate free versions (for many, many reasons, but that’s another post!). Right now, I’m using Morrocco Method, Avalon Organics and Big, Sexy Hair. In these pics, I used the Big, Sexy Shampoo and Conditioner, then added a little Fekkai Glossing Cream before I used my blow dryer and curling iron.
  • SLEEP ON A SILK PILLOWCASE! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this :)  This step has made the biggest difference in my hair. There are so many benefits from using a silk pillowcase. Just Google it, and you will see thousands of articles about the advantages of silk pillowcases, from anti aging claims to improvements in overall heath! Long story short, the silk is way more gentle than the typical cotton pillowcase – therefore, less damage and breakage. The smooth surface helps reduce friction and prevents tangles. This is great for my long hair and keeps me from having to restyle my hair daily. I can curl it one day and wake up practically unchanged the next! My favorite thing about using this is that the silk retains moisture, so my hair is less dry and the ends aren’t as crunchy. This keeps my hair healthy longer, so I can extend the time between cuts. Honestly, I cannot go on enough about how big a difference this has made. I love it so much, and as a matter of fact, I have begun traveling with mine. Seriously, I pack my own pillowcase everywhere I go. I just throw it in my suitcase and replace it over the one in the hotel. Silk pillowcases are sold by many brands and at all different price points, but mine is from Silk Lova that I bought from Amazon. If you need any tips on picking the right one, just ask or read more here.

Hope you find these tips helpful. Some of these may be really obvious, and you may have already been implementing into your haircare. If not, give them a try, and let me know what you think.

Have a great weekend!

XO!

byrd girl

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ULTA-mate Beauty Haul

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Recently I went to Ulta to stock up on some of my favorite makeup products, and as always, I left with those plus a whole bunch of extra goodies! We were getting ready to leave for Las Vegas and needed to replenish some of the essentials but also to see if there was anything exciting I could use for the trip.

The best product I got was Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray. I’m a sucker for buying new hair products, but almost never use them after a couple times. This, however, will be the exception, and it may have been the culprit for all those selfies I’ve been posting on Instagram recently!

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I was skeptical at first because I used it on dry hair as touch up and wasn’t too thrilled. It just made my hair wet and a little stiff after it dried. This could be due to the fact that my hair had not been washed for a few days, and the new product simply didn’t mix well with the accumulated hairspray I had been piling on previously. The next day I used it on freshly washed hair and this made a huge difference. After washing my hair, I sprayed a generous amount and intended to let it air-dry like the directions suggested. However, I did not have as much time as I thought, so I had to blow it dry. Surprisingly, my hair quickly dried and was big and full exactly how I like it! Usually when a product dries my hair quicker or makes it big and fluffy, it causes the ends to appear dry and crunchy. Not so much here… This spray has argon oil which kept it from frizzing. I ran my curling iron throughout like always, and my hair was done. I didn’t have to add any cream to soften the ends or spray to add volume. It was done, and no lie, it stayed this way for many days! If you happened to view any of my previous posts from Vegas, you can see how it held up over time. I used this when we got there, and didn’t have to “fix” my hair again for the entire trip. Although I did not use the product according to the directions, I was thrilled with the results. Now that I’m home, I’ll play around with it some more to see what other ways it can be used.

The other products are not nearly as exciting as the beach spray, but there were some other good buys, and freebies for that matter!

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At checkout, I receive a free Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer, probably because I purchased a full size Sweethearts Blush from the brand. Turns out, I like free one better than the one I bought! It reminds me of Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder, which I used to wear a lot. Many people shy away from these because they appear dark. They are super blendable, so just use a brush apply to the face with a “light hand”. If it still looks too dark, just keep blending with your brush. It will tone down to reach a lighter shade. Another reason these bronzers are so great is they only add color – no shimmer, no glitter, no shine. Just color. We all want that sun-kissed look for summer but also want to avoid the shimmer overkill many other bronzers have. I admit, I like some shimmer and want to have a “glow” but there is a fine line. This matte bronzer works great because I can always add a little shimmer. Remember, it’s much easier to add than it is to take away. The best way to add some shimmer or get a “glow” is to add a liquid highlighter over the matte bronzer. (Use liquid because adding powder on top of more powder can look cakey!) There are so many beautiful highlighters, but I’ve been using Girl Meets Pearl. It’s looks so pretty and is super easy. Seriously, you cannot mess it up – apply the bronzer everywhere you want to add color, then apply the highlighter on the cheekbones and on the outer areas of the forehead to get the look. They blend together beautifully.

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The blush is okay… The packaging is prettier than the actual product, but honestly, I only bought it because I thought it was cute. Sometimes I get excited over stupid stuff, and this is a prime example. Maybe next time I’ll at least try it on to see if it is a color I like. I’ll still find ways to wear it, probably looks best over a cheek stain or alone as a highlighter.

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Does anyone else suffer from allergies? This year has been the worst, so my face has been more sensitive and my eyes more itchy than usual. Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara seems to be more gentle on my eyes, so I’ve been alternating it with some of my favorites, like Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara that I love so much and have raved about in another post. Sometimes I’ll layer the statement mascara over the Amazonian Clay for a more dramatic look, without the itchiness.

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I knew we would be at the pool on this trip, so I picked up some products that would be useful. I’ve been using Bliss Ingrown Eliminating Pads for years. These are the best, whether you wax or shave. I also grabbed Bliss Fat Girl Six Pack. There’s no way this works, and I felt really silly buying this. However, we can all relate to wanting to have a little trick or discover something that will relieve those unnecessary insecurities. Apparently this wasn’t it because I chickened out and was too scared to try it. Even now, I’m still debating whether to use it or return it! Before leaving, I couldn’t resist browsing those little bins… Those bins have the best products, right?! I picked up a travel size Sun Bum SPF 30 Face Stick. We all know SPF is essential, and because this one is a stick, it’s easier to apply to the face than any lotion or spray without getting in the eyes. Also, it’s small enough to carry in any bag and quickly reapply anytime.

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Lately, I’ve been experimenting with new shampoos. I wish I could find a sulfate free, organic shampoo that creates big, beautiful hair. Needless to say, I’m still searching. The organic ones are healthy and feel better on my scalp, but they leave my hair somewhat dull. I know all those crazy chemicals are what makes the hair look better, so I’m just using them in moderation until I can find the perfect product. Although I’ve used the Big Sexy Shampoo and Conditioner in the past, it’s been awhile. They’re paraben and sulfate free, so this may be a good option in the meantime.

The remaining products were ones I’ve written about before, so I won’t review them again. Also, I got a Deborah Lipmann nail polish that barely shows up, so I’ll spare you from that, too. With a couple exceptions, I loved all my new products and can’t wait to keep using them, then go get some more!! Have a great weekend, and thanks again for reading :)

XO!
byrd girl

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VEGAS: SWIM ESSENTIALS

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Not sure why I refer to this as “swim” essentials considering I never even got in the pool, much less went for a swim! Anyway, my “swim” outfit details below:

White One-piece Peixoto Flamingo Swimsuit
Victoria’s Secret Sequin Cover Up
Wild of Child Jewelry
Charlotte Russe Sandals
Prada Sunnies

I NEVER EVER go to to pool/beach without my SPF and bronzer. Those are essential!! I put in a lot of effort to avoid direct sun exposure in an attempt to preserve my skin. When I’m at the pool or beach, I lather on as high an spf as possible and lay near some shade or under an umbrella. I know we all look better with some color, so that’s what the bronzer is for. Right now I’m liking a bronzing shimmer powder from Victoria’s Secret. I like to brush a little everywhere my skin is exposed after I apply sunscreen. Also, something refreshing to drink is necessary while in the sun… I like a cucumber cocktail or sparkling water with lemon & lime. Those are both good options poolside and anytime for that matter! Typically, I’ll bring a book or magazine, but this time I forgot. Luckily my phone had full charge, so I just Instagrammed most of the time.

What about you… What are your “swim” essentials? Anything you like to do or can’t leave home without before going to the pool? Feel free to share or send a direct message if you have any questions. Thanks for reading my blog, have a wonderful week!

XO!
byrd girl

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Add A Touch of Glam…

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A couple weeks ago, I picked up the one of the new Stila Magnificent Foil Finish Eye Shadows. They come in so may pretty colors, but I chose Vintage Black Gold. It’s a beautiful color and it came with a deluxe sample of the Stay All Day Liquid Eye Primer. I’ve had some time to try and play around with them, and experimented with wearing in different ways. So far, my favorite is using the metallic cream shadow to add a bit of glamour to a simple, everyday look. Just because it’s a metallic and shimmery, doesn’t mean you’ve got to have an overly dramatic look or wait for a special occasion. Below is a simple overview of how I used it with one of my ordinary routines.

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Beginning with a fresh face, no makeup… Ahhh! I almost always wear makeup, so it is very unusual for me to share a bare face. Anyway, I first applied Benefit Boi-ing Concealer in Shade 1 – Light to cover darkness under & around the eye area and even skin tone on any patch of redness or other discoloration on my face. It works great to conceal and brighten the eye area and is super bendable to use on other areas on the face. The coverage is great, so I typically don’t wear foundation. Just make sure it’s blended in well and it should do the trick. I used my fingertip to blend, although I often use a concealer brush. If I need extra coverage, I use the brush. More seems to go on that way, but today I wanted something that was quick and weightless.

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Apply a small drop of the primer onto the fingertip and dab over the entire eyelid. This primer is pretty sticky, so make sure it is dry before applying any shadow.

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I used a white shadow all over the eye lid and a matte dark brown on the lower lid and crease. Just two colors, since I was keeping it simple. And don’t forget the Brow Zings, which I raved about in an earlier post.

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Next I lined the inner rim of my eye – both the lower and top part with Benefit BADgal waterproof liner. A lot of people have difficulty applying to the upper lid. I place the liner on my lid and line the upper rim as I close my eye. It is super quick and easy. See video below, and I apologize for looking so scary! I had no idea I rolled my eyes into the back of my head when I did this! Yikes!! We tend to make crazy faces when applying makeup, don’t we? Anyway, take a quick look…

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This is how it looks so far… Definitely needs a little something extra! Time for the fun part…

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To avoid a heavy look, I used my fingertip to apply thin layers. Dip a small amount onto the tip – this is enough for both lids. The shadow is buildable, so for a more dramatic look, I could just add more layers or apply with a cream shadow brush. Once I have a small amount on my fingertip, I gently dabbed on the lower lid, concentrating on the inner to mid eye area. Here’s a quick video of the application. You will see I just alternate dabbing onto each eye. It doesn’t have to be perfect, if any gets off the lid just wipe away with a clean hand. You’ll see…

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Once the shadow was set, I lined the top lid. Using the same liner as before, I applied a thick line along the lash line over the cream shadow. Next I added a couple layers of Lorac Pro Mascara. It was free in my holiday kit I got last year, and I really like it. Even though I’ve been a huge fan of Lorac for years, for some reason I never thought to try the mascara. Another reason I love getting those kits! The brush is great for lifting and curling the lashes. I think it’s going to become a new favorite!

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One of my favorite products to add is Benefit Ooh La Lift. It’s one of those products that seem unnecessary and like it would just add an extra step, but trust me. It’s worth the 20 seconds! This is a quick pick me up for your face. It does more than add a little something extra… It brightens under the eye, so the eye stands out even more. Also, it feels amazing!! It’s a great finishing touch to any look, plus it’s good to apply midday when you start to feel rundown a bit. Just dab a generous amount under the eyes down to the cheekbones. Gently pat until it’s absorbed and fan your face with your hands. I love it!!

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Complete the look with a little bronzer and a sheer lip gloss (this was also in that holiday kit) and you’re done!

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This look was quick and super easy. I was able to get a glammed up look using my new metallic shadow with all my other products. Sometimes adding in one new piece can change up the entire look. If you are looking to buy a new eyeshadow, blush, or any other color item, I recommend buying a kit. They usually have something you’ve never tried before and come with lots of freebies! Don’t be afraid to try new things or change things up. After all, it’s just makeup. You can always take it off.

Thanks again and have a wonderful day :)

XO!
byrd girl

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BIG, BEAUTIFUL HAIR

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There are several different ways I style my hair, though many times I feel as if it ends up looking the same either way! Nevertheless, I still like to play around and try different things. Sometimes I use curling irons with different size barrels, or I’ll change the style in which I curl. Over time, I would like to share all of these; however, today, I wanted to demonstrate the simplest way to get it done.

I used my new Hot Tools Gold Curling Iron with 1-1/4 inch barrel that I got from Ulta a few weeks ago. It’s pretty good… Nothing too special, but I felt my last Conair was damaging my hair and this one seems to be a good remedy until my next trim. I like to use the 1-1/4 in barrel when my hair is super long. When I use the 1 inch or smaller, my hair just ends up spirally on the ends…. It’s like I’m asking too much hair hold too many curls! On the other hand, if you have shorter hair, or it’s finer or thinner, I would recommend the 1 inch. If you don’t have as much hair, it is likely to respond better to the smaller barrel.

It’s worth mentioning that preparing the hair to be curled is essential… I washed my hair with Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Shampoo and Conditioner. Since my hair is super coarse and dry, this helps to keep from getting too frizzy. I also added a bit of the glossing crème before blow drying to smooth the ends. If your hair does not hold curls well or just needs an extra lift, I recommend using a volumizing cream before blow drying. They add texture and build volume without being too heavy on the hair. (One of my favorites is Living Proof Full Thickening Cream, ask for a free sample at Sephora and you’ll fall in love!) Next step is to blow dry hair completely. Now I’m using a Rusk CTC Lite. I believe in using a good quality blow dryer. In my opinion, it is more important than the shampoo, styling products or curling iron. I like to mix up my tools and change products, but if I don’t have a good blow dryer, it’s no good! Also, make sure the hair is totally dry! It is very dangerous to use hot styling tools on damp hair, so don’t risk it!! Once the hair is washed and completely dry, gently comb out and let it sit for a few minutes. Some people assume I have some special type of hair, and my hair just naturally looks great. WRONG!! As you can see, if I stopped here, it would not be pretty. Right now, it’s totally dry, frizzed out and overdue for a cut and color. It’s actually embarrassing, but I wanted to show that you don’t have to have beautiful, prefect looking hair to start with to get a good style.
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Moving on, put all but the most bottom layer in a clip. Dividing the hair and curling in layers helps add volume and ensures all the hair is included. Once each piece of hair has been curled, let another small layer down and repeat process until done. Regardless of the length or thickness, at least 3 layers are necessary, usually more depending on the amount of hair. The more layers I use, the bigger my hair gets. In this instance, I used 5, but if I have some time to spare, I’ll do more. Okay, after all of that, you’re finally ready to begin curling. This is the quickest and easiest part of the process!

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One of the things I do differently than most is curl all my hair all in one direction. Most people curl each side going out away from the face or vice versa. What I like to do is create curls that cause the hair to flow naturally in the same direction verses mirroring each side. For example, I start on the left side and roll the hair under and keep going in that direction, so by the time it reaches the other side, it has reversed to rolling away from the face. Does that make sense? Remember when I mentioned not asking your hair to do too much? This is a similar concept. When all the hair blends together in a similar direction (verses mirroring each other) the curl holds better.

Here’s a quick video showing how I begin by curling the LEFT side UNDER… Also notice that I run the hair through the curling iron to smooth and warm up the hair before actually curling.
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curl under.wmv (try this one for iphone)

This is a quick clip showing how I curl OUT or AWAY from the RIGHT side…
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One last tip… I hold the curling iron in my hair for only a few seconds. If it doesn’t hold at first, I’ll just go over it again or try using a smaller section of hair next time. Holding it too long will increase the risk of damage. Additionally, try not to turn the curling iron up too hot… It doesn’t make that much difference in styling but will have major impact on lessening the damage done while styling. Try for a med to med-high setting.

And that’s pretty much it!! Follow these steps in every layer until you get to the top, and voila! Finish with a little hair spray and fluff it out with your fingers, and you’re done. I must admit the hairspray is my favorite part :) In this demo, I used a combo: Fekkai Sheer Hold Hairspray all throughout the hair and Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play on the top and crown of the hair. The Big Sexy is my all time favorite, but it can be a bit drying, so I’m mixing until I can get another haircut. Here’s one last clip to demonstrate how it all comes together in the end. Beware! It’s a bit dramatic, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I take my hairspray very seriously!! Take a look…
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Thanks for reading, and feel free to let me know what you think… Was this helpful or just same things you’ve heard over and over? I could go on all day about hair, so I tried to edit out what I felt wasn’t necessary. Hope this helps!

XO!
byrd girl

Ulta Beauty Haul

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Recently, it became time to stock up on some beauty essentials, so I headed to Ulta. Typically, I go to Sephora when it’s time to restock, but this time I also needed some basic items and am trying to avoid another Target run during the holiday madness. I like how Ulta seems to carry most of the good stuff but also has the basic necessities, like my Neutrogena eye makeup remover. Plus one of my favorite cosmetic brands is Lorac, is exclusive to Ulta, so I can only go there to check out the new kits. This time I purchased one of the PROFace Kits for the holidays. Let’s take a closer look…

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The kit came with three shades: I used the Beige over the entire lid, Espresso in the crease, and blended Lt. Brown on the lower lid. The texture and color were both rich and smooth, so no primer required. The colors were very matte, which is typically a good thing, but I wanted just a hint of shimmer. I topped the inner part of my lower lid with a little gold shimmer that I already had to finish the look.

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Also in the kit was one of Lorac’s Lip Lustre Gloss. The color was Peach Lustre. It was great complement to the dark eye. It was neutral, but not dull or boring! I’ll definitely use this again, maybe over a lipstick to add a hint of peachy shimmer?? Now for the brows…

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Benefit BROW-zings is one of my favorite brow products. I’ve been using it for years and try to never leave home without it. Benefit was one of the first makeup brands I worked with. Brows are such a focus for that brand, so naturally, I became obsessed with brows from day one. I still only get my brows done at Benefit Boutiques! Anyway, BROW-zings is super easy to apply and works great to fill in my brows and helps keeps them tame when they are overdue for a waxing. When I was working in stores, I remember clients were afraid of the wax/ powder combo, but once I applied it, they bought it every time. There is no right or wrong way to use this… Use wax first, then apply powder over it or vice versa. I like to put a little of both on my brush and apply that way. Either way, the combo creates a natural look – It’s not so harsh that I have to use it perfectly, there’s room for error!

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Another Benefit favorite is the BADgal waterproof eye pencil. I use it to line the inner rim of my eyes, and it doesn’t run at all. Many people swear not to line the inner rim because they are afraid it may irritate the eye. As long as you keep the liner sterile, it should be fine. I resharpen before each application and have never had an issue. Before I became comfortable using liquid liner on my top lid, I just used this pencil. It is glides on smoothly and the color is dark enough that it achieves almost the same look.

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For my lashes, I use Lights, Camera, Flashes Statement Mascara by Tarte. Because of their “eco-chic” beauty products, I have always been a fan of the brand. I bought this mascara when it launched over the summer and have been addicted ever since! You can see what a difference it makes.

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These were a couple items I grabbed while waiting to check out. I try to look away, but it never fails… There’s always something I think I have to have I those bins! I use a lot of Bliss products, so I wanted to try this little set for $12. No surprise, it’s amazing. I’ll keep both in my bag and use until they’re gone. The Murad cleanser is actually for my husband. My skin is way too dry for this, but it works great for his skin. If anyone has oily skin and is prone to breakouts, I highly recommend using any product from the Murad Acne Complex line. I’ve seen it do wonders and used to sell a ton of it in stores, even though I never worked for them!

Below are a couple pics of the complete look using my new products.

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As always, I loved my beauty purchases and will have fun trying them out for a while. Then I’ll convince myself there’s something else I need to get. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the overview. What do you think? Have you tried any of these products? Please share your favorites or anything you would like to try. In the meantime, I’m going to play with my new curling iron… Maybe that will be my next post?

Have a wonderful week, XO!
byrd girl

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