My Personal “Best Of Beauty 2018”
We all have our “can’t live without” beauty items. You know, that lipstick you never leave home without, the moisturizer that makes your skin glow, the shampoo that smells delightful and leaves your hair silky smooth. Some we find by trial and error and others on recommendations from friends. Regardless of how you discovered them they are your beauty must-haves and your day-to-day routine just isn’t the same without them.
With that being said, some stand the test of time and become a part of your beauty routine year after year. Others get discontinued (gasp!) or we replace with our latest and greatest discovery. I’m going to share my current favorites because I believe when you find something great you should tell your friends!
Daytime Moisturizer: Avon Anew Vitale Day Creme SPF 25 ($28). I discovered this one when the store clerk put a sample in my bag. I had been using the same moisturizer at night as I did during the day because it did the job and I don’t necessarily believe in having two separate moisturizers. It lives up to the company’s claim of returning vibrancy, reducing dullness and improving clarity. I literally couldn’t believe how great my skin looked and felt! As for the claim that it evens out skin tone I haven’t seen anything dramatic there. If you want a great moisturizer that make your skin glow and has a substantial amount of SPF, I highly recommend this one. And at a $28 price point it won’t set you back much. If you catch it on sale you get even more bang for your buck!
Nighttime Moisturizer: This one has been the same for several years now – DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture ($36). DHC is a Japanese skincare company that sells their products in the U.S. via their online store. I discovered this line about five years ago when I received some samples in the mail – I’ve been hooked ever since. All their products are virgin olive oil based (olive oil is packed with antioxidants and very moisturizing), are non-comedogenic, and do not contain parabens, colorants or fragrance. Great all around moisturizer that does the job and does it well. Their Virgin Olive Oil is also a great moisturizer and I will occasionally use it in place of the Extra Nighttime Moisture when I want to switch things up.
For reference, my skin is normal and tends to get dryer in the winter. It’s also on the sensitive side.
Foundation: My go to for the last ten years has been Bare Minerals Original Loose Powder Foundation SPF 15 ($29). This stuff is an Allure Readers Choice award winner for 10 years running – and for good reason! It’s lightweight, doesn’t clog pores, is free of talc, parabens, phthalates, fragrance, preservatives and chemical sunscreens and the finish is silky and luminous. Plus, they have 30 shades to choose from! The coverage is buildable and provides light to medium coverage. I also like Avon True Color Smooth Minerals Powder Foundation ($12), their version of mineral powder foundation. Avon’s comes in 12 shades, is fragrance, talc and oil-free, however, it has no sunscreen.
For reference, I have fair skin with pink undertones and wear Fairly Medium in Bare Minerals and Light Beige in Avon.
BB Cream: NYX Professional Makeup BB Cream ($13). I typically use this most days and save the foundation for special occasions. This mineral infused, oil-free beauty balm gives you that “no makeup” look (read your skin but only better) and smooth, supple skin. It can also be used as a primer for your regular foundation. I’ve tried several prestige and drug store brands and this one is a solid performer, and in my humble opinion, better than some of the pricier alternatives. I like to set mine with Bare Minerals Original Mineral Veil Finishing Powder ($23) or Avon Translucent Glow mineral powder ($12).
For reference, I wear NYX BB Cream in Nude.
Sunless Tanner: I have two that I really like and I use them together to get the look that I prefer – L’oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Mist (about $9) in Dark and Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion Deep Dark Color (about $7). Both formulas dry quickly and don’t have a terrible odor like most sunless tanning products. I like to use the L’oreal Self-Tanning Mist all over. It’s simple to use and has a 360 degree wide angle applicator so you can get to your back and other hard to reach areas with ease. No need to rub in, just spray, let dry for 5 minutes and you’re good to go.
I use the Banana Boat Summer Color Self-Tanning Lotion just on my legs to give them an extra boost of color. The lotion is tinted so you can see where you’re putting it and to help avoid streaks. It’s also self-adjusting so you can acheive the deepest, most natural tan possible for your skin tone. It also contains Aloe Vera and Vitamin E so it’s very moisturizing.
All-In-One Hair Styling Product: It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Potion Plus Keratin ($19). I really didn’t know how to classify this one but it literally is a miracle potion. This non-greasy formula smooths, conditions, adds shine, strengthens with keratin, provides humidity resistance, and separates curls without build up. This product can be used on wet or dry hair and works for straight or curly styles. I focus mostly on the ends when using in wet hair and before heat styling. Once dry, I use sparingly all over to smooth my straight style or separate my curls when I wear my hair natural.
Root Cover-Up: L’oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up Gray Concealer Spray (around $10). This stuff buys me time between hair appointments saving me time and money. It’s perfect if you’re covering gray but also works well if your natural color is different than your current color. The nozzle is very precise so no need to worry about overspray. The product goes exactly where you need covers exceptionally well.
Dry Shampoo: This is a tie between Batiste Dry Shampoo ($8) and Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo ($31). Batiste is a steal at just $8 and it works great! I haven’t found a fragrance in this line that I’m super fond of but that won’t stop my from using it. It comes in many different fragrances and I haven’t gotten around to using them all. It also comes in a tinted formula that helps blend in root regrowth. I just purchased the tinted formula and haven’t had a chance to use it yet but I’ll be sure to report back.
I’ll be honest, I like the Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo because it works well but what I really like is that it smells AMAZING! However, this one is not an aerosol – you squeeze the bottle and it comes out in little “puffs”. The delivery system of this product takes a little getting used to but it’s a great product nonetheless. For products like dry shampoo, I typically can’t justify the $31 investment. However, I treat myself to this one a few times a year – usually the same time I treat myself to their Color Conserve Shampoo & Conditioner.
Are Those Your Real Lashes?
I’m asked this question all the time and the answer is yes and no. They are lash extensions that are individually attached to my real lashes. These aren’t the Ardell lash strips you wear for a day or two and remove- these are individual lashes that are applied to each of my natural lashes, one by one, by a very skilled and licensed lash artist. I really like them because they look very natural and have simplified my beauty routine tremendously.
Lash extensions are also a great way to enhance your appearance (who doesn’t want to wake up looking fabulous everyday??) and cut down on time spent on make-up application. However, you may need to make some changes to your daily routine if you decide to go this route. For example, if you like hot yoga or going to the sauna – that’s out. If you wear water-proof eye shadow or liner you’ll need to switch to a regular formula as you can’t use oil-based make-up removers with extensions. This article goes over more of the pros and cons so you can decide if lash extensions are right for you: http://www.instyle.com/bea…/eyelash-extensions-pros-and-cons
It’s also worth noting that lash extensions are only as good as the salon/lash artist that applies them. I learned this lesson the hard way. I had my initial set applied at Eye Salons last summer and loved them! Towards the end of the year, I switched salons out of convenience. I quickly realized the quality of the lashes and the overall experience at the “other” salon wasn’t the same and had the extensions removed shortly thereafter due to an allergic reaction to the glue that was used at the “other” salon.
I have my lashes applied at Eye Salons and I can’t say enough about the quality of service I receive and the professionalism of their staff. As with any luxury purchase, the experience should be first class; Eye Salons always delivers. Below are photos of my lashes with and without extensions. If you’re interested in giving lash extensions a try, you can receive 10% off your visit if you tell them I sent you. Please note that I am in their system as Anita Barber, not Live Fit Fashionista 😉
My Summer Sun Essentials
I love summer and spending time by the pool…in the shade, lol! I do actually get in the water and lay out later in the afternoon when the sun’s burning rays aren’t quite as strong. However, I have very fair skin and burn easily, so I have to be vigilant when it comes to sun protection. I wear sunscreen on my face daily but if I’m going to be spending extended periods of time outside, I never leave the house without my sunscreen (face & body), sunglasses (to protect my eyes and the delicate skin around them) and hat (to protect my scalp and hair color).
If I plan on swimming, I make sure to coat my hair with a leave-in conditioner to help protect it from the chlorine. Plus, I recently learned that adding a bit of baking soda to your shampoo is a great, and inexpensive way, to gently remove chlorine and styling products from your strands.
I don’t necessarily have favorite products when it comes to sunscreen other than the one I use on my face. Neutrogena’s Age Shield Face Lotion with SPF 70 works really well for me and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin – plus, it’s waterproof. The higher the SPF the better, especially if you use products that contain AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acid) or salicylic acid. Both products will make your skin extremely sensitive to the sun and a SPF of 50 or more should be used, and re-applied regularly, if you plan on being outside.
For body, I use a waterproof sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and prefer the convenience of a spray. However, if you use sunless tanner like I do, you’ll want to switch to an oil-free lotion because spray sunscreen contains alcohol and most lotion formulas contain oil – both will cause the tanner to fade quickly and/or come off in blotches. Neutrogena has an oil-free line that’s inexpensive and works great. Shop my affiliate link here: Neutrogena Oil-Free Sunscreen
Product Review: GlamGlow FLASHMUD Brightening Treatment
I started getting medical grade facial peels last year and I love the results. However, I’m not a huge fan of the expense and down time. Right now I’m extremely busy with events and such so I simply don’t have time to “hide out” for a week while my face recovers. So I began researching some “at home” treatments that promised to deliver similar results and this one kept showing up as a top pick. At $59 I decided to give it a try.
GlamGlow FLASHMUD Brightening Treatment promises to deliver quick results for:
•dark spots and uneven skin tone
•dullness and uneven texture
The directions state to use three days in a row then 2-3x per week to maintain results.
I used as directed for three days beginning on June 12th and I’ve used it twice since. I have to say that so far I’m pleased with the results. I saw immediate changes after the first use as far as dullness and uneven texture were concerned. I can also tell that the dark spots are fading and see an improvement in uneven skin tone. However, at this point (2 weeks in) the results aren’t quite what I see after a chemical peel but the product seems to be doing the trick – it’s just going to take a little patience on my part.
At a recent event I received several compliments on how pretty my skin was and when I made it to hair and make-up that afternoon, the make-up artist said my face looked great (I was wearing Bare Minerals powder, blush and highlighter that I had applied early that morning) and she only added a bit of eye shadow and changed my lip color. That’s it!
Overall, I’m quite pleased with the results and would recommend this product. Below are before and after photos. All photos were taken in the same spot, same lighting and wearing no make-up, except for some remnants of eye shadow that managed to hang on in the first pic. (I use an eye shadow that contains semi-permanent pigment and can take a little extra effort to remove). The GlamGlow FLASHMUD Brightening Treatment contains several different plant and flower extracts; that’s what the little green specs are that you see in the application photos. If you’re interested in trying GlamGlow FLASHMUD Brightening Treatment for yourself, I’ve also included my affiliate link.
Shop here: GlamGlow FLASHMUD Brightening Treatment
Day #1 – I forgot to take a photo of both sides of my face and once I realized I was already two days in. For reference, this is the right side.
Turn Up The Volume
I went to have my color touched up today and my hairstylist used a product to style my hair that prompted me to write this post. I have extremely fine, naturally wavy hair and the summer heat and humidity really makes styling it, and keeping it styled, a challenge. Usually the less products I use the better off I am but I still end up using at least 2-3 products when I straighten it; a heat protectant, a styling aid such as a smoothing cream or serum and I finish with a bit of hairspray. The only time I see volume in my hair is when I go outside in the humidity and it starts to come undone, haha!
Before drying my hair she sprayed it with Aveda Pure Abundance Style Prep. That’s it. The company’s claim: Nature’s boost for fine hair. This pre-style treatment infuses hair with all-day weightless volume that feels naturally yours. Aveda’s own pure-fume™ aroma with jasmine, certified organic peppermint, palmarosa, ylang ylang and other pure flower and plant essences.
Not only does this stuff do what it says but it smells AMAZING (as do all their products). After styling my hair, she lightly spritzed it again and that’s it – no other products in my hair. After standing outside on a parking deck in the heat & humidity (with a slight breeze) for about 45 minutes this afternoon during a quick photo shoot, going about my regular daily activities and a nap – 9 hours later and it still looks great!
It’s priced at $24 for a 3.4oz bottle but a little goes a long way. If you order online, you can get 15% off your entire order just for signing up for their email – and shipping is FREE! Plus, right now you’ll also get a FREE travel size Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother ($9 value) with your order! Aveda products are worth the splurge and because a little goes a long way with these products you get your money’s worth. Below are links to all the products used on my hair today.
Looking For The Perfect Summer Fragrance?
While waiting in line at Victoria’s Secret recently, I decided to sample their fragrance mists since they just happened to be displayed right beside the check-out line 🙃. I’ve worn their Heavenly Fragrance Mist for years and was looking for something a bit more “summery” for the warmer months. Just so happens, their limited edition Bombshell Summer line with notes of grapefruit, black currant and lily of the valley, was exactly what I was looking for! If you don’t care for heavy perfume and like something light & fresh this is it 👇🏻👇🏻 Right now the fragrance mist, body lotion and powder oil are 2/$30 (reg. price $25 ea). 🛍 my affiliate link here>http://shopstyle.it/l/J8sH
The Eyes Have It
I get asked frequently where I have my brows and lashes done. My lash extensions are the work of my amazing lash artist, Claudia, at EyeSalons in Greensboro. When it comes to my brows, I do them myself 😉
Aside from an occasional touch up by my hairdresser, I do the waxing, tweezing, and trimming at home. Waxing your own brows takes some practice and I don’t recommend unless you have a steady hand. I also don’t recommend waxing your brows, or anything else for that matter, when you’ve been drinking wine… just trust me on that one.
If you don’t care to do the upkeep on your own, brow waxing services are relatively inexpensive and can be maintained for weeks with a little tweezing (which I like to do on a sunny day in my car – natural light shows everything!)
As for filling them in, I use Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in Blonde. Bobbi Brown also has brow kits which come with a mini set of tweezers and an awesome short handled, stiff brow brush but I don’t use both colors so I find it more cost effective to go with the shadow. However, it’s worth purchasing once just to get the tweezers and the brush 😉 Their products are a little pricy but last and work great.
Finally, use a spoolie to brush your brows into shape and blend the powder. Voila! I’ve included links for all products below. It’s rare to find Bobbi Brown on sale but I did manage to find free shipping and returns with purchase. I’ve also included links to dual ended brow brushes at two different price points.