My Skin Care Routine // Week Two

Hi everyone! I’m here to review last week’s routine and then debut this week’s routine after that. If you’re not familiar with my new skin care feature, click HERE to get up to speed. The two second rundown is that I am using one AM skin care routine per week and one PM skin care routine per week and then reviewing them 7 days later.

Last week was my first week and I have to say, it was TOUGH to stick to only the products I chose. Half way through the week there were some items I wanted to swap out, but I didn’t. I stuck to it and now I’m ready to review. Okay, so for a recap, the products I used are photographed right down there. If you want to read details about each product and find a link directly to each product from last week’s routine, click HERE.

Weekly Skincare Routine // Week One

3/14 Routine Review 

The Good

My AM routine on the whole was pretty great. I really enjoyed the Blue Moon cleansing balm as a morning cleanser and I think adding the Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution was a good idea. Since I was looking for improvements all week, I definitely feel like I’m more aware of the flaws in my skin than I was before. I have noticed that I have way more hyperpigmentation (little dark spots) than I originally thought. Ferulic acid helps protect the skin from UV damage and also reverses some of the damage already caused by the sun. I am hoping that with regular use I will see some of my sun spots reduce. They are especially prevalent on my cheek bones. Boo. I also really loved the Belif moisturizer. That shit is awesome! It is pretty thick for a day time moisturizer, but I really felt like for me, someone who has dehydrated skin, it made my skin look plump and awake. I loved that! Mine was only a travel size sample but I will buy the big size once I clear out some of my other products over time 🙂 Another shining star product for me was the Jouer lip balm. It lasted all night and my lips looked really fresh and moisturized 24/7. Great product!

The Middle

So while I love the Blue Moon balm for morning use, I did not love it for evening cleansing. Why? I felt like the formula is too thick for makeup removal purposes. I felt like it really tugged at my skin unless I used a lot of product and it’s too expensive to use giant scoops every time. It’s great for the morning because you need to use less in the AM, but yeah…not for PM use in my book. The Dr. Jart Micellar Water is GREAT if you don’t use water proof mascara, which I do, so while I like it for removing face makeup, it was kind of pointless for me to use on my eyes. Otherwise, it was a great first cleanse but not something I will be purchasing again.

I also did not like the Boscia oil for evening use. I think I would prefer to use it in the AM before putting my makeup on. I know I will need to let it sink into my skin a little bit before applying makeup on top, but I felt like it wasn’t moisturizing enough for all night use, but that it would be perfect for the AM. We shall see 🙂

The Not So Great

What wasn’t I too fond of in this routine? Well, I am not loving this Kieh’s Calendula toner. It has these little chunks of calendula floating in it and they always ended up on my cotton pad and then on my face and I just really hate thatMy Skin Care Routine // Week Two feeling. I’m trying to feel clean, not chunky. I did like that it is a very mild toner. I experienced no irritation at all. I also really really don’t like the Honest company lotion. I feel like I just keep rubbing and rubbing and it does notttt want to absorb into my skin. The moisture doesn’t last very long either. I need something heavier and longer lasting. I also need a lotion that doesn’t take 5 hours to absorb into the skin. I am seriously debating throwing it out but that seems so wasteful. Ugh.

Also, something in this routine made me break out a little bit. I’m not sure if I was too heavy on the oils at night or what, but yeah, check out these little dots on my cheeks. It could have been hormonal, but that’s not usually an issue for me either so yeah, I’m not sure.

Overall Impressions

I’m so torn! Something about this routine made my skin look great in the morning. I’m not sure if it was my night time routine working its magic while I slept, or if it was my morning routine that added moisture and plumpness to my skin. That’s kind of how skin care works. You like some things and could do without some others. My overall rating of the AM routine was a 7/10 and the PM routine score is a 6/10. I needed more moisture over night for sure. I am hoping next week’s routine leaves my skin plump minus pimples 🙂

My Skin Care Routine Week Two

Alrighty, I learned a little bit from last week and made some tweaks to my routine. Here is what I will be using from March 21st-March 28th. Product details below the pictures.

My Skin Care Routine // Week Two

AM Routine Products (in Order of Application)

Blue Moon Cleansing Balm – As I mentioned above, I was not loving this for night time, but I did think it worked well for my morning cleanse. I agree with the claims that this is great for calming irritation and I like that it is a little gritty because it is a very mild physical exfoliation.

Kiehl’s Calendula Toner – Yes, I said I don’t like this toner so much…. true. However, I don’t want to waste the product and I do think it does what it claims — keeps my pores clear and doesn’t irritate my skin. If it weren’t for the stupid calendula petals, I would probably really like this product.

Caudalie Grape Water – Not a necessary step I just like the added hydration before applying my serums etc.

Omorovicza Reviving Eye Cream – I always apply my eye cream/serums before any other serums or creams. I do this so that the ingredients specific to the eyes have a chance to absorb and do all their goodness before I put on something else meant for the entire face. Make sense? This one has a really great cucumber smell to it and claims to reduce puffiness and plump and firm. I need allllll of that!

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution – Really hoping that I see some dark spots fading soon! Products like this take a little bit to see any improvement and sometimes you won’t see any at all because they are actually preventing things from happening in the first place. It makes reviewing products difficult. A lot of trust is involved here haha.

Boscia Beauty Oil – I think this is a nice light oil appropriate for day time. I didn’t like this as a night time product so I am curious to see how I like it during the day.

My Skin Care Routine // Week Two

PM Routine Products (in Order of Application)

Deep Cleansing Oil – I’ve been using this for awhile now and I think it’s a really great “first cleanse”, meaning it’s very good at removing all of my makeup (even the waterproof stuff)

Beauty Counter Cleansing Balm – I haven’t used this product yet, it was a gift, but I am excited to give it a go. I like cleansing balms as my “second cleanse”

Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion – This is my favorite “toner” ever. It is so effective and amazing and lovely and did I mention effective? I haven’t been using this very much because I’ve wanted to try some new stuff but yeah, I need it back in my life. Come to mama!!!!!

Caudalie Grape Water – Not a necessary step but I like to let the P50 sit on my face for a little bit and then I spritz some of this on to neutralize the toner and just feel refreshed

Elemis Pro Collagen Eye Treatment – I like to apply eye treatments before any other products because I want to make sure my eye area is well taken care of. I need these stupid wrinkles to go away!

Kypris Moonlight Catalyst– After applying my eye treatment I like to apply my face treatment. This product is amazing for those of you who prefer a more “natural” routine. It’s a great alternative to “retinoids” since it’s all herbal stuff (technical terms…). Anyway, it claims to even skin tone, refine texture, calm, soothe, plump, diminish the evidence of old pimples. Lots of claims. Keep you posted 🙂

Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm – I find that this eye balm is effective but not super heavy which might be appealing to some of my readers. It claims to fight the visible signs of aging and the reviews I’ve seen claim that this balm reduces eye puffiness. I need that. I’m a puffy mess lately.

Decleor Aroma Night Neroli Balm – This has been a long time favorite. I think this tub is my third or fourth. I love this! It’s soooo rich and thick and moisturizing. Worth every penny to me. I use a teeny tiny bit of this and press it into my skin before bed. This is another natural product and it claims to make your skin look smooth and refreshed when you wake up. I totally agree. LOVE IT.

I used my AM routine this morning and thought my makeup applied really nicely today. Here is a photo using the same makeup routine as last week. Thoughts???

My Skin Care Routine // Week Two

OKAY!!!! Wish me luck 🙂 This week I am hoping for plumper and less wrinkly under eyes, fewer pimples and overall glowy and young looking skin. Do you use any of these products? Do you recommend anything for my skin issues?! I need help!!! xo

My Skincare Routine // Week One

Hi guys! I am so excited about this post because I think I have come up with a great idea that my readers will LOVE! Yesterday I posted on my Instagram that I will be launching a new *weekly* skincare feature on my blog and today is the dayyyyy that I go over all of the details with you. Yayyyyy!

Since starting my blog, I have gotten tons of beauty related questions from my friends and family. I get a lot of makeup questions, but mostly I get a lot of questions about skin care. What do I use? When do I use it? How do I feel about botox? How much time do I spend on my routine? SO many questions. A few weeks ago I was at a party and my friend Julie started asking me questions about what I’ve been loving lately for fine lines and then her friend Kathy was asking about night creams and then… it hit me. I need to just post what I use on my face and post it constantly. This is how I thought of my new feature.

Each week, starting today, I am going to pick out several products from my collection and create an AM skincare routine and a PM skincare routine. Once I pick out my products (I already did this, see below) I am going to use ONLY those products for an entire week. At the beginning of each week I will show you the products I have chosen and why and then at the start of the next week I will talk about what I liked and did not like about the skincare routine and THEN post about my new one for that week. Make sense? Since I am just starting this today, this post will only be about what I have chosen to use for the week and why. Next Monday’s post, however, will have my thoughts on the this weeks routine and also my new picks for the upcoming week. Will I always change the entire routine? No, but I will be swapping out several products and reviewing each product as well as the routine on the whole.

I am so excited! I am excited because I think everyone will really benefit from hearing about the products I’m using and if they are actually working. I am also really pumped to finally finish some products up. Ugh, I am the worst at this. I will buy something, say a moisturizer, and yeah, I will love it, but before you know it, I’ve bought myself a new product and then totally forgotten about the half finished one over there in the corner. I need to clear some stuff out. Look at all of my products…. it’s gotten excessive. Okay, it’s been excessive for awhile now.

Weekly Skincare Routine // Week One

My bathroom counter (insert scared emoji here)

Weekly Skincare Routine // Week One

My bathroom wall (mostly where I keep cleansing balms and face oils)

My skin care drawer

My skin care drawer

I hate to admit this, but I even have a bunch of products underneath my bathroom sink too….AND….a bunch of face masks and exfoliating stuff in a drawer in our guest bathroom. I told you, it’s excessive! My name is Mary and I’m addicted to skincare products.

Okay ladies and gents, here are the rules for each week:

  1. I will pick an AM and PM skincare routine on Sunday night and post it on Monday + explain why I chose each product
  2. I will use ONLY the products chosen for the entire week, even if I’m not loving the results. The one exception to this rule is if my skin has a bad reaction to a product.
  3. Sometimes I take baths at night and when I do, this is when I use face masks and exfoliating products. I haven’t had time for this lately, but should I take a bath and use something not in my list, I will let you know.
  4. The following Monday I will review the products I used and rate the results of my routine on a 1-10 scale + post my new routine + explain why I chose the products I did
  5. Repeat

Things to know about me and my skin:

  • I am 31 years old.
  • My skin is pretty normal but tends to be a bit dehydrated (Not dry. Yes, there is a difference). I get oily in the T-zone throughout the day but it’s not overwhelming. I am not acne prone. I have tiny crows feet starting to develop. I have horrible allergies so I have some dry and saggy skin under my eyes since my eyes get swollen frequently. Stupid dust mites. What else? Umm.. I have a teensy bit of hyperpigmentation/uneven skin tone on my cheeks and forehead due to over tanning in my youth. Lastly, my pores are pretty small at the moment but I work really hard at this. A few years ago my pores were HUGE and I looked gross so now I try really hard to make sure my pores appear as invisible as possible.
  • The products may change but the routine is generally always the same. For an in depth explanation of each step click HERE but the short version is this:
    • AM Routine
      • Cleanse
      • Toner/Acid
      • Facial Spray
      • Treatment/Serum
      • Eye Cream
      • Moisturizer
      • Lip Balm
    • PM Routine
      • Double Cleanse (yes, I cleanse my face twice at night)
      • Toner/Acid
      • Facial Spray
      • Treatment/Serum
      • Eye Treatment/Serum
      • Eye Cream
      • Moisturizer/Oil
      • Lip Balm
  • I have been getting Botox on my forehead since my early 20’s. No regrets at all. I am being open about this because while Botox prevents me from getting deep forehead wrinkles, my skin is smooth like a baby’s bottom because of my skincare routine. This is an important distinction.

Last important note before we get started. What works for me may not work for you. I will definitely be as transparent as possible, but please don’t hold me accountable for your skincare woes should you try any of the products I am reviewing. If you are acne prone, you might not like some of my recommendations because my products are not geared towards acne prone skin. Know your own skin and make choices based on YOU.

Now that all the logistics are out of the way…. let’s get going. This week my routine is as follows:

Weekly Skincare Routine // Week One

This week my skin is feeling a little dehydrated so I chose products to make my skin look plump, hydrated, and glowing.

In the AM routine for March 14-20 we have:

  • Cleanse – Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm by Sunday Riley – I chose this because it clarifies and cleans but also moisturizes the skin so after your rinse it off, your skin never feels dry and tight.
  • Toner – Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner – As far as toners go, this one is pretty “light”. It wipes away anything left over after cleansing, clarifies, and soothes the skin too.
  • Facial Spray – Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist – I have the travel size and just love the scent. If it weren’t so pricey, I’d splurge for the big bottle. This step is always optional but I do feel like it adds a layer of hydration and refreshes the skin.
  • Treatment/Serum – Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution – I chose this because because it repairs sun damage (I mentioned above that I have some hyperpigmentation) AND it protects from further damage. It also claims to reduce the appearance of pores. I am using this all over my face as opposed to a “spot” treatment.
  • Eye Cream – Bobbi Brown’s Extra Eye Repair Cream – I have mentioned this a billion times. I’ve used up so many bottles of this and I just love it. It may be too heavy for some to use in the day time, but it works for me since my under eye area is really dry.
  • Moisturize – Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb – I have two large samples of this that I will be using this week. I have used it before and really like that it is hydrating without being heavy.
  • Body Lotion – Honest Company Face and Body Lotion – I decided to try using just one body lotion per week too. I like that this lotion is plant based but I am hoping I will still find this lotion to be super hydrating. My body is a bit dry so I need all the moisture I can get.

Instead of doing an entirely new routine in the PM, I will be using mostly the same products but I will be adding the Dr. Jart Micro Water as my first “cleanse” to remove all of my makeup. To use this, I pour a bunch on a cotton round and just wipe gently on my face to remove my makeup before I cleanse my face. My Treatment/Serum for PM will be the Tata Harper All-Natural Replenishing Nutrient Complex. This product is all natural and full of tons of great ingredients that are considered anti aging AND used to treat acne. After I apply the Nutrient Complex, I am going to use the Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil as my moisturizer. I like thick products at night so that my skin stays hydrated while I sleep. This oil is soothing and prevents premature signs of aging. It also supposedly boosts collagen production to encourage more supple skin. I need all the suppleness I can get! Before putting on my Bobbi Brown eye cream, I am going to use the Elemis Pro Collagen Eye Renewal so help reduce the appearance of my fine lines around my eyes.

The Lip Balm for both routines is the Jouer Lip Enhancer. It is really hydrating and it makes my lips look pretty 🙂 I used it last night but forgot to put it on this AM. Whoops.

Alright, that was a lot of information. Not all of my Weekly Skincare posts will be so long, I promise. Are you as excited as I am? I can’t wait to see how I like this routine and fill you guys all in on my progress. I DID use my AM routine this morning. Soooo….I thought it might be nice to throw in some really unflattering, up close pictures of my skin so you can see what I’m working with here. I took these this morning after doing my makeup. I wear very light makeup during the work week…just some tinted moisturizer, blush, highlight, and mascara.

My Skincare Routine // Week One

In the first picture you can see the baggy under eyes and some visible pores.

My Skincare Routine // Week One

Things aren’t as bad when you’re a little further away 🙂

Okay, I’m off. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! xo

Bridal Fashion 2016

Did you guys know I am obsessed with all things bridal? I L-O-V-E weddings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties…everything! I love it! I love the styling and party planning that goes into events like these and even though I am married, never again to have my own bridal shower or bachelorette party, I still stalk wedding planner instagram pages and frequently pin fun bachelorette party themes. Why? Just because it is literally the most FUN thing of life. Duh! Anyway, when I am shopping online, I often find myself pausing on adorable bride-like outfits, items perfect for honeymoons, bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, etc. I thought all of you brides-to-be might get a kick out of seeing what I would be wearing if I were a bride. While not technically “bridal fashion” (ie: no wedding dresses here) these pieces are super cute and I want them. All of them. Direct links to items are below the pictures. And psst…all of you bridesmaids out there, some of these items would be ADORABLE bachelorette gifts, too! xo

Bridal Fashion 2016

Bridal Fashion 2016 IMG_9412 (1)

Wifey Tank $16

Lace Two Piece $62

Fit & Flare Dress $58

Pom Pom Romper $80

Floral Kimono $42

Bridal Robe $44 for set of 2

Ivory Midi Dress $64

Hungover Sweatshirt $26

Aloha Bride Tank $23

I shave my…

FACE! I shave my FACE!

What did you think I was going to say?

So yeah, I shave my face and not because I am all sorts of hairy (I’m not) but because it makes my skin look seriously amazing! Some of you are probably thinking “Your peach fuzz will grow back thicker and darker” (it won’t) or “No one can even see my peach fuzz” (yes, we can) or “Sign me up! I’m in!” (yay!).

I shave my FACE

Okay, so before I got married (2013) I was obsessive about looking for ways to make sure that my skin was perfect on my big day. In my endless interweb searches, I came across something called dermaplaning. Dermaplaning, to put it super simply, is when someone takes a super sharp razor to your face and carefully takes off all of the peach fuzz (peach fuzz has a technical name — vellus hair) off of your face/jawline area. Now, when I read about it I thought…”Okay, that’s just shaving your face” but since I was getting married a few months later, I didn’t want to end up cutting myself or anything so I went to a professional. If you’re in Chicago, Nanda on Oak is amazing! Her yelp is here with all contact info if you’re interested. Anyway, Nanda took a medical grade scalpel to my face and rid my skin of all the fuzzies. To be totally honest, I have a “normal” amount of peach fuzz on my face, nothing insane or embarrassing at all, but enough that my face makeup sometimes would cling to the teeny tiny hairs and make my skin look really dry. I happen to LOVE dewy skin and after Nanda ditched my fuzz for me, my skin looks SO amazing and fresh. Seriously! There was no irritation, no bumps, nothing…my skin just looks clean and healthy and glowy. Exactly what I was going for. In addition to ridding my face of any fuzz, dermaplaning also helps exfoliate the skin which you already know is essential for maintaining youthful skin as you age.

After Nanda was done, she told me that it was not essential to come to her all the time and that most of the hair I would be able to take off myself. Full disclosure, I haven’t been back to her since, but again, I don’t really have that much fuzz in places I would want a pro to touch like under the eyes or on my nose. If I did, however, I would want a professional to do it because those areas tricky to work around. Bottom line, once I left her place, I knew I was addicted! Seriously! How have I maintained the results? Keep on reading.

I only shave my face about once a week, if that. I already told you, the hair DOES NOT grow back faster, thicker, or darker. SO take a breather. If you’re interested, I use these facial razors and love them! The price is right and they work really well. After I wash my face, I pat it dry and wait for any excess moisture to leave my skin (just a few minutes) and then I grab my little razor and pull my skin lightly taut with one hand and then hold my little razor at about a 45 degree angle and shave upwards. I shave my entire face out of habit but I think I could skip my forehead area but I still do it so I exfoliate evenly. After I am finished, I apply a moisturizing serum and then a moisturizer and head on to bed. I DO NOT apply a toner on the days that I shave my face because the shaving ifs exfoliating enough and I do not want to irritate my skin. I advise you do the same.

You might have some questions like:

  1. How long does it take to shave your whole face? Less than 5 minutes.
  2. Any side effects? Not that I have noticed.
  3. Do I need to do this? NO! I do it because I like how it looks and I like the added benefit of exfoliation which leads to younger looking/feeling skin. You do you 🙂
  4. Does it hurt? No.
  5. Can I just use my leg razor? I won’t lie, I have. I would only recommend using a DRY razor (the moisturizing strip can clog your pores if it’s wet) on the big parts of your face like your cheeks and chin, but use the tinkle razors above for the rest so you don’t end up with tiny patches of fuzz in random places.
  6. Do you shave your lip hair? Yeah! I don’t wax anything on my face anymore.
  7. Why don’t you wax? I don’t wax anymore because I use a lot of retinol products that thin the skin (in a good way) and make waxing risky. I have had my eyebrow skin ripped off after a wax because it was too sensitive form the retinols. My bad.
  8. Have you ever cut yourself? No. I have, however, shaved the same part of my face multiple times in one session and really irritated it. Make sure you go over each area only once or twice. Don’t be obsessive about it.
  9. Do I use upward strokes or downward strokes? I do both but most of what I have read indicates that upward strokes will give a cleaner shave. If that’s not comfortable to you, try going downward.
  10. Will people know? I don’t see how. Plus, why be embarrassed that your skin looks better than your friends? Own it!
  11. What is the number one reason why you do this? I do it because my makeup applies to smoothly and my skin looks fresh and glowing all of the time.

Interested? Do you already do this? Gonna start??? Lemme know!!! xo


Best Highlighters of 2015

Highlighting is so super popular right now. You may also know “highlighting” as “strobing” but they mean the exact same thing. Strobing/Highlighting is when you use a shimmery product to bring sheen/shine/glow to certain parts of your face. I rarely leave the house without highlighting my face at least a little bit because it really does bring a youthful glow to the skin. Additionally, highlighting is high impact and I find that I can throw on a little highlighter with little other makeup and I look infinitely more put together.

For me, I highlight the top of my cheekbones, underneath my eyebrow, the tip of my nose, inner corner of my eyes, and also my cupid’s bow. While placement of the highlight is super important, so is the product you use. I have a large collection of highlighters but tend to only grab a few consistently. I wanted to share my faves and hear what yours are as well.

  1. Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop (created by Jaclyn Hill) — I LOVE me some Jaclyn Hill. She is my soul sista and spirit animal. I loved her before Champagne Pop but I am a stage five clinger after Champagne Pop. This is a powder highlighter that is the perfect peachy shade that is not frosty looking at all and while it has gold hints too it, it’s not gold. It’s just perfect. When I wear this my skin looks glowy and almost wet. I love it. I will say, the actual powder is super fragile and can break easily in the pan so I would not recommend throwing the compact in your purse or anything… it will shatter and it will coat your purse in shimmery awesomeness but I’m not sure you want your credit cards glowing like your face. They say that this is limited edition so if you’re interested in looking glowy like Jaclyn Hill then you’ll want to purchase ASAP.

    Photo taken from Jaclyn's instagram. She is coated in Champagne Pop and makes me want to take a bath in her product.

    Photo taken from Jaclyn’s instagram. She is coated in Champagne Pop and makes me want to take a bath in her product.

  2. the Balm Mary-Lou Manizer – This was my first “fave” highlighter. While Champagne Pop above is warmer and more peachy in tone, this highlighter is more pearly/honey in color. It is very intense so I tap my brush in it and then I am sure to shake off the excess product before applying to my skin. It lasts a very long time and never gets patchy. This is a cult fave and it comes at a great price — only $24!

  3. Benefit Watt’s Up — During the summer months I tend to use more “cream” products because I think powder looks too heavy when it’s hot as balls out. I love Watt’s Up because it is a cream to powder formula which basically means that it will “set” once it is dry and it won’t run all over your face if you sweat. The color is beautiful, a champagne color that is easy to blend and looks so natural on the skin. I find that Watt’s Up is frequently out of stock at Sephora because it is so awesome. If you’re into ALL the glow, then you can use this first and then put Champagne Pop on top of it for an extra gorgeous dewy look. I apply this straight to the skin from the stick, but then I use a damp beauty blender to blend it out and diffuse any harsh lines.

Final tip — I use small fluffy brushes to apply the powder highlighters. I like things to look diffused and natural and using a smaller fluffy brush like the Sigma F35 brush means I’m less likely to go nuts and misplace the product on my face.

Do you highlight daily??? What is your favorite product??? I hope being glowy never goes out of style! Matte face is not for me!