Poolside Essentials

Now that winter has finally ended in Chicago, it is scorching hot, which means all Chicagoans are headed to the beach or to the pool in their backyard. I know I sit by the pool every chance I get to unearth my Latin heritage with a tan. While I was packing my Longchamp to sit poolside I thought, ”This could be a really post!” So here it is, my poolside essentials:

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Hat or sunglasses (or both!)

A hat and or sunglasses is really essential when being out in the sun. Personally, I prefer hats because you can wear them forwards, backwards, adjust them to cover your whole face, and they protect your hair and scalp. Sunglasses are a really great way to protect your eyes, I’m just not used to it, and so I just don’t use them. Either way, you need something to protect your eyes and face from the harsh rays. My go-to item is my Miami Marlins hat!

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is an absolute must! Don’t worry, you will tan even with sunscreen. It’s just good to take care of your skin and protect it from the sun. I use my Olay moisturizer daily – its broad spectrum SPF 15. It’s very light and soaks into the skin immediately.

Headphones or earbuds

I always have one or two pairs of earbuds with me at all times. It’s definitely great when you’re sitting poolside and want to listen to some music or take a phone call.

Reading material

Lately I’ve been taking my iPad to the pool to do some reading for work. I usually have a book when I’m at the pool. My favorite summer read is “White Girl Problems.” It’s absolutely hilarious.

Tanning Oil

Along with sunscreen, I always take tanning oil to the pool. I know it might not be great for your skin because it has such a low SPF, but it smells really great and it’s a great moisturizer for your skin while it’s in the sun. I definitely always get a better, long lasting tan when I use the Banana Boat Deep Tanning Oil.

In addition to this list, you should always have a water bottle handy so you don’t get dehydrated. I also always use a lip balm with SPF, as well to avoid super sunburned and chapped lips. That can get really uncomfortable.

What are some of your essentials? What are your favorite beach reads? Let me know!

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Beauty Must Have: NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream

As you might remember from my previous post raving about Wet n Wild lipsticks, I love lip color. It really adds the finishing touches to any look, whether it’s just an average day at the office or dinner on a Saturday night.

During the peak of the whole matte and Kylie Jenner lip trend, I discovered the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams at my local Bed, Bath and Beyond. I had been searching for the perfect nude lip color – one that wasn’t drying and would last all day – so I decided to try these. In the past, I’ve used the NYX Butter Gloss and absolutely loved it over another nude/pink NYX lipstick, so I thought the Lip Creams wouldn’t be that much different.

After falling in love over and over again with every application, here’s why the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams are a beauty must have.

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Formula

Honestly, the first time I applied the Lip Cream, I was confused. The consistency was so much different than I was used to with lipstick and lip gloss. It’s a very creamy and wet formula, which is the point of “lip cream.” It feels like applying a velvety mousse on your lips. It’s very creamy and lightweight. Once it sets its very matte, it doesn’t slide around and it’s so long lasting!

Colors

Personally, I’ve only delved into the nude and pink shades because it’s more practical for every day wear, but there’s a very large range of colors. They offer 34 shades on the NYX site, and obviously your local store varies. Seriously check them out! They have tons of nudes and pinks, as well as bright reds and dark purples – it’s really incredible. *Swatches featured in image below: Abu Dhabi (on top) & Stockholm (on bottom)

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Of course, pigment is one of the factors when deciding if makeup products are good or not and this product takes the cake. These lip creams pack so much pigment in their tiny container. With one swipe, they leave intense, creamy color. Having mentioned cake, they also have a very subtle sweet smell that I absolutely love.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams are definitely my most loved and most used lip products. I would definitely recommend these to anyone looking for matte lip color with a lot of fun color choices.

6 Makeup Brushes You Need To Own

Whether you’re new to makeup and building your brush collection or you’re a veteran with every brush under the sun, it can be difficult to decide which makeup brushes to tote around in your makeup bag. Since makeup brushes are essential to great makeup application, here’s a list of brushes every girl needs to have.

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Face brushes

Small Stipple Brush (e.l.f.): The Small Stipple Brush is perfect for applying liquid foundation. The dual layers of bristles make it easy to build coverage from sheer to heavy. Overall, it leaves your foundation looking natural and airbrushed.

Total Face Brush (e.l.f): Every makeup bag needs a big, fluffy face brush! The Total Face Brush is super fluffy and soft. It’s perfect for all over setting powders, all over facial bronzing and full-face touchups.

Small Concealer Brush (e.l.f.): The Small Concealer Brush is a staple for every makeup bag to gently apply concealer under the eyes and on any blemishes. I like to use this brush to clean up and highlight under brows after filling them in. The small bristles allow for precise application.

Eye & Brow Brushes

Eyeliner Brush (e.l.f.): The Eyeliner Brush is very versatile. Use it to apply wet or dry eyeliner formulas close to the lash line or use it to help shade in your brows. I personally use it for the later for a natural looking brow. Either way, it’s an essential for every makeup kit because of its versatility.

Eyebrow Brush (e.l.f.): Use the Eyebrow Brush to groom your brows. Brush the hair up and to the side for a flawless, natural look. You can also use the eyebrow brush to separate and groom eyelashes.

Blending Eye Brush (e.l.f.): A Blending Brush is essential for achieving a soft and natural eye look. The soft bristles are gently on the eye allowing windshield wiper movement and other blending techniques. This type of brush is also great for other tasks like setting powder in small areas.

There you have it! These are 6 makeup brushes essential for any beginner or makeup veteran. I know the brushes I featured are by e.l.f., because that’s what I’ve typically bought based on durability and price. Other brands make similar brushes (similar uses, styles, bristles, etc.) – definitely worth checking out! Also, please note this is not a sponsored post.

Beauty Benefits of Witch Hazel

When my usual toner started irritating my skin and making me break out, I had to find something else. I had read a lot of great reviews about witch hazel, but I was hesitant to try it – I didn’t want to make my face worse. I ended up going out on a limb when I stumbled across a bottle of Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Honestly, I haven’t looked back. Ever since I added witch hazel to my beauty routine, my face has become so much clearer and evenly toned. It seems to have reversed the damage on my face. Witch hazel is my savior, my secret weapon – I don’t know where I’d be without it!

A Little Background

Witch hazel comes from a plant species called winterbloom. This beauty staple contains tannins, which helps tighten skin, fights bacteria and reduces inflammation. Overall, it’s been used for the treatment of skin conditions, and we’re just finding out how it can benefit the skin on a daily basis.IMG_1983.JPG

Anti-inflammatory

Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties which help the skin when it comes to various rashes, including razor burn and bug bites. I’ve found that it really helps soothe and heal acne.

Astringent

Due to the high level of tannins, witch hazel makes for a potent astringent. The tannins tighten skin proteins, causing them to form a protective covering to help the healing of skin. This is really helpful for treating eczema and restoring vessel tone.

Moisturizer

Witch hazel is also used to lock in moisture. Scientists have found that it helps reduce water loss and maintains the skin’s softness and elasticity. Personally, I like to use witch hazel after a shower and before my moisturizer to clean any leftover residue on my face and lock in shower moisture.

Overall, witch hazel has so many uses, for both beauty and other skin conditions. I’ve seen so much improvement in my skin’s appearance. It really helps clean the face and dissolves makeup, as well as soothes and tones the skin.

Have you ever used witch hazel in your beauty routine?