Ingredient Spotlight | Antioxidants

Things are about to get a little science-y up in here. Before we can talk about antioxidants, let's go over free radicals for a minute. They sound scary and basically every skincare commercial tells you to be afraid of them. A free radical is an atom or molecule that has an unpaired electron in its outer shell. Most of them are very reactive, because basically, atoms/molecules don't particularly like having that unpaired electron, so they work quickly to find something to react with to have a whole pair again. Often these reactions are chain reactions, breaking and re-forming many bonds to finally end with a more stable form. Free radicals occur naturally in the body during metabolism or when the immune system is trying to neutralize viruses and bacteria, but they are also caused by coming into contact with environmental aggressors like pollution and radiation. The body can normally take care of these free radicals, but they can start to build up and cause damage if antioxidants are unavailable. The real damage occurs when the free radicals start reacting with cellular components DNA or the cell membranes, which can cause the cell to not function properly or die altogether. 

So how do antioxidants help? Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons to stop the chain reaction before damage can occur. They're stable in either form - pre- and post-electron donation - so they don't become free radicals themselves after donating. They act as scavengers and seek out the damage-causing free radicals, preventing cellular damage and disease. The most common antioxidants present in the body are Vitamins C and E.

Antioxidants in skincare can work as powerful antiaging ingredients by stopping free radicals from causing damage to the skin cells. I rooted through my collection to find a few great products that make use of antioxidants.

Masks | My favorite masks that have antioxidants as main ingredients are the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack and the Youth to the People Age Prevention Superfood Mask. They're both quite similar - thick, creamy masks that cleanse and purify the skin without stripping it. They both feel quite nourishing and reviving to the skin, despite containing clay. As the names suggest, they also both supply the skin with antioxidants through the use of greens like spinach and other leafy greens.

Serums | The first serum that came to mind was the Kypris Antioxidant Dew - it gives the skin such a dewy, radiant glow. It uses Superoxide Dismutase (another powerful antioxidant), as well as Vitamins C and E. It replenishes the skin after a long day, and it mixes well with other serums. The Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum is another favorite, and uses Vitamin C as part of an antioxidant complex to brighten the skin and restore firmness. This is my favorite to use in the morning - it makes the skin so radiant.

Facial Oils | Another obvious example of a product full of antioxidants is the Sunday Riley Juno Oil. It says right on the label it's antioxidant-rich, coming mostly from Blueberry Seed and Cranberry Seed Oils. I've also been using the Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil a lot, and they're quite similar. They're both lightweight and can be used day or night, and they both leave the skin almost juicy-looking. I can't pick a favorite.

Sunscreen | Since UV radiation creates free-radicals, it's only natural that a good sunscreen would contain added antioxidants. The first that comes to mind is Glossier Invisible Shield. It has an antioxidant complex containing Vitamin E, Vitamin P, broccoli, and aloe leaf extracts. I've raved about this over and over, but it's really my favorite face sunscreen because of how lightweight it is. I love that it's not only protecting my skin with SPF, but also with the added antioxidants.

What are your favorite products with antioxidants?


Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipsticks | Whip & Chutney

I've been trying so hard to ignore new releases while I'm on this spending ban, but the one I made an exception for was the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipsticks - Bite is probably my favorite brand when it comes to lipstick, so I just had to. I told myself when it was announced they'd be releasing this month that if I could stick to my "no beauty spending" rule until their release, I could treat myself to a couple shades. I even was able to talk myself out of getting three or four shades for the purpose of this review and settled on two shade I know I'll get a lot of wear out of - perhaps not the most exciting review material, but it's better on my wallet (winking emoji & money-flying-away emoji).

Bite Beauty has finally jumped on the liquid lipstick bandwagon, but with a twist - they've taken their cult-favorite Amuse Bouche Lipstick formula (a personal favorite of mine), and literally liquified it. The result is a dense, almost whipped liquid that's incredibly pigmented and doesn't set to a fully matte finish. I'm honestly pretty much over the matte liquid lip trend, so I knew these would be right up my alley and a breath of fresh air.

Top: Whip, Bottom: Chutney

Top: Whip, Bottom: Chutney

I've only had these since Monday, and I think they've already become my favorite liquid lipsticks. I've never tried a more comfortable formula, and despite being so creamy, they really stay put. They do fade, of course, but they do so gracefully without leaving uneven patches of color. The color remained fully intact while eating dinner, although it lost some of its sheen. They feel and look so similar to the original Amuse Bouche Lipsticks, but they have a bit more of a glossy finish upon initial application. Once they set down, they have that same beautiful satin finish.

Application-wise, I was afraid they'd be difficult to apply and get an even line with, but it's actually just fine. The doe-foot applicator has a unique pointed shape that makes it easy to outline the lips, and then the flat edge deposits the perfect amount of product to fill the lips in. If you follow Bite Beauty on Instagram, they've been showcasing what Lip Pencil shades to pair with the Liquified Lipsticks, so that's always an option, too.

The two shades I picked up are Whip, described as a "blushed beige," and Chutney, a "rich mauve." They're the kind of shades I always gravitate towards and work with just about any look. I've been blending a small amount of Chutney into the lips most days this week, and it gives a perfect "my lips but better" shade for my typical minimal makeup look. I've also tried mixing the two shades together as well, which is super easy because of the creamy formula. These are just too beautiful, and it's making it so difficult to stick to my spending ban - I really wish i could just go buy every shade. I've at least got Eclair, Marsala, and Cava on my list for the next time I can treat myself a little.

Have you tried Bite's new Liquified Lipsticks yet?


Faking a Post-Vacation Glow

Jumping off from yesterday's post, I thought I would shed some light on what I'm using to fake a post-vacation glow. I may have spent a week at the beach, but I certainly don't look like it. I've been affectionately called "vanilla soft serve," so any kind of tan or beachy glow is pretty much impossible for me to come by naturally.

The most important aspect of a post-vacation glow is prepping the skin. Adding natural, lit-from-within radiance is essential, and I've been reaching for nourishing serums and moisturizers to do the trick. The Anese Slay Serum* is always a favorite for an instant glow - it's a lightweight lotion texture that sinks into the skin quickly and plumps it up. I also can't go without the Kypris Antioxidant Dew - this is a thinner, more milky formula that mixes well with other serums and oils depending on how I'm feeling. This one really adds a dewy radiance to the skin that's just beautiful. It's a pricey product, but worth it for sure. The moisturizer I've been reaching for time and again is of course the Glossier Priming Moisturizer. This is the best for giving the skin a dewy, but not greasy, glow.

As for the cheeks, I'm also going super glowy and quite peachy for a change. Because of my cool-toned skin, I normally reach for blue-toned pinks, but to fake a tan, I go for slightly warmer shades. The Glossier Cloud Paint* in Beam is one of my only peach-toned blushes, and it's definitely the prettiest. It looks quite orange coming out of the tube, but it turns into the perfect peachy-pink upon blending it into the cheeks. It instantly warms up the complexion and makes you look like the most well-rested, healthiest version of yourself. Like you just got back from a week at the beach, really. I'm also opting for more peachy-toned highlighters over my usual champagne pearl picks. The Milk Makeup Holographic Stick* in Mars is one of the prettiest highlighters I own, and it's such a striking shade. It appears to be a rather normal peachy highlight on first glance, but when it hits the light it has a stunning pink shift. For a more golden peach shade (for really amping up that glow), I go straight for the Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter in Dew You. I was originally worried this would be too warm for my skintone, but it's just the best when paired with these other peachy picks. It's a super smooth, metallic formula that blends out super easily.

Bronzer is a must for faking a tan, and I'm going glowy here as well. I'm still head over heels for the BECCA Sunlit Bronzer in Bali Sands - it's a beautifully creamy formula that's impossible to overdo, and it has a little bit of the Shimmering Skin Perfector mixed in for the perfect amount of glow. It doesn't appear shimmery on the skin at all, just pure radiance. The Glossier Haloscope in Topaz is a stunning bronze-y highlight that I love mixing with other products to add a bit of glow. I wrote a whole post last year about how I loved mixing it with the Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer, and that's still a favorite to this day. I've also been mixing it with the Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk quite a lot lately - it's like they were made to go together.

The one final step to faking this glow is applying a subtle peachy nude lipstick. Like the cheeks, I want to change my natural cool-toned shade to something warmer, so the Glossier Generation G in Cake is perfect for giving my lips more of a peachy-beige base. I usually go for the Generation G in Like for a really natural lip color, but Cake is perfect if you're going for a warmer look.

What products do you reach for to fake an all-over glow?

*Products marked with an asterisk have been sent to me for consideration, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

I mentioned a lot of Glossier products, and as always, you can get 20% off your first order as well as free shipping on 2+ items through my rep page.


The Flushed Cheek Edit

My makeup aesthetic has changed quite a bit from when I first started wearing makeup, but I've done a complete 180 when it comes to blush. I used to totally avoid it because my cheeks tend to get quite red, but now I've just embraced it. Lately I've really been loving a super flushed look because I like looking like I've been exercising but don't actually like exercising. It makes me look healthy and awake and like I've been out in the sun for a change. A few of my favorite products for achieving a flushed glow fall into at least one of three categories.

LIQUIDS

One of my favorite ways to build up a flush on the cheeks is with a liquid blush. Liquid blushes are typically more sheer and buildable, so brighter and more daring shades won't look so stark. Take the Glossier Cloud Paint* in Haze for example - the deep berry shade would normally look clownish, but just a tiny bit blended onto my cheekbones makes it look like I just got back from the gym. All four of the Cloud Paints are absolutely perfect and very adaptable. I wear all four shades interchangeably depending on the look I'm going for, and I even mix them together sometimes. Check out my review here.

A newer addition to my liquid blush family are the Pixi Sheer Cheek Gels.* These are even more sheer than the Cloud Paints and leave a slight stain that lasts all day. I especially love the Flushed shade - much like Haze, adding a small amount gives the prettiest berry/Snow White flush to the skin.

POP OF COLOR

A good way to fake a natural glow is to pay attention to the color your cheeks normally flush. For me, it's a bright, vibrant pink, so when I'm looking for a bolder blush shade, I make a beeline to those kinds of shades. The Milk Makeup Blush Oil in Ripe has been a longtime favorite. It's a sheer, dewy formula that looks oh-so beautiful on the cheeks. I definitely have enough blushes for now, but I need to get my hands on the Flush shade in the future (um, hello of course). It's a lovely formula and the rollerball packaging is genius.

The Estee Lauder Genuine Glow Blushing Creme for Lips & Cheeks* in Sweet Cheeks is always one I fall back on when I'm looking for a pop of color on my cheeks. It's a luxurious, balmy cream blush that blends right into the skin. Not that this matters, but it smells really good, too. The shade is pretty much the exact color of my cheeks, so it's perfect. This one lives in my everyday makeup bag, and I don't mention it enough.

NEUTRALS - BROWN/RED-TONED

As much as I love a bright pink on the cheeks, I still love my neutral shades. To add a sunkissed/borderline sunburned look I like to look for neutrals that are a little more brown- or red-toned. The Smashbox LA Lights Blendable Cheek Color in Mulholland Mauve is a lot more of a rosy brown than the name lets on - it's brilliant for faking a tan. The color blends into the skin seamlessly without looking patchy, and it's also a good color on my skintone for adding a bit of definition and contour.

My ultimate favorite when it comes to neutral blushes that still make me look flushed is the Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color in Naughty N' Spice. It's got a beautiful subtle red tone to it that adds the perfect flushed look to the cheeks. It looks incredibly natural, and because it's a bit of a deeper shade, it still definitely makes a statement. The formula is quite thin and is instantly undetectable on the skin - brb while I go back and buy every shade.

I know it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I'm really into flushed cheeks this summer. What about you? What are your favorite blushes?

*Products mentioned have been sent to me for consideration, but all opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information. This post contains affiliate links.


A Glossy Highlight

It's no secret that I love a good highlighter. My collection is basically overflowing with them, despite just doing a huge clearout. Over time my tastes have evolved from ultra-metallic highlights to more natural-looking ones. Since I wear less makeup overall now, I like them to make my skin just look dewy and fresh.

Obviously cream products are going to give a dewy effect, but there's one powder that really stands out. The Cover FX Perfect Light Highlighting Powder in Moonlight looks just like a cream on the skin. It gives a natural, luminous glow without being sparkly. If you want a dewy look but are wary of creams, definitely try this one out. 

I've also recently fallen for a liquid highlighter - the YSL Touche Eclat Glow Shot in Daylight. It's quite subtle (but can be built up) and brings a brightness and radiance to the skin that's just beautiful. This gives a glossy look to the skin, but it still dries down and doesn't feel greasy.

The cream highlight that originally got me into this more natural, dewy look is the rms beauty Living Luminizer, and it's still one I reach for quite often. It uses a combination of coconut oil and mica to cause light to reflect off the high points of your face. It's probably the most natural-looking of them all. I've also recently been using the Ilia Illuminator in Polka Dots & Moonbeams, and it's pretty much a perfect match for the Living Luminizer. They're both lovely natural brands, so the choice is really whether you'd prefer a pot or a stick. I'll use one of these even if I'm not wearing makeup, just to give myself a little bit more glow.

The most unique and "natural, yet unnatural" would have to be the Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color (review) in Illumi-Naughty. It truly looks like a gloss on the skin without a hint of shimmer or glitter, but it reflects a rosy pink shade when the light hits it. It's quite subtle, and yet still makes a statement - my favorite kind of product. The formula is quite thin and easily applied to the skin without moving around any makeup underneath, and it practically blends itself.

You know I had to mention the Glossier Haloscopes here, didn't you? They're my most favorite highlighter of them all, and the Quartz shade is the only highlighter I've ever finished. I use these the most often because they have the perfect balance of dew-inducing oils and a little bit of crystal dust for shine. They're probably the most intense here, and yet they still look completely natural. Quartz is my favorite for everyday, as it gives a pearly-champagne sheen to the skin, but I've also been using Moonstone more and more - it has an opalescent vibe that has a little bit of a blue shift, with a similar resulting look to the Nudestix. If you're looking to get into cream highlighters I'd start here - and I'm not just saying that because of my 20% off link. Haloscope was my favorite even before I became a rep!

What's your favorite glossy highlight?


Streamlined Vacation Makeup

I've been getting more and more excited as the week goes on because I'm going on vacation with my family on Saturday! I've been thinking about what beauty products I'm going to pack all week, and I've decided I'm going to pack just a streamlined edit of makeup essentials. I've been wearing pretty much the same look every day for the past month, and it all fits in one Glossier pink pouch, so why mess with what's working? A lot of the products I'm going to mentioned are from Glossier because they really are the perfect, fuss-free products for every day, so if you're interested you can get 20% off your first Glossier purchase here.

In past years I've brought multiple foundations - a lighter tinted moisturizer or two, and then something with heavier coverage. Year after year I never once reach for the heavier base, so this year I'm only bringing the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light. It doesn't cover up every little thing, but it just makes your skin look good. Plus since it's sheer coverage, the shade is more forgiving if I happen to get a little bit of a tan (haha yeah right). I've got a similar mindset with concealer - rather than bringing multiple products, I'm going for one that I can use everywhere. My go-to as of late has been the Milk Makeup Flex Concealer. It's lightweight and slightly dewy, and it has a good amount of coverage.

My brows will be taken care of by my usual combination of Glossier Boy Brow in Brown and the NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Taupe. I apply the Boy Brow first to get my brows looking nice and bushy, and then I use the pencil to fill in any gaps. In years past I've brought large eyeshadow palettes thinking I'll want to do a more put-together look, but this year I'm just bringing one cream eyeshadow that I can't stop using lately. I've sung the praises of the Giorgio Armani Eye Tints a lot, but I've gone back to them, specifically the shade Cold Copper (9). It's a perfect neutral/slightly cool bronze shade that looks dewy rather than shimmery. They also set and do not budge on my eyelids. For mascara I'll be taking my newly discovered favorite, the Givenchy Noir Couture 4-in-1 Mascara.* One coat gives a really natural, fanned-out effect, but adding more coats amps up the drama without being clumpy.

For cheeks I'll be bringing all Glossier products - I've recently found my favorite bronzer combo of the moment by mixing a bit of the Haloscope in Topaz with the Cloud Paint in Dusk. It makes the most beautiful glowy bronze shade that will make it look like I'm actually getting a tan despite camping out under an umbrella every day on the beach. Blush will be taken care of by my favorite Cloud Paint in Puff. It's the most flattering on my skintone and gives a very natural rosy flush to the cheeks. I haven't been able to stray from the Haloscope in Quartz as my everyday highlight for long since it launched, so it's only fitting that it's the only highlight I'm bringing. It's my favorite shade of the three and gives a beautifully dewy champagne glow to the face.

I'm hoping I'll be able to keep the lip picks to a minimum, because that's always where I go really overboard. As much as I'd like to wear a bold red lip paired with dewy skin and minimal makeup, it's just not practical for stuffing myself with lobster rolls and ice cream. Right now I'm telling myself I'm only packing a couple low-maintenance products - the Glossier Generation G in Like and the Nudestix Gel Color Lip + Cheek Balm in Pulse. That way I'll have a perfect "my lips but better" shade whether I want a matte lip or a shiny finish.

I'm really hoping I don't panic at the last minute and stuff in a bunch of products I don't need, because right now I'm really happy with this selection. Skincare is another story - the house we've rented for the weeks has the most beautiful marble bathrooms, so I want to take advantage and bring lots of products for prime Shelfie opportunities.