February Favorites

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Remember how I was complaining on and on about how slow January was going by? Well February was the opposite - I can't believe today is the last day! I normally try to keep my favorites post down to 5-6 products, but there were so many great things this month that there's quite a bit to talk about here.

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & GlowAt the end of January my sister kindly let me borrow her Filmstar Bronze & Glow for me to try out and determine if I wanted to use it for my wedding makeup. This is 100% worth the hype and I need to buy my own ASAP - the powders are beautiful and pretty much impossible to overdo. The Sculpting shade is the real star for me here, as it's the perfect shade to subtly chisel out some cheekbones while also adding some life to the face.

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Smashbox Photo Finish PrimerizerAnother bandwagon I'm glad I jumped on this month. Normally I skip primers and rely on my skincare to "prime" my skin for makeup, but this is one I can get on board with. It makes my skin look so juicy and plump, smoothing away any dry patches without being greasy at all. I think this does extend the wear of my makeup a little as it keeps my skin from drinking up my foundation.

Dior Addict Lip Glow, 'Berry' | Yes I know - another Lip Glow. I now have three and they're all very important to my collection. The berry shade is the latest addition to my little Lip Glow family, and I just love the color it gives my lips. It doesn't have as much of a color change on my lips as the other two I have, but it's such a beautiful berry shade that adds a nice flush to the lips. I find it goes well with most makeup looks I do, from extremely minimal to something a little more bold.

Stila Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow, 'Cloud' | I keep thinking this was an impulse buy, but I had actually been wanting it for weeks when I finally did buy it at the beginning of the month. I had heard such great things about the Shimmer & Glow Eyeshadows, and I love the original Glitter & Glow Eyeshadow I have so I wanted to give it a try. I went for Cloud, a lavender with a stunning gold shift. I don't have anything like it in my collection. I love plum tones on my eyes, and the gold shimmer in it keeps it wearable, almost like a neutral. The formula is just as great as everyone says, and it doesn't crease on me all day long.

Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence* | I finally finished up the Missha Essence I had been using at the beginning of this month and was able to crack this baby open. I had wanted to try the new Fresh Essence since they started teasing it on Instagram, and it's just as good as I was hoping. It has Fresh's signature cucumber scent and feels super cooling and hydrating on the skin. The watery consistency sinks in instantly, and I find it really helps to plump up my skin. With continued use I think it's really helped to smooth out my skin. I pat on a few layers morning and night, and it's always a step in my skincare routine I look forward to.

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Renee Rouleau Rapid Response Detox MasqueThis is another product I saw on Instagram and decided I needed it. The people I saw reviewing it were saying it was helping to clear up their acne caused by hormones and diet, which pretty much explains me to a T. It works by not only helping to clear up bacteria and excess oil but also soothing redness and irritation. I've never tried a mask that was both great for detoxing and also hydrating the skin, and it's definitely something my routine was missing. Right now, I'm using it about once a week and twice in the week leading up to my period to help ward off those breakouts. I've been breaking out from starting Curology this month, but this mask has been keeping my skin in check otherwise.

Glossier You Solid Perfume* | The latest Glossier launch is of course a favorite for the month. I've worn Glossier You every day since it launched in October, and it's quickly become my favorite scent to wear. Now you can easily take it on-the-go for touchups. The solid perfume is housed in the cutest little pebble that fits right in the palm of your hand. It's super weighted so it feels so nice to hold, and it has the signature thumbprint in it to make it easy to open with one hand. It has a super satisfying magnetic click closure too - I find myself just clicking it open and closed absentmindedly sometimes. The scent wears closer to the body than the original spray of course, but I find it has about the same lasting power on me. I like to layer a bit of this on before spraying the perfume before I leave the house - I find it helps it last even longer. 

Essie Grow Stronger Base CoatMy nails were in a sad state for most of January, and I'm trying to get them back into shape now. I picked up the Essie Grow Stronger Base Coat this month based on Tamira Jarrel's recommendation, and I'm obsessed. It leaves a sheer nude tint on the nails, so I've just been wearing it on its own all month. It really has made my nails a lot stronger, and they grew so long that I actually had to cut them last week - normally they break before I get the chance to cut them. I haven't tried it under other nail polishes yet, so I'll report back on that when I do.

Kristin Ess Signature Hair WaterI really need to write about my favorite hair products, because then you'd see what a Kristin Ess love affair I've been having. The Signature Hair Water is a new addition to her line, and I was instantly intrigued - it seemed like it might just be a spray can of water, but I bought it anyway. I've actually found this great for reviving my hair when it starts to get frazzled by the second day after washing - it's got a bit of castor oil in it as well as their "zip-up technology" that help to seal split ends. Normally getting my hair wet without washing it makes it dry super puffy, but this doesn't do that. I've found it super helpful this month when my hair has gotten wet from being outside shoveling - I'm not left with frizzy hat hair afterward.

Books, Movies, TV, Etc | Stop what you're doing right now and go watch "I'll Have What Phil's Having" and "Somebody Feed Phil" on Netflix. They're both docuseries starring Phil Rosenthal (creator of Everybody Loves Raymond), and he goes to different cities around the world and seeks out the best food. He's such a goofy guy and they're both great "feel-good" shows. Speaking of heartwarming shows, I've also been loving the new Queer Eye series - I haven't watched them all yet, but I'm hooked. I love it just as much as the original and I love all five of them. I listened to the audiobook of Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher this month, too, and while I read the book already, I'd highly recommend listening to the audiobook. Carrie Fisher narrates it, and her daughter Billie Lourd reads the journal entries included. It was great to hear it come to life, and it made me miss Carrie Fisher even more. For music, I'm totally behind on this, but I'm finally listening to Lana Del Rey's Lust for Life album and I'm obsessed. I've always been a Lana fan, but until now none of her albums really topped Paradise for me.

What were your favorite things this month?

Products marked with an asterisk (*) have been sent to me for consideration, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Five to Try

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Another month, another five products I think you should try. This time there's a little bit of everything - some makeup, some skincare, and even some haircare. In order to separate these posts from my usual favorites/loving lately posts, I try to pick out products that are innovative and something unique. 

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Stratia Liquid GoldI had heard rave after rave of this from various skincare bloggers on Instagram, so when my skin started freaking out and getting irritated out of nowhere, I ordered it right away. It's a thin lotion that can be used on its own as a moisturizer or as more of a serum (which is how I use it). What makes it so great for the skin is that it's chock full of ceramides, cholesterols, and fatty acids. It mimics the composition of the skin's barrier, so it's incredibly effective at repairing damage. It works to not only alleviate the symptoms of a compromised skin barrier, but also by strengthening the skin and "teaching" it to heal itself. I've been using this morning and night since I got it, and I'm hooked. It instantly feels so comforting on the skin, and it's definitely doing all the work in making sure my skin survives the winter.

Smashbox Photo Finish PrimerizerThis is another one I picked up after hearing great reviews. I had put it off for awhile, thinking it was essentially the same thing as the Glossier Priming Moisturizer, but it is a bit different. It has a thin, serum-like consistency that sinks in quickly, leaving a slightly tacky surface for makeup to adhere to. This doesn't add any dewiness to the makeup I put on top like the Glossier moisturizer, but it beautifully plumps up my skin and makes sure makeup sits beautifully on top and won't catch on dry patches. I always had issues with my makeup lasting all day without my skin just drinking it up, and I have noticed much better longevity with some of my favorite bases when using this first. Finally, a primer that showed me that primer is actually necessary!

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NUDESTIX Brow Stylus Pencil & Gel* | This was recently sent to me in a set of some NUDESTIX eye favorites, and I thought nothing was going to get me to stray from my beloved Glossier Boy Brow + Milk Makeup Gel Brow combo, but this has. It's one of those triangle-tipped pencils on one end and a slightly tinted brow gel on the other. My one complaint is that it doesn't have a spoolie, but I always have one on hand when I'm doing my makeup anyway, so it's not a big deal. I love that the pencil isn't crazily pigmented, so despite it being that chunkier shape, you can still get a natural, feathery-looking finish. And the brow gel is no joke - it's definitely crispier than Boy Brow, but it ensures your brows definitely won't budge and separates them nicely for that fluffy look. By the way, you can get 10% off any NUDESTIX order by using the code DADMUNK10 at checkout!

Laura Mercier Velour Extreme Matte LipstickI totally picked this up on a whim after seeing Anna say one of the shades was similar to the Glossier Gen G in Cake, but more pink and pigmented. I ended up not getting the shade she was talking about, Vibe, but instead picked Fresh, a rosy pink nude. The color is beautiful for adding a flush of color to the lips, and the formula is phenomenal - it feels so creamy yet lightweight when it's applied, but it dries down quickly to a comfortable matte that doesn't budge. I'm really loving these lightweight mattes that are coming out lately.

Amika Silken Up Dry Conditioner* | I was 100% intrigued by the idea of a dry conditioner. I had never even heard of one. Like a dry shampoo, this Dry Conditioner helps to refresh the hair, giving it some shine while it moisturizes. I love pairing this with the Amika Dry Shampoo (one of the only dry shampoos I can use without my hair feeling gross) - I use the shampoo in my roots to absorb oil, and I use the dry conditioner through the lengths and ends of my hair to help it look more swishy and less fried. It's been so helpful because the dry winter air has been making my hair look awful! It also cuts down on static a lot, which is a huge lifesaver. This makes my hair look freshly blowdried and super lovely.

Have you tried any of these products before? What's your favorite thing you've tried lately?

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

Rewriting my Hairstory | Hairstory Review

I don't talk much about my haircare routine on the blog, and that's because historically I've pretty much been a mess when it comes to my hair. I just can't really get it to do what I want, so over the years I've simply given up and just let it do what it wants. I have a lot of hair, but it's quite fine, so it tends to get oily and weighed down quickly, while the ends get frizzy and dry. Hair products never really excited me all that much, until I was contacted by Hairstory and read up on the brand.

Hairstory is a haircare line and salon started by Michael Gordon, who also founded Bumble and bumble. The whole ethos of the line is to educate people on how shampoo is actually incredibly damaging to your hair, and all the products we use afterward is to correct and hide that damage. It makes sense to me! Hairstory's hero product is the New Wash, quite literally a new way to wash your hair, and their remaining products form a capsule collection that covers any and all bases. For a low-maintenance gal like me, it seemed like a match made in heaven.

When Hairstory contacted me, it was to take part in their campaign #TakeAShowerWithUs, where you would replace your regular shampoo and conditioner with New Wash for 30 days - I dedicated myself to this and replaced all my other usual hair products with Hairstory's line, too. After a month, I couldn't be happier and can't see myself switching back anytime soon.

The New Wash* is their revolutionary way to clean hair - rather than using detergents, it cleans the hair with aloe and essential oils. As you can probably imagine, it smells amazing. It feels like a a conditioner right from the pump, and if you're used to using shampoos that lather up like I was, it'll be a bit of a learning experience. I've found the perfect amount to use for my hair is about 4-5 pumps. You slather it through your hair and spend some time massaging it into your scalp. It doesn't really feel like there's much in your hair at this point, but it's amazing once you rinse it out - it immediately feels like you've already used conditioner. With the New Wash, there's no need for conditioner or masks. My hair went through a little adjustment period with this - it wasn't used to being cleaned so gently, so it was a little oily for my first few washes. But after sticking it out, I couldn't be happier. My hair feels so healthy and soft, and it really brings out its natural wave and texture.

I was super intrigued by the Hair Balm* because it's a leave-in product to tame frizz and enhance texture, and it's meant to be used when airdrying your hair. That's pretty much the only thing I do to my hair, so this was right up my alley. This really brought out my waves, and it even turned them more into curls. I've never been comfortable wearing my hair down right after washing it, but the Hair Balm turned it into my ideal messy-ish waves with no frizz or puffiness.

I love a good texturizing spray, and Undressed* is now my new favorite. It doesn't leave my hair crispy, weighed-down, or sticky, which are problems I often had with other texturizing sprays. This can be used on wet or dry hair, so I usually spray a bit in my roots after I've just washed my hair, and I'll spray a bit more through the lengths on my second-day hair. I've tried using salt sprays that just dry my hair out, but this doesn't at all. My hair is getting quite long, so it can easily weigh itself down and flatten out at my roots while air drying, but spraying this through the roots really helps them stay lifted and gives great volume without being too much.

The last product I got around to trying, but the one styling product that's become my favorite, is Dressed Up.* It's meant to create body and control in the hair, usually when blowdrying. It's a super lightweight lotion texture that spreads through the hair easily. I usually avoid blowdrying my hair as it just puffs up and gets tangled, but using the Dressed Up cream really helped - even with my mediocre blowout skills, my hair didn't end up a huge mess and looked like I knew what I was doing. I've even been using this when I airdry my hair, as it's more lightweight than the Hair Balm, and it works just as well - it doesn't create as much texture as the Hair Balm does, giving it more body and movement instead.

I'm over the moon and totally in love with all four products, and I'm already calculating when I'll need to order a new New Wash. I'm completely converted.

Have you tried any products from Hairstory before?

*I was very kindly sent all four Hairstory products, but all opinions are my own. This is not a sponsored post. Please see my disclaimer for more information.


The Monthly Review | April

I can't believe it's already May - I swear for the last week I've been thinking it was still around the 15th. This month wasn't quite as eventful as March, but it was still great overall.

Beauty

I've always got to start with the beauty products. This month my hormonal breakouts came back with a vengeance, and one thing that really helped soothe and calm them down was the Glossier Super Pure Serum.* I've been all about these beauties since they came out, and this niacinamide + zinc serum has been my go-to of the three Supers. Makeup-wise, I've been breaking out the eyeshadows again and using shades from the Lorac I Love Brunch Pro Palette - my sister surprised me with this recently, and I've been loving it. I'll have my full review up this week, so keep an eye out for that. When I've been using a powder highlight, it's been the Tom Ford Sheer Highlighting Duo in Reflects Gilt. I got this for my birthday at the beginning of April, and it's earned a place for itself in my everyday routine. Lastly for makeup is the new foundation/base from MAC - their Next to Nothing Face Colour. I was super intrigued by this collection, being someone who loves lightweight, glowy bases, and I just love it. I'll have a full review up soon.

I rarely have hair favorites, but I've been using the full line of products from Hairstory* and I couldn't be happier with them. I talked about the New Wash in my Five to Try post last week, but the other three products are phenomenal as well. I was participating in their campaign where you replace your shampoo and conditioner with the New Wash for 30 days, and I'm just about at the end of that, so I'll have a review of the line up soon.

Podcasts/TV

Not much has changed on the music-front for me this month, but in the last couple weeks I've found and become obsessed with a podcast - usually I listen to music on my way to work and a podcast on my way home, but I've been loving this one so much that I listen to it in the morning and in the afternoon. It's My Favorite Murder - I've always been into True Crime and shows like Forensic Files and 48 Hours but this podcast has really gotten me into it. 

Brett and I have also gotten into watching Better Call Saul on Netflix - we had watched it when it first came out, but I think I fell asleep during the first episode and just couldn't get into it. We haven't caught up yet, but we're almost there and it's so good. It makes me sad though to see him doing well, because we already know how he ends up in Breaking Bad. When Brett's not home, I've been marathon-ing Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix, too, and I really love it. I'm a sucker for musicals, and I love every character.

Other Highlights

Big wedding news this month - we finally set a date! On June 8, 2018 I'll become Kelsey Kelly (lol). We picked a photographer too! She's awesome and every single photo, even the portraits, look like candids, which is exactly what I was looking for. Another highlight of the month was seeing my sister's dance recital, where she choreographed her own piece! It was so good, and I was so proud. May is already shaping up to be a good month as well - I'll be in New York City with Glossier this Thursday and Friday!

What were your highlights of the month?


Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam

I picked up the Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam a few weeks ago after hearing many mixed reviews, and after trying it for awhile, I'm finally ready to share my thoughts. I was initially drawn to this because I hate pretty much every dry shampoo I've tried. The typical sprays may make my hair look cleaner for a little while, but they just leave such a dirty, gritty feeling that I could never get down with. The only other product I've tried from Ouai is the Hair Oil, and it's an absolute favorite, so I had high hopes for this.

Ouai's new Dry Shampoo Foam is meant to refresh and revive your hair without water, making it possible to go longer between hair washes. As someone who went through a period of mild hair loss last year (new apartment + new job + car accident basically meant my whole body went haywire), washing my hair less often has definitely made a difference. So I was constantly on the lookout for a dry shampoo that would make my hair look presentable for one extra day but also not make my hair feel absolutely disgusting - and let me tell you, it was difficult. 

I think I've found the only dry shampoo I'll ever use from now on in this Dry Shampoo Foam. It manages to get my hair looking (and smelling!) clean, and it actually feels clean too. I take a ping pong ball sized amount in my hands and spread it over my roots and oily areas. Then I just work it into the hair and scalp - it's a weird experience at first, because it feels wet, like a mousse, but you'll know it's thoroughly worked in once your hair feels dry again. My hair tends to get weird waves at my roots and frizz when it gets wet, but once the foam is worked in, my hair looks just the same as it was before applying (but cleaner). If you have a really polished hairstyle, I'm sure working the foam vigorously into your scalp will kind of mess that up, but I'm always kind of going for a purposeful bedhead look, so this really helps me achieve that. 

Other dry shampoos I've tried have certainly given me more volume than this does, but the disgusting feeling they left in my hair made it totally not worth it. By the end of the day of having this in I do feel the need to wash my hair as soon as I get home, but that's still about an 8-10 hour improvement of the spray formulas. I'm always looking to get just one extra day with dry shampoo, so this is totally fine with me. This is just the perfect all-rounder to me - it makes my hair feel clean, it smells great, and it gives me some decent volume and body. I'm super happy with this, and I've already gotten rid of all of my other dry shampoo sprays.

What's your favorite dry shampoo? Have you tried the Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam?


The Winter Anti-Frizz Routine | AD

I don't talk much about hair care on my little corner of the internet, and that's because I'm pretty clueless when it comes to my hair. It's wavy, poofy, and constantly frizzy, and I don't really have time to figure out how to beat it into submission. Now that winter is coming (did you say that in a Ned Stark voice?), it's just been feeling so brittle and dry, causing more frizz. Lately though, I've come across a routine that really cuts down on the frizz and dryness, and it's been giving me silky smooth hair that's super easy to style.

I've never been super loyal to one shampoo/conditioner brand, but the bits I've been trying from Aussie have really changed my mind there. I like to alternate the shampoos and conditioners I use - I feel like it keeps my hair "on its toes" if you will, and my hair seems to be able to go longer between washes without getting greasy. The Aussie Total Miracle 7N1 Shampoo & Conditioner are great for when my hair's starting to feel a little frazzled and damaged. Just one use and everything feels back to normal. I alternate it with the Aussie Moist Shampoo & Conditioner. This one is going to be perfect once there's even more of a chill in the air - it leaves my hair feeling SO soft, smooth, and hydrated. Sometimes my scalp gets itchy from dryness, and this shampoo/conditioner duo even helps that.

Once a week, to keep my hair hydrated, I like to use a deep conditioning hair mask. The Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Strong Conditioning Treatment is perfect for this. I love that it only takes three minutes so I can get out of the shower and into cozy pajamas as quickly as possible. My hair feels so healthy after using this, and I can really tell it's reducing damage. It claims to make the hair 10x stronger against damage than non-conditioning shampoo, and I really think it's been living up to those claims. I immediately notice a difference as my hair is drying - it feels so much smoother!

I typically let my hair air-dry, and a product that I really think has allowed me to do that without needing much of any styling afterward is the Aussie Instant Freeze Sculpting Hair Gel. When I think of gel, I think of the super crunchy ringlet curls I had to do when I was a Party Girl in the Nutcracker when I was 10 years old, but this is a whole different ballgame. It doesn't leave my hair crunchy at all. It helps to define and bring out my waves in a really flattering way (before I started incorporating the gel into my routine, I had cowlicks and weird kinks in my hair galore and could never wear my hair down). And, my favorite thing, it keeps my freshly-washed hair from getting puffy as it dries. I apply such a small amount, maybe about two pea-sized dollops, when my hair is about 50% dry. If I do blowdry my hair, it really helps cut down on that puffiness as well. To finish my hair, I'll run a pump of a hair oil through the lengths to smooth down any flyaways, but I've noticed I don't always need this after using the Aussie products!

You can find Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle Strong Conditioning Treatment, Instant Freeze Sculpting Hair Gel, Aussie Moist Shampoo & Conditioner, Aussie Total Miracle 7N1 Shampoo & Conditioner, and many more products on Amazon. Having all your hair products shipped right to your door is a huge time-saver - no need to run out to the store when I unexpectedly run out anymore, because having backups is so easy!

What products do you use to keep your hair looking healthy and frizz-free?

This post has been sponsored by Aussie, but all thoughts, opinions, and results are my own.