December’s Beauty Round Up

Beauty, Lifestyle

December is a busy month for pretty much everyone. In between shopping for presents and staying on top of work, you have to squeeze in the holiday parties, cookie making, card sending (My family card picture is below), and more.

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It’s easy to let our self-care fall aside during this time, and while this can manifest itself in many ways, for me, it usually looks like letting the little things fall to the side. I suddenly forget to take my vitamins, and it’s harder to wash my face at night, when I’m already tired because it’s dark at 6pm. What drives me crazy is that I know better. I know taking care of myself is even more important in the winter months, even when it comes to your skin. So this December, while I concentrated on drinking water and remembering to take my vitamins, I also focused my efforts on pampering my skin, keeping it healthy and hydrated.

If there’s one thing I need to learn more about (there are a lot of things) it’s oils. But this December I got the chance to try one when I received an order full of family Christmas gifts from Sephora. With the order, I received a Youth to the People Maqui and Açaí Prickly Pear Gigi Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil sample. Youth to the People’s website claims that the oil’s ingredients help fight free radicals, revive dull skin, hydrate, and soften lines.

I tried it and I did end up loving it. It did make my skin feel more hydrated than usual, and every time I use it I definitely notice my skin looking a little brighter immediately after application. Will I buy it once my sample runs out? Maybe, but I’ll probably want to try some other brightening oils first to see which one I like best (this one will be some pretty tough competition).

My brightening run didn’t end with oil. I also used a brightening face mask in December.

I got the Lapcos Pearl mask from my Allure Beauty Box during its partnership with Anthropologie. Lapcos, a Korean beauty brand, has many different sheet masks in its metallic collection. The Pearl mask is said to brighten skin and revitalize dark spots. Once again, I did see immediately changes after using the mask, and I love when my face glows so I was pretty happy with this mask. Also, Korean beauty is really big right now so it was fun to get to try the brand.

Finally, my last product to round out this roundup is the Patchology FlashPatch Eye Gels.

My eyes are the bane of my skincare routine. For some reason, I didn’t start using masks specifically for my eyes until about a year ago. Now I’m eager to experiment with any eye mask I can get my hands on. This one did not disappoint. I’m obsessed. This is a product I’m planning on purchasing in the near future. It felt so nice on my eyes, calming and cooling. Also, I love how the little mask gels are a bit sparkly (not the gel that gets on you, just the mask). These eye gels are supposed to revitalize eyes hours after they are removed. They have caffeine to get rid of puffiness and the rest of the ingredients help moisturize the eye area, encourage collagen production, and brighten the eye area. All-in-all, I love them. You might even be able to call them my current obsession.

Ok, well that’s my current beauty round up for December, the products that are keeping me refreshed and moisturized. Do you have any winter go-to’s? If so, let me know! I’m always looking for new products to try.

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Let’s talk about skin safety (because yes it matters in winter too)

Beauty, Lifestyle

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit my sister this Thanksgiving. I’m lucky that I got the chance while she is living in the Caribbean. Yes, I escaped the cold of the Midwest for a whole week, and don’t worry, I have plenty of cute vacation photos to show you. If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen enough already, but thank you for persisting.

 

While I was visiting my sister, I had a lot more exposure to the sun than I did back at home in the Midwest. In fact it was more sun than what I had been getting in months, and while I was very happy about it, I really had to be careful with my skin. My husband and I doused ourselves in drugstore sunscreen daily, using brands that I had grown up using and trusted. I don’t know if it was my skin’s inability to adapt to the quick increase in SPF, some failure on my part to apply correctly, or something different altogether, but this sunscreen wasn’t cutting it, and I was frustrated.

My sister pointed me toward the pharmacy, where her friend had found European brands. Years of obsessively protecting my skin had taught me that European brands contain ingredients that haven’t been approved in the US but are great at protecting us from UV rays. I was elated at this news from my sister and I ended up basically running down to the pharmacy to get my hands on those better ingredients.

Sure enough, the brand I purchased, Vichy (you can also get it in the US, but it won’t have those good ingredients), worked perfectly, absorbing quickly into my skin, smelling pleasantly, and most importantly, keeping my safe from the sun. After my new sunscreen purchase, the rest of our trip went smoothly, and honestly, I was excited to get to spend time with my sister.

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But why does this matter now? Because you should wear sunscreen year round, and not enough people realize this (yes, people who live in the Midwest with me, you need sunscreen year round). I am now a passionate believer in the importance of sunscreen, but I didn’t always feel this way.

If I’m being honest (and I am!), I hated sunscreen growing up. I disliked the smell, I disliked the oily feel, and I disliked the inconvenience of constantly needing to reapply. Obviously this is a toxic combination for this blonde-haired, freckled lady (especially since I basically spent my entire childhood outdoors playing softball).

Eventually, as I got older, I mostly got over my dislike of the smell and the oiliness. I think at some point my vanity (goodbye unnecessary wrinkles) outweighed my dislike of those things, and I sucked it up and started wearing sunscreen regularly. I’ll tell my mom it’s because I matured, but really it’s because I didn’t want to badly sun damage my body because I care too much about how I look. But who’s to say? Maybe that is it’s own kind of maturity.

Around the same time that I got over my repulsion toward sunscreen, I found out that really I should be wearing it every day. Young adult Anna couldn’t understand how to regularly wear sunscreen and reapply it with her makeup, and even though I probably only wore makeup about once a week, I used that as my excuse as to why I couldn’t wear it all the time. Then, I started buying the foundation that had SPF in it and I acted like that was sufficient, even though I knew that SPF needed reapplied regularly and I had read many articles explaining that the SPF found in makeup usually doesn’t cover what you need anyway.

Sometime during my college years, I finally held myself accountable and thought about why I was refusing to wear sunscreen like I knew I should be, and I realized it was because my skin usually reacted terribly with the normal drugstore brands that I used every summer on the softball diamonds. I knew there was no way that was what all the beauty experts were using on their faces, and I knew my reasoning for not wearing sunscreen was logical, but there was also a logical solution. At this point, I began my research. It didn’t take long for me to discover that sunscreens existed that didn’t smell terrible or leave your skin oily and gross feeling. In fact, there were sunscreens that were formulated just for your face and even meant to be reapplied over your makeup.

Let me tell you, this was a game changer for me. I used a gift card to a beauty store and I purchased my first for-face sunscreen. It was pricey, but I soon found out it was worth it. I now own multiple bottles of beauty expert approved sunscreen and I love them and I wear them year round just like all those beauty articles I read so long ago told me too.

Don’t worry, though, I still have work to do. I’m still working on my reapplying game, and if that’s something you’ve mastered, please tell me your secrets!

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