Happy Birthday beauty freebies for 2017

 

 

 

 

One of the best benefits of joining those store rewards programs are the freebies! This year Sephora has three to choose from, skincare from Caudalie, blush and lipstick from Tarte or grooming essentials for men from Jack Black. This year I decided to go with Tarte. The blush is a nice pretty pink and the lip gloss is more like a liquid lipstick in a nude shade (and it smells minty). All you have to do to get your free birthday gift is sign up for the Beauty Insider club online or in store. You can get your free gift anytime during your birthday month – no purchase required!

ULTA changes their birthday gift every quarter or so. You can usually find it in the ad book sent out in the mail. Some stores are also giving out a freebie from Benefit (they used to do a free eyebrow wax). Getting your gift is harder. You have to be registered for the rewards program and wait to get an email in the mail that can be redeemed for your gift. Summer 2017’s gift is this cool NYX eyeshadow palette ($18 value ) filled with some great fall colors.

Other beauty rewards programs:

  • CVS Beauty – Separate from your regular CVS card, get $5 when you spend $50 and $3 for your birthday.
  • MAC – Free shipping, discounts and samples. No birthday gift but you’ll  get a free full size product on your anniversary.

 

 

Review: Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy Powder

I am always looking for alternatives to my favorite hgh boosting supplement, SeroVital. This powder by Optimum Nutrition is equivalent to half of the effective ingredients the BCAA or Branched Chain Amino Acids. It contains a mix of amino acids and 160 mg of caffeine from natural sources (see below).

You mix it with water and can consume it once daily or prior to workouts. It is formulated to give you more energy, improve focus and help you recover faster from workouts.

I used it for a couple of weeks and I liked the fact that it helped me workout longer without feeling as tired. As for building more muscle, I’m not sure if it made a difference. It can make your heart race a little if you are sensitive to caffeine. I had to STOP using it because something in it messed up my digestive system (I won’t give you the gory details). I was dairy free and I had to go back to eating probiotic yogurt to get back to normal.

So suffice to say, I won’t be consuming this anymore. I wouldn’t discourage others from trying it. It comes in 16 flavors and is priced at about $19 for 30 servings and $35 for a 65 serving container. You can find it online at Amazon (I may get a commission from this link),  Allstar Health and many other health stores.

 

Three finishing powders for every budget

L to R: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti-Aging Micro Powder, $24; Make Up For Ever HD Finishing Powder, $20; E.L.F. High Definition Powder, $6.

Finishing powders are an essential last step in any makeup application. A good powder sets makeup, blurs imperfections and gives your skin an airbrushed look. Over the years I developed a coterie of favorites, starting with the original Make Up For Ever HD Finishing Powder and ending with IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti-Aging Micro Powder.

I have a list of must haves when it comes to powder. It has to be light/ white (I don’t like beigey translucent powders), it has to be stable and loose. I don’t like finishing powders that come in a compact, they get gross. With a loose powder, you can shake it into the lid and just tap out the excess, keeping your powder pristine.

The first powder in the trio is Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Finishing Powder. It got a bad rap in the past for the white blurs in celebrity red carpet photos but they have fixed that problem. It’s super light and you don’t need a lot. I usually buy the travel version ($20) and it lasts a few months with daily use. The only thing I don’t like is that it is hard to get the last bit of powder out. I tried cutting the webbed cover but still couldn’t get it out. Find it at MUFE stores and Sephora.

Next up is the bargain, E.L.F. High Definition Powder. This powder is a little thicker than the others but at $6, it’s great when you don’t have $20 plus dollars to lay out for powder. It also comes in a skin toned version and a corrective yellow (banana powder).

Finally, my new favorite  is Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti-Aging Micro Powder by IT Cosmetics. This powder by the anti-aging specialists at IT Cosmetics sets and blurs lines and imperfections. It does have a yellow cast to it but I didn’t really notice it. If you have aging skin, you will really notice a difference. Get it for $24 at ULTA or itcosmetics.com.

 

 

The new place for beauty, discount department stores

Beauty moves at lightning speed these days. All the amazing products on the market can leave you with a bulging makeup drawer and an empty wallet! But there is way to make all your beauty dreams come true on a budget – discount department stores. 

Visit any TJ Maxx, Ross and Marshalls and you’ll find a vast beauty department filled with skincare, bath and body,  makeup, haircare and more. On a recent trip I found high end skincare like Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder, mermaid makeup brushes, products from Philosophy and The Body Shop, hair dryers, even hair extensions!

You can get really great deals, especially on clearance. I got one of those makeup eraser cloths for $2 and a package of collagen eye strips for $2.99. The thing to remember when shopping is to check expiration dates and the list of ingredients. Products made in Europe are a safer bet (even better than the U.S.A.)  because the E.U. has adopted laws that require ingredients to be tested before added to a product on the market.

Lastly, remember the cardinal rule in beauty products, never use a product on your skin you haven’t tried before for a special event! Allergies don’t care about your itinerary!

The latest trend in skincare, the essence

Hate serums? You’ll love essence.

Essence. It sounds like an 80s drugstore perfume, but it is actually a K-beauty face treatment gracing the shelves of beauty retailers. Essences are liquid treatments that fit in between a toner and a serum in your skin care regimen. Essence is designed to replenish the oils striped from the skin by cleansing, toning and beefing up your skin’s delicate moisture barrier.  This particular product contains 80% fermented yeast concentrate and is designed to hydrate skin, reduce fine lines and improve skin tone. Is also seemed to help clear my acne – maybe it’s the strengthening of the skin barrier feature?

Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence, $49. (I may get a commission if you purchase through this link.)

Missha Time Revolution has been compared to the super chic (and pricey) SK-II Facial Treatment that starts at $99. If you hate the texture of serums or break out from them like I do, you’ll love an essence. Simply apply it with a cotton pad or your fingers and follow it up with your day or night time moisturizer. It sinks in super fast and 

Missha and SK-II aren’t the only brands in the game. Quite a few essence treatments can be found by brands like Clinique, The Body Shop, Origins and a couple of lesser known brands at ULTA. Missha also sells an essence mask for $7 at Target and you can get a 3.2 ounce bottle of Missha Time Revolution for $20 at Amazon (affiliate link included).