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). 

Yes To Coconut Ultra Hydrating Melting Cleanser- a review

Yes To Coconuts Hydrating Melting Cleanser

 

I  love oil cleansers. They are the easiest way to remove makeup without causing stress on the skin. Plus, they leave residual moisture, unlike most soap based cleansers. My favorite cleanser of all time by The Body Shop (Moisture White) was discontinued and so I have been on the lookout for an new oil cleanser made without mineral oil. 

I found this creamy coconut oil based cleanser at Target and gave it a try. Made with rice bran oil, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil and olive oil, Yes To Coconuts Ultra Hydrating Melting Cleanser (I may get a commission off this link!) is actually a thick gel. You can apply it as is, or mix it with water. Mixing it with water makes for an easier application but it hard to get the right cleanser/water mixture that takes off your makeup in one try. It also seems to leave a residue behind. 

Bottom line, I use it once in a while but it doesn’t work as good as a traditional oil cleanser. I just started using  Simple’s Hydrating Cleansing Oil (I may get a commission off this link) instead. It is made with a majority grapeseed oil and pulls most of the makeup off in one swoop. The Yes To Coconuts cleanser does work well to clean makeup brushes and sponges!