Beauty Find - Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner

During a sticky, hot summer, there's nothing I love better than a good toner after cleansing my face.  And I've found a new favorite in Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner 

This toner is in a convenient spray bottle, so it was great not only to spray on post cleansing, but also for a fragrant "pick-me up" at the end of the day or after a work out.

The scent is positively addicting - a soothing, authentic apricot fragrance that wasn't too sweet.  The toner's texture is slighter heavier than regular water, with a silky feet to it. It absorbed into my skin within seconds of applying. 

It's very lightweight, alcohol free and non-drying, and didn't leave any sticky or gummy residue on my skin.  Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner  is recommended for all skin types, particularly sensitive. Despite the fragrance (which is naturally derived), this toner is also good for calming skin redness and small breakouts. 

Other great ways to use this toner are by spraying it on thick cotton pads and applying to your eyes during an at home mask treatment.  You can also use it to gently cleanse skin if you prefer to not wash your face with water in the morning.  Of course, keeping it in the refrigerator also gives it a nice cooling bonus which I personally loved.

If you're looking for a gentle, quality toner that will refresh and calm skin (particularly in the summertime),  Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner is a must have in your skincare regimen. - RLB

*This product was provided courtesy of Elemis PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Find - Peter Thomas Roth Brightening Bubbling Mask

A few weeks ago I shared a Peter Thomas Roth mask that I've become obsessed with - and now I have another Peter Thomas Roth  option for summer when you need something with with a lighter texture, perfect for clearing and soothing sun, heat and sweat - exposed skin.  

Peter Thomas Roth Brightening Bubbling Mask  contains brighteners, hydrators and anti-oxidants to help revive and clear skin - in just a few minutes.

I love the feeling of bubbles on my face, and this mask definitely delivers that sensation. The mask has a cream/gel texture and is light blue in color from the tube.  Once I applied it to my skin, the mask foamed up to a white color, within a few seconds.  The sensation is little "popping" bubbles, which made me feel energized and relaxed at the same time. And the bubbles didn't hurt, burn or irritate my skin.  

After a few minutes the popping subsided, and my skin felt very soothed, with lots of additional hydration.  I generally left the mask on for 10 minutes, and by the end of that time, the bubbles had disappeared.

     Purchase Here: Peter Thomas Roth Brightening Bubbling Mask 3.4 oz

I removed by rinsing with a few splashes of water.  It was very easy to remove and I was very impressed with just how soft, toned, fresh and radiant my skin looked immediately after drying off! I used the mask at least 2 times a week, and sometimes 3, depending on what my skin felt like it needed.  Because of the slight toning effects, my skin did feel slightly "tight" in my drier areas like my cheeks, but it didn't dry out my skin.  Again, for me, this is perfect during warmer months when my skin goes from being combination to much more oily and outbreak prone.

The pump tube dispenser makes this mask perfect for travel and the gym, or after a sauna treatment.  

You just might get addicted to this one! - RLB

Purchase Here: Peter Thomas Roth Brightening Bubbling Mask 3.4 oz

Drugstore Buy of the Week - Sally Hansen Big Peel Off Base Coat

Love the big, chunky
glitter nail polishes - but HATE the effort and excessive amount of nail polish remover needed to remove them?

Sally Hansen Big Peel Of Base Coat could be the life saver your nails have been waiting for.  This base coat is not like your standard base coat - the texture and thickness are similar to, for example, Elmer's Glue (which many nail art aficionados have used for years as a base coat before chunky glitter nail polishes).  

However, There are a few different steps to use this base coat effectively.  First, you must apply 1 thick coat of Big Peel Of Base Coat and then wait at least 10 minutes for it to completely dry (I know, I know, you don't want to wait, but believe me, it will be worth it when you see how well it will work in the end).  Also, they do have a warning against exposure to hot water for a few hours after applying, as this will lessen the Big Peel Of Base Coat's effectiveness.

3 Great Glitter Nail Polishes to Try:

Once I made sure it was dry (it dries to a nearly "clear" finish), I applied one of my favorite chunky, glitter nail polishes.  The polish applied smoothly and evenly over the Big Peel Of Base Coat. About 4 days later, I removed by pushing down on the area near my cuticles and then easily pulled sections of polish off my nails.  I would say there were about four sections that I peeled off before it was completely removed (not in one pull, but still pretty fast!)

Once I peeled off the polish, my nail beds were still smooth and didn't feel dry, cracked or damaged. I think Sally Hansen Big Peel Of Base Coat is a must have for those of you who are just starting out with nail art or those who just love glitter polishes (and like to change them often). - RLB

Purchase Here:  Sally Hansen Big Peel Of Base Coat, .4 oz

*This product was provided courtesy of Sally Hansen for reviewing purposes.

Nail Polish Find - Marc Jacobs Summer Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer Collection

If you're in the mood this summer for a shiny AND shimmery pastel color, look no further than Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer 112 Le Charm .

Le Charm (love that name!), is a beautiful pink-gold shade, which has amazing pigmentation, and a very smooth, soft finish.  The texture of the polish made is very easy to apply, since it's very creamy, slightly thick, but with no streaking or skipping.  The finish, is indeed, very shiny, but the shimmer is very fine, so my nail bed was smooth with no chunks or lumps.

The brush is very smooth, and slightly wider than the average nail polish brush, which allowed the perfect amount of polish to be applied on each nail. So, if you generally have problems doing your own nails, this brush will make it a bit easier for you.

What I also love about Marc Jacobs polishes is how quickly the dry!  Once I was on my first coat of my second hand, my first hand was almost completely dry.  With two coats, I got the color in the bottle.  I loved this on both hands and toes, and it's perfect for a wedding or summer outdoor event when you want a light colored nail, but with a little bit extra effect.

Another great shade for summer is Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer 140 Petra (shown, left) , which is a very unique color.  Petra is a shimmery bronze with just a touch of gold and mauve, and looks different in the sunlight and out, as well as from different angles.

Of course, there's also the Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored bottle itself to admire. For all you packaging fanatics (and Marc Jacobs fans) this is a modern, chic design that will stand out on your vanity! Note: The outer black cap pulls off to reveal the glass bottle twist off top which is the top of the brush. - RLB

Purchase Here: Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer 140 Petra 0.43 oz

Purchase Here: Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer 112 Le Charm 0.43 oz

*These products were provided courtesy of Marc Jacobs Beauty PR for reviewing purposes.

Fragrance Find - Givenchy Dahlia Divin

I have to admit that I've been circling Givenchy Dahlia Divin for several months now - there was something that intrigued me about it (and I love the advertisements), but I just didn't think I would actually like the notes.

And I have to say, boy was I WRONG.

Givenchy Dahlia Divin is now one of my new favorite scents - just as perfect for spring/summer days as the cooler fall.  It has a very nice plum fruit note, that combines beautifully with a predominance of Jasmine for it's floral.  The overall effect is very lush, feminine and alluring.  If you love fragrances that have a bit of "heft" to them, this is perfect for you.

On my skin, the sparkling plum dominated for several minutes, and I loved it.  It was fruity and sweet, but it sill had a lightness to it that I prefer in fruity scents.  The florals came in for me a bit later, and they were very clean and fresh.  I would say this is a "sophisticated" scent that any older women would feel comfortable in, but it still has a lightness to it that makes it work for younger women and more casual situations as well.

The scent development of Givenchy Dahlia Divin was very nice - with it getting warmer and sweeter on my skin after about an hour or two, and then softening a bit to a more "velvety" spicy-sweetness that was one of my favorite parts of the scent.

The silage was very good, allowing it to trail a bit from me, but never too powerful, and I got about 6+ hours of wear before having to touch up.

Givenchy Dahlia Divin  would be the perfect scent to make your signature!  Give it a try, or share it as a gift for a fragrance lover in your life.  - RLB

Purchase Here: Givenchy Dahlia Divin 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray

Fragrance Notes:

Golden Fruit (Mirabelle Plum), White Flower Bouquet (Jasmine), Sandalwood, Vetiver, Patchouli. 

Beauty Find - Talika Lipocils Expert

Whenever I hear there's a new Talika product my ears perk up.

Because Talika  has some of the best skincare/eye care treatments (like their Talika Eye Therapy Patch!) , that are truly effective and innovative. I've been a big fan of their Talika Eyelash Lipocils for eyelash growth and conditioning, and have recommended it to countless friends and beauty lovers for the last few years.

Now, Talika has created a version of the hair growing Lipocils specifically for eyebrows. This is perfect if you have overtweezed your brows for years, or do have fairly full eyebrows, but with some thin or spare areas that never seem to grow in. The product is very easy to use. The wand has a slanted sponge applicator, which I dipped into the tube and applied the clear gel to the areas of my eyebrows that needed it.  Then I used the spiral brush below it, to brush the product through and to shape my brows.

 Purchase Here: Talika Lipocils Expert, 1 ea 

Talika Lipocils Expert contains their patented nourishing plant extracts which help brows grow in thicker and fuller.  But what I also love about this version is that it's made with an ingredient that slightly darkens brows over time, naturally. These effects are stated by the company after 6 weeks, but I have to tell you, I began seeing noticeable growth (but not really in change in color) after 3 weeks, using daily.  Note: The darkening brow effect will be most noticeable on those people that have blond to light brown colored eyebrows, as opposed to very dark brown or black, which is the case for me.  

Like with my Talika Eyelash Lipocils, I used this faithfully 2x day and will continue to do so to keep up the nicely grown in outer ends of my otherwise full brows.  It makes it much easier to get ready in the AM, not having to use much in the way of brow pencil either! - RLB

Purchase Here: Talika Lipocils Expert, 1 ea

*This product was provided courtesy of  Talika PR for reviewing purposes.

Drugstore Buy of the Week - Hawaiian Tropic Touch of Color Pump Lotion, SPF 15

If you've ever wished that you could protect your skin from the sun - while ALSO looking a bit more sun-kissed while you're outdoors - here's your dream product (at a dream price!)

Hawaiian Tropic Touch of Color Pump Lotion, SPF 15, 6.8 fl oz is a tinted sunscreen with a light, bronze sheer glow that will work on all skin tones.  It gives a hint of color, but it's not as dramatic as a self tanner, or liquid bronzer.

I love the formula.  It's silky, smooth and lightweight it felt like air going on, and absorbed on contact.  The tint dried so quickly, there was no real waiting time before having to get dressed either. It's also water resistant (but you should reapply after prolonged exposure to water, swimming, etc. for continuous sun protection.).  

And while I know some of you like a higher SPF, this is great if your exposure to the sun will be at the end of the day, for example, or if you'll only be taking some pictures in sun exposed locations for an event like a wedding or party, for example.  

There's a touch of fine shimmer in the finish, but otherwise, it has a nice bronzy-sheen that doesn't look overly shiny or oily.  It's hydrating, but if you have very dry skin, or want additional protection, you can also apply a more moisturizing sunscreen with a higher SPF first, and then layer this on top for the tint. The Touch of Color Pump Lotion, washes off easily in the shower at the end of the day.

It's a brilliant idea and I urge you to stock up now before they're all gone this summer! - RLB

Beauty Find - Bliss Hide and Glow Sleek

If you've already started using the new spray lotions on the market, you know not only how convenient and time saving they are, while still delivering the moisture you love from your traditional lotions.

Now, Bliss has combined their award winning cult favorite Fat Girl Slim body firming formula with a glowing tint  - Fat Girl Slim Hide and Glow Sleek!

This is NOT a self tanner or even a bronzer, but rather a way to get a sheer glow to the skin, without a glitter effect (but there is some fine shimmer in the formula).  There are two shades available, the Fair to Medium, which has a sheer pink base, and the Medium to Dark, which I used, which has a sheer orange base.

The nozzle had a fine, steady mist which covered me evenly without streaking, and the formula dried within a few seconds.  The finish gave me a glow and a slight blurring of imperfections (it's not a body foundation or cover up however, and will not cover up scars, veins or hyper pigmentation).  

I think this is perfect to give skin a nice touch up after a day out in the sun to enhance a sun kissed tan.  The tint did not transfer once it was dry and it was temporary, washing off in the shower.  

I loved how natural the finish looked and it was great for the legs, in particular.  If you have very dry skin, I do recommend moisturizing first, as this is not a deeply moisturizing formula. During the day the tint did not flake, smudge or melt, even in very hot temperatures.

As for the firming, yes I did experience a tightening effect, and like with most body firming products, the more I used it, the better the effects were (I used for about 2 weeks on a regular basis to test at first).  This is for someone who wants more of the skin tint/glowing effects (as opposed to self-tan), than body toning, in my opinion.

Add this to your summer body care collection and take your skin to the next level for outdoor events, weddings, parties or big nights out - RLB

Purchase Here: Fat Girl Slim Hide and Glow Sleek - Medium to Dark

*This product was provided courtesy of PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Find - BodyBlender by BeautyBlender

BeautyBlender lovers rejoice!

Now there's a larger version of this great makeup sponge meant just for body application, the bodyblender.

The design is not like that of the regular blender however.  It's very large, but it's the tear-drop shape minus the two rounded sides (side view, shown, to the left).

The material is soft and pliable, and has a nice smooth texture for applying everything from self tanner, liquid bronzer, shimmer lotion and, of course body foundation.

Purchase Here: bodyblender

Using this bodyblender, I was able to get anything from sheer coverage for a tinted lotion, to a full coverage from tinted moisturizer and bronzer.  It was very easy to control and the perfect size to hold in my hand. 

And yes, if you're in a rush and want to just use one tool, this also works great on the face! 

This is a must have for every makeup artist and all you body care product users out there! - RLB

Purchase Here: bodyblender

*This product was provided courtesy of pr for reviewing purposes.

Father's Day Gift Find - L'Occitane Cedrat Men's Grooming Collection

This Father's Day, I have a pick for the Father in your life who also happens to be a big fragrance lover.

L'Occitane Cedrat Men's Grooming Collection is simply one of the freshest, crispest and elegant scents they've created for men.  I loved everything about this line - and so did my hubby!

All the products in the line feature the Cedrat fragrance - it has a lot of citrus but it's really well balanced between notes of grass/woods/spice.  They contain Corsican Cedrat (a variety of lemon hailing from the island of Corsica) and is refreshing and energizing. These products make the perfect start of the day, or freshening up after a gym work out of outdoor exercise/beach days.

He'll get a lot of use of this 3 piece collection, which includes: Cedrat Eau de Toilette 1.7 fl.oz, Cedrat Shower Gel 8.4 fl.oz and Cedrat Deodorant Stick..  All three products come in a gift giving-ready box with a modern illustrated graphic.

And once he finishes all these products there are several more items in the line he'll love to use on a daily basis, like the After Shave Cream Gel, The Cedrat Pure Cleanser and the Cedrat Shaving Gel. - RLB

PURCHASE HERE: L'Occitane Cedrat Fragrance Collection  

*These products were provided courtesy of L'Occitane PR for reviewing purposes.

Beauty Find - Tom Ford Lip Color in Deep Mink

With Tom Ford beauty products, it's really a: "Go Big or Don't Do It At All" kind of approach.

His lipsticks are $50, and they way I see it, if you're going to splurge on one, then you might as well make it a shade you can get a LOT of wear out of.

So, I went on a quest to find a great neutral/nude that would work with my brown skin tone.  

And I've found it in Deep Mink.

It's a very unique shade in the Tom Ford Lip Color line up, in that it's a "nude" but a lot deeper than many of the other peach/pink and rose-colored ones.  I think this is a perfect nude for when you're looking for a bit more depth and a deeper shade.  

It's a true medium brown (milk chocolate) color, with a warm pink undertone.  This was the perfect shade when I wanted to look put together without thinking about it.  This shade went perfectly with all my makeup looks (whether more natural or more chic).  

What makes this a "holy grail" shade for me now is that this beautiful brown has no shimmer, and really doesn't lean peach, orange, red or even grey. It's lightweight on the lips and it's perfectly neutral in it's undertones.  The finish is pigmented and creamy with natural shine.  About two coats of the lipstick produced the shade in the tube on my lips.  It was moisturizing (but not oily or greasy), while also being fairly long lasting during the day as well.

The lipstick contains lots of "luxe" - sounding ingredients like: Soja Seed Extract, Brazilian Murumuru butter and Chamomile Flower Oil.
Click here to see the lipstick on 4 different skin tones!

Yes, the packaging is also lovely to look at, with it's beautiful gold embossed TF on top and the sturdy black and gold toned lacquered case.  (You're friends will always notice when you whip it out of your makeup bag).  And believe me, you'll be taking it out often. - RLB 

PURCHASE HERE: Tom Ford Lip Color, Deep Mink

Beauty Find - Christian Dior DiorStar Fluid Foundation SPF 30

Ahhh...when innovation and technology come together in the foundation category, it's pure heaven for a beauty lover like me - and it will be for you too.

Christian Dior has created a luxury foundation that is about as close to perfect as one can get.  It offers medium-to-full coverage, has a decadent gel/cream hybrid texture, and offers a very unique finish that makes skin look simply amazing. They've also managed to add in an SPF 30 with this very pigmented foundation, making it worth every single penny, and a fantastic beauty "splurge" you'll use frequently.

Dior Star Fluid Foundation SPF 30 060 Mocha was my best color match (there are 14 shades in all), and imagine my surprise when the small pump I put on the back of my hand to begin applying with my foundation brush was actually TOO MUCH for my face.  

That's right. Fluid Foundation so concentrated, that less than a pea-sized amount is all you'll generally need for a good, medium coverage.  (Although if you're looking for closer to full coverage, 1-2 pea-sized pumps, applied in thin layers, will work perfectly for you). But the joy in using this foundation is how weightless, smooth and creamy, (like "cushiony air" ) it felt on my skin.  Note: I preferred using a foundation brush with this foundation, but it also works well with a beauty blender.

After applying Dior Star Fluid Foundation SPF 30 my skin looked like a combination of airbrushed - with a luminous/dewy (not shiny!) finish.  On most days, I only needed to follow up the foundation with a touch of concealer, and I was done - it was truly about 1 minute total to apply and for it to set.

                           PURCHASE HERE: Dior Star Fluid Foundation SPF 30 

I found this to be perfect for my combination skin - it provided a nice about of moisture, but didn't seem to add additional oil to my more oily t-zone. I only needed 1-2 light blots on my forehead/nose area for the entire day.

It didn't clog my pores, flake or turn color during the day.  My skin looked just as perfect at the end of a long day, as when I applied it 8+ hours earlier.  Since this is a not long wear foundation, per se, on very warm or humid days, I got great results by using the foundation and the L'Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray + Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray together.  But when temperature was average, I didn't need anything additional to keep the foundation looking fresh all day.

PURCHASE HERE: Dior Star Fluid Foundation SPF 30 060 Mocha 1 oz

Beauty Find - Urban Decay Perversion Mascara

If you're looking for really noticeable separation, along with volume, for your lashesUrban Decay Perversion Mascara Black is phenomenal.

The Perversion Mascara brush head is on the larger side, but otherwise, a very standard shape and bristle design.

However, once I swiped my first layer of the mascara on, nothing about Urban Decay Perversion Mascara seemed ordinary.  With the first layer, my lashes were lengthened, thickened but also incredibly separated.  With a second layer, I truly had "va va voom" lashes.  For those of you who like to use false eyelashes for their seperation effect - look no further, Urban Decay Perversion Mascara  may be an easier solution.

With this formula, I didn't get any flaking or smudging during the day.  My lashes stayed glossy black, and looking lush and thick until I removed it in the evenings.  I found it was easy to remove with any standard eye makeup remover, or oil-based cleanser.

While it's not waterproof I did test Urban Decay Perversion Mascara during a few humid days, and was also very impressed with how well it held up. 

This is a great treat for your lashes!  Pick it up now. - RLB

Note: This is a "wet" formula, so you should take care for the first few minutes when getting dressed or adding other eye makeup, as it can smudge.  However, once it set, I had no problems with any mascara transfer.

Purchase Here: Urban Decay Perversion Mascara Black 0.4 oz