LASH ENHANCEMENT EYELINER~Does it work?

I stumbled upon this Physician’s Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner and Serum at one of my local drug stores on a sale display. I hadn’t heard of this product anywhere and I’m not a fan of liquid eyeliner in my middle age, preferring a moreeye booster.jpg muted pencil or powder version. But I decided that it might be worth considering due to, a) the 2 for 1 price tag which would allow me to give it a good go without shucking out a lot of dough, and b) the availability of brown instead of black, which I find much more flattering on my middle-aged, golden brown eyes.
You use this product in place of or under any other eyeliner on a daily basis. And that is glitch number 1 for me. I don’t wear makeup every day anymore so I had to apply it every morning even on days I didn’t plan to wear makeup. Ah well, I can wear eyeliner around the house even if the rest of my face is bare. No real hardship for trying it out. Again, I’m not a fan of liquid eyeliner but this one served its purpose with respect to adding a nice even line and, you can turn the pen to make it as narrow or wide as you like with a few strokes. It was easy enough to use and I like the rich brown color.
eye booster cover.jpgLike any lash enhancement serum, it takes a month or more to see any results in terms of lash lengthening or volume enhancement. While I did notice a wee bit of attempted lengthening of my lashes after about five weeks or so, I don’t think it worked quite as well as the lash serum I have tried in the past but there was definitely a slight different. Personally, it was not enough to make me give up my preferred eyeliner formulations or to inspire me to return to daily makeup application. But for someone who is going to wear a made-up face everyday anyway, including a liquid eyeliner look, this is definitely a much more affordable means of trying to improve your lash mane than the traditional nighttime use serums.
Despite their cruelty-free status, I don’t have any other Physician’s Formula products in my arsenal although I have had one or two products in the past. They seem to make a good product for the money and a gal or guy on a budget, who is also animal friendly, can appreciate that. If you are looking for alternatives to more expensive lash serums, this is definitely worth a try.
As always, live a beautiful life.

 

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LASHES 101~

Spring will be upon us soon and now is a good time to consider updating your wardrobe and makeup style. And lashes play an important role in your appearance, no matter what your preferred fashion. So why not dare to bare a more dramatic look as spring roles in if you haven’t done so already?

Mascara is a blessing, and many people swear by their lash growth serums, especially for those who find their lashes waning with age, and those who never had much of a lash mane to begin with. While false lashes might not be for everyone, for every day (as is the case for me) false lashes need not be intimidating. Like any makeup or cosmetic application, it just takes a little practice to perfect your skill.

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I found this KISS Lash-101 All-in-One Kit for Lash Beginners on sale at one of my local drug stores. This complete kit includes a set of natural looking lashes, safety scissors, safety lash tweezers and a mini lash glue complete with how-to, pictured instructions for lash beginners.

Admittedly, I was not well versed in false lash application as the idea of them seemed a bit intimidating and unnatural to me. But I thought I’d give this kit a try and I’m glad I did. It took a few attempts, but even I was able to successfully apply my lashes and felt comfortable enough wearing them to actually appear in public! And that’s saying a lot for this severely far sighted, middle-aged gal. Once I got used to them, I actually enjoyed them and found I liked the look of these bar lashes probably as much as if not more than a lightly mascaraed version.

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If you haven’t tried false eyelashes, be it because you are intimidated by them or you don’t think they will appear natural, you might want to consider giving them a try. You might find they are the best update to your appearance that you’ve made in a very long time. And once you get the hang of them, you just might venture into trying more daring volumes and lengths.

As always, live a beautiful life.

RECENT REPURCHASES~

I’m all for investing in skin and haircare but I’m also one for investing in my own financial security. So when I find a product I truly love, I will look for alternatives at a lesser price and if I don’t find one, I will purchase the more expensive product and use it wisely. Not that I advocate wasting any product you spend your hard-earned money for, but there is a certain joy is relishing in high end products while making them last as long as possible.

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My all-time favorite high-end skincare product that I refuse to be without is, of course, Josie Maran 100% Argan Oil Light. I discovered this lightweight moisturizer several years ago and fell in love. It provides just the right amount of moisture for my combination oily skin and I credit it’s properties to reducing my shine and hormonal breakouts. Well worth the price tag for me, this is probably my sixth or eighth bottle. I usually need to repurchase about every six months.
My naturally curly hair needs and responds well to a bit of taming in both the summer humidity and the dry winter air. However, I hate product that leaves my hair feeling stiff or sticky in any way. I’ve tried nearly every curly hair taming product on the market and this Living Proof Curl Defining Styling Cream is the one that works. It gives my medium textured curls just the right amount of hold while maintaining shine and my natural silky-soft feel. And I hate any product that detracts from the soften of my stands. That’s no problem with this product so I will continue to repurchase. As I wear my hair short, I can manage with one bottle a year.

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On another hair note, curly hair craves moisture and I like leave-in style conditioners more than rinse out versions, although I occasionally use both especially in the very dry winter season. This Pacifica Hairvana Leave On Detangling Conditioner provides the perfect amount of hydration without accruing on my mane. And you can’t go wrong with the price tag for any Pacifica products.
Of course, my skincare favorites are all cruelty-free and available at either Ulta, Sephora or online. I’d love to hear what your favorite, can’t live without products are and what you find your best investments to be.
As always, live a beautiful life.

MURAD RETINOL SERUMS~

Retinol is a staple in my skincare routine and I enjoy trying different brands and formulations when I am in need of replacement product. I found myself in need of serum in the late fall and roamed Sephora in search of an alternative to the Strivectin I had been using. I happened upon a Murad consultant in store that day and she led me to the Murad Resurgence Retinol Youth Renewel Serum. A few dollars less than the retinol 2.jpgStrivectin retinol serum I was about to finish up, this Murad version has a similar silky texture and no fragrance. It absorbs quickly and leaves my skin feeling like sateen. I can, and do, immediately apply moisturizer or argan oil over the top without any difficulty.

 
When I made my purchase, I was given a 14-day sample of the Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum which I loved. It smoothed on without tugging and didn’t irritate my eyes, including my eye lids. Yes, I apply my retinol eye products to my lids as well as undereye area, albeit carefully, and I’m pleased with the results. I will gladly purchase the full-size version after I have exhausted the Strivectin retinol eye serum I still have.

 
retinol eye.jpgBoth Murad and Strivectin make a good line of retinol products and I would gladly use either. But if I can save a couple of bucks on the Murad then I might as well purchase it when it’s readily available. The Stivectin skincare range can be found at Ulta stores while Murad is available at both Ulta and Sephora. Both products are also available through online retailers.

 
If retinol is a must in your own skincare routine, consider giving this Murad line a try.

 
As always, live a beautiful life.

EFFECTIVE FACE CLEANSERS~

A gentle cleanser is a must for me, for two purposes in particular: First, I like a daily dose of salicylic acid as a means to keep pesky hormonal spots at bay and to quickly heal those that do pop up. Second, I like a simple, gentle cleanser to wash away the dirt and grime of the day prior to prepping my skin for bedtime. The two that I have been enjoying lately come from both ends of the skincare spectrum—one is high end and the other from the drug store.

 

For the morning, I have been using Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser with murad cleanser.jpgSalicylic Acid. A must for anyone who has a tendency to occasional hormone related break-outs, salicylic acid is a godsend. Far less drying than benzoyl peroxide treatments aimed toward teen-aged or oily skin types, this Murad cleaner is effective with just a very spare amount. I use just a dime sized drop to thoroughly cleanse my face and neck each morning in a warm shower. An added bonus for me is that they salicylic acid treatment seems to keep the ‘chicken skin’ or rather, keratosis pilaris, on my upper arms from redeveloping. And that’s a wonderful thing. A word of note, I do always make sure to put a lip balm on prior to my shower to prevent the salicylic acid from chapping my routinely dry lips.

 

alba cleanser.jpgIn the evening, I have been using this Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Cleanser with Pineapple Enzyme. The basic ingredients are perfect for removing makeup, dirt and oil that builds up over the day without drying or stripping the delicate skin on my face. I use about a half a pump per cleanse so this bottle will likely last a few months.

 

Cleansers are something that I don’t normally spend a great deal of money on due to the fact that they don’t remain on my face and neck long enough to make a significant difference in my skincare routine beyond the basic cleansing action. I tend to spend more money on salicylic acid cleanser for the simple reason that it is more difficult for me to find cruelty-free drugstore lines with this effective ingredient.cleansers.jpg

 

Whatever your skin type or interest in skincare, basic cleansing is a must for everyone. The gentler the better in my book and that is possible without breaking the bank.

 

As always, live a beautiful life.

 

 

 

PACIFICA NAIL ENAMEL~

Now that I live the life of a retiree, I usually wear my nails bare or manicured in a neutral shade. But the holidays call for special treatment and this Pacifica Nail Enamel in Red Velvet served me well over the Christmas season and again on my Valentine’s Day date. I’ll no doubt enjoy it for those pending summer pedicures as well.

 
nails 3.jpgWhen I do indulge in a colorful manicure these days, I tend to be lulled by the shimmery variety and Red Velvet has the perfect touch of glimmer for a dress up occasion. My Pacifica polishes glide on smooth and streak-free and two coats is perfect. As long wearing as more expensive brands, Pacifica is both affordable and cruelty-free which, as always, is a must in my makeup book.

 
If you haven’t given Pacific nail enamel a try, check one out when you are in the market for a new color.

 
As always, live a beautiful life.nail color.jpg

LUXURY SOAPS FOR ALL~

Mr. LucyLoves and I both enjoy bar soaps although it seems they are much less popular these days than their liquid counterparts. But luxury, cruelty-free soaps are richly fragranced and available in a variety of skin-type options, and they last for ages. There are scents to please every taste of either gender as well as unscented varieties. I like to pick up bar soaps at specialty home and gift stores when I travel about and they make wonderful gifts for everyone. Santa regularly brings a bar or two of my favorites every year and I look forward to that little stocking treat.

 
A few of our favorites that we routinely purchase come from L’epi de Provence. Made infrench soap.jpg France and loaded with Shea Butter, these oil base soaps are soothing for my very dry skin and the fragrances are divine. Lemon Verbena is my favorite and I also lavish in the matching body and hand creams on a daily basis. The Lavender scent is my much-loved evening bath treat and blends nicely with the lavender sleep oil I use on my bed sheets. These treats are carried at a local family owned home store in my community and I have seen them at gift stores and boutiques around the nation.

 
mens bar.jpgSandalwood is one of Mr. LucyLove’s favorite fragrances so I look for it in shaving and balm products when I’m roaming about. He happened upon this bar of Sandalwood and Patchouli by Wavertree & London while on my birthday outing a couple of weeks ago. The rich, masculine scent isn’t only appealing to the males of our species—I enjoy it, too!

 
Definitely on the male side of things is this UPW Cuban Tobacco & Honey bar that serves as both a shaving soap and bathing aid. The fragrance emitted from this little olive oil mens round.jpgbased gem reminds me of my grandpa smoking after dinner while enjoying a sip of bourbon when I was a child and it’s a memory I can’t get enough of.

 
Most of these cruelty-free bars are in the $8 to $12 range. While they await use, I store them in a little open basket in the master bath so their aromas waft through the air even when we aren’t in our baths or showers. You can’t go wrong with these staples for you, your family or friends. They are luxury treats that meet the needs of any budget.

 
Live a beautiful life. mens bars.jpg

SIMPLE SKINCARE VALENTINE TREATS FOR HIM~

Mr. LucyLoves enjoys simple skincare, meaning the less fuss, the better. He does indulge a bit in his shaving ritual and owns a few very nice razors and brushes and favors sandalwood scented shaving soaps. So, coming up with a personal Valentine that he can enjoy is simple enough. Here are a few of his favorites that are sure to please even the most laid back in skincare fellow on your list.

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This Harry’s razor is Mr. LucyLove’s favorite and he has a travel friendly, shower version as well. Available online or from several retailers, this is a “can’t miss” purchase for the finicky shaver in your life.

In order to get a good shave, a good lather is an absolute must. Mr. LucyLoves prefers bar shaving soaps and so I look for sandalwood or tobacco scents in small sized bars that fit nicely into a shaving dish. I’ve purchased two of those for Mr. LucyLoves over the years, including one from Crabtree &

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Evelyn that is refillable and more recently, I purchased this lovely glass dish that round shaving soaps fit nicely in. It also looks pretty on our bathroom vanity. A masculine scented soap and a lovely soap bowl make nice gifts for any man.

In order to apply and build up that lather, a quality shaving brush is required. I have purchased brushes from several well-known vendors but Mr. LucyLoves insists that brand doesn’t matter so much as bristle type. He prefers natural badger, which isn’t expensive as it might sound, and has been using this one for the last year or so.

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Post-shave, a nice gel provides a touch of moisture and protection to the skin. Shave gels and balms are available in an array of aromas to suit every guy, including those who are particular about keeping fragrance to a minimum. Two of Mr. LucyLove’s favorites are these by Harry’s and Jack Black. They work well for his oily skin and aren’t overpowering with scent.

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Of course, every guy needs a good quality deodorant antiperspirant and giving them as gifts is perfectly acceptable, especially when splurging on a

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cruelty-free luxury brand. Mr. LucyLoves has fallen for this one by Jack Black and now won’t use anything else. I buy them in bulk so he’s never without it. Wrap it up with a

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nice bar soap and you have a great gift every man will use.

If your fellow is a little more daring with his skincare, try treating him to a face mask as well. I like these single use masks as a way to try out different varieties for every skin care concern. Those geared specifically to men make getting even the less than enthusiastic guy more likely to give good

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skincare a try. Who knows, you might even get him to consider SPF and moisturizer one day.

Lastly, for the man on his feet all day, a soothing foot balm is fabulous gift. Mr. LucyLoves has tried several and is currently using this J. R. Watkin’s Foot Repair Salve. It’s extremely affordable and comes in a nice,

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easy-open tin. Wrap it up with a nice pair of socks and you have a great gift for any guy.

Treating your man to a little skincare treat is always useful and appreciated. Spending a little extra on something he might not splurge on for himself is a treat that won’t bust your budget like some more impractical gifts might. Everyone from the college grad to dear old dad will indulge in your delights. Whomever you share Valentine’s Day with, do so with love.

Live a beautiful life.

SKINCARE INGREDIENTS I WON’T LIVE WITHOUT~

Every skin has different needs at different stages in your life. For me, middle age and surgical menopause have brought a variety of skincare needs as I’m sure is the norm for most people. While my life-long combination oily skin is tempering to a more normal complexion, I still suffer the occasional hormonal spot, signs of dehydration when I’ve neglected my hydration, and certainly those creepy little lines that sneak up on all of us. There are a few key ingredients that have been saviors for me and I won’t be without them. This doesn’t mean I am loyal to a particular brand necessarily as I love to try different brands and take advantage of sales. Rather, it’s particular ingredients that help me and here are those I won’t live without:

Salicylic Acid—for the occasional spot that always seems to pot out just in time for a sal acid.jpgspecial event, I swear by salicylic acid for clearing the pores and helping to ward off those pesky irritants that spoil our complexion. I prefer to get a daily dose of salicylic acid in my morning cleansing routine and I also keep a spot treatment in my cabinet for as-needed use. I’m currently using this salicylic acid cleanser from Murad and I’ve not been disappointed. While there are less expensive cruelty-free brands, you get a lot for your money in this large size bottle and a small dab is all you need. I’m only about halfway through this container and I purchased it in mid-November.

Glycolic Acid—I have found glycolic acid to be the perfect, gentle chemical exfoliator for my normal skin. And this Pixi 5% Glycolic Acid Toner is just the ticket to keeping my IMG_20180129_114056.jpgIMG_20180129_114056.jpgcomplexion bright. There are stronger glycolic acids on the market, usually at much higher price points, which may work fine for you. I find using this one twice a day saves not only money but my skin as well.

Vitamin C—I love the feel of my skin after applying a thin coat of vitamin C and I’m sure the brightening exfoliator does wonders for everyone, regardless of skin type. While vitamin C products come in a variety of price points, this proven staple needs to be packaged in a stable, air tight container and stored away fromvit c.jpg the light. I am currently using this Derma E vitamin C skin serum as part of my morning routine, just before applying my sunscreen. The product is housed in a glass bottle with a capped pump to prevent air from getting into the product and I store it in my medicine chest.

Retinol—while I could probably benefit from prescription strength retin-A at some point in the future, I have yet to discuss with my dermatologist taking that plunge. I’ve been satisfied these last few years with the results of over-the-counter retinol and I’m currently using this Murad Retinolretinol.jpg Youth Renewal Serum and the coordinating eye cream. I believe retinol is an absolute must once we reach a certain age for softening and smoothing those fine lines and wrinkles that naturally come with age. Retin-A in a prescription strength is most effective but if you don’t need it, don’t rush to spend the large price tag as most insurance plans don’t cover Retin-A for cosmetic use.

Cold pressed Argan Oil—Oils have been all the rage in skin care for the last few years and like many people, I have tried a gamut of them. Argan Oil is the one my skin loves and I credit the decrease in oiliness and frequency of hormonal break-outs to my commitment to using Argan Oil as my nightly moisturizer. And argan oil doesn’t oil.jpgjust benefit your face and neck. Use it on your hair, nails, cuticles—anyplace you need a touch of moisture. I swear by my Josie Maran 100% Argan Oil Light and I won’t be without it.

I’d like to hear what your favorite skincare ingredients are and any particular brands you swear by.

Live a beautiful life.

 

 

WINTER RECYCLING~

I’ve spent the fall and winter months thus far relishing in the skincare and beauty products I had built up over the previous year or so, and enjoying every minute of it. As a lover of all things concerning healthy and happy skin, I am regularly tempted to indulge in and try products on a regular basis, to the point that I had multiples of many favorite ingredients. As an early-retiree, I realize it’s in my best financial interest to treat my skin to the best in skincare ingredients that are appropriate for me, and to avoid temptation to splurge before I need to. So, I promised myself I would use up everything in my stash before making new purchases and here is the result of my ‘waste not, want not’ foray into my own skincare cabinet.

PRODUCTS I WOULD REPURCHASE ON SALE:
No matter how much wealth you have, saving money is never a bad idea. If I can purchase a good product for a better price than another good product, I’m going to do it. Therefore, while I did enjoy a lot of products I purchased, there are a few that I can live without if it means maintaining a healthier bank account along with my healthy skin.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Pads—loved this product as a daily exfoliator in place of my Pixi Glycolic Acid Toner but for the price, Pixi is a far less expensive and just as effective alternative. I’d gladly indulge again though for a twenty percent or more discount.

Unwash Bio-cleansing Conditioner—My curly hair responds well to these soap-free, conditioner style cleansers for periods of time and Unwash Bio-cleanser Conditioner is a great one, maybe the best I have tried. It’s a bit pricey however and therefore on my sale only list.

Strivectin Advance Retinol Serum, Moisturizer and Eye Cream—Retinol is a staple in my

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skincare routine, one of my “Can’t live without it products”. But I am always open to trying new brands and while I absolutely loved the Strivectin line, I have found and am currently using another brand that I enjoy just as much and which saves me a few dollars. So, unless I can repurchase the Strivectin brand at a price comparable to others in the same potency range, I might as well skip it and save a bit.

RapidLash Eyelash Growth Serum—this product did give me some lash growth which is always a blessing for those of us who are finding our lashes thinning in middle age. But as mascara does the job in terms of highlighting my lashes on make-up days, this is a pricey product I can skip. Reduce the price by half and I’d be on board with regular daily use. Until then, I’m skipping this product.

PRODUCTS I WOULD REPURCHASE WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE ON SALE:
I found several products I would gladly repurchase whether or not they were on sale when I’m in need of replacements. To me, that says a lot about a product—it’s a good quality item for the asking price.

Pacifica Hairvana Leave On Conditioning Treatment—My curls love lightweight moisture on a non-stop basis and this one does the trick in terms of maintaining softness while keeping fly-aways at bay. This is twenty bucks well spent and I’m on my second tube.

Klorane Mango Shampoo—I loved this shampoo for both the gentle cleansing and the wonderful fragrance. It just made my hair and me very happy and we like to be happy.

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels—I have fallen in love with these eye masks. They are my absolute favorite and I will continue to repurchase them on sale or not. The cooling gel masks give my undereye area just enough moisture while reducing any swelling that may have developed from dehydration, sinus irritation or just overall fatigue. If I don’t use any other eye mask but these I’m still a happy gal. I’ve been through several boxes already and I’ll buy more.

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Andelou Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask—I know ladies and gents who are absolutely in love with the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme mask which retails for nearly three times this Andelou version, which is just as enjoyable and effective. This has become one of, if not the all-time favorite mask in my at-home spa routine. You won’t go wrong with this one, especially at $20.

Bath & Body Works (White Barn) Candles and Hand Soaps—you can’t go wrong with the B&BW brands for home or personal fragrance for yourself or as gifts. The candles are richly scented and clean burning and the lovely jars are always recyclable for other purposes. The hand soaps will surely put a smile on your face as the fragrance lingers long after you have washed and dried. That being said, these products are a bit on the pricey side for what they are so I do take advantage of the routine B&BW sales with every purchase (sign up at the register or online). But if I needed a gift and didn’t have a coupon, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase any these products at full price.

PRODUCTS I WILL NOT REPURCHASE:

Don’t get me wrong, just because I won’t repurchase a product does not mean the product isn’t a good one. Quite the contrary, it might be a great one but just not within my beauty budget.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil—Like all Sunday Riley fans, I loved the Luna Night Oil and I used it for better than a year. I awoke every morning with silky smooth skin and was not disappointed. However, I am at the point of needing a stronger version of retinol in my regular routine and so I’ve moved on to higher percentage retinol products,

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which are also less expensive. If you are new to retinol or don’t need or want a higher concentration, by all means, give Sunday Riley Luna Oil a try.

Strivectin TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream—this is another product that I loved trying and would certainly not turn down if a supply magically appeared in my nightstand on a regular basis. But the $95 price tag is just a bit more than I can swallow so I’m sticking with the standard of applying the same products to my neck and chest that I apply to my face. For now. Cut the price by half and I’ll become a loyal follower.

Whatever you are using in your skincare routine, use it faithfully, enjoy the process of going through your daily routines, and always, always recycle.

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Live a beautiful life.