Apr 19, 2015

We're Not Just Celebrating Earth Day, We're Celebrating Earth Month

Let's be serious y'all... EVERY day should be Earth Day.  I know that's not the reality of how folks think about our planet, but maybe I can at least get some people to get on board with Earth-friendly beauty products.  At the very least, the more au naturale the beauty product, the better you can feel about using it on your hair, face, or body.
Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick in Tempt
If you're not already familiar with Vapour, a company committed to creating natural and beautiful beauty products, this lipstick would be a great place to start.  For Earth Month, they will be donating 10% of proceeds from Siren Lipstick in Tempt, to the Beyond Pesticides BEE Protective Campaign.  Listen, do I run when I see a bee?  Yes.  But do I also know they are NECESSARY for our environment?  Of course.  Unfortunately, these little stingers are suffering because of the pesticides used for farming.  The Beyond Pesticide’s BEE Protective Campaign is focused on protecting honey bees and wild pollinators from harmful pesticides.  On top of their donations, Vapour Organic Beauty has made a commitment to formulate exclusively with organic beeswax, in order to help with bee populations and with safe habitats for them to live. 

And besides being good for you and for the bees, it's a super flattering color for most skin tones. 
Caudalie Instant Detox Mask
I love a good face mask just as much as the next person, but have to admit I'm a little particular about my masks.  I'm usually not into the drying clay-type masks, but love this gel-cream formula from Caudalie.  It has pink clay to purify pores, but it's also rich in Polyphenols from grapes and coffee extract so you get an antioxidant moisture boost as well.  Papaya enzymes gently exfoliate the skin without scrubbing, and then there's a bunch of amazing essential oils to give a spa-like experience at home (including Lavender, Bergamot, Chamomile, Sage, Myrrh, and Sandalwood).  I'm totally hooked on this mask, but besides what it does for the skin, it's also part of the 1% For The Planet movement.  Every Instant Detox Mask sold helps Mama Earth, so I can rest easy knowing that some good is being done while my pores are being cleaned.    

Nature's Gate Avocado Night Cream
I swear this rich goodness has saved my skin this month.  I've been doing non-stop travel (for work, not for play!) but I've been throwing this in my carry-on bag to slather on my skin pre-plane, or post-hotel-shower.  What can I say about Avocado?  Besides that it tastes delicious, it's got a high Vitamin E and essential fatty acid content, which means it's good for the skin whether you use it on the inside or the outside.  There's no worry about putting anything bad on your skin with this, and the formula, although rich, absorbs so nicely into the skin.  We're talking Baby's Bottom soft here, kids.  And since we're talking about saving the Earth here, you should know that Nature's Gate is an eco-friendly company that uses recycled packaging, is cruelty-free, and donates to various important organizations, like Water Aid.    
Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum
Jurlique grows all their own ingredients on their own biodynamic farm in Australia, so they know a thing or two about creating effective skincare, but still being sustainable.  Their serums are always super potent, including this Herbal Recovery Serum.  It helps to counteract skin dullness caused by pollution, stress, fatigue, AGE, and all the bad stuff.  It contains ingredients like Evening Primrose Oil, Echinacea, Lavender, Peach, Fennel, Rosemary, and Licorice Root Extract (and those are just a few of the ingredients) to nourish the skin.  Skin tone is more even and glowy, without the use of any weird chemicals.   
I'll admit that my love of Love + Roses was initially just visual.  I would walk by it at Anthro and think "it would look so pretty in my apartment", but never bought it until recently.  I've been turned on lately to beauty mists in conjunction with my Beauty Blender sponge for perfect makeup application... but beauty mists are so much more than that.  They're good for the SOUL.  This particular beauty mist is amazing because it's packed with essential oils, vegan, and smells amazing.  It peps up your hair or skin with Moringa Seed Extract (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory), Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract (minimizes fine lines and wrinkles), and Cassia Seed (mimics hyaluronic acid).  It also contains Rose Quartz essence, if you believe in the healing powers of precious gemstones, which I do.  But hello, it's all about the roses.  It's packed with rose oil from roses that were picked only in the morning dew to preserve the freshest quality possible.  So let's see, it's good for the skin, it's good for the hair, it relaxes you, it's good for your soul... what else could one need?  Well, I'll leave you with the knowledge that 5% of the sales from all Olivine products goes towards Every Mother Counts.  I dare you to go to the website and not be moved to do something to help!  

Apr 17, 2015

I HAD To Buy This New Bite Beauty Watercolor Palette. I Had No Choice.

 There are times in life when you just don't have a choice people.  For me, one of those times was JUST NOW when I learned about the new Bite Beauty Watercolor Lip Gloss Library.  Are the yellow and green colors practical?  No ma'am.  But since when does my lust for lip gloss have to be practical?  Check out how highly pigmented the colors are (just in case for one second you thought that maybe the yellow or green colors were really sheer).  Shiny, pigmented, and made of all natural, food-grade ingredients.  I am fully obsessed.  Go get yourself one and then you can thank me later.
That's all for now.      

Apr 13, 2015

Get the look: Kate Bosworth at Coachella 2015

I mean, does anybody do Coachella better than Ms. Bosworth?  I'm all about second-day hair, but my thin locks usually tend to be lackluster in the braid department, but hairstylist Bridget Brager, who did Bosworth's hair for Coachella this year, has blessed us with this brilliant nod to Seattle grunge.  Will I be trying this hair-do all summer long?  There's a 99% chance it's happening.  

-Starting on second day dry hair, she took a small section of hair at the center part area (she recommends the section be no larger than the width of the tip of your ring finger) starting at the top of the head, and ending at the crown.  
-Once the section was created, she made a cornrow braid from the back of the head, at the crown, towards the forehead. 
-She finished the braid where Bosworth's hairline stops at the forehead, and made two sections by splitting the third strand of the braid. To secure the braid, she used a small bobby pin, pushing the pin up the middle of the braid as flat to the head as possible.  
-Next, she split the lengths of the hair to frame the face.  
-For texture, she sprinkled Kevin Murphy Powder Puff on the lengths of hair, then gathered the hair in to a half-up/half-down knot. 
-Brager then secured the knot with a clear elastic band, letting pieces around the face fall down to tuck behind the ears.  
-Lastly, she finished the look using Bumble and bumble Does It All Hairspray.

Schick and Skintimate "Rock Your Legs" Pitch Perfect 2 Giveaway

Are you as excited for Pitch Perfect 2 as I am?  I am HERE for Fat Amy's jokes and am anxiously awaiting the Bardon Bellas' May 15th release date.   In the meantime, Schick and Skintimate are having a super fun and empowering Rock Your Legs campaign where you can enter all sorts of fun competitions (and check out a cute little giveaway below here on BeautyByBenz!).

Enter the Aca-Battle Sweepstakes: 
Schick & Skintimate asked rising-star female college a cappella groups to perform their rendition of Ready, Shave, Shinefor a chance to win the Schick Aca-Battle.  Fans are invited to visit RockYourLegs.com between April 18, 2015 and May 15, 2015 to watch videos from the top three contenders, vote for their favorite, and earn the chance to win daily prizes, as well as the ultimate prize; a trip to Hollywood.  

Watch the Rock Your Legs Music Video:
Visit YouTube.com/RockYourLegs to watch the Ready, Shave, Shine music video performed by the Basic Pitches and created by acclaimed director/choreographer, Adam Shankman.  

Shop for a Ticket
For a limited time in major drugstores like Walmart and Target, you can receive a free movie ticket (up to $10 value) from Fandango to see Pitch Perfect 2 when you buy $10 worth of participating Schick and Skintimate women’s shave products.  Just look for the limited edition Pitch Perfect 2 packaging on Schick Hydro Silk Razors, Skintimate Shave Gel, Schick Intuition®, Schick Quattro For Women® and Schick Xtreme3®.  I mean, you need to shave anyways, right?  So why not get the opportunity to save on movie passes too?

Play the Rock Your Legs Pitch Perfect Trivia Game: 
Show-off your Pitch Perfect knowledge by visiting RockYourLegs.com to play the new Pitch Perfect Trivia Sweepstakes for a chance to win weekly prizes through May 15, 2015.  (FYI this week's quiz may or not be Fat Amy-themed!) 

BeautyByBenz Giveaway:
Comment below to be one of two lucky BeautyByBenz readers that will win a Pitch Perfect 2-inspired shave kit from Schick and Skintimate.  Each kit includes a Schick Intuition Tropical Citrus Revitalizing Moisture razor, a Skintimate Skin Therapy Moisturizing Shave Gel, a Schick Hydro Silk Trimstyle razor, and a Schick Quattro for Women (as pictured above).  Simply comment below and tell me why you're excited to see Pitch Perfect 2.  Please remember to leave your email address so you can be contacted in the event that you are 1 of the 2 winners (will be selected at random).  Contest is open to U.S. residents only.  Contest will end on May 1st, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST.  

Apr 10, 2015

I Have Bangs Now, & That Requires Some Lifestyle Changes

Bangs.  They can be mysterious.  They can be fun-loving.  They can also be... a friggin nightmare.  I've had bangs at various stages throughout my life, but only now as a grown woman do I know what they really mean.  They are a commitment, no matter what type of hair you have.  If you have naturally straight hair, you have to worry about them being flat and limp.  If you have naturally curly hair, you probably have to heat style them daily.  Every morning that you wake up you could be dealing with a There's-Something-About-Mary-situation, but it's a small price to pay if you like the eyebrow-grazing fringe rocked by style icons like Jane Birkin, Alexa Chung, Emma Stone, and Fran├žoise Hardy (to name only a few).  My newest fringe has required me to get up a little earlier each morning for styling purposes, and some new products have been incorporated into my routine:
T3 Featherweight Compact Dryer 
I have 2 confessions to make.  First, T3 hot tools are basically the only thing I will use to style my hair these days.  So I'm totally biased when I say I think they're simply the best in the market.  Second, I'm terrible with a blowdryer, so I avoid them like the plague.  Curling wands?  I got this.  Straighteners?  Beautiful, sleek hair right this way.  But blowouts are not and have never been something I'm good at.  My arms get tired, I get all sweaty, it's just a disaster.  All that being said, now I HAVE to use one on my bangs at least a few times a week.  I was already a fan of the T3 Featherweight Luxe dryer because it's easy to use, even for someone as blowdryer-inept as myself, fast, and causes less damage than traditional dryers.  So naturally, especially for someone who has to travel for work as much as I do, I was thrilled that they came out with a compact, foldable version.  But just because it's compact, don't be fooled.  T3 spends a lot of time on their technology, so you're not getting a less quality version of the Featherweight Luxe just because it's smaller.  It's JUST as effective as the big size, giving you the same salon-quality blowout status even when you're on the road.  Beautiful bangs in minutes, no matter what hotel I'm staying in.    

Shu Uemura Instant Replenisher Rapid Repair Serum 
Because my bangs are more susceptible to damage now that I have to style them regularly, I figured I'd incorporate some reparation into my routine a few times a week.  Shu Uemura is always looking to give their clients a little luxury, so they've come up with this take-home-salon-treatment to give people a deep-conditioning option eve if they didn't have time to make a salon appointment (which I basically NEVER have time for... in retrospect this bangs idea is risky...).  This is a 5-10 minute treatment that you just spray in your damp hair, and then rinse out for shiny, strong, soft, and delicious-smelling hair.  It's infused with Magnolia Extract because the tree is known to be incredibly resilient in nature, even in some pretty hostile conditions.  Maybe I should get one for my apartment, but I digress.  It also helps to restore hair's ceramide levels, which I'm a totally believer in for my skin, so why not for my hair?  On top of all the benefits to your hair's health, it is almost like a hair perfume with top notes of mint, orange, primrose, and watermelon.  It has middle notes of water lily, clove, jasmine, and Lily of the Valley, and then is grounded back to base notes of amber, sage, and cedarwood.  

Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion 
Ok just because I'm getting up earlier to blow out my bangs doesn't mean everything in my life should get harder.  In fact, I think the rest of my hair has gotten easier, as I've been embracing an undone vibe at the back of my head.  I am fully embraceful of a good salt spray to ramp up my beachy vibe, but most times my desire for a matte, beachy finish, and my desire to keep my look frizz-free are directly at odds with each other.  Enter Bumble and Bumble's new Surf Infusion spray.  It's all the things you love about a sea salt mist but with a blend of oils, botanicals, and a sea mineral complex so that it's conditioning your hair at the same time as it's giving it some texture.  AND, as if that wasn't enough, it has UV filters to protect your hair from the sun's harmful rays.  It's pretty much everything I've always wanted in a hair product.

Mar 26, 2015

My Post-Lash Extension Journey

I 100% know that the eyes are the "windows to the soul", yet somehow that hasn't stopped me from abusing them my whole life.  I didn't start using an under eye cream until I was 28 years old (the horror!), and more recently I've gotten hooked on eyelash extensions.  My older, wiser self should probably know that they're a terrible idea and not good for your eyelashes, but I can't help but want those long, feathery suckers glued onto my eyes.  Now that I'm taking a break from eyelash extensions, I'm trying to take care of my poor, broken-lashed eyes and make them look slightly presentable for public settings.  Here's what's in my eye arsenal at the moment:

A necessity whether you've had lash extensions or not, and want beautiful butterfly lashes.  This stuff really works, and there's no worry about "dark iris pigmentation" or any other tomfoolery.  It conditions the lashes and brows with a patented Hexatein™1 Complex, which is a unique mix of six lash-boosting ingredients, for super fast results.  In less than a month you might see results (I know I did!).  I have pretty sensitive eyes as well and had no issues with redness or irritation while using this.  

Tarteist Clay Paint Liner
Whilst my lashes are recuperating, great eyeliner is even more of a necessity than usual.  A perfectly drawn line really close to the natural lash line (and a little bit in between the lashes) helps me to fake a fuller lash appearance.  Plus this is just a fun product for your inner artist.  It was inspired by a painter's palette, where you squeeze the paint on the palette surface, and pick the pigment up on your artist's brush that comes with.  The brush is so thin that it helps you to pick up the right amount without overdoing it, because the cream is a beautifully pigmented jet black and you only need a little bit.  It's also made with Amazonian Clay, so instead of getting greasy during the day and smudging, the clay absorbs oil so your liner actually stays put for 12 hours (or more).  

Let's be serious, if you haven't tried Illamasqua makeup brushes yet, you need to get on it!  Pictured here are the Angled Brush and the Fine Eyeliner Brush With Cover; both of which are fabulous for brows and eyeliner applications.  

Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel 
While we're in painting mode, we should discuss brows.  Brows are mandatory these days.  Especially if you have blonde brows like mine that are near transparent.  Good brows might distract from any other eye evil that is happening, like a lack of lashes.  This Illamasqua formula (now available at Net-A-Porter!) is a creamy gel formula that you only need the teeniest bit to give you perfect brows.  The key is to basically draw/fill in your natural brow hairs (or lack thereof) in the same direction as your natural brow growth.  It blends in sooooo easily and stays put all day.  And, bonus, unlike a lot of brow colors out there, there is actually a shade for redheads!   
4 shades available: 
Awe (blonde)
Glimpse (auburn)
Stare (ebony) 
Strike (brunette) 

So back to lashes for a moment.  One thing you don't want to do, pre, during, or post extensions, is pull your natural eyelashes out.  We have all been there, and it hurts.  One of the easiest ways to pull your lashes out is when you're reapplying mascara.  Urban Decay, who I almost get tired of loving so much, has come up with a mascara reviver.  This serum goes on top of your old mascara application and handles all types of issues.  It separates them, WITHOUT tugging, and softens them so that you can apply a fresh coat of mascara for a night out.  Plus it moisturizes the lashes with copper powder and panthenol so that it's actually improving your lash health over time.  Seriously brilliant.      

Kate Somerville True Lash Lash Enhancing Makeup Remover
And let's talk about taking it all off.  Obviously we know it's a good idea to take your makeup off at night, kids, but why not simultaneously strengthen your lashes while you're doing it?  This Kate Somerville formula has a "SymLash226 Complex" that strengthens and promotes lash growth.  Don't worry about the ingredients, because we're talking avocado oil, green tea, white tea, fig blossom, sodium hyaluronate, chamomile, and aloe vera.  What you get is something the effectively takes your makeup off, moisturizes the eye area, reduces under-eye puffiness, AND promotes lash growth in just a few weeks.  My tired, broken, puffy, sad eyes didn't know what they were missing until I was introduced to this puppy.  

Mar 18, 2015

Benz's Book Club: March 2015

A creepy, dark book if you're into Gillian Flynn and Chevy Stevens:

The One That Got Away by Simon Wood

An interesting book because it gives you the POV of the victim AND the criminal.  What's not to love about a look into the deep, twisted psyche of a criminal?  And then to get to feel the victim's anger, animosity, anxiety in juxtaposition with the criminal's feelings?  Just spectacular.  It doesn't hurt that it's an easy read.  One long flight or rainy day inside and you'll finish this puppy.  You definitely won't want to put it down, but don't worry… You're probably too creeped out to leave the house anyways.

A good whodunnit:
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This book can totally fall into the "creepy and dark" category as well, but since that's the majority of what I read, I figure I'll categorize this as the whodunnit of the two.  In contrast to the story where you know what the killer is thinking, you're guessing the whole time who it is.  Guessing who the killer is, however, doesn't take away one bit of the visceral feelings you get about the protagonist.  You love her.  You hate her.  You feel for her.  Regardless of what you think of her, she's dead set on finding out who the murderer is, whether it puts her in danger or not.  Now that I think of it, just lock yourself in your apartment all weekend and read both books.  You don't need to go outside for anything anyways.

A great gift for the fashionista in your life:
How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits  by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, and Sophie Mas

If you have a cool girl in your life (blogger, fashionista, foreign exchange student, etc), even if you are the cool girl in your life, then this book is a must.  It's a collection of whimsical little stories, quips, and lists from 4 Frenchies that have been friends for years.  It's romantic, moody, cool, and frivolous, just like the authors themselves.  The feminist in me loved every minute of it, and made me want to book a one-way ticket to Paris.

And something to warm the heart:
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Because you can't just read murder mysteries and watch SVU all day (trust me, I try), here's something to warm up that little black-as-coal heart of yours.  A great mother-daughter love story, and it's got elephants!  You can't lose!  This book will certainly take the longest to read of the whole list, but it's worth every minute of your time.  Picoult, as she frequently does, tells a tale that is easy for her readers to follow, but then BAM, throws you for an unexpected twist.  Her research that she does for each book is incredible, and this one takes us into the world of elephant behavior.  They're so much like us as humans, as mothers, as children.  After reading this, I will be surprised if you don't make a little donation to helping the elephants... Right after you call your mother and tell her you love her.

Mar 17, 2015

Drink Recipes: St. Patrick's Day Cocktails

Shamrock Sipper
·         1 ½ parts Skinnygirl® Cucumber Vodka
·         6 parts green tea (water steeped with tea bags OR diet green tea)
·         Cucumber wheel for garnish

Pour ingredients over ice. Garnish with a cucumber wheel.

Lucky March Mojito
·         1 part Skinnygirl® Prosecco
·         1 part light rum
·         1 tsp. agave nectar
·         3 parts lime juice
·         Splash of lime flavored sparkling water
·         3 sprigs of mint

Shake rum, lime juice and agave nectar in cocktail shaker with ice.  Top with Skinnygirl Prosecco and sparkling water, and pour into tall Collins glass. Muddle in mint leaves. 

Blarney Stone Brewski
·         1 part Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
·         1 part chilled light beer
·         2 parts raspberry lemonade concentrate
·         Apple slice for garnish

Mix all ingredients over ice and serve. Garnish with apple slice.

Mint Margarita
·        1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
·        2 ½ parts club soda
·        1 part fresh lime juice
·        1 bunch of fresh mint
·        1 part sugar
·        Salt to rim (optional)
·        Extra mint leaves (for garnish)
·        Lime wedge (for garnish)

PreparationIn a glass, muddle together the mint leaves, sugar and lime juice until they start to melt together. Add tequila. Fill glass with ice and pour cocktail mixture 3/4 of the way to the top of each glass. Rim your glass with salt by rubbing the rim with a lime wedge and dipping in a plate of salt. Fill glass with club soda and garnish with an extra sprig of mint and lime wedge.

Lucky Rita
  • 1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • ½ part DeKuyper® Melon Liqueur
  • 2 parts limeade
  • Sugar
  • Lemon slice ( for garnish)

Preparation: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine all ingredients and shake to chill. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice and rimmed with sugar. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Sour Apple Margarita
  • 1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • ½ part DeKuyper® Sour Apple Pucker
  • 2 parts frozen limeade
  • 2 parts apple juice
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple (for garnish)

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled or over ice. Garnish with apple slice.

Mar 12, 2015

Get It Before It's Gone: Stila Convertible Color Palette

Sometimes I'm late to adopt a beauty product that everyone already knows about.  Maybe I think I don't need it in my arsenal, or it's too expensive.  Whatever the case may be, I didn't pick up a limited edition Stila Convertible Color Palette when it came out, and now, after I got the message LOUD AND CLEAR during Fashion Week that I must have it, I scrambled to get one before it's sold out.  It's one thing when you see a few artists backstage carrying common items in their kits, but when Sarah Lucero (amazing makeup artist and Global Director of Creative Artistry at Stila) uses an item at every single fashion show she does?  Well, that's when I start to pay attention.  It's $49 and has 12 awesome shades that can be used on the lips or the cheeks.  Sign me up.    

Banana Republic Fall 2015:
Lucero used Stay All Day 10-in-1 Illuminating Beauty Balm, Major MAJOR Lash Mascara, Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Sienna, and Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color.  She used Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Tesoro for this incredible coral-y red pop lip color, and then used the Convertible Color Palette on each girl in a shade that complemented both their skin tone, and the pop lip color.  

Photo courtesy of Stila

Alice + Olivia Fall 2015:
A very different look at A+O, but I bet you can guess what the common denominator is.  This time Lucero opted for a lip color using Acai Crush lip stain, but the Convertible Color Palette was still the star backstage.

Photo courtesy of Stila
I'm not going to bore you with all the details of every show this palette was used in, because I think you're getting the idea... but if you need more proof, here's it being used at Clover Canyon and the ever-popular shade Camellia being used at Rebecca Minkoff.
Clover Canyon pic courtesy of Stila 

Rebecca Minkoff pic courtesy of Stila 
And here is my beauty in real life, because I obviously had to immediately run out and buy it.

From left to right: Lillium, Magnolia, Tulip, Camellia, Peony, Rose

From left to right: Gladiola (which is maybe my favorite), Peach Blossom, Hibiscus, Gerbera, Petunia, Fuchsia


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