May 22, 2015

My Vacation Beauty Essentials For Costa Rica

I am jumping out of my skin with excitement for my upcoming Costa Rica trip!  I started mentally packing weeks ago, but now that the trip is only a day away, I can actually start physically packing my suitcase.  First and foremost on my one-track mind is what beauty products I will be taking with me.  For clothing I will be packing little else besides bathing suits and a couple dresses, but my beauty blogger brain will not allow me to go lightly on the products.

Bumble and Bumble Don't Blow It (H)air Styler 
Normally the order that I put these in means nothing, but not this time.  This product is first because, not only is it going to make my life so easy in Costa Rica, but because even when I come back this product is my #BAE.  I know "undone" hair is trending right now, but since that's how I like to live my life regardless of whether it's cool or not, I have a feeling this is going to be my go-to for a long, long time.  Basically it's a cream that makes air-dried hair look flawless.  It is formulated with lightweight polymers to enhance hair texture, without weighing it down or feeling to product-laden.  Great for soft, bouncy curls, or to scrunch into straight or wavy hair for a beachy feel.  It has plant-based conditioners in it, like cactus flower and prickly pear, that allow the hair to dry smoothly.  Cause that's the biggest problem with air-drying, isn't it?  The frizz.  Well they've taken care of that, and they've also added UV filters to protect the hair from sun damage.  All in a lightweight cream with of bumble's typically fresh-smelling scents.  It's recommended for fine to medium hair, like mine, so I will clearly be luxuriating poolside all summer long with this in my hair.  

Sun Bum 3 in 1 Leave In
This is basically the only other thing I'll be putting in my hair the whole trip.  It's all about the UV protection this week.  And to help my hair survive 5 days of salt water, sand, heat, and chlorine.  This super-moisturizing leave-in conditioner is formulated with coconut oil, banana (from the pulp, the peel, and the leaf), quinoa protein, and sunflower seed oil.  I plan on leaving vacation with hair that's healthier than when I got there.

Tata Harper Iridescent Revitalizing Body Oil
My beauty routine will clearly be pretty low key while I'm there, but I am going with my boyfriend, so hopefully some romantic dates will ensue.  For those occasions, I'm fully prepared to have gorgeous, bronze limbs courtesy of this product.  It's a super lightweight oil (seriously, it's almost water-like) that absorbs right into the skin leaving you hydrated, but not greasy.  There's so many great ingredients, so I won't bore you with a full list, and will just give some highlights.  Calendula and Arnica oil help inflammation and puffiness, rose extract helps with skin elasticity, and apricot kernel oil nourishes.  It gives a subtle bronze glow, and is enhanced with their best-selling Love Potion aromatherapy.  The scent comes from 10 essential oils that are known aphrodisiacs (hey, don't judge.  I'm on vacation!) including jasmine, sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, and violet leaf, to name a few. I won't just look good, I'll smell good too.  There's no shame in my game.  

Privai Calming Aloe Hydrator
While I fully intend to protect my skin from the sun, there are always some snafus that happen in life.  Sunburns, bug bites, wind burn, and any other random skin irritation could happen so I'm taking this stuff with me.  I usually take aloe with me on vacation, but I'm a convert since I discovered this formula that is infused with sodium hyaluronate.    

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid 
Obviously we need to take sunscreen, kids.  There's no other way.  This one is a personal favorite because, besides the fact that it's super small and portable, the name is not misleading.  It's one of the lightest sunscreens I've found.  See how they don't even call it lotion?  They call it fluid because it's so light!  It's not just that it's so light that makes it amazing for the face though.  It also dries to more of a matte finish that most sunscreens you've probably used, so you don't have to walk around with a greasy face all day.  Maybe it's because the formula has a reduced number of ingredients from a lot of the sunscreens on the market, to make it easier to tolerate for the sensitive skin folks out there, like myself.  

Alba Botanica spray sunscreens
I'll be damned if I could choose just one, so I'm just bringing a bunch of them.  Alba is a brand I know and trust so that I'm not putting any weird chemicals on my body.  Plus they're inexpensive!  I just get all my Alba at Whole Foods, or a local drugstore wherever I'm at, and I'm golden.  (Literally in this case).  For this trip I picked up the Active Kids Clear Spray, because I figure there will be some sort of activity that I engage in besides lying by the pool, and my skin is fairly sensitive so you can't lose with a kid's formula.  I'm also bring the Fragrance Free Clear Spray because I have no idea what the bug situation will be on any of our excursions, so I am guessing it can't hurt to have.  And last, but not least, I'm bringing the Hawaiian Clear Spray Sunscreen because I'm obsessed with their entire Hawaiian line.  The whole line has ingredients like coconut, green tea, pineapple, and hibiscus, all of which have great skincare benefits on top of being a nice natural option.  This sunscreen has coconut, avocado, ginseng, and shea butter, so you're getting a truly good-for-you skincare experience along with your sun protection.      

May 21, 2015

Non-Boring Ways To Incorporate Sunscreen Into Your Routine

Ah, sunscreen wear.  It's a little bit annoying, isn't it?  (Yeah, I said it).  But it is a necessary evil.  I happen to be really sensitive to sunscreen, so I'm constantly looking for new/different ways to incorporate it into my routine in the hopes that I can avoid itchiness, burning, redness, or skin irritation of any kind.  Sun protection technology has gotten super efficient and convenient over the years, so I've put together a list of my favorite sun-safe products.
Tarteguard 30 Sunscreen Lotion 
Yes, I do love anything in a pink bottle, but that's not what this is about!  This is more skincare than suncare, so skin feels moisturized after use, rather than irritated.  This is an all-mineral, non-chemical SPF 30 product, while somehow being lightweight and easily blendable so it doesn't leave behind a yucky white residue.  Tarte's "skinvigorating™" formula is made of maracuja, apple, soybean, red algae and honeysuckle extract for a plethora of skincare benefits.  Dark spots, wrinkles, and many other side effects from the sun are combatted both with the skincare formula and the added sun protection.  Not to mention it smells good and doesn't smell like a typical sunscreen.       

La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum with Sunscreen SPF 50
Another great antioxidant formula is this La Roche-Posay AOX serum.  With this formula you get all the benefits of a serum (which you should be using in your skincare routine anyways), but with added SPF50 benefits.  Aka, it's a two-in-one, so save yourself some time in the morning, and money, and just use this instead of multiple products.  Don't be fooled by its light weight though, it's packed with good-for-you skincare ingredients like Vitamin Cg and Vitamin E.  Plus, like all La Roche-Posay products, it's great for sensitive skin because it's free of parabens, fragrances, and other icky stuff.    

Susan Posnick Brush On Block 
I've now used all types of liquid and oil forms of sunblock, but this is the first powder sun protection I've ever heard of.  This product was actually brought to my attention for the most random of reasons. My desk at work has a giant window, and while my computer blocks most of the sunlight from my face and body, my mouse hand is basically in the sun all day if it's shining.  I didn't want to use a typical sunscreen all over my hand and then accidentally rub it in my eyes.  Someone suggested this to me as something I can brush on my hand and never have to apply with my fingers.  After applying to the back of my hand once I realized that I couldn't just let the fun end there, and now I'm using it on my face every day.  It's a natural, mineral sunscreen, but so portable since it's in this brush form.  You have no excuse to not carry it on you, so you can always stay protected.  And no white stuff!  You can wear it over or under makeup, but I like to use it as a finishing powder, the same way I'd use any other powder makeup, except this one protects.      


Nios Shield Leave-In Conditioner 
Ok so I know a leave-in doesn't sound like it's reinventing the wheel, but this product is actually for your SCALP.  I have had exactly 1 scalp burn in my life, and I refuse to repeat that experience.  I thought I had done everything right by putting sunblock on my face, and a sun protection in my hair, but I put nothing on the severe side part that I had made in my hair, and I suffered the consequences. NEVER AGAIN.  Nios Shield leave-in has got my back though.  I came to the website for an awesome leave-in, and stayed for the scalp protection.  This is one of those leave-in's that is awesome and lightweight, leaving your hair frizz-free for summer, so you wouldn't even know that it's protecting your scalp too.  It's got Argan oil, which we know is key for moisturizing while still being lightweight, but the SPF protects your scalp AND your hair color, so everybody is winning.  Simply spray it on to the hair, including the roots and scalp, and you're golden.  You can use on wet or dry hair.  It's pretty much perfection.  



May 19, 2015

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush

Sometimes I think that my love for Urban Decay can't be any greater, and then BOOM.  Super fun color collection for summer.  (And then they drop the mic and walk off stage).  In a world where contouring is trending, much to my dismay, it's a breath of fresh air to have something besides skintones be the focus.  Of all their summer collection, I'm particularly enthralled by the Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush.  The blushes come in 12 shades, some shimmer, some matte, and raging from super subtle to high drama.  They're not just cute in the package though, they are super soft and smooth (especially for a powder formulation, in my opinion) for easy application.  They also used light-reflecting pigments to give you... well... the effect of an afterglow.  Maybe your social (sex) life is a little stale, but at least you can fake the glow with these.  Silver lining people.
Check out some of my favorite swatches from the collection below.
From left to right: Score, Bang, Quiver, and Bittersweet 

Sally Hansen X Cosmopolitan Beachside Astrologer

 In Awesome Collaborations That You Need To Know About news, Sally Hansen's Global Ambassador, Madeline Poole,  has teamed up with Cosmo's Beachside Astrologer to come up with a nail collection based on Astrological signs.  Beachside Astrologer has long been giving us great summer advice on swimsuits to suit our signs, and the books that we'll be reading poolside, but now they're helping us get our nail game on point (and at drugstore prices nonetheless!).  
 For you feisty fire signs (from left to right): Leo in Rio, Cherries To My Aries, and Plumtarius.
 For the ever-thoughtful air signs: Gemincello, Age of Aquarius, and Lady Libra-ty
 For my water signs: Cancer Moon, Scorpio Sizzle, and Pisces of Me
And, last but not least, for the Earth signs: Vir-go-go Pink, Tempting Taurus, and Cup O' Capricorn

May 13, 2015

New Bliss Products To Get You Ready For Summer + A Giveaway!

It's dress season ladies and gents, so that means it's time to bring the legs out of their pale, hairy winter mode and into their Bronze Goddess mode.  (Come on people, let's not pretend you don't slack a bit on the hair removal during the colder months.  I know it's not just me).  Just in time for all the bare body parts that are inevitably on their way, Bliss has come out with some new products to help de-fuzz and add glow to our appendages.  

Bliss ‘fuzz’ off foam 
Frankly, I think this stuff is a lazy girl's dream come true.  I've tried a number of hair removal methods and am too much of a wimp to go with the painful, more permanent solutions, like laser hair removal.  Shaving leaves a lot of room for error for me.  And a ton of depilatories make my skin irritated.  Cue fuzz off foam, a spray-on depilatory formula that doesn't have that really strong weird hair remover smell, has a nice, direct spray so that you don't get it all over your bathroom, and doesn't irritate my skin.  Just spray it on and wait five minutes (maximum 10 minutes), and you have smooth legs.  It has a "hair inhibiting complex" to reduce future hair growth, but also has all these moisturizing ingredients so you can use it, rinse, and go.  Your legs aren't left all dry and crackly, but not greasy either.  It contains algae, marine extracts, shea butter, and cocoa seed butter to help soften your stems, while never getting your hands messy.  That is the kind of hair remover I need in my life.         

Blissfatgirlslim hide & glow sleek’ firming tinted body spray
Need to get glowy in a hurry?  Well, this is the stuff.  Think of this as a one-night-only spray that gives you a little radiance, but not that overly orange shade that you can get with self-tanners.  Now I love me some self-tanner, but sometimes you don't have the time to wait or want to deal with the smell.  This great for date night, a wedding, or if you just feel like wearing a skirt and realize that you're looking a little ghostly.  This is NOT a self-tanner, so you don't have to worry about spraying it on the wrong body parts and having gross splotches that you can't get rid of for a week.  If you mess up, just wipe it off!  (But you probably won't mess up because it's a really easy to apply spray.) Another bonus is that it's part of the fatgirlslim range of bliss products, so it contains caffeine, which is said to firm up the skin.  It also contains Vitamin E and Maracuja Oil to moisturize the skin.  No rubbing is involved.  It doesn't come off on your clothes, and it just gives a perfect JLo-esque finish to your legs.  Comes in 2 shades: fair to medium, and medium to deep.        
  
Giveaway:
Now I can't keep all this goodness to myself (although I did consider it because I love it so much) so I'm going to give ONE lucky reader their own set of fatgirlslim hide & glow sleek tinted body sprays.  That includes 1 fair to medium shade and 1 medium to deep shade (so 2 sprays in total!).  Contest is open to US residents only.  
To enter:  
1. Follow @beautybybenz on Instagram
2. Follow @bliss_spa on Instagram 
3. Post a picture of your favorite Bliss product (or one that you'd like to try!).  Tell us why it's your favorite product, or why you want to try it, and make sure to use the hashtag #glowsleekgiveaway 
Yes, you can regram a picture I've posted of a bliss product.  Or get creative with your post.  It's totally up to you.  Just remember the hashtag #glowsleekgiveaway 

Contest will end on May 31st, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST.  Winner will be selected at random.    

May 12, 2015

Beauty Oils Are Going Nowhere. In Fact, They're Getting Better.

When Argan Oil hit the beauty scene a few years ago, I certainly didn't think it would be a passing fad, but I don't know if I could've predicted how big beauty oils would get.  Sure, pure oils that you buy in the health food store (like Argan, Almond, Coconut, and Rosehip) will always be where it's at, but now oils are making appearances in things you never would've thought of back in the day.  In self-tanner, in makeup primer, and in face wash are just a few cool ways that beauty oils can introduced into your beauty routine if you're too scared to go full-on 100% oil.  I basically bathe in the stuff, so I'm not scared, but these products make the prospect of oil a little less scary.  Here are some of my favorites:

Skin Laundry Nourishing Cleansing Oil
If you haven't jumped on the facial cleansing oil train yet, this is the one to try.  It's great for all skin types, even oily skin the tea tree oil helps prevent breakouts.  It's super gentle and doesn't smell too sticky sweet (again, the tea tree oil helps) like some others do.  Skin is left feeling clean, but not dry.  Moisturized, but not greasy.  And the oil is great for gently removing all makeup, even some of the harder-to-remove eye makeup that I tend to wear.  The pump bottle helps you to know that you're using the right amount.  I mean, any cleaning oil that doesn't come in a pump-bottle now is no longer on my shopping list.      
Hourglass No 28 Primer Serum
This is honestly one of my favorite products of all time.  It's an oil/serum so it moisturizes the skin and acts as a makeup base.  It's clear, so you don't have to worry about what it looks like underneath your makeup, but it makes your skin better over time, so I've started using it even on days when I don't wear any makeup.  It's call "No 28" because its 28 active ingredients are made of 14 essential oils, 10 nourishing plant oils, and 4 vitamins (A, B5, C, & E).  What is NOT in that number are a bunch of synthetic dyes and other nonsense that does nothing for your skin.  It's just highly-concentrated skin goodness.  It evens out the skin tone, moisturizes, calms, protects, and, for bonus points, it smells good.    


Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo for Dry Scalp & Hair 
So I should mention here that Shu Uemura has been doing cleansing oils for the hair since before it was the thing to do.  This newest cleansing oil from their line smells ridiculously good because it's made with Neroli oil.  It's like having a mini-spa day in your shower every time you use it!  Or is that just me?  This oil gives you the benefits of a hair perfume, shampoo, and moisturizing oil all in one.  The scalp is purified, moisturized, but, most importantly, balanced.  Their is a common misconception that hair oils are heavy or greasy, but this leaves your hair anything but.  Using oils on the hair is clearly a science.  Obviously you wouldn't want to use coconut oil on the hair as a cleanser, but oils like Neroli work wonderfully for that.  But instead of you having to figure out all of that, Shu Uemura has done the work for you.    


St Tropez Self Tan Luxe Facial Oil
This self-tanning product is more of a dry oil, so great for people who are a little scared of facial oils.  And we all know St Tropez tanning products are some of the best out there, so you can expect a non-greasy formula that gives you a glowy, natural-looking tan.  Nothing dramatic or scary.  You only need the tiniest bit, so the bottle lasts a long time for me.  I use one dropper full on my whole face and neck (and ears... gotta make sure to blend it onto the ears for a more natural effect!).  I use the body formula as well for getting a nice tan on my legs and arms, so I was clearly very excited when the face version came out.  If they were ever to discontinue this formula, I think I'd cry.    

Oil Essentials
Ok, so these are straight-up oils.  No frills.  No new technology.  Just age-old wisdom about caring for your skin and hair.  But what beauty oil list would be complete without?  All of their oils are free of harmful ingredients, synthetic fragrances, or drying sulfates.  And there is an oil for all of your needs.  SeaBuckthorn Berry & Borage is great for dry or UV damaged skin.  Omega 3, 6, 9 & Evening Primrose is great for people with blemishes, redness, or other skin discolorations.  I'm really into the Neroli & Avocado.  Did I mention above that Neroli is a natural stress reliever?  Well I'll mention it now, and then you get the avocado in there to provide all sorts of moisturizing benefits.  Basically there is an oil for whatever ails you, and since you can get it at the drugstore, it's a great intro into the oil world.
  

May 8, 2015

It's About Time. My Favorite Perfume Line Has Finally Launched Home Fragrances.

I get slightly infuriated when I make something up in my mind and it doesn't actually exist in real life.  Jewelry that I want.  A dress that doesn't exist.  And when a perfume that I like isn't a home fragrance.  I do it all the time.  This time, though, I feel like wanting Clean fragrances to come in home fragrances as well as personal actually paid off.  Like somehow I willed the universe to bring this to me and now it's finally here.  I realize this is a rather self-centered point-of-view, but let me have my moment.
The Clean home fragrance collections come in 3 different scents, that you may already know from their personal fragrance collections: Warm Cotton, Fresh Laundry, Rain, and Skin.  Skin happens to be my favorite for home and personal fragrances, so now everything in my life can have that scent.  My office, my apartment, and my hot body.  Life is finally complete.
Each home collection consists of a soy candle ($40), a reed diffuser ($42), and a Linen & Room spray ($34).

May 2, 2015

The Makeup Show NYC: 10th anniversary floor maps

This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Makeup Show NYC, and with more brands jumping on board each year, I thought a floor map would make the shopping experience easier for anybody going.  I'm currently strategizing where to shop in between all the awesome keynote speakers that will be there.  There are a ton of cool 10th anniversary products to buy this year, and rumor has it that MAKE UP FOR EVER will be launching a new, innovative product at the show this year!  The show is tomorrow (Sunday, May 3rd) and Monday the 4th, so head over to themakeupshow.com/nyc to buy your tickets if you haven't done it already.      


Apr 22, 2015

BeautyByBenz Approved: Alba Botanica Fast Fix

I'm pretty sick and tired of traveling right now, and more-so what the constant travel has been doing to my poor skin.  I've been on various planes, trains, and automobiles the entire month of April, so my skin has been experiencing dullness, breakouts, and some SERIOUS under-eye bag situations.  This is the life of a hustler.  Fortunately, one of my favorite brands, Alba Botanica, has just come out with adorable little portable solutions to all my life problems.  The Fast Fix collection is so cheap that you might as well just buy all of them (Approx $6 each at your nearest Whole Foods or drug store, so you can have all 4 of them for $24).  Or is that just me that I have no impulse control and felt like I needed all of them?  I don't feel guilty at all though because they are made of natural ingredients, and they work.     

Fast Fix for undereye circles- This is a corrective yellow-tinted concealer to neutralize dark undereye bags, while still moisturizing/brightening with apple and white lily.  Caffeine helps with the bags, and jojoba moisturizes.  It's nice and lightweight, so you don't feel like you have something cakey under your eyes.    
Fast Fix for a pimple- Willow Bark extract and Sulfur target your zits quickly and effectively without made-by-man chemicals.  This formula is also lightly tinted to blur the look of the angry, red blemishes that are plaguing my life right now. 
Fast Fix for puffy eyes- I'm totally in love with this cooling eye gel because it works just as well as an expensive brand that I had been buying previously, and this one is natural.  It cools with green tea and cucumber, while caffeine reduces puffiness.  I'm currently running on about 4 hours of sleep, so I put this on first today, then topped it off with the vanishing concealer above.  Yep, this is a double-eye-cream-type-of-trip. 
Fast Fix for thin lips- This plumps up your lips without artificial stuff that makes them burn.  This formula, which you only need to use the teeny-weeniest bit, contains cinnamon, peppermint, and ginger to stimulate.    

Earth Day Beauty: Kiehls for Recycle Across America



In honor of Earth Day, Kiehl’sSince 1851 is donating $50,000 to Recycle Across America.  The funds are coming from Kiehl’s Limited Edition Label Art series, with art from Elizabeth Olsen and Maggie Q.  100% of the net profits from the Limited Edition Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado will go to Recycle Across America, adding to the $250,000 that Kiehl's has already raised for the program to supply recycling labels to school districts across the country. 






The Limited Edition Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado series features designs by Elisabeth Olsen and Maggie Q, inspired by their individual visions of social responsibility.  Both designs were created in collaboration with artist Fernando Mastrangelo, of AMMA Studio in Brooklyn, who is known for his work with everyday materials like salt, coffee, and sand.  The labels are beautiful, but the insides of the jars are just as special.  This thick, creamy eye treatment is made with Avocado oil, Vitamins A & E,  Shea Butter, and Beta-Carotene.  It's full of great fatty acids and moisturizers because of the ingredients, but there's also a unique structure to the cream that causes it to feel creamy going on, but then releasing a burst of a refreshing sensation for the under eye area.  It's the perfect combo of staying in place and not running into the eyes, but absorbing well into the skin.  It's free of colors and fragrances, so gentle enough for the eye area, and can be worn day or night.       
To further their recycling efforts, Kiehl's stores across the county will be encouraging customers to "Recycle and Be Rewarded!".  This is a program where patrons can return their empty Kiehl’s bottles, tubes, and jars for recycling, in exchange for product.  Since 2009, Kiehl’s has recycled over 2,500,000 bottles through the program. 

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.  

How-to: 
-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 Françoise 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.
          

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