I've tried countless products over the years, and up until recently I rarely bought the same thing twice. This past year I decided to get serious about my skin, and I finally feel like I've nailed down a routine that works for me!
I've been using each of these products for a minimum of two months, and started incorporating them gradually in order to help determine what worked and what didn't. Keep in mind, I don't tend to have acne prone skin. I mostly suffer from combination skin, blackheads, and occasional hormonal breakouts on my chin. If you experience any of these problems, these are the products I feel have helped me be more confident!
1. Micellar Water - I've been using micellar water as my eye makeup remover for the past couple of years now, and really swear by it. Unlike other eye makeup removers, micellar water isn't oily and leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh even if it's the only product I have on hand (ie. if I'm camping or traveling and packed lightly). From what I've experienced from trying a few different brands is that there isn't much difference between them. I frequently purchase Garnier or Simple.
Garnier actually makes two different kinds - regular strength and waterproof strength. The one pictured above is the latter, which I only use on the rare occasions that I'm wearing waterproof mascara or heavy eyeshadow/lip-stains. Because of the strength I have found that this version is slightly more oily and usually requires a water rinse after. I prefer the regular strength (comes with a pink lid) and use it everyday.
2. Glossier Milky Jelly - I usually follow micellar water with a cleanser to remove foundation, and my brow color. Milky jelly smells like rose water, and has proven gentle and light! I either wash as usual with a damp cloth, or use with my Clarisonic.
3. Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel - Witch Hazel is another product I've been using for years and have tried in multiple brands. I recently switched to Thayers after another blogger recommended it. I like that the Rose Petal mist still gives me the fresh feeling of witch hazel, while combining it with a rose water spray. I also choose the spray bottle over the usual spout, since it saves money on cotton pads, which I already use for the micellar water. I couldn't find a link to the spray bottle online, but I usually can find it in the skincare aisle of Target.
4. Glossier Priming Moisturizer - Moisturizer is hands down my favorite step of the routine. I feel like I've tried a billion different kinds, but have recently landed on Glossier's moisturizer after getting a sample in their Melrose store! The only downside is that it doesn't contain SPF. The upside is that you can buy it in a 3 pack with their cleanser and lip balm.
5. Aveda Energizing Eye Creme - Honestly does any one know if eye creams really work? I've been using this off and on since my facial at Origin Salon and haven't really figured out if I'm noticing a difference or not. This is one product I don't think I'll purchase again, but figured I should include since I've been using it more frequently lately.
6. Porefector - Besides my moisturizer, this is one step I can't go without. I discovered Porefector after the small business owner behind this solution messaged me about trying a sample, and fell in love with it immediately. Their website has a variety of uses listed, but I use it daily on my blackheads and whenever needed as a spot treatment. The black heads on my nose have been pretty persistent since middle school, and this is the first thing that I really feel has made an actual difference.
Plus whenever I experience the start of a hormonal breakout, I've rubbed a bit on the area twice a day until it disappears. Without Porefector, my hormonal breakouts would usually swell below the skin and stay there painfully for a few days, or appear bright red and obvious on my chin. Now I can usually feel them when I touch the area for a couple days until they're gone completely, but most don't ever get the chance to be visible and I haven't experience any that are painful. Unlike other strong spot treatments, Porefector hasn't ever made my skin dry or flakey, so it stays easy to apply my concealer and foundation.
*2.5. Glossier Solution - This product kinda throws a loop through my typical routine, but I use it when I'm experiencing extra dryness (which unfortunately happens more often in the winter). After my facial I stopped using exfoliants that scrub, since discovering it was making my dryness worse. I just pump a bit of solution onto a cotton round and lightly rub it on my face before moisturizing. On days when I use solution, I skip Porefector to keep from overwhelming my skin. Glossier recommends daily use if you have extreme dryness or are acne prone, but I've been using it maybe once a week or so.
I hope this is helpful! It seems like a lot, but overall it takes about 5-10 minutes each night. In the morning I do a three step program, with just the witch hazel, moisturizer, and Porefector before applying my makeup.
When I'm considering a new product, I try to choose companies that share my values whenever possible. As a woman it's extra important to me that I support female run businesses, which is why I'm teaming up with Billie!
Billie is a "female first" razor company that makes products specifically for all who identify as a woman! The starter kit includes a handle, 2 razor cartridges, and a magnetic shower holder for just $9. Each refill pack after that is $9 for 4 replacement cartridges and the frequency can be adjusted to match how frequently you shave.
Billie understands that shaving is a personal preference, and whether you like to shave every where everyday or prefer to grow it out is left up to you. They started Project Body Hair in order to change how our hair is shown in the media saying, "Commercials show women 'shaving' perfectly smooth, airbrushed legs. Strange, huh? But everyone has short stubble, long strands, or something in between. What you do with yours is up to you - grow it, get rid of it, or comb it. It's your hair, after all." And if shaving isn't your thing, you can still stock up on their other body care products (like the Sudsy Body Wash and Dry-Bye Body Lotion) which are vegan and cruelty free!
Billie is also addressing the Pink Tax, where women are charged more for everyday products than men are. The old tradition of "pink it and shrink it" comes with a cost that results in the average woman spending an extra $1,351 per year. Whether it's the actual tax we pay on feminine hygiene, or just the increased prices we pay, it's estimated that each purchase costs an average of 7% more. While major changes to our society and legislation need to happen before this problem can be solved, Billie is working hard to do their part. The Billie subscription is cheaper than Dollar Shave Club, which charges $26 for a 4 pack of razors and a 6 ounce tube of shave butter.
If you're interested in learning more about the Pink Tax, I definitely recommend you check out AxThePinkTax.com where you can calculate your estimated spend, and read studies about gendered pricing.
To sign up for a subscription with Billie, click here
Thank you to the Billie team for collaborating on this post! The starter kit and lotion were provided to me at no cost. Promoting products that not only support women, but actively seek change is something I care deeply about and I am excited to try my Billie kit and spread the word about ending the Pink Tax!
Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Origin Salon | Spa for my first facial ever! I don't know what I've been doing with my life, but I have seriously been missing out! 😳If you haven't had a facial before, I highly recommend it (aka don't make the same mistake I did by going 23 years without trying it). I've never been so relaxed, and I came out feeling so refreshed and confident about my skin!
Since Origin is an Aveda salon, all of the products they use are high quality, all-natural and environmentally conscious. This is super important to me - there's nothing that feels ickier than rubbing a bunch of crazy chemicals into my hair and on my skin.
Even though I try to treat my skin well and avoid harsh products, I learned just how much room for improvement I really have. I struggle with combination skin - an oily nose and dry cheeks/forehead - that's difficult to keep balanced. My dry areas end up really flakey so I exfoliate frequently. What I didn't know, was that I was just making the problem worse by not giving my skin enough time to recover. Instead I was recommended to only exfoliate once per week at max, as opposed to every day or every other day. Luckily the facial helped restore some of the moisture I was missing, and I was able to grab my own bottle of the Intense Hydrating Masque so I can get the same soft skin from home.
From the moment I walked in the door, the ladies at Origin made me feel so comfortable. The salon space is bright and open, and the spa is quiet and soothing - just what I needed!
If you want to treat yourself to a relaxing day at Origin Salon | Spa you can use code "alyssa" to receive $20 off your service.
I've said this before, and I'll probably be saying it for the rest of my life: I am certainly no hair expert. I wear it the same way almost everyday, and as much as I enjoy looking up different styles and telling myself I'll try them out, I rarely do.
While I'm definitely no beauty blogger (hair blogger - is that a thing??) I do have a few requirements for my daily routine. If I don't feel like my shampoo and conditioner are providing me with the softest hair possible, then I won't hesitate to move on to the next. I also look for a long lasting clean. I've been frustrated with products in the past that have made my hair feel greasier faster, or weigh it down too much. I'll typically use a shampoo until it's gone before switching brands, and if I find good results then I'll stick with it until someone recommends something even better.
For the past month or so I've been using products from Hair Food, which is a line "inspired by fresh, energy packed ingredients, known for their vitalizing power" (according to the bottle). At first I was really excited to give these a shot. The packaging design made me think they would be all natural, especially with the earth tones and photos of fruit. I like to stay away from any shampoos that contain sulfates, because I hate how they make my hair feel, and I was pleased to see a list on the front of the bottle of other things the formula did not contain, including silicon, paraben, and mineral oil.
Unfortunately, the first time I began scrubbing my hair with the shampoo that dreaded rubbery-dry feeling happened. I was really confused, until I turned the bottle over to reveal 2 of the most prevalent ingredients were sulfate. Such a disappointment.
Beyond including an ingredient I typically avoid, I was unimpressed with the shampoo. The scent was described as kiwi and exotic fig, but I wasn't ever really able to smell it. There's something about a great smelling shampoo that I really love, so not having that fresh fruity scent I expected was a real bummer.
After my experience with the shampoo I was pretty skeptical about trying the conditioner. Again, the smell (or lack there of) was disappointing, but otherwise this product didn't stand out as good or bad. It seems like a pretty standard conditioner all around. My hair wasn't as soft as some other products make it, but also didn't feel dry. The biggest struggle was needing a detangler before blowdrying.
Either way, I wouldn't purchase Hair Food again, or recommend it to others. I was hoping for positive results, especially since it was advertised for volume, but it did not live up to my expectations.
Thank you to Hair Food and Influencer for allowing me to test these products. I received them at no cost, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions of the products are my own.
Festival season is just around the corner, and I am suffering from major Coachella-envy! Lucky for me, just because I have to miss out on Beyonce, doesn't mean I have to miss out on the fun fashion that's bound to be all over social media this weekend. I'm partnering with CYO Cosmetics to share my festival-inspired beauty look, using products from their Walgreens-exclusive line!
I was so excited when I saw all of the awesome choices that CYO has. I swapped my standard matte-neutral shadows for metallics, and made sure to grab my go-to lip color. I couldn't believe how easy the products were - the eyeshadow was in a super easy-to-blend cream stick!
Since festivals (in my opinion) only get better with more color and more sparkle, I couldn't resist going a bit overboard with the chunky star glitter. I'm still finding them around the apartment and stuck all over Noodle, but it was totally worth it!
If you're attending a festival this summer, or just looking for a way to mix up your beauty routine, be sure to check out CYO Cosmetics! The products I used to create this look are:
Thank you to CYO Cosmetics for collaborating on this post! The makeup was provided at no cost, in exchange for my beauty look. However, opinions shared in this post are my own!
24 | Seattle, Wa