Asian Beauty, Beauty, Empties, Face Care, Featured, Lipstick, Opinon, Review, Serum, Skincare

May Wrap Up – Things I Finished & Loved

Wow, May is over! Is anyone else wondering how this year is flying by so fast? I thought 2016 was one the longest years I can recall (maybe because people kept dropping dead) and 2017 seems to be making up for it. Maybe a few beauty product reviews will make the fact that this year is flying by a little better.

Each month I like to look back at the things I tried and loved. This helps me tweak my routine and make decisions about what to try next, which subscriptions I should keep and which I should let go, and helps me organize my “things to try stash.” Since I have this forum now, I figure I can share my month end loves and empties with you! This month they are pretty much all beauty but I will have some shooting and outdoors stuff most months as well.

I won’t harp on (or sometimes even mention) things I don’t like. I’m not here to mess up someone’s reputation and just because I don’t like something doesn’t make it bad. I’ll give you my honest opinion but I won’t have a list of hates or misses, at least not now. There are others who do that way more entertainingly than I!

I also made a video during which I talk about these products. Please check it out.

May Empties

Beauty Counter Lengthening Mascara

This little beauty came in one of my Allure Beauty Boxes. The nondescript packaging belies the genius of this simple but striking mascara. I love the wand as it is small but effective. I can easily get all of my lashes, from root to tip, with this wand and my bottom lashes are easy to coat as well. They have a gorgeous effect on the eye…the soft black color isn’t overpowering but highlights everything good about your lashes. The Beauty Counter Lengthening Mascara makes my lashes seem miles longer and doesn’t clump them together. The lashes are separated and looooooong. These are eyelashes for fluttering.

Such a pretty look does come with a hefty pricetag, however. The Beauty Counter Lengthening Mascara is $30, so on par with some of the higher end designer brands. Prior to trying this mascara, I wasn’t even aware of Beauty Counter as a brand (so I guess joining the Allure Beauty Box is working). I certainly wouldn’t have spent Chanel level money on their mascara. But it really is worth every penny.

My only other complaint is I went through this fast. With about 2 months of daily wear, it was getting that dry “I’m done” vibe. Maybe the one I got was older? At any rate, most mascaras last me months and months and this one did not.

Will I repurchase? Maybe. If I weren’t such a sucker for trying new things the answer would be yes.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo

I picked this smaller bottle of dry shampoo up on a trip to Ulta as I had been hearing great things about it. I usually use the cheapest dry shampoo I can find at the drug store but I do use it a few times a week. So I figured it was time to splurge and try the “good stuff.” My hair is dyed much darker than my natural color, so I try to extend time between shampoos to keep the dye from fading too soon. A good dry shampoo really helps with this goal. I picked up a small bottle of the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Shampoo as some of my close lady friends have recommended this to me.

The Living Proof is good. The spray is fine and doesn’t clump up on the roots. It does come out white, so that’s a little challenging for those of us with dark hair. With that said, it is pretty easy to brush/comb/shake it out so you aren’t walking around looking like you have dandruff.

It has a very light scent, which is good, and does soak up the oil from my roots so my hair looks nice and clean. In other words, it does exactly what it is supposed to do. Living Proof claims it has technology that releases the scent throughout the day. I haven’t noticed this, but I have noticed my hair smells clean…so that’s good.

I’m not sure if I will buy this again as it is $22 a bottle, which isn’t cheap. I am currently trying out an $8 bottle to see if there is a huge advantage to the Living Proof. Stay tuned next month for the final thoughts on that.

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic

I feel the need to be careful about this next product. At $150-165, depending on where you look, this is a very expensive buy. But guys, it is AMAZING. My wonderful dermatologist (shout out to Susan Hirsch at Schweigher Dermatology) gave this to me to try. I can’t even think of an adjective to describe how much I love the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. If you check out the You Tube video, I talk a bit about how amazing Vitamin C is for your skin. It improves texture, brightens the skin, minimizes the signs of aging, and improves the efficacy of your sunscreen by reducing the impact of free radicals. This serum provides so many advantages.

It smells nice, just lightly of something sort of citrusy. It doesn’t take much, I drop a tiny bit on my cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin and rub it in. The tiny bottle above lasted me about 3 weeks as you only use this once a day, in the morning. I imagine the full bottle lasts a long time. It is a thin consistency that absorbs quickly. I apply it right after cleansing and toning – before other essences, serums, or creams. Then I walk around and do other getting ready things before the next step.

Since I began using this I have noticed my skin looks firmer, younger, and my crows feet are less noticeable. I love the way it makes my skin feel. I’ve tried other Vitamin C products and have liked many of them, but this is my favorite. Plus, it also contains vitamin A, which aids in the fight against the environment’s determination to make us look older as well as Ferulic Acid, which helps promote the absorption of the other two actives. If you are looking to invest in ONE product that will advance your skin care regime, I recommend this one. Seriously, it is great. I’ll be buying a full size.

Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

If you would like to add Vitamin C into your daily skin care routine but don’t want to spend as much money as the Skinceuticals serum, this is a great choice. I got and used up a deluxe sample size of the Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum just before I started using the Skinceuticals and I like it quite a bit.

This product, coming in at less than $25, also contains the awesomely beneficial Vitamin C I mentioned above with the added benefit of hyaluronic acid, which you might recognize as the same acid in facial fillers, like Restylane. Hyaluronic Acid attracts moisture and can hold well above its weight in water. Used topically, it helps bring moisture to the skin. As we age, our skin has more trouble holding onto moisture and even oily skin can be dehydrated. This ingredient can attract moisture which helps the skin look plumper and minimizes the appearance of fine lines. It’s pretty great.

The hyaluronic acid combined with Vitamin C, make this a great product and well worth the pretty low price tag. It is a light serum that absorbs quickly and smells lightly of citrus (I am noticing a theme here). You use this morning and night before your moisturizer or heavier serums if you have a more intense regime.

I got this in an Allure Beauty Box and would definitely repurchase if I didn’t love the Skinceuticals so much.

NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Red

I bought this a while back while traveling in Germany and I am so sad it is all used up. The NYX Retractable Lip Liner in Red served me well. This is a very creamy, extremely long lasting, and waterproof lip liner in a great neutral red tone. It is highly pigmented and wears well under all of my favorite red lipsticks.

At less than $5, this lip liner is an absolute steal and I will be buying another ASAP and anticipate buying many more as time goes by. I intend to try it in other colors as well.

MMMMMM…by Juliette Has a Gun

I got this with my Scentbird subscription, which is a great way to try new designer perfumes, and I adore it. This is definitely more of a colder weather scent but it is decadent.

Sandalwood and Patchouli shine through a mist of vanilla, jasmine sambac, and sugar to create a sensual and sexy but very sweet scent. I feel like a total vixen wearing it but am comfortable with it for day as well as night.

I confess I picked this because of the brand’s name, and intend to try more of the brand’s scents, but I love it for how it smells. Both in the bottle and on my skin, this is a winner for the cooler months and I intend to buy a bottle in the Fall. At $85 for the smaller bottle, this is another splurge but most designer perfume is so I really don’t find the price tag outrageous.

Tatcha Radiant Deep Brightening Serum

This is the only product I finished this month I didn’t absolutely head over heels love. I got a smaller size of the Tatcha Radiant Deep Brightening Serum in a kit of Tatcha products I wanted to try. I wanted to like this so much. It smells nice and has a nice consistency that soaks into the skin quickly.

Maybe it is because I am not concerned with skin radiance as much as other issues but I saw no real results from using this serum. With that said, others adore and swear by this product so I really cannot disparage it altogether. However, at a price of $185 for the full size, I recommend try to obtain a sample to see if it works for you before paying that much for a full sized bottle.

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2

This little tube is another recommendation from my dermatologist. The SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 is a powerhouse of a moisturizer.

You’ll hear me harp about aging often. That’s largely because I am fighting it daily. Another thing that happens as we age is our skin loses volume in the lipid layer. This is why skin starts to sag and bag. Short of fat injections a la Samantha Jones (see clip below) we have to find ways to topically restore these lipids to our skin, which is getting older by the minute.

While you don’t get to eat like a pig before using it, SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore can help. It is a very thick cream that I prefer to use at night, although some people use it in the morning too. It has a very light, pleasant scent and takes a few minutes to absorb. But it does make your skin feel so soft and plump. I would wake up in the morning impressed with how refreshed my skin looked. The sample didn’t offer more than a few uses so I am not sure what the long term effects are but the short term ones were quite good.

The Triple Lipid Restore retails for $125, which is on the higher end up certainly not the most expensive moisturizer on the market. And it seems to work. I may buy it in the full size, I am still contemplating.

Daycell [Re, DNA] Propolis Extract Serum

Last in my group of empties, but certainly not least, is the Re, DNA Propolis Extract Containing 90% Serum, which I received in a Mishibox. I love this serum. It is formulated to acne prone skin and has honey propolis extract. Propolis is known to be brightening and anti-aging.

The texture of this serum is really nice. It is a thicker serum than the others mentioned in this post and pats into the skin leaving a slightly tacky finish that sinks in within a few moments. It smells so good, just lightly of honey. And it makes my skin look so nice.

Honey has all sorts of wonderful properties with claims of its healing and antibiotic properties found on every corner of the internet. I just know this serum leaves my face feeling soft and moisturized without feeling greasy at all. After the first use I noticed the lines on my face were less visible. And I just enjoy putting it on so much. I was really sad to finish the little bottle.

Another point on this product’s side is the price. It costs about $13 on Amazon. It is worth every penny. If you are looking for a serum that feels luxurious without the price tag and has hydrating properties without clogging your pore, try this one.

Other Things I am Loving in May

Julep Nail Polishes:

I was introduced to this brand by a dear friend and I am obsessed. I paint my nails every week now (when I previously owned a total of two nail polishes) and they stand up to gun powder, fiddling with firearms, wrangling poodles, etc. If you haven’t become a Julep subscriber yet, I recommend it.


I use this on everything from sore spots on my dogs to places where I had moles removed. I use it on my lips when they are dry and on dry spots on my skin. This is another product obsession I got from my dermatologist and I like it in the tube. You can get some at Amazon for $10.

Lip Oils:

You’ve seen my post on the Mary Kay Lip oil, but I am loving lip oils in general. I find them so nice after days and days of drying my lips out with liquid lips.

Revision Intellishade Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 45:

I wear the Revision Intellishade to the range every time. The tiny seems to adapt to match my skin and I can powder and conceal over it with no issues. The color does not oxidize on my skin and leaves it looking dewy and so pretty. At $46, it isn’t cheap but I don’t care. This is my go to for days outdoors to make sure I don’t burn while I’m out. It is skin protection that also makes me look pretty and doesn’t cause flashback, break me out, or reek of the “sunscreen smell.”

What are you loving now? Have you tried any of these products? Sound off in the comments and let me know what is your Ride or Die product for May!