Tag Archives: favorite

Real Techniques Core Collection

{ This is NOT a sponsored post. I am not affiliated or associated with this company at all. I purchased these makeup brushes of my own free will and with my own money. As always, all opinions stated in this and any of my posts are completely my own. }

Everyone in the “blogosphere” has raved on and on about these incredible brushes from YouTube E-famous Pixiwoo’s Samantha Chapman – the Real Techniques makeup brush line – and after long last I have finally been able to get hold of some to see for myself!

I picked up their Core Collection and Expert Face Brush from Ulta and the first thing that really impressed me are the prices of these brushes. They are along the same price point of Eco Tools ( a big favorite of mine ) – around $8-$10 for a single brush and around $20 for a set of 3-4 brushes. The brushes alone look to be of very high quality and after using them, I find them to be very durable with little to no shedding from the bristles. The bristles are very soft and fluffy, but super dense and compact.

Included in the Core Collection: 

  • Detailer Brush – Awesome for using eye shadow in crease, with cream eye shadow, or to conceal spots on the face. Although they market this as a concealer brush mainly, I wouldn’t use it to conceal under my eyes. I tried it and found it to be way too small and left the product looking streaky.
  • Pointed Foundation Brush – Although they market this as a foundation brush, I am not a huge fan of typical foundation brushes. I preferred to use this as an under eye concealer brush and it worked fantastically for that purpose.
  • Buffing Brush – This is a great multi-purpose brush for bronzer, blush or mineral foundation powder. I have used it for all 3 of these and it has worked really well. My only advice for using this with bronzer or blush is that you don’t need a massive amount of product. This brush is really good at utilizing a small amount of product for just the right amount of color payoff so there’s no need to pick up a ton of product because it will end up packing on way too much. This is also brilliant for full coverage powder foundation application – I used it with my Alima Pure Mineral Foundation and it came out really nice.
  • Contour Brush – This is one of the main brushes in this set that I was pretty excited to try out. It actually works just as they advise. It works great for contouring on the face and only a little bit of product is needed to create a nice diffused look. I really love it! Now all I need is a good contour powder! Any recommendations? Please leave them in the comments below!!
  • Panoramic Brush Case + Stand – This case is surprisingly nice and simple, but multi-functional. I was really surprised because it’s a simple fold up makeup case for the brushes, but one end can be flipped back which turns the case into a little stand for the brushes. It’s really quite a nice touch and it gives good value to this set.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

The other brush I picked up was their Expert Face Brush which has gotten really great reviews for it’s application of face products, in general, but namely liquid and cream type foundations. I haven’t used this for liquid foundation yet, but I have used it loads of times now with my RMS Beauty Un-Cover Up which gave me great results.  This brush is quite short, but the bristles are super densely packed so you have a lot of control. I find that with longer bristle face brushes, it’s really easy to feel like you don’t have much control because they are easily bent every which way. This one makes application easy, seamless and streak free without much effort or skill.

Overall, I really love these brushes. They are super unique in design, in my opinion, because they are made to help everyday makeup users such as myself apply products with ease and they definitely succeed in that. A lot of times, makeup brush brands generally all look the same and have the same function, but I really love that these brushes deviate a bit and offer brushes that are easy for the everyday person to use. I think these would be fantastic for anyone who is new to using makeup and makeup brushes because they are super easy to use and they are very affordable. They are sold in a number of places online, including on their own Real Techniques home site and even now Walmart’s online shop even offers them.  I’m not sure if Walmart has them in store yet, but you can find them in Ulta or Boots, if you have those near you.

What do you think of makeup brushes?

Do you use them or do you prefer using your hands or Q-tips?

Have you ever tried these Real Techniques brushes?

If not, what’s your favorite makeup brush brand?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

♥ Tianna

Happy Monday!

I have noticed I’ve developed a kind of routine when it comes to fitness and diet that really depends a lot on my phone. I use 3 apps in particular on a near daily basis because of how handy they are and I thought it would be fun to share them with you and maybe you can get some benefit from these awesome free mobile applications as well so I hope you enjoy!

The first app on the list is absolutely My Fitness Pal. It’s super helpful for tracking everything you eat, the amount of calories you’re consuming ( vs. how many you should be consuming ), the vitamins you’re getting from that food and if it’s in line with your daily recommended intake for them, your water intake, and lastly, the amount of calories you burn in any given workout. I use it every day to log my meals and keep track with my calories and nutrients as well as logging my workouts. It’s really helpful to make sure I’m staying on track with food and fitness and it helps me stay focused because of it. It’s definitely a tool for success if you’re looking to lose weight or just eat better.

The second app I really love and use pretty much on a daily basis is Spotify. My boyfriend introduced me to this amazing music service. If you’re someone who loves listening to different kinds of music, but don’t necessarily want to buy all of it. You can listen to their radio just like Pandora or LastFM, but it’s much better in design and function because I never get weird songs that have nothing to do with the artist I want to listen to. Also, if you get premium ( which I have ), you can create playlists with any songs that they have available. It’s like burning a digital mix CD for myself. As long as you pay the $10/month fee, you have those playlists. In my opinion, it’s totally worth the money because of how much you can do with it. At first I thought it wouldn’t be worth it, but now that I have, I couldn’t be happier! Plus, the playlists are a solid part of my workouts now so I find I do better when I have Spotify. I went 1 week without it while deciding on whether to get premium or not and I just caved because it’s such a fantastic service.

Calories Burned Calculator

The last app I use a lot is this Calories Burned app for Android. I know there are tons of Calories Burned type apps out there for Iphone and Windows, though, if you don’t have an Android phone so they should be easy to find. This one is free and it works pretty well at calculating calories burned for nearly any exercise or workout, including some DVD workout programs like Insanity, Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred and P90X, so it’s versatile in that. Also, I’ve compared it to online calories burned sites and it’s pretty accurate. I use this to figure out what I’ve burned when the workout I’ve done ( like Ab Ripper X) isn’t available on My Fitness Pal.

So, those are my favorite apps!

What Are Your Favorite Mobile Apps?

I’d Love to Know In the Comments!

BestMoisturizers2012_StorybookApothecary.Com

Hello! I’m back again with the second in a mini series of posts I’ll be doing on my top beauty picks for 2012 in all things skincare, makeup, nails, body care and personal products. Today’s post was really difficult to do as I’m quite obsessed with using serums and moisturizers and I have tons of favorites for different purposes so this was REALLY hard to choose. Even though it seems like I’ve chosen a lot, it took me ages to cut it down to this so I hope you’ll find this helpful when choosing the best serum or moisturizer for your skincare needs!

First in the list is the Alpha-H Balancing Moisturizer and Gentle Exfoliant. I’ve written again and again about Alpha-H as a brand because I love their products. They are so effective and though they aren’t as natural as I’d like, they are a brand that will give you the results you want, especially if you have spots, scarring, pigmentation or acne. They use a high concentration of ingredients so these products don’t just sit on your skin and waste time – they do what they’re supposed to do and you will see results with continued use. This moisturizer is my favorite for keeping breakouts at bay, keeping my skin smooth and bright, and even helping diminish some minor scarring I have on my cheeks. When first using this moisturizer, you WILL feel the tingle, but your skin will adjust over time and you will see results, especially if you have frequent breakouts or pigmentation issues. I definitely recommend gradually transitioning into using this and maybe using it once a day every other day to help your skin adjust a bit, but it does work really well. It uses a high concentration of glycolic acid (similar to their Liquid Gold exfoliator) around like 12% or something in order to slough off dead skin cells, unclog pores and encourage cell turnover. I can’t recommend this one enough, but it’s not for those with sensitive skin so if you have sensitive skin, I would advise you to use something gentler. For my full review on this moisturizer and other Alpha-H products, check here.

Second in the list is the Rainwater Botanicals Sea Buckthorn and Pomegranate Intensive Treatment Serum. This serum is incredible for dry skin and for giving you a bit of a faux glow due to the tint it has from the pomegranate seed oil. I don’t recommend this to those with oilier skin types, but if you have combination skin, dry skin, or maturing skin, you will definitely benefit. It works to heal your skin, encourage cell turnover and diminish the appearance of fine lines. I don’t have many wrinkles at the moment, but it certainly helps soften lines and hydrate the skin to it’s optimal level. I especially love this one in the winter as it keeps my skin from becoming dull or flaky. Another reason to stand behind this brand is the fact that their products are organic, wild crafted, made in the USA, and super affordable (think around $10 for this one!)  You can learn more about the specifics on this serum and other Rainwater Botanicals products here.

Third in the list is the Living Nature Extra Hydrating Toning Gel. This is absolutely amazing for those who suffer from dry skin or oily skin AND acne because it hydrates without feeling oily or leaving a greasy residue behind. It’s so easily absorbed into the skin and it smells amazing. It keeps skin hydrated, soft and helps calm redness. This one is also great for those of you who hate the oily, greasy feeling and enjoy the gel type moisturizers because this is a super light formula, but unlike those cheap, oil-free drugstore moisturizers that hardly hydrate and have questionable ingredients, this one includes tons of beneficial ingredients for your skin and will hydrate very well without feeling heavy. You can check out my original post on Living Nature here.

Next on my list is the Suti Organic Purity Moisturizing Balm. This balm is very similar to their Cleanse Balm only the scent is a bit different and it’s a bit less moist (if that makes sense) and soaks into the skin more easily than the Cleanse Balm. Although a bit pricey, it’s well worth the cost and will last you a good few months because you need a dime size for your entire face each time. Your skin will feel softer, more hydrated, and heal broken capillaries and other lesions (if you have them). This would be especially beneficial for those who have dry skin, combination skin, and overly congested, oily or irritated skin. I also think someone with sensitive skin or eczema or rosacea could benefit as there are many healing benefits in this super simple, but effective balm. Check out my full review on this balm here.

Moving down the list, we have the Rainwater Botanicals Skin Repair Serum for Acne, Scars & Wrinkles. I love this serum because it’s such a cure-all serum/moisturizer. It hydrates the skin, has ingredients such as wild crafted frankincense to combat breakouts and valuable plant oils which heal sun damage and soften the appearance of fine lines. Another reason I love this one so much is the scent. It smells absolutely incredible and reminds me of something, but I can never figure out what it is. Plus, I can get a 1/2 oz. of this (which lasts around 3 months) for around $10. All of these products are organic and wild crafted, made in the USA, and super affordable so I feel great purchasing them. Check out my full post on Rainwater Botanicals products here.

Last in the list is the Pure Marula Oil from the Leakey Collection. This is a fairly new discovery, but I really wanted to include it in the list because it’s a fantastic basic moisturizer that hydrates skin, heals damage, calms redness, and soaks right into the skin without leaving a residue. Although it’s quite pricey, it’s profits go toward supporting fair trade, employing women in Africa and developing their local economies in order to help their community and lives thrive. I really love what this oil stands for and I feel a lot better about paying the high price because of how it actually benefits women in Africa. I’ve used this as a moisturizer and even mixed a bit of it with my Vive Sana sunscreen (see how I apply my sunscreen here) because it helps thin the sunscreen formula a bit so it’s more easily blendable (white cast anyone?) plus marula oil includes many antioxidants and a low level of spf which adds to your sun protection. Although I don’t recommend using this alone to protect you from the sun as the levels would be too low to be sufficient ( around SPF 5 or lower, depending), it may help protect you along with your sunscreen. Check out my original review on this marula oil here.

So those are my top picks for the best face moisturizers of 2012 – stay tuned for more posts on my favorite beauty products of 2012 coming soon!

What is your favorite moisturizer for 2012?

Please share in the comments!

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Bestcleansers2012_StorybookApothecary.Com

I’m so thrilled to begin a new series of posts today for the next week or so on all my top picks in beauty – skincare, makeup, hair, nails, tools, and body care products for the year 2012!

I’ve done a ton of reviews this year and sorted through the crap to bring you all the best products with the most effective, natural ingredients in their formulations so I hope you enjoy this series and leave your thoughts in the comments along the way!

Today’s post is focusing on the best facial cleansers of 2012 and if you’ve been following along for any measure of time, you won’t be surprised at my picks which I’ve spoke about again and again and again because they are my go-to cleansers.

First in the list is Antonia Burrell’s Natural Glow Cleansing Oil which is fantastic for any skin type, but will do especially well for those suffering from congestion, dullness, acne breakouts, skin that feels both oily and dry, and just generally imbalanced skin. That is not to say that other skin types won’t benefit, though, because this cleansing oil is really lovely and includes lots of potent plant extracts and oils which work to heal the skin from the inside out. It truly works and you will see incredible improvements in your skin in very little time, especially if you’re battling skin issues. To see my original review on this cleansing oil, check here.

Second in the list is Suti Skincare’s CLEANSE Organic Balm which I have raved and raved about. This has certainly been another of my go to cleansers for when my skin is out of balance, especially when it just feels drier than usual or tighter than usual or if it’s feeling red and inflamed. This is the best thing to calm skin down! I really love it as a massage balm to cleanse skin, especially as an all-in-one cleanser + makeup remover because not only does it get the job done, but it leaves my skin super soft, clear and hydrated without a moisturizer. Also, since they include a natural muslin cloth with the cleanse balm, you get a bit of gentle exfoliation if you use the cloth to remove the balm and there’s no oily residue (for those who dislike that!). I’ve enjoyed this one both in Summer and Winter months with great success. I think those with sensitive, dry, and mature skin will really enjoy this one a lot, but I also think there can be some benefit to those with other skin types as well, especially if you’ve had issues with skin that just seems to be out of sorts. The ingredients in this are amazing, natural AND effective all at once. You can see my original review on this cleanse balm here.

Third on the list is another cleanser that I’ve just talked and talked about over and over again and that is the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser which is brilliant for oily, acne prone skin types! I think it will work for other skin types as well, though very sensitive and dry skin types may want to tread carefully as this includes a strong amount of acne fighting essential oils which may irritate or dry your skin depending on your skin type. For those who have oily, combination or acne prone skin, though, this one is absolutely amazing! It works a lot like my childhood favorite Noxzema (and smells like it too!) though with a host of natural ingredients instead of harmful ones to clear pores out, balance oil production, calm breakouts and redness, and mildly exfoliate all at the same time. It works much like an old fashioned cleansing creme because you use 1-2 pumps which you massage all over your face including on eyes and lips to remove all traces of makeup and dirt. Then, you rinse the cloth in warm to hand hot water and use it to buff the cream off of your face. It really softens the skin, clears out dead skin cells and pores, and helps to combat breakouts. I love this one as a staple, especially in the Summertime. Check out my original review on this cleanser here.

Lastly, there is Living Nature’s Vitalising Cleanser which I really love for all skin types as it is gentle enough for even the most sensitive, but will also benefits those with oily, combination or dry skin as well. I think that someone with breakouts may also benefit, but depending on your skin, you may need something more cleansing. This is a great one for if your skin is irritated or just feels dry or dull as it’s very hydrating to use. It feels a bit like using a very moisturizing lotion on your skin and it smells wonderful all while gently cleansing and nourishing the skin. I think those with dry and sensitive skin will really see a lot of benefit with this one because of the botanical ingredients and hydrating oils in the formulation. Also, if you have any kind of damage on your skin, this one is lovely for healing gently without causing any irritation or being too abrasive. It’s just a lovely, calming, gentle cleanser and it works very well in the Winter especially when your skin needs more hydration and nourishment. Check out my original review on this cleanser here.

So, those are my picks for the best face cleansers of 2012 – What Are Yours?

Stay tuned all week for more of my top beauty picks for 2012!

My Top 10 Favorite Asian Beauty Products!

I’m not sure how obvious it is, but I love Asian beauty products.

I love all other kinds of beauty as well, but Asian beauty has a special place in my heart.

Often times, I feel that Asian beauty brands offer interesting products that are a lot of fun to use and they usually feature a host of natural ingredients for skin beauty benefits, whether in makeup or skincare.

That being said, here are some of my all-time favorites!

Skin79 Hot Pink Triple Function BB Cream SPF25 PA++

This is the first BB cream I ever tried! That was nearly 3 years ago and this is still my favorite. It has a nice shade matching ability that I love, it soaks into the skin and makes my skin look like I’m not wearing any makeup at all. It has never caused any breakouts, but actually improved the texture of my skin over time. I love that the formula includes both sunscreen and a host of beneficial skincare ingredients. Plus, it’s a mid-range BB cream at around $30 and it lasts forever so it’s great value. An oldie, but a goody! I’m currently testing out this one by Skin79.

Comed Cosmetique C+M Oil Control Blemish Defense Serum

 This is one of my all-time favorite acne spot treatments! It’s pretty natural and includes plant extracts to fight breakouts. Plus, I bought it on SASA.Com at an incredible price : $2.80 USD! Okay, so now you know I’m extremely cheap, but seriously, this works! The bottle is pretty small, but the needle nose type applicator is perfect for squeezing out the tiniest amount to spot treat blemishes. I can’t recommend this enough and, at such a low price, it’s practically risk-free to try!

Komenuka Bijin Whitening Face Serum

This is such an effective serum! I’m not too into “whitening” my skin, but this works great to brighten and even out discolorations on my skin tone!  It’s made with all natural ingredients with an emphasis on high concentrations of rice bran, natural acids, proteins and does not include damaging hydroquinone like many Asian brands do. That being said, at $60 USD, it’s pretty expensive, but well worth the price in my opinion.

Kai Eye Mascara Guard

I purchased this originally off Ebay for like $3, but SASA is selling it for around $4 USD. It’s a really handy tool you can use to prevent mascara getting on your eyelids or smearing your bottom lashes. I find it to be super helpful because I am constantly messing up and getting mascara on my lids! It’s so annoying, but this prevents that from happening and helps to evenly coat your lashes so you experience little to no clumping.

Kai Eyebrow Comb Scissors

This comb / scissors combo for eyebrows is awesome and such a time saver! I hate sitting there with a little comb trying to trim my super long bushy brows and this really cuts down on the time, frustration and simplifies everything for me. Just comb and cut and you’re done. Super easy and it’s under $10 USD.

Naruko Apple Seed & Tranexamic Acid Soothing Night Gelly

Even though this is just one night jelly, I think it’s safe to say I pretty much love them all. They are so light, pleasantly scented and effective and they include a huge amount of natural ingredients that work to heal your skin as you sleep. I absolutely love these and I buy them all the time because they relax me before bed and they work really well.

See reviews on some Naruko Night Jellies here and here!

Komenuka Bijin Facial Washing Powder

These are a little on the expensive side for around $40 USD, but they last FOREVER! They are basically a set of 30 packets of rice powder type face wash that gets milky when you mix it with water and wash your face. It’s actually very similar to the one I recently reviewed by Naruko (See that review – here!).They work really well and one single packet has enough powder to last you a week if you use dime size amounts daily, which is really all you need. This cleanser works really well, it’s gentle and non-drying and made with all natural ingredients. I first discovered this brand when reading a magazine around 3 years ago where Liv Tyler stated how much she loves their products.

My Beauty Diary Black Pearl Face Mask Sheets

This is a box of 10 sheet masks that help to brighten up tired, dull skin. Made with natural plant extracts, most notably onion, the mask helps to hydrate, revitalize and calm your skin. I really love the face mask sheets from My Beauty Diary! They work really well and you can get a lot of uses out of one sheet mask. There is usually product left over in the little packet that each mask comes in so I like to squeeze it out and use it as a hand treatment while I let the mask do it’s work. This isn’t really an ordinary face mask because it’s a sheet mask which is made of woven type cotton that is soaked in the mask ingredients. There are holes for the eyes, nose and mouth and you place it onto your face for 10-15 minutes. I love that if you lie in front of a fan while wearing one of these, the mask becomes super cooling on your face. It’s very relaxing, quick and effective to use these. Don’t freak out if it’s your first time using one though, you may look a bit like a feminine Michael Myers while wearing this, but it’s totally worth it. At around $15 USD for the 10 pack, it’s a great deal and I only use them when I really need a pick-me-up.

Komenuka Bijin Shampoo and Conditioner Set

This shampoo and conditioner set is made utilizing the powers of rice bran to repair dry, damaged hair. It’s very moisturizing and softening to use on the hair and I love the nice subtle scent, but it’s a bit on the expensive side for some at $60 USD for the set. It really does work well though and the natural ingredients are very gentle and hydrating.

Apple Seed & Tranexamic Acid Soothing White Serum

If you’ve been following along, you’ll have read my review on Naruko’s Apple Seed & Tranexamic Acid collection (Check that review out – here!). I really love all the products in their line, especially this collection, but this was my favorite product of the bunch other than the night jelly. It’s very light and feels like velvet going on the skin. It soaks up immediately and leaves no residue behind and it helps to calm redness, discoloration and other skin irritations. It’s pretty affordable at $26 USD – Now on sale at Naruko.Us for $23 though!

 That’s all for now!

Do you like Asian beauty products?

What are some of your favorites?