Monday, March 02, 2015

Dry Hair Solution: Ion Extreme Moisture Cream

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Ion Extreme Moisture Cream

Treating dry hair can be tricky. It's easy to say to just use a hydrating hair mask and be done with it. In reality, many hair masks take a lot of time, usually involve heating up towels and wrapping your hair before your shower, and they can be messy. If you overdo it your hair might be hydrated, but it will also be overly moisturized and fall flat. Who wants flat hair? Not me.

I recently discovered Ion's Extreme Moisture Cream, and I'm in love! It is very easy to use. It replaces my regular conditioner in the shower. Simply apply to your hair and leave it on for 1-2 minutes (or if you need a deeper treatment, wait for 3-5 minutes) and rinse it out. I apply Extreme Moisture Cream to the mid-shaft and below on my hair since those are the driest parts. The result is smooth, healthy looking hair that isn't weighed down! I still have the volume that I love.

This month, Sally Beauty is featuring award-winning products! You can head to their site and discover the best selling products, the favorites of other bloggers, the top rated products and more!

What's your favorite product from Sally Beauty?

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Maskcara IIID Foundation Review: Is HAC Better Than Traditional?

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Maskcara HAC Foundation

I'm sure we all know who Cara from Maskcara is. (Yes, she's all over Pinterest. Yes, she won Allure's Best Beauty Blogger last year. And yes, she's insanely nice and I love her blog, it's one of the few that I read on a daily basis.)

Last year she released a few makeup products of her own, the IIID Foundation, a highlighter and cream blush. I ordered my products basically the moment she opened her on-line store, and then tested the products for weeks. I seriously loved the blush and the highlighter (they're still in occasional rotation), but I tried a bunch of different tricks and just couldn't get the foundation to work for me. (Here's my original Maskcara IIID Foundation review.)

Cara just released a new version of IIID with different shades, a new customizable palette, and very new formulations for the blush and highlighter especially. I once again ordered right after Cara opened her store, and I was very, very excited for the foundation to arrive!

The product comes in a palette, it has a magnetic inside and holds 4 product pans. There are a lot of different options, but I picked the most basic of the products probably: a highlight foundation, a contouring foundation, highlighter and cream blush. It was a pre-order, so it did take a few weeks for my products to arrive. The blush didn't arrive when Cara expected it to arrive, so she sent the other products ahead of time. In it's place she sent me a little explanation card with a coupon code for a future order as an apology for having to wait for my blush. I think she did the right thing, I really was so excited about the foundation that I wanted it ASAP!

Maskcara Foundation Swatch

Here are the colors that I picked:
• Linen Highlight Foundation, best for fair to medium complexions. This one is pretty much an exact match for my skin. I think many people are a little darker than their highlight foundation, but it still works great! It is a light to medium coverage.
• Walnut Contour Foundation, best for fair to medium skintone without a lot of redness. I have redness that comes and goes (thanks rosacea!) but I decided the lightness was more important than my degree of redness.
• Illuminator in Pearl
• Also I ordered the Pink Grapefruit blush

Maskcara Foundation Brush

I also ordered Cara's new brush to apply it all with. There are 2 sides, one quite a bit bigger than the other. The brush is really soft, I've had no fall out from the bristles and the sizes are perfect for application of the foundation. My only problem with it is that because it has 2 sides, it's hard to store. I like to put my brushes in vases standing straight up, and I can't do that with a double sided brush. So, it's just hanging out on my vanity now. But, if you're ordering the foundation, do yourself a favor and buy the brush too. It is definitely worth it!

how to use Maskcara IIID Foundation

So, using the IIID Foundation is definitely different than regular foundation. There is a handy chart that comes with the product, and Cara created a really easy to follow How to HAC video (in addition to the millions of videos and posts about it on her site). I use the big end of the brush and with the Walnut, I go around the outer edges of my face, a little under my cheekbones and down the sides of my nose. Then I use the small end of the brush to apply the Linen to the big triangle under my eyes, right above my eyebrows and in between them, around my nose, down the center of my nose and on my chin.

Once I have the product in the areas that I want it, I'll grab another brush (usually the big end of my It Cosmetics Heavenly Complexion Brush) and I use that brush to gently buff the product and blend. The Walnut is pretty subtle because I don't apply a lot, but the Linen is a light to medium coverage and it pretty much matches my skin tone perfectly! Once I've buffed, I also grab my BeautyBlender sponge and pounce it over any areas that need additional blending, but that's it.

Finally, I apply the highlighter. I just use a fingertip and tap it over my cheekbones, my inner eye and on the center of my nose. I'm still undecided if I like it or my RMS Beauty Living Luminizer better, but I do really like it!

I've used this foundation all week, and so far I have not had to use any concealer with it (interesting because I've gotten almost no sleep thanks to a 4 month old that is going through a growth spurt and she wants to nurse every 2 hours all night long), and I use just a little powder in my t-zone.

I've tried IIID with a few primers. It doesn't play well with heavy silicone primers like Becca's Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector, because those seem to really grab onto the foundation too much and make it hard to blend (I think this is because the IIID really is pretty lightweight). IIID does much better with lighter, more lotion-y primers. I used it today (I'm writing this on Thursday) with the new COVER FX Illuminating Primer and they were really, really amazing together! The Illuminating Primer woke up my skin and didn't look shimmery, but reflected light. The IIID over it was easy to blend. So far (at 4:30 pm) it still looks freshly applied!

You can see my first day results below (please ignore my brows, I was about a week overdue for a shaping. The situation has since been fixed). I'm calling IIID a big success, the reformulation was perfect! I'll update with info on the blush when mine comes.

A photo posted by Christine (@15minbeauty) on

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Perfect Hair Day: Thanks Living Proof!

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Living Proof PhD Perfect Hair Day Styling Treatment

Everyone wants a perfect hair day. Well, I'll settle for a great one, or even just a good one! And we all know that Jennifer Aniston has more than her fair share of the perfect ones, and let's face it... being one of the owners of Living Proof is probably a big part of that.

I haven't written much about Living Proof on the blog (I don't do a lot of hair product reviews for some reason), but they're my go-to brand for frizz fighting products. Their first products were pretty revolutionary, and when they started releasing more great things, like volumizing products, I loved them just as much.

But, I had this issue. I didn't want to just smooth or add volume. I wanted to do both! Finally, Living Proof has combined their patented Healthy Hair Molecule (OFPMA) and our Volumizing Molecule (PBAE) into one treatment. The idea is that you'll get volume, smoothness and treatment (it reportedly makes your hair 4.5x stronger, reducing breakage by 78%).

So, does it work? It doesn't give me Texas sized hair, but it does add a bit of volume and prevents my hair from being weighed down. It makes my hair easier to dry straight, adds some shine and yes, it really does help my hair look better. It also helps protect from both heat and UV damage.

I've been using PhD with a cocktail of other hair styling products to curl my hair and maintain the style for 3 days. It really is key to the look, without it my hair just doesn't look as good!

I've already bought 2 more bottles of PhD. Yes, it's that good.

You can buy Living Proof PhD Styling Treatment at Living Proof or Sephora.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

My Current Makeup Routine

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My Current Makeup Routine

I get asked quite often what my current beauty routine is in the morning, and the truth is that I don't really have a "go to" beauty routine that I use every day. My routine varies quite a bit depending upon the day. I work about 8-10 days a month (yes, that's considered full time at my job!), and I'm home the rest of time with my 3 month old (the 4 year old usually goes to her preschool/day care, though once a week she stays home with me too). So, I have days where I'm professional, days that I'm home with just my 3 month old, and I have days with both girls. I even get days that I'm home completely alone, though that's not very often.

I thought I'd share what I'm currently doing on days that I work, so it is the most complete look. I fully admit that I'll skip steps depending on how much time my girls let mommy have to put on her makeup! This entire look takes me about 10 minutes, start to finish.

1. Prep
I'm currently using BB cream or Tinted Moisturizer each morning simply to save time. I usually do my eyes before my face, but if I waited until after my eyes were done to apply, I'd be super dry! So, right after washing my face, I apply whichever product I'm using that day, then let it absorb while I'm working on my eyes.

I'm currently using Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (from Nordstrom) in Blush, which is a perfect match for my skin. I do wish that it had a little bit more coverage, but it is easy to just smear all over my face and requires very little blending.

I also like to apply a basic lip balm at this time so it can start to do its magic! I typically just use whatever I have on the vanity, my favorite is Kiehl's #1 Lip Balm (from Nordstrom).

2. Eyes
While my tinted moisturizer is absorbing, I do my eyes. When I'm crunched for time, I've been doing this eye look, which is neutral but a little bit glowy and it is hard to mess up!

I start with an eye primer, usually the NYX Eye Shadow Base in Nude (from ULTA or I can apply it super fast with just my fingers and it is a great match for my skin with coverage, so it hides all of those visible blood vessels.

Next I grab Stila's Eyes Are the Window Shadow Palette in Soul (from Sephora). It has a lot of great neutral shimmery shades, which is what I love. I use Kitten and Vitality, using a big fluffy brush I pick up a little of both and apply in a light wash over my entire lid, up and over the crease. Next I grab a smaller crease brush and apply Thought to my crease and a little to the outer V of my lid.

Next I line my eyes with brown liner, Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Precision Glide Eyeliner in Java (from Macy's or Elizabeth Arden). I like this eye liner because it is hard enough to get between my lashes but still soft enough that the color applies easily and smudges perfectly. I just do a very rough lining, pushing the pencil into my lash line and moving it around a little to really get the liner down in there. My line is usually a bit thicker at the outer corner than it is at the inner corner. I only line the top of my eye, since I'm up so much in the middle of the night with the baby I figure adding any potential for shadow under my eyes is a bad idea! Once my eyes are lined I grab a smudge brush (usually NARS Smudge Brush #45) and I smudge the liner just a bit.

Finally I finish up with mascara. I curl and then apply one that will add nice volume and grab all of my little lashes. I'm currently using either Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara (at Sephora) or Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara (from Nordstrom).

3. Brows
Brows is one of the first steps that I'll skip when I'm pressed for time, but really it should be one of the last steps. Filling in my brows a little with my favorite pencil, the It Cosmetics Your Brows But Better Brow Power Skinny Pencil (from ULTA), only takes about a minute and really does make me look much more pulled together. Sometimes I'll add a little Too Faced Instant Attitude Brow Lift (from Too Faced) right under my brow.

4. Face
Once my eyes are done, it's time to fix the rest of my face! I've found that by spending more time on my eyes, I actually end up using a lot less product on my face, and I end up looking better. I already have a little bit of coverage from my tinted moisturizer, so now I go after any problem areas.

I start by using my FACE Stockholm red and blue correctors (get them from Dermstore). Here's how to color correct your makeup. I only very lightly pat it just on the areas that need correction.

Next I apply concealer in a triangle under my eyes, around my nostrils and over any other imperfections. You can learn more about the triangle application in my concealer tips and tricks post. I have a couple of concealers that I like a lot (Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer, It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye, LA Girl Pro Concealer HD and Too Faced Absolutely Flawless Concealer.

Blending is usually necessary with concealer, mostly because I like those very pigmented concealers! I love my BeautyBlender (at Sephora). I just pounce it up and down over the area very quickly, the blending is fast and looks a lot better than when I use a brush.

Next I apply blush to the apples of my cheeks. Lately I've been in love with the It Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Palette (at ULTA). Another great option is the Urban Decay Naked Flushed in Native (at Sephora), a very pretty pink. Both of these palettes have blush, highlighter/illuminator and bronzer. I usually use the blush on my cheeks first then tap into the illuminator/highlighter, a tiny bit of the blush, and I go all over my face. You can't really see shimmer or color from this quick sweep on my forehead, nose and chin, but it really brightens my look!

Once my blush is on, I apply a little powder to my t-zone. Usually MAC Blot Powder (from Nordstrom). This tones down the blush quite a bit, so I sometimes add a little more over the powder. I've found that layering my blush under and over the powder adds a lot of time to the wear.

Finally, I add a little highlighter! This finishing step isn't something that shows up in pics, but in person makes me look much more awake. I've been using the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer (from J Crew) in my inner eye corner, on my cheek bones and down the center of my nose.

5. Lips
By this point, I've usually run out of time. Since I've already applied some basic balm, my lips are already moisturized. Then I'll run around all day with a tinted lippie or balm in my pocket and just apply as needed. My current absolute favorite is the Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Tint-In-Oil (from Sephora) in I Rose for You. It feels very hydrating and goes on looking basically clear. Over a few minutes it gets a bit darker. I think it's really easy to just swipe on whenever I need some.

I have this routine down so that it really does take roughly 10 minutes start to finish! What's your go-to makeup look when you don't have a lot of time?

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Beauty Spotlight Team Weekend Reads

Thanks to all of our readers for entering our Beauty Spotlight Team giveaway. We have chosen a winner and are waiting for a response from her. We hope that you'll continue following us now that you've found some new ways to do so. The Beauty Spotlight Team is proud to be working together with a diverse group of bloggers. We're sure there will always be posts you'll enjoy.

Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil is not only highly effective at removing every bit of makeup, but Helen from Lola's Secret Beauty Blog also discovered that it removes even the most resilient lipsticks and swatches! It's just amazing!

The Painted Rogue has emerged from the shadows of her adventuring conference, and wants to catch up with all her fellow beauty adventurers! To do this, she's released the latest edition of Answer Me these Questions Three...a Suitably Geeky Makeup Poll! Stop by and have your say!

Who doesn't love a new product from LUSH? Beauty Info Zone shares their latest and greatest.

Valentines Day may be over, but Pammy Blogs Beauty thinks you are still going to swoon over these Feb Beauty picks from Pixi Beauty!

Sunny from Mostly Sunny discovers the vibrant colors straight off the Burberry runway, as well as sharing her preliminary thoughts on the new Wet & Dry Silk Shadows! Check it out because you are in for a big surprise!

15 Minute Beauty has a quick and easy negative space nail art manicure that is so easy, even she can do it! You'll want to try it out as an accent nail right away!

Love Monster High? Then you NEED to see the new Darling Girl Ghoul School eyeshadow collection that Phyrra helped create!

Want your lips to make a statement? Perilously Pale shows us the new Marc Jacobs Beauty Le Marc Lip Creme lipsticks. Stunning, vibrant pigment and an incredibly long wearing formula every lipstick lover must try.

Update your style with this fantastic jewelry giveaway from Joseph Nogucci and Prime Beauty!

Shiny glittery nails are hot for spring and polish insomniac has some of the prettiest from FingerPaints 2015 collection.

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