Spring Cleaning For Skin: My Nighttime Skincare Routine

*IMPORTANT* This post is NOT sponsored, I just really like these products. After writing this post, I reached out to Dermalogica to do a product giveaway for you guys, and they happily agreed! Go to this post on my Instagram to win $140 worth of Dermalogica products!

As we start moving into warmer weather again (fingers crossed!), I think now is as good a time as any for us all to review how our skin is doing, what we like, what we don’t like, and what we want to start focusing on. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. YOUR SKIN IS VERY IMPORTANT. You need to treat it with the upmost respect because if you don’t, that bitch will turn on you so fast your head will spin. I accidentally fell asleep with my makeup on for ONE NIGHT about two months ago, and a battled a breakout for two weeks after that. It’s just not worth it. You’ll lose, every time.

That said, I’ve been working with a new nighttime skincare routine for the last month or so, and it’s been going extraordinarily well so far. I’m not a millionaire, so consider this the poor girl’s version of a luxury skin routine.

 

Makeup Removing Balm

I did an entire post on this makeup remover back in October because I loved it so much. This makeup removing balm by Clinique is the only stuff I’ve found that helps me take off all my makeup – that includes my waterproof mascara – without irritating my skin or ripping my eyelashes out. I’ve used this remover every. damn. day. since the beginning of October, and I still have half the container left. I am OBSESSED you guys! It doesn’t make my skin feel greasy at all – it just makes it soft. Apparently using a makeup removing balm before washing your face is all the rage now, thanks to K-Beauty. So now you’re in the know – you’re welcome.

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Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm: Clinique, $30

 

Face Wash

Dermalogica… man, you guys know how to make a product. I’m a big fan of their Daily Microfoliant and here’s why: It’s a powder. You can travel with it in your carry on and not worry about the size. Toss it in an overnight bag and not worry about it spilling everywhere. It’s the bees knees. You apply it to a damp face, and only need a little bit. The only downside is that if you’re not careful, you might end up pouring out more than you wanted to – so just be careful! Otherwise, my skin is squeaky clean, exfoliated, soft and ready to take on the next step – moisturizing! It’s a little pricey, but you get a lot of product ($57 for the 2.6 oz bottle, $15 for the 0.45 oz bottle). WORTH. IT.

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Daily Microfoliant: Dermalogica, $15

Face Oil + Roller Combo

I really have no idea what prompted me to pick this up from Marshall’s, because the idea of adding oil to my face sounds like a nightmare. But it smelled good, and I’d seen a handful of beauty bloggers post about using oils on their faces in the past, so I figured I’d give it a go. Turns out, I LOVE IT. I think that because it’s so hydrating, it actually keeps my breakouts to a minimum. I’ve been using it with this face massager thing I bought at ELF for like $8.00 and massaging it into my face for 5-10 minutes every night while I binge of re-runs of RHONY, and I’m loving its work so far. Also: when I say massaging, I mean that I’m doing it with an actual tool that I picked up from ELF Cosmetics. The less you touch your face with your hands the better. I’ve heard of plenty of people using Jade Rollers, but tbh, I’m cheap and don’t wanna buy one at the moment. Don’t judge me.

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Facial Massager: ELF Cosmetics, $4   —   Face Oil: Target, $6

 

Castor Oil

This stuff is the bees knees. I ordered some off of Amazon after reading about the benefits it has for eyelashes, and I’m impressed. I swipe some across the roots of each eye’s upper lashes, and then also on my eyebrows for good measure because eyebrows are v. important. I’m seeing a lot of growth in those areas, and noticing that they’re coming in thicker and healthier. LOVE.

Castor Oil: Amazon, $10

 

Dermalogica Sleep Cocoon Mask

I was sent a free sample of Dermalogica’s Sleep Cocoon mask by Influenster in their marketing efforts to get feedback and reviews on the product. To start, this review is 100% my own thoughts and opinions, and I wasn’t paid by anyone to write this- keep that in mind.

I want to bathe in this stuff. I thought it would be a bunch of hyped up BS like most sleep masks are, but I can admit when I’m wrong – and I was WRONG. After I use the face oil and massage it in, I apply one pump of this sleep mask onto my fingers and work it into my skin (use an extra pump to cover your neck). It’s scented with lavender, and it instantly puts me in a relaxed, sleepy state of mind. I actually wait until I’m ready to actually go to bed before I apply it because that’s how relaxing it is. I’ve been waking up with crazy good skin every morning since I started using it. Coincidence? Maybe, but pretty much definitely not. I also feel like I need to call out the price. YES, it is definitely pricey. I do feel it’s worth it though – You only need 1 pump and you get about 100 pumps per container. If you’re going to splurge, this is the product to do it on.

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Sleep Cocoon Mask: Dermalogica, $80

Face Shaving

I posted something about this a while back, but I wholeheartedly still believe it’s mega-relevant. Contrary to what some people will tell you, shaving your face to get rid of peach fuzz will NOT make the hair grow back coarser, thicker or darker. I’ve been doing this for years, and I still have blonde, fine peach fuzz. The same amount that I’ve had since I was a kid. Doing this is excellent for exfoliating for obvious reasons – you’re getting rid of not only the hair, but also dead skin, makeup that may be more difficult to get off with just remover, and it brightens up your complexion. My makeup goes on absolutely perfectly for at least a week after because there’s nothing impairing the application. NOTE: This is NOT something you need to do every day – I only do it every few weeks. This is like a fun little bonus step to throw in there when you’re feelin’ yourself.

ZLtSTK

Tea Tree Oil: Amazon, $11   —   Tinkle Eyebrow Razors: Amazon, $5

That’s my beauty update for the time being but I’ll continue to update you with new products as I find them. Do you have any must-try products? Tell me about them! xo, AJ

 

At-Home Teeth Whitening: Does it Work?

TBH, I really feel like 2018 has been off to a great start for me. Looking back at Q1, I have a few complaints, but they completely fall to the wayside when I think about my wins. And let’s get real, sometimes we get so wrapped up in the things that are going wrong, we forget to really be thankful for the things that are going really right. So I’m going to take this opportunity to list out some of my Q1 wins. Here we go!

  • Completed a round of Whole30 (aka Mostly30-  anyone who’s been following me the last few months knows about this haha!)
  • Maintained a close + healthy friendship with my ex boyfriend (how often do you hear that happen?!)
  • Pushed myself out of my comfort zone and took pole dancing classes
  • Attended my first Blogger Brunch and met some seriously badass women
  • Traveled to Mexico and Costa Rica (I promise you, these posts will get uploaded one day.. )
  • Got a new job that came with a promoted title, which is something I’ve been working really hard on
  • Gone on lots of dates – whether they were good or bad, they continuously allow me to meet new people and improve my interpersonal skills

Dang y’all, I’ve been BUSY! One thing I’ve also been wanting to do for a while is whiten my teeth. It’s actually ridiculous now that I think about it to have that on my to-do list, but it’s important to me! I’m always mindful of my smile, because I’m self-conscious over the fact that I never had braces. I don’t have crooked teeth exactly, but they’ve never been the ultra-straight, cookie-cutter chicklets that everyone with braces has. So keeping them white has always been important to me. Something I’m complimented on a lot is my smile, but I honestly have no idea if that’s because A) guys will compliment you on anything if they think it’ll bring them a step closer to sleeping with you, B) my smile itself just happens to be nice or C) I’m just a friendly person? Regardless, I wasn’t feeling very confident in the shade of my set, so I partnered with Smile Brilliant to do something about it!

To be clear, this is certainly not the first whitening attempt I’ve made. I’ve tried a handful of other products.

  • Crest Whitening Strips: I felt like they were over-priced for flimsy bits of paper that didn’t really work well and tasted terrible. I didn’t notice a lot of change in my coloring when I used those
  • Atlanta Express Smile: I’ll admit it, I gave in to Brielle + Kim Biermann while they were hawking those kits like nobody’s business. With their codes, the LED light kit wasn’t expensive. But it showed. It was a pain in the ass to have big LED light hanging out of my mouth for an extended period of time. I legit drooled everywhere while actually using it because it leaves your mouth wide open. It was just weird, and I didn’t like it.
  • Charcoal: You’ve seen it, there’s no way you haven’t. It’s been flooding Facebook + Instagram for at least a year now. That weird black charcoal powder that you brush your teeth with and leaves you with a whiter smile. Yup, bought that too. I will tell you, it definitely makes your smile whiter, at least temporarily. But the application is ABYSMAL. I’m sure that there are plenty of medical reasons why it’s not good for you, but I don’t even care. The reason you should not get this product is because you will never, ever, ever, ever be able to apply this cleanly. First of all, you need the tiniest amount ever, and there’s no way to apply that small of an amount to your toothbrush, because when you stick a wet toothbrush into a jar of black powder, you are absolutely going to get too much product. Blame it on science, idk. But you will get this powder all of your sink, your clothes, your face, your floor… it’s a disaster. And also, it gets stuck in the crevices between your teeth and your gums, leaving a weird outline that you then have to go in and floss over several times to get it out. Just please believe me on this and save yourself from the pain.

That said, I wasn’t overly confident that using Smile Brilliant would be any different, because my expectations have been shattered in the past. But I was willing to give it a try, just to see. Here’s a step by step of my experience:

  1. I received a kit in the mail with un-molded trays, catalyst paste, base paste, whitening gels and desensitizing gels. I was instructed to use the pastes by mixing them together quickly, inserting them into the un-molded trays, and then inserting the trays into my mouth so that they would get impressions of my teeth
  2. Once I did this correctly (there’s a guide that comes with your kit that shows you what a correct impression looks like and what an incorrect one looks like), I ran the trays under cold water to set the impressions and mailed them back to the Smile Brilliant lab (free shipping!) to have my custom trays made.
  3. Once the lab received them, they took about a week to use my impressions to make my custom whitening trays, and then mailed them back to me.
  4. After that, the real fun began! In my kit, there were 3 whitening gels and 3 desensitizing gels. Each gel gives you 3-4 uses depending on how much you use (I used four applications per syringe). It’s so easy to use. You just squeeze a line from the whitening syringe directly onto the trays, and then insert them into your mouth for 1-3 hours. I usually stuck to just an hour, given time restraints with other things I had going on.
  5. Since the trays are molding specifically to your mouth, it’s like having a fitted jacket over your teeth. You can still have normal conversations with people (with a small lisp) since you don’t have a giant LED light hanging out of your mouth. And there’s minimal product involved, so there’s no mess or cleanup involved. I would leave the whitening trays in for about an hour, and then remove and wipe down my teeth. SO easy.
  6. The next step is important, especially if you have sensitive teeth. I didn’t use the desensitizing gel the first couple of times that I used the whitening gel, and my teeth started to hurt a little bit the next time I would use the gel. So the obvious fix for this was to use the desensitizing gel. This one is applied the exact same way that the whitening gel is, right after you use the whitening gel, and only needs to stay in for 15-30 minutes. I noticed an immediate difference after I used it. No more sensitivity for me! If you’re finding that you’re getting any pain, I highly recommend using this.
  7. After using both gels, I’d simply wash out the trays and put them back into my little carrying case. Insanely easy, virtually no mess or clean-up required.

Before

After

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So much more confident in my smile!

I have 100% noticed a difference in my tooth shade since using Smile Brilliant. I think I’ve done about 10-12 whitening sessions (I would do it 2-3 times per week), and my smile just looks cleaner. I’m super happy with the results! If I’m being honest, I’ve taken some newer pictures to update my Bumble profile since I finished my whitening sessions, and at least four guys have commented on my pearly white smile. Yaaaassss, ladies!

And guess what?! I have a discount code for you!

Click here  and use code “thelaughingblonde15” for 15% off your order!  But even better than that, I’m also doing a giveaway! From 4/12-4/18, click here and you’ll be entered to win a $149 whitening kit (the same one I used for this post). It’s open to anyone in the US, UK, Australia and Canada, so get to it!

That said, I’d say that Q1 of 2018 has definitely been a win for me. Let’s kick off spring with taking care of ourselves and our smiles. If you have any questions about Smile Brilliant, I’m having to talk more! Shoot me a message or leave me a comment below!

xo, AJ 

Face Mask Review- Just in Time for Black Friday

Hey babes! I’m back, and this time I’m bringing you a week’s worth of reviews for facemasks. Winter is right around the corner, and nothing gets my goat more than having my makeup cracked and peeling on my face by noon because of dry skin.

BONUS: I’m posting this just in time to get in on some Black Friday + Cyber Monday sales! Check them out + let me know what you think – and if you have a favorite mask that wasn’t mentioned, PLEASE comment me with a link – I’m dying to get the most hydrated skin possible!

Day 1: JJ Young Pore Bubble Mask – $16.99 from CVS

The Rundown: 3.5 // 5 stars. Not super hydrating, but it definitely minimized my pores. And tbh, I really liked the bubbles. It’s the little things.

Day 2: JJ Young Pore Glow Mask – $14.99 from CVS

The Rundown: 3.75 // 5 stars. More hydrating than the first JJ Young mask that I used. Your skin will feel fresh after you use this – it reminds me of how the inside of your mouth feels after you use Listerine if that makes sense?

Day 3: Laneige Mini Pore Waterclay Mask – $25 from Sephora

The Rundown: 4.5 // 5 stars. I don’t find this to be that hydrating, but it amazing for cleaning out the dirt in your pores, and awesome for exfoliating.

            Garnier Skin Super Hydrating Facial Mask – $14.31 for a pack of 6 from Amazon

The Rundown: 3 // 5 stars. The mask is inexpensive, so you get what you pay for. If your’e in a bind, this will still add some moisture to your skin, but it feels more watery than lotion-y.

Day 4: Peach Slices Soothe Mask – $2.49 from CVS

The Rundown: 4 // 5 stars. I LOVE this new brand! I’ve tried a few other products from this company and continue to have a great experience. Very hydrating and relaxing.

Day 5: Sephora Rose Sleeping Mask – $4 from Sephora

The Rundown: 5//5 stars. This was easily my favorite! I woke up with my skin looking fresh + fabulous and basically glowed throughout the day. The only annoying thing is that your face is a little sticky before bed, but the payoff is worth it.

Day 6: Sephora Algae Sheet Mask – $6 from Sephora

The Rundown: 4 // 5 stars. Sephora does a great job with their sheet masks. They’re pricier than the other sheet masks I did this week, but I noticed my skin loved it.

 

 

 

The Clinique Challenge

Hiiii babes! I’m so sorry I’ve been absent the last few weeks. No word of a lie, I’ve been pulling crazy hours at my office, often staying there until 10pm to make sure I’m keeping my head above water. There’s been a lot of transition at work for me lately, but I’m super excited about it! I’ve gone from working almost exclusively on The Bump (btw, I know more about strollers, baby carriers and breast pumps than I thought I ever would), to working with some really cool accounts on The Knot! Think Dyson, Crate & Barrel, Kohl’s etc. It’s a ton of work, but I’m so ready for it!

Anyways, I’ve put together this Vlog for you because I got dozens of messages after my beachy hair video to put another video together where I’m basically just talking to myself haha. TBH I feel super weird and like I’m being judged by everyone who walks by me thinking I’m taking excessive amounts of snapchats, but BYEEEE Felicia! (And also, if you’re one of the people who saw me talking to myself while staring at my camera, give ya girl a follow @thelaughingblonde).

Yes, I’ve been crazy busy, but this video was too important to pass up! Clinique is doing an initiative for the month of October where they’re donating $10 anytime someone posts a photo or video of them taking their makeup off AND uses the following 3 hashtags: “CliniqueDonates, “TakeTheDayOffChallenge, PinkRibbon25” – they’re donating up to $250k!! You DON’T have to use their Take The Day Off product- any makeup remover of any brand will do (or soap and water!) so get to posting, ladies!!  XO, AJ


How to Get My Beachy Waves Hair Look in Less Than 10 Minutes

Hi babe! I know you’re probably busy drowning yourself in PSLs and dragging out your uggs from storage, so I’ll keep this short & sweet. The two most common things that I get messages about are about my hair and about starting a YouTube channel. So I’ve combined both in this post with a video on how to get my signature beachy waves look (in less than 10 minutes!).

This is the first time I’ve ever made a video public, so don’t judge too hard haha. Let me know what you think! And if you try this at home, make sure you send me pictures!