Beauty Box: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

While I'm a huge fan of beauty products and am fascinated by highlighters and illuminators, I'm sometimes at a loss for how to actually use them. I recently discovered the Living Luminizer by RMS and quickly became obsessed, prompting me to harass my beauty-guru pal Krista for her favorite illuminating product. 

Luckily, Krista knows whats up and recommended a moisturizer from Laura Mercier. Read on, folks, and learn how to get that glowy, fresh-faced look without resembling one of these


Product Name: Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer

Price: $43/tube

What's It For? Evens out the skin in a soft, bright, and natural-looking way. 

Level of Difficulty (ie how difficult is it for the average bear to use): Easy! I use my fingers or a foundation brush.

Will it change my life? Yes! It adds a radiant glow that looks completely natural and fresh-faced.

Additional comments: I actually mix this with her Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer for a perfect balance of matte/shine. I tend to use more of the illuminating product on my cheekbones. I have tried a lot of highlighters, and this product looks the most natural to me. 

Sold! to the lady who's writing this post and, well, maybe some of you lovely readers.

Beauty Box: NeoStrata Ultra Smoothing Cream

This week on Beauty Box, Leontine Beauty recommends a smoothing cream that will make your skin feel like buttah. Recommended for nighttime use, this moisturizer might seem a little expensive at first but is well worth the price considering the end result:

Product: NeoStrata Ultra Smoothing Cream, AHA 10

Price: $40 / £24 for 1.4oz

What's It For? It's a "resurfacing" cream for your face, so it improves smoothness. 

Level of Difficulty (ie how difficult is it for the average bear to use):  Easy, but I recommend applying at night as it tingles a bit and can cause some redness. 

Will it change my life? Totally! I can definitely see a dramatic difference in my skin since I started using this in September. The skin on my face is so smooth, and I break out WAY less.

Additional comments:  It's a little pricey for the size. (I'm already on my second tube). However, it's SO worth it to me to have smooth, "younger-looking" skin. Bonus: It helps make my foundation go on so much more evenly!

Beauty Box: Jane Iredale Pencil Liner

Eyeliner has been my go-to makeup product since forever. Occasionally I'll  go sans liner, but I always end up looking 17 and feeling naked. Not like a naked 17 year old, just feeling naked and looking like a teenager. Moving on.

I'm always on the lookout for super fantastic eyeliner tips and tricks (this how-to from The Beauty Department on applying no-liner liner is my current fave), so needless to say I was glad to hear Krista's advice on her favorite pencil liner:

Product NameJane Iredale Pencil Liner in Basic Black

Price: $13

What's It For? Lining your eyes

Level of Difficulty (ie how difficult is it for the average bear to use): Easy

Will it change my life? If you are looking for a "clean" eyeliner that lasts...then yes.

Additional comments: Finding more natural yet effective eye makeup has proven difficult, but I'm so glad I finally found one that works well! Contains no synthetic FD&C dyes.

Next up? Finding a a clean mascara that stays on all day and doesn't smudge. Wish me luck!

Beauty Box: Intelligent Nutrients Pureluxe Conditioner

When it comes to winter skin care, we all have a few tricks up our sleeves. Maybe you use a heavy duty moisturizer, maybe you slather your your lips in Vitamin E (highly recommend this!), maybe you use a honey + milk face mask (this too!) or maybe you're just addicted to hand cream

As important as all of this is, it's equally important to remember your poor hair which is just as exposed to the elements as your skin. 

Moisturizing your hair and scalp is important, so a good conditioner is key. Here's the scoop on a natural conditioner that might set you back a few buckaroos but is beyond worth it:

Product Name: Intelligent Nutrients Pure Luxe Conditioner

Price: $20

What's It For? Conditioning the hair, body wash, shaving cream...

Level of Difficulty (ie how difficult is it for the average bear to use): Very easy

Will it change my life?  Probably not, but it will make your hair super shiny and smell amazing! (Editor's Note: So yes, that's a life changer.)

Additional comments:  This line is made by Horst Rechelbacher, the founder of Aveda, so you know dude knows what he's talking about. 

Beauty Box: The Wet Brush

Here's the deal: I never used to brush my hair. Like, ever. In fact, on a good day, my hair used to resemble a used-up doll's: slightly frizzy, weird kinks all over the place, tangles that would make your mom cry. 

And then I read this article which taught me that French girls brush their hair so I started brushing mine.

Since then I've had a slight obsession with brushes. Obviously, when I decided to start brushing my hair, I bought the cheapest one I could find and it's left me less than thrilled. Enter Krista, the SFF beauty resident who's shared her tips on a brand new brush that works on both wet and dry hair. Ooh la la.

Product Name: The Wet Brush

Price: $8.99

What's It For? Getting out tangles in wet (or dry) hair.

Level of Difficulty (ie how difficult is it for the average bear to use): Very easy

Will it change my life? Yes! No matter how tangled your hair is, it will literally glide though painlessly.

Additional comments: Your hair is in its weakest state when its wet, so it's very important to avoid breakage by using a tool like The Wet Brush to smoothly get out the post-shower tangles. For me, this works better than any large tooth comb I have tried. Take it in the shower too and brush your conditioner through your hair - it'll feels amazing afterwards.

Beauty Box: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

I've been a fan of Bragg's since Sprout & Pea first introduced me to their Amino Acids, which tastes JUST like soy sauce but is so, so much better for you - TRY IT, now.

But Apple Cider Vinegar? I had a few friends experiment with it in college, you know, but never tried it myself until recently.

Not only does it do wonders for your hair, but it's pretty darn good for your insides as well. Let's see what Krista, the Second Floor Flat in-house Beauty Expert, has to say: 

Product Name: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Price: $4.65 for 32oz

What's It For?  I use it as a conditioning rinse after I shampoo my hair.

Level of Difficulty (ie how difficult is it for the average bear to use): The important part is to mix it with water in a bottle for an easy application. I use a 3oz spray bottle and mix 20z of water with 1oz of ACV. I am sure there are many other ratios to use, but 2:1 works for me.

Will it change my life? It might change your hair, but it will surely help your wallet considering all the dough we spend on conditioner over the years.  

Additional comments:  I find this makes my hair super soft, and it supposedly balances out the PH of the scalp.  And don't be scared of the smell, I find it goes away as soon as my hair is dry!

That's the word from the natural beauty aisle, folks. What are your favorite not-so-obvious beauty remedies?

Beauty Box: Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap

Week two of Beauty Box, the new SFF series where hair-styling, make up-doing, beauty product-making Krista gives us the lowdown on some of her favorite beauty products in the industry. This week, the beloved Dr. Bronner takes the stage. 

PRODUCT: Dr. Bronner's Organic Rose Castile Liquid Soap

Price: $3.89 for 4oz

What's It For?  Apparently it has 18 uses, but I just use it as a body wash...for now.

Level of Difficulty (i.e. how difficult is it for the average bear to use): I have the liquid version in Rose and find it very easy to suds up. Some people even dilute it with water to get even more uses out of one bottle. 

Will it change my life? It might.

Additional comments:  If you're considering making the transition to the world of clean beauty, this is a great first step as there are many soaps, body washes, etc. that are packed with toxins. Considering that skin is the largest organ of the human body, it makes sense to to choose something natural, right? Dr. Bronner would be a great way to tip your toe into the world of beauty. Plus, it's not expensive.