Prevent the Damage of Gel Manicures with this Alternative Nail Polish

It’s confession time!

I have a love/hate relationship with gel manicures. I love how long they last and I hate the damage gel polish does to my nails. But, I recently found an awesome gel polish alternative – CND’s Vinylux nail polish. My nails are on the thinner side, and all too often nail technicians end up digging into my nail bed or pulling off a layer of my nail with the gel polish when it is removed. Does anyone else have this issue?!

Despite the damage, I have been in a rhythm of getting a gel manicure for a few times in a row and then giving my nails some time to heal afterwards by not having any polish on them. But trying to time that schedule with life events gets annoying, especially because gel manicures require you to get a nail technician to take the polish off (note: I tried doing this myself and it was not pretty!).

The game-changing gel polish alternative

Manicures are an indulgence that makes me feel pampered and gives me time alone to relax, so what’s a girl to do?

Surely there’s a way to get a manicure that will last and not damage my nails. But for so long, I have looked for a solution without finding anything that worked. Until a couple of weeks ago, I found a game-changing product. It’s too good not to share! I went to a new nail salon and discovered CND Vinylux Nail Polish.  This nail polish looks and lasts like gel nail polish, but acts like a regular nail polish.

Let me explain.

Applying CND’s Vinylux doesn’t involve the curing phase under UV lights that you have with gel manicures. It is applied just like a regular nail polish, and it come off the same way too. This is best part! There’s no soaking of your nails in acetone or asking the nail technician to stop digging into your nail bed as they scrape off the polish.

The only down side is that CND’s Vinylux does not stay for a full two weeks, like you can expect with a gel manicure. CND claims itself to be a weekly polish. However, I am pretty hard on my nails and I was able to keep Vinylux on for nine days with just a few chips around the edges of the polish.

 I love how long gel manicures last, but I hate the damage they do to my nails. I recently found an awesome gel polish alternative - CND's Vinylux

 

CND Vinylux Nail Polish in Cake Pop

I love the Cake Pop color for late summer or early spring, too. It has a touch of lavender in the light pink, which makes it different from a lot of pastels out there. CND has a ton of other colors though, if this one is not your cup of tea!

Do you have a love/hate relationship with gel manicures? Do you have a gel polish alternative product that you use? I would love to know if you ever tried CND’s Vinylux polish or if you have found a different solution to the damage from gel manicures. Share with me what nail polish brands and shades you enjoy as well.

Cheers!

Sarah Camille

P.S. This has seriously helped strengthen my nails!

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The Best Product to Set Makeup in the Summer

The Best Beauty Product for Setting Makeup in the Summertime

Summer is here, and while that means lots of time in the sun and hanging outside, it also means… SWEAT happens! I hate being sweaty, and since I’m assuming most of my readers do too, I am sharing the beauty product I use to prevent makeup from melting (or sweating) off my face. 

I’ve shared with you my favorite tinted moisturizer foundation, and this beauty secret is from the same brand – Laura Mercier. It’s their Translucent Loose Setting Powder.

Why it rocks…

This stuff is seriously magic. I have noticed over the years, that it is especially effective in the summertime. While that dewy look can be attractive on your tanned skin, there’s a fine line between dewy and sweaty. Hopefully you do not know this from experience, like I do (ugh)! This powder sets your face and continually absorbs oils, leaving your skin looking matte, even on crazy humid days. I remember getting in the car after walking several blocks in D.C. on a hot, August day. I was in work clothes and I felt sticky all over. But to my surprise, I pulled the visor down and my makeup was exactly where I had put it on my face that morning. And somehow, I didn’t look sweaty. That’s how awesome this stuff is!

How it works…

This soft, silky and smooth product should be applied after your foundation and concealer are on. Laura Mercier has a powder puff you can use for application, but I found that method was messy for me and resulted in too much powder on my face. A little goes a long way! I prefer to use a kabuki brush and push it into the powder. Then, I tap the brush several times until I see a small amount is left on the brush and I gently brush the powder into my face. I also use a smaller brush and apply it to my eyelids to set eye makeup. It’s particularly great at preventing your eye makeup from creasing. I use it year round, especially when I have a fancy night out or event and want to ensure my makeup stays put all night long.

I recommend Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder for people with combination or oily skin and to anyone who prefers a matte finish on their makeup. This powder will only enhance a matte foundation. And, like I said, if you’re trying to avoid that “makeup falling of your face in the middle of July” you need to consider trying this stuff out.

Have you used this setting powder or something similar? I’d love to hear, what you use during the summer, how much you like it and how you wear it.

Happy Monday & Cheers!

Sarah Camille

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Getting that Summer GLOW: Rodan + Fields Sunless Foaming Tan Review

An honest review of Rodan + Fields Essentials Sunless Foaming Tan

Hi friends!

Memorial Day weekend is a couple weeks away, and while it is most importantly a weekend to remember our military who sacrificed their lives, it is also an unofficial kickoff of summer. It’s often this time of year when I put on shorts for the first time and cringe when I see how pale my bare legs look. Cheers to all you out there who don’t care at all how pale you are!!

To take the edge off that cringeworthy moment, I often turn to sunless tanners. I swear, I try at least one new sunless tanning product each summer. I have never been very impressed by the higher end sunless tanning products because I feel they either aren’t worth the lengthy process or that they aren’t a good value for the results I got. My go-to sunless tanning product is often Jergen’s Natural Glow lotion because the color is pretty good and it is affordable ($10). But recently, my friend Emily, who is a consultant for Rodan + Fields, shared with me their Essentials Sunless Foaming Tan ($26) to try. So far, it’s been surprisingly effective as easy to use!

The best things about this product are – the value, easy application and the natural color! I noticed quickly that a little goes a long way. I used four pumps on each leg and two for each arm, and it doesn’t seem like I put a dent in it. I’m sure I could get more applications out of my Rodan + Fields  bottle than my usual Jergen’s lotion. So, the value of this product is really even with Jergen’s lotion. In addition, I applied my legs and arms in less than two minutes. The foamless tanning solution absorbed into my skin quickly and was easily applied evenly.

Then, after waiting the recommended two to four hours for the product to set in, I noticed how lovely the color was. It did not look orange at all. It truly looked like a sun-kissed glow. As a testament, Will was out when I put on the foamless tanner. When he arrived my tan had set in and he thought it looked nice and natural (score!).

My only gripe about this product is that because it is a light, clear, absorbing foam, it is hard to see exactly where you’ve applied. While a lotion takes longer, because it is a more substantial product, you can more easily feel and see where you’ve applied the lotion. So, there is a bit of a trade off for the quick application process.

  • A tip for the first time users: If you’re applying this Sunless Foaming Tan to prepare for an event. Apply it about 24 hours in advance and take a warm shower to gently wash your body. This way any little streaks or blotchy areas will be diminished.

I also really liked how the product faded with time, did not give me orange hands and did not bleed on sheets or towels. Bleeding is a problem I have had with many other tanning products, which can be really annoying. Overall, I am sure I’ll be using my Sunless Foaming Tan over the other comparables in my cabinet throughout this summer. The color and convenience factor really make this stuff standout.

I’d love to know if you have tried Rodan + Field’s Sunless Foaming Tan or any other Rodan + Fields product. This is the first R+F product I have tried, so I’m also curious if you all have any other recommendations from this brand.

If you’d like to know more about R+F’s sunless tanner or shop R+F products, check out Emily’s website for all the details.

Cheers!

Sarah Camille

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Beauty Face-Off: How do two popular hydrating masks compare?

Hi friends!

How is your week going? I have been a little more quiet than normal this week, but for good reason. Will and I got engaged last weekend!! It was truly amazing and part of me is still taking it all in. So while I’m working on a recap of that whirlwind weekend and the proposal, I wanted to share my thoughts on a two hydrating face masks I recently tried.

Find out how the Karuna Hydrating+ Face Mask and Boscia's Sake Brightening Hydrogel Mask Compare.

The Karuna Hydrating + Face Mask came in my spring FabFitFun box, which is a seasonal subscription box. If you want to know more, check out my post about FabFitFun and what was in my spring box. I was excited to try this face mask because my skin always feels dry this time of year (pretty sure that’s an effect of the cold winter air), and I was curious to see how it compares to Boscia Sake Brightening Hydrogel Mask, which I used a few times during the winter.

So, here’s the scoop! Karuna’s hydrating mask was easy to apply and use. There was no mess involved and the 20 minute application went by quickly. My skin absorbed the remaining gel quickly after I removed the mask. I applied the mask at night after I had washed my face and the following morning I decided to let me skin breathe and not use any makeup. Recently, my skin has some dry patches, but this product seems to have made them disappear for the time being!

My skin felt very refreshed and hydrated well after 24 hours of using this mask. In comparison, it reminded me a lot of Boscia’s Sake Brightening Hydrogel Mask. The Karuna Hydrating+ Face Mask sells in a pack of four for $28.  Boscia’s masks sell for $16 a piece, so Karuna’s masks are a better value. I also found Boscia’s masks were more difficult to put on since it was two pieces. At the same time, the two-piece mask makes it more accommodating to small and large faces.

Boscia’s hydrating mask has sake, antioxidants, peptides and plant extracts in it, which help prevent aging, reduce hyperpigmentation, brighten your skin and protect against free radical damage. In comparison, Karuna’s hydrating mask has hyaluronic acid and peptides to renew, aloe vera and chamomile to hydrate, and Chinese licorice and vitamin B to detoxify your skin. Since I don’t have hyperpigmentation or dull skin, it was difficult for me to tell if Boscia’s mask improved anything on that front.

Overall, the price and mask size are the only big differences between these products. I found the gel product and its effect on my skin to be extremely similar. I would say these products are tied in terms of how well they hydrated my face. I’d recommend both of these for anyone who needs a skin refresher. A hydrating mask like these can truly be a lifesaver for your skin. The best part it is, hydrated skin will diminish wrinkles and help your makeup go on flawlessly.

Have any of you used these masks? If you’ve used both, I’m curious if you prefer one over the other. Also, if any of you have dry skin like me, I’d love to know if you have any particularly helpful remedies.

Cheers!

Sarah Camille

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The Perfect Lip Pencil

pencil

It may not feel like spring weather will be here soon, especially those of us on the east coast. But with the spring season kicking off next week, I have to share one of my top favorite lip products. Lip products can be difficult to nail down, and often when you do find the right shade, the product has zero staying power.

This lip pencil is perfect for those of you who, like me, do not want to be reapplying something to their lips every 10 minutes. It’s Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Lip Waterproof Lip Liner. This lip pencil in the 14C Light Rosewood shade is so pretty and perfect for spring. I have a fair complexion so I’m sure it looks darker on me than it would on most, but this is a shade that will compliment a lot of different skin tones.

This product on this pencil is soft, so it goes on really smooth. As you can see below, I start by filling in the line around my lips. Then I fill in my lips from that line. Before you apply lip liner, or any lip product really, it is important your lips are moisturized and have been exfoliated recently. This will allow the product to look its best on you and stay longer.

One thing that makes this product by Make Up For Ever stand out is its  lip staying power, which is due to the waterproof formula. You can put this stuff on before dinner and drinks and still have it on your lips afterward. The product also allows you to build it up easily, if you are looking for a darker line around your lips. Of course, you can use this lip liner the traditional way (just lining your lip line, and filling it in with lipstick). However, I love the way this product looks when I use it to fill in my whole lip.

Do any of you use this technique? I’d love to hear if you have used this lip pencil and what your favorite lip product is.

Cheers!

Sarah Camille

 

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Best & Worst Products for Your Brows

Happy Monday friends! Before I dive in to my product reviews, I want to clarify that this post is catered to all you blondies out there. Since I have blonde brows, just keep in mind that the products I mention below are what worked best for me. That said, if you aren’t blonde, I’m confident several of these products will work for you, just in a darker shade. 😉

Some of you may not know this but my eyebrows (and eyelashes) are naturally quite blonde. The picture below is not my natural eyebrow color. What you see is a couple shades darker than the natural color of my brows. I found a few years ago that making them a darker helps frame my face and makes my blue eyes pop.


However, it took me months to figure out what product works best. Thanks to the full eyebrow craze that started a few years ago, there is a ridiculous number of brow products to choose from – gels, pencils, brushes. When I first started exploring these, it was hard to know where to begin.

Nonetheless, I have found a few standout products that I have had success with and a couple I would steer clear from.

Top of My List:

  1. Lancôme Modele Sourcils Eyebrow Groomer, in Chataig, $25
  2. Lancôme Powder Pencil for the Brows, in Taupe $27
  3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel, in Caramel, $22

 


Bottom of the Barrel:

  1. Maybelline New York Expert Wear Eye & Brow Pencil, in Blonde, $3
  2. Maybelline Eyestudio Brow Drama scultping Brow Mascara, in Blonde, $7

The Lancôme eyebrow groomer is hands down my favorite eyebrow product. It distributes so evenly throughout your eyebrows. The color is perfect, and the applocation process takes 20 seconds at most. Lancome’s pencil is also really nice. For special occassions, I use my Lancome pencil, followed by the eyebrow groomer. The Anastasia Beverly Hills brow gel works quite well and the color is really nice. In comparison to Lancôme’s eyebrow groomer, this brow gel is not quite as good at building up of you are trying to make yours brows look thicker. I’d imagine the Anastasia brow gel would be perfect for darker brows that already look fuller, but for me, I’m tempted to pick Lancôme over this one.

The Maybelline eyebrow pencil was particularly difficult for me to apply. I had to press really hard into my skin for anything to show up (ouch!). Maybelline’s brow mascara was also sub-par because the product did not really stay on my eyebrows no matter how many times I applied it. In fact one half of my eyebrow would end up lumpy with product while the other half would look bare — not a good look!

Have you used any of these products before? Do you have a favorite product for your brows? I’m also curious to know if any of you use clear brow gel because the ones I have tried don’t seem to do much at all for me.

Cheers to a great week!

Sarah Camille

P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates! 😊

 

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The Best Drugstore Mascara

It’s no surprise that local drugstores have some good quality makeup products, but mascara is one of those beauty products that can be hard to figure out. As a teenager, I was overwhelmed with the large variety that was available for a product that has a seemingly simple purpose – making eyelashes thicker, longer & darker.

Why is it so complicated?!

I’ve tried countless types of mascara, both drugstore and high-end, and so many of them seem so similar and ineffective. But I’m the past two years, I have repeatedly gone back to a drugstore mascara that works remarkably well. It’s L’Oréal’s Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara ($8).

My favorite thing about this product is the wand. So many mascaras mess this up, and if you don’t have the right wand, it doesn’t matter how good the product is. This wand is thin and long. The bristles are on the shorter side. You don’t have to worry about applying mascara on your eyelashes with a flimsy or thick wand.

I have heard a lot of beauty bloggers rave about Covergirl’s Lash Blast mascara, but for me this brand’s wand bends too much. The bristles also seem more flimsy in comparison to L’Oréal’s version. Some of you may prefer that, but I feel like I have an easier time getting mascara into the base of my eyelashes when I have a sturdy wand and brush.

The other great thing about this product is it’s staying power. In fact, this mascara stays so well that it can be difficult to get off. Overall, this is a positive factor m for me because I don’t feel the need to reapply during a long day. If you would rather not need a lot of eye makeup remover, I’d try the non-waterproof version.

Have you used this mascara or do you have a drugstore brand that’s your personal favorite? I’d love to hear about it.

Here’s to a fantastic week ahead!

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Is this Foot Peel the New Pedicure?!

A sensation in Japan that has been around since 1997, this foot peel phenomenon has gained popularity in the U.S. What’s so appealing (no pun intended!) about this foot peel? Well, it promises to remove the dead skin from your feet and give you super smooth feet with minimal effort.

I was given a Japanese version of this foot peel product a couple months ago and told that they are amazing. Still, I was skeptical. Could you really just put a gell-filled bootie on your feet and get soft feet just a few days later? Since the package was in Japanese, which I cannot read, I did some research, realized just how much people enjoy this product and decided to give it a try. Here’s the Japanese version I used, available on Amazon for $14.

So, I put the plastic-wrap booties on my clean feet. The gel was cold, but other than that I didn’t think much of it. After an hour, I took the booties off my feet and washed them off. Other than my feet looking like prunes, they looked and felt fine. I went to bed, crossing my fingers that I would not wake up with dead, foot skin all over my bed.

Sure enough, all was fine the next day and I remained skeptical that the foot peel would work on my feet. But five days later, I noticed the skin felt weird on the arch of my feet. My skin was peeling off! Honestly, it was pretty gross. So much so, I have decided not to include photos of what it looked like. No one needs to see that, and if you want to, you can check out google!

The peeling process took a couple days, and I wore socks for most of that time. Afterward, It was pretty amazing – the skin on my feet was SO smooth. I could see right away why this has gained popularity.

Similar products like Baby Foot, available on Amazon for $17, are the way to go if you want to give it a try. Target and Wal-mart also sell these now. I have also read that some people recommend soaking your feet before you put on the booties, some people leave them on for 90 minutes. Some women even put these things on their hands!

The best thing about these foot peels is the minimal effort and cost. It is less than a pedicure you’d get at a nail salon and it doesn’t involve salon razors, which can be too rough on your feet. To me, this seems like a safer and less-invasive option to get super smooth feet.

The worst thing is the peeling, which leaves little to be desired. This is a product I’d reccomend using in the winter or spring in preparation for sandal season. I could be wrong, but you probably don’t want to be walking around in flip flops with the skin peeling off your feet. The other negative for this product is the time involved. You do not get instant results, so you have to think ahead if you have a vacation coming up. I’d recommend trying this at least two weeks before you want to see results.

I’d love to hear if you have tried out a foot peel recently and what you thought of it. Or if you decide to try it, let me know what you think of the results.

Cheers!

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Tips for Nailing a Perfect Manicure at Home

When I was a little girl, painting my own nails was a BIG mess. More nail polish ended up on my hands than on my nails. But over the years, I have perfected this craft, and now painting my nails is a welcomed activity to relax and unwind at the end of a long day.


Here are a my tips for nailing a perfect manicure at home:

  1. Not too much! It’s important to make sure your brush isn’t loaded with nail polish. It should not be dripping. I recommend dipping the brush in all the way and then gently wiping the excess nail polish off twice, once on each side of your brush.
  2. Three strokes, you’re out! Aim to do your first stroke on one end, your second stroke on the other end and your last stroke down the middle. This can take practice, but three strokes is really all you need for one coat. And, the more you apply, the messier and more uneven the nail polish will get on your nails.
  3. Stay away from your cuticles. Leave a little space between your cuticles and where the polish starts. The end product will look much better. If you do hit your cuticles with the nail brush then just take a free, dry finger and drag your nail along that cuticle to take away any excess polish.
  4. Q-tips are your BFF for mess-ups. When you are done painting your nails, dip a q-tip in nail polish remover and wipe it around your nails to remove any mess-ups. I also remove cotton from the q-tip and will use the harder end to get any extra nail polish from under my nails. 
  5. Practice, practice, practice. Nailing a perfect manicure takes practice, but I guarantee you that after a few tries it will be much easier for you to paint your nails (Of course, it’s also important to remember that complete perfection is unrealistic ;-)). 
  6. Patience & cold water. Make sure you wait at least 30 minutes for your nails to dry. Once they’re dry, wash them under cold water to help ensure the polish has set. I also recommend putting on a favorite TV show, so the time flies by.

Hopefully you find these tips helpful. The nail polish I’m wearing in the photos above is Revlon’s Fashionista shade, which I have been loving for this winter. If you missed it, I shared last week my favorite nail shades for this winter. From my experience, Revlon, OPI and Essie stay on my nails the longest and the product will last a long time on your shelf.

If you have additional tips or tricks for nailing the perfect manicure, I’d love to hear them.

Cheers!

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Four Favorite Shades for Your Winter Manicures

Winter is in full force and we might get snow this weekend – fingers crossed! Since it is only fitting to have nails that compliment the season, I wanted to share  four of my favorite nail polishes and shades for a manicure in the winter.

 

  1. Dark Teal – Try Revlon’s Fashionista for a beautiful deep teal color that will go beautifully with an array of winter neutrals.
  2. Soft Purple – Check out Revlon’s Colorstay Gel Envy Hold ‘Em for a subdued purple that is bold, but soft and perfect for winter.
  3. Blush – Try Essie’s Eternal Optimist shade for a rose color that will perfectly compliment all the pale pink and neutral clothing that is currently trending.
  4. Grey – Check out Revlon’s Colorstay Gel Envy Ace of Spades for a dark grey shade that’s a great alternative to black nails this season.

I especially love these shades because they compliment my winter clothes, which consists of shades of grey, navy, cream, and several pastels. Below are photos of me wearing Essie’s Eternal Optimist and Revlon’s Fashionista polishes. 

I’d love to hear if you have any similar nail polish shades in your docket or if you prefer to sport something totally different during the winter season.

Here’s to a happy weekend. Cheers!

Sarah Camille

 

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