neutrogena

“I Do” VoxBox | UNBOXING

Not long ago, someone suggested that I create an account on Influenster.com  – and oh my gosh, I am SO glad that I did!

What is Influenster? “Influenster is a community for social media ‘hotshots’ to share news, products, and reviews”

Aside from the fun I find in reviewing products and earning “badges” on the site – I’ve been given a ton of opportunities to be sent free items for review! I’ve passed on quite a few, because I want to be sure that the types of items I agree to review are products I may actually use. Just last week, I qualified for one of their fun campaigns and I received my first VoxBox!

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Favorite Summer Products

Living in New England, we have the luxury of experiencing four completely different seasons. While I’m definitely not one to smile at the thought of snow, I must admit – in some weird way, I do look forward to it every year. Each season means something different to me, and last year I began a few  traditions to fully embrace each one. However, my main rule is no jumping the gun! Meaning, it may finally be September, but if I’m still wearing sundresses & sandals – it’s too early for a pumpkin spice coffee & apple picking!

With that said, it is inevitable that Summer is slowly coming to an end, and I’ve begun cleaning out my closet, bedroom, and my makeup drawers to prepare for all of the amazingness that is Fall! In doing so, I’ve come across quite a few empty products that served me so well this season, and I wanted to share! So without further ado, here are some of my…

summer faves

airbrush
Airbrush Legs Makeup. I discovered these products over a year ago & still swear by them! They can be found in any drugstore, Walmart, Target, etc. and they range in price from about $10-$15. They give the best instant tan! Just make sure that you are applying in the bathroom to avoid any messes.
arbonne
Arbonne Made in the Shade Self-Tanner. My Aunt had purchased this and wasn’t much of a fan, so she gave it to me. I totally lucked out, because not only did I find this stuff to be amazing, this bottle usually retails for about $30! It’s not instant, but I would shower & exfoliate before bed and then apply, never failing to wake up in the morning with the best sun-kissed glow! I rarely spend so much on a product, but I nearly used this entire bottle and will SURELY be purchasing another one very soon!
cc scrub
Clean & Clear Deep Clean Action Exfoliating Scrub ($5-$6 in most drugstores). I fell in love with this face wash in college & have swapped it in and out of my beauty routines throughout the year. This Summer, it was my go-to! I definitely prefer face washes with some kind of scrub or exfoliant in them, I feel like it helps to clean out my pores of all makeup residue. This wash in particular leaves your face feeling cool & totally refreshed.
coil
Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil (About $6 at any drugstore) By now you SHOULD know that I am a cuticle oil junkie. I stash bottles, pens, and balms at my desk, in my purse, by my bed and everywhere in-between. I love to keep this oil at work because it’s easiest applied when sitting. I’ll coat my nails every hour or so, and it helps to keep nails/cuticles super hydrated & strong. I went through 2 bottles this Summer!
jergens
Jergens Natural Glow + Firming Daily Moisturizer. (About $8-$10 at any drugstore). While I am not a huge Jergens fan, mainly because of that lingering odor, this firming lotion smells & works amazing! It has almost a birthday cake/vanilla icing scent to it. If I really wanted some deep color, I would apply it at night mixed with the Arbonne spray above.
lotion
Sally Hansen Nails & Cuticles Hand Creme ($5-$6 at any drugstore). I always have hand lotion on me – and this one is great to keep in toe. Anything that moisturizes & is beneficial for your nails is A-OK in my book.
masclotion
Maybelline Falsies Flared Volum’ Express Mascara ($6-$7 at any drugstore) AMAZING mascara! I have naturally long lashes & am usually not phased by any mascara, but this stuff is incredible! I’ve already picked up two more tubes. CVS Brand Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 ($8-$9) SPF in your lotion is key for the Summer. This lotion is a dupe of a Neutrogena product & works just as well. I have combo skin, and this balances it just perfectly. I recently picked up another bottle for Fall 🙂
nyc
NYC Appleicious Glossy Lip Balm ($2-$4 at drugstore) these are my new favorite lip balms! Super moisturizing & add just enough color & shimmer. I just finished my second one. I tried the Chocolate Apple & Big Apple Red flavors.
vase
Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer – Aloe fresh ($6-$9 at drugstore) Saved the best for last! This is a quick, convenient, continuous-spray lotion that moisturizes deeply and absorbs instantly. Leaves your skin soft & not the least bit greasy. I could not swear by this product any more – so amazing for Summer when moisturizing is at an all time high. I literally took it with me everywhere!

Phew. That seemed like quite the list, but I was really impressed with each and every one of these products!

Have you tried any of my Summer Faves? What products were you loving this year? Let me know! 🙂

How I Beat Acne

I have such sympathy for those who struggle with acne and are consistently trying to achieve clear skin, because I’ve been there. It can be one of the most difficult, and frustrating beauty challenges to face…especially when those who’ve never dealt with skin problems are quick to criticize. I struggled with cystic acne towards the end of high school and for a couple years while I was in college, and it honestly put me into a slight depression.

Before I move on, let me clarify that while my skin was bad, it was not nearly as severe as others have suffered. I wish I had quality pictures to share with my face completely stripped of any and all makeup- but to be honest, I did everything in my power to not be photographed- so the pictures I was able to find are not 100% accurate of my skin at the time.

Me in my senior year of high school after a softball game. You can see some of my active acne, as well as many of my scars.

I was a clean person, I took excellent care of my skin, and just could not understand why it wouldn’t clear up. I tried every product under the sun (Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, Clearasil, Cetaphil, Dove, Biore, Aveeno, ProActiv..the list goes on), I used a handful of different prescription creams and face washes from my dermatologist- (benzaclin and tazorac worked for a while, but I ended up with a crazy allergic reaction- half of my face was swollen for 2 days!),  I concocted every home remedy I could find on the internet (crushed Tylenol pills mixed with lemon juice to reduce redness, tomato face masks…), I tried tanning, I tried completely avoiding the sun (definitely a buzz kill during my Summer beach vacation) I drank tons of water…but still nothing. My hormones were not going to let up. I strongly considered Accutane, but was turned off by it’s ridiculously strict rules and harsh side effects.

This was taken during my sophomore year of college. I was tanning a lot during this time.

I wish I could tell you that I found a miracle OTC product that cleared my skin up overnight, but that was not the case, and I went through a lot of trial and error before finding a solution.

In my Junior year of college, I decided to start taking birth control pills- I had been so against birth control for the longest time, I didn’t want to take any kind of medication that would alter something natural, but I opted to try it for its promise to clear up my skin. I had exhausted every other opportunity.

I began taking Necon 1/35 – the generic contraceptive for Ortho-Novum 1/35 in the Fall of 2008.

Necon 1/35

I quickly began to see results. My skin wasn’t breaking out as badly, or frequently as it had been.

FALL 2008: A couple of weeks after I started taking Necon 1/35
SUMMER 2009
FALL 2009
WINTER 2009: Completely clear!

A little over a year after starting Necon 1/35 my skin had fully recovered. Today I occasionally deal with a major pimple or two, but I’ve developed a skin care routine that has helped me to maintain an overall clear complexion.  A couple rules that I live by:

1) NEVER go to bed without washing your face.

I scrub my face every single night with St. Ives apricot scrub. It's the only facewash that actually feels like it works.

2) TONE!

Never underestimate using a toner!

3) Always moisturize!

I usually tan my face at night (this is totally optional) many people would disagree with using tanning products, but I find it helps to even out my skin-tone before morning.

When I opt out of tanning lotion, I prefer to use Ponds Dry Skin cream. It keeps my face super hydrated all day/night.

Taking care of your skin is a lot of work. It can be expensive, time consuming, and tedious, but it is important! If I could only secure one physical beauty attribute- it’d be a clear face. Like I said, I feel for anyone who struggles with acne.

If you currently take a birth control- check with your gynecologist that it is also beneficial for your skin. I’ve recommended Necon 1/35 to a couple of friends and they have seen incredible results as well. It truly saved my skin, and was not as difficult as committing to Accutane or other prescription medications.

A recent picture! (I may be a little gummy..lol) but my skin has been doing excellent 🙂

I wish anyone struggling with clear skin lots of luck!

Do you have a story about your journey to clear skin? What helped you beat acne? Do you have any favorite products?

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