How to Get That Summer Glow

I love this time of year when it comes to makeup looks: less is more abounds and everyone is keen on a bronzy, glowy, dewy look. I think that’s a fun and flattering look so I embrace this! Here are some products I reach for when I want that summer time glow ๐Ÿ™‚


A major way to get glowy is with a highlighting makeup primer. I use these year-round for a “lit from within” healthy glow, but tend to really play this up during the summer.

If you want a major highlight, look no further than the Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter. (Sent to me by Influenster.) I have the shade Dew You?, which is described as a golden peach. This is, frankly, a little bit dark for my fair/light skin. I find it works best as a primer under foundation than dabbed on top of the foundation. The packaging is luxurious glass with a nice pump. If you have deeper skin, Marc Jacobs recently released another shade that would suit you. If you’re really fair, you should probably skip this one.

The Laura Mercier Radiance Primer really does give a radiant glow. It’s much more subtle than the Marc Jacobs highlighter so it’s appropriate for any day, any situation in my opinion. The tube packaging is easy to use. Laura Mercier is available loads of places (Sephora, Macy’s, Nordstrom, etc.) so you can often find a gift with purchase to include a travel size of this primer (as I have pictured) to test it out. I’ve used a full sized tube in the past so I was glad to get my hands on this mini.


Becca also does great liquid highlighting products. Their Backlight Priming Filter is great, and they have several shades of their Liquid Highlighter so you can find the shade that suits your skin tone. Since a little goes a long way, I suggest looking for a kit like this one to get a smaller version. I have minis of the shades Opal and Moonstone (pictured) from similar sets. I love that these have wands so I can stripe across the top of my cheekbone and pat in.


It’s hard to resist the beauty of a pressed powder highlight. I have a few that I love rotating between. The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer is a cult classic and probably the highlighter I’ve had the longest. It’s versatile enough to build up or keep relatively subtle, and it would work well as an eyeshadow. The Balm (also available at Kohl’s) often runs great promos and I’ve seen it on Hautelook so you can get a good deal on it. The full sized product will last you forever.

This cute baby Laura Geller baked highlighter is pretty subtle; very wearable for every day. I believe it only comes in this one shade, which would be best for medium skin tones or lighter.

This isn’t the best photo, but here is a shot of the products swatched:


(Top to Bottom: The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer; Laura Geller baked highlighter; Laura Mercier radiance primer; Becca liquid illuminator in Moonstone; Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter in Dew You?.)

Don’t forget about the rest of your body!

The Tatcha luminous dewy skin mist is another “cult classic” product. A few years ago, every Youtuber I followed was raving about it and it put Tatcha on the map, at least for me. It definitely leaves a dewy finish so if you have oily skin, I suggest finding a tester at Sephora to make sure it doesn’t make you look greasy. One nice thing is that you can find the travel size in several sets, like this one.


There are lots of fun shimmery body oils out these days, but this one from Herbivore is really nice. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good shot of how it looks on the skin, but it’s noticeable enough to make you glow without looking glittery or weird.

What’s your favorite way to get that summery glow?


April Empties

Here are my very belated April empties! I didn’t use up too much last month, but I have a good feeling about May and June ๐Ÿ˜‰



1.ย ย Tatcha luminous dewy sheet mask – I did a separate review of this mask. It didn’t wow me, especially for $12. Then again, I’m not a die-hard fan of the luminous dewy skin mist, and I’m also not that into sheet masks so I may not be the best person to review it. Value =ย  $12.


2.ย  Tatcha water cream sample – I have a full size of this that I won in a giveaway recently. It’s beautiful and I’m enjoying it in the warmer weather.

3.ย  Since Farmacy deep moisture sheet masks were in my S.O.S. Skincare post, you can imagine that I like them ๐Ÿ™‚ Value = $9

4.ย  Origins mega mushroom treatment lotion sample – A number of my Instagram friends love this lotion so I picked up a sample at Sephora. Calling it a “lotion” is not a great name; it is more of a toner with a watery consistency like an essence. I enjoyed it and would consider getting the full size in the future, maybe after I finish my Fresh rose deep hydration toner.

5.ย  Tata Harper resurfacing mask – I have had several little samples of this and every time I enjoy it more and more. I recently started using it, per the brand’s suggestion, mixed with the regenerating cleanser as “flash facial.” I picked up a kit from Sephora during the VIB sale that includes the full size, but I don’t see it online. Value = $15.50

6.ย  Paula’s Choice 10% niacinamide booster – With regular use I could see diminished pores so I would have repurchased but my friend Lara (@myfairskincare) kindly sent me her 10% niacinamide from The Ordinary so I’m using that for now. Value = $42



7.ย  Korres whipped body butter in Japanese rose – I love the regular Japanese rose body butter and every other Korres body butter I’ve tried, but this was a miss. I picked it up at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s (where I usually buy Korres products) a while back. I liked it at first. The texture is a little lighter than their standard body butters, but not a “whipped” texture so the name isn’t really accurate. Part way through the tube, the product started separating so there would be oil and lotion separately each time you squeezed. I’m not sure if it was getting old or if that’s a flaw with this formula. I can’t even find it online to link it (except on eBay) so it may be discontinued and mine had just gotten old. Value = $12

8.ย  Tree Hut shea sugar scrub in Hawiian kukui – This is a great budget scrub. There are lots of scents to choose from, many of which are pretty sweet. I liked this more floral one when I sniffed them at my local Ulta. The sugar granules are larger. You get a good scrub without it being too abrasive. The only downside was I wasted some product because the consistency was sort of jelly-like and inevitably when I scooped some scrub out and went to apply to my body, it would get sorta stuck to my hand and then fall on the bottom of the shower instead of my skin. Maybe it’s just me? I would repurchase but there are plenty of other scrubs I like as well or better. Value = $8

9.ย  Trader Joe’s shea hand cream – This is obviously trying to be a dupe for the L’occitane shea hand cream, and it’s a pretty good effort at being one. Although it says it has 20% shea butter, it didn’t feel quite as thick as the L’occitane version. It has a similar texture, smell, and packaging. I don’t recall the exact price as I won this one in a different giveaway (thanks @glow_upyourgame!) but I’m sure it’s under $10. Most of Trader Joe’s beauty products don’t stick around for long so if you’re near a store, pick this up soon! Value = $8


10.ย  As much as I liked the Trader Joe’s hand cream, there’s just no substitute for the L’Occitane ones to me. I prefer the scented ones, but the original shea is great too. These tiny ones aren’t available for purchase separately (I’ve linked the next largest size) but they’re in GWPs all the time so I always have one in my bag. Value = $2

11.ย  Pacifica blood orange body butter – I LOVE this scent. I’ve been using it for years. I like a lot of the Pacifica body butters, which have a nice mid-weight feel to them, but the blood orange scent is, by far, my favorite. Value = $5

Haircare & Makeup

12.ย  Living Proof night cap overnight protector – This feels like a summer product to me because I apply to wet hair, French braid, and let it air dry. My hair is naturally wavy but it needs product to air dry and look decent. If I use this at night and sleep with wet hair (hence why this is a summer product to me), my hair may not be completely dry in the morning but I can take it out of the braid with nice, loose waves. I can even re-braid at the end of the day and get a second day out of the style. Even if I don’t re-braid, the product helps keep the style from looking frizzy. The only downside is that I can only get 2 days out of a style when I’ll get 4-5 days out of a blow dry, but this is great for days when it’s just too darn hot to blow dry. I have an other mini and the full size so I need to experiment more with this. If you’ve tried, how does it work best for you? Value = $7.25

13.ย  Maybelline lash sensational mascara in black waterproof – I had high hopes for this because I’d heard good things and I generally like Maybelline mascaras, but it disappointed me. I didn’t get a lot of volume, which is a main requirement for me with mascaras. Maybe the waterproof version isn’t as good? Value = $9


14.ย  Voluspa petite candle in Goji Tarocco Orange – This cute little guy was part of a set that I was given for Christmas. It’s my first Voluspa candle and I would like to try more. I LOVE the scent of this. It didn’t have the widest throw, but it did burn pretty evenly. Value = $9

15.ย  Velamints blood orange mints – I’m sensing a theme this month haha ๐Ÿ˜‰ I realize this is rather random but I enjoyed them so I thought I’d throw them in. I got mine at Trader Joe’s but I recently spotted them at Staples of all places so I expect they are available elsewhere. The packaging was a little annoying and the mints themselves are pretty hard, but it’s nice to have something other than mint for a change. Value = $3

The total value of my April empties is $141.75.ย  That is the lowest value thus far this year, but still brings the value of my 2018 empties to $1,277.38!

Lancome Skin Feels Good Foundation Review

Lancome recently released Skin Feels Good* – a hydrating, medium-coverage base product. I can’t decide what to call it. It feels more like a BB cream or CC cream than a foundation. I’ve been testing it out for a few weeks and thought I would share a review.

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I received the shade 01N Nude Vanilla from Influenster and it is a very good shade match for me. (For reference, I’m 1Y04 or 1Y05 in Sephora’s Color IQ.) It applies smoothly and wears well throughout the day. It’s a solid medium coverage. It’s more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, certainly, but less than the It Cosmetics CC cream. I love the It Cosmetics CC cream, but I’m squarely between the shades Fair and Light and I have to mix the two to get the right color. Needless to say, that’s a pain. Now that I’m out of both colors, I’ve told myself I won’t repurchase until they come out with more shades. It’s a very popular product so it seems like they’re overdue to expand the shade range. Okay, tangent over.


Skin Feels Good has a nice pump so you have good control over the amount of product you want to release. It also contains SPF 23 (Specific, huh?). I wouldn’t count on that as my sole form of sunscreen, but it’s nice to have a little protection at all times.

The packaging claims that the product is hydrating and gives a “healthy glow.” I’m not sure if it’s hydrating, per se, but it certainly isn’t drying and it does give a nice glow. I’ve been really pleased with the effect every time I’ve worn it.

Influenster also sent a Lancome Prismatic Plump Lip Gloss* in the shade 01 Effervescent. As you can see, it looks purple in the tube so I was intimidated to try it, but it’s surprisingly wearable. There is limited holographic effect and it only looks purple if you’re really looking closely; it looks relatively clear.ย  I would still prefer it as a topper over other lip products since I like more color on my lips. I don’t notice a plumping effect, but there is a slight tingle when you first apply.

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(Top to bottom: Skin Feels Good in shade 01N Nude Vanilla; Lancome Maquicomplet concealer in shade 160 Light Buff; Lancome Prismatic Plumping Lip Gloss in shade 01 Effervescent.)

Skin Feels Good is definitely a win from me! I could take or leave the lip gloss, although I would probably like it better in a different shade.

Have you tried any of these products? If so, I’d love to know what you think!

The Everyday Lip

I love a good lipstick. It can change my mood faster than anything else. But while I appreciate a bold look or a matte lip, what I reach for the most are lip products I’d put in the “every day lip” category. For me that generally means a pink or peach shade that is a little glossy, has some pigment, but can be applied without a mirror.

I’ve rounded up a bunch of lip balms, glosses, and lipsticks in that category in case you’re looking for your new everyday lip product. Many of these can be purchased at Sephora in case you’re planning to shop the sale, which starts today (or resumes if you’re Rouge).

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I’ll discuss from the least amount of color to the most. First up, the balms:


The Dior lip glows have a cult following and I can understand why. Spending so much on something so sheer is like the epitome of luxury, in my opinion. The balms are supposed to respond to your natural lip color so they may look different on you than they do on me. I have the original, shade 001, which leaves a flushed light pink that is perfect for barely there lip color. I recently picked up the shade Coral, 004, which does not look very coral on me; it’s still fairly pink and sheer. Dior has expanded the range so I’d like to pick up the shade Raspberry 007 next because I think it will provide a bit more color. The texture of the balms is smooth and feels moisturizing.

On the opposite end of the price spectrum is Maybelline baby lips. These take me back to middle school! I have the shade 01 My Pink. It is stiffer in texture than the Dior lip glows, but provides a similar barely-there pink lip at a fraction of the price.


The YSL tint in balmย (middle in the photo above) is probably the next level of color while still being fairly sheer. I have the shade 10 Seduce Me Pink, which Sephora describes as a “luscious berry.” I haven’t tried the others in line to speak to their color payoff, but this is kind of the perfect amount color. Like the Dior lip glows and Baby Lips, this applies like any lip balm but has some more shine and color than those products.

I posted already about the L’oreal Colour Riche Shine lipsticks here. Some of the colors in the range pack a bunch and I wouldn’t categorize as “everyday” lipsticks. The red I have leaves a stain, actually. But the lighter and more nude shades fall into this category of shiny balm-like lipsticks with just the right amount of color. Pictured here is the shade 918 Polished Tango but I swatched the four shades I have in my prior post.


The YSL volupte liquid color balm in no. 3 Show Me Peach (right in photos above) is a new addition. I thought the name was confusing but now that I have one, I kinda get it. It applies like a gloss, but it’s more pigmented and less slippery than a gloss, if that makes sense. It’s very comfortable to wear. It provides the same coverage as some lipsticks, but it’s easier to apply because of the wand. I want more ๐Ÿ˜‰


Fresh beauty makes an everyday lip staple – the Sugar lip treatments. There are loads of colors, some of which are fairly bold. I love Petal, Rose, Bloom, and Tulip for everyday, easy pink lips. I’ve also pictured Dream, which looks like a bright pink in the tube but is actually sheerer than the other shades I’ve tried from the range. The formula of these is super soft and creamy. I wouldn’t leave them in your car in the summer!


Too Faced la creme lip creme in Spice Spice Baby is one of the only lip products I’ve ever repurchased. As you can tell from this post, I have aย lot of lip products and I love to try new things. This color and formula impressed me enough that when I used it up, I eventually replaced it. Too Faced must be discontinuing these. One of the only shades left on Ulta’s website is Spice Spice Baby so if you love a pinky brown nude like I do, snap it up! It’s a lipstick formula that’s glossy and creamy and lovely.


If you forced me to choose my favorite lipstick formula (please don’t!) I would choose the YSL rouge volupte shine lipsticks. They’re shiny (as the name suggests) and smooth and pigmented but still very easy to wear, and they have the signature gorgeous YSL packaging and scent. Pictured left to right are shades 9, 43, 16, and 7. Even the darker shades are so easy to wear that I would feel comfortable applying without a mirror. I’ve repurchased no. 9, as well. It’s like “my lips but shinier” haha. That shade isn’t coming up on Sephora’s website so I sincerely hope it hasn’t been discontinued, but my store had several when I checked last weekend. It kind of looked like it had been renamed (it used to be called Nude in Private lol) so let’s hope it’s just a temporary hiatus because of repackaging.


I’m not the biggest lip gloss fan, but there are a few formulas I go to: NARS in Chelsea Girls, Bare Minerals Gen Nude in Cosmic and Fancy, and Fenty Beauty’s Universal Gloss Bomb. (It looks like the shades I have in the Bare Minerals gloss may be discontinued because I can’t find them online – Sorry about that!) All of them are that right amount of glossy and not sticky.


I realize the majority of these are high end products. Luxury lipstick is my greatest makeup weakness! Are there some more affordable options that should be on my radar? What’s your go-to lip product for every day?

Let me know if you pick up any of these during the sale. I would love to hear your thoughts!

March Empties!

It’s that time again – March empties! Sorry I’m a little behind this month ๐Ÿ˜‰ย One of the reasons I started this blog was to have space to review my monthly empties, so tuck in!


I will review by category. And as you know if you follow along on Instagram, this year I’ve also been tracking the value of my monthly empties. This does not mean what I paid for a specific item. Some things are part of a set, gifts with purchase, etc. which would make it very hard to determine what I actually paid. But I like having this idea of value, even if the totals can get embarrassingly high…

First up, skincare and a lone haircare product:


— Good Things manuka honey cream cleanser – I raved about this recently in a #oneemptyonenewbie post. Someone on Instagram introduced me to this and I found it for about $6 at TJ Maxx. It was undervalued in my stash when we lived in southern California, but I learned the value of a soothing cream cleanser over the last several months. Between pregnancy and a Minnesota winter, my skin was dry and sensitive. This cleanser was so soothing on irritated skin. Thankfully I have two backups thanks to a kind friend ๐Ÿ™‚ Did I mention this is $6? If you see it at TJ Maxx/Marshall’s, grab it! It’s available on Amazon but since it isn’t sold by Amazon, I, personally, wouldn’t trust it.

— Leahlani citrus + citrine toner – Both of Leah’s toners are absolutely lovely. They will transport you to a tropical paradise. Actually, all of her products do that ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think I prefer the scent of the Bohemian Ruby toner, which I finished quite a while ago and, if memory serves, smelled more fruity and less floral than this one (although the names would indicate the opposite). I’ve finished a few Leahlani treats recently so I think an order is forthcoming. Value = $46

— Dr. Jart ceramidin cream – I think I tried this sample during the wrong time of year.ย  I had just finished a rich Zelens moisturizer, which I was mixing with a pump of marula oil, and this didn’t feel like enough. I think I would like it during warmer months, though. Maybe I’ll be able to get another sample and try again since I know a lot of people who love it. Value = $4.80

— Amika nourishing mask* – I used this in place of a regular conditioner and really enjoyed it. My hair felt silky smooth after I got out of the shower. I have several similar products to get through or I would repurchase. Value = $12

— Fresh lotus youth preserve face cream – This has a nice mid-weight and silky texture. It has the same lovely cucumber smell as the soy face cleanser. Value = $17

Next up, body care:


— Lush Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner – I love this stuff. It smells incredible and feels luxuriously rich on the skin. It isn’t sufficient to protect my skin in the winter, but it helps, and I feel fancy when I use it ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m using a Hempz in-shower body conditioner at the moment and it is not the same…. Sigh. Value = $6.83

— Kiehl’s creme de corps whipped body butter in grapefruit – They aren’t kidding when they call this stuff whipped butter. It had both the color and texture of butter, which kind of weirded me out. It didn’t smell too much like grapefruit, either. I know the regular creme de corps is a cult Kiehl’s product but I didn’t much care for this. (The grapefruit scent in Disney packaging was a holiday limited edition product but I’ve linked the currently available version.) Value = $39

— L’Occitane shea foot cream – I get minis of these from time to time. They’re nice for dry winter feet, but I don’t personally believe you need a separate foot cream. Value = $2

— Caudalie divine oil – A nice, multi-purpose dry oil. It has a “more mature” scent, shall we say? But I like it. It isn’t the most moisturizing oil ever, but it’s hard to find one that is moisturizing enough alone for MN winter. Value = $7.35

— Caudalie hand and nail cream – One of my all-time fav hand creams. It’s not as thick as the L’Occitane shea butter ones (which I also love) but still moisturizing and not greasy, and it absorbs quickly. It has a refreshing slightly fruity, slightly floral scent. I don’t know what grapes smell like, but if this is it, they smell great! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wish they sold larger sizes! Value = $15

— Jo Malone blackberry and bay shower oil packet – Blackberry and bay isn’t my favorite Jo Malone scent, but the consistency of the shower oil was very luxurious. It reminded me of the L’Occitane almond shower oil – a shower staple for me. I would consider purchasing in a different scent.

Lastly, makeup:


— Stila huge extreme lash mascara – One of my favorite mega volumizing mascaras. It’s hard for me to find a volumizing mascara that doesn’t smudge on my oily eye area and this is one of the few that doesn’t. I always jump at a chance to pick up a mini. This one seemed to dry out a little quickly, though. Value = $12

— Vapour Beauty illusionist concealer – The consistency was too firm to be used under the eyes, which is the primary purpose of a concealer for me. You would have to warm up the product first with your finger or else it would pull and tug when I tried to apply it. I only tried that a few times before deciding the delicate skin under my eyes was more important. It worked just fine for blemishes so I kept it in my purse in case I needed to touch up during the day, but I rarely used it. I’ll stick with non “green” concealers in the future. Value = $24

— Farmacy lip bloom in citrus lemongrass – These have been discontinued, but since they’re still available on Farmacy’s website I will warn you against them. This dried out my lips so badly. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it. After about two weeks of trying to make it work, I decided to throw in the towel. The citrus lemongrass smelled nice, though. Value = $16

— Skincando Combat Ready lip balm –ย  I LOVE combat ready balm. The lip balm, not so much. It was a stiffer texture and I didn’t find it very moisturizing. Value = $10

— Fresh sugar lip treatment in Rose (mini) –ย  I love the Fresh lip balms. They’re very soft and feel so nice on. They have lots of colors, including several everyday ones that provide just enough color. This rose shade falls into that category and seems to be the most common in gifts with purchases, gift sets, etc. I have others. I will repurchase. Value = $12

— Kevin Aucoin the celestial skin liquid illuminator sample packet in Candlelight – This gave off a nice effect as an illuminating makeup primer, but the shade Candlelight was too dark for my fair/light complexion and I believe it’s the lightest shade he makes.

— Fiona Stiles eyebrow pencil – I got this super cheap when Ulta stopped carrying Fiona Stiles’ line and I don’t believe you can buy her makeup anymore. It was pretty Meh anyway. Value = $16

— Marc Jacobs hi-shine lip lacquer (mini) in Allow Me – I’m not a big lip gloss girl, but I enjoyed this formula. It wasn’t sticky or tacky. I didn’t think it was “high shine,” despite the name. This shade had some shimmer in it, but it didn’t translate to the lips. I would explore other shades since there are lots in the range. Value = $10

— Jouer liquid highlighter – I honestly can’t really review this. It’s very old and I pulled it out recently to see if it still worked and it didn’t; it has dried up. I don’t love the click stick type packaging so I wouldn’t repurchase for that reason alone. Value = $24


Total value of March empties = $278.98!

Well, there we are! Thanks for getting all the way to the bottom ๐Ÿ™‚ Have you used any of these products? If so, I’d love to know your thoughts!

*Gifted by Influenster