July 28, 2010

Amusement Park-Proof Beauty, plus Jason Mraz concert news!

Hello, Beautiful!

Are you an amusement park fan like I am? I'm a thrill junkie and roller coaster fanatic. So of course that means we have season passes to our local amusement park (although it's not really local, it still takes about 2 hours to get there). We go to Kings Dominion at least once a week, but usually twice a week. My husband doesn't always go with us, but you can normally find me and my son there (in the kiddie section).

Over the past two summers I've been experimenting with various beauty routines to see which will stand the test of heat, sweat, roller coasters and water rides. I've finally found the holy grail of amusement park-proof beauty!

First, it's no secret I have bad skin with lots of flaws to cover up (although my skin care routine is really, really helping that). And I sweat a lot at amusement parks - especially this summer, as it's been between 90 and 100 degrees most days (some even over 100 degrees).

A lot of foundations melt off quickly and don't look natural in sun light. It would be ideal to just go without foundation to the amusement park, but with my skin issues going bare faced isn't an option.

I've tried many foundations, primers, concealers and setting powders - all in the hopes something will stick around for more than 2 or 3 hours. I've found the secret combination of products!

Here's the routine:


After I moisturize my skin I allow it to dry for at least 5 minutes. I want everything to dry/set fully - this is key! You don't want anything to not fully absorbed into your skin, which could cause products to slip down your face later on.

Then I apply a primer and allow that to dry for 5 to 10 minutes (I usually go do my hair or something while I'm waiting for it to dry/set completely). Ideally I wait 10 minutes because I just want it to be sure, but I certainly don't always wait that long.

Next I apply concealer. I use Make Up For Ever's Full Cover Concealer (I use shades 6 and 8). This is my holy grail of concealers to begin with. It is water proof/water resistant. I apply this to all the major flaws - like acne scars, any new blemishes, under eye circles and my eye lids (since they are rather dark without anything on them). I don't worry about applying concealer to areas that can be evened out with foundation - like redness and slight skin discoloration. I allow my concealer to dry completely - usually 2 to 3 minutes, but again, sometimes I wait 5 minutes just to be sure.

Then it's time for foundation. I apply Make Up For Ever's Face & Body Liquid Makeup (I use the Honey Beige shade). It provides very sheer coverage, but it's enough to even out skintone. Plus, it looks so natural that it's like putting your own skin on your skin. It's virtually undetectable on the face - even in sun light. I apply this with my stippling brush. I stipple it on to get the maximum coverage and so I don't just wipe away all that concealer I spent time applying.

Now here's where a problem may come into play. Because the foundation is a water based gel foundation I find it can wipe off your concealer. That's why I stipple it onto my skin. However, you can apply the foundation first and apply concealer second if you don't want to stipple on the foundation. You can apply this foundation with your fingers, a sponge, or regular foundation brush - all with great results.

Don't expect this foundation to cover anything. It will just even out your skintone. The full coverage concealer will take care of the rest. Sometimes I still need to apply a little more concealer after I apply my foundation, but not always.

Next I allow my foundation to set for a minute or two, just so it can dry on my face. While I'm waiting for that to dry I will apply my brow powder (because my brows are very sparse in some areas). I use Smashbox Brow Tech (I use the Brunette shade). I don't normally use the wax though and the powder will last me most of the day, and usually it lasts the entire day at the amusement park.

Then it's time for setting powder. This is a key step!!! I use Dermablend's Setting Powder (in Original, which is colorless). I apply this with a fluffy brush all over my face. I pat it on generously. Basically your face will look like you had white flour throw on your face. That's how you want to look. Leave it like that for 2 minutes, then brush off the excess powder with a fluffy brush in light sweeps. The powder will set your makeup and make it last all day. Seriously, sometimes I have trouble getting off my makeup at the end of the day when I use that powder!

Next up is eyes. My eye shadow ALWAYS stays on because I use Too Faced Shadow Insurance. I fell in love with that product last summer when I put it to the amusement park test. My eye makeup was still on at the end of a long day (7am till midnight) and I was so tired I fell asleep with my makeup on, woke up, and my eye makeup was STILL on! So this is a very easy way to make your eye makeup last all day.

I don't overly make up my eyes for an amusement park, but I don't like to go bare eyes either. I stick to one shade usually - something lighter and shimmery. Yesterday I used my Smashbox Classifeyed Eye Shadow Palette and used shades 1 and 4 mixed together all over my lid. Then I used shade 3 for the outter corner and crease.

I lined my eyes with Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes eyeliner pencil (the black one) on my top lid only. Then applied Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash to my top and bottom lashes. I did use Smashbox Jet Set Liner to line my waterline, but had to re-apply that a few times throughout the day.

For lips I just stick to a simple gloss. Yesterday I used NARS Lip Gloss in Chihuahua.

I only touched up my face (concealer) once, and that was around dinner time (and after going on a water ride and getting soaked). But even then I really didn't need a touch up, I just expected to touch up so I did it anyway. But that was the last I had to touch up my face!

Throughout the day I do bring a "sweat rag", which is just a t-shirt or a wash cloth. I use that to pat my face if I start to sweat (don't rub the sweat away, that could disturb makeup). And I swear to you, my makeup lasts and lasts and lasts!

I hope I was able to help any of you that go to amusement parks but suffer the same beauty issues as myself (sweating, melting makeup, makeup that doesn't last). Try this routine and you'll be happy you did!

Also, on a side note, I am beyond excited because I was able to finally get Jason Mraz tickets. He's my favorite singer and I've been obsessed with him for years. When I first heard "Geek in the Pink" I fell in love, and ever since I've been a big fan. I will be going to the concert in Delaware on September 28th and it cannot come fast enough! Plus, I scored seats 5 rows back from the stage! Wooooooo hooooooooooo!!!!!!!!! Any other Jason Mraz fans out there that are also beauty obsessed like me? Will you be going to the concert too??

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs ValentineKisses.com

July 25, 2010

Skin care - my current miracle workers

Hello, beautiful!

I had mentioned in a previous blog post that I would talk about my current skin care routine. So here it is!

I have a new skin care routine that works like a miracle. I'm telling you, my skin has changed so much!! And the more I use it the better the results! It's been nearly 3 years since I've seen any improvement in my skin, and now I can finally see a dramatic improvement!

Here's what I'm doing:

1. Patricia Wexler Dual-Action Foaming Cleanser
2. Patricia Wexler Exfoliating Cleanser
3. Olay Refreshing Toner
4. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 15
5. Korres Evening Primrose Eye Cream

1. Victoria's Secret Total Makeup Remover
2. Make Up Forever Sen's Eyes Eye Makeup Remover
3. DDF Blemishs Foaming Cleanser
4. Patricia Wexler Overnight Acne Repair Lotion
5. Philosophy Help Me
6. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 15
7. Korres Evening Primrose Eye Cream
8. Philosophy Hope in a Tube

So let's start with the morning routine:

I use my $5 Sephora Face Complexion Brush to apply all my cleansers (Dual-Action, Exfoliating Cleanser, and DDF).

I wet my face brush and apply one pump of Patricia Wexler's Dual Action Foaming Cleanser to the brush head. I then massage it onto my skin in circular motions. There is no rhyme or reason. I just do circles. I usually go in one direction all over an area and then reverse the circle motion the other way. I then re-wet my face brush and re-brush over the same area. Then I repeat the same process another 2 times (one more pump for my other side of my face and one pump for the forehead). Keep in mind sometimes one pump isn't a full pump of product. I can control how much comes out. I probably only use two full pumps over my entire face. Then I rinse my face and pat it dry.

Next, I squeeze out some of the Patricia Wexler Exfoliating Cleanser onto the back of my hand and put it on my face in spots (a smear onto each cheek, a smear on the forehead, a smear on my chin and a small smear on my nose). You don't need a lot of this product. Just squeeze out what you would use on your entire face and distribute it onto your face. Then I take the face brush, wet it again, and massage the product into my face the same way I did with the cleanser. This exfoliating cleanser isn't harsh and you can barely feel the exfoliating pieces, but it's helpful, especially when combined with the face brush. I re-wet/rinse out my face brush after each area of my face. Then I rinse my face and pat it dry.

This next step is something I don't do everyday, but you can if you want (it won't hurt). I use Olay's Refreshing Toner, which I apply with a cotton ball. I normally only apply this on days I'll be outdoors most of the day, or on days I'll be indoors cleaning all day (basically for any situation in which I could start sweating). My face can get very oily, so this toner helps control oil (at least in my opinion it does).

Then I apply my moisturizer (Aveeno Positively Radiant), followed up with my eye cream (Korres Evening Primrose). And my morning skincare routine is complete.

This takes me about 5 minutes to do, so it may seem like a lot of steps but I assure you it doesn't take up a lot of time and after seeing the results I will do this every single morning!

Now let's talk about the nighttime routine:

At nighttime my routine is a little different, and there are more steps.

First, I remove all my makeup. I use two makeup removers - one just for eye makeup and one for everything else. I normally use Victoria's Secret Total Makeup Remover for all over my face and then I use Make Up Forever Sen's Eyes Eye Makeup Remover to remove my mascara, liner, brow powder, etc. I use cotton balls to remove my makeup and q-tips to remove my eyeliner and mascara.

I like to remove my makeup first before using a cleanser because I feel like my cleanser will work better if it's cleaning makeup-free skin (although using the brush cleans out all the makeup - even makeup the makeup remover couldn't get to!).

Then I bring out my Sephora face brush and wet it. I apply a pump of the DDF Blemish Foaming Cleanser to the brush head. I then massage it onto my skin in circular motions. There is no rhyme or reason. I just do circles. I usually go in one direction all over an area and then reverse the circle motion the other way. I then re-wet my face brush and re-brush over the same area. Then I repeat the same process another 2 times (one more pump for my other side of my face and one pump for the forehead). Again, keep in mind sometimes one pump isn't a full pump of product. I can control how much comes out. I probably only use two full pumps over my entire face. Then I rinse my face and pat it dry.

Next, I apply Patricia Wexler Overnight Acne Repair Lotion. I pump out 3 pumps onto the back of my hand and apply it all over my face (except the eye area). I allow this to dry for a minute or so before applying a thin layer of Philosophy's Help Me (which is a retinol treatment to help fine lines, discoloration, and large pores). I allow that to dry before moving on.

Then I apply my moisturizer (Aveeno Positively Radiant), followed up with my eye cream (Korres Evening Primrose). I will also use Philosophy's Hope in a Tube as my lip line cream. I apply it to the smile lines (parentheses around your mouth) and above my lip. That completes my nighttime skincare routine.

So there you have it! Those are my current miracle workers. I don't care how tired I am at night I will always do my skincare routine. The results are too amazing to not put the time into it.

And now: 5 Skincare Lines that Failed Me!

1. Anything Neutrogena! They always make it sound soooo promising. So far, everything I've tried has failed me. I even tried Neutrogena Skin ID - big fail!

2. Murad (their acne line). It semi-worked, but was far too drying to my skin.

3. Olay. I like their toner and their moisturizers (some) - everything else failed for my skin. I also can't stand the smell of their products. A lot of them have a hint of rose or some other floral scent. I'm not into those type of scents at all.

4. Clean & Clear - nope, didn't work for my skin!

5. Philosophy - just the acne line that I didn't like. I really like Philosophy in general. I stuck with their brand for a long time and I still use some of their products. But their acne line didn't help all that much. It was their regular skincare that worked, and I love their bath & body items.

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs ValentineKisses.com

July 23, 2010

Best concealer there is!

Hello, Beautiful!

This is definitely a product recommendation post, but it's a ramble too. I'm in a talkative mood - probably because it's midnight, I've been up too long, I was out too much today, and I'm exhausted. I'm almost always super talkative when I'm tired, so I warn you now that this blog post will likely ramble on and on instead of being direct and to the point (but I'll do my best to keep this from becoming a novel).

Today I made a trip to Sephora with no specific products in mind that I wanted to purchase. I was meeting up with a friend to give her some hair accessories she's using for her wedding (beautiful rhinestone twists - which are coming to the website soon and look like you're wearing one karat diamonds in your hair).

Normally I order online from Sephora because the closest Sephora to me is nearly an hour away. The distance doesn't really phase me all that much though. I used to drive the same distance Monday through Friday when I had a boring office job. My husband still makes the commute everyday. I'm lucky enough to be a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom. I don't miss the commute, although an hour to myself in the car to listen to any music I want, as loud as I want, would be nice. Or to have an hour of silence. Or an hour to talk to anyone without interuptions from a 5 year old. Anyhow, back to the topic on hand.

Although I was tempted to purchase many, many items from Sephora I only ended up buying one thing (which is shocking). And it's not even something I don't have (even more shocking). I picked up a concealer - the best concealer there is.

It's Make Up For Ever's Full Cover Concealer. It will cost you $30, but the tube will last you a very long time. Because it's full coverage a little will go a long way. I have this now in three shades. The latest is shade 8 because I needed a darker shade due to the summer tan I have going on. I also have this in shades 4 and 6.

For me, concealer is a neccessity. I have really awful skin thanks to my health issues. I've never had an acne problem but now I have adult acne (for the past 3 years). I break out everyday usually and I scar very easily (it scars brown).

[Although I started a new skincare routine and it has been working miracles! I will be doing a post about that soon.]

No one ever believes me when I say I have bad skin. That's because whenever I see someone I have makeup on. I've become a pro at covering it all up and making my face as flawless as possible. I couldn't do that without using this concealer.

I cannot live without this concealer. I repeat, I cannot live without this concealer!

It's simply the best of them all, and believe me, I've tried a lot since getting this hideous skin. It beats out MAC, Amazing Concealer, Benefit, Philosophy, NARS, Smashbox, and many others.

The consistency is a thick, creamy liquid that blends easily and isn't drying. It's waterproof and sweat resistant. It's very long lasting.

One tip though: if you're trying this product at the store be sure to blend it into your skin and let it dry before you select a color. I find that they dry down with a slightly different undertone than they first appear with just a dot squeezed out. For example, in the winter I picked shade 4 which looked perfect in the store, but after I tested it out on my face and let the product dry, I realized it had a slight pink undertone to it (which isn't my undertone). Shade 6 was the next shade that worked for my undertone. Shade 8 works for me perfectly at the moment.

Anyhow, I wanted to make this post because I really think this is the bees knees of concealers.

Pick it up at Sephora.com for $30 or visit your local Sephora store.

I don't have swatch photos just yet, but they will be up on the Valentine Beauty Closet soon.

Speaking of the Valentine Beauty Closet...

It is opening soon! If you don't know what it is let me give you a quick description:

The Valentine Beauty Closet will be a great source of all things beauty related. You'll find swatch photos, reviews, tutorials, tips, and so much more. New stuff will be added every week and you can even make requests on what you want to see next.

I've been super busy uploading hundreds and hundreds of swatch photos. In fact, I think it's more like thousands of swatch photos! Not only that, but I finally got an HD camera and I've started to re-make all my videos so they are better quality. That's been taking the most time. Although there is no exact opening date just yet, I'm hoping to have it launch by the end of August.

Anyhow, I really need to get to bed.

Until next time,

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs ValentineKisses.com

July 20, 2010

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick

Hello, Beautiful!

I've recently come to love L'Oreal's Colour Riche Lipsticks. I'm not a huge lipstick girl (I'm a gloss-aholic), but these lipsticks come in a wide range of very wearable colors. When I say very wearable, I mean it! Even some of the darker shades, that I normally would never go near, look pretty on the lips.

My favorite shade is Nude, followed by Tawny, and A Lighter Shade of Hope.

I own 12 shades, from pinks to nudes to plums. What do you think of these lipsticks? Have you tried them?

If you'd like to try them, or if you already love them and want more, you can purchase them at ValentineKisses.com for just $2.49 each! We currently have them in 10 shades, but there are very limited quantities, so get to them before someone else does!

Now onto the swatches....

Shade: 118 A Lighter Shade of Hope

Shade: 124 Pink Lady

Shade: 220 Earth Rose

Shade: 339 Red Rhapsody

Shade: 732 Designer Plum

Shade: 847 Sable

Shade: 853 Coffee Bean

Shade: 861 Taffeta

Shade: 862 Nude

Shade: 863 Organza

Shade: 875 Dune

Shade: 845 Tawny 

Do you own these lipsticks? If so, what shades do you own and what do you think of them?

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs ValentineKisses.com

July 13, 2010

Smashbox Classifeyed Palette - $15 at Sephora.com!

Hello, Beautiful!

I probably should have made this post earlier, but I've been neck deep in new inventory for the website and I'm just now getting around to posting this.

Sephora has weekly specials now, which is something that is draining my wallet (so please keep ordering from ValentineKisses.com so I can afford my Sephora addiction... I kid, I kid... sorta LOL).

This week one of their specials is the Smashbox Classifeyed Eyeshadow Palette for $15. When you read this post that link may no longer go to the product since they've been known to remove these specials (like the $5 Smashbox lipgloss) once they sell out, but I figured I'd post the link incase you're lucky enough to grab this.

This palette was actually a part of a Smashbox set (which is sold at Ulta for $47 and includes a few items - which in comparision to this deal of a price makes the set seem way over priced). The palette includes 6 full sized eyeshadows. For the price, it's a great deal. One Smashbox shadow is $16 (unless you buy it at ValentineKisses.com - we sell them for $5.99 each).

(Now I will copy/paste part of my Sephora.com review and insert swatch pictures. Oh and  incase you're wondering, which nobody is, my nickname on Sephora is valentinephoto).

The compact has a nice big mirror and includes a mini duo-ended brush. I normally toss any mini brushes that come with compacts/palettes but this brush actually isn't awful (it's not amazing either, but it's usable).

The colors themselves are a hit or miss when it comes to pigmentation. Some are highly pigmented, others not so much. I've also noticed that different people are reporting different degrees of pigmentation with each shade. So you may get a good palette or you may get a bad one. Use a shadow primer and you won't run into any issues and it will be worth your money.

If numbering them 1 through 6, going left to right, here is my opinion on each shade:

Top Row:

1. This is a shimmery warm sand shade. The pigmentation is just so-so with this one.

2. A really pretty medium brown shade that has a copper undertone. The pigmentation on this one was really good.

3. A milk chocolate brown. The pigmentation on this was not good. Just to get a swatch of it took more shadow than other shades. 2nd worst pigmentation out of all of them.

Bottom Row:

4. This is a light vanilla shade. This actually had the worst pigmentation out of all of the shades.

5. LOVE this color! This is a pretty shimery violet with good pigmentation.

6. LOVE this color too! This is a beautiful eggplant purple with great pigmentation (probably the best pigmentation out of all shades).

Over all I really love this palette. The price is unbeatable for what you're receiving.

You can wear the shades by themselves or together. Wear the darker shades (3 and 6) as liner if you don't want to go dark all over the lids. I actually really like wearing the dark brown (3) as a liner, which gives a nice smoky effect.

Did you pick this up? Will you be picking this up? Thoughts?

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine Burhans
- The woman who runs ValentineKisses.com

July 11, 2010

Rimmel Vinyl Jelly Gloss Pencils

Hello, Beautiful,

I keep forgetting how much I love these pencils! They're not lip liner (although I guess you could use them in that way). They are a lip gloss in a pencil form.

I know what you must be thinking. How can the words "lip gloss" and "pencil" be in the same sentence? Normally when you think of a pencil the words that come to mind are "dry", even "creamy", but you never think "lip gloss". Well let me help you change the way you look at pencils forever.

The Rimmel Vinyl Jelly Gloss Pencils are amazing! They look like a regular lip liner pencil but are so soft, smooth and creamy. They deliver beautiful color too that lasts longer than a regular gloss does (since this has a stain-like effect).

Here are three of my favorite colors:

You can purchase the Rimmel Vinyl Jelly Gloss Pencils at ValentineKisses.com for $1.25 each while supplies last. We've already sold out of several shades and only have a very limited quantity remaining.

Shade: Starlet
Shade: Succulent
Shade: Fudge
Shade: Hot Spark

Do you own these amazing pencils? If so, what shades do you own and what do you think of them?

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs ValentineKisses.com

July 8, 2010

Make Your Own Body Scrub!

Hello, Beautiful!

I just wanted to post this quick and easy body scrub tutorial. This is really so simple you'll wonder why you've never tried this before.

What You'll Need:

1. Olive Oil
2. Sugar
3. Bowl
4. Spoon
5. Measuring Cups (just the half-cup)

How It's Done:

1. Pour 1 cup of sugar into a bowl. [I use the 1/2 cup measuring cup for this whole recipe so I don't need to wash more later]

2. Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil onto the sugar.

3. Stir until a scrub is formed and you're done!

Yes, it's that easy!

My Tips:
  • I use regular granulated sugar - no name brands, just generic (whatever is cheapest or whatever I have in my kitchen).
  • I use extra virgin olive oil, although probably any olive oil will work just fine.
  • I did run into a little issues... it tends to separate rather quickly and you need to stir frequently to get it back to its scrub-like texture. I added a little more sugar and it helped a lot.
  • I also had extra scrub left over, so you could probably half this recipe and still get good use out of it.
  • I wouldn't recommend saving any left-overs only because it will likely separate.

The Verdict:

This scrub works amazingly! It feels a little gross at first, because when water meets oil it tends to do that greasy texture thing. But if you can get past that you'll be headed for great results!

It scrubs your skin perfectly. Not too soft and not too harsh. The olive oil does a great job at conditioning your skin. In fact, I didn't need to apply lotion after my shower and my skin stayed smooth all day (it also looked healthier).

The smell isn't wonderful, but it's not awful either. It smells like olive oil (of course).

After you use this scrub and rinse it off you'll want to use a body wash afterwards to get that oil-meets-water greasy feeling off your body.

So there you have it, a quick and super easy scrub you can make at home!

Bonus Tip: If you have darker elbows/knees cut a lemon or grapefruit in half and rub it into those spots for a few seconds. This will help a little, although it won't make an amazing change the first time you try it.

Also, be sure to check our website early next week (week of July 12). I'm super busy at the moment photographing new products for the website. We got in an amazing shipment of items including beautiful jewelry, cute hair accessories, and great L'Oreal, Maybelline and Sally Hansen cosmetics!

xoxo with love & beauty,

Crystal Valentine B.
- The woman who runs ValentineKisses.com