Category: skincare

Review: Sarah Chapman Facial Lift


My mother has been tooting the benefits of facial massage for forever and I thought it was totes an Asian thing – you know pressure points, acupuncture, etc.- until I saw this post from Lisa Eldridge where she demonstrates her twenty minute facial massage routine. My mom is all about using her hands, but when I saw that the Sarah Chapman tool was sold out on net-a-porter – I knew I wanted to get my hands on it. I ended up getting mine at a SpaceNK. After you purchase one, you should definitely watch her how to guide so you know how to use it, because it’s not super intuitive. My mom is all about the benefits of massaging her neck – she swears that her neck is now thinner because of daily massage. I have had my Sarah Chapman tool for about a week now and I’ve been using it everyday. It really just feels great and is easy to use. I often get soreness in my neck and this really helps work out some kinks if I go a little further back. It also really helps with the soreness in my jaw which I didn’t even know I had. As a side note, even my boyfriend loved it and he’s totally not into any beauty products/tools/etc. I don’t think it does much for your forehead, although you can use the other end of the stick to tap your forehead. Also, the eye area is delicate so i think you are supposed to use your fourth finger for that area – at least that is what the SpaceNK rep told me. If you want to just use your fingers for free here is another facial massage tutorial from Into the Gloss. Happy massaging!


Sephora 2014 VIB Sale Recommendations


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I was compelled to write this post because one of my favorite times of the year is now almost upon us – the Sephora VIB Sale!  For those that are unfamiliar, this is Sephora’s annual 20% discount event for VIB and VIB Rouge members of its loyalty program who spend at least $350 a year (the minimum qualifier for VIB status).  Those who are VIB Rouge (spend $1000 a year) may get earlier access.

UPDATE – this year’s sale runs from November 6th to 10th, and an in-store evening event will begin November 5th for VIB and VIB Rouge members (Codes GIFTVIB and GIFTROUGE).  I’ve been building my cart for weeks (since sadly I’m not lucky enough to know any Sephora employees to get a code for the Friends & Family sale), so I wanted to share what I recommend – staples that I’ve repurchased many times over and plan on getting again.


Clarisonic Twin-Pack Replacement Brush Head for Deep Pore, $44 – Does anyone remember the 4-pack that Sephora sold last year for $75?  Sadly that is no longer available, so the twin-pack is the best deal for those of us loyal Clarisonic users.  My Clarisonic is such a staple in my nighttime skincare routine that I still find it shocking when friends ask me if they should get it – my response is always a resounding YES, barring they do not have hyper sensitive skin prone to redness.  (If you don’t have one yet, I highly recommend the Mia for $99.)  I have oily/combo skin prone to congestion/acne and I LOVE the Deep Pore brush head.  I’ve tried the Acne and Sensitive Brush Heads, and compared to those 2, the Deep Pore feels like it gives the best cleanse.  Since the brush head is something I switch out every few months, I always have to get at least 1 or 2 of the twin packs.  (Side question – has anyone with skin similar to mine tried the luxe brush heads?)

SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, $70 – This will be maybe my 4th time repurchasing it, and believe me I really did not want to like this, as it is a super expensive toner.  I first heard about it from Raeview, who claims it helped normalize her skin.  While it hasn’t helped me do that (and I’m a bit dubious of a topical product’s ability to change your skin type), I’ve genuinely enjoyed it as a post-cleansing step to rebalance my skin and prep it for the treatments/moisturizer I apply afterwards.  I want to note that I’ve also tried the SK-II Treatment that is their flagship product, but I haven’t noticed anything spectacular, so I won’t repurchase at this time.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, $20 – a no-frills, non-fragranced foaming facial cleanser.  It gets the job done WELL and does not include any ingredients that you don’t need (namely fragrance).  My husband and I both use it, and it’s become a staple in my shower (works great with the Clarisonic!).

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay, $24 – this will be my 3rd tube, and I absolutely love this cleanser.  It smells slightly medicinal, which I actually really enjoy (versus completely synthetic fragrances), and I definitely feel like it provides a deep cleanse.  I’ve read reviews that some others think this is slimy and hard to wash off, but honestly I have never experienced that.  This is the cleanser that I keep at my sink to use in the mornings, and I look forward to using it every morning.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 (untinted), $22.50 – I know a lot of people think this is not worth the hype for a $22.50 lip balm, but I’m telling you – it is absolutely indispensable to me.  I can’t even count how many tubes I’ve gone through (8? 10?), and I ALWAYS go back to this.  It is deeply moisturizing, has an SPF of 15, and I like that it has a substantial packaging that somehow makes the experience of applying it just a little bit luxe.  Also, it has a faint lemon scent, which doesn’t bother me, and I am very, very sensitive to scents.  It just bought 2 tubes a month ago because I was in dire need (I left my tube in car and it sadly melted) and couldn’t wait, but I’m buying at least 2 more because it’s one of those things I want to use everyday.

Boscia Blotting Linens, $10 – I used to think it was silly to pay this much for blotting linens.  Blotting linens were one of those super cheap items I always picked up in bulk when I visited Taiwan.  However, I’m almost done with my first pack of these linens and I must say they are awesome.  They don’t disturb my makeup, and even for me (whose shiny face you can spot as a beacon in dark rooms), I only need one to get me through the day.  The Charcoal version is new to me, but charcoal supposedly helps soak oil, so I am all about this!

Shiseido The Makeup Facial Cotton, $9.50 – This is quite touted on the Youtube beauty community as some miracle facial cotton, and while I don’t think this (it is still possible for them to break off), they are really nice for removing eye makeup.  Since having my cheap Target cotton pads flake off into my eyes (not fun when wearing contacts), I’ve been using this for my eye area only.  Because let’s face it, even at 20% off these cottons are still very pricey.


Buxom Lip Gloss Roulette, $59 – Buxom lip glosses are my favorite – they’ve totally made me crave that tingly feeling, and now I associate that characteristic of what a good lip gloss should be.  In any case, this set has a ton of colors and gives you a lot of options – or you can always keep some for yourself and give some out with family and friends!

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Soft Brown, $21 – Quite simply one of the best, most easy to use eyebrow pencils out there.  When I ran out of this, I thought I could get by with just my Shu Uemura Hard 9 Brown Pencil in xxx, which I really enjoy, but just nothing beats this for ease of use.   It has a super fine, twist up tip and a great spoolie to comb through your brows after you pencil them in.  I used to use the color Medium Ash, which has since been renamed to Medium Brown, but I’m going to go for a slightly lighter shade as my normal hair color is somewhat of a medium brown and I like to go slightly lighter than my normal hair color for brows to look less harsh.

Since I don’t run out of makeup on the regular (or ever) given my vast collection, I won’t be “repurchasing” anything else.  But I still wanted to call out great items that I use on a regular basis and would wholeheartedly recommend if you are looking for anything in this category:

Setting Powder: NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, $35 – It offers the perfect amount of “blurring” and has semi-descent oil control.  I like it WAY better than the Hourglass Setting Powder In Diffused Lighting, which i use for the same purpose… but I should probably think of another use for it (e.g., under eye setting), since it has zero oil control and disappears from my face within an hour

Mineral Foundation: Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15 in Natural Beige, $39 – still one of the best mineral foundations.  I have the Chanel Vitalumiere Powder but have yet to test it.  Maybe I’ll do post on that coming up.

Budge-proof pencil eyeliners: NARS Larger Than Life Long Wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto (black), $24 and Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Waterproof Eye Pencil, $28 (in select stores only) – I use the NARS when I don’t care to smudge out my eyeliner and want it to stay PUT.  I use the Giorgio Armani (I have the brown one) more regularly as it gives me more time to smudge it out and also is pretty budge proof.  If I were to repurchase only one, I would go for the Giorgio Armani.

What are your recommendations for the Sephora VIB Sale??