Mother Tested, Mother Approved: Morning Makeup Routine

Wearing makeup is a hit or miss when it comes to incorporating it into a lifestyle.  Is it necessary to wear makeup every day?  Is it necessary to wear makeup only on special occasions?  To each his own…  As a working mom and makeup artist, I don’t have time to do a full glam face everyday since I sit behind a desk all day.  I didn’t wear makeup throughout high school and college, but only discovered it once I started working full time and earning a steady income.  I would splurge a good percentage of my paycheck to buying different makeup and skincare items and testing everything under the umbrella.  It came to the point where I was an avid hoarder in purchasing any shiny item I touched even though I had no clue how to use it.  I’ve finally put my curiosity into good use by turning my interest into a career.  My personal makeup collection and professional makeup kit has taken over the nooks and crannies of my house and closet.  Since I have all this makeup, how and when will I use it before it expires?  Well wear makeup daily, duh!  But no one has time to apply makeup if you want to snooze a couple more minutes in the morning while 6 months pregnant.

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I’ve tested different products throughout the years in order to create a simple, straight-forward makeup routine in the morning.  Don’t get me wrong- there are days I want to completely skip out on makeup.  But this pregnancy is creating its own ugly marks on my face, so I prefer to cover it up rather than walk around looking like a zombie because this baby is sucking the life out of me.  This may or may not work for everyone, but the following items have helped me create that simple “clean face” look by focusing on what I want to cover up and what I want to enhance.

Here’s a bit of background on my current skin concerns:  I have combination/normal skin during the winter where it’s typically oily on my forehead, chin and nose, but extremely dry and flaky along the bridge of my nose.  I have dark spots, post acne-scars along my cheeks and chin, and dark, puffy circles under my eyes.  My preferred makeup items to help target my skin concerns include a light-to-medium coverage foundation that has SPF and an under eye concealer that’s more for color correcting.  Makeup products that I regularly use include a brow pencil, eyeliner, mascara, bronzer and blush.  Using these products after my skincare routine takes a total of 10 minutes tops.  Again, I’ve been testing and practicing this routine so that I could do this with my eyes closed (haven’t tried it yet, but I’m up for the challenge).

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Top to Bottom: Billy B eyelash curler, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil, Chantecaille Mascara (iPhone 6+ photo quality)

After toning and moisturizing my face, I curl my lashes using my Billy B eyelash curler and then work on my brows.  I love using brow pencils that have a triangular tip, such as Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer in Medium Brown, because it’s the perfect size for my naturally full brows.  It’s a retractable pencil with the brow product on one side and a spooley on the other.  Just a couple of short strokes to fill in my sparse areas and I’m good to go.  Afterwards, I apply a waterproof black eyeliner using Urban Decays 24/7 Glide-On Pencil in Perversion which is the blackest matte black pencil ever.  I finish my eyes with a couple of coats of mascara to help separate, lengthen and create volume for my naturally straight lashes.  I switch between Kjaer Weis mascara (which is an organic brand) and Chantecaille Faux Cils mascara (pictured above).  These mascaras have become my favorites because it holds the curl all day unlike other mascaras which tend to straighten out my curled lashes a few hours after application.

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Top to Bottom: Laura Gellar Filter Finish Setting Powder, Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer, Maybelline BB Cream, NARS blush, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer (iPhone 6+ photo quality)

After the eyes, I quickly work on complexion (my face) which takes less than 5 minutes because I’m only using 4 products.  Since I have oily skin, I gravitate towards matte-finish foundations.  But I find that it makes my face look flat during the winter.  So I’ve been applying a light layer of Laura Gellar Filter Finish Setting Powder from Ulta.  I purchased this last month and even though it says “setting powder”, I find that it brings out my inner glow without looking oily which is why I apply this first.  Once I do this, I use my fingers and apply Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream in Medium.  This helps even out any redness on my face and lightens dark spots along my cheeks.  I softly contour my face using Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer (which I’ve had for years!) and then blend NARS Blush in Dolce Vita onto my cheeks focusing along the contour rather than the apples of my cheeks.  Lastly, I bounce a very thin layer of concealer onto the hollows of my eye socket using Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer in R32 (another recent purchase).  This concealer has a peach undertone which color corrects dark circles.  I like that the shade is pretty close to my natural skin tone so I don’t have to double up on color correcting and concealing under my eyes.  This concealer is a liquid-creamy texture (but not runny) so I prefer warming up the product on the back of my hand and using my ring finger for application.

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(iPhone 6+ photo quality)

So this is my daily makeup routine.  This might sound like a lot, but it has been working for me.  If you’re like me (an avid makeup hoarder), those makeup items on your vanity, closet, bathroom – wherever – won’t last forever.  They do expire and when you use an expired makeup product, your face will hate you for it.  So explore and try out new ways in shortening your makeup routine whether if it’s going to work, running errands or date night.  Practice makes perfect!

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Mother Tested, Mother Approved: VERB

The maintenance of a young girl is never ending and the only reason why you know this is because you went through the same ordeal.  I remember having thick black hair with unmanageable thick ends when I was a kid.  My mom would sit me on a stool once a month and give me a bowl cut with uneven bangs.  It was her way of saving money because there were 2 girls at home whom she had to maintain appearance and cleanliness.  When I became a mother to my little daughter, I didn’t think my past traumatic experiences would come back to haunt me.  Luckily, it’s only hair that I need to tame.  And my daughter has A LOT of hair to tame with a European-mixed dad and Asian mom; her hair is everywhere!

Introducing VERB Leave-In Mist

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VERB Leave-In Mist (iPhone 6+ photo quality)

My daughter has had a few haircuts throughout her life where only a couple have been done by a professional (yes, her volition to cut her own hair is admirable yet terrifying).  A maintenance issue I would run into after her haircuts would be breaking through the tangles and knots.  I’ve tried every detangle spray, pomade, gel, shampoo, whatever (!) to help release the knots so I wouldn’t be dragging my daughter through hell once I started brushing.  Keep in mind- I would only use “baby approved” brands on her head because she’s a growing child.  I couldn’t justify buying expensive hair care products for her little head.  So, I found this little beauty on the Sephora website during my holiday online shopping spree.  This detangle spray came in a Verb style kit which included a travel size shampoo and conditioner and a full size dry shampoo and sea spray.  Verb is a professionally salon-raised, cruelty-free hair care brand based in Austin.  Most of the ingredients are all natural and don’t include parabens, phthalates and gluten.

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VERB Leave-In Mist (iPhone 6+ photo quality)

The Leave-In Mist is very lightweight and can be used to detangle, defrizz and condition unruly hair.  The product in this 8 fl oz bottle looks thick, but sprays into a fine mist through the nozzle.  There is a refreshing scent to the product and it doesn’t feel greasy on wet or damp hair.  I squirt this onto the ends of my daughter’s hair after a shower and leave it in for 5-10 minutes before I start brushing.  By the time her hair air dries, her locks look healthy and smooth for a couple of days.

The winning point for this detangle product is spraying it onto my daughter’s hair after her swimming lessons.  I give my daughter a quick shower after her lessons at the pool’s locker room.  Once I rinse out the chlorine, I use the travel size shampoo and Leave-In Mist to lather and condition her hair.  Sad to admit this, but this is the one thing I look forward to at her swim lessons.  My mom did the same thing with me and my sister when we were taking swimming lessons at our local YMCA.  We did a full shower and she would bring a detangle spray to rid out the knots and chlorine out of our hair.  It worked then and it works now.

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Her first at-home haircut with very uneven bangs and a mullet (2014 Instagram photo @elainedoesmakeup)

Overall, this is a mommy AND daughter approved product.  I don’t brush my hair and if I do, I just run my fingers through my ends.  After I shower, I spray this onto my ends and by morning, my hair looks and feels soft for the day.  I do have other products that are from the VERB brand, but this one is my favorite so far.

Mother Tested, Mother Approved: Human + Kind

Winter brings the harshest weather conditions when you live along the Northern East coast. Cycling through 4 seasons all year round really takes a toll on your skin if you don’t prep ahead.  I love testing different skincare and hair care products throughout the winter to maintain healthy looking skin.  Around the holiday season, Sephora has their Employee Appreciation and VIB (Rouge) sale where loyal consumers receive 10-20% discount on their purchases.  I went crazy in purchasing new skincare and hair care products to test against the cold weather and my pregnant changing body.

Introducing Human + Kind Body Butter & Body Oil

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Human + Kind Body Oil & Body Butter (iPhone 6+ photo quality)

I purchased these items from Sephora right before Christmas.  I was running out of my scented body moisturizer and needed an unscented body moisturizer that would relieve dry skin and reduce signs of stretch marks.  Both of these products work perfectly in conjunction with each other.  These 2 items from Human + Kind were featured on Sephora’s “Just Arrived” section and I couldn’t resist after reading the ingredients and price point.  Human + Kind is an all natural beauty product line that introduces effective, multi-tasking skin products without the use of harmful petrochemicals.

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Human + Kind Body Oil (iPhone 6+ phone quality)

The Body Oil is a 3-in-1 body oil that can be used on your face, body and hair.  After a steamy shower, I like to rub this all over my body specifically on my knees, elbows, inner thighs and developing stretch mark.  Side note: This item is comparable to Bio-Oil (in my opinion) which is a highly praised multi-purpose oil that reduces the appearance of stretch marks, scars and discoloration of the skin.  The oil isn’t thick, has a very subtle scent and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.  Once applied, my skin looks like I’ve been basking underneath the sun and my skin feels extra smooth for the next few days.

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Human + Kind Body Butter (iPhone 6+ photo quality)

The Body Oil works great on its own or with a moisturizer on top, but the accompanying Body Butter tops it all.  This body butter is a rich, whipped lotion that has aloe vera, shea butter and cocoa seed butter all in one tub.  Aloe vera is great during tanning season after toasting underneath the sun, shea butter helps soothe dry skin and cocoa butter reduces the appearance of stretch marks.  I used to purchase lotions with these ingredients individually when the weather would change.  Now, I can use this all year round.  It’s a thin whipped lotion that feels thick when applied, but thins out once you rub it into your skin whether dry or on top of the body oil.  There’s a slight scent coming from the 3 natural ingredients and my skin feels hydrated, moisturized and extra soft just like a baby’s bottom.

Overall, I’m really happy with these body care items.  I plan on trying out more of Human + Kind beauty products especially more skin and hair care.  You can find more items from this line by visiting their website, humanandkind.com.

Mother Tested, Mother Approved: Natural Nipple Butter

I wear multiple hats as a full time working mom.  I used to do beauty product reviews on my Youtube channel and lifestyle blog a few years ago.  I really enjoyed testing items and sharing my reviews.  I’m an avid believer of doing your research on cosmetic items.  So I decided to do weekly product reviews (fingers crossed that I keep this up) on this blog.  I will review items that I’ve tested on myself and helped me throughout my pregnancy.  From skin care, hair care and beauty products, I’ll share what has worked and hasn’t worked for me.  So let the drum roll start for my first product review of 2016:

Introducing Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter

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Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter (iPhone 6+ photo quality)

At the beginning of my pregnancy, my breasts quickly became real tender, very sensitive and itchy.  My nipples became so itchy that it was so uncomfortable to wear my bras for a long extended period (ahem during work hours).  Before the holidays, I visited one of my cousin’s who recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl.  I shared my early pregnancy changes to her specifically my sensitive breasts.  Lo and behold, she had a solution to my issue.

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Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter (iPhone 6+ photo quality)

My cousin used Earth Mama Natural Nipple Butter while nursing her first child.  She said a little goes a long way to moisturize the breast especially around the nipple before and after feeding.  She didn’t notice her son having any reaction to the nipple butter due to taste or scent (it’s all natural ingredients so it should be healthy, right?).  She had a spare, unopened tub sitting in her room and gladly gave it to me.  I tested this miracle cream right in front of her and the itchiness immediately went away.

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Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter (iPhone 6+ photo quality)
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Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter (iPhone 6+ photo quality)

This buttery balm is all natural that moisturizes chafing skin especially if nursing or for anyone who is suffering from dry, crack skin.  This little tub is only 2 fluid ounces, but you only need a little amount to cover the surface.  The listed natural, organic ingredients are safe for baby so there’s no need to wipe off any applied excess but that’s your choice.  Make sure to double check the ingredients in case you’re allergic.  There’s a subtle scent of cocoa and shea butter (duh- look at the ingredients) that’s slightly tasteful.  Plus this is lanolin free (lanolin, also called wool wax or wool grease, is an animal by-product wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals).  Depending on where you purchase this, the average price I saw ranged from $9-13 USD.  Overall, I would highly recommend this product to any first time moms or anyone who is dealing with sensitive, itchy breasts.  I’ve used different body butters to relieve my itchy nipples, but this product has beaten them all.

Let me know if you’ve used this during past pregnancies and if this worked for you.