Spring Things! (Or for My Accountant: Beauty Purchases of Q2 2015)

To borrow a turn of phrase from Tolstoy, “spring is the time of plans and projects.” Spring cleaning projects, preparing taxes (which you should have handed over to Uncle Sam on Wednesday), planting spring gardens and wrapping up the academic year (for you young whippersnappers). Spring is also a time when love blooms as abundantly and predictably as cherry blossoms.

“And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere”

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

The intersection of spring love and spring planning arrives each year in the form of wedding plans. This spring, I’ll be one of the lucky saps planning my wedding to my best friend. I’m getting hitched!

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My tales of romance aside, spring is also the time for planning seasonal beauty purchases. I’ve got a few choice picks I’d like to share!

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Let’s talk about hair. I like hair. It insulates your scalp for warmth in the winter, you can dye it all kinds of colors, and when you get it wet it’s possible to do that Martha Washington thing that all girls do at the public pool.

In case some of you don’t immediately have water park flashbacks when I mention “that Martha Washington thing.”

 Unfortunately, rising temps in the spring and summer can mean that wonderful, insulative hair becomes up a limp, sweaty mess. Klorane dry shampoo revives my sweat-laden locks, leaving them with lots of volume and texture and, more importantly, without a telltale white cast.

Next up on the spring purchases docket is skincare, and everybody knows I can’t talk about skincare without mention of Paula’s Choice. I’ve made the leap from RESIST Retinol Serum to its more potent partner, the Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment. My skin feels firmer and more refined, and higher retinol content has dramatically minimized my occasional hormonal acne breakouts along my chin and jaw. Whether it will delay the effects of aging, only time will tell, but I’m delighted with the current state of my skin. I cannot recommend this product enough.

Choo choo, all aboard, railroad jargon, et cetera, because I am riding the sheet mask hype train. In the near future I plan to post a comprehensive side-by-side review of several sheet masks, but I’ve been so reliant on the Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Mask from My Beauty Diary that I needed to include it in my spring essentials. Skincare superstar sodium hyaluronate teams up with moisturizing glycerin, healing aloe, antioxidant vitamin E, and all the enzymatic goodness of pineapple extract in this powerhouse product. The effects are immediate (though short-lived) and my skin feels plump and moisturized. At $13 for 10 masks, this purchase carries a low financial risk and a lot of moisturizing benefits. Plus it makes me look like Hannibal Lecter, which is cool in a menacing, scare-your-fiancé-late-at-night kind of way.

Hello, Clarice.

Hello, Clarice.

My list of spring skincare essentials features another luminary from the Asian Beauty category. Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence edged out the competition from Mizon Snail Repair Cream, though the latter would be a great option for someone looking for a snail mucin product with more moisturizing properties. The Benton essense contains, as the name would suggest, a healthy dose of snail secretion filtrate, which is chock full of skin-loving proteins, ceramides, glycosaminoglycans, and hyaluronic acid. It also contains bee venom (that’s the “Bee” part of “Snail Bee High Content Essense,” with all the subtlety of a neon sign). Bee venom’s primary active component is melittin, a peptide that may stimulate collagen production and promote healing. There is limited evidence of bee venom’s topical efficacy, so it may not be helping my skin in any appreciable way, but it doesn’t seem to be harming it either, so let’s just throw it against the wall and see what sticks.
Rounding out the Snail Bee superstar ingredients list are green tea extract (boasting antioxidant and ant-iinflammatory benefits), niacinamide (aka vitamin B3, a cell-communicating and antioxidant ingredient with brightening properties), and human oligopeptide-1 (aka synthetic EGF, a synthesized ingredient that mimics epidermal growth factor, which occurs naturally in the skin and plays a key role in the production of collagen and elastin). This product can be used in lieu of a toner or serum (or layered with either or both) to reap its healing and anti-aging benefits. Snail Bee High Content Essence has reignited the flame of desire for Korean beauty products that burns deep within my soul; you’ll be seeing a lot more if its ilk on the blog in the weeks to come. And that’s all I have to say about skincare. For now.

On the subject of makeup, I’ve found myself recently obsessed with pink. Maybe my sudden and unexpected love for rosy tints is informed by the rubicund hues of Seattle itself, resplendent with blooming cherry blossoms, coral sunsets, and blush-colored tulips at the farmer’s market. Maybe I just like girly shit. Who knows.

For lips, I’ve been wearing L’Oréal Colour Riche Extraordinaire lip color in Dancing Rose. It’s densely pigmented, applies smoothly, and moisturizes like whoa. It’s certainly not a long-wearing formula, but for a balm-gloss thingy, what do you really expect?

My cheeks are sporting the most ethereal, pretty, natural-looking glow since I picked up NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Boho Chic. It’s a light, cool-toned pink that mimics my natural flush and would look great on anyone with a fair-to-medium complexion and cool undertones. The formula blends like a dream and is available in 9 shades, from tawny to plum to in-your-face orange.

The caboose on this makeup train is an exquisite blush nail polish by Sally Hansen. Complete Salon Manicure in Royal Blush is a hard-wearing pale pinky-nude with a serviceable brush and glossy finish. If you’re still not convinced, my sister–an opinionated and often critical consumer–gave this polish an enthusiastic thumbs up. The cherry on top: it photographs beautifully, as evidenced by the not-so-discreet ring picture above.

Last but not least: I took a trip to Canada a few weeks ago and, shortly before reentering the good ol’ U.S. of A., I discovered the glorious outpost of discount cosmetics that is the International Border Duty Free Shop. I repurchased my faithful sunscreen standby, Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40, plus a 3.4 oz bottle of Si by Giorgio Armani, for about $85 USD. Holy discounts and favorable exchange rate, Batman!!! While Si is a heavier scent than I would usually wear in the warmer months, I’m a sucker for woody vanillas and it dries down beautifully. It fades faster than other vanilla scents I’ve loved (like Atelier Cologne’s Vanille Insensée), but I’d still call it a worthwhile purchase.

What spring beauty essentials are in your arsenal this season? Do you have any pink product suggestions to sate my growing desire for all things rosy?? Comment away!

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