Beauty Reviews: Brushes, Body Hero Duo, Colorscience & more!

Ever wondered about highlighting / contour palettes? If magnetic eyelashes are worth the cost? If there’s any effective low-cost Neulash alternative? Well… you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a fresh batch of beauty reviews.

  1. IBY Highlight + Contour Palette
    Artis-Brush-Review-Flatlay

    Confession time: I’ve been intrigued by the art of contouring for a long time, but too intimidated to try it myself. 🎨 That is, until I came across the all-matte contour palette by IBY (@ibybeauty). I took the leap, and tried it on my nose this weekend. Voila! Very satisfied with my slimmer nose.

    The palette comes with a “How To” card that walks you though how to define your cheekbones, slim your forehead, and define + slim your nose. As a total newbie to contouring and someone without a lot of free time (or patience!) to watch tons of YouTube beauty tutorials, this cheat sheet has been super helpful. If you want to try the IBY palette yourself, use code MARTHA at checkout for 20% off your entire order 👉 ibybeauty.com thru 10.9.17. 

    2. Artis Oval 3 Brush + Artis Oval 6 Brush IBY-Cosmetics-Palette-Review
    To complete the look for Review No. 1, I used the Artis Brush Mirror Oval 3 (perfect for smaller areas). For my foundation, I used the larger Artis Elite Mirror Oval 6 (also great for contouring the cheekbone area). If you’re looking to take your makeup application techniques to the next level, you’ll appreciate the specific uses for each patented brush:

    Oval 3: Great for applying eyeshadow, under eye concealer and brow bone highlight. You can also use it to apply foundation/concealer to the inside corner area of the eye and on the side of nose near the nostrils.

    Oval 6: Provides blended, natural-looking results for applying full-face foundation, as well as blush, cheekbone contour, or highlight.

    Artis brushes are made exclusively with CosmeFibre, an engineered fibre made specifically for cosmetic and makeup product application. The Artis Elite Mirror 5 Brush Set can be purchased at Net-a-Porter for $170. Similar sets and individual brushes can be found at Nordstrom and Anthropologie.

    3. Glossier Body Hero Duo: Daily Oil Wash & Daily Perfecting Cream Glossier-Body-Hero-Review
    Be honest, what “hero” song comes to mind when you read this label? I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night…

    In all seriousness, we were pretty excited about this new product duo because: we love 90% of Glossier products already, and our shower gel / body wash / soap situation is pretty boring in comparison. Classic example of something we didn’t know we needed until Glossier graced our inboxes and bombarded our social feeds with news of these new heroes (advertised via attention-grabbing images of famous naked ladies). Surely you’ve seen this campaign?

    Glossier-Body-Hero-New-Duo-Review
    If you caught our Insta Story on the topic, you’ll know that size-wise the oil is smaller than we were expecting. It also smells even better than we were expecting. While we (separately, of course!) have been using the Body Hero Duo for just a few days now, we’re “pretty sure we’ll reorder” given the innovative nature of the product and the smell. Oh, the smell. Our soon-to-be winter skin needs some love, ok?

    The Body Hero Duo is $35. If you had to pick just one product, we’d go oil wash – 8.4 fl oz for $18. We’ll update this post on “how long it lasts” when we have that info.

4. Castor Oil? Yep. Sky Organics Castor Oil for Eyelash (+ Brow) Growth

SkyOrganics-CastorOil-Review

I’ve had eyelash envy ever since I can remember. While my lashes are dark, they are quite short, and not really that noticeable. I’ve contemplated buying NeuLash (close to $100 per tube, yikes!) or Latisse (technically requires a prescription… unless you’re in Mexico, but… there are some dangerous side effects).

Ok, full disclosure: I bought a bottle of off-brand Latisse at a bodega-like pharmacy in Cabo San Lucas. I used it a couple of times, but got really paranoid, because discoloration including purple eyelids was one of the warnings and I thought I saw signs of this happening. Whether it was real or placebo I don’t know, but I’m nervous to try again.

OneTwo-Cosmetics-Review
That said, when Sky Organics (makers of our favorite Bath Bombs!) sent over this Castor Oil kit for eyelash and brow growth, we couldn’t wait to test drive it. For one, the word “organic” has put me so much more at ease. While it’s only been a matter of days (and typically results are seen after several weeks) I’m confident this is the right choice for eyelash growth. I’ll report back on results at a later date.

5. One Two Lash Magnetic False Eyelashes Longer-Lashes-Product-Review

Remember how I alluded to my lack of patience earlier (some of those beauty tutorial videos just need to cut to the chase, am I right?). Well… while I wait to see how my natural lashes grow under this new Castor Oil regimen, I did bite the bullet and buy a set of OneTwo Lash magnetic false eyelashes. I don’t wear them daily (I bet some people do!) but I enjoy having access to them for special occasions / dressing up. They did take me a few applications to get it just right, but in my experience the magnets have staying power and they’re a huge improvement over the sticky glue solutions of traditional “falsies.”

For more information about One Two Lash magnetic lashes, I’d encourage you to read the reviews on the OneTwo Cosmetics website.

6. Colorscience All Calm Clinical Redness Corrector
Colorscience-AllCalm-Review

Roses are red, our favorite wines are red, our fave nail polish hues are red… but when it comes to facial redness we just can’t stand it. Luckily, Colorscience has debuted a new, redness-neutralizing formula that provides ongoing relief from sensitivity and the appearance of redness.

What’s more? The All CalmClinical Redness Corrector SPF 50 helps prevent up to 90% of skin aging (!!!), has no chemical active ingredients, is antioxidant and Vitamin E enriched, comes in a breathable, hydrating formula AND is dermatologist recommended.

I’m the first to admit, I was skeptical. What could this pump bottle really do to smooth out my complexion and reduce redness? Well, it delivered. I’ve used this product daily since receiving it (3+ weeks) and it’s quickly become a staple in my beauty routine. To be sure it wasn’t “too good to be true,” I consulted Brooke & Lauren, The Skin Sisters. These real-life sisters are both board-certified dermatology Physician Assistants and have expertise in all aspects of dermatology. In other words, they know what’s up.

According to them, “Colorescience is a fantastic brand! We love their brush on sunblock.”  

Hmmm, sounds like we’ll need to try SUNFORGETTABLE® Brush-On Suncreen SPF 50 next.

Stay tuned for more tips from this dynamic duo in an upcoming post!

P.S. Olivia Rink tipped us on a free gift offer from Kiehls going on now thru 9/24. The free 6-piece gift set is offered with any $75+ purchase. There are 3 options to pick from, and the samples include some of our all-time skincare faves. Plus, a free full-size Rare Earth Mask comes with any $115+ purchase. If you’re intrigued, we’d recommend checking out:

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What We’re Into Right Now: Lake Life, Beauty Products, NSale, Kiehls Ride for Life

Lake Life
While the Midwest maintains the reputation of flyover country (whether we like it or not!) it’s hard to argue with the merits of of the region in summertime. Perfect temps paired with lake breezes and plenty of sunshine? Hard to top that!

Ice-Cream-Cone-Excelsior-MN
In order to soak up all of the fun & sun, we’ve been making the most of each and every weekend – whether hanging by the pool, jumping in the lake, or biking for miles on end.

We all scream for ice cream! Licks Unlimited | Excelsior, Minnesota.

Lake-Life-Lake-Minnetonka
I don’t always run, but when I do, I stop to snap photos of Lake Life every half mile (at least!).

Mimosa-Brunch-Cov-Wayzaya-MN
Favorite brunch spot. CōV | Wayzata, Minnesota

Patio-Giannis-Wayzata-MN-Steakhouse
Another great patio (and those table-side spun salads are to die for!) Gianni’s | Wayzata, Minnesota

Sitting-on-the-dock-adirondack-chair-MN
House goals! | Minnetrista, Minnesota
I mean, who doesn’t want to spend Sundays sitting on a deck by the bay? …Complete with retractable screen for bug protection and Adirondacks with built-in wine glass holder? Too perfect.

Skincare
In addition to lake life, summer skincare has also been on our minds.
amala-beauty
We’ve been purifying ourselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka AND with Amala Beauty Purify products.

Coola-suncare-sunscreen-sunblock
And blocking harmful UVA + UVB rays (basically a requirement for maintaining healthy, youthful skin) with COOLA Skincare’s Classic Sunscreen Trio. Find COOLA products at Anthropologie, Nordstrom, ULTA.

ole-henriksen-ole-glow-kit
We are new to the brand, but loving how a tiny drop of each #oleglow product goes a long way. Excited to try more from the Ole Henriksen lineup, let us know if you have suggestions! We are loving this kit so far – find it at Sephora.

Estee-Lauder-Advanced-Night-Repair
When I was little, I used to walk past the Estée Lauder counter at Marshall Fields (anyone else?) and admire all the pretty products and think “one day, I’ll be a fancy lady with legit beauty products.” Happy to report the day has come! Read more about these two products on Instagram. Also, you can purchase the Repair + Renew Set as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for a limited time!

Target Finds
These Merona Women’s Kona Backless Mule Loafers are perfect for the gal with Gucci style but a not-quite Gucci budget. Some reviewers noted ordering a size up, but I stuck with my typical size 8 and have no complaints! Target-Meron-a-Kona-Backless-Mule-Loafers-3 But, beware that these mules are not made of high-end materials (hence, $23.00 price tag), so I wouldn’t advise wearing them in the rain. You should also take caution when walking down stairs (if one slips off, well… that could cause a scene. Or worse, an injury!).

If you’re ready to make the leap to the real deal (I’m still waiting to pull the trigger personally, but…just look at these!), here’s the Gucci Princetown Leather Slippers in all their glory. For now, I’ll just practice my outfit pairings with my Target mules. Someday, someday….

Last Call: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale
Speaking of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (yes, I too, am so ready for this thing to be over!), I ended up buying a few more things since this initial post on Shopping the Sale – An Organized Approach, and second post rounding up our favorite Nordstrom Sale Selections.

Namely:

Kylie Faux Fur Trim Gloss Puffer Jacket 
While the model looks “not impressed,” let me tell you I’ve had the early version of this jacket (sans fur trim) and have worn it religiously for the past 3 winters. It’s the right hybrid of casual and elegant, and makes me feel like I’m ready to hit the slopes at a fancy mountainside Colorado resort. This new version comes with upgraded features, and the soft fleece “half gloves” (not sure what these are actually called) that are super helpful in instances where you:
A) forget your actual gloves
B) don’t need actual gloves, but don’t want cold air sneaking up your sleeves
C) still need to do important things like drive, text, type, etc., unencumbered

Back to Basics
When the sale first went live, I resisted the Hanky Panky lace thongs because… I compared the $14.90 price tag to last years’ $13.50 (I literally checked my purchase history on Nordstrom.com, ha!) and just wouldn’t have it. As the weeks went by it hit me, $14.90 is still better than $20, and after some Internet digging, this kind of is the best price outside of the occasional HankyPanky.com sale, so… added a couple of these to cart. Pro tip: This one is on sale (but not on ‘Anniversary Sale,’ if you know what I mean).

I also took the recommendation of Merritt Beck (aka The Style Scribe — give her a follow if you don’t already!) and ordered the Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra. Wish I would’ve acted sooner as the black was already sold out in my size and I would’ve been nice to have one of each color. Went for my first run today and… it lives up to the hype!

To go with the sporty theme, I wanted to add another pair of Nike Dry Tempo Running Shorts to cart (was so pleased with my first purchase, and realized I wear these more than once per week!), but unfortunately they sold out, along with these Moonlight Short Pajamas. Better luck next year, I guess! …Is it going too far to set a calendar reminder for July 2018?

No? Ok, good, didn’t think so.

Kiehl’s LifeRide for AmfAR
Last but not least, is the Kiehls LifeRide for amfAR. It’s an 8-day multi-state motorcycle ride with celebrity activists and it kicks off at MallofAmerica in Minneapolis (our backyard!) tomorrow.

LifeRide raises money and awareness to help fight HIV/AIDS. If you’re in MN, join in the country-style sendoff tomorrow, July 31 @ 11:00am – Kiehls Store, Mall of America.

Cure-is-in-your-hands-Kiehls-Hand-Salve
You can also help by purchasing this Limited Edition Ultimate Hand Strength Salve as 💯% of the purchase price up to $25k will benefit amfAR. Our favorite Kiehl’s products are linked below. As Kiehl’s puts it – together, we can find a cure for HIV/AIDS. What’s more inspiring than that?!

Thanks for tuning into another post!

-MMK

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Early Access: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Selections

Early Access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale kicked off last week, and we won’t even blame you if you’re sick of hearing about it already! In an effort to hold your interest (and hopefully be helpful!), we’ll keep this short, sweet, and to the point. Below, find a roundup of picks from the 2017 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale [Early Access: July 13-20. Public Access: July 21 – August 6].



I mean, how fun is this Split Sleeve Tee? The best part — it’s only $28!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop collecting candles. Especially when they are divine-smelling Diptyque Candles (they never go on sale… so seize the opportunity!)

Nordstrom-Anniversary-Sale-Black-White-Tory-Burch

Treat yourself to Tory Burch boots, pumps or sandals (while they last!)


Ok, so the CALPAK Marble Luggage isn’t part of the Anniversary Sale (unfortunately), but they are just too fun, I couldn’t resist including them in the marble roundup. I did go a bit crazy on the DKNY Marble Bath Accessories though. Can’t wait until they arrive and everything is matching and streamlined.

That’s it! If you’re wondering what authority I have to report on the most anticipated sale of the season, the answer is… I’m really no expert. Just practical person who loves a highly anticipated sale.

P.S. Pajamas! I forgot the PJs! These Moonlight Pajamas by Nordstrom Lingerie are insanely comfortable. They come in your choice of 5 colors and there’s a short version, too.

Thanks for reading! Let us know what else you find in the comments below or on Instagram, @thejcrgirls.

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How to Shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – An Organized Approach

Surely you’ve heard plenty about the much-anticipated Nordstrom Anniversary Sale by now. Maybe you even stayed/woke up until 3am EST to be the first to shop the sale. TBH, I wanted to wake up and shop, but when my alarm went off I just couldn’t bring myself out of bed. Turns out, it was fine because everything I wanted was still in stock 5 hours later. Phew.

Nordstrom-2017-Anniversary-Sale

Here’s what I ended up purchasing from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale so far:

And here’s what I’m considering for Round II:

If I didn’t already own the following, I’d use this opportunity to buy new gear on sale:

And beauty products:

Want our secrets for navigating the chaos and finding the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale items that best suit your style? Here’s our organized approach:

Step 1: From the Nordstrom homepage, click on Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Early Access (highlighted in the top navigation). Then, decide where to start. Choose between Women | Men | Kids | Home | Beauty Exclusives.

Step 2: We initially started with Beauty Exclusives (then sorted by price: from low to high), but for the sake of this tutorial, we’ll shop the Women’s Sale section.

Step 3: When you first click into the section, you’re inundated with 3,000+ items (currently 47 pages of product listings!). Kind of overwhelming, right? So, use the categories in the sidebar on the left to trim down the selection. From Instance, you can select just “Clothing” just “Shoes” or just “Handbags & Accessories.” For our search, we left the “Category” options alone and went straight to “Brand.”

Step 4: Scroll through the entire brand list, and select all the brands you like / are curious about. Once you’ve been through the entire list, you’ll have a pared down Women’s Sale section shopping list, featuring only the brands you have interest in. For us, that means selecting:
ASICS
Aveda
Badgley Mischka
Barbour
BCBGMAXAZRIA
bkr
BP.
Burberry (Dream Life!)
Caslon
Catherine Malandrino
Charles by Charles David
cupcakes and cashmere
Diane von Furstenberg
ED Ellen Degeneres (Most products aren’t on sale, but still so tempted!)
Elie Tahari
Eliza J
Frye
gorjana
Hanky Panky
Hudson Jeans
Hunter
Halogen
J Brand
J. CREW
Joie
kate spade new york (50 items!)
Lauren Ralph Lauren
Longchamp
Madewell
Maggy London
MICHAEL Michael Kors
Nike
Nordstrom
PAIGE
Patagonia
Pendleton
philosophy
rag & bone
Sam Edelman
Skagen
Sole Society
SPANX
Sperry (Honestly, the men’s section is so much better)
Sole Society
Sugarfina
Tahari
The North Face
Tibi
Tory Burch (24 items)
Tumi
Zella / Zella Body (72 items)

Step 5: Repeat this process for any other categories you find of interest. If shopping Beauty Exclusives, there are currently only 313 products in stock, so sifting through 5 pages of results really isn’t too taxing. I’d recommend checking them all out! We’re especially fond of the following:

Benefit Cosmetics
Bobbi Brown
CLARISONIC
diptyque
Estée Lauder
FRESH
Jo Malone London
Kate Somerville
Kiehl’s Since 1851
Mario Badescu
NARS
OUAI
Shiseido
Sigma Beauty
SPACE.NK.apothecary
stila
Supergoop!
WINKY Lux
Yves Saint Laurent

So…what have you found? Overall, are you more or less impressed with the selection than in previous years?

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