Beauty Stores That Aren't Sephora

I think everyone's go-to beauty store is Sephora, and I'm loving how frequently they've been adding new brands. However, they don't carry everything. So here are other beauty stores I like to shop at.

Need Supply Co. 

Of course I'm putting Need Supply first. It's not a secret it's my favorite store. They carry brands like Aesop, African Botanics, Rodin, Sachajuan, Context, L:A Bruket, Malin + Goetz, Nuori, Vitner's Daughter. 

Bluemercury 

Bluemercury is right up there with Sephora with variety and the most popular brands. They do carry a few that Sephora doesn't like Avéne, James Read, Molton Brown, Kiehls, R+Co. 

Dermstore 

All of the brands you've heard of and some you may not have, Dermstore has them. Plus lots of sales!

Beautyhabit

Holy organic indie brands. Not gonna lie, I don't know a lot of the brands they carry. They carry a bunch of international products too. I once ordered a lotion I thought sounded good so I went to the brand's website but it was all in French. The lotion was good though. Plus they send you tons of samples!

Credo Beauty

Credo carries all eco-friendly, cruelty free, organic brands. Some bigger and some smaller new brands that are nice to try and support.

The Stell 

The Stell sells very urban outfitters/anthropologie-esque brands. (Anthropologie is another good place to look. I'm iffy about urban outfitters, they tend to carry pretty cheap trendy stuff). Plus their packaging is super cute.

Barneys

I'm luxury obsessed and I always check Barney's for new brands. They carry some of the same brands as Sephora but also more high-end brands like Byredo, Chantecaille, D.S. & Durga, Diptyque, Le Labo, Kevyn Aucoin and Bobbi Brown exclusives. And free shipping! 

My Go-To Walking Playlist

Because walking across campus goes by faster when you're walking at the pace of top 40 hits. I use Apple Music but I used the app SongShift to make a Spotify version. Enjoy!

 

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/1225050353/playlist/2rtfCyissQMY4LLv66VRQM

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist/110-117-bpm/idpl.31a42908136a4424aa6700a3ec5a8cde

The Problem Solver

Quick post here: I requested samples from May Lindstrom's collection and I'm really loving The Problem Solver. I have big pores that get gunked up on the daily. This mask has been great at cleaning them out. I take a small spoon of the powder and mix it with the same amount of water using the may lindstrom brush (also awesome). It goes on wet and dries greenish like clay. To take it off you have to splash water over your face (which I don't love 'cause I get water everywhere). My roommates and I all passed it around trying to describe the smell. Chocolate? Cannabis? (Neither of which are in it.) The point is, I am picky about smells and I like this one. 

I really gunked up my nose for this. Hands on my nose all day, covered in thick concealer and fried chicken grease, ya know 

I really gunked up my nose for this. Hands on my nose all day, covered in thick concealer and fried chicken grease, ya know 

ttyl,

lauren

Charcoal

pictured: Morihata Kishu Bichotan charcoals

pictured: Morihata Kishu Bichotan charcoals

Charcoal is the new coconut oil. It's showing up everywhere and everyone is using it- with good reason. Charcoal is a natural purifier and it's used in most municipal water systems. Companies like Morihata and Sort of Coal carry charcoal in water purifying sticks, air purifying sculptures, and even teeth whitening charcoal toothbrushes (which, call me crazy, I think actually work). In beauty products, its most popular use is clearing pores. 

With huge pores in my T-zone, I've tried my fair share of charcoal products. Here are my thoughts:

Origins Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask

This picture was edited with my iPhone 6 and the brand new Filmborn app by Kirk Mastin. Filters are based on real film stock and how they're processed. I'm a long time lover of Mastin Labs for Lightroom and I'm super excited to bring that to my phone. Kirk has been working on this for a long time to get it perfect and it finally came to the App Store just a few days ago! Search "Filmborn" in the App Store or click here  https://appsto.re/us/ihIW-.i  

This picture was edited with my iPhone 6 and the brand new Filmborn app by Kirk Mastin. Filters are based on real film stock and how they're processed. I'm a long time lover of Mastin Labs for Lightroom and I'm super excited to bring that to my phone. Kirk has been working on this for a long time to get it perfect and it finally came to the App Store just a few days ago! Search "Filmborn" in the App Store or click here  https://appsto.re/us/ihIW-.i  

Origins Clear Improvements is the OG. For years every skincare store clerk has been directing customers to it, and with good reason: it does the job. The consistency is about the same as every other mask and the smell is fresh and unnoticeable. Once or twice a week, I apply it over my T-zone and wait about 20 minutes or until its dry-ish then take it off with a washcloth. Pro-tip: use a black washcloth, it might stain. It cleans out my huge pores and my sensitive skin loves it. 

Boscia Charcoal Pore Pudding

I ordered this on a whim and I'm glad I did. Just like the name says, it's a thick pudding. I was a little hesitant because Boscia has been rough on my sensitive skin in the past but I've had no problems with this. I first used it like any other mask, let it get dry then wash it off. But lately I noticed if I let it dry a little longer it will sort of fall off, then I stick my head in the sink and rub it off. It balls up in my fingers and I feel like that does a better job. In relation to Origins, I'd say this one is just as good (or maybe better shh). 

Sephora Charcoal Cleansing Wipes

Sephora started selling their own line of cleansing wipes. So far these are the only ones I've tried. They smell like cucumber, they're not very pricey and you get a good amount of wipes in a pack (with the plastic top seal- hallelujah. I can't tell you how many wipes I've dried out). One side is normal wipe style and the other has exfoliating grids that I wouldn't recommend scrubbing with because THEY HURT. You will tear up your face. Sephora had the right idea but these are way too gritty. If you want exfoliating wipes, try Ole Henriksen. 

Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips

These cost more than Biore strips at the drug store and they don't do a better job. On top of that, they were too hard on my sensitive skin and I would have to use them at night because of how red my nose became. On the same note, Sephora brand nose strips are just as much a let down. Pore strips don't work in my opinion. If you really want them, stick to Biore. They do the job for half the money. 

Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Black Charcoal Sheet Mask

I ordered this sheet mask online and when I got it in the mail I noticed the strong mint smell. I'm super picky about smell and I don't like mint- why I returned my glam glow mask. But I didn't feel like returning this so I gave it to my bff Natalie to try. She struggles with pore probz too and she liked it and the smell, thought it worked, and her face felt nice and tight afterwards. 

 

Long story short, charcoal is awesome. Try a charcoal mask on your pores. DON'T DIY A MASK WITH GLUE. I saw that tutorial on Facebook and about screamed. DON'T PUT GLUE ON YOUR FACE. 

Leave-In Conditioner: Sachajuan

Everybody should be using a leave in conditioner. Because the second you get out of the shower and start brushing, you ruin all of the damage control progress you just made. 

My hair is thick and dry and goes down to my waist. Leave in conditioner is so important to me that I even brought some on a camping trip last weekend. 

Currently, my favorite leave in conditioner is from Sachajuan. First of all, it smells great. This might not be super important to everyone but it's important to me. Secondly, it's very lightweight. I used to use Redken's Extreme Anti-Snap Leave-in but it felt a little heavy, like I was gunking up my hair. It also smelled a lil meh. Sachajuan's lightness might be in part due to the fact that it's a spray, while Redken is not. But most importantly, it gets the job done. It detangles enough so that I can comb through my hair without worrying about breaking anything.

How I use it: After I get out of the shower, I wring out my hair and towel dry it just enough so that it's no longer sopping. I then spray it into my ends and sometimes halfway up my hair, then lightly comb through with my fingers and spray again on areas that tug and resist. Then I take a wide tooth comb (not a brush!) and gently comb through the damp hair. Once I'm sure it's all untangled, I run through with a fine tooth comb to make it real sleek. Lastly, I work some oil into my ends. I've tried tons of different oils and I haven't had issue with any of them and they all basically smell the same. So next time you're at the salon, just pick some up. I personally like Diptyque's Satin Oil because it comes in a spray form while most have pumps. The only real difference this makes is less oil on your hands afterwards. 

I air dry my hair because I'm lazy and hair dryers are loud. 

 

 

Let me know of any products I should try. I'm definitely going to be buying more from Sachajuan soon. 

 

Instagram: @laurenlovesskincare

 

(I link my products to barneys.com but they are also sold at net-a-porter, nordstrom, and plenty of other places. I prefer ordering from barneys because they have free (and fairly quick) shipping.)

Foundation For The Tragically Pale

I have pale skin. Call it ivory, fair, alabaster, whatever you want. I'm pale. In the summer I don't tan or even burn. I sometimes try self tanner but it's a lot of work. But I've come to terms with it.

My biggest issue is finding a foundation that works for me. It's so hard to find light enough foundation that I don't even bother trying the drugstore anymore. Even worse, I have neutral undertones, which is apparently rare in the makeup world. 

But I have found one foundation perfect for me. It's the Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Foundation and I won't sugar coat it, it's expensive. It's a sheer to medium coverage, which is awesome because it doesn't dry up your skin. But it also blends in smoothly. I am very conservative with application, just squirting little bits on my finger and dotting it along my face.

My secret weapon is my brush, the Artis Oval 7. I was nervous dishing out $60 for a brush. But it was so worth it. I'm using about half as much foundation as I used to thanks to this brush. No wonder Kim K uses it. I recommend watching some of the videos on their site to see how they apply it. You can just sweep it across the face, no swirling needed. And make sure to wash it regularly, since it's so dense. I use beauty blender's solid (I actually don't even own a beauty blender but it works great on brushes too).

My Favorite Cleanser

Yay! My first post on my new blog!

Of course, let's start things off with my favorite cleanser. Apologies for my sloppy brows. I'm trying to grow them out so I have to restrain from plucking all those strays. :-(

I've tried a few different cleansers in the past but this is the one and I'm never turning back. It's the Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Foam Cleanser/Purifying Mask

I apply it by putting a larger-than-a-pea size amount on my Clarisonic Mia. I'm using the Radiance Brush Head because it's soft enough for my sensitive skin but still gets the job done. 

This cleanser operates as a mask as well so I leave it on for a few minutes + you can feel a slight tingle. 

Washing it off. I don't know why commercials show water splashing. Who actually does that?! 

Washing it off. I don't know why commercials show water splashing. Who actually does that?! 

check out that glow ;-)

check out that glow ;-)

Lastly, I spray some toner. I use Lush's Eau Roma Water. Does it do anything? Who knows. But it smells amazing. 

And that's it! This is what I do in the mornings. It gives me a nice, soft & smooth surface to work with for applying my makeup. And it makes me feel clean and ready to start the day. 

 

Talk to you soon,

Lauren

instagram: @laurenlovesskincare