Skincare Series: Younique Detoxifying Mask

One of my favorite treats is masking. It’s easy, simple, and a few candles, mood lighting, and a great mask makes for a relaxing evening! Not to mention how amazing it makes you skin feel. I’ve tried a handful of masks on my face – different masks for different purposes – but still my favorite type is a good charcoal detox mask. Nothing quite vaccums my pores like it! I had the opportunity to try out Younique’s detoxifying mask and I recorded a video with my first impression so you can see it in action. 

Review: The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Face Mist

​Remember when MAC Cosmetics teased us with limited edition scented Fix+ sprays? Well, I’ve found a dupe for the rose scented one and boy are you going to be surprised where! For all your primer / setting / refresher spray needs, The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Face Mist has filled my home (and my heart) with its rosy perfection. I don’t think I’ve incorporated a new product into my daily makeup routine so quickly – EVER! Find out what all my fussing is about in the post below!

I became a tad obsessed with the rose scented limited edition Fix+.

Obsessed = I purchased three backups by the time they were discontinued.

What can I say? The scent was amazing and the formula was the same one I knew and loved! As time went by, I used all my backups and I’m sure I’m not the only one crying internally from rose spray deprivation.  But this The Body Shop spray makes my rose loving heart happy again!

I’m not sure where The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Face Mist has been hiding, but I’m sure glad it was love at first spray when I tested it at the brand new The Body Shop store in Austin at The Domain last Friday. How in the world we’ve been separated all these years will remain a mystery, but we have already become best friends – very quickly. 

The key to a flawless face is really a good setting spray and I’m a fan of everything from Urban Decay’s All Nighter to NYX Cosmetics Matte Finish Setting Spray. Using a setting spray helps combat the caked on finish of the abundance of powder products used on your face (setting powder, foundation, eye shadow, etc.) look less ‘powder-y’ when the look is all said and done. Personally, I wouldn’t leave home without it. 

The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Face Mist accomplishes the goal of a setting or finishing spray by helping you achieve a flawless face that looks very natural (non cakey). I was able to snag one free at the opening of the new Austin store, but I will tell you that I’m about to back this up ASAP. The spray is also only $8.50 right now (50% off holiday sale), making it more affordable to look flawless than ever before. This also means more backups for me! And because this is a permanent item, there is enough for us both!

And if you are interested in all the other goodies The Body Shop has, check out my pics from the new store below! The Austin store even has the cutest mural painted by a local artist – the first in-store mural of its kind for The Body Shop! 

Skincare Series: Laser Hair Removal vs. IPL Treatments

Hair removal, yikes! It doesn’t *have* to be scary. With today’s advanced treatments, you can have your hair zapped away with a touch of the laser either in a clinic environment or in the comfort of your own home. And now with advancements in laser technology, there are multiple laser treatments that remove hair – so which one is right for you? Keep reading as I break down IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and laser hair treatments so you can choose the right fit for YOU!

When you think of light-based devices used in skincare treatments, you probably think that they are all lasers. However, that really isn’t true. There are also IPL treatment devices on today’s market. IPL stands for “Intense Pulsed Light.” Either type of treatment can be used to remove unwanted body hair, but that doesn’t meant that they are totally equal.
 
Exploring Your Home Hair Removal Options
Most people think that waxing or shaving are pretty much the only at-home hair removal options, but laser treatments and IPL can be done at home too. There are special kits you can buy in stores or online to perform the procedures on yourself. That being said, no kit you buy in a store produces results anywhere as good as those you can get from a clinical treatment. So, you will have to perform the procedures more frequently  and may not see the same level of accuracy.
 
If you do choose to use any of these at-home kits, you also need to be sure to follow the directions to the letter! Otherwise you probably won’t get the results you want. That’s why many people choose to go to a professional clinic and use devices for hair removal that are there instead. They tend to be far more accurate.
 
Clinical IPL and Laser Machine Procedures
If you decide to undergo IPL or laser treatment to remove body hair in a clinic, you should choose a device that best suits your needs. That means that you have to consider the color of your skin, how oily or dry it happens to be, any skin conditions you may be suffering from, and more. You should go in for a consultation appointment first to discuss which machine is right for you with your clinician.
 
IPL machines, whether they are clinical or at-home models, are usually less powerful than most laser devices. So, the clinician may suggest IPL if you only have a few stray hairs to remove. If, on the other hand, you are trying to get rid of particularly dark or thick hairs, laser treatment might be a better idea.
 
Laser Intensity Differences Should be Explored
If you do choose laser treatment over IPL, you should also look at lasers of varying intensity. Some machines can produce more heat than others, which may lead to blisters if you have oily skin. On the other hand, those extra intense lasers, such as YAG machines, can get rid of hairs easily for upwards of a couple weeks. So, if your skin is the right type to go through that kind of treatment, you might want to choose it.
 
No matter which treatment you choose, laser device or IPL machine, be sure to listen to the professionals. That goes for both before and after you have your treatment. For instance, they may want you to use a particular soothing lotion after the procedure, but they might also tell you not to use any lotions at all right before your appointment. They can interfere with the workings of the laser and light devices. Only by following those instructions very carefully can you maximize your chances of hair removal success.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by NY Laser Outlet. Before committing to any laser hair removal treatment, seek professional guidance and research the procedure thoroughly to ensure it is the right treatment for your skin type.

Skincare Series: Welcome to my new blog series! 

#NEWSERIESALERT The number one comment on my Instagram pictures is always about my skin! How do I keep it clear? Do I do anything special? What do I use on my face? How often do I exfoliate? And the list continues. So I thought I would keep a running total of my skincare escapades on my blog to chronicle the best (and worst) products I have tried in an attempt to maintain the most clear skin possible. Welcome to Spence’s Skincare Series! 

About my skin.

Skin Color: Deep

Ethnicity: African American

Skin Type: Combination (T-Zone) with dry patches on my cheeks.

Typical Outdoor Environment: Austin, TX is dry and HOT!

Typical Indoor Environment: Dry, climate controlled office space.

Best Thing About My Skin: With the right moisturizer, my skin is super soft.

Worst Thing About My Skin: I have dark acne scars that I would love to get rid of.

To kick things off, I’m going to tell you a little about my skin. Everyone’s skin is different so some things that work for me, might not work for you and vice versa. But beauty is pain so I’m going all in and throwing any and everything on (and at) my face to 1) reduce breakouts both hormonal and stress related and 2) combat hyperpigmentation and discoloration due to acne scarring from my crazy teen years. 

I’ll be posting about both products and treatments to kick things off and if there is anything you really, really, really, want to see don’t hesitate to request that I try something!

Are you a brand that wants to promote your skincare products or treatment? Send me a note at spencesbeautydepot@gmail.com.

Skincare Series: Top 5 Skincare Products

I try to keep to my skincare routine 24/7 because everytime I get a tiny ways off track, but skin goes psycho. But as long as I’m not traveling, I do the same thing to my face day in and day out (I only switch up products as the seasons/weather change). What skincare products can I absolutely not live without? I’ve got a few that definitely make my skin happier and more clear than it’s ever been. Without further ado, I present to you my top five, top five, top five (*Drake voice*) skincare products.

Since we are smack in the middle of summer, I’ve moved into my summer skincare routine. I’ve had to add in a few new products primarily because this Texas heat is no joke and literally kicks Georgia’s butt (but Texas can’t hold a candle to the Georgia’s humidity index). Mainly, I’ve boosted my sunscreen application and made sure to triple the intensity of my moisturizer, but everything else has been in my rotation for at least four years or, in some instances, much longer. 

All of these products are recommended by me after years of testing. No affiliate links were used in this posting.

Murad Daily Cleansing Foam

My face lives and dies by this product. I kid you not! Since this is a foam, I don’t travel with it and unfortunately my skin always breaks out when I travel. But as soon as I get home and smear this all over my face for a few days, I’m good to go. It’s great for sensitive skin and really gets all the dirt out of your pores in no time! Sephora, $30.

GlamGlow YouthMud Face Mask

Talk about a staple product. I purchased this for my mom for Christmas maybe two years ago and ended up using it all for myself! If I feel my skin is getting too dry or dull, I’ll throw this on for 15 minutes and come out feeling like a brand new woman. It’s an investment, but well worth the money. Sephora, $69.

Neutrogena Age Shield Face Sunscreen SPF 110

This Texas heat is crazy. You can’t put one foot out of the door without cloaking it in extra-strength sunblock. If you aren’t a fan of sunburn, I suggest you add this into your skincare routine. A thin coat on your face (either as your moisturizer or accompanying it) will make all the difference. My dermatologist swears by it. Ulta, $13.

Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15

This little baby is something that works FANTASTIC in humid weather and I applied religiously when I lived on the East Coast. This moisturizer (with a little sun protection added in) works as a mattifier and controls oil like a champ. Use with a mattifying makeup primer and it will keep your oils at bay for twice as long. Sephora, $40.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask

This bad boy is the newest addition to my nightly skin care routine. My skin has taken a beating since relocating to Texas and is much dryer than normal. I try to drink as much water as I can during the day, but it just seems to evaporate from my system as soon as I step out into the heat. This product really puts the moisture back into my face so I can continue to apply makeup to a smooth surface the next morning. Origins,  $26.

Get The Look: How to cover up dark spots and fake a clear complexion

This is a LONG overdue post on my blog and I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to get to it! I decided to film a quick video showing you how I conceal my dark spots, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and general discoloration. Sorry in advance about the lighting – still getting my makeup room set-up in my new apartment just right! Hopefully I’ll be able to get some proper lighting in here soon.

Review: Keep your skin soft this winter with Premier Dead Sea Minerals! 

Last weekend, the East Coast of the U.S. experienced a reminder that it was still winter! Even over the holidays, most places were experiencing 60+ degree weather, but last Friday, Snowpocalypse 2016 hit areas like Washington D.C. (three-feet in some places!) It was definitely a reminder that we cannot be caught without our winter essentials. Don’t let dry skin creep up on you this winter! Keep your skin super soft with Premier Dead Sea Minerals! 

Even though Austin is the last place three-feet of snow will hit, I’ve been trying to keep my skin as moisturized as possible. The wind here is unbelievable and it just kicks up all the dirt, sand, and dust and whips it all around you. It’s a struggle to get from my apartment parking garage into my apartment without a full on battle between my hairstyle and the wind.

My skin has really been suffering in the wind as well. Being of the ‘melanin persuasion’, I’ll do anything to keep from getting ashy! I’ve got just as many lotions as I do hair products (as I have natural hair, that’s A LOT of hair products so just imagine the lotions). But several weeks ago I received another wonderful package from my skin’s fairy godmother, Premier Dead Sea! They generously gifted me a FULL SIZE Dead Sea Aromatic Salt Scrub and Milk & Honey Aromatic Body Butter

I’ve been using it for the past two weeks and I can see a noticeable difference in my skin! It’s not just staying moisturized throught the day, but the scrub is also great at making sure I get all the dust and dirt off my skin after a long day. I’ve been using the body butter every night before bed (after I shower) all over my legs and arms. The next morning my skin feels so smooth! Before I began using this body butter, I was using a drugstore lotion that comes very highly recommended by my mom, friends, online reviews, etc. And I’ve been using this product a while now, but it leaves my skin feeling ‘greasy’. And I hate feeling greasy! So this Premier Dead Sea Body Butter has been a welcome addition to my collection.

As much as the body butter excites me, I am head over heels in love with the salt scrub! The first time I used it in the shower, I felt like I’d just shed an entire layer of dead skin with very little scrubbing and effort. I’ve used it three times total in roughly 2 1/2 weeks, so it’s not something you want to use everyday, but it’s a great treat for a full-scale pamper session. It goes perfectly with the body butter as it’s best to moisturize right after the scrub. If you can only get one or the other, get this one! But if you can get both, why not treat yourself! 


These products were sent to me to review by Premier Dead Sea, but all opinions on products reviewed are my own. 
Premier Dead Sea

Size comparison with The Body Shop Body Butter (6.7oz, right), Premier Dead Sea
Body Butter (5.95oz, middle) and Salt Scrub (10.5oz, left).

Get The Look: Skincare Series! feat. Premier Dead Sea

This post has really been a long time coming! Many of you all comment on how smooth my skin looks when I post #MOTD on Instagram. So I’ve decided to breakdown my skincare routine to you guys so you can see what has and hasn’t worked for me and hopefully find some new items if you are looking for a skincare switch! Keep reading to find out more!

 The post all of you (some of you) have been waiting for! I know I have been teasing this for about two months, but with my recent move and career change, I’ve been really busy. And with ‘busy’ comes ‘stress’ so I thought this would be the perfect time to test out new skincare because if it works now, it really works!

I don’t know about you, but when I get stressed, my face really shows it. I breakout on my cheeks and chin and sometimes I even get tiny bumps on my nose and between my eyebrows. And with so much going on with me right now, I expected my face to be Breakout City, 

However, I’ve only gotten a whopping four pimples since December 1st. 

And I can say, with complete confidence, that my skincare routine is the reason why my skin has been as clear as it has for the past month. 

In mid-November, I began using several Premier by Dead Sea Premier products. Premier was kind enough to send me some of their best selling items and I had high hopes since I had used dead sea products in the past with great results. But I never expected my skin to look this good! 

I began incorporating their Para Pharmaceutical Facial Exfoliating Gel and their Minerals To Go Active Anti Aging Day Cream mid-November with several of my existing skincare products. I moved to Texas from Georgia December 1st and I’ve been using the same routine ever since. So I’m giving you my thoughts based on 6-weeks of skin research! Believe me, I didn’t jump to endorse these products seconds after I received them, these are tried and tested by me!

Here’s my routine:

Morning: Wash my face with Origins Checks and Balances. Moisturize with Premier Anti Aging Day Cream. 

Evening: Wash my face with Para Pharmaceutical Facial Exfoliating Gel. Moisturize with Ellen Tracy Nighttime Hydrating Cream and Origins Drink Up! Intensive Overnight Mask.

I was using the non-Premier items before November and they were working ‘ok’. But with the incorporation of these items into my daily routine, I’ve seen such a difference. My skin feels more ‘lifted’ and my breakouts are few and far between. Now of course,  my skin isn’t perfect (as you can see in my picture), but my skin is smooth and scars aren’t anything a little concealer can’t handle! 

I urge you guys to check out Premier by Dead Sea Premier because they have so many products that you are bound to find something that will work for you!