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Tarte's Maracuja Oil vs Skyn Iceland's Artic Face Oil

BeautyMaría Elena RodríguezComment
maracuja oil vs artic oil tarte vs skyn iceland

Anyone who has read a few of my blog posts knows that I have been using the same combination of skincare for several years now: Tarte's Maracuja Oil and Ole Henriksen's Truth Serum. And even though I tried the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil (check out that blog post here) and Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Oil (check out that one here, before I went cruelty-free), I always came back to the Maracuja Oil. 

Current Skincare Combo

Current Skincare Combo

So once Skyn Iceland contacted me to try out a few of their skincare product, I was down to try their face oil, because I definetely needed to mix it up a bit! But to make things a little more intereresting first, here's why I like Tarte's Maracuja Oil:

Tarte's Maracuja Oil:

tarte maracuja oil review
This powerful, precious skincare oil is cold-pressed from the maracuja fruit, naturally rich in brightening vitamin C and replenishing essential fatty acids to nourish, protect and feed your skin. Harvested from the best in nature to restore balance and harmony, you can apply a few drops of this daily moisturizing face oil to quench dry skin and seal in hydration, as the gentle multi-tasker helps calm excess sebum production on oily and acne-prone skin. You can also mix it with your foundation for enhanced moisture and anti-aging benefits with a dewy, radiant finish. The weightless, hypoallergenic formula helps firm and soften without clogging pores, and works to provide an antioxidant barrier against environmental attack.
— tartecosmetics.com

Price Tag: $48 (1.7oz)

Ingredients: Passiflora edulis seed oil (aka maracuja oil) and tocopherol, which apparently is in the family of Vitamin E

Review: Here's a summary of everything I've said about the Maracuja Oil over my years blogging about it:

  • My skin loves Vitamin C and this oil is basically Vitamin C in a bottle, since maracuja is filled with it.  
  • Since it is an oil, it will feel very oily the minute you put it on, but it will settle on your skin and you wake up with the most radiant looking skin. 
  • I compared it with similar oils and it is not even remotely close to how good this one is. 
  • It smells bad!

Where to find it: Macy's, QVC, Ulta,  Amazon, Sephora or tartecosmetics.com

skyn iceland artic oil
Arctic Face Oil, composed of 99.9% Camelina Oil, is naturally sourced and cold-pressed to retain maximum nutrients. Extracted from the resilient Camelina Sativa plant, which thrives in sub-zero temperatures, it has a unique composition of 9 Essential Fatty Acids which enables it to survive in harsh weather. Most importantly, the Omega 3:6:9 ratio of this oil plays a critical role in normal skin function making this blend exceedingly curative and rejuvenating to skin. A natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it also soothes, calms and protects skin.
— skyniceland.com

Price Tag: $35 (1.0oz)

Main Ingredient: Camelina Stavia Seed Oil, Tocopherol (just like Tarte!) and Helianthur Annus Seed Oil (wait, what?!).

Review: 

  • This oil has been making my skin look and feel as soft as a baby's butt.
  • Even though it doesn't have the best scent ever, it smells better than the maracuja oil.
  • I am more convinced now than ever that this is a pretty powerful dupe (in terms of results) for Sunday Riley's Luna Sleeping Night Oil. 
  • And just like Tarte's oil, Skyn Iceland is vegan and cruelty-free! <3

Where to find it: Ulta, Amazon or skyniceland.com.

Final Thoughts:

I will be re-purchasing Skyn Iceland's Artic Face Oil from now on. 


Do you use facial oils on the regular? Which one are you using right now?

Until next time, 

María Elena

 

Career Profile | Lio Maldonado, Hair and Makeup Artist

CareerMaría Elena RodríguezComment
Picture by  Marcos Caballero/ Sky Lens Media  // Hair by Lio Maldonado

Picture by Marcos Caballero/ Sky Lens Media // Hair by Lio Maldonado

Every three months I go to my routine haircut with one of the funnest and talented persons I know: Lio Maldonado. I first met him back in 2012 when I walked into It's Miranda Salon in Guaynabo and asked for a hair stylist that liked to work on long hair, because I was so tired of hairstylists cutting my hair too short! (I bet we've all been there). They immediately told me "Lio is your guy!" And I've been trusting that guy for the last 5 years with absolutely no regret. 

He's the only hairstylist that I feel completely confident telling him to have fun with my hair. Plus, every time I sit on his chair, it's like I'm talking to a friend. We talk about hair, makeup, fashion and Beyonce, of course. But, I'm always mesmerized by all the advances in his career, by all the celebrities he's been booking and all the traveling he gets to do with them! He's living the life he loves and he has been achieving it by his talent and charm. I always knew I wanted to interview him one day for you guys and the day is finally here! 

What did you want to be as a child and why?

When I was a little boy I always thought I would be a cartoon animator. I loved drawing!

When did your interest in beauty and fashion start?

Lio and his dad // Pic provided by Lio

Lio and his dad // Pic provided by Lio

It's a funny story because I was never too attracted by beauty and fashion. I honestly started in this industry thanks to my dad. While I was enrolling at Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico (EAP), I had to move from Hatillo to San Juan and my dad couldn't afford my entire tuition. So he randomly suggested I took a cosmetology course before I started School so I could work at a beauty salon in San Juan and help him cover my tuition. 

It was super weird and random to me, but once I started studying cosmetology I liked it, so I stayed. Even though I registered for my first class at EAP, I decided to stay in cosmetology school since I already had a job at a beauty salon. 

What was your first experience doing hair and makeup?

Since this was such a random decision, my first experience was in the classroom! I had never done makeup on anyone before. Even though I was always really good drawing and painting, I was terrified of doing makeup. 

What was Your first experience in a beauty salon?

It was at a salon in Arecibo, where I stayed for about 8 months. Once I started getting called for all these shoots in San Juan, I decided to move closer to the fashion scene. 

You grew up miles away from san juan's Fashion Scene. how did get your foot in the door?

Once I started studying cosmetology I was more inclined to fashion. I remember going to Walgreens and seeing a magazine called InFashion and knowing that's what I wanted to do. And I don't know how, maybe by faith, but my first job in San Juan was precisely for that same magazine! A friend of mine, who happens to be the brother in law of one of the Ecliptica designers referred me. We clicked and people kept calling me for their shows from that moment on. All by word of mouth! 

What did you end up studying?

I have a degree in barbershop. Once I started cosmetology school, I knew nothing about the beauty world, so I wanted to learn about everything! I decided to start by what I knew and liked less, which was barbershop. My plan was to finish barbershop and then start studying cosmetology, but I decided to stop at barbershop!

Then how are you so good at makeup?!

I learned my makeup skills from Youtube. I already had a good hand because I had drawing techniques. But I was terrified of makeup! I had no idea of what was a foundation or face powder... That's why I started with hair styling.

Makeup wasn't like I was used to with painting, it was a person's face! It doesn't get more personal than that.

Do you believe that formal education is i important in order to be a hair stylist or makeup artist?

It's all about practice. Whenever someone comes to me and asks me how I do this, I always tell them to be realistic with themselves about their art skills. It is much more about practice than theory. Unless when it comes to hair coloring! 

Who was your first celebrity client?

I don't remember clearly, but I do remember I was very excited when I first started having celebrity clients! ¡Me jayaba! I didn't care that much about having them in my portfolio. I really wanted to satisfy every single client and be nice to them so they would call me back and take me into consideration for other events. 

I really wanted to satisfy every single client and be nice to them so they would call me back and take me into consideration for other events. 
— Lio Maldonado

How did you end up at it's miranda salon?

When they called me I had several offers from other salons and I was really indecisive about which decision to make. But I remember that at one of the Ecliptica shows, Sandra Miranda (It's Miranda's owner) came over to personally make me the offer. I loved how spontaneous and fun Sandra was! Her vibes clicked with me instantly and once she showed me the salon, I fell in love with the place. 

Even though a lot of hairstylists switch salons quite frequently, I have stayed here because I love that we all get along great and the management is super flexible with my bookings. 

To what do you owe your success in the fashion industry?

Lio Maldonado and Annie Jo Galib // Pic provided by Lio

Lio Maldonado and Annie Jo Galib // Pic provided by Lio

I honestly owe most of it to Annie Jo Galib, who was in my opinion, the best stylist Puerto Rico has ever had. 

I still remember that she recommended me for one of my first photoshoots with Gustavo Arango. He told me to do something a vanguard, so I got inspired by an Alexander McQueen runway for the model's hair. But once Annie Jo saw the model, she screamed: "She looks like Frankestein's wife! Take that off right now. So ugly!" I literally started crying while undoing the model's hair.

I really though they were never going to call me back but the complete opposite happened. She was actually the person who introduced me to Kany Garcia! She's definitely my mentor. 

What have you learned about styling big celebrities like Roselyn Sanchez, Tommy Torres, Denise Quiñones, Giselle Blondet, Juanes and Kany García?

The most important quality a stylist needs to make it into the celebrity scene is to be discrete. You can't be a celebrity worshipper if you want to gain the celebrity's trust. You could be out of the game in no time! 

I try to please them as much as I can. They know how the celebrity world works, so whatever they ask for, I deliver. You have to establish your creative stamp, while still pleasing them.

The most important quality a stylist needs to make it into the celebrity scene is to be discrete.
— Lio Maldonado

You were April Carrión's hair and makeup stylist for the reality show, RuPaul Drag's Race. How has that experience helped your career?

I have known Jason Carrión since before he became April, so once he entered the RuPaul Drag's Race, he asked me to be his stylist. 

Even though it was all behind the scenes, it expanded my network a lot. The art of the drag queen or transformation is not very well known in Puerto Rico, so once I helped April in RuPaul, I've had female clients come to me, just because they know my work in the show! 

Lio Maldonado and April Carrión // Pic provided by Lio

Lio Maldonado and April Carrión // Pic provided by Lio

As a makeup and hair stylist with thousands of followers, what social media advice would you give an aspiring artist? 

Social media is the most assertive way to reach people. I can say 85% of my clients are people who know my work from social media. 

I used to have personal accounts where I would share some of my professional work, but it wasn't my priority. Just recently I opened a profesional Instagram account and a Facebook page that have helped me a lot. 

Also, sharing Facebook videos of my makeup transformations has been a huge boost in my career! I really didn't want to do makeup tutorials because I am really private about my makeup secrets, but I wanted to share videos of my work so people could see my artistic skills. I wanted to show that my job is #nofilter!  

What is your proudest moment in your career so far?

Working with L'Oreal as a Brand Ambassador is one of my proudest moments since it is one of the most complete and important brands in the world. 

Also being able to travel with Kany García is super huge for me. I'm so lucky to be able to travel doing what I love. 

What advice will you give someone who wants to make it as a hair and makeup and stylist? 

You better work bitch! Honestly, give it your all and be objective with your work. Go the extra mile, look at your job from another perspective and listen to people's opinion. It's all about image! It's very important for people to like your work. 

Who's your dream client?

Obviously JLo is every makeup artist's dream! But it sounds funny and random, but I would have to say Belinda. I used to love her face since I was a little kid. She's so gorgeous! 

Random facts:

  • Eye Shadow Palette - Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani (sold out!)

  • Highlighter - Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit

  • Lipstick - Zoe's Red by L'Oreal Colour Riche

  • Blush - Infallible Blush by L'Oreal

  • Brows - L'Oreal Brow Stylist Definer

  • Foundation - L'Oreal True Match

  • Concealer - Nars Creamy Radiant Concealer

  • Bronzer - I don't use bronzer.

  • Shampoo - L'Oreal Total Repair

  • Conditioner - L'Oreal Total Repair

  • Leave In - It's a 10 Miracle Leave In Plus Keratin

  • Hair Mask - L'Oreal Total Repair

  • Curls, Blow Dry or Straight Hair - Blow dry always!

 

Shop Lio's Favorites:

Spring Break Essentials

Lifestyle, Money, Fashion, TravelMaría Elena RodríguezComment
spring break essentials

Swimsuit (it's reversable!) | Clutch | Aviators | Hat | Book | Tinted Moisturizer

Ahh Spring Break! The first taste of summer and freedom if you're in school or a clear reminder you need a two week vacation ASAP if you're a full time employee. Here in Puerto Rico we celebrate holy Thursday and Good Friday, which means we have a 4 day weekend. So I decided this could be a great time to enjoy some much needed self care and enjoy yourself under the sun with these Spring Break Essentials:

A One Piece Swimsuit

I've been going crazy looking for the perfect one piece swimsuit until I finally found the right one (similar to this one) at Old San Juan's Marshalls. I just love how one piece swimsuits make you feel sexy but sophisticated. Plus they keep your boobs right in place!  

Here are some fun suggestions:

The Right Skincare and Makeup 

I know what you're thinking. Why would you wear makeup when your out in the water or sweating? Because SPF Tinted Moisturizers exists my dear! Plus, you better take care of those lips while enjoying the sun or you won't be kissing anybody soon. 

Make sure you bring some strong sunscreen like this one by Coola, a good tinted moisturizer like this one by Nars I've been enjoying so far and some moisturizer (I enjoy facial oils like this one).

Click away, thank me later! 

An Embroidery Floppy Hat

If you are not familiar with this huge fad on Instagram, you are probably not following enough fashion bloggers. All I know is once I saw that super expensive "Do Not Disturb" hat I knew I wanted it ASAP. How cool will you look poolside with a mojito in your hand?!

Here are some budget options:

Beach Bags

If you're like me, you hate carrying purses to the beach or pool side! But where else will you carry all your sunscreen and lip balm?! With tropical clutches like this one of course! 

Here are some more budget friendly options:

Black Sunglasses

I've been obsessed with these very Kardashian-esk black on black Aviator Ray-Bans lately because they make any outfit look instantly bad ass. I love Ray-Ban as a brand because they are such great quality compared to other luxury sunglasses, but if you're looking for a more budget friendly, these Quay x Desi Perkins could be a great option. I must say I am kind of tempted.

Here are some options for you:

Reading Material

Don't forget to bring your favorite magazine and a good beach book. I would suggest going for fiction instead of business or self help books just to keep our mission of being relaxed. But if that's your jam, OK! 

Here are some of my suggestions:


What are your spring break essentials? Let me know in the comments bellow. 

Until next time, 

María Elena

June Favorites | 2016

Beauty, LifestyleMaría Elena RodríguezComment

This has been quite an interesting month. I got a brand new Filofax, discovered some awesome makeup products, got a tattoo, got into the best gym in Puerto Rico and booked a ticket to another place I’ve never been before. Oh, yeah, I totally made the tattoo thing a super normal thing but I’m still freaking out a little bit over that one.

So here you go! My monthly favorites:

Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation

Bought this on a whim by the time it was released with a sale on tartecosmetics.com. I hadn’t read that many reviews about it yet so I really had no big hopes, but after a month wearing it every day to work I can say that it is the best foundation I’ve ever tried. Why? Because it’s build-able, lightweight and it comes in super fancy packaging.

Josie Maran’s Argan Dailu Mousturizer with SPF 47

Bought this as a replacement to my Tarte Sunscreen which I was loving but hating that the bottle was always spitting out and it made my vanity look ugly AF. Please tell me that’s not crazy?! The guy at Sephora told me he loves it and that he uses it for morning runs so I gave it a try. I’m loving it. It smells so good and it doesn’t break me out.

Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Marin Boosting Mist

I got this as a 500 points perk during my trip to California at the Sephora in Malibu, which makes me love it even more. Again, I didn’t really have high hopes for this one but I ended up really liking it. I kept it on my desk drawer at the office for afternoon refreshes and I found myself really sad when it ended. That’s when I knew, I wanted it full size. So I’m waiting for another of those Tarte sales. Ha!

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée

After almost making it into my Overrated Beauty Products list, I decided to give this one a last chance and throw it in my makeup bag. I decided to use it with one of my Sonia Kashuk stippling brush and it is working wonders. I am not a huge fan of blush, so I love how this one just gives me a natural flush. Like I just came back from a lazy workout session. :)

Chantecaille Le Camouflage Stylo

I purchased this at the Chantecaille counter in Nordstrom at the Mall of San Juan after being swept off my feet with the brand and their products (especially their Just Skin Mousturizer which I’m dying to buy full size!). This is basically the perfect concealer for after the gym since it works as an eye cream and concealer! #WinWin.

Josie Maran Black Oil Mascara

I was recommended to this one by Eimy from The Golden Fig a while back. I finally had the chance to try it out with a 100 points perk in Sephora and I am already planning on buying it full size! It is all I want in a mascara: volumizing, lengthening, natural and cruelty free!

Filofax in Patent Nude

You guys know I love agendas! And I’ve been wanting this “grown up” agenda for years now. I don’t only love its quality and color, I love how I can keep all the necessary paper work in it categorized. It’s making my life a whole lot simpler.

LIV Fitness Clubs Membership

I started at LIV Fitness Clubs in Guaynabo and I am not only in love with all of its hard core classes at any time of the day, I am in love with its location, decor and hospitality! The minute you walk in, the staff welcomes you with a smile and a fresh towel. Plus, you get free filtered water to refill your bottle!

To everyone who thinks it is too much money, go and visit them and you will know it is totally worth it. No other gym in Puerto Rico has that amount of classes, great trainers and luxuries completely included in their membership. 100% recommended!

Tattoo

So, yeah, I got a tattoo, one of the most random and thrilling experiences I've ever had. Shoutout to my bff for sticking with me the whole time! I haven't posted any pictures yet and I was wondering if you would you be interested in knowing about my experience? Would you like to see pictures? Let me know and I'll do a whole blog post about it! ;)

Now I want to know about you! What were your monthly favorites? :)

Until next time! 

María Elena

 

8 Things You Learn After Going Cruelty-Free

Beauty, Lifestyle, Real TalkMaría Elena Rodríguez6 Comments
animal cruelty-free beauty

I’ve been cruelty free for almost 6 months now and I can honestly say it has been a bumpy ride. I’ve read almost every article on Cruelty Free Kitty and stalked PETA’s Cruelty Free list many, many times but still, I’ve purchased brands that I thought were cruelty free only to find out they weren’t (I’m looking at you Jurlique Rose Water Spray!). Needless to say, I’ve become very aware of what I purchase because I really don’t want to support brands that agree with animal testing.

Sadly, all this research has lead me to one hard conclusion: In the beauty blogging community, the awareness about brands that test on animals is practically non-existent. This is why I think it’s my responsibility to do my part and show you the reasons why I strongly support the cruelty-free movement by creating this list for you. So here you go, 8 things you’ll learn after going cruelty-free:

1. Going Cruelty-Free is not as simple as you may think 

I flirted with the idea of going cruelty-free many new years eve. But my love for Sephora, Nordstrom, CVS and Walgreens was too strong and I didn’t feel mentally ready to give up on most of my beloved brands. My advice to you is to do your research on all of the horrible stuff these brands do to innocent animals just so you can have the perfect shade of long-wearing lipstick. If that still doesn’t make your eyes watery, just think about your pet going through that stuff just so you can look a little prettier.

2. You’ll be disappointed with the amount of brands that test on animals

Once you do your research you’ll learn that most of the brands you love and use daily test on animals, even if they they claim to be “natural”, like Originins and Khiels.

3. The wildlife will make you happier

I was never a big animal lover, but ever since I attempted to go vegetarian and went completely cruelty free, I have more appreciation towards animals. I hate looking at them in cages or aquariums and I just wish I could set them free.

4. You’ll feel better about yourself

We all know there are many ways society does inhumane and animal cruel things every day. But by going cruelty-free you are helping make the world a more compassionate place, because you know that everything you’re putting in your face was not tested on innocent creatures for your pleasure.

5. You’ll find a lot of really cool and indie brands that you wouldn’t have given a chance if you weren’t cruelty free

Hence Tarte, Josie Maran and my most recent love affair: Farmacy Cosmetics!

6. Many cruelty free brands are more natural focused

Win win!

7. Buying cruelty free brands at the drugstore is the hardest

Most of the big brands are cruelty free, but here is a cool link from the blog Cruelty Free Kitty that will actually help you on your next trip to the drugstore. For the record, my current favorite drugstore brand is NYX. :)

8. You’ll consider going vegetarian or vegan on all aspects of your life

So this is a tricky one! I experimented with going vegetarian for a while and it worked for like three months. -- It ended on Christmas, can you blame me? -- And even though I am not currently a vegetarian or a vegan, I feel guilty at times and I wish I could go back. Maybe one day... I’ll keep you guys updated.

 

Hope this helps you make the switch! Believe me, it is worth it.

Until next time,

María Elena

Save Your Money | Overrated Beauty Products

Beauty, MoneyMaría Elena RodríguezComment

I know that I'm always telling you guys buy this and buy that, but ever since I started this blog I've made it my mission to always be honest with you guys and tell you where not to spend your precious beauty routine budget. Specially now that the Sephora VIB Sale has us going all going cray cray! You can read my tips and tricks on how to find beauty products on a budget here

So you guessed it, this post will be mostly about the products I've tried over the years and I'm not quite impressed by, even though they have some pretty great reviews online. Hope it helps you make some wise purchases:

  • Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer: Everyone who's into the beauty blogging scene knows that people rave about this concealer everywhere. And I don't know if it's because I have super stubborn eye circles that no eye cream until this date has been able to completely fade, but I find this to be a very average concealer. It is good and I still have a little bit left that I will continue to use, but I think that for its price, there are much better options out there. If you still want to try it, I know that there are a lot of really good affordable dupes for this out there that I have yet to try.  

 

  • Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base: Smudge proof? Umm... don't think so! I bought this because Ingrid Nielsen swears by it and says it works wonders on oily eyelids. But once I put it on my eyelids I found it to be exactly what I didn't want it to be: suuuper liquid. It just feels weird and I feel like I have to wait about 3-5 seconds until it completely drys. Plus, why will I want a lipgloss applicator for this? Germs alert... Gross! 

 

  • Tarte Amazonian Clay: This may be a shocker for some of you who know how much I love Tarte Cosmetics. And even though I hauled this a while back and was super excited about it, over these past months I've come to notice this cakes really badly on my skin by the end of the day. So no,  this is definitely not a fail proof foundation for oily skin. 
    • What to buy instead? I have yet to find a holy grail everyday full coverage foundation for my bad skin days. So I would probably say to go for the super trusty Cover FX Cover Drops mixed in with your favorite SPF moisturizer. 
  • Aesop Skin Resurrection Hand Balm: After reading Into The Gloss' review on this products I was sure I needed it in my life. Specially because the packaging, I mean look at it, it's just gorgeous! So after giving it the ultimate test: 4 airplane rides and two different climate changes during my most recent trip to California, I can honestly say you can skip on this product. It smells amazing, but I felt my hands were super dry after 20 mins of application. Definitely not worth the $20+ price tag. 
    • What to buy instead? Ok I know, Aveeno is not a cruelty free brand, but is the only hand cream that I can honestly say it actually lasts and works how it says it's supposed to. So if you have a cruelty free dupe for this, please let me know! But until then, a really great trick to not have dry hands is to drink, lots and lots of water. ;)

 

  • Anastasia Brow Whiz: Now, don't get me wrong. This is an amazing product, but I found out it ran out a little bit too quickly for the price tag. So if you read my February Favorites you know that I just found an amazing dupe for half the price!

 

  • Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask: First of all, it is not clear if Origins actually testes on animals, so I am not longer buying this brand. Secondly, is it a good mask for oily skin? Yes. Is it worth the price? No. Plus, it is really not a good option for people with sensitive skin. Both my boyfriend and bff tried it and claimed their skin sting too bad. 
    • What to buy instead? I've been trying out a sample of Boscia Luminizing Black Mask and it is SO good. It is the first mas that I can actually see my black heads coming off and it actually makes my skin look and feel radiant. Definitely will be buying the full size version soon. 

 

  • Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Colors: If you're thinking this is going to be a great option to stop getting your "Shellac" nails at the salon, you're wrong. These chip just like any other nail polish.
    • What to buy instead? Now, their nail colors may be bad, but their top coat is another story. Use the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, use it over your favorite base coat and nail color and watch your manicure last more than three days! (that's my record at least). 

Now I'm dying to know: What have been your biggest beauty products regrets? Have you tried any of these products? 

Let me know on the comments bellow. Until next time!

María Elena

 

PS: Part II of my California road trip will be up next week! Stay tuned. 

Top Beauty Products of 2015

BeautyMaría ElenaComment

Yes people! I am alive. Want to know why I was missing? Because I don't think its fair for me or for you guys to post without any inspiration don't you think? The content would have been terrible. 

But to be 100% honest, I turned 25 this past November and I can't say I haven't had a mini quarter life crisis, even though I had a drafted post of "How I Got Over My Quarter Life Crisis Before it Happened" HA! I can be so optimistic at times. So as you can imagine, a lot of thinking, soul searching (super cheesy, I know) and after a weekend of cleaning, sleeping and just being with myself I can finally say I'm ready to start updating Ambinity for good this 2016! Sounds good right? 

Now, enough about the boring stuff... So what better way to start the year than by talking about all the good things from 2015?! YAAAS please. So here you go, my top beauty products from 2015:

 

Marshmallow Fireside Candle by Bath and Body Works

Why do I call this a "Beauty Favorite"? Because it helps me unwind before going to sleep. And we all know how important a good night sleep is for your beauty routine! This candle has been a favorite ever since BBW store opened in Puerto Rico. It's just how I like my candles: warm, vanilla-ish and with just a hint of spice. Heaven, just heaven. Fun Fact: I even like it more than my $65 candle. Yikes!

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

I finally purchased this after watching Tati aka Glam Life Guru on Youtube rave about this on a First Impressions video. Even though this is definitely not a cheap foundation it is perfect for someone wanting save money due to its versatility. Just one drop mixed with your favorite moisturizer or sunblock makes it a tinted moisturizer. Want a bit more coverage? Upgrade to two, three or even four drops. Want a luminous look? Mix it in with your favorite liquid highlighter or facial oil. So many possibilities... I just love it!

Tarte 100% Maracuja Oil

Surprise? I don't think so. I don't know why but I kept trying different facial oils to see if it worked better, but nope! This oil loves my skin and I have been mixing it in with my Cover FX Custom Drops, which is working like magic. This would not be the first time I say this, but if you have oily skin, you need to try this asap

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm

Although this is not 100% animal cruelty free, I had to include it because I have been using it every night throughout all 2015 (I purchased this before I officially became cruelty-free).  I am already looking for a dupe for this lip balm that actually compares to how velvety my lips felt even after cold and dry air. So I just ordered Glossier's The Balm Dot Com to see how it goes... As always, I'll keep you guys posted.

Sonia Kashuk's Eye Shadow Brush 

I've always thought you could apply eyeshadow with anything. Even your fingers, which is true. But when I got this brush everything changed. Not only does it feel super luxurious, it deposits the product on my eyelids perfectly. I've been specially loving this with my Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadow.

Chloé Eau de Parfum

2015 is the year when I found my signature scent after years of wanting to switch from Miss Dior Cherie. It's not that I didn't like that scent, it's just that I smelled like that since High School and I was so over it! Chloe's scent is sophisticated yet youthful. It has a sweet but soft scent with a hint of spice I would say, but just go ahead and smell it by yourself. It could also be your signature scent. :)

Living Proof Sating Hair Serum

As you all know, I'm pretty low maintance with my hair, so I went from not wearing anything on my hair after I washed it to be entirely dependent on this stuff! It smells great and air drys my hair to perfection.

BeautyBlender

The original one. I tried the Real Techniques version of this for a while and I liked it, but not until I got the BeatyBlender on Sephora's VIB Sale. There should be a saying about "once you go beauty blender, you never go back", because let me tell you, I'm never using a brush to blend my foundation again.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal

If you've ever had a dull face day, you should buy this. Even if you have oily skin. I have oily skin and this gives my face a subtle glow that makes it look like I had 8 hours of sleep every day. I would suggest going for the travel size ($19) since a little goes a long way and that way you can really test it out before buying the $41 bottle.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster

I never knew I needed a serum until I tried this. I love how it smells and how it makes my skin look and feel every morning after I've used this the night before. I have a complete review here.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Another super raved mascara that I was super excited to purchase since I found out this brand is cruelty-free! I don't know if it is better than sex but, it is definitely a great mascara. It's super dark, voluminizing and it can go from day to night with just one more coat. I will definitely be re-purchasing.

So that's it guys. I must say that I really missed writing, and I will definitely keep updating Ambinity throughout 2016, but with some changes. I'll keep you guys posted. ;)

See you soon!

María Elena

Ole Henriksen

Going Animal Cruelty-Free

Real Talk, Beauty, wellness, LifestyleMaría ElenaComment

I'm turning 25 this month... and even though I'm pretty proud of who I've become, I know I can always be a better person. Plus, turning 25 feels like a benchmark age to make important lifestyle decisions. I feel like a big kid now!

But seriously, I may seem like a "grown up" who has everything figured out, but I don't. If you read the title and you know a little bit about the blogging world you must know closing my audience's niche is a very risky move for a beauty blogger. So believe me when I say I've never been this scared to publish a post ever since I officially announced my blog on social media. But this feels different...

First of all, I've always been into health which is the main reason I've always flirted with the idea of becoming a vegetarian. My excuses for not becoming one earlier were pretty much what everybody says: "but how can you give up chicken or bacon? It's so good! Where would you get your protein?" and so on. So back in 2013 I had the New Years Resolution of never buying animal tested products again, but sadly, my love for makeup and skincare products made me forget about this important cause very quickly. Plus, I thought how could I ever blog about beauty without trying out all those products from major brands who do test on animals?!

It took me one conversation with one vegan co-worker and re-watching Vegucated on Netflix to become a vegetarian and stop supporting animal tested products overnight.  How did I do it? I'm not really sure how, but I am positive it had to do with the fact that in every animal I saw being tortured on that film, I saw Fiona, my non-breed shelter dog. I couldn't stop wondering why we eat some but love other animals. But this is not that type of post so you can stop playing your violins!

Before you start making a judgement, I can imagine what most of you must be thinking by reading this post... "Ambinity is now a crazy hippy blog, shaming every brand or person who is not vegetarian or vegan!". Honestly don't even worry about it, because it isn't. You won't even notice the change. This means that my blog will stay the same, but from now on, I will not be endorsing or recommending brands that are tested on animals. And I know it's a risky move that will close many doors for me and believe me when I say I LOVE many, many brands who do test on animals. A simple Google search will let you know which major brands I'm talking about, and sadly, the list is pretty huge. :(

The thing is everyone should do what makes them happy and honestly, I feel like karma is on my side since I feel like in some way, my choices are making the world a little more peaceful. It also makes me feel more in sync with nature, now that I am more aware of animal cruelty and it's consequences on nature and our society. I really do believe I'm helping animals by helping you guys make healthier decisions. Win win situation, right?

As a last disclaimer, this doesn't mean I'm going to throw away all of my products that are animal tested. I will finish them completely, because let's be real guys, I spent money on them! As I said before, I just won't be endorsing them anymore, and I will make sure all my new beauty products are cruelty free. Hope you can all understand my decision and if you would like to join me on my journey, stick by! I will continue to give you my 100% honest reviews, only this time, it will be with brands who don't engage on animal cruelty. Sounds like a happy plan to me, doesn't it? :)

XO,

Elena

My Heat-Proof September 2015 Beauty Favorites

BeautyMaría Elena1 Comment

One of the things that I love the most about the advertising industry is how laid back it is. I could go a week without makeup and nobody would give a ***. But you know me, and even though I have no problem with sporting a bare face once in a while, I can't resist a good no-makeup/makeup session.

Thanks to the excruciating heat we are going through in Puerto Rico, these past months have been all about minimal/ glowing makeup and finding the perfect products to assist me in this venture. Check them out here:

Tarte'sAmazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation - I don't usually like wearing full coverage foundation for everyday, but I find this one is not as heavy. The reason I've been using this one instead of a BB Cream for everyday it's simple and I guess very relatable: bad skin days. Since it has SPF 15, it's the perfect foundation for those work days were you need to have better skin. Plus, it does last a long time.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal - I've always been a fan of a good liquid illuminator. After watching one too many Youtubers rave about Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors (liquid and powder), I had to go ahead and try it. Verdict? PERFECTION! You don't look shimmery, you just look glowy. I've even been mixing this with my body moisturizers for a slight glow.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer - I gave in the hype and purchased this. The applicator is amazing, and after trying it's Maybilline Fit Me Concealer dupe, I feel like the Nars one is worth the splurge. It is much thicker and I feel like it works perfectly under my dark circles and as a highlighter.

L'Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Plumper - I used to be the girl who wore clear mascara as brow gel because "it works just as well", but boy was I wrong! I had no idea this brow mascara will make my messy eyebrows look put together even after far too many days without plucking them. And as a bonus perk: They won't move! Must try, people.

Chloé Eau de Parfum - Right after being insulted by the tiny bottle of $75 that I received from Sephora, I loved this perfume. I feel like it smells so feminine and fresh, yet a little sweet. It's perfect for the daytime and work. I will definitely be repurchasing this at Amazon were it's so much cheaper!

So there you go! My heat prove September Favorites! What have you been loving this month?

XO

Elena