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Chicago, IL

Renaissance Girl is a Chicago lifestyle blog for every twenty-something and millenial, which focuses on fashion, beauty, food, career, travel and events

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Beauty

5 Ways To Just Treat Yourself

Laura

When it comes to self-care, there are so many ways to treat yourself. But these are my top five favorites for taking some time to recharge and center yourself.

Who doesn't feel better after a hot shower? Replenish your energy with Essio Shower Aromatherapy. The variety of scents range from energizing to relaxing and installation is super easy.

Next, Silkriller formulates products with silk protein. Try the kit with facial foam, toner, gel and cream to cover every base of skincare.

To treat your tired feet when exercising or even at home, invest in the Fitness Mat. This kind of support is especially helpful for anyone pregnant or with sensitive joints and muscles.

If you want a spa day but can't afford expensive microdermabrasion, Silkn is a gentle but effective way to give yourself the perfect glow.

If you need a little guidance and positive inspiration, check out the Life is Good book. 10% of annual net profits go to kids in need and they raised over 11 million to date, so you can feel good about this buy.

Three Perfect Beauty Buys

Laura

With so many pretty little things to gift, how do you choose the perfect beauty buy? I'm an avid shopper, but If I had to round up my top three picks, these make the short list.

First is Sugar Fresh, a miracle lip moisturizer. Its uber-creamy texture and variety of beautiful shades will give you the perfect pout.

 

Tocca Stella is one of the most versatile perfumes out there. It's elegant, light, crisp and unique, thus the ideal scent for any woman.

Lastly are these super nice recipes from Deckopedia. The Natural Beauty Skincare Deck can teach you how to make your own organic, safe, and affordable products at home. You’ll be surprised how quick and easy it is to naturally care for your skin!

My All-Time Favorite Perfumes

Laura

I've been a beauty junkie since I was 13 and worked at four major retailers known for their awesome fragrances, so you can say I've experimented with quite a few products. In my opinion, perfume is the most important beauty product when it comes to being memorable. Scent is the sense that most powerfully evokes memories, so I wanted to share the scents that I love.

To begin with, DKNY MY NY is a feminine and fruity perfume that is actually light and airy, so it's a great everyday option.

CK One is a delightful unisex scent with base notes like cedar and light notes like lemon for a satisfying balance. It's a no-fuss fragrance that has a just-got-out-of-the-shower freshness.

Then there's Gucci II, a floral-fruity Eau De Parfum with a cedar base. This is sweet yet musky, ideal for a date night.

Tocca Stella is infused with blood orange and sandalwood. It's a laid-back way to wear a grown-up version of a fruity scent, and ideal for catching up over brunch or lounging at home.

Lastly is Gucci Envy Me, which has a little bite to it. Notes include pink pepper, peony and teakwood, so you should wear it for a sassy confidence boost.

Sephora Beauty Haul

Laura

Who doesn't love a good beauty splurge once in a while? After working at Nordstrom and Sephora and knowing how many top-tier products they have, it's always just a matter of time before my next binge.

Lately, I've experimented with this Dior Pro Eyeliner; it has a creamy texture and is easy to apply, but don't extend it too much or it might break off because it's so thin. On the flip side, a foolproof beauty fix is EOS Lip Balm. I don't know why I waited so long to try it, because it tastes wonderful and covers the whole lip.

I swear by the classic Anastasia Eyebrow Pencil because the application lasts all day, the pencil lasts for months and it's so easy to use. And Too Faced's Born This Way foundation is super smooth and makes me look like I'm glowing! Last but not least, Philosophy Live Joyously moisturizer locks in moisture and smells like heaven.

Clinique + Bobbi Brown

Laura

If you're in the market for some new beauty products, you should seriously consider these two. For starters, there's just something about having all of the right colors in one revolutionary palette, so you can just grab it and go. Secondly, I'm really loving cream shadows because of their soft texture and long lasting pigmentation.

With the Clinique A Case of the Pretties Set, you can easily go from day to night. This case has seven eyeshadows, two blushes and three lip stains. I love this palette because the famous velvety Clinique makeup is easy to apply.

I'm also surprised at how much I like cream eyeshadows! The Bobbi Brown Chocolates Long-Wear Eye Trio has two shades of taupe cream shadow and a dark brown gel eyeliner. It also has a dual-ended brush for the shadow and eyeliner, so you can apply it like a pro.

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Get Glowing: Ideal Winter Moisturizers

Laura

Few things can change your skin as quickly or drastically as cold winter weather. Not only can the cold air can suck moisture out of your skin, but hidden UV rays behind overcast clouds can also sneakily cause damage to the elasticity of your skin. That being so, I wanted to share some of my favorite products here on Renaissance Girl. These keep my skin glowing throughout the intense temperatures, wind, sun, sleet and snow of Chicago! For a radiant winter complexion, you’ll want to invest in a great day moisturizer, night cream, under eye cream, lip balm and BB cream to cover all of your bases.

The first step to keeping your skin happy is to invest in a basic all-around moisturizer. I really love First Aid Beauty's Repair Cream. With ingredients like shea butter, soothing eucalyptus oil, ceramides and antioxidants like licorice root, feverfew, and white tea, your skin will look like you just had an enriching facial.

Aside from a great day moisturizer, it’s important to keep your skin hydrated throughout the night. Tossing and turning on a pillow can stretch out your skin over time, causing premature wrinkles. But to fight gravity, Origins Renewal Cream is packed with vitamins C, E, and H to penetrate your skin and actually strengthen collagen production and increase visible elasticity.

The skin under your eyes is actually the fastest to age because of its thinness and delicate texture. Therefore, protecting this area with a rich cream morning and night is a great idea. Try Clinique All About Eyes Rich, because this cream has botanicals that boost collagen production, so it reduces puffiness and under eye circles. 

Along with your eyes, your lips also have very thin and sensitive skin, which ages quickly. For this reason, consistently applying a rich lip balm with SPF is essential. Sugar Lip Balm is an amazing product that glides on like silk and smells amazing. With SPF 15, meadowfoam and black currant seed oils, Sugar Lip Balm protects against UV rays and locks moisture in.

When your skin is hydrated and ready for your makeup routine, replacing your foundation with a BB cream is a great idea for the brutal winter months. BB cream was originally invented as a post-procedure product to truly protect and replenish skin, so it’s the ideal mix of makeup and skincare. Accordingly, Dr. Jart BB cream has SPF 45 and moisturizing properties so your BB cream can keep up the good work of your skincare products.

The cold winter months aren’t something to take lightly, because they can take a lot out of your skin! But with the right products and skincare routine, you can achieve a beautiful glow every day and night.

Hair Care: Splurge & Save

Laura

The bad news: frigid winter weather sucks the moisture and volume out of hair indefinitely. The good news: you can splurge or save on a variety of products to protect your strands. I love using oil to lock in moisture, dry shampoo to prevent over-washing, and a wide-tooth comb to treat my hair delicately.

I love a good silkening oil to lock in moisture after showering. When my hair is still damp, I'll run a nickel-sized amount of oil from mid-shaft to the ends of my hair for a smoothing effect. To splurge, check out CHI Silk Infusion, which smells amazing and the 12 oz. bottle lasted for over a year! To save, the OGX Moroccan Argan Oil comes in a 3.3 oz size, but also smells great and adds a pretty texture to hair.

On days when there's virtually no time to get ready, dry shampoo is my best friend! Because of dry winter air, it's also important not to wash your hair everyday (so it doesn't dry out). To splurge, try DryBar's Detox Dry Shampoo; it's available for blondes and brunettes, so you don't have to worry about any powder streaks. To save, try Dove's Dry Shampoo; it's under $5 and has the same effect as DryBar's product, the main difference is the packaging and the smell. Dove's smell is similar to baby powder, and DryBar's smells more like perfume.

Lastly, a wide-tooth comb is a safe way to detangle your hair. The cold air can dry out hair and make it more brittle, thus being more prone to breakage. A large spaced-out comb not only evenly distributes products, but works for all hair types and prevents the breakage that a smaller comb would cause. To splurge, invest in this pretty pink comb from Sephora, or save with a more environmentally-friendly comb from the Body Shop.

Ombré Inspiration

Laura

Ever since ombré became a huge trend in the beauty world, I've been growing out my light brown hair instead of continuing my blonde highlight routine. This seemed like the perfect excuse to see my natural color in a gradual way. To me, ombré is a beautiful reason to experiment and still achieve a natural look.

I've been growing out my hair for 9 months, so I feel like I'm finally achieving the overall look! For a gradient effect, I want to lighten the ends and bring some brunette lowlights towards the middle at a salon. Below are some of the most gorgeous ombré looks that I've found on Pinterest for inspiration.

Beauty Overload

Laura

I'm experiencing the steep learning curve of the beauty industry, so I was recently gifted a ton of products to sample, including skincare, perfume and haircare. I could definitely get used to feeling pampered with modern beauty products!

Starting with skincare, my first tester is a trifecta called Clarisonic Sonic Radiance. This comes with an AM and PM cleanser plus a serum; the cleansers felt great with my Clarisonic Brush, and the serum moisturized my skin nicely. Also, GlamGlow has this amazing Bright Mud Eye Treatment that I just left on the skin around my eyes for a few minutes and wiped off. It left a micro layer of active ingredients that hydrated my eyes, so it felt like a mini-spa treatment! Thirdly, I tried Dr. Jart+ Beauty Balm SPF 45, which reminds me that the best anti-aging product out there is sunscreen.

Moving on to hair, I'm trying to grow my hair out, so I tried Phyto Intense Hydration Regenerating Night Cream. This is an overnight mask that I slept in, and washed out in the morning. It made my locks silky smooth, which is perfect! Additionally, Agave Healing Oil Treatment is a nice oil that I run through my blonde hair to make it super soft and touchable.

Lastly, my favorite item was a lovely perfume that will totally be on my Christmas list this year! DKNY MYNY is a lovely scent with a musky base and a sweet, citrusy finish that was inspired by the beauty and mystery of New York City. Between skincare, haircare and perfume, I think I'm set for fall!

Sephora Beauty Haul

Laura

I follow brilliant beauty vloggers like Jaclyn Hill, Lauren Curtis and Carli Bybel because these ladies definitely inspire me to change up my makeup looks whenever I can. Thus, the other day I stopped at Sephora to venture outside of my comfort zone.

I came in looking for a classic red lipstick for fall/winter, and heard from a girlfriend that Marc Jacobs has stunning shades. She was right; I found the most perfect red for me (which is hard because of my fair complexion) called Showstopper. I also found some pretty blue Sephora Nano Eyeliner to bring out my hazel eyes. Lastly, I needed dry shampoo and the sales associate recommended Triple Sec by Drybar. It smells amazing and gives my hair a refreshed feeling on days when I don't have time to shampoo/condition/blow dry/style. Since it's my birthday month, I also scored Algenist Microlage Facial Oil, Makeup Forever lipstick, eyeliner and mascara. Lucky me!

Fresh Makeup for Fall

Laura

A beauty lover can always use a gorgeous new look, so using pretty light shades is a good way to enhance your natural beauty. This look is one I whipped up for Makeoverly, so I wanted to share it with anyone who loves new beauty products just as much as I do. Giving yourself a beauty makeover starts with utilizing pastel shades like lavender, peach and pink. Light shades are wonderfully effortless, and are flattering on virtually any complexion!

The first step to making your features absolutely radiant is selecting the appropriate foundation, blush and highlighter. Clinique’s Superbalanced Foundation is an exceptional line to try, due to its high caliber makeup and great array of shades. When you find the right shade of foundation, spread a small dollop onto your entire face. Next, apply blush on the apples of your cheeks to add a feminine pop of color. Nars Blush in “Orgasm” is a fabulous blend of peach and pink that complements all skin tones. Lastly, blend a superb highlighter under your eyes and in the t-zone of your face to gently contour your lovely features.

In addition to luminous skin, pretty eyes are a requirement for this simple look. Clinique’s All About Shadow Quad in Pink Chocolate has four different eyeshadows in varying shades of pink and brown, allowing you to incorporate more light shades for day and thus darker hues for the evening. Gently apply the lightest pink to the whole eyelid, then cover just your eyelid with the tan shade. Blend the darker pink shadow in your eyelid crease, and use the chocolate brown shadow in the outer corners of your eyes.

The key element to your beauty look is enhancing your lips while at the same time evading darker gem tones. A remarkable lipstick that looks good on everyone is Mac Lipstick in Creme Cup. This soft pink will greatly harmonize with the rest of your makeup.

At last, keeping your hair as natural as possible will enhance the nonchalance of this routine. For beautiful tresses, apply a smoothing product and let your hair air-dry, so it can take on its natural shape. Now that you know how to succeed in creating a pretty spring look, you can plan a lunch with friends to show it off!

How to Get Glowing Skin

Laura

If you’re like most people, achieving a radiant and even complexion can be a constant battle. Thanks to acne, sometimes–no matter how well you treat your skin or how many products you tried– your skin can produce discoloration and unsightly scarring. In addition, wrinkles are an unavoidable part of life, but can be minimized with the right combo of healthy lifestyle habits. A healthy diet rich in vitamins, as well as water and daily exercise will make your skin glow from the inside out, effectively combating natural signs of aging.

When faced with acne, avoid the temptation to pick at a blemish. Leave it alone and let it run its course.  If you pick at a blemish, it can leave behind a sunken scar that takes a long time to fade, making your tone uneven. What’s more, wrinkles are inevitable, so it’s best to take care of your skin early and consistently. Acne and wrinkles are two very popular beauty problems, so it’s important to arm yourself with the proper knowledge so you can put your best face forward.

One of the most affordable and realistic solutions to create a glowing and even complexion is to implement wise lifestyle changes. These changes can include drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and keep your skin supple. Secondly, eating a healthier diet by cutting out more fat and adding in more fruit and vegetables rich with vitamins will allow your skin to rejuvenate itself faster. It also doesn’t hurt to exercise more often and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

Don’t forget to embrace the power of cosmetics. A flattering concealer like L’Oreal True Match Concealer is excellent for any residual redness or under-eye circles. Once your foundation and concealer have been applied, you can set your gorgeous makeup with a compact powder like Makeup Forever Pro Finish Powder for a healthy, glowing complexion.