What years of battling acne has taught me

As you all may or may not know, I’ve had some struggles with my skin in the past. And when I say some struggles, I mean a lot. I’m grateful for it because I’ve learned a lot.


As you all may or may not know, I’ve had some struggles with my skin in the past. And when I say some struggles, I mean a lot. I’ve had issues with everything from oiliness and texture to scars and redness. There’s always been one underlying issue that’s been my biggest concern – acne.

If you’ve suffered from acne, you know the anxiety about breakouts right before school pictures and even the physical pain of it. I had a mixture of whiteheads, blackheads and painful, red bumps. The worst thing is that the red bumps weren’t constrained to a particular area of my face. They would appear on my forehead, cheeks and even my chin. All I wanted was clear skin.

I was tired of caking on foundation to hide the angry, red craters. I was tired of the concerned comments from friends and family, telling me that it was because of my makeup. I was tired of waking up from the pain of rolling onto one in the middle of the night. (This was the worst.)

I tried product after product, flooding my skin with every ingredient that magazines told me would “cure” my acne. There was charcoal, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Oh my!

That was my first mistake.


I didn’t take the time to really get to know my skin and understand what it wanted. Instead, I wanted a quick fix and would put ten products on my skin right after each other. When something was causing bad reactions to my skin, I couldn’t pinpoint the culprit because I was using so many. Similarly, when something was working, I didn’t know if my skin was reacting well to the salicylic acid or the willow bark extract. While I knew this, I couldn’t stop.

I watched all the YouTube videos. I read all the magazines. I was under the impression that I was basically an expert, based on things that worked for other people’s skin.

That was my second mistake.

Everything changed about a couple months ago when I decided I wanted to stop making mistakes. While I did learn some things about my skin, I have to say that I still breakout sometimes. However, I am at a point where I just go out with a bit of concealer, which is something I was never comfortable doing before, which is what prompted me to write this.


What may work for your favorite beauty guru might not work for you
Lord knows I’m still trying to figure this one out. Let’s face it, if Desi Perkins says something cleared her skin, there’s a 99.9% chance that I’m going to try it. Why? Let’s forget that she has beautiful skin for a moment. She’s someone that I look up to a lot because she knows what ingredients and products work for her. However, me and Desi have very different skin types so what may be a miracle product for her might not do the same for me.

Learn what your skin likes
Does your skin like witch hazel? What about charcoal? The only way to find out is to test it out. Testing out products will help you get a grasp of which ingredients actually work for your skin. From there, you’ll get a better understanding of which products in the store are worth your money. Just make sure you take time in between to know what in particular is working.


Change your pillowcases
Okay, this is one tip that I’m sure will help everyone on their skin journey. Your pillowcase has so many germs and oils from your face and your hair, which can be causing your breakouts. That’s why you should make it a goal to wash your pillowcases and change them out once a week, especially if you have oily skin.

You don’t have to spend your entire paycheck
For all the girls obsessed with beauty like me, I’m going to reiterate it. You don’t have to spend your entire paycheck to have good skin. Yes, there are a lot of high-end products that work wonders, but there are also some really good items at the drugstore that might work for your skin as well.

Samples are your friends
I am a firm believer that you should always try before you buy! Maybe it’s my unjustifiable aversion to returning skincare, but I always like to ask for a sample of a moisturizer or mask when I can get one. This way if you do end up wanting something that has a higher price tag, you won’t have to worry about having to return it if it doesn’t work for you.


Do you have any skincare tips? Let’s have a conversation in the comments section below! I’d love to get some tips from you or see if we have anything in common when it comes to taking care of our skin.

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NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

The newest edition to the Beauties Beholder foundation collection.

I’m usually one to splurge on foundations, so when I come across a good one under $20, I know I have to share it with the world. The NYX Total Coverage Drop Coverage Foundation is only $14 and I can say truthfully that I get a whole lot of bang for my buck. 

I would say that this is a medium-to-full coverage foundation. The drops are heavily concentrated with pigment, allowing you to build up to a full coverage. I found that I don’t get cakey when I try to build up the foundation, which is definitely a major plus. I have some texture in my skin, so the last thing I want is for my foundation to cake up, bring more attention to those areas.

Do note that I have oily/combination skin, so if you’re dry, we may have a difference in opinion. I’m not sure how it stands up to dry patches.

It comes in a variety of shades. 24 to be exact! So there’s a good chance that you’ll find, if not your perfect shade, something pretty close to it. 

How to Use: I prime my skin, using either the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Mattifying Base or the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer. Which I’ve been loving at the moment.

I add a couple of drops to dense blending brush and use a combination of patting and circular motions to work it into the skin. I don’t suggest using a BeautyBlender for this, due to the fact that this foundation is extremely thin. You’ll find that BeautyBlender will suck up a lot of product. Stick to something like a kabuki brush or something similar.

I, then, go ahead and set it with my trusty Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder in “Translucent.” After that is done, I’m good to go, and ready to take on the day! I found that the foundation stays put for several hours on end, without me having to touch up. So if you’re out and about for hours on end, like me, you’ll really love the staying power of this!

Have you tried the foundation yet? If so, I’d love to get your thoughts, especially if you have dryer skin. I’d love to learn how it works on different skin types. 

Product Empties

I was going through my makeup stash and found that I had finished a fair share of products. I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts on these products and hopefully get your thoughts on these items.


First, lest talk about the Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser. This is actually the second bottle that I’ve purchased, so that should tell you a lot about my thoughts on this. I talked about this in my Best of 2016 post, so I won’t go too in-depth. However, I will say that this is one of my favorite cleansers that I have ever tried.  And trust me when I say that I’ve used my fair share.  I really enjoy the warming sensation that you get when you work this into your skin. That along with the active charcoal ingredients make my really feel like that I’m getting rid of all the toxins in my skin. If you’re on the hunt for a detoxifying cleanser, I would highly recommend you to get a sample of this from Sephora.


Next, we have the Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Cleanser Gel. Much like the Boscia cleanser, this contains active charcoal which is great for getting impurities out of your skin. The only thing different is it does not have the warming effect as the Boscia cleanser, but it still foams up into a nice lather, making me feel like I’m getting a nice cleanse going. I’m a big fan of incorporating charcoal into my skin routine because I really feel that it helps to get all the toxins out, as I explained previously.


Another empty product is the Smashbox Brow Tech Matte Pencil in “Dark Brown.” I prefer brow pencils that twist up like this, rather than crayons because I feel like I waste less product, being that I don’t have to continuously sharpen it. I enjoyed this pencil, but I have to admit that it’s not my favorite. If you need something to compare it to, it’s similar to the Anastasia Brow Wiz, but this is much more stiff. I found this helpful when trying to get those really precise, hair-like strokes. At the beginning, I really enjoyed this and would have probably said that this was my favorite brow pencil on the market, but towards the end it crumbled up on me as I went to fill in my brows. I may give this another try, but as of right now, I’m not going to repurchase it.


The next product is the cult favorite, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in “Caramel.” This has been raved about on nearly every blogger’s page so I’m going to keep this short. This is a great, buildable medium-to-full coverage concealer. You definitely need to set this, or you’re going to crease up. It sits nicely on the skin and I love it so much that I have already repurchased a backup.


This product is technically not empty, but I thought I should include it because I have such a small amount left. This is the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in “Warm Almond.” I also touched on this in my Best of 2016 post. I bought this back in September and I completely fell in love. It’s such a beautiful foundation. It gives off a nice, natural finish and it is a medium-to-full coverage. The finish leads me to believe that it would be great for both dry and oily skin. It’s perfect for both everyday and glam makeup. I strongly suggest that you go out and purchase this foundation because it has honestly changed my life.


I know a couple of people that don’t really like this, but I’m a big fan of the Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara in “Deep Brown.” I found that this keeps my brow hairs in place for the whole day and I don’t have to worry about them going AWOL. Albeit, the brush can be a bit difficult to work with, but once you get the hang of it, you love it! I use it both alone to amp up my brows on my “no makeup” days or over a brow pencil on days I opt for heavier makeup.


I have another skincare item. This is the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask. I snagged a sample of this product from another blogger and I instantly fell in love with it, which breaks my heart, considering the full-sized version is $92. After I use this, I find that my skin looks brighter, smoother and all-around healthier. I used this at night and in the morning, I saw that my breakouts have visibly reduced in size. It has a tingling sensation, so I wouldn’t recommend this for  those of you that have sensitive skin, being that it may irritate your skin, but if your skin isn’t really sensitive, you will love this.


The last thing I found was the LUSH Ultrabland Facial Cleanser. Let me tell you that this completely revived my winter skin. I had an issue a couple months back where my skin reacted poorly with another product that I was testing. My skin was completely dried out and flaky and being that I typically have oily/combination skin, I had no idea what to do. I walked into my local LUSH and they referred me to this. Within a week, my skin was restored. It’s perfect for using as a daily cleanser, removing makeup and moisturizing your skin. I highly recommend this.


For the most part, I’ve really been enjoying the products that I’ve ran out of and I’m going to be repurchasing most of them. The only product that I’m kind of iffy about is the Smashbox eyebrow pencil.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these products or learn about some of the products you’ve been trying out. Let me know what products I should try out because I’d love to test out new items!

Sneaky Trick for Oily Skin

I’ve looked up all the tips and tricks for oily skin and I’ve found one that has really helped me with some of my oiliness throughout the day.

I know I’m not the only one that struggles with their t-zone producing oils throughout the day. I’ve looked up all the tips and tricks for oily skin and I’ve found one that has really helped me with some of my oiliness throughout the day.


Step One:
After washing and toning your face, the best thing to combat oils is to moisturize. The reason why your skins produce oils throughout the day is because your skin is is trying to compensate for a lack of moisture in your skin. (Weird right? You can read more about it in this article.)

I use the Simple Protecting Light Moisturizer SPF 15. It’s lightweight and it protects my skin from the sun.


Step 2:
The next step is for you to prime your face. The reason for priming your face is because it allows you to fill in your press and create a smooth base for your foundation to go over. If you have oily skin, there are oil-control primers that help to keep your oils at bay.

I use the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer. The trick with this is I don’t rub it into my skin. I apply it to my fingers, rub them in and press it into my skin. This allows it to sink into my pores and have the best results.


Step 3:
Now that we’ve prepped out skin, we’re ready for foundation. As you can see, I have two different foundations on my hand. I have a mattifying one and a luminous one. I use the mattifying one in my t-zone to help with the oils that I produce throughout the day. I use the luminous foundation to go around the perimeter of my face to give me a healthy glow.

Here, I’m using the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24 Hour Foundation, which I’m having a love/hate relationship with. I have some texture on my skin and I’m finding that throughout the day, it starts to get cake around that area.

I am also using the Becca Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation. It was in Allure’s Best of Beauty for a reason. It give a beautiful glow to your skin and I found that it doesn’t cake up throughout the day.


Step 4:
If you couldn’t guess, the next step is to blend it all out. I start in the middle and work my way out, but you can go ahead and do it any way you’d like.

I’m using the Beauty Blender. It’s perfect for blending out foundations.


Step 5:
After that, you can go ahead and finish up your makeup. (With crazy baking faces and all!)


Lastly, go ahead and check your face! I found that through the summertime, my face looked less oily throughout the day when I did these tricks. I’m going to continue using these throughout the fall and winter.

Do you have any tricks and tips that you use to help keep your oils at bay? I’d love to know what products and steps you use.

Current Summer to Fall Obsessions

To effortless transition myself in the fall months, I’ve slightly changed up my makeup routine.

Even though the 90-degree weather doesn’t show it, we’re slowly progressing into fall. Soon enough the weather is going to cool down and we’ll be trading in our bright coral lips and bikini tops for deep plums and sweaters. As much as I love the warm weather, I’m ready for the sweater weather that is slowly dawning upon us.

To effortless transition myself in the fall months, I’ve slightly changed up my makeup routine. As I changed up my routine, I’ve found that some products have trickled their way into my current staples.

The Morphe M35O palette was a no-brainner for me, in regards to what eyeshadows I could use to go into fall. The variety of 35 warm, orange-toned shades inspires me to create an array of fall-appropriate looks. It’s a cult favorite for a reason. The pigmentation is unreal and the price tag of only $23 is a deal-breaker for me.

I  will always have a place in my heart for the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, but the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer has earned my sheer and utter devotion. Urban Decay really swept me off my feet with this one. I heard countless YouTubers give raving reviews about this product before I finally went to Sephora to pick it up for myself. The smallest dab goes such a long way with this concealer. It’s not heavy under your eyes and the second listed ingredient is water, which means it mainly water-based so it’s super hydrating under your eyes. Since purchasing it, I haven’t experienced any creasing under my eyes, which I’ve noticed sometimes with my NARS Concealer. — Sorry NARS! So ultimately, you need to try this because it’s extremely light-weight while giving you the coverage that you want in a concealer.

Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation is another water-based product. Water-based foundations are perfect for this time of year. These foundations tend to be medium coverage and on the thinner side, rather than some thick, oil-based foundations. Because it’s still so warm, it’s just so much easier to wear lightweight makeup at all times. This one in particular gives off a beautiful healthy glow.

(Pro tip: If you’re on the oily side, like me, you may want to invest in a really good oil-control primer. You could also use it on the perimeter of your face, while using a mattifying foundation in your T-zone. You’ll still get the glow, without TONS of your oils shinning through.)

I’m really surprised that literally NO one is talking about the Smashbox Brow Tech Matte Pencil. It’s pretty comparable to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. It’s creamier than the Brow Wiz, which I like, but when you twist up the product, you can’t twist it down, which I loathe. Ultimately, both are great products, but I’m just a little bit more in love with the Brow Tech Matte Pencil. I don’t experience any smudging or anything after I apply the product, which is a major plus!

I feel like I  spend the most time doing my lashes while doing my makeup. I’ve recently fallen in love with the Maybelline Volum’ Express Colossal Mascara. I have to admit that my sister convinced me to buy it and at first I hated this mascara. I think what I hated about it is that I left too much product on the brush because now I make sure that I wipe all of the excess product in the tube and coat my lashes with this to give me major volume. If you’re looking for a volumizing mascara, this will be your holy grail. And you know the best part?– It’s from the drugstore. (Hello, affordable makeup!)

Do you have any current favorites? I’d love to learn some more about your favorites and test them out for myself!

Catch you all on the next one!

Highlighter Favorites

Today, I’m going to go over some of my favorite highlighters. I explain the difference between each of them (i.e. textures, pigmentation and such). What are your favorite highlighters?

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Today, I’m going to go over some of my favorite highlighters. I explain the difference between each of them (i.e. textures, pigmentation and such). What are your favorite highlighters?


Though the Mary-Lou Manizer by Thebalm is a beautiful highlight, it can come across ashy on deeper skin complexions. The formula is beautiful, however. It’s extremely smooth and blends like a dream. Definitely one to consider if you have lighter skin complexion.

The Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection by Becca Cosmetics contains my favorite go-to highlights. (Don’t forget the fact that it includes three beautiful blushes! If you need an everyday blush, try ‘Amaretto.’) The formula of these are beautiful. They are extremely pigmented and they blend out like a dream. They work on a variety of different skin tones. Jaclyn did a fantastic job.

I think everyone should own at least one liquid highlight as a quick, running-out-the-door glow. I just happen to have Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in ‘Opal’, which I completely am enamored with. This highlight is very natural and you one need a small amount for the maximum effect.

The NYX Illuminator in ‘Narcissistic’ was a surprise. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the pink tone in the pan, but I thought I should give it a try. I’m so happy I did. This gives of a peachy-golden glow. And do you want to know the best part about it? It’s only $9!

The Tarte Skin Twinkle Lighting Palette holds a special place in my heart. If you’re looking for a golden glow, ‘Sunlight’ in the palette is the highlight for you. There are two highlights and a setting powder. (Which is extremely dry, in my opinion.)

ColourPop is one of my favorite brands. If you have not tried one of their eyeshadows or face products, you are missing out on the silkiest formulas you will ever use at an extremely affordable price. ColourPop Highlighter in ‘Glo Up’ has that silky texture, with beautiful pigmentation. Use your fingertips for the greatest amount of pigmentation.

What are some of your favorite highlighters?


If you watched the video, you know that my wonderful roommate made me Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix and it was fantastic. Don’t judge me. You know you want it too.