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If you are interested in makeup, beauty, and skincare as we age you have come to the right place. You can use the -Recent Subjects- tags to the right to browse specific topics that interest you or just scroll down to see all the blog posts.

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Rituals Ritual of Advent Calendar Review

I love advent calendars!

For the last four years, I have done an advent calendar every December. My husband started it by buying me the bareminerals advent calendar from Ulta a few years ago. I loved it so much that after that I tried the Sleek makeup calendar and then last year I opened the LookFantastic calendar every day on my instagram story. When Tryazon offered the chance to try the Rituals advent calendar aka Ritual of Advent I was so excited! If you’d like to see my unboxing video, check out the YouTube video in the middle of the page.

Ritual of advent

Ritual of Advent 2019

Advent is essentially the time leading up to Christmas day. It is observed in many religious traditions but has become a secular celebration of the holiday season as well. I have found in my search for advent calendars that they are much more popular in Europe than they are in the United States, although they are becoming more popular. After doing several makeup only advent calendars I have found that it’s just too much makeup so I definitely prefer a mixture of skincare items. Rituals is already a favorite brand of mine, in part because of the opportunities I have had to try them via Tryazon! Check out my Ritual of the Sakura video and my review of the Ritual of the Dao calming treat.

Please note that the video on the rest of this view contains FULL SPOILERS for the calendar!!!

2019 Ritual of Advent details

The Rituals 2019 Ritual of Advent calendar retails for $74.50 and is available at Lord & Taylor or the official Rituals website. Many of the individual items are available other places that carry Rituals products like Ulta and Macy’s but if you want the calendar you’ll need to get it at one of those two places.

The first thing I noticed about this calendar is that it is really a great deal. I paid $123 for the LookFantastic calendar last year (including shipping from the UK). Comparable calendars from L’Occitane and Kiehl’s start at $99 and the Elemis calendar is $250!

If you watched my YouTube video you saw that the box is shaped like a Christmas tree with fold-out parts that come off, I thought I had ripped it but luckily they do pop in and out easily. Presentation-wise I think this would make wonderful gift if you can stand to give it away once you see it!

Spoilers ahead!!!

Ritual of Advent 2019

Ritual of the Advent 2019 Review

Items included:

  • Mini Candle Private Collection Oriental Vetiver
  • Mini Candle Private Collection Sacred Saffron
  • Mini Candle Private Collection Savage Garden
  • Mini Candle Private Collection Precious Amber
  • The Ritual of Karma Soap Bar
  • The Discovery Collection Bath & Shower gel
  • Amsterdam Collection Body Mist
  • Amsterdam Collection Hand Wash
  • The Ritual of Namaste Hydrating Ampoule
  • The Ritual of Namaste Purifying Charcoal Wonder Mask
  • The Ritual of Namaste Velvety Smooth Cleansing Foam
  • The Ritual of Namaste Pure Face Oil
  • The Ritual of Sakura Shower Scrub
  • The Ritual of Samurai Foaming Shower Gel Sport
  • The Ritual of Hammam Black Soap
  • The Ritual of Ayurveda Foaming Shower Gel
  • The Ritual of Ayurveda Dry Oil VATA
  • The Ritual of Samurai Shower Gel
  • The Ritual of Dao Night Balm
  • The Ritual of Happy Buddha Body Cream
  • Exfoliating glove
  • Nail file
  • Miracle travel wipes

I absolutely love how every day has something for you to read. They truly incorporate the ritual part of the brand into every part of this calendar! I love the variety of scents, some were new to me and some were favorites like the Ritual of the Dao and the Ritual of the Happy Buddha.

I only have two criticisms. The first is that while they do include several foaming shower gels they did not include my favorite product, the shower oil. I thought it was very odd when I tried it but I absolutely love it for my dry skin which gets even more dry in the winter! Second was the nail file. Everything else in the calendar felt very on-brand for Rituals but the nail file felt thrown in because they ran out of items/ideas. I would much rather have had another scent in the small soap or even another pack of travel wipes.

All in all I give it 4.5/5 stars! Highly recommend. None of the links in this article are affiliate links, they are just for your convenience. Also I highly recommend joining Tryazon if you would like your own items to try!

Ritual of Advent 2019

Jane Iredale Beyond Matte Foundation Review

I tried the new Jane Iredale Beyond Matte Foundation and took it on a pretty extreme wear test – in the 95+ degree fahrenheit Mississippi August heat! If you haven’t experienced mid to late August in the deep south, you can’t truly understand it. It’s hot, it’s humid, you sweat, it’s just misery. I don’t know why the Mississippi Book Festival is outdoors and in August but I’ve since talked to some of the organizers about maybe moving it indoors or changing the time of the year.

Please note that while I did receive a free retail sample of the foundation (which you can too, see below) I did not receive a review sample or any compensation for this review.

jane Iredale beyond matte liquid foundation

Jane Iredale Beyond Matte (TM) foundation  retails for $50 and comes in 18 shades, which is not a huge shade range but 6 of those shades are “deep” or “deeper.” If you have a Soft Surrounding nearby you can get a sample in their beauty section! If not they do have a shade finder quiz that you can take on their website.

Jane Iredale Beyond Matte foundation review

Iredale describes the foundation as: A clean, weightless, multitasking 3-in-1 foundation with buildable, stay-put coverage and a natural-looking semi-matte finish. Formulated with skin-nourishing, plant-based ingredients. 100% vegan and always cruelty-free.

  • Three-in-one primer, concealer, foundation.
  • Semi-matte, photo-ready finish.
  • Available in 18 self-adjusting shades.
  • Lightweight and long-wearing.
  • Medium-to-full, buildable coverage.
  • Reduces the appearance of shine and creates the look of smooth, even skin.
  • Minimizes the appearance of pores.
  • Suitable for all skin types.
  • Free from phthalates, parabens, GMO, artificial dyes, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrance, talc, nanoparticles and heavy metals.
  • Certified clean and safe: clinically tested, dermatologist tested, allergy tested, sensitization tested, noncomedogenic.
  • 100% color match guarantee.
  • Skin-loving Ingredients
  • PoreTect An eco-friendly ingredient made from Linseed and Celery Seed Extracts, PoreTect brings firmness, tone and density to the skin, reinforcing the structures that hold pores tight.
  • Peptides minimize the appearance of shine and promote a smooth, semi-matte, photo-ready finish.
  • Xilogel® A proprietary blend of Tamarind Seed and plant-based Hyaluronic Acid, Xilogel enhances the ability to improve skin elasticity, smooth and moisturize the skin.

Big claims! Especially the “100% color match guarantee” and that it is self-adjusting.

I made a mistake

In my video, I did mess up and use a primer which you DO NOT need with this foundation because it is a three in one primer concealer foundation. I do not think I will ever NOT use a concealer because of my dark circles but if you watch the video you will see that I think it is actually the Coola sunscreen that reacted badly to the tarte Pore & Prime balm, not the foundation.

Helpful to know

My skin is aging of course as I am 38. I tend toward dry and consider my skin normal-dry. My struggles are fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes, natural very dark circles, some forehead wrinkles, and visible pores. I did not find the foundation drying but I was told to set it all over with powder which I don’t usually do so it did feel like I was wearing a lot of makeup on my face, although I don’t feel like it looked like a lot of makeup.

Overall thoughts

I like the foundation, I think it held up very well in spite of the extreme heat that I put it through! I did not feel like it minimized the appearance of my pores but you can see for yourself in my updates throughout the day in my video. I do not think that it is worth $50 but I do not think any foundation is worth $50! If you can afford it, I do not think you will be disappointed. Jane Iredale is not a flashy social media brand, they are geared more toward aging skin and everyday wearable looks but they are very high quality. They do have offers on their website that you can use to save some money but like I said in my video it’s almost a bad idea when I get samples from my friend Lucy who works at Soft Surroundings because all of the makeup and skincare samples she gives me are great quality and it makes me want to buy them. Don’t try it if you don’t think you will want to pay $50 for it because you will probably like it.

Jane Iredale Beyond Matte Liquid Foundation Review

Addicted to TJ Maxx and Marshall’s Makeup!

tj maxx and marshall’s sell prestige and high-end makeup for low prices

I found a Marc Jacobs eye-conic eyeshadow palette and that is what started my obsession with finding deals at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I love deals and saving money plus I love makeup and beauty products so it’s a very bad combination! Check out my latest video to see everything I have purchased at TJ Maxx and Marshalls from 2018-present.

Makeup and beauty products 50% off or more

I have purchased so many high-end and prestige makeup brands for half off or even more! Some of the brands I have purchased at TJ Maxx or Marshalls include: Kevyn Aucoin Cosmetics, Marc Jacobs, Kat Von D Beauty, Origins, NYX, Bareminerals, The Body Shop, Rituals, Real techniques, Smashbox, Too Faced, Cargo Cosmetics, Makeup Revolution, MAC, Stila, Too Cool For School, and Anastasia Beverly Hills.

is makeup from tj maxx and marshall’s real?

In my experience, yes. What you will find in TJ Maxx and Marshall’s is exactly the same as what you will find at Sephora and Ulta – in fact these stores are where Sephora and Ulta liquidate their stock of discontinued items. Some of the most common reasons I have found for finding makeup and beauty items in TJ Maxx and Marshall’s is formula changes, like Kat Von D items, and packaging changes. When a formula or packaging changes stores get rid of all of the old stock.

Is TJ Maxx and Marshalls makeup old?

Sometimes. I have found items that I knew were 3+ years old but I have also found makeup that is just a couple months old (such as holiday releases after the first of the year.) One brand I have never ever found is tarte cosmetics but you CAN find them at Nordstrom Rack which we do not have in my area and also on HauteLook which is a Nordstrom company.

For all the details check out my tj maxx and marshalls ultimate haul video above!

My 21 Days of Beauty Picks Plus One Product to Avoid

Every year beauty lovers anxiously await the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty deals! I am no different except this year I am on a low-buy, I’m consciously not spending money on makeup and beauty until I use more of my stash. If you’re interested in a tour of my epic stash check out this video on my YouTube channel.
I am however, human and a makeup addict so I will be picking up a few things. In chronological order, here are my picks for must have buys plus one to skip.

dose of colors desi x katy friendcation palette and teami blends green tea detox mask


 
Although I am not indulging in either of today’s deals, I am very tempted! The Dose of Colors Friendcation palette is beautiful. I also want to try the Green Tea Detox mask from Teami (use code Not26 for 10% off) because I love their teas. I will definitely be trying it once my mask stash is smaller than it currently is.
 
 

Peter thomas roth hungarian thermal moisturizer, get drenched kit, and free potent-c gift


Another pick is the Peter Thomas Roth Hungarian Thermal Moisturizer. I love PTRs hydration moisturizers. There are several PTR deals during 21 days. One of the deals that is available during the whole event is the “Get drenched” kit which contains hands down my fav moisturizer for dry and aging skin, the Peter Thomas Roth water drench cloud cream. Don’t miss the free gift with $35 PTR purchase if you snag either of these deals!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tarte tarteist pro glow & blush palette remix and pro remix amazonian clay palette

One deal I AM getting is the tarte tarteist pro glow blush palette remix addition. I was planning on buying this with the next 20% off prestige coupon so I’m psyched to get it at 50% off. I’m skipping the eyeshadow palette since I definitely don’t need more eyeshadow.

 

tarte tartlette toasted palette


 
I already have the tartelette toasted palette but if you don’t, this is a great time to pick it up! If you love warm tones and orangey red neutrals this is for you. Similar to Urban Decay Naked Heat but better quality in my opinion.
 
 

Urban decay eyeshadow singles and origins travel & trial kit


 
Urban Decay singles are great for grabbing a shade or two without the space a whole palette takes up. Even at $10 they add up though so a palette might be a better deal depending on what shades you’re looking for! I will be grabbing Half baked.
If you’ve been wanting to try Origins this travel & trial set is perfect. The Ginzing products are some of my favorites. The eye cream is one I’ve repurchased multiple times.
 

Lime crime venus 3 palette


Lastly one item I recommend avoiding is the Lime Crime Venus 3 palette. I purchased this one sale but still found it to be really disappointing. Several colors look exactly the same on the eye and it’s so amusing that they claim to be “no fade” because they fade even when I use a primer (I’ve tried different ones) and setting spray. I can’t speak to the quality of the first two but I will be decluttering the Venus 3. Not worth $19!

What items are you picking up during this sale?

Sephora VIB Rouge $100 Reward – What I bought plus tips on getting your own!

Sephora rewards bazaar has exclusive items for vib and vib rouge

If you shop at Sephora you are probably familiar with their Beauty Insider program and the online Rewards Bazaar but in case you aren’t – Sephora has a free rewards program. You can read more about it on their website but in a nutshell you earn points based on the amount of money that you spend. Anyone can enroll and begin earning points. If you spend $350 or more in a calendar year you get VIB status and if you spend $1,000 or more you become VIB Rouge.

Vib rouge beauty insiders can get a $100 reward coupon

Of all the special rewards only available for VIB and VIB Rouge, the best is probably the $100 reward which is not a gift card but a coupon. Every Tuesday and Thursday new items are available in the Rewards Bazaar at 9am pacific time and this is when you can snag one of the $100 rewards. In addition to being Rouge the rewards are 2500 points.

Unboxing my sephora vib rouge reward haul

how to get a $100 reward from sephora

  • First, you have to be Rouge which does mean that you have to spend $1,000 at Sephora. There is no getting around that. One way to get to that $1,000 without spending that much money is to share your reward account with someone else. If you have a friend, family member, someone that you are close with that you can share the account with, this will help you both get that Rouge status – the catch is that you will have to share the points and perks so make sure that it is someone you know is going to be willing to share!
  • Next, you have to save up all your points to get to 2500. DO NOT SPEND POINTS ON SAMPLES!!!!!! Most people agree that Sephora’s rewards are kind of a bad value. Unless it’s something you really want to try I suggest never redeeming less than 500 points at a time and if you’re saving for the $100 coupon every point counts.
  • Subscribe to Play! by Sephora monthly subscription box and redeem the 50 bonus cards that come in each one.  You also earn points on the $10 subscription so this is 60 points per month = 720 points per year.

For all my tips and tricks be sure to watch my YouTube video above!

Important things to know about the $100 sephora reward

Because the reward is a $100 coupon NOT a gift card, there are some important things to keep in mind before you use it. Once you have the reward, it has to be used within 90 days. It can be used in store or online but you have to use the entire $100 at once because it is essentially $100 off a purchase. Because of this, you can’t return or exchange what you get. You should buy something you know that you aren’t going to want to return. It can be something you are stocking up on, a palette or item you know you will like, but probably not the best time to try a new foundation or concealer.
You will not earn points on your purchase. If you use Ebates, you will not earn points there either because since the reward is a coupon it’s like you are spending $0 if you only spend $100. (If you are not already using Ebates, consider signing up! You can earn a % back on Sephora and Ulta purchases, plus many other retailers!*) 
Some people on message boards complain that it’s really difficult to get one of these rewards but I got one on my first try. You need to be on a computer not your phone, be on the Rewards Bazaar a couple minutes before 9am pacific, and refresh until it shows up.
Have you gotten a $100 Rouge reward? What did you get with it! Leave me a comment and let me know.
* Please note that this is a referral link so I do receive credit if you enroll.
Sephora $100 Rouge Reward haul

DIY Marble Counter for Photo Background

 Create a professional background for product photos

If you want to be a content creator, you already are a content creator, or even if you just enjoy looking at beautiful photos of makeup or other products online, you may wonder how all these people have beautiful marble countertops for these photos.
The answer is, they don’t! I made a quick DIY marble photo backdrop for $8 and I’m going to walk you through what I did.

contact paper can turn any surface into beautiful marble

To start off, I purchased two rolls of different marble print self-stick paper on Amazon. I chose DC Fix 346-0306 Decorative Self-Adhesive Film, Grey Marble 17″ x 78″ Roll and that is what you see pictured here. I also bought Marble Paper 17.17″ x 78.7″- Granite Gray/White Roll Kitchen countertop Cabinet Furniture is renovated Thick Waterproof PVC Removable Waterproof Stain-Resistant Marble Contact Paper but it did not have enough veining in the print. I felt like for a smaller space that it did not look enough like marble. On Amazon you can look at user photos that are included in reviews to see how people have used both of these for covering furniture and updating countertops!

The key to professional looking instagram photos is the right tools

My 2019 goal as an amateur content creator on Instagram and YouTube has been to improve the quality of my photo and video content. Up until this project I had been using some vinyl tiles that were left over from when my husband & I redid the floor in my old house. The problem with that was that I had to photoshop out all the ugly lines! See the photo to the right for an example.
The need to airbrush out those lines made getting photos ready for instagram very time consuming! I wanted something that was a larger surface to avoid the need to do that much touching up.

how to create a marble photo backdrop

To start off I grabbed the largest cardboard box that I had in the house which was the Chewy autoship box. We get two big bags of dog food so this thing is huge!

I put it on a small table that would be ok if I accidentally damaged it. First I found the seam that held the box together. Then I proceeded to cut the box at that seam to get the largest unfolded piece of cardboard possible.


Once the box was unfolded, I used the contact paper to measure a slightly larger piece of contact paper and used the guide lines on the back to cut it. The back peeled off pretty easily and I smoothed down the contact paper a couple inches at a time until the box was covered.

It doesn’t have to be perfect to work

Unfortunately I am not great at spacial reasoning so I did not cover it all before running out of contact paper so I had to order another roll! I was able to use the two pieces to get a good photo of my new Jeffree Star x Morphe brushes but as you can see in the zoomed out photo, there was still a seam which is what I was trying to avoid! I still think that this contact paper makes a much more beautiful photo than the vinyl tiles I was using before this.

Morphe x Jeffree star brush set


I think the Morphe x Jeffree Star brush set looks really gorgeous on the new backdrop! By positioning and cropping the photos away from the seam I was able to get shots with the bright white marble veined background that look incredible without it being obvious that they are on a DIY photo space.
If you like these photos, make sure you are following me on Instagram, Not26AnymoreBeauty.

A $5 Dupe for Huda Beauty that is Good Quality!

I found an affordable dupe for huda beauty obsessions that is good quality

When I first saw the $5.50 UCanBe Makeup dupe for Huda Beauty Gemstone obsessions and Mauve Obsessions, called Mask, I figured I’d spend a couple dollars and make a video about a poorly made dupe from China. I was shocked at the quality of this palette.

Is Made in china makeup any good?

Actually a lot of familiar low-priced brands have their makeup made in China, like Morphe for example, so just because a brand is Chinese it does not mean that it is bad quality. I was shocked at how closely some of the shades swatched, here is an example:
UcanBe Mask palette vs Huda Gemstone Obsessions swatches
You can see live swatches and all the shades compared in my YouTube video at the top of the post!

what is a dupe, is it the same as a fake?

The difference between a dupe (short for duplicate) and a fake palette is that a dupe does not claim to be the palette that it is similar to. Fake makeup will say it’s Kyle Cosmetics or Jeffree star and look very similar, it can be very difficult to tell what makeup is fake because they try as hard as they can to look exactly like the real thing. Dupes do not claim to be the designer palette – this palette for example is the UCanBe Makeup Mask palette. While it has made colors similar to the Huda Beauty Gemstone obsessions it has completely different packaging and does not try to hide that it is by another company. Fakes will often contain harmful ingredients that can make you sick, cause allergic reactions, or are carcinogenic, since they are not regulated. Legitimate brands that make dupes, such as UCanBe and other popular dupe brands like Copycat Beauty, Bad Habit, FaceCandy, and the brands you can find on the Hush app list their ingredients just like other reputable makeup brands. Some mix up the colors in the palette and give them different names than the original, while others look exactly the same as what they are duping.

Will I have a bad reaction to a dupe?

Since dupes list their ingredients, unlike fakes, if you know that you react to a certain ingredient like talc or carmine, you can avoid that palette. I have used almost every color in the UCanBe Mask palette and I have not had any itching, redness, or negative reactions to the shades. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to ingredients even in name brand makeup and it is possible to have a reaction to any makeup. I find my skin to be a little more sensitive than average but it’s not super sensitive so just because I did not have any bad reactions it doesn’t mean that you will not.
Ucanbe Mask compared to Huda Gemstone Obsessions

UcanBe Mask Palette dupe for Huda Gemstone Obsessions

I purchased the UCanBe Mask palette from Amazon using a discount code that they shared on their Instagram. Currently the palette is $10.99 on Amazon.

Ritual of the Dao Calming Treat by Rituals

Rituals is a brand that I have been interested in trying since I first heard about them. I love the idea of promoting mindfulness and self-care in body care products – it’s a unique viewpoint I have not seen much of especially not in international brands! When Tryazon offered an opportunity to try them I jumped at the chance and was very excited to be selected for a free box. As always, even though I received this for free for review purchases, my opinions are my own. If you know me, you know I have no problem saying I dislike something even if I received it from a brand. I have been intrigued by Ayurveda since I read a book by Depak Chopra and I take an Ayurvedic herb so I felt like Rituals products were made for someone like me, who loves luxury beauty products but also values spirituality and ancient practices.

Ritual of the Dao Calming treat

Your Path to Inner Peace


I received the Ritual of the Dao Calming treat which is a 4 piece set with a gorgeous reusable box. If you or the person you are a buying a gift for appreciates beautiful packaging these sets will impress. This retails for $29.50 so it is not going to break the bank if you are looking for a thoughtful holiday gift for your yoga teacher or child’s teacher, even a coworker or friend. The Dao also comes in larger packages, the Calming Ritual for $45 and the Calming Ceremony which is $99.
These items are avaliable for purchase on the Rituals USA website but many of their products are now at Ulta Beauty’s website and select stores as well. That’s also great for those of us who love to get Ulta points on everything possible.
Ritual of the Dao Calming treat
I loved the scent of white lotus and yi yi ren, it was fragrant but not overpowering. It had sweet notes to it which surprised me. The body cream did not leave my hands feeling greasy which I appreciated, you can never tell when a product will make you feel like you need to wash your hands. I had never tried shower oil before and it was a lot of fun. Now that it has finally cooled down in Mississippi, I know my skin will start to get dry as it does every winter. Overall, I loved this set and I would love to receive it as a gift or give it as a thoughtful present. While you don’t have to use them in a ritualistic way, following the directions will absolutely leave you feeling calmer and more centered.

Dao is an ancient Chinese philosophy centred on achieving balance between Yin and Yang. This enables you to experience a harmonic flow where you’ll feel that everything is perfect; just as it is. – Rituals 

Other rituals include The Ritual of Sakura, The Ritual of Hammam, The Ritual of Ayurveda, The Ritual of Happy Buddha (which I am considering purchasing as a gift for myself once I run out of Ritual of the Dao products!), Ritual of Samurai, and the new Ritual of Yalda. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these, just pick the one that resonates most with you as each ritual has a different theme such as renewal or balancing.
Ritual of the Dao calming treat
 
Have you tried any of the Rituals products? What did you think of them! Leave a comment and tell me which other rituals/scents you recommend.