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The Blog

Approachable inspiration for a stylish life. 

 

My New L.A.-Inspired Glowy Skincare Routine

Kristen Berry

It has been quite a while since I posted a new makeup tutorial. This is due to a few factors:

  1. When I relocated from the SF Bay Area to L.A., I was living out of a handful of suitcases while everything else was hidden away in storage, including the bulk of my non-essential cosmetics. Once I was reunited with the remainder of my makeup collection, I realized I rarely reached for much of it, and kind of enjoyed the simplicity of my pared-down, essentials-only makeup kit.

  2. I’m still in the process of settling into my new-ish apartment, and haven’t landed on a solid “studio” area just yet for filming.

  3. Now that I’m in L.A., the epicenter of the effortless, glowing no-makeup-makeup look, I’m increasingly inspired to focus less on elaborate face painting, and more on achieving beautiful skin.

So I’ve been experimenting with my skincare routine. This of course takes time, both in proving whether the new products work over the long-term, and finding the right balance of products to create my happiest skin.

I can confidently say I’ve landed on a new routine that’s working great for me, and has made a noticeable difference in my complexion. Below are the current products that I’m loving right now.

Herbivore Botanicals Travel Set for Combination / Oily Skin

Herbivore Botanicals’ all-natural, gorgeously packaged skincare products have been lauded by some of my favorite magazines, blogs and Instagram stars for a few years now, and I’ve been dying to try them. But they have so many amazing-sounding goodies that I didn’t know where to start.

When I came across their well-priced travel-sized set for folks with combination/oily skin like me, I knew I found my ideal entry item. The set comes equipped with several of their popular products – their Lapis Facial Oil, Rose Hibiscus Face Mist and Bamboo Charcoal Face and Body Soap.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this little set goes a long way – I’ve been using the products every day since the end of January, and still have about a month to go before I’ll use them all up.

I’m in love with this charcoal soap. It has a gorgeous lightweight lather, and makes my skin feel fully cleansed without drying it out. And the Rose Hibiscus Face Mist is like a spa in a bottle. It’s a lightly scented instant shot of refreshing hydration. It’s definitely not designed to be a moisturizer-replacer, and is probably the product that feels the least as though it makes a noticeable difference in my skin, but it’s a wonderful pampering experience. I bet it’s also killer after a long, skin-drying flight.

I’ve been dubious about the whole facial oil thing, given the already oily nature of my skin – even though I’ve heard for some time that using the right oils can actually be incredibly beneficial for someone with my skin type, and help to create the right, healthy oil balance. I’ve found that to be incredibly true for the Lapis Facial Oil. This product was especially formulated for combo/oily skin types, and is designed to reduce redness and clarify the complexion. The product is made from pure plant oils, and it makes my skin feel comfortably, lightly hydrated without clogging my pores.  

Rather than buying all of these products separately, I fully plan to re-purchase this exact same set when it runs out. It has become an essential step in my go-to skincare routine.

Herbivore Botanicals Travel Set for Combination / Oily Skin, $48 at HerbivoreBotanicals.com.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream

I’m pretty fortunate when it comes to the whole undereye area. I’ve never really suffered from undereye bags or darkness or wrinkles (knock on wood). But now that I’m in my thirties, I feel like taking preventative measures might be a good idea. And I have begun to notice a bit of dryness in this sensitive spot.

A Sephora sales consultant recommended that I try the Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream. He said that it’s lightweight and hydrating, helps to smooth, moisturize and gently brighten the area, and sinks into the skin for easy makeup application. I’m nearly done with my first tube, and have been pleased to find that everything the consultant said was totally true.

Of course, while I only purchased this product in early February, and I’m already falling in love with it, it’s already been discontinued (though it’s still currently available in limited quantities on Amazon.com). Though given my experience with this product, I’m planning to try another Caudalie eye cream next.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream, $37 on Amazon.com.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment

While completing another recent Sephora purchase, I elected to put a few of my Rewards points toward a sample of Sunday Riley’s Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment. I’ve heard quite a bit about Sunday Riley’s products (and their luxury price points), and I’ve been curious.

I Googled the product that night, and was immediately floored by the price for a full-size bottle – $105 for a single ounce. I balked. I proclaimed that such a price was against everything I stood for. I searched online for dupes.

And then I tried it.

Good Genes is billed as a powerful exfoliator that brightens skin, smooths fine lines, and reduces hyperpigmentation to reveal a more youthful complexion. A major skin-related annoyance of mine is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – dark spots that linger on my skin long after my blemishes themselves have faded. It’s one of the primary reasons why I reach for my MAC foundation on a daily basis. While I’ve tried a number of over-the-counter products to treat this over the years, nothing has really seemed to speed up this healing process.

After just two nights of using my itty-bitty Sephora sample of Good Genes, I already noticed a difference in my skin. My old spots were fading, and my overall complexion appeared smoother, and more luminous. In short, this stuff WORKS.

A little also goes a long way – it’s pretty powerful stuff, and I’ve started to use it just every other evening. My tiny little sample is still going strong after more than a week of use. The smell is pretty unpleasant – strong and chemical-y – but for something this effective, I’ll suffer through it (it also fades pretty quickly). I decided this was one splurge I’d be willing to make – I bought a full-size bottle this afternoon.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, $105 at Sephora.com.

What are your current skincare faves?

All Tied Up

Kristen Berry

I have this slight problem with tops. The problem being that I really don’t have many of them.

I gravitate toward dresses, skirts, and even fun pants to an extent. But I rarely find myself reaching for a top while shopping. And when I do, I’m often turned off by the price. I don’t know why I always assume they should be more affordable than the other things I buy.

It’s easier for me to focus when I’m shopping online. I’ve been trying to stock up on classic cuts with interesting details, like the bows on the shoulders of this ASOS top.

These Paige jeans are also the latest example of why I only buy my denim at Nordstrom Rack. They always have an incredible selection. I found these babies on a recent hunt for 60% less than the retail price.

  • ASOS Blouse with Tie Cold Shoulder, $49 at ASOS.com.
  • Paige Verdugo Ankle Jean, no longer available on NordstromRack.com, but similar styles can be found here.

Chill Mode

Kristen Berry

Okay. So truthfully, I don’t often lounge on my apartment floor reading fashion magazines in a sweater dress. But if I ever were to do so, this is the dress I’d do it in.

I love this thing. It’s made of a lightweight knit, making it warm and cozy but not overly hot. The body-skimming cut and open left shoulder make it subtly sexy, while the long sleeves and knee-length skirt keep things classy.

You might recognize it from my recent “Workwear in the Time of Athleisure” post. And everything I said is true, it does easily go from the office to a happy hour date. Just last week, I went from an afternoon meeting to dinner and a comedy show with girlfriends in this little number.

On a separate note, the apartment is slowly but surely coming together. Shoutout to the boyfriend for designing and building this amazing (and highly photogenic) bookcase from scratch.

ASOS Knitted Midi Dress With Cold Shoulder Detail in Navy, $46 at ASOS.com.

Bright + Cheerful Bathroom Makeover (For Under $200)

Kristen Berry

When I moved from the S.F. Bay Area to L.A. in October, I got rid of a lot of my existing home stuff. It was time for a fresh start.

Of course, decorating an apartment nearly from scratch is quite an undertaking. While the living room and dining room will take months to get just right, smaller rooms, like the bathrooms, are much easier to knock out over the course of a weekend.

I wanted a bright, colorful and cheerful vibe for the master bathroom, and a look that nods to my new Southern California home.

I’ve never purchased home goods from Urban Outfitters before, but while I searched for bathroom decor last weekend, I found myself falling in love with so many of the items available on their site. So much so, that I redecorated my entire master bath with their pieces.

Take this charming bath mat for instance. It’s a light and fun message to see when I get in the shower every morning. It’s also hella soft.

I also love the bold, blue tropical print of this shower curtain. It adds so much color to the simple white room.

The apartment came with standard-issue sliding glass doors, but I simply installed a tension rod in front of the doors to cover it.

When I saw these shiny, copper-colored shower hooks on the Urban Outfitters website, I knew I had to have them. There isn’t one metal finish in the bathroom – the large mirror has an antique gold frame, and the hardware and medicine cabinet are trimmed in silver – and rather than fight it, I decided to embrace the mix.

The curtain hooks also complement the copper-color-trimmed countertop accessories I previously purchased.

I wanted to bring a bit of greenery into the bathroom as well, without making the small space feel too crowded. These small gold-trimmed planters from Umbra were the perfect fit – I hung them above the large mirror, making use of the extra space.

The gorgeous air plants were a steal at only $11 from AirPlantDesignStudio on Esty. The plants arrived beautiful and healthy, with these incredible pink blooms.

This striped rag rug adds a bright, beachy pop of color to the floor beneath the sink.

Saturday at the Bates Motel

Kristen Berry

The latest stop on my ongoing tour of Los Angeles art installations/Instagram backdrop fodder was “The Bates Motel.” No, it’s not the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” – it’s the equally creepy abandoned Sunset Pacific Motel, which was entirely whitewashed by artist Vincent Lamouroux last spring, reinvented as a project called "Projection.” Entirely whitewashed – palm trees, billboard and all (read more about it here).

Photo: Timothy Norris.

I liked the contrast between the stark, post-apocalyptic bleakness of the former hotel and the cheerful, floral femininity of this dress by Darling London.

The denim jacket adds a slightly casual vibe, and the hat – in addition to keeping that LA sun out of my face – plays into the throwback style of the dress.

There was no way that I could wait til spring to wear this look.

  • Dress: Darling London, $61 at ASOS.com.
  • Jacket: H&M. No longer available.
  • Hat: BP for Nordstrom. No longer available.
  • Sandals: Michael by Michael Kors. No longer available.