My Balayage Experience at Get Dolled Up Salon with Melissa

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I love getting my hair done period. So when Melissa from Get Dolled Up reached out to me offering a balayage and hair cut experience at a Shorewood based salon I couldn’t say no!

I switched from highlights to balayage in 2014, when I saw an picture on Instagram and knew that my hair didn’t have to look stripey, but could have a beautiful blended effect. And have been a balayage convert ever since.

Melissa spent about 4 hours on the cut and color but it was so worth it! Last time I got my hair done I wasn’t happy with the cut. The girl cut out a weird bang portion that I was looking to get blended in, resulting in me requesting Melissa to take about 2 inches off.

The balayage looks amazing, I got baby lights added, which I’ve never had before, they make the blond strands stand out even more. I also got to try Schwarzkopf hair dye again after a very long break. Schwarzkopf is a really popular brand in Russia, but having been living in the States for a long time, and coming from Minneapolis, which is Aveda central, it was a nice change.

Now bleached hair can be tricky to take care of, that’s why I also want to share my favorite products that help me keep my hair looking blonder and healthier longer.

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  1. Shimmer Lights Shampoo and Conditioner – use these once or twice a week to keep your hair from looking too yellow.
  2. Maple Holistics Grapeseed Oil – rich in vitamin E, it’s perfect for hair growth. I love deep conditioning my hair and massaging my scalp with it about once a week.
  3. Coconut Curls by OGX – even though my hair is pretty straight, I use this product on my ends to keep them from being too dry.
  4. Matrix Heat Buffer – a must have spray for every time I use a styling tool, like the GHD curve featured in last weeks Beauty Brunch Post, a blow dryer or a straightener.
  5. Matrix So Long Damage Iron Tamer – a cream type of heat protectant. I use this on damp hair more than anything. The heat buffer (#4) is perfect for dry hair.
  6. L’Oreal Extraordinary Oil – perfect for a finishing touch to make my hair smooth and shiny. See the full review on L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Hair line on my YouTube channel.
  7. Dessange Paris Color Restorative Top Coat Serum with UV filter – same idea as the oil above, but the UV protectant makes it my number one choice!

I hope you enjoyed my hair transformation and find my list of products helpful! Let me know if you’ve tried any of the above and what your opinion is! Have a product that works for you? Please share that as well in the comments below!

Luminess Air Airbrush Essentials

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Testing out and reviewing new beauty products is probably one of the main reasons why I love blogging so much. Today I wanted to share my review of the Airbrush Essentials from Luminess Air.

I started using Luminess Air products about a year or so ago, and quickly fell in love with the ease of application, ability to determine the coverage, and the long lasting effect of it.

This fall I’ve partnered up with Luminess Air again to bring you a series of reviews that I will be sharing over the course of the next few months.

I started with the Airbrush Essentials. A set of 3 products aimed to target different skin concerns. The set includes:

  1. Porcelain – helps create the smoothest, most flawless skin.
  2. Eraser – erases uneven skin texture and large pores.
  3. X-out – conceals dark circles under eyes.

All of these products are meant to be used pre-foundation. Porcelain is a primer, Eraser is a serum, and X-out is a concealer. So you are getting a variety of products in this set.

Now when it comes to using them, I definitely prefer Porcelain most days, with a little X-out thrown in as needed.

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Now if you’ve never used airbrush makeup, I would recommend starting out with as little as possible and gradually layer up. When applying multiple layers of product, like I have here, don’t over-do it. Less is more, and a little goes a long ways are the two rules that are definitely applied to airbrush cosmetics. My other tip, always use finishing powder. I’ve been trying out Luminess Translucent powder, however I am not impressed with the brush and how the dispenser is set up. So I would definitely not recommend that.

Overall Airbrush Essentials set impressed me with the performance, color (that was a concern, because I thought it wouldn’t match or layer with the foundation well) and ease of use. I do appreciate Airbrush Cosmetics for eliminating the need to touch my face, and its ability to conceal almost everything.

Have you tried Airbrush Cosmetics? What did you think?

Get a discount off your next Luminess Air order with code: Beingzhenya25

Back to School Hair Styles with Folica.com

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Happy New School Year to all the Gophers and everyone who started college classes today! Major FOMO over here, so major I can’t even, but the fact that I don’t have any more homework to do definitely helps 😉

Today I partnered up with Folica to share a few of my favorite college hairstyles and hair care tips.  There are two essential tools that I think ever girl needs in college: a straightener and a curling iron. I don’t know what I would’ve done without the two! Thanks to Folica I got to try two new styling tools: Solia Superhot Professional Titanium Flat Iron and 1″ Salon Curling Iron/Wand by Hot Tools.

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Other than wearing my hair down and the go-to bun, today I am going to share a few looks that have been a favorite for a while.

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1. Tucked away. And not behind the ear 😛

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2. Trucker hat. Because sometimes you have to put a hat on it!

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3. Side cornrows. These are also a golden opportunity for creating glitter roots! Stay tuned for more on that soon!  Back to school hair styles with Folica.com

4. High pony or half pony. The 90’s are back not only in fashion, but in beauty as well! My mom used to call this high pony a palm tree. So there you have it – a palm tree with you wherever you go, even though the summer is almost over!  Back to school hair styles with Folica.com

When it comes to hair care, I follow two simple rules: choose what’s best for your hair and switch between brands often. That’s why I went with Grow Gorgeous Density Shampoo and Conditioner as well as Grow Gorgeous Density Shampoo and Conditioner set. When you have fine, color treated hair like mine, these two product lines make the most sense.

I hope you find what’s good for your hair, style it like never before, and have an amazing school year!

PS. Folica is a great resource not just for purchasing tools and hair care products, but hair inspirations, glam guide and latest news from the beauty world!

PPS. I also have a fun announcement! Next Monday Rachel of Rachel’s Lookbook, Jewel of Style Optimist and yours truly are starting a hot new trendy link up for all you style, fashion and beauty bloggers out there! Stay tuned for more info! Psssst – there will be a giveaway too!

Beauty Favorites // May

Beauty Favorites May

It’s finally time to round up some of my May beauty favorites, and yes, I am fully aware it’s June 😉

1. NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Sandstorm ($6.99) provides soft light brown matte finish on your lips and lasts through a few cups of coffee.

2. NYX Lip Lingerie in Baby Doll ($6.99) a light and brighter creamier nude that once again provides a matte finish for your lips.

3. It Cosmetics Sunshine in a Compact Vitality Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer in Warmth ($34) a soft lighter bronzer that makes contouring a breeze and comes with anti-aging ingredients including hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, and vitamins A, C & E.

4. Matrix Oil Wonders Volume Rose pre-shampoo treatment for fine hair ($24) is an oil that you use before shampoo and conditioner and leave on for 3-5 minutes. It changed my hair washing routine and my hair for the best. In addition to volume, shine and light rose fragrance is a bonus perk.

5. Sigma 3DHD Kabuki brush ($24) designed for all areas of the face to apply liquid, cream and powder products, this brush has been perfect for blush this spring, and I can’t wait to use it with bronzer this summer!

6. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant ($55) is a rice-based enzyme powder that activates upon contact with water, releasing Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to smooth the skin and accelerate cell renewal. Perfect for every day use, I prefer to use it in the shower.

7. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ ($38) a full coverage product that improves skin texture, brightness and increases skin hydration. I stopped using a day cream when I started using it. I am stepping up from the light to medium shade for the summer as well.

8. It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Transforming Moisturizing Super Cream ($48) works for all skin types, even the most sensitive (worked for me when I had my semi-annual finals stress rash breakout). This product deeply hydrates, restores radiance and reduces the look of pores, uneven texture and discoloration with collagen, hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides, antioxidants and colloidal oatmeal. It also smells amazing!

9. NYX Wonder Pencil ($4.49) A concealer, eye brightener and reverse lip liner all in one, it’s a must-have for everyone! I use medium shade for the summer.

10. It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eye Brow Pencil ($24) when it comes to eyebrows, I’ve done it all – gel, dye, eyeshadow, numerous pencils, but this has been my favorite out of all! This universal (yes, one color does fit all + covers gray!) and long-lasting eyebrow pencil has an oval shaped tip which makes it perfect for both thin and thick brows. The spooly end brush gives a natural polished look.

11. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Prague ($5.99) one of the few bright colors that I have been wearing after I switched to the nude side. Being a lipstick junkie is hard, but this raspberry color makes it easy and fun. And, of course, once again I am a fan of the matte finish.

12. NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator in Sunbeam ($7.49) perfect for face and body and for when I get tired of all the matte finishes.

13. It Cosmetics You Sculpted! ($40) foolproof contouring, hands down! So far I’ve been using soft contour, matte and radiance highlight the most, and it doesn’t take more than 2 minutes every day. Make up is really not that hard when you think about it.

14. Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Foaming Mask ($56) brightens, detoxifies and refreshes skin, because that’s exactly what I needed after stressful days and sleepless nights during the finals. It’s like an instant miniature face lift! On the side note, I still can’t believe I pulled 23 credits off.

15. It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush # 7 ($48) a foundation and concealer brush that I’ve been using with powder and only powder. I still think nothing is better for applying foundation than your own fingertips. The concealer brush is perfect for applying powder in the eye area, I specifically use it to blend out any eye shadow imperfections that I’ve created (because you know, I am almost 30 years old, I have yet to learn how to do a good crease blend 😉 )

16. Eco. Refresh Cleansing Lotion ($12) an odd one out of this whole review, random product I came across, which actually got the job done. Made in Australia specifically to care for sensitive, dehydrated or combination skin. This lotion contains Papaya, Vitamin E and Oat Extract to easily remove makeup while calming and nourishing the skin and repairing damaged tissue. For someone who constantly suffers from stress rash breakouts, this product was perfect.

17. Heavenly Luxe Angled Radiance Brush #10 ($38) a brush that I use with the You Sculpted! palette, works so well, because I, for once, followed directions 😉

18. Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two Day Extender ($20 for a full size, $10 for travel) That meme that’s going around telling everyone that by the end of the week my hair is 92% dry shampoo is true, and I can’t tell you how many times this product has saved me time this past month. Texture is an added bonus.

Well here you have it, my May favorites! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these, and what your thoughts are. Also, was this too long of a list? Not long enough? Do share! And finally here is a fun little Periscope video by yours truly! Enjoy!

Luminess AirSupremacy

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Hello friends,

How have you been? After two weeks of not posting anything, and evaluating and reevaluating my existing blog space, I came to a conclusion that it’s better for all of us if I post more reviews and tutorials (especially the DIY kind), and if you want to see my outfits, there is Instagram for that!

A couple months ago I got the opportunity to try Luminess AirBrush System, and when I was offered to try the new Mist Airbrush Foundation, I couldn’t resist. The less I touch my face the better my skin looks, it’s an easy rule I’ve been following since I was 13 and started using makeup. I must admit following is a strong word though, because when I am stressed, I am stressed and I start touching my face, picking at anything that may be healing, and then having to deal with all the consequences. Even makeup brushes cause breakouts when the midterms and finals hit.

That’s why airbrushing is my saving grace. Not only do I not touch my face with my hands, I have also eliminated the step of having to touch it with the brushes.

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Now the Luminess AirSupremacy boasts

  • superior build-able, yet breathable coverage;
  • ideal for sensitive skin;
  • dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested;
  • paraben, fragrance and oil free;
  • never tested on animals;
  • no mess application;
  • minimizes fine lines, wrinkles and texture.

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The starter kit comes with 5 products and 2 brushes. I got the shade fair, I think that’s the shade I received last time, and I was very happy to see that Luminess Air remembered my preference. The 5 products that come in the kit are:

  • Refreshing and Moisturizing Mist Face Primer (2 oz.)
  • Ultimate Flawless Mist Airbrush Foundation Shade 2 Bloom (2 oz.)
  • Ultimate Flawless Mist Airbrush Foundation Shade 3 Golden Beige (2 oz.)
  • Natural Finish Mist Airbrush Blush (2 oz.)
  • 18 hour long-wear mist makeup sealant ( .5 oz.)

The kit includes two brushes, a small blush/powder brush and a Pro-Air blender sponge brush, which I haven’t used yet. The purpose of the Pro-Air Blender is to help get rid of the over-spray or blotchiness, and remove any excess makeup. The brush is an alternative method of applying foundation if you don’t want to spray it directly on your face.

Every product needs to be shaken for about 5 seconds before you apply it. And as far as the word “mist” goes, the only one that’s truly a mist in my opinion is the primer. The other products are more of aerosols, which explains why there is a brush included in the set – the alternative method of applying foundation.

What I like about the kit the most is it includes everything that you need. I stopped using eyeshadow primer, because the foundation covers the eyelids. The line has a nice fragrance to it. The product is a little drying, so definitely layer up on that moisturizer in the morning and definitely at night. Airbrushing creates an even tone, and helps correct all the discolorations that I have on my face, including the redness caused by breakouts. Here are some before and after photos for you.

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Sorry about those, didn’t mean to scare you!

Overall, the system definitely wins over the current Air Brush System I own, even though they are the same brand. It’s the ease of use and no need to clean the dispenser afterwards that has me sold on this one over the existing one. One major advantage of this line and the brand overall is a little really goes a long way here. And the less I use, personally, the better my skin looks.

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The product is available on the website AirSupremacy.com and on QVC. And if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate and reach out to me on social media and through the comments.

Disclosure: the product was complimentary. All opinions are my own. 

Facing Acne

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Summer is my favorite season, hands down. But my skin breaks out the most during this season. All the time I spent sailing, or hanging outside at the beach can negatively impact my skin. Fortunately, I have a go-to product when it comes to dealing with breakouts – Proactiv.

I partnered up with FacingAcne.com to talk about this product with you today. The three step system helps take care of everything, from cleansing, to toning to moisturizing. They even have an SPF containing moisturizer for those of us concerned with sun damage. I have found out that Proactive works best for me when I use it once a day, or as a week-long treatment. My skin is sensitive, so using it for more than 7 days dries it out.

Having worked in a beauty industry, I’ve learned the importance of a 3-step program. A lot of people skip out on the toner, or substitute it with serum. And that’s not okay. I would recommend using the toner at least once a day before going to sleep, because that’s whats really going to help remove the dead skin cells and help the skin absorb moisturizer better. And that to me is the best anti-aging tip out there! (Coming from a girl who turns 29 next week!)

What are some of your favorite skin care products? How do you fight acne?

Disclosure: Facing Acne provided me with the product, all opinions are my own. FacingAcne.com does not sell any of the products mentioned above.

Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat Review

  
Cleaning makeup brushes is an important and necessary task, but if you are like me, it takes a while. The amount of brushes that I have, plus the amount of brushes that are tucked away, still in their packaging is seriously scary. It used to take me at least 20 minutes to wash the entire collection. Until I got the Sigma Brush Mat. 

Sigma, if you didn’t know, is a Minnesota based company, and a YouTube sensation. Their brushes are known for incredible quality and ease of use, and the constantly changing makeup collection keeps surprising the customers with new colors. Anything to help us be more creative and bold when it comes to our makeup. 

  
The brush mat has suction cups on the bottom, and attaches to your sink. The right side is for face brushes, while the left one is for eyes. There are seven different sections (textures) for cleaning, refining and rinsing the brushes. And it’s incredibly time saving. I was done washing all my brushes in under 10 minutes. My life has never been easier! 

  
The Spa Brush Mat is $32 and is available on Sigmabeauty.com or at their Mall of America location. 

  

One last thing, don’t clean your beauty blender using the mat, it will be destroyed! 

Beauty Brunch: Pevonia Stem Cells Phyto-Elite

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As you know I am a huge fan of de-aging and anti-aging products, and Pevonia Stem Cells Phyto-Elite line couldn’t be more perfect.

It’s a 3 step system that includes a

Multi-active foaming cleanser

Intensive serum

Intensive cream 

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Pevonia skincare began in 1991, named after the wondrous flower, Peonia, discovered by Painon, who was the physician to the Gods. This flower was filled with pure essential extracts that were so powerful that it was capable of curing the skin of every Goddess. Inspired by this myth, and using only natural product formulations and superior developing process, Pevonia Botanica soon became one of the most desirable skin care lines in Europe. Pevonia Botanica is proud to offer products that are innovative and unique, sold only by expertly trained and highly educated skin care specialists around the world.

Pevonia Botanica is a highly-distinguished spa care line whose expert skin care specialists are dedicated to exhaustive research and the development of remarkably effective skin care products for both men and women. 

Pevonia Botanica manufactures products devised with only the purest marine and holistic botanical ingredients for unique formulations that provide exceptionally singular results instantly visible in skin. There’s no question as to why Pevonia is favored by some of the most prominent spas worldwide. Pevonia Botanica truly nourishes and enhances the skin for improved beauty, health and function, resulting in a rejuvenated finish that appears younger, brighter and healthier than ever before.

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Notice how every product says what time to use it on the back? And the Intensive cream comes with an applicator, which has come in very handy.

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Excited to learn more and find out what I think of the products? Stay tuned for my video review soon!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Beauty Brunch: Collagen Factor

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Having been obsessed with serums and anti-aging products for the past year or so, I started researching collagen and it’s benefits. 

Collagen is a type of fibrous protein arranged in a triple helix pattern and found extensively throughout the bodies of people and animals. It supports skin, internal organs, muscles, bone, joints, and cartilage. There are at least 16 types of collagen that occur naturally in the body, with the most abundant form in the human body being known as type 1 collagen. Collagen works in tandem with elastin to give skin its texture, structure, ability to stretch, and appearance. Sun damage (extrinsic aging) and chronologic aging (intrinsic aging) causes collagen in the skin to deteriorate (Sources Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, December 2013, ePublication; PLoS One, August 2013, eCollection; and Molecular Cell Biology, 4th Edition, W.H. Freeman, 2000) – Paulaschoice.com

Meehan Formulations has a small, but effective collagen line, called Collagen Factor, which helps restore skins elasticity, and slow down anti-aging process caused by sun, environment, and chemicals.

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I was lucky to try Collagen Serum and Finishing Moisturizer. And here is what I thought.

Collagen serum 

A lightweight serum formulated to stimulate the growth of collagen and greatly reduce the signs of aging that occurs from diminished elasticity. The tinted version contains pine bark and vitamin C which add a little sun kissed glow to your skin!

The product came in 1 oz amber glass bottle with a dropper. Are you thinking what I am thinking? How very vintage! I love using the dropper. It makes me feel like I work in an apothecary. The serum itself goes on smoothly, but leaves my skin feeling wet, so I let it dry for about a minute before applying the moisturizer. The product doesn’t really have any smell, and that’s definitely a plus. I normally use about 5-10 drops, and measure them off separately for the different parts of my face, mainly forehead and cheeks. Having spent the majority of my summer outdoors, this is the product I want to keep around for as long as I can to prevent/slow down sun damage.

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Finishing Moisturizer

A light moisturizer, inclusive of the serum, designed to stimulate the growth of collagen and greatly reduce the signs of aging that occurs from diminished elasticity.  Moisturizer base is a non allergenic foundation moisturizer that supports all skin types, including sensitive skin. 

The moisturizer has a pinkish tint to it. I am so used to white colored products, that I was a little surprised by that. As you can see in the picture, the moisturizer comes out from the pump and holds it shape. If it can do it to my skin in the long run, I am in 110%! Once again the product has no obvious smell. It goes on very smoothly, absorbs quickly, but leaves my skin feeling a little sticky, until I apply my regular foundation, or simply touch up with a finishing powder.

What’s with all the anti-aging products, Zhenya?

You may be wondering, why I have been so obsessed with anti-aging products. There are two reasons. No woman wants to look older than she really is. If I can slow down the appearance of wrinkles without Botox, using only the skincare products, I will take full advantage of that. I am going back to college to get another bachelor’s degree, and want to put my best face forward.

Have a great Sunday! How do you take care of your skin?

Disclosure: These products have been provided by Meehan Formulations. All opinions are my own. 

Gerard’s USA Natural Beauty Products Review and Giveaway

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My trip to Chicago was an absolute blast. I had such an amazing time reconnecting with my old friends and meeting new ones. And since traveling by car is so much easier than by air, because I can bring and pack as many beauty products as I want, I packed my Gerard’s USA Caviar Cream and Top Base Face Primer first.

 

Gerard’s is the first skin and body care company to use flower and plant extract, natural organic and active ingredients to protect, maintain and improve the skin. Founded in the Italian Alps region of Italy, where the soil is rich in minerals, they pride themselves in producing the finest products for each skin type and need, using pure extracts. Gerard’s on-site laboratories use cutting edge manufacturing methods to produce non irritating, dermatology tested, results oriented therapeutic face and body products. Gerard’s philosophy is to enrich people’s lives through face and body treatments and products using pure natural active ingredients.

Gerard’s is the world’s only skin care brand which uses refill containers as a way to reduce the ecological burden on our beautiful earth <- How awesome is that?

So let’s talk about the Caviar Cream, because I am obsessed. The packaging is so creative and amazing, that when you see it, you think caviar right away! You just can’t think anything else! This rich and luxurious cream is a deep restoring treatment that helps renew and protect your skin from all sorts of damage. It contains Caviar and marine Collagen, created for skins that need vital nourishment, energy and deep moisturization. It reactivates the cell’s regeneration, reduces wrinkles and expression lines, while protecting from UV rays. Skin will look vital, supple, toned and deeply renewed.

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Active ingredients: Hydroglicolic extract of Caviar, marine Collagen, Oak Extract, Allantoin, Solar Filter.

Use: Apply it in the morning or at night onto a perfectly clean and tonic skin.

When I first started using it, I noticed slight tingling in my skin, that quickly went away. But every time I apply it now, it leaves my skin feeling soft, nourished and pampered. Needless to say, I get complimented on it a lot.

Face Primer Top Base is something that I’ve really wanted to try. My only other experience with face primers came from a drug store, and I remember not exactly enjoying it. So this was a great opportunity to rewrite my beauty history. This primer covers imperfections, removes redness and creates a flawless finish for the skin. Apply a small amount all over the skin, let dry for one minute. Top base brings an incredible luminosity and firmness to the skin. May be used as foundation when skin tone matches. And guess what? It matches pretty well, so I am skipping out on foundation for a while.

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I have been greatly impressed with the products, from packaging to quality to scent. And am extremely happy to have them in my beauty arsenal.

And now for the giveaway! You can win $150 to Gerard’s USA online store and pick the products that you like! How amazing is that?
Please read the following rules and conditions before entering
– Open to US mailing addresses only.
– All entries will be verified.
– The winner has 48 hours to reply to our email announcement of the winner; otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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