Beauty, Fashion

Gift Ideas for the Lady Loves on your List!

Hi babes! I am back to share more great gift ideas. Today I am focusing on the lovely ladies on your shopping list. As a self proclaimed girls girl, I am confident any of these picks will make the babes in your life deliriously happy!

*Luxury Jammies*

You can’t go wrong gifting the gift of luxury jammies. Especially these crazy days where we spend more time in our cozy wear than ever! Make the glam girl on your shopping lists beauty sleep dreams come true with a set by the luxury brand, Sleeper. I had my eye on this iconic feather set for ages before I finally pulled the trigger, and they exceeded by Party Pajamas greatest expectations! A variety of colors and styles are offered, as well as the cutest “sleep dresses.” There is a sale on dresses currently happening…and be sure to sign up for their emails to unlock 10% off your first order. Being cozy never looked so fabulous!

*Beauty tools and Healthy Hair Swag*

Kitsch is a great source to find unique gifts for the beauty gurus on your wishlist. I love their ice roller, jade roller, and all their healthy for your hair scrunchies and hair accessories. Kitsch also offers satin eye masks, satin pillow cases, and luxury hair wraps, all made to protect your precious locks in style. This hair wrap is definitely one of those things I never thought I needed until I tried it…and now I am hooked! Kitsch prices are great, and their entire website is currently 30% off!

*Skincare&Beauty*

Sephora is the land where all beauty dreams come true! Holiday gift set time is a chance to scoop up some fantastic deals. Of course some sets are better than others, be sure you don’t get tricked in to buying a set just because it is packaged cute! I studied this seasons hottest gift sets…here are my picks! Note I have tested and love everything I am recommending.

~Sol de Janerio Wild Extravaganza Set: $62 for $92 worth of Brazilian beauty iconic skincare products, including a full size jar of their award-winning bum cream. These fabulous products smell like vacation paradise.

~Sephora Favorites Hydrators Kit: $25 for $55 worth of some of my favorite hydrating goodies.

~Glow Recipe Glow Together Set: this dynamic duo contains my MVP watermelon sleeping mask and watermelon mist. Both leave your skin silky smooth and smelling like a delicious watermelon jolly rancher! $34 for $43 worth of darling packaged treats.

~LANEIGE lip daydreams set: dreamy lip duo includes a glowy balm for daytime and a deep moisturizing mask for night.

Buying makeup for someone else may seem daunting…but it can be done dolls!  Here are my top picks for products that would work for most everyone. Just be sure to include a gift receipt. Sephora has a great return and exchange policy. If your babe happens to not care for the gift, sister can exchange it after opening and trying, no problem!

~Charlotte Tilbury Walk of Shame Lipstick and Liner Set: an award winning lipstick for good reason…gorgeous color consistency, and stunning packaging! The shade “Pillow Talk” is a cult favorite nude…chances are the beauty gurus on your list are already proud owners. I love this brighter berry-rose shade for the holiday season.

~ILIA limitless lash lengthening mascara: there is no such thing as too many mascara for the makeup lovers on your shopping list. This award winning clean formula lifts, lengthens, holds curl, and precisely separates lashes without clumping. In short, it is everything I hope and dream for in a great mascara!

~Supergoop Glowscreen: One of my favorites! A hydrating makeup primer with SPF 40 that has the prettiest finish leaving skin luminous and glowy. I often wear just this with a little powder or blush on top for a natural everyday look.

~Stila Shimmer&Glow Liquid Eye Shadow: Another “ride or die” favorites of mine…I like to think I am a collector:) A high-shimmer very pigmented liquid shadow that glides on effortlessly. A great product to create a dramatic look in little time, available in a variety of pretty colors. Usually retails for $24, but is currently on sale for $12!

 

 

*Girly Girl Decor”

Urban Outfitters online has a fabulously fun selection of unique beauty goodies. For the nostalgic beauty babe on your list that can never have enough lipgloss (my people!), make her smile with a set of throw back Lip Smackers. Get crazy and package them up in a retro Caboodle. I also adore Lime Crime lip glosses, and their entire line of glittery glam products. Ryan Porter candles smell amazing and are so cute. The “Babygirl, you a haute mess” is my fav, it smells fabulous and is clearly darling. The home section at Urban Outfitters online store is gifting gold…how cute is this heart mirror and Hello Kitty mirror? You can also find loads of lovely makeup and jewelry organizers in the home section, always a win for glam girls. Become an Urban Rewards member (for free), and get 20% off your entire purchase!

*A trendy “IT GIRL” handbag

Logo free micro sized handbags have been the hottest “IT” bag of the year, and I personally dig it. I stumbled upon the cutest tiny bag on Instagram by JW PEI, and was sure it was going to be a pricey little number. Pleasant surprise…not at all! JW PEI luxurious looking handbags are made with silky smooth vegan leather, are super functional, and again look much more expensive than they are! I first went for this purple “Gabbi” bag, and loved her so much I had to get the neutral version as well. The size is perfect, it comfortably fits my iPhone+, lip gloss, keys, small wallet, etc….and open and closes easily with a functional magnetic closure. They also arrive packaged beautiful with a duster bag…designer handbag style. JW PEI also offers great deals…the nude Gabbi is currently on sale for $39! Shipping does take a bit long (10-20 days), so plan ahead hunnies. Their Black Friday sale is currently rocked up to 75% with guaranteed Christmas delivery, use the code Black 10 for an extra 10% off at checkout.

*Other great online gift sources*

Ettika: great quality on trend jewelry. Major sales currently happening on their website!

Frasier Sterling: super feminine and fun jewelry and accessories, perfect for the girly girls on your list. Think 90’s style chokers, custom nameplates necklaces, and loads of butterfly and heart details. Their entire website is currently 50% off, no code required. Bonus: adorable packaging. Custom designs take a while to ship so jump on it!

Ban.do: my favorite source for what I like to call…adult school supplies. Nostalgic sticker books, planners, pens and so much more. Ban.do also carries rad retro style clothing and accessories, quirky cute home decor, wellness swag…even roller skates!

*Favorite Chicago Small Biz Gems*

Mulberry&Me: my longtime favorite Chi-town boutique, shop from a curated collection of classic pieces. Think cashmere wraps, timeless cardigans and sweaters, quality jewelry, statement tops…even chic puzzles!

Christina Karin: elevated basics and one-of-a-kind pieces for the chicest fashionista on your list. Rarely on sale….the entire website is currently 25% off.

Belle and Bliss Boutique: a darling and very affordable destination for on trend clothing…as well as crazy cute ornaments and fun “stuff”

Alice & Wonder: “pretty fun things” is their slogan for good reason. From fabulous apparel and accessories to super fun home goods…you can’t go wrong with this gem.

Bolt Addiction: high quality loungewear sets for men, women, and children. Also trendy puff sleeves tops and chic accessories. Great quality and shockingly low prices!

“Be the reason someone smiles today. Gift them something pretty.”~ME

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Fitness

Gift Ideas for the Fitness Loving Friend!

Holiday festivities may look a bit different this year…but finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones is still game on! Today I am sharing my favorite gift ideas for the workout loving babes on your list. The wide world of athleisure and gym gadgets can be daunting. As a fitness instructor/modern day Jane Fonda, I am confident these picks will impress even the ultimate workout junkie!

~Chic Home Equipment 

Chances are your fitness-obsessed friends have tricked out their at-home workout spaces this past year. Bala bangles are the chicest way to add an extra oomph to your home workouts. Yes, they are pricier than the average ankle weights you can find at Target, but the difference is major! Bala bangles are fully adjustable, super comfortable, super cute, and can be worn on the wrists or ankles, making them super versatile. I have a one pound set I like to wear on my wrists for cardio dance classes, and a 2 pound set I wear on my ankles for Pilates. Sorry to use the overused work OBSESSED…but I am simply obsessed! Bala Bangles are available in a wide variety of fun colors.

The Power Ring is the latest invention by Bala. At 10 pounds, the power ring is perfect for more than 75 unique exercises. Again, fitness equipment never looked so cool! Like the bangles, the ring is super smooth and comfortable to use. A variety of colors are available, including sleek black and classic nude. I couldn’t resist the Barbie pink! You can shop Bala products at Carbon38, and use the code JCHEZ20 for a discount at checkout.

~A Fabulous Yoga Mat

The perfect yoga mat is an essential component to a fabulous home gym. As a yoga and pilates instructor, I spend A LOT of time on my mat…and am very particular about it! I have tried endless styles on the quest to find the best option possible. Drumroll please for the big winner!

Yoga Zeal’s eco-friendly suede-like mats are known for being luxuriously soft, and they magically grip the more you sweat. Functional and fashionable, a variety of fun colors and prints are offered. I went with this pretty pink scallop number, but the palm print is next on my personal wishlist! Yoga Zeal also offers ultra thick mats, great for anyone on your list with sensitive knees or joints.

~Sweet Speakers

Rocking out your favorite jams is the best workout motivation. My hubs treated me to this Marshall Bluetooth home speaker a few years ago, and it is the best! I love the vintage-look, polished gold hardware, and the sound is fantastic. One of those gifts I didn’t know I needed…but I use it daily! A variety of sizes and colors and available at Urban Outfitters. 

~Super Stylish Swag!

Hardcore exercise hunnies can never have too many pairs of stylish leggings. Since workout wear is my professional “uniform”…I have become quite the expert over the years! The Carbon38 Takara style is a cult favorite among many for good reason. This flattering style is perfect for Barre class to Brunch days. Offered in a variety of fun colors and fits, you can’t go wrong!

Another activewear brand I adore is Beach Riot. Beach Riot leggings are super comfortable, and they offer the cutest prints and matching sets. This top and matching leggings are one of my current favorites!

What fashionable workout girl would not want to add a pair of metallic gold leggings to their collection? I am crazy about these babies by Heroine Sport, also sold at Carbon38. They may look too good to be functional…but they are actually great for workouts. Throw on a sweater and a pair of boots…cozy never looked so cool!

~Bombshell Barre Socks and LegWarmers!

Make your best barre loving babes day with the gift of sparkly barre socks. These nude and black gems from Carbon38 are my favorites…they are even prettier in real life! Seal the ballet babe deal with a pair of leg warmers. Free People is a fabulous source for great quality leg warmers, like this nude and mustard pair.

~Killer Sneakers!

Much like the notion that one can never have too many leggings…I believe the same to be true for sneakers!  My MVP is the Techloom Bliss style by APL, also offered at the great Carbon38. I have recommended this style to many of my clients and students, and it is always a crowd pleaser! They slide on like a cozy sock, and magically offer amazing support while being super lightweight. My parents gifted me a pair a few years ago…I wear them every week…and they still look brand new!

I will cut myself off before this turns into a short novel! The majority of these gifts that I recommended, (and endless more amazing options!) are from Carbon38. Don’t forget to use my discount code JCHEZ20 at the checkout for a discount. As always, don’t be shy to reach out to me with any sizing or styling questions!

“The greatest gift you can give a loved one is your love and attention. Bonus points: stylish spandex.”~ME

XOXO,

Julz Chez

 

Life

How To Create A Gallery Wall With The Help of Poster Store!

Hello lovelies! Today I am delighted to share a recent decor update at the chezidence! My dreamboat graciously let me take over his (*cough cough) never used office a few years back, so I could have a home workout space. Just one small example of why I refer to him as my dreamboat!  Since the crazy quarantine era began in March, I have been spending so much time in my studio…which has lead me to a major urge to polish it up. I was so happy when Poster Store reached out for a collaboration, presenting the perfect opportunity to “bougie” up my space! At Poster Store you can find a stylish variety of both beautiful and affordable posters and frames.  All their posters are printed on high quality and sustainably produced paper in Stockholm. No wonder this Swedish gal loves them so much!

I love the look of gallery walls, but would never dream of attempting one on my own, as I sadly don’t have that “artsy eye.” Poster store makes the process so easy!  On their website they provide examples of gallery walls, making it very simple to see what you need to recreate the looks you love. THIS example gallery wall gave me all the inspiration I needed and more! It was love at first site: black&white fashion photos mixed with light pink floral shots, all framed in gold. Swoon!

Welcome to my office! I prop my phone up in front of this mirror and ballet barre for my private clients and online group classes.  I am loving my newly styled up back ground…and I couldn’t believe how many of my students noticed the improvement right away! Before it was what I call “a hodge podge” of “whatever.” All different frame colors and all different styles of photos. A cohesive collection makes such a huge difference. Since I updated the room, I have caught myself walking in every time I pass by…she is just so dang cute! Before you start jamming nails into the wall, (or instructing your hubs:), I suggest laying everything out on the floor and playing around with what looks best. Start with the biggest print and work out from there.

Many thanks to Poster store for teaming up with XOXO on this post! Be sure to check out their fabulous website and use the code julz35 for 35% off all posters (excludes selection posters and frames). This code cannot be combined with other discounts and is valid for the next month. Run hunnies run!

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Life

A Hot Ride & A Fabulous Date Night with Toyota!

Hello lovelies! Today I am keeping y’all on your toes, and sharing a recent XOXO partnership with a brand that may surprise ya. TOYOTA! This was my second time collaborating with the classic car brand, and it was another great experience. I will not claim to know a sliver as much about cars as I do face masks, but I drove a trusty Toyota for many years, and it was a wonderful reliable ride!

A friendly Toyota representative dropped off their latest 4Runner on a Monday. The rad ride was mine for the week to cruise around town in, and share my experience. I have always driven small cars, so my first reaction was….it is so big! I am scared to drive it! But to my delight, I loved it. I felt very safe in the super smooth ride featuring advanced technology and features, all amazing and easy to use. Fashionista perk: I found the huge trunk space to be very shopping bag friendly:) I love the rich olive green color too…so chic!  My husband is a major “car dude” and was also a huge fan.  He even said I looked pretty tough driving it…woot woot!

Toyota finished off the week long collab in the cutest way….tickets to the Davis Theater.  The hubby and my first time to a drive-in movie, and we loved it. It was our first date night out in a while, and with all the craziness happening in Chicago and the world, we both agreed the evening felt refreshingly “normal!” In true nostalgic drive-in form, I broke out my hunny’s football letterman’s jacket for the occasion, (yes I am cheese-y!) Since my man kindly takes so many photos for me, I threw him some love, and let him pick the film. JAWS! Not my cup of tea exactly, but a classic I had never seen…and enjoyed much more than I expected! We cuddled up in the 4Runners giant backseat with a cozy blanket and bundle of snacks our  friends at Toyota provided. Such a great inexpensive date night that I can’t recommend enough!

I like to think of my car as my most important and most used accessory. Thank you for this experience Toyota, the 4Runner is XOXO approved!

XOXO,

Julz Chez

Beauty

May Your Day Be As Flawless As Your Skin

It’s not easy having great skin, but someones gotta do it.

In my previous post, Beauty Rituals worth Rocking, I shared my love for dry brushing, jade rolling, and other unique home practices. Today I am serving up the basic building blocks of skincare.  Achieving your fresh faced goals may seem overwhelming with the millions of products out there. But check this out: there are just three critical steps to a healthy regimen that should be applied in this order: Cleanse, Serum, and Moisturize/SPF. If you don’t layer your products in the proper order, they will not be as effective. Let’s get the most bang for our buck babes. The rule of thumb when applying skincare is to apply the lightest formula first and the heaviest last, since thinner products can’t penetrate thicker products.

Here is a quick cheat sheet with the exact order products should be applied. Note: the steps in bold are the essential steps to a healthy routine…the others are simply extra credit!

  1. Cleanser 
  2. Toner
  3. Serum
  4. Eye Cream
  5. Spot Treatments (aka zit cream)
  6. Moisturizer
  7. Sunscreen (at night time this can be skipped, and replaced with Retinol or an overnight mask.)

Lets break it down y’all, starting with the essential 3 steps.

Cleanse

I first cleanse with Bioderma Micellar Water, which is under $15 and can be purchased at Walgreens or Target. It is quick and easy to use.  You simply soak a cotton ball with the product, cleanse your face, and gently pat dry. The cleansing agents in the product dissolve impurities and gently remove makeup and dirt without stripping the skin. No water is required…mess free!

If you prefer a gel cleanser, I also love the Romer cleanser. Romer is a sustainably sourced, clean beauty line that has just 3 products in their full regimen. If you are new to the world of skincare, this functional line just may be perfect for you! Romer products are also unisex…imagine how clean and lovely your bathroom cabinet would look with just three chic products for both you and your boo?! The Romer gentle gel-oil cleanser contains calming botanicals like Aloe Vera and Calendula. It suds up great, a little goes a long way, and my skin feels squeaky clean afterwards. If I have a full face of makeup on I double cleanse, first using the Micellar water to remove my makeup, and then with the Romer cleanser to deep clean. If you wear little or no makeup, the double cleanse process is not necessary.

Presenting the full Romer skincare line! Isn’t the clean packaging so lovely? Fun fact about Romer: the CEO and founder Lauren created the line after years of struggling with her skin. Through hard work and research, Lauren discovered that simple ingredients and a consistent routine were the key to better skin…and so she created it! She left the corporate world and teamed up with experts to develop this simple and effective line. I have tried and can promise, it really is amazing! One more fun fact: I was introduced to Lauren and Romer via the wonderful blog community in Chicago…but it turns out her fiancé and my hubs are friends! Ugh, I am so my Dad sometimes…I love a small world moment!

Serum

Serums offer high concentrations of active ingredients to target your skins specific needs. For my skin care new-bees…if there is one product I recommend trying…serum wins. Serums are the heavy lifters of your routine. Quality serums can be pretty pricey, but they don’t have to be. My favorite budget friendly serum is by The Ordinary. The Ordinary is a collection of effective skin care at awesomely low prices. Their hyaluronic acid serum leaves my skin feeling super hydrated. I love the smooth not at all sticky texture. Bonus: this amazing product is $6.80! Another serum I love is Super Bounce by Glossier. This cruelty free formula is super hydrating, packaged super cute, and is under $30. Vitamin C is a powerful ingredient that locks in skin hydration and imparts brightness and glow. Image Skincare is a clinical skincare brand powered by professionals to effectively improve your skin. Their products are a bigger beauty investment, but they are amazing. I really love their Vitamin C serum. For you babes craving a 100% natural and organic serum packed with free radical-fighting antioxidants and nutrients, Mukama Botanica Superfood Serum is 100% fabulous.

PS…please don’t hastily slop on your serum sister. Gently press into your skin and massage in an upwards motion to boost collagen and prevent wrinkles. Lightly patting on the product helps to stimulate circulation. Take your time and really work all the goodness of the serum into your skin. The extra few minutes will ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck!

Moisturize/SPF

I’m a better person when I’m moisturized.

Dramatic, yes. True…also yes. In my opinion, attempting to apply makeup to dry flakey skin is possibly more painful than hair sticking to lipgloss on a windy day. Side note: if you focus on good skin care, you really won’t need much makeup.

Even if you have oily skin, you need a moisturizer to maintain hydration. Moisturizer also helps trap in the products underneath it to make the ingredients more effective. An esthetician once told me if you don’t apply a moisturizer after applying serum, that serum won’t work its magic, no matter how great it is.

A couple of my favorite moisturizers are by two brands I mentioned earlier, Romer skincare and Glow Recipe.  The Romer moisturizer is made with hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil to hydrate and smooth tired skin.  This clean product is super nourishing yet not greasy at all. The watermelon moisturizer by Glow Recipe is a silky formula spiked with amino-acid-rich watermelon extract that drenches skin in moisture, and smells delightful! A great budget-friendly option is Trader Joe’s ultra hydrating gel moisturizer, a water-based gel formula packed with great skin-smoothing ingredients, all for $8.99! If you prefer a super light formula, you will love this product. The last step in the essential line up is sunscreen. My SPF brand of choice is La Roche-Posay. Their sunscreens are formulated with advanced technology for advanced protection. You can shop this affordable and effective line at Walgreens and Target.

And just like that, your essential 3 step skin care routine is complete! An extravagant 10 step routine is not for everyone, and is not necessary.  Commit to these 3 steps, and you can still have the glowing complexion you deserve. You can score all the products below for approximately $40!

If you are new to skincare or prefer a simple routine, your work is done! For extra beauty credit, read on for additional steps to amp up your glow.

Tone baby Tone!

Toners were created to balance the skin’s pH after harsh soaps. There are so many balanced cleansers now available, toners are not a required step. Well this skincare nerd loves a good toner! I am currently rotating and loving both Glow Recipe watermelon toner, and Saturday Skin pore clarifying toner. The first is a gentle formula, the second more powerful, which is why I like rotating between the two. I promise I do not pick my products based on packaging…but I am a sucker for cute packaging…and these toners are both the cutest! Your toner should be applied after cleansing.

The Glow Recipe watermelon glow toner is an ultra-gentle hydrating formula that minimizes the look of pores and hydrates skin. My man loves when I use this product as he claims I smell like a watermelon jolly rancher after using it!

The Saturday Skin toner helps smooth and refine skin with Glycolic Acid. This baby is more powerful, and creates a tingly sensation some folks dislike. I personally dig the tingles…it makes me think…wow this stuff is really working! I love how fresh and tight my skin feels with this product.

Eye cream

The skin around the eyes is more fragile, more prone to dryness, and is quicker to show fine lines and wrinkles. Regular use of eye cream over time can address these issues. Eye cream should be applied after serum. I rotate using Image Skincare balancing eye gel, and First Aid beauty retinol eye cream. The Image eye cream is a peptide-packed organic cream that soothes and hydrates. The First Aid cream contains a gentle Retinol to stimulate natural Collagen production to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. More on Retinol in a bit!

Mask

Hi, my name is Julz, and I am a self-confessed mask-a-holic! I love the ritual of treating my skin with extra love in the comforts of home, and there are so many amazing masks available. One of my current favorites is the overtime mask by Summer Fridays. This baby is packed with vitamins that exfoliate and hydrate. You apply the product to clean dry skin and it works its magic in 10 quick minutes. A couple times a week, or whenever my skin feels dull and in need of a boost, I apply the mask a bit before hopping in the shower. Quick, easy, and efficient!

Overnight masks are a hot commodity on the beauty scene. I love the idea of taking “beauty sleep” to the next level by treating my skin while I snooze. The watermelon sleeping mask by Glow Recipe is one of my long-time favorite products. The pillow-proof breathable mask smoothes, protects, and gently exfoliates the skin. Added bonus, it smells amazing…just like a watermelon jolly rancher according to my hubs! My skin feels baby soft the morning after using, and my makeup goes on silky smooth.

The newest addition to my line up of MVP masks is the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial by Drunk Elephant.  This next-generation mask is an at-home “facial” that exfoliates and resurfaces by getting rid of built-up dead skin cells to reveal improved skin texture and tone. This product is on the pricier side, but it is a cult favorite and award winner among skincare professionals for a reason. I use this mask just once a week for a powerful exfoliation. Babyfacial is vegan, cruelty-free, and was created with all skin in mind.

The Power of the Peel!

Daily peel pads by Dr Dennis Gross are one of my main products I cannot live without! Super quick and easy, a two-step treatment that improves texture and tone. The individual packaging is mess free and great for travel or on-the-go application. I use these pads a few times a week at least, and I see a visible improvement instantly after use. They are a bit pricy, but worth every penny in my opinion. Small packs are available in the travel size section near the register at Sephora, if you want to try it out before committing to the big boy package. These peels are available in 3 different formulas; extra strength, ultra gentle, and universal. There is a quiz available on the Dr. Dennis Gross website that can help determine what peel is best for your skin.

Another (very affordable) product that also delivers instant great results are tinkles razors. If you regularly read my blog, you know I am obsessed with using these gentle razors to shave my face.  Even if you have just the tiniest bit of peach fuzz, that fine hair can interfere with makeup, and cause your beloved  products to not penetrate as effectively into the skin.  The hair eliminated will not grow back thicker or darker-that is an ugly myth! Face shaving is super cheap ($5.99 for a pack of 3), painless, and your makeup will glide on so gorgeously after. Maybe I am a weirdo….but I actually love the process…instant gratification!

Rock the Retinol 

Retinol is an iconic skin-boosting ingredient recommended by dermatologists for its powerful complexion-perfecting abilities. Retinol increases cell turnover,  causing your body to churn out fresher less-wrinkled skin over time. If you are struggling with intense acne, visiting a dermatologist for a prescription grade Retinol may be a great option. For other concerns like fine lines, there are many great options on the market. I love First Aid Beauty’s Retinol serum and First Aid Beauty’s Retinol eye cream. These formulas are comprised of clean ingredients that deliver the benefits of Retinol with minimal irritation. Potent, yet gentle! Both products can be comfortably used on sensitive skin and beginner Retinol babes. Once a week I use Image Skincare’s Retinol overnight mask.  This anti-aging miracle mask releases hydrating microspheres of collagen to lock in moisture and delivers Retinol deep into the skin while you snooze. I love how bright and smooth my skin feels in the morning. No matter what Retinol you choose, it is important to ease it into your routine as redness and dryness can occur at first. I only use my Retinol products at night as the sunlight can increase sensitivity.

Seal the glowing skin deal: self tan!

The final extra-credit category I am sharing today is self-tanning. It is no secret that baking under the sun drenched in oil is out, and an SPF coated body under a big umbrella is IN! That said, a little color goes a long way in providing a youthful glow. I only self tan my whole body if I have an event approaching, and my neon white legs will be exposed. With all the great products on the market, successfully self tanning your whole body is certainly possible…but no matter how savvy your self tan skills are, uneven spots are always a possibility. I know all the helpful tips and tricks to achieve a flawless self tan, but always seem to end up with an icky smudge somewhere. However, I find using a self tanner to give a little natural color to my face to be foul-proof. I use super glow self-tan serum by Tan-Luxe just once or twice a week, and I love the gradual sun-kissed glow it provides. The lightweight formula contains hyaluronic complex that quenches and plumps the skin. This small bottle is $49….but a little goes a long way. Another super popular line of great self-tanning products is Isle of Paradise. Their self-tanning drops are applied with your regular moisturizer, allowing you to control the depth of color. Both of these products deliver a great glow, but if I had a favorite it would be Tan-Luxe, as I just love how great my skin feels after using it.

If you are still reading…bless your heart! I may not be a certified skincare profesh, but I have been a passionate beauty aficionados for many years. I have researched and tested countless products, and am delighted to share what I have discovered. If you have any questions about this post or would like my suggestions regarding what products I think are best for your skin type…please reach out to me! Comment here, email me at julzwrkout@yahoo.com, or catch me on IG @julzchez!

As much as I adore actually using my great products….I get a solid skincare nerd thrill of arranging them. Cute packaging always puts me over the edge!

“Invest in your skin. It’s going to represent you for a very long time.”

XOXO,

Julz Chez

 

Beauty

Beauty Rituals Worth Rocking

In the era of staying home and missing your favorite spa services, there is no better time to amp up your home beauty routine. Break out all the face masks and tools that have accumulated in your bathroom drawer, and commit to your skincare routine. When the world eventually returns, your new healthy habits will hopefully be here to stay. As a self declared skin care junkie, I am always diligent with my routine. However, there are a few practices I had been slacking on. I have used my extra free time to recommit to these practices…and it feels great!

Start dry brushing

Dry brushing is a classic Ayurvedic ritual that involves brushing your body with a bristled brush…which you can score at trusty Walmart for $7.00. No excuses! Benefits include increased circulation, removes dead skin cells, resulting in smoother skin, and reduces cellulite when done regularly. My forever favorite former Victoria Secret model, Miranda Kerr, declared dry brushing as a life changing addition to her beauty routine. I’m sold! It takes so little time, and actually feels really nice. For me the key was simply getting back in the routine of dry brushing regularly. Now is the time! I leave it out on my bathroom counter, (seeing it right there is always helpful), and brush my full body down before showering.

On that soft skin note, I discovered an amazing body scrub. A product that delivers results after just one use is hard to come by, and this baby is one of those gems. I sometimes struggle with tiny little bumps on my legs…possibly from shaving? Who knows. No biggie, but still annoying.  First Aid Beauties bump eraser body scrub is an exfoliator that sweeps away dry, rough bumps to reveal crazy smooth skin. Glycolic and Lactic Acids help loosen skin’s top layer and decongest pores. I could not believe how smooth my skin felt after ONE use. Those stubborn little bumps…GONE. Amazing! This clean formulation is allergy tested, safe for sensitive skin, and fragrance free. First Aid Beauty is a great line of clean products packed with amazing ingredients.

Commit to Jade Rolling

You probably have one…and it’s possibly collecting dust in your bathroom cabinet. Jade rolling, much like dry brushing, is inexpensive, takes very little time to do, and feels great! I love the practice, (check out my past post Weird Beauty Hacks that Work for more deets), yet I had been guilty of neglecting it. Until the Quarantine!  The benefits of using a jade roller to give yourself a facial massage include improving circulation and lymphatic drainage, leaving your skin glowing and less puffy. My favorite way to use my roller is to first apply a sheet mask, then massage the mask in with the roller. I keep mine in the fridge or freezer…major de-puffing magic! What a relaxing ritual to enjoy while you catch up with your favorite housewives.

Shave your face 

This is one of my MVP skincare steps that again costs almost nothing, and hooks up instant results. Unlike the previous two rituals, this is one that once I started, I never ever stopped.  If you are reading this thinking….girlfriend I don’t have hair on my face….sorry sis, you do. I have light fine hair but even still, removing that peach fuzz makes a major difference. Shaving your face provides deep exfoliation, allowing your precious products to penetrate deeper, and work more effectively. Also your makeup will go on silky smooth. If you have ever treated yourself to a dermaplaning treatment at a Medspa, this is essentially the DIY version. Make sure you have great light, and use a gentle razor like Tinkles to get the job done. Afterwards be sure to apply a gentle moisturizer.

Grow out your Eyebrows. Then tint them yourself!

Don’t touch the tweezers, the first step to growing out your eyebrows is to let them do their thing. If you have thin brows and are looking for some serious growth, use a quality serum like Grande Brow or NeuBrow. A great serum is a beauty investment, but takes just a few seconds to apply before bed, and in time, WILL work! I have been using and loving a lash and brow oil from local Chicago gem, Scratch goods. Castor Oil is another great option to nourish your brows with that is also affordable, and that you just may already have tucked in a drawer somewhere!. Same rules apply for lashes…give them some love with a quick serum swipe before bed. I love GrandeLash!

I adore my regular visits to Benefit for a brow tint. Such an efficient service! Makes a major difference. Obviously a trip to the darling Benefit brow counter is not an option right now, so I decided to get crazy and try it myself. I figured, if it’s a bust, only my husband and cat have to look at me. I ordered this Tint Kit on Amazon, likely one night after too much boxed wine. The expectations were low. But hot damn, smash success! So easy to use, and $20…less than the price of ONE tint at Benefit or any spa… scores you TWENTY applications! No brainer price wise, and there is something so satisfying about making the magic happen yourself.

Give your nails some TLC, clean your makeup brushes, floss your teeth, and nourish your lips.

Like most basic babes, I love a good no chip mani. However, taking a break from polish has made my nails so healthy and happy. I recommend massaging a cuticle oil ontoyour nails and toes every night. I am loyal to the nail oil from local Chicago gem, Mojo spa.

Clean your makeup brushes. Another basic beauty step that is super easy to be lazy and skip. My girlfriend Marii created an amazing brush cleaner, Swirl&Sparkle, that I can’t recommend enough.

Floss your sparkly smile. Cocofloss is a bougee brand of floss that I scored in a beauty event gift bag, and I have been hooked ever since. It is so amazing, it makes me actually look forward to flossing! Afterwards treat your lips to Laneige lip sleeping mask. You will wake up with silky smooth lips! I love this product so very much I don’t limit it to just a sleeping mask…I use it as a luxury lip gloss at any given time of the day.

Don’t use skanky towels on your precious face.

This self care situation seems basic, but is easy to slack on. We spend all this time cleansing our lovely faces…but are we grabbing a towel off the floor, that your boo potentially just dried his booty off with? Ew. I snagged an inexpensive bundle of great little hand towels, and rolled them up into a cute little basket to keep by the bathroom sink, so I never slack. Highly recommend!

Give your luscious locks a break from heat, and bring on the deep conditioning love.

There is no better time to give your  locks a break from damaging heat tools. Take a break from your blow dryer and curling irons, and step away from the dry shampoo. Genius product, but it is also very drying. I have not touched the stuff since the Quarantine started, and my hair is thanking me! For shampoo and conditioner, I have been using and loving Fekkai products. Once a week I use Briogeo Scalp Revival exfoliating shampoo. This baby is a best of beauty Allure winner for a reason. Vegan and cruelty-free, this unique shampoo draws impurities from hair follicles to hook up optimal scalp health. The magical formula is a blend of peppermint and spearmint oils that reduces scalp irritation and inflammation…and it feels tingly and refreshing! Seal the healthy hair deal by tossing a scalp massager in your shower, and use it to massage your conditioner in.

Extra hair love credit:

No matter how diligent you are about being careful detangling your locks post shower, it is always a dicey situation. I am crazy about the IGK hairline. I have been spraying their Thirsty Girl leave-in conditioner after shower or just whenever I want to give my hair a little extra love. So good. Another cult favorite of the beauty girls that I have jumped on board with is Oraplex hair perfector No.3.  You apply it to your hair and let the goodness soak in for 1o minutes or so before showering and wows….another product that delivers rad results after one use. It  restores your hair’s healthy appearance and texture by reducing breakage and protecting hair structure. Even my hubs noticed my hair felt so silky smooth! You gotta pay to play at $56 a bottle, but you only need to use it once a week, and it is sooo worth is! The last hair gem I recently discovered is ColorWow dreamcoat.  You apply it before drying your hair, (ok so yes you are allowed to dry your hair from time to time), and it works as a protector, and tightens hair strands, leaving your locks silky smooth. The wonderful effects last through 3 to 4 shampoos. In the current quarantine situation, I have been using it about once a week and my hair feels better than ever.

Stay home, stay safe, and stay fabulous!

XOXO,

Julz Chez