Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Advanced Kit Review // Luxury Skincare on a Budget

*This is a sponsored post through Pretty in my Pocket for Paula’s Choice. All opinions are my own.

For the past few months I’ve been seeing a lot of my favorite bloggers wax poetic about Paula’s Choice Skincare. It didn’t matter what it was or what line they were using, every blogger loved the products. Every. Single. One. I make it a point to only read blogs that are honest and still I’m like… no freaking way is every product amazing.

When the opportunity came up for me to try out the skincare for myself I dove through the computer (obviously not literally) and signed up for my personal skincare consultation (which you can get too by calling 1-800-831-4088 – it’s FREE and you don’t have to commit to buying anything). I told my girl about all of my woes, both past and currently recurring – particularly whining about the major oil inhabiting my t-zone. Then going on about acne… basically talking this woman’s ear off. She recommended the Skin Balancing Advanced Kit along with a few other products she thought I could benefit from.

The Skin Balancing Advanced Kit comes with seven products and even has stickers to mark the steps (which my absentminded head loves) so you don’t get confused about which step comes next.

1. Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser ($25.00). This felt so good to apply and cleansed my skin very well. After rinsing and patting my skin dry I was happy that there was no tight feeling and my skin had a matte appearance (rather than shiny like it usually is after washing… and every other moment of my life). When I was done and did the second step (toner) no leftover makeup came off on the pad, which was impressive because on heavy makeup days I always have leftover makeup on the toner pad.

2. Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner ($20.00). I applied this with a round cotton pad, swiping it all over my skin. The feel was cool and gives a slight tingle. It absorbed in quickly and felt refreshing.

3. Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($28.00). This isn’t the first type of product that will pop into your mind when you hear “exfoliator”. Exfoliator to me brings up words like “rough” and “abrasive” regardless of how little/much of the little sand feeling particles are in there. This one by Paula’s Choice comes out like a water and is meant to be applied right after cleansing and toning. It’s also not to be rinsed off, which really threw me for a loop. I found it to be easy to apply, though a bit runny, and it felt good on my skin during and after. More often than not I find exfoliating products to be too harsh for me, but I’m happy to report that Exfoliator is wonderful and I am able to use it 2-3 times a week (which I can’t do with 99% of exfoliators).

PERK ALERT:click here to pick up a trial size of the best selling 2% BHA Liquid for only $9.00!

4. Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol ($32.00). This can be used twice a day but because of the retinol I only applied it in the evening (if you want to apply twice a day you can, just be sure to use a day moisturizer with SPF!). The serum has a loose gel consistency and while it feels a little greasy when you first apply it absorbs quickly and didn’t leave any type of residue. Shake well before use!

5. Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Moisturizer + SPF ($28.00). This moisturizer is on the runny side, but I was happy there was no fragrance to speak of and I didn’t need much product to cover my face. It feels light on and my skin felt moisturized all day. I love that it has SPF 30 because my face tends to get red rather quickly if I don’t use an SPF in my lotion along with any SPF that’s in my makeup.

5. Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel ($28.00). Do not let “gel” throw you. It definitely worried me before use because using a gel as an evening moisturizer is completely new to me. A little goes a long way with this guy and it applied evenly. I found the absorption a lot quicker than a lotion which is perfect for evening because I usually hop right into bed when I’m done with my skincare routine. My skin felt soft and looked fresh after using it. I’m sure my bed would thank me if it could for looking all pretty when I sleep.

6. Skin Balancing Oil-Absorbing Mask ($19.00). Once or twice a week, after you’re all cleansed, apply this mask generously to your face and neck and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. After you rinse get on with the rest of your routine. This mask has a sheer-ish white look to it and you really have to use it to believe it. My skin looks amazing after I use this. It kicks blackheads and pores out of my life, and I’m okay with that.

For the listed daily routine the steps are the same (shown above) but you’re switching out moisturizers for day and night, since the SPF is needed for day time. This entire kit of seven products retails for only $149.00 (retail is $172.00). In most cases you’d pay that for ONE product. I know I have =\

PERK ALERT: SAVE 20% off your first Paula’s Choice order + Free Shipping by clicking here. Promo Code: PRIMP20. Expires July 31, 2015.

I also tried out the Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment ($55.00). This is good for all skin types and was recommended to me because I’m looking for stave off fine lines and wrinkles, reduce the size of my pores and lighten up two spots of melasma that I have at the top of my cheeks. I expected the treatment to look more like a serum but when it pumps out it’s yellow colored and reminds me more of a lotion. This made my skin feel incredibly smooth and I was pleased to find it absorbed quickly and didn’t feel sticky. This is only to be used 3x a week at first and then you can increase to every other night.

In using this system and products I’ve noticed a difference in the overall appearance of my face. Even after the first day of use my skin was a lot less oily but still wasn’t dry looking or feeling by any means. I’ve actually been wearing less makeup out of the house because I don’t feel the need to cover up as much as I used to. I’ve only been using this set for a few weeks so I’m excited to see what happens long-term!

There is something for everyone on the Paula’s Choice website. Their product line includes something for everyone from acne, rosacea, aging, pores.. you name it – they can recommend a product for it. On their website, you can choose from a menu of skin care concerns you’d like to treat. Paula’s Choice offers a 100% Money Back Guarantee (within 60 days) and they do not test on animals. Their products contain no irritating dyes or fragrances. My skin is sensitive to new products, so that is something I can appreciate.

Paula’s Choice isn’t just all skincare – the brand carries a lot of fabulosity in the makeup department as well! One product I’ve been loving is The Nude Mattes Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00) which is a neutral set of 12 eyeshadows in shades of creams, browns, grey and even black. A lot of options and a ton of looks to be had!

I thought that the performance of this palette was incredible across the board. The shades are all pigmented, buttery smooth and easy to blend.

The swatches below are done dry on bare skin, no primers:

Pick up Paula’s Choice products on the website and don’t forget to click here to save 20% off of your first order!

For more reviews and looks on Paula’s Choice and other brands be sure to download and PRIMP app on your iPhone or Android!

*This is a sponsored post through Pretty in my Pocket for Paula’s Choice. All opinions are my own.

PRIMP & JULEP Offer PERKS! Your 1st monthly box of pretty FREE!

Sponsored Post

As an Expert Blogger on Pretty in my Pocket, I wanted to let you all know about their first online Perk partner, Julep! Pretty in my Pocket (PRIMP), named “Best Beauty App” by InStyle Magazine is a mobile beauty shopping tool that lets you access beauty product reviews, ratings, & looks all from a scan of a barcode. Follow me on PRIMP for all of my reviews & looks right on your mobile phone. Available free on Android & iPhone.

Fine print: Pay shipping & handling only. First box signs you up for our monthly subscription. You can cancel any time. Promotional prices are applicable to first time Mavens and limited to one Maven box per household.

Julep has partnered with Pretty in my Pocket to offer an online Perk to the PRIMP community. You can receive your first monthly Julep Maven box FREE with your PRIMP Perk code. Julep Maven boxes always include over $40 worth of polish & product for only $19.99/month. You decide whether your box includes all polish, beauty products, or BOTH! Only available to NEW Julep Mavens – if you already are a Maven, share this offer with your friends! They will thank you!

How to get your code:

  1. Download the Pretty in my Pocket app or login to your account.
  2. From your iPhone app, tap “Perks” on the bottom navigation then “Online Perks.”
    From your Android app, tap “Online Perks” on the side navigation.
  3. Your one-time use Perk code is then displayed.
  4. Copy the code, email it to yourself, or write it down. Take the Julep Maven quiz & enter your code at check-out for your first monthly box free!

Let me know if you redeemed your PRIMP Perk!
Don’t forget to follow me on the PRIMP app & take my beauty knowledge with you next time you are in the beauty aisle!

***This post was Sponsored by Pretty in my Pocket.

POP Beauty Plump Pout Swatches & Review

Press Sample/Affiliate Links

Today I have all four shades of the POP Beauty Plump Pout line to share with you – Bare Nectar, Honey Rose, Peony Petal and Fuchsia Freesia.

What Ulta says about POP Beauty Plump Pout:

This plumping pout perfector combines the high-shine of a lacquered gloss with the long wear of a stain and is packed full of lip-plumping peptides and avocado & jojoba oils. Lightweight, creamy texture immediately merges with lips & delivers intense glossy colour for an extremely long-lasting finish.

Plump Pout is a Liquid Lipstick Stain. (shown L-R above) Bare Nectar is a browned beige, Honey Rose is a mauve, Peony Petal is a rose pink and Fucshia Freesia is a bright bold pink.

The formula isn’t thick or goopy, yet is still nicely opaque when you apply with a fabulous shine. There is a slight tingling sensation for a few minutes but it’s not horribly uncomfortable. It stays on for several hours, leaving very light staining behind.

Fragrance-wise there is a slight scent, but it’s lovely and isn’t so strong that it should bother you unless you’re very sensitive to smells.

As far as packaging goes the oval, flat container is a little off-putting. The first time you grab ahold of the cap to apply you’ll feel awkward, but the doe-foot applicator applies the product evenly and with ease. This is actually excellent and convenient packaging for keeping in your pocket.

What do you think of POP Beauty Plump Pout?

POP Beauty Plump Pout retails for $16.00 and is available at Ulta.

I’ve also reviewed this product on Pretty in my Pocket where I’m a Power Primper! Download the app and see what others think!

PRIMP’s Ultimate Beauty Holiday Gift Guide! #UltimateGift

Affiliate Links

Hello, lovelies! Pretty in my Pocket (aka PRIMP) has released the Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Beauty! If you’re looking for any stocking stuffers or last minute goodies for those lucky people on your list, definitely check it out. My swatches of the OPI Mariah Carey Holiday Nail Collection and review of the Sultra The Bombshell 1.5-Inch Rod Curling Iron are also featured!

take a peek at PRIMP’s ten best holiday gifts for bath, body, fragrance, haircare, hair tools, cosmetics, skincare, & nails

Kiehl’s Creme De Corps Collection, $65

Kiehl’s cherished Creme de Corps products, rich in all-day hydration, are ideal for luxuriously pampering dry skin. Includes Creme de Corps 8.4oz, Creme de Corps Body Polish 6.8oz, Ultimate Strength Hand Salve 2.5oz, and Lip Balm #1. Deluxe Samples: Ultra Facial Cream, Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate.

Power Primper Shannon O’Brien of swears by this cream saying that “This is the best body lotion I have ever come across. It’s not sticky and will calm even the driest skin. Its yellow color comes from the abundance of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is known for its ability to increase skin cell turn-over and regeneration.”

Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme Gift Set, $94

Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme will envelop the senses and linger long after she is gone. Seductive and soothing neroli intertwines with nuances of raspberry over the playful hint of tart green mandarin. This gives way to a heart of voluptuous luxury, a softly undulating bouquet of velvety jasmine and citrusy sweet orange blossom. The addictive and sugary guimauve introduces the full-bodied sensuality of the vanilla base notes, and the captivating fragrance is further lit by the roundness of heliotrope and smooth, creamy sandalwood. The set includes 3.3 oz Pour Femme Eau De Parfum Spray, 0.15 oz Pour Femme Eau De Parfum, and The Lipstick in Ruby 180.

Bliss Happy “Aloe” Days Set, $33

Joy to your skin! Our fresh-scented grapefruit+aloe duo will leave you squeaky clean, softened and ready to (jingle bell) rock. Set includes grapefruit+aloe soapy suds 6.7 oz, grapefruit+aloe body butter 16oz, and pink shower pouf.

LORAC PRO to Go Eye/Cheek Palette, $38

Go PRO with LORAC! Created by celebrity makeup artist Carol Shaw, this PRO artistry palette is packed with 3 Shimmer & 3 Matte Eye Shadows, 2 Blushes, a Bronzer and 2 Brushes, everything you need to look glamorous on the go. LORAC’S velvety-smooth, shadows and blushes are ultra-pigmented and packed with long-lasting PRO power so you can easily shade, shadow, line and define your eyes and color and contour your cheeks, just like a PRO! Get more LORAC product info here!

Makeup Maven Taylor is a huge fan of this palette! “Amazing palette, easily one of my favorites! The Pro shadow formula is perfection. I love the shades. The bronzer is a beauty, perfect for sculpting and natural looking. The blushes are universally flattering. A must even if you already own the original Pro!”

Check out Taylor’s swatches & look using LORAC’s PRO to Go Palette.

OPI Mariah Carey Holiday Nail Collection, $9.00 each

A surprisingly gorgeous and festive collection from Mariah Carey and OPI! And let’s be real – Mariah Carey’s Christmas songs are the best. Shades are available individually for $9 or in a mini set with Visions of Love, Warm me Up, Wonderous Star, and All Sparkly and Gold.

Power Primper Brooke of BlushingNoir swatches the shades for ya! Check them ALL out here.

LORAC Lip Lustre Lip Gloss, $15

Amp up your look with LORAC Lip Lustre Gloss! Inspired by our top-selling 3D Liquid Lustre Eye Shimmer, these glimmering, glam glosses are paraben-free, super hydrating and infused with antioxidants of Acai Berry, Pomegranate, Grape Seed and Vitamins A, C & E. Wear Lip Lustre alone or with your favorite LORAC lipstick for added sparkle and shine.

Power Primper Jade of Kissable Complexions used LORAC’s Peach Lustre on her “Girls Night Out” look. See below!

LORAC PRO Mascara, $23

Go PRO with LORAC’S PRO Mascara! This lengthening and thickening professional formula is smudge-resistant, flake-proof and packed with PRO power. Get extra-long, ultra-thick and extremely dramatic lashes with each lash-extending buildable coat. The super-size, jumbo PRO brush easily grabs each lash from root to tip and corner to corner for a luxurious faux-lash look.

PRIMP User Mariana L. gives it 5 stars saying that it’s a “Great mascara!! Product adds ton of volume for a lot of drama. Doesn’t irritate my eyes and stays on until I use a remover to take it off!”

Not convinced? Check out Allura Beauty’s review complete with photos here.

Sultra Beauty Bombshell 1.5inch Iron, $130

Get big, sultry and voluminous 1.5″ curls and waves with The Bombshell 1.5-Inch Rod Curling Iron! Plus – Rapid Heat-Up, Auto Shut-Off, Universal Voltage and a 2-year warranty. A favorite of beauty blogger & Power Primper Brooke of Brooke says “I have had such a great experience with this curling iron! It has been essential for giving my hair that bombshell lift that I’ve been envying on others for so long!”

Watch Power Primper Ashley Elizabeth demonstrate how to use the iron & show off all her pretty curly & wavy looks!

Alterna Katie’s Favorites Travel Set, $29.95

I mean, who doesn’t want hair like Katie Holmes?! A special edition transformation kit hand picked by Katie Holmes. Includes Caviar Anti-Aging Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner, Bamboo Smooth Kendi Dry Oil Mist, and Bamboo Style Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo.

Clarisonic MiaFirst, $99 LIMITED TIME ONLY!

The perfect introduction to sonic cleansing, MiaFirst is simple – one button + 60 seconds for clean, beautiful skin. Clarisonic MiaFirst features Speed 2 (Universal), suitable for all skin types. Cleansing six times better than hands alone, the Universal speed is developed for normal daily use.

Power Primper Ava of SpaTravelGal is a Clarisonic lover saying that she “regrets each day that I do not use my Clarisonic! It has truly changed my skin for the better! I now have smaller pores and a much clearer chin. I am in love with mine!”


For beauty reviews, holiday shopping tips & more, download the Pretty in my Pocket app & follow all of PRIMP’s expert bloggers! Join the conversation about our guide with @prettyinmypoc #UltimateGift!

WIN Your Beauty Wishlist at Pretty in My Pocket

The Pretty in my Pocket team hereby encourages each and every one of you to treat yo’self. How?

Enter to win up to $250 of the products on your PRIMP Wishlist below!


1. Login or register on the Pretty in my Pocket app. Available on iPhone & Android!
2. Search for products by tapping the “P” or browse all-time favorites by tapping “Popular” on the bottom navigation.
3. Add up to $250 worth of products to your Wishlist.*
Hint: Tap “ADD TO PRIMP BAG” then click “Add to Wishlist.”
5. FINAL STEP: Enter the email address you used to register on PRIMP in the Rafflecopter entry form below!
6. EXTRA: Earn additional entries everyday until November 30, 2013.

*Product selection subject to availability. No cash value. 

Not sure where to find your PRIMP Wishlist or how to add products to it?

Click here for a handy dandy explanation!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sultra The Bombshell™ 1.5–Inch Rod Curling Iron Photos & Review

Press Sample/Affiliate Links

Sultra has a new rod on the block! The Bombshell™ 1.5–Inch Rod Curling Iron promises not only gorgeous, wavy perfection but also boasts an extra long cord (hallelujah!). If you’ve ever wanted hair like a Kardashian, read on!

What Sephora says about the Sultra The Bombshell™ 1.5–Inch Rod Curling Iron:

What it is:
A large, round, ceramic-coated barrel with dual ceramic heaters.

What it does:
The Bombshell creates loose, flowing romantic curls and dreamy waves in half the time of a traditional clip curling iron without the “clip” lines. It locks in your look with an evenly heated ceramic rod barrel, expertly styling tresses. Revolutionary ThermaTru Technology mends the hair during the styling process with Infrared Rays and is perfect for color-treated, dry, or damaged hair.

What else you need to know:
The Bombshell includes a complimentary iron pad and styling glove. It also features universal voltage and the Sultra standard features: rapid heat-up; auto shut-off; durable, heat-resistant lightweight body; 9-ft, no-tangle swivel cord; and a two-year warranty.

Maybe you’ve seen the pic above? (If not then you aren’t paying enough attention to my new blog header 😉 haha). I used The Bombshell 1.5 inch Rod Curling Iron to achieve those loose, wavy strands that we all yearn for when we see the celebs looking perfectly coiffed while they’re out and about in their daily lives.

What I found with this iron is that it’s super easy to create the body and volume I am dying for while not damaging my hair and adding shine. The waves lasted through the day and I even had a little bit left when I woke up in the morning. It’s totally perfect for when you just want to hook up the front of your hair a bit and not look like you just rolled out of bed. Quick, easy and (thanks to the pink glove) painless!

You do have to pay attention to the instructions and be sure to hold the curl in the palm of your hand after releasing. This only takes a few extra seconds while it cools, but it will make all the difference in the look!

The video below provides an excellent look at how to use the Sultra The Bombshell™ 1.5–Inch Rod Curling Iron:

Sultra The Bombshell™ 1.5–Inch Rod Curling Iron

retails for $130.00 and is available at






I’ve also reviewed this product on Pretty in my Pocket where I’m a Power Primper! Download the app and see what others think!

PRIMP with L’Oreal Paris and PERKS Happen!

Press Sample

Remember that teaser post last month where I revealed that Pretty in My Pocket (aka PRIMP) had partnered with L’Oreal Paris to bring about some awesome perks? Well, the time is NOW.

Pretty in my Pocket ( is thrilled to announce that Perks (discounts!) are now redeemable for NYC Primpers. L’Oréal Paris Perks are live on Pretty in my Pocket from July 19th, 2013 – October 19th, 2013 at participating New York City Walgreens & Duane Reade locations. See list of locations here.

L’Oréal Paris is offering 5 Looks associated with 5 Perks. Now you can re-create that red-hot Look at a discount! Scroll through PRIMP’s Looks feed to discover blogger, user, & brand created Looks – tagged with the EXACT products used. Everything you could possibly need to make an educated beauty decision is now at your fingertips!

I am a Power Primper with Pretty in my Pocket which means that PRIMP features me as an expert beauty blogger! It’s easy to find me & follow me on the app for all of my pretty little thoughts about beauty products. I tested out some of the makeup products that L’Oréal Paris has in their Looks & Perks. You can see all of my reviews of the products on the app as well as the pics below.

(a screen shot of some of my looks that are available to see on the app!)

Make sure you are following me on PRIMP for on-the-go Reviews, Looks, & more! You can even check out my virtual beauty Bag for my must-have products.

I’ve swatched some of the fabulous products that PRIMP and L’OrealParis (products that are all available at a discount when using a PRIMP Perk) sent over for me to play with. These pics can also be seen under my looks in the PRIMP app!

(L-R: L’Oreal Raspberry Splash Lipgloss, Violet Colour Riche Eyeliner, Neon Skirt Eyeshadow)

(FOTD featuring L’Oreal Neon Skirt Eyeshadow, Raspberry Splash Lipgloss, Violet Colour Riche Eyeliner and Voluminous False Fiber Lashes)

(EOTD using L’Oreal Neon Skirt Eyeshadow, Violet Colour Riche Eyeliner and Voluminous False Fiber Lashes)

(L’Oreal Nail Color in L’Orange)

(L’Oreal Nail Color in Now You Sea Me)

Have you downloaded PRIMP? Let me know if you have any questions or need any assistance with the download or the app itself, I’ll help in any way I can!

Take a peek at the Perks offered by downloading Pretty in my Pocket in the App Store (Android coming soon!), registering & creating a Profile, and then tapping “Perks” on the bottom navigation. PRIMP will display the closest Perks to you at your local Walgreens or Duane Reade stores!

Get Connected with the PRIMP community!
You can also follow L’Oréal Paris, expert bloggers (like me!), and friends by tapping “People” then the little magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner.

Don’t worry if you aren’t in NYC, Perks will be available in other cities soon!
Download PRIMP NOW!

For more info and updates from PRIMP, follow them on FacebookTwitterPinterest.

Pretty in my Pocket Partners with L’Oreal Paris to Bring Even MORE PERKS! (Because You’re Worth It)

By now you know that I’ve been on board with Pretty in my Pocket (as seen in the Allure Daily Beauty Reporter) as a Power Primper for over a year (view all primpish posts here). Over the last few months things have really started to take off and now PRIMP has partnered with L’Oreal Paris to bring exclusive mobile coupons (aka Perks) to you via the Pretty in my Pocket app. Perks are location based and can be scanned right at the cash register!

I am excited to announce the upcoming in-store launch of mobile beauty Perks starting Thursday, July 12 at select NYC locations. You can go to select stores in Manhattan (they are starting one city at a time) to redeem exclusive L’Oreal Paris Perks.

To celebrate, L’Oreal Paris sent me products and I will soon be revealing the Looks I created with the products they sent. Stay tuned to see the full goods (come back here on launch day!), but for now… a teaser…

The best thing about PRIMP is that you will be able to not only get Perks (coupons on products), but you can see Looks that correspond to the Perks so that you can re-create the look yourself – for less!

It’s true that not everyone lives in the NYC area. But, I wanted you to know what you have to look forward to. PRIMP will be rolling out these perks to more cities and with more brands by the Fall!

The first step to accessing these perks is to download the app! Once you do be sure to follow me (duh) along with the other Power Primpers & Makeup Mavens.

Check out PRIMPS official post over on their blog and double check that you marked your calenders for July 12th! I can’t wait to share more of this exciting collaboration with you!

Blushing Noir is this weeks Pretty in my Pocket Featured Profile!

Out of the beautiful and intelligent team of experts I’m this week’s Pretty in my Pocket (aka PRIMP) featured profile!

Download the app (FREE!) and never shop alone again! Of course, also follow me then after that, head over to my looks and love em 😉

Check out this post to learn more about PRIMP!

Pretty In My Pocket Releases Version 2.0 – PRIMP ON!

Have you been PRIMPing?! I sure hope so. And by PRIMP I mean Pretty In My Pocket. If you’ve been active with PRIMP then you know that it’s a handy app for quickly looking up beauty product reviews from your favorite Power Primpers(*cough* ME *cough*) and Makeup Mavens.

Here’s the “skinny”:

Follow your Power Primpers and Makeup Mavens to check out the products we recommend as well as some of our favorite looks. You can type in a product name to search or simply SCAN THE BARCODE. Yeah, it’s THAT easy.

For the complete deal on the 2.0 version, check out the PRIMP blog!

Go to the APP Store and download it now (FREE) to save yourself time and money! Leave me a comment and let me know that you downloaded it, and be sure to follow me 😉