Urban Sanctuary Spa: Treat Yo’Self Weekend

If you’ve been finding yourself stressed out lately, make a pact to “treat yo’self” this upcoming weekend and make an Urban Sanctuary 1appointment today for a little me time!

Through job hunting and interviews, I found myself needing a weekend to relax and rejuvenate.  I found some old SpaFinder coupons from awhile back and decided to brush off the cobwebs and put them to use.  I decided to book an appointment at Urban Sanctuary for a Pumpkin Enzyme Facial and a manicure.  Right when I pulled up, I was immediately relaxed.  Outside, you’re instantly greeted by a lush deck and homey seating.  As you make your way inside, the Zen-like aura is magnified by beautifully scented aromas, rugs that padded the hardwood, two of the sweetest receptionists I’ve encountered, and all set to the soundtrack of soothing bird chirps and chimes blowing in the summer wind.

My Pumpkin Enzyme Facial proved to be not only relaxing, but very refreshing.  The contrast between my warm face from the summer heat  to the cool facial products Misty Rose Hardin, esthetician, was massaging over my face was just what I needed to kick off a relaxing weekend.  The lemon scented exfoliator she used for my face was too great to pass up.  Suki Face Exfoliate Foaming CleanserUS7 cleaned off any dry, flaky skin as well as acting as an antibacterial from the lemon properties.  You can add as little or as much water as you’d like depending on if you like your exfoliators very beady or very smooth.

Since my curiosity got the best of me, I received an extraction after the facial.  I wanted to really clean out my pores.  After the immediate shock of having steam blown across my face, I realized how calming it was.  It felt more like a warm cloud grazing over your face like an early morning fog that floats along the road.   After a couple of minutes, Misty used a warm cloth to gently press on areas that she saw clogged pores.  Although you can’t literally feel anything in the moment, you can certainly feel the difference after everything is complete.  My face felt more refreshed, refined, and cleansed.  The only side effects I encountered were noticing more clogged pores coming to the surface the two or three days following the facial.  I’m assuming it was probably the extraction portion that causes this- and for good reason since it’s meant to clean out pores.

For my manicure, I chose a neutral pink hued nail polish.  It was perfect for interviews yet still fun for summer! Kela Griffith, nail technician, was absolutely amazing.  She was very gentle with everything she did and kept everything very clean.  Most of our time consisted of laughs, but when I finally did look at my nails they were the best I’ve seen them in years!

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Pantene Keratin Repair Conditioner + Moroccan Argan Oil

Much like Cousin It, my hair has always been bigger than my body…and the humidity contributes in a big way. Literally.  I eventually found that I loved the volume, but didn’t necessarily love the frizz.  I wanted something that would make the volume stand out and the frizz disappear.  After experiencing a multitude of products, I have finally found my Bonnie and Clyde of hair serums.  The Pantene Keratin Repair Conditioner is the brawn and the Moroccan Argan Oil is the beauty.

When I saw that Pantene came out with this intensive repair conditioner, I immediately had to try it. It seems like an exaggeration to say that a conditioner can actually make your hair feel like silk, but it’s definitely true in this case.  Mystified that a product like this even exists, I put it through the ultimate test: knots.  The result was unbelievable.  I hadPantene zero knots to comb through (which is extremely atypical for my hair, especially right after a shower).  There was no tugging and no hairs being broken.  Absolutely glorious!

After achieving moisturized and tangle-free hair, I reached for the Moroccan Argan Oil.  I am happy to say that this product certainly lives up to the hype. It gives your hair a soft, silky texture and provides a wonderful layer of shine! It’s perfect for straight or wavy hair. It did well against my ultra humidity test last night at Terrapin. I let my hair air dry and applied the oil when when it was mostly dry.  The waves ended up being frizz-free and kept a nice texture throughout the night.  Perfect for summer outings!

Mario Badescu Skin Care Army

After just watching yet another mini marathon of Parks and Recreation (my boyfriend and I are recent addicts), I realized that it was the perfect weekend for “treat yo self!” The idea is to treat yourself to anything that makes you feel good.  I’ve always liked to set aside a day or weekend to pamper myself so that I feel refreshed for the week.  It works wonders! This weekend I wanted to focus on facial products to make my skin feel better.  When I was ordering the ‘Mario Badescu Drying Cream,’ I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was able to receive three free samples! With extreme humidity in Athens, Georgia right now and a stress-induced hormone spike due to job searching, I narrowed in on the problems I’ve been having: oily skin and random breakouts.  I chose an acne facial cleanser, azulene calming mask and a control moisturizer for oily skin.

The first thing I tried was the acne facial cleanser followed by the control moisturizer.  After my face was free from any Mario Badescumake-up and facial products, I wiped the cleanser all over my face with a cotton swab.  You could either spot treat or use it as an all-over face cleanser. I chose to do my whole face as a preventative measure.  It was very light and didn’t dry my face out like some acne facial cleansers I’ve used before.  The moisturizer was one of my favorite finds out of the four only for the sole reason that I have been searching for the perfect face moisturizer (for mixed skin) for such a long time.  This is the first one that moisturized my skin without adding more oil to it and still fixed any dry patches.  Absolutely recommend it! I’ve tried Cetaphil in the past and CeraVe more recently, and neither compare to the smooth texture of this one.

The drying cream is meant to be a spot treatment for either under-the-skin blemishes to prevent them from becoming larger or soothing the skin of ruptured blemishes.  I found this cream to be extremely helpful! Instead of drying out your skin, it creates a velvety texture that’s a breath of fresh air compared to other spot treatments I’ve used before. Since it spreads so well and blends in with your skin, you only need a tiny amount on your finger tip.

I haven’t tested out the calming mask yet, but I’ll post about it as soon as I do!

Bare Minerals’ Stroke of Brilliance

As your snooze button count increases and your coffee gulps outweigh your food intake, keep your mind at ease knowing that there’s other ways to perk up your morning.  Through my college career I’ve had my fair share of early mornings.  Whether it was for class, work, or an internship, I inevitably encountered mornings that were harder than most to part ways with my warm cocoon of a bed.  It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Bare Minerals’ Stroke of Light Eye Brightener that my mornings received a much needed pick-me-up.

What I love about it is that it literally brightens your day.  It’s amazing how just adding a little touch of brightener can Bare Minerals Stroke of Lightactually make you feel like you’re more awake and ready to take on the day! I use it under my eyes (extending it into the corners) and sometimes on my cheekbones.  It’s wonderfully light and smooth so it’s super easy to blend into your skin.  Since it is so lightweight it’s perfect for summer and it evens out your skin tone so it keeps everything looking natural yet radiant.

For the application, I always do a series of small dots tracing the area I want to be brightened.  It’s not viscous at all so it moves very easily across the skin.  You only need about two or three dots under each eye and three or four for your cheekbones.

**Before and After pic coming soon

A Fresh Canvas: Rezamid & Total Matteness

One of the biggest problems during summer can be clogged pores.  Sweat, dirt, make-up (another blog coming soon about a barely there make-up routine), and unclean towels are only a few of the perpetrators.  This summer especially seems to be causing more problems since the humidity has been at an all time high.  I have slightly oily skin so I look for products that help me maintain a matte look while helping to prevent breakouts at the same time.

One of the best remedies I’ve come across is a dual treatment of Rezamid and Total Matteness.  I use theRezamid Rezamid as a nighttime facial mask (leave on all night) every night.  It treats and prevents breakouts from occurring.  It’s been the most successful products I’ve used.  It works wonders on a daily basis, but it’s my secret line of defense during those special times of the month when hormones trump sanity.  A word of caution, it can leave your skin a little dry at first, but with light exfoliation it’s not a problem at all.

When I want to cleanse my face and just feel refreshed overall, I use the Total Matteness.  It absorbs any excess oil, minimizes shine, and cleans out your pores.  I love how clean my face feels after using it, and the best part is that you can leave it on for five minutes as a face mask or just use it as a face wash.

Total Matteness

Summer’s Finest Vanishing Act

Perspiration and excess oils emerging from our skin are extremely common during these hot months.  But these thin strips are here to rescue you!  They’re my absolute favorite product.  A quick dab to the face with one of these and the oils on your face completely vanish.  It’ll keep you feeling fresh throughout the day!  They fit in your purse, back pack, clutch, pocket, and just about anywhere else you can think of.  They’ve saved my life on several accounts, and the great thing about them is that they don’t smudge or take off your make-up.  Cost efficient AND a beauty life saver equals a beauty miracle. Clean and Clear

Riding the Heat Wave

Every summer may bring warming sun rays, but it can also bring an overwhelming abundance of humidity.  Between the afternoon showers and sweating just walking to the car, I’ve found that it’s always nice to keep things light and simple when it comes to doing hair.  I spent countless years when I was younger trying to go against the grain by throwing every product in my hair known to mankind and using every ounce of strength to straighten it.  Luckily, I figured out VS beachy hair spraythat it’s best (and more relaxing) when you go with the flow of the weather instead of trying to fight it.  I stumbled upon this gem while reading an article by Glamour magazine. It’s Victoria’s Secret Beach Hair Wave Spray and it deserves five stars and a hallelujah!  This is the first spray I’ve used in a long time that doesn’t make your hair stiff, like hair spray, and smells absolutely delicious! You feel like you’re on a tropical island sipping on piña coladas.  It promises loose, natural tousled waves and it certainly delivers. The only thing I would suggest is not spraying it too much in one place because it can cause a slight stiffness in that area since the spray does consist of sea salt.  Even if that happens though, it’s very easy to comb out so that you can still achieve beachy waves but sans stiff pieces of hair.

VS wavy hair