What’s By My Bed?

My nighttime routine is a pretty simple one: wash face, brush teeth, remove eye makeup, maybe stretch a bit, and then get between the sheets with a magazine and try to keep my eyes pried open so I can get caught up on the latest goings-on with Katie Holmes (the drama!).

Here are the things you’ll always find on or in my bedside table:

1. A vintage jewelry dish for storing my wear-everyday pieces overnight. Flea markets are a great place to pick these up, but if you’re impatient Urban Outfitters has pretty ones, as well.

2. A water glass and a pretty carafe (water water water water).

3. Simple Skincare’s Cleansing Facial Wipes: they’re specially made for sensitive skin (and have no alcohol, so they’re non-drying), and are a gentle, super-quick way to get my face clean on nights when I’m too tired to mosey on over to the bathroom (this happens more frequently than I like to admit). They’re also great for travel.

4. A moisturizing lip treatment, which gets applied before bed and whenever I wake up during the night (I’m a fanatic about having moisturized lips), and right now am into Baby Lips mostly because the packaging is fun.

5. Cotton balls and Simple Skincare Eye Makeup Remover: as far as beauty products for sensitive skin go, this one is a must. My eyes are easily irritated, but this one has no dyes, no fragrance, nothing…and gently gets off every trace of my beloved liquid liner without any greasy residue whatsoever. New favorite.

6. Lavender spray for the sheets: every night, always. I love it.

7. US Weekly, for before-bed perusing, and glasses so I don’t miss any little detail of the latest celebrity goings-on.

8. A sleep mask. Mine isn’t leopard, but I think it should be. …Right?

Skin-Soothing Beauty Tips

I got sunburned.

So: let’s talk skin-soothing beauty tips!

(After the jump, a list of the products used in this video.)

1. Simple Skincare Soothing Facial Toner

2. Simple Skincare Hydrating Light Moisturizer

3. MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation

4. Vincent Longo Fleur de Flirt Lipstick

5. Elizabeth Arden Liquid Eyeliner in Brown

6. Benefit They’re Real! Mascara in Black

Skin-Loving Ingredients

Little factoid: I’m relatively new to the world of vitamins.

In fact, prior to 2011, the last time I can remember taking vitamins on a day-to-day basis they were shaped like Fred Flintstone and tasted like fruity chalk (and yet were so delicious!). Once I found out I was expecting, though, I began taking pre-natal vitamins every day, and yes: the results were amazing. My hair and nails decided to turn into little production powerhouses, and I felt worlds better than I ever had before.

Lesson: learned. (Sort of. These days, I have a solid 50% success rate when it comes to remembering my morning vitamin. But that’s better than zero!)

When I started using Simple Skincare sensitive skin products a couple of months ago, I was excited to see that although they’ve stripped out everything you don’t need – like dyes, fragrances, and other things that have the potential to produce unfortunate reactions – what they didn’t take out was the good stuff…like vitamins.

Right now, I’m testing out the line’s Smoothing Facial Scrub, which contains Pro Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E, both of which soften and smooth skin and improve its overall condition. Vitamin E is a particularly lovely addition to beauty products for sensitive skin for us other-side-of-thirtyers, as it speeds up cell regeneration and blocks free radical damage (in other words, helps out with the wrinkle situation).

What’s also nice about the Smoothing Facial Scrub is that it’s a much gentler exfoliant than many of the other similar products I’ve used – the rice powder that it contains strips away dead skin cells minus the harsh irritants that can cause flare-ups.

So I’m into Vitamin E and rice granules lately, but I want to know: what’s your favorite skin-loving ingredient?

Clean & Simple Summer Style

So this is what I’m wearing lately. And what I’ll likely wear all summer long, if I’m being honest.

Cutoff shorts, button-down, and a splash of snakeskin.

Day or night, put me in this and I am happy as a be-denimed little clam.

Summer is, of course, all about streamlining. Especially when you’re in the middle of a move, because seriously, guys, I cannot find anything. I mean that. I lost Kendrick’s Father’s Day present sometime pre-Father’s Day because I packed it into a box that was the perfect hiding place, but it turned out that it was so perfect that I ended up hiding it from myself, and the thing has yet to turn up.

But back to streamlining: when the heat hits, I love the idea of simplifying everything from your wardrobe to what you make for dinner (who wants to be slaving over a hot stove in hundred-degree heat?). When you shed what’s unnecessary and keep only what you need, life gets just a little more relaxed.

And that concept certainly applies to your beauty routine: I’m a couple of months into my Simple Skincare  experiment, for which I’m using exclusively facial skincare products created specifically for sensitive skin (like mine own), and so far, so good. Right now, my favorite product is the Vital Vitamin Night Cream, which is extra-replenishing (as a night cream should be), but still light enough for summer (and feels especially nice after a day at the beach, just FYI).

These days, my face feels…better.

More chilled-out.

And I don’t know whether that’s because I’m enjoying a brief period of good pore karma, or because beauty products for sensitive skin are exactly what I’ve been missing, but either way, I’m enjoying the freedom that comes with skin that behaves itself and is run-around-town-ready on days when makeup is simply not an option.

On me: Button-down c/o Sanctuary Clothing, Sold Denim Co. cutoffs, Katherine Kwei purse, ShoeMint heels, bangle c/o Belargo Jewelry, Lulu’s wrap bracelet, Stone Savant necklace, LyraLoveStar moon ring.

Summer Beauty Switch-Up

The weather in New York hasn’t started to steam up to maximum capacity quiiiiite yet, but it will very, very soon. And I have this vision of myself sitting on a beach, or in a park, or wherever, makeup-free, with gorgeous, glowing, blemish-free skin. It’s a lovely vision. It’s just not the easiest one to realize in…you know, reality.

Here’s the thing: my skin tends to even itself out once it figures out what’s going on with the weather, but during the shifting of each season it kind of has a full-blown panic attack for at least a couple of weeks (this is a major indicator of sensitive skin in need of sensitive skincare products, and I cannot believe that it took me thirty-one years to figure out that I am planted firmly in this category).

Every year at the start of summer, the big switch I make when it comes to facial skincare products is to swap out my creamy cleanser for a lightweight gel one, and this year I’m trying out Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel: it’s 100% soap-free (so no drying problems), completely free of dyes, perfumes, or any other potential irritants, and has a whole bunch of added vitamins as a nice little bonus.

And you know what’s sort of cool and sort of weird about it? It doesn’t smell at all. I know, I already said it has no perfumes – but we’ve become so accustomed to our skincare products being loaded up with scent that I did a little double-take when I opened up the tube for the first time, trying to figure out what seemed so different about the stuff, until I realized: ah ha! No coconut/passionfruit/cucumber/what have you. Just everything that you need, and nothing that you don’t. Which is kind of refreshing, no?

Some more of my favorite ways to mix up my beauty routine once the heat rolls in:

- Bye Bye, Blowdryer: There’s no point in fighting with the kind of humidity that hits these parts, so I try to embrace my natural texture by either twisting my hair into a braid or applying frizz-fighting products and letting it do as it will.

- Makeup Makeover: In the summer, I try to lighten up my overall makeup routine, but maintain that there’s nothing like some bright pink or red lipstick even on the hottest of days (see above, and click here for my 5 Tips For Red Lips tutorial).

- Powder Puff: I make best friends with a big old box of lightly scented powder, and dust myself in it from top to bottom on particularly obnoxiously hot days.

- Neat Nails: I’m the laziest person in the world about my fingers and toes, but once the summer arrives it’s a salon pedicure every 2-3 weeks and a DIY manicure every week – those summery shades are just too fun to skip (click here for some at-home manicure tips).

If you’re looking for skincare suggestions, check out the Simple Skin Health Consultation, a quiz that gives you free, personalized tips for your skin.