5 Simple Essentials I Used All Summer

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5 Simple and Inexpensive Summer Essentials I Used All Season


Hi there,

I hope everyone reading this is well and had a fantastic summer. Mine wasn’t that bad but really uneventful. I felt like I was constantly busy– creating content, writing (my book, mainly, I know I’ve been absent from here for a while again), and most of all, streaming. I’ve really put in some grind time in my channel lately and I’ve been gaming hardcore for the past several months. It has certainly paid off, though–I’ve definitely seen some growth and I’m learning more and more about the world of streaming. I’m really enjoying it and hoping to write about it here in the future to go more in-depth about what it is exactly that I do on that front.

That being said, grinding and gaming doesn’t exactly lend well to having an active and adventurous summer. I spent most of it inside, being a recluse and just kinda doing my own thing. I hung out with friends a few times but other than that I spent a lot of time alone. I’m going through quite a lot of life changes right now, but who isn’t? All the time? No seriously, are there people like that in the world? I’ve gotta know.

I didn’t post at all this summer but that’s fine because I don’t feel like I would’ve had a lot to post, anyways. I had some pretty decent pics I was working on this summer, including some makeup and outfit looks, but I just never got around to posting them here, although my Instagram remained pretty active all summer, so if you follow me on there, chances are you’ve kept pretty up to date with me.

I bought a few note-worthy products but nothing truly spectacular. Money hasn’t been necessarily tight around here, but I definitely have reduced a lot of my extraneous shopping in the past year. It’s good, I have my needs but less bullshit that I’m wasting money on scattered around, taking up space.

All this being said, I don’t have the most exciting or even numerous products from this summer to share with you all, but the ones that I do are pretty darn good. I did want to be sure to do at least a few summery-themed posts to round out the end of the season before fall is in full effect. Technically summer ends officially tomorrow, and today is the first day that it feels truly like fall outside. It was rainy and gloomy and even stormy for the past week, but now the sun is out again and there’s a crisp cool fall feeling in the air. It is really revving the creative engine.

So, I’m here today with a summer-y post for you all–5 simple, inexpensive summer essentials that I used all summer, from all-natural lip balms in tropical, fruity scents to fun, bright colorful nail polishes and lippies, to SPF lotions for hands and face that’ll keep your most youthful parts of your body moisturized and protected from the unforgiving sun.

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NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick

(top to bottom) in “Life’s a Beach”, “Foiled Again”, and “Orange County” (shown here with NYX Face & Boy Glitter “Gold” sprinkled on top)

First off on my list are a trio of some of my fave lippies this summer. Those who know my style should know by now that I love bright, neon, hot colors in the summer, namely reds, oranges, yellows, and hot pinks. That preference was only reinforced by the fact that these were really trendy colors this summer, with most big brands, everything from Urban Decay to Kylie Cosmetics, showcasing products and looks that featured many colors such as these. For every orange lip there was a hot pink shadow or a yellow liner, you couldn’t scroll the ‘gram this summer without being blinded by hues like the ones pictured above.

It was definitely enough inspo to bring me to sport these colors myself, and more than once. I don’t think I’ll be giving them up come fall, in fact it’ll be quite cold outside before I retire these vibrant hues in favor of more dark and moody shades, I’m predicting. I guess time will only tell.

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As you can see, and probably gather for yourself without me telling you, attention-grabbing lips such as these deserve center stage. Maybe some brows and a bit of mascara if you want, or some highlighter for ultra blinding effect, but honestly, I love the look of just a bold lip color sometimes.

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I’ll usually pick a lip color, eye color, or highlight and just play up the one singular product, leaving the rest of my face natural. As I’m usually showing a lot of skin, I just let my outfits do the talking, and of course my attention-grabbing hair. Which can’t be helped, it’s just naturally like that.

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Athleisure meets glam meets grocery store run 

I really like my lips, they are one of my favorite features. I haven’t always, and there was once a time that I would have never worn orange or bright red shades like these. I’m glad they’ve come into style, and I’m also glad that I’ve gathered the confidence to wear them.

 

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Coppertone Clearly Sheer Faces Sunscreen Lotion – Broad Spectrum SPF 50 

I may have been keeping my face bare but I sure wasn’t keeping it unprotected. I feel like anyone intelligent and awesome enough to read my blog probably has already surmised for themselves at this point that the face absolutely cannot be left unprotected against the powers of the sun…especially in the summer. If you’re spending any length of time outside, you absolutely must be wearing sunscreen, and you cannot forget to protect your face.

Now, there are specific products for sun protection for the face, and this one that I found for sale for $5 at T. J. Maxx is a great find, one I would definitely recommend anyone to try, regardless of skin type. This one is fairly simple and inoffensively gets the job done. There’s no white residue, it blends easily and sinks in quickly and well, and hardly any lingering sunscreen scent. I’m not gonna lie and say that there’s zero lingering scent, because there is, but it’s only the slightest and, again, it’s inoffensive. It kinda has that typical sunscreen note that gives me a beach-y vibe, and if that isn’t the unofficial scent of summer, what is?

Besides that, it is a whopping 50 SPF, which offers supreme sun protection. I’ve read that at least SPF 15-30 is acceptable, provided that you apply the correct (liberal) amounts depending on the formula or type, and re-apply as necessary, and that anything above SPF 50 is sort of redundant, as SPF 50 supposedly blocks out about 98% of UVB rays, and SPF 100 blocks out about 99%, which is the optimal and realistic level of protection one can expect from sunscreen.

At any rate, I’ve been using this stuff all summer, and it is fantastic. The front label claims it to be “lightweight & breathable”, which I fully attest to being true. It also says that it “won’t clog pores”, which I also agree with, I did not have any apparent problems with clogged pores while using this product, nor did it make me break out at all. Finally, it says that it “helps leave skin soft & smooth”, which I also think is true. Most days, after showering and washing my face with my day-time face wash, I use rose water, serum, eye cream, and a dab of coconut oil as a moisturizer. Once all that sets in, I use a generous squirt of this SPF and gently and in an upward motion rub it in to my skin until it is all absorbed. I also rub a generous amount on the front and back of my neck, as well as down to my decolletage (as long as I’m wearing a shirt with an exposed neckline, which tends to happen a lot in the summer), and on my ears.

At the bottom of the label is the statement that this is “water-resistant (80 minutes)” but, sadly, I never got the opportunity to test out this claim this summer. (sad face)

So there’s my express and glowing review of the Coppertone Clearly Sheer Faces Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion, and I have to end it with a firm stamp of approval.

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NuColor Scented Nail Polish

in “Blueberry”, “Strawberry”, “Mango”, and “Orange”

Now here’s a fun part.  T h e s e  little babies were such a terrific find. Some of the best nail polish I’ve ever used, hands-down, pun intended, and nails set to maximum stun. Here’s the story on them.

If you’ll recall my under $20 family dollar mini lifestyle haul , I got the “Orange” one first, in a clearance bin marked down for $2, (which I think is actually the regular or recommended selling price, but I’m not totally sure about that), and then I went back on a different day for a couple other things and ended up walking out with the other three polishes: “Blueberry”, “Strawberry”, and “Mango”. This time, they were in a different clearance section of the store, and they were marked down to only $.75! That’s a really good deal, especially considering how quality these polishes seem to be. There were still two others in this variety that I had chosen not to get at that time: Vanilla, a kind of neutral taupe shade, and Blackberry, a black with green and silver shimmers and glitters in it. I’m sure they would have both made nice additions to my growing NuColor collection, but I had a budget that day and walking in to Family Dollar, I was not planning to purchase more polishes. But, they caught my eye while I was looking for toilet paper or body wash or whatever it was, and it was a sort of impulse buy. I did deliberate for a few minutes before ultimately selecting the three more summer-y of the five remaining options.

 

Back to how they work, which is really well. I mean, so well that buying one for $2 and the other three for less than $1 is a fantastic bargain in my eyes, and you know how much that means to me, especially since making content creation my primary career of choice. I’ve been stretching every dollar and making sure to only buy things that are either necessary, or that I really, really want, but that are also a good price. I haven’t been able to justify frivolous purchases (save for food) for months. This has been largely positive but has not been without its drawbacks, as well. That’s more for another time.

 

Anyways, these nail polishes are opaque, with lovely bold colors and no streaky application. They only require one coat for full nail coverage and it is the perfect thickness formula. I have had best results when using these sans top coat or base coat. They only take 10 minutes to fully dry, and I mean, you-can-sleep-in-them-without-fear-of-smudges dry. These facts made for a colorful, shiny, quick manicure that made it easy to keep my hands looking nice all summer long.

The “Strawberry” shade, a hot pink with a delicate amount of purple-pink shimmer to it was lovely, while “Mango”, a trendy macaroni/millennial yellow hue was the nail polish I didn’t know I needed but has completed me.

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The NuColor held up well alongside OPI, which is a $10 counterpart. Shown here is the bold cobalt blue, “Blueberry”, as an accent nail on a “Going My Way or Norway?” camel-colored manicure. This is a week in, no top coat or base coat, and as you can see, they are both holding up about the same, which is to say, fairly well.

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These polishes not only work well and look great, they also smell very good. They are very much reminiscent of the scented markers of middle school. Nostalgia always sells, not usually to me, but even I saw the allure this time.

I definitely love these shades for summer, as the bright primary colors are easy and tie together most of my summer looks, usually by adding a much-needed pop of color, but I do see myself using these a lot year-round because they are my new favorites.

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Eucerin Daily Hydration Moisturizer & Sunscreen Creme – Broad Spectrum SPF 30

You can’t just slap some pretty polish on your fingernails and expect exceptional hands. No, proper handcare requires the proper products, and this is definitely one of them. I’ve been using Eucerin products since elementary school, when after school dishes irritated my skin so much that my entire forearms would be lined in painful red rashes. Eucerin creme offered thick, soothing layers of cool relief then, and this moisturizer and sunscreen offers hydrating sun protection now.

It is often said that you begin to show age on your hands before anywhere else, and the sun is one of the most aging things you can expose yourself to. Sun protection is vital for anti-aging, and even though the cold weather often leaves our hands chapped and dry, summer can be brutal on our digits as well.

I would recommend to use this medium weight, lotion-like, scent-free creme only a couple of times a day, perhaps before sun exposure or when you really need it, like after doing chores or washing your hands a lot like at work. The reason I say this is because it seemed to contribute to clammy hands for me. Other lotions, such as the Jergens I’m currently using as my body lotion, don’t seem to affect my hands in the same way. The clammy hands, especially while I’m streaming and gripping a controller for hours at a time, often rubbed my hands raw and left patches of irritated skin. Once I suspected that potential overuse of the Eucerin sunscreen lotion was contributing to the clammy hands, I cut my use down to similar as described above. The clammy hands got better, needless to say. So yeah, good stuff, but don’t overuse it unless you need it.

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Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

in “Mango”, “Strawberry”, “Coconut & Pear”,  “Cucumber Mint”, and “Beeswax”

Last but not least, all summer I ran through (and am still continuing to use), five delectably summer-scented lip balms, some of my new favorites from my long-time favorite natural lip balm, Burt’s Bees.

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I really liked these and they worked well for me, and I keep one stashed by my bed, on my desk, next to my desk, in the bathroom, and in my purse. “Coconut & Pear” is probably my favorite scent out of all of them, while “Beeswax”, which I think is the original one, has a thicker feel and therefore feels more moisturizing, and it is probably my favorite one to use in terms of effectiveness. This probably has to do with the inclusion of Vitamin E, and, though it isn’t nearly as scented as the other options, it does have peppermint in it so there’s a slight hint of that, as well. This is the one I leave on the bathroom counter or next to the bed, and usually the one I use before bed, if I’m not using petroleum jelly or something.

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“Cucumber Mint” is the newest addition, and one of the newest releases of the Burt’s Bees line of lip balm, if I’m not mistaken, and it is very fresh and satisfying. The cucumber scent is strong and calming while the mint notes are delicate and refreshing. It looks pretty on my desk next to my white Xbox and pink notebooks and pens. Aesthetically pleasing and aromatic, can’t ask for more out of a lip balm. Oh, besides keeping your lips soft and smooth, which it does plenty well.

 

 

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Well that’s it for my simple summer essentials and favorites. As summer comes to a close, so too does this post. What do you think of these products? Have you ever tried any of them before, or anything similar? Do you have any likewise suggestions or recommendations? Comment below so I can know what you think, see you next time.

-Helene sig flowers

♥All images belong to me♥

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