Friday, May 12, 2017

Beauty Behind the Blog: Brighter, Darling

Today I'm back with my another installment of Beauty Behind the Blog with an interview of Steffanie from Brighter, Darling!
Name: Steffanie
Age: 31

Who taught you about beauty?
It all started when I was probably four years old and began watching my mom apply her gold-ribbed tube of Estee Lauder lipstick and Maybelline Great Lash mascara. I come from a Cuban family and growing up, my mother (and grandmother) would never ever leave the house without their makeup done. Even if just to go to the grocery store.

What is your favorite thing about beauty?
I find applying my makeup to be relaxing - almost like a ritual. I love doing it every morning. I'd have to say my favorite thing is seeing how just a touch of concealer or a pretty lip color can transform a person's confidence.

Do you have a favorite beauty blogger?
I've been reading beauty blogs and watching YouTube tutorials since Makeup Geek's early years in 2007! I'd have to say my most trusted blogging/vlogging resources are Tati- Glam Life Guru (YouTube), Casey Holmes (YouTube), Thirteen Thoughts, Collective Beauty, and The Beauty Look Book.

What is your best beauty secret?
I have no secrets! I share them all on Brighter, Darling, haha. I'd have to say my favorite beauty tip is to start using Retin A (or a retinol) ASAP. It's an acne and wrinkle-fighting powerhouse product. To go hand in hand with retinol, find a sunscreen that works for you and wear it every day. It took me years, but I've been hooked on Elta MD SPF 41 or Elta MD SPF 46 (both work equally well for me).

Do you create any DIY beauty products?
I don't anymore, but I used to use straight ground cinnamon as a facial scrub when I was in high school. That was a bad idea. So was straight rubbing alcohol as a toner. Lessons learned, people. Stay away from the kitchen cabinet.

What is your favorite natural beauty product?
In terms of skin care, I'd have to say the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask is amazing for normal/combo/oily skin. It's a beta hydroxy acid, which means it's oil-soluble, and really refines skin texture with natural ingredients. For color, I have to give it to my go-to Holy Grail lip color by BITE Beauty. I'm obsessed with their Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Leche - a beige peach pink. It's a staple in my purse.

What is your skin type?
Oily, dehydrated and sensitive. Basically, the most complicated skin type ever. It's really delightful.

What is your basic skincare routine?
I've been following a K Beauty routine for a few months now and it's been life changing for my skin. Yes, K Beauty routines are a bit more intense, but the products focus on hydration via water-infused products. My face has never been smoother or more balanced. The routine is anything but basic but truly doesn't take me more than five minutes in the morning or evening. The gist of it goes like this: cleanse with CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, tone with Son & Park Beauty Water, use CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, use Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Lotion I, use Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (AM only), seal it in with a moisturizer. For mornings, I use the Elta MD SPF 41 or Elta MD SPF 46. For evenings, I use Koh Gen Do All in One Moisture Spa Gel - a must try for oily skin!

What is your biggest skin issue?
As someone with oily skin, my biggest issues are texture and acne.

What are your must have skincare product?
I took a break from using my Retin A a couple of years ago and I noticed a dramatic change (for the worse) in the texture of my skin. I've been using Retin A since I was 21 and I'm almost 32 now. I credit any age compliments to my oily skin (gotta be good for something) and Retin A usage.

What is your favorite skincare splurge?
Vitamin C is not only a great antioxidant to protect the skin from aging but it's also brightening. It helps correct any acne hyperpigmentation I suffer from. I recently splurged on the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum after trying quite a few other affordable C serums. I noticed an improvement in my skin in just a week and a little goes a long way. It also is said to last longer than standard C serums in the pipet packaging because it's protected from oxidation. 

What is the first thing you do when you get a breakout?
A makeup artist friend recommended the Natura Bisse Stabilizing Cleansing Mask and it's SO very worth it! It's not for the faint of heart, so normal/dry skins, keep reading, this isn't going to be your thing. Normal-combo-oily peeps, this is a must buy. The tube is huge for the amount you need so don't fret; it will last you forever. Around that time of the month, I'll have to apply this mask like a beard along my chin/jawline. It's very attractive because I look like Santa Claus. If I use this the week before my period for no more than 15 minutes, those pesky breakouts stay far away. 

What is your everyday makeup look?
My look is usually a sunkissed bronzey glow. I definitely wear a full face of makeup daily, but I don't want it to appear that way. Blend, blend, blend. I use a medium coverage satin finish foundation, concealer under the eyes, a bronzer, some sort of peachy blush, a golden highlight, a bronzey eyeshadow, lots of mascara, a full brow, and a peachy nude lip.

What is your go to makeup look when you go out?
Everything basically stays the same, but I glam up the eyes big time. Take the look above and add a black winged liner, some fluttery flash lashes, smoke out the lower lash line with a dark brown shadow and use that same dark brown through the crease. I'll also add more bronzer and a swipe of gloss. I am not a big fan of matte lips. 

What are your must have makeup products?

What is your favorite makeup splurge?
I'm such a sucker for eye makeup - it's ridiculous. I just bought a Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad and nearly checked myself into a mental institution. 

What is your best makeup trick?
This comes from an interview I did with Charlotte Tilbury herself and I completely agree with her: women don't play up the eyes enough! Eyes are the window to our souls and they're so expressive. A little makeup can do wonders to give us a brighter, fresher or sultrier appearance. And don't be shy with the mascara. 

What is your hair type?
Normal/dry, thick/coarse.

What is your basic hair care routine?
I only wash my hair twice a week. I alternate with a purple shampoo/conditioner to keep my blonde hair ashy and a gentle (sulfate free) shampoo/conditioner to keep it hydrated.

What is your biggest hair issue?
Keeping my blonde hair ashy! I'm naturally a brunette with Italian/Cuban heritage, so even though I'm a light brunette, it pulls brassy very quick if I don't stay on top of it.

What are your must have hair products?
My hairdresser convinced me to try a few new products to help maintain my blonde and I'm OBSESSED! If you haven't found a purple shampoo/conditioner you love, try the new JOICO Color Balance Purple Shampoo and the Kenra Intense Brightening Treatment. It WILL dye your shower, so rinse it very well - but you'll have fabulous non-brassy hair.

What is your favorite hair care splurge?
I definitely splurge on hair styling products more than shampoo/conditioner. I love the IGK Texture Spray (it's intense but amazing for beach hair and volume), the Goldwell Kerasilk Rich Protective Oil (for shine/hydration) and drybar The Sheriff Hairspray (it smells amazing and has just the right amount of hold).

How do you style your hair everyday?
The first day after I wash my hair, it's straight. Second and third, I curl it with a wand or curling iron and it stays that way until the next wash. If I make it to day four, it's up in a fluffy messy bun.

How do you style your hair when you're going out?
Whether it's straight or curled/waved, I always add a little tease to the roots around the sides of my head to give a little volume. Because I have thick hair, it can lay a bit flat since it weighs probably 30 lbs.

What is your best hair trick?
Don't be afraid to tease! Whenever I curl my hair, I not only tease a little bit at the roots on the sides of my head, but I'll lightly tease the ends upwards. It gives the curls some texture and extra hold.

What is your basic body care routine?
I threw away my loofah years ago and use a Salux Cloth I found on Amazon. It's a great way to exfoliate the skin and helps keep my self-tanner from getting patchy. I also love to moisturize with Soap and Glory The Righteous Butter Body Lotion (in the pump bottle).

What is your must have body product(s)?
A good self-tanner and the Soap and Glory The Righteous Butter Body Lotion.

What is your favorite body product splurge?
Self-tanner. I just can't find one at the drugstore that doesn't smell like poop, turn me orange or wear off evenly. I've used the St. Tropez one for years, but literally just ordered the Loving Tan formula. Stay tuned for my thoughts on that on the blog soon.

What is your basic approach to nutrition and dieting?
I suffer from thyroid autoimmune diseases - I test positive for both Grave's and Hashimoto's antibodies. This means my weight fluctuates up to 30 lbs really quickly without any warning. I could work out 7 days a week and still put on weight. Or I could sit and eat bagels all day and lose 10 lbs. It's really up to my thyroid. I do take medicine for this, but ever since I was diagnosed seven years ago, I also tested positive for a gluten sensitivity/allergy. So I've followed a gluten-free diet. Because I miss gluten-based foods, I increased my protein intake to alleviate any hunger pangs. 

What is your current workout routine?
I've always liked to work out, but since discovering my thyroid issues, it's even more important. I stick to cardio at least three days a week - rotating between Zumba, spin class or the elliptical (I hate running). I also enjoy a little yoga and lightweight strength training 1-2x/week. I don't freak out if I put on 10 lbs or lose 10 lbs anymore. I've learned that my body is always going to fluctuate and it's out of my control. As long as I'm doing the best I can and my doctor says I'm doing ok, then I have to be ok. Love what you've got!

A huge thank you to Steffanie for sharing a look into her beauty routine!  Do you use any of the same products?  Let me know below! 

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!

Today I'm linking up with Friday FavoritesFab FavoritesOh Hey Friday!, and Five on Friday.


  1. Hello! I really liked this blog post because it is jam-packed with information! A lot of products to try out! Thank you for the recommendations Steffanie and thanks for the blog post Kristin :)

  2. Too Faced is a great brand, and Cover FX has really amazing makeup as well!

    Caitlin, Beauty & Colour

  3. Hello! I really liked this blog post because it is jam-packed with information! A lot of products to try out! Thank you for the recommendations Steffanie and thanks for the blog post Kristin :)
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