Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle

In My Secret Life

There have been some ups and downs recently, but one of the biggest ups has been going to Melbourne for a girls' weekend in November. Tahlia and I went to visit Elly and Tenneil (who live together) and we had a great time eating and shopping and staying up til the early hours of the morning with Elly giving a dramatic reading of her pre-teen diary about all the boys she had crushes on. Tahlia, Elly & I relived our glory days by driving around listing to pop punk and Tenneil and I did our makeup together in the mornings like an IRL Get Ready With Me. I shot a roll of 35mm film so whenever I get that developed I might post some photos, but rest assured that even without visual evidence, I had a great time.


Jessica Bialkowskilifestyle
In My Secret Life
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

The Best Blood Reds

I've mentioned before that blood reds are my favourite shades to wear, and particularly if they're matte. I remember a few years ago hunting high and low for the perfect shade and not being able to find anything right. Luckily these days when brands launch new lip products, most of the time a deep red is in the mix. As someone who is more or less a connoisseur of red lipstick, trust me when I say that although to the untrained eye these might look like they're all the same, they're actually very different.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
The Best Blood Reds

My Favourite Candle Brands

I'm not sure why candles are such a thing in the beauty community, but there is something so enjoyable about a good home fragrance, and it's even better when they double as beautiful decorations too. There are a lot of brands out there and it can be hard to know what to buy when you don't want to sacrifice an arm and a leg, or your soul (I'm looking at you, Tom Ford). It's also pretty disappointing when you buy a nice candle only to find that you can hardly smell it when it burns, which in my experience often happens with the cheaper options. I've tried a few duds before, so I wanted to put together my favourite brands that I feel comfortable recommending and that I've never been let down by.

My Favourite Candle Brands
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Trash Talk: Skincare

For reasons I will hopefully talk about eventually, I have been on a serious kick of trying to finish up everything I own and have essentially stopped buying new things as well while I try to get through my drawer of backups. So that means I've got a tonne of empties for you. I'm also trying to run through my makeup and work out what's not essential. I don't know if I'm going to do something like a declutter post - lord knows I love a good declutter video on YT but I'm sure sure how well it would translate to a blog post? But anyway I'll have my makeup, hair & bodycare empties in another post because these get too long really quickly. 

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Trash Talk: Skincare

In My Secret Life

In a way this is more of a favourites post, but since I'm covering a few different areas I suppose it's a life update too because it's what I've been enjoying lately. Most of my favourites have actually been birthday gifts since October is my birthday month. I've never really done the whole "what I got for my birthday" thing but that's what a lot of this post is. Once I started my mid-twenties I lost all my excitement about my birthday and now I dread it every year, but receiving some lovely, thoughtful presents definitely helps soften the blow.

In My Secret Life
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Haul & Reviews (UK & USA)

I'm super lucky to have friends and family who humour me and don't mind picking up a few beauty bits and pieces while they're overseas. In August my family travelled around Europe and one of my best friends spent the month in New York, so I thought rather than ask them to run around picking up things for me when they should be enjoying their holiday, I ordered what I wanted online and had it delivered to them or to a shop near them so they could pick it up for me. Because money is tight these days I think I was pretty conservative with what I bought since just stuck to things that were hard to get my hands on at home, and I've had them all for long enough now that I can give you my thoughts on most of it as well.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Haul & Reviews (UK & USA)

In My Secret Life #5

Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster lately, but I'm trying to focus on all the good things instead of the bad ones. When things aren't so uncertain I'll probably be less vague, but for now it's too early to say much. The biggest positive in life lately is that, as I mentioned in my last update-type post, I moved out of home for the first time a few months ago and now I live with one of my best friends and my boyfriend and it's just the best. Also it's finally Spring and the warm weather makes all the difference to my mindset and my experience of everyday life. Sunny days make the world feel like it's full of possibilities! Anyway, I thought I'd make this post a bit of a round up of all my current favourite things, so here goes.

In My Secret Life #5
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

All About Hair

I'm definitely a low maintenance girl when it comes to my hair. I don't have a huge stash of styling products, and I tend to be pretty cautious about investing in high end products because historically what other people recommend doesn't tend to work that well for me. My hair is waist length and has been for years, so I thought I’d talk about what products I use to keep it healthy and how I like to style it.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
All About Hair
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Let's Talk Brows

Since I don’t really own enough brow products to do a Top 5 post, I thought I’d just give you guys a run-down of everything I own and my thoughts on them in case it helps you decide what to buy next. I think the biggest struggle with brow products is finding a shade that’s cool enough, because a lot of brands make products that are too warm-toned and they make my brows lean red. I tend to go for the darkest brown shade as I think black can look too harsh on people with fair skin like me (unless you have black hair, of course) and I need something really ashy/cool as I prefer my brows to match my dark brown hair and look full while still seeming natural.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Let's Talk Brows
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Top 4 Foundations

This post has been a long time coming, mostly because foundation is one of my favourite categories of makeup and also because it's so personal and I really wanted to make sure I got my thoughts together before choosing my favourites so these aren't just standard "they're great!" reviews. It took me a while to decide that, like with my favourite primers, I didn't want to just pick 5 for the sake of talking about 5 products, so again I'm only going to talk about my four favourites because although I use and enjoy more than just these four, these are the ones that are a step above the rest for one reason or another.

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Top 4 Foundations
Jessica Bialkowskibeauty

Trash Talk: Empty Products

Once again, I have finished up a whole bunch of products and I feel like given how sporadically I post this is probably the best way for me to review things so I hope you guys like these posts and find them helpful!

Jessica Bialkowskibeauty
Trash Talk: Empty Products

Top 4 Primers & My Thoughts

For most other beauty products I've found it difficult to narrow it down to my top 5, but when it comes to primers I wanted to only share the ones that I feel strongly about, so even though I've tried a lot of primers in my time (including a LOT of minis & samples), not many of them make the cut. I've become a bit disenchanted, mostly because there are so many different types and it can be hard to get a gauge on which ones actually perform. In fact a lot of people don't bother using them at all because they can seem like they're a bit of a waste of time.

I find them to be a really confusing area of beauty and one where I don't have a lot of faith in the claims that brands make. Some say they're a 7 in one miracle product and other brands release 7 different primers that each do one thing. These days there are primers for smoothing, colour correcting, oil absorbing, acne fighting, pore filling, brightening and hydrating your skin - surely one product could do several of these things at the same time, but probably not all of them. So I wanted to put down some of my thoughts about primers in case it all feels a bit too much like hard work for you as well, and if you have oily skin like me I'm also going to talk about the 4 primers that I find actually help my makeup last noticeably longer.

Top 4 Primers & My Thoughts

Top 5 Palettes

I'm not a huge collector of palettes, when I see a new release I find it reasonably easy to talk myself out of wanting it, largely because I have a comfort zone with eyeshadows that consists exclusively of neutral shades. The most daring I'll go is a muted purple-taupe or a golden olive-green (think MAC's Sumptuous Olive), so you're not going to find any Urban Decay Vice palettes in my collection. But if you're a neutral-only girl (or boy) like me, then you're in the right place.

Top 5 Palettes

My Skincare Routine

I talk about skincare enough here that I thought it was about time I took you through my full routine. I do a pretty similar thing in the morning and the evening but with a few key changes, so I thought rather than split this into morning and evening I'd just talk about the different types of products I use for each step and why. Because this post is so long I haven’t gone into treatments or masks, etc so I might save all that for another time.

For some this may seem like a lot of steps, but I really enjoy my skincare routine and rather than feeling like an obligation, I see it as a way of taking care of myself. No matter how late I get home or how settled I am in bed watching something, I’ll still do my routine. I absolutely notice a difference if I don’t – I may not automatically break out, but my skin can look dull, dehydrated, congested, etc. I completely understand this many steps might be too much for some, but it's what works for me.

My Skincare Routine

Skincare Science: Antioxidants & Anti-Ageing

I'm the kind of person who likes to seriously do their research when I'm interested in something, so of course that applies to skincare as well. I completely understand that not everyone has the time or can be bothered to scour the internet for this kind of information, so I thought I'd put together a guide to some popular skincare ingredients and what they can do for you. Clearly I'm not a cosmetic scientist but I have Googled, read and collected some information and hopefully you find it helpful! And obviously if you have any concerns you should consult a professional because I'm not one.

If you're on the younger side of 25 anti-aging skincare probably doesn't rank too highly on your list of priorities, but I believe that regardless of what age you are, preventing skin damage is always going to be better than trying to reverse the damage later in life. So let's start from square one, in simple terms, our skin is constantly producing collagen which is a protein that holds our bodies together. As we age, our ability to replenish damaged collagen slows down, allowing wrinkles to form. Aside from generally getting older, the main causes of damage to collagen are UVA rays, free radicals and smoking. To combat these we have SPF, antioxidants and y'know, not smoking. I think smoking and sun damage are pretty self explanatory, but I will talk a bit more about free radicals and antioxidants.

Skincare Science: Antioxidants & Anti-Ageing
little henry leebeauty, digital

Top 5 Concealers

I can't explain why but I really enjoy trying out different concealers and I found it pretty difficult to narrow my favourites down to just 5. For me these tend to be good all rounders and I really enjoy using each of them.

little henry leebeauty, digital
Top 5 Concealers
little henry leebeauty, digital

Empties

Yeah, I'm coming at you with another massive empties post because I don't have my life together enough to post these more often so they're probably always going to be huge. I thought the best way to do it was to split them into categories and I actually photographed them that way too to make life easier for everyone!

little henry leebeauty, digital
Empties

California: LA, San Francisco & Big Sur

Los Angeles

Getting out of my airport shuttle and seeing my friend from home, Caitlin, waiting for me and running towards each other to hug, visiting the Elliott Smith wall and Charles Bukowski's bungalow, speculoos cookie butter and pumpkin toaster pastries from Trader Joe's, Amoeba Records, all you can eat Tacos for $5, appreciating the many beards in baseball, Caitlin's first trip to Disneyland (and my third Disneyland of my holiday), the Halloween themed Haunted House and Space Mountain rides and all the Halloween decorations around the park, staying to watch the 7pm parade because Caitlin had always wanted to see it, pick & mix lollies from Dylan's candy bar, Santa Monica pier, hiring bikes and riding around Venice Beach, pancakes and a chai milkshake for dinner with the lovely miss Valerie at the 101 Coffee Shop!

California: LA, San Francisco & Big Sur

Top 5 Powders

It's a little tricky to make a photo of five circles look pretty, but I tried. Continuing on with my Top 5 series, as you may have guessed, these are my top 5 powders. Now I expect a lot from powders, I've got oily skin and need a powder to pull its weight when it comes to oil control without making my skin look horrible and cakey. In my pre-beauty obsessed days the powder I relied on was MAC's Studio Fix which is actually a powder foundation so it has a decent amount of coverage. Good if your makeup tends to wear away throughout the day, but it doesn't really offer the natural, skin-like finish that I'm after these days.

Top 5 Powders