Archives for category: Beauty

This week, I have two great ice blue items from my beauty cabinet (I decided that would be the theme.  I was tired when I made the theme, ok?).

Mary Kay Indulge Soothing Eye Gel

I went to a Mary Kay party one time and loved trying this eye gel – it felt like putting cucumber slices over my eyes.  I have since been using this gel for a while and it never stops feeling awesome and it works to tighten the eye area a little but mostly it helps me look more awake and less puffy.  The pretty color is just a great bonus.

Aveda Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother

It takes a lot for my husband to notice something beauty-related and the other day he looked at my hair and said “Are you doing something different?  Your hair looks really smooth.”  That’s all I really need to say, even men will notice a difference.

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I’ve decided in an effort to be a little bit more focused, I would try to condense as many beauty posts as I can under one roof each week and call it the Beauty Department.  This is where you will find my fun beauty buys, manicures of note, and recommended products each week.  Now, let’s get started.

Beauty Haul

I love trying new fragrances and this one has really taken my breath away.  Tocca’s Aqua Profumata in Catania is a creamy vanilla scent that manages to somehow stay grown-up without delving into cotton candy body spray territory 10 minutes after its sprayed.  I pair this with my Citrus Soy Body Whip from Skin, an Apothecary to smell like a creamsicle (What? I like smelling like food).

As much as I love reading the beauty section of magazines, I never understood the point of including candles and room fragrances in the same pages as lip gloss and concealer.  It wasn’t until I bought this adorable peachy Voluspa Creme de Peche candle from Preen Apothecary that I made the connection.  Lighting a pretty candle in a gorgeous glass jar, waiting for the sweet scent to fill the room – this might be the single most indulgent beauty routine ever.  Another aspect to this candle that put it into my shopping bag was the glass because the raised pattern reminds me of my great grandmother’s juice glasses.

Manicure of Note

Pale Pink and orange are having a moment together lately and I thought I would try the look on my nails.  Unfortunately the pink was so close to my skin tone that lots of people asked me why I only painted one nail on each hand.  Oh well, I think it had a nice effect even if people just thought I was forgetful.

While buying some allergy medicine at Walgreens recently, my husband bought me some nail polish because I was sitting on the floor looking at all the colors and I think he wanted me to get up and stop acting like a 5 year old in the toy aisle.  So, happily I trotted home with a light, buttery yellow called Unicorn and a creamy white called Snow Me White, both from the *Sinful Colors Professional line.  So I queued up A Little Princess on Netflix and set to work with my new polishes and a dotting tool.

I don’t think it turned out awesome, but I’m just getting the hang of doing all this by myself, you know.  I’ll take two nail polishes for $3 over shelling out $14 + tip nowadays.  Plus, at my nail salon at home they always play movies I like instead of just Jeopardy and The Wheel.

*I just read that Sinful Colors has been accused of using photos from beauty bloggers without permission.  I want to take a second to express that I find that distasteful because beauty bloggers for the most part blog about products for free, which is beneficial to the companies they write about and shouldn’t be taken advantage of.  With that being said, please ask my permission to use my terrible iPhone photos.  I will probably say yes, but it’s basic internet courtesy. 

Here’s the question:  “What is a good drugstore price level gentle facial cleanser?  Emphasis on gentle.”

The word “gentle” can mean a lot of different things to different people.  One person might simply be looking for a face wash without exfoliants, while another might insist gentle means 100% organic.

After giving it some thought, I realized that the only drugstore brand that would really have it all (organic ingredients, affordability, gentleness) is Yes To Carrots (Cucumbers, etc.).  The Yes to Cucumbers line would be the best option because cucumbers are naturally skin-soothing and calming.  I use the Yes to Cucumbers face wipes every night and I can attest that my crazy sensitive skin is very happy with this brand.  The Soothing Daily Gentle Cleanser might just solve all of your problems finding a truly gentle face wash at the drugstore.

Sensitive Skin Tips

  • Avoid any products that have parabens, phthalates, or fragrance in the ingredients
  • Some products with SPF built-in will irritate your skin.  Sometimes you’re better off using two products you’re sure won’t cause more harm.
  • If you have severely sensitive skin, you might check Pinterest for some homemade recipes for 100% natural products.  If you can control what goes in, you might have less trouble.
  • Avoid sun exposure as much as possible.

Do you have a question for me?  Let me hear it using the Contact feature on my blog.  All questions are completely anonymous.  Want to see other questions I’ve answered?  Click here.

I have not been shy about my love for calendars and this post is no exception.  When I flipped my desk calendar at work to August a few days ago, I was greeted with this picture, which made me happy.  Not just because my sister is in it and it may have been one of her first ever Instagrams but because the colors in the photo and the colors on the page design remind me so much of how fun summer is supposed to be.

I think I get so lost sometimes in work and responsibility that I forget the simple joys of warmer weather and increased hours of sunshine in these long days.  Summer is so free and lovely.

So I decided to paint my nails with this calendar page as inspiration.  I used Wet n Wild Megalast in Tropicalia for 8 of my nails and Club Havana for the 2 ring fingernails.

Here’s the question:  “When you have colored hair, how important is it to use color care shampoo and conditioner?”  This person also mentioned that the goal would be to use Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo and Conditioner even with color treated hair.

You know how people say that once you drive a brand new car off the lot, it immediately loses value and will continue to depreciate in value for as long as you own it?  That is also true of hair color.  Your color will stay put until you get your hair wet, then it will immediately start to fade.  The only thing that makes it fade faster than water alone is normal shampoo, with its high concentration of sodium laureth (lauryl) sulfate (also the main ingredient of dish soap).  Color care shampoos can really help keep the fading at bay but won’t eliminate the need for touchups entirely, especially when transitioning to a difficult color like red.  Color care conditioners aren’t necessary but if you’re like me and don’t want a lot of fragrances mixing, go ahead and get the conditioner it comes with.

So the answer is yes, color care shampoos are essential for prolonging the life of your color but color care conditioner is not necessary (just check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain SLS).  I spoke with a stylist at an Aveda salon and she told me that according to Aveda, all of their shampoos are safe for color treated hair.  I would err on the side of caution, however, and stick with Aveda’s many other color safe alternatives such as the Color Conserve Line.  I personally use Blue Malva Shampoo and Color Conditioner and when I had red hair, I used Madder Root Color Conditioner and had great results with it.  Blue Malva and Madder Root work by depositing a little color with each wash to help keep your color looking as fresh and new as possible.

  • If getting your hair wet leads to fading, the obvious fix would be to not let your hair get wet.  You do need to wash your hair (please wash your hair) but not every day.  Next time you’re at the drugstore, pick up a shower cap to limit the amount of water that can reach your hair.  Only shampoo when absolutely necessary.
  • The amount of times per week that you need to wash your hair varies depending on hair texture and scalp oiliness.  Curly haired ladies can go the longest between washes while girls with pin-straight hair will need to shampoo more frequently.  I have wavy hair so it’s a day-by-day judgement call.
  • Aveda’s Color Conserve Line is pretty great but if you can’t afford this luxury brand, I dearly love L’Oreal Everpure Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner.
  • Sulfate-free shampoos do not lather but that’s ok.  You will still be clean, I promise.

Do you have a question for me?  Let me hear it using the Contact feature on my blog.  All questions are completely anonymous.  Want to see other questions I’ve answered?  Click here.

Someone asked me recently if I prefered the Matte Bare Minerals to the Original.  The matte formula logically should be better for someone with oily skin, however I use the original formula.  Here’s why:

Matte Bare Minerals Cons:

  • Matte Bare Minerals does help to control oiliness, however it only ever bought me an extra hour or so before I had to blot.
  • The packaging looks the same from the outside but the base is thicker on the matte formula – meaning there is less in the container for the same amount of money.  So it’s more expensive than the original formula.
  • I noticed that I needed to use more product to get the same coverage of the Original.  So you’re burning through it faster and it costs more.
  • The color didn’t seem to be exactly the same, it seemed a little lighter to me.

The Original formula works better for me so that’s all I’ll use.  Here are some of my tips to get the most out of your Bare Minerals.

  • If your skin is oily like mine, you might try using a matte powder before you apply Bare Minerals.  I like Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder.  Just sweep some on your skin before anything else and then apply Bare Minerals like usual.  It keeps the oil at bay until after lunch!
  • Using any translucent powder before Bare Minerals helps you use slightly less of the foundation.
  • There really isn’t a need to buy any sort of concealer, just use a little Bare Minerals and a small, flat brush.
  • If you normally get a little more color in the summer, sprinkle a little Warmth into the lid before you sprinkle Bare Minerals and mix thoroughly to make the color subtly darker.  It could save you money over buying a whole new shade.
  • EcoTools sells very soft, high quality, yet very affordable cruelty-free alternatives to the brushes included in the Bare Minerals starter kit.

If you have any questions for me, please use the Contact feature on my blog.  Of course all questions will be 100% anonymous.  Want to see other questions I’ve answered?  Click here.

It has been requested that I open up my blog to questions from my readers.  Ok, it was more of a demand if you want to get technical.  Either way, here we go with our first question:

“Instead of a loofah, I bathe with a bacon cheeseburger.  Am I doing something wrong?”  Here’s the actual conversation if you don’t believe me:

Fit Sugar aptly calls bacne “an unpleasant side effect of working out.”  They also have some great tips to help avoid bacne and treating the bacne you already have.  I’ll sort of summarize plus add in some of my own tips:

  • Shower the moment you are done working out.  You know how your gym has showers?  Use them.  Pack a portable shower caddy (like the ones you used in college dorm bathrooms) to cart shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, etc.  If you really can’t stomach the idea of showering in a public place, shower the second you get home.  Consider at least bringing a change of clothes to the gym.
  • Speaking of the shower, use shampoo and conditioner before you wash your body.  All that creamy, oily conditioner might be great for your hair, but can cause bacne if it clogs your pores.
  • I know some people who think you should use a gentler acne wash for your back than for your face, but actually the skin on your face is much more delicate than the skin on your back, so scrub away!
  • You should be using a scrub with salicylic acid.  I recommend Clean & Clear Deep Action Exfoliating Scrub because it’s cheap ($6) and plentiful.  Use a back brush (probably skip the loofah because they can damage skin and make bacne worse) to make sure you reach 100% of your back.
  • Some people’s skin responds better to benzoyl peroxide, in which case consider trying Clean & Clear Advantage 3-in-1 Exfoliating Scrub.  It’s also around $7 so it’s not terribly expensive to scrub your whole back with it.
  • If neither of these options are working for you, consider some other alternatives, although these will probably be more expensive:  glycolic acid and alpha hydroxy because they both promote cell turnover.
  • So important:  Using any acne medicated scrub or soap will make it easier for your skin to burn in the sun so please please please wear sunscreen.
  • Also, if you’re reading through this list and thinking to yourself that you’ve tried all of these tips and you’re still having trouble, consider making an appointment with a dermatologist.  She can possibly write a script for something stronger or even antibiotics to get you on the right track.

If you have a question for me, please use the Contact feature right here on my blog.  All questions will be 100% anonymous and I’ll do my best to get you the answers you need!

It’s been sort of cloudy and rainy here in Dayton so last night I thought I would paint my nails a very light grey, nearly white.  It reminds of me of middle school because back then, and probably a little while in high school, one way to beat the boredom in class was to pass around a bottle of white out and paint your nails bright, copy paper matte white.  Even guys got in on the trend since it’s not really nail polish after all.  At the time, the look was very shocking since we were a long way away from the trend being accepted by mainstream beauty.  Now you see (shiny) white nails everywhere and it makes me smile.

Also pictured:  My rings from ARIN.

I never have a lot of faith in things delivered in pen form (other than ink, I suppose).  They tried putting white-out in pens and it always got clogged.  Lip gloss pens can leave giant drops of pink on your white dress.  However, LAQA & Co. might be on to something with these Nail Polish Pens.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical.  I ordered a gift set from Gloss48 when the sale came up and when they arrived I queued up  a (terrible) movie on Netflix called Daydream Nation (I thought with a title taken from Sonic Youth, what could go wrong?).  Even while rolling my eyes at this movie, I didn’t mess up my nails at all, which means that the control you get with a pen brush applicator really does help tremendously.

The color in the photo that I’m wearing is Incestuous (icky name, beautiful color).  I have 3 coats on because that’s what was recommended on the packaging.  I think 3 is necessary to make the polish look even.  The drying time was very fast so it was easy to finish the whole task in a short time and even though I went to bed only 30 minutes (give or take) after the top coat, I didn’t get any midnight smudging to fix in the morning, which I appreciate.

The gift box came with a clear Topcoat and a teal Squid Ink as well as Polish Remover Pads, which smell like vanilla somehow and work very well even though they feel oily, not drying.  I guess you could say they completely break all the rules regarding nail polish removal.

And I can’t end this review without mentioning the gorgeous packaging designed by various young artists who receive a portion of the profits from every unit sold.  What a neat company!

At $15.45, this isn’t the cheapest nail polish you’ll ever buy, but it is a pretty convenient, mess-free way to paint your nails and if you’re prone to staining your desk, couch, blankets, and anything else that gets in your way while giving yourself a manicure, this would be a cheap alternative to buying new furniture.