Bye bye oil, hello matte!

For the longest time, I’ve been reaching for a powder from ELF cosmetics whenever my face gets shiny. Just a dab here and there, and *poof!*, I’m matte again. The only problem is that the powder has salicylic acid in it, which dries out my skin, causing it to overproduce oil which then soaks up the powder and leaves my face shiny once more, forcing me to repeat the process, adding more schtuff onto my face than I’d like. Good for a temporary fix, not good for all day wear.

But, as usual, my monthly Ipsy bag saved the day again. In it, I found City Color’s HD Powder, which, I’ll admit, I was not all that excited by. I figured it would be the same situation as my other powder: apply, oil soaks through, apply again. But not so with this handy dandy, powdered sugar frosting. Super lightweight and sheer, I just apply a little bit (emphasis on a little, or you’ll end up like a ghost), and it keeps my face matte all day. The true test was when I used it the other night to go out for a friend’s birthday. We hit up an outdoor restaurant on a day that was well into the upper 90 degrees, and, despite sweating, my face only got a little bit reflective. So much so that when I asked my boyfriend how my face looked after the night was over, he remarked that it actually looked better than usual.

And you know that if a guy notices, it’s pretty good stuff.

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Girl You Don’t Need Makeup – Why Amy Schumer Is Awesome

Thank. God.

Amy Schumer made a music video that finally deals with something that all of us girls have probably been told at least once in our lives: “Why do you bother with makeup, you look so pretty without it.”

It’s very sweet when guys say this. And I’m blessed to have a man in my life who tells me first thing in the morning how pretty I am. But the reality is that a lot of guys don’t realize just how much makeup it takes to get the no makeup look.

Lately, I’ve been opting for a more makeup free face. Occasionally (as in, when I’m going out to the store), I’ll put it on, but I’ve been going wild and free more often than not. It’s liberating, though slightly terrifying. It’s hard to disguise a pimple without concealer. What do you cover it with? Hair? Suffice it to say, I will probably never completely let go of my foundation and mascara. But I urge you all to try giving it up for yourself, if only on the weekends.

New moisturizer!

So let’s get a little up close and personal here. My skin isn’t terrible, but it’s not perfection. I mean, I don’t have pimples everywhere, but I also don’t have skin like porcelain. It gets greasy some days, feels dry on others, and sometimes, for about an hour or two, it feels great. I’m pretty sure I have the epitome of combination skin in every which way.

About a year ago, I started getting some dry spots near the corners of my lips, so I turned to a super heavy moisturizer (Aveeno for eczema), that cleared the dry patchy spots up, but wasn’t really supposed to be for the face. It worked well enough though, because it didn’t make me break out any more than normal, and didn’t make me any shinier than normal. But it still wasn’t great.

So when I ran out of my last tube, I was eager to get to the store and try something new. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for (dangerous), so I just started looking at things and checking out their reviews. By chance, I happened to pick up CeraVe’s PM moisturizer, and, after looking at some pretty fricken awesome reviews online, I scooped it up and proceeded to the register.

Boy, am I glad I did.

From the first use, this stuff was amaze-balls (anyone else watch Awkward?). It went on easily, make my skin feel hydrated, and wasn’t super heavy or greasy.

I’ve only been using this for a few days, and, sadly, my skin still isn’t porcelain perfection. And, frankly, I don’t ever expect it to be. However, it is hydrated and not having any abnormal breakouts, so I’ll definitely be sticking with this moisturizer from now on.

Let me know if you’ve tried it, or what moisturizers you recommend in the comments!

My NEW favourite face mask

I posted a sugar scrub here before, and, while I still love that one, I have to say that I’m a little over the top for this one. It made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse (I watched the Godfather last night, so prepare yourself for a few references). It’s called Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, and you can get it from Amazon for the same price as…as…as something else that’s ten bucks. And it’s super easy to use. Bada bing!

Steps:

1. Wash face. Never put a mask over a dirty mug, or you’re missing the point.

2. Mix clay with apple cider vinegar so it’s pastey. I’m sure water works well too, but apple cider vinegar is kind of the bomb. Trust me, leave the water. Take the vinegar. (Was that too much of a stretch?)

3. Schmear that stuff all over your face.

4. Let sit for about twenty minutes, or until dry. You’re going to feel it tighten a LOT, and you won’t be able to move your face. Don’t worry, you’re not paralyzed.

5. Rinse off. I recommend just hopping in the shower and letting the water re-hydrate the gunk and rinse it off, or else you’ll be leaning over the sink for awhile.

6. Apply lotion, and voila! Baby soft skin.

I will warn you that with all the tightening, this mask brings some of the yucky stuff in your face to the surface, so you may break out a little more. That’s natural. It’ll go away.

Oh, and since this tightens your face and makes it pulse a bit (yay blood circulation!), your face will be a little red after use. Do not freak out. You are not a tomato.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

Keeping your bottle blonde hair healthy and bright

So I have a confession to make. Remember back when I said to step away from the chemicals when growing out your hair? I didn’t take my own advice.

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*Face palm*

I can’t help it. I like my hair better when it looks like I’m a beach bum. It brightens my face, and highlights my blue eyes really well. I used to be blonde as a kid, but alas adulthood has caught up and I can’t get outside as often to give my locks some natural highlights. So I trekked to the salon and put my hair in the hands of a professional.

But even then, it definitely ain’t healthy to use bleach, no matter whose hands its in.

So for those who are like me and got their colour from a bottle or salon, here are some tips for keeping your blonde healthy and bright.

1. Avoid heat tools. You don’t have to completely stay away, but, for the majority of the time, try to work with your hair’s natural texture and avoid blasting it with heat. Your ends will thank you.

2. And, when you do use heat tools, always always ALWAYS use heat protectant. Don’t risk frying your hair any more than you already have.

3. Get your hair trimmed every time you sit back in the salon chair. Get those dead, over processed ends off. If you’re doing this regularly, you’ll never have to hack your hair off because it’s gone off to frizzy city.

4. Use a purple shampoo and conditioner to counteract any brassiness. No one wants yellow hair. To make sure your hair doesn’t look like hay, use a purple shampoo about every other day, and a purple conditioner about once a week. Don’t go too crazy though, or you’ll end up with gray hair.

5. Weave some lowlights (or keep some of your natural colour) into your hair. This makes roots less blunt, and keeps you away from the bleach for a longer period of time.

If you follow these tips and don’t go psycho with the bleach, you’ll be able to be a bottle blonde AND keep your hair long and luscious.

Why I hate contouring (let me explain)

I know contouring is all the rage these days. Kim Kardashian does it, there are youtube videos everywhere, and it’s basically the hottest thing you can do right now in addition to shaping your eyebrows.

That being said, I hate it.

This is about the point where I expect a lot of people reading this to scoff at their screens, and never look back at my blog again. I understand, but please give me a chance to explain.

I hate contouring because it has the sole purpose of changing how you look. I know the same thing can be said of all makeup, technically. But I find that makeup is meant to enhance what you already have going on, like how mascara makes your eyes pop, rather than all out changing it. Contouring is not enhancing. Contouring is adding cheekbones, shrinking your nose, making your forehead recede into the background. It’s not keeping true to the real you. And that, in this writer’s humble opinion, is sad.

We’re all beautiful for different reasons. If we contour our faces to achieve the same Barbie doll look, we lose that unique beauty.

Makeup contouring

That middle face looks more like war paint.

Makeup contouring changes who you are

That is not the same person. Oh wait, it is.

Extreme makeup contouring

What the. I give up.

Anti-breakage super awesome brush for wet hair

One of the big things you can do to stop hair breakage is to stop brushing your hair when it’s wet. I.e. when it’s most vulnerable. And this is a great thing to follow when you’re not going out anywhere.

But let’s be serious.

How many of us actually want to wake up an hour earlier to let our hair dry before we brush it? Or shower the night before (as others may suggest) and wake up with hair sticking up at odd angles all over the place. Sure, it’s dry, but no matter how much I brush it it still looks like someone took a leaf blower to it.

I work from home some days, and it doesn’t matter what I look like. But on other days, I don’t have that luxury. So how to brush my hair without turning it into snap city?

Easy. It’s called the Wet Brush. A name so obvious that it rivals Pamela Anderson’s fake…nails. With super bendy bristles, it doesn’t drag on knots, but instead lightly coaxes them apart. It doesn’t pull on weak strands, but instead glides through them.

I give this thing an A+.

the wet brush, anti breakage brush for wet hair

Lip Smacking Good- Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm

I rarely wear lip gloss, lip stick, lip liner, etc. I can never seem to get the right colour, and I never was very good at drawing in the lines. So all that is in my lip arsenal tends to be a stick of chapstick. And, more often than not, that’s missing or in the wash. Oops.

That being said, I think I found my new lip favourite: Malin + Goetz’s Mojito Lip Balm. I swiped it on this morning when I felt my lips getting dry, and it’s lasted a few hours already. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it, and would recommend it to anyone fighting those chapped winter lips.

Oh, and it smells like a mojito. Yummy.

Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm

Miracle hair product (this is not a scam)

There are a bajillion hair products out there claiming to totally change the look and feel of your hair, and, let’s be honest, most of them are full of crap. I’ve tried a bunch of different things, and, while some work better than others, most of them aren’t actually miracles.

That is, until I tried the Coolway Boost Repair Treatment that came in my Ipsy bag last month (I’ll do a post on Ipsy later).

One shower, one application, one rinse, and holy moly my hair felt soft, detangled, and all around awesome. I kept touching it over and over. At the time, I hadn’t had a haircut in a long while, so my ends were frazzled in all kinds of ways, and many would break off each time I brushed. But the repair treatment made brushing a breeze, and I didn’t feel like my ends were a crisp.

This may be the first thing from Ipsy that I’m actually going to buy the full size version of. It’s a tad expensive at $30 a pop, but, used sparsely, I think it’s worth it. And that’s saying something from a girl who only shells out $3 for shampoo/conditioner. Try it, and let me know what you think.

Coolway Boost Repair Treatment

Coolway Boost Repair Treatment

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your shoulder length hair

I have chopped off my hair three times, and am currently on my third try of growing it out. The last two times, I gave up at shoulder length, and went back to short hair. But this time, I will prevail! And I figured that meant it is time to share my tips on growing out short hair.

Tip #1: You are going to get a mullet. As your hair grows out, the first thing you’ll notice is that the back of your hair is getting longer than the front. Business in the front, not so party in the back. So even though you’re growing your hair out, you’re going to want to go to the salon regularly, or learn how to trim your own hair, to get those pesky hairs on the nape of your neck.

Tip #2: You will get split ends. Unless you never style your hair, never colour it, never expose it to the elements, it is highly likely that some of your ends will get ratty. This is similar to tip #1. Even though you are growing your hair out, make sure to take regular trips to the salon to get those split ends snipped. Otherwise, the split could spread up the hair shaft, causing more damage and the need to cut off even more hair when you finally get into the chair.

Tip #3: Use as many protecting products as you need. My hair has a slight wave, which means it’s straight when it’s short, wavy when it’s long, but has a singular kink when it’s in between. So during the awkward grow out phase, I tend to reach for the straightener more often. I have had the stupid problem of not using a heat protectant, and that was plain (like I said) stupid. Always, always, always protect your hair. You’re growing it out so that it looks lustrous and healthy, not fried and frizzy.

Tip #4: This may be the most important, but nonetheless it’s down towards the bottom. Get a good amazing hair stylist. You want someone who knows the texture of your hair, who can sculpt it into a hairstyle that limits the amount of styling needed, and can be there through the arduous task of growing it out. Trust me, you’ll be way less tempted to just reach for the scissors and cut it all off.

Tip #5: Stay away from chemicals. I know some of us are bottle blondes, but if you’re trying to grow out your hair then stay away from hair colour as much as possible, except for non damaging semi permanents. This will reduce the amount of damage to your hair and keep your trims as short as possible. Plus you’ll save beaucoup bucks. Just focus on the fact that when your hair is long and silky smooth, you can dye the whole thing just once, and only touch up the roots once in awhile.

Tip #6: Use pinterest. Um, what? Yeah, I’m shamelessly pushing some social media here. That’s because pinterest is great for looking up hairstyles to hold you over in between short and long hair, as well as motivational pictures of girls with flowing, mermaid waves that will make you never want to cut your hair again. It may sound silly, but if it keeps you away from the scissors, then use it.

If you have any more ideas, or have questions regarding the process of growing out your hair, comment below! I’ve done it way too many times (hopefully this is the last), so I’ll lend my experience as much as I can. Happy growing!

My "before"

before

now

now