Saturday, August 30, 2014

What is Okay to buy at a Drugstore instead of going High End?

The most important things to buy high end are things that will directly effect the health of your hair and skin. While high end mascara might flake less and last longer, it isn't healthier for you than anything you can buy at Target. That is the big key. There are some things that I never recommend getting at the drugstore, and others that you can get away with. Here is that list!


I recommend Revlon 3D Photo Ready Mascara
NYX or Covergirl pencils are my favorite here!
I like Maybelline's Fit Me Blushes
I think Revlon's Colorstay Moisture Stain is great!
Honestly TRESemme, Suave and Herbal Essance all work the same. I like High End hairspray better because it hold better and isn't as crunchy but you aren't hurting your hair by using Suave. 

High End:
I love Mary Kay, but most high end foundations are great
Skin Care
Once again, Mary Kay has my heart, but I also Clinique and Estee Lauder
Shampoo & Conditioner
TIGI Urban Antidotes, Healthy Sexy Hair and Redken products all have my stamp of approval
Leave-in Conditioners
Have you heard of Uniq One? Because if you haven't you need too! 
Heat Protectants
If there were ever any beauty corners for you not to cut, this is it! Get a good heat protectant that works for your hair type. Click here to learn what is best for you
Eye Shadow
Okay maybe this one should be in the other section. It's just that high end eye shadows are SO MUCH BETTER! They have higher pigmentation and they last longer than drugstore brands. No it won't hurt you to buy them at Walmart and it isn't healthier to use high end ones here, but I honestly can't think of a single drugstore eye shadow I like.  I recommend Urban Decay and La Femme Eye Shadows. 

***Thanks to Vanessa Burgess for asking this question***

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Blackheads 101

Blackheads are awful. It's plain and simple. People of all ages, nationalities and genders struggle with them. Like most I spent the first few years of puberty popping, repopping and angrily repopping the same black heads over and over again. But no matter how many pore strips, masques, and creams I used they always came back!

When I went to cosmetology school I went to a school that also taught esthetics (not to be confused with aesthetics). For those of you who don't know, esthetics focuses on skin care. They do chemical peels, advanced body waxing, extractions and several other things that cosmetologists don't do (but they don't do any hair cutting, coloring, ect). They study advanced skin and nails with a little hair and makeup, while cosmetologists are taught advanced hair and makeup with a little skin and nails. So being at a school with licensed estheticians acting as instructors I just asked one of them. This is what I learned.

Blackheads are oil and dead skin cells that clog a pore. The biggest difference between a whitehead and a blackhead is that blackheads are "open comedones (com-A-dough-ns)" while white heads are closed. Closed comedones have been covered by a layer of skin, and open ones have not. You have probably noticed that when you pop a white head, pimple or zit you have to apply pressure until it bursts, where with blackheads the clog comes right out when you apply the right pressure. Because there is no covering the clog oxidizes and turns black. It is not any dirtier or more infected than a white head.

Blackheads are caused by a lot of things. Excessive sweating, improper skin care, cheap makeup, not washing your makeup off at night, and even skin conditions. There are skin conditions that people don't even diagnose because they are super common and not life threatening at all. Most people who have super oily skin have a genetic skin condition.

When treating blackheads it is important to remember that the oil and skin cells are deep in your pore, and it's going to take a little more than honey and sea salt to get it out. You also have to keep in mind that while you may be able to use a pore strip or a scrub to get rid of the top few layers of the buildup so that it doesn't look black anymore doesn't mean you have gotten rid of the actual blackhead. Most blackheads stay for months and even years! When getting rid of them you have to be patient and persistent. You will most likely not see immediate results.

The best way to get rid of them is to follow these simple steps:

1 - Go to an Estethician for an Extraction
This is the most important step. Almost anyone who does facials also does extractions. Most spas and full service salons do extractions as well. Please do not try to do this on your own. If you are reading this you probably have lot of blackheads. If you have more than 5 individual black heads you need a professional. They know how much pressure to apply and for what length of time to remove your black heads without causing skin damage or trauma. They will also properly prepare and clean your skin before and after the extraction. If you can't afford it, go to an esthetics school.

2 - Buy and Use a Face Wash with Salicylic Acid or Retinol in it
I recommend using Mary Kay's Clear Proof Acne Treatment Set (or at least the cleanser from it). Use it once a day, daily unless the bottle instructs you to use it less than that. DO NOT USE IT MORE THAN THAT. Over washing the face is one of the biggest mistakes people commonly make. You should only wash your face with cleanser once a day, never twice unless a dermatologist okays it. You usually can't buy more than 3% retinol or salicylic acid products without a prescription. If your skin is bad enough, I recommend seeing a dermatologist for a skin treatment prescription.

3 - Extract the Blackheads that do Pop Up
It happens, it sucks, but there will be some that come back. If you ever break out so that you have more than 5 black heads at once you need to do another extraction (I'd wait a few weeks so a few more pop up before going to a pro though, just because I like to get my moneys worth.) But if a couple show up in the morning pop it, but do it right! Here is a quick guide to popping your own blackheads.

  • Wash your face thoroughly while taking or right before taking a shower. 
  • Make sure your hands are clean and dry.
  • Dry your face thoroughly.
  • Wear powder-free gloves or wrap your fingers in cotton before popping anything. 
  • Apply gentle to medium pressure
  • If the blackhead does not pop easily stop applying pressure!
  • Do not try to do self extractions for more than 8 minutes (10 tops!)
  • If it is painful, stop.

***Thanks to Michelle Keller for asking this question***
Thanks to BreeAnn Sykes for helping me with the info to accurately write this post!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ipsy vs. Birchbox

I have had so many questions about these two companies! For those of you who don't know Ipsy and Birchbox are both companies that send you beauty products and samples every month for $10. Usually you get 4-5 items each month. I have had a lot of people ask me which one is better so I decided to subscribe to both for 3 months and see who's really is "better".


  • sends you 4-5 items total, 1 or 2 (sometimes even 3) of which are full sized, while the rest are sample sizes. 
  • comes in a different color/patterned reusable zipper makeup bag
  • you usually get several makeup products with a few skin care products
  • Every single bag comes with one high end well known brand named item (Urban Decay, NYX, Stila, Physicians Formula, ect.) 
  • You can collect Ipsy Points by joining Ipsy, sharing your glam bag on Facebook or Twitter, singing your friends up under you, and a few for reviewing each item that come sin your glam bag. 
  • The Ipsy points are redeemable on 3 selected items that change every month.
  • The Ipsy website will direct you to other online shopping pages to purchase any products found in your (or others) glam bags. 

Birch Box:
  • Sends you 4-6 items total, which occasionally includes one full sized item. 
  • Comes in a brown, sturdy box every single month
  • You get a lot of skin and hair products with a few makeup products, and the occasional snack!
  • Most of the brands are not well known
  • You can collect Birch Box points by joining, signing up friends, reviewing products that have come in your box, subscribing each month, as well as buying products directly from birch box.
  •  Those points are redeemable on any and all products in the birch box store. 
  • You can buy all products found in your (and others) birch boxes directly form birch box on their website. 

Overall I prefer getting Ipsy, because I prefer makeup to skin and hair products. I also think that most of the Ipsy products I get are high quality. I have gotten several drugstore items from Birch Box and once I even got a crappy hotel shampoo and conditioner! But with that being said I prefer the points system with Birch Box. I love that you get points every month just for being a member! I also love that you can get points for shopping with them. I have gotten a couple amazing full sized products off Birch Box for either very little or free! I love it!

So which one is better? I guess that depends on the individual. If I were you I'd try Ipsy for a couple of months, then Birch Box and decide for yourself. Like I said I prefer Ipsy.... but then again I still subscribe to both ;) 

***Thanks to Kari, GinaG, and MelanieLovesWatermelon for asking this question***