Monday, December 31, 2018

New Years

I have been posting less this last week because I have been focused on my family and my health (the flu came to visit us for the holidays), but I wanted to share something super cool with you guys this new years. After we finished opening gifts and eating breakfast together Christmas morning, my mother in law brought out a kit she had purchased to hand stamp jewelry.

The company she purchased from was called My Intent, and no they didn't sponsor this post or anything, this was the first time I had heard about them too. The kit included a small hammer, a wheel for stamping the jewelry, and every letter of the alphabet on stamping pillars. She had also purchased several bracelets and necklaces with rings that were attached with different kinds of chains and cords to create jewelry, all of them were blank. My mother in law challenged each of us to think of a word we wanted to define our next year. A word to build our 2019 around. After we chose our word we picked out our colors and jewelry style and then we stamped that word ourselves into the metal ring.

It sounds kind of cliche, I'll admit that. I thought it was cute, but I do like goal setting and creating visions and intentions for my time. So I was happy to play along. I have been wanting this next year to look like something else for a long time. I have taken a lot of smaller classes and pre-courses and seminars about how to build my business, how to get motivated, how to be a better hairstylist or blogger or wife or friend. I have never taken the leap though, I have never truly taken the plunge. I tend to do things half way. I will take the free pre-course, but no pay for the full experience. I will do the challenged that are convenient for me, but not the ones outside of my comfort zone. I can't seem to commit, so I don't reap the rewards of my efforts because I don't put the efforts in. This year will be different.

As I hand stamped that word into yhe necklace myself, one letter by one, I felt something. I felt the power and energy of that word fill me. There was something about stamping my intention into that wheel of metal that made it feel more real. More mine.

The word I chose this Christmas to define and drive my 2019 is thrive. I want to thrive. What is thriving anyways? I am a relatively happy person. Even when things in my life aren't as I'd hoped (financial struggles, family drama, etc.) I am usually pretty good at counting my blessings and being grateful for what I have. I am happy in the day to day. I have a sign on my mantel that says "love the motions" which to me means when you say you are "going through the motions" you need to learn to love those motions, love the day to day. Love your existence. And I think I do. I am not perfect, but I do stay positive fairly well.

But thriving isn't merely loving your existence. It is more than that. Thriving isn't making it by, and learning to be at peace when a payment is made late. Thriving is about taking control of your destiny and going where you want to. It's about having freedom of time, freedom of finances and freedom of anxiety. I am going to thrive by the end of 2019, but it won't happen by chance. I can't get there by sitting back in my comfort zone doing all the things I have been doing for ages.

So what does this look like for me?

It looks like making real promises to myself that I commit to and follow through with. When I say I am going to update my site weekly, I will.

It looks like going to bed on time so my body is healthier and my mind is more alert.

It looks like drinking those annoying smoothies in the morning that I don't actually hate, and they make me feel so good, but they take so long to make and I'd rather sleep in an extra five minutes than making them.

It means saying no to that impulse buy I want SO BAD because it's a killer sale and I know I'll use that hairspray in the future, and saving that money to invest in real educational opportunities that will help me grow. I've taken all the free classes. I need to invest in me.

It means committing my time to my blog and to my social media so that when I am sick or struggling mentally, I am ahead of my game ad don't have to worry about not posting, because it's automatically done.

It means committing to, working on and investing in me, for me.


I recently read the book "Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis (an incredible read if you didn't already know) and in it she said that we are the first people we break a promise to. But if you can't trust yourself, then who can you trust? I recently have had some personal growth that I honestly never thought I would have. It has given me the courage to believe that I CAN make promises to myself and keep them. I can fight for my goals. And I'm going to.

So this year I am going to tackle my business in a big way, and I hope that you are all along for the ride. I am going to be upping my game in the salon with new education and by adding services to my menu and expanding my talents. I am going to up my business by not neglecting social media and dedicating time every week to it. I am going to up my income by really believing in Rarity Nails, a product I love and now sell, and truly give it a fighting chance. I am so excited to be a part of all of these goals and I hope you are all making your own too!

So what does thrive mean to you? And how are you going to thrive in 2019?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

REVIEW: Derma E Vitamin E Intensive Therapy Body Balm

Packaging - 3 (average)
Scent - 2 (not very good)
Hydrating - 3 (average)
Texture - 4 (very good)
Longevity - 2 (not very good)
Overall:


I didn't enjoy this product at all. It had a strong citrus and acidic smell. It didn't provide me with any more hydration than a Walmart lotion (I have actually tried Walmart lotions I have liked better) and I felt I had to reapply it constantly. It is also pretty pricey considering it's effectiveness. The only good thing was that it had a smooth, thick and buttery texture that I liked. I'd skip this one.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

REVIEW: Bare Mineral Marvelous Moxie Liptick

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Moisturizing - 3 (average)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Smudge Proof - 2 (not very good)
Overall:




Let's just dive right in. I love the packaging of this lipstick. It is sleek, pretty and functional. The formula itself is not hydrating in my opinion. I definitely still need balm. But it's also not drying either. It smells divine, like chocolate. But it's not so overwhelming that it bothers you. However it is not smudge proof at all and will need several reapplications. I feel the wear is the quality of covergirl to be honest. I wouldn't personally purchase this again.



Monday, December 24, 2018

I love the holidays. I love the music, I love gift giving (and getting 😉) and I love spending time with my family. The holidays can overwhelm many, because they feel a lot of pressure to spend money and attend every performance and party. It can get overwhelming to be perfectly honest. But I think if you remember what these holidays are all about, it will keep your spirits bright. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, while Hanukah celebrates the re-dedication of the second temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt. Kwanza celebrates African heritage and Winter Solstice recognizes the Earth's shortest daylight while marveling at the beauty of nature. No matter what you celebrate, or why, I think there is one defining thing that ties all of these together and that is love. 
Even when the Christmas programs, gift wrapping and holiday parties get overwhelming I hope you can wrap yourself in true meaning of The Holidays. Feel the love of those who have invited you, feel the love you have for those you are wrapping those gifts for. Feel the love of your deity and the earth. Feel the love of your family you are baking those cookies for. Love is Everything.

This is my favorite holiday song and I am going to share it with you because I feel it helps me to recenter and refocus this time of year. Slow down you hustle and bustle. Feel the love and happy holidays ♥





Sunday, December 23, 2018

REVIEW: Redken Graydiant Shampoo and Conditioner

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Hydration - 5 (excellent)
Gray Deposit - 5 (excellent)
Overall:



This shampoo and conditioner has impressed me so much to be honest. Going gray is one of the hardest (but hottest) trends right now. It takes such a toll on your hair and the color is so hard to keep in.  So when Redken came out with this I knew I had to test it out, BUT I don't have gray hair! So I enlisted the help of my friend Kenyon. I color Kenyon's hair silver and I also see her every single week, so she was the perfect candidate to help me with this. Usually after taking her silver, her hair begins to yellow within 3 weeks and it's not longer gray at all within 6 weeks.

Kenyon's silvery gray hair
cut and colored by me ♥
So let me give you her report on this. I have (since hearing her reviews) had other clients purchase this and they are loving it. All have had the same love for it Kenyon has.

The packaging is a pretty gray/blue tone. I love the silver metallic elements on it as well. I do not like that it is bottom heavy because it is hard to store upside down, which is why it gets a 4 instead of a 5 for packaging. It smells delicious. It has a great warm almost honey scent that is lightly floral. It isn't to strong though, which I appreciate.

A lot of the times color deposit shampoos are so drying, but this shampoo has left my client's hair feeling soft and hydrated. It cleans it well and doesn't weigh it down, but it keeps it feeling soft and supple. And of course, it deposits a perfect amount of cool silver tones that aren't to dark, but still keep you looking fresh.

Friday, December 21, 2018

REVIEW: Nuetrogena Eye Makeup Removal Wipes

Packaging - 2 (not very good)
Scent - 2 (not very good)
Tear Free - 2 (not very good)
Sensitive - 3 (average)
Longevity  - 1 (bad)
Overall:





 There are a few problems with these makeup removing towelettes. First and foremost they cost about $5 per package and you get 25 towelettes. I wear foundation, mascara and eyeliner every single day. I only had to use one towelette on those days. There are some days however (for church, weddings, parties, ect.) that I use eye shadow, blush, contour, and lipstick as well. On those days I had to use 2 towelettes. Each wrapper only comes with 25, so even if I only used one per day I would still run out in less than one month. Also the seal that keep the towelettes moist is just like a sticker, and I found that after opening my package up 5-6 times it was no longer sealing, and my towelettes were dried out by the end of week two (so I had to add a little water to them before using). I was then told that I had to get the special box for them, which I did go buy, and it is just a little plastic blue box with one package of the towelettes in it, and it cost $13, which I thought was crazy! I mean $8 for a cheap plastic box? Anyways I did not feel like it helped the longevity of my towelettes at all. I also think they smelled like alcohol, and when I had to use them around my eyes or on my waterline there was a faint fume that burned slightly. Needless to say I was not a big fan of this product. On the other hand it did remove makeup very thoroughly. Of course most towelettes don't get down into the pores so you can't skip the cleanser if you use these.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Let's talk about Large Pores!

We are gonna talk about large pores today. Everyone who has them wants to know either how to get rid of them or how to cover them up. I am going to talk about those two things, as well as WHY your pores are large in the first place. if you don't know why it's a problem, it's hard to understand how to fix it. You know me though, I'm thorough like that. If you don't care about why, skip down to learn about the fixes.


Why Do you Have Large Pores?

There are four main causes for enlarged pores.

  • Excessive Oil - when the pores on your skin produce to much sebum (or oil) it can cause your pores to become large as they fill with the oil. If you have oily skin, this is likely your problem. 
  • Skin Looses It's Structure - as we age our skin looses elasticity and structure. As the skin begins to become less supple our pores begin to look larger.
  • Clogged Pores - when our pores fill up with pus, oil or pollutants, it can cause the pores to expand and become larger.  
  • To Dry - yup, if your skin is to oily your pores will look bigger, but same if they are to dry. Your skin will flatten out and make the pores look larger. 
All of the fixes we are going to talk about combat at least one of these problems. I am also going to get the whole "dunk your face in cold water" thing out of the way. Cold water will constrict your pores, but only VERY temporarily. After your face returns to room temperature, your pores will go back to normal too. 

Moisturize 

The biggest mistake people with oily skin make, is they don't moisturize. You have to moisturize. Just use the right moisturizer! You skin reacts to what is happening around it. It often will overproduce oil because you live in a dry climate, or because of your fatty diet, as well as because it feels your skin isn't oily enough! If you are constantly washing oils off you skin and drying it out and then not moisturizing it after, your skin says "oh! we need MORE oil". It literally makes it worse. 

Make sure you aren't using any oils that are pore clogging. I love using this tool from Acne Mantra to make sure I am not using anything comedogenic. Just copy and paste your ingredients list into the box, answer a super easy math question to prove you aren't a robot, and it will tell you which (if any) of the ingredients are comedogenic, and if it's a mild chance it could clog your pores, or if it's highly likely to clog your pores. 

Make sure your moisturizer is water based and not oil based. Your skin has to much oil, why would you put more oil on that? There should be no oils listed in the first five ingredients, or better yet it could be oil free. So for example the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, which has Mineral Oil listed as it's second ingredient, is not the right choice for you. Instead opt for light weight, water based moisturizers like Dermalogica Active Moist (pictured on the right), or Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. But check acne mantra - oil free doesn't mean noncomedogenic. While researching I found a couple oil free high ends moisturizers that contained highly comedogenic ingredients. 

Choose Water Based Products
Moisturizer isn't the only oily thing you put on your face. Foundations and Primers play a major role too. Once again, check to make sure your foundation and primer doesn't have oil in it. I love the Clinique Even Better Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15 (pictured on the left).  I also love the Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation Drops

For primers I like the Fenty Beauty Pro Filter Instant Retouch Primer as well as the Benefit Porefessional Face Primer and best of all is the LancomeLA Base Pro Perfecting Makeup Primer. All of these options are free of oils and several are made specifically for minimizing large pores. 


Stay Consistent with Skin Care

You need to be sure that whatever cleanser you are using, you are using it consistently. Skip the makeup wipes, they don't get down into the pores. And use a brush that does get a good deep clean for the best results. You should wash your face every morning and every evening. While you sleep your body sweats and detoxes and you have to give yourself a clean slate. The cleansing brush is key!

I love the Dermalogica Exfoliating Face Brush (pictured on the right), which is an affordable hand, held option. There are DOZENS of these. Another popular option is an electric facial brush. Almost every skin care line has one from Mary Kay to Olay, to clinique and beyond. They are all pretty much as effective as one another ranging in price from $20-$60. There are a few stand outs that are a larger investment though. These not only spin, but they pulse which coaxes oil out from the depths of your pores. They cost much more, but are so worth it.

The stand outs that I can vouch for include the ever so popular Clarisonic Brushes (ranging in price from $99-$250). These are incredible and they have replaceable brush heads that come in a variety of options. Some are infused with minerals to meet certain needs, others are infused with cashmere or satin for those with sensitive skin. I also love the Foreo Luna, which doesn't need replaceable brush heads and comes in a variety of sizes and colors, and the prices range from $40-$200. The Foreo Luna is pictured on the left.

Make sure your routine includes a gel based cleanser, water based moisturizer, oil free makeup remover and exfoliation as well as a sunscreen. You do not need to exfoliate twice a day (2-3 times a week is sufficient), but the other steps are pretty important. You can't expect your skin to have good results if you don't take care of it.


Drink Water

It sounds to easy right? But drinking enough water, tracking it and watching it will change your life! You skin, nails, teeth and body will be so much healthier. Do it. Drink water!

Minimizing Options

To conceal the look of large pores I recommend a pore minimizing primer. There are a million of them. Make sure it is oil free though. I already recommended one of my favorites the Benefit Porefessional Primer. Also keep up with me and select a good oil free foundation as I mentioned above.

When you apply your products use a Juno & Co Velvet Makeup Sponge. It has a very full coverage effect that fills pores and fine lines beautifully. You can read my full review on it here, they are only $6, you don't want to miss out. Finish it off with a good noncomedogenic powder, which will blur fine lines, wrinkles and pores perfectly. You can not get better than Temptu's Invisible Difference Finishing Powder (pictured on the right). It's the stuff of dreams and doesn't contain a single acne-causing ingredient. Not one. It's talc free. That is SUPER important. Don't use anything with talc in it at all.

So that is it! What do you think? What are you favorite tips and tricks for minimizing your large pores? It's important to remember that in an instagram and face-tune world, it's so easy for us to feel insecure about things no one else notices. For us to find flaws where they aren't. I'm all about using makeup to boost your confidence and feel good, self care is important. But we all have pores. All of us. ♥

Monday, December 17, 2018

REVIEW: Wella EIMI Thermal Image

 Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Weight - 5 (excellent)
Heat Protection - 5 (excellent)
Overall:



This is plain and simple one of my go to heat protectants on the market right now. It has no hold, so it is great for fine hair and those who just need a little protection (nothing else). It adds no shine, it's weightless and it works. It protects your hair from up to 435 degrees of heat (but you should NEVER have your tools that hot by the way), and it smells amazing. It has a light almost citrus scent that is pleasant and not strong at all. The packaging is sleek, sophisticated and functional. What more could you want? I am a huge fan and I know you will be too.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

REVIEW: TIGI Liquid Shadow Enhancer

Packaging - 3 (average)
Scent - 3 (average)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Effectiveness - 6 (incredible)
Overall:




The reason I am giving this product 5 stars is because it works, plain and simple. There are two uses for this product. You can either put a little of it on a makeup brush or cutip and roll it along the lash line (both top and bottom) to help eyeliner stand the test of time and smudging or you can put a little of it on your makeup brush before swiping it across your favorite eye shadow to intensify the color. I definitely recommend this product. It is meant to be used with TIGI eye shadows, but it can be used with any eye shadow.

Each eye shadow in the picture above is shown twice, once with three swipes of the eye shadow color (all colors are listed next to it) and then a second time with two swipes of the eye shadow when used with TIGI Liquid enhancer.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

REVIEW: Juno & Co Microfiber Velvet Sponge

 Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Size - 5 (excellent)
Shape - 4 (very good)
Coverage - 6 (incredible)
Product Absorption - 5 (excellent)
Durability - 6 (incredible)
Overall:


If I am not mistaken this is the first product I have ever reviewed that received a 6 in more than one category. Ya'll I'm shook by this one. I am a DIE HARD Beauty Blender purist. I have tried many dupes and new kinds of blenders that have hit the market and nothing has stuck until this one. I have tried so many sponges because the brand name Beauty Blenders are $20 each, and that's a lot. Especially because my dog LOVES to chew foam and she has literally eaten THREE of my beauty blenders. THREE! That's $60 in makeup sponges. 

Anyways, dog aside, even when I have found something that is a fairly good match, I always find myself reaching for my beauty blender over it. Eventually the dupe gets tossed into my box of rarely used items. The true test of a product is if it replaces my go-tos. And this sponge has. I find myself reaching for it over my beauty blender frequently. Let me break it down below.

So first things first it comes in a small eco friendly recyclable plastic bag. I'm a fan. The actual sponge is a pretty shade of blue that is gender neutral and lovely. The size is perfect, and you can wet it and it will expand to be larger, just like others do. The shape is great. It has the egg shape of a beauty blender with an added flat edge that is nice for larger areas or surfaces. I personally don't like the flat edges so I don't use them all to often and I feel they diminish the effectiveness of the pointed end.

Onto the good stuff. I sue WAY less foundation with this sponge than the beauty blender. It has a layer of material that is moisture-wicking so it shouldn't absorb product like most sponges do. I found that claim to be true. I use about half as much product now than I did before, there is staining, but not absorption. It also claims to give a more full coverage effect and that is 100% true. In fact it recommends you apply your foundation onto your skin and not the blender, because it can be to full coverage. I did apply using the sponge itself, but I dotted the product around my face before blending. When it's dry you will get a beat, instaglam, full coverage look in no time flat! With it wet you will also get full coverage, just a more natural version of it.

You can not get a super light coverage with this unless you are using a tinted moisturizer or if you apply almost no product, It packs that pigment in a way that the beauty blender doesn't. I actually like sporting booth looks (depending on the day and outfit) so Is till use both sponges regularly, but if you're a glam, matte, full coverage drama kinda gal, then this is it. It's also WAY more durable than the beauty blender. It doesn't tear as easily and really works. Plus, it's $6, and you can get a 4 pack for $20 (making them $5 each). That's nuts. Pick yours up here.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Your Guide to Heat Protectants

I have written this article a few times before, but I feel once in a while I need to create a new one because as new products some out and as technology evolves my recommendations for heat protectants changes. It is SO important that we use heat protection when we flat iron, curl or blow dry our hair. No excuses. Heat Protection will help to ensure our color stays vibrant, our ends don't dry out and that our hair stays healthy. But there are so many on the market, and it's hard to know which ones to get and when to use them. So here is my guide to heat protectants, when to use them and what I recommend. You can also click on any of the product names to learn more about them and where to purchase them.

Blow Drying Hair

When you blow dry the hair you need a heat protectant that can act as a wind breaker and not only protect your hair form heat, but from the pressure and force of the dryer. Here are a few of my favorites. And Pro Tip - unless you are diffusing curly hair, dry your hair about half way with a towel or dryer before applying the heat protectant. Otherwise it penetrates the water on your hair and evaporates off with it.

FOR CULRY HAIR I love the Matrix Style Link Curvy Queen Blowout Cream (pictured on the left). It helps your curls to form fully and last with a diffuser. You can pick that up here. I also love how it tames frizz without weighing the hair down a ton. If you have very frizzy kinky curls, you may want to opt for the suggestion I have for coarse and thick hair.


FOR FINE HAIR OR OILY HAIR I like the Tigi Bed Head Small Talk or the Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer Spray (pictured on the right). They are both super light weight. The Small Talk smells like candy and the Pillow Proof has more of a honey scent. The TIGI product helps to hydrate as well as protect and add volume and fullness to your look. The  Redken spray is weightless and protects your hair, but doesn't do much for hydration of fullness. Both are great options, but if your hair is plenty full, or has major frizz issues, then the Primer spray would probably be better than the small talk cream. If you want no shine at all try the Wella EIMI Perfect Me Beauty Balm. It's hydrating, lightweight and matte.

FOR COARSE OR THICK HAIR I love the Matrix Style Link Skinny Queen. It's super hydrating and truly cuts down on your blow dry time. It makes your hair feel healthier and softer. I seriously am obsessed with it. It's my go to product for people with that ultra-dry porous texture that is commonly found in African cultures or in islanders. Otherwise I also like the Hot Sexy Hair Prep Me Blowout Cream (pictured on the left). It's also hydrating and has some weight to it. The Hot Sexy Hair is a little lighter weight than the Skinny Queen, which is necessary for many.


Using Styling Tools

When you are curling or flat ironing your hair, that is when it is most important that you use a good heat protectant. Styling tools (curling wands, flat irons, curling irons, etc) can be super harmful for your hair because you are putting direct heat on them! Make sure you are using a high quality hot tool, just like with cooking pans, the types of metal you use can effect the things on their surface differently. You can read my guide to hot tools here.

FOR FINE HAIR I love the lightweight, yet effective, Hot Sexy Hair Protect Me. It comes out of a pressurized can in a fine mist, it doesn't weigh your hair down and it smells amazing. It protects up to 450 degrees of heat and is seriously worth every single penny. I also like the  Biosilk Silk Therapy Thermal Shield. It comes out of a classic spray bottle with a pump nozzle, and it is very light weight. Just make sure you brush through your hair after applying it to prevent clumps of concentrated product. Another fan favorite of mine is the Wella EIMI Thermal Image (pictured on the right). It smells delicious, is weightless and so easy to use. It protects from up to 438 degrees of heat.
FOR COARSE HAIR OR THICK HAIR I like the Biolage RAW Heat Styling Primer. It is a cream, so it's hydrating. It has 98% natural ingredients, it's silicone free, paraben free and vegan. It also protects up toTIGI S Factor Flat Iron Shine Spray (pictured on the left). This stuff smells like an orange creamsicle. It is amazing! It adds a lot of shine to the hair and keeps it looking healthy. If you don't want any added shine, you may want to skip this one.
450 degrees. I adore the

FOR HAIR THAT WON'T HOLD CURL I recommend a few products that are very similar. They are all classic sprays, they all have a little starch in them. This acts as a primer to help hold the style you give your hair and will reinforce hairspray. My hair holds a curl very well, but I often still use these kinds of heat protectants so that I can skip the hairspray entirely. The Kenra Thermal Styling Spray is probably the most gentle of all of these (because it's starchy quality isn't as strong). Then I like the Redken Iron Shape (pictured on the right), Hot Sexy Hair Support Me and the most high hold of them all is the Redken Hot Sets. You really can't go wrong with any of these products.



For Everyday Protection

In your normal day to day life, your hair goes through a lot. Dirt and pollutants in the air can adversely affect your hair. On top that the sun's rays have a major impact on your hair, just like it does with your skin. You ever noticed how your blondes may begin to yellow over time? Or how your beautiful warm browns and red tones dull after a while? The sun plays a major part in that. But fear not! Just like you can purchase sun block for your skin, you can purchase it for your hair too! I have two that I adore.

FOR FINE HAIR I love the TIGI Bed Head Beach Bound Spray. It smells incredible, it is completely light weight and will protect your color from fading and your cuticle from damage inflicted by UVA and UVB rays. 

FOR COARSE HAIR I love the Unique One spray (pictured on the left in the fragrance Original). This spray in incredible and can be found at your local salon. It is actually made by Revlond, but is a multi benefit treatment spray. It hydrates, smooths, repairs and conditions the hair all while blocking UVA and UVB rays. It comes in four fragrances and I know you'll be hooked. It is the best selling product at all of the salons I have worked at that carry it.









Sunday, December 9, 2018

REVIEW: TIGI Bed Head Up Front Pomade

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Hold - 4 (very good)
Shine - 4 (very good)
Texture - 3 (average)
Overall:


This is a men's styling product that is clear and has no added colors. It smells manly but isn't to strong. It holds pretty well and is still flexible and modifiable throughout the day. It does add shine (which isn't my personal favorite look) but it adds shine without getting hard or looking wet, which I appreciate. It does tend to feel sticky however on your hands, but once in your hair is very workable and doesn't clump up.

Friday, December 7, 2018

REVIEW: Caudalie Make-up Remover Cleansing Water

Packaging - 3 (average)
Scent - 2 (not good)
Tear Free - 2 (not good)
Sensitive - 0 (horrible)
Longevity - 1 (bad)
Overall:



I was not a fan of this makeup remover by any means. First it has a strong alcohol scent. You can tell it has alcohol in it because the fumes tend to burn or sting your eyes a little, and it dries your skin out a ton. It is not a good product for people with sensitive skin at all. You also have to use kind of a lot of it because the formula isn't thick at all. So to wash my whole face I used quite a bit. I use every product 3 times before I review it and this product made me break out all three times. It's definitely not a hit in my opinion.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Christmas Gift Guide!

Purchasing Christmas gifts can be stressful! We want to show everyone we care, but our bank accounts don't always support that desire. Plus if you have a big family (like me) then you know the struggles of finding fun and useful gifts for all of your nieces and nephews, cousins and sisters, without breaking the bank. Coworker gifts and teacher gifts can add up fast too! So let this guide help you out! These items will help you to gift gorgeously this holiday season to every aunt, coworker and friend without breaking the bank. What are your favorite beauty steals out there right now? Let me know in the comments!



Ulta has a killer 5 for $10 sale going on with their Sweet and Shimmer collection. There are over 70 things to choose from ranging from makeup, brushes, bath salts, lotions, nail polish, hairbrushes and more! They have festive fragrances such as Salted Caramel, Winter Citrus and Sugar Plum. You can click here to see all the options. This is perfect for stocking stuffers, gift bags for coworkers, and gifts for your friends. On the website these items have prices varying from $4-$8 but once five are added to your cart the total will be $10.



Another Ulta find is the Luscious Lips and Lashes Set! This set rings in at $20 an features ten trial sized items that you can purchase at retail prices of $6-12 each individually! It's a great deal! You can purchase this set for a sister who is learning more about high quality products and experimenting with their look, or to your friend who is always on the go and could use a little travel friendly product, or you can break up the set and use them as stocking stuffers or include them in gift bags. Click here to see this deal online now. 




A steal from Sephora has this stunning eye shadow palette from major beauty brand Becca Cosmetics on sale for only $28! This palette is sure to please your bestie with 10 versatile and neutral shades, along with a bold gold and a deep shimmering midnight blue. These pigmented and silky eye shadows are perfect for everyday looks or creating the perfect instagram worthy glam. You can get it here.




These are my new favorite things! If you have tried any other nail wraps before, you have to try these! Jamberry, Color Street, Incoco, Coconut, Sally Hansens, they all make wraps and these are the best I swear! These wraps are made from 100% real nail polish. They are toxin free and come in over 75 cute designs and patterns. You press them on (almost like a sticker) but you take them off with a little nail polish remover like you would a classic polish. There is no heat required during application and it does no damage to your nails. There is also no dry time! This means you can apply your nails and then pick up your baby, rock a board meeting or hit the gym without worrying about messing up your new manicure. It takes less than ten minutes to do a full set and they are so affordable! They are only $7 per set, or you can do buy 3 get 1 free, which makes them only $5.25 each. This makes them easy to purchase and gift out to coworkers and friends for the holidays.  You can get yours here! Pictured above from left to right are Coral Shore, Suited Affair, Enchanted Mermaid, It's like Magic, and 5th Avenue.



Dr Teals makes some of the best body and bath products out there. They don't offer much, but what they do have is dynamite. All of their products are infused with high quality essential oils and ingredients, and are gentle on the skin. They make Epsom salt bath soaks, body wash and bubble bath. Some of the fragrances you'll find Lavender, Deep Marine Sea Kelp, Pink Himalayan (pictured above), Eucalyptus and more.  Right now these are all on sale at Ulta Beauty for $5 each. You can find yours here.



Another great set is the Sephora Collection Mini Cream Lip Stain collection. This 4 piece set is only $8! For that price you don't have to break it up, but you know you can! These lip stains come in a variety of colors and are perfect for your niece, coworker or in laws. You can get yours here.
 



Last but not least are the Tony Moly Sheet Masks from Ulta. I love these sheet masks, and this set is perfection! It comes with 5 Calming Sheet masks, decorated with cute winter creatures and sayings such as "Thank You" and "Love You" on them. This set was meant to be purchased and used as 5 separate gifts. Not only is it another ideal stocking stuffer, but it's also great for a December girls night or in a pampering gift basket. It's also perfect to use as a gift to accompany a gift card to a salon, spa or beauty store.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

REVIEW: TIGI Bed Head Small Talk

 Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Volume - 3 (average)
Heat Protection - 5 (excellent)
Lightweight - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Hydration - 5 (excellent)
Overall:




This is one of my all time favorite leave in conditioners for fine hair. I am not a fan of the packaging. It looks cheap to me and the round shape make it take more room to store than it needs to, plus you can't store it upside down. But it's functional and I like the purple color. The scent is fantastic. I get more comments on the fragrance of this product than any other. It smells like grape soda, but isn't insanely strong. It also protects your hair form the heat of a blow dryer.

As for performance it is supposed to make your hair look thicker and fuller. I think it does, but not in a teased, root lifting mouse kind of way. It's a subtle fullness. It is insanely lightweight. So it's nice because if you have ultra fine hair you can't have any extra weight on your ends or your hair ends up flat and stringy looking. This one will leave your hair feeling light and bouncy. I also love the way it hydrates your hair and smooths it too. You can put it on damp hair to blow dry or on dry hair to smooth flyaways and hydrate ends. Only use a dime sized amount though because a little goes a very long way. 


Friday, November 30, 2018

REVIEW: Function of Beauty Shampoo and Conditioner

Packaging - 3 (average) 
Scent - 4 (very good) 
Process - 5 (excellent) 
Effectiveness - 2 (not very good) 
Value - 3 (average)
Overall: 


I was so hyped to try Function of Beauty. It is a personalized shampoo and conditioner, and the only reviews I have found are from people who have been paid or sent free product to promote them. I wanted to try them for myself. Unbiased, unpaid, real. I am going to walk through the whole process and results for you. 

So you start by going onto the website, creating a profile and making your own formula. I like the process itself. It was easy to do, took maybe ten minutes and they asked all the relevant questions. Allergies, sensitivities, hair goals, hair type, etc. They also let you pick your product color (which can be different for your shampoo than your conditioner) and if its pearlized or matte. You also get to choose your fragrance between 4 options (peach, pineapple, floral and eucalyptus) as well as three exclusive scents for those who are yearly subscribers (bubblegum, cedar wood and ocean options) and then there is also a fragrance free choice. You also get to choose on a scale of 1-3 how strong you want the fragrance. So I would have given the fragrance a 3, because I chose peach on the most subtle choice. I like a little fragrance, but not to much. It was SO STRONG. I kept thinking "what would this have been like if I had chosen medium or strong?" BUT the options and the fact that the peach did smell very fresh was worth the extra point to me. 

So then they sent me my shampoo and conditioner. I chose a shampoo and conditioner that were supposed to hydrate and heal my hair, while allowing for volume and movement. The actual packaging was not my favorite. I got both the small travel sizes and the full sizes. The travel sized were in these funky silicone plastic bottles that were super easy to squeeze, but the lids came off a lot, and they weren't easy to put back on. And the product clung to the soft silicone sides. The larger sizes were a clear plastic, they weren't particular easy to squeeze, they were very sturdy. BUT the lids are SO TINY, so you can not store this upside down at all, and this stuff is THICK. So it doesn't come out easily. You have to wait forever for a little to drip on your hands. The lids is metal, it's slippery and has no grip, and it is also made of a material that can rust (not wise for shower products). 

For the actual effectiveness my hair was dry and brittle and my split ends were out of control by the end of 3 weeks of continuous use. I was not a fan at all. There ARE shampoos and conditioners out there that are light weight and hydrating at the same time. So this is possible. With that being said I can adjust the products next shipment until I get it right, but I feel like it's to expensive for that. If you pick up a high ends shampoo and conditioner at Ulta or your local salon you can probably return it if it isn't the right fit, with Function of Beauty you are out of luck until next month. And this stuff is SO expensive. They have a "free returns" policy, but when I forgot to cancel my autoship for the next month they told me that I would have to cancel for the next month and get this one because of the customized nature of the product, and that I would not be able to cancel for this month. So I'm not sure what the "free returns" thing they advertise means. 

The cost is not bad though comparatively. An 8 ounce shampoo and 8 ounce conditioner rings in at $36, and the 16 ounce ones are $49. I do like that they have options for A large conditioner and small shampoo set (since many of us use more of one than the other). But these range from $2.25-$1.53 per ounce. Living Proof (my favorite brand) ranges from $3.25-$2.45. Redken ranges from $1.73-$.93. I would say Function of Beauty isn't quite Living Proof quality or convenience, but it is more on par with Redken. The price is a little to high end for what I got. However what I got is not everyone's experience. I am sure some people nail their formula first try and love it. This is just my experience.  
 

 
Let me know if you've tried it and what you think!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Rarity Nails vs. Color Street

Honestly, this is one of the hardest battles I have ever done because these two products are almost identical. I do have a favorite, but I really tried to be objective and compare these one at a time in the way I would other brands. In fact I went through and broke down every single area I did during my last brand battle for two nail strip companies. I am going to go through some different factors and dole out the winners for each one and then explain the reasoning. You may want to read my comparison between Color Street and Jamberry, which was done similarly. At the end I will announce the winner of this brand battle. For those of you who don't know, both Color Street and Rarity Nails are 100% Nail Polish Strips that sold by direct sales consultants.

Variety goes to Color Street. Color Street is a little over a year old now and has 136 designs. Rarity Nails on the other hand is only 4 months old and has 80 options. I remember when Color Street was at that stage and if I believe they had around 50. I have to go off of current numbers for this review but something tells me that in a few months Rarity Nails will have pulled ahead here.

UPDATE - Rarity is now only 6 months old and has 98 options. Color Street has added some options and also discontinued some options so they are down to 131. It looks like my prediction might be right!

If you know me then you know I care about ingredients very much! Rarity Nails and Color Street are both free of Parabens, Formaldehyde, DBP, Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, and Xylene! Woo! But Rarity Nails beat out Color Street by also being free of Triphenyl phosphate. However I will admit that of all the "toxic" ingredients often found in nail polish, this one is the least worrisome to me. It is used to improve flexibility as well as being a fire retardant. However in a study TPHP was linked to endocrine disruption, and although scientists insist that the amount in nail polish is not harmful, it is always good to be safe.

These two products are easy to use, to remove and they don't require any special glues ore removers. Both are gentle on the nails and honestly, it's a tie as to which brand is better for nail health. Both work wonderfully.

To me Rarity Nails is the hands down winner of this category. They are a little thicker, they stretch better and they don't chip as easily. Even the packaging is less likely to tear and easier to re-seal.When I use Color Street I do tend to tear the nail strips and I often end up tearing them so that they don't evenly cover my nail anymore. I know that is user error in a lot of ways, but the strips are simply flimsier. I don't have that issue with Rarity Nails because they are more durable. 

This one was to close to call. Color Street and Rarity Nails are used the same way and take the same amount of time to apply.

Once again they are used the same way. I wouldn't say that one is easier to apply than the other. I am mostly adding these so that people can see how similar they truly are, as well as because these are areas I have compared other brands in before.

Both Color Street and Rarity Nails are 100% nail polish, but because Rarity Nails are a little thicker, they are also a little harder to remove. Color Street's are absurdly easy to remove. You can use nail polish remover or acetone, wet down a cotton pad and just wipe it right off. With Rarity Nails I did have to use Acetone, polish remover wasn't cutting it. And I definitely had to let the pad sit on my nails for a minute or two. There was no damage or scraping on either side, and neither were hard or time consuming, but in comparison Color Street is the obvious winner here.


Inclusiveness is a weird way of me saying, what all comes with the nails strips? Do I need extra parts? So in the package of Color Street Nail Strips you get 16 polish strips, 2 alcohol wipes and 1 mini nail file. In the Rarity Nails Package you get 18 polish strips, 1 alcohol wipe, 1 mini nail file and 1 double ended orange wood stick.

So first of all the nail files that come in the Color Street ones are garbage in my opinion. I gave always used my own because I feel like they don't do anything. The Rarity Nails nail files are a little larger and sturdier. I can use one file for multiple applications. The alcohol wipes are very different too. The Color Street ones are branded with the logo and come with two, while rarity nails uses generic medical looking ones, and it only comes with one. However I feel the color street ones are smaller and dryer than the ones that Rarity Nails have.I have to use one wipe on each hand with color street, and can use the same on both with Rarity Nails.

Then you have the orange wood stick. You guys, this is genius. You really have to push back your cuticle to use these properly or they will look grown out day one. The Color Street doesn't come with anything for that but Rarity Nails includes a pretty nice mini orange wood stick that is double ended! One end is the classic cuticle pusher. The other end is a pointed tip and it works great for pressing down on the edges of your nails firmly and securing them. Rarity Nails has Color Street beat here handily.

Last but not least is value. This is a big one and the major difference between the two honestly. Color Street only has 16 strips per pack, while Rarity Nails has 18. But Rarity Nails are also half the price of Color Street. Color Street ranges from $11 for their solid colors and $13 for their designs, with $14 being the rate for their french manicures. Rarity Nails is $7 across the board. Both offer buy three get one free deals year round. Now before you say that that must mean Rarity Nails aren't as high quality, you are wrong. Color Street is owned by Incoco, which is a polish strip brand that also sells at $7.99. Incoco and Color Street are practically identical. So you are paying a premium for the Color Street name.


and the winner is.....
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So here is the deal, I am still a fan of color street, I still own a bunch of their product and I like their wraps a lot. BUT because of the high prices I am leaning towards Rarity Nails and will pick them up more often! If you are already a Color Street fan, you may want to try Rarity Nails too! The designs are totally different and you  may end up finding some you are in love with. If you have wanted to try color street but can't afford them, these are a great alternative.

Full disclosure guys, I am going to post an affiliate link and will be getting kickbacks off purchases made through the links to Rarity Nails on this page. Hopefully you don't stone me for it, but I am always transparent with you. You should consider getting onto social media and seeing if you have a friend or family member you could support first, but if not I'd love for you to support me. You can pick up some Rarity Nails for yourself by clicking here. 

You can pick up Color Street Nails here.