Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Health Diary 1/31/2018

I am not doing well. I figured I should be areal and accountable to you all when it came to this fact. I have been to the gym once, and it lasted about 20 minutes. There I learned that I hate spin class because it hurts to sit on the bikes and they do not make spin bikes that are small enough for people of my height. Then my husband tweaked his back which was the perfect excuse for us to vamoose!

I have been doing very well with my healthy meal planning and I hope to get to the gym tonight and to finally get on track! More recipes to come soon!

REVIEW: Tarte Shape Tape Foundation

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Coverage - 4/5 (very good)
Texture - 4/5 (very good)
Shade Range - 1 (bad)
Wear - 4/5 (excellent)

This is my second review of this foundation. I posted a First Impressions HERE. Now that I have used it a few more times I have some more information on this foundation, there are two formulas, which is why there are two different scores in a few spots. Let me break it all down again. The packaging is awesome. It's cute, it's sturdy (in glass) and it looks expensive to me. The coverage got two scores because the matte is full coverage while the hydrating one is more medium coverage that you can build to be a slightly fuller coverage, but it's not as full on as matte.

I like the texture of this foundation. The hydrating looks more skin like, however the matte is more caked looking. I am not a fan of the caked look myself, but some do. The wear is great. It lasts me all day long when I prime and set it , on it's own it does very well compared to others. I think the Matte lasts longer overall on it's own, but it definitely dries my skin out, and gets patchy. The hydrating doesn't get patchy because it doesn't dry me out, and where there is some wear on it, it is a little more seamless. All in all I like this foundation, but there is one glaring drawback.

The shade range. Let's chat about it. This foundation comes in only 2 darker shades, and both are not the more common ones and are SUPER arm. I think this industry is moving towards being more inclusive and catering to ALL people. I can't imagine having a foundation or something like this come out and being so stoked and then not being able to get it because it's not in my shade. This is something that people of color deal with all the time and it has to end. Fenty Beauty was applauded and sold out due to their inclusive shade range, and Rihanna's insistence that every store carry every shade. Kylie Cosmetics also made sure their new concealers were inclusive. SO for a major brand to miss the mark like this is disappointing. They did respond and basically say that they wanted to release it as soon as possible but that they are already working on an expansion of shades to launch this year. I am SURE this was in the works before they released, I mean who puts out foundation in only 10 shades? BUT I feel that the slight is still frustrating and if you aren't ready to launch, you aren't ready to launch. I hate that women of color were getting the short end of the stick here. But brownie points for an apology (which most brands don't even bother to give)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

REVIEW: L'Oreal True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Longevity - 3 (average)
Wear - 2 (not very good)
Highlight - 3 (average)

This is supposed to be a liquid primer that enhances your overall glow and gives your a soft dewy look. I couldn't find anywhere where it said if you used it under your foundation as a primer, over over, or as a liquid highlighter, or on it's own. I tried all 4 ways. Let me just dive right into this product's ratings.

I like the packaging. It's pretty and luxurious looking. However I hate when these bottles have tiny little lids they can't stand up on. A little did not go a long way, I had to use quite a bit, which is why it has a lower longevity score. The wear is low as well because it came off quickly and didn't last long on at all. The highlight power was lower because you had to use a lot to really get a glow, it was glittery and it didn't last long.

When used on it's own, it had no coverage whatsoever and I looked awful. As a primer it didn't effect my foundation. Mixed with my foundation I had more glow but my foundation came off kind of patchy after a few hours. As a liquid highlighter you have to use a lot and it wears off fast. I do not recommend this product overall.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

How do I keep my Blonde Hair from Turning Yellow?

This is a super common question and one that is fairly easy for me to answer. When you drop a lot of cash to get your hair to (and maintain) the perfect blonde, it is frustrating when you notice that a few weeks later it is turning yellow. Especially when you go platinum blonde or grey. So let me explain why your hair turns yellow and how to prevent it.

Why does my hair turn yellow in the first place? 

Hair is interesting because it has two factors when it comes to color. Level (which is how light or dark it is) and Underlying Pigment. Both are on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 is black and 10 is the lightest blonde. Each level has a correlating underlying pigment. This pigment is what naturally exists at those levels. So at a level 5 (which is a light brown) the underlying pigment is orange. This means in order to get a cool toner light brown, most stylists have to use a little blue in their formula to counteract the orange tones that exist at that level (depending on your hairs existing level and tone). It's a little confusing right? Well that is just a glimpse of the kind of factors your licensed cosmetologist has to know and factor in to your service, that a box color never will.

So when you go blonde there are varying shades of yellow that live at that levels. This ranges from Gold to Pale Yellow. Now when you go blonde what you are doing is breaking down pigment. White is actually the lack of pigment in your hair or skin. So because of this it is super easy for your hair to show those undertones or to accept pigment from hot tools and elements that will make your hair look yellow.

So how do I prevent it? 

There are a few options. One is to regularly tone your hair. A lot of hairstylists will charge you less than a full color application to just tone, especially if you aren't getting it cut or blown out/styled after. You can go in after 3-4 weeks and have your hair re-toned  between root retouches.

Another option is purple shampoo! Purple shampoo uses violet and blue deposit pigments to counteract the appearance of gold and yellow in your hair. The products are physically purple looking but they are to gentle to stain your hair purple (usually). They are safe to use and made to use at home. Chances are that your stylist actually sells some at her salon.

Purple shampoos can be used a variety of ways. You can use like a normal shampoo to maintain your blonde. You can use it in the shower and leave it in your hair for 5-10 minutes for a little extra toning power. You can use it on dry hair for the most effective toning results (you can click here to see a step-by-step of the dry method).

Make sure if you use any of these methods that you use a very rich conditioner. A lot of purple shampoos are more drying because they lift the cuticle in order to deposit the toner. It's a great time to bust out your favorite deep conditioning mask. However any lightweight or volumizing conditioners are not recommended at this time.

Some of my favorite toning shampoos are the Joico Color Endure (red bottle pictured on above on the left), because it is gentle, effective and more hydrating than your average purple shampoo. AG Sterling Silver (pictured on the right) is another fan favorite. It was one of the best sellers when I worked at Ulta, and I myself pick it up often. Everything from AG is recommended by PETA, it's vegan, cruelty free as well as free of gluten, salt, parabens, DEA and PBA. This one also smells like coconut and it is amazing! Another one I love is the Framesi Color Lover Dynamic Blonde (bottom left, white and purple bottle) is another potent and gentle purple shampoo.

Another option that I adore is the Kenra Brightening Treatment. This is not a purple shampoo but is instead a purple conditioner! It's a great match for your purple shampoo if you need some major tonging done. It is super hydrating and nourishing so it counteracts the dryness that can occur with purple shampoo, or maybe a better fit for you in general. If you are using it without a purple shampoo to truly tone I recommend using the dry application method (which I linked above but will link again right here).  This one is pictured on the right in a silver bottle. It smells like Coconut as well and it is super nourishing.

So now you have a few options of how to prevent yellowing in your hair! Drop your favorite methods and products in the comments below!

Friday, January 26, 2018

REVIEW: Cover FX Illuminating Setting Spray

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Improved Wear- 5 (excellent)
Scent - 2 (not very good)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Hydration - 5 (excellent)
Application - 6 (incredible)

I am not a huge fan of setting sprays to be honest. I have used a few and sometimes they seem to help my makeup last, but not usually. I have very dry skin, so if I use them it's because they are hydrating more than anything else. Let's just dive right into this and break it down.

The packaging is nice. It has a chrome effect and it's clean and crisp packaging. But it is in a cheap plastic bottle with a cheap plastic lid. It's nothing noteworthy. With this setting spray I notice a huge difference in the wear of makeup throughout the day. It lasts twice as long. I was really surprised. I tried it with powdered foundations, my Fenty Beauty liquid foundation, Urban Decay Naked Skin and even a Almay one I am testing out. I noticed a huge difference without it compared to with it.
Which brings me to scent. It's not great. It smells chemically and is unpleasant. So you KNOW I have to get good results if I am using something that doesn't smell divine. A little goes a long way, I don't  have to use a ton, and this has 4 ounces of product in it, which is a lot. It's a good sized container. It was very hydrating without making me oily or greasy which is good. It is an illuminating spray, but it did a good job of giving me a glow without making me look dewy or oily.

The best part of this product is the application though. One of the reasons I am not usually a fan of setting spray is because it makes my makeup wet and I have to blend it in. Heaven forbid a large drop ends up in my eyeshadow, because then I may have to reapply a little. This comes out in a fine mist. It's not abrasive and it is so pleasant. Honestly when I am done with this, I am going to put other misting primers and sprays in this bottle. It's amazing.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

REVIEW: Dirty Little Secret Cosmetics Eyeshadow

Packaging - 5 (very good)
Variety - 2 (not very good)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Wear - 4 (very good)
Fall Out - 5 (excellent)

This little eye shadow impressed me. The packaging is standard looking, I do like it when the lid is attached to the base. It is easy to open and close with one hand and then I don't loose the lid. The lowest note on this item is the variety. They currently only have 6 single shades and one palette. What's odd is that the palette includes shades that you can't purchase as a single. The cost rings in at $12 each, which is not bad in my opinion. It's a higher price than a single from an inexpensive line, but not as pricey as MAC, Urban Decay or other high end brands. And I do feel the quality holds up to a high end brand. I got a red-ish hue (Sangria) which tend to look pink or brown after wearing it for a few hours. I have worn it mulitple times now and it always stays true to tone. It is super pigmented and a little goes a super long way. It is easy to blend out and had almost no fall out! It lasted me all day with a primer (I used it with Air Patrol from Benefit and Cease Crease from Pur Minerals). Without a primer though it still did fairly well. I mean my eyelids get a touch oily so there was some creasing and there was fading, but it lasted for about 5 hours with no primer at all, which is impressive. I do recommend this one and I hope to see more shades from this brand soon.

Monday, January 22, 2018

My Top and Bottom 3 Dry Shampoos

Today I am counting down my 3 favorite Dry Shampoos for you, and I will of course let you know why each one is one I like and recommend, and I will also link you to full length reviews! I will also list my three least favorites as well as why.

Batiste Dry Shampoo is my least favorite that I have ever tried. I KNOW that a lot of people disagree. It's advertised as begin the #1 brand in the UK and when I worked at Ulta Beauty it was a top seller. I tried three kinds of this stuff! The tropical scent and the wild scent. Both were super overwhelming when it came to the scent which was thick and powdery. The actual product left my hair looking dull and it was hard for me not to get white spots whether or not I shook the can first. They also made my hair feel thick and heavy with product. I just simply didn't have a good experience. You can read my full review here (which includes my experience with the dark brunette tinted one).

TIGI Oh Beehive! 
dry shampoo was a huge disappointment to me. I love this brand in general, but this product missed the mark for me. It smells sickly sweet and is super overwhelming when it comes to fragrance. It made my hair look white and dull and powdery, and for the price point of $19.99 I expect more.

Redken Pillow Proof dry shampoo is just not a favorite for me. Similarly to Oh Beehive I felt the quality wasn't there when you considered the price point. This one rings in at $20, which is average for high end dry shampoo. I think the scent is awful. To me is smells like soap and powder. And while I didn't have any issue with getting a finish that wasn't dull or white (my hair actually looked good) it left it feeling bristle-like. Between the unpleasant scent and the hay-like texture it left I just wasn't a fan of this one.

#3  Wella EIMI Dry MeThis dry shampoo has a few features that I am particularly fond of. The first is that it is clear. So it doesn't matter if you're hair is blonde, black or blue, it won't give you a powdery or white finish. Another favorite feature of mine is that this dry shampoo is lightweight. I can't feel it in my hair at all. It doesn't have the most longevity (as in a little doesn't go a long way) but yous till don't have to use a ton. My only complaint is that I wish it smelled a little better. I have a hard time describing the scent honestly, but I think that considering the other factors and the $19.50 price point, it is worth it. 

#2 TIGI Bed Head Rockaholics
This is just a solid standard dry shampoo. It has a light crisp scent (like sprite) and it just works. It will get powdery if you overuse it in one spot, but it's easy to break it up. It leaves a little texture and volume, but not enough to make you hair feel hay-like, and a little goes a very long way. There are no special features or gimmicks to this product, it just works and it's awesome.

#1 Living Proof PHD Dry Shampoo
This dry shampoo is the cream of the crop. It has sleek beautiful packaging, and it's unique. Most dry shampoos have powder in them. You spray it into your hair and the powder molecules absorb the oils so your hair doesn't look dirty. This dry shampoo is different. It has large powder molecules so when you spray it on your hair is instantly white! You wait 30 seconds as it absorbs oils, you tilt your head and shake it all out. The powder absorbs the oils, then you shake them out so you are actually removing the dirt, oil and buildup as opposed to simply masking it. It makes this product stand out. If I use this on day 3, on day 4 I often don't need to use anything. It rings in at $22 and is so worth it.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

REVIEW: Bare Minerals Lasting Line

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Texture - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Wear - 6 (incredible)
Variety - 2 (not very good)

I might be in love with this eyeliner. Whenever I try one I love this much I think "I'm never going to use anything else" (until I get sent or try on the next big thing) and I definitely had that moment with this one! However I keep coming back to it time and time again, and it's been one I've repurchased for years.

First - packaging. Not only is it sleek looking, but it's a twist up pencil with a detachable smudger and sharpener at the end! It is super soft and smooth, so it is easy to apply, and yes a  little goes a long way. You used to be able to get it in can get it eight colors, however Bare Minerals created a newer eyeliner that I am not as in love with, so now it only comes in four shades. You can find it in Black, Grey, Brown and Bronze. But what really sold me on this eyeliner is it's long lasting wear! It is tough to find a pencil that lasts this long! I am a fan to say the least.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

REVIEW: First Impression of Tarte Shape Tape Foundation

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Coverage - 4 (very good)
Texture - 4 (very good)
Shade Range - 1 (bad)
Wear - 5 (excellent)

First I would like to say that I did not receive a promo package from Tarte for this product. When they launched Monday I purchased this foundation online and  I paid an absurd amount for faster shipping so I could be one of the first people who had a review for you guys. Because of this my review is based on a first impression. If you are a frequent reader here you know that I usually wear my foundation for at least three full days before reviewing it. I do this so I can apply with sponges, brushes, hands and set it and I prime different ways to see how well it truly works. I feel like a lot of YouTubers only give first impressions on new products and I like to give more thorough  review. Because this is a first impression I will come on here and tweak my review in a couple of days after I have more experience with the product so that my review can be more firm and thorough, so check back in a few days for that, but for now here is my first impression.

This packaging is bomb. Tarte is usually great at balancing fun with high end looking packaging. This is in a sturdy glass bottle, and has some color without looking cheap. I am on a gold kick right now so maybe that's why this packaging appeals to me so much. But it is like a larger version of their famous Shape Tape concealer. The claim this is full coverage. The hydrating one was definitely medium coverage but it was buildable. It didn't exaggerate my texture, and while it wasn't hydrating it wasn't drying either. The finish had a soft natural quality that wasn't matte, but wasn't dewy which I loved.

For the Matte version is was more full coverage right away. However with my insanely dry skin I felt it brought out some of my dryness. I had some flaky patches coming out after just a few minutes of wear. Other foundations conceal those better, the matte did not. It was slightly drying for my skin. I think most people could handle that (especially if you have oily skin) but my skin is already dry, plus I live in the second dryest state in the U.S. and we are currently going through a drought... so yeah I could use the moisture. I am hoping to get a microderm facial next week and after I will try this guy again to see if better skin makes a big difference. It was matte, it was smoother and more pore-filling as a foundation which I liked.

I did the half and half thing, I have had it on for maybe 5 hours and it hasn't moved. So that is awesome. I am going to keep wearing it and just see and probably update this at the end of the day.

As far as variety goes I debated on this number because I couldn't decide between a 1 and 0. Here is why it got a 1. Tarte is under fire right now because only 2 of the Shape Tape foundations are deeper toned. They are also super warm, which doesn't work for a lot of people of color. I feel like brands are moving towards more inclusive shades. Urban Decay's Naked Skin has a decent range, Fenty Beauty was lauded for their incredible range and Kylie Cosmetics also dropped a wide variety of shades for their concealers and got great feedback. So we are making progress towards more inclusiveness in the beauty industry. However Tape Shape Foundation did not follow this trend. The backlash was immediate. That should have landed then a 0. However They announced that they are already working on 10 new shades. Fingers crossed that those include several deeper tones. Whether they were already working on deeper shades, or they did it as a response to the outcry of upset people, I think it's a win that they are learning and changing. So that earned them a 1 at the very least.

So that's it for my first impressions. CLICK HERE for my second review, after having used both formulas multiple times. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

REVIEW: Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus

Packaging - 3 (average)
Scent - 4 (very good)
Hold - 4 (very good)
Volume - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)

Big Sexy Hair's Root Plum Plus (not to be confused with their classic root pump) is amazing. The packaging is fun, however the nozzle does get regularly "clogged" just by having product dry on it. It smells light and crisp which I love. It is an aerosol foam spray so a little goes a long way and it's easy to work through the hair. It does dry on the hair a little sticky but boy does it add volume! For the best results put a heat protectant on your hair and blow dry it. Then add Root Plump Plus to the roots and work it in. Then bend over and let your head hang so it's almost upside down and use your blow dryer on the roots again.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The TRUTH about Sulfates

Sulfates can be very confusing. We constantly here that sulfates are bad for your hair, and to opt for sulfate free shampoos and haircare. But on the flip-side some people have fine hair and don't want to use heavy products that weigh their hair down. You also don't want to use products that cause a lot of buildup and don't cleanse your hair well. So what's a person to do? Sulfates? Sulfate Free? It seems like all hair care products have some form of sulfate ingredient even when they say they don't. Who do you trust? And why are some sulfates bad, but others are okay? I hope to answer all of these questions today.

I am going to try to give you some clarity on this topic today. Sulfates are in of themselves fine. They are what we call a surfactant (which is a product that creates lather and separates dirt/oil from solid surfaces). However like everything else there are some high quality, gentle sulfates that don't strip your hair or skin, and some that are very cheap and harsh and drying.

So which sulfates are bad and why? This is a short list of sulfates I won't ever use. They are hash and drying and they harm the scalp and hair. Most of these sulfates derive from palm oil which is a cheap resource that has a lot of controversy surrounding it. You can read more about the controversy of palm oil here. Regardless they are all made from cheap ingredients and are harsh on your scalp and skin.

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate

This is the reason you won't see me review a lot of inexpensive shampoos and conditioners. Some of the ones I have been asked to review include the Lush Godiva Bar (which has Sodium Lauryl Sulfate listed as it's FIRST ingredient), Pantene Pro-V (which lists Sodium Laureth Sulfate as it's second ingredient) and the Garnier Wholeblends (which listed Sodium Laureth Sulfate as it's third ingredient AND Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as it's fifth ingredient). Most shampoos have some form of sulfate in them, and they are typically within the first 5 ingredients (usually the first 3 even). But I am not going to spend my money on something that will strip my hair and dry it out.

"but Angela, I have been using Pantene for years and my hair doesn't feel dry after I get out of the shower" 

So here is the reason why - Conditioner. What cheap brands do is they have harsh surfactants in their shampoos and then you use conditioner. The conditioner usually has a lot of wax and silicone in it which creates a nice little coating on your hair that makes it look shiny and feel soft. But underneath that shiny wax coating is dry damaged hair. However this coating doesn't buildup over time usually because the shampoo is harsh enough to cut through that coating. Some conditioners don't have that wax in it, but they instead have a lot of oil. Usually these oils are a selling feature. Now don't get me wrong, I love me some hair oil. But after dousing your hair in oil it's going to feel shiny and soft, even if it's damaged underneath the oil. As the oil absorbs fully throughout the day your hair will feel more and more dry and frizzy. The only combination that works is a good quality shampoo with gentle surfactants and a wax free conditioner that won't coat the hair, but instead smooth and hydrate.

So now onto part two, good sulfates. These sulfates are higher end.
  • Sodium Cocyl Isethionate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
  • Sodium Socoyl (or lauryl/lauroyl) Sarcosinate
  • Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate
  • Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate
  • Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate
  • Methyl Cocoyl or Lauryl Taurate 
  • Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate
These sulfates are usually derived from natural plants that are known for being hydrating and nourishing such as coconuts. Others are completely man made (which costs more), and are manufactured to be gentle while effective. 

This list may explain why some things are labeled as "sulfate free" but words like "sulfoacetate" and "sulfate" still make an appearance on the ingredients list. A lot of those products are really referring to Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (which are the two most common). Now just because a brand is considered "high end" or "professional". Doesn't mean it is free of these harsh ingredients. Make sure you read your labels. A lot of brands used to use higher quality ingredients and once they established themselves switched to a cheaper option. 

"So which brands can I trust then?"

I have a lot of brands that after writing this I am no longer recommending. Some of these brands I figured out as much as how long ago they made the switch, while others I can only see that they currently cut corners with harsh sulfates. However there are some brands that are more forthcoming with their ingredients, and do use higher quality ones. Some of them include:

  • Framesi
  • Joico
  • Sexy Hair
  • AG
  • Living Proof
  • Phyto
  • Alterna
This is of course not a complete list, however I feel that these brands do all have high quality products and ingredients. Some lines are iffy. For example Redken has cheap sulfates in most of their shampoos. I still love their styling products, but can't in good conscious recommend all of their shampoos like I have in the past. Although their Frizz Dismiss shampoo has been cleared by me and it is still AMAZING. Matrix and unfortunately most of Biolage by Matrix are using cheap ugly sulfates. Paul Mitchell is also another name brand perpetrator. But like I said before, this is not the end-all be-all list of who to trust. All of these brands have exceptions. READ YOUR LABELS.

But I have yet to find a label in the drugstore that doesn't include these cheap ingredients. Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essance, Dove, Garnier, these all consistently include cheap fillers. I mean, read your labels, and if you find one that is better, send it me! I'd love to know! But I haven't found any exceptions at Walmart yet. 

And if you choose not to use conditioner, your labels are even more important. As you can see in this article - I think you should ALWAYS use conditioner. But if you aren't make sure you are at the very least using a high quality and gentle shampoo. 

Now there are exceptions to the rule. Medicated shampoos often use harsher sulfates. This is because opening up the cuticle of the hair and stripping away all oils helps to deliver the medicated ingredients to the scalp better. Also some volumizing shampoos use harsher sulfates because it adds volume. But good brands are sure to have light weight ultra nourishing ingredients to counteract the damage. However I still find that Big Sexy Hair and Joico's Body Luxe are better lightweight options that are still free from harsher sulfates. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

REVIEW: American Crew Daily Moisturizing Shampoo


Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 3 (average)
Hydrating - 4 (very good)

This is one of my favorite men's shampoos. The packaging is masculine, clean and simple. It also has a masculine scent that isn't overwhelmingly strong. A little goes an okay way. It isn't a ton of lather but there isn't very little either. It is pretty average as far as how long it will last. It does hydrate very well though.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

REVIEW: Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Paste

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 6 (unbelievable)
Texture - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 4 (very good)
Hold - 4 (very good)

This product is to die for if you have short hair. I'll start with the packaging which is sleek, functional and pretty. It smells divine! It is probably my favorite smelling product, ever. It has a slightly sweet scent with a fruity twist. It isn't to strong or overpowering, but it is incredible! It adds a lot of texture. All you need to do is put a little on the tips of your fingers and work it into the roots of your hair. It will lift, add texture and definition as well as create  movement. You don't need very much to get the job done (hence the high longevity score). It also holds fairly well but does not dry stiff and is workable throughout the day.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Year Crushes

A lot of people message me asking what my favorite body wash is, or what my favorite dry shampoo is, etc. I often respond telling them that what works for me may not work for them, but regardless people often want to know my top picks. So these are a few of my favorite things right now. I decided to do a fun theme of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes". This is quite possibly because I teach children at my local church and we sang this song a million times on Sunday.

*none of these items are paid advertisements. I am not receiving any kind of kickbacks, money or product for promoting these times, they are my genuine recommendations.

This line is AMAZING. It has helped my lightened hair so much over the past two months! I love the Sexy Hair products in general but these ones are infused with Aloe Vera and Mango Butter and they smell like HEAVEN! My hair is normal to fine in texture and normal in density. So if you have thick hair this isn't the product for you. But it's nourishing and weightless, which is great for fine-haired folk! 

I have long been a Bath and Body Works junkie. Their scents are just SO fun! But my skin is dry to the max. So I decided to try out a few different brands. I am so happy I gave this one a try! It has ribbons of moisturizing lotion in it. It smells amazing but still suds up and my skin is so much softer and more hydrated now! 

I am simply in love with this product. The best way to explain it is a tanning gel. But it just adds a little non-glittery bronze to your skin without any lines or creases or inconsistency. It smells nice, it;'s hydrating, it's easy to use. It's everything I could want in a bronzer honestly and I love it. I only wish it was longer lasting, but it's perfect come spring to throw on those legs after they've been hiding all winter. 

Color Street are 100% nail polish wraps that you allow you to get cute designs in minutes. You don't need any heat to apply them and they come off with acetone and a cotton ball just like regular nail polish! you can read my full review of Color Street here

I am sure you have seen other reviews of this product on my blog, and I think it made an appearance on one of my "current favorites" lists in the past. It's one that I keep going back to. I LOVE Air Patrol. It works. It's just a solid primer that doesn't crease and you don't need much and it helps the colors of my eye shadow pop. You can read my first impressions of Benefit's Air Patrol here

I was really reaching here for this one. I was trying to keep in the theme of "head, shoulders, knees and toes" and I had no idea what to do when the song lyrics came to ears! I though about earrings, but I really don't wear earrings very often and I really want these lists to be things I use and love. So I chose to share a song I am currently listening to a million times a day. 

This is Me by Keala Settle from the film The Greatest Showman is a showstopper. It has a powerful and beautiful message and it's simply a power anthem. I have loved Keala Settle for years now and I have followed her career on Broadway for some time. Recently she was in another favorite musical of mine called Waitress where she also performed the shows best song "I didn't plan it". Her voice is strong, powerful and moving. You can listen to the studio recording here. Another favorite way for me to listen to this song is the video of her singing it during a workshop. There are no bells and no frills but you can see and feel and hear the emotion in everyone's voice and it is powerful! I recommend both, but I have this workshop version in the video below. Please read the lyrics as you listen. We are glorious ♥

As many of you know I am trying to incorporate more health and nutrition on this blog so I had to thro in my current favorite snack. Graze has a lot of options but these Kern Pops are my favorite! I actually get all of their flavors, but I have a sweet tooth and these are amazing. They are half-popped popcorn, they have crunch and are salty caramely deliciousness. Graze has tons of options in snack packs, which is nice because then they are proportioned with their calorie content and nutritional value on the package. A lot of their snacks have super foods and ingredients to help with energy and focus too. This one however is just delicious. Pick yours up here

If you are a regular reader you already know that I am in love with this foundation right now. I wanted to hate it and write the first review calling it "basic" and "over-hyped", but the Fenty Beauty liquid foundation has earned it's praise. It's amazing, lightweight, moisturizing, natural looking, pore filling, and I love it! You can read my full review here

Monday, January 8, 2018

REVIEW: American Crew Fiber Cream

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Hold - 5 (excellent)
Finish - 6 (incredible)

This product has blown me away honestly. It's one of my new favorites for men. Let me break down the ratings. I gave the packaging a 4 because it is functional and I like it personally. However I do think it could be more masculine. Some people will disagree, but I don't feel like it fits with the rest of the line and it definitely stands out on product shelves among the other American Crew product. 

Scent is high on my rating scale. It smells like their current best selling Fiber which has a very light sandal-wood scent to me. And if that scent doesn't appeal to you that's fine because it is super light and dissipates quickly. But just like Fiber with this product a little goes a LONG way. 

So for those of you who don't know, this is a cream version of the "puck product" Fiber. The puck product has no shine and a very high hold. The American Crew Fiber Cream has a high hold and fibrous texture and technology, but has a super matte natural finish. It is so easy to create the perfect pompadour or coiffed undercut style, but the hair looks soft and natural. It got a 5 for hold because it is high hold and a 6 for finish because I have never seen anything with such high hold have such a soft and natural finish. It's amazing. I highly recommend it. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Health Diary 1/7/2018

I am ready to make some changes! What's more cliche than a goal to work on your health and loose weight at the beginning of the year? My husband and I WERE going to start working out again a couple of weeks ago, but the holidays were to hectic, and then I got a tattoo on my leg, which makes it kind of painful to run, bend over, and stretch... so work outs aren't a great idea until I heal up.

However I think we are going to be fine this time. Last time we made a goal to go to the gym regularly we went three-four times a week and loved it! I slept better, I had more energy, I was more optimistic and I was loosing weight! So what happened? Our enthusiasm didn't just peter out. We moved. When we did that we moved about 2 hours away form my work, and I decided to commute. I LOVED my salon, my boss, my clients. I didn't want to step away from that at all. So I decided to commute, 2 hours one way, 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. It made it so that a "short shift" of 6 hours equated to a 10 hour day. It was awful. I hated it. I was constantly exhausted and I never saw my husband. I definitely didn't work out. I moved to a new salon that is 10 minutes away from house and I am loving it! I love the salon itself as well as the staff and owner, but I also love seeing my husband again and having time to blog and sped with family.

So with that being said some of my health related goals this year include getting back the gym. My husband and I found a nice one really close to us that offer great classes... in the morning. So that means 5 a.m. at the gym. During our last successful gym run we went after work, so I am worried that the up early factor will impede our success, but if it does we have  a plan B for a classic gym that is less expensive similar to the one we did before.

Some of my other goals include meal planning better and more often. This will save us money and help us eat healthier. Last month my husband and I ate out more than we didn't. I am so ashamed! I am ready to eat at home and cook more and get my health on track. I have prepped my house this week by cleaning out food storage and making note of all we have. And we are starting the gym this week. What are your goals for 2018? Anyone planning on getting healthy too?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

REVIEW: Redken Satinwear 02

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Scent - 4 (very good)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Effectiveness - 4 (very good)
Hydration - 3 (average)

This  used to be one of my most used products in the salon. I was actually trying to find this on my product reviews site and realized I hadn't reviewed it yet and was shocked! Oops! This product is a simple heat protecting leave in conditioner. It protects from uva/uvb rays as well as a blow dryer. The packaging is sleek and functional. It has a citrus scent but it is a super light, and you can't really smell it after a couple of minutes at all. A little goes a super long way which is always nice, and it does protect your hair very well. My only gripe is that I wish it hydrated a little more. I use it mostly on those with healthy or normal hair, but if I have someone whose hair has a lot of damage I use a different option. There are also multiple blow dry heat protectants that have multiple benefits like volume or shine or moisture. This is just a simple heat protectant that's ideal for healthy fine hair. If you want added benefits it may be wise to look elsewhere. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

REVIEW: Hikari Lipstick

Packaging - 4 (very good)
Wear - 6 (unbelievable)
Moisture - 3 (average)
Variety - 4 (very good)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)

This is literally my new favorite lipstick. I wear it all the time! First of all the packaging is sexy, sleek and sophisticated. Its wear (how long it says on before you need to reapply) is the best I have ever had in a lipstick. It goes for up to 8 hours! I LOVE IT! However it doesn't really moisturize, which I actually love. I don't like my lips looking super matte, but I don't want them to look super wet and glossy either. Hikari lipstick has the perfect balance. It has 6 shades you can get it, all of which are fun. And a little goes a pretty long way, the color is bright and takes fast. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Oily Scalp? You STILL need conditioner.

As a hairstylist I encounter people with all different kinds of hair. Something I see often is people who have very oily scalps. Often these people don't use conditioner because they don't need any extra help. Well I am here to let you in on a secret - you still need conditioner. Here is why. 

Shampoo and conditioner work together. Shampoo strips your hair of dirt and debris as well as it's natural oils and conditioners in most cases. Now low quality products usually also lift the cuticle of the hair causing moisture loss while also drying out your scalp excessively. Some gentler shampoos may be able to rid your hair of dirt and debris while not roughing up the cuticle layer of your hair or the scalp with harsh sulfates. Super gentle co-washes or cleansing conditioners often remove dirt but they do not remove buildup and they often create more buildup themselves. This can be nice for VERY dry hair that is extremely porous (which is common in kinky hair, curly hair, and ethnic hair) but it isn't for most people.

So after you shampoo your hair and get rid of all that dirt and oil then what? You condition it. This adds back good oils and conditioners to your hair and seals the cuticle and protects your hair from future damage. Then you might think:

but those oils do more than just protect your hair. They help your scalp. Your scalp is actually the key to your greasy hair woes. The scalp has "sebaceous glands", and these glands produce oil and sweat. Your hair NEEDS sweat. It needs those oils so it doesn't dry out and to protect your skin from dirt and pollution in the air. Your scalp is actually very thin and fragile and has the important task of protecting your skull as well as blood vessels and nerve endings that are very close to your brain! Your skin reacts to it's surroundings. It drys out and may get red or patchy or itchy. It will become sensitive when it's exposed to extreme temperatures. Your skin and the glands in it are intelligent. They react to their environments to help protect you and your body.

So this brings us back to the scalp and those sebaceous glands. When you strip your hair of it's natural oils and conditioners using shampoo and then you don't condition your scalp is DRY. It needs those oil and your scalp reacts by going into production mode. Wash your hair every day with no conditioner? You scalp can't seem to make enough oils! So it goes into overdrive. It is trying to replenish those essential oils you keep washing away.

What you need to do is use the right products. Get a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. These tend to be lighter weight and have fewer heavy oils in them that make you feel "greasy". Some of my favorites are the Big Sexy Hair (pictured on the left), Framesi Color Lover Volume Boost (which is perfect for colored hair), and the Joico Body Luxe (pictured on the right). All of these are super light weight. You should also apply the conditioner to the ends of your hair (not the scalp) and let it sit for a few minutes. Then apply a small amount to the scalp area (I like to kind of "ring out" the conditioner that's on my ends onto my scalp to save on product). and gentles massage it in for only half a minute tops. Then rinse your hair out thoroughly.

What if you have dry ends though and this volume shampoo isn't cutting it, or is drying you out? Get a killer leave in conditioner I love the Revlon Unique One leave in product, the Brazilian Blowout Dry Oil, and the Living Proof Nourishing Styling Cream (pictured on the Right). All of these are light wight and will hydrate and heal ends.

DISCLAIMER: this wont' work overnight. Your scalp is likely used to years of abuse at this point and you have to retrain the scalp to not work in overdrive to nourish itself. Try the Ultimate Hair Cleanse for faster relief.