Monday, June 3, 2019

REVIEW: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Lines Foundation

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Coverage - 5 (excellent)
Wear - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Overall:


I have been so impressed by this foundation. The packaging is a gorgeous frosted glass bottle with a silver finished pump and lid. It is described as an "invisible finish" which I thought would mean a tinted moisturizer look. But instead I got a gorgeous medium coverage that built to a full coverage with two layers. But even at full coverage my skin looked like skin. It doesn't have the caked blurred poreless look some people love, so if that's what you are after you should keep looking.

It really lasted so much longer than most of my other foundations, and I rarely have to touch it up. One pump covers my whole face (when applied with a Juno & Co Microfiber Velvet Blending Sponge) and a second gets me at a fuller coverage look which super impresses me.This is my new go-to choice.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Summer Beauty Essentials

June is here and summer is in full swing! In the summer my look changes dramatically. Gone are the vampy berry lips, full coverage foundations and sweaters, and out come the sandals and beach waves, along with a lighter more natural look. To achieve a softer look that is more suitable for the beach and quicker on vacation, I have some essentials I literally don't leave the house without. I went for a hike this morning and these were the things I put on to prep, I am talking bare minimum here. Enjoy.


COTZ Flawless Complexion 
mineral tinted sunscreen 

I am obsessed with this product. I have been a die-hard user and wearer of COTZ for years. This product never breaks me out, it has just a touch of tint that evens out my complexion without making me look like I have a full face of foundation. It has always protected me from sunburns and rosacea. It's my go to summer essential and you can pick it up directly from COTZ by clicking here.


Rarity Nails
100% polish nail wraps

Suns out toes out right? My feet are not cute, especially after being shut away from months during the winter. And I really don't have the time (or flexibility) to paint my own toes and let them dry. That's why nail wrap are amazing. They adhere like stickers (no heat necessary), and give your nails are perfectly polished and done up look. These make my nail game so much easier and they take less than 10 minutes to apply. The picture on the left has Enchanted Mermaid being shown but they have over 70 different designs. You can get yours for only $5 here.


Simply Smita
Original Lip Balm

This lip balm is the bomb. I am so hooked. My lips stay feeling hydrated for hours, a little goes a long way and it just works. Plus it has all the ethical things that make you feel good about buying it. It uses fair trade shea butter, has recycled packaging, is hand made in a small batch, made in the united states, cruelty free and organic. What could be better? Oh yeah, it's only $3. So what are you waiting for? Get hooked. You can click here to pick your up now.

Karity
Brow Goals

This three in one brow product is seriously amazing. You will not want to miss out. It has a brow pencil to fill in gaps and sharpen your brow look, along with a matching powder to gently fill your brows. It also has a spoolie end that allows you to brush them as well as to distribute and blend product. You'll never need another brow option again. I get the Totally Taupe but they have a few shades, although I do think the blonde bombshell is a little to yellow, and the Hot Cocoa has a red tone I did not expect. But the taupe is the perfect shade for most people, and if you have a darker complexion the Dark Chocolate is great. Pick up yours and get Brow Goals for yourself here.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

REVIEW: Color Edge Hot Spray

Packaging - 2 (not very good)
Scent - 3 (average)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Finish - 5 (excellent)
Heat Protection - 5 (excellent) 
Overall:


I am going to start out by talking about the things I adore about this product and address the low points later. This is a a heat protection spray, but it is completely detection-less. It is weightless and matte, so your hair isn't heavy or shiny after. It is perfect for those with fine or greasy hair. A little goes a long way too which is so nice. It has become m go to for fine haired clients.

So the packaging got 2 stars and those were because it is functional and durable. I love the fine mist quality of the spray nozzle. But I hate everything else. The print is hard to read, and the bottle is translucent, which shows off the muddy green hue of the product that isn't super attractive.

The other thing that brought the score down is scent. I actually adore this scent. It has a musk to it that I love and an earthy tone like wet cement after it rains. It kind of reminds me of freshly laundered towels. But I have found that not all my clients and coworkers like the smell. And I have yet to find someone whose response to it is "it's okay". People seem to either love it or hate it. Regardless the smell doesn't linger long, and if you've been on the hunt for protection for your fine and greasy hair, this is likely your solution.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Review: Johnny B Mode

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Hold - 4 (very good)
Texture - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Overall:


Johnny B mode is the brands #1 best seller and has quickly become my favorite men's product in the salon. The packaging is clean and classic. They have two sizes of tubes (the one pictured being the smallest option) and two sizes of tubs (which have far more product in them), so no matter how much or how little you use, you are covered.

The scent has that clean kind of masculine water fragrance. I love it, but it's fairly light weight. However the brand makes tow spin-off versions of this called "King Mode" and "Mode Lucky Boy", which have different fragrances. The Lucky Boy version is green and has a stronger earthy fragrance with that kind of leafy grass scent and the slightest hint of mint. The King Mode is purple and has a strong classic musky scent that will last all day. So no matter if you like a classic strong fragrance, earthy notes, or something super light, Johnny B has got you covered.

What I love most about this product is of course the performance. It has a light moderately whipped texture which helps to prevent clumpy spots of concentrated product as well as aids in even distribution. But it also makes you need to use less so a little goes a longer way. It has a nice hold, but it isn't plastic. It feels and looks like hair. It has a bit of shine, but not a glossy finish. It's become a fan favorite of ours here, and I know you will love it too.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Looks from Rarity Nails

In the last month Rarity Nails has added more than 15 new design choices, and I am LIVING for them! Here are just a few of my favorites, which you can pick up at RarityNails.com




Rose Gold Glass is a stunning iced pink with a deep rose and gold confetti glitter ombre. It's classic, classy and stunning. I love how it bridges the gap between fun and classy. This could totally be worn to the beach, girls night at the club, or a wedding. This is hands down my favorite new release.


Another major hit is In Bloom. the above picture shows the light mint shade "Summer Swinging" underneath it, but on it's own In Bloom is a clear strip with ombred white daisies. This is a super cute look that can be done a million ways. I have been seeing In Bloom on it's own, or on an accent nail. You can cute the strip so that you are only using the middle to get a nail covered in flowers as opposed to the ombred effect (which is done on the middle finger in the above picture).

 Next up is my personal favorite from the mermaid set. When Rarity Nails launched it had the set Enchanted Mermaid Tales of Time, a classic mermaid set featuring blue, purple and green glitters with a black scale striping. But this year three more similar looks were added including a green set classed Siren Song, an orange and gold look called Aquata and my favorite look featured above called Arista. Arista is my favorite because I love the delicate look of the white opalescent glitter and the mint scaling.

I am not a major camo girl, but I know that these three sets were heavily requested and have been a huge hit since release. We have three sets each featuring camo patterns and two solids shades to compliment the print.


Last of all I love the fun simplicity of this set called Electric Youth, hopefully I will have a better picture to post here soon as I just got my set in the mail today.

Don't forget to pick up your sets by clicking here.


Monday, May 13, 2019

REVIEW: Verb Ghost Hairspray

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 3 (average)
Hold - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 4 (very good)
Flexibility - 5 (excellent)
Overall:


I am just going to jump right into breaking down my ratings for this one. The packaging got a 5, it has a classic metal pressurized can with a plastic cap, but I love the sleek black and white packaging that is so on brand for Verb. It smells like hairspray honestly. Verb tries to be more natural and not to fill their products with artificial fragrances and junk, so the basic scent isn't a surprise honestly. This is a medium hold hairspray that is supposed to be flexible. So it has just that. A medium hold that reinforces your style but isn't stiff or strong. It is flexible. I can still touch my hair and feel it after use, and I love that. It's perfect for curls that you have to brush out too. The longevity got a 4 only because it is medium hold so if you need a decent amount of hold you have to use extra spray, or another choice. Overall I dig this hairspray.

If you are interested in this or any other Verb products you can use my affiliate link to purchase and get 16% off your first order! Click here to shop now! 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

REVIEW: Deck of Scarlette

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Pigment - 4 (very good)
Variety - 4 (very good)
Value - 4 (very good)
Full Face - 3 (average)
Overall:


I finally tried Deck of Scarlet and I was honestly surprised by how much I liked it. You spend $30 for a palette every month and it usually includes one or two other goodies like an eyeliner or brush. Their first palettes always looked like the picture to the left, 3 eye shadow shades, one blush and a highlight (that could also be used on the eyes) as well as two creamy lip colors. But recently their bundles have shifted sometimes featuring an all eye shadow choice and surveys asking about full blush palettes and more.

The packaging is nice. It's a sturdy cardboard but it has magnets that keep it closed. Like the image shows they usually have a mirror on the inside and the palette has two openings, one for the powder choices and one for the cream lip makeup. The actual face of the palettes change every month but usually feature an artsy geometric style picture of a woman.

I was actually surprised by how pigmented this product was, it definitely needs a good primer, but it had all day wear for sure with that reinforcement. There is a decent amount of palettes to choose from. When you sign up for the service you get to pick whichever palette you want to be sent that month, and then after that they send you an email monthly saying "this is this month's palette" and you can choose to get it or skip it. If you skip it you can choose another option instead. And right now they only have 14 choices, but since they come out with a new one monthly it's safe to say you won't be running out of options anytime soon.

The biggest issue I had with this is that $30 for a palette is a fairly normal deal. I didn't feel like I was saving money, but it isn't insane either. I also feel like the palette itself is pretty one note. I rarely get a palette with the variety to actually create a full face look with no help from any other products. The palette above is probably one of the most diverse. I got the edition #7 my first month which I am picturing on the right. This set has a fun blue pop, a fudge brown and basic matte nude, along with a pink blush and a yellow gold highlight. The darkest shade on this palette is still pretty light and I always needed to grab another shadow to deepen the outer corner or crease of my look. But I like that the blue pushed me out of my comfort zone. I actually wore the blue shadow several times and got a lot of compliments on it. And I really liked the long wear and creamy feel of the lipsticks, although they do get a little messy in the palette.

If you are wanting to try this out I actually do recommend it. It's a fun choice, and where you can skip whatever month you'd like it's really not a gamble at all. Plus I am posting a link below that will give you $10 off your first month. This makes it a stellar deal honestly. You get the three shadows, 2 face choices and two lip shades along with whatever extra bonus product for only $20. That's a steal. You can click here to get $10 off today.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Fair Trade Beauty Brands you'll want to support

Do you know what Fair Trade is? We have all heard about Vegan and Cruelty Free brands, and chances are if you look up fair trade cosmetics lines, that's what you'll find. Vegan cosmetics lines. But there is a difference. Cruelty free brands do not test their products on animals. Vegan brands do not use any animal byproducts or ingredients in their cosmetics, so for example the don't use beeswax. But Fair Trade is an entirely different standard you may want to jump on board with.

Fair Trade is a global movement that strives to improve the lives of everyone. We have all heard of sweatshop workers, or the farmer in a third world country who get's paid pennies for hard labor and can barely feed his family. Fair Trade is about ending that. It's about paying people fair wages and not neglecting those who work in factory or farming environments. It is also about sing sustainable practices that are good for the environment. 
"Our standards ensure producers, workers, farmers, and fishermen have the money needed to invest in their lives and their work." - Fair Trade USA
 Now that is something I can get behind! If you'd like to learn more about what fair trade is then click here to visit Fair Trade Certified's website fairtradecertified.org.

So here are three killer beauty brands I have personally tried that produce good quality products  using fair trade practices and ingredients.


You get a lot of good things when you shop at Thistle Farms. Thistle Farms isn't only fair trade products, it is so much more. It is a charity that helps to aid women who are victims of sex trafficking and sexual slavery, by providing them with a safe haven, applicable job experience and helping them to learn basic living skills they may not have had the opportunity to learn such as money management and educational planning. Thistle Farms not only provides housing and jobs along with coaching, but they help their residents get through college to help them create a self sustainable life. When you purchase from Thistle Farms you are also getting fair trade items made with high quality ingredients. The bath and body products are truly top notch, and it's extra nice knowing that not only were no sweat shops involved in the making of this product, but that your purchase helped someone to find freedom.



Shea Moisture is an affordable brand that has a wide range of products from skin care, to hair care and even cosmetics. They are not only affordable but accessible. You can find Shea Moisture at Ulta, Walmart, Target and several other convenient stores. I personally use the Shea Moisture African Black Soap and love it. Even their shampoos and conditioners have my stamp of approval for the most part. If you are on a budget or wanting to find some more affordable options Shea Moisture is a great choice to be honest.


 I love Pure Argan Co. They sell one thing and that is 100%  argan oil. There are so many wannabe oils on the market that claim to be 100% pure but are cut with synthetic fragrances and fillers. What is tricky is that a package can say it's 100% pure argan oil, but all that means is that they must have pure argan oil in it as one of the ingredients. Not only is this heavenly oil the real deal, but it's fair trade, organic, fragrance free, paraben free and vegan. You can buy bottles in three sizes and the cost ranges from $9 to $50. This oil is perfect to hydrate your scalp, repair split ends, soothe scaly or cracked skin, hydrate your skin and more. And with their guilt free sourcing it's another purchase you can feel good about.

Hopefully you enjoyed this short list of fair trade beauty brands. Let me know if you have any brands you love to support, or if you'd like to learn more about ethical beauty.



Sunday, May 5, 2019

REVIEW: Verb Dry Shampoo

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 4 (very good)
Texture - 5 (excellent)
Oil Absorption - 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 4 (very good)
Overall:



I am obsessed with this dry shampoo and I am super excited to tell you why. This is not in an aerosol spray can like I am used to. In the past when I have used powders for dry shampoo I am never happy with them. They typically make my hair feel super gritty and they almost always show up in my hair making it look dull and ashy. This one exceeded my expectations.

This has a great tapered nozzle that helps with product distribution control. I love the sturdy, pretty, clean and high end looking packaging. This is 100% fragrance free and has no scent to it at all. I was worried it would smell like baby powder which is not a scent I care for. But I can't smell this one at all. It is also completely untraceable to me. I can't feel it at all in my hair. It also absorbs oils quickly and makes my hair look and feel clean and soft.

It doesn't have the best longevity. Let me explain. The packaging tells you to put the tip on your scalp and directly squeeze product onto your scalp. That releases to much product and can leave residue. But if you instead sprinkle it on or tap it onto your hair it dissipates and lasts a while. I just felt I couldn't know off a point from something when the directions point you the wrong way. However This powder lasts longer than a spray, it has way more product and you get more bang for your buck.

If you are interested you can use my affiliate link to purchase and get 16% off your first order of Verb Products! Click here to shop now! 


Friday, May 3, 2019

REVIEW: Diablo Cosmetics TLM Colour Changing Foundation

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 2 (not very good)
Coverage - 2 (not very good)
Color Matching - 5 (excellent)
Wear - 1 (bad)
Overall:


I was reeled in by a Facebook ad for this foundation. Pretty vloggers showing this amazing full coverage foundation that changed to your perfect skin tone in a flash.  I was sure it wouldn't work, but the color changing technology is about the only thing with this product that did work for me. That and the packaging which is super sturdy, functional and high end looking. And the shade matching technology was SO COOL to watch. I tried in on myself, as well as several of my coworkers and clients. I tried it on paler than pale skin as well as Asian skin, several Latin people, and a couple of my African American clients. The color technology was amazing across the board.

But that's where this product's charm ends. It smelled pretty bad. Like straight up dollar store sun screen. It wasn't disgusting, but it wasn't pleasant and it was strong. I put on THREE layers of this stuff and got almost no coverage. I'd say this is more of a tinted sunscreen than a foundation. And last up it wears off fast. Even with setting powder and spray this product didn't even make it halfway through my day. I'd skip it if I were you.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

REVIEW: Kylie Cosmetics Setting Spray

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 5 (excellent)
Hydration - 5 (excellent)
Improved Wear- 5 (excellent)
Longevity - 5 (excellent)
Overall:


5 Stars across the board! I really didn't expect much from this product and it's positioned to be one of my all time favorites! I will start with the packaging which is your standard spray bottle, nothing fancy. But it's functional. I am not the biggest fan of the new baby pink packaging that Kylie Cosmetics is going with. Usually the do black and silver, or fun graphic choices for their packaging. But even though I'm not the biggest baby pink fan myself it's still nice and the chrome letters are a great touch.

This has a great rose scent that I love. I am not the biggest fan of overly floral fragrances, but this one is crisp and light, it almost has a cucumber undertone that keeps it refreshing.  It is certainly hydrating, I love spraying this on even with no makeup because it leave my skin feeling so nice. In my experience there are two types of setting sprays, the ones that smell like alcohol and make your skin dryer, but help to keep your makeup on, and the ones that smell nice and hydrate but they don't do much for your cosmetics. This one breaks that stereotype by smelling and feeling amazing, while also providing great improved wear. You only need 2-3 spritzes per day so it'll last you a while, and is honestly a pretty affordable option.

You can pick it up here

Monday, April 29, 2019

My Current Skin Care Routine

My skin is looking pretty good these days and I figured I would share what I have been doing to get it there. I use new thing all the time in order to review them, but when I find items that really work for my skin they become my "baseline" and I may sub out for a new moisturizer or cleanser for a moment just to see how it works but this is my baseline routine.

A little about my skin. I have dry skin. It peels on and around the nose, and even on the cheeks sometimes. I don't have a ton of acne, but I do have some on my jawline and the hollows of my cheeks. This routine keeps my skin hydrated and my acne at bay.

-Morning - 
Every Other Day - I exfoliate using the DermaE Microdermabrasion Scrub. I love this scrub because it exfoliates and feels great,  but has a really gentle grain, I don't have to apply hardly any pressure for it to it's job and a little goes a very long way. One jar lasts me 3 or more months.

Every Day - I start by using a microfiber wipe to just kind of clean any oil that I might have created on my face over night. I purchased a really nice set on Amazon from the Amazon Basics line that are super soft and amazing. I use these twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, so having a set of 24 is super nice. You can find the set I bought here. If I am going to exfoliate I do at this point in my routine. 

Then I use The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% on freshly cleaned skin on my cheeks and jawline where I have acne. I love this product because it is so light weight and it truly helps, but it's also only $6! Don't be fooled though, the ordinary has some stellar products and direct acids, but some of their items have some not so great ingredients. I do however love this one.

Last I put on my moisturizer and I love the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer. I actually discovered this while researching oil free moisturizers for a different post on this. I was looking for the best drugstore option and putting all of my ingredients lists through various sites that analyze ingredients for you, and this one came up with no concerning or comedogenic ingredients on ALL of my sites! I had to try it right? So I picked some up for less than $20 at Walmart and I have been hooked ever since.

- Night -  

I start out my nightly routine by removing my makeup using a microfiber towel and warm water. Then I use a corner of the towel along with the Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover to get the rest of my mascara and eyeliner off.



Next I cleanse my face using the Lil Scrubbies Silicone Facial Scrubbing Pads. Here they are on Amazon, I picked mine up at Walmart in the makeup aisle but I didn't see them on their website. They are less than $3 for a set of two. I just love the gentle way that these help me to deliver product onto my skin without scratching it up. I am not a fan of most fancy expensive brushes and scrubbers, these $3 gems work perfectly for me. With my scrubbies I apply the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Acne Prone Face & Body Bar. I love Shea Moisture. They use great ingredients, they are fair trade, and affordable! This bar is $5 and it's massive! It will take you a while to run out if you are only using it for your face.

After I wash my face with the cleanser I tone it. If I am exfoliating the next day I will often use a toner that is a little harsher and more drying that fights acne. I currently use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution for those days. If I am not exfoliating I will use the Sei Bella Advanced Youth Revital™ Hydrating Toner. This one is another goodie. It smells like cucumbers and is so refreshing on my skin. I usually apply my toners with my hands, but if you prefer a cotton round I personally like the AOA Pure Cotton Rounds. They are afforda
ble and really gentle. My eyes get scratched easily and sometimes the rayon cotton blend cheap pads at walmart are just to rough on them.

If I am using a hydrating toner that night I will also moisturize, once again using the same Nuetrogena moisturizer that I mentioned before. But If I use the glycolic acid toner I do not. If I have a really bad break out sometimes I will treat the affected area with the Derma E Overnight Peel. I've never actually peeled form it before, but it definitely dries out and fight acne pronto. I do put it over the glycolic acid toner, and only use it on nights when I am exfoliating the next day.

This skin care routine has done me some good over the last several months. It keeps my skin looking super healthy, which is important because if I don't have a good baseline it makes it difficult for me t know whether the products I am using are working or not. Hopefully this gave you a little inspiration for your own routine.

Friday, April 19, 2019

REVIEW: Kenra Dry Volume Blast

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 5 (excellent) 
Volume - 5 (excellent) 
Longevity - 1 (bad) 
Texture - 3 (average)
Overall: 

I love the packaging for Kenra products. It is sleek and shiny, I love the classic black and silver combo, and it comes in a sturdy metal can. It has this classic light scent that is kind of floral but has a citrus twist to it that keep sit bright. The scent is not long lasting either, so if it's not your cup of tea that's okay.

Now for performance, this gives your hair a major volume boost, especially if your hair is fine, but the boost is fleeting. It has no hold which is intentional I think, because it has a hold factor of 3 (on a scale from 1-25) listed on the can. And I can't just fluff it up throughout the day. I have to reapply. So you have to use a lot of product to get any kind of lasting result. You can definitely feel this product in your hair, it's drying and weird, but it doesn't last all day at the very least. 

If you want a lot of volume but with hold try the Kenra Dry Texture Spray. I'm honestly not sure why anyone would choose this over the Kenra. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

REVIEW: Hot Sexy Hair Protect Me

Packaging - 5 (excellent)
Scent - 3 (average)
Weightlessness - 5 (excellent)
Protection - 5 (excellent)
Overall:


I am a huge fan of the Hot Sexy Hair line in general. They protect your hair from heat from styling products and they are all super effective. Protect Me is weightless, it adds no hold or volume to the hair, but does give a slight shine. The packaging is metal as well as durable with an aerosol nozzle that  makes for easy and even distribution.  The scent is a little musky for me and has a pit of a powdery flare, but it doesn't linger. And the product protects up to 450 degrees of heat. What more could you ask for? This is a go-to for me for sure.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Favorite Makeup Brushes

I am going to keep my preamble to this post short and sweet, so we can get right into the recommendations. What makes a good brush set to me is that the bristles hold makeup well and don't fall out quickly. I want the bristles to be soft and to stay soft after being washed multiple times. I want the handles to be high quality and comfortable in the hand, and I don't want peeling paint on the handles or for the metal piece that holds the bristles to the brush to come off quickly. I am going to recommend my top two sets to you at different price points. I was going to post three or four, but honestly these are my top two and I rarely buy outside of these brands. They have the best bang for your buck hands down. Hopefully you will love whatever you choose!


I got my first set of crown brushes in cosmetology school after feeling how soft they were when my classmate was doing her own makeup. I have a large selection of them in my kit and the very first set of crown brushes I purchased more than 6 years ago I still use today. They are an awesome budget option. They actually private label their makeup and brushes, so often well known brands actually carry these at a much higher price point. For example Morphe is private label Crown Brushes, you can read more about that here.  But if you are on a budget you really can't beat these. The individuals are awesome, but they also have a huge selection of sets that are insanely affordable. You pick yours up here. 



This brand I discovered through Ipsy and Boxy Charm and I am in love. I also have some brushes from them from 5 years ago, and every single one of their tools I come back to over and over again. They are super silky soft and  durable. Plus I love the light pink and rose gold style of these brushes, that are all synthetic, vegan and cruelty free. You can grab yours here.