Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask

I found an unexpected gem in the drugstore a few months ago have been loving it ever since. It is the Freeman's Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask and though the name is too long and it looks kinda scary, its become one of my favorite scrubs!


Admittedly, when you squeeze this product out of the tube, its a bit intimidating. I mean, it looks like asphalt! Never mind though - it works up to a great exfoliating treatment that leaves the skin really feeling polished as the name promises.


Charcoal provides great benefits to the skin such as drawing out dirt and bacteria and fighting acne. Sugar has firm but gentle exfoliating particles that help to remove dead layers and brighten the skin. This Charcoal and Black Sugar Mask is no "micro bead" hosh posh. You'd get a real exfoliation from it but without it feeling too harsh and leaving the skin dry and irritated.


As you can see in the photo above, the sugar particles are sizable but smooth, so they won't scratch and inflame the skin. Whenever I use it, my face feels super clean and smooth and has a subtle glow.

You may have noticed this product is also marketed as a mask but I think its texture better serves as a scrub. Sometimes, after I give my face a good scrub with this, I leave it on for a few minutes in the shower and rinse it off. I haven't noticed any difference between washing it off right away or leaving it on for an extended time.



Overall, I am really happy with this product. I wouldn't recommend it as a mask as the name suggests - but as an exfoliator, I think it is excellent! Also at only $3.99 in drugstores, the price can't be beat!



Thanks for reading!

What's your favorite scrub?

Blogger Tricks

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DIY Vanity Mirror With Lights

I have had my eye on one of those fancy Hollywood vanity mirrors for just about forever. However, at the steep price of around $300-$500, I figured there must be another way for me to get glam in the glow of dozens of bright lights. Well, I found a hack and thought I'd share it with you.


Now as a disclaimer, this is not a fancy, brain-busting method - but it works for me so far. Not to mention, its pretty cheap compared to a ready-made vanity mirror. Here's what I used for this 10 minute project.

1 Mirror (Walmart ~$12)
1 pack of globe string lights (Target - $12)
Masking tape (Anywhere - $2)
1 Wireless Remote (Amazon - $15)


 The process here is fairly primitive (don't laugh). All I did was line up the string lights on the backside of the mirror and secured it with lots of tape. Its not pretty, but no one would see the back. You could use a stronger kind of tape but this is just what I had in the house at the time. The pack of lights I used included 25 bulbs, so I attached 10 on each side and 5 at the top.


Also, since I'm far too lazy to plug and unplug the lights whenever I wanted to use them, I 'installed' a wireless remote. You simply plug the lights' outlet prongs into the remote receiver, which is plugged into the wall outlet. This step is of course optional, but it makes things a lot easier.


And there you go! A lighted vanity mirror for about $40! Not too shabby, right?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: L'oréal Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm

Hi there Beauties,

For a few weeks after I moved to Spain, I noticed my hair was increasingly more unmanageable out of the shower despite using the same products I was accustomed to. I tried switching shampoos and conditioners a couple times and nothing worked! It was only until I stumbled upon this deep conditioner that I found some sweet relief!


The Loreal Total Repair 5 Damage-Erasing Balm is a super thick non-greasy conditioner that promises to repair up to a year's worth of damage in just one use! I can't really know for sure if that claim is true, but I can attest to the fact that in the first use, I saw a noticeable difference in my hair. It was much softer and significantly easier to detangle once I got out of the shower.


As I mentioned before, the cream is very thick. So thick that you can turn it completely upside down and it would not budge! The scent is difficult to describe and it leans on the citrus side but it is not too strong.

Lately, I have been using this after shampooing with L'oréal's EverPure shampoo and leaving it on for about 15 minutes or how long I can stand to stay in the shower without getting bored. Sometimes I have used a plastic cap for even deeper penetration.

When I'm tired of standing in the shower, I rinse it out starting from the roots but I leave about 30-40% of the conditioner in my hair to keep some of the moisture as it dries. Once out of the shower, I detangle, apply my leave in conditioner as usual and air dry.


Overall, I am really happy with this product! I am pretty sure my tangle problem before was caused by the hardness of the water here but this conditioner is doing a great job of holding me over till I find a another solution for that. Due to the length of my butt-grazing hair, one jar of this only lasts me 2 uses but at around $6 a pop, that's ok with me. You can find this Damage-Erasing Balm at most drugstores.


Thanks for reading!


What is your favorite deep conditioner?



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I'm Back! + Updates!

Hello Beauty Bugs!

It's been forever and I'm mentally giving myself a slap on the wrist. Lots of things have changed since my last post, so before I get back on the blog horse again, I thought I would give you a quick, little update to somehow get back in your good graces ;-)


For the last 5 months or so I have moved across the US, Caribbean and I have finally dropped anchor in SPAIN! That's right! I've moved to Spain! Naturally, things have been a little hectic - hence the silence on this side of the WWW - but now that things have settled down somewhat, I can devote a bit more time here.

You can still expect lots of reviews, tips and DIYs from me and thanks to the relocation across the world, I can experiment with more European products to share with you. Isn't that exciting? Until I get a firm schedule in place, I hope to post at least 2-3 times a week.

I've missed you and I'm excited for a new beauty experience on this side of the world. If you want to keep up with my new Europe shenanigans, follow me on INSTAGRAM!

Thanks so much for reading and keeping up with me!


What European products should I try?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DIY Whipped Hair and Body Shea Butter Mix!

Hair and body butters are all the rave and so moisturizing but *whispering*, they can be so expensive! Not to mention they could contain questionable ingredients we can't even pronounce. How about making your own natural shea butter mix that you can use on hair, skin and nails? I promise, its easy!


The cool thing about making your own moisturizing butter is that you can put whatever you want in it. I usually use Shea butter as a base and add whatever oils I have on hand.


What you'll need:

Unrefined Shea Butter
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Avocado Oil
Almond Oil
Castor Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Essential Oil(s)
Mixer
Empty container(s)


The technique is super simple. Simply add all the liquid oils in a mixing bowl and get ready for whipping. I used between 1/4 to 1/2 a cup for each of the oils listed above.


Shea butter is a bit tough, so you'll need to break and heat it up to soften it a bit to make whipping easier.


I let my shea butter sit in the microwave for about 30 seconds to just soften but not completely melt it. I like to keep the firmness so that it doesn't take too long for the mixture to harden to its natural state. If you melt it totally, you may need to put the mixture in the refrigerator to harden before whipping.


Now add the shea butter to the oils in the mixing bowl and whip for about 5 minutes.


After whipping on high speed for a few minutes, the mixture becomes fluffy and much creamier. At this point,  I add some fragrance to help cancel out the "earthy" smell of the shea butter and coconut oil. I used lavender and orange essential oils, which give it a fresh scent.


 After a total of about 10 minutes of whipping, you get a mixture looking more like a thick butter.


 All that's left to do now is to pile it into some containers. Immediately after whipping, the butter is smooth and airy but after about 2 hours, it sets to a firmer consistency thats really easy to spread and melt into the skin or hair.


And that's it!

I like to use this mixture as a leave-in conditioner on wet hair and as a cuticle and hand creme. You can also use this as a body moisturizer. If you feel especially creative, you can also add food/soap coloring  to give it a fun colorful look.

Thanks for reading!

What are your favorite hair/skin butters?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Video Spotlight: Eyeliner Techniques

If you struggle with eyeliner application or maybe need a creative push out of your liner slump, I recently found a really helpful video that focuses on 12 ways to apply eyeliner.



Julia Graf demonstrates how to apply the following shapes using liquid, gel or pencil eyeliner:


Straight line
Classic Wing
Double Wing
Arab Eye
Contrast
Artsy Swoop
60s Flick
Color Pop
Tightline & Waterline
Smudge
Feline
Grunge Slick

You can find out more about Julia and her channel here. I am in no way affiliated with her, but just wanted to share with you what I'm watching. :-) I'm kind of a YouTube junkie, so let me know if you'd like to see more posts like this.

I'm a sucker for the Classic Wing, but I want to start incorporating the Color Pop and Arab Eye into my routine.

What's your favorite eyeliner shape?


Monday, February 10, 2014

Jesse's Girl for JulieG - Romeo and Juliet Matching Lipstick and Nail Polish

Here's an idea! What if your nail polish matched your lipstick perfectly? JulieG's got you covered! In collaboration with the drugstore brand, Jesse's Girl, she recently released a new matching line for Valentine's Day. The duo I picked up is called Romeo and Juliet.


The nail polish (Romeo) and the lipstick (& Juliet) both have a peachy pink shade.


The formula of the lipstick is quite good with a smooth, matte finish and surprisingly good lasting power. It kind of stains the skin, which I love! The nail polish applied smoothly as well with no streaks even though the brush is relatively small.


This Valentine's collection consists of 3 other pairs named after famous couples. The lipstick and nail polish are sold at RiteAid and Jesse's Girl for $3.99 each.


Thanks for reading!

Do you like to match your lipstick and nail polish?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Wet n Wild MegaSlicks Balm Stain (Red-Dy or Not)

Who doesn't have a Balm Stain these days? A super affordable option hit the drugstore shelves recently from Wet n Wild. I picked up the shade Red-Dy or Not, which is very wearable a soft strawberry red.


The shade in tube looks a bit more dramatic than it really is but the balm applies sheerly in terms of the depth of the shade, but it still covers well on the skin.


 The initial finish is quite glossy and feels very moisturizing. The supple feeling doesn't last very long and is quickly evaporated or rubbed off by eating but the staining claim is accurate. In the photo above, the color lasted long after eating a sandwich and drinking, 4+ hours after application. After this time, my lips felt dry, so I reapplied. I couldn't find any claims on these for how long these are expected it to last.


The packaging is simple with the ever-so-popular twist up jumbo pencil tube. Thankfully, the cover snaps on some grooves along the sides so it doesn't fall off on the go. The metal bit at the bottom twists more product to the top.

I picked up this Balm Stain in RiteAid for $2.99 and I am sure you can find these in other drugstores if not now, in the months to come. I couldn't find any links from drugstores online (is this even real? ^_^) but here is some information from Wet n Wild. There are 5 other shades in this collection.


Overall, I think this Balm Stain performed pretty well considering the cost. The 'balmy' feeling doesn't last long at all but I was happy the staining persisted through eating and drinking and didn't look patchy.

My rating: 4/5


Thanks for reading!


What's your favorite balm staining product?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Romantic Valentine's Face of the Day (Pink)

I was just shopping around for Christmas decorations and I blinked and now its almost Valentine's Day! How crazy! Here's a soft, girly look I did that I think would be perfect for that lovey-dovey day. Full product list below.


I chose to keep all the focus colors very soft shades of pink and purple.


Face
CoverGirl Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation in Tawny
Milani Powder Foundation in Creamy Cocoa
Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Cafe

Cheeks
MAC Love Joy Blush (Review)

Eyes
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Maybelline 24 Hr Color Tattoo in Iced in Pink (Review)
Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette (Review)
MAC Texture Eyeshadow
Makeup Geek Bitten Eyeshadow
MAC Fix+
Rimmel Scandal Eyes in Nude
Maybelline Line Stiletto in Blackest Black

Brows
NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Brown

Lips
NYX Lip Liner Pencil in Bloom
MAC Chatterbox Lipstick


For exact placement on the eyes, I used mainly the Urban Decay's Vice 2 Palette unless specified otherwise. Actual shades used are highlighted above.


Brow bone: Dope & Habit
Inner lid: Coax & MAC Fix+
Outer lid: Voodoo & MAC Fix+
Blending Shade: MAC's Texture
Crease: Makeup Geek's Bitten
Waterline:  Rimmel Scandal Eyes in Nude



And thats about it.

Thanks for reading!

How will you be dolling up for Valentine's Day?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

RePurposed Items for Beauty Organization: Palette Storage

Usually, products designed specifically for makeup organization can get a bit pricey. However, with a little creativity and open-mindedness, you can find everyday objects that can sort your cosmetic goodies just as well or even better. In this new 'RePurposed' series, I'll show you unconventional ways that I have organized my makeup. Up first, Eyeshadow Palette storage!


Here, I've used a desktop mail sorter to display and organize my most-used eyeshadow palettes. I like this method because it allows each palette to stand independently and not move around when I pull one out to use. The sorter does not take up much space and I actually have another set on the other side of my 'beauty desk'.


 I've placed them in order of height so that it is easy to see all the palettes in one glance. Shown here are actually 2 sorters placed back to back, which each hold 3 palettes.

In stores, this is sold as a 'mini sorter' or a 'letter divider/sorter' and you can usually find a fairly inexpensive one in the stationery section of stores like Target and Walmart or at an office supply store like Staples, OfficeMax or the Container Store. I got mine at Walmart for less than $5.


As always, thanks for reading!

How do you store your palettes?

Monday, February 3, 2014

NOTD: Essie 'For the Twill of It'

You love a duo-chrome, right? A couple months ago for their Fall collection, Essie came out with this gorgeous multi-shade, dark metallic polish called For the Twill of It that I just needed in my life!


Photographing or describing this shade is a little tricky, but I'll try. For the Twill of It is a brownish-grey base with purple and green reflects that can change the hue of the polish in different lights or angles. The photo above was taken in sunlight and the one below in the shade.


I don't normally like grey tones on my complexion, but this shade was just too fun to pass up. The purple shift makes it a bit more wearable for me. I find that in direct sunlight, it pulls more green and in the shade, it looks like a purple-grey.


For the Twill of It was released in Essie's 2013 Fall collection but I still see it on the Spring displays in stores. Essie polishes retail from $6 - $9 in drugstores and beauty stores.

If you're looking for a cheaper option, I also reviewed a similar polish from Revlon, HERE



As always, thanks for reading!

What's on your nails today?

Friday, January 31, 2014

MAC Heroine Lipstick (Swatches + Comparisons)

Back by popular demand, Mac recently brought back the cult-favorite, Heroine out of hiding and welcomed it to its permanent lipstick line. Heroine is a beautiful matte purple with a slight berry tone.


Heroine was previously released in a limited edition collection but thankfully, for those of us who were not able to get our hands on it the first time around, last month MAC added it to its all-day, everyday collection for the whole world to enjoy!


Coincidently, or not so coincidently, Radiant Orchid is also the new Pantone color of the year, which goes perfectly with this bold, vibrant shade. Pucker up ladies!

I think Heroine is moody enough to pull off as a Winter statement color, but also bright enough for even the Spring and Summer. An all-year-round goodie!


Though it is a matte texture, Heroine applied very smoothly to the lips and I experienced no chapping or discomfort. The rich pigments stained my lips for hours, which in my books is a very good thing.

Heroine, like all MAC lipsticks, retails for $15 at MacCosmetics.com and wherever MAC items are sold. Starting this month (January), you can find this at Mac counters everywhere.

Also, if you want to check out other ways to wear purple lipsticks, click HERE for more swatches and affordable options. A review on Revlon's MatteBalm in Shameless is also HERE.


Overall, I think this is a beautiful shade that will compliment many skin tones. Application and finish were beautiful and lasting power is great.

My rating: 4.5/5




Thanks for reading!


How do you wear purple lipstick?