Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: Emjoi Micro-Pedi Nano Callus Remover

MmmKay, this may be a bit of a different post from my usual 'above the shoulders' reviews, but you know summer's around the corner. Its time to get our feet right! The Emjoi Micro-Pedi Nano Callus Remover may just be the ticket to sandal-readiness!

So, I don't know about you, but I like to avoid physical labor wherever I can - and that now includes my pedicures! The Micro-Pedi, which is like a super fast, rotating pumice stone, takes the effort out of buffing away dry, dead skin and calluses off the feet (or wherever). The roller completely rotates 30 times a second to gently break down hard skin to reveal super soft baby feet.

In my experience with pumice stones or other pedicure graters, sometimes even though they take off the dead skin, my feet feel exactly like what they've been through - grated! However, after using the Micro-Pedi, there is not one scraggly piece of dead skin left - just absolute smoothness. 

The entire device fits comfortably in the palm and the interface is about as simple as it can be. There is only one button at the front, which turns it on or off and there is a side clip that releases the roller for replacement. The roller that comes with the Micro-Pedi is Extra Course but there are replacements of different levels such as Super Coarse and Xtreme Coarse for tougher skin. This model takes 2 AA batteries.

To use, you simply turn on the Micro-Pedi and place it lightly on the skin, moving slowly around the area you want to slough off. It is pressure-sensitive to protect you if you push it too hard on the skin and will stop automatically. One session normally takes me about 1 minute on each foot.

I purchased the Emjoi Micro-Pedi Nano on Amazon for $22.95.

Overall, I am really pleased with this nifty gadget! It has gotten my feet just as smooth or smoother than any professional pedicure I've gotten. This works exceptionally well on typical rough skin such as around the heels but I don't think its strong enough to completely remove deep calluses in one use (but those can probably be tackled with the more abrasive refills). The compact size also makes it very easy to travel with to make sure you have soft feet wherever you go!

Thanks for reading!

How are you getting Sandal-ready?

Blogger Tricks

Thursday, February 19, 2015

NOTD: Horizontal Negative Space

I have really been into negative space nail art lately and you'd be surprised how easy it is.

So, negative space nail art is where you leave spaces of your natural nail bare while you paint around it. For today's look, I used French tip stickers to blank out my 'negative space' but you can use masking tape or whatever you have on hand to give a straight edge.

First apply your base coat as usual and after it has dried, place the sticker on the lower half of the nail. Then, use any polish of your choice to paint above and below the sticker. I used an old favorite for my nail color - Revlon's Bold Sangria. While the nail color is still wet, gently remove the sticker, allow to dry and apply your top coat.

And that's it! One easy extra step to your normal nail routine that gives a bold statement!

Thanks for reading!

What nail trends have you tried lately?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review + Swatch: Maybelline Creamy Mattes "Touch of Spice" Lipstick

Mattes are on everyone's lips (get it?). Maybelline released a full range of matte lipsticks in Fall 2014 that turned heads at the drugstore. The shade I picked up so far is Touch of Spice, which is a browny-mauve that is similar to that oh-so-trendy "Kylie Lip" that's popular right now.

The formula of this lipstick is exactly as the name suggests - it's a creamy matte (oxymoron, maybe?). It doesn't tug on the skin and the finish is consistent throughout the day (i.e. no tightness or dryness). It applies very easily on the lips like a velvet texture with no sheen and there is great color payoff. There is also a light floral-vanilla scent but it doesn't bother me.

As for the wear, I've found that while the application is a matte-lover's dream and the lipstick is very lightweight, it just kind of sits on top of my lips and it rubs off quite easily, which I'm sure is due to all that creamy goodness. I'd say I get about 3-4 hours of solid wear without any eating or drinking.

While I absolutely love the color of this Touch of Spice lipstick, I do have a theory about nudes and lighter shades that they don't grab on to the skin as strongly as a brighter or deeper shade would. So I'm not sure if a red or deep plum in this collection would last longer.

You can find Touch of Spice and the other 9 shades of the Creamy Mattes collection at drugstores for around $6-8.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this lipstick. I love the color and payoff but I'm a girl who also loves longevity. I love how creamily it applied but I am not a fan of its lasting power and how easily it can be rubbed off. I do think the Creamy Mattes collection is perfectly suited for those with extremely dry lips or now delving into the world of matte lipstick.

Personally, although a traditional matte lipstick is a bit more drying, I think I prefer the security it gives that it will stay on my lips. However, to make Touch of Spice more lasting, wearing a lip liner underneath might just be the trick.

Thanks for reading,

What do you think of the Creamy Matte Lipsticks?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer Highlighter

Get your glow on, gurrrl!!! The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer is a cheeky-named, high-wattage face highlighter that seriously amps up your glow game!

Mary-Lou Manizer is a soft-textured, peachy-gold shimmer that can be used as a highlighter and eye shadow for that subtle (or not so subtle) glow. It is highly pigmented, so I like to lightly apply with a feathery brush when I use it as a highlighter and it blends very easily into the skin.

Below, you can see my before and after with the Mary-Lou Manizer. I have found that its pretty easy to go overboard and get a stark highlight, so to tone it down a bit, I lightly brush over the highlighted area with my powder brush to help soften and diffuse the shimmer.

It's lasted pretty well during the day, but since my skin is on the oilier side, the highlighter has to compete with my natural "glow" later in the day. A quick blot fixes that, though.

I purchased the Mary-Lou Manizer for €16 at Aromas here in Spain but it is also available online and in the States for around $24.

Overall, I really like the Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer. It gives a high-impact highlight but can also be toned down with the type of brush used or simply powdering over it. Since it is a shimmer, it probably won't be the most natural highlight around but it sure is 'purty'!

As always, thanks for reading!

What is your favorite Highlight product?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in "Chocolate"

What a long name for a product huh? The Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade has been all the rage for the last year or so and I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about.

Since my brows are naturally full(ish), I don't normally splurge on products to fill them in and just use any old $5 pencil to get the job done. However, with all the hype that this pomade has gotten over the last year, there must be something magical to it, right?

I got the shade Chocolate, which is a dark brown with a slightly warm undertone. For reference, my skin shade is NW45 in MAC and my hair is black. Chocolate seems to be a good match for me but there are 9 other shades available. 

The consistency of the pomade is like a creamy, thick mousse. It is also waterproof and smudge-proof so your brows can stay put. 

As you can see in the photo above, I use an angled brush to apply the pomade to the bottom edge of my brows to give it a crisp outline and then fill in any sparse areas anywhere else. I then use a spoolie to brush through the hairs and blur the pomade for a more natural look.

 The brush I used is a dual ended brow brush from Ardell that I purchased from eBay.

I bought the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade for $18 on Amazon but it is also sold at Sephora and Ulta.

Overall, despite the price, I really like the Dipbrow Pomade. The color Chocolate is a great match and I can quickly apply the product to both brows with just a few swipes and then brush it out for as natural or dramatic a look as I want. You get great color payoff with this and a little goes a long way, so this jar should last quite a while.

Is this a MUST over a regular brow pencil or powder? I don't think so. I think you can get just as defined a brow with a pencil but the pomade may save you just a few strokes.

Thanks for reading!

What is your favorite brow product?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

DIY Eye Lash/Brow Growth Serum

The quest for Snuffleupagus lashes continues! I've got an easy and inexpensive DIY that helps grow/regrow lashes or brows. And guys, it works!

So a few months ago, while applying mascara, I noticed a mysterious patch in the lashes on my left eye. I don't know how or when this happened, but after I calmed down from the initial shock and horror (too much?), I decided something must be done! I did a bit of research and concocted this natural serum that aids in hair regrowth and I saw results in about a week!

For this serum, I used only 3 ingredients. All you'll need are:

  • Vitamin E Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Biotin softgel capsules
You will also need a small container/applicator to store the mixture in. I purchased an empty mascara bottle from eBay

The main ingredient here is the Castor oil because it contains a bunch of juicy fatty acids that accelerate blood circulation and increase hair growth. It also has antibacterial properties that help remedy skin/scalp issues that may cause the hair loss in the first place.

Vitamin E Oil is a great moisturizer and preservative. This oil contains antioxidants and will extend the shelf-life of the serum and aid in hair growth.

The last ingredient, Biotin, is optional but is well-known to increase hair growth and strength.

As for the mixture proportions, I did not use exact measurements. I filled about 3/4 of the container with Castor Oil, then added a few drops of Vitamin E Oil and lastly, pierced about 8-10 Biotin capsules and squeezed into the mixture. Now its ready to use!

I apply this to my lashes nightly and within a week I noticed the patch of missing hair was gone! I also realized that almost no hairs fall out when I remove my makeup or rub my eyes. As for the general length of my lashes, I am not sure if they've gotten significantly longer but I do think they are stronger.

You can also use this serum on your brows if you've gone a bit overboard with tweezing or just have patches that haven't grown in. And if all else fails, its a great moisturizer for both your lashes and delicate skin around the eyes. :-)

If you want to see more immediate ways to make your lashes look longer, click here.

As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kitchen Beauty: DIY Natural Brightening Lemon Sugar Scrub

Isn't there something so exciting and rewarding about making your own beauty products? Is that just me? Ok... On with it then. I've got an effective, easy and cheap scrub that does a great job of sloughing off dead skin and evening the skin tone to reveal bright, baby-soft skin.

Now, don't confuse 'brightening' with 'bleaching' or 'whitening'. The natural, active ingredients in this simple scrub will not make your skin multiple shades lighter - but will help exfoliate dead cells and give a brighter, more luminous and even-tone appearance to the skin. This is very useful to treat active acne and gradually remove post-acne marks and other discolorations as well as general dullness.

What you'll need:

  • 1 tbsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of honey
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • granulated cane sugar
  • empty container
The measurements of these ingredients are totally up to you. For example, if you have drier skin, add more honey or a 1/2 tsp or more of any oil of your choice. If you prefer a gentler, more liquid scrub, include less sugar. That's the beauty of DIY's - you can customize it to your personal needs.

For reference, I used a 1/2 cup (4 oz) container to store my scrub.

Lemon juice contains a substantial amount of Vitamin C and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), which function as a wonderful chemical exfoliant and lightening agent for dark spots on the skin. The process is very gradual, though.

Baking soda is another wonderfully multipurpose product that has great antiseptic, exfoliating and brightening qualities. Similarly to lemon, it will not drastically change your complexion but will help even out areas of discoloration and clear active breakouts.

Honey is another antibacterial ingredient that also helps calm acne-prone skin and clarifies the pores while moisturizing the skin.

The last ingredient, sugar, is simply added to physically exfoliate the skin. Add as much or as little as you'd like. I prefer white granulated sugar over brown because it doesn't break down and dissolve as easily. That way, I can keep the scrub party going, longer.

Mixing the ingredients is a breeze. Just mash together with a fork or spoon until everything is evenly distributed. However, just a warning, when you add the lemon juice and baking soda together, there will be a bit of frothing or bubbling (remember science class?), so be sure to mix in a container big enough to allow this without making an exploding mess (unless of course, you're into that).

And that's it. Now you have an all natural scrub that leaves the skin immediately squeaky clean and oh, so soft with the future promise of gradual tone improvement and clarity. Be sure to store in a sealable container and use within a week so that the natural ingredients don't deteriorate before you can take advantage of its full potency.

Also, you don't have to limit this scrub to your face. If you have issues with dark underarms or any other area of discoloration, scrub away!

PS, due to the photosensitivity that lemon is known for, it's best to use this at night and don't forget to wear sunscreen during the day!

Thanks for reading!

What's your favorite scrub?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

NOTD: I Mustache You Something

Mmm kay! I have been obsessed with mustache-themed everything for ... forever. Tell me the cuteness sucks you in too! This is why I couldn't pass up this adorable nail art look!

For this über easy design, I painted 4 of my nails with Revlon's Marmalade and then swiped the nail on my ring finger with Sally Hansen's Mint Sorbet. The mustache designs are actually nail stickers from the Born Pretty Store, which has a really wide selection of nail and beauty accessories for very affordable prices. They were kind enough to send me the nail art used for this look.

The vinyl stickers applied very easily and smoothly after my polish was dry and then I painted one layer of a top coat to seal everything in. You can find this sticker pack for just $0.99 here. If you are interested in anything on the store, you can get 10% off your order using the code LAP10K31.

Thanks for reading!

What Nail Art Look Are You Currently Loving?

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?

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?

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)
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?