Suffering from Maskne? Here’s How to Avoid & Treat It

Whether we like it or not, masks are here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future). If you, like me, are experiencing facial irritation or acne from wearing a mask, I worked with my esthetician on a list of products and tips you can use to stay safe.

WHAT IS IT?

Acne mechanica, the technical term for what is now appropriately (if not slightly cringe-inducingly) being referred to as “maskne,” is a type of acne that occurs after repetitive physical trauma to the skin. It’s the same kind of acne that athletes get from say, wearing a helmet or a tight fitting jersey. It’s pretty simple: masks trap dirt, bacteria, sweat, moisture and oil (yum!) close to our skin, which in turn results in pimples, irritation, sores, and more. 

Keep reading for tips on avoiding or getting rid of maskne. 

HOW DO I AVOID IT?

  • Consider the type of mask that you’re wearing. Jennifer recommends cotton masks because they are softer and allow your skin to breathe more. It’s important to note that they will need to be washed* often and, of course, depending on your risk and how much protection you need, you may want to opt for something different.
  • Avoid wearing makeup under your mask. Yeah, it’s true. You may have to break up with make up for a little while in order to save your skin. Or, if you really don’t want to say goodbye, consider wearing it only in places that aren’t rubbed by a mask (i.e., mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, etc.)
  • Wash your face. Before applying your mask, wash your face with a gentle cleanser (we’re talking real simple, Cerave, Cetaphil, etc.). 

HOW DO I TREAT IT?

  • Professional services. I’ve been getting chemical peels about once every two weeks to combat acne. After suffering from horribly painful cystic acne for years (and then investing lots of money into getting rid of the evidence) I’m not messing around when it comes to combating the dreaded “maskne.” Jennifer can create a regimen that works for you and your budget.
  • Benzoyl peroxide. If you’re not able to spend the money on professional treatments, there are plenty of OTC treatments available at your local pharmacy or drugstore to help you say goodbye to those dreaded spots. Benzoyl peroxide is a common acne treatment and is a good option. I like this option from Target or this (more expensive) option from Sephora. 
  • Face masks. I have used this Peter Thomas Roth mask for years. It’s made of sulfur (another common acne fighting ingredient) and smells like farts (a huge selling point, right?). Another good choice is the Skinbetter Science Detoxifying Scrub that doubles as a mask. Can’t go wrong with a two for one!
  • Serums. I recently added two new products into my skin care routine because I’m hell bent on getting my skin cleared up and back to the glowy, wonderful condition that it was previously. I picked up the IS Clinical Active Serum which is supposed to help with acne (and fine lines and wrinkles) and the Biologique Recharche Lotion P50 which has a cult following. It’s smelly, but it’s touted as a magic potion so it’s worth suffering through.
  • Bonus. I’ve been using a Foreo Luna 2 to wash my face for almost a month now. It’s supposed to be more hygenic than a Clarisonic and I like that the back side is intended to use to push your products deeper into your skin, making them more effective. I might be drinking the Koolaid, but I think it helps!

All in all, I don’t mind wearing a mask. Acne is annoying but it’s preferable to getting COVID-19 (and potentially passing it on to someone who would fare worse than I would.) Are you suffering from maskne or irritation? Let me know how you’re doing!

*If you’re washing your mask by hand, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of room-temperature water. Soak the mask in the solution for five minutes before rinsing with cool or room-temperature water and drying, in direct sunlight, if possible.

Black Lives Matter: Resources To Become A Better Ally

Racism is a problem in America all the time—just not when it’s a trending hashtag. Below you’ll find a compilation of organizations you can donate to, petitions you can sign, resources you can learn from & ways you can be a better ally.

ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR IMPLICIT BIASES

This is a widely-used tool developed by researchers to measure thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control.

RESOURCES YOU CAN DONATE TO

TO THE VICTIMS

George Floyd Memorial Fund

Ahmaud Arbery

TO THE PROTESTORS

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Louisville Community Bail Fund

Atlanta Solidarity Fund

TO END POLICE BRUTALITY

National Police Accountability Project

Communities United Against Police Brutality

OTHER WORTHY CAUSES/ORGS

Black Lives Matter

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Reclaim the Block

The Bail Project

Black Visions Minnesota

North Star Health Collective

Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund

Campaign Zero

ACLU

PETITIONS YOU CAN SIGN

Justice for George Floyd

Justice for Breonna Taylor

Justice for Ahmaud Arbery

Arrest All Four

Raise the Degree

LEARNING RESOURCES

PODCASTS

Radio Replay: Mind of the Village

Seeing White

#TellBlackStories 

Code Switch

About Race

Still Processing

BOOKS

How to Be an AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism & History by Mikki Kendall

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel

The Emporer Has No Clothes: Teaching About Race and Racism to People Who Don’t Want to Know by Tema Okun

MOVIES

13th 

When They See Us

TL;DR

White people, we have to hold each other accountable. When we encounter racism, we have to speak up and confront it. Educate yourself, do research, ask questions, influence the people in your own life—but don’t be silent.

*I will continue to update this post on a rolling basis

 

 

Amazon Finds to Help You Stay Clean & Organized

I really detest clutter. Now that I’m both living and working in the same space 24/7, it’s imperative to me that I take care of it. I’ve really been trying to cleaner, more organized and less wasteful recently. Here are some Amazon purchases that have helped me!

Drillbrush Bathroom Surfaces Power Scrubber Cleaning Kit

This one might seem kind of weird but, honestly, it’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I have an older bathtub that perpetually looks kind of grungy (I’m pretty sure it needs to be reglazed) no matter how hard I scrub (I’m not very strong, so I’m not scrubbing that hard, let’s be real LOL). This takes literally zero elbow grease to use and makes my shower look cleaner than it ever has. I can’t wait to try the other attachments to clean my floors.

Takeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker

I purchased an expensive Nespresso coffee maker this past winter and while I do enjoy a nice homemade latte, I just prefer iced coffee. Since coffee shops are operating on limited hours and I’m trying to limit the amount of unnecessary trips, I found myself buying between 2-4 bottles of iced coffee every time I placed a grocery order, which a) is expensive and b) takes up a ton of space in my fridge. I ended up buying this at home cold brew maker to save money and fridge space. This ended up paying for itself in about a week. Highly recommend!

2 Pack 24 Cell Drawer Organizer

If there was one drawer in my entire house that needed to be organized and decluttered, it was my underwear drawer. Let’s be honest—there is no good way to fold underwear. That means that I just throw my underwear in the drawer all willy nilly and then I can never find what I’m looking for. It doesn’t help that I have apparently held on to every single bra and/or pair of underwear I’ve ever owned,  as well as storing random pieces of mail (why??) and random spare buttons that come with shirts in there. I took everything out and decluttered. Now everything is wonderfully organized and I feel much better about my underwear drawer (and my life).

12 Pack Silicone Stretch Lids for Cans/Bottles/Bowls

Full disclosure, I bought these because I saw another blogger (hey, Erins Inside Job!) share them. I hate tin foil. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. And for that reason, whenever I open a can, I typically end up throwing away whatever I don’t use. I know that is really shitty and awful of me and 

4 in One Drawer Organizer Stackable Jewelry Accessory

Like I said, I’m trying to be more organized. I own/wear a ton of jewelry and I have no organization system whatsoever, which results in me panicking and thinking I’ve lost something at least once a week. In a recent YouTube video, Allana Davison (allanarama) 

Shared her jewelry collection which was organized in the most beautiful, chic way in a drawer, safe and out of sight. This forced me to clean yet another drawer, so it was a win/win really. Now all my jewelry is safe and sound and in (mostly) one spot.

Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System

If I had to choose a favorite recent purchase from this list, it would be this. I am obsessed with this and I wish I had known about it and bought it sooner. I used to use a regular ol’ Swiffer and when I was feeling really saucy a la Monica Gellar, I would get on my hands and knees and scrub my floor with a Scotch Brite scouring sponge. I really never felt that the Swiffer did much, plus the disposable pads are not environmentally friendly. This is so much easier and faster and makes your floors so wonderfully clean—and it comes with reusable, washable pads! Honestly, I can’t recommend this enough.

How do you stay organized and on top of household chores? Let me know!

Buy or Bye: Putting the Fenty Beauty #CheeksOut Blushes and Bronzers to the Test

I’ve talked more than once about my love of cream products. In fact, I’ve basically become a disciple for cream products, spreading the good word about the skin-like, feather-light quality of creams. I’ve convinced my friends and family to dip their toes into the wonderfully blendable world of creams with products like Nude Stix blushes and bronzers, as well as the cult favorite Chanel Soliel Tan de Chanel bronzer and the cheaper but just-as-good alternative, Milk Makeup matte bronzer in Baked. 

Naturally, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Fenty’s new #CHEEKSOUT cream bronzers and blushes.

RIHANNA CAN DO NO WRONG

Not only do I love cream products, I love Fenty Beauty. I have never tried a Fenty product that I didn’t like. Primer, foundation, lip gloss, highlighter—there isn’t a single bad product in the entire line. Another thing that I love about Fenty is how inclusive the brand is. As a white woman, I have nearly endless options when it comes to foundation, but I know that not everyone has that luxury. Fenty offers 40 different shades of foundation and 50 different shades of concealer. Now, with the launch of the #CheeksOut collection, people with darker skin tones will have more options when it comes to blushes and bronzers, too.

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#CHEEKSOUT

The Cheeks Out Collection, which launched online and in-stores on April 17 has 10 different cream blush shades and seven different bronzer shades. I ordered them during the Sephora VIB sale but because of COVID-19, shipping was incredibly delayed and I just got them in the mail last week. I am so sad that Sephora is closed right now, because I would have loved to swatch these in store. I ended up taking a guess and getting the blush in the shade Summertime Wine and the bronzer in the shade Macchiato. 

BRONZER FORMULA

Beige Female Photo Instagram Post

I’ve done the leg work when it comes to cream bronzers—and this one is good. According to the brand, the bronzers are supposed to be non-greasy, sweat resistant, and easy to blend. While the brand claims that the bronzers are supposed to be sheer, I would say they are more sheer-to-medium coverage, depending on how they are applied. I’ve applied with my fingers, a dense brush and a duo-fibre brush and each application has come out slightly different. They are definitely buildable but can be applied lightly or blended out for a more sheer look. I’ve also applied both to naked skin and over makeup and it does not disturb any product underneath, which is a huge plus.

The branch launches two shades specifically for contouring, but I have more than enough cool-toned contour shades so I opted for Macchiato so I could use it to bronze my whole face.

BLUSH FORMULA

Beige Female Photo Instagram Post (1)

There has been a lot of talk online about the size of this blush. Some people are not happy about how small it is and, to be fair, it is pretty small. It doesn’t bother me that the product is small for two reasons: 1) cream products tend to expire much faster than powder products and 2) I’ve literally never used up a blush of any size

According to the brand, the formula is supposed to give a “fresh wash of color” that is “effortless” to blend with a “natural-looking” finish. The coverage is designed to be “sheer, buildable” with a “sweat- and water-resistant formula.” Fenty also released a new densely-packed angle brush with his launch, but I use my It Cosmetics blush brush to apply because it’s essentially the same thing and I already have it on hand. 

I’ve seen people complaining that the blushes are too sheer. I have not had that problem. I got the shade Summertime Wine, which is a really pretty soft berry color (in all honesty, I got this because the other colors I wanted were sold out, lol). You can apply it lightly for a sheer wash of color, but you can also really build this up to be quite bold. In fact, when you apply it with a dense brush like the one I mentioned, you get a pretty solid color payoff and I actually had to go over it with my foundation brush to avoid looking like Mimi from the Drew Carrey show.

HOW IT COMPARES

It has a slight edge over the Chanel bronzer for me, because it comes in so many more shades. Chanel has ONE cream bronzer and claims that it is universal. It is not. It’s different than the Huda Beauty Tantour bronzer in that I chose a shade that is more warm-toned, and Tantour leans cooler (it is used to contour, after all). It is probably most comparable to the Milk Makeup matte bronzer in Baked, but isn’t quite as warm despite the fact that it is a true bronzer. 

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PRICING

The bronzer retails for $32 and contains 0.22 oz. (making it $145.45 per oz.). The cream blush retails for $20 for 0.1 oz. of product (making it $200 per oz). Both products are available at both Sephora and the Fenty website.

TL;DR

The new blushes and bronzers from Fenty Beauty are great and worth the money, in my opinion. They have a sheer, buildable finish that blends effortlessly into the skin and wears evenly throughout the day. 10/10 definitely recommend.

How to Save Money When Shopping Online

There was a time when I didn’t want to shop online because I was wary about using my credit card on the internet for ~security~ reasons. Fast forward about 10 years and I basically place Amazon orders in my sleep and have all my credit card information saved in my browser.

If you, like me, have been doing a little too much online shopping during the quarantine, you might as well be earning cashback on it. I know that earning discounts by shopping online might sound too good to be true, but trust me. I spend money like I’m in an entirely different tax bracket, so I have to at least be smart about my shopping habits in some aspects, LOL.

HONEY

Honey is a free browser extension that scours the web to find every working promo code on the internet for you to use upon checkout. If you’ve ever paused checking out to Google “X promo code,” you need this. It works at over 28,000 different online retailers, including Target, Amazon, Sephora and more—including restaurants. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been checking out and saved a couple bucks because Honey found a coupon code I didn’t know existed. The other day, Honey found me a magical code that saved me TWENTY DOLLARS on a necklace at BaubleBar. That is impressive.

Also, I just learned this right now while writing this blog—you accumulate Honey Points that you cash in for gift cards to your favorite retailers. I apparently have 1,100 Honey Points which means I can get a gift card to any of my favorite places which are, of course, Sephora, Target and Amazon.

honey gift cards

Honey works on Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. To download, go to their website and follow the directions. According to Honey, the average user saves $126 dollars annually, while the average savings is 17.29%.

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 1.51.19 PM

One of my favorite things about Honey is the “Save to Droplist” feature. It allows you to keep track of the items that you’re shopping for and will alert you if that product goes on sale within the next 60 days.

RAKUTEN

There are numerous ways to use Rakuten, but I think it’s the easiest to use the browser extension so that you’re automatically notified if the store you’re shopping at is one of the site’s participating retailers. I’ve been a member of Rakuten (formally known as eBates) since 2017.

welcome

For instance, right now during Sephora’s Spring Sale, you can save anywhere from 10-20% (based on whether you’re a Rouge, VIB or Beauty Insider) AND get an additional 2% back from Rakuten. If you don’t use it, you’re literally throwing money away.

In addition to giving you cashback on the purchases you were going to make anyway, Rakuten compares prices and will tell you if the item that you’re looking at is available somewhere else for less money. For instance, I was looking at this cat groomer on Amazon and I got a little popup letting me know that I could save 10 cents if I purchased the same item from Petco. Obviously, in this case, 10 cents is a negligible difference. However, when making larger purchases, this comes in really useful.

cat groomer

MSUFCU PLATINUM PLUS CREDIT CARD

Another one of my favorite cashback hacks is using my MSUFCU Platinum Plus credit card. The first credit card that I ever got was from a credit union in Jackson and didn’t offer cashback, just rewards in the form of random items (it’s how I got my first vacuum, actually LOL) and gift cards—which, admittedly, is kind of fun doesn’t hold the same appeal as cash back.

I earn 3% cashback on all the purchases I make using my MSUFCU credit card and I love when I log in to my MSUFCU app every month and see the amount that I’m getting back. It’s like being rewarded for shopping (and paying bills, buying groceries, yadda, yadda, yadda).

I know there are likely other credit cards that offer more cashback/other perks but I have had such a wonderful experience with MSUFCU and, to be honest, I prefer to keep my money (the little bit I do have) in a local institution, especially one that gives back to the community the way that MSUFCU does.

ARRIVE

This doesn’t actually save you money but it helps you keep track of when all your online orders are arriving. It is amazing and I wish that I had known about this sooner. It’s a free app available on both iOS and Google Play that gives you accurate and timely updates on everything you order, across all online retailers. You literally get step-by-step notifications from checkout to delivery.

IMG_9762

 

TL;DR

If you’re just making online orders and not checking prices or getting cashback, what are you doing? Sign up for Honey and Rakuten and make your dollar go farther.

For example, if I’m shopping the Sephora sale right now, I’m getting 20% off at Sephora, 2% cashback with Rakuten, 3% back from MSUFCU and 1-4% with Honey, meaning I’m getting somewhere between 26 and 29% cash back. Insane!

This post is not sponsored (even though I wish it were), however, we both get something from both Honey & Rakuten if you use the links to sign up. Happy shopping 🙂

Are Online Lingerie Brands Worth the Hype? I Bought the Bra that Kept Following Me on Instagram

If you’re a woman who uses the internet, it’s likely that you’ve been targeted by one of the many up-and-coming direct to consumer lingerie brands that are all over social platforms. For months, I was bombarded by ad after ad for bras that promised to be unlike anything I’ve ever tried, supportive but not restrictive, comfortable but polished, etc, etc, etc. In short, Instagram hates nipples but loves bras.

In recent years, Big Lingerie™ has been disrupted by smaller start-up brands like Thinx, True & Co., Knixwear, ThirdLove, Cuup and many, many more that are leaning into body positivity, forgoing perfectly airbrushed models in favor of real women and embracing diversity and inclusivity.

Of all the bra brands that I have been targeted by, one in particular stood out to me: Cuup. Its chic, minimalist style was intriguing to me and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it comes in an impressive range of sizes and colors (with names like grass, merlot and blush). I went ahead and spent $68 on one their bras, for science.

THE ORDER

Bra sizes can be tricky and ordering them online doesn’t make it any easier. When I went to order, they were out of my size but a customer service rep let me in on a little secret about “sister sizes.” If you, like me, have no idea what that means, I’ll fill you in. Basically, there are four different bra sizes that fit the same. For example, 36 A is equivalent to 34 B, 32 C and 30 D. In other words, if you size up a cup size, you size down a band size. This came in handy for me when my usual 36 D was not in stock, but I was able to get a 34 E and have it fit equivalently.

THE BRA

I ordered the plunge bra in black. I was pleasantly surprised when this bra arrived in the mail 4 days after I placed my order (and I didn’t even pay for expedited shipping!). It was nicely packaged in a cute box and came with a lingerie bag so I can throw it in the washing machine without ruining it.

IMG_9744

 

Unfortunately, the buck stops there and I’m sorry to say that I hated this bra upon the first wear. Like, absolutely hated it. It looked great but it felt horrible—and since I’m single and the only person that sees my bras, I was on the verge of returning it.  It’s not that it was slightly uncomfortable,  it was digging into my skin every way possible. When I took it off, my skin was red, angry and marred with indentations where the fabric had cut into my flesh. I contacted customer service, who told me that the bra takes some time to stretch out and adjust to your body. Having done many painful things for the sake of vanity, I decided to stick it out but maintained a healthy dose of skepticism that it would ever be anything more than an expensive door hanger.

pdp_the-plunge-mesh-black_b3_05_1512x

I’m not sure when it happened but slowly, over the first couple of wears, the bra adjusted to my body and was no longer terrorizing my skin. In fact, much to my surprise, over the course of the past two and a half months, this has become my favorite bra. It’s comfortable, supportive and walks the line between being elegant and sexy. It’s made of mesh and ultra-thin underwire, which lends the feel of a bralette while simultaneously providing the support of a more traditional bra. After spending years wearing ugly, basic bras, it’s refreshing to find something that is feminine, attractive and supportive.

They offer five different bra styles: the Balconette, the Demi, the Plunge, the Scoop and the Triangle. As I mentioned before, I got the Plunge which is a mesh, unlined bra, and will not do anything to conceal your nipples, which I learned at my mom’s surprise birthday party. After perusing the website, I learned that some of the other styles offer more coverage, so make sure you do your research and know what you’re getting into.

THE BRAND

I really love what Cuup stands for. They acknowledge that bras are not a one-size-fits-all thing, that bras should be made to fit you, not the other way around. Their vision, according to their website, is: “a collection of flattering, comfortable, and unrestrictive bras built for all women; that doesn’t compromise comfort, fit, or aesthetic. A collection that lifts, shapes, and supports — without excess materials that pinch or bulk. Bras that look and feel great in every size.”

TL;DR

There are no shortage of online bra companies that want your business. If you’re in the market for a chic, minimalist bra that is both supportive and feminine, I highly recommend Cuup. But don’t be surprised if you have to break it in a little bit.

Quarantine Diaries: Chapter Three

APRIL 2-APRIL 19

I’m back for my third installment of Quarantine Diaries. I am apparently very bad at updating this in any sort of timely fashion, which is weird because I have all the time in the world to do it.

The latest leg of quarantine has reminded me very much of the episode of Friends where Monica is getting married but Chandler is missing, so Rachel is trying to stall her.

 

Same, Rachel Green. Same. Here are the things I’ve been doing to occupy my time.

WATCHING

I feel like I’ve made a concerted effort to watch less TV lately? But even “less” is still a ton of TV, so take that with a grain of salt. I watched Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu, which is so good. The finale is this Wednesday, and I’m super excited to watch it. I truly have no idea how it will end. In my last blog post, I mentioned that I had binged all of Big Little Lies and, I have to say, Reese Witherspoon is a little too good at playing an entitled, problematic white woman.

I’ve been watching a ton of stand up comedy because it makes me happy. I found out that Dane Cook’s Vicious Circle is on HBO and naturally I had to watch that. If you knew me at any point circa 2006-2010(ish?) you’ll know that my friend Mariah and I were obsessed with Dane Cook. It’s been a decade since I’ve seen it and I still knew every line by heart. I rewatched Dave Chappelle’s Netflix specials (yes, all of them), as well as his Mark Twain award. I watched Chris D’elia‘s new standup, No Pain, which was very funny.  And, of course, I watched Patton Oswalt’s Annihilation standup because it is one of my favorites of all time. It’s his first stand up special after losing his wife and it is such a beautiful marriage of hilarity and vulnerability. It makes me both laugh and cry every time I watch it. If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend watching it.

READING

I’ve been reading a lot lately, which I think is probably better for my mood and my brain than just mindlessly scrolling through Instagram while I have a show on for background noise.

I read Educated by Tara Westover and it was amazing. I read it in a little less than 24 hours because I was so enthralled by her story. If you haven’t read it or heard of it, it’s about a girl who is raised in Idaho by a survivalist, incredibly abusive Mormon family. She is “homeschooled” but her education basically amounts to helping her dad with his scrap business and her mom make tinctures. The amount that she overcomes is so inspiring. If you haven’t read it, you should.

I also started reading Plan B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. I got this book over a year ago when I was going through some ~things~ but never actually read it. I was a little skeptical about it because, you know, it’s Sheryl Sandberg. Yes, we all go through things but I think if you’re a billionaire the resources you have available to you make going through difficult times less difficult than, let’s say, someone who is grieving and also has the emotional expenditure of worrying how they’re going to pay their bills. She actually addresses that head-on in her book, which I found very refreshing. Despite my cynicism, I guess that grief and heartbreak are probably the great equalizers for all of us. And the book is surprisingly very honest and full of really wonderful advice. If you’re grieving the loss of something or someone, I think this would make you feel at least marginally better.

I finally finished reading The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. I don’t think it’s anything incredibly profound. In fact, I have independently come to all of these realizations at some point or another, but I think it was a good reminder. I’m thinking about doing a book review on it, because I feel like as we all collectively have our lives on pause right now, these could be good lessons to take with us when we enter into our “new normal.” Thoughts?

MAKING

I haven’t really been making much of anything. I’m still doing work for some freelance clients and that has been a welcome reprieve and a creative outlet.

I did attempt to make cookies the other day but I burnt the shit out of them and they were inedible. Basically, I was sad. I decided that making cookies would improve my mood. I burnt the cookies and was left cookie-less and had to ruminate on my failure in a hazy, smoke-filled apartment. I tried again the next day with much better results, thankfully.

DOING

I’ve been doing a lot of writing. In the last week alone I’ve written around 20,000 words, but it’s all personal writing that I won’t be sharing with anyone. Writing helps me feel better. I have started and stopped journaling many, many times in my life. It’s a hard style of writing for me to get into because it’s not polished, it’s not pretty or flowery. So I find myself wanting to go back and fix spelling or grammar or the syntax of a sentence, or sometimes even edit something for AP style, but I remind myself that this is only for me. And even though it’s ugly and messy and there I jump fluidly from one thought or feeling to the next, it helps me feel better.

I also have been trying to do a cross-stitch project that I bought at least six months ago but I cannot figure out how to do it and it get so frustrated and annoyed that I have to stop. It doesn’t help that Kramer bats at the strings. That’s not what I’m bad at it, but that’s what I tell myself.

I’ve also been doing a lot of online shopping. Because the shipping times are so delayed, I forget that I’ve bought things and I’m missing out on the instant gratification that normally accompanies a purchase. I bought some AirPods this week and I am really excited to get those. I have that that delivery date marked in my calendar, actually.

I am still avoiding the news, and sometimes Twitter, depending on the day. The day of the Trump rally protest in Lansing, I had to just put my phone down entirely. I cannot believe the total lack of empathy that some people have. We are all suffering in one way or another.

CONNECTING

I have still been in touch with my friends and family a lot, actually, I would say even more so recently. I have always called my mom at least once a day, even pre-quarantine, but I’m bothering her almost hourly at this point. We FaceTime regularly and I’m able to see Max and my dad and brother, too.

I dropped off Max’s Easter gifts to my family last weekend and being able to see my family but not go near them or go into the house I grew up in was a new kind of sadness for me. I also dropped off some supplies for my grandparents and then I cried all the way back to Lansing. I know that this is for the best, but it’s really hard.

I still talk to my friends Andrea, Jess and Jennifer almost every single day. I was also able to reconnect with an old friend last week, too—which was not something I ever saw happening, to be honest, but made me really happy.

TL;DR

Being quarantined by myself has not been easy. I’ve lived alone for seven years but this is one of the first times I have ever felt lonely. I’m taking it day by day, hour by hour sometimes, and doing my best—and I know everyone else is doing the same. How are hanging in there? Let me know!

Sephora Spring 2020 Sale

Things are crazy. For some of you, the Sephora Sale might not be a priority right now and I can’t blame you that. For me, browsing the website and putting together this list was a welcome distraction from all the noise. Please know that this is not meant to come across as tone-deaf or minimize all the pain and suffering that so many are experiencing. It turns out that buying things isn’t making me any happier or less anxious, but that’s not going to keep from adding things to my cart and trying again.

If you’re like me and have been stress shopping in hopes of producing a little bit of serotonin to get you through your day AND you love makeup, look no further. I spent an embarrassing amount of time compiling all the things that I’ve lusting for during this spring’s Sephora VIB sale.

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SKINCARE

Since I started taking my skincare seriously, I don’t normally purchase many things from Sephora and instead opt for investing my money in medical-grade products, which are similarly priced but more effective because they contain higher concentrations of ingredients. However, I can’t go see my esthetician right now because of COVID-19 and I would like new things to slather on my face, so here are my skincare picks.

skincare

Youth to the People Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial

I follow someone on Instagram who is a chemist by day and beauty blogger/product reviewer by night and she was raving about this product. Add to cart.

Foreo Luna 2 

Years ago my ex-boyfriend bought me a Clarisonic. I never really used it, because at that time I didn’t even take my makeup off before I went to bed, but now that I’m older, wiser and more committed to my skincare routine (and to dating guys that don’t suck) maybe it’s time to try this one out.

Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Eye Patches

I love these eye patches. My mom got them for Christmas one year and I have repurchased them ever since then. They plump up your undereye and make your skin feel so smooth and supple. If I haven’t slept well and my under eyes look like the Crypt Keeper, (or if I’m hungover) I’ll slap these on while I blowdry my hair—or I’ll put these on while I do another face mask. I used to even be able to convince my ex-boyfriend to use these. If that isn’t an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial 25% AHA % 2% BHA Mask

This is my favorite at-home treatment from Sephora. I think most department stores/OTC treatments are a waste of money, but this one actually shows some serious results. If you have pigmentation issues, dullness, dry spots, I highly recommend this.

Saint Jane Beauty Luxury CBD Beauty Serum

I love this stuff so, so much. If there was one skincare product that I recommended above others on this list, it would be this. I used this following my laser treatment back in February and I think it played a huge role in how quickly I healed. I use this every single night as part of my skincare routine and when I miss a night, I notice it in my skin the next day.

Slip Silk Pillowcase

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what is wrong with your current pillowcase. The short answer is nothing, really. Nothing enough to justify spending $80 on this one, TBH. The long answer is that cotton is very absorbent. It wicks moisture away from your skin and hair during the night, which causes creasing on your face and be hard on your thin, delicate skin over time. Silk doesn’t scratch, tug or twist your hair and skin and, over time, is supposed to be better. I have one of these and bought one for my mom, too. But if you don’t want to shuck out this much money this Amazon dupe does the same job (and at 2 for $12.99 you’ll have more money to spend on other things you really want).

Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

As someone who wears a lot of makeup, I have a lot of experience taking it off. I really like this makeup removing balm and find that it does a good job of breaking up even the toughest, most stubborn long-wearing foundations and lipsticks. I’ll be stocking up on this during the sale!

HAIR

I have long, fine hair. And I have a ton of it. All things considered, when it comes to my hair I’m pretty low maintenance. I get it touched up a few times a year and other than that I essentially call it good. I do wash it and blow dry it every day, which takes up more of my time than I care to admit. Here are the products that this quasi-low maintenance person uses.

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Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Like I said, I wash, dry and style my hair every single day so having a blow dryer that doesn’t fry my hair is essential for me. This thing is lightweight, quiet and dries your hair in a fraction of the time that other dryers do. This is one of the only times during the entire year that it goes on sale, so take advantage of that!

Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3

I know that I’m high maintenance in many ways, but when it comes to hair I’m really not. I mean, I used to use Suave shampoo and conditioner up until about 2 years ago. Olaplex was one of the products that helped me transition over to the dark side, because it’s genuinely like liquid gold. I try to use this about once per month, but now that I’m isolated in my house entirely by myself I use it about once a week. And I leave it on for anywhere from 12-48 hours. There are no rules anymore.

For what it’s worth, I also recommend Olaplex shampoo, conditioner, bond smoother styling creme, and the No. 7 bonding oil.

BLUSH

I am super into blush right now and I won’t apologize. I’ve seen some people argue that this is a hipster/Tik Tok trend but it’s not. Anyone can wear blush to brighten up their face. Man, woman, young, old. I don’t care. I will die on this hill. 

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Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush

These are just released today! I haven’t tried them (obviously) but they’re in my cart just waiting for me to check out. I can’t wait to try them.

Nudestix Nudie Matte Blush & Bronze

I love Nudestix. These are truly so easy to use, so easy to blend. Whether you’re a full coverage queen or you opt for an easier, low-maintenance look, I promise you’ll love these. You can’t go wrong with Nudestix.

Tower 28 Beach Please

I love this blush so much that I’m buying another one. I have the shade Magic Hour and I have been wanting to try the orange shade, Golden Hour. If you like cream products, I promise that you’ll love this blush.

BRONZER

I have been quarantined for what feels like months (and is actually quite literally the truth). I could easily say that the quarantine and the pandemic is the reason that I’m pale but it’s not. I wouldn’t be in the sun if I could be. I have spent too much money on my skincare to fuck that up with harmful UVA/UVB rays. Fake bronzers all day, everyday baby. 

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Milk Makeup Matte Bronzer

If you’ve been here before, you’ll know that I’ve talked about this one million times. It’s truly one of my favorites.

Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer

Just like the cream blushes, the cream bronzers are just being released today. IMHO, cream bronzers are a little trickier than cream blushes, so I can’t wait to try these out and see what I think about the color payoff, the formula, etc.

Huda Beauty Tantour Contour & Cream Bronzer

This is the best cream contour product that I have ever used. I got the coolest shade, which is still incredibly intimidating both in the pan and on your face, but it blends out so perfectly and is so easy to work with. The shade that I got is cool toned and perfect for contouring but if you wanted to use it as a bronzer to warm up the face, there are quite a few shades to choose from!

Tom Ford Soliel Glow Bronzer

I don’t own this. I want to own this. Unfortunately, it’s $100. It’s sitting in my cart. Should I buy it or no?

POWDER

If you’ve been around for a while you already know that I have incredibly oily skin. Now that I’m getting older, my skin is changing a little bit. Part of it is so dry that it flakes off and the rest of it is so oily that the United States government is trying to start a war over it. The worst of both worlds, really. Because of that, I’m super picky about powders. Here are my favorites.

powder

Laura Mercier Translulcent Loose Setting Powder

What is there to say that hasn’t already been said? The OG of setting powders. No flashback, no weird cast. You can use it to finish, to set, to bake—you can’t go wrong with this. It’s a no brainer purchase.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

I got this last year in Chicago and have used it almost every day since. It is now my preferred powder to set my undereye concealer with. It truly gives you a flawless finish. I read some reviews that said it broke really easily but it’s been to Chicago and Detroit with me, as well as making two trips to Traverse City and hasn’t broken. It’s also been knocked off my vanity by my jerk cat more times than I can count, so I don’t think it’s that fragile.

HUDA BEAUTY Easy Bake Loose Baking & Setting Powder

I feel like I judge Huda products more harshly than I do other brands because I have this preconceived notion that they are all just an Instagram gimmicky hoax. Most of the time I am pleasantly surprised by the quality and slightly horrified at the fragrance because they are SO strong. Nonetheless, this is a really good powder. I don’t use it to bake, but I do it to set my undereye concealer on occasion or use it as a finishing powder when I’m done doing my base.

I have seen really good reviews about this product and am so tempted to try it. Do I really need a different powder for my undereyes than for the rest of my face? Is this really worth shucking out $30 for (well $30-20%)

BROWS

I have my eyebrows microbladed, which I talked about in-depth here. I love my microblading and recommend it to anyone who will listen, but I do still do a little bit with my brows on a daily basis. Read on for my recommendations.

brows

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade

I have been using quarantine to try other brow hacks, like soap brows, which has become my everyday go-to styling method. I fill in any sparse areas in with Dipbrow and I’m good to go.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro Pencil

This item definitely isn’t a must-have, but I like using it to brighten up underneath my brow. I have had mine for easily 5+ years, so the $20 something investment will be a good one!

 

Dior Diorshow Brow Styler Ultra-Fine Precision Brow Pencil

I feel like the amount of money that I’m willing to spend on brow products just keeping creeping up and up. I bought this on a recommendation from Allana Davison, who is my favorite YouTuber of all time. She’s right, it’s a great product.

MILK MAKEUP KUSH Fiber Brow Gel

This is essentially a dupe for Boy Brow. It has eerily similar packing and does the same exact job. I’m not really partial to either product, TBH. This is 20% off, so I’ll probably get a backup while I can.

LIPS

I got a lip flip last summer and even though it only changed my appearance a little bit, it was enough for me to stop shying away from lip products and embrace my lips. Now I can’t stop buying lip products. Please help. 

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Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

I am a sucker for anything new. I doubt that this is anything crazy or lifechanging but I’m gonna try it out and let you know.

Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly

This is the best lip gloss on the planet. It’s moisturizing, it’s never sticky and it makes your lips look amazing. And it’s only $14. If there’s only one thing you buy based on my recommendation, let it be this!

Kosas Wet Oil Lip Gloss

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while and figure that when I can get it for 20% is the best time to try it. It won’t be better than Tower 28, I know that going in. But it’s worth trying I suppose.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick

The best matte lipstick you can buy. It’s a cult classic for a reason. Everyone loses their mind over Pillow Talk and, I’m not saying that it’s bad, but I am saying that Very Victoria is better. Trust me.

Charlotte Tilbury Superstar Lips Lipstick

I know that I literally just said don’t buy Pillow Talk but please know that is specifically in reference to the Matte Revolution Lipstick. In the Superstar Lips lipstick (I cannot say that without mentally picturing Molly Shannon), Pillow Talk is my favorite color. This is like a glossy, your-lips-but-better lipstick that you can throw on anywhere, at any time (without a mirror) and instantly look better and more put together.

FOUNDATION

foundation

My foundation changes with the season. These are my favorite at the moment.

Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation

This might be my favorite foundation of all time, to be honest. It’s so easy to apply. It blends out really well, has great coverage and great staying power AND it has a great shade range. 10/10 definitely recommend.

It Cosmetics CC+ Cream

You really can’t go wrong with this product. You can use this when you want to do a full glam look and you can throw this on your face in the car in the parking lot of your office. It’s so versatile, has great coverage and works for everyone. I have turned so many people onto this product, including my mom who is the most difficult person to convert in the world. They should be paying me at this point.

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer 

Years and years ago I went to a Sephora with my friend who hated makeup and didn’t wear any. The salesperson recommended this product. There are a million tinted moisturizers out there, but for some reason, I tend to like this one most. It has a pretty finish and gives a very skin-like appearance.

Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint Foundation

I have seen a few YouTubers review this and have it waiting in my cart. I want to be someone who uses a low-coverage, dewy foundation but not sure I can pull it off.

Estee Lauder Double Wear

This is my holy-grail for full coverage. I always stray away from this foundation in pursuit of something better but, in reality, very few foundations can match up to this one.

Beauty Blender Bounce Liquid Whip Longwear Foundation

I never see anyone talk about this foundation and it makes me sad because it’s so great! If you like Double Wear, you’ll love this. It’s similar except, in my opinion, it’s more skin-like. It’s extremely long-wearing, controls oil, doesn’t transfer and has a satin-matte finish. I bought this in Chicago last year and have repurchased three times since then.

CONCEALER

I used to be loyal to only Shape Tape and now I just kind of hop all around and use whatever suits my fancy that particular day. Different strokes!

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Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer

This is my favorite undereye concealer. It does an amazing job of reducing dark circles, doesn’t settle into any fine lines and doesn’t crease. It’s been my most used concealer since I picked it up during my Chicago trip last spring.

Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer

This is the best concealer in the world for hiding blemishes. It’s so easy to use and will hide all your deepest, darkest secrets. TBH, no other concealers even hold a candle to this one.

Milk Makeup Flex Concealer

After spending the past decade searching out the most full-coverage products I could find, I sometimes forget that products like this exist. I picked this up a while ago to wear on days when I opt for something like a CC cream or tinted moisturizer and really like it.

Makeup Forever Ultra HD Self-Setting Concealer

This is a somewhat new product (I think?) and I had to pick it up because I couldn’t imagine using a concealer that doesn’t need to be set with powder. I had low expectations and it exceeded them. It’s more on the low-coverage end of the spectrum. If you’re a no muss, no fuss kind of person I think you’d really enjoy this.

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer

When I first started getting into makeup and learned about Kevyn Aucoin I was so obsessed with him. I wanted to buy every product that he had, but I was poor and couldn’t afford it. I saved up and bought this concealer. It is heavy-duty, it is heavily fragranced—but it is beautiful. There are other concealers that would probably work better for most people, but if you’re someone who appreciates artistry and “collects” makeup,  you should try this at least once.

PRIMER

Some people say that primer is a waste of money or a hoax. It’s not. Depending on the product and what you’re going for, primers can help hydrate your skin, make your skin look smoother, make your makeup last longer, etc. These are a few of my faves.

primer

Tatcha the Liquid Silk Canvas: Featherweight Protective Primer

I recently included this primer in my March favorites blog. At the time, I was kind of on the fence about it. I actually have really started to love this primer. It is expensive and there are definitely other primers on the market that do a similar job at a more reasonable price point, but if you have some money to blow I recommend giving it a try.

Farsali Skintune Blur Perfecting Primer Serum

I 100% thought that this was going to be a gimmicky product when I bought it, especially because of the name. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the softened, smoothed (dare I say blurred?) look that this primer gave my face. I have this sitting in my cart right now, we’ll see what happens.

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

This is an oldie but a goodie. If you have dry skin, you’ll love this. It helps to hydrate your skin while also locking your makeup in place for the whole day. Bonus: it smells like coconuts.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Priming Moisturizer

This is a favorite among makeup artists because it’s so universal. If you have dry, sensitive skin and are looking for something a little more on the luxe side, that walks the line between a skincare product and a makeup primer, this is it. Most products claim to be smoothing but this one lives up to its claim.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

A cult classic for a reason. I’ve probably been through ten bottles of this in the past 5 or so years. If you’re not sure what kind of skin you have or what kind of primer would suit you, this is a good place to start. Pricy, but worth it.

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Primer

If you have oily skin, you’ll love this. It is extremely sticky and you have to make sure that you press it into your skin as opposed to rubbing because it will ball and pill. But once you get the hang of it, this will keep your looking matte and flawless all day, no matter how oily your skin is!

Milk Hydro Grip Primer

This primer is the best of both worlds and somehow ends up working for just about every skin type and concern. I didn’t expect to like this as much as I do. It’s hydrating but also sticky (I mean, it’s in the name!) and really makes your makeup last all day. I have used it with a variety of different foundations and never had a problem with it.

HIGHLIGHTER

I love highlighter. Over the years as trends have changed I have fluctuated between an insanely blinding highlight to transitioning to a more subtle look, but I have never wavered on my love of glossy cheeks. From liquids, powders and creams to everything in between, I’ve tried them all. If you’re looking to buy a highlighter during the sale, here are some of my favorites and one that’s lingering in my cart. 

highlighter

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

I bought this at a Charlotte Tilbury Nordstrom counter last summer because the saleswoman convinced me that I needed it. It was too much for me in the summer, but over the winter I started adding this under my foundation for a subtle glow. If you like a lit-from-within look, you could also add this to the high points of your face. Surprisingly versatile, I think is actually a good investment.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector

This was the first highlighter that I ever bought and for that reason is has a special place in my heart. It’s also just a really good highlighter. In fact, Opal might be my favorite highlighter of all time. Using this as a chance to stock up since mine is long gone.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

This is definitely my go-to highlighter for the days that I don’t want to look like a disco ball. If you’re more into a subtle, candle-lit type of glow, I can’t recommend this palette enough. I love that it comes with all three ambient lighting shades so you can try them out, mix them together, etc.

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer Glow Quad Mini

I really liked RMS beauty products. This is a great way to sample multiple products if you’re interested in the brand  (they’re clean & cruelty-free!) without committing to spending a ton of money on each product individually. A heads up: I have noticed that this dries out quicker than other cream products. Maybe because it’s clean? Not sure.

Tower 28 SuperDew Shimmer Free Highlight Balm

This is one of the most unique products I’ve ever used. There’s no color, no glitter. It’s just a balm. It gives you the most dewy, wet looking, gloriously effortless sheen. I am obsessed with this stuff.

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Highlighter Wand

This is such a glossy, beautiful highlight. It’s a liquid but dries down to a powder feel so you don’t have sticky cheeks all day. I say this about everything but is one of my favorite products.

Gucci Éclat De Beauté Effet Lumière — All Over Face & Lip Gloss

I have not tried this, but I’m tempting the idea. It looks like a pretty, glossy, universal product. How do we feel about Gucci Beauty? Worth it or is it more of packaging/label thing? I’m interested in hearing anyones experience with their products!

TANNING

Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops

I’ve never used these but I have a friend who raves about them. I’ve been meaning to get into self-tanning since I no longer see the sun or leave my apartment. Fake (bake) it til you make it.

TL;DR

I have a million products that I want to stock up on and try out, but I’m not sure what all I’ll actually be picking up. If nothing else, browsing the website is a good distraction from all the chaos that’s happening in the world right now. What’s on your list or in your cart? Let me know! I hope you’re all staying safe and staying inside!

March Favorites

I think that we can all collectively agree that March was the longest month ever. I have been self-quarantined for almost a month now and that has obviously meant that I’m not going to stores or doing much shopping. I did place a few online orders, but given the situation at hand and the uncertainty, I have been trying to spend more responsibly and stop any non-essential purchases.

Read on for the things I have been enjoying from the comfort of my home for the past month, but please don’t feel pressured to buy any of this stuff. The world is a crazy place right now. Save your money—there will always be things to buy.

TATCHA THE LIQUID SILK CANVAS

I got this back in February when it first came out and have been testing it ever since. I tried the original Silk Canvas primer back in the day and did not like it. I have oily skin and it just didn’t work for me, especially not well enough to justify the hefty price tag.

In my opinion, this one is better than the original. My makeup applies smoothly when I use this and I do think it has a slight blurring effect on the skin. It might also extend the longevity of my makeup just a little, but nothing crazy, and it doesn’t do anything for me in terms of staying matte. I don’t hate it, but I don’t think it’s the best primer I’ve ever used. If you’re in the market for a new primer and have $50 to spend, I think it’s worth trying but I don’t think you have to run out and get it by any means.

NUDESTIX NUDIES ALL OVER FACE COLOR IN BUBBLY BEBE

I bought this on a whim at Ulta one day and had very low expectations for it. I honestly didn’t realize that Ulta carried Nudestix, and when I saw this on an end cap I figured it was worth testing out.

I am so pleasantly surprised by this product. It is the only highlighter that I have been reaching for for the past month. My preferred highlighter style is less disco ball and more natural, sweaty glow. That is exactly the look this product gives—the most beautiful, natural dew. I apply it directly to my face and then blend it out with either my fingers or a brush. It stays put all day and doesn’t disrupt any of my other products. This is easily my favorite product of the month.

PAULA’S CHOICE 2%  BHA LIQUID EXFOLIANT

I’ve been testing this out for a few weeks now and I love it. I have heard people rave about this for a long time but never felt compelled to try it myself. However, I’ve become quite the skincare maven thanks to my esthetician Jennifer Edwards and so when I saw this on sale (with free shipping!) I figured, why not?

I use this every single night in conjuncture with the rest of my skincare products and have seen such a difference in my skin. My skin is clearer, more event and, dare I say, radiant? I’m a big fan of this stuff and at only $23, it’s one of the least expensive, good quality skincare items you can invest in.

DIPTYQUE VANILLE CANDLE

I succumbed to the pressure of influencer marketing and bought one of these ridiculously overpriced candles. I will admit that I only bought it because it was 20% off at Nordstrom, making it slightly more affordable but still crazy.

It is a splurge and totally unnecessary, but it is a lovely smelling candle. It is extremely, extremely fragranced. I haven’t even burnt it yet, but it literally smells up an entire room just by being in it. I also got one in Amber but that one is a teeny tiny baby candle (I’m holding out on burning that one, too).

If you’re looking for a nice smelling candle that won’t force you to declare bankruptcy, my favorite candle in the entire world is the Tobacco and Vanilla Artisan Soy Wax candle from World Market. It is the most beautiful scent on the planet and will burn for hours and hours.

PLUS WHITE FIVE MINUTE PREMIER TEETH WHITENING

I have whitening trays from my dentist that were given to me years ago as a Christmas gift. If you read my non-sexy essentials blog, you’ll know I was also given an electric toothbrush as a gift once. I like taking care of my teeth, okay?

Anyway, I buy refills of the peroxide gel from my dentist. I went to whiten my teeth for the first time in an eternity earlier this week and realized that the gel had gone bad. I had some of this Plus White Five Minute whitening stuff on hand as a backup. This may not be the same quality as the stuff from my dentist, but it does the job. My teeth looked noticeably whiter after one use. For $8, you can’t go wrong!

Pro tip: if you don’t have custom whitening trays, you can buy a football mouth guard on Amazon for under $5. Follow the directions on the package to form it to your own teeth and voila! Custom whitening trays at home for a fraction of the cost.

OPI CAJUN SHRIMP

This is my favorite nail polish for spring and summer. My milky pink dip polish is still going strong on my nails (over a month old at this point) and since I’m out of acetone, it’s going to stay there. I decided to give myself a pedicure to lift my spirits. There’s something about looking down and seeing this spicy red-orange color that just puts me in a better mood and makes me feel like less of a potato.

ANA LUISA JEWELRY

I had been looking for a reasonably-priced dome ring when I came across an Instagram ad for Ana Luisa jewelry . I was immediately drawn to the cool-girl appeal of the brand. Everything is so chic and elegant. I bought a ring and then followed up by buying two pairs of earrings, one pair of really cool snake earrings and a pair of mismatched celestial huggies. Shipping is fast (especially given the current situation) and their communication is great. They’re currently having a sale- buy one, get one 35% off AND free shipping. I’m not getting paid to talk about this, I swear.

TL;DR

Turns out I lied. I bought way more shit than I realized this month! What are you loving right now?

Not-Sexy Everyday Essentials

It’s no secret that I’m high-maintenance. From hair appointments, lash extensions, bi-weekly nail appointments and regular visits to my esthetician, there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into looking this mediocre.

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It’s also not a secret that I love the finer things in life and am not afraid to splurge on a luxe product in the name of treating myself. If that’s the list you’re looking for, this ain’t it. These are the basic products that I use that are not sexy or luxe, they just keep me functioning like a normal, hygienic human on a daily basis. Read on for more.

AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion

My biggest pet peeve with lotion is when it doesn’t absorb quickly enough and you have to walk around pantless for an hour with sticky skin. There is nothing sexy about this lotion, but it absorbs really quickly and leaves your skin silky smooth. It contains AHA, so in addition to hydrating your skin, it also exfoliates. I got mine at Costco, but you can also buy at Target and on Amazon.

Diamond White Replacement Toothbrush Heads

My electric toothbrush remains one of my top five gifts that I was ever given. My teeth feel so much cleaner when I use an electric toothbrush versus a traditional, manual toothbrush, but the only caveat is the cost of replacement heads. I found these on Amazon that fit on my Sonicare toothbrush but cost a fraction of the price of normal name brand replacements. I’ve been using these for years now and love them. I can’t say enough good things.

Meijer Men’s Precision Fit 5 Razors

This is the best razor that I have ever used. Forget all the aesthetically pleasing razors that have unlimited budgets for Instagram ads—they aren’t worth your money. As one of the hairiest humans to ever walk the planet, I have tried every razor known to man. This is the only one that I will buy. It’s the smoothest shave I’ve ever gotten and contours to every curve on your body.  I’m fairly certain that I could shave Kramer with this razor if I really wanted to. I’ve had the same handle for over 2 years and just buy the replacement blades, which is much better for the environment than the disposable razors I was using before.

Wet Brush Epic Professional Deluxe Detangler

I have really long, fine hair—and I have a ton of it. That’s basically a recipe for disaster because my hair gets so tangly, so fast. I have started sleeping with my hair in either a bun or a braid every night to help mitigate some of the snarls, but even so, I need a good brush to help brush it out in the morning. This is the best hairbrush that I’ve ever used. I have two of them, one that I keep in my office or backpack and one that I keep at home. It’s no Mason Pearson brush, but it gets the job done.

Megababe Bust Dust

The weather is warming up and, assuming that we’re ever able to leave our houses again, we’ll be dealing with boob sweat before you know it. Is there anything less sexy than boob sweat? Probably not. But if ya have tiddies, you probably deal with it.

While this is marketed specifically for women & boobs, you could really use it anywhere that you want to keep dry. If you’ve ever found yourself putting baby or talcum powder on any skin that might rub together, please stop because some studies indicate it may make you at greater risk for cancer. If you want to stay dry and prevent chafing, this is a good investment to make—for men and women alike.

Tounge Scraper

I don’t know that this is medically necessary, but I like having a clean mouth and I also love a good gadget, so I bought this from Amazon on a whim. I feel like it does a good job of scraping your tongue and at the very least, it has the placebo effect of me believing that I’m doing something good for my oral hygiene.

Just for Men Mustache & Beard Dye

If you think I’m joking about this, I’m not. I use this to tint my eyebrows at home and have been doing so for at least 3-4 years now. I have my eyebrows microbladed now, so I don’t do this as often as I used to, but I have definitely done it since being quarantined simply because I have nothing better to do. I have used demi-permanent color from Sally’s and a level 10 developer before, but this is much easier. It comes with the color, the developer. You mix the two together, and apply with a slanted eyebrow brush. Leave on for 15-20 minutes, wipe off with warm soapy water and voila! Perfect, tinted at home eyebrows.

*This is an off label use. Tint your eyebrows at your own risk, knowing that if you get this in your eye you can cause permanent damage to your vision. Please don’t sue me.

At-Home Waxing Kit

I’m very open about the fact that I’m extremely hairy. Not like, in a medical way, just thanks to my Hispanic heritage. I’ve had this waxing kit for probably 8+ years? But you don’t need the entire kit, because it comes with a lot of stuff that isn’t necessary. If you’re interested in waxing yourself at home, you’ll need a warmer and some wax, as well as the applicators.

I’ve been doing my eyebrows at home for a long, long time. I have used this to wax my legs and other things, but I prefer to primarily use this for my eyebrows. I use these wax beads, which harden and don’t require any fabric to pull off. This wax is also great for sensitive skin, so if you’re someone that tends to break out after being waxed this is a great option. I also use these petite wax applicators for precise application to the eyebrow area.

TL;DR

Boob sweat, body hair, mustache dye, tongue scraping—I told you there was nothing sexy about this list, but these are products that I use on a regular basis and always repurchase. What are some of the non-sexy products that you use on a regular basis?