I Tried It: Profractional Laser Treatment

I’m no stranger to cosmetic procedures. I started young, by having laser hair removal on my upper lip in 2006 at the ripe old age of 13. It wasn’t until Nov. 2018 that I decided to dip my toes back into the world of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures with microneedling, which I wrote in detail about here. I was floored by the results. Since then, I have done a number of different things including more laser hair removal, Secret RF, BBL Forever Young, TruSculpt iD and some minor lip enhancements using Botox/filler.

BRINGING OUT THE BIG GUNS

Last Tuesday, I underwent the most invasive procedure to date. I had a combination of treatments designed to get rid of my existing acne scars. First Jen performed a BBL (Broad Band Light) to address the red pigment in the scars, followed by a MicroLaserPeel to remove superficial irregularities and finished with ProFractional to stimulate collagen remodeling through deep fractional ablation.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Let me break down each treatment, so you can understand what it does and why it was part of my custom treatment plan.

BBL is the world’s most powerful IPL (intense pulsed light). Jennifer is able to use BBL to address a number of different skin concerns, from acne scars to sunspots and wrinkles and everything in between. The light energy delivered by the BBL gently heats up the layers of your skin. The heat absorbed by the targeted areas will stimulate your skin cells to regenerate, which restores your skin to its natural beauty, making it clearer, smoother, vibrant and younger looking. The BBL is a really quick procedure and isn’t painful at all. It also doesn’t require any downtime! I’m not a doctor or an esthetician, so take my recommendation with a grain of salt, but I think everyone could benefit from having a BBL.

A MicroLaserPeel removes a thin layer of damaged skin in order to improve texture and overall appearance of the skin. The MicroLaserPeel’s beam is scanned over a treatment area to remove a very thin layer of the skin. Removing the top layer eliminates some of the damaged cells that can give skin a tired, aged look. As the skin heals, fresh cells grow and resurface the treated area. The result is healthier-looking skin, often with reduced wrinkles and improved color evenness. Patients often say that it looks like their skin went from looking tired to vibrant. This isn’t painless per se, but it also isn’t painful. I would rate it maybe 2/10.

Like most of the laser treatments that Jennifer offers, Profractional can be tailored to your specific skin concerns and for your desired outcome. I think that laser treatments (and microneedling, for that matter) are so cool because I love the science behind them. Profractional uses a tiny laser beam to treat thousands of pinpoint areas in your skin. Because the laser creates thousands of little wounds, your body responds by producing collagen, which adds firmness and resilience to the skin.

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DAY ONE

My treatment was at 1 p.m. last Tuesday. Before the treatment itself, Jennifer put a numbing agent on my face and let it sit for about 30 minutes. After I was good and numb, we started the actual procedure. All in all, I would say the treatment from start to finish (not including numbing) probably took about 45 minutes to an hour. This is what my face looked like immediately after the treatment. As you can see, my cheeks were the only area we treated because that’s the only area I have/had scarring on.

I had very specific instructions on how to care for my face. Following my appointment, Jennifer instructed me to apply the ointment every two hours to make sure that the wounds didn’t dry out. If my face were to dry out, it would scab over which would really mess up the healing process. I ended up setting alarms for every two hours nearly around the clock to make sure that I was following my care instructions to a T.

DAY TWO

Jennifer told me that there was really no way to know how much downtime I would have because everyone’s bodies respond differently. My face continued to bleed and ooze serous fluid for nearly 48 hours post-op. It was gross, yes, but it’s also a totally normal response to injury. I was also slightly swollen, but nothing crazy.

That being said, I woke up on day two feeling a little panicky. In fact, I was that person and insisted on going into the medical spa and having Jennifer reassure me that everything was normal. She had done that via text message, but I needed in-person reassurance as well.

I feel like it’s important to note that my face didn’t hurt at all. I know that it looks like it would be extremely painful, but it wasn’t. It just looks gross. I spent all day Wednesday working from home on my couch, religiously applying healing balm to my face every two hours. I also started using Saint Jane’s Luxury Beauty Oil on my face on Wednesday, because it’s specifically formulated to be anti-inflammatory & healing. I really think it played a big role in my quick recovery.

I had been advised to gently run water over my face on Tuesday night and I tried doing it, but it was quite painful so I gave up. When I took a shower on Wednesday, I did let the water run over my face and then gently patted it with my hands. It ended up making a big difference in getting some of the crusty stuff off and my face ended up just looking red after. This is what it looked like by Wednesday evening.

DAY THREE

Not only was Wednesday the worst day of healing, I ended up adding insult to injury by making myself sick with my own cooking. I didn’t get much sleep that night and I had a legislative hearing to be at on Thursday afternoon. Between my raw-hamburger-meat face and with my intense stomach pain, I didn’t think I would be able to swing it. I did.

I ended up looking a lot better after showering on Thursday morning, but still didn’t feel comfortable going to a client meeting with a bare face. I had no issue going to work and having my coworkers see my like that, though.

I ended up putting some mineral makeup on so I didn’t scare my poor clients, and it covered the redness surprisingly well.

I didn’t really want to be putting makeup on an open wound, so as soon as I was done with my client meeting, I ran home, washed the makeup off, and reapplied my care products.

My face was definitely no longer oozing or bleeding in any way by Thursday, and this was the first day that I didn’t sleep with a towel on my pillow!

DAY FOUR

I was surprised by how much better my face was looking on Thursday and I was floored by how much it had healed by Friday morning.

I still didn’t wear makeup to the office on Friday because I wanted to give my skin the time it needed to heal. While it looked good in comparison to Tuesday/Wednesday, I still felt a little self-conscious walking around looking like this in public. At the end of the day, I decided that I don’t owe anyone anything and I don’t have to look any certain way. I wore a bare face and reapplied my serums and creams when I had to, including at the office.

DAY FIVE

By Saturday morning, you could hardly tell I had had anything done to the left side of my face. If anything, it looked like I had a sunburn—which was good because I was going on a quick road trip with some friends and was hoping I wasn’t going to look like a crazy person.

I wore makeup this day, and was so impressed with how smooth my skin is! I realized that my only regret was not having it done to my entire face.

My skin looked great and I had a great time in Traverse City. Andrea and Courtney and I talked about skincare products and cosmetic procedures while we drank wine and ate cookies. Those are my kind of people.

DAY SIX

It felt like every day that I woke up and looked in the mirror I was surprised by how good my skin looked—especially in comparison to what it looked like just a few days ago.

By Saturday I was no longer using the thick healing ointment they gave me, but was still using the Saint Jane Beauty Oil every night (I use it every night normally anyway) and was also using a gentle moisturizer with it.

ONE WEEK

Today is officially one-week post-op. I cannot believe how good my skin looks. Right now, what I’ve noticed is that the deep, crater-like scars are looking much more shallow—and I will continue to see results for the next 4-6 months.

 

TL;DR

I looked crazy for a few days but it was SO worth it. Jennifer told me that it would be and I trust her unequivocally. If you’re looking for an esthetician, I can’t recommend her enough. You can book an appointment or consultation with her here.

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What’s the most intense cosmetic procedure you’ve had? Let me know!

Winter Skincare Favorites

Even though we haven’t really had much snow or winter weather in Michigan so far, this has felt like the longest winter ever. Is it just me? 

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When the season changes, your skincare routine should too. I feel like I’ve finally found a combination of products that are working really well both for my oily/acne prone skin and the weird dry patches that have popped up due to the dry winter air. I’ve actually been getting compliments on my skin, which makes my heart sing. 

Here are the products and services I’ve been loving:

SAINT JANE LUXURY CBD BEAUTY SERUM

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I honestly could/should dedicate an entire blog post to the Saint Jane Luxury CBD Beauty Serum. I had seen it online for awhile, but always prefer to see/smell/touch things in person before purchasing. I saw that this was available in store at Sephora during a weekend when there was an ice storm effectively paralyzing mid-Michigan but my dumbass actually drove to Sephora to buy it anyway. I have no regrets.

I use this at night after applying my skincare and I think it has made a big difference. This product has gotten tons of media attention and won multiple awards from PopSugar, Health and was even recommended by Oprah herself. It includes 20 potent botanicals, including Sea Buckthorn, Calendula, Sandalwood and Rose, which gently resurface and detoxify, while 500mg of full-spectrum CBD deeply nourishes and calms. 

This product has not made my skin breakout at all. In fact, despite the fact that I’ve been really stressed out and overwhelmed, my skin has been clearer and glowing. As an added bonus, the black and gold packaging is incredibly chic.

DRUNK ELEPHANT F BALM

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When I first bought this I thought it might be kind of a gimmick but I decided to try it out anyway. It is idiot-proof. You literally just add it as the last step to whatever skincare products you’re already using as part of your nighttime routine.

Drunk Elephant claims that F Balm is focused on replenishing and strengthening skin’s acid mantle via high doses of electrolytes, omega fatty acids, ceramides, and powerful antioxidants. The package suggests using 4-5 pumps, which I find really excessive so I use 1-2 and do find that it makes a difference. 

F Balm, paired with the Saint Jane serum, have really made a difference for me. These two products are currently my winter skincare dynamic duo. I slather them on my face after double cleansing, toning and using my AlphaRet Overnight Cream and I go to bed so moisturized that I look like a glazed donut. 

ALPHARET OVERNIGHT CREAM

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If you’re looking for a retinol—which you should be if you don’t already use one!— I cannot recommend this one enough. I tried the Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream and was not impressed. For one, it’s $74 for 1 oz of product and 2) the packaging is horrible. Even if you loved it and thought it was the best product you’ve ever used, you’re going to lose half of it because it just oozes out of the tube, no matter what you do. 

Skinbetter’s AlphaRet Overnight cream is $130 for 1 ounce of product BUT it’s a higher concentration of retinol (it’s medical grade and can only be sold under the supervision of a doctor) and the packaging isn’t going to waste half the product.

In the 6 months or so that I’ve been using this product daily, I haven’t finished an entire bottle. My skin is clearer and smoother, my pores are smaller and the wrinkles that were starting to become slightly etched into my forehead are less noticeable.

If you’re interested in purchasing any skinbetter products or any medical grade products in general, stop by Aesthetics Med Spa or call them at (517) 574-4655. Tell them I sent you!

NEWPORT COSMECUTICALS PERFECTING TONER

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I will use any product that my aesthetician, Jennifer Edwards, recommends to me without hesitation. She suggested this product to me back in the summer when I was having some breakouts and it has made a huge difference. I use this at night after I wash my face by applying some to a cotton round. Pro tip: I recently started using reusable bamboo cotton rounds to reduce the amount of waste I produce. You throw them in a bag and wash them with the rest of your clothes. It’s genius! 

This medical-grade product is made with glycolic acid and salicylic acid and promotes the exfoliation of dead skin cells, minimizes and prevents blemishes and removes make-up and dirt.

CHEMICAL PEELS

I love a good chemical peel. Jennifer uses AlphaRet professional peels on me and they are amazing. I think that regular chemical peels have really helped my skin get clear and stay clear. If you’re struggling with breakouts, I highly suggest investing in one. They’re regularly inexpensive, especially in comparison to some less effective, over-the-counter or even high-end beauty products. You can book an appointment or consultation with Jennifer here.

Today and tomorrow Sephora is offering BOGO 30% off on skincare products. Use code SAVEONSKIN to shop online. Will you pick anything up? What products are you loving this winter? 

 

Buy or Bye: I Tried Jaclyn Hill’s New Highlighters

I’ve loved makeup my entire life. I was in middle school when Michelle Phan started making tutorials on YouTube and instantly became obsessed with the endless possibilities that makeup provided. Because my parents had dial-up internet until I was nearly in college, watching videos on YouTube was difficult, but I did it whenever I had a few hours to tie the phone up and let a video load.

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COMING OF AGE

I was in high school the first time I ever stepped foot into a Sephora, or even realized they existed, and it wasn’t until I was in college that I started to actually watch YouTube tutorials and follow along. Jaclyn Hill was the first YouTuber that I ever subscribed to and I watched her videos religiously. I followed along with every one and bought every makeup product she recommended (that I could afford)—from MAC eyeliners and Makeup Geek eyeshadows to Gerard Cosmetics lighted lip glosses and Sigma Brushes. Jaclyn’s YouTube channel was actually what inspired me to start my first blog, which I’m not hyperlinking here because it’s incredibly embarrassing.

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…AND I OOP

In the years that followed, I have branched out and watched other YouTubers but I’ve always wanted Jaclyn to succeed. I’ve purchased almost every collaboration that she’s done with other brands, from her personally curated collection with Sigma to the iconic Becca Champagne Pop collaboration.  I didn’t end up purchasing any of the lipsticks from the first launch of Jaclyn (Hill?) Cosmetics because I was leery about purchasing a nude lipstick that I couldn’t swatch or see in-person before purchasing, but I was horrified as I watched everything unfold. As both a one-time loyal follower and a PR professional, I felt like I had an interesting perspective about the way her disastrous launch was handled (or more like, wasn’t handled)—and how her reputation and brand (both personal and professional) suffered as a direct result.

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COMEBACK KID

Following #lipstickgate, Jaclyn took a hiatus from social media, but she’s back and just dropped a limited edition holiday highlighter collection that includes $49 four-pan highlighter palettes, $32 glowy all-over face powders, $24 loose highlighters, and $24 highlighter brushes.

THE DETAILS

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In terms of pricing, the entire collection hits a variety of price points. The cheapest items from the line are the brushes, with the Mood Light Brush, the Accent Light Brush, and the Beaming Light Brush priced at $24, $20, and $20, respectively. Next, the Beaming Light Highlighter, an intense, powder-to-cream loose highlighter, rings up to $24, and the Mood Light Highlighter, an all-over illuminating powder, costs $32. Finally, the two highlighter palettes, Accent Light and Flash & Flare, both retail for $49. In the video revealing the impending launch below, Hill details and swatches each product in the line and lists further pricing for bundles in the video’s description.

THE GOODS

I picked up two different shades of the Beaming Light Highlighter, one in Extra and one in Extra, a dazzling white gold, and Bomb, a dazzling golden sand (per the company’s website). I really wanted the Flash palette, and despite setting my alarm and having everything in my cart and ready to checkout at 12:03, they had already sold out. They restock on 12/5, so I might have to buy one, you know, for science.

I paid for these on my own—which really goes without saying since I am obviously not cool enough to be on anyone’s PR list.

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I also picked up the J03 Beaming Light Highlighter brush. I honestly didn’t think that the other two brushes were anything to write home about or unlike anything I already own, but the J03 brush piqued my interest and I was able to get it as a set with one of the Beaming Light Highlighters, so I saved a couple bucks.

MY THOUGHTS

My first impression is that I really like these products. These highlighters are intense—and I’m here for it. It bodes well for me that oily looking skin is in style and I hope this trend continues for a long time. I love to look like a cute little glazed donut.

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I’ve never really been a fan of loose highlighters because they are so damn messy, and to be entirely honest these are not an exception. They’re messy just like every other powder highlighter that came before it, but I like the color payoff and the formula, so I’m going to wear it.

I saw a lot of people online saying that highlighter isn’t popular or cool anymore but if you’re into it, then keep wearing it and be glowy and hoe-y proudly.

TL;DR

Jaclyn’s first launch was a total flop—but this one isn’t.

Black Friday for the Beauty Lover

I spent a lot of time scouring all the best deals for the beauty lover in your life (even if that’s you). Here’s what I found:

BEAUTY 

Glossier

Everything on Glossier’s website is 20% off—but you can actually save up to 35% on their sets. I already placed one order to try some things I never have like Boy Brow, Balm Dotcom and their lipgloss. This deal runs all weekend, so I might end up getting more. TBD.

Huda Beauty eyeshadow palette

If you’ve been eyeing these eyeshadow palettes but not wanting to pay full retail, now is the time! Normally $27 each, these palettes are on sale for $16! IMO, Huda has some hits and misses in her line but you can’t go wrong with the shadows. They’re insanely pigmented and buttery and she has an awesome shade range. I think that both Topaz and Mauve would be almost universally flattering.

Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay’s Naked palettes are some of the most iconic products of our time. Macy’s has the Naked3 palette on sale for 50% normal retail price. Ulta has this on sale for half off, too BUT Macy’s offers free shipping after $25 whereas Ulta’s free shipping starts at $35. Shop smarter, people!

Buxom PowerPlump Lip Balm

My friend Andrea got me hooked on this stuff. I love a good lip balm and I also love having big lips, so this is perfect. It’s not like other lip plumpers in that there isn’t an intense stinging or anything like that, just a hint of mint. Normally $18, on sale for $11.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Palette Vault

This is such an amazing deal, I can’t believe that it hasn’t sold out already. You can get TWO Anastasia Beverly Hills eyeshadow palettes for only $49 (a value of $84). This includes the Modern Renaissance palette (my favorite eyeshadow palette of all time) and the Soft Glam palette. Both are very universally flattering and I highly, highly recommend.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Palettes

I have tried one million highlighters. I can give you a breakdown of which ones are good, which ones are chalky and shitty and which ones stand out as the best of the best. The ABH highlighters are literally some of the best highlighters on the market. They are buttery smooth, they are buildable, they’re never chalky. If you want to be glowy and hoe-y, you need to add these to your basket ASAP. Sun Dipped is my fav, FYI.

MAC Lipstick

Back in the day when MAC was sold exclusively at counters in malls, their products like never went on sale. Now that they’re at Ulta they do go on sale AND you can get points from purchasing their products (and USE your points on their products). You can’t go wrong gifting this to the beauty-lover in your life (or, let’s be real, keeping it for yourself). If you’re looking for nude shades, I’d recommend Kinda Sexy and Velvet Teddy. You can’t go wrong with Ruby Woo, MAC’s iconic blue-toned, retro red (blue-toned reds make your teeth look whiter than they are ;)).

Kylie Cosmetics Kylighter 

For the sake of full disclosure, I have not used this product. I’m not a big Kylie fan. I find her lip products to be drying and way overhyped. I also hate that she claims to be a self-made billionaire. ANYWAY, I know a bunch of people who absolutely love her products, especially the highlighters. If you, or perhaps a younger beauty lover, are big Kylie fans, you won’t want to miss this sale because they are literally half off! Only $10, normally $20.

ColourPop Cosmetics

My friend Jess asked me the other day what a good, non-expensive eyeshadow brand was and I immediately thought of Colourpop! I’ve never met a product I didn’t like, from their eyeshadows to their Lippie Stix. You can save 30% off this weekend!

Tarte

Save 30% off EVERYTHING at Tarte with the code FRIDAY30. I love Tarte Cosmetics. Every beauty blogger on the planet will tell you that their Shape Tape concealer is one of the best concealers ever made. I personally also love their Face Tape foundation—and you can’t go wrong with any of the In Bloom palettes.

HAIR

Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer Hot Air Brush

I’ve had this for probably 9 months or so now and I love it. I am not good at using both a blow dryer AND a round brush at the same time, so this takes the guesswork out of at-home blowouts. It also drastically reduces the amount of time it takes to dry your hair. If I’m being entirely transparent, I think I like it more than my Dyson hairdryer. I paid full retail for mine ($59.99)  like a big ol’ dummy, but you can snag one from Amazon for only $37.49 PLUS you can save an extra dollar by clipping the coupon.

CHI Air Spin & Curl Ceramic Rotating Hair Curler

Shortly after Dyson launched their next-level hair tools that use air to do magical things to your hair, CHI launched this bad boy to compete. Normally $139.99, you can get this from Walmart for only $63.99 right now!

Big Sexy Hair

My mom exclusively uses Big Sexy Hair hairspray, so I’m making the trip to Ulta to stock up on these for her. In a weird role reversal, I told her, “I’ll get these for you, but it’s going to be part of your Christmas present.”

Unite Hair Products

I love this stuff. My favorite detangler of all time is Unite 7 Seconds. I’m not sure how Unite has been able to bottle actual magic, but I’m obsessed with it. If you spend $50 on the Unite website this weekend you get a full-size bottle of 7 seconds for FREE. I’m also obsessed with their Texturiza texturizing spray.

NAILS

OPI Infinite Shine Nail Polish Gift Set

If you know me, you know I almost always have a very light, milky pink color on my nails. I have mine done professionally, but still use OPI Infinite Shine on my toenails. It’s the closest thing to salon-quality that I have found, looks like a gel and lasts FOREVER. You can snag 4-piece (full size) set for only $12.99 right now, a savings of $39!

Olive & June

I heard of Olive & June through a fellow Michigan-blogger @whatkatefinds. (she’s fabulous, I love her!) This brand offers everything you need for a manicure, from the polish to the remover, to clean-up brushes, to their coveted cuticle serum.  You can save 25% off site-wide +free shipping on any order $15 or more. If you buy one thing, make it the cuticle serum!

BRUSHES

Morphe Catch my Eye Brush Collection

When I was in college and had no money, I would make a trip to the MAC counter at the Macy’s in the Meridian Mall at least once a week to buy products. I would literally wager with myself like, “should I eat lunch today or spend the money I was going to spend on food on makeup?” I love makeup. Anyway, I invested a ton of money into MAC brushes because they were the best quality and, at the time, there weren’t any affordable, high-quality options. But now there are! Morphe brushes are amazing. They are MAC quality—for a fraction of the price. This eye kit is great for someone starting out or someone who wants new brushes. 10/10 entirely recommend.

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I found the set above online at Ulta, but then I realized you can save 25% off the entire Morphe site this weekend PLUS free shipping at $60. This is the perfect time to start or grow your collection with high-end brushes!

BATH

Philosophy Shampoo, Shower Gel, Bubble Bath

It’s not the holiday season until Philosophy’s three-in-one products are out. My nephew LOVES taking bubble baths, and so I like to stock up on these for him. I’m a big fan of the candy cane scent, but they have a million smells if that’s not your thing—and they’re all on sale at Ulta this weekend. This makes a great gift for just about anybody, IMO.

TL;DR

There are some awesome beauty deals this Black Friday weekend. Where are you shopping and what are you getting? Let me know!

 

Everything You Need to Know About Microblading

I started grooming my eyebrows when I was in the 5th grade and I have spent the last 15 years waxing, plucking, tweezing and threading them into submission.  I have enhanced them with powders, pomades and waxes and have had them tinted (at the salon or at home with Just for Men). It only felt natural that, for the sake of beauty (and research), I try microblading. After lots of research, i.e., countless hours spent watching YouTube videos and stalking people’s Instagram pages, I reached out to Alexis Horton from Arched by Allie and set up an appointment.

What is microblading?

Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo technique used to create the illusion of fuller brows. Unlike traditional tattooing, microblading uses tiny, fine-point needles to deposit pigment into the skin to create delicate, realistic looking hair strokes. Because the needles only penetrate the superficial layers of your skin, the method is semi-permanent instead of permanent (like traditional cosmetic tattoos).

Who is microblading best for?

Microblading is a great option for anyone who is looking to enhance their brows in a natural way. Keep in mind that the results will differ for everyone. Allie told me that microblading tends to work best for people with drier skin, but if you have oily skin like I do, you can still have microblading done—you’ll likely just need to have yours touched up more often.

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My eyebrows the morning of my appointment (with no makeup on them).

How long does microblading last?

I mentioned earlier that unlike traditional tattooing (cosmetic or otherwise) microblading is semi-permanent. About 6 weeks after your initial appointment, you’ll need to go back for a touch-up appointment. Depending on where you go, this may or may not be worked into the cost of the initial service. Then, microblading can last anywhere from 12 months to three years depending on a variety of factors, including your skin type and lifestyle. There are certain precautions you can take to extend the lifestyle of your news brows, including staying out of the sun (and if you are in the sun wearing sunscreen on your brows, or wearing a hat to protect those babies), and avoiding using skincare directly on your brows because the active ingredients will ruin the color.

Allie recommends having a touch up every year to keep your new brows looking fresh and fabulous. I know that this will be vital for me, since my face is like an oil slick and I’m so obsessed with my results that I don’t ever want to be without microbladed brows.

How much does it cost?

The price of microblading varies depending on where you live. I had mine done at Arched by Allie in Owosso, Michigan. Allie charges $300 for the initial session and $160 for follow up.

What’s the process like?

Step 1: Creating the shape

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Before we ever got started, Allie and I talked extensively about what I wanted from microblading, how I currently fill my eyebrows in and the look I was hoping to achieve through microblading. Once we were ready to get started, Allie had me lay down in her chair and she used a number of different tools and gadgets to make sure that my eyebrows were going to frame my face perfectly. After she had mapped out the shape, she had me get up and check in the mirror to make sure that it was what I had in mind.

Step 2: Numbing the brows

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After Allie mapped my brows out, she put a numbing agent on my brows to make sure that I was comfortable during the process. She put plastic wrap on the cream to help keep it place (and also because the heat from your body helps it work faster). She let the numbing cream sit on my brows for about 20 minutes and during that time I scrolled through Instagram and took a client call.

Step 4: Microblading the brows

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After making the strokes, Allie applies the color. Very flattering angle here!

 

For some reason I wasn’t worried about microblading hurting. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and am willing to tolerate a lot for the sake of beauty and spending less time getting ready in the morning. The process itself doesn’t hurt at all. I really can’t stress that enough. You can feel the needles dragging across your skin, but it doesn’t hurt. The strangest part for me was the fact that you can hear the needles scratching your skin, but after a while, I got used to it and didn’t notice it. Allie did two passes on both my brows, and kind of touched up a few placed with a third. After each round of strokes, she applied the pigment into the scratches, which is what you see in the photo above.

What’s aftercare like?

I have to admit that, aside from the fear of having my face tattooed, the aftercare process was the second largest deterrent to having my brows microbladed. I thought that the aftercare was going to be a gigantic pain in the ass. Turns out, it wasn’t! It was easy peasy lemon squeezy, even for someone a little lazy like myself.

Allie gave me everything that I needed to take care of my brows and was super accessible whenever I had any questions. I followed my aftercare for nearly two weeks after my microblading, even though you really only need to do it for a week. Every morning and night I would:

  • Splash my eyebrows with cool water
  • Apply the cleanser very gently in a dabbing motion, never any scrubbing.
  • Splash them again with cool water to get the cleanser off
  • Follow up with the tattoo ointment

I did have to alter my normal routine slightly during the healing process. For instance, I normally get in the shower every morning and let the water run on my face for a few minutes to help myself wake up. Since I couldn’t get my brows wet, I would wash my face at my sink before getting in the shower and then face away from the showerhead the entire time. It’s also super important that you don’t get any facewash/skincare/shampoo in your brows during the healing process (and even after if you want the best retention possible) so I always brought an extra washcloth in the shower with me to pat my brows dry and wipe away any shampoo that was getting suspiciously close.

What’s the healing process like?

Before we got started with the actual microblading process, Allie went over everything in very thorough detail with me, from the aftercare process to the healing process. She even had this really handy infographic that showed what I could expect in each phase of the healing process.

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Stage 1: The first day your brows will look amazing, like everything you’ve ever dreamed out. You’ll want to take countless selfies and shout from the rooftops that you’ve made the best decision of your life by having your eyebrows microbladed.

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Stage 2: The day after your appointment, you might notice that your eyebrows are getting darker. This continues for a few days (at least it did for me). I suppose if you’re really fair or not use to having dark, bold brows this might freak you out. I personally was super into it! I wouldn’t have been mad if they stayed that dark forever!

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Day 2 – no makeup on my brows at all

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Day 2 – taken before I had any makeup on. Taken in front of a ring light, but no retouching or editing whatsoever.

Stage 3: Within a few days of your initial appointment, typically between days 5-7,  your eyebrows are going to start itching and flaking. This is entirely normal—it’s your body healing the scratches that were made from microblading. I would notice little brown flakes on my eyebrows and it was difficult, but I was SO proud of myself for leaving them alone. I did notice that some of the flakes would come off during my aftercare, but Allie said that was totally normal (because you know I asked, lol!).

 

Stage 4: After you’ve experienced the flaking, you’ll notice that your brows have kind of disappeared. Allie told me this would happen between days 8-10, but it actually wasn’t until probably 12-14 that I noticed it. I was just living my life, loving my brows and being pleasantly surprised that I was somehow immune to this phase when I woke up one morning and was like, WTF. My perfect brows are gone! Because Allie had explained to me in such great detail what I could expect, I knew it was normal but I was still so bummed. Because I was cleared to wear brow makeup again (you can’t the first 7 days), I went ahead and used a little brow pomade to bring those babies back to life.

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Stage 5: After you’ve seen your amazing brows vanish before your eyes, rest assured that they DO come back. I noticed late last week that they are coming back and looking a little darker and I am so, so happy with them. They look natural and they frame my face perfectly. If I want to be a little bolder, I can fill them in slightly with a pencil or a pomade, but it takes two seconds and is definitely not necessary.

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Stage 6: 4-6 weeks after your initial appointment, you’ll go back for a touch-up. During this appointment, Allie will go over the strokes she made at the first appointment, and you’ll leave with crisp, fresh brows. That’s the last appointment you’ll need for a year (or possibly longer). I have my follow up on Dec. 16 and I’ll be sure to keep you all updated.

I can’t say enough good things about Allie. She made me feel so comfortable, did such an excellent job of explaining things to me, and made me feel very included in the entire process. I cannot recommend her enough. If you’re in the Lansing area and interested in booking an appointment with her, you can reach out to her here or here.

TL;DR

If you’re interested in getting your eyebrows microbladed stop procrastinating and book an appointment with Allie ASAP!

Do you have any questions about microblading? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them! I also have a microblading highlight on my IG, if you’re interested.

Disclaimer: Allie microbladed my eyebrows free of charge. Everything included in my blog post is my own opinion and reflects my genuine experience.

Buy or Bye: Charlotte Tilbury Products That are Worth the Investment

There are few things in life that I love more than a good glam—and no one does glam quite like Charlotte Tilbury. The legendary makeup artist launched her namesake beauty line in 2013 so that mere mortals like myself could replicate the signature bombshell looks she’s known for: glowing skin, smoky eyes and glossy lips.

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The brand is known for some of its cult-classics, like Pillowtalk lipstick and the luxury eyeshadow palettes. As much as I love her line, Charlotte Tilbury products are not cheap. I’ve done the legwork to let you know what’s worth the investment and what isn’t.

Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria

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I know, I know—you thought I was going to say Pillowtalk because it has such a cult following. Don’t get me wrong, Pillowtalk is a good lipstick. However, like most lipsticks, it skews a little too pink for my liking on my skin tone. Very Victoria, on the other hand, is a perfect muted cool-tone nude. It’s like my lips, but better.

Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Iconic Nude

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I’ve honestly never been a big lip liner person but felt personally obligated to try this one, you know, for research. I opted for Iconic Nude instead of Pillowtalk because of the aforementioned reasons and I’m so glad that I did. I use this with all my nude lipsticks and also like to use it alone as an overall lip color. 

Cheek to Chic Blush

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I love this blush. I got it in the shade Ecstasy and every time I wear it I’m reminded of what a beautiful, peachy sheen that this gives. It’s definitely buildable, so if you’re looking for a subtle flush or a more intense flush of color, you can customize it to your liking. I mentioned this in the blog post that I did about the products I picked up in Chicago and in the six months since then, I have reached for this almost every single day. It’s worth noting that after six months of use, it looks like I’ve barely touched it!

Magic Foundation

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I am extremely picky about my foundation and I have very specific requirements for what I want my foundation to do. I like a medium to full, buildable coverage with either a matte or satin finish. I need a foundation that checks all those boxes and also controls my oil—and it can’t look cakey. For the sake of full transparency, I will be honest that this isn’t my favorite foundation, but it does meet my laundry list of requirements while also maintaining a somewhat skin-like look. My downfall is that it tends to break up throughout the day, especially around the corners of my nose. I also start looking pretty shiny a few hours in, so it requires more maintenance than I like (i.e., having to powder my face every few hours to keep from looking like an oil slick.).

Hollywood Flawless Filter

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I bought this at Nordstrom and the saleswoman told me that I could use this as a highlighter, a primer or as a standalone foundation. As someone with very oily skin, I definitely cannot wear this as a primer or as a foundation. As a highlighter, it’s more muted than I would prefer, but if you’re into a more natural, lit-from-within look, this would be right up your alley.

Beauty Highlighter Wand

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I own a million different highlighters—liquids, powders, creams, etc. I have tried them all. This is one of my favorites. 

Magic Away Concealer

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I swore by the Too Faced Shape Tape concealer for years. A few months ago I started wearing less makeup and found that Shape Tape was just too intense for the look I was going for. I picked this up on a whim when my friend Andrea and I were at the Sephora at Somerset and I have used it every day since. It has a decent amount of coverage (read: enough to cover dark circles) but still looks natural and skin-like. 

Clearly, there are a lot of Charlotte Tilbury products that I like and feel are worth the investment (which, it really is because the price point is pretty steep). Unfortunately, there have been a few CT products that I’ve tried that I have found are not worth the money.

Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

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This is one product that I have found to be not worth the money. As I’ve mentioned before, I have very oily skin. This setting powder does nothing for me. It doesn’t keep my oil controlled, it doesn’t look good under my eyes if I use it to set concealer. For the $45 price tag, they are definitely better products out there.

Color Chameleon Eye Shadow Pencil

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I tried to love this product, I really did. It just didn’t work for me. The color is gorgeous and it really brought out the green in my eyes, but it creased terribly and the staying power was nearly nonexistent. If you don’t have greasy eyelids, this might work for you. However, there are way better products out there for a fraction of the cost.

Like with any brand, Charlotte Tilbury certainly has some hits and misses. I think that overall the brand is worth the money—especially if you’re wanting to splurge and #TreatYoSelf a little bit.

Making the case for medical-grade skincare

I’ve written blog post after blog post about my skincare, ranging from products I recommend to in-office procedures that I’ve had done. I’ve learned a thing or two on the journey to skin free of acne and acne scars. After years of trial and error, and after spending thousands of dollars, I’m no longer purchasing luxury skincare. 

SKINCARE 101

There are different levels of skincare: drugstore, luxury and medical-grade (also referred to as pharmaceutical grade or “cosmeceuticals”). As someone who has had bad skin for the better part of their life, I’ve purchased my fair share of the first two. I pick up random masks, scrubs and treatments on almost every single Target run, and I strategically stock up on luxury skincare during Ulta sales, Sephora sales, and Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale.

I always assumed that luxury skincare was better than drugstore. For one, luxury skincare costs more (like, a lot more). Between the price tag and the packaging (I hate myself for how easily influenced I am by sleek, chic packaging), it seemed like a no brainer to me that it was better in quality. It turns out that probably isn’t the case.

WHY AM I LIKE THIS

Despite the fact that I have poured thousands of dollars into drugstore and luxury skincare, I have consistently still had issues with skin. For a long time, I struggled with cystic acne. Even after that cleared up, I still found myself struggling with regular, run-of-the-mill acne, severe redness, and lots and lots of scarring. I was religiously using a concoction of drugstore and luxury products last November when I finally bit the bullet and scheduled a microneedling appointment with Jennifer Edwards at Aesthetic Med Spa to help get my scarring under control.

CHAMPAGNE TASTE, BEER BUDGET

I was amazed by the results of the microneedling, but was still pretty stuck in my ways when it comes to skincare. I didn’t really matter to me, because my skin was looking amazing thanks to the microneedling. Then, a few months ago, I randomly started breaking out really badly (probably due to the stress of my life falling apart, but that’s really a story for a different day). I went in and saw Jennifer and she asked about the products that I was using. Let’s see: Dove bar soap, Meijer 10% benzoyl peroxide lotion and Cetaphil moisturizer. I also used a Tula toner (which is actually good), and had a whole rotation of masks in my line-up.

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I thought that poor Jennifer was going to have a heart attack. Here’s someone (me) willing to spend money on in-office procedures, but not willing to spend a little extra money on products to sustain and enhance those results.

Here’s the thing: medical-grade skincare is an investment. It might cost more upfront (depending on what products you currently use, it might not cost much more than luxury skincare), but it’s going to a) last longer b) be more effective and c) produce actual results.

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LUXURY SKINCARE VS MEDICAL-GRADE

So what’s the difference? Here are a few important ones.

  1. Medical grade products have a higher concentration of active ingredients.

    All active ingredients in medical grade skincare must be 99.9% pure. A higher concentration of ingredients means products penetrate deeper into the skin. Drugstore and luxury products are full of fillers and preservatives, (non-active ingredients) that sit on top of the skin and don’t produce any kind of real results.

  2. Medical grade skincare is subject to FDA-regulation and is backed by clinical trials.

    Luxury skincare—and even drugstore skincare—feel nice on your skin, and often smells really good. That’s because it’s designed to—it’s designed to be a sensory experience and not offer much more than that. Medical-grade skincare is backed by clinical research to guarantee that products effective.

  3. Each product is developed for a certain skin type or skin issue and is made to give visible results.

    Because medical-grade products have a higher concentration of active ingredients, you need less product—and the product is able to penetrate deeper into your skin, giving you more effective results.

  4. Medical grade skincare must be sold under a doctor and prescribed by a trained medical professional/licensed skincare nurse or aesthetician.

    Because of their potent formulas, medical-grade products can only be sold under the supervision of professionals. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not knocking the employees at Ulta/Sephora/high-end beauty counters, but they certainly don’t have the same expertise and training as a doctor, nurse or aesthetician. Your skincare professional will be able to give you advice on the products that will work best for your skin.

WHAT I’M USING

After my come-to-Jesus  intervention, Jennifer got me started on a really good regimen that is working wonders on my skin. I use the skinbetter science Oxygen Infusion Wash both morning and night.  In the morning, I follow with the skinbetter science Alto Defense Serum, and at night I follow with skinbetter AlphaRet Overnight Cream. At least once a week, I’ll use the AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads, which are arguably my favorite skincare product of all time.

TL;DR

Medical-grade skincare is expensive—and it can produce some serious sticker shock when you first start testing the waters. Like pretty much anything in like, you get what you pay for. Yes, drugstore and even luxury skincare products are less expensive, but medical-grade skincare is worth every penny when you break down what you get for the price.

 

 

I Tried the Botox Lip Flip

I’ve been obsessed with beauty and cosmetics for as long as I can remember. Because I grew up in a time and a town where Ulta and Sephora didn’t exist, and long before beauty bloggers and YouTubers were a thing, I was often left to my own devices when it came to getting ~glam.~ Always a self-care maven, I routinely made DIY lip scrubs, face masks, teeth whiteners and exfoliators from whatever my mom had on hand in the kitchen. I even used to use Elmers Glue instead of Biore strips. I am nothing if not resourceful. (And I know that my aesthetician is going to cringe if she reads this).

IT’S NOT JUST MAKEUP, KYLIE

Not surprisingly, in addition to wanting clear skin and white teeth, I also wanted bigger lips. That’s right, I wanted bigger lips long before Kylie Jenner started lying about overlining hers. At the time, I was naively unaware that people used fillers to enhance their looks and were not, in fact, just naturally blessed with perfectly proportional, beautifully pouty lips. For years, I tried everything I could think of to get bigger lips, including the cult-favorite Too Faced lip plumper, the OG DuWop Lip Venom, and my own homemade concoction that I made with a mix of cayenne pepper and Vaseline.

FAST FORWARD

Fast forward 10-15 years and now everyone—myself included—knows that injectables are the reason that everyone looks so good. If you don’t spend your free time looking at before and afters on Instagram, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but celebrity transformations are not just the result of good lighting, Photoshop, makeup or puberty. It’s filler and neurotoxin and we all know it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but just call a spade a spade. As I like to remind myself: you’re not ugly, just poor.

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THE LIP FLIP

I went back and forth on the idea of getting lip filler for a long time—and then I learned about this magical alternative called the lip flip that uses Botox instead of filler to give the lips a more full look and I was all in.

Lip augmentation is normally done using a hyaluronic acid-based filler, like Juvederm or Restalyn. During a lip flip, Botox is strategically placed into the orbicularis oristo muscle to paralyze it, subtly flipping the lip outward and making it appear fuller than it is.

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THE PROCESS

I had no idea what to expect. I’ve always heard that lip filler is quite painful, but Lisa did such a great job of explaining the process to me that I didn’t feel nervous at all. As a side note, Lisa has been a nurse injector for over 18 years. She is kind and hilarious and I can’t recommend her enough.

Lisa had me sit in the chair and make a kissy face. Once my lips were puckered, she marked the two spots on my top lip where she would be injecting me with Botox.

She had me keep my lips puckered as she injected the muscle. I felt a quick poke as she made each injection, but it wasn’t awful and it was over within a matter of seconds. All in all, the process took maybe 3 minutes. If you’re interested, you can watch a video of the entire experience here or on their Facebook page.

NOW WHAT?

Like any procedure using Botox, it takes 14 days to see the full effects of the neurotoxin. That being said, within two or three days, I was already noticing a subtle change. I noticed the most when I would smile. Previously, when I would smile my top lip would entirely disappear. Now, when I smile I still have two lips! Check out my before and after.

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THE RESULT

As the Botox starts to kick in and the muscle becomes paralyzed, you’ll notice your lip starts to feel a little funny. I first noticed it was kicking in when I was trying to eat some a bowl of cereal, and realized eating from a spoon felt funny. It doesn’t hurt or limit what I can or can’t do at all and I’ve had it done twice now, so it clearly doesn’t bother me!

I love my lip flip. It was quick, easy and relatively painless. This is easily something you could do over your lunch breaks and the results last somewhere between 4-6 months. The cost will vary person-to-person, depending on how much Botox you need, so you’ll need an in-person consultation to say for sure, but I would guess the price would be somewhere between $50-$100.

TL;DR

I got a Botox lip flip done by Lisa at Aesthetics Med Spa and now my lips look even more fabulous than they did before.

 

 

SEPHORA “VIB SALE” TOP PICKS

It’s that time again–the Sephora sale!

I normally go crazy during the Sephora sale and stock up on things I probably don’t really need but this time, I practiced a great deal of self-restraint and only purchased a few things.

There are three main reasons that I didn’t fill my cart with a bunch of beautiful, albeit wildly unnecessary, shit this time around. First, I’ve been really strict about saving money lately. Secondly, I normally spend a ton of money on luxury skincare, which I am no longer purchasing (blog post about that coming soon) and lastly, I’ve been “shopping my stash” which is to say actually using all the products that I purchased at the last (few) Sephora sales that are sitting around collecting dust and quickly approaching their expiration date (which is 100% a thing, if you weren’t unaware.)

Despite my three very good and valid reasons to abstain from the Sephora sale, I did pick up a few items. Here are the things that I felt totally necessary to purchase.

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The Beauty Blender Bounce Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation in 2.1

Wajid and I were in Chicago during the last Rouge sale, so I picked up two foundations that aren’t available in Lansing. The first was the Georgio Armani foundation, which I actually returned. Wah wah. TBH, I wasn’t that impressed. There are probably 10 (no exaggeration) sheer to medium coverage foundations I would recommend above that one. 

The second foundation I picked up was the Beauty Blender foundation which I am obsessed with. It’s one of my all time favorites and I cannot say enough good things about it. If you’re looking for a medium to full, buildable foundation, I highly recommend this one. It’s long wearing, doesn’t settle into lines, accentuate my pores, etc.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer in Fair 3

This was a shot in the dark, but based on my love for every other Charlotte Tilbury item I’ve purchased I decided it was worth it. I haven’t been wearing a ton of makeup lately (who am I??) but I have used this a few times and really like it. It’s not as full coverage as Shape Tape, but it covers my dark circles, doesn’t crease and has a nice finish. I also really like the little tulip applicator on the end that almost negates the need for a beauty blender. If you’re in the mood for trying a new concealer, this one is worth a shot.

Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris Eau De Parfum 

This is my favorite perfume of all time and I never want to run out of it. Because fragrance rarely goes on sale, I decided that it was worth it to pick another one of these bad boys up. I’m no fragrance counssior, so I can’t tell you the ~notes~ but I know that it smells heavenly and lasts all day—and I always get a ton of compliments when I wear it.

Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Glowing Jen

I am extremely picky when it comes to lipstick. I buy a million of them, all very similar in color, but then I never wear them. Admittedly, I have been wearing them more and more after having a Botox lip-flip done by Lisa at Aesthetics Med Spa, but even my newfound lip confidence has not negated how incredibly picky I am about color and tone. For some reason, most “nude” lipsticks end up looking straight up peach on me, which I hate. 

My favorite lipstick of all time is that Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Very Victoria. This shade is very similar, except instead of being matte it has a has a satin finish. It’s also slightly pinker, and makes me feel super saucy when I wear it. Also, between the leopard print packaging and the fact that it was named after Jennifer Lopez, I’m pretty sure saucy is really just the whole vibe of this lipstick. 

Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser

I know that I said I wasn’t purchasing luxury skincare anymore, but I don’t really consider this to be skincare. I always double cleanse at night: once to take the makeup off and one more time to actually clean my skin. If I’m being really honest, there is nothing overly special about it but it is my favorite makeup removing balm, at least in part because it comes with a magnetic spatula that sticks back on the lid when you’re not using it. It’s the little things in life.

Ilia Multi-Stick

Another lip product, I know. To be fair, this is a lip AND cheek product so you’re getting double the bang for your buck. I got this because I thought it was pretty and it ended up being the same exact shade as my lips. Remember how everything always looks peach on me? This is ever-so-slightly darker than my actual lip color but makes me look and feel a little more put together even on days when I just want to be natural and toned down. I was skeptical about how well it would work on the cheeks (most stick cheek products just end up moving my foundation all over the place) but this one actually works really well and gives you a super natural flushed look. Overall, solid product!

I Splurged at the Sephora Spring Sale: Here are my picks

The long winter is over and the Sephora sale is here!

I went to Chicago for the first time last weekend (blog coming soon!) and, naturally, stopped into Sephora while I was there—and had what can only be described as a religious experience.

The Sephora on Michigan Ave. is the largest Sephora that I have ever been in. I could have stayed in that store for hours and hours. There was so much to take in that I actually had to go back the next day to make sure that I hadn’t missed out on anything. Seriously, God Bless Wajid for being such a good sport about it.

I normally use the spring sale to stock up on my tried and true favorites, but Chicago Emily is wild and decided to throw caution to the wind. I picked up some ~lux~ items that aren’t available in Lansing, because of course they’re not, and I shopped with the 20% off VIB Rouge coupon so win/win.

Here’s what I snagged and what I recommend.

  1. Tom Ford lipstick in Gal – $36

This is like a teeny, tiny tester size (they refer to it as “clutch size”) and had I not been drunk on the splendor that is Chicago and the fact that I was in the nicest Sephora I had ever set foot in, I probably wouldn’t have bought it. But I did and, of course, I love it. It’s the most beautiful nude pink with a high shine finish that gives you a very “my lips but better” look.

  1. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder in Medium – $45

I had heard amazing things about this product online and so when I saw it in store I had to throw in my basket as soon as possible. I think it’s a good powder. It gives you a very flawless look at first but if you’re an oily girl like me (or boy!) this will do nothing to keep your shine at bay. Is it good? Yes. Are there powders that are better suited for my skin type? Also yes.

  1. Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Blush in Ecstasy – $40

If you’re a fan of the cult-favorite Nars Orgasm blush, stop what you’re doing and go buy this right now. This blush will make you want to throw Nars Orgasm in the garbage, tbh. It is the prettiest peachy pink blush I have ever seen. It super finely milled, so smooth, goes on like butter, and the pigmentation is beautiful without being too much. I put this blush on and looked at myself like, “who is she!?” It’s that good.

I’m getting this for my mom for Mother’s Day because she deserves the best and I have found it.

Also, I saw people on the Sephora website bitching about how easily the product breaks but this traveled with me from Chicago to East Lansing and has also come to work with me for four days and is fine, so take those with a grain of salt.

  1. Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Highlighter Wand – $38

When it comes to highlighter I am That Bitch™ It doesn’t matter if I’m going out or going to work, I want my cheekbones to be beaming. I get served ads for Charlotte Tilbury all the time and was super intrigued by this product, but never enough to purchase it online, lol.

When I saw it in store, however, I knew I had to have it. This gives the most beautiful glow to the skin. You can put it on a bare face for a natural, dewy look, or you can put it on top of foundation and cover with a powder highlight for a blinding glow. Super buildable, super blendable, doesn’t take my foundation off. 100/10 definitely recommend.

  1. Charlotte Tilbury Color Chameleon Eyeshadow Pencil – $27

Clearly, I was on a Charlotte Tilbury bender.

This claims to enhance your eye color based on the shade of the shadow. I picked this up not expecting to love it that much, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I do. For one, I didn’t think that it would have much staying power based on the way the formula felt. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this is waterproof and it does genuinely stay all day! I’ve been smudging it in my crease and on my lower lash line and blending out with a Pat McGrath eyeshadow and love the way it looks.

  1. Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 – $28

I don’t want to sound dramatic but if you have hair, you should buy this product.

I know that Olaplex is amazing and I had seen this in Sephora before but had never bothered to pick it up. Again, I’m not sure if it was something about that magical Sephora store or being in the Windy City that made me impulsively buy this, but I’m glad I did.

I’ve been using this for about 4 or 5 days now and I am honestly blown away by the change in my hair. It feels so soft and smooth and is so much less frizzy. I will repurchase this, for sure.

  1. Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Contour Powder – $44

I have wanted to try this for years but it’s never available at any of the Sephora’s I shop at and I hate buying makeup without being able to see it in person first.

I recently became aware of the term “snatural,” as in looking snatched while still looking natural, and I think this powder invented that term?? I contoured my face with this and was like, “oh, hi new bone structure.”

This product is amazing and a little goes a long way. How impressed I am with this product blows me away because I’m not even using the correct shade. I definitely need either light or medium in this product, and all they had left was the deep shade. It’s too dark for my skin tone, but I am absolutely ordering online and can’t wait to get it in.

  1. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – $64

This blog post was all fun and games until I had to list the prices of everything I bought like, WOW, I really need to slow my roll. I hope Jess doesn’t read this blog because if she does, she’s going to skewer me for spending so much money despite all the well-intentioned “DON’T SPEND MONEY” sticky notes in my office.

Anyway, this foundation has a cult following and I have always wanted to try it. Here’s the deal: this foundation is medium coverage. I have never been able to wear medium coverage foundation because of my acne and acne scars. Also, as I’ve mentioned one million times, I don’t like buying makeup, especially foundation, online. Things tend to look super yellow on me, making me look jaundice— or—they oxidize and I end up looking presidential orange.

I found a shade that I thought would match my skin and took a leap of faith and bought it and it looks SO amazing. Medium coverage foundation is still new to me, but I was amazed at something so sheer could even my skin out and make me look flawless — while still looking like skin.

Jennifer Edwards at Aesthetics Med Spa has changed my skin so much that I can wear medium coverage foundation and feel like a million bucks. When I finished my makeup, I honestly wanted to cry.

Do you need this foundation? No, of course not. But if you’re feeling saucy and want to spend two tanks worth of gas on some makeup, then you do you, sister.

  1. Beautyblender Bounce Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation – $40

 

This is basically just a compilation of things that I finally saw in person after having been deprived of seeing them in my local Sephora (which, for the record, I love with all my heart. And after declaring bankruptcy a la Michael Scott in Chicago, I’m glad they don’t carry these things).

One of my favorite YouTubers, Tati, raves about this foundation. When I saw it in store I knew that I had to try it, despite the fact that I also bought a $65 foundation AND I just found a foundation that I love and is working amazing for me (the Tarte Face Tape foundation).

I love this. If you’re in the market for a full-coverage, velvet matte foundation, I would recommend this one. It looks so smooth on the skin, and leaves you with a very airbrushed, filtered effect without looking cakey. I’m super impressed and have used this every day since purchasing it.

  1. Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Bare – $29

 

You would never know it based on the amount of lipstick that I buy, but I don’t like lipstick. I’m always in search of the perfect “my lips but better” shade, but I’m not a fan of opaque lips. This Bobbi Brown lipstick is one of the best MLBB shades I’ve ever found. It gives my lips a slight wash of color without feeling (or really looking) like I’m wearing lipstick. I think I may have found my ride or die.

  1. Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser – $34

I ran out of my Farmacy makeup remover and when I went to repurchase it, my store was out of stock. I figured I would give this a whirl because I tend to really like DE products, especially the Baby Facial.

This is honestly a pretty standard, run-of-the-mill makeup removing balm. I’ve found that it doesn’t really melt into an oil the same way that other balms do, but it still takes my makeup off. My favorite feature is the magnetic scoop.

That’s all, folks! You can still shop the sale for two more days. Here are the codes so you don’t miss out:

Beauty Insider: HEYINSIDER

VIB: HEYVIB

Rouge: HEYROUGE

Make sure you share your favorite picks with me! I want to know what you’re snagging during the spring sale.