Buy or Bye: Fenty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick

There are certain things in life that I just can’t resist—a fresh-baked cookie; a cold drink on a hot day; a sheer, glossy lipstick. It doesn’t matter how many I have—or how similar they are—I just can’t say no.

I had that Fenty was going to be releasing a new sheer lipstick formula a few months ago on the Trendmood Instagram page. It was supposed to launch in stores in early June—but, obviously, that didn’t happen. The new lipsticks finally launched online late last month (or maybe early this month? Who knows at this point, everything runs together). I really didn’t want to buy them before I  was able to see/swatch them. TBH, that wasn’t a very well-thought-out plan since swatching is pretty much a relic of days gone by, so I ended up buying them in-store without swatching them. I could have had them sooner, but oh well!

THE COLLECTION

Aside from being a tongue twister, Fenty’s new Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick comes in 10 different ultra-comfortable sheer shades. On top of being comfortable, they’re nourishing (they’re infused with pomegranate butter) and have the perfect amount of color. The brand compares the lipsticks to your favorite pair of jeans—effortless, sexy and good-looking without trying too hard. (I see where they were going with the analogy but jeans are a no from me, dawg).

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Photo courtesy of Fenty Beauty

TOP LEVEL CLAIMS

  • Clinically proven to lock in moisture
  • Lightweight, nourishing lipstick formula
  • Infused with hydrating pomegranate oil
  • Instantly conditions in just one swipe
  • Shiny, builable, creamy texture
  • Available in 10 easy-to-wear shades

MY THOUGHTS

I had high hopes for this product and, naturally, I was not let down. This is the perfect lip product to just throw in your bag and go (I mean, it would have been the perfect product to throw in your bag and go before we were gripped by a deadly pandemic that requires wearing a mask everywhere). It’s like a chapstick in that you can just haphazardly apply it (no mirror required) but it leaves the most gorgeous sheen. It makes your lips look hydrated and glossy but doesn’t feel sticky at all. And, one of the biggest bonuses of all, is that it actually leaves your lips feeling hydrated and softer when you take it off. As someone who wore liquid lipsticks religously and had crusty lips for the better part of a decade, I am 100 percent on board with this gloss trend.

I bought three shades: Makeout Break (a latte nude), Glazed (peachy pink) and Thang Thang (a red orange).

I really just took a shot in the dark when choosing shades but I love all three. I knew that I wanted a nude, and Makeout Break is the perfect nude. If I were to design my own lip product, it would be this formula and this shade. My second favorite color is Thang Thang because I am obsessed with red orange lipsticks right now (I have a blog post on my favorites coming soon). There are 7 more shades that I don’t have that I need to get in my possession immediately:

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Photo courtesy of Fenty Beauty

  • Quarts Candy (clear with pink iridesence)
  • $uga Kiss (Bubblegum pink)
  • Retro Rose (dusty pink)
  • Goji Gang (rosey mauve)
  • Cookies and Cocoa (cocoa berry)
  • Bubblerum (chocolate brown)
  • Vamps who brunch (plum withblue irridesence)

INCLUSION

Rihanna doesn’t fuck around when it comes to inclusivity. There is something for everyone in this collection—because of course there is. There are shades that will work as a “your lips but better” shade on any skintone, as well as a clear gloss and a couple fun pops of color.

TL;DR

Rihanna’s new lip products are amazing and if you don’t own any, you should.

*I bought these lipsticks with my own money, however this post does contain affiliate links meaning I will make a small comission in the event that you choose to purchase anything. 

Brows for Beginners: Tips & Tricks for Filling in Your Brows

Like most people, I have been on a brow ~journey.~ I started tweezing my brows when I was in the fifth grade. Not necessarily because I needed to but because I had read about it in a People magazine I was skimming in line at the grocery store and was fascinated by it. No one in my family tweezed their eyebrows. The fact that people groomed their brow hair was mesmerizing to me. Little did I know that brows would be a billion-dollar business in just a few years time.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

I tweezed my own brow hair religiously from fifth grade until I was a freshman in high school, which was when I lost my waxing virginity. We took a trip to the local career center where I obviously spent my day shadowing the cosmetology students. Someone offered to wax my eyebrows and I reluctantly agreed. While it did seem to be a much quicker method of hair removal, I was maimed and spent the next few weeks looking perpetually perplexed until my brow hair grew back. I vowed to never let anyone else wax my brows again.

Fast forward a few years and I’m a freshman in college looking for a cheap way to indulge in a little self-care. Some people (probably men) might think it’s weird that having hot wax applied directly to your skin in order to pull your facial hair out by the root is considered self-care, but it is. If you know, you know. I ended up at the newly-opened Ulta Beauty in Okemos where a Benefit Brow Artist, who actually happened to be now-famous YouTuber Alex Garza, waxed my eyebrows. When I left I had amazing looking brows and felt like a million bucks.

TRIAL AND ERROR

The day that Alex Garza waxed my eyebrows was the first day I ever had any makeup in them. She filled them in with a Benefit powder and I remember thinking “I kind of like this but also maybe a little too bold?” At that time, bold brows were not the trend. I did, however,  like how filling them in made them frame my face a little more clearly. And so began my years-long process of trial and error. I never remember looking in the mirror and thinking, “wow, those look terrible.” Quite the contrary, I remember looking in the mirror and thinking, “Wow. Those look great.” But they didn’t. Learn from my mistakes.

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Dear God in heaven, what was I thinking?

TIPS

START WITH THE SPARSE SPOTS

If you’ve never filled your brows in before, the best place to start is looking in the mirror and identifying the sparse places in your brows, filling those in and going from there. You can always add more product—taking it away is a little trickier.

USE HAIR LIKE STROKES

Even if you choose to use a pencil, filling your brows in shouldn’t be like coloring. It’s much more artful and intentional than that. Create short, hair-like strokes in the direction that your hair naturally grows by making a gentle flicking motion with your wrist. Practice makes perfect!

PAY ATTENTION TO THE TAIL

Whether you’ve overplucked or had a wax mishap like yours truly, extending your eyebrow a little bit can make a world of difference. Be careful when you do this though, because drawing it in a downward slant brings the focus of the eye down, making you look older, sad and kind of saggy. Try to draw it out in more of a straight line for a lifted effect.

SOFTEN ANY HARSH LINES/EDGES

I bared my soul (well at least an embarrassing picture) so you can all see what it looks like when you throw caution to the wind and don’t BLEND. Make sure that you brush through your brows with a spoolie after you’re done applying product to avoid looking boxy eyebrows like I had.

ACCENTUATE YOUR SHAPE

The point of filling in your brows is to accentuate the shape that you already have. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If you want to alter the shape of your brow or change the arch, I highly suggest visiting a professional who can help you. In this case, we’re merely accentuating what we already have by following our brow shape.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT COLOR

Aside from haphazardly color blocking your brows, the quickest way to mess this up is to choose the wrong color. I always try to match my brows to my natural hair color, which is a dark, neutral brown shade. If you’re blonde, a taupe color will probably work best. Taupe is probably the best shade for redheads as well, although there are auburn pencils available!

HIGHLIGHT THAT BROW BONE

This isn’t technically a tip for filling in your brows, but throwing a pop of shimmery eyeshadow or highlighter on your brow bone directly under your arch gives a really pretty lifting effect.

PRODUCTS

There are a million different brow products on the market. From powders to pencils, pomades to fibers, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what product will help you achieve your desired look.

Let’s break it down:

GEL

Eyebrow gels are my favorite eyebrow product of all time because it’s the quickest and easiest way to add color, hold and fullness to the brow.  After getting my eyebrows microbladed (you can read a detailed account of that process here), I sometimes just throw some gel in my eyebrows and call it a day.

In order to use a gel, the first thing you’re going to want to do is take the wand out and wipe off any excess product—the same way you would with mascara. Once you’ve done that, you just swipe the wand through your brow hair. I like to start at the front and brush the hairs up and then brush them in the direction of the natural hair growth once I reach the arch.

I use brow gel every single day, without question. Whether or not I use pencil, soap, pomade (or a combination of all three) beforehand, I always, always finish with a swipe of brow gel. It’s a great way to get your brows to stay in place all day.

PRO TIP: If you really want to pump up the volume of your brows, take the spoolie and brush AGAINST your natural hair growth. It picks up the hairs and coats each individual hair in product, making them fuller and fluffier.

MY GEL PICKS

Uoma Beauty Brow Fro Blow Out Gel*

Glossier Boy Brow

Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel

Benefit Gimme Brow

Milk Makeup Kush Fiber Gel

*my favorite gel

PENCIL

Brow pencils are probably the most common and easiest brow products you can use. Whether you already have full brows or are looking to fill in sparse areas or add definition to your tail, a pencil can help you achieve a soft, natural-looking brow.

The first step to using a pencil is to brush through your brows with a spoolie. Make sure that all your front brows hair are brushed up and then brush all the hairs after the arch down. Start by filling in any sparse patches with short, feather-like strokes and THEN go in and define the front of your brows.

I’ve tried every brow pencil under the sun and, honestly, most of them are very very similar. My favorite brow pencil is the Anastasia Brow Whiz but if you’re on a budget, I highly recommend this Morphe one.

PRO TIP: If you mess up and end up looking boxy, take a fluffy eyeshadow brush and blend out the product the same way you would eyeshadow.

MY PENCIL PICKS:

Anastasia Brow Wiz*

Benefit Cosmetics Precisely, My Brow Ultra Fine Shape & Define

Fenty Beauty Brow VMP

Morphe Micro Brow Pencil**

e.l.f Instant Lift Eyebrow Pencil

*my favorite pencil, **my drugstore favorite

POWDER

The first time I ever filled my eyebrows in, I used a Benefit powder. Powders tend to result in a softer look, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go overboard. I am living proof of that.

Just like pencils, powders are used to fill in sparse areas of the brows. To use a powder, you’re also going to need an angled brush. I really like this brush from Anastasia Beverly Hills. Coat the brush with the powder and tap it on your hand to get off any excess product. Then, sweep it in the direction of your hair growth with a light hand. Once you’re done, be sure to comb through with a spoolie to soften the edges and avoid looking harsh.

PRO TIP: You can also use brow powder to set anything you’ve done with a different brow product. And, since the brow powder is probably going to match the color of your natural hair, you can use it to fill in any sparse spots on your hairline, too. This works especially well if you’re wearing your hair pulled back or in a ponytail. You’re welcome.

MY POWDER PICKS

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo*

Benefit Cosmetics Fool Proof Brow Powder

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brush #12

*my favorite powder because it comes with two colors for a natural, gradient brow

POMADE

You know the infamous “Instagram brows?” That’s pomade.

If you’re a beginner, I would skip pomade. It gives a dramatic, defined look and, of all the brow products discussed, this is the most difficult to work with and the easiest to screw up. However, if you have very, very sparse brow hair or you purposefully want a bold brow, then pomade is what you’re looking for.

My favorite pomade is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow. I have used this on and off for probably 7 years and have only had to repurchase it once—and that was only because it dried up. You really have to use such a small amount of this product.

Just like with powder, you’ll need a brush to apply this. I like to delicately dip my brush ever so daintily into the pot, and then wipe the excess off on the inside of the lid. Then, start with small, hair-like strokes at the arch of your brow. Fill in sparse spots, elongate your tail and then, once you’re almost done, go in and define the front of your brow. Finish by brushing out with a spoolie to soften the edges.

PRO TIP:

My POMADE PICKS

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade

NYX Tame and Frame Tinted Brow Pomade

SOAP

You might be thinking to yourself, “WTF are soap brows?” You might be surprised to learn that it’s literally just soap in your brows. I started experimenting with soap brows during the early days of quarantine (remember when we thought it was only going to last for two weeks LOLOL). There are products specifically meant for this purpose and I did purchase one, but a good ‘ol 99 cent bar of glycerin soap will work just fine.

To start, you brush your brows out the way that you want them. For me, that’s brushing the front hairs up, and the hairs after the arch in the natural direction they grow in. Then you’re going to wet your product with some water or any kind of facial mist, twirl your brush so it’s coated with product and repeat the same steps you just did: brush the front hairs up and the rest in the direction of natural growth.

This creates a really full, fluffy and natural look—but you can definitely go for a more dramatic, editorial vibe if that’s your thing.

I follow by filling in any sparse patches with pomade or pencil, then set everything in place with a gel.

PRO TIP: Considering brow lamination? Try this first to see what your result will look like.

MY SOAP PICKS

ARTIFUN Clear Waterproof Long Lasting Shaping Soap

Pears Glycerin Soap 2-pack 

TL;DR

Eyebrows are important and incredibly easy to mess up. Try different products and find what works for you. What are your fail-proof eyebrow tips?

 

 

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.

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

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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.

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!

concealer (1)

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.

Copy of Green and White Business Advisory Coronavirus Awareness Instagram Post

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?

Zoom Meeting Makeup Essentials

A lot of us have been working from home for the past few weeks— well, working at home trying to be productive and retain some sense of normalcy in the midst of the largest crisis of our lifetimes.

THERE’S PEOPLE DYING, KIM

I get it. Many of us, myself included, are having a very difficult time giving one single fuck about what we look like. Thousands of people dying tends to really put into perspective what is important and what is not.

More than anything, I think finding what works for you is incredibly important right now. If sticking to a routine helps you, then you should absolutely do that. If you want to wear the same sweatpants and ratty t-shirt for 10 days in a row (yes, I’m talking about myself) then rock on with your bad self. We’re all just trying to get through. No judgment here.

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That being said, if you find yourself with an important video conference on your calendar and want to look a little put together without going overboard, here are my favorite products for a 10-minute fresh-faced makeup look.

IT COSMETICS CC CREAM

I love this product. If I could only use one base product for the rest of my life, I think it would be this. It’s full coverage without looky cakey or makeup-y, contains SPF 50 (even though you should definitely still be wearing another sunscreen!), and stays in place all day. You don’t need to use a primer with this and it’s so full coverage, you rarely need to spot conceal. You can use your fingers, a brush or a sponge to apply—whatever you prefer. Truly impossible to mess this up.

DIORSHOW MASCARA

This is one of my favorite mascaras to use, but you can obviously just use whichever mascara you prefer. I’ve had eyelash extensions for almost three years now, but still use mascara on my bottom lashes from time to time. I’ve also been really enjoying the Glossier Lash Slick mascara

BECCA UNDERYE BRIGHTENING CORRECTOR

I think it’s probably safe to assume that all of us are having trouble sleeping lately. I go to sleep around 4 in the morning and then spend all day being exhausted and sluggish—and you can definitely see it on my face. Thankfully this undereye corrector will hide all your dirty little secrets and make people think that you’re not entirely sleep deprived and filled with existential dread. You can apply a concealer on top of it if you want to, but I don’t always feel the need to because this does such a good job. Pro tip:  It’s a very thick, creamy formula so I always set with a powder to prevent creasing.

GLOSSIER BOY BROW

I can no longer be bothered to fill my eyebrows in with pencil. Partly because I have my brows microbladed and don’t really need to, but also I just no longer care TBH. I swipe Boy Brow through my brows, brushing them in an upward motion for a little more fullness, and call it a day.

TOWER 28 BEACH PLEASE 

I love this product. I recently talked about this in a post about my favorite cream blushes and for good reason. It’s so easy to use and so pigmented that a little bit goes a long day. Blend out using your fingers and bring it across the bridge of your nose for a healthy glow. No one will ever know that you haven’t stepped foot outside your apartment or felt the warmth of the sun on your face in over 10 days.

BUXOM POWER-FULL PLUMP LIP BALM

This is a great lip balm for when you want a little something on your lips but putting on actual lipstick or lip gloss doesn’t feel necessary. It creates a custom color for you by adjusting to the pH level of your lips. Normally, things that adjust to the pH of your lips look absolutely terrible on me (looking at you Lipstick Queen) but this is a flattering, slightly flushed shade like maybe I was just making out with someone (LOL, definitely not). I regret to inform you that I use the shade Big-O, which makes me want to vom, but I didn’t name it. Don’t shoot the messenger.

TL;DR

If you want to throw on a little makeup to feel slightly more polished & human, please do. If you want to stay in your pajamas and have disheveled hair, please do. For me, it depends on the day. It depends on my mood, how I slept, what the weather is doing, how much I’m paying attention to the news, etc. I think we’re really all just taking things day by day.

What are you doing during this crazy time? Getting ready or embracing a more natural look?

 

 

Buy or Bye: Em Cosmetics

As a beauty blogger and seasoned makeup veteran, I think it’s my due diligence to try out all makeup brands and products. Also, a beauty lover and OG YouTuber makeup content consumer, I had to try Michelle Phan’s brand, em cosmetics.

Michelle Phan was the first YouTuber that I ever watched. Back when my parents had dial-up internet and it took hours and hours to load a short video, I would sacrifice my parents ability to make phone calls so I could watch her transform her face, like her iconic video in which she emulates Lady Gaga’s gigantic eyes from the Bad Romance video or when she turned herself into a Barbie.

Naturally, I had to rewatch a lot of these videos in order to write this blog, you know, for science.

Since finding fame on YouTube, Phan has become a successful career woman, including publishing a book with Random House and launching her own cosmetics line, em cosmetics.

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HEAVENS GLOW RADIANT BLUSH

I’ve always been a big fan of baked products, and this blush is not an exception. It’s such a beautiful pinky, peach shade that gives a beautiful flush of color to cheeks. This works well as a blush on lighter skin tones, but I think that it could work as a highlighter on deeper skin tones. 

I recently talked about my affinity for cream products, and while I stand by what I said, I often find myself setting my cream blush with this product. While it’s a powder, it’s not powdery, if that makes sense. It also doesn’t sit on top of the skin like some powders, instead, it blends in in a very beautiful way without emphasizing any imperfections. If you’re not ready to take the plunge with cream or liquid cheek products—or you have oily skin and want to lightly set your creams/liquids with a powder—I highly recommend trying this blush.

If you’re interested in trying this blush but don’t want to spend $34 (plus shipping) on blush, Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso is almost an exact dupe, in both shade and formula—and retails under $10.

LIP CUSHION

I’ve really been branching out when it comes to lip products. I used to exclusively wear matte lipstick (and liquid lipstick at that!), but I’ve been super into glossy lips lately. I’ve talked about my love of Tower 28’s ShineOn lip jelly, and while I do think that has a slight edge, this is still a really great product.

The shade Magic Hour is a universally flattering, peachy-nude shade that luminizes your lips with a sheer touch of color. It’s formulated with a nourishing blend of Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E, so it leaves your lips smooth even after you take it off.

THE VERDICT

Michelle Phan’s products are just as good as I expected they would be. I love both the products that I tried and I can’t wait to add her blush serum to my collection.

TL;DR

Em Cosmetics are great. If you’re in the market for a blush or a moisturizing lip balm, I recommend both!

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day

As our Lord and Savior Beyonce said: “who run the world? Girls.” Today on International Women’s Day, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite women-owned businesses in and around #LoveLansing and celebrate the badass women who own & operate them! 

Jennifer Edwards Skin | Aesthetics Med Spa

I’ve written blog after blog about my skin and how much Jennifer has changed it. I often joke that the most intimate relationship that I have is with Jennifer, because few people have seen me in a more vulnerable state and I am constantly sending her less-than-flattering photos of myself.

If you feel like treating yourself and your skin to something special, I highly suggest booking with her (which you can do online!). If you’re on a strict budget (which we probably all are), she offers cost-effective  treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion and dermaplaning. If you’re looking to invest a little more, there are always options like microneedling and laser treatments. Jennifer offers free consultations and will create a treatment plan specific for you, based on your budget and needs. 

Celeste Saltzman | Retail Therapy

Celeste is the owner of Retail Therapy, a women’s clothing boutique in Old Town. Celeste has the coolest style and always looks so chic and incredible. I truly admire how passionate she is about slow fashion (check out her op-ed in the LSJ here) and her commitment to only carrying clothing in her store that has been ethically and sustainably.

If you’re in need of new clothing, shoes or accessories, stop by the store! In addition to brands like Magnolia Pearl, Gershon Bram and Alembika, Retail Therapy is one of the only stores in Lansing that carries Lack of Color hats and Quay Australia sunglasses!

Andrea Kerbuski | AK Stories

There are a million reasons I love Kerbuski—but I’m super proud of her photography business.

Just like in every other situation in my life, I tend to look really awkward in photos. Andrea is the only photographer I have ever worked with that is able to make me feel comfortable in front of the camera and capture me in an authentic way. From professional headshots to family photos, Andrea’s work is so, so, gorgeous. The posing, the lighting, the editing, it’s just *chefs kiss*. 

If you’re looking for a professional photographer, there’s no one I would recommend more. DM her or send her an email to learn more about her pricing and availability.

Megan Emmons | Hair & Body Elements

Megan is the sweetest person you’ll ever meet. If you’re in the Lansing/East Lansing area and looking for a lash artist, she’s your girl. Whether you’re looking for dramatic volume lashes (like me) or you’re into a more natural, classic vibe, Megan will get you hooked up and looking and feeling your best. 

DM her on Instagram to book an appointment or to ask her any questions you may have about lash extensions! 

Riley Vanness  | The Hive

Riley has been doing my brows for years and years. We first met at the Ulta in Okemos and then she moved and I moved and we lost touch BUT we were serendipitously reunited last year and I couldn’t be happier. Riley offers a lot of services, ranging from brow waxing, tinting and laminating, to lash lift and tints. 

If your brows need some TLC, call Riley (or DM her on IG). She is the only person on this planet other than myself that I trust with my eyebrows and that is really saying something.

Michelle Gimbutis | The Barre Code East Lansing

I first met Michelle at the grand opening of The Barre Code-East Lansing. Michelle is a MSU alumna (Go Green!) and moved from Metro Detroit back to East Lansing to start her own business. She is also one of the sweetest, most down-to-earth people I’ve ever met.

Despite the fact that the Barre Code-East Lansing opened a solid two years ago and I still haven’t been to a class, I’ve continued to follow Michelle and TBCEL and know that it’s a staple in the East Lansing community. I love the community that TBCEL fosters and how empowering it is.

If you’re looking to try something new in your workout routine, I highly recommend checking out the Barre Code. Bonus: your first class is free!

Emma | ALD Events

Emma and I are online friends who have never met in real life, but she’s hilarious and I feel like we’re kindred spirits. She’s co-owner and co-founder of  A Lovely Day events, a mid-Michigan wedding planning company. Even though I am painfully single, I love looking at their Instagram and admiring all of their work. The flowers, the couples, the cakes—it’s all so beautiful. 

Listen, I’ll probably never find someone to trick into marrying me, but if I do, I’ll definitely be hiring ALD to plan my wedding. If you’re newly engaged or planning a wedding, you can check out their work and the services they offer here

Ellie Wong | Holiday Lansing

I was so distraught when my longtime hairstylist (and actual Earth angel) Allison Malloy moved to Chicago (but also so happy she’s chasing her dreams!).  I don’t trust very many people with my hair but I rolled the dice and scheduled an appointment with Rachel Vrooman after drooling over her Instagram photos and I am so in love with my hair.

If you haven’t been to the Holiday, you need to. I really hate pretentious salons that make you feel like you aren’t good enough to be there—and this one is not like that at all. Quite the opposite, actually! Everyone is super friendly and welcoming and it is so cute inside.

Ellie is the owner of the salon. She’s never personally done my hair but I briefly met her when I was in there last and she is so sweet. If you’re looking for a new hair salon, check out the Holiday in Lansing’s West Side neighborhood! I’m sure you can’t go wrong when choosing a stylist there, but I highly recommend Rachel!

Tina Medawar | Medawar Jewelers

If you live in Lansing, you know Medawar Jewelers—but you might not know Tina Medawar as her own person (and brand!). Tina is truly the sweetest, most kind person I know and somehow she’s even more beautiful in person than she is on TV.

Tina owns and operates a number of Medawar stores throughout the mid-Michigan region, as well as being a mom and wife. She has an insane workload and somehow manages to be the calmest person I know.

Tina has great insight on fashion, work/life balance and overall is one of the most genuinely positive people I’ve ever met. If you’re looking for someone inspirational (but in a non-preachy, very down-to-earth way), you need to follow her!

TL;DR

There are so many amazing women in my life. Who are your favorite business women in Lansing? Is there a female-owned business in Lansing that I missed but I should know about?