Activated charcoal has become a very trendy ingredient in the beauty world. From teeth whitening to pore cleansing, many companies are using activated charcoal in their products. Some people are even taking it upon themselves to create DIY beauty treatments using activated charcoal. So why all the fuss? Charcoal which goes through a special heating process becomes "activated" meaning it's more porous and can therefore absorb up to twice its weight. So why is this good for our skin? Activated charcoal can absorb excess oil and sebum that can clog pores and cause blemishes. This results in a clear and healthy complexion with smaller looking pores!
Now that you know why activated charcoal is all the rage right now, let's do a beauty breakdown of two masks currently on the market: Mary Kay's Clear Proof Deep-Cleansing Charcoal Mask, and Clinique's Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask.
When it comes to skincare, most companies market their products in sets. For example, a simple set may contain a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, while more elaborate sets may also include specialized products designed to treat acne or signs of aging. When it comes to skincare, many women struggle with choosing a regimen which is right for them. In this post, I will address the 5 most common concerns regarding skincare systems.
If you keep up with my Facebook page, you know I've recently become a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant. I was hesitant to post about becoming a consultant, because I didn't want to lose the small online following I have. To combat this, I decided to continue posting my regular content in addition to Mary Kay related posts. As a way of meshing the two, I thought it would be interesting to do comparisons of similar products from three different brands: Mary Kay, a drugstore version, and a "high-end" brand. As the title suggests, this post is about translucent setting powder, so if you're interested in my beauty breakdown, please keep reading!
I've been dealing with some hormone related acne lately on both my face and my back. Although I know many people struggle with worse acne than me, I'm still battling with it. This month, I picked up a few products from two different eBay sellers to hopefully help balance my skin out, so I thought I'd share them with you all.
To give my skin some extra love and conditioning, I bought a few different facial products from f2plus1, and one acne product from soleil-worldwide. The prices listed are what I paid on eBay followed by the list price on the companies' respective websites.
innisfree Green Tea Pure Sleeping Pack: ($14.98, $15.00)
This product is designed as a heavy duty moisturizing mask that you apply before going to sleep and wash off with warm water in the morning. I've never used a product like this before, and am anxious to try it! This mask is made from green tea leaves and green tea seed oil from Jeju Island. This combination is supposed to not only moisturize the skin, but help keep it clear as well.
TONYMOLY Panda's Dream White Sleeping Pack: ($8.12, $18.00)
This sleeping mask is designed to moisturize and brighten/even out skin tone. With ingredients such as lavender and rosemary to soothe irritated skin, and bamboo for hydration, this sounds perfect to apply before bedtime. Lavender is known to be a soothing/relaxing scent, so I was excited to see it included in this product. Of course you can't ignore the adorable packaging either.
SKINFOOD Fresh Apple Sparkling Pore Emulsion: ($4.68, ?)
I purchased this product in 20 sample packets, although it normally comes in a 160 ml bottle. However, I could not seem to find a price from the SKINFOOD website. This emulsion is supposed to be applied after using toner, and is designed to control sebum production as well as tighten pores. It contains some carbonated water which I imagine would tingle a bit. Out of the three products I purchased from this seller, I'd have to say I'm most excited to try this one.
Dream Dots Overnight Acne Patches 24 count: ($14.99, €15.00)
These little patches are designed to heal blemishes while you sleep over the course of a few days. (Their website suggests leaving them on for 8-10 hours for 3-4 days.) After adhering to your skin, the spot absorbs all the gunk from your blemish while sealing out bacteria and other contaminants. It also is supposed to reduce any pain associated with your blemish. This is an added bonus since hormonal acne tends to be more painful for me than regular acne. When buying this product directly from the website, keep in mind it does ship from Europe although the shipping costs remain the same regardless of location.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my mini skin care haul! Please let me know if you would like full reviews of any of these products after I try them.
I have had long hair for years, and by long, I mean extremely long. My hair went down to my hips, and I trimmed it myself on a semi-regular basis. Recently, I decided I needed a bit of a change, which is something I usually do every 2-3 years. I settled on an inverted long bob and ended up cutting off around 11 inches of hair. Luckily, my hair was long enough to donate to Locks of Love which is something I've always wanted to do but never thought I could bring myself to cut off enough hair to donate. This is the shortest my hair has been in years, and it was a pretty nerve-wracking change for me. For those of you on the fence about making a big change with your hairstyle, consult your hairstylist. With photoshop, hair extensions, and other tricks available now, your inspiration pictures may or may not be attainable. If you have an idea in mind, talk to your stylist about it, and see what they think. Your hair texture may not work to achieve the look you have in mind, and by talking about it before making the change, you won't be disappointed when the style looks different than what you were expecting. Don't forget to keep an open mind too! Your stylist might suggest something they think will work better with your hair texture. Hair grows back too, so if you end up with something you're not in love with, be patient.
For those of you interested in where I got my hair cut, check out this link to their Facebook page!
Tonight I picked up a few things from Target, including a leave-in conditioning cream from Garnier Fructis' Sleek & Shine line. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my hair has been especially dry this winter. That being said, I have been getting a fair amount of split ends because of it. As soon as I got home from Target, I took a nickel sized amount of the cream and ran it through my dry hair starting about halfway down and moving towards my ends. Just from the one use, my hair feels softer, smoother, and healthier. The cream was very moisturizing without weighing my hair down, and it left no residue. Overall I'm excited to see how my hair health and texture improves while using this product!
I also picked up a new makeup remover by a company from the UK because the one I'm currently using is starting to get pretty low. It's called Botanics All Bright Soothing Eye Makeup Remover and it's designed to remove makeup while also gently chemically exfoliating to brighten skin. It has two components, one which is oilier to remove the makeup, and one which is water based to wash away any residue. Because of the two components, it needs to be shaken before use.
The last item I bought from Target was a body scrub by another UK brand. (Boots Extracts Mango Sugar Scrub) It's a sugar based scrub which is different from the scrubs I've tried before. Previously I've used two salt based scrubs; one from Lush and one from Tree Hut. I'm extremely excited to try this scrub out, and can't wait to do a review on it!
When it comes to nail maintenance, there are many different products on the market. Pictured above, are the items I use most often on my own nails. I don't necessarily use all of them every time I give myself a manicure; sometimes I need one or two of them for a quick fix. If you're interested in a particular product, just find the number below and it will list a description / how I use it.
1. Cuticle Remover
This product comes in several forms including gel and liquid. Its purpose is to remove excess skin around the nail bed and nail walls, which is basically anywhere the nail meets the skin. It works by chemically breaking down dead skin for easy removal. There are many different brands of cuticle remover at various price points. I myself have only tried two different brands, Sally Hansen and Pro FX (pictured above). The Sally Hansen cuticle remover runs from $5-$6 for 0.9 fl oz, whereas the Pro FX version is roughly the same price for 5.6 fl oz. That being said, the Sally Hansen formula was more powerful and seemed to be more effective at removing the excess cuticle. However, I personally prefer the Pro FX cuticle remover, because it still works well and lasts me about 6x as long.
2. Almond Oil / Cuticle Oil
Cuticle oil is a mixture of oils used to keep cuticles healthy and moisturized, and it can also be applied to the nail itself. It can be purchased from most drugstores, but it is also relatively easy to make if you're feeling a DIY project. If you're looking for an alternative to purchasing cuticle oil without concocting your own, you could use just one oil such as almond oil. I like to clean out an old nail polish bottle and refill it with almond oil, so I can easily brush it on.
3. Cuticle Trimmer
This tool can be used to trim excessive skin around the cuticles that cannot be removed with cuticle remover alone. This tool is also great for trimming painful hangnails instead of ripping them off. If you maintain your cuticles regularly, you may never need to use this tool, and even if you do, you shouldn't need to use it very often. I would recommend using cuticle remover and pushing your cuticles back before cutting them.
4. Cuticle Cream
This product serves essentially the same purpose as cuticle oil, however, the consistency is very different. Because this product is more of a cream, I prefer to first apply cuticle oil which I let soak in, and then I wash it off and apply cuticle cream which I leave on. It seems to absorb better, and doesn't leave the skin feeling as greasy as oil does. Because this is just my personal preference, you could just as easily use one product or the other rather than both.
5. Nail File
Nail files typically serve two purposes; to shape and shorten nails. If you only need to take a small amount off your nails, it may make more sense just to file them rather than break out the nail clipper. There are many different types of nail files; mylar, metal, padded cushion, ceramic, and glass. and they vary in coarseness. From my experience, mylar and metal nail files are very harsh on nails, and I would not recommend using them. However, glass and ceramic files are very popular. I personally prefer cushion-files, like the one I have pictured above, because I don't like the way glass files feel on my nails*. Once you've chosen a material you like, you need to pick the level of grit. When it comes to choosing the proper coarseness, the higher the grit number, the finer the file. Higher grit files are used for shaping artificial nails such as acrylic or gel whereas, lower grit files are used shaping natural nails, or buffing / shining nails.
*Update: I personally recommend using the Bliss Kiss crystal file which can be purchased here.
6. Orange Wood Stick / Cuticle Pusher
This tool is used to gently push the cuticles away from the nail plate. This process not only defines the natural curve of the cuticle, but also helps remove any dead skin that builds up around the nail bed. If done regularly, it can reduce the need to trim cuticles. Cuticle pushers are made of several materials including orange wood, metal, and plastic. For nail art purposes, orange wood sticks can be filed into a point to be used as a dotting tool, although some are already come this way.
7. Nail Buffer Block
Lastly, the four sided buffer block is another tool that is often used for filing. Some buffer blocks have the same coarseness on all four sides whereas others have varying grit levels. Along with filing, this tool can be used for buffing and shining nails, or sealing your nails' free edges after filing. Coarser blocks are typically used for buffing false nails, and blocks with varying grit levels often instruct you to use all four sides to buff your natural nails to a shine.
I hope this post was helpful and informative, and as always, please feel free to leave feedback or questions in the comment section!
If you've been keeping up with me on Facebook, you know I cut my nails recently. They're the shortest they've been in what feels like years, but nearly every nail had a break of some kind, so I decided to start over. Making the big cut was a huge shock to me and I hated the way my nails looked initially. Over time I got accustomed to the length and it was actually kind of refreshing. I thought this would be a good time to blog about my nails, since I'm pretty much starting completely from scratch. I'll be making a couple posts about my nail growth experiences and maintenance, along with tips and tricks I learn along the way. To get things started, here are a few tips about cutting and filing your nails.
I know some of these tips may seem like common sense, but I hope you still found this post helpful. As always, feel free to leave comments with any questions or suggestions you have for me, and I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible. The cuticle oil in the picture above is from Urban Outfitters, and the photo is linked to the site. More posts about my nails to come, so keep an eye out!
If you've read my post about prepping for colder weather, you know I love to stockpile lip balms so I always have one on hand. I keep them in my backpack, coat pockets, my car, my nightstand, etc. This being said, there are some brands I prefer some brands over others. My primary lip balm of choice is classic ChapStick brand cherry lip balm. However, after working at a Packer game outside in Green Bay about a week ago, my lips became extremely chapped and irritated from both the cold and the wind and I needed something a little stronger. I picked up a medicated lip balm by Maybelline from Target and my lips instantly felt better, so I thought I'd share it with you.
I purchased Baby Lips Dr. Rescue by Maybelline in#55 Coral Craze. It's a menthol external analgesic medicated balm that relieves discomfort from cracked or chapped lips almost instantly. It also has a little bit of tint which helps lips appear healthier while they're healing. It has a slightly strong menthol smell which I personally don't mind because it's not strong enough to be noticeable after it has been applied. I also personally enjoy the packaging because it seems to be more effective than that of most other lip balms. Many other lip balms have a wheel of sorts at the bottom which allows the product to be twisted out of the tube. However, when I keep them in my pocket, they often accidentally get twisted which is a minor annoyance. The Maybelline packaging on the other hand, has a larger wheel that locks in place when the cap is on, so I don't have this problem. Maybelline Baby lips usually runs just under $3.00 which is pricier than ChapStick brand, and I know that ChapStick does make a medicated lip balm as well that is also quite effective, so it's up to you to decide if it's worth the extra money.
I hope this brief review was helpful and informative, and as always, I appreciate your feedback! Thanks for reading!
Although this winter hasn't gotten very cold yet, it has still been quite drying. My hair has become especially dry which is a side effect of winter I don't normally have to deal with. Oddly enough I think this is because I haven't been neglecting my hair as much as I normally do come wintertime. Normally I'm running late and wouldn't have enough time for my hair to dry fully before going outside, so I throw it into a messy bun rather than washing it. However, it's actually beneficial to wash your hair every other day, and because my hair is so long, tying it back also protects it from the harsh winter winds. However, this winter I've given myself enough time to let my hair air-dry in the mornings, so I've been washing it every day and wearing it down. This routine requires a little extra hair maintenance, so I tried an oil treatment to refresh my hair overnight. I eyeballed everything, so I don't have any exact measurements, but I used a combination of coconut, almond, and extra virgin olive oils. If I had to guess, the ratio would be 3:1:1 respectively. I combined all three oils in a microwave safe dish and heated them up so the mixture was warm but bearable to touch. I then ran the mixture through all of my hair focusing specifically on the ends of my hair. Next I wrapped my hair in plastic wrap to secure my hair, and then foil to keep the heat in as long as possible. In case any of the oil were to leak out of this wrap during the night, I also wrapped my head in a towel to protect my pillow case. The next morning I removed the wrap and washed my hair as normal. For maximum benefits, I would suggest leaving this treatment in overnight like I did. However, for a quicker treatment I would suggest leaving this in for maybe 20-30 minutes before washing it out. I hope you found this post helpful and try this hair treatment out for yourself!
Keep up with products I'm trying out before I review them along with other beauty tips and information here!