Friday, July 31, 2015

Beauty Blender Dupe!?

Hey guys!

Let's talk for a hot minute about the Beauty Blender.

This little egg-shaped sponge has completely revolutionized the way we apply makeup. If you haven't heard about the Beauty Blender,  you should have. It's reusable, and makes all liquid and cream makeup products blend out flawlessly and seamlessly. What's the secret?

When you run it under water and squeeze it about 10 times or so, it absorbs the water and doubles in size. This step is VITAL to get the most out of this product! Turn off the faucet, gentle squeeze out the excess water (watching your fingernails so that you don't tear the delicate sponge), and get ready to see the magic happen. You can use this for almost any step in your makeup application, but my favorite way is to use it to blend out my under eye concealer. Because of the way it's shaped, and because of the nature of the material, it sucks up any excess product, leaving anywhere it touches perfectly blended and not cakey at all.

Do you get streaks in your liquid foundation?
Does your under eye concealer crease, look spotty, or cakey?
Have you tried to highlight and contour using cream or liquid products, but look like you're wearing war paint?

That's where this amazing little tool comes into play.

The only downside? 

The price. 

On Sephora, the original Beauty Blender goes for $20 a pop. On Amazon, you can get it here for $15 and here for $30 for 2 sponges. 

People look at the price and wonder, "why in the world would I pay that much for a sponge?"
I've had my Beauty Blenders for over a year, and because I've taken good care of them, they are in pristine condition. They have completely paid off, and can transform even the worst product into something usable.

The bottom line? It's worth the money.

However, I've had a bunch of friends brag about how they've gotten "beauty blenders" for cheap, and how they'd never spend that much on a sponge. 

This piece of crap right here is NOT the same thing as a Beauty Blender. I got one at Target to try it out, and it was a nightmare. It did not absorb water like the Original, and is way too firm to blend in the same way the Original does. It is not a victory to buy this instead of the Original for a cheaper price, because it does not make you look like a flawless goddess. It will leave streaks, and because it isn't as soft as a baby's butt, won't absorb excess product. 

But don't worry! I have a great alternative. 

This little baby right here IS an acceptable dupe for the Original Beauty Blender. It's called the Miracle Complexion Sponge by Real Techniques, which is owned by a professional makeup artist. This sponge can be used damp or dry, and has a flat side that is actually really nice for blending out the large areas of the face, like the cheeks and forehead. The best part is, you can get it at Ulta or Walmart, and it's around $5-$6. Please, for the love of God, use this one instead of the rock hard sponge above. 

I clean my Beauty Blender with bar soap, and then microwave it for 2 minutes in 2 inches of water to kill all the germs. When you clean it, make sure that it is wet before you put soap on it, or else you'll be washing out soap for almost an hour!!! Trust me. I may or may not know from experience.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Let's Talk About Skincare: Part Two

Hey guys!

We're back to talk about skincare, and today's installment will be addressing the internal effects of skincare. I know, I know, this is a long one, but there is a cheat sheet at the bottom if you want the facts fast.

Elle Macpherson has eaten an organic, vegetable rich diet for almost 20 years, and looks utterly flawless. She's 51 years old! The proof is in the pudding, people.

Think of it this way: your skin is almost like reading the footnotes to understand what's going on in your body. Not getting enough sleep? Your skin is sure to show it with dark circles and dullness. Eating lots of junk food? You can bet your sweet booty it'll show up on your face. Feeling stressed? Here's a blemish or two so everyone else can tell, too. While there are some factors that are uncontrollable, such as genetics, there is so much you can do to prevent aging, acne, and other skin problems.

What really turned me onto this was reading Kate Somerville's Book, Complexion Perfection. Kate Somerville takes care of Hollywood's most famous skin, and has partnered with dermatologists to create her own line of skin care. In her book, she talks about approaching skincare from every possible angle, but the part that interested me the most was about how what we put into our bodies shows up on our skin.

Have you ever heard the expression, "you are what you eat?" Well, it is more true than you realize. Exercising, drinking lots of water, and eating healthily (think veggies, veggies, and more veggies! Learn to love them!) will make you GLOW more than the most expensive serum or face mask on the market. Even though the products you use are definitely an important step in your routine, diet and supplementation are half the battle.

Spoiler alert: I love food. Pretty much all of it. I love veggies (especially grilled. Yum.), but I also love cheese fries. I love berries that are packed with antioxidants, but I also love donuts. Every day is a struggle for me to choose what's best for my body. Don't get me wrong, I definitely indulge myself from time to time, but it's all about the little battles, like eating cucumber with salad dressing before I get so hungry that I lose all my willpower, or reaching for an apple when I really want ice cream. When I don't do that, and I grab fast food on the way home from work, I notice a difference in how I

Here's a handy little guide to getting that glow from the inside out (using Kate Somerville’s supplement recommendations):

  1. Drink a gallon of water per day.
I know, it sounds like a lot. This article explains how our poor little thirst mechanism in our bodies has been so beaten down by overeating and processed foods, oftentimes when we think we're hungry, we're actually just thirsty. So, drinking more water means that you are less likely to overeat. Furthermore, so many random problems are caused by dehydration: fatigue, high blood pressure, asthma/allergy related issues, skin disorders, high cholesterol, digestive issues, bladder/kidney issues, premature aging, etc. 

If you get bored with plain old water, try cutting up fruit and letting it sit in the water for a few hours! This will give you about 20% of the vitamins and antioxidants that are in the fruit, and tastes so yummy. My personal favorite is strawberry, lemon, and mint!

2. Eat healthy!

Fruits and vegetables, high-quality, lean protein, and high quality, unsaturated fats. Some of the winners in these areas for their complexion-enhancing properties? Almonds, avocados, black beans, blueberries, and flax seeds! Just say no to: refined white sugar/high fructose corn syrup, salt, refined white flour/grain products, trans fatty acids, hydrogenated oils, and alcohol. 

3. Supplementation

Some people will argue with me on this, claiming that if you eat a nutritious diet, you don't need vitamins. For me, I KNOW I don't get enough from my diet, and I just feel better when I supplement! More energy, a clear head, and a sense of well being. Take a good multivitamin (not just a hair/skin/nails supplement), green tea extract (which is better than just drinking tea, because you are actually ingesting the tea leaves), fish oil, flaxseed oil, hyaluronic acid (helps prevent aging), alpha-lipoic acid, grape seed extract, and gingko biloba extract, and probiotics.

Thanks for reading you guys, and be sure to check back for the next installment, where I will be talking about skincare products, and the mysterious Korean Method!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Let's Talk About Skincare: Part One

Hello beautiful people,

Tonight at work (my summer job at Bath and Body Works), a lady complimented me on my skin. Her friend quickly jumped in and said "Yeah, but look at how young she is!" I thanked them, and told them how I SLAVE over my skin, so I really appreciated that they noticed my hard work.

They asked me for some tips, so I thought it might be nice to share these tips in a series of posts that talk about all the different aspects of caring for your skin. No, I am not a dermatologist or an esthetician, but I have educated myself (through books, the trial-and-error of products, and in speaking with dermatologists and estheticians) enough to the point where I am comfortable sharing these tips with others. So let's jump in!

My Skin Type and Story:

I have been blessed with good genes: I have relatively dry, sensitive skin that is not prone to cystic acne or frequent blemishes. I typically break out when I am stressed or around "that time of the month." I moved from Maryland (a very humid climate) to Arizona (a very dry climate), and that made my dry to normal skin turn very very dry. My body is much dryer than my face, probably because I don't care for it the same way, and if I don't put on body cream after I shower, my skin turns red, itches, and feels like it's burning.

When I hit puberty, for a brief period of time my skin was more oily. However, I read an article that explained that oftentimes, skin that produces more oil is actually dehydrated, and so tries to compensate by overproducing sebum (what we consider to be oil). This led me to try the oil cleansing method, which can be read about in detail here. Basically, you make an oil mixture of castor oil and olive oil, and adjust the ratio depending on your skin type. The castor oil heals acne and blemishes, while the olive oil hydrates. You rub the mixture on your skin, and then steam your face by holding a hot, wet washcloth on it for a minute, and then wipe away excess oil when you're done.

Ultimately, I stopped using this method because I needed more daily exfoliation and better anti-aging/brightening products in my arsenal. I'll talk more about what products I use later.

Your makeup will only look as good as the surface its on will allow. Investing time and money into your skincare will pay off for the rest of your life, and makeup application will be a dream.

Check back for the next installment in this series: supplementation, diet, and why it matters!

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