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Monday, January 26, 2015

Makeup Declutter Pep Talk (And A Push)

Having a small makeup collection is an amazing feeling. When I sit down at my battle station, I am excited to apply my makeup. I never have to waste time searching. I don’t debate on using a product I hate, just to use it up, over a product I enjoy. Basically, decluttering my makeup has been the best thing beauty decision I've made. I’m guessing you are reading this because you want to feel like this. Let’s take this on in two parts, a pep talk and a push to get you going. 

Remind yourself that you don’t have to get rid of anything you love. For some reason, the idea of a declutter makes some think that they will have to give up the things they enjoy. Not the case. You can go ahead and ignore expiration dates (ew), let lipsticks you never wear collect dust, and let nail polish settle on the shelf. If you love it, if it brings joy to your life, you don’t have to part with it. 

If you are afraid you might accidentally give up something you love, put together makeup bags- for work, school, date night,, whatever- and set those aside. 

Also, don’t worry if you can only part with one item today. Tomorrow you might be able to get a whole bag full of products. Decluttering is best done in waves anyways and always remember that some progress is still progress. 

Alright, with the pep talk over lets get into the push. 

  • Makeup is a consumable not a collectible. These aren't stamps, they don’t get better with age, your grand kids will never want to inherit your lipstick. Use it or lose it.
  • Your storage should define what you keep, not the other way around. You don’t need to go out and buy that nine drawer Ikea storage system, you need to let go of your old mascara.
  • If it’s not cruelty free, it can go. Sure, I have some non cruelty free items that I am still working on using up, because I’m not Moneybags McGee, but if you have a drawer full of eye shadow why keep one that's hurt kittens? Kittens, man! Think of the kittens!
  • Check expiration dates. I feel like I always hear arguments against expiration dates. It’s not that old. It still smells fine. I’m really sanitary with my products. Fine. Enjoy your pink eye. I bet the zombie apocalypse will start with a rank lip gloss.
  • Part with the items that break you out. I feel like this goes without saying, but if your skin is freaking out when you apply a thing- stop using that thing! No, you can’t save that for a special occasion. It breaks you out!
  • No one needs dupes. A dupe is meant to act as a substitute for a product that is no longer made or to expensive for your budget. It is not meant to sit in a drawer next to the product it’s a replacement for. Pick your favorite and pass along the dupes.

Now, go forth and conquer your clutter.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nail Care Basics

As long as I’m in a well ventilated room, there is nothing I dislike about painting my nails. Put on an episode of Game of Thrones or Say Yes to the Dress and I am happy to veg out with my lacquers. As it is such a pleasant experience, I thought I’d put up my whole routine- maybe I can even convert a non-polish obsessed reader!

The first thing I do is clean off the old polish with Zoya Remove+. A cotton ball with a pump from the very cool dispenser bottle on each nail for thirty seconds breaks down most colors. If there is any yellowing or if my cuticles need a good taming, I use the multipurpose- and appropriately named- Sparitual Cuti-Clean Cuticle & Stain Remover. The amount of yellowing that lifted from my fingers the first time I used this was sickening, so now I’m never without it- though I only use it once or twice a month.

To shape my nails, I swear by glass files. If your nails are brittle and prone to peeling, switching to etched glass and file in one direction. Sure, I break out the nail clippers and cuticle scissors on the occasion, but a little filing is usually all I need. After that I wipe my nails clean with a bit of rubbing alcohol. I avoid wetting my hands while I paint my nails, as it softens the nail and can cause the polish to lift. So in place of a wash I reach for hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol to clean the surface without adding moisture.

Just like I apply serum to my face, I like to use a nail treatment before I apply anything else. I swear by Nutra Nail Naturals Nail Strengthener, but it can be hard to find. I’m trying out Nutra Nail Mineral Collection Iron Strength, though it’s no where close to the amazingness of the original. I apply two coats of my strengthener of choice and make sure to cap the nail- meaning paint the tip of my nail. Capping your nails is the key to a long wearing manicure. I cap everything from my treatment to basecoat, color, and top coat.

I go to the lovely Zoya Anchor Base Coat next. It does the job of keeping my nails stain free, even with the darkest of colors. Then I go for my colored lacquer. I’m a big fan of Zoya, but I’ve got a collection from Debora Lipman, Julep, Butter London, and Milani as well. Anything that’s 3 free at least, if not 5.

The big factor in polish application for me is that I don’t want to have to apply more than two coats- ain’t nobody got time for that. I’ll be posting about my favorite one coat wonders as well as top polishes shortly, so keep an eye out for that, if you need a great polish.

To make sure I get the cleanest application I can, I grab a detail brush and a bit of nail polish remover for cleanup before I go over everything with my top coat. The short, flat bristles are made for getting the mistakes that happen right along the cuticle, though I found it at a local craft store. Gotta love a repurpose! After all the mistakes are gone, I finish off with Zoya Armor Top Coat. I am often asked if I get gel manicures, and I think its all thanks to this shiny top coat.

My big tip for hurrying up the drying process is to apply an oil to the nails. Oil gives it a superficial dry topcoat, so it won't stick to things but it will still squish or get pillow lines- the bane of my nail polish application! I like to use jojoba oil, as it’s inexpensive and sinks in quickly, but many brands carry a version of nail oil.

Once my nails are 100% dry I apply a hand cream, I’m currently using Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Hand Cream. It smells more like lemon tarts than apple to me, but I love it. I’m also currently testing out the Barielle Pro Nail Strengthener Cream, most certainly not natural so read the ingredients and make your own call. To really give my hands a treatment, which they sure need after the drying out they get from nail polish remover and the like, I apply the creams extra thick and sleep in 100% cotton gloves. You look kinda ridiculous, yes, but even in the coldest months it keeps my hands soft and flake free.

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Nighttime Cleansing Routine

Skin care is my passion. Most who enjoy makeup share this interest, because the better the canvas the better the application. So, putting together a single post on my nighttime routine was turning into a novelization of my evenings. I figured I’d break it up and start off with my favorite bit, cleansing. 

When I wear makeup I do allow for the occasional lazy day and go for Blum Naturals Daily Cleansing & Makeup Remover Towelettes just to wipe things away. They are a bit dry when you reach the last few, but the ingredients are ver nice. 

Most days I go for an oil cleanse. The S.W. Basics Makeup Remover is a beautiful oil blend that I mix with Castor Oil, in a 50/50 ratio. I apply the oil to dry skin and steam it away with a warm towel. After makeup removal I clean my face cloth with a bit of Doctor Bronners mild soap. It prevents the majority of staining that mascara and lipstick can leave behind.

For me, eye makeup removal calls for its own product, as my eyes are so sensitive. I have fallen hard for Andalou Naturals Revitalizing Lash + Lid Make-up Remover, which gets all of the mascara from my lashes without irritation.

After my makeup is all washed away, I go into a double cleanse. A double cleanse is washing your face first with a basic cleanser and then follow it up with a treatment cleanser. It gives you a deeper clean but also allows for your acne, anti aging, brightening, miracle causing, cleanser will be more effective.

My first ‘basic’ cleanser is Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser Argon Oil + Probiotic. I’ll be honest, not a clue what the probiotic does, but the cleanser is everything I want for a simple wash. There isn't really a fragrance, past a very natural ingredient based scent, and it doesn’t strip the skin.

Lastly, I go in with my acne fighting cleanser. My tried and true choice has to be Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser. It really changed my skin. I have recently picked up Sibu Sea Buckthorn Balancing Facial Cleanser, which I've been using on no makeup days. So far I’m really enjoying it.

After that deep cleansing, I go in with whatever lotions and potions I want to use.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Four Mascaras from 2014

The hunt for a perfect mascara is a challenging one, and my search brought me to try out four cruelty free options during 2014. I've got some luxury, a cult favorite, and a surprising hit amongst them. As a bit of forewarning for my personal preference of mascara, I always go for a black mascara and steer very, very clear from anything with the word waterproof on the packaging. I want a bit of volume, as any mascara wearer does, but what I'm really after is length and separation that gives a fluttery lash feel. That being said, lets get to it!

Flower Beauty Lash Knockout Volumizing Mascara $6.98
This is the first cruelty free mascara I tried this year and it was such a great starting point. I can't fully describe why I liked this, it just made my lashes look like wow. They held all day and game me the perfect blend of volume and length- without clumping. I had less lashes falling out over time and it looked like I had more lashes coming in. In the simple hope of finding a better mascara, I've tried others, but only after repurchasing this a few times.

Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara $2.99
The Jordana mascara is one I have heard just about every cruelty free vlogger, blogger, and a good amount of traditional beauty "guru's" rave about. And I am here to say... I don't understand the hype. I found the mascara to be wet and clumpy. I'm not one to hide my face if my makeup falls short, but wearing this mascara made me not want to walk out of the house. Even after wiping off the brush, that was overwhelmed with goop, I wound up with my lashes clinging together. Definitely not worth the the inexpensive price. 

Dr. Hauschka Mascara $25.95
Dr. Hauschka gave me the best feeling lashes, keeping them soft and conditioned. This is a luxury mascara to say the least. It smells wonderful, applies beautifully, and every bit from application to wear at the end of the day was soft and comfortable. The downside I found was there was not much hold provided, but with the feel this gave me I hardly minded. This is a treat yo' self mascara, rather than a regular product that I will be repurchasing, but I'm so excited to pick it up again.

Zuzu Luxe Mascara $16.70
My interest in this Zuzu Luxe mascara was piqued by Brianna from YouTube, and I was so disappointed when I didn't love it the way she did. It was flaky, with bits of dried product- not the look of fibers just chunks- making my lashes look crazy up close, but it was also a very wet formula. So it clumped up and looked dry. Overall, it was a very confusing mascara and one I will not pick up again

Having a 50/50 year is great in my book, and I'm already trying out more mascara in hopes of finding the perfect formula. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Petit Vour: December Box

Petit Vour is a monthly subscription service working with vegan and cruelty free brands to bring you four to five sample to full size beauty (makeup, skin, body, & hair) products for just $15.00 a month.

The wow item this month was the Trust Fund Beauty Nail Lacquer in Just Talk to My Lawyer. I have been lusting over this brand for ages, and when I saw the box I kept saying please be a pretty color, please be a pretty color, and boy was it. This red shimmer, which leans a little towards brown once applied, is gorgeous. After only one coat I felt great about the opacity, and two coats really amps it up. It is everything I wanted this brand to be. Beautiful color and hilarious name. 

Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream in Lavender is about the only product I haven't fully tested out, as I'm still working through the Schmidt's Deodorant I was sent a few boxes ago. The consistency of Meow Meow Tweet is one I prefer, as it's creamy and easy to get out of the pot, but I'm not sure which I would invest in the full size of. You can absolutely expect a deodorant focused post in the not to distant future with more official thoughts.

The description for Blissoma Smooth is right up my ally. Cleanse and calm pores, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, gentle. Heck yes, I'm on board. I'm just getting over a bit of hormonal breakout and this has been a great as my day moisturizer through that. One small frustration comes from the packaging, while the full size has a little pump, this sample is in a pipette bottle that the thick product is not well suited for. Not a turn off of the product, but an nuisance to work with as I try it out.

Everyday Minerals Matte Blush in All Smiles was not super impressive in the jar, just a nice basic blush. After giving it a wash over my cheeks I'm very pleased. It went from a basic I may reach to occasionally, to the perfect warm toned blush that I know will be my everyday for the warmer months. Also, 1000 points for mattes!

Overall 10 out of 10! Petit Vour continues to hit the high standard it has set. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Year of Living Minimally

Photo Credit: Kate Ter Haar
Change can start at anytime, but a new year always comes with such high hopes for things to be different, in the best way. I hope the excitement of 2015 hasn't worn off just yet and you are still ready to take on your resolutions to make this year great. I'm plugging away at my goals for the year, which I really started on in 2014, and feeling fantastic about my progress so far.

I have the standard goals, eat healthier, work out more, drink more water, worry less, that sort of thing. But the big goal of 2015 is to minimize. After I de-cluttered my makeup stash I found that I wanted to use the products I kept more often. I wanted to take the time to apply mascara and blush. Sitting down at my vanity became a complete pleasure- rather than a task I felt obligated to do out of guilt for collecting as much as I did.

That joy of using things I love and seeing nothing I feel ehh about is something I want in every other part of my life. In order to do that I'll be applying minimalism to ever inch of my home. My closet, my shoe rack, my jewelry box, my cabinets, and any item that I have collected but do not love will be cleared out and reassessed. I want everything I see in a day to bring value to my life, rather than clutter it up. I want to redirect my time and money to be spent on experiences, rather than on material goods.

I'll be working on keeping this blog all update with progress and bits of what I'm learning along the way, so maybe we can tackle our clutter problems together.

“Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
-William Morris

For some added inspiration on minimalism check out Youtuber LightByCoco

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Wardrobe Revamp: Style Icon Inspiration

I'm taking on a new project of downsizing my wardrobe. I love the idea of a minimalist style with a capsule wardrobe but I am so far from where I would like to be. The first step in getting down to this ideal is to pick my style icons. Those fantastic women I can ask "would she wear this?" when shopping or deciding what needs to say and what must go.

Starting with two timeless women, who have proven to create a style that is still relevant, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly are absolute inspirations to me. The clean silhouette, simple dresses, femininity, and casual attire inspired by menswear are all things I very much want to emulate. Skirt heavy, fitted but not tight, and not a whole lot of fluffy extras. These women are feminine and beautiful and never let the clothes they wore outshine their own beauty. Everything I want in my own closet.

When it comes to modern women I did a little thinking and, keeping Hepburn and Kelly in mind, found myself searching two big names. Zooey Deschanel and Zoe Saldana. Deschanel emulates the feminine and fun side of the classic style I love. Saldana encapsulates the clean silhouette and stunning simplicity. I love the pops of color both of these women dabble in and I feel that some days I want to dress like Zooey and some days I want to lean more towards Zoe, so they are absolutely my two sided style personality.