Beauty Review // A new straightener from Irresistible Me

Today I’m really excited to bring you something that may just be a game changer: This review of Irresistible Me’s Diamond Hair Styler. As you may know, I don’t straighten my hair flat very often (the last time I can remember is October, for my Kendall Jenner Halloween look, and before that? Drawing a blank) but I do style my hair once in a while with “flat-iron curls”—straightening the root of my hair and then flipping the iron to make a curl on the ends.

Sadly, the flat iron I was using since 2006 recently broke in London because of the power conversion (RIP, old friend) so when Irresistible Me offered to present me with one of their irons for review I was like, “yes, please!” Here’s what I thought.

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Beauty // 2 new ways to use turmeric

Recently, I read an article about how turmeric is a magic, cure-all beauty item, and I decided to give it a try. Turmeric is known for a lot of things; it’s a yummy spice in a lot of Indian cuisine, it’s known for its ability to shrink or kill cancer cells, and it’s apparently a great way to brighten your skin. It’s high in antioxidants and can help with skin inflammation—everything from dry skin to eczema and psoriasis. So I tried a turmeric mask.

To start, I combined 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 3 tablespoons of milk, and a couple drops of honey in a bowl and stirred it into a bright orange, gritty mask. I smoothed a little bit over my face—aaaaand looked like an alien:

Be warned: you may have to wash your face after rinsing off the mask because turmeric stains. Not forever, or even for a long time. But your face will be faintly orange if you don’t wash it afterward.

I only put the mask on once and didn’t notice a huge difference, but I’m going to keep using it once a week to try to reduce inflammation and irritation from my very bad, bad habit of picking my breakouts! And there’s another use for turmeric that I want to try: turmeric tea.

Turmeric tea can help stave off seasonal depression, as well as help you sleep better and longer. To make this tea, combine 1 cup milk, ½-1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, and 1 teaspoon honey. You heat the milk first in a saucepan and then add the other ingredients.

Apparently, the curcumin in turmeric is an antioxidant that makes your body produce more serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that boost your mood. If you’re looking for a natural way to feel and sleep better, turmeric tea may be the trick. I’ve heard good things about it, and I’m eager to try it out.

I love finding natural health and beauty remedies, like my obsession with all things tea tree oil (because it’s a magical, magical fairy substance) and giving myself steam facials and exfoliating with nutmeg. Looks like turmeric may become my new obsession! Despite the crazy orange face. 😉

Let me know if you’ve tried either and these, and tell me what you think!

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Beauty // Current favorites for hair, skin, and makeup!

I don’t change up my skincare regimen or makeup routine a whole lot, but I’ve been getting back into fabulous beauty trends and trying out some new techniques/products, and I thought I’d share some of my favorites here if you’re like me and have a. combination/acne-prone skin, b. curly/wavy hair, and c. a love for beauty/makeup. Here’s what’s currently working for me and some links to what I used to do in terms of hair/makeup/skincare. Hope you like!

BEAUTY // Missha BB Cream, ELF eyeliner, Estee Lauder lipstick

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For years, I’ve used the Missha BB Cream and I’ve never found a product I like more. I stipple it on using a foundation brush and blend in circular motions. I don’t even have to prime my face, because this stuff is primer/foundation/moisturizer all in one, and because it’s a Korean product, it’s also meant to be good for your skin. Which it is, I’ve found. It’s also mad cheap on Amazon, which is where I buy it. One bottle lasts me about a year, and I use it every single day.

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Reviewing the Emjoi Micro-Nail, a natural nail polisher

I recently received this product called the Emjoi Micro-Nail, a battery-operated nail polisher that turns natural nails into shiny, gleaming, polish-less nails. It’s like those four-sided nail buffers you can get in a drugstore, but with batteries doing the work for you. In case you have never noticed in my photos, my nails are pretty much never ever polished. I have a bias against nail polish because they make my nails split and break, so the most I ever do to my nails is cut them (which, I know, is a big no-no, but whatever).

emjoi micro-nail

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My fun, easy, glam Halloween costume

This year, I was at a loss for what to be for Halloween. This happens to me every year, and I always pull something out last minute or go for something that doesn’t even look like a costume. I’m not a huge Halloween person, but I love to dress up!

Usually, my sisters and I do a group costumes and hit up the Halloween Parade in the city’s West Village. Last year we were flappers straight out of The Great Gatsby, with my blonde sister going as Daisy (and her husband as Gatsby) while I did my best Jordan Baker inspired-by-Baz-Luhrmann costume. We had a lot of fun getting ready!

This year, I wanted to do something similar, but I wasn’t having any brainwaves. Until I thought, “I kinda wanna be Kylie Jenner for Halloween.” It’s SUCH a distinctive look, considering all her wigs, her signature enhanced lips, and her selfie style. But I knew my sister, who’s blonde, loves Kylie even more than I do, so I figured, why not do a low-key, but definitely recognizable, group costume as the K/J clan?

Instead of Kylie, I’m going to do Kendall. She’s a style icon, so shopping is going to be so fun. I’m aiming to recreate her effortless street-style look with black skinnies and a leather jacket. But the best part for me will be the makeup.

I bought her gorgeous Estee Lauder lipstick last week, and I’m so excited to wear it. It’s such a beautiful matte orange/red, and I’m going to do her winged eye, looooong lashes, and simple straight hair parted down the middle. I’ve found inspiration in this Youtube tutorial by Chloe Morello (love her), and am planning on doing her whole look. She’s perhaps not as recognizable as Kylie, but with one sister doing Kylie and the other doing Kim, we’ll definitely be recognized.

So far, I’ve got her lipstick, some long false lashes, a new cropped leather jacket, and a gray sweater-type crop top that I’ve seen her wear off her shoulders. With black booties, I’ll be comfortable (ish), warm (ish), and stylish. 😉 Here’s the photo that was my inspiration:

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you’ll know I’m a true fan of the sisters. Leave the hate at the door, if you please. I like their personalities, their style, and their influence. So this costume isn’t meant to be disrespectful or to make fun of them; it’s just fun. Simple as that.

Hope everyone reading this has a happy Halloween, and please stay safe!

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Eyeliner Throwdown || ELF vs. MAKE UP FOR EVER

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In case you haven’t already noticed this about me, I am a hardcore fan and enthusiastic proponent of winged eyeliner. Since I was 14/15, I’ve been winging, and in that time, I’ve tried half a dozen products, both cheap and not-so-cheap, to help me achieve that coveted and perfect cat-eye.

First I used the eyeliner pen/marker thing, which was quickly replaced by a combination of thick eyeliner brush and one amazing product: Sephora brand $10 creme eyeliner, which I used loyally for years until it was, tragically, discontinued last year!

What to do? I wandered around my local Sephora, helpless to stem the waves of grief. I shopped around for alternatives, only to find that most of the products, which were each priced at least $20, were all far too little product to warrant the price. The product that provided the most amount of eyeliner for the price was the $23 Make Up For Ever brand cream eyeliner.

And it was amazing. Unlike the Sephora brand, it had a chalky yet smooth texture that was very, very deep black, did not smudge or budge, and as an added bonus, came off my eyeliner brush so cleanly that daily washing became redundant. Make Up For Ever was my friend.

Until my sister let me try her E.L.F. cream eyeliner, which she bought for a whopping $3. So, with my MFE eyeliner pot sadly dwindling, I decided to pit these two products against each other and see which one came out victorious.

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Price

First things first: the price difference between these products has got to be mentioned. At $23, the Make Up For Ever pot is more than twice what I have usually spent on eyeliner. On the other hand, the $3 ELF version is ridiculously cheap and comes with its own brush (which I tossed, because it’s crap). The low price of the ELF product is automatically a huge plus, even if it does turn out to fail spectacularly to the MFE. So…let’s see if the Make Up For Ever is worth that much!

Amount of product

ELF: 47 grams or .17 oz.

Make Up For Ever: .24 oz

So, the ELF product gives you about half the eyeliner that the Make Up For Ever product does. So an ELF pot the size of the Make Up For Ever pot would still only cost $6.

Color

IMG_1635MAKE UP FOR EVER on the top
ELF on the bottom

The Make Up For Ever is blacker than the ELF, but only slightly so. I did not notice a huge difference in the deepness of the eyeliner on my actual eyes, and it was only apparent when the lines are side by side like this. The Make Up For Ever line is just a teeny bit dry because the pot is old, so that’s why the color looks faded in this photo. However, it is blacker.

Lastingness

Forgive the fake vocabulary. To test “lastingness,” I rubbed off both of those lines with coconut oil, my preferred method of eye makeup removal. Here are the results:

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As you can see, the Make Up For Ever stayed on more through the removal process than the ELF. One day, I also did one eye with each product and kept it on for something like eight hours. Both products seemed to have held up the same way, so no difference there! (I don’t have pictures of that, sadly.)

Texture

I noticed with the ELF product that the color was less even, making it so that a more careful application was necessary to avoid streaks. However, the Make Up For Ever formula is slightly too thick, making application harder. The ELF formula is silky and smooth, and not too heavy. It streaks more, but it’s easier to apply, basically. The thinner ELF formula is also essential to create that thin, sharp wing I love so much.

Actual Wearability

The question here is, which would you actually buy? Based on price, I am definitely leaning toward the ELF product. The Make Up For Ever is superior, but only in small ways. I am not a professional makeup artist, nor am I even a beauty blogger or an authority. For my purposes, and for most women like me, the ELF product is great and for that price, downright amazing. 

Winner: E.L.F.

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Beauty Review | The easy alternative to false eyelashes or extensions

This week I got the chance to try this awesome new mascara, Physicians Formula Eye Booster Lash Extension Kit. It’s a two-part mascara that lets you layer on mascara and all-natural fibers to create an instant false-eyelashes look, without having to fiddle with glue and buying packs of false eyelashes or spending hundreds of dollars on eyelash extensions. I’ve always wanted to try a product of this type, and I’m so glad I did. Check it out here:

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It’s basically a three-step process. First, apply the mascara and while it’s still wet, apply the fibers to elongate your lashes, and then re-apply the mascara to set the fibers. You can repeat these steps as many times as you want until you have the crazy falsies effect you want. It’s pretty cool.

Here are my eyes without any mascara:

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And here is the right eye with just one three-step application of the product:

File Jun 21, 11 24 20 PMThey were really long! The end result was so impressive! I hate false eyelashes and getting extensions are not worth the trouble for me, so having the option to really extend my lashes in an easy way is definitely a plus for me.

The pros of this product are: it’s much cheaper than falsies or extensions, and it washes off so the look isn’t permanent. It doesn’t clump at all which I thought was impressive considering you’re basically sticking fibers on your eyelashes. They’re just long and fluttery. Plus, the fibers are made with “cellulose, panthenol, botanical extracts, and vitamin E with natural colorants from artichoke and basil.” So, pretty natural. Physicians Formula is known for their all-natural formulas for all their cosmetics, so it’s great for people like me, who have sensitive skin and a tendency to break out on a massive scale. 

The cons of this product are: that the fibers tend to get everywhere on your face so definitely wait to do your face makeup until after your eyelashes are done; the formula is a little heavy, so that your lashes tend to fall a bit after a while; and that my lashes weren’t as full as I’d like: they’re more long than full.

Bottom line? I would definitely recommend this product! I’m really excited to keep using it and I think it’s an excellent alternative to get that striking falsie look. Get it at Walmart in the US or at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada, the Physicians Formula website, or at any drugstore.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Physicians Formula and Her Campus Media. Written by me, all opinions are also my own.

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Fashion | Slip away across the universe

Happy May Day! Go dance around a maypole with a flower crown on.

This spring I’ve been gravitating toward muted colors—blush, cream, gold, taupe and gray are all on the agenda—which is apparently why I just dyed a bunch of colors in my hair. Looks like I can’t get away from my color obsession. I love feeling like a mermaid. 😉

Here’s an outfit I styled with a dress from Marshalls and these amazing new Jeffrey Campbell sandals I scored on sale. Whenever spring comes around, I get so much more excited to put together dreamy, romantic outfits.

1 12 4 13 7 11 14 3 dress from Marshalls, sandals from VillainsSF (Jeffrey Campbell ‘Urbane’), necklace from f21

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Smile Brilliant! Professional Teeth Whitening | Review & Coupon Code!

File Mar 27, 12 04 26 PMRecently, I got the opportunity to try out a very useful product: at-home professional teeth whitening by “Smile Brilliant!” This system lets the customer create custom teeth trays for use with their teeth-whitening gel, using the same system that dentists use, but for much, much less money. The purchase of this product gives you all the tools you need to make your own dental impressions, plus three tubes of Teeth Whitening Gel and three tubes of Desensitizing Gel.

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Pros: This system definitely works, and fast. I noticed a difference after only three gel applications. Secondly, the trays don’t move at all, unlike many OTC whitestrips. You can talk normally, the gel doesn’t leak out, and it feels almost like you have just really smooth teeth. I kept running my tongue over my teeth cause it was just so smooth! Since the trays are made specifically for your teeth, they fit flawlessly. You could probably even wear them at work/school without anyone even noticing.

Using this system also means that you have the trays for life and can stop buying whitestrips and just keep buying Smile Brilliant gel (which I’m sure is part of the business model—guaranteed repeat customers because of the custom dental impressions). But really: it’s a great product to use.

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A huge plus for me was the addition of “Desensitizing Gel,” which significantly reduces tooth sensitivity and strengthens your teeth after whitening, which can sometimes soften the tooth. Having this additional way to protect my teeth and ward against sensitivity makes this product unique, and makes me second-guess any system that does not account for tooth damage.

Another plus is how hard the employees care about educating you about the proper process for teeth whitening and what you can expect from the complete process. Many people aren’t aware that there are different natural shades of people’s teeth. Some people’s natural teeth shade is beige, not white. Therefore, a full whitening system won’t turn these people’s teeth white. It’s important to know that, since many assume that their teeth will be blinding white even though that’s not always possible.

They also include a lot information about safe use and what you can expect. For example, there’s this handy chart included that tells you the different kinds of stains and how many applications it’ll take to remove them completely:

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And this side-by-side comparison of teeth whitening system that shows that we’re all just basically wasting our money on Crest Whitestrips, so go figure:

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In summary, Smile Brilliant takes teeth whitening seriously, and I trust this kit more than I trust OTC whitestrips now, after trying this process. They’re not kidding when they say they’re professional teeth whitening. But without the expensive cost. I’m excited to keep using it because I will never quit drinking coffee or red wine.

Cons: The process takes a long time. First you get the Tray Creation Kit and have to find time to make the dental impressions. Then you send them off. Then you wait longer to get the custom trays. THEN you have to read all the literature and instructions because this professional whitening system is a little more fussy than OTC versions. So, for those people who want a quick teeth-whitening for an event or vacation or whatnot, this is not for you. This is for people who want to whiten just to whiten.

You have to brush and floss thoroughly first, and can keep the trays on anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours—it just depends on your schedule and/or the sensitivity of your teeth. But that’s where the Desensitizing Gel comes in. Although the inclusion of the Desensitizing Gel means there’s another step, another half hour/hour when you have to keep the trays in. Many people just don’t have that kind of time.

Before and After:

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Conclusion: I’m going to keep using the product and I would recommend it to others. I can also offer my lovely readers 5% off their own Smile Brilliant Kit (which costs $120-$180 USD) when they use the code “THEMOSTHAPPY” when they purchase. This code expires on April 30, 2015.

Buy this product if you’re willing to commit to a high-quality, professional whitening system. Because otherwise, you may find this process too complicated. Personally, my opinion is that if you’re going to do something, do it right. That’s what Smile Brilliant is good for.

I want rainbow hair…

In high school, I would dye little strands of hair pink or blue, or put in little extensions that gave my hair a pop of color and something more interesting than my usual brown. I’ve since fallen out of the habit of adding color to my hair, perhaps thankfully, but I want to bring it back in a big way. I stumbled upon a picture of “rainbow ombre” hair online and seriously fell in love. So I think it’s time for a fun, quasi-permanent hair change that will hopefully look something like this:

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I never do anything even remotely interesting to my hair other than pin it back in a clip when it starts to bother me. I hardly do any hairstyles because I’m too lazy and because having my hair down and around my face is low-key and still looks good. So this new change is drastic but it’ll be fun! Afterward, or when the color begins to fade, I might just chop off the ombre and bob my hair, a la Bernice and Kendall Jenner.

What do you guys think?

images from Pinterest