Beauty // Stylin' Those Curls

I’m one of those girls who never does any interesting hairstyles. I love having my hair down and around my face, headbands pinch my scalp and make my small face look smaller, and having naturally curly hair definitely limits what I can mold my hair into. But, being bored with my hair once in a while, I hit Pinterest to see if I could find curly hairstyles to lift me out of my style rut. Here’s what I found:

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The last two are my favorites. I often do a half-up style but never with that much volume on my crown! And I love the braided side, it adds a touch of something special to my normal, hair-down style.

One thing I’ve noticed about “curly hairstyles” is that they’re all variations on the same basic theme: add a braid, pull it back, tie it in a ponytail. Straight hair is much easier to style and allows so much more freedom! Oh, well.

Do you have any interesting curly hair style inspiration for me?

Beauty // GLAMGLOW Review!

I’m jumping on the bandwagon here. I just had to try this stuff after experiencing the overwhelming hype and reading about it nonstop. I blame Sephora: it was just waiting in the checkout line when I went to replenish my eyeliner stock and I couldn’t resist. Those product-stocked waiting lines are calculated to make me spend my hard-earned money that would be better spend on sandwiches brimming with chipotle mayo. But I thought I’d try it out.

I bought a half-ounce bottle for $19. Guys, it was really an impulse buy.

So I tried it out. The subtitle “Tinglexfoliate” of the Glamglow Youthmud is not joking: this thing tingles like nuts, and it borders on painful. The tingling starts to subside when the mask dries, which it does in patches that made my face look like a tortoiseshell for a few minutes, which was pretty cool. The consistency is chalky and muddy, and it has bits of leaf stuck in it.

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I put up with the tingling and waited like twenty minutes before washing it off, taking care to rub it off in circular motions to exfoliate well, like the packaging suggested. I didn’t notice any immediate softness like I do with my Neutrogena Exfoliating Mask, neither did I think my pores were very clean.

My skin felt really tight afterward, and I was reluctant to put on moisturizer for fear of clogging my newly purged pores, even though they weren’t all that squeaky clean. I didn’t have the results I expected to have, especially considering that a full-size jar of this product costs $69 at retail price. I think this product is probably better suited to a more stable skin type than I have, but nevertheless, for the cost, it did less than my drugstore mask did.

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Conclusion: I am singularly unimpressed. But I’m glad I tried it, because now I know it’s NBD. I’ll stick with Neutrogena, thank you.

Beauty // Makeup Routine

    The last post of this impromptu beauty series will focus on my never-changing makeup routine and the products I have loved and used religiously. Here they are, in all their glittery, mascaraed glory:

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I’ve reviewed the Missha BB Cream before—I just adore it. I bought this bottle in March 2013, over a year ago, and it’s just beginning to run out. I spent $15—that’s value (I feel like half the time I’m showing off how poor I am on this blog 😉 ). My other must-have beauty item is Sephora’s $10 pot of creme eyeliner. It’s amazing, and also long-lasting. The only downside is its tendency to dry out when the pot’s contents decrease, but that’s normal I’m sure.

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I start with this Magic Perfecting Base as a primer. It has a thick, almost sandy consistency, unlike a lot of other primers I’ve tried which are runny and gel-like. I like this primer better because it really just soaks up midday oil. It also provides this wonderful smooth surface for the BB cream, and I end up using less face makeup and thus looking more natural. Also a necessity is my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in “Rose.” I buy this stuff in bulk.

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Eyes: for day, MAC’s “Folie” as a dark color and Urban Decay’s “Virgin” for the light color. Since I started wearing makeup circa 2004, I have always done a thick winged liner. It’s my thing, and I don’t think I ever go a day without wearing eyeliner. Judge all you want 😉

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Sometimes I go without mascara because it’s such a hassle to put on. I also skip bottom liner most of the time, and only use it for night. My last step is blush: BareMinerals’ blush in “Glee.” I make this cheesy smiley face when I do my blush to make my cheekbones show up:

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Seriously, I haven’t changed these colors in years. Sometimes, in summer, I’ll layer some bronzer on top but very rarely, since I feel like bronzer makes my face look a little muddy. Oh, well! I guess it’s a pale girl’s life for me.

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So that concludes this personal beauty series! Thanks for reading 🙂 I’ll leave you with an old blessing:

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Beauty // Naturally Curly

When I was 12 years old I started straightening my hair. I absolutely hated my misshapen, frizzy mane of hair, so the minute I could get my hands on a flat iron, I burned my curls away. After a few years, I couldn’t do anything else to my hair even if I wanted to. If I didn’t straighten it, I would have to braid it or just pull it back because my natural hair was fried and limp, and not even remotely curly—just large.

After high school I’d had enough of straightening. I never had time to do it, and it started to feel silly to me. But that didn’t change the fact that my hair was just gross. So I started researching ways to get my hair to curl again and found a wealth of information about naturally curly hair and how to make it behave, and more important, look beautiful.

I found the website, among others, NaturallyCurly.com. The first thing I learned was that “sulfates,” the detergent present in most shampoos, was very, very bad for curly hair (and all hair). It’s an incredibly harsh chemical that strips your hair and scalp of sebum, that oil that makes your hair sleek and shiny. Stripping away the sebum not only makes your hair dry and frizzy, but it also makes your scalp overproduce sebum, which is why your hair gets greasy the day after you wash it. So I stopped using sulfates.

My hair slowly started to improve. I could let it curl but it still wasn’t behaving and it definitely was frizzy. I tried DevaCurl products, but these also made my hair greasy and weighed down with product, not to mention the fact that three bottles of that stuff set me back $75! After a couple years of trial-and-error (yes, years) I found two products that work for me (most of the time!):

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I love Shea Moisture products. I really like the African Black Soap shampoo, but I’ve also recently tried the Coconut and love it, too. This bottle is $10 and lasts a couple months. I only use a tiny bit of moisturizer on my many tangles, but I can pretty much use any moisturizer now. My hair has become so healthy that I don’t have to use any curling product on it after washing: no gel, no mousse, no leave-in, no frizz-ease. An important tip is to never towel-dry it: just scrunch your dripping wet hair with a t-shirt after washing. Towels absorb all the water too quickly, which makes your hair frizz.

So here’s my super-simple nighttime haircare routine (I always shower at night): shampoo/condition my hair, scrunch my hair with a t-shirt and then clip it up halfway. Go to sleep. (Get used to sleeping with dripping-wet hair). I wake up, unpin my hair, shake it out, and just arrange it a bit. Here’s what my hair looks like when I wake up:

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It’s a little nuts but I love it. According to the Naturally Curly guide, I have “2B Wavy Curvy hair,” which means my curls form S-waves and sort of stick to my head. After years of learning to train my hair, I finally have the curve and curl I want. And I never have to straighten it again.

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Beauty // Food On My Face

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Pictured are all the items in my facial routine…and nearly all of them are food items and things you can find right now in your kitchen. I have the weirdest skin texture: oily yet flaky and dry, with large pores and the tendency to get marathon blackheads, and major sensitivity. I’ve struggled with acne and acne-prone skin since I was 12 or 13, and aside from a brief spell in high school where Proactiv actually worked (before it abruptly didn’t anymore), I tried so many products to combat this sensitive combination skin. Nothing truly worked until I decided to go super organic. Food on my face level of organic.

I first read about this “food facial” method on CrunchyBetty.com. Check it out to read more about this awesome skincare method! I read the CrunchyBetty bit on the website about exfoliation with nutmeg and decided to try it out. The first time I did it, I couldn’t believe how smooth and clear my skin instantly looked afterward. It was also moisturized and supple. After that I was hooked and tried nearly every tip on the site. Finally, I found a routine that worked for me: a baking soda and honey wash at night, followed by an apple cider vinegar astringent. Once a week, I’ll do an at-home facial steam and follow it up with exfoliation with nutmeg.

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So here’s my basic daily routine: in the morning I just rinse my face with water and moisturize. At night, to take off my makeup and do a gentle scrub, I mix a quarter-sized amount of baking soda with a dollop of honey and work that into my face. I rinse, sometimes using a wet paper towel to make sure it’s all off. Then I put just a two tiny drops of apple cider vinegar onto a cotton ball and use that to remove any traces of makeup from my pores and disinfect. Apple cider vinegar has lovely disinfecting properties.

Once a week I’ll do a ten-minute, at-home steam facial and follow up with a gentle exfoliation with nutmeg—nutmeg can damage your skin if you’re not gentle—and then the vinegar again. If my face is feeling stiff, sometimes I skip the vinegar and let the nutmeg moisturize my skin without clogging my pores. It’s like magic.

Photo Jun 11, 12 53 11 PMI can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved using this method, apart from the fact that it’s truly an acne buster. The vinegar is over a year old and it’s less than halfway through. The honey lasts three months or so, as does the baking soda, and the nutmeg lasts about six months before I have to replace it. I can’t remember the last time I bought any facial cream in a drugstore. I’m totally converted.

The only non-organic/food items I rely on are the St. Ives collagen moisturizer, simply because it’s $5 for a tub that lasts over a year, and I really can’t beat that value. It’s got a smooth, thick texture that absorbs nicely into my skin. The other non-food item is the Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating wash that doubles as a mask. I use this when it’s an emergency or I’ve made the horrible decision to sleep in my makeup. It’s a quick fix that smooths my skin with no effort. I just slather it on and watch television for thirty minutes.

I recommend this method to anyone who is either trying to go organic, looking to save a buck, or has tried everything else to get rid of your acne. I’ve seen a huge difference and I’ll never go back! I made my sister try it and she’s hooked too!signature

One Kings Lane // My Dream Vanity Set

I call this dream vanity set “If Marie Antoinette Were a Flapper.” I found all these items on One Kings Lane, and disclosure: this post is part of their Reflect Your Style campaign! This is a pretty fun assignment where I got to browse the beautiful items on One Kings Lane and put together a dream vanity set from the items they sell, both new and vintage. Needless to say, I found myself gravitating toward the more expensive, vintage items. My favorite piece of this whole collection is that set of nutty 1920s sunbathers. They look jolly, don’t they?

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As my favorite statement mirror, I chose the Sardis Baroque Mirror, which has a nice plum hue to it. I thought it would work well with the very elegant other statement pieces in this setup and add a touch of whimsy! Check out the entire collection and the links on my Polyvore page.

I don’t have much of a vanity in my home. I do my makeup in the bathroom and in my room, my mirror is basically a fixture, not really something I necessarily need. I spend much more time at my desk, which always has to be perfect. But looking at this setup makes me ache for a vanity set like I’m in an old-Hollywood movie! I would have a gorgeous gilt cup with my brushes all fanned out, and my makeup organized in fabric-lined drawers. Instead of the mess I have now:

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Old crap and a plastic fold-up makeup bag. This is so my personality.

This post is the beginning of a week of beauty/hair/makeup posts! A blogger recently asked me about my beauty routine, and while it’s not something I change up very often (I get very stuck in my beauty routine and hardly use new products), I do have some interesting anecdotes I’d like to share. So follow along to read more!

Thanks to One Kings Lane for picking me to participate in this fun activity!