Beauty Review // New Wash by Hairstory: A Shampoo Replacement?

Hi all! If you’ve been a reader of mine for some time, you may know that my hair journey has been long, and it’s not over yet. When I was a teenager I straightened my hair daily, causing my natural wave to fall out and my hair to become dry, frizzy, and unhealthy. In college, I researched and made the switch over to sulfate-free shampoos, and after a few months, a bouncy, natural curl came in! Now, my natural curl has relaxed into a loose wave, and I almost never heat style. Because of that, I’m constantly on the lookout for a shampoo/conditioner combination that can result in a natural, frizz-free wave without product or irons!

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In the past, I’ve tried a lot of shampoos/conditioners, like DevaCurl, Function of Beauty, and a few by Hask. My favorites are Function of Beauty (custom) and DevaCurl (Low-Poo). However, I’m always on the lookout for a new product. So I said yes when the opportunity to try something new came along: New Wash, by Hairstory Studio.

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GIVEAWAY // Gift Card to Function of Beauty

Hello all! Today I have some exciting news: I’m hosting a Function of Beauty giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a gift card for their very own set of custom shampoo and conditioner by Function of Beauty, a service I’ve positively reviewed in the past and which I still use. The gift card is good for one set of 8 oz. bottles, formulated to your exact hair needs, featuring your own choice of scent and color, and bearing your name.

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Beauty Review // Prime Objective Perfecting primer

Hey all! I’m back today with a review of a face primer, the Studio Gear Cosmetics Prime Objective silicone primer. My primer needs are pretty specific: oil absorbing and color correcting, and I’ve never used a silicone-heavy primer before, so I didn’t know what to expect initially when giving this primer a try. I’ve heard mixed things about makeup containing silicone, so I did my research! I’ve been using this primer for a few weeks now, so here’s my honest opinion of this Prime Objective Primer.

prime objective primer

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Reviewing Valentia Natural Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer

Hi all! Today I’m reviewing a new moisturizer by Valentia Natural, the Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer. I have had skin issues and acne my whole life—chronic dry skin, a field of blackheads, oily skin, the works. Recently, a combination of cold cream, twice-daily moisturizing, and a couple of dermatologist-recommended products have made a huge difference, but because I’m perpetually on a budget, I hardly stray from drugstore moisturizers. Until Valentia Natural. Keep reading to hear more about their Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer.

valentia natural
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Custom shampoo by Function of Beauty—a review

Beauty review today! I was recently asked to try out customized shampoo and conditioner by Function of Beauty. Here’s what I thought.

function of beauty

In case you’ve never heard of this new brand, basically, Function of Beauty is a service that gives customers fully customized shampoo and conditioner sets based on their exact hair needs. You can pick almost everything about your particular formula based on your hair’s texture, and even pick what color and scent you want it to be! If you’re interested, use this link to get $5 off your order! Read More »

What I think about Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kit—in ‘Posie K’

On February 29, 2016, the impossible proved…possible. I finally got my hands on the coveted, the much-anticipated, the rare #LipKitByKylie (hashtag necessary). I trust all those Kardash girls when it comes to beauty products, so I absolutely had to try the lip kit. So after watching hella Youtube videos and looking at color swatches and planning my method of attack on the website at launchtime, I decided on the color ‘Posie K,’ the one that looks like a cherry stain. I love berry lip colors but I’d never tried matte liquid lipsticks before. This is my story.

lip kit

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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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Eyeliner Throwdown || ELF vs. MAKE UP FOR EVER

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.



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.


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.


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:


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.)


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.

This was fun. 😉signoff

Beauty // The Magic of Tea Tree Oil

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So: let’s talk about the magical wonder of tea tree oil. To quote Frank’s Red Hot, I put that shit on everything. (Not food. Not food.) But anyway, tea tree oil is a substance made from fairy dust and unicorn tears, and it will magically heal everything it touches. Dandruff? You got it. Acne? Please. Other things? Definitely. Let’s explore.

Tea tree oil is related to Myrtle, whom you can find at the bingo parlor*. It’s the distilled oil of the tea tree that has antiseptic properties, and can be used on so many skin infections that are gross, like scabies, lice, fungal infections, even toothaches. It can even be added to bath water to treat bronchitis, or as a remedy for an ear infection. JK Rowling can’t make this stuff up. (In my head I imagine tea trees with faces like the ones that warn Sarah in Labyrinth.)

Seriously, I use this stuff like it’s water. I love tea tree oil because it works just as well as a topical acne treatment as benzoyl peroxide, but it’s stronger and yet natural. Even though chemicals can work well as an exfoliant for your face and to dry up breakouts, I always strive to use products that are more natural, even if it’s for nothing other than my own peace of mind. Tea tree oil is my secret weapon, the product I use for everything, from a flaky scalp to huge pimples.

A lot of organic beauty products feature tea tree oil as a main ingredient, and for good reason. Just a drop of this stuff can go a long way, especially if you have a flaky, itchy scalp like me. I use tea tree oil mainly for my dandruff and my acne. If I have a breakout, I spot-treat it with a dab of oil placed on a cotton swab. An overabundance of tea tree oil can dry out and irritate the skin, so I only use a drop or two. It’s all I need. I also place a drop or two in my nightly astringent of apple cider vinegar, to dilute the oil and give my astringent some extra oomph. Even though the shampoo I use has tea tree oil as an ingredient, I add a drop there too.

Some things you should know: If you’re shopping for a bottle of the magic, make sure to look for the phrase “pharmaceutical grade.” This is the stronger stuff used as a remedy, not the aromatherapy crap that does nothing. Keep it away from your mouth as it has kind of a foul taste. And even though I love the smell of the oil (it’s sort of like eucalyptus), some people absolutely hate it. Don’t over apply the oil; too much of a good thing can act as an irritant. It’s also pretty cheap: I spent $9 on a bottle at my local Harmon store and I’ve had it for a good three months now, and it’s very slowly depleting. Make sure the oil you purchase is 100% tea tree oil, with no additives like alcohol or water. You don’t want that aggravation.

In summation, tea tree oil was given to us by Aphrodite and that wood nymph who slaps Philoctetes in Hercules. I don’t know why. Maybe she wants us to be happy.

*combination bad joke and Gilmore Girls reference

Beauty Review: Urban Decay Shadow

Today I’d like to take a minute to extol my newfound love for Urban Decay. Everyone I know asked for the Naked palettes for Christmas this year and I didn’t, because my MAC shadows are just fine, thank you very much. But then my trusted “Naked Lunch” ran out and I had to do something about it (the name of the shadow may have contributed to my love for the shade). My sister has the Naked 2 palette and ever since I used the shade “YDK,” I fell in love and never looked back.

Since I knew I wouldn’t use the whole palette, and since I like having a daily makeup routine of just one or two shadow shades, I opted to buy two new shadows: YDK and Virgin. They’re amazing. Here’s why.

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The label promises “insane color payout” and they’re spot-on. The color is exactly what it looks like in the pot, and it is so vibrant and vivid on the skin. I shy away from shimmer shadows but the YDK is between a matte and a shimmer, just glimmery enough to look pretty, but not so much that it looks like I’ve pasted rhinestones on my eyelids. It’s smooth and adheres so well.

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It leaves just a little fallout though, whereas my MAC shadows never did. I’m willing to put up with it for the sake of the deep, vibrant color, but it can get frustrating when your whole face is ruined after applying. I’ve learned to keep a little cotton ball and coconut oil handy to deal with it. I’m a survivor.

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I love the subtle sheen it leaves on my eyes. This is YDK and MAC’s “Folie” on the crease.

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My eye makeup arsenal! I cannot do without the Sephora cream liner. Only $10 and it lasts almost a year, and that’s from someone who does a thick winged line almost every day.

Conclusion: Urban Decay is worth the price. I’ll probably buy more shades when these run out, and have much more makeup fun. Stay tuned.