Yesterday morning, I had an appointment at my orthodontist’s office at 8:15 to remove all of my Invisalign attachments and get fitted for retainers. That’s right, my teeth are straight after six months of using Invisalign!
In the pictures above, those are more of the “after” – I took the one on the left after leaving my appointment yesterday, and the one on the right is at my half-way mark. Below are some “before” pictures.
They took some more “official” before and after photos at the orthodontist, and I’ll share them when I get them, but these pictures above actually say a lot. When I decided to get Invisalign, it was a quick decision made after years of being asked by every dentist if I’d ever considered braces.
My upper teeth were generally straight (at least at a glance), but my bottom teeth were very crowded and crooked – you can see it a little in the last picture. But my overbite was so bad, my bottom teeth never really showed… and it didn’t really bother me. Until it did.
For many years, I prided myself on not having had braces and that my smile was generally nice-looking. But during the last two years, I’ve started taking better care of my skin and using better makeup to get a different look. And when it was time to put on the lipstick, my smile just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of my face.
So, when I went looking through my phone and social media accounts for “before” pictures to share here, I noticed a few things: 1. I don’t take many pictures of myself, and 2. Many of my pictures, especially from 2015 to present-day, are with my mouth closed.
Pre-Invisalign, my two front teeth started to bother me. They were turned in toward each other just enough to cause a little bit of a shadow, and they’d worn down to fit my bottom teeth – like the outline of a roof. It was enough to keep me from showing my teeth in pictures, and likely in life.
The other half of this is, I have had loads of dental work over the years. My cleanings are always rough, and I’ve spent lots of money buying expensive toothbrushes, flossers to fit under crowns and between my crowded teeth, and finding the right mouthwash that won’t affect my gum cells (it’s an issue).
Yes, Invisalign would give me a more confident smile, but it also would ease my dental visits. About a week after my halfway mark, I had a regular dental cleaning scheduled… and it was a breeze! I still can’t believe how little scraping there was and how much easier it was for the hygienist to floss between my bottom teeth. To boot, my overbite had decreased much more than even my Invisalign model had predicted.
If I’d have known how easy straighter teeth would have made my dental cleanings, I would have gotten them years ago.
Over the course of wearing Invisalign, people are quick to say what they’ve heard about it or their opinions on it. Many people said, “Well, your teeth weren’t really crooked to being with.” Maybe not to them, and that’s nice, but this was about me, my confidence, and my teeth! My case was only a 6-month fix, which is short in terms of braces, and it also cost the least amount possible. But, I still did it, and now my teeth are aligned.
Some people told me they heard Invisalign doesn’t hurt. For me, that was not the case. It’s the same as braces, you just down’t have to deal with wires or wax – all of the trays hurt for at least the first day or two of getting them, and my last two trays probably hurt the worst. Although all of it was cured with an over-the-counter pain medicine.
At my appointment yesterday, I got fitted for my retainers, which I will wear all the time for the next six months. After that, I’ll only wear them at night. The retainers look very similar to the trays, but are made of a thicker, harder material.
I also got my front teeth fixed. When they straightened out, the bottoms of them were not even at all – it was very obvious. So, my orthodontist filed some of them down, but ultimately use a composite material to build one of my teeth up and resemble the other one. She even gave me a mirror so I could watch and she made sure to get my approval. It turned out so natural looking!
I’m also happy to report that I’m finished with all of the payments – I paid 1/3 of it with money from my HSA, and used my own money (not a credit card) to pay for the rest of it. Wahoo!
When it’s all said and done, it was totally worth it. The six months flew by, and I’m happy that I did something for myself. There are so many people out there who have opinions on what we can and can’t do to improve our appearances, and what it says about us, but I’m still sticking with the motto that if it makes you feel good, and isn’t hurting anyone else, than you do you!
I admit it: I am a beauty and skincare JUNKIE! Beauty and skincare products are one of my favorite ways to spend money; I’d much rather buy new products than clothes or…well, anything. If you’ve been a blog reader of mine for awhile, you know I’m also a bargain hunter.
However, over the last two years I’ve been trying to test more luxury, pricier items when I can – because I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s worth it. To me, this is different than buying an expensive, designer purse or shoes, because it’s not about a name, but it’s about the quality of the ingredients and what it does for your skin, or perhaps your confidence.
I should go ahead and mention that this post is NOT sponsored. If bareMinerals would like to sponsor me, you know where to reach me 🙂
But anyway, it took me a really long time to even try bareMinerals makeup – remember when they first came out with the infomercials? I have always loved makeup, and I love the look of makeup. I’m never going for a “natural” look – because I have blemishes and redness that needs to be covered. Because of that, I thought any sort of “natural”, “mineral” makeup wasn’t for me.
And some of it is not. However, once bareMinerals started increasing their makeup line to include liquid foundations, concealers, and even bold lip colors, I started paying more attention. So, two Christmases ago, I asked for a bareMinerals starter kit – and I got it! It was a little makeup bag that had the primer, the signature bareMinerals mineral veil and the powder foundation, with their signature brush for applying.
I absolutely loved it. It offers full coverage and it makes my skin look so smooth without feeling heavy. Because I am an Ulta Platinum Rewards member, I can earn points (which equals money) on anything I buy at Ulta. So, I always keep an eye out for any sales on bareMinerals or any of their “kits”. Because of this, I’ve tried their eyeshadows, liquid lipsticks, lipglosses, bronzer, and blush, and have loved ALL of it.
So, when I saw they were offering skincare – I jumped on it! I was actually able to purchase a sampler kit using my Ulta Reward dollars (plus, it was on sale), and I later bought a second kit at TJ Maxx for just $10. If you’re a TJ Maxx regular, they often have the bareMinerals’ starter kits (for the makeup).
So, let’s get into the skincare! The kit I bought from Ulta is called “Glow to Go” ($52), which includes travel sizes of the Pure Plush Gentle Deep Cleansing Foam, SkinLongevity Vital Power Infusion Serum, Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew Serum, Bare Haven Essential Moisturizing Soft Cream, and a sample of the SkinLongevity Vital Power Eye Gel Cream.
The kit I bought from TJ Maxx had the Pure Plush Gentle Deep Cleansing Foam, Oil Obsessed Total Cleansing Oil, and Clay Chameleon Transforming Purifying Cleanser. I believe it was a holiday package they put together, and I just couldn’t pass it up!
I have been using these products for a few weeks now, and I’m excited to report my findings.
Pure Plush Gentle Deep Cleansing Foam
Here’s the description from Ulta: Enliven your skin every time you cleanse with a burst of plush, cushiony lather. This creamy formula facial cleanser refreshes your skin, lifting away makeup and impurities, while the crisp, scent of grapefruit* invigorates your senses. Infused with elderflower and rosemary extracts, plus mineral-rich sea salts, this daily cleanser leaves skin feeling exceptionally pure, freshly revitalized and comfortably smooth. *Naturally derived fragrance
It’s what’s inside that counts:
- Mineral-rich sea salts: Cultivated from the waters off the coast of Brittany, these sea salts, rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium, help purify and refine the skin.
- Elderflower: Known as the herablist’s cosmetic tree, this small, white flower has been used for centuries to beautify the complexion and soften the skin.
- Rosemary: A fragrant herb known to help cleanse and soften the skin.
This was the first product I tried. First I will say, they are NOT lying about that grapefruit scent and it smells so good! I have used this a few different ways: in the morning right when I wakeup, at night to take off all my makeup, in the shower using my Clarisonic Mia, and just at the skin using warm water and my fingertips. It is creamy, and it has a thicker texture (think: Neutrogena’s deep clean cream cleanser).
Don’t be fooled by their mention of sea salts – this is not a scrub or an exfoliator. It does, however, leave the skin feeling smooth. Plus, a little bit of the cleanser (about a dime-size) is all you need. This is my favorite of the three cleansers! It’s $22 for a 4-ounce bottle at Ulta and is rated 4.5/5 stars.
I’m only using Ulta for this review because you can earn free points for shopping there, AND the sellers on Amazon looked shady.
Clay Chameleon Transforming Purifying Cleanser
Description from Ulta: Transform your cleansing ritual with this beautifully innovative clay-to-cream facial cleanser that combines the benefits of purifying Brazilian red clay and mineral-rich sea salts with the soft comfort of a cream. Enriched with papaya and bamboo extracts, the formula works to gently remove impurities and help detoxify, to leave your skin feeling pure, soft and supple. This skin-enlivening formula is infused with the scent of bergamot and mandarin* to help uplift the senses each time you cleanse. *Naturally derived fragrance
It’s what’s inside that counts:
- Mineral-rich sea salts: Cultivated from the waters off the coast of Brittany, these sea salts, rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium, help purify and refine the skin.
- Brazilian red clay: This naturally vibrant red clay helps to purify and improve skin’s clarity.
- Papaya: Recognized as a good source of skin-loving vitamins and minerals.
- Bamboo: Known for its strength, elegance and amazing resilience.
This cleanser is red from the red clay, and it has a texture of a detoxifying mask (almost identical to the Active Charcoal Mask from Origins). Once you put the cleanser on your face, add a little water, and start cleaning, it turns into a white, milky lather. I have been using this one mostly in the mornings, but I’ve heard other beauty bloggers say it’s good to use on weekends to detox the skin.
This cleanser is also $22 for a 4-ounce bottle from Ulta, and it has a 4.5/5 star rating.
Oil Obsessed Total Cleansing Oil
Desription from Ulta: Immerse your skin in this ultra-lightweight facial cleansing oil for a comforting cleansing experience. Oil Obsessed Total Cleansing Oil glides on to your dry face to effectively – yet gently – dissolve makeup and impurities. Just add a little water and this sensationally elegant oil transforms into a weightless, milky emulsion that easily rinses away. Infused with the uplifting scent of Lavender and Tangerine,* this nurturing blend features borage, sunflower, bilberry and cucumber oils, plus mineral-rich sea salts to leave your skin feeling silky soft and smooth. *Naturally derived fragrance
It’s what’s inside that counts:
- Mineral-rich sea salts: Cultivated from the waters off the coast of Brittany, these sea salts, rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium, help purify and refine the skin.
- Bilberry: Grown in Europe and handpicked in the wild underbrush, the oil of Bilberry is valued for its skin soothing properties.
- Borage: The oil derived from the seeds of the bright, purple flower is known to soothe and nourish the skin.
- Sunflower: Significant to Native Americans as a source for nutritional, medicinal and ceremonial practices, the emollient oil contains skin-loving vitamins and omega 9 to help nourish skin.
- Cucumber: The lightweight oil from the cucumber fruit helps nourish and hydrate skin while encouraging resilience.
I have never tried an oil cleanser before, so I don’t really have anything to compare this to. However, I will say that this is light, and not greasy. I have used it to remove my makeup and also just as a cleanser when I’m not wearing makeup. Either way, it’s really gentle on the skin and leaves it soft. I have only used it with my fingers, but am tempted to put the oil on a cleansing mitt or a cotton pad.
This is $30 for a 6-ounce bottle at Ulta, and it has a 4.5/5-star rating.
Bare Haven Essential Moisturizing Soft Cream
Description from Ulta: Embrace your skin in silky-soft, lusciously nourishing moisture. Powered by Intuitive Mineral Moisture Technology, Bare Haven Essential Moisturizing Soft Cream replenishes essential moisture to normal to dry skin, reviving overall resilience and suppleness and infusing an extraordinarily super-smooth feel. This comforting soft cream moisturizer effortlessly blends into skin to help enhance a natural, healthy-looking glow. Plus, a blend of peptides, ceramides and amino acids to help soften rough texture, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The subtle notes of Bergamot and Eucalyptus* add to the sensory experience to gently enliven and awaken your senses. *Naturally derived fragrance.
It’s what’s inside that counts:
- Intuitive Mineral Moisture Technology: All of bareMinerals moisturizers are infused with Intuitive Mineral Moisture Technology to help replenish your skin’s moisture reserves and diminish rough texture, dryness and visible signs of aging.
- St. John’s Wort: A bright yellow flower named for St. John the Baptist, shown to help defend against signs of damage and dry, dehydrated skin.
I have been using this in place of my usual moisturizer and this stuff makes me feel like I’m at a spa. It smells so fresh and it’s light in texture… I love it! I will mention that I do not have dry or oily skin – pretty much in the middle. This provides the perfect start to my skincare routine (after I wash my face, of course). I also realized that I haven’t mentioned…bareMinerals does not test on animals, and many of their products are vegan.
This is $35 for a 1.7-ounce jar (a little goes a long way) at Ulta, and it has a 4.5/5-star rating.
Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew Serum
Description from Ulta: An innovative serum that contends with the early signs of aging and renews your skin’s natural luminosity. Clinically shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Dermatologist tested. Non-comedogenic.
- Mineral manganese
- Vitamin C
- Chai hu extract
- Target the early signs of aging
- Renew radiance
- Combat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
This has a nice scent to it, and it’s light. I’ve never used anti-aging serums, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I’m going to keep using it, and see if I notice changes. I do like the texture, and it makes my skin feel smooth. Also, the bottle says to use 3-4 pumps, but I get by with 2 (always saving when possible!).
This is $55 for a 1-ounce bottle at Ulta.
SkinLongevity Vital Power Infusion Serum
Description from Ulta: This dynamic, first of its kind infusion is designed to revive and help maintain your skin’s most vibrant look of health, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. With bareMinerals patented Long Life Herb Extract at its core, this formula helps to promote skin’s vitality, replenishing it with moisture and reawakening the look of youth. Skin is left feeling empowered, renewed and fortified, with enhanced resilience and a glowingly healthy look.
- EMPOWER. Unleash your skin’s vitality and radiant luminosity.
- REPLENISH. Nourish your skin with essential minerals and hydration to reveal softer, more supple skin.
- RENEW. Diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin texture to promote a youthful look.
- FORTIFY. Give your skin the resilience to help defend itself against future signs of aging for a healthier looking complexion.
It’s what’s inside that counts:
- Long Life Herb: Legendary herb shown to help defend against signs of aging. Specially cultivated from the vitamin- and mineral-rich herb grown on Okinawa, known as “the island of long life”.
- California Poppy: A bright and brilliant flower native to California known for its resilience and ability to thrive in harsh conditions.
- Lempuyang ginger: A root traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicines and Indonesian Jamu herbal medicine.
- Skinmimetic Technology: Inspired by the properties of youthful skin, bareMinerals combined Long Life Herb, California Poppy and Lempuyang ginger extracts to create bareMinerals SkinMimetic Technology – a leading edge complex is designed to help protect your skin against visible signs of aging and damage, to promote your most radiantly youthful appearance.
Ugh, I feel really bad for saying this, but this is probably the first real anti-aging product I’ve used. I am really lucky to have young-looking skin, even despite all of my sun exposure over the years. Except for eye creams and products that simply have an anti-aging element, I’ve never really sought out an anti-aging product. I have been using this in the morning (it is recommended to use it at night, too, I just haven’t gotten there yet) and it’s very light, which I love. It also makes my skin feel smooth!
You just need 1-2 pumps to cover your face and neck. This is $38 for a 1-ounce bottle at Ulta, and has a 4.5/5-star rating.
SkinLongevity Vital Power Eye Gel Cream
Description from Ulta: bareMinerals SkinLongevity Vital Power Eye Gel Cream is powered by the patented benefits of mineral-rich Long Life Herb to support vitality and replenish moisture around the eye area for a more youthful look. With added antioxidant benefits of California poppy plus lempuyang ginger help protect against the damages from environmental stressors, and help brighten the appearance of skin. Experience smoother, stronger and more radiant-looking skin. Results you can see and feel in as little as 14 days.
The sample I got was pretty small – I got two uses out of it – so I don’t want to talk too much on this, but I will say this was a soft, light cream. Some eye creams I’ve used are heavy and almost pull on my skin. Not this! I definitely want to try the larger size so I can see how it works over time.
This is $32 for a .5-ounce jar at Ulta – a little goes a long way!
This may seem like a lot, but bareMinerals has SO many other skincare products that I want to try. Here are a few that I’m watching (far sales, free gifts with purchase, double-point days, etc.):
- Smart Combination Smoothing Lightweight Emulsion ($35, 1.7oz)
- Blemish Remedy Acne Treatment Gelée Cleanser ($20, 4.2oz)
- Pure Transformation Night Treatment ($60, 0.15oz)
- Skinsorials Mix. Exfoliate. Smooth. Add-To-Cleanser Skin Polishing Grains ($22, .88oz)
- Skinsorials Dirty Detox Skin Glowing & Refining Mud Mask ($35, 2.4oz)
Yep, I am still on a mission to try as many beauty products as possible in order to find the perfect batch! Over the last few months, I’ve tried four new primers, along with an eyelash primer, and I’m here to report my findings.
Balance Me Instant Lift Primer
I got a sample of this primer in my Birchbox! Here’s the description from Birchbox.com: We have our fair share of things we wouldn’t mind getting rid of (pesky neighbors, traffic delays—to name a few), but helping our pores disappear would be at the top of our skincare wish list. This formula uses hard-working ingredients like hyaluronic acid and acacia gum to tighten and blur enlarged pores and smooth and refine your skin’s surface for a glowy complexion.
This one has a thick texture, so it’s good if you have larger pores. Because of its texture, I really felt like I was doing something good for my skin while wearing this. It’s white in color, but rubs in easily.
I’ve seen this primer range in price from $12-$45, so search around if you want to try it!
Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer
I got this as a sample, too, either from Sephora or Birchbox… but I loved it! Honestly, all of the Smashbox primers I’ve tried have been a success, but this one has a little bit of a sheen to it, which I love for summer. Here’s the description from Smashbox.com: This moisturizing face primer gives you an instant golden-hour glow. It has a satin-smooth formula that illuminates, perfects & enhances radiance while hydrating for better makeup application.
Price for this one is around $35 – but it looks like you can buy various sizes on Amazon, including a sample for $7.
MAC Prep + Prime Fix+
I bought this after seeing my favorite makeup artist (ahem, Jaclyn Hill) spritz some on her Beauty Blender before applying foundation. I have been using it ever since and am LOVING it. I use this in addition to a cream primer directly on the skin. Here’s the description from Ulta.com:
The holy grail of hydrating mists! M·A·C Prep + Prime Fix+ gives an instant boost of hydration while delivering a soft sheen to refresh and set makeup. The lightweight, prolonging formula is packed with vitamins and minerals, infused with a blend of green tea, chamomile and cucumber to gently moisturize, soothe and enhance your complexion. Pair with your favorite products in near-endless ways – to sheer out foundation, intensify the color payoff of eyeshadows and highlighters or simply to extend the wear of makeup.
Ummm… since I bought the travel size (1 ounce for $12), I did not know it came in different scents – it comes in original herbal, creamy coconut, romantic rose, and calming lavender. I will most-definitely be getting the romantic rose! This is my first time trying a spray primer, and I think it’s perfect for use on a beauty sponge (nothing beats the cosmetic wedge, if you ask me). This one is $26 for 3.4 ounces.
Laura Geller Spackle Hydrating Primer
This is the second primer from Laura Geller that I’ve tried and I like this one better than the Champagne one I reviewed last time. This one really is hydrating and I would almost say you could use it and skip your moisturizer, but I feel like that’s just not right to say. Here’s the description from LauraGeller.com:
Introducing Spackle Hydrating, a multi-tasking marvel that not only perfects, but also hydrates skin with moisturizing ingredients for normal to dry skin. This vitamin-rich formula moisturizes and soothes skin while priming it for make-up application. Formulated with natural, soothing and hydrating ingredients such as Aloe Vera Gel and Cupuaçu Seed Butter.
Laura Geller Fortifying Lash Eyelash Primer
This came as a sample in my Birchbox, and having used the Laura Geller mascara, I was excited to try this. I don’t think I’ve ever used an eyelash primer before so I can’t compare it, but I’d say you can’t really go wrong with adding an extra layer of color to your lashes. Here’s the description from Birchbox.com:
You prep your skin before foundation and apply a base coat before nail polish, so it only makes sense to get your lashes ready for mascara too. A swipe of this primer strengthens and lengthens your fringe and helps prevent clumps. The black tinted formula blends in seamlessly underneath your mascara (read: no white streaks in sight), and even wears great alone on low-maintenance mornings. Lashes look longer, more defined, and dramatic for eyes that do all the talking.
This is $22 – I’ve only seen it in black.
What primers are you guys using? I think so far, the Smashbox Radiance and the Bare Minerals original primer are my favorites, on top of the MAC Fix.
I don’t know if you know this about me but I LOVE beauty products – skin care, makeup (!), self-tanners, cellulite creams, hair treatments… you name it, I probably have 4 bottles of it in my cabinet. It’s a bad addiction, but it’s a fun one.
I’ve been trying to find a way to share more of my favorite products (or even the things that are NOT my favorite) without it being a giant sales-pitch (I am not sponsored by anyone). The thing is, I’m always trying new things. Even if I like a product, I’m still open to trying other brands just to see what’s out there.
But, when I started writing about all of the cosmetic primers I’ve tried, a reader wanted to know about other products I’ve tried. It’s taken me awhile, but this is my START. I’m very critical – so right now I’ve got five products that I love and have even bought multiple times… as in, I’m sold, I’m not trying other brands. Done. So here they are!
- Impress Manicure – When I agreed to get my Invisalign, I knew it would be an extra monthly expense for a little bit (I’m paying for it myself). To help, I vowed to give up professional manicures. Instead, I started buying press-on nails to keep my nails looking nice without the cost. After trying several brands, the Impress Manicure continues to WIN – big time. These nails are a natural, short length and they require no glue. One set lasts about 10 days, and it costs around $5-$8! I’ve found them at Walgreens, and the grocery store, but you can also get them online. I swear by these!
- Essence Forbidden Volume False Lash Mascara Top Coat – This is a top coat you can add on top of any mascara and it has the little fibers that extend each lash. This stuff makes for a pop! I add it to all of my mascaras and I love it – plus, it’s $4. I got mine at Ulta, but I’m sure you can find it other places where Essence makeup is sold.
- Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment – I love finding bargains and cheaper solutions when necessary, but I also have come to realize that sometimes, it’s just worth it to shell out the cash for seriously AWESOME products. So far, all of the Glamglow products I’ve tried have blown my mind and I’ve even gotten comments on how fresh my skin looks – given my sleep regimen, this is a miracle! The Thirstymud treatment is a like a thick moisturizer, it smells like coconut, and you basically put it on before bed and wakeup to smooth skin. After trying a sample of it in my Birchbox, I bought the entire kit: the face wash, a blackhead mask, and the full size jar of Thirstymud. Complete GAME CHANGER.
- Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Body Wash & Foam Bath – I hadn’t been inside a Bath & Body works in at least 6 years when I randomly wandered into the one at the outlet mall a few months ago. They were having a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” sale, plus an additional 25% off, so I caved and bought three bottles of this stuff (in three different scents: Happiness, Stress Relief, & Sleep) and all of them smell so good. But what I love most about them is how much they foam up! I use them as bubble bath and on my loofah during a shower. It’s fantastic and now I’m always watching for the next big sale to restock.
- Sei Bella 3-in-1 Eyebrow Pencil by Melaleuca – Melaleuca products are made of only the good stuff, which means no parabens, no chemicals, no carcinogens… all of my household cleaners are from Melaleuca and I try their beauty products all the time. So far, my favorite product is their eyebrow pencil – it has a brush, a pencil, and a blender all in the same place! It goes on so easy, it self-sharpens, and it’s affordable at $15 (for members).
And there you have it! What products are you swearing by lately? As I get more “favorites”, I’ll report back!
Okay, I’m about two days shy of the three-week mark using Invisalign, but this will just have to do! I have been curious about Invisalign for the last year for a few reasons.
For starters, I’ve never had traditional braces and I cannot TELL you how many times my dentist has asked me if I’m interested in braces. No, no, and no… until I was.
My teeth aren’t that crooked. Instead, they are very crowded on the bottom and a little angled up top. It has never bothered me until recently. In fact, I often prided myself on the fact that I’d made it this far without orthodontic work.
But the truth is, I take a lot of care in the way I look. I’m not vain or superficial, but I do like to take care of myself, and I also like to experiment with new beauty trends (I just Derma-rolled for the second time ever last night), and I have a bucket of makeup and a tiny collection of face masks to prove it.
I wear makeup on most days – mostly to express myself and help boost my confidence. That’s all great, but I started to feel like my look was incomplete with my teeth. Sure, my nails look great, contour is on-point, lipliner looking fresh… but my teeth?
So, when I switched dentists because of insurance, I specifically looked for one that offered Invisalign. I asked about it immediately, slapped down the down-payment, and they got to work.
The first step was to have impressions taken of my teeth. These impressions were sent off to Invisalign and they made a computer simulation of the changes my teeth would go through from start to finish.
My dentist also took tons of pictures of my teeth, and of my face – she said I would see a slight change in my profile.
Once I approved of the way my teeth would look (according to the simulation), my dentist was able to tell me that my “treatment” would be six months, which is the minimum amount of time for Invisalign.
At my next appointment, my dentist applied some “buttons” onto my teeth – basically they are small raised pieces that help “lock” the Invisalign in place, and they help the teeth move a little faster.
She then had to shave down the sides of some of my teeth since they were so crowded – the shaving involved her flossing my teeth with sandpaper. Literally. It was an interesting and awkward experience.
Before she handed me my first set of trays, she told me I had to wear the trays at least 22 hours each day: sleep in them, only drink clear liquids with them in, and take them out to eat. I was instructed to brush my teeth before putting the trays back in.
She broke two pieces of bad news to me at that point: 1. The first two days of each tray are painful, and 2. My coffee intake would likely be reduced given that I couldn’t drink it with the Invisalign in.
Ohhhhh… I was visibly upset over this coffee news. You see, I usually sip on coffee from the time I wake up (6:30 or so) until around 10. But if I did that, I’d already be breaking the 22-hour rule with Invisalign.
“It’s only for six months,” she said. She didn’t GET IT.
But anyway, I snapped in my first trays and was on my way. And she was right, it HURT. That night, I had so much trouble getting the trays out, I skipped dinner.
Since then, though, it stopped hurting, and it’s very easy to get the trays in and out.
On my two-week mark, I put in a new set of trays, and it hurt some (I took one dose of pain killers), but not as bad as the first one, leading me to believe the “shaving” was actually the issue.
I have 14 trays total, so I’ll be getting new ones about every two weeks. I expect to be putting in tray no. 3 on Thanksgiving Eve… which will make for an interesting Turkey Day.
So far, it’s been okay. It is a little annoying to have to take the trays in and out so much – I feel like I’ve cut down on snacking because it just isn’t worth the time and effort (in case you wondered just how lazy I was).
On the upside, I can already see the progress my teeth are making – and it looks great, even this early in the game! I also started using a whitening toothpaste in hopes of getting a bit of a brighter smile along the way!
I’ll keep you posted…
Happy Halloween! I am pretty excited for today – oddly – mostly because this means I can take a break from mass-producing Holly Golightly sleep masks for seasonal costumes, and because I love hearing “Thriller” on the radio constantly.
Several months ago, I posted short reviews about cosmetic primers I’ve tried. I got such good advice on new ones to try, that here I am, back after trying FOUR new primers! I’m curious to see what you guys think of this batch.
If you aren’t big on makeup or haven’t tried a primer, it is usually worn under makeup (particularly foundation) and provides a smooth base that helps the makeup stay on longer and look flawless. A primer can come in the form of a gel, spray, powder, cream, oil… it just depends on what type of product you like.
NYX Shine Killer
I love NYX products because they are so affordable, it makes it easy to try new things. The Shine Killer primer is a clear gel and I found it really helped control my shine throughout the day (I did use it along with the NYX matte setting spray).
- Foundation primer that prepares skin for silky smooth makeup application
- Lightweight, colorless gel creates an invisible layer that acts as a buffer to the outside elements
- Helps makeup stay fresh and color-true for hours, lasting all day and well into the night
- Moisturize your skin with a daily dosage of Vitamin E
- Prep your face with this foundation primer before applying face makeup
- Maintain a matte and fresh face all day
$13.99 for .67 ounces
Laura Geller Spackle Tinted Under Make-up Primer
Over the last year, I have been trying bits and pieces of Laura Geller’s collection and her products are wonderful! This Spackle (in “Champagne”) came in a gift set I got, which are always such great deals. It has a slight glow to it, so it’s perfect to wear under makeup or alone for a dewy look.
Revive and re-texturize your skin to achieve a flawlessly smooth finish with my Spackle® Tinted Under Make-up Primer in Champagne. This formula has the same features and benefits as the revolutionary best-selling Spackle®, but it shimmers with a champagne glow!
Made with natural plant extracts and the powerful anti-oxidants, White Tea and Centella Asiatica. These ingredients protect the skin along with Aloe Vera Gel. Spackle also helps the skin retain moisture, feel softer and look smoother. It is lush, incredibly lightweight and suitable for all skin types.
$32 for 2 ounces
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing
I got a sample of this in one of my Birchboxs a few months ago and have been using it over the last few weeks. I love that it has a light tint to it – my skin has some redness (which I’m currently trying to derma-roll out), so I am always looking for FULL coverage products. I also liked the texture of this – it goes on smooth and has a dry, matte finish.
Smashbox’s Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer is an Allure Best of Beauty winner. It works for all skin types but is ideal for oily and combination skin. It pairs best with liquid or cream foundation. This primer is non-acnegenic and ophthalmologist tested.
- Dramatically reduces the look of pores
- Mattifies shine and controls oil all day
- Smoothes and preps skin for makeup
- Won’t clog pores or cause breakouts
- Water-resistant, smooth-glide texture
- Leaves a soft, even finish
Formulated without parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, oil, fragrance and talc. Vegan friendly.
$39 for 1 ounce
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil
I got this as a sample from the Company Cosmetics Store (I. Love. That. Place!) after buying a Smashbox set that had all sorts of goodies in it. This was my first time trying the oil, and frankly, I am still trying to figure out what I think of it. It definitely does not leave an oily finish, but I might save the rest of it to use during the colder months (like, in December maybe? #Texas) when my skin is dry.
Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer Oil is non-acnegenic and dermatologist-tested. Morning and evening application adds increased moisture in just four weeks. Not ideal for oily skin.
- Preps skin for makeup
- Moisturizes for seamless makeup application
- Instantly absorbs and adds radiance
- Reduces the appearance of dry fine lines
- Blended with 15 lipid-rich plant extracts and essential oils including moisturizing jojoba + calming chamomile
- Strengthens the skin’s barrier
What primers are you using? I am always looking to try new products!
Before I sign off, be sure to check out my Etsy SALE – today only – and you can get 15% off all items in honor of Halloween (and the Great Pumpkin, of course)! As always, there is free shipping on domestic orders.
Have a fun day, y’all!
I haven’t written much about it, but I’ve been experimenting more with my makeup lately. It’s a fun way to express myself, even at my desk job, and I love trying new products – and okay, I really enjoy watching makeup tutorials. It’s oddly calming!
At first, I was hesitant to spray my face in hopes of setting my makeup and helping it last longer. I mean, that just doesn’t seem right. But, lots of people say it works, and why not try it? It’s taken me months to try multiple brands and types – I like to get a complete opinion! While I tried to test different kinds, I also have to stick to what I like, but who knows, maybe you’ll find one you like or have one you can suggest to me! Here goes…
NYX Matte Finish Makeup Setting Spray
This was the first setting spray I purchased. I’ve used NYX products before, and like them, and you can’t really beat the price tag. The bottle looks small, but I usually just need one or two sprays a day and I’m good to go.
Honestly, even with nothing to compare this to, I loved this product. I have always had a problem with my makeup settling into my skin by lunch time, or even fading by the end of the day. This stuff makes my face bullet-proof. Even after a day of work and dance class, my makeup looks good!
I bought this one at Ulta and when I checked the website later, it has 4.5 stars out of 5 – sounds like a winner to me!
Coola Face SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray
I got this in one of my monthly Birchbox shipment, and it made for a great setting spray while traveling. I used this anytime I was going to be outdoors, including an outdoor protest/rally, a music festival, and outdoor volunteering – all hoping to get a little extra SPF on my face.
It worked fine as a setting spray – it does have a slight “sunscreen” smell, which doesn’t bother me, but I know it’s not for everyone.
It set my makeup, but I’m not sure I would choose this for everyday use unless my job required me to spend lots of time outdoors. It doesn’t take much though, so purchasing a bottle would probably last you awhile.
Ulta Matte Makeup Setting Spray
I get my hair cut and colored at Ulta, and Often used the 20 minutes under a cap to shop (yes, I’m roaming the aisles in a cape, clear cap, with red dye all over the place). I came across Ulta’s makeup line and saw this matte setting spray had a special feature that sold me: coconut scented.
I know it’s small, and really, no one is getting close enough to my face to smell it, but I can smell it when I spray it on and that’s all that matters. The price was great, and it’s on-par with NYX as far as quality.
I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but I do wear enough that needs to be looking good at the end of the day. This one does well keeping my makeup in place, while keeping shine under control.
So far, I think the NYX is my favorite, but I will probably keep trying new brands. I haven’t tried any of the aerosol setting sprays, so maybe that’s next. I do have a Smashbox primer/setting spray that I have yet to try (not sure how I feel about 2-N-1 products). But let me know what makeup setting sprays you like to use and maybe I’ll give them a try!
For many years, I’ve gotten one of those Sephora perfume samplers for Christmas. I believe they’re available all year now, but for awhile, they were only available during the holidays. If you’ve never seen them, it’s basically a collection of perfume samples from their top 10-12 best sellers of the year. You get to try them all out, and then there’s a coupon tucked inside for a FREE 1-ounce bottle of your favorite one.
It’s seriously an awesome gift! Each year, I take this gift very seriously. I read all of the perfume descriptions, and I try them multiple times before I make my final decision. I know this seems really silly, but I definitely think of perfume as a complete luxury item. It’s not something we need, and it’s expensive. So, I want to get the right one.
Sometimes it takes me six months to make my decision and finally get to Sephora for my free bottle. Having said that, I definitely shattered my hand-selected bottle of Michael Kors’ Very Hollywood during my move to Texas two years ago. It fell off a shelf while I was packing, and despite its thick bottle (which was very pretty), it shattered and it was total heartbreak in slow motion. Ugh. It smelled wonderful.
Anyway, the sampler I got for Christmas in 2015 had some great scents in it, but I ruled my favorite pretty quickly: Burberry’s My Burberry. It has that masculine, wood smell that I love, but with a floral twist.
I went to Sephora… and they were out. Yes, I could have picked another perfume, or I could have purchased a different sized bottle and gotten money off for the 1-ounce freebie, but no. I waited.
I went back a few months later. Still out.
“If it’s on the sampler coupon, then we’re like, always out of it,” the saleswoman told me.
Uh, okay well that makes about zero sense. Still, I waited. I looked for other Sephora locations (you can’t use the coupon online). And waited.
And finally, I randomly stopped by that same Sephora Friday after work. Upon walking up to the shelf, I didn’t see it. But then, in the back, a 1-ounce box. What?!
I picked it up, looked around, and smiled (like a psycho). I walked briskly to the counter: IS THIS THE RIGHT ONE?! I tried to ask calmly, but I just thought it was too good to be true!
“Yep, it’s the one!” she said.
O M G.
I was even more delighted when I got home to open the box – the bottle is so pretty and even has a tortoise-shell cap!
To add a little more sparkle to this situation, she scanned my Beauty Insider card and saw I had a free birthday gift: I chose the Tarte set with the Matte Lip Paint in “Birthday Suit” (already used it and it’s the perfect nude) and the Clay 12-hour blush in “Pink Nude” (haven’t tried it just yet).
So, yeah – how perfect! This is my Monday motivation for you to persevere – even when it comes to perfume (ha)!
I still have my sampler set from LAST Christmas to tackle, but that’s a whole ‘nother adventure.
That’s right, I’ve been trying SO many different kinds of sunless tanners and bronzers ever since I got home from Vegas. I’ll be honest, I have always loved laying out in the sun. Even in high school, I’d lay out in my backyard (no pool present), complete with Sun-In in my hair (which looked really terrible) just to get that summer glow.
I’m not going to sit here and act like I’ve all of the sudden become super sun-conscious… Maybe a little but my recent obsession with a sunless glow is more about getting a good, even color (with no tan lines), and about time – it takes soooooo long to get a nice color and even though it’s fun to relax by the pool, sometimes there’s other things I’d rather be doing.
I used two sunless tanners during the winter months around the time I had dance performances, one was a gradual self-tanning lotion with added bronzer, which I liked but didn’t find I got much color from it, and I also used a foam – this gave great color but had a very strong tanning smell, and was hard not to get streaks, even using a tanning mitt.
So, the ones I’ve listed below are what I’ve used recently – some are self-tanners, some are just bronzers (the color washes off), and some have added firming because… cellulite.
Tan Towel – I’ve used this product before, but it had been awhile (I actually got a sample in my Birchbox a year ago), until I saw a pack of five in a clearance bin for $4!
If you’ve never used these, they are basically like a Wet Nap, but obviously have self-tanning agents.
The cool thing about these is there’s no need for a tanning mitt, and one towel is enough for face and your entire body. There is a slight scent, but it’s light and pleasant.
The tanner applies clear (which means you have to remember where you’ve already applied), but the color begins to appear with just a few hours. The color has always been streak-free for me, and looks natural. These are a win & especially great for travel.
NKD SKN Gradual Glow – I’ve seen this product on Birchbox.com and at Ulta, but was able to get a sample size on clearance (are you noticing a trend here?).
My first attraction to this product was that it’s organic, and even at full-price, it’s affordable.
Once I started using it, I realized it’s got quality ingredients – including aloe vera and vitamins – it makes for a really nice moisturizer and my skin felt healthy after using it just a few times. You can use this product on your face and body which is a bonus.
The color goes on clear (it’s a white lotion), and has little-to-no scent. I will say I didn’t notice a huge color difference when I used this, and I got about three applications from the sample.
On one hand, this is good because you don’t have to worry as much about messing up. On the other hand, it’s not good if you’re looking for deep color overnight. Perhaps continual use of this product would get richer after several back-to-back application.
However, this same brand has other sunless products, including tinted tanner and mousse, so those may be worth trying.
Jergen’s Natural Glow – After I used up my clearance rack finds, I needed to keep up my tan, so I picked this one up during my weekly grocery run.
It was $8 for a pretty big bottle, and it says it helps to firm skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite (I’m always looking for these types of things).
I got the “Medium to Tan” color in hopes of getting dark (or I guess as dark as you can get with sunless tanner). The scent is very light and pleasant.
The directions on the bottle suggest using this instead of a daily body lotion, because it is a gradual sunless tan. I haven’t been using it every day, but I put it on at least four times a week.
After two weeks, I can say I look pretty tan! The consistency of this lotion is pretty thick, which makes me feel like I’m doing wonders for my skin. I use this all over, and have tried it with and without a tanning mitt (doesn’t make much of a difference either way). A few times I got a little much around my ankles and toes, but a quick scrub and it was evened out.
Miracle Body Transformer Tinted Beauty Balm – I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I have always been insecure about my legs. Below the knee never tans well, so it looks weird with tan thighs (large ones, I should add) and white shins and feet.
As a makeup junkie, I have always dreamed of basically “foundation” for my entire body so I could just look glowy and hide all of my weird skin issues. So you can image how difficult it was for me not to jump up and down in TJ-Maxx when I saw this product on the clearance shelf (I know)! This “Beauty Balm” has so much going on, you just have to see the official product description:
A high performance treatment body enhancer with SPF20. Transform the appearance of arms, legs and decollate – you’ll see a difference instantly. Skin looks smoother, feels firmer, and is totally flawless. Powerful moisture magnets such as jojoba oil, soy amino and hyaluronic acids relieve dry skin keeping it hydrated and radiant. Marine extracts optimize skin rejuvenation for smoother, suppler, more radiant looking skin. MIRACLE SKIN TRANSFORMER SPF20 BODY contains the M3 Complex; designed to improve the look and feel of skin – all over: Hydrate – Dry, rough skin on legs, arms, and decollate feels incredibly softer, smoother and hydrated. Enhance – Leaves skin looking younger, brighter and totally luminous.
That’s right – it’s a bronzer/illuminator (it does have a shimmer), with an SPF, moisturizer, AND a firming lotion! The only thing that would make this product better is a sunless tanning agent. However, this is nice to slap on over your sunless tanner for an instant glow. And when you shower, it comes off.
The particular color I got was pretty dark, so I mixed it with some regular body lotion to thin it out a little. I was worried the color would rub off on my clothes, so I only wear it on my arms or legs when they’re going to be “out”, i.e. with a tank top or a skirt. I really love the way it makes my skin look!
Hide & Glow Sleek – I have been a huge fan of Bliss Spa products, especially their “Fat Girl Slim” line, where this product can be found.
I’ll admit, I bought this product thinking it was a sunless tanner, but upon reading the directions before I sprayed it on, I found it’s a bronzer/illuminator, but it also offers firming qualities.
Nonetheless, I sprayed it on my legs before wearing a skirt to work one day and I loved it. It’s very light in texture, not sticky, and offers a subtle glow.
I think this would be great for travel or even for an event wear you just need a quick hit of bronze (because I do!).
It’s a little pricy, but it’s a product you can’t really screw up, plus it is clinically proven to firm skin! The scent is very light, as is the shimmer. There are two color options, so you may really be able to get some rich glow from it.
I’d love to know what sunless tanning products you’ve tried and loved (or hated)! Bring it on, summer!
Over the last few months, I have been testing several different primers under my daily makeup to see which one I like best.
Primers seem to be all the rage, given that basically every cosmetic brand has one – but how are we supposed to know what’s going to work for us? Because I have a Birchbox subscription, I have been able to sample three great options that I’m going to share with you here, today!
But first, what the heck IS a primer? The Huffington Post offered a great, simple explanation: Makeup primer is a base for foundation or face makeup that allows it to go on smoother and last longer.
Primer can come in the form of sprays, gels, creams, and even powder. While most users apply primer prior to applying tinted moisturizer, concealer, and/or foundation, it can also be worn alone.
I have been applying my primer after my moisturizer, but before my concealer and foundation, which seems to work. The three primers I want to share with you today are all creams and gels. Personally, I’m not sure I’d trust a spray or powder primer.
Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer – Sephora Collection
According to Sephora.com, this is a makeup primer that perfects the appearance of skin and prolongs the wear of foundation. This primer softens the appearance of imperfections, prolongs the wear of your foundation, and keeps you looking flawless longer.
Infused with hydrating ceramides, this formula moisturizes and smooths, while protecting with antioxidant-rich vitamins E and A.
This product is not tested on animals, and does not contain parabens. This primer can be used on the eyes to smooth and enhance wear of eyeshadow.
This product is dermatologist tested, non-comedogenic, and comes in an airless pump bottle for freshness.
This is the primer I’m currently using, and I really like it. It goes on very smooth, and leaves a matte look that feels very soft and light on my skin. It’s clear, so you don’t have to worry about which shade to choose.
$29.99 for .5 ounces
Prime Time – Bare Minerals
According to Ulta.com, this primer helps to combat enlarged pores. Uneven texture. Flaky dryness. We’ve all had complexion problems. That’s why we created Prime Time, which prepares your skin for seamless coverage with bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation. Apply it first for the smooth, evenly textured complexion you’ve been waiting for.
Combats rough patches, flaky dryness, fine lines, excess oil, uneven texture and enlarged pores so that your foundation goes on flawlessly.
Extends the wear of your foundation, keeping you looking fresh for longer.
Soothes and nourishes with plant extracts, antioxidants and vitamins C and E.
Free of preservatives and irritants so that your skin feels great.
Silky formula glides on without any stickiness.
For Christmas, I got a sample pack of Bare Minerals makeup – I’d never tried it before and the kit contained this primer, the mineral veil foundation, an eyeshadow duo, and a lip gloss. I have quickly come to love all of it!
This primer is very, very similar to the Sephora mentioned above: it’s clear, has a gel-like consistency, and offers a smooth, matte finish. While in some stores, it is a little more pricy than the Sephora brand, it takes about a pea-size drop to cover the entire face, and has a very light feeling.
$19.30 for 1 ounce
Radiant Primer – IPKN New York
According to Birchbox.com, great foundation requires, well, a great foundation. This creamy SPF 15 primer creates a smooth, radiant canvas for makeup, refining pores and enhancing skin tone. And thanks to the blend of nourishing fruit extracts and shimmer pearl powder, your skin will glow whether you’re wearing this under foundation or under nothing at all.
This was the first primer that I tried and I loved that it was lightly tinted. I have red areas on my skin and blemishes that I’m always trying to cover up, so why not start building the mask with a primer?
I also appreciate that it has an SPF! The only reason I didn’t make this my favorite was because it has more of a glossy finish – and I prefer the matte. However, if matte isn’t your thing, this is a great starter.
It’s light, great for the skin, and could be worn alone. And it’s got a great price!
$22 for 1.3 ounces.
I am still trying additional primers, so perhaps I’ll report back with something even better! If there’s one you’re using that you love, tell me about it in the comments.
One thing, among many, that has super sucked is my skin past the age of 25. Then, I chalked it up to my years working in the service industry, surrounded by smoke and guzzling way too much alcohol.
My skin at that point, was so bad, that after trying everything – from basic cleansers and treatments to the complete ProActive skincare line, I started getting professional facials once a week. My face was covered in zits, and not only was it embarrassing, it was very painful.
But, the facials were working (although they were also very painful and expensive) and over time, I was able to go once a month, and my skin was clearing up. Despite having gone through it all, I try to keep my skin routine simple – I am not someone who wants to spend 30 minutes at the sink before bed. I’m tired – which is probably why my skin looks haggard.
Currently, my skincare routine goes a little something like this: at night, I remove my makeup using a makeup remover towel. It requires no chemicals, and is so soft – it’s quite nice. Then, I use my Clarisonic brush along with the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleanser.
Usually, every other night, I do a face mask of some sort, but other than that, that’s it! I’m currently debating using a night cream, so if you use one you love, please tell me!
In the morning, I skip the cleanser and use Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover to get any mascara that’s creeped up from the night before, and then I use Formula 10.0.6 Acne Astringent all over my face, followed by Liz Earle Tonic Spritzer.
So, pretty simple. I leave it up to my collection of face masks to take care of any “specialty” skin issues. A few months ago, I was reading all these articles about how Korean skincare regimens were all the rage, but these suckers were like 12-steps! Hells no!
If you doubt me, go to Ulta and find the entire AISLE dedicated to all the Korean stuff (at the very least, it’s got cute packaging). I did try a bubbly foam cleanser in one of my monthly Birchboxes, and it was very luxurious.
And they’ve also introduced us to the sheet face mask. Here we were, just slathering green clay onto our faces like slobs, when everyone in the eastern hemisphere was simply slipping on a sheet mask while sipping tea.
While I’ve tried several sheet masks over the last year, I am still trying to figure out the hype, so I asked for “various face masks” for Christmas, and I got exactly what I asked for. So, here’s four different sheet masks I’ve used in the last month, and what I thought.
Lanocreme Manuka Honey Intensely Nourishing & Revitalising Formula
Description: Lanocrème Manuka Honey Face Mask is a rich formulation infused with a unique combination of New Zealand ingredients including UMF Manuka Honey to intensely nourish and moisturise dry skin. The activity of the UMF Honey, recognised for its remarkable nourishing and revitalising properties helps soothe and moisturise the skin whilst Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid promotes firmness. Enriched with UMF Manuka Honey, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera and Argan Oil. Each pack contains 5 individual face masks in their own sachet.
This is the second honey-based mask I’ve done in the last few months, and I just love them. This one really left my skin feeling great. You only have to leave it on for 10 minutes, but you do have to rinse your face afterward, which I’m not a huge fan of.
The other bonus is that unlike most sheet masks, its pretty well-priced – a box of 5 sells for $16 on Amazon (get it here).
Hyaluronic Acid Face Mask (Animated Penguin) by Creme Shop
Description: Animate your skin with The Crème Shop Shop’s Animal Masks! Keep your skin smooth and dewy like a penguin’s perfectly polished coat. Infused with hyaluronic acid, this ultra-moisturizing face mask quenches your skin’s thrist or an effortless, radiant glow.
- Infused with hyaluronic acid
- Unparalleled hydration
- Made in Korea
So, this one is a penguin face, which is cute! It’s a little pricier at $4 a pop (here), but would be fun if you were having a pampering party. This one requires a little more face time (ha, ha) – 15 minutes, but you don’t have to rinse or dry once its done.
I normally don’t mind keeping a mask on for awhile, sometimes hours, but the sheet masks are chilly, and I find I can’t do much while they’re on (you know, like drink wine). Could just be a personal problem.
IPKN Dia Goat Milk Black Mask
Description: Fresh New Zealand goat milk and real diamond powder in premium charcoal mask supplies highly effective nutrition with whitening and baby skin-like complexion.
This one was my favorite out of the bunch. It was soothing, and really made my skin feel nourished. My only complaint? Why is the mask black? Goat’s milk is white. Is it the charcoal? I hope it was black for a good reason, because it was just sort of creepy-looking.
But other than that, this was a quality mask. The sheet itself was very thick, which felt more substantial, and didn’t feel like it was going to tear. Plus, you leave it on for up to 20 minutes, and then you simply peel it off and “pat the essence into your skin”. You can get a pack of 10 for $25 here.
Look Beauty Pretty Animalz Panda
Description: This Panda Character Print Sheet Mask provides intensive hydration while Lavender helps to calm skin with its aromatic and skin soothing properties.
Aside from looking like a little panda, I’ll give this mask props for smelling wonderfully of lavender. I used it before bed just a few nights ago and felt nice and relaxed. This is another one that stays on a little longer – up to 20 minutes – and you can just leave any remaining mask on the skin.
So, there you have it! The honey and the goat’s milk were my favorite, but I think I’ll keep trying others just to see what’s out there. If you haven’t tried one yet, definitely take a look.
There are all sorts of brands that make them, but I’d recommend looking at each mask’s ingredients before purchasing – no parabens should be in the mask. I also found a pretty informative article on sheet masks if you’re interested.
Happy at-home spa-ing!
I’ve been searching for the perfect pair of destroyed denim for MONTHS. Let’s face facts – 90’s fashion is back in the form of loose, flannel shirts; graphic tees, and destroyed denim so ripped, it puts Abercrombie to shame. And I LOVE it.
But, when I started shopping around for said denim, I found that the prices were way out of my budget, and downright ridiculous. I don’t want to pay $80 for pristine denim, let alone a pair that looks like it’s been hit by a truck. Some of the pairs I came across were even more than $100, and one pair was $1,000! Shew!
I knew there had to be a way around it, and I was excited to see that one of my favorite fashion bloggers whom I follow on SnapChat and Instagram was offering her tips on DIY destroyed denim. Her name is Kathleen, and her blog is “Carrie Bradshaw Lied”. She collaborated with The Every Girl to offer her distressed denim tips.
For her project, Kathleen bought a pair of men’s denim from Forever 21 – as she was going for a baggy look. Me, however, I do lots of my shopping at Goodwill, and after a few weeks of hunting, I bought two pair of jeans to destroy. I bought one super skinny pair of light, stretch denim for $4, and a pair of darker, more straight-leg jeans for $7.
For step one, Kathleen says to put the jeans on and mark where you want distressed areas, using a marker. So, I tried on my jeans and got in front of a mirror to make my marks. I also took a look at some of the pictures I’d saved over the months for inspiration – I have loads of pics and clips for fashion ideas and I use them for help in times like these!
After marking, it’s time to start destroying (after you take the jeans off)! Kathleen suggests using scissors, sandpaper, and tweezers to get the job done. So, I gathered up those supplies and got started on the skinny stretch denim first. I started with the sandpaper – I had a variety pack I’d gotten at the Dollar Tree awhile back and tried various pieces on the jeans.
It does give the jeans a faded look, but you’ve really got to work at it. I wanted mine to be pretty faded and ripped, so I searched my apartment for additional tools. I ended up finding: a beer bottle cap, a wine opener, a serrated bread knife, and a bristly sponge.
It’s about this time I should suggest putting on a good movie or TV series, because this process takes HOURS. Who knew denim was so, so sturdy? After getting some good faded spots, I made slits using scissors and the wine opener. Of course, you don’t have to cut actual holes if that’s not the look you’re going for.
You can use the tweezers to pull out the denim threads (that run vertical) and that will reveal only the white, horizontal threads if you’re going for that look – which I love. However, this does take time.
I made some sections using the tweezers, and also used the wine opener to rip small holes and pull white threads through. You could also splatter white (or any color) paint on the jeans for added flair.
While it seems like a long process, I enjoyed a “craft” project that forced me to sit on my couch and watch some TV on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve worked on my jeans a little each night, and found it’s a nice way to wind down. And, at the end of the project we’re all going to have completely custom, destroyed denim that didn’t break the bank. I consider that a major win!
A few months ago, I was invited to be a +1 at a fall wedding. I quickly said yes, as it was a guy I really liked, and I also realized that I’ve never been asked to be a serious +1. Sure, I’ve gone with girlfriends and guy friends, but never as a real date.
Given that was wedding is in the fall, and in Indiana, I quickly started looking up ideas on what to wear. Sure, it would be chilly out, but not quite cold enough to constitute tights, so I needed something chic (the bride is super gorgeous and sure to have quality taste) and of course, sexy.
The guy and I have since stopped talking, so I have no need for these looks anymore. However, some of them were so adorable, I had to share. If you’re going to a fall wedding in the coming months, maybe you can snag one of these looks and tell me how it goes!
Of course, the look you choose depends a lot on the time of day of the wedding – day or night wedding – and the location, an outdoor look will be different than an indoor one. But I’m all about finding a fabulous coat!
So, I saw a lot of these looks (above) with the flowy, tule skirts and a more fitted top. I know these are more fun and whimsical than sexy, but I love them! I especially love the gray and taupe on the far left; I would never dare to wear white to a wedding, but if you know the bride well enough, I saw do YOU.
Given that I will find any excuse to wear sequins or sparkles, this look (left) was my top choice. I am definitely a fan of choosing what you want to show vs. what to keep hidden, and this look balances that perfectly – shows off the legs, accentuates curves, but hides the arms.
I probably would have gone for more of a beige shoe, to keep the focus on the dress. Here’s a cute gold dress I found, that has back detail and shows off the arm – if you’re into that (I’m self-conscious about my upper arm). I also found a cute black dress that is long-sleeved, but just has sequin detailing, instead of solid sequins.
Too afraid to go all out with the sequins? Understandable. You could still wear a sparkly pencil skirt, or any skirt, and then pair it with a simple, plain top, and/or a jacket that will tone things down a bit. Here’s a longer pencil skirt that comes in silver or dark green sequins, and I also found a floor-length gold sparkly skirt that would be SUPER chic!
I stumbled across these next two looks (right), which are both more structure, but look incredibly cool, and I think you could wear either one at a day or a night wedding, depending on how you did hair and accessories.
Given that we’re all voting for Hillary this November, why not give a nod to her pantsuit look with this chic little number? The pants hit the floor, so simple shoes would work, and I love the way the hair is styled in this picture. You could also go for a colored blazer if it’s an outdoor wedding.
The dress? I really just love the blazer-like neckline and sleeves, and the gold belt. It looks really put together, minus the massive bag she has. Always go for the clutch – the giant bag looks more like an office look, and weddings are not for work.
So, there you have it – some fall wedding looks for guests. Maybe I’ll still get a sequined dress for myself and hop on over to a martini bar with a friend. It’s been a minute since I’ve been to a wedding – it seems as though everyone is already married. But, I’m a fan of weddings, mainly because there’s cake and champagne involved. So, cheers to fall weddings!
I don’t want to call it “high-maintenance”, because A. I hate that term, and B. It’s not about material things or money, it’s just about the fact that my beauty regimen is endless.
In my early twenties, I can easily say that I pretty much looked the same with or without makeup. Now, I have always loved wearing makeup – I love putting it on, and I love experimenting with new things, different looks.
But now? The makeup isn’t really an option. My skin is tired. Part of this is because I spent way too much time in the tanning bed as a teenager, and probably because I’ve never gotten enough water. And well, now, I’m just getting old.
It’s not just about the makeup – my skincare routine is no longer just “take off makeup” or slapping a simple pump of orange Neutrogena on my face. It involves makeup removers, brushes to wash, specialty soaps, moisturizers and tightening creams, and of course, face masks almost daily.
There’s also the other areas of my body – my skin all over that probably can’t get enough moisturizer, and hair-inhibiting gels, and creams that fight cellulite. I use body scrubs in hopes of softening my skin, and shaving my legs? It doesn’t leave them as silky smooth as it once did. Bronzers and sunless tanners help with the tiny sunspots on my shins.
Hair? My hair is probably one of my least concerns, but that’s because I make a standing appointment for a cut, color, and deep condition. I do use color-safe shampoo and conditioner, and once a week I do an in-shower protein treatment. But for the most part, my hair has not been affected by my age (if there’s gray under the brown/red, I’ve got no clue and I’m okay with that!).
Nails. I feel like the at-home mani-pedi just isn’t cutting it. I’m not to the point where I regularly get manicures or pedicures (I’m a little too cheap for that), but no matter how long I spend soaking my feet or how carefully I file my nails, it just never looks that great.
According to Allure magazine, our skin cells start to dull around age 30, which is why we’ve got to do more to get that “glow” back. Le sigh.
I know it’s something I’m forced to accept; and some of it is kind of nice (I’ll take a nice facial or a mani-pedi any day). But it’s just one of those things… I’d love to know what some of your favorite products are, or how your beauty and skincare regimen has changed over the years.
I’m heading to the beach TOMORROW, and yes, this makeup junkie is not leaving home without her stash of cosmetics. I know what you’re thinking – ugh, don’t be THAT girl at the beach.
In all truth, I don’t think I’ve ever been to the beach wearing makeup, but I think I’ve just reached a point wear I don’t really feel comfortable going without it. And, if it helps my case at all, I’m going to a music festival, where there will be thousands of people, shirtless dudes, and selfies. That’s more the reason why I’m choosing to wear makeup.
But, I will also say that, after digging through my stash, I found lots of products that will be appropriate for the sun and sand – I am not going to wear my full face; I just want to even out my skin and appear very glow-y. So, here’s what I’ve packed, my beach-friendly makeup:
Silky Sheer BB Cream (tinted) with SPF 30 by L’Oreal – I’m using this instead of concealer and foundation. L’Oreal Paris Advanced Suncare introduces its first-ever BB facial broad spectrum sunscreen. It protects skin with a patented UVA/UVB filter and evens skin for a healthy tinted complexion. This multi-acting formula is infused with powerful antioxidants vitamin E and white grape seed to help keep skin healthy and youthful-looking.
Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30 by COOLA – This unscented and lightly tinted formula is made with natural rose hip oil which is rich in free radical fighting vitamin c. Naturally calming evening primrose and flax seed oils deliver abundant omega-3 and gamma-linoleic acid to improve elasticity and help skin retain moisture. Natural shea butter smoothes and hydrates while the phyto-protector plankton extract rejuvenates skin. Formulated for all skin types and tones, including those that are especially sensitive or oily.
Brightening Illuminator by Cynthia Rowley – This velvety highlighter works for all skin tones, delivering a subtle sheen that lights up your features. It’s an ace at strobing, or just adding a little extra brightness to cheekbones, brows, and the inner corners of your eyes.
Water Resistant Blush in Los Cabos by Cargo – This sweatproof, weatherproof blush has been tested by the make-up artists for Dancing with the Stars on the latest live tour. Water resistant blush stood up to hours of dancing. This long-wearing formula withstands moisture so you don’t have to fuss with re-application. Specially formulated with a unique silicone-coated powder that provides better adhesion to the skin and withstands water.
Eye shadow duo in Beach & Bridge by Cargo This duo of two highly pigmented eye shadows takes inspiration from the sand, water, and foliage found on the coast. Use Beach on the lid and Bridge in the crease.
Shimmer eyeliner pencil in black by E.L.F. – The smooth formulation glides on effortlessly without tugging at the delicate eye area. These pencils are designed to add depth, definition and a special sparkle to create a very glamorous look. Each pencil includes a convenient sharpener cap for easy use.
Illuminating Palette in Catwalk Pink by Wet n Wild – Illuminating powder in four harmonious shades can be used individually or together on face, cheeks and body for a luminescent radiance.
Lip Balmer in Mint with SPF 15 by Mission Skincare – With powerful sun protection and a long-lasting, vitamin-enriched formula, MISSION Mint Lip Balmer SPF 15 is clinically proven to lock in moisture for up to 8 hours. It can withstand some of the harshest environments, so you know it can handle your busy lifestyle. Our Mint Lip Balmer contains natural moisturizing ingredients that keep lips feeling smooth and soft, whether you’re in the heat of competition or out on the town.
See? Nothing too heavy; I still want to look natural, and most of these products have an SPF. I am most excited to try the products by Cargo – I’m really curious about the water-resistant blush, and the Beach & Bridge eye shadows are so pretty!
I will also say that 75% of these products came in Birchboxes I’ve gotten over the last few months. Not familiar with Birchbox? It’s a monthly subscription, and for $10/month, you get a box of high-end samples (usually 5-6 samples) that are picked just for you, based on a profile you create.
I look forward to getting the box each month, and as you can tell, I love being able to try products I wouldn’t otherwise be able to try. And, if you buy the full-size product, you earn points and can use the points for cash toward more products (I used points to get $20 off my Clarisonic brush). Check out Birchbox here.
Alright, I should probably go finish packing. But don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging! See y’all right here, tomorrow!