Let’s talk Skincare routine

You might of seen this comical gem floating around online. We’ve all been there, girl, there’s no shame!

Around the end of November and beginning of December I did some reflecting on where my skin care routine was at (ahem, inconsistent, bordering on non-existent.) and where I wanted it to be. Luckily I do have pretty good skin and if I stray away from my skincare routine I don’t suffer too horribly. That being said I still see the odd bit of acne or imperfection. I always kick myself when they pop up because I know how to prevent them, I know how to look after my skin, I know how to do all the good things… so when I see the imperfection pop up I know I could have done better and prevented it.

As I’ve built my current routine I thought I’d share it with all of you lovely souls.

Now, I’ll say this, too: This is my current routine but it has not been my only successful routine. I sometimes go through “phases” of skincare, make up, shampoo and conditioner, etc. So an honourable mention goes out to Kate Somerville products. The “ExfoliKate” and “EradiKate” lines did absolute wonders for my skin and the results came almost instantly. I purchased these products while struggling with a major breakout at the recommendation of a Sephora consultant.

They’re expensive as hell. I decided not to continue using these products partially because of the price tag. I don’t hesitate to recommend them, though, because if you’ve got the finances to support this habit they are a great investment and you’re skin will look flawless.

Where I’m at currently is still not cheap, exactly, but it’s affordable by comparison and the results justify the investment. I’ve been using the OLEHENRIKSEN product line. I’ve used this collection in the past which helped me to be confident redeveloping my routine around these products now.

This is also one of the first times I’ve developed a morning routine and an evening routine that were at all distinct from each other. While separate there is some overlap between them. So let’s dig in to what I’m using.

Morning

Truth Juice Daily Cleanser

How can you not love starting the day with a cleanser that smells like oranges? It’s one of the most pleasant scents I’ve ever had in a cleanser without being overpowering. It makes my skin feel soft and creates an instant glow.

Balance Force Oil Control Toner

This is a good, reliable toner. I have naturally oily skin so as much as I appreciate the moisturizing effect of the Truth Juice DailY Cleanser I still need to control and balance that out a little bit.

C-Rush Brightening Double Creme

This is a super rich, thick, moisturizing cream. I go very light and only apply a very thin layer of it, but that little bit goes a long way. It keeps my skin soft, relaxes any pesky fine lines, and builds on the glowy effect of the cleanser.

Evening

Find your Balance Oil Control Cleanser

Like I said, my skin can be a bit oily so at the end of the day it’s nice to wash all that away with this cleanser. it simply makes my skin feel clean and fresh.

Balance Force Oil Control Toner makes another appearance

A match made in heaven, same as before. This is a good “goes with anything” toner. Especially having somewhat oily skin I’m never not going to benefit from a little oil control and and since this toner makes that it’s primary objective it’s a good pairing with basically any other product.

Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Creme

This cream is a little lighter than the C-Rush Brightening Double Creme but it’s still a bit heavy if I’m not careful. It’s formulated with an alternative to retinol for anti-aging effects but mostly I just like feeling as though my skin is being taken care of while I sleep.

Occasional

Transforming Walnut Scrub

I can’t say enough about this scrub. First and foremost I switched to it as an exfoliating scrub when conventional exfoliating scrubs were becoming controversial due to the teensy tiny plastic beads being drained in to sewage and water systems. I love that the exfoliant here is created from natural material. Beyond that it’s hands down the best exfoliating scrub I’ve ever used. Now, it is heavily abrasive so it’s not a daily cleanser. I use it 1-2 times weekly, as needed.

But the best part – the results!

Here’s a little selfie snapped just for you as I finished writing this. No make up – no filters. Okay, the lash extensions and henna brows go a long way to creating an awesome “woke up like this” vibe, but the over all smoothness of my skin comes from the products I just shared and finally getting myself in to the habit of actually using them consistently.

Don’t Forget!

Stay hydrated and make an effort to eat your fruits and veggies. Your diet won’t make or break your skin – but it can help or hinder your efforts! Your skin is a part of your body and will reflect what you’re putting in to it similarly to your energy levels and over all feeling of health.

Will drinking your water (this is especially important) and eating well mean that you never have any skin issues and don’t need a skin care routine at all? No, not quite. However it’s the kind of caring for yourself that works in harmony.

What are you fave skincare tips? Drop a comment and share your secrets!

Let’s Stay Connected

Recovery Days Don’t Mean Defeat

When it comes to fitness, improving our strength and losing weight, our bodies need rest. We have a culture that’s really turned us against that, though. A culture that’s normalized working out 6-7 days a week and made rest feel like a synonym for lazy, or weak, when it is neither of those things.

What if we change the vocabulary. What if our rest day or days weren’t called rest days, but instead recovery time? Recovery as a word celebrates and acknowledges the effort and work we are doing. Instead of insinuating that we are unable to go on, as rest has come to, recovery tends to weave itself in to the fitness route. While rest is seen as separate from our workout routine, a break from it, we see recovery as an integrated part of a workout schedule. Fitness influencers and trainers support this with suggesting stretches, foam rolling and specific nutrition for recovery. It’s part of taking care of your muscles, your cardiovascular system, and your mind.

Now let’s be clear – rest and recovery are the same thing. We aren’t really talking about different processes. We’re talking about two words that can be used to describe varying your schedule, relaxing, caring for your body outside of the gym. However we’ve allowed a culture that pushes us to feel we’ve never done enough to hijack one of these words – rest – and make it feel like a guilty pleasure instead of a key component in our routine.

So maybe in order to move foreword we need to change the vocabulary. We need to remind ourselves that there’s nothing guilty in listening to our bodies and claiming what we need.

A key reason I think this is so important is that when we treat rest as failure we allow it to overwhelm us. If the rest day isn’t built in to the routine – or we feel guilty about taking our rest day since most reputable programs do include at least one rest day – then instead of feeling refreshed we will feel anxious about the time we took to rest.

This is something I encountered this week. Normally Saturdays are a low intensity day for me and Sundays are a complete rest day. However with gyms re-opening and a little extra motivation I worked my ass off all weekend – literally.

Then on Monday – my normal legs and booty day – I hit a wall. Hard.

Okay, I thought, a rest day. Not a problem. I didn’t rest on the weekend so resting now is okay. Not a problem. Let’s do it. It should have been refreshing and energizing. I should have woken up on Tuesday at least sort of excited to step back in to my routine. But I didn’t. I woke up anxious that I wasn’t on my routine and that anxiety was paralyzing.

Did I want to jump in to my regular Tuesday Abs and Cardio? Did I need to double my workout and also get Mondays workout done? What was going on with the fact I really didn’t want to do any of it?

So I didn’t.

Now I went to the gym on the weekend but it wasn’t my gym. Gyms were allowed to reopen as of Friday so I visited a local one that had done so. However my gym opened on Wednesday so that was my first opportunity to get back in familiar territory.

Thankfully that was the push I needed to take a step back in to my week and not let my Monday-Tuesday off stretch towards the rest of the week. But what if it had been a normal Wednesday with no gym reopening to get me motivated?

I’ve been there before – when one day turns to two turns to three turns to a week and then six months and I am totally derailed by a day or a few days of feeling that my rest was a problem and that I’d failed and not knowing how to recover from that failure. While I’m grateful that there were outside forces – an accountability partner and a re-opened gym – to help me find my way this week – it’s really gotten me thinking.

Recovery is so key and listening to your body is a way to avoid catastrophic failure, injury, and burn out. So why don’t we normalize it? Why do we still celebrate stretching over our natural limits to such an extreme level? I know there is a tide of change working to push back but with the virus and everything going on, it can’t come soon enough.

Apple Watch versus Fitbit

I know a lot of us are spending way more time at home and fall somewhere in between eating everything in sight and frantically redeveloping our fitness routines. I thought it was about time I pull this piece out of drafts, blow off the dust and post it.

Anyone who knows me knows that saying I like Apple products is putting it mildly. I love the way my devices work together and that makes it easy to choose Apple whenever I need a new device.

So a while back I thought I’d upgrade from a Fitbit Alta and add an Apple Watch series 2 to my Apple family. For the first little while that watch and I got along wonderfully. Pairing it with my phone was easy. If you’ve ever had 2 apple products you know how well they’re designed to work together. My iPhone, iPad and MacBook have always encouraged a seamless transfer of information. It was no surprise that my watch worked with my phone exactly as advertised.

Still, I found with time I wore the watch less and less until finally I pulled my old fitbit out of the drawer and relaunched my fitbit account.

Now, thanks to my parents and Christmas I’ve even upgraded from that old Fitbit Alta that I bought in University to a Fitbit Charge 3. I love it so much.

Here’s a few points of comparison that are key for me. Read it all or skim through and find the points of comparison that matter to you.

Wearability

If you’re comparing the Apple Watches currently available to the Fitbit’s currently available one thing is clear from the very start: Fitbit offers a lot more choice.

Apple Watch is Apple Watch – that’s pretty much it. You might be able to pick up a model from another year with slightly different materials (aluminum versus stainless steel), and if you go back to series 2 you can maybe find a 38mm watch versus a 42mm watch. But realistically there’s only one style of Apple Watch with minor differences to warrant different price points.

Fitbit on the other hand offers slim and simplistic trackers that are a little more “dainty” alongside the larger screened model intended to compete with Apple Watch.

When I purchased my Apple Watch, series 2 was the current lineup. I chose a 38mm black stainless steel model. I loved the dark, shiny metallic look for this watch but damn was it heavy. It doesn’t help that it really does look best paired with a black stainless classic link band (a knock off of Apple’s $600 band that I picked up for $50 online). If I wore it with a sport band it would be way lighter but it would lack a certain shiny style pairing that stainless steal watch with a rubber band.

I denied it for as long as I could but honestly the thing was just too big for my wrist. It took up like my whole arm, it seemed. Visually it seemed even heavier because of it’s dark colour. The actual heaviness of it could be dealt with for daytime wear but I noticed that if I wore it continuously while sleeping (since sleep tracking is an advertised capability) my wrist would start to ache after only 2 or 3 days.

Fitbit on the other hand is much lighter – I haven’t experienced all fitbit models, of course. The fitbit alta and the fitbit charge 3 both are very light, and I honestly forget it’s there. It’s so light it never causes any aches or issues.

Plus the smaller profile on my wrist fits in to my style a lot better. I can add a bracelet or decorative hair tie and accessorize. With Apple Watch adding any bracelets or anything just made my wrist look even more cluttered. I was drawn back to fitbit in part for the ability to accessorize.

Information on your Wrist

One of the big draws for the Apple Watch is the claim that it can put basically all your information and notifications on your wrist.

It does deliver a lot of information. There’s no denying that.

But then again, so does Fitbit. Even though the Alta wasn’t the most up to date model of Fitbit it still picked up and displayed my text messages. Later models of Fitbit even allow you to reply while Alta only allows reading. Fitbit Charge 3 also allows reading only although the format is much better than Alta’s. The smartwatch version would allow some reply capability. Phone call notifications are delivered as well with a display of the caller ID and vibrations to alert me on both Alta and Charge 3.

The issue with Apple Watch here isn’t that it doesn’t deliver. It delivers the information but it’s not as useful as you might think. While yes, technically, there’s a lot of built in capability to do tasks such as replying to messages, viewing photos, or adding notes to your reminders app etc, in reality why would you do that on a 38mm-42mm screen when you could pull your phone out and use that screen?

By the time you put in the effort to navigate the tasks on your wrist, holding the watch at an odd angle and probably hitting the wrong tiny button once or twice, you might as well just get your phone out.

Battery Life

Well it is true that the Apple Watch delivers a little more information and has more customizable watch faces this takes a toll on its battery life. If I really used the capabilities of the watch – reading notifications, occasionally completing tasks, and relying on it day in and day out as advertised I’ll also be charging it day in and day out. Or at least every 2-3 days.

Meanwhile I have to ask myself when I last charged my fitbit because it lasts like a week at a time. Charging is a rare need, which is a surprise given that I do maximize my use of it by actively tracking my heart rate through workouts, checking the time and date a dozen times a day and tracking walking and running work outs.

Social Connection

I love that with both devices you can challenge friends to see who can get the most steps or crush their goals. The thing is… in both cases you can only really compete with someone who has the same device as you – or at least one in the same family. Let me tell you, there’s a lot more fitbit users out there. It’s a lot easier to find friends to compete with on fitbit.

It doesn’t hurt that one of those other fitbit users is my boyfriend so we can cheer each other on. Nothing gets me moving like the pride of reminding him over dinner that I kicked his butt in our step goals and move goals.

Motivation

That social competition feeds in to this piece too. Both companies advertise their devices as a tool to add motivation and push you to be your best self. They both do a good job with reminder notifications prompting you to move, drink water, etc. Realistically though that better version of yourself happens with or without the device. It’s all about you taking the actions and making the choices that need to happen.

Conclusion

So – all this to provide some thoughts on Apple Watches versus Fitbits for those of us wanting a piece of every day smart wearable technology that helps us out with fitness and then some.

Do you wear a smart watch or activity tracker? What do you use, what do you love and why?

Seashell & Mermaid

Just wanted to pop in with a plug for my cute little etsy shop Seashell & Mermaid =)

Here’s a few of my fave designs – but I also do custom work! Think that sweet t-shirt you’ve always wished you could find, or sets for bachelorette and besties groups! Just drop me a line and we can talk about styles, colours and everything else to make your vision a reality.

Find all my designs here:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/SeashellandMermaid

Change your Hair, Change your Life

Many of my readers will know I’m going through some massive life changes right now and what better way to celebrate all forms of change than to change my hair?

I’ve done a lot of colour changes from dark red to bright red, to purple, blue and even green. Of course putting all those colours in required bleaching my hair as they wouldn’t have shown nearly as well on my natural brown shade. Still, the last time I put blonde in my hair for any purpose other than making other colours show up was in high school. Back then I couldn’t handle the toning process – it irritated and burned my scalp. Therefore the toner came off too early and my blonde was always yellow. Yuck.

No wonder I decided blonde wasn’t for me and started only using bleach to support other colours, like purple.

Today however it seems the toning products are a bit gentler and I’m a bit tougher. I’m so happy these things are true because I’ve totally fallen in love with my blonde hair and plan to keep adding blonde and perfecting my shade.

Don’t worry, I still sneak a little pastel pink in to keep it fun.

The other change – and truly the more major change is the length. I had insanely long hair that people routinely thought was fake because they couldn’t imagine I’d actually grown it out.

It was proof of my patience. Like 8 years of patience. I cut it to a short bob before moving to University and I hadn’t cut it since. Until now.

I suppose I’ve less patience now for anything that holds me back.

And damn. It feels good.

Okay, y’all know I’m going to grow it right back out. That’s just what I do. But for so long I was seriously afraid to cut it. I cringed at the thought of a trim and flat out cried the day I actually cut it.

That poor hairdresser.

Still I am loving the freshness and having so much fun with it. Yes, it will grow long again but next time I won’t be so afraid of the change when it’s time for a cut.

Check out the before and after to see how big this change has been!

What’s been your biggest hair change? Did you love it? Hate it? I wanna hear all about it!

Celebrating Ten Pounds Lost!

*I wrote this a little while ago and got shy about publishing it. Expect another update soon!

I’ve written again and again about the struggle of weight loss. I always feel like I’m starting over. I am still feeling like every week I must be starting over. Like every time I eat something that’s a little less than healthy alarm bells go off and I feel like I have to start over on being healthy. It’s ridiculous and I know that I have to work through that. I haven’t ended my fitness journey every time I have a cheat meal or get busy and miss the gym.

So – finally I get to post a celebration post! I’m officially down 10 pounds! Many of us might be familiar with the cycle of trying to lose weight – losing some – losing motivation – gaining weight back. The most I’ve ever lose has been 10 pounds. Well this time the motivation isn’t going anywhere!

That picture was taken at the CN tower and was probably around the time I was approaching the most I ever weighed. I can’t remember exactly but I know there were more confident times in my life. I have very clear memories of putting that outfit together simply to hide the rolls and using the scarf to feel like maybe I could hide the chubbiness in my face and neck. I was just so pleased the scarf and sweater were cute together and the necklace helped to make the whole thing look intentional. But it wasn’t.

It’s taken about 2 months to get from the heaviest I’ve ever been to where I am today. Even if that progress isn’t the fastest a lot of work has happened. In those two months I’ve seriously cut back my calories. It’s funny because I’ve counted calories in the past. Realistically I never stopped knowing what a portion size looked and felt like. I just stopped paying attention and let my portions get a little out of control. Now that I’m refocused on making sure that I account for what I eat it’s amazing how much better I feel and how much I was able to cut out.

I’ve also done better at getting to the gym regularly. The last week and a half has been a little wonky and busy – we’ve been on the road a lot and it’s been tough to get to the gym. Over all though I’m doing well with the 3x a week every week and sometimes 4x or 5x a week gym routine. I know I’ll get back on track in the coming week and keep that statement true.

People are truly always looking for the secret or the magic trick. I’m included in that. I would love a magic trick so I could stop asking “How many calories is that? How much can I have?” Nonetheless, it’s actually as simple as nutritionists have been telling us all along.

Eat well. Keep moving.

How your pre-summer fitness journeys going? =) If you use My Fitness Pal we can be friends – find me by username ohmymermaidblog =)

Ranting about Beauty Products that Suck

I don’t really know where I got the idea that I should settle on products that I love and am loyal to.  Maybe it’s some marketing ploy or maybe I just made it up.  I guess I do have my faves but I love trying new products.  One of these days I’ll do a post about my faves because if I love them, anyone can love them. Let’s be real… I’m no beauty queen, no makeup artist, truly, no expert. Just a girl who loves a bold lip.

Anyway, as I was touching up my hair color and browsing new makeup products online I got thinking and thus, this post (ahem, rant) was born.

Can we talk about lip products?

There are so many of these lip products out there that everyone praises but then you start digging in and there are 16 steps to get it to actually look nice. Ummmmm… hard no.  I am JUST coming around to the idea of a primer and only with the idea that I might consider looking after my lips similar to how I look after my skin so I’ll cope with an extra layer of product to do that.

And by coming around I mean I’m thinking of purchasing a lip primer someday. I haven’t actually taken the idea anywhere.

But this 16 step process of exfoliating, moisturizing, priming, and god knows what else every time I want to put makeup on is just not going to happen. I bought this gorgeous NARS liquid lipstick. Applied it and loved the color like I’ve never loved a color before.  But I swear I barely had the lid back on and it was everywhere. It bled off my lips so there were no clean lines, it was on my teeth, my skin, anything I ate or drank. I don’t even think I had to take a drink… somehow I just looked at the water bottle and BAM lipstick stain.

I went back to Sephora to ask what I was missing, totally prepared to be sold a NARS primer or something, but basically the answer was… nothing.  I could try a liner, the girl told me or even a little setting powder on top but not too much because that just make it chalky.  So… that makes this color basically useless.  I don’t know who out there is buying a $30 lip product that’s only good for selfies but it’s not me. My lip color better put in the hours right there with me.

I just think that for a product to be worth high praise it should stand on its own, at least for the most part.  There are reasonable expectations like maybe a touch of primer or a setting spray.  Even I can handle some general good practices like that.  But if it’s going to be a highly specialized application process, a whole line of specialized products, and graduating from makeup artist school with honors… well then to me that’s not a great product.

… and skin products.

What the f*ck is up with these “water sprays” and “jade rollers” and another 16 step process to put make up on? Again… I was late to the party with face primer.

But even if I was late to the party on face primer, I’m not sold on rolling a rock around my face.

Oh and yes – me being late to the party on makeup trends is going to be a repeating pattern.

Anyway… I wear foundation for two reasons. I started wearing it, like most of us, as a teenager with acne to hide.  Nowadays I wear it because I love a bold lip and a bold lip looks kind of odd when your lips are fab AF but your skin is just kind of naked.

So needless to say I do not want something complicated.  It’s kind of on my list to experiment with just a little BB cream or something like that. The simpler the better.

Okay so those are the primary products I wear but I’m sure I’ll be back soon with more beauty rants.

❤ What are your beauty pet peeves?

Happy One Year Anniversary to Oh My Mermaid!

*Update: Later rebranded to Tea With Carmen

Well it’s officially been 365 days since I launched this blog. I’d planned and planned and one year ago today I launched with the full roster of social media accounts to connect people with this blog and share what was happening with this project.

It’s been an awesome year and totally surpassed all my expectations. I mean, I’m not totallhy sure what I expected. I guess, of course, I figured there was a potential audience for this project but I didn’t know if I’d actually live up to that potential.

Today, not only do I feel like I’m reaching a wider and wider audience with this project but I’ve been given opportunities I never expected that have lead to the launch of my Social Media Business – Seashell Social Media – just last month and an Etsy shop – Seashell and Mermaid – this month!

I never expected that my work with this project could lead to so many blessings and opportunities so I’m here today to say THANK YOU to my readers and share a few of my accomplishments from the last year.

Crunching the Numbers

73 Posts
85 Comments
481 Likes
54,900 Words

3, 606 Visitors
7, 657 Views
Whoa! I kinda secretly thought I’d get just, like, pity reads from friends and family. I’m so grateful to every single one of ya’ll who has been reading and always returning to the blow!

Instagram – 500 followers

Twitter – 175 followers

Facebook Page – 62 Followers

WordPress – 111 Followers

Working on the social media for this project helped me learn a lot and continues to be my sort of playground and experiment in what works and what doesn’t so I can grow with my social media business. I’m sorta my own guinea pig client!

Social Media Management Website: https://www.seashellsocialmedia.com/

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/seashellandmermaid

Thank you everyone for your continued support! I hope to keep creating even better content in the coming year!

What do you want to see here at Oh My mermaid? =)

-Carmen

“Trends” that sell you Junk can F*ck Off Anytime

The Beauty Industry as a whole has a very profitable interest in convincing everyone that beauty is super complicated and that it requires a lot of different, consumable products that will keep you coming in for refills freakin’ constantly.

Truth be told – there’s a lot of misleading crap out there designed to get you to buy and to help you justify purchase decisions as necessary when they’re not.

Next week we’re going to talk about taking back control of how you engage with the industry but this week I want to focus on saying no to junk.

I’m talking about reinvented products like make up applicators or brushes, skin care tools that do the same thing as the ones you already own, and my personal fave – things that do nothing OR that do what you already do with your hands.

Let’s look at Jade Rollers, for example. Not only did these things seemingly come out of nowhere, but a lot of them appeared with huge price tags. They have Jade or some similarily valued material as a “roller” on a handle so you can massage your face with it. They allegedly have benefits such as improved circulation, reducing under eye puffy-ness and helping products absorb better into your skin.

It all sounds awesome and you can see how it makes sense if you squint at it long enough.

Here’s the thing they aren’t talking about though: You don’t need a Jade Roller to massage your face. You have…uhh, hands. Take any cleaner or moisturizer you like and spend a few extra minutes massaging it into your skin. All the Jade Roller really does is force you to take the extra time to focus on massaging your cheeks and skin. However, it’s not a necessary component in the equation of facial massage for improved circulation and all the benefits that come it.

This is what I mean when I talk about beauty trends that sell you junk. They market a product as if the product is required to achieve certain results when in reality it’s not the key to said results at all. Beauty bloggers, and beauty companies that claim they’re here to improve your beauty results could of just told you the secret was in good circulation and that facial massage would help improve your results. Then they could of offered you tools to make massaging your skin easier or to vary your routine but they didn’t. They just claimed you had to have the jade roller.

Ugh.

I hope I can keep up with the junky trends just to bring the #realbabebeauty squad real talk and get passed all the crap we’re told we need in order to be beautiful.

The other example I like is make up brushes. Someone is always reinventing the wheel in this department and claiming that their brush, which may or may not look a lot like every brush that came before it, has magically better results.

Save your money because that’s a lie. Find a way you like for putting make up on your face – make up brush, sponges, those buffer-brush things, and then ignore all the reinvented wheels. Let ’em roll on by.

Take yourself somewhere beautiful with all the money you did’n’t let the beauty industry suck out of your wallet.


Why I Invest in Sephora

We all know it’s true that most of what can be bought at Sephora can be bought elsewhere for less. Affordable brands line the aisles of any drug store and one has to wonder how different the products can really be. I mean from one concealer recipe to the next, from one mascara to another, is it worth the price jump to pick up the designer brand in a Sephora?

I think so. Today I want to share why. Many beauty bloggers share the pros and cons of products from all price ranges in specific reviews for “X brand Y product” but they don’t always share, over all, why their best looks come with a such a pricey list.

I do want to acknowledge that being able to choose a pricey product is a position of privilege. I prioritize this cost in my budget to make it work and I’m here to share why I do so.

Before you even get to the product, the service itself has a dollar value

Once upon a time I thought shops like Sephora were for girls and boys who really knew what they were doing. Like, they were maybe trained make up artists or at least more successful at learning from artists on youtube than I was. I thought Sephora was all about those make up users. I didn’t really feel I fit in.

In reality the staff at Sephora know those products and how they correspond to different needs. They aren’t trained like that for the pros who also have that knowledge. They’re trained to help us – #realbabebeauty squad. When I walk in and say I’m struggling with something like finding a full coverage foundation that doesn’t cake, or a brow product I can use blind, or a face wash to win a battle with my hormonal acne… I know I can trust the staff there.

When I ask the same questions at a drug store I usually get anecdotal answers. “My friend also struggles with… and she loves…”, “I use this and I swear by it!” and so on.

But at Sephora I hear more reassuring things like “This product line contains ingredients x, y and z which are known to help with sensitive skin.” or “This brand can be used this in this way for…”

The knowledge the staff have is reason enough to pay a little extra. When you don’t know all the answers you can place a lot of trust in the staff to help you out.

You have to find products that feel good to use

I tried to go back, okay? I thought hey – I could probably save myself some money if I just bought mascara at shoppers instead of Sephora.

Two hours later with red, itchy eyes I swore I’d never cut my budget in that way again.

If you use more affordable products and don’t have side effects like flaking make up, itchiness, redness, soreness or anything else then I salute you. However for me, this isn’t the case. I have super fair, super sensitive skin and when I sacrifice the quality of my products I feel it (and see it!)

Even some brands at Sephora cause problems for me. Sephora, though, will let you exchange products and work with you to find the right one. When I brought back an expensive foundation that reacted poorly with my skin and made me look diseased they gave me full store credit to find a better formula.

Better Products Look Better

I denied this for a long time but in recent years I’ve come around. Some girls can make anything look pro but I don’t have those skills.

What I lack in skills can be made up for with products that look good to begin with.

That’s it. This one’s pretty simple.

Sephora’s Point System is Actually Pretty Good

As every point system should be, this one is designed to recognize regular customers who are spending a lot on the business. Right from signing up you earn points and at milestones like $1000 spent in one year you get big perks.

That sounds like a lot – once upon a time I thought I’d never be that level. But I’m here. I did give my card to friends a few times so I know some of those points came from their purchases. Even without those purchases though, the side effect of shopping at expensive store is that spend-based loyalty programs are genuinely rewarding.

You can get your make up done, pick up free samples and even attend exclusive events.

It’s not worth shopping there only for the loyalty program but the loyalty program goes a very long way to making me feel appreciated for my decision to frequent the store.

Take a deep breath #realbeautybabe  You deserve a less complicated relationship with your beauty routine

At the end of the day Sephora has made my relationship with the beauty world 1000x healthier. I shop with more confidence knowing if a product doesn’t work I can come back. I get answers from staff I trust. And I get the perks of investing in myself both in my results and in the beauty rewards program.

There a lot of complicated decisions to make in life. There’s a lot of things that can’t be made easier. Why not invest in this and make this one thing a little less complicated?