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

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!

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?

“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?

Beauty Talk for the #realbabebeauty queens

All right babes, can I call you babes?

Let me tell you a story.  You know how Sephora advertises that they will teach you how to use the products and whatnot? Yeah, I’m the girl they’re advertising to.

I have less and less shame about going to my local Sephora and telling them that I want to use this product or that but need some help.  Most recently I flagged down one of their staff and asked her to help me with contouring.  On multiple occasions, I’ve asked them to teach me how to use different brow products so I could find one easy enough that I can literally do it blind (#glassesprobs).

Things like crazy perfect brows and ultra-defined cheekbones kind of exploded on to the beauty blogs and all of a sudden they were everywhere.  Everyone I knew was adding a little extra and looking gorgeous and I had no idea how.  I tried experimenting on my own but quickly realized I was in over my very-pale head. Every time I tried applying anything contour-wise it looked too dark on my cheeks. I looked more like I’d been in a fight than anything else. And I looked like I lost that fight.

You don’t even wanna know how learning to do my brows went. Honestly, I wasn’t bad at making each of my brows look great but they looked like they belonged on different faces.  Evenness was a problem.

Now I’ve been all about the real talk on this blog.  Y’all know I’ll always be honest with you from my love life to working from home to fitness.  Once upon a time when I started this little mermaid project, I said “Nope, I’ll never blog about beauty” but lately I’ve started thinking more about it.  I see all these bloggers out there killing it with gorgeous makeup tutorials and I love that they’re doing such great work for their blogs.  However, there’s something missing.  Where are the makeup blogs for people like me?  When I look at these super glam beauty bloggers I don’t see someone I can relate too and I don’t feel like I can learn anything honestly because they are in another class of skill and talent.

Now don’t get me wrong – I know a lot of that is in my head.  I’m sure if I really studied it and tried I would find that it’s a little more accessible than I think.  I want to put something out there though that is truly for all the girls that give up easy when makeup gets complicated.  I’m here for you! I’m one of you!

The reason I said I wouldn’t blog about beauty is that I didn’t feel qualified.  Then again – maybe I am qualified for a certain kind of beauty blogging.

The truth is I love makeup.  I do really enjoy experimenting with new products, trying new techniques or new styles.  Sephora is a super happy place for me.  That being said, I’m not super good at makeup.  I can’t transform my face to look like someone else and I refuse to make it more complicated than it needs to be (I’ll get into that in my next beauty post.)

Today I have a big question for you: What do you want to see in a beauty blog?

Are the big questions I can try and answer?

Are there products you want to know more about?

Are there certain looks you’d want me to try and post?

What do you want an averaged girls perspective on? =) Comment and let me know!