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It looks so casual and carefree. Just what you want when it comes to heavy machinery for your face.

I like tools, this is no secrete, I wrote an obnoxiously long blog entry about how to find quality makeup brushes… because I care that much about makeup brushes.

I’m also a product junkie (as my recent decent into all things Lush, clearly confirms) and I have weakness for extremes, I want the most pigmented eyeshadow, the softest hair, the best fit bra (come on who doesn’t want that?).

So, naturally the Clarisonic facial brush, with its claims of anti-aging benefits and the cleanest clean for your face, held great interest for me. To top it all of this little gem came in pink and by this time it should be no surprise that I love things that come in pink. I purchased the Clarisonic Mia (the simplest model) (in pink) roughly 4 months ago and used it faithfully twice a day… up until two weeks ago, and after 4 months of frustration, I have found that this tool is not for me.

Here’s the thing, I have never had problems with my skin, I didn’t have acne as a teenager, I haven’t had it as an adult either, and when I do “breakout” it’s hardly something to complain about.  In spite of this, I do have picky-sensitive skin, and what I mean by that is that I can wear any makeup in the world with no problem, but I have to be more careful with the skin care I use.

The first week I’d been using my Clarisonic I started breaking out, which was to be expected as the sonic pulse was getting all of the dirt and junk from deep inside of my skin… but then it didn’t stop, and not only that, these weren’t normal blemishes I was getting, they were painful bumps, closer to the cystic acne I’ve seen before, and they left dark red spots on my skin. This continued the entire time I was using the Clarisonic brush. The last straw was two weeks ago when I realized I’d gotten some makeup on my neck and decided to just clean my neck with my brush as well and what I ended up with was a bright red neck that looked like it had been burned and took a full week to heal completely.

Sounds pretty horrific, right?  It wasn’t pleasant, that’s for sure, but instead of warning you to save your time and money, I’d like to offer a slight disclaimer and some good advice.

I do work in cosmetic retail, and I do sell Clarisonic brushes to clients all of the time, and I do it with completely confidence that their experience will be much different from mine. I know many people who sing the praises of the Clarisonic (some of whom may be reading this and are either cringing or ready to kill me). It’s our job as beauty industry professionals, to identify the people who will benefit from tools like this, because when they work, they work really well.  My pink Mia has gone home to live with my very happy sister and her skin is more than grateful for it.

This post is not intended as a scathing review, but rather as an honest account of my experience, and a caution to you, my friends and fellow beauty junkies, so I offer this advice:

Because not all beauty industry professionals or retailers are as committed as others to making sure you get what’s best for you, it’s important for you to know your skin, and, as they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  We all know there are places and people who will try to convince you that you need something just to make a sale, but any retailer worth spending your money in would rather make a good sale, than see something returned.

If your concern is anti-aging, you’ll get results from this brush. If you suffer from acne, you’ll definitely benefit from this brush. If you’re concerned with neither, but you just like the luxurious experience, then most likely you’ll really enjoy this brush as well. Just keep in mind that while the cleanest clean might sound great, your skin might not need it. My skin would have been happier if I’d have spent that $145 on makeup brushes instead. =)

-Photo credit: I borrowed this picture from this blog post (which you should also read if you’re considering purchasing the Clarisonic brush.)

— I should also mention that 2 weeks of non-Clarisonic use has my skin clearing and feeling much happier.

I get asked a lot of questions about natural products, in Austin it was a question of where they were in the store, in Dallas it’s more  a question of what they are. In both places there’s some confusion from time to time about the naturals, which is understandable. There are an overwhelming amount of products on the market right now that claim to be “natural” and there’s a lot of liberty taken with what actually defines what natural  means.

Because of the overwhelming nature of this topic, I want to try to keep this as simple as possible, and address somethings that are particularly important to me personally, and hopefully you can consider this a jumping off point if natural cosmetics and skin care are something that you’re interested in.

In my opinion it’s important to enter the world of naturals by determining what your priorities are; are you more interested in using products made of natural ingredients,  or in using products that are environmentally friendly? These two things are often lumped together but are not mutually exclusive. That’s not to say that they can’t go hand-in-hand, but I believe the first step is understanding that natural ingredients do not necessarily mean that a product is also environmentally friendly and deciding what your priority is will narrow your search drastically.

Oldest living oak tree

On the environmentally friendly side, packaging is going to be the biggest issue, especially with cosmetics, but stands true with almost all natural products. A friend of mine recently told me a story about purchasing a natural brand of cookies, only to open them and find that the plastic tray holding the cookies inside was made from #6 plastic (the only non-recyclable plastic). Not mention that in an average size cookie container he was getting half the cookies and paying twice as much for them! Especially true with cosmetics, you cannot assume that just because a line uses natural ingredients that their packaging will be environmentally friendly, in fact, due to fewer preservatives and fillers used in natural products the packing is often thick opaque plastic to protect the product from light and air exposure (obviously glass or aluminum could be used but that would drive the price of the products up considerably). If you are concerned with being environmentally conscious, check the packing to see what type of plastic it’s made of (if it’s made out of plastic), ask about the recycling practices of the individual companies, and your best bet is to purchase products from lines who offer incentives for your participation in recycling. For example, 70% of Lush products are made without packaging at all, for what must come in a package they use post-consumer recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials where ever it’s possible, and they encourage their clients to bring back their empty black pots (for every 5 you get a free mask!). Another thing I like to consider is what the line does to replenish the resources they use, an example I love to use is Korres (because I ❤ Korres).  Certainly, most all natural ingredients are going to be farmed, otherwise they would have no hope of any type of product longevity, but personally I like to know for sure where the ingredients come from. Not only does Korres list all of their ingredient AND packing facts right on the box of their products, they put a lot of thought and action behind sustaining the resources they use. For example, in their Quercetin and Oak products they harvest the oak from the bark of trees from a tree farm to insure that no trees are harmed.

If your main concern is with only natural ingredients, or you want to insure that the products you’re using are both environmentally friendly and the ingredients are really natural, your next step is to ask a lot of questions about what is actually considered natural and what isn’t.  This is like the difference between buying whole wheat bread, and 100% whole wheat bread.  When it comes to claiming a product is natural there can be a lot of wiggle room, and you can’t always count on brands to be completely honest. You can save yourself some frustration by starting with a retailer that has standards or requirements for brands to be considered natural. Sephora requires a minimum of 90% of a brands assortment to be made with high concentrations of antioxidants, botanicals, essential oils, fruit extracts, marine bioactives, minerals, and vitamins; and must be formulated to exclude a minimum of six of these ingredients: GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms), parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes,  and triclosan.

You can also look for labels that identify products that have met certain natural requirements and are regulated by organizations that are devoted to insuring the quality of natural products such as ECOCERT or USDA Organic. These certifications (especially ECOCERT) are not easy to acquire, which means in most cases they can be trusted.  Keep in mind that lack of certification doesn’t necessarily compromise the natural integrity of a line, it just means that you should probably do some research before you invest.

Last, but certainly not least, using natural products requires a certain level of commitment and understanding. You must consider that it might take some time to find natural products that work for your skin, when you get into botanicals, and plant extracts, you might find that there are some you are sensitive to. If your skin reacts the first time, don’t despair, it might only need some time to adjust, or you just might want to try a different line using different products. There’s no need to toss the baby with the bath water!

Also, you must be prepared for the fact that natural products may vary in color and scent due to things like the condition of a crop, or the time of year it’s harvested. There may also be certain products that there are lower quantities of or that you have to go without certain times of year depending on resource availability. Finally and most importantly, natural products will expire more quickly than products that are full of fillers and preservatives. Don’t buy in bulk and be prepared to use your products consistently and as the label suggests.  =)

Identify your priorities, do a little research, and I promise the natural path becomes a lot clearer.

Image Credit:

Image: hannah corbett / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This weekend is the annual Beauty Live event at Galleria Dallas mall in Dallas Tx. As this is the mall I work in, and my employer (who continues to remain nameless ;>) is very much involved in this event, I get to experience it all and take you guys with me!

All weekend long there will be presentations by leading beauty industry professionals and demonstrations going on (if you’re in the Dallas area I would recommend checking it out, vendors are giving away all sorts of stuff!!) and I’m going to do my best to keep you posted about everything going on in my corner of the mall!

Sarah Lucero of Stila

The first  presentation I got to see today was by Stila. In the picture to the left is Stila artist Sarah Lucero. Stila did makeup for a runway show for Betsy Johnson and Sarah demonstrated the look they used in the show.  The Betsy Johnson show featured  dark eyes and glossy lips, Sarah demonstrated the look on one of her models and taught the audience how to achieve the runway look at home.

I was super excited when I learned that Sarah was going to be in the store. I’ve been a fan of her work for some time now and I love reading quotes of hers from magazines. She’s a lovely person, very nice, very down to earth. I consider her a celebrity, but she certainly doesn’t think of herself that way, so she’s very easy to talk to and I really enjoyed having the opportunity to meet her. If you get a chance, check out Stila’s new One Step Foundation. It’s a beautiful, HD, foundation suitable for all skin types, with some really great new technology!

In between presentation sessions Sephora Pro Beauty team members were set up do do free makeup consultations. Clients were given one on one time with Sephora Pros to learn tips and tricks for achieving the perfect makeup look.

One of the great things about Sephora is that they do offer opportunities like this to their clients and for free!  I was really excited to meet the Pro Beauty Team, I really admire and look up to them and they were all really friendly and totally approachable.  I’m always really impressed when people in this industry manage not to get an attitude. I mean, let’s face it, working in an industry that revolves around the way people look can be pretty tough.  It would be really easy to become a little stuck up, but I’m happy to report that all of the team members I met today were amazing and a big help!

The DJ

This is the DJ we have for the weekend. I wanted to give him a little shout out because he was doing a really awesome job and it was so nice to have a break from the music we hear everyday. The energy in the store was great and everyone was having a lot of fun. I want to say that on the back of his computer there it says you can find him on twitter under Sober1. I could be wrong, but I’ll do a little research tomorrow when I get home and correct this post if I need to (after I’ve had a good nights rest, because today wore me out!.

Kyan Douglas

Last, and the hottest, Kyan Douglas (formerly of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) gave a presentation for HerCut . HerCut’s revolutionary hairstyling “catalysts” use cutting edge technology to help your hair act the way it was cut to act. It’s pretty cool stuff. I’ve never been much of a fan of styling products but the HerCut Catalysts are really some of the nicest styling products I’ve ever tried… and I’m not just saying that cause Kyan’s hot. My biggest complaint with 95% of styling products is that I can feel them in my hair and I hate that gunky, or cruchy kind of feel, the Catalysts from HerCut don’t give that feel to your hair. They stay soft and just give your hair that little extra something.

So that’s it for day one… I’m going to include a little collection of other random photos from today at the end of this post and then of course tomorrow night you’ll get a recap of day 2! Adios!

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Hello!  So things have been going well lately, the weather is good, things have been running smoothly at work and I’ve been enjoying my free time playing with my plants and experimenting with things the wonderful people upstairs at Lush have been giving me samples of (which I will go into more detail about in a moment.)

This is my welcome mat. I’m quite proud of it, as should be obvious given that I went to the trouble of posting a picture of it on my blog. I just like it… which is actually the theme of my post today… things that I like. Ha.

A very good friend of mine (you know who you are!) gave me a couple of books called Listography before I left Austin and ventured off to Dallas. One is a life list book, the other is a love list book. I can tell you, at this point I have a whole lot more to fill in in the life book than in the love book, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, it’s a lot of fun, and gave me the inspiration for this post.

On page 125 it asks you to list “things you love and despise” which I had to sit and think about for a while, because if it’s going to go on a master list, it’s got to be the best of the best and the worst of the worst, right?  Anyway, I sat and made my list and I think I’m pretty happy with it right now.

Because I consider some things sacred and because I’m afraid that what I actually despise may be a deeper window into who I am as a person ( sounds horrible, but it’s true!) I’m not going to just copy the list into my blog, instead I’m just going to make a list of some things that I’m really into right now.

#1.) Masks. I would feature a picture of a facial mask, except the one I used to day I deemed inappropriate and I thought this foot picture was much, much, more fun.  Yesterday I went into Lush to grab a big tub of Fair Trade Foot Lotion and the very helpful staff gave me a sample of the Volcano Foot Mask. Being in a really mask-y mood lately, I was more than happy to give it a try. This afternoon I gave myself a spa hour and decided to do the foot mask and one of my old favorites, Ole Henriksen’s Blue/blackberry enzyme mask. One of these days I’ll manage to find a lush product that I don’t absolutely love… I wont rest until I do because raving about everything I try breaks all of my own objective reviews rules. However, the search will just have to continue because I sit here typing this with the softest feet I’ve ever had. Paired with Fair Trade Foot Lotion, this stuff is amazing. I warn you, it smells like you just stepped in someone’s compost pile, and the heating sensation was a little unexpected, but baby, does it feel nice once you get into it. =) (It helps to know that I’m sitting here laughing about that last sentence.)

#2.) My container garden. These are my two most recent additions. In the back we have a Bougainvillea and in the front is my brand new Lavender plant. Both will eventually get better pots, and I think I want a second Lavender plant. I can’t put my finger on exactly why I’m enjoying having plants so much, but I really am having a blast learning about them and how to take care of them. It also makes me feel close to my dad. He’s into plants, he can grow just about anything and when I look out my patio door and see my plants, it makes me think of him and I like that. I may officially be on my way to being crazy plant lady, though. There are moments I find myself talking to them. I’m pretty sure my neighbor caught me telling the Bougainvillea last night that I loved it for making tiny blooms. Mostly I was just ecstatic that not only have I not killed any of them yet, but they seem to be flourishing.

#3.) New spiritual experiences… Last Sunday I had the pleasure of attending Sts. Constantine & Helen Orthodox church. This was quite an experience for my Southern Baptist raised self. I can only imagine what I must have looked like, everything I think and feel shows very plainly on my face, and what I was thinking and feeling half the time was “OMG I hope I don’t do something wrong” and extremely confused. Fortunately the kind elderly couple sitting next to me helped me follow the liturgy and in the end I really enjoyed it. Something that was amazing to me in particular was how close to God I felt in the midst of this experience… not because it was a holier experience than any other church I’ve been to, but because in my extreme state of unfamiliarity, I could hear and feel God in a way that was different, because there was no opportunity for me to just “go through the motions”, I had no idea what the motions were. I felt more aware of what was going on around me and a greater sense of reverence, which I feel is sometimes lost in a lot of modern churches, it was a wonderful experience.

Last, but certainly not least, #4.) Swedish Fish. I include this here at the end because, well, I always like Swedish Fish. Only the red ones though. =)

I’m learning a lot about myself here in Dallas, and I can promise you, that list that I refuse to post of things I despise has definitely seen some additions since I got here. The thing that I’ve finally embraced and am content with is that I don’t have to love it here… which sounds weird, sure. I’m still new, I still can’t get anywhere without using navigation (honestly I still use it to get to work), I still don’t know a lot of people, and I’m still extremely picky about the social activities I choose to engage in (that’s not likely to change), but I understand that I’m here to learn and grow, and as long as I’m doing that, everything else will come along. Things will be alright.

In closing I think I’ll throw in a last minute #5.) Incomplete by Alanis Morissette

I have been running so sweaty my whole life, urgent for a finish line. And I have been missing the rapture this whole time of being forever incomplete.

picture credit: yorkstudentrn.wordpress.com/.../

I don’t believe I have mentioned that, so let me take just a moment to do so. Lush Fair Trade Foot Lotion is the best thing I’ve EVER put on my feet.

It takes a lot for me to say something is the best, but with this particular product, I’m telling you, there’s no question.

If you click the link above, pay not attention to the little man behind the curtain… I mean to the picture in the corner. Apparently Lush is doing some work on their site and currently the picture featured in Fair Trade’s spot is the volcano foot mask. If you purchase Fair Trade Foot Lotion, what you’re signing on for is a trip to foot heaven. It’s a creamy pink, smells minty, but not so minty that it kind of makes you want to gag. It’s a clean, soft, refreshing mint. The texture of the lotion is smooth and silky, and the moment you get it on your skin you know that you are going to have a long, happy relationship with this lotion.

My feet looked a 110% more beautiful after only one use. It makes your skin look soft, healthy, and almost gives it a glow. You find yourself thinking, “yeah, I could be a foot model…” It’s a wonderful experience and one that I think everyone should have.

I know that I am always skeptical of raving reviews like this one, so I encourage you to see for yourself, go into a Lush near you and ask for a sample and then come and tell me that I’m right. =)

Last week, as I believe I mentioned, was my first actual visit to a Lush store. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to hop on the Lush band wagon, but I’m certainly happy that I’ve found my way aboard.

I’ve heard lots of good things about Lush for years now, but because I’m absolutely the most impatient person in the world and there wasn’t a Lush store available to me in Austin, I never bothered doing anything more than casually browsing the Lush website… that is until I had an unfortunate encounter with a shampoo who shall remain nameless (*PhytoDensium).  Apparently I had an allergy to something in the shampoo and as a result I had a torn up scalp and was breaking out all over my neck, not cool. Not cool at all.

After searching my store for something to help my scalp and hair and coming up empty handed, in an act of desperation I scoured the Lush website for something that would help, and surprise, surprise, that did in fact have something that would address my problem.  A week later my Recon scalp treatment arrived in the mail and it’s been love ever since.  That treatment saved my hair!

I knew there was a Lush store in NorthPark mall here in Dallas, and I had grand plans of going in and making myself at home, but to my great pleasure, I found that I didn’t have to go all the way to another mall. Just across the way and up one floor from my store in Galleria Dallas mall, is a bright shiny Lush store I can visit whenever I want!

As soon as I discovered it, I went straight over after work, and I have to say that the experience really sealed the deal. I walked in ready to head straight for the bar shampoos, but having never been in an actual store before I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of bright color, glitter, and wonderful smells. I stopped dead in my tracks and suddenly didn’t know which direction I wanted to go first. A very kind sales associate approached me at that point and asked if I needed any help. She mentioned that  when I came in I looked like I was on a mission, but now I seemed a little confused. When I explained that I’d never been in a store before she got right to work aquainting me with the the products, recommended a shampoo bar for my hair type, and was generally just awesome.

After my shampoo needs were met, and the first lady I spoke to was wrapping up my selections, her manager came over and walked me through the rest of the store. She also demoed the “soft hands treatment” on me… all of which I will eventually be purchasing because my hands have never felt so amazing… ever.

In the end I came out with all of this stuff… (not featured is the Seanik solid shampoo and sample of the Jungle solid conditioner because both are in my shower). I purchased the Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes packaged that came with the solid shampoo of my choice, a vitamin c toner tab, a mask sample of my choice, moisturizer sample of my choice, mini sugar scrub, mini each peach massage bar, handy gurugu sample, lemony flutter sample, and fair trade foot lotion sample.  On top of that I got two bath bombs, of which I forget the names, and two bubble bars… names also forgotten. Once I really get to use them ( I used half of the big pink bubble bar last night, but as I still have a cold and couldn’t smell it, I feel as though I missed half of the experience and am thus not ready to give my account) I’ll get the names and everything down.

For the time being I’m content to tell you that the solid shampoos are my new obsession. Not only do I really appreciate not having to fuss with a bottle, and am happy that not having one is better for the planet anyway, my hair feels and smells FANTASTIC! I have really fine, straight, hair and the Seanik bar makes it soft , shiny, and bouncy. It foams right up and you get a full lather without having even used that much, and it leaves me hair feeling clean and soft even while it’s wet!

The Jungle solid condition is really kind of a miracle in my hair. I wasn’t sure, at first, how I was going to like it. My hair tangles really easily, and while it’s very fine, I usually have to condition it pretty well in order to keep it manageable. This requires a very delicate balance because if I get the slightest bit too much it weighs my hair down horribly. The first time I used the Jungle conditioner I was afraid it wasn’t going to be a win for my hair because my hair didn’t have that just conditioned slip to it that most of the cream conditioners I’ve used in the past give it. After towel drying my hair, with some trepidation I went to comb it out, expecting tangles and pulling, but to my surprise found it easy to manage with out the heavy conditioned feel, and it was wonderfully soft even after blow drying!

So all in all I can pretty much say that I love Lush and definitely recommend it… which most of you probably already know. =)

PS…. I thought I should also mention that the price point on Lush products are really good considering the quality. I would definitely spend more if I had to to purchase the things I’ve tried so far, and it’s really nice that they are really affordable.

*On the PhytoDensium… My skin is a weird type of sensitive. I’ve never worn a makeup that broke me out, my skin has no trouble with oil, or breaking out in general, but for some reason skin and hair care products that are too active are a problem for my skin. Phyto is a really good line, so don’t let my bad experience make your decision for you if you’re considering a Phyto product, I would just recommend sampling before you invest.

Day 4 in Dallas went pretty smoothly! I got my first taste of traffic and it didn’t suck that bad, but I do worry that yesterday was nothing compared to what it will be today. 😦

Also, after the panic, anxiety, and nervousness finally passed about being in a new store, I finally looked up and realized that up a floor and across from me is a Lush store.  This is where, in a movie, you would hear that little “ahhh” of angels singing, signifying a golden moment, a parting of the clouds and a holy grail being illuminated. OK so Lush isn’t -that- fantastic, but let me tell you, I was thrilled!

I went over right after work, just to look around and see all the things I’ve never gotten to see or experience in person. It was awesome. It’s such a bright, soapy, change from my black and white store! The ladies there were exceptionally nice, they weren’t pushy, they just told me about products and let me ask questions and choose what i wanted.

I ended up getting the Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes deal… its 9 products for $25! At some point later, once I’ve used the stuff, I’ll probably write in more detail about the products I took home, but this morning I’m just waking up and trying to counter act a nose and throat that are determined to convince me that I’ve caught a cold, and random facts and excitedness are all I have patience for at this point.

So far I haven’t done any major socializing in Dallas, I haven’t even been to church yet, and I wont get to go this weekend either because I work during all of the services of the one church I know how to get to. Right now I’m just kind of exhausted. All of my energy has gone into trying to make my apartment feel homey, and coping with new work people, new clients, new everything. At the end of the day I want to sit on my ridiculously comfortable bed, make myself dinner, and read until I can’t hold my eyes open anymore and then sleep.

Next week I’ll have days off that don’t have to be centered on moving or unpacking and I can get some real rest and then after that… well then after that we’ll see what we see. It’s not that I don’t want to make friends, it’s not that I don’t want to be social, it’s just that there are some specific things that I don’t want to do. For instance, I am completely over going out. When I entertain the thought of social activities these days, I picture things that take place during the day time, things that are intellectually and spiritually stimulating, things that don’t involve stumbling drunk or being hit on by random people who are stumbling drunk. Which brings me to another point….

I am over dating… which is honestly old news because I’ve been over dating for about a year and a half now. Oddly, at least I considered it odd, upon moving to Dallas I received an uncanny amount of relationship advice. It was as if the whole point of moving at this point in my life, nearly 29 and single,  was to enter a new dating pool in which I might have more success. *sigh*

I’m not going to go all I Kissed Dating Goodbye on you were, but something I’ve learned in the last 10 (it kind of hurts to realize that 10 years ago I was 19) years of my life is that dating doesn’t work.  Also, that’s the last thing in the world I need right now. Right now I need friends, both male and female. I wish that somehow I could instill in the words I type the sincerity I feel when I use that word friend. Never in my life have I needed real friends the way I need them right now. I need friendship that will make downtime in Dallas less empty and more normal. I need people to hang out with, to talk to, see movies and live music with, without there being any pressure for anything else. I can’t stress that point enough.

So no, I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to date, and I do want to take naps and read books and laugh at ridiculous things on tv because I think my sense of humor might be strange. Maybe.

As this post has now lost all of it’s flow, I think I’ll finish my waffles and go get ready for work. This entire weekend we have to wear pink wigs. Prepare yourself for pictures.

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DDF Sulfur mask

I look like this right now, and I’m trying to eat lasagna. As you can see the cracks in my face, you can probably imagine the way this mask feels and how difficult opening my mouth to eat this stuff is. This is the therapeutic sulfur mask from DDF and I’m using it to try to help repair the damage a recent run in with a natural shampoo that included an ingredient that I didn’t know I was allergic to did to my skin. I’ve also got a treatment on my scalp at the moment to address the damaged done to it by previously mentioned shampoo.

I know it’s late, and I should be in bed, but I came home in a state this evening, I don’t know, I think all of the change and all of the busy-ness is catching up to me (I move in two weeks, less than actually… ugh) and I was just having a little bit of a breakdown. I was hungary and there was lasagna, so I decided to forgo a leap straight into bed, just for this one night, and try to take control of the skin/scalp issue, eat some cheese, and chill out. So far, so good!

I have a list of blog entries to make, but they’re all going to wait until after the move, for the time being, I just have too much on my mind to sit down and write anything on a specific topic right now, so instead these random updates will have to do until things settle down just a little bit.

At this point this mask is beginning to feel uncomfortable, so I think I’m going to hop into the shower and wash it all off…

So now I look like this…

Sulfur successfully washed off!

So here’s the blow by blow on what I just did to my face (because I feel like writing it all down). First I removed my eye makeup with a makeup removing wipe. I use the Sephora brand ones because they are inexpensive and they work. Then I used the Clearsonic Mia facial brush and Caudalie gentle cleanser to really clean my face and neck. Next I put on the sulfur mask and Carol’s Daughter Tui hair oil and let them both sit for about 45 minutes. I’m pretty sure the mask only requires about 15, but because I had to shower to get the stuff out of my hair and I needed to have time to help my scalp, I just left them both on. After my shower I finished my face off with Derma Dr Wrinkle Revenge moisturizer and eye cream Ta DA!

I guess I should explain the shampoo catastrophe… I recently bought a natural shampoo and conditioner that apparently was a little too aggressive for my skin. It tore my scalp up, we’re talking open wounds here, and broke out my hairline, jaw line, and neck.  I -never- break out (sorry guys, I know I’m a lucky one) so I was freaking out a little bit. Once I figured out it was the shampoo and conditioner and quit using them things seem to have calmed down, I just want to make sure we’re done with that, and my scalp is still healing.

Anyway, good night people.

I wanted to write something this morning, mostly as a way to trick my brain into beginning to function, it’s groggy and slow due to allergies (thank you cedar, I appreciate it). However, given it’s grogginess (wow, grogginess is a word, I didn’t think it would be), I’ve had trouble trying to think of what to write, so I finally gave up trying to pick a subject and decided just to wing it. You’ll forgive me if this is completely random. =)

I did a google image search for the word ‘allergies’ and found this little gem of a picture (to the left, to the left). Just looking at it makes me want to sneeze. The title of the picture is “allergy spore”… doesn’t it just sound evil?  This is, apparently, who I have to blame for the fact that I can’t breath and I’m all red and puffy. Thanks spore, thanks a million.

What really makes this an even happier time for me is that at work we’re focusing on skin this month… that’s right, I’m supposed to be setting an example of what well taken care of skin looks like, and the elements are  waging war against me.  In all honestly though, it’s just as well, my skin doesn’t feel much like being piled over with makeup. And trust me, as a makeup artist, I can tell you with complete confidence that there is nothing, let me repeat, nothing, makeup-wise, that will completely cancel out jacked up skin. The more you try to cover it, the more gnarly it looks.  Treat and perfect, my friends, that is the way to tackle the problem.

This morning my treatment of choice is the Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask from Bliss.

What a mouthful… anyway, what I like about this mask is that you really do see an immediate result. It does exactly what it’s ridiculously long name suggests, it instantly energizes your skin and gives you a healthy radiance.  It basically makes your skin look awake even when you are not, which is the case with me at the moment. This is a mask you most definitely want to use in the day time, your healthy glowing skin will be wasted in your sleep… you, know unless you are trying to impress someone before you go to bed, and then by all means please feel free. This mask is not going to get rid of my red-and-puffy-problem, but honestly, nothing is going to get rid of that when I have to sneeze and blow my nose ever 5 minutes. C’mon people realistic expectations from your products people. Which reminds me…

C’mon… have realistic expectations of your products people. Working in retail, one of the things that is the most frustrating for me is having people return things and tell me ” this just didn’t work at all”. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to have the option available for people to return things, I think it’s fantastic, and I also realize that there are going to be some products that just don’t work for certain people, or on certain skins, but I would be willing to say that 95% of the people who say something doesn’t work have unrealistic expectations.

For a product to work, you have to first use it. That’s right… the bottle isn’t going to walk to your sink every morning and massage itself into your face.  If it says, “for best results use twice a day” then it’s in your best interest to use it twice a day. If you expect a concealer to conceal then you have to take it upon yourself to learn how to apply it (this specifically means don’t rub it in like it’s an eye cream). The point is, the product is only as consistent as it’s user. If you’re not committed to following the instructions, and giving the product time, the please, save yourself the money and me the headache.

Peace out.

*Edit: Since writing this post I’ve been told by my favorite Starbucks employees that I sound terrible and should get an allergy shot. Ugh.

 

30820584-300x300-0-0_Caudalie_Caudalie_Gentle_Cleanser_200ml_6_7oz

Caudalie Gentle Cleanser

I recently decided to switch cleansers. When I was younger I never really used much outside of soap and water… and was lucky because I never really had skin problems. No major acne problems. As I’ve gotten older, however, and have started wearing make as a profession, which means wearing lots of it, I’ve come to understand the benefits of using nice products on my skin.  I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “sensitive” skin type, I’ve never broken out due to makeup or anything like that, but I do have a tendency to turn red if the ingredients in my skin care are too harsh.

The trouble that I’ve been having lately is little hormonal breakouts and just generally feeling like my cleanser was either too strong and drying out my skin, or that it wasn’t working well enough and I wasn’t seeing any difference at all. This is when my good friend introduced me to Caudalie.

I could go on and on about Caudalie’s history but the quick version is that they’re a natural line developed in france focusing on grape seed and the antioxidant protection it provides the skin. Check it out online at http://caudalie-usa.com/?gclid=CMLYkPD_g54CFVhJ2god3Bc1pw for lots of info on the line.

I’ve been using the Gentle Cleanser for a week and a half now and my skin looks great, so great that people keep telling me it looks great, and as much as I’d like to blame it on my skills as a makeup artist, the truth is I’m wearing the same makeup I have been for months and no one’s said anything about it. My skin feels baby soft after I’ve cleansed with the Caudalie Gentle Cleanser, it feels clean, but not tight, definitely not dry either! An added bonus; it takes off makeup! I love the cleanser so much that I started using some of their other skin care products as well. They have a line that addresses first signs of aging, which is perfect for me because I’m 28, and while I can tell I have a few lines here and there starting to pop up, and would love to start piling on the anti-aging products, the truth is my skin can’t handle it yet. So the products intended for first signs of aging are perfect for my needs.  I definitely recommend checking them out and trying samples of their products. My skin looks radiant and smooth. I’m really impressed with the line, especially since it’s natural. No parabens, no sulfates, all grapey goodness!

 

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