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3 Must Have Products For Curly Hair

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As I mentioned in my recent post where I discussed my 2015 beauty resolutions, this is the year I’m getting my hair in it’s best shape ever. Possessing curls aplenty, my hair needs special care, and over time I’ve learned there are 3 must have products for curly hair that I cannot be without.

3 Must Have Products For Curly Hair Care

1. A Wide-Tooth Comb

A hair brush is the mortal enemy of curly hair. If I were to brush my hair on a regular basis, madness would ensue. However, there are snarls and knots that need to be combed through, so I coat my hair with an oil and comb through with a wide toothed comb right before I wash my hair. Snarls are eliminated and as a bonus the oil acts as a conditioning treatment.

2. A Good Natural Oil

My hair can’t tolerate typical shine treatments that only seem to dump a bunch of dimethicone on hair. Instead, a couple of drops of a good oil do the trick when my hair needs a bit of a boost between washes. Lately I’ve been applying some oil to the ends of my hair at night – my dry ends need the moisture.

InstaNatural Argan Oil

Right now I’m using and loving InstaNatural Argan Oil ($17.95), a cold-pressed oil that can be used on your hair, skin, nails, and face.

InstaNatural Argan Oil Review

There are no chemicals or artificial fragrances used in this pure oil, making it ideal for hair that needs a lot of pampering.

3. A Hair Mask

While I will use a shampoo every few washes, I’m a co-washer, meaning I’ll only use conditioner to cleanse my hair. I’ve been doing this for many years with great success and have found that my hair takes on new life and vitality when I use a hair mask for this purpose.

InstaNatural Argan Oil Hair Mask

There are several nourishing hair masks in my current co-washing rotation, and one that I’ve been enjoying is the InstaNatural Argan Oil Hair Mask ($17.95). My hair really loves Argan Oil, and this  mask is so nourishing, giving my hair much needed moisture.

The key ingredients are: Argan Oil, Amino Acid Complex, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, and Vitamin B5. You can either use this as a daily conditioner, or leave it on your hair for 10 minutes as a hair mask.

Review of InstaNatural Argan Oil Hair Mask

With the use of these three products, my curls are supple and I can definitely say the “happy curl, happy girl” principal is in effect!

Do you have certain must have products you use in your hair?

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Makeup Of The Day 72 Featuring The Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start Glam Bag

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So, my hair had seen better days when I took photos for today’s makeup inspiration, which features products I received in the Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start Glam Bag. What better time to pull out my peacock fascinator? My skin is currently red and inflamed from allergies, but I give all credit to my foundation lineup for keeping things together!

Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start FOTD

Makeup from Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start

Makeup from the Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start Bag

Face

Cover FX Illuminating Primer

NYX HD Concealer in Glow

Cover FX Cream Concealer in G Medium-Deep

Illuminare Moisturizing Mineral Foundation in Sienna Sun

Smashbox Halo Loose Powder in Light

It Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Palette

Eyes

Base: Milani Eyeshadow Primer

Lid: BellaPierre Shimmer Powder in Whesek

Outer Corner: Lorac Pro Sable and Espresso

Browbone: Lorac Pro Cream & White

Lower Lid: Pacifica Treasure

Liner (upper lid only): Elizabeth Mott You’re So FINE Liquid Liner

Brows: Paula Dorf 2 + 1 For Brows in Brunette

Mascara: L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Intenza

Lips

Milani Nude Lip Pencil

J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint in Red Potion

My Skin Is Thanking Me For InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum and InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel

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InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum and InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel came into my life recently, and my skin is very thankful.

InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum and InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel

Over the past couple of months I’ve been trying many InstaNatural products, and have to say overall my skin is very impressed. This affordable, high quality skincare line offers serums, moisturizers, masks, and other products that target a variety of skin concerns. At the moment, my biggest skin care issue is dryness. InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($16.95) is exactly what my Winter-parched skin needs right now. Hyaluronic Acid is a natural hydrator and helps your skin retain moisture. It’s a must have!

InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum

InstaNatural’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum contains Hyaluronic Acid along with antioxidants that include Vitamin C, Jojoba Oil, Aloe, and Green Tea to plump up and firm skin. This serum absorbs into my skin quickly and I’ve never experienced any irritation.

InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum Review

You can use this alcohol-free serum both day and night under your typical moisturizer and other skincare items.

InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum Swatch

I must give InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel ($19.97) a round of applause, because it’s just that great. This firming gel has made my under eye area extremely happy. I’m wowed in a way I never expected!

InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel

This lightweight, fast absorbing eye gel is enriched with Plant Stem Cells, Hyaluronic Acid, Matrixyl 3000, Vitamin E and Jojoba Oil to target and improve the appearance of dark circles, elasticity, wrinkles, puffiness and sagging skin.

InstaNatural Youth Express Eye Gel Swatch

This is my current go-to eye cream and I love that it instantly makes my under eyes feel more taut. It’s something I didn’t expect to love, but cherish dearly.

My Final Thoughts: The prices of InstaNatural products are absolutely fantastic. You cannot beat them AND the products are effective. I’m definitely a new, repeat customer! Both the Hyaluronic Serum and Youth Express Eye Gel are fantastic – if you have dryness, you’ll love both.

Rating: A

Availability: InstaNatural Hyaluronic Serum is on Amazon.com, as is the Youth Express Eye Gel Amazon.com

Cruelty-free? Yes

Paraben-free? Yes

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The Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start Glam Bag Is Starting The Year On A Good Note

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Earlier this week I received my monthly Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start Glam Bag, and I can tell you without a doubt Ipsy is starting the year on a good note.

Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start Subscription Bag

Ipsy hasn’t been the most consistent in the past, but I was truly impressed with my contents from the get go. This is the first Ipsy bag that has it all right – I like everything I received and really feel like I got a great value for the $10 monthly subscription fee.

Ipsy January 2015

Besides that, the makeup bag matches my mani perfectly! A plus!

Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start

Here’s what I got in my bag:

– Velvet 59 Velvet Lip Gloss in Noisette (full-sized, $19) – soft, plushy, and gorgeously shiny.

– Elizabeth Mott All Over Shadow Brush (full-sized, $10) – soft and supple and definitely something I’m loving.

– BellaPierre Shimmer Powder in Whesek (full-sized, $4) – GORGEOUS, gunmetal grey shadow.

– Pacifica Natural Mineral Coconut Eyeshadow in Treasure (full-sized, about $10) – another gorgeous gold shadow.

– La Fresh Eco-Beauty Good Day Moisturizer (sample size) – I love this packaging!

From left to right, here are swatches of Whesek, Treasure, and Noisette.

Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start Swatches

Combined, these shadows and gloss make for a gorgeous look! I’m actually super impressed with all three colors.

Makeup from the Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start

Everything in this bag is something I will use and I think it was balanced just right. It’s like the bag was acutally curated according to the preferences I’ve set over the time I’ve been with Ipsy. Not too much skincare, but 4 full-sized makeup products I’m excited to use.

J. Cat Wonder Lip Paint in Red Potion

I also cashed in some points for the J. Cat Wonder Lip Paint in Red Potion, which is a glorious, shiny oxblood red.

Swatch of J. Cat Wonder Lip Paint in Red Potion

My Final Thoughts: Overall, I’m entirely impressed with the Ipsy January 2015 Fresh Start Glam Bag. For $10 I received makeup and skin care products to try out, and I think it’s a great deal.

If you’re interested in signing up for Ipsy yourself, here’s my referral link. Thank you!

Rating: A

Price: $10 per month (includes shipping)

Value of Full Sized Items: Approx. $43

 

Taking My Skincare Up A Notch With InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer and InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum

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Thinking back on 2014, I have to say it was a great year of improvement for my skin’s health. Vitamin C was the ingredient that brought renewed vitality to my face and became a must have for my skincare routine. I’ve been testing InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer along with InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum, and both products are integral parts of my current product rotation.

InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum and InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer

While it’s a brand that’s new to me, I’ve been really pleased with several InstaNatural products I’ve tested recently. Over the past couple of months, I’ve found InstaNatural skincare to be effective, gentle,  and the prices are right, in fact they’re just plain awesome. You get more than you pay for with InstaNatural products and I’ll definitely be back for more.

I’ve been layering the InstaNatural Vitamin C ($16.97) underneath the InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer for optimal results. The serum has a fresh citrus fragrance and is packed with ingredients that will add a glow, moisture, plump, firm, and re-texturize your skin.

InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum

The key ingredients of this wonder serum (that I’m totally repurchasing) include 20% Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Argan Oil, Rosehip Oil, Plant Stem Cells, and Pomegranate.

InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum Review

The orange color of this serum is due to the Sea Buckthorn Oil, which adds a lot of moisture.

Review of InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum

This serum is comparable to similar serums I’ve reviewed in the past, and I like the results just as much. The price is fantastic, so it’s a winner, for sure, in my book.

The InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer ($19.95) contains a plethora of antioxidant-rich ingredients, namely 20% Vitamin C, 5% Niacinamide, 5% Hyaluronic Acid, and Plant Stem Cells.

InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer

You can use this both morning and night to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration, as well as improve dryness. My skin is so different in Winter and I do need added moisture, so this has really hit the spot!

Review of InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer

Both products skin into my skin with ease and aren’t greasy, nor do they irritate my skin.

My Final Thoughts: Overall, I’m really pleased with the antioxidant-rich InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum and InstaNatural Vitamin C Moisturizer. With price tags that won’t break the bank, you’ll be able to treat your skin right.

Rating: A

Price: $16.97 – $19.95

Availability: www.instanatural.com

Cruelty-free? Yes

Paraben-free? Yes

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My Beauty Resolutions For 2015

Even though the Holiday season is barely over, it seems like it was months and months ago we celebrated the turn of the New Year. Wasn’t it? Today I’m collaborating with my fabulous beauty blogger pals from The Beauty Council and sharing my beauty resolutions for 2015.

2015 Beauty Resolutions

1. Help My Hair!

So, I got my nail situation handled, got the errant skin in check, now it’s time to tackle my curls. I love my curls, but I am definitely seeing the need to take even better care of them than ever before. My hair has been the same length for years because my terribly split ends fall off when I comb through my curls. 2015 will be the year I get some hair length going on!

2. Get Organized … Really

This has been on my resolution list for years! A couple of weeks ago I shared a peek of my organization situation on Instagram, and it is an ongoing source of frustration. What I need to do is spend some time creating a makeup inventory on Excel, and invest in some good drawers for storage. You might really be a makeup junkie if you start thinking about spreadsheets, but hey!

3. Use What I Have

I have a lot of makeup. A lot! It’s par for the course and time for me to shop my stash more often and give life to makeup from days past.

4. Challenge Myself, Creatively

Just like everyone else, I get into creative ruts. I’m always inspired by some incredibly talented makeup artists on YouTube and Instagram, and I’m ready to break out my creative brushes.

5. Meet My Health Goals

Looking back, 2014 was a year of renewal. I finally got my health on track and feel entirely thankful for all the times I cried at the gym because I finally feel good again. Seriously, my legs were in agony!

In 2015, I will achieve my goal, which seems far off from where I am, but I have made it over the half way point. I am determined and I’ve learned slow and steady win the race.

6. Practice Nail Art

I’ll admit to feeling intimidated by nail art that goes beyond my favorite easy techniques. I’m going to pick up a stamping kit and spend some time figuring out how to make pretty patterns on my nails.

What are your beauty resolutions for 2015?

This post was done in collaboration with The Beauty Council.

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Visit the blogs below to read up on our resolutions.

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Lipstick Love: ColourPop Lippie Stix in Grind

Another day, another shout out to my new favorite beauty brand, ColourPop Cosmetics. Today on Lipstick Love I have ColourPop Lippie Stix in Grind to show you.

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Grind

Grind is a purple matte that’s described as being a “vivid blue violet”.

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Grind Review

As with all ColourPop Lippie Stix, the pigmentation is incredible, as is the wear time. For $5, these lipsticks are some of the best deals in the beauty industry. For reals.

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Grind Swatch

ColourPop sells coordinating Lippie Pencils for each of their Lippie Stix, but you can wear any neutral liner to pair with the lip colors. In my case, I reach for Milani Anti-Feathering Lip Pencil, which is clear and goes with anything.

Swatches of ColourPop Lippie Stix in Grind

I was playing around with some eyeshadow combos and paired Grind with a smoky eye look. The actual eye look didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would, so I’ll spare you the close up.

In other news:

a) I am so happy with the ring light I recently invested in, which you can see in the reflection of my eyes. It’s given me the ability to bust out makeup looks in the evenings when Andre has gone to bed, and that’s a really great time because I’m relaxed and am not rushed at all.

b) My skin has seen better days these days. Why you gotta play me like that, seasonal allergies and irritation? If you had any idea how itchy my skin is at the moment, you wouldn’t blame me for currently being makeup-less with a face covered in Aquaphor. This too shall pass, but in the meanwhile, thank you Aquaphor for being so soothing!

Here’s a list of some other ColourPop Lippie Stix I’ve featured in the past, with  a couple more features coming soon.

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Tipsy

ColourPop Lippie Stix in I Heart This

My Final Thoughts: Long live ColourPop. ColourPop Lippie Stix in Grind is a statement purple and I predict lovers of bold lip colors will love it.

Rating: A

Price: $5

Availability: www.colourpop.com

Cruelty-free? Yes

Paraben-free? Yes

Gluten-free? Yes

Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder Could Be My Favorite Loose Powder

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Awesome product alert: I may have found my perfect loose powder in Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder.

Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder Light Neutral Review

If you’ve been reading the product descriptions of my Makeup Of The Day posts for the past couple of months, you will have noticed that I am pretty much exclusive to Smashbox HALO in Light/Neutral. It’s just that good!

Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder

In fact, HALO made me gasp out loud in amazement the first time I used it, giving my skin a gorgeous, lit-from-within illuminated glow. Never overly powdery, what I get with Smashbox HALO is a nice, long-wearing finish that sets my foundation and concealer products perfectly.

BFTE I Believe In Reindeer & I Believe In Santa  FOTD

So, what is it that makes Smashbox HALO so great? Well, the fact that you shave the product off with a built-in tool that makes it completely un-messy is pretty darned cool. Besides that, HALO is talc-free, oil-free and includes built-in, anti-aging skin benefits. The ingredient list includes pure gold, 48 minerals, 11 amino acids, a powerful peptide, and a patented hydration system to provide hydration to your skin as long as you wear it.

Review of Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder Light Neutral

Available in 8 shades, Light/Neutral is actually a great color for my medium/olive skin. If you are of my skin ilk, I’d also recommend going up a shade darker to Light/Medium. At $49, there are definitely less expensive powder options, but I do say I find the finish to be exceptional, so it’s worth it’s weight.

Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder Light Neutral
My Final Thoughts:
Having used scores of beauty products through the years, anything that becomes a mainstay in my collection deserves all the raves it can possibly get. Smashbox HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder offers a gorgeous, illuminated, long-wearing finish and sets foundation perfectly.

Rating: A

Price: $49

Availability: Sephora.com and Sephora stores

Cruelty-free? No

Paraben-free? Yes

4 Easy Nail Art Techniques

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Today I have 4 easy nail art techniques that are guaranteed to spruce up any ordinary nail polish in your collection. While my polish application technique has definitely improved over time, I’ve always struggled in the area of nail art. In the interest of time and inexperience, I’ve learned to embrace easy techniques that give my basic nail colors an added boost.

4 Easy Nail Art Techniques

Nail art can seem intimating but with a little know how, you’ll be sporting fun nails in no time.

Easy Nail Art Techniques

Technique 1: Fan Brush

Fan Brush For Nail Art

Using a fan brush to stipple color across your nail makes it seem like you’re doing something much fancier. For best results, use 2-3 colors on top of your base manicure, and clean your brush with acetone afterwards. I’ll admit this was a bit tricky for me to master, but I realized that applying polish directly to the tip of the brush yields the best results.

Technique 2: Dotticure

Dotticure Tools

When it doubt, dot it out! The Dotticure is my fail safe that I use on so many occasions. I’ve always used the end of a bobby pin, but I just started using a dotting tool from the Kiss Salon Secrets Nail Art Starter Kit and I have to say it’s a great one for achieving a fine point. To properly dot, I pour a bit of polish into a plastic container and dot away.

Dotticure Tutorial

Technique 3: Tape it up!

Scotch Tape For Manicures

Scotch Tape is actually a fantastic general beauty tool, but that’s another post for another day. It’s great to use to create straight lines, as I did here. I just laid down the tape, polished over it, removed, and voila!

Tape For Nail Art

Using Tape For Manicures

Cool, geometrical nail art in a flash!

Technique 4: Glitter Overcoat

Milani Rainbow Prisms

Perhaps the easiest technique of all, you can’t fail with a pretty glitter overcoat on top of one (or all) of your nails. Make sure to use a really great nail polish remover, because most times glitter polishes require a lot of elbow grease to remove!

With all of these fun nail art ideas, make sure to seal your nails with a final layer of top coat.

The Not-So-Snazzy Before

Milani Corrupted Coral

The Super Snazzy After!

Easy Nail Art Techniques

Hooray for easy nail art!

The nail colors I used in this tutorial are Milani Color Statement Corrupted Coral, Milani Color Statement Blue Print, Milani Color Statement Rainbow Prisms, Madam Glam Lilac Madness, and Sinful Colors Snow As White.

What are your favorite nail art techniques?

Get Healthier Nails With New Cutex Nail Care Products

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Have you ever come across products that you generally don’t have overwhelmingly high expectations for, but end up being some of the best you’ve ever tried? That’s exactly how I feel about a few new nail care products I’ve recently tested from Cutex.

Cutex

A leading nail care company since 1911, the folks at Cutex have been hard at work developing some new products that will bring your nail care game up a few notches.

Cutex Nail Remover Products Review

Today I’m going to tell you about Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads, Cutex Advanced Nail Polish Remover, Cutex SPA Formula Nail Polish Remover, and Cutex Baseworx. These area all winners, and I’m far more impressed with their stellar performance than I ever expected.

Cutex Advanced Nail Polish Remover Pads

I have to start with my very favorite, the Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover Pads ($3,99, box of 10), which are going to be kept in stock with backups in the nail care section of my beauty pantry. Long story short, one little pad was able to remove layers of polish and glitter and holo from all of the nails of one hand with minimal elbow grease required on my part. I still really can’t believe how well it worked, and the best part is they’re easy to carry around for those nail polish removal emergencies. Please don’t ever discontinue these pads, Cutex!

Cutex Advanced Nail Polish Remover Pads Review

The Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover  ($2.99) itself is just as great and is formulated to nourish nails with a combination of acetone, and botanical oils from apricot seed, flax seed, and the perilla plant. It’s also the first nail polish remover to receive a U.S. patent in more than 15 years.

Cutex Advanced Nail Polish Remover

If you love to wear glitter nails, you will LOVE the Cutex SPA Formula Nail Polish Remover ($3.98), which worked extremely well to remove the layers of polish, glitter, and holo adhered to my nails. This remover is designed to work with glitter, Shellac, or gel nails and works as well as pure acetone, but with nourishing oils to keep your nails and cuticles from drying out.

Cutex SPA Formula Nail Polish Remover

Cutex Baseworx ($7.99) is my new go-to base coat.

Cutex Baseworx

It’s based on bio-ceramic technology and formulated with a fine powder that bonds with the keratin in your nails to strengthen nails, fill in ridges, and help extend the wear time of your polish. It can also be used alone if you prefer a natural and shiny look.

Cutex Baseworx Review

My Final Thoughts: If your nails are in  need of some TLC, turn to Cutex. I found the products I tested to work quickly, effectively, and love that they’re gentle on nails.  To boot, they’re a steal! Costing between $3 – $8, these new products from Cutex won’t break the bank.

Rating: A+

Price: $3 – $8

Availability: Mass market retailers and drugstore.com

Cruelty-free? Yes