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9 Essential Hair Straightening Tools

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As you may have noticed, I’ve been wearing my hair straight more frequently this year, more than ever! I love my curls, but it was time to try new things and I’ve been enjoying wearing my hair differently every couple of weeks or so. Over time I’ve developed a technique that streamlined the process and creates straight hair that last about 4 days. Here is a list of my 9 essential hair straightening tools, and I hope these can be of use to you, as well!

9 Essential Hair Straightening Tools

While it used to take an hour plus to flat iron my hair, I’ve gotten the process down to the 20 – 30 minute mark. Here are my curls before.

Living Proof Curl Collection Results

And my hair straight (and then curled again) after. And yes, my hair is definitely a bit longer when I wear it straight!

T3 Micro Twirl 360 Results

My 9 Esssential Hair Straightening Tools:

1. A Wide Tooth Comb

To get the party started, I use a wide tooth comb ($3.99) on dry hair that’s been washed the day before. I’ll use a bit of my heat protectant to help detangle my curls and get it ready for the flat iron.

2. A Leave-In Conditioner

When I’m washing my hair in preparation for using the flat iron, I’ll use moisturizing products and make sure to add in the best leave-in conditioner of all time ever, the Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner ($24). With all the heat you’re going to inflict upon your hair, it’s wise to baby it as best as you can before and after.

3. A Heat Protectant

Hot tools can really do a number on hair, so to make sure your hair stays in good condition a heat protectant is ESSENTIAL! I’ve been using Blowout Beauty Anti-Frizz Volume Boost Treatment Oil ($45) for a while now, and it leaves me with great results. It does contain silicone, but I use it sparingly and haven’t had any build up problems. Another great product for this purpose is the TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray ($4.89)

4. A Flat Iron

At the moment I’m using a flat iron from Karmin G3 Salon Pro Hair Styling Iron ($160) that I reviewed a few years ago. It’s a work horse that gets super hot and gets the job done quickly with only 2 or 3 passes needed per section of hair.

5. Alligator Clips

Alligator clips are another essential for sectioning off my hair and keeping it in place when all is said and done. I would be lost without these nifty tools!

6. Hairspray

Elnett ($14.99) is a hairspray I’ve been using for years and it really does keep my hair in place when I’ve completely finished styling my hair.

7. Styling Tools

After flat ironing I always need to add a little bit of volume to my hair, which is when I reach for my Voloom or T3 Micro Twirl 360. I also love and adore the Hot Tools 1″ Salon Curling Iron/Wand ($49.99), which works really well to create long-lasting mermaid curls.

8. A Dry Shampoo

Batiste Dry Shampoo ($7.99) will be your best friend in the days to come after you’ve straightened your hair. I typically wear a head band to the gym to absorb sweat and rely heavily on a dry shampoo to keep my hair looking it’s best. Just don’t do what I did recently and mistake a sample size of hairspray for a similarsized dry shampoo! It was a disaster!

Here’s a look at how I use a dry shampoo on my curly hair – it’s also exactly how I use it on my straight hair.

 9. A Deep Conditioning Mask

When you’re ready to get back to your curls, a deep conditioning treatment is in order. I’ll co-wash my hair with Dermorganic Intensive Hair Repair Masque  ($18), which is literally one of the best conditioning treatments I have ever used, if not the best.

Here are some quick tips for straightening your hair:

1. Wash your hair the day before. I use moisturizing products and always, always, always the Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner.

2. You will  have to touch up your hair every day, but the process will only take about 5 minutes or so. Some people sleep with their hair in braids or buns, but I just throw it backwards, which is what I do with my curls, as well.

3. A sweat band for the gym and dry shampoo will be your best friends. Trust.

A few months ago I created a quick video sharing my flat ironing technique.

I hope this list is helpful to your future hair straightening endeavors? What are some of your essential beauty tools for straightening your hair?

3 Ways To Wear Aqua Eyeshadow With NYX Cosmetics Prismatic Eyeshadow In Mermaid

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The moment I laid my eyes on NYX Cosmetics Prismatic Eyeshadow in Mermaid, I knew right away it was love at first sight. A lover of all things shimmery and blue, I think this iridescent  is a gorgeous color to incorporate into Spring and Summer makeup. The possibilities are endless, so I thought it would be helpful to narrow it down to 3 ways to wear aqua eyeshadow.

3 Ways To Wear Aqua Eyeshadow Tutorial

1. On The Lower Lid

Adding a colorful eyeshadow or eyeliner to your lower lid is the best way to incorporate color, in my opinion. If you’re used to neutrals, or just looking to change things up from your typical makeup, try a bit of fun color underneath your lower lashes!

EOTD Wet n Wild Milano Palette NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow Mermaid

2. In The Inner Lid

A pop of color on the inner lid is a fun way to make your eyeshadow stand out. Here, paired with purple eyeshadow, it makes for a striking statement!

Stilazzi PS11 Eyeshadow NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow in Mermaid MAC Embark Eyeshadow Design

3. As The Main Event

I have to admit that when I first started wearing makeup (eons ago), I was quite perplexed with how to wear aqua eyeshadow. However, a kindly makeup artist took me under her wings and showed me how to blend matte medium browns into the outer corner and crease of my eyelids to create an eyeshadow look worthy of such a color.

Lorac Pro NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow in Mermaid

Now, for a closer look at Mermaid, which I know will be my main eyeshadow squeeze in the coming Summer months

Review NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow in Mermaid

This eyeshadow is truly spectacular, and the good news is, it offers tons of color payoff and is one of 11 Prismatic Eyeshadows from NYX.

NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow in Mermaid Swatch

Even the packaging with the bow clasp is totally adorable!

NYX Cosmetics Prismatic Eyeshadow Packaging

My Final Thoughts: Mermaid is my first Prismatic Eyeshadow from NYX, but it’s definitely not going to be my last! I’m planning on snapping up some more of these super buttery and pigmented shimmery shadows, stat!

Rating: A

Price: $6

Availability: Ulta

Cruelty-free? Yes

Paraben-free? Yes

Makeup Of The Day 110 With NYX Cosmetics Prismatic Eyeshadow in Mermaid

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NYX Cosmetics Prismatic Eyeshadow in Mermaid could pretty much be the perfect aqua eyeshadow. It has the perfect amount of iridescence and is just lovely on it’s own or paired with other colors.

Stilazzi PS11 Eyeshadow NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow in Mermaid Cailyn Lipgloss Basic Instinct FOTD

Keep reading for more photos and to find out what products I used for this look!

Continue reading Makeup Of The Day 110 With NYX Cosmetics Prismatic Eyeshadow in Mermaid

A Look At Bonita Salon Nail Colors

I Bought It

There’s one thing that happens when a beauty blogging beauty junkie finds herself in front of a display of gorgeous nail polishes under $4. She gets busy shopping. That’s what happened a few weeks ago when I encountered Bonita Salon Nail Polish, a new-to-me bargain brand that was at a local Rite Aid store.

Review Bonita Salon Nail Polish Cocktails in Aruba and Nightlife in Ibiza

Fancy that! Yes, there are always new beauty brands out there to be discovered, a wonderful thought for this cosmetics obsessed beauty blogger.

Bonita Salon Nail Polish Cocktails in Aruba and Nightlife in Ibiza Swatches

The Bonita Salon display had a buy one, get one 50% off deal, and priced at $3.99 each, I could not resist bringing home both Cocktails in Aruba and Ibiza Nightlife.

Bonita Salon Nail Polish Cocktails in Aruba and Nightlife in Ibiza Review

These two colors are right up my alley!

Bonita Salon Nail Polish Cocktails in Aruba and Nightlife in Ibiza

Cocktails in Aruba is a beach-y, mermaid green that I’ve been wearing on my nails and love. It’s a step up from my favorite mint green nail colors, and a perfect color to usher in Summer.

Bonita Salon Nail Polish Cocktails in Aruba

Ibiza Nightlife is a vibrant fuchsia that is the perfect pedicure color. Seriously, I don’t think this is coming off for the next few months!

Bonita Salon Nail Polish Nightlife in Ibiza

My Final Thoughts: The good news is that both polishes are chip resistant, long-wearing, and the Bonita Salon collection is available online. The Bonita Colors brand offers more cosmetics besides nail polish – to keep up with them, follow them on Instagram!

Rating: A

Price: $3.99

Availability: www.bonitacolors.com

Gorgeous, Bouncy Curls Are Easy With The T3 Micro Twirl 360 Curling Iron

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While it might sound funny for a person with notoriously curly hair to say this, it has been my great pleasure to spend some time getting to know the T3 Micro Twirl 360 curling iron lately.

T3 Micro Twirl 360 Curling Iron Review

On those occasions I flat iron my hair, I have to admit I miss the natural “oomph” from my curls and I find myself adding curls back with a curling iron. With technology that comes from the aviation and space exploration industries, the T3 Micro Twirl 360 is definitely one of the coolest beauty tools I’ve ever used. You have to see for yourself how this curling iron works!

The T3 Micro Twirl 360 is the first of it’s kind – with the push of a button, it is able to sense the movement of your hand and rotates in your desired direction. The results are uniformly shiny curls that don’t fall out in a few minutes.  Plus, this saves time and wrist movements from the traditional curling iron.

T3 Micro Twirl 360  How To Use

I have to admit, it’s a lot of fun to use this high-tech curling iron!

T3 Micro Twirl 360 How To Use 1

When you release the iron, you’re left with shiny, bouncy curls.

T3 Micro Twirl 360 How To Use 2

It’s easy to use and the results are flawless. When I’m done adding curls randomly throughout my hair, I loosen them up, add a layer of hairspray, and I’m set for the day!

T3 Micro Twirl 360 Results

If you would have asked the gawky and awkward 11 year old version of myself if this hair would have been possible, I would never have believed  you!

T3 Micro Twirl 360

The T3 has five heat settings up to 410°, two speeds that you control from the power button at the base of the iron.

T3 Micro Twirl 360 Power Button

The curling motion is controlled with a button near the clamp. After you place your hair in the 1.25″ barrel, simply push the button and you’re off and on the way to curls!

T3 Micro Twirl 360 Barrel

The barrel is made with T3 tourmaline and ceramic technology and is really easy to use. It heats up really fast and

T3 Micro Twirl 360 Handle

My Final Thoughts: The T3 Micro Twirl 360 is a beauty gadget that will save time and wrist pain and give you a head full of gorgeous, bouncy curls, to boot.

How To Use The T3 Micro Twirl 360

Rating: A

Price: $230

Availability: Sephora

My Instagram Life, 5/10/15

Here’s a look behind the scenes and the week that was on Painted Ladies, as seen on Instagram.

My favorite seasoning of all time – so good I keep it in my purse! Available at Penzey’s.

Penzey's Lemon Pepper

Your regularly scheduled beauty public service announcement – have you taken the time to wash your makeup brushes lately?

How To Wash Makeup Brushes

These doubled-ended liners from Pur Minerals are fun to play around with!

Pur Minerals Double Ego Liners

A look at these gorgeous luxury nail polishes from Butter London and the chance for two readers to win a set!

Butter London Patent Shine

Serving up some copper smoky eyeshadow inspiration.

Copper Smoky Shadow

My many favorites from April 2015.

April 2015 Beauty Favorites

Another awesome contest – one will win this eyeshadow palette from Pacifica.

Pacifica Beauty Contest

An eyeshadow design I created with the aforementioned Pacifica palette.

Pacifica Eyeshadow Inspriation

My pick for the top online exclusive beauty brands.

Online Beauty Brands

The cutest Mother’s Day present ever!


A look at some new Stilazzi shadows I added to my collection.


I’m excited to share the review of the curling iron I’m using in this photo! It’s coming up next week.

T3 Curling Iron

Gone fishing! This is actually a park near our house that feels like it’s in the mountains or somewhere remote.


This is how we roll on Mother’s day weekend. Happy Mother’s Day to the moms, guardians, and caretakers out there!


Here’s to a blessed week!

Tom Ford, Pacifica, KB Shimmer, and NYX Cosmetics

Here’s a look back at what the members of the Beauty Blog Coalition wrote about this week!



Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer Will Rock Your World

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As a person with normal-to-oily skin, I have tried many a mattifying primer in my life. You name it, I’ve used it, which means when I say a particular product is extraordinary, it truly is. That’s the case with the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer, which managed to shock me with it’s effectiveness. It’s that good!

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer

As we’re quickly heading in to the Summer months, you’d think the weather in Southern California would be warmer than ever, but we’re heading into week two of a May gloom. Oily skin, however, knows no weather changes, and in my case a mattifying primer comes in handy any day of the year.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer Swatch

You don’t need much of the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer for it to be effective – just a dab’ll do! Apply all over your face, or just on your oily areas, if you prefer – for me it’s my forehead, nose, and cheeks.

The results? Skin so matte, it’s almost flat and the perfect canvas for your makeup. This mattifying product is one several new primers from Make Up For Ever that are designed to address a variety of skin tones and concerns. Called the Make Up For Ever Skin Equalizers, these primers smooth, nourish, add radiance, correct redness, and balance skin tones.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer Review

So, what’s in this particular primer that makes it work so well?  Surprisingly enough, it is silicone-free, which is good news for me and others whose skin just doesn’t get along with this typically ubiquitous ingredient. The key ingredient is Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, aka, kaolin/clay which is awesome for absorbing oil and controlling the size of your pores.

My Final Thoughts: Bottom line, the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer works and works really well to control oily skin for hours on end. I’m completely impressed and count this as a huge win for those of us who are fighting the good fight against excess oil.

Rating: A

Price: $36

Availability: Sephora

Cruelty-free? No

Paraben-free? Yes

Makeup Of The Day 109 With Stilazzi Eyeshadow

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Then new Stilazzi eyeshadow colors that recently joined my makeup collection will definitely be put to good use! Here’s a smoky eyeshadow look I created with all five of the new colors – pink and green included!

Makeup Inspiration With Stilazzi Eyeshadow

Keep reading for more photos and to find out what products I used for this look!

Continue reading Makeup Of The Day 109 With Stilazzi Eyeshadow

My Top 5 Favorite Online Beauty Brands

The beauty industry has come a long way in the past few years, and it’s all thanks to a little bit of advanced technology. Without technology, today’s post about my top 5 favorite online beauty brands wouldn’t even be possible, neither would this very blog!

Top 5 Favorite Online Beauty Brands

A mere 18 years ago, shopping for makeup and beauty products was an entirely different experience than it is today. Back then we learned about new cosmetics from TV or magazines, then purchased them directly from stores, from phone orders, and occasionally the fax machine.

Today, beauty product are available at our fingertips, literally! It’s easy to purchase products straight from our smartphones, and from brands that might not even be sold in traditional brick and mortar stores at all. Thanks to technology, smaller beauty brands are able to make a name for themselves and beauty consumers have access to a wider variety of colors and textures than ever. It’s all good stuff!

It was tough to narrow this list down, but I came up with my top 5 favorite online beauty brands that offer high quality cosmetics

1. ColourPop

One of the newest beauty brands, ColourPop has made major waves in the short time it’s been in existence. With products that cost $5 and $8, you can purchase gorgeous lip, eye, and cheek colors galore without breaking the bank. I’m partial to Quiche and Amaze Super Shock Shadows, and Lippie Stix in Go Fish and Yasmin.  I also love their Super Shock Blush in Pie and Swift.

2. Sugarpill

Offering loose and pressed eyeshadows, Sugarpill has won my and many other hearts with their commitment to bold and unique makeup. Bold shadows never looked so good! Sugarpill’s shadows are top quality and their matte shadows are incredibly smooth and easy to apply. Goldilux, Tiara, and Hug Life are all loose shadow must haves! For pressed shadows, I love Kitten Parade, Subterranean, and the Burning Heart Palette.

3. Makeup Geek

Makeup Geek Cosmetics was started by Marlena, a beauty blogger who started selling cosmetics in her online shop that expanded to the Makeup Geek brand of eyeshadow, pigments, lipsticks, blushes, and brushes.  Makeup Geek shadows are super pigmented, under $6 and comparable (and even better!) than MAC eyeshadows. Makeup Geek pigment in Liquid Gold is a MUST have!


When BFTE was up for sale, it was nabbed by Kimberly, a fellow beauty blogger. Kimberly has done a wonderful job with BFTE and I’m always excited to see which new shadows she comes up with for her various collections. BFTE loose pigments are a wonderful quality and I have so much fun creating looks with the colors. Here’s a look back the adorable Valentine’s collection!

5. Painted Earth Cosmetics

Painted Earth is a cruelty-free, natural brand that deserves a lot more love in the blogging world! I’m a big fan of Painted Earth’s skincare, lipsticks, and their highlighter in Seychelles is an all time personal favorite.

Honorable mentions go to Fyrinnae and Violet Voss. I love Fyrinnae pigments, but haven’t placed an order with them in many moons. I have one Violet Voss glitter and love it, but I’ve yet to try any other Violet Voss products.

Also, There are a couple of brands that are sold in stores but aren’t easily available to many, including L.A. Colors, and my new favorite, Stilazzi.

There are many, many other online beauty brands I’ve yet to try and are on my ever expanding makeup wish list. Some of these brands include Melt Cosmetics, Dose Of Color, and Colored Raine.

What are some of your online beauty brands? Do you have any product recommendations to share? I’m always looking for new makeup to try!