By Sheila Arkee
When I was offered the opportunity to test hair extensions from Irresistible Me, I was equally parts excited and somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of wearing hair that someone else grew on their head.
In my mid-30s and having had a child, I can definitely see a difference in the quality of my hair. It’s still a mane, but my hair has definitely thinned out over the years and I’ve found it doesn’t grow past a certain point. When I flat iron my hair, it could definitely use a booster in a couple of areas.
My curiosity for trying out the extensions outweighed any uncomfortable feelings and I eagerly awaited my shipment of chocolate brown hair which arrived faster than a speeding bullet.After watching this informative video on the different weights and lengths, I consulted with Irresistible Me and selected 140g and 16 inches.
This is Remy Hair, the highest quality that comes from human sources and is sanitized and dyed to match a variety of hair colors. I chose chocolate brown rather than black because my hair is lighter than it appears in photos and is lighter in the back. I only have a few random greys and my hair hasn’t been dyed for years, so that’s a gift from God!
The hair arrived extremely quickly in a sleek back box that contained a sealed package of hair. The hair has a side pocked with a swatch of hair you can use to determine if the hair is a match without opening the main panel of hair. I was surprised to see the bundle of hair was so compact!
The sample hair.
When I started handling the hair, any uncomfortableness went away and when I installed the panels, it felt like it was really my hair, just more of it, which was an interesting feeling.
The hair comes with several different panels, each with clips along the base. One panel that’s intended for the back of your hair has four clips and then you’ll find panels with three, two, and one clip for various sections throughout your hair. You don’t have to use all of these panels, just as you need them.
Since my hair is curly, I installed the extensions after flat ironing my hair. A complete newbie, I found installation to be easy although I needed a few practice tries. You can curl and style these pieces as you need to and they can also be washed.
It took me a quick second to get the hang of installing the clips, but it turned out to be easy and I didn’t have any problems with the hair slipping out of my head. When I wore all the hair pieces I found it to be a bit hot, which is something to be aware of if you are a first-timer. In general I love the way they added length and volume to my hair, which is something I didn’t think I would ever have again. The pieces can also be used to help bulk up braids, which was a lot of fun. I put together a video showing you how I put in the extensions. Next time I’ll use a rat-tail comb to properly section off the areas!
My next step is to take these pieces to a professional hair stylist and have them installed and customized to my hair. While I think they’re great, I read this article by my fellow beauty blogger Ashley Pena who gave some excellent advice on how to care for hair extensions and make them look like an extended part of your hair.
My Final Thoughts: As a total newbie, I found Irresistlble Me hair extentions easy to work with and love the way they added length and volume to my hair. There are so many possiblitieis to be had with these hair panels and I’m looking forward to experimenting!
Price: $129 for the Royal Remy collection with free returns and exchanges.
Availability: Visit www.irresistibleme.com
By Sheila Arkee
It’s been a week of new beginnings, first with the new Makeup of the Day feature, and in addition, Lipstick of the Day, which I’ll be posting at least once a week. The first Lipstick of the Day with MAC Cockney couldn’t be a better choice to kick things off.
With a bag full of empty MAC containers at my disposal, I headed to my nearest MAC counter, was ignored for about 10 minutes, and finally able to grab a couple of lipsticks. Mmm hmmm, former MAC girl in the house, don’t let my crazy hair and sweats make it seem like I’m just there to redeem my Back 2 MAC. Which I was, but still, even though you’re busy, don’t ignore customers, MAC employees!
Cockney is a beautiful sheer red Lustre, which means it has lots of shine.
This lipstick also has micro shimmer, which isn’t quite apparent in the photos. It’s a yellow undertone “friendly” red that I think would be lovely on many different skin tones.
Wondering what the whole yellow undertone thing is about? You need to take a peek at my handy guide explaining just this very thing!
MAC Cockney ($16) is part of the permanent line and can be found at your local MAC counter or MACcosmetics.com.
By Sheila Arkee
For the very first time in my Ipsy subscription of over a year, I am writing a complaint note to customer service about my Ipsy July 2014 “Sensationally Sunkissed” installment. What’s wrong with the contents of this cute, scalloped pink bag that would cause me to do such a thing?
After logging in to my Ipsy account and checking out my Glam Room, I came to the startling realization that one of my items is completely missing! The Lavilin Jojoba Gel Cream never made it through!
How frustrating. I realized something was off when I received my bag which only contained 4 items, 3 of which are sample sized. In that light, this was a pretty “meh” month for Ipsy, considering I received a tanning oil, and I’m pretty sure I did not check off tanning products on my survey of likes and dislikes.
Let’s talk about what I did receive:
- Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil SPF 8 (sample size) – I am a lover, not a tanner. This won’t get any use so it will go in my pile of products I periodically donate to friends and family.
- Benefit They’re Real Mascara (sample size) – I do love They’re Real, so I can’t really complain about a sample size I can t0te around in my purse.
- Elizabeth Mott Tints & Sass Lip Tint in Cherry ($22.99, full sized) – I’m not the biggest fan of lip and cheek stains, but I do appreciate this product is much easier to use than Benefit’s Benetint. It blended into my cheeks quite nicely.
- Bare Minerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Barely Nude (sample size) – I am not a lover of taupe shadows, but I gave it a chance and like the performance. It’s smooth and blends in nicely, but I don’t think I will purchase a full size of this product.
- Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Light It Up (full size, $18) – I actually love, love, love this lipstick, which is the one redeeming part about the whole July Ipsy experience. I used 1000 Ipsy points to nab this color which you earn from referrals and answering survey questions about your monthly bag. The coral color is right up my alley and the formula is creamy and incredible. One of the smoothest lipsticks I’ve ever tried with one of the most interesting tubes. You the silver button in and down to release the lipstick, which took a second to get used to!
Using all the products from Ipsy on my face.
My Final Thoughts: Save for the lipstick I redeemed with my Ipsy referral points (thank you!!!), the Ipsy bag for July 2014 was very lackluster. Although every month won’t be a great month, my expectation level has been spoiled with past Ipsy bags that offered greater value with more full size items and products I was eager to try out. I sent an email to Ipsy about the missing item and got an extremely speedy response back – they’re sending me a replacement. Thank goodness for good customer service!
If you’re interested in signing up for Ipsy yourself, here’s my referral link. Thank you!
Price: $10 per month
Value of Full Sized Items: $22.99 (just one full-sized item in this month’s bag).
Here’s a look at my June Ipsy Glam Bag.
By Sheila Arkee
After reading the book The New Braiding Handbook, 60 Modern Twists on Classic ‘Dos by Abby Smith, I made an express trip to Sally Beauty Supply so I could load up on the professional bobby pins, rat-tail combs, clear elastics, and other hair care supplies tragically missing from my repertoire.
You see, my hair has three basic hairstyles: 1) Loose and free, 2) In a messy bun, 3) Pushed away from my face with sunglasses. If you are like me and wish you could be more experimental with your hair (even though it seems so intimidating), you need to get a copy of this book, STAT!
The author isn’t a professional hairstylist – she’s just a woman who wanted to learn how to do her hair and so she did – sounds like me when I wanted to learn how to do makeup!
This book is very approachable and as I was going through the 60 different styles, I felt like I was reading something from a friend. The clearly written step-by-step tutorials make it so incredibly easy to master hairstyles and take the fear out of what could be a new fabulous ‘do. She even uses a Topsy Tail. A Topsy Tail! Remember how great those were back in the day?
Here’s a preview of the book, a step-by-step breakdown on how to accomplish the Crisscross Ponytail:
1. Gather a small section of hair from the front.
2. Combine it with a thin section of hair from the back and tie off with a clear elastic band.
3. Take a small section from the opposite side and combine it with another thin section of hair from the back.
4. Using a clear elastic, combine the sections.,
5. Repeat until you have four crisscrosses. Leave out two small sections near the nape of your neck, and tie the rest of your hair into a ponytail.
6. Wrap the right section over the ponytail and then wrap the left section over the ponytail. You’ll need to hold these sections tight with your free hand.
7. Secure the sections with a clear elastic band underneath the ponytail. You can try sliding them into the existing elastic band or just use a new one.
Tip: You don’t need to tie the elastic bands super tightly. You just want the elastics to loosely hold the hair in place. When you remove the elastics, gently slide them out of your hair.
My Final Thoughts: I feel much more confident in my hair possibilities now! If you’re wanting to change up your hair style situation but don’t know how to do so, I think you’ll love the clear tutorials offered in The Braiding Handbook.
Price: $13.82 (Kindle edition, $9.99)
Availability: Online at Amazon.com.
By Sheila Arkee
While I do appreciate a good nail polish color and brand, I don’t fancy myself a nail enthusiast. However, if I do come across a great nail product, I typically want to go tell it on the mountain to everyone and anyone. Such is the case with the Salon Perfect Professional Nail Lacquer duo in Mint Julep and Bellini.
Nail polish this great needs to celebrated. Seriously.
If you follow me on Instagram you probably noticed me raving about the Salon Perfect polishes all over the place. I picked up a two-pack of these polishes at WalMart for $5 based on the raves of Destany at the Manifest Destany blog. This brand is new to me, but given her rave reviews I could hardly say no. When she featured the In Bloom Duo that features a mint green polish, resistance was absolutely futile. I am a mint nail polish fiend! In fact, Mint Julep made it into my list of my favorite mint green nail colors.
I found Mint Julep a breeze to apply, however Bellini was a bit more tricky. Maybe it could use a teensy bit of nail polish thinner to make it perfect.
Over the weekend I was attacked with a vicious cold leaving me absolutely unmotivated to do anything with nail polish maintenance. I just don’t have it in me! Amazingly, the Salon Perfect polish in Bellini I applied a week ago is still going strong, with not a bit of tip wear at all. There’s a little bit of chipping at the base of my nails, but that’s to be expected. Otherwise, it’s pretty incredible to see how this polish performs. I’m definitely going to make a trip to WalMart for more!
My Final Thoughts: Pretty polish colors that last for days and days (literally). A great value at $4.98 for a two-pack of regular size polishes, and I will be back for more!
Availability: Online and in WalMart stores. Visit www.salonperfect.com for more information.
By Sheila Arkee
FingerPaints nail colors have been some of my favorites ever since I happened upon a display at Sally Beauty Supply several years ago. They’ve come out with a some fun colors recently, including the Pop Movement Collection.
The Pop Movement Collection is directly inspired from the art that emerged during the Pop Art era. The Pop Art era started in the 1950s and became known for bright colors and digital pixels as seen in the work of artists that included Andy Warhol. The FingerPaints Pop Movement Collection consists of three matte nail colors and three confetti colors that will let you mix and match to your nail loving heart’s desire.
The FingerPaints brush has been redesigned to be flat for one-coat coverage, but I found that I needed two coats anyways. The matte polishes are quite beautiful and were easy to apply, except for the white color, Paper Mache, which was quite the challenge! While I left these colors matte on the nail art wheel, I added a top coat in the swatches on my nails.
The confetti colors are adorable and would work well with any color besides the three in this collection.
My Final Thoughts: At $5 a bottle, you can’t go wrong with the FingerPaints Pop Movement Collection nail colors. These colors are fun, festive, and long-wearing. You can’t go wrong!
Availability: At Sally Beauty Supply stores and online at www.sallybeauty.com
Free of Toluene, Formaldehyde, and Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)
By Sheila Arkee
Lumene Vitamin C+ BB Cream in Medium
NYX HD Concealer in Glow
NYX Above & Beyond Full Coverage Concealer in Glow
Milani Even Touch Powder Foundation in Beige
MAC Pinch O’ Peach Blush
MAC Harmony Blush
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Radiant Light
Base: Milani Eyeshadow Primer
Lid: OCC Hum
Crease: Unconditional from the Lorac Unzipped Palette
Outer Corner: MAC Fig. 1
Browbone: Undercover from the Lorac Unzipped Palette
Liner: Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl in Purple
Liner (lower lid): NYX Slide On Liner in Glitzy Gold
Brows: Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Dark Brown
Mascara: L’Oreal Miss Manga
Lashes: Koko Lashes in Koko
MAC Stripdown Lip Pencil
Wet n Wild Mega Last Matte Lipstick in Don’t Blink Pink
By Sheila Arkee
Why, you ask, am I smooching on this bottle of Painted Earth Skin Care Optimum 20% Vitamin C With Ferulic Acid Serum?
Because it is really and truly one of the best skin care items I have used in recent times.
And I have come across a lot of skin care in the past few months. So much so that I took a little more time than usual with this review just to see how much I liked the results. I used this serum for 3 weeks, started using another (and more expensive serum) for 3 weeks, hated what that serum did for my skin, and went back to this wonder from Painted Earth Skin Care.
If you didn’t know, Painted Earth Skin Care is one of those niche beauty brand gems in the world of skin care and makeup. A small company based out of Georgia, I have loved all of their products I’ve ever used, like their amazingly moisturizing lipsticks. I appreciate the personalized care offered by Joanne, the owner of the company. Joanne is good people, and I really admire the love she puts behind her brand.
At $95, this is pricey, yes, but given my excellent A+ results, it’s worth every single penny. My skin is taut and plump and glowy in a way I didn’t think was possible at my age, which is 35. Breakouts? None! Considering the dermatological nightmare I experienced earlier this year, it’s quite amazing to see my skin looking so … clear!
Look, ma! No makeup!
This product contains 20% Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid that’s suspended in a concentrated base of pure vegan Hyaluronic Acid to plump skin cells.
Vitamin C has been shown in scientific studies to be effective in helping with the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Combined with the antioxidant Ferulic Acid and humectant benefits of Hyaluronic Acid, this is a powerful combination to improve the appearance of skin.
My Final Thoughts: After experiencing a few months of skin care issues, my skin is recovered and looking its best thanks in part to Painted Earth Skin Care Optimum 20% Vitamin C With Ferulic Acid Serum. I am in love with this serum and when I had a little spill last night, a streak of terror went right through my bones. It was sad times, but I did’t lose too much of the serum. Phew!
Price: $95, also available in a trial size for $
Availability: Visit Paintedearthskincare.com
Gluten-free? No, contains Tocopheryl Acetate.
By Sheila Arkee
A peek at my life behind-the-scenes, as seen on Instagram. Follow me @paintedladies_sheila …
A thought I’ve had on my mind this week ….
“I like Oreos. I like to relax.” Deep thoughts from Andre.
Received my Koko Lashes from Lady Moss Beauty and I am thrilled. Thrilled!
I adore and depend on my Urban Decay Good Karma brush, but have lately noticed a lot of shedding from the middle. Why?
Having fun with my Koko Lashes and straightened hair.
Playing Uno with my son – a dream come true!
The essentials for my 5 minute post-gym beauty routine.
Salon Perfect Bellini – my current must-have peach that I’m still wearing. This stuff wears strong!
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is on Netflix and I couldn’t help but admire the simple 40′s makeup on Dolores.
Goodnight, moon. I was pinning away on Pinterest and noticed the beautiful view.
My June favorites, along with a new YouTube vlog.
Peeked into Sephora quickly yesterday where I found a new favorite fuchsia lipstick – it’s Quince by Bite Beauty.
By Sheila Arkee
This photo might seem somewhat ridiculous, but it’s a photo of makeup that I need to sort through, organize, and use more often. All in a handy insulated food bag – perfect for picnics! This is the tip of the iceberg where my makeup collection is concerned, too!
Besides makeup, there ARE other things on my mind. Here’s a short list of my top ten non-beauty obsessions of the moment.
1. Gala Apples
I cannot for the life of me explain why or how this all started, but I’m eating 2-3 apples a day, specifically Gala apples. The crunch, the crispness, the sweetness of it all … I can’t get enough! Apples are definitely healthy and they have fiber to help keep you feeling full, so I’d have to say this is an obsession worth having!
2. Boom Chicka Pop
Oh, em, gee! I’ve heard tales of the deliciousness of Boom Chicka Pop ’round Facebook and Instagram, and I’m happy to report this is absolutely true. Who knew popcorn could taste so good? It’s not laden with calories, so while it’s not entirely low carb, inhaling a bag of the White Cheddar flavor isn’t as bad as inhaling a bag of chips. Not that I’d know from experience. Ahem.
3. Statement Necklaces
Bold necklaces make my day! I’ve been wearing more of my accessories collection in my newer YouTube videos and have had fun shopping for some new pieces. I love that you can find some great ones at Forever 21 and H&M, all for around $10!
4. Black T-Shirts
Black t-shirts are my thing, yo! A few months ago I decided to clear out my closet of things that didn’t fit and had holes in them, which pretty much describes about 95% of my wardrobe. With my busy life as a single mom, I need a uniform, and I’ve decided upon jeans, a black t-shirt and a cardigan.
I’ve been wearing dressy t-shirts from Target, but I’ve found they contain elastic that completely wears out after a few months, leaving you with sheer t-shirts that expose your belly to the world. Embarrassing! Right now I’m testing out some t’s from Old Navy that don’t contain elastic, so we’ll see how that goes.
5. Pentel EnerGel Pens
These gel pens entered my life thanks to Elizabeth at Put On Your Big Girl Lipstick and they are so fabulous, I have no words to properly decscribe them. Gel pens are so luxurious in general, and these are the best of the best. Smooth writing ahead!
6. Pic Tap Go
As an avid photographer, I love this smart phone app which makes editing your phone photos extremely easy. You’ll get great photos in a snap with this ingenious app!
7. Melissa & Doug My First Paint With Water
Andre has ABA therapy three times a week and we scored with the most amazing therapist we’ve ever had. She picks up some great Melissa & Doug products from Marshalls and recently brought over these paint pages which are fun and relaxing for kids and parents. Paint therapy will work wonders for the frazzled parent!
8. Pillow Cool
Pillow Cool by Carex Health Brands is an act of genius. I recently received this pad for review and have to say it’s made these hot and humid Summer days of late a lot easier to take! This pad never gets hot! Just slip it in your pillow case and you are guaranteed a refreshing nights sleep. Pillow Cool retails for $25.70 and is available online and at various retailers.
Uno is my game, I mean, it’s MY game, and I was so excited when our ABA therapist suggested we play the game with Andre. We are working on teaching him social skills, and card games are a great way to do that. He loved the game! Except when I pulled out my sneaky Draw 4 trick! Ha ha!
10. Game of Crowns
I was given an exclusive sneak peak at this new reality show coming to Bravo on Sundays at 9/8c. This show follows six women who compete in pageants for “Mrs” titles, and it’s been quite exciting to watch!
What surprised me the most about the cast is that the majority of them have full-time jobs along with full-time families. They take on another set of responsibilities to participate in the pageants, which is a whole lot of work!
Lynne Diamante took some time from her busy schedule and shared some of her beauty tips, exclusively with Painted Ladies.
1. Mascara, lip gloss and pressed powder can do wonders for your look in under a minute! I always carry a tiny makeup bag in my purse with a travel size mascara, light pink lip gloss and a compact in a shade that matches my skin. Making skin tone even and matte, adding some pretty pink shine to your lips and giving your lashes some pop can change your Whole look in under a minute! It’s my minute look!
2. Multi task your beauty products! Moisturizer can double as hair conditioner OR shaving cream for your legs in a pinch! Blush can function as eye makeup. Simple Vaseline can be used as lip gloss when you slick some powder blush on your lips first!
3. Self-tanner is your best friend! Sun causes wrinkles and dry skin, plus a real suntan will never be as even as a spray tan! Channel your inner golden goddess!
Will you be watching Game of Crowns? I think you’ll be as fascinated as I am!
What are your current non-beauty obsessions?