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Best of Skincare TAG – Cruelty Free Edition!

Ah skincare! Something I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with. 😄 Since this may be my last post before starting Accutane (not entirely sure, but my next dermatologist appointment is around the corner!), I thought I would do the Best of Skincare TAG that’s been going around the blogging / YouTube world in recent days! It’s a really great tag (if you’re unaware what a “tag” is, it’s really just a bunch of set questions that people answer and ask others to do as well…you know, like the game of tag! 😉) that I believe was created by ttsandra and MakeupTIA on YouTube. These have been so wonderfully interesting to watch lately, so I figured why not take the opportunity to go over some of my favorite skincare products pre-Accutane! 😀 Lord knows I’ve tried a lot of different skincare over the years. So instead of rambling on, let’s just get to the question and answer portion of the post, shall we? 😜

Cruelty Free March Favs 2015 – ColourPop, Shea Terra, Urban Decay, Acure, Wet n Wild, Waxelene & Paula’s Choice

I cannot believe it’s the end of March! (Obligatory blogger opening sentence completed. Hehe!) It is finally starting to look a bit like Spring, which makes me so so happy – Spring is probably my favorite season. J It’s been an odd month all around, so I think I’m glad to see it pass…then again, every time I say something like that, the following month is even stranger. J Vague update completed and blogger favorites requirement list all checked off. J Seriously though, the sun is shining, daylight is lasting longer, it’s almost getting warmer…just barely, and my mood is improving. Spring is officially on it’s way!!! Well, it’s technically here, but it’s finallystarting to feel like it. And clearly I am having trouble staying on topic, which is another sure sign that spring fever is setting in! J So, getting back to the topic at hand, let’s talk about my favorite products from the month of March!!!

I’m going to start with nails. I am seriously surprised by this one! I know that I mentioned them in another favorites…probably last month, but I have really been lovingthe new Wild Shine Polishes from Wet n Wild! I love the colors that I have, the formula is great and opaque in one to two coats – even the baby pink shade currently on my nails! – and it seems to be pretty durable. Best of all, they’re only 99¢!!! I did something that I rarely do with the shade Be More Pacific. I took it off when it chipped and immediately repainted it! It’s just a gorgeous ocean-y green kind of shade. I am just truly impressed with Wet n Wild’s new formula…and you can’t beat the price. J

Be More Pacific

One of my other top favorites this month is a lipstick. More specifically it is the ColourPop Lippie Stixin the shade Chi Chi! Absolutely love it! I actually tried a few of the ColourPop shadows shortly after they released last year, but it took me until this month to finally order some of the newer Lippie Stix and I am so glad that I did! Chi Chi is a straight up orange in a matte finish. It is shockingly comfortable and I find that just one pass creates a nicely pigmented, but not overly opaque looking lip color. Perfect for Chi Chi. Obviously it can be built up for a more opaque look, but I love the look of just a quick swipe. It’s definitely orange and not at all sheer, but it’s not too in-your-face. It also lasts an insanely long time! Even after eating, there is a nice even stain remaining. I absolutely love the ColourPop Lippie Stix (although the glossy finish was not the prettiest) and Chi Chi is so so perfect for Spring and Summer (plus all shades are vegan)!

I guess I will stick on the ColourPop train and express my love for the new Super Shock Cheek Blush! I have been grabbing for the shade “Between the Sheets” pretty much non-stop. It’s a beautiful neutral shade that I guess would be considered a cream formula. It’s such an unusual texture. If you’re familiar with the eye shadows, the blushes feel exactly the same. Basically they’re a really unusual dryish-gel-cream-bouncy kind of consistency. It lasts for ages on the skin, though it takes some practice to figure out the best application. It’s not that difficult, but it’s just not like any other consistency I’ve ever felt. So far, I find it easiest to dab a bit on with my fingers and then blend it out with a duo-fiber stippling brush (I prefer the Real Techniques). It is quite pigmented, blends nicely and looks quite natural on the skin. If you’re on the fence about trying one of the ColourPop Blushes, definitely give “Between the Sheets” a go…it’s only $8, which is totally reasonable for a fantastic cruelty-free (and Vegan!!!) blush! J

Finishing up the makeup, I actually have some eye shadow favorites this month! I pulled out the Urban Decay Naked Palette and realized that I really have never used it much. Not sure why or how I never realized it, but it literally looked (and still looks) untouched. This month however, I have used “Half Baked” and “Smog” a lot, often with a bit of “Woodstock” warming up the crease. Strangely, I love “Woodstock.” It’s a bright fuchsia that looks totally unwearable, but it’s so pretty just lightly used in the crease! I have the eyeliner version too and love it under the lashline blended into a black or brown liner. It’s a really surprising color that works beautifully! JAnyway, Urban Decay Eye Shadows have been my babies this month.

Also on the Urban Decay front, I am still in love with the Sheer Revolution Lipstick in “Liar.” I mentioned it last month, so I won’t repeat myself on that one. It’s just an amazing nude shade that is insanely comfortable as well. Love, love love!

Since we’re back to lips, I have a lip care favorite as well! It is Waxelene, which is seriously the best lip balm-like product I have ever used! The tiniest little dot will cover your lips and them some. It is simply beeswax and a few oils. It can be used pretty much anywhere you have dry skin, but I’ve only been using it on my lips. As soon as I rub it in, my lips feel soft, smooth, hydrated and repaired. It’s everything I could want in a lip care product and then some. The only thing I would change if the world were perfect, is to make it applicable without my finger. Not a fan of using my fingers to apply lip products, especially on the go, but I can totally live with it for the results! J Thank you so much Waxelene for saving my lips!

My first skin care favorite for the month is the Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHAfrom Paula’s Choice. My skin has been chronically congested the last few years…and the microdermabrasion “treatments” the dermatologist insisted on did nothing but scar my face and make it chronically red. Salacylic Acid doesn’t seem to make much difference and may actually make my skin worse, so I finally decided to try AHA, or Glycolic Acid instead. It seems to be helping! Finally! I still have some congestion, but it actually seems to be getting a little better. That aside, I love the texture of this treatment. It spreads really nicely and is not at all sticky or tacky, nor does it make my skin feel greasy, dry or otherwise uncomfortable. Great stuff! If you’re looking for good skin care, definitely look at Paula’s Choice because I have not been disappointed by anything I can think of that I have tried.

Also for the skin, I really enjoy the Acure Brightening Facial Scrub. My skin actually looks clearer, brighter, and just all around better right after I use this. It is definitely on the gritty side, but it’s not overly harsh. It’s that nice balance of effective and gentle. It might not be great for sensitive skin, but it’s probably better than most scrubs. It smells good as well, though it looks a bit horrifying (it’s deep green). JGotta love Acure’s products, and they all have the most amazing organic ingredients. Love!

Last, but certainly not least, I must mention the wondrous powders that are the Shea Terra Masks! There are two that I’ve been alternating between and they are both incredible! The ones I have been using are the Moroccan Lava Rose-Vedic Blemish Relief Face Masque and the Moroccan Lava & Camel’s Milk Nomadic Secret Face Masque. These are intense masks. They’re just powders that you mix with water before applying. They do leave my face a bit red and can kind of itch a bit before I wash them off, but they seriously seem to work miracles! I feel like the Blemish Relief really does help ward off the angry red bumps without drying out my skin, and the Camel’s Milk one seems to brighten (as it claims) and leaves my skin insanely soft. So wonderful! I am reallyinto the Shea Terra skin care lately. Definitely check them out – and check their Twitter feed because they often have amazing discount codes.

So, an hour later, those are my March Favorites! J I feel like this month had a nice blend of skin care and makeup. I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip down memory lane with me…and thanks for sticking through to the end. J I am looking forward to warmer temperatures, sunnier days and the gorgeous flowers of Spring! It was a long, rough Winter and I am thankful that it’s finally over. J I hope to see you again soon. I’m hoping to do a few Spring-themed posts soon…before Spring ends. I hope you’ll come back for those (follow me on Blog Lovin’ if you’re not already), and thanks so much for checking out my March Favorites! See you soon!!! J

Whole Foods Beauty Bag + My Favorite Brands

This past week, Whole Foods highlighted their beauty department with various events that culminated with the availability of a beauty bag! Not being one to pass up samples-that-I-paid-for-but-convinced-myself-they’re-free kinda deal, I thought I’d check out what the bag had in store. Since the bags were supposed to be available on Saturday only, it doesn’t make sense to talk a lot about the bag itself, but I thought I would share some of my own Favorite Beauty Brands that are available at Whole Foods…at least my local Whole Foods! I’m sure there is some variation from store to store, but I feel these brands are pretty universal. All beauty products sold at Whole Foods are cruelty free (though not necessarily vegan) and are free from over 50 questionable common ingredients. So, if you’re browsing the aisles of Whole Foods and decide to do some ethical and good-for-you beauty shopping, here are some of my favorite brands worth checking out (plus a peak into the Beauty Bag at the end)! J

Something that I use every day…first and last thing in fact…is from Sibu Beauty. Sibu Beauty uses the increasingly popular Seabuckthorn Seed Oil in all of their products. They produce not only skin care, but they have a body lotion and also make some oral supplements! Though I have not used a ton of Sibu products, I definitely have gone through a few bottles of the Seabuckthorn Seed Oil (rave here) and the Balancing Facial Cleanser. I love them both! I would like to try more, but am not in the market for new skincare at the moment.

Another fantastic skin care brand at Whole Foods is Anadalou Naturals. The line touts anti-aging “Fruit Stem Cell Science” and includes a full range of skin care, bath and body products, as well as hair care! I have been regularly using (in fact I’m on my second tube) the relatively new 1000Roses Color + Correction with SPF30 CC Cream. I absolutely love their many Masks too…I think I’ve tried nearly all of them (the Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel is my fav and I reviewed it here)! The Meyer Lemon Creamy Cleanser, the Clementine + C Illuminating Toner, the Blemish Vanishing Gel, also fantastic. I have yet to try something that I actually disliked from Andalou Naturals.
Probably one of the most buzzed about brands is Acure Organics. They products are fair trade, natural and certified organic, and utilize natural plant and food-based ingredients in all of their fantastic products. I have tried a sampling of them, but certainly not all! I recently started using the Argan Stem Cell + Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Facial Scruba few times a week and it genuinely makes a difference in the appearance of my complexion right away! My face looks much clearer and brighter with a more even texture, plus no irritation! I also noticed a similar immediate result from their Cell Stimulating Facial Mask (a sample of which was in the bag). However my skin went back to looking normal by morning, so the mask seems like something better to use before a big day instead of before bed. I also really love the Shampoos and Conditioners! The Moroccan Argan Oil  + Argan Stem Cell versions smell delicious…if you like almonds as I do. The Argan Stem Cell + CoQ10 Dry Shampoo (more here) is probably one of the best I’ve tried as well! There make body care products, and are probably best known for their facial oils, though I really haven’t given them much of a test. Overall, a fantastic brand with an amazing product line up.
An all-natural luxury body care line that I love is Deep Steep! Their Dry Oil Body Spritzer is truly life changing (full review here). The Hand Cream is wonderful as well! Not only do the products work well, but their scents are spectacular! I can’t even pick a favorite, but my most reached for Dry Oil is the Brown Sugar & Vanilla. Delicious! JDeep Steep sells a full range of body care and has recently added hair care products to the line!
Giovanni is a natural “eco-chic” brand that I often see at drugstores too, but Whole Foods definitely has the most complete selection of their line. They make hair care, body care and skin care items. I especially love the Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub (discussed here) and a number of their hair care items like the Natural Mousse Hair Styling Foam, the 2chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Ultra-Sleek Leave-In Conditioning & Styling Elixir and the Don’t Be Flaky! Soothing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. I don’t think I’ve tried any of their skin care products, but I really should given my satisfaction with everything else! J
I am always pleasantly surprised to find Nail Polish at Whole Foods as well. Most recently they’ve added a good selection of one of my favorite brands – Zoya! I love that I can see a wide range of the shades in person. I also first discovered Mineral Fusion Polishes there – another amazing brand with some beautiful classic shades mixed in with the fun, on-trend hues. Though I can find both brands at Ulta now, the selection at Whole Foods is far superior.
I absolutely love browsing all the amazing Lip Balms at Whole Foods. It’s becoming a tradition when I pop in. JI would be remiss if I didn’t mention my typical go-to from Badger Balm, which is the Cocoa Butter Lip Balm in Creamy Cocoa (more here). I also have discovered a similar balm that’s not as hard for those who like a less waxy formula and it is called Mongo Kiss. I grabbed the Vanilla Honey flavor and the scent alone is heavenly! J When I picked up the beauty bag last Saturday, I stumbled across a newcomer to my Whole Foods that I had actually been hunting for – Waxelene! I can already say that in the few days I have been using it, my lips are in the best condition that they have ever been!!! It literally only takes a pin-point dot to cover your lips with the stuff, so the tube will last you decades. If you’re ever at a Whole Foods wondering where I’ve wandered off to, check the lip balm selection because chances are that’s where I’ve been for the past 15 minutes. J
I know that I haven’t mentioned any actual makeup items, but those are available as well. I just haven’t purchased much in the way of color cosmetics from Whole Foods. The few items that I have are not carried there anymore. I know that my Whole Foods currently has a good selection from Mineral Fusion and Gabriel, as well as bits from Pacificaand a few other random brands. I tested a few things from both Mineral Fusion and Gabriel (yes, they have testers!!!) last time I was there and I’m definitely considering purchasing, but I reallydon’t need anything new right now!
So I guess that’s going to do it for this installment of my Favorite Beauty Brands at Whole Foods. I may revisit this from time to time as I feel their selection is constantly evolving. I am always surprised by just how extensive their beauty department is, and I’m glad to see that the stores are making more of an effort to bring attention to their cruelty free beauty selection! I would love to know some beauty products you always pick up or are just intrigued by at Whole Foods. 
The contents of the Beauty Bag are below. Until next time, thanks for stopping by!!!
As promised, here are the contents of the beauty bag – it’s possible they may still be selling them if there were any left over, so it never hurts to check! J
     Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub
     Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask
     Trilogy Vital Moisturizing Cream
     Gabriel Mascara
     Giovanni 2chic Blackberry & Coconut Milk Ultra-Repair Shampoo
     Pacifica Eye Shadow Duo (a Devocean Lipstick was substituted in some stores)
     RIJI Beauty Bag

October Favorites – Acure, Hourglass, Milani, Butter London, Sibu Beauty, Josie Maran, Urban Decay & EcoTools

Seriously can’t believe it’s already November. I can’t say that October flew past, but seriously, November? That’s nearly Christmas!!! How?! Anyway, since another month has passed, it’s time for yet another Favorites post. I’ve had an interesting month skin-wise, which I may go into more in a separate post depending on how it progresses. Basically, I decided to ditch all of the prescription products I’ve been using for years because I thought they might actually be making things worse. Still kind of on the fence about whether that smart or not. Anyway, because of that I have a good amount of skin care favorites, but fear not! There’s still some makeup as well! Let’s dive right in, shall we? J

Since I mentioned skin care, I’ll start there. For washing my face, I have gotten back into using a Konjac Sponge. It’s basically just a reusable vegetable fiber sponge that softens with water. Using your cleanser, you massage it over your face for gentle exfoliation. It leaves my skin softer and less flaky without irritating it. Fantastic stuff! JRight now I’m using the EcoTools Pure Complexion Facial Sponge – Deep Cleansing. I had tried a Dew Puff version before and liked it, but I hung it on my sink faucet, as you’re supposed to, but it crept toward the nasty sink bowl where water would splash onto it every time I washed my hands. I like the string idea, but I need to get a hook or something to keep it away from the actual sink bowl. Anyway, the EcoTools version doesn’t have a string so you have to rest in on something. I’m not a huge fan of that either, but the sponge is so thick and shaped in a way that I really only find myself using one side. I just rest the unused side in a little dish near the sink and, though it doessit in a small bit of standing water – gross! – I don’t feel like bacteria collects too quickly on the side I use. I have yet to find my ideal setup for storing the wet sponge, but I have definitely enjoyed using a Konjac Sponge this month.

The past few months I have been trying out using toners. I never used to use toners because it just seemed like an extra and ineffective step. Then I discovered that some come in spray bottles and I was sold! JI’m still not sure they do much, but I really do like the Acure Balancing Rose + Red Tea Facial Toner. It has a really nice, even, fine mist and the bottle not only looks pretty, but is rather satisfying to hold. The ingredients are wonderful, organic and simple too – Organic Rooibos, Organic Calendula, Organic Chamomile, Organic Witch Hazel, Organic Bulgarian Rose Water & Organic Glycerin. It’s soothing and the Witch Hazel makes it good for acne-prone skin. I can’t say I’ve really noticed any difference – good or bad – that I can directly attribute to the Acure Facial Toner, but I just love the bottle and the mist so much that it’s a real pleasure to use!
Sticking with toners (sort of), I have something that’s more of a technique than something specific. I believe I first heard this mentioned in a video from makeupTIA on YouTube – check out her videos here because she’s just so soothing and relaxing. I feel like I’m watching Opera while in a spa. J She also has been switching to a lot of “green” products lately and many of them are cruelty free! Anyway, she recommended adding a toner to facial oil and then applying the combination to your face for better absorption. I’ve been trying that with the Sibu Beauty Clarifying Toner and the Josie Maran Agran Oiland it really does work! Usually the regular Argan Oil from Josie Maran leaves me a little bit greasy, but when mixed with the toner, it absorbs like a charm – no grease whatsoever! Not even by the time I wake up in the morning! It’s also a nice way to add a toner to your routine without really adding any time. I chose the Sibu Toner because the mister bottle was horrible, but I like the supposed benefits and the Argan Oil because I have a bottle that I just never reach for, but don’t want to waste it. Together they instantly soak into my skin and leave my face hydrated without the grease! J If you like using a facial oil – or are scared to – but feel like it either leaves you greasy or takes too long to absorb, definitely trying mixing it with a toner. Life changing I tell you. J

Moving on to makeup favorites, I’ve rediscovered my Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation. I reviewed it shortly after it was released hereif you’re looking for a more detailed review. Not sure why I stopped using it for a while, but I did. This month as my skin has looked a bit better, I found myself reaching for it frequently. The coverage is good – buildable light to medium – and it doesn’t turn me into a grease-ball by the end of the day. It also stays put! I don’t really have a whole lot more to say about it. It’s just a nice foundation!

For blush, I’ve been absolutely addicted to the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette! It is so gorgeous! I recently reviewed it here if you’d like more information and swatches. Every color is incredibly wearable – at least for my skin tone – and I really love the formula. Initially I gravitated towards “Mood Exposure,” which is a gorgeous neutral plum – not a shade I’d typically seek out, but definitely try it because it’s stunning! Soon I started using “Luminous Flush,” which is a nice kind of neutral rose. Also stunning and so wearable! And though I’ve worn “Incandescent Electra” the least, it also a beautiful, very wearable everyday kind of blush. The palette is pricey, but for three great and really wearable blushes, it’s actually a great value.

My eye shadow staple has definitely been “Cappuccino” from Milani’s new Bella Eyes Collection. There’s nothing terribly exciting about it, but it’s a fantastic transition/blending shade. I’m no master blender, but I just love this shade for deepening up the crease a tiny bit with minimal shadows, blending out darker shades and for the lower lash line. It’s really nice and affordable as well!

Now for the most exciting makeup – to me anyway! J My favorite lipsticks this month have been hands down the new Butter London Moisture Matte Lipsticks – again! I absolutely love them! I have two shades and I really don’t know which would be my favorite. There’s “Ruby Murray” which is a deep berry shade and then “Loved Up” which is more of a deep raspberry shade. They sound similar and they actually are pretty close, but Loved Up looks more pink, where Ruby Murray is more of a classic deep berry. The finish of these ismatte, but it doesn’t look sickly, patchy or pasty as some mattes do. There’s still some life to them somehow. The formula of these is also fantastic! I typically hate matte lipstick, but these are socomfortable. They’re not as creamy as most cream formulas, but they aren’t at all drying. They last for ages and stay where you put them! Butter London has nailed the formula with their Moisture Matte Lipsticks!

Finally, I feel like I need to add just one non-beauty related favorite. For the past few weeks, I have finally become addicted to Instagram! I know. Late on the bandwagon. I’ve had an account for ages, but rarely post anything. For some reason I’ve just been obsessed with it this month! I’ve been challenging myself to post at least one picture a day, which has been fun and often harder than I expected! Don’t know how long my obsession will last, but for now I’ve been glued to it. J If you’re on Instagram and would like to follow me, I’m @makeupguineapig.
I think that’s going to do it for my October Favorites! I could add a few more items, but this is already quite long – thanks if you’re still reading! I guess it’s been a good month for favorites. And now I think we’re officially entering the Holiday Season!!! Agh! Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close!!! Let me know what you’ve been loving this month, or if you have any Holiday themed requests. No promises, but I will see what I can do if there’s something specific you’d like to see. As always, thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll come back for more! J

March Favorites 2014! Acure, Antipodes, Zoya, Julep, Illamasqua & Too Faced

It’s time for March Favorites already! March has been rather crazy. If I haven’t been sick, someone else has and I’ve been trying to help out as much as I can.  I kind of feel like I’ve been running around like a headless chicken! Given that, I’ve just been completely and totally exhausted and I haven’t bothered much with makeup throughout the month. But fear not, I managed to come up with a few favorites for the month. A lot of them are sort of rediscoveries with one lone makeup item. So, instead of going on and on about my own personal March Madness, I’m just gonna jump into the Favorites! J

This first favorite has been a favorite for a long time, but I recently ran out of my bigger bottle and turned to just grabbing whatever was nearby. Doing so made me realize just whyI was so in love with the original! It is the Remove + Nail Polish Remover from Zoya (you can see an old review of it here)! This stuff will remove any and all polishes much easier and better than anything I have tried. I wore a lot of 3 coat polishes recently, which amounts to insanely hard to remove with standard remover, but not with the Zoya! It breaks up pretty much anything without much trouble and wipes the nails nice and clean without causing them too much damage. It also doesn’t have a terribly strong or offensive odor, which is an added bonus. Definintely cannot live without Zoya’s Remove + Polish Remover (and my Ulta is always out of the big bottle lately)!

I guess I’ll stick with nails and something I know I love, but just haven’t been using lately. It’s the Freedom Polymer Top Coat from Julep. This stuff is seriously incredible! I have a full review of it here, but in a nutshell, it dries quickly, is insanely shiny and wears incredibly well! I was trying to use up another top coat that I had which was ok, but when it ran out and I went back to the Julep, I wondered why I didn’t just throw the other stuff away! J Love, love, love the Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat!
Sticking with nails, I guess I’ll throw in a nail polish. I don’t normally do this since I rarely wear any one polish for very long, but this polish I not only wore for a good chunk of March, I actually took it off when it chipped and immediatelyreapplied it! I never do that! J It is Illamasqua’s “Venous,” which is a kind of deep kelly green with just a touch of blue that makes it almost, but not quite teal. It’s one of my favorite nail colors. I suppose it’s not all that unusual, but I just love it.
For a facial moisturizer, I recently switched to something new at night that just soundedincredible. It is from a New Zealand company called Antipodes and it is theirVanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream. Oh. My. God! It smells ridiculously delicious! JAnd yes, it is a day cream, but I’ve been using it at night. They do make a night cream, but I’m a sucker for anything vanilla scented. I also didn’t want anything too heavy, which night creams often are on my skin. The ingredients between the day and night creams are quite similar, so I just went with the Vanilla and I really love it! If nothing more, it smells like the most deliciously sweet breakfast you can possibly imagine…and it lingers for a bit! JI would describe the scent as kind of a vanilla-y oatmeal drizzled with honey (it does contain Manuka Honey). It really smells good enough to eat. And as for how it works, which should be the really important part, but it just smells sogood that I’m not sure I’d care if it was garbage! J Anyway, it has definitely helped with the dry flakiness I’ve been struggling with recently. I do find that my skin gets a little shiny throughout the night, but most moisturizers cause that with my skin. During the day (I use a different day moisturizer with SPF), I don’t have as much trouble with oil breakthrough as with my previous nighttime moisturizer, and my skin still feels hydrated. Some of that is surely due to my daytime moisturizer, but I feel like my skin is well balanced when I wake up. I can’t say I notice an insane difference in my skin, although it doesseem to look slightly better but I’m not sure how much it has to do with the Vanilla Pod Moisturizer. Regardless, I’m completely enjoying the Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Creamand would buy it again and again just to smell it! J
For my hair, I’ve just been sticking to my current hair care routine, which I love, but since I just posted about that here, I don’t want to bore you with it again! J
I do have a favorite not in my hair care routine, but it’s not necessarily a daily use kind of item. It’s the Acure Argan Stem Cell + CoQ10 Dry Shampoo, which I recently reviewed here. Again, I don’t want to bore you with too much repeat information, but it’s a seriously wonderful dry shampoo that totally gets the greasiness out without making my hair dull or causing the dreaded white cast. It’s a fantastic dry shampoo for refreshing the hair! J
Finally, the one and only makeup item that I have this month is Too Faced’s Bulletproof Brows. I’m still getting the hang of using a cream product on my brows, but I really like the shade (I have the Universal Taupe), and it definitely has incredible staying power! We’re talking go to the gym and sweat your ass off without losing your brows kinda power! JIt is creamy and blendable, but not overly so. I keep testing the Anastasia version on my hand in stores, and it’s just overly wet and creamy – it seems very difficult to pick up just a tiny amount – and the blonde shade just looks like a weird color. The Too Faced Bulletproof Brows is easy to control, is surprisingly quick to apply, and makes for a beautiful budge-proof natural looking brow. JWith my sparse brows, this is quickly becoming a must-have in my arsenal of tricks!!! J
That’s it for March Favorites! Like I said, it’s been a crazy month and there just hasn’t been time for makeup and beauty. Hopefully April will be a little more fun on the beauty front, but for March, I’ve been incredibly low maintenance. I hope this was still somewhat interesting and I hope you’ve all had a fantastic month!

My Current Hair Care Routine for Lifeless, Dry, Color-Treated Hair w/ Acure, Giovanni, Avalon Organics, Earth Science, Badger, Mineral Fusion & Living Proof

Firstly, let me say that I feel somewhat narcissistic writing a post about my Current Hair Care Routine because I feel like I’m bragging about how wonderful my hair is and that everyone should be envious of it. That’s not at all my intent. I actually don’tthink I have great hair, but I feel like this particular routine has made a difference in the softness, shine and overall condition of my hair. So, because of that, I thought I would share what I’ve been using on my hair to improve it!
For starters, I’ll try to describe my hair. I have chest-length, heavily color-treated hair that is often dry, dull and damaged. I have quite a bit of very fine hair strands that love to stick to themselves, creating horrible knots that make brushing while wet an absolute nightmare. My scalp has been dry and flaky, but the roots of my hair are quite prone to oiliness. Whew! Quite the lot, eh? J So, what on earth could possibly remedy all these complaints? I went on a mission to find out and these are my findings!!! J

I try to wash my hair once every two to three days to avoid overstripping the natural oils that your scalp actually needs. My first step before hopping in the shower is to brush my hair with a Tangle Teezer (see my review here) to remove any tangles and loose strands that may have accumulated since the last brushing. This just helps keep my drain from clogging, makes washing my hair easier, and makes brushing it after showering easier.

Once in the shower with my hair thoroughly drenched, I start with shampoo…shocking, I know. I have battled for a while to find a good balance that doesn’t add too muchmoisture to my limp locks, yet still deeply hydrates since it is heavily color-treated. And I can’t forget my itchy and sometimes flaky scalp. Yuck! Given my multitude of problems, and my mind-boggling quantity of shampoos, I finally started mixing some to see if perhaps that might yield better results. Well, I found the perfect solution that way! J I start with Andalou Naturals Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Shampoo and add a little bit of Giovanni’s Don’t Be Flaky! Soothing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. I use about 2/3 Tea Tree and 1/3 Anti-Dandruff. Both are pretty good by themselves, but together, they seem to create my perfect shampoo! The Tea Tree Shampoo gets my hair nice and clean without stripping it, and it also adds a bit of life to my otherwise limp locks, while the Anti-Dandruff completely eliminates itchiness and flakes. Finally! A shampoo combo that suits all of my needs! JI begin shampooing at the nape of my neck where most of the oil and grime collects, working to the crown of my head, and just kind of rinsing any remaining shampoo over the length of my hair. Then it’s on to a conditioner…yet another battle!
I have had the worsttime trying to find a good conditioner that didn’t totally weigh my hair down, but still did something. So, using the shampoo concoction as inspiration, I decided to mix a few! I use a similar ratio – 2/3 and 1/3, respectively. I use mainly Acure Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Conditioner Triple Moisture Repair (which smells like almonds and I love the scent!) with a little bit of Earth Science Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Hair Mask , which also smells delightful, but is more of a fresh, grass-like scent. I liked both of these conditioners alone, but I felt like the Acure was just missing some hydration, while the Earth Science was just a tad too heavy. Again, when I mix them together, it’s just the perfectconditioner! J I finger comb the mixture through my wet hair from the ears down. Whatever is left on my hands I gloss over the top of my head and let it sit for 2-5 minutes before rinsing it out. Easy and quick – two requirements for my hair! J My hair literally feels like silk as the conditioners run out of it…and it remains silky even after the conditioner is gone! Another winning combination! J
Towel drying my hair seems simple enough, but I use something that I don’t think most people do. I use a microfiber towel (I usually find them at Ulta) after gently squeezing excess water out of my hair by hand – I try to be as gentle as possible because your hair is very fragile when it’s wet. I use the microfiber towel because it absorbs more moisture, thus helping it to dry faster, and I also can kind of “pat” my hair dry instead of rubbing and tugging on it with a standard terry cloth towel. Once most of the water has been absorbed by the towel, it’s on to styling products!

Much to my own surprise, I use quite a few products on my hair. I don’t typically do much more than let it air dry, but I find these products keep it looking much healthier no matter what I do with my hair. I start with Mineral Fusion’s Volumizing Beauty Balm for Hair. This stuff claims to do just about everything – volumize, moisturize, control frizz, strengthen, repair split ends, style with light hold, protect color and protect from heat! I mainly use it as a detangling leave-in conditioner that doesn’t weight my hair down. It makes my hair so mucheasier to brush through while it’s damp. I also like that it is a heat-protectant because I feel better should I decide to heat-style my hair and forget to use a separate protecting spray. It also really does tame the little fly-aways I think we all get! J Plus, my hair seems to dry faster when I use the Beauty Balm! To apply it, I flip my head upside down and gently scrunch in about a nickel-sized amount, concentrating on the ends and below my ears. I could stop there – and sometimes do – but I really like to add a few more things before calling it a day.
The next product, Badger’s Argan Oil for Dry & Damaged Hair, could be added directly to the Beauty Balm, but I find it easier to control the products separately. I use the Argan Oil the exact same way as the Beauty Balm. I usually use about two pumps of oil for my chest length hair, which is the high end of the recommended amount, so this stuff will last for ages! It’s intended to moisturize, protect, strengthen and revitalize dull hair. I find this wonder oil also helps with detangling, conditioning, frizz-control and shine. I really like this oil! Again, I concentrate it below my ears to avoid oil slicks on my scalp! J
Finally, it’s time to add a little volume! I’m not talking ‘80’s hair here, just a bit more lift at the roots. I use Living Proof’s Full Thickening Mousse (I’m still using the baby size) and, unlike everything else, I finger comb about half of a golf ball sized amount through the roots while my head is still upside down. If there’s any reside left on my hands, after flipping my head back upright, I kind of clamp my hair as though I were making a ponytail to help distribute any residual product onto the rest of my strands. And that’s it for styling products! (As though that’s a small quantity! J)
Now it’s time to brush through that tangled, knotty mane. I grab my trusty Tangle Teezer again and gently brush through my hair. If there are any bad knots, which usually doesn’t happen with this regime, I carefully separate the tangle and gently brush it out, working up from the bottom of the knot. I really don’t like to brush my hair while it’s wet, but the Tangle Teezer is so gentle and effective that I end up with very little breakage. A wide-tooth comb works as well, but the Tangle Teezer is definitely my weapon of choice!

At this point, I’ll adjust my part if necessary (I usually just leave it wherever it feels like falling – yes, I’m that lazy) and brush into place. Once that’s done, I’ll usually try to add back a bit of the lift that brushing removes by just putting my hands on either side of my head and softly pushing up a bit. As I’ve said, I usually just let my hair air dry, so I’m all done! JBecause of the Beauty Balm and the Argan Oil, my hair really does dry faster as well!!! I’d say it takes about an hour to an hour and a half for it to fully dry with no heat. Since I typically wash my hair at night, time is not that much of an issue.
So there you have my current Hair Care Routine! Having written it out, it seems like a lot, but it really doesn’t take long. Maybe an additional five minutes after I’m out of the shower, and no added time for the actual shampooing/conditioning process. As I said, by no means do I think I have fantastic hair, but I havenoticed a difference in the health and, most notably, the softness and shine of my hair since I’ve started using this routine. I must say, if you have blonde hair – color treated or naturally – you probably know just how difficult getting it to shine can be! Though I can’t be certain, I would probably attribute the softness and shine to the Earth Science Conditioner and the Badger Argan Oil. I think the Mineral Fusion Beauty Balm definitely helps tame fly-aways, while the Giovanni Shampoo is the biggest help with dandruff. Both the Tea Tree Shampooand the Living Proof Mousse add some volume, while the Acure Argan Conditioner provides a great weightless, but hydrating conditioner. For my mixture of dry, damaged, lifeless and limp locks with a dry flaky scalp, this is currently the perfect routine! J

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these items, I put together a Luvocracy Collection with all of the products. If you’re unfamiliar with Luvocracy, it’s similar to Pinterest (you can follow me on Pinterest here), but you can actually buy the items you see right through the Luvocracy site! It’s kind of addictive to browse through everything…much like Pinterest. If you’d like to check it out, you can click here, or just go to Luvocracy.com. I’m not gonna go into great depth about Luvocracy because you know how to check it out if you’re interested! J

Thanks so much for reading this far! Let me know what hair products you can’t live without these days because I love to hear other people’s favorites. J Until next time, thanks for stopping by! J


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