Friday Favorites: Finishing Powder

I have been on the hunt for a good finishing powder for a very long time.  I have tried so many different ones and I have never been fully happy with them.  Some left my face feeling very oily, some gave me the caked-on feel, some weren’t long lasting, and some didn’t seem to make a difference at all in my skin.  I have tried loose powders and pressed powders with nothing ever seeming to be the right fit for me.  They have all ranged in price as well from super expensive to the cheaper brands. What I really wanted was something that was lightweight, mattifying, and gave me an overall polished look without breaking the bank. I have shared before that I use Rodan + Fields Radiant Defense Perfecting Liquid as the base for my makeup, and I absolutely love it. You can read more about it here. What I was lacking was a good powder to go over it to give me more of a matte look.  

I follow a lot of bloggers and influencers on Instagram and am always watching their Instagram stories. I mostly follow them for outfit inspiration but occasionally I will catch one or two of them sharing their makeup routines. Most of them wear way more makeup than I do and use triple the amount of products.  A lot of times I just click through the makeup tutorials without watching them because I like my routine to be simple, easy, and lightweight.  About 3 months ago, though, I just happened to stay on one for a while and really paid attention to what the girl was doing and the products she was using.  She was doing her quarantine face which wasn’t a full makeup face like she normally wears, so it was more my style.  Anyway, she used a finishing powder that she said she highly recommended.  Since I have been on the lookout for one, I decided to make a quick trip into Target and grab one to try.  It is made by NYX which is a clean, cruelty free brand that I like, and it is super affordable.  I have tried their loose powder before and didn’t love it, but I have never tried the HD Finishing Powder that this particular influencer recommended.  It is a pressed powder that comes in 3 different color correcting shades. Use the Translucent shade to set your look, the Banana to brighten, and the Mint Green to diffuse redness. I decided to go with the Banana for my needs.  Let me tell you…I have finally found the perfect product for me!  I LOVE this powder so much.  It does everything I wanted and more.  It is extremely lightweight, doesn’t leave me feeling oily, and lasts all day.  The thing I love about it most, though, is that it instantly gives me a soft “filtered” look.  I’m not kidding.  You know how you can use camera filter or a photo editor to give yourself a soft, polished, smooth finish to your skin?  This product does that naturally without the filter.  That is the only way I can describe it for you.  It gives me filtered skin that looks flawless! It helps to hide all of my imperfections and discolored skin. I am totally obsessed! I have been using it for a little over 2 months now and will continue to use it for as long as it is available. I use a retractable kabuki brush to apply it.  I start by using the brush with it only partly retracted to make the bristles more compact and pat the powder under my eyes to set my under-eye brightener. Then I retract the brush fully to sweep the powder across the rest of my face. It doesn’t take a lot to get that polished, matte look.   I absolutely love the look it gives me.  

This is a non-filtered, unaltered image that was taken in portrait mode on my iPhone after applying the NYX HD Finishing Powder.

The NYX HD Finishing Powder is my new best friend! If you are looking for a good finishing powder, this is definitely one that you should try. I have tried so many and this one is by far my favorite. It is super affordable, and it works! I highly recommend it and am so glad I watched that video that day and decided to try it. 

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Friday Favorites: Makeup Removers

I want to start by saying that every single person on the planet should wash their face every morning and every night.  Period. There should never be an excuse for not washing your face, especially if you wear makeup.  NEVER go to bed with makeup on! I personally think that everyone should have some type of skincare routine, but you should at least remove your makeup every night if nothing else.  I am not going to get into my whole skincare routine today. I will save that for another post.  However, I do want to talk about the very first step to my routine, and that is removing my makeup.  I follow a two-step process using two products to rid my face of all makeup, and that is what I am going to share with you today.  

The first thing I do when I am getting ready for bed at night is to remove my makeup using a Norwex Microfiber Body Cloth.  If you have never heard of Norwex before, it is a direct sales company that sells environmentally friendly cleaning products for your home and body without the use of harmful chemicals. They are a great company and have so many amazing products that I highly recommend you check out.  Anyway, I love the Microfiber Body Cloths to remove my makeup for several reasons. One is that it only requires water to remove my makeup.  I just wet the cloth with warm water and gently wipe away all traces of makeup.  Another reason that I love these cloths is that I can get 8 uses out of one cloth before having to wash it.  I like to fold mine into quarters and use only one quarter per night.  Each night when I am done, I rinse it thoroughly, wring it out well, and then use the tag to easily hang it to dry.  Then it is ready for me to use another quarter then next night.  A third reason I love these cloths is that they come in sets of 3 and in a few different colors for a very affordable price.  These towels are super soft and gentle on my skin, and they easily remove all traces of my makeup and prep it for the rest of my skincare routine.  I have been using them for about 3 or 4 years now, and I love them. 

While the Norwex cloths are great, they don’t seem to remove all of my mascara that well.  It does remove some, but it would take more rubbing to remove it all.  I am very careful with not rubbing my eye area too strongly because the skin around your eyes is thin and delicate.  I don’t want to cause any more wrinkles than necessary! As part of my second step in my makeup removal routine, I use Rodan + Fields Essentials Complete Eye Makeup Remover.  This oil-free, dual-phase remover gently erases all traces of mascara, including hard to remove waterproof mascara.  I have tried numerous eye makeup removers over the years with very little success. Either they don’t work, leave your eyes with a greasy feeling, or cause an allergic reaction for me. I have very sensitive eyes and many eye products irritate my eyes.  They cause me to get little white allergy bumps all underneath my eye lids which are very irritating.  Anyway, the R+F Eye Makeup Remover does not do this.  It is safe for sensitive skin and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.  I simply shake it well to activate the ingredients, apply it to one of these Cotton Rounds, and then gently swipe it across my lashes. (I prefer the cotton rounds to cotton balls because they require less product to be effective.) The eye makeup remover works great and does not require harsh rubbing.  It also contains ingredients like biotin that help to nourish and strengthen your lashes. It is by far my favorite eye makeup remover for sensitive eyes.

Once I have all of my makeup removed using these two products, I follow through with the rest of my skincare routine. If you get nothing else from this post, I hope that you get the importance of at least washing off your makeup every day.  It honestly doesn’t matter what you use as long as it isn’t just a regular bar of soap that is not made for your face.  Leaving makeup on will clog your pores, cause unwanted breakouts, and lead to signs of aging faster.  Plus, it just makes you feel better and more refreshed when you have a clean face.  You only get one face, so you better take care of it!  As Rachel Hollis says, “Girl, wash your face!!”

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Friday Favorites: Brows

If you are anywhere near my age, you grew up plucking your eyebrows.  Some of us may have plucked some areas a little too much and are now suffering the consequences.  Whether you are a plucker, waxer, threader, or whatever other on-trend thing, we all have one thing in common…none of us wants big bushy eyebrows with stray hairs sticking every which way.  Right? I know thicker eyebrows are in and many influencers have these big drawn on brows.  I am not into that personally but to each their own.  What I am into is having tame, nicely shaped brows.  My brows are fairly thin these days but I still need something to help keep them clean looking and shaped the way I want them.  Well, a few months ago I saw an infomercial about Flawless Brows on TV.  I am sure you have all seen it and probably didn’t pay much attention or was skeptical like me.  I just happened to be strolling the aisles of Target one day and saw a display of Flawless Brows on the end of one of the rows.  Normally I wouldn’t give anything that said “As Seen on TV” any thought, but this little tool intrigued me. I picked it up, read the back of it, and decided to give it a try. It was only $20, and I figured that wouldn’t break the bank. I purchased the Finishing Touch Flawless Brow in Rose Gold. I wanted it for the little hairs that grow out of place that are too short to pluck.  I am not a fan of waxing and am too chicken to try anything else.  Anyway, I came home and tried out this little tool, and I was instantly hooked.  It works so well! It is painless, very easy to control, and glides smoothly over the unwanted hair. I don’t worry about catching hairs that I don’t want removed at all either.  It takes care of all the areas that I wanted it to and leaves me with nicely shaped brows.  It has a built-in light on it when you turn it on that is supposed to help you see the finest hairs, but I don’t really think that it does anything.  You don’t really need it, though, in my opinion.  I definitely recommend this product. It is affordable and easy to use.  Most of all, it works. I was pleasantly surprised and am very happy with this purchase. I may even look into some of their other hair removal products and give them a try.  They have several including one for facial hair that will remove peach fuzz and one for your legs that is a little more expensive. 

Now, I mentioned that I may or may not have plucked my brows a little too much back in the day.  The ends of my brows are a little thin and need a little help.  I have tried many different brow products over the years from pencils to creams and finally found one that I really like.  I use a brow pomade from TARTE called Big Ego Frameworker Brow Pomade.  I use just a little bit of it with a brow brush to fill in the areas that are a little too thin. I use Medium Brown, but I believe it comes in 8 different shades.  You can easily find the one that matches your brows.  It is vegan, cruelty free and is waterproof and sweat proof.  I get mine at Ulta, but you can get it anywhere that TARTE products are sold. 

That’s a wrap on my two favorite brow products.  

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Friday Favorites: imPress Nails

I love painted nails. However, painted nails don’t like me.  I guess I am too rough on my hands or something, but they never last more than one or two days.  Even if I get them done at a nail salon, they only last maybe one or two more days.  It feels like a waste of money and time even though I do it anyway.  I have never been one to go for acrylic or fake nails because my own nails are pretty good.  They are strong and they grow nicely so I figure why not just paint what I’ve got? Well, that never works.  I end up removing the polish and repainting them every couple of days.  I just don’t have the time or energy for that anymore. I started looking into other options.  I really didn’t want to spend the money to get them done all the time.  I kept seeing people talk about imPress Nails online.  They were saying how great they are and that they are way more affordable than getting acrylic nails.  My first thought was of the Lee Press on Nails from the 80’s and thought there was no way they would last.  I kept seeing them online, though, so I figured I had nothing to lose.  I decided to give them a try.  I went to Target and easily found them in the cosmetic area.  Make sure you get the ones that say imPress Nails, not the ones that say Kiss. They look similar, but they are not the same. They had several different shades to choose from, and they even come with accent nails if that is something you like.  So far my favorite shades have been Kiss & TellNight Fever, Bright as a Feather (not available online), and So Unexpected. There are more shades online, and they seem to have different shades at different stores. I saw some holiday ones online at Walmart that were pretty cute. Some of the nails have oval tips, but most of them are the typical square tips.  I did get one of each, but I did not like the oval tip ones on me.  They just looked weird to me.  Yes, these are press on nails, but there is no glue or adhesive that you have to apply.  The adhesive is already built into the nail.  All you have to do is figure out which size you need for each nail (there are multiple size options), use the enclosed prep pad to clean your nails, peel the backing off, and then stick them to your nail.  They key is to firmly press them down across the whole nail. Pretty simple, right? Again, I was thinking that there is no way that they would last, but I was going to give it a solid effort.  It turns out that I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only did they look great, but they also lasted over a week.  They would have lasted a few more days, but one of them was starting to come loose so I took them all off.  If I could have fixed that one, I think they would have likely lasted for 2 full weeks because all of the other nails were still firmly attached.  They lasted through hair washing, dish washing, folding laundry, typing, and all my normal activities with no problems.  I was very impressed. Since that first time, I have had them last about 2 weeks each time. 

Kiss & Tell

Now, my other concern with using these nails was what kind of damage they would do to my own nails.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised again.  My nails were perfectly fine when I took the imPress ones off.  Some of them were still stuck on pretty good, and I had to tug hard to get a few of them off. I was worried that it might tear my nails because I was pulling so hard, but it didn’t.  They do recommend using a little nail polish remover around the edges if they are hard to get off, but I did not use any. I didn’t feel like it was really necessary. I have not had any issues with my own nails since I started using the imPress Nails, which has been great.  I have now used them more than once and have been very happy with them. I do give my nails a break in between pairs just to ensure that my natural nails stay healthy.  I don’t know if that is really necessary, but it makes me feel better. 

Bright as a Feather

One drawback for me initially was that the nails are a little longer than I typically wear my natural nails.  That took some getting used to.   They do say that you can file them after you have applied them, but I found them hard to file.  After a day or two, though, the length didn’t really bother me, and I had no issue with them.  Now I love the length.  Another thing that was a little annoying was that the adhesive covers the span of the nail.  Since these are longer than my natural nail, the back of the tips was still sticky from the adhesive. Things like dirt and hair would get stuck to it.  After reading some reviews, I learned to use clear nail polish over the adhesive that was exposed, and that worked like a charm.  Overall, I am in love with these nails.  They look great, work great, and are more affordable than getting a manicure.  I really like them and will continue to use them.  I highly recommend them for you to try. Let me know what you think.

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Friday Favorites: Concealer

Let’s talk concealer. There were times when I used to rely heavily on concealer because my face was always broken out and it was a huge mess.  I felt like I was covering my entire face in concealer because my skin was so bad. Now, my skin is totally clear thanks to my Rodan + Fields Unblemish Regimen, so I don’t really need concealer that much anymore.  I do, however, still like to use it under my eyes.  It just seems to brighten them and make them pop a little more. It isn’t that I have really bad circles or anything to cover up; I just think that it enhances your eyes.  Anyway, I discovered a new concealer that I love a few months ago and wanted to share it with you because it is so easy to use and it provides great coverage.  I am now obsessed with e.l.f Cosmetics’ Lightweight Concealer Stick.  You can find it at Target (not online), Walmart, Ulta, Walgreens or any other store that carries e.l.f. Cosmetics.  The shade I use is Fair/Light, but it also comes in Light/Medium and Medium Dark.  I like for it to be almost a shade lighter than my foundation because I want it to serve as a highlighter for my eyes.    I typically apply my Rodan + Fields Radient Defense Perfecting Liquid first and let it dry while I apply my eye shadow and liner. Then I apply the concealer.  I do this by making an inverted triangle under my eyes. With this stick it is just like drawing on your face.  It’s so easy and mess free. Then I typically just use my ring finger to blend it in, but you can use a blending bud or brush if you prefer.  Once it is all blended in, I add a little powder to set it, and I am ready to go.  

Apply by drawing an inverted triangle under your eyes.
Blend using your finger, blending bud, or blending brush.

As you can see in the last picture, the skin under my eyes now looks brighter and it just helps to accentuate my eyes. I love it! They do have a highlighting stick that looks just the same, but it is more iridescent than I like for under my eyes. I actually like to use it on my upper cheekbone line for a little sparkle when I am going out but not for everyday use.

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Friday Favorites: Mascara

I have been on the hunt to find the perfect mascara for years.  I have had a few that I liked okay that I would use for a while, and then I would decided that I really don’t like it all that much and try another one.  I have used a wide variety of brands in a wide price range including Clinique, Maybelline, Mary Kay, Bare Minerals, Younique, and many more. There was nothing major wrong with any of those brands. It is really all about personal preference and what look you are going for.  For me, the wand matters and the clumpiness (I just made up that word) is a big factor for me.  That includes clumping on the wand and clumping on my lashes when I apply it. When I started using Rodan + Fields’ Lash Boost and my lashes started to look fuller and longer, I realized my current mascara just wasn’t doing if for me anymore so I was on the hunt for a better mascara.  I guess that I should mention that I have deep set eyes so sometimes it is hard to really see my lashes without a good mascara.  It’s just the way my eyes are built.  On top of that, I wear glasses all day, every day, which also distracts from my lashes.  I really need a mascara that is going to make my lashes look longer and fuller.

After getting feedback from several people, I started using Roller Lash by Benefit (Ulta) a couple of years ago.  It is said to be “super-curling and lifting” by the maker.  I don’t know so much about curling part, but I do feel like it lifted my lashes and helped them to stand out better. I would say that it is a pretty decent mascara, and I was happy with it for a long time.  I really feel like it makes my lashes appear longer. The one thing I don’t care for is that it doesn’t really give my lashes a fuller look.   I do really like the thin applicator and the way that it glides on so easily. It has very short bristles, and that style works really well for me and is the kind I prefer. I have never had this brand clump on the applicator or on my lashes.    I would recommend it to anyone because it is a solid choice, and I really have no major complaints about it other than the fullness factor.

A month or so ago, a friend mentioned a different mascara to me.  It is one that has actually been on my list for a while as one to try, but I was in no hurry to purchase it because I was happy with the Roller Lash. Anyway, she convinced me to give it a try.  Now, let me first say that my friend has amazing natural lashes that I have always been envious of, so I knew that the mascara wasn’t going to perform for me as well as it does for her.  I was willing to give it a try, though.  I hopped over to Ulta that same day and purchased Too Faced Better Than Sex (Ulta) mascara. Yes, I wish it had a different name, but it is what it is.  When I first opened it up, I could already tell that I wasn’t going to love the applicator.  It is big and bushy.  It has thick, long bristles and I typically avoid that kind of wand.  I was set on giving it a solid try, though.  I must say, that although I am still not crazy about the wand, I really like this mascara.  Not only does it give me the length, but it also gives my lashes a thicker appearance.  I have only been using it for about a month, but so far I am fairly pleased with it. I have this feeling that it could get clumpy, but I am hopeful that it won’t.  The jury is still out on that.

 I tried to do a side-by-side comparison for you, but it is really hard to photograph my eyes myself, and it just doesn’t translate as well to the picture as it does in real life.  However, I think that you can still tell the difference. You can see that the side with the Too Faced mascara is definitely more prominent than the side with the Benefit mascara. While both mascara’s are very different, I would recommend both of them to you as good options for mascara. If you take a look at the two pictures at the beginning of this post where I am wearing the Too Faced mascara in one picture and the Benefit mascara in the other, you can see that they both are good mascaras separately.  It is only when you put them side by side with one on each eye that you can really see the difference. Again, it is totally a matter of preference. I am not sure which one I will choose to go with for the long hall because I love them both for different reasons. I love the Benefit Roller Lash because of its applicator and easiness to apply, and I love the Too Faced Better than Sex for the fullness and length it gives my lashes. I also feel like the Benefit mascara gives you a more natural look than the Too Faced mascara. I’m not sure if that matters to me, though. It is really hard to decide which is my absolute favorite. I like them both! You just have to choose the one that works best for you because they are both great options!

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Friday Favorites: Sphynx Razor

I tried out a new product for you all. I saw this product featured on the Today Show’s Steals and Deals a while back and it intrigued me.  Then I saw it magically pop up in my Facebook feed a few times and saw some friends post about it.  I finally decided that I was intrigued enough to buy it.  It is a portable razor that comes complete with everything you need to shave your legs.  It is made by a company called Sphynx.  Now, I will tell you that it is not designed to be your everyday razor in the shower. It is designed for those on-the-go moments when you realize you missed a spot on your legs or you forgot to shave your underarms (That happens to me a lot, sadly.). You just throw it in your purse and whip it out whenever you need it, wherever you are. I would not use it to shave my whole leg because that is not what it is designed for, and I don’t think the razor is good enough for everyday use. It would be great in an emergency, though.

The Specifics:

This razor comes in a variety of fun, bright colors and also in black. It is in the shape of a circle, but it does have a flat part at the bottom so you can stand it up on the counter if you need to. It is just slightly larger than the palm of my hand, which makes it small enough to keep in your purse, gym bag, or overnight bag. It is TSA approved for flying. It is easy to hold in your hands and is pretty simple to use. The coolest part about this product is that it comes complete with everything you need to shave on-the-go, and it is all neatly packed into the compact circular case.  All you have to do it to rotate the little dial in the center to access each piece.

Spray Bottle:

There is a miniature, refillable spray bottle that you use to dampen your skin to prep for shaving.  You simply pop it out, fill it with water, and pop it back in. The bottle is pretty small which is another reason that you probably can’t shave all of both legs with it. It wouldn’t be enough water or you would have to refill it.

Moisturizing Bar:

Once you are done dampening your skin, you twist the dial to reveal a small moisturizing bar that is filled with coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils. Use it to lather your skin for shaving. It also doubles as a moisturizer.  That means you don’t have to rinse it off when you are done.  That’s even more perfect for your on-the-go lifestyle. The company states that it won’t melt in heat, so you can even throw it in your beach bag.  Another positive to the bar is that it is cruelty free, vegan friendly, and paraben free.

Razor:

Now that you have dampened and lathered your skin, you turn the dial one more time to reveal the razor. Turning the dial a fourth time will reveal a second razor. When one gets dull, move on to the second one.  It is a single blade razor for easy cleaning. It was a little odd a first getting used to holding the circular case versus my regular razor, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. 

I know you are thinking about how in the world you clean it when you are done. That was my thought too. First of all, there are small holes on each side of the circular case that allow water to escape if it gets inside so you won’t have mold or mildew.  Then, you can twist and easily pop the frame apart so you can run the razors under water to clean.  If you are on the go and don’t have the opportunity to rinse it, you can wipe the blade easily with a paper towel. Refill packs are also available. They come with 4 new razors and one moisturizing bar. If you order through the  Sphynx website, you can sign up for automatic refill deliveries. You can also purchase these razors at retailers such as Target and Ulta. Additionally, they are available for purchase on Amazon.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been at the beach or out somewhere and I realized that I missed a big patch of hair on my leg or I forgot to touch up my underarms.  This product is great for those occasions. If you are like me and are very forgetful or are always in a rush, try this product out and let me know what you think.

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Friday Favorites: Makeup Brushes

Let’s talk makeup brushes. I know that there are some people that care a whole lot about the makeup brushes that they use and will buy really expensive ones.  They care about what the bristles are made of and the angle and sizes of the brushes and more. If you are that way, then this isn’t a post for you.  Up until about 5 or 6 months ago, I used some Mary Kay brushes that I got in a set years ago when I hosted a party.  They worked and that was good enough for me.  Now, I do clean my brushes regularly.  I didn’t just use gross dirty brushes for years.  If you don’t clean your brushes regularly, you need to. I can’t tell you how many people I know that have never cleaned their makeup brushes. You guys, that’s gross!  You have to clean them.  It is so easy to clean them too.  All you need is a little Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo.  Wet your brushes with cold water and add a little baby shampoo to each brush and gently rub the bristles between your fingers to clean and then rinse.  You may need to repeat this a couple of times to get all of the makeup off, especially if you have never cleaned them.  I usually do it until the water runs clear when you rinse it off.  Then smooth the bristles and lay it flat on a clean towel to air dry.  I typically clean mine every other week.  Some will say that you should do it weekly, but let’s be real. That’s probably not realistic for most of us. 

Now, lets talk about the kind of brushes that I use.  If you look up make up brushes on a site like Ulta or Sephora, you will see that there are a million different types of brushes. There are brushes that are fat, skinny, big, small, and some that even look like fans.  I won’t even begin to act like I know what to do with all of those brushes. I use 8 brushes every day and that is it, but I would say that not all of those are completely necessary. I have 3 brushes that I use for my eye shadow, an eye liner brush, a blush brush, an eye brow brush, a powder brush, and a liquid brush.  

Liquid Makeup Brush (R+F)

This one is new to me.  I haven’t worn any type of foundation in years and back when I did, I just used my fingers to apply it.  When Rodan + Fields came out with their new derma-cosmetic, Radiant Defense Perfecting Liquid (read about it here), I got the liquid brush with it.  The first time I used Radiant Defense, I didn’t use the brush because I didn’t really know how.  I just used my fingers like I had done in the past. Then I watched a few videos of other consultants using it and decided to try it out. Wow! It is so easy to use and so much better for my face than my fingers.  I highly recommend this brush or any other liquid brush if you have never used one before.  It makes the application process much smoother and really gives you a more even coverage. 

Powder Brush (R+F)

For years I used a Mary Kay powder brush with no issues.  I like a more matte look on me, so I always wear some sort of finishing powder. Plus, it helps keep the shine from my naturally oily skin at bay. Now I use this Rodan + Fields retractable kabuki brush to apply my mineral peptide powder. I love it.  It works great for contouring and highlighting as well because you can slide the bottom up to make the bristles tighter for packing around your eyes or down to make them looser. 

Blush Brush (Mary Kay)

I still use my Mary Kay blush brush because I like the angular shape that is has.  It makes applying blush so easy.  Again, mine is old, and the cheek brush that they have now is a little different.  It is not angled like the one that I have, but I am sure it works just as well.

Eye Brush Set (Target)

These are the brushes that I really want to talk about. They all came together in an eye set. I have had them for about 4 months or so, and I love them. You will never guess where I got them, though! It wasn’t some fancy makeup store. I got them at TARGET! I’m not kidding.  My old Mary Kay ones were getting worn and some of the bristles were falling out so I was in desperate need of new ones. I had been looking at sets online at Ulta and Sephora.  They were either too expensive for my taste, had way more brushes in the set than I really needed, or had lots of reviews that they smelled. Who knew that smell was something to consider when looking at brushes?  You would be very surprised by how many brushes have bad reviews because of the smell.   I thought that was very weird.   Anyway, one day I was in the makeup aisle at Target looking for some nail polish and saw this set. It was pretty cheap and I figured I would give them a try, not really expecting much.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they work great. I really like them. Some people prefer to use brushes with real hair, but it doesn’t really matter to me. I honestly can’t tell a difference.  These are made out of nylon.  They are soft and great for blending and creating a whole eye look. They can be used with cream and powder shadows. The set comes with the following 5 brushes:

1. Brow Fill and Spool (Target)

The brow fill and spoolie brush (Target) is double sided. One side is designed to provided even color on your brows and the other side diffuses lines for a natural look.  I don’t really use the brow fill side of this brush because I use a pencil to fill in my brows, but I do use the Spoolie side to brush them out and in the direction I want them to go before adding a brow gel to keep them in place.

2. Large Shadow Brush (Target)

The large shadow brush (Target) is ideal for expertly covering the entire eyelid. I use this brush to apply color directly to my eye lid. 

3. Blending Crease Brush (Target)

The blending crease brush (Target) gently blends eye shadows, softens lines, and buffs colors for a smooth, effortless look. I use this brush to apply my darkest color directly to the crease between my lid and brow bone. 

4. Small Shadow Brush

The small shadow brush (Target) is perfect for applying shadow details. I use this brush to add a highlighting shade to my brow bone and the inner corner of my eye.

5. Eye Liner Brush

The eye liner brush (Target) provides precise application along the lash line. I cannot tell you the last time I bought or used a pencil liner.  It has been several years. I only use eye shadows as liner and this brush is perfect for it.  I can easily outline my eye at the base of my lashes and get the same look as a pencil or liquid liner.

This is the finished look after using all of these brushes.  The only thing that I added that is not in the videos is brow gel, mascara, and my favorite shade of Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink. You do not have to spend a fortune on a million different brushes.  You only need a few and there a many affordable options out there.  There are a few things to consider when looking for brushes.  First, you should make sure that they are soft.  You do not want to use a brush that is hard and scratchy on your skin.  Second, you should make sure that they are made well.  For example, you don’t want a brush that is constantly loosing bristles. Third, as I mentioned above, some people are concerned about the smell of their brushes. If smells bother you, makes sure yours don’t smell.  I can assure you that the ones that I have shown you today meet all of the criteria I just mentioned. They are my favorites.  Oh, and don’t forget to wash them regularly! 

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Friday Favorites: Dry Shampoo

I have mentioned several times now that this year has been about new discoveries, changes in my life, and trying new things.  Sometimes that means breaking old habits and forcing yourself to get out of your comfort zone.  I know this may seem trivial but it is a big thing for me.  Since the day I was old enough and responsible enough to shower and wash my own hair, I have washed and blow-dried it every single day.  I think there are only a handful of days that I haven’t washed my hair over my life, and that is because I was either super sick and unable to get out of the bed or something was going on where I couldn’t. I’m not kidding! I used to believe that I couldn’t go a day without washing, drying, and styling my hair. Even if I was going to wear a hat for hat day at school or something, I still got up, washed, dried, and styled my hair.  If I knew I was going to the beach or pool, I still got up early washed, dried, and styled my hair. I am serious.  It’s crazy, I know, but that’s been the norm for me my whole life…me trying to be perfect. I have read all the articles and heard all the studies about how bad it is for your hair to wash it everyday.  I know that it strips your hair of its natural oils and nutrients.   I’ve known this for years, but it didn’t matter to me.  In some ways I was jealous of my friends that went days without washing their hair and their hair still looked great.  My hair always looked like a flat, oily blob when I woke up in the mornings. When I wash and dry my hair, it takes me anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to get ready in the mornings.  That always meant that I had to get up super early for work.  I had those friends that just rolled out of bed and came to work looking great.  I didn’t believe that I could do that.  I really didn’t.

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The area right at my temples gets the most oily.

About 2 months ago, I suddenly got the itch to see what would happen if I didn’t wash my hair every day.  I knew that it would take some time for my hair to adjust to not being shampooed everyday, but I was finally willing to give it a try.  I decided to start small and see if I could stand washing my hair every other day.  The first day that I got up and didn’t wash it, was really hard.  My hair was disgusting, and it made me feel disgusting even though I had showered.  The second time was a little better, but I still felt like my hair was oozing grease.  Disgusting, I know.  After a week, I increased it to going 2 days without washing it.  Again, that first time was horrible.  Finally, I decided that I would go get some dry shampoo and see if that helped manage the oil. I did a little research and decided to try one kind that was recommended by several fellow bloggers.  Well, I got up the next morning determined to use the dry shampoo and expecting it to just miraculously soak up all the oil in my hair. I shook up the bottle really well as the directions said and sprayed it at my roots.  That was a disaster.  I am sure many of you that have used dry shampoos can guess what happened.  You see, I have brown hair.  The dry shampoo came out as a white powder that made my brown hair look grey.  I tried rubbing it in and it really didn’t go away.  I tried the other side of my hair thinking maybe I just held it too close to my head and used too much.  Nope! It did they same thing.  Now I HAD to wash my hair to get the white powder out of it.  There was no way I was going anywhere looking like that. I went back to the store and tried a different brand. Same thing…it left a visible white powder on my hair. Now what was I going to do? I was determined to be able to go 3-4 days without washing my hair but I couldn’t stand the oily mess that my hair was in when I woke up each morning.

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I don’t know if any of you have seen the millions of videos on Facebook lately by a company called L’ange. There are all these different bloggers and direct sales people promoting L’ange products and doing demonstrations using their styling tools to curl their hair.  If you are like me, you have watched too many to count.  I don’t know why I am fascinated with them, but I am. Anyway, in the videos they all talk about how amazing the L’ange Dejavu Dry Shampoo is and how it doesn’t leave a white powdery film like most dry shampoos do.  Well, after seeing and hearing this from several videos, I was sold. At this point, I would try anything! I decided to order some.  You guys, this stuff is amazing.  Not only does it spray clear, it actually really works and doesn’t have that strong powder smell to it like the other ones I had tried.  I am now obsessed with it.   It took me a while to get there but I now can go 3-4 days without washing my hair and I am totally okay with it. I really didn’t think I would ever be able to say that. Those first few times were really hard for me but I am proud of myself for sticking with it. My hair has finally gotten into a groove and actually looks just as good on day 3 as it did on day 1.  My hair has adjusted and is producing less oil than when I started, but I still need the dry shampoo by two. It’s a miracle, really.  I never believed I could do it.  I cannot tell you how much time it saves me not washing and drying my hair every day or how much I am kicking myself for not doing this years ago.  It has been so freeing.  Plus, the days that I do wash my hair are like heaven.  I enjoy it so much and my hair looks amazing! I highly recommend that you try to spread out the days between washes using the L’ange Dry Shampoo. It was life changing for me!

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Use code ONLY9 to get all products for $9 (only a limited time). 

L’ange is currently having a HUGE holiday sale, and all hair products are available for only $9 with the code ONLY9. If you are interested in any of their other products, I recommend the Rival Heat Shield to protect your hair when you blow dry it and style it with hot tools.  I also recommend the Sea + Salt Texturizing Spray, the Marula Oil Hydrating Mist, and the Satin Nectar Nourishing Gloss.  I own and love all of those products.  I have honestly heard great things about all of their products including all of their shampoos and conditioners, but I haven’t tried them yet.   In addition, I highly recommend their curling wands and flat irons, which are also on sale at a huge discount right now.  You can get either of them in titanium for harder to curl or thick hair, or you can get them in ceramic for easy to curl or thinner hair.  I have the 25 mm Titanium Lustre wand and the Titanium Le Reve flat iron. There are similar ones for an even lower price that will work just as well.  My next purchase will likely be one the of the blow dryers.  This is not a paid advertisement.  I really do own and love all of these products.  Now is the time to get the tools and products if you are interested.  I don’t know how long this crazy sale will last.   I paid full price for my wand before the sale, so trust me, you want to get these things while on sale. Think of it as an early Christmas present to yourself.  If you have friends or family that you need Christmas presents for, these products would make a great gift as well.  Go check it out here.

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This is day 3 of not washing my hair, and it still looks great thanks to Lange’ Dry Shampoo!

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Friday Favorites: Nail Polish

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For pretty much my entire life I have never been a person that paints their fingernails until now. I have always had really strong, long nails that looked great unpainted. The real reason I never painted them, though, was because I have a condition called hyperhidrosis. It was a condition that I was born with. Basically it has something to do with my central nervous system, and it causes me to sweat excessively, specifically on my hands and my feet. My mom used to say that when I was a baby, I would just be laying on the floor she would see beads of water on my hands and my feet.  Again, it’s something that I’ve had and struggled with my entire life. It was so bad that when I started school, my mother had to go in at the beginning of every school year to talk to my teachers. I would have to fold up a piece of paper to put under my hand when I was taking tests so that the paper wouldn’t get soaked.  My mom didn’t want them to see the paper and think I was cheating on the test. As I got older the sweating also increased in my armpits.  Gross, I know! I would ruin clothes, and sleeves shirts and dresses were out.  It seriously has affected me my entire life.  Imagine having to carry a paper towel or handkerchief with you everywhere you go while trying to keep people from noticing that sweat is literally dripping from you hands. It’s horrible. I will spare you all of the many ways that it negatively affected me over the years and the number of medications that doctors have experimented on me that didn’t work.  The point is that I never went to have my nails done at a salon because it was so embarrassing. Just the thought of someone at a salon touching my hands would send them into a cycle of dripping sweat. When I got married I went to have a manicure done (it may have been my first one ever) because, as you know, everybody wants their nails to look good to show off their new rings when they’re getting married. I knew in the back of my head that it would be a disaster, but I went anyway. Well, when I got them done, of course, my hands were all sweaty; and I was totally embarrassed. My nails looked beautiful when they were done, but by that evening they looked horrible. The nail polish wouldn’t adhere well to my nails because my hands were so wet.  I actually had to go and have them touched up right before my wedding because they looked so bad.

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Fast forward to about seven or eight years ago, and I started having really bad headaches. I have always had headaches throughout my life, but they increased in intensity and frequency after my youngest daughter was born. It was starting to affect my ability to do my job at work, so I went to see my doctor who referred me to a neurologist.  After having multiple tests done to rule out any significant reason for the headaches, I was diagnosed with sev migraines.  Every time that I went to see my neurologist my hands would be dripping sweat.  It is always worse when I am nervous or upset. I was nervous because I was always afraid that he was going to tell me that I had a tumor or something really bad. There actually was a real scare after a CT scan that got me sent to a neurosurgeon, but it turned out to be nothing, thankfully. Anyway, my neurologist had noticed my hands, and we talked about how it had affected me my whole life. Let me tell you that I will forever be grateful for that man! He decided to put me on an older medication that actually was designed to treat depression but had been proven effective for migraines as well.  The reason that he wanted to try this particular medication was because one of the common side effects of it is drying out your skin.  You guys, it worked! Not only did it help with my migraines, but it also STOPPED the sweating.  That’s right, it didn’t just decrease it, it actually stopped the excessive sweating from happening.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much that helped my confidence and my overall quality of life.  The only negative to the medication is that it also gives me a very dry mouth, but I will take that any day over the sweating. So…to make a long story short, I finally was able to go to a nail salon.  I had always painted my toenails myself but never my nails, now I was able to get a pedicure without being totally embarrassed.  Boy, I had been missing out all those years! I was still too nervous to get a manicure for fear that the sweating would come back as my hands were always the worst.  I did end up getting my fingernails done one or two times at a salon but it wasn’t many.  I just wasn’t used to color on my nails so I didn’t really like it.

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A couple of months ago, I went with my youngest daughter to get our nails done.  We usually just get pedicures together, but this time was special.  She had been a nail biter/picker for years and had finally stopped and let her nails grow. I had promised her that if she stopped biting them, I would take her to get a manicure. We got them together that day.  I somehow picked a color that I ended up being totally in love with when they put in on. From that day forward, I have been painting my fingernails.  I actually paint them like once a week, and I am kind of obsessed with it now. The whole point of this crazy post is to tell you about my new obsession with nail colors. I can’t go to the store without looking at new colors.  I have compiled for you my top 5 OPI colors and my top 5 Essie colors for fall/winter. I have also included the one color by China Glaze that began this obsession in the nail salon that day. Of course, I had to come home and buy it for myself right away.  I will tell you that I am slowly getting more daring with colors and styles.  I actually picked a glitter color that I love.  I know, gasp! LOL! Those of you that know me know that I detest glitter! I absolutely cannot stand it.  The good thing about glitter nail polish is that it doesn’t come off and get all over you and everything else! It’s a kind of glitter that I can handle.  You can find all of these colors and more in most drug stores, Walmart, Target, Ulta, Amazon, and many other places.  I have linked them all to the company websites (except for the couple I could only find on Amazon) to make it easier to find the exact color if you see one that you love. Check out my favorites below!

Essie:

  1. Floweriest
  2. Kimono-over
  3. Merino Cool
  4. For the Twill of It
  5. Ladylike

OPI Nail Lacquer:

  1. Malaga Wine
  2. Tickle Me France-y (Amazon)
  3. It’s Frosty Outside (similar)
  4. Meet Me on the Star Ferry (Amazon)
  5. Worth a Pretty Penny

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China Glaze:

  1. Below Deck (Amazon)

Which is your favorite? Mine is definitely Below Deck. Go out and get some new colors and express your personality.  Don’t be afraid to go for a dark or bold color! I am learning that myself and have found that I really like the darker colors, especially for fall.  I used to only wear light, neutral colors. Remember if you totally hate it, you can always take it right off.

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