Tuesday, May 5, 2015

THIS is the BEST C Serum!

I have had the chance to review several different vitamin c serums over the past few months. I have never used a serum or even a vitamin c skin care product until this time, so each brand was thoroughly tested and each had its merits. Here I give you the gold standard of vitamin c serums: Even Glow Serum.

 This is pure magic in a bottle, the Beyonce' in a sea of average vitamin c serums. The scent is rich and soft, like orange green tea, not cloying but very soothing. The texture is velvety with a more opaque look due to the added rosehip, sea buckthorn and green tea extract. Absolutely wonderful lubricating absorbtion, no residue, softened my laughlines and chin crinkles with daily application under my foundation. 
 If you are experiencing dry flaking skin or irritation from an acne cleanser or retinoid product, this is the serum that will save your skin. I use Retin A every evening and soothe the peeling skin the next morning with several drops of Even Glow after cleansing with my vitamin c cleanser and my Clarisonic. I have noticed fading of my sun damage spots high on my forehead as well. If you are in your 20s, protect your skin with Even Glow. In your 30s, soften those lines before they become crinkles with Even Glow. I'm in my mid-40s and feel my lines have really softened and I will continue to purchase Even Glow, as I was given a bottle in return for my experienced, unbiased opinion and -boy- are you getting just that. The bottle will last at least two months, depending on how thirsty your skin is. 
Absolute gold.

Monday, May 4, 2015


 If you are lucky enough not to have mosquitoes where you are, let me describe them: Invisible, everywhere, super itchy bites, able to get up under your skirt or under the blankets and draw a pint of blood before you've noticed them. We have them almost year round here in Houston and I always get bitten the most in my family. My first bite came last week, on the inner thigh.... HOW?!

There it is, lower left, swelling to magnificent angry fiery proportions! Luckily, I had received two samples of SKLEER Skin Conditioning Gel in return for my honest review and I couldn't be more satisfied with this product. Within seconds of application, the intense burn was gone and the swelling was over in minutes. Absolutely faster than Benadryl without the sleepy side effects, which is my usual go-to for bites. I have since used this on various skin itches with excellent results. I find the herbal tea tree scent mild and it fades. I had a terrible breakout with huge red whiteheads after trying a new retinol based skin product. SKLEER dabbed generously on the whiteheads at least twice really dried them up by the next day. 
 This natural formula contains tea tree oil, eucalyptus, caraway oil, cardamom and cinnamon oils but it is clear and not overpowering and great for carrying in your purse or luggage. I will definitely repurchase this soothing gel as mosquito season never ends here!

Win SKLEER for yourself!

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Pup Life

 A major move found my family without our dogs after a decade of always having a dog, either as a foster or our own pet. It was heartbreaking and we decided to look for a puppy to fit our new, more complex lifestyle. Meet Solaire, our Boston Terrier puppy.

Solaire is only seven weeks old now and spends more time sleeping than he's awake. His waking time is packed with so much activity and learning, though. I have taken time off the salon so I can get him housebroken and on a schedule instead of just putting him in a crate for hours daily. Part of meeting his puppy needs is finding appropriate chewing items. Best For My Pets kindly offered a pack of Tripe Stick Chews for Solaire to sample in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Solaire's verdict? He LOVES these tripe chews! I give him both 2" cut ones and different thickness original large 5" pieces 
and he like to carry, toss and chew them. They have a slight odor, nothing overwhelming and I keep a few by our bed to give him when he needs help calming down to sleep. 

 He likes these as much as his bully stick and they do not get sticky or messy bits, just a satisfying chew that is digestible, high in protein, grain free, low fat, made in the USA from Brazilian cattle and economical. This 6 ounce bag holds enough various width treats to last a small dog a long time. There were at least 16 chews here and keep in mind that you can cut them for tiny dogs like mine. Great for senior dogs, too!

 Solaire loves these, and you get a satisfaction guarantee from Best For My Pets as well. Give tripe a try!
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Pin Head

 I am a dermatologist's dream: acne scars, huge pores, fine lines, not so fine lines, discoloration, dog bite scar, home TCA scarring, rosacea, occasional cystic acne... I am sure I have a few more but let's focus on the DIY what can I do at home without melting my entire epidermis off aspect (losing a top layer is not such a bad deal).
 If you keep up with skin care fads, you'll have heard of the dermaroller, meant to traumatize skin into regrowing itself and fill in lines, wrinkles, healed acne scarring and generally encourage collagen regrowth. Your dermatologist can perform the needle puncturing with a needle stamp, a needle roller or a single needle in their office OR you can be brave (and budget minded) and attempt deep skin trauma in the less surgical surroundings of your own home.

 Guess which one I chose?
I was given this 1.0mm DermaRoller in exchange for my honest review and here's my ever unbiased opinion:

 Keep in mind that I'm a cosmetologist, not an esthetician and perhaps I wanted to try out the very hyped DermaRoller on my chin crinkles and angry 11s frownie lines. My timid approach will most likely not mirror the experienced hand of the clinician though I suggest one go into this kitchen surgery of sorts with both pro and con research and be prepared to properly and safely cleanse your face and your derma roller prior to and post rolling treatment. You are opening your skin to potential infection if not properly sterilized. I used an alcohol prep pad after gently washing my face with Cetaphil. I thoroughly washed my hands and under my nails as well. Some suggest using a numbing cream, I'm a big girl so I can do without.

 I ran the roller over my frowny lines 3-5 times in several directions. It felt exactly like having a thousand prickly needles roll over your skin. I flinched a bit but it was oddly pleasant and triggered my salivary glands --- what's that about? The small needle sizes are suggested for frowny lines and deep acne scars. This 1.0 is a larger size meant for larger general areas and a decent choice to figure out if you can handle the pricking sensation. 

 You can see some redness under the roller though you'll also notice that I'm red all over, due to my fabulous cranky skin. It's also allergy season and my eyes are swelling a bit. After I did my frownies, my eye crinkles and the chin crinkles at the corner of my mouth from sleeping face smashed into my pillows, I placed my derma roller in a glass of alcohol for an hour to disinfect, then back onto its stand to dry and store until its next use in two weeks. I misted my face with my miracle Puracyn wound cleanser, as it never stings and is an effective medical cleanser for any scrape or puncture. My skin had some moderate itching for a few hours. DO NOT TOUCH and no makeup for the day.

 It takes several months of twice monthly treatments to see dramatic differences. I will keep you updated. If you have a dermatologist, ask if they offer derma rolling or derma needle punch, as I've seen some incredible results with time. If you can commit to cleanliness and safe usage, give this DermaRoller a try. 

 No blood, nothing gory in this video, just me rolling a gazillion pins over my face and the roller squeaking.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2 Meals Out of a $5 Chicken

Apologies to my veg readers but I have to share what I cook every week.

 For $5 or so, I pick up the freshest broiler chicken, wash thoroughly, pat DRY including under wings and inside the cavity (check for gizzard/organs which dogs love raw). Sprinkle with sea salt generously, I prefer smoked Himalayan pink salt for extra flavor. Put in 400 degree oven in roasting pan, 20 minutes per pound, then add about 20 minutes or check with a poultry thermometer. Do NOT open oven until you're ready to take bird out, as it can cause spattering. Once  done, you will have the crispiest skin EVER. Let cool a few minutes, serve and shred those leftovers for soup or in a sauce over rice the next night.
Here's a Thai green curry using the dark meat I shredded off the chicken carcass. Way too spicy, I need a better recipe!
Had to throw in this adorable rainbow storage bowl set from Walmart. Only $5!
 Do you have any twice cooked meals to share?

Digital Paper Dolls!

  I'm normally not into fashion apps unless I'm procrastinating. 
 Here's a mother lode of fashion-ating fun for those who like to mix and match wardrobes and potentially buy the look they love. The app is Trendage and it offers upscale clothing that is on trend along with accessories, shoes and handbags. Trendy items are reasonably priced and the range covers work, after hours and casual meaning you can plan a full week's wardrobe in a matter of minutes and potentially purchase on the spot as well. I obviously know nothing about work wear as I thought this would be SMASHING at the salon:

 I enjoyed all the mix and match though I'd like to see more layering options such as jackets/blazers/cardigans/wraps and leggings/tights under skirts. Accessories were all necklaces, though many were quite lovely and styles I'd probably never look at on their own but really popped out over the tops. I'd like to see bracelets, belts/cinchers and headbands as well.

 I had a lot of imaginary fun dressing up my boyfriend in this high end rockstar hot outfit. *eyebrow wiggle* He'd sooner be caught dead than admit to liking this beyond the boots. That's fine, he's already prettier than I am anyway. Men's selections were curated fairly well. I'd like to see bowties or ascots or something on all those oxfords.
 I would definitely enjoy being able to customize the models with selfies, as neither the woman or man look anything like myself or my boyfriend (don't I wish I had her hair and figure though). 
 Give TRENDAGE.COM or its app a try and link your looks here as I want to see what you like!
....especially if you have housework to do....

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Doll Face Brushes!

Just received my set of beautiful Doll Face cosmetic brushes to review! I'm still in the middle of my huge move from house to apartment, so make up looks will be coming soon. I already love the soft brush texture and how the brush holder turns into a stand.
 Claire insists on coloring her brows crazy shades. Is anyone else doing this for a daily look? 

 My hair is in serious need of a deep conditioning.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sleep With Me

Are you having sleeping difficulties? The stress of my upcoming move had me awake at four every morning, laying there anxiously focused on all my poor life decisions, then off went the alarm and I was a groggy mess. Along came the opportunity to review Life & Food's Garcinia Cambogia in exchange for an honest review. I am not a fad super foods follower or a supplement taker but insomnia was sucking the life out of me, and this product claims to safely boost serotonin, along with weight management. The pills are your standard gel caps, I found them easy to swallow. By my third dose of two pills twice daily, I was finally able to sleep through the night and am still sleeping well a week later. I will update on any weight loss progress if it occurs. For now, I am thrilled to get a full nights rest. If you want to sleep with me, in a non-groggy fulfilling sleep cycle, give this product a try. I had no negative side affects.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pura d'or for Hair Loss

Short and Semi-Sweet Review

 Pura d'or was gracious enough to supply me with their Premium Organic Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo and Premium Organ Argan Oil Based Conditioner in Lavender Vanilla. I always give my honest opinions and try the products several times, as directed, prior to posting my reviews.
 I really wanted to like Pura d'or, and the products may work better on a different hair type than mine, which is very porous from bleaching, naturally fine and has bright semi-permanent coloring that is easily stripped with the wrong shampoo. The Pura d'or Premium Organic Hair Loss Shampoo had a gel like consistency out of the pump, was clear and had an earthy but not unpleasant scent. I only shampoo maybe three days a week to keep my color in, and the shampoo went to town on my oily scalp, literally making it squeak. My hair was not gummy or stiff after the shampoo, which happens with many brands both cheap and high end, like how my hair HATES TIGI Urban Anti-dotes, much to my dismay. Like TIGI Urban Anti-dotes though, the Pura d'or pulled out most of my demi- and semi- permanent color, which had been freshly done three days before. That made me sad.
  I chose the Hair Loss Prevention shampoo as my hairline has been thinning for years and I've just come to accept it. I did try using the shampoo only at the edge of my hairline and, maybe because I'm suddenly looking for it, I have noticed several dozen new dark hairs poking through before the hairline. Just tiny stubble, but maybe if used as often as possible, daily for most men, it can make a difference. I just can't risk my hair color.
 Just to show how honest I am, here's an unflattering pic of my no-make up self with all my sun damage and wrinkles and thinning hair line. Hard to tell but there ARE tiny hairs coming up, whether from the shampoo or the extra massaging, I'm not sure.
 I did not care for the Organic Argan Oil Conditioner in the slightest. It immediately absorbed into my hair and would not wash out with warm water, leaving me to use the hottest water I could handle to try to get it out and still... so greasy. I gave it two chances, same results. My hair is just too porous for the Argan Oil conditioner. Definitely for thick, denser hair.
 Apologies for the slow posting, as I'm in the middle of moving from a house across town to an apartment. *sob*

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

But I AM smiling!

Serums, Oils and Oils!

My daughter Claire and I went to a monthly craft show called PopShop this weekend. There were some really cute handmade local stuff from vendors, food trucks, plus vintage/second hand stores on each side of the parking lot. We finally had a chance to try Common Bond Bakery, a French patisserie that seems to be closed when we drive by.

 The bakery was bright, sunlit and perfect for photos, which brings me to the point of this post, which isn't about my love for pastries.
It's about my resting bitch face. 
I have the brow furrows, the labial-nasal fold, the crinkles below my mouth... the whole fabulous grump package. I used to go through my pics and remove them until I found this great Beauty Booth app which just blurs skin texture and leaves you looking radiant but still textured. I have been reviewing several skin care items lately and all rate effective in their own way but let me tell you, BUY THE VITAMIN C SERUM. NOW. I have been using the Radha Vitamin C Serum 20% for over two weeks and found it superior to my prior brand in consistent results. I wash with my Wasabi clarifying wash in the AM, then follow with the Vitamin C serum from my forehead hairline down, really working it into the eye area and my "angry 11s" between the brows, which have really softened with use. 

 I have been embarassed over my large pores and acne scarring between my nose and cheek, that wonderfully named "labial-nasal fold", and this Vitamin C serum has added a softened, hydrated effect that is so visible. Sometimes I don't even use my beauty filter! I let it sink into my skin, though I do skip my nose as it is very sensitive to anything I attempt to use. I massage the serum over my neck and onto my chest/decolletage and the softening effect has also happen on my bustline. It is not greasy, my skin drinks it in quickly and within minutes I can apply concealer and foundation over the area without any makeup sliding or oxidizing. I prefer it to a BB cream or primer, frankly.  When I get a pimple that leaves a scab or dry skin behind, the Vitamin C softens it and it peels off easily. Extractions are also much easier and my face is much less red after using my salicyclic wash. 

My daughter Claire has some blemishes but nowhere near the blackhead and acne scar issues that I have. She has started oil cleansing in the PM and adding the Vitamin C serum as well. She has no breakouts and no stinging, which can be an issue with some sensitive users. She is eighteen, I am forty four, so I have been encouraging her to care for her skin with anti-aging products NOW.
 I was given a generous sample of Radha Beauty's 100% Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil and wish I could say that I love coconut oil as much as I enjoy vitamin C serum and their 100% pure organic argan oil. I found the coconut oil too heavy for my facial skin, and its high comedogentic rating keeps me from trying it anywhere else but my feet, where it does a nice job post-shower with socks to cover. I DID make *fabulous* fried chicken with it last night, my family said it was the best I'd ever made. Super crisp batter, never smoked or had that burnt taste the last few pieces tend to get. Definitely worth a splurge for cooking, still undecided on whether I'd recommend it for oily/acne prone skin like mine. I'm preparing to bleach Claire's roots and heard it makes an effective protectant in that case, that you can bleach with the oil in the hair during processing and it still lifts but doesn't damage. Their Radha 100% Argan Oil is in a HUGE cobalt bottle with glass dropper, very low scent and wonderful on my hands, awesome for client hand massages during heat treatments.
 Lastly, Radha Beauty also gave me a sample of their Intensive Youth Eye Gel. It feels very rich, almost like a dense lotion when it comes out of the pump but it absorbs quickly and I can use it under my eye makeup without issue. I have a horrible sunken ridge under my eyes, with a yucky swollen poof over it and using this every night has really kept that puffiness down. I did get a small red spot under my eye, a sort of blemish, when I used the product for about the third time, but it resolved itself within a day or two, probably just the super hydration of the product. Definitely worth a try if you're looking to prevent eye puff and wrinkles. Let me know if you try the chicken!

 It's difficult to get a clear selfie of my eye but you can see the redness and bagginess. *sob* The Radha eye gel really smoothed them out as seen in the more flattering above pics.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Argan Oil, Truth or Fiction

Argan Oil, Miracle? Or Just Marketing?

 Argan Oil: the hot new beauty cure-all found in everything from hair care to skin care to nail care. Usually when one product claims to help EVERYTHING, it actually helps... well, it may help a little but in more of a "better than nuthin'" way. I have clients who swear by it and clients who ask my opinion on it and, like any beauty professional, I want to stay on top of the hottest trends and technologies and maybe bust a few beauty myths along the way.
 I was given a bottle of  Foxbrim 100% Pure EcoCert & USDA Certified Organic Argan Oil in exchange for a non-biased review. In a world of trending products, you have to be *certain* that you are buying the purest form such as Foxbrim's Argan Oil, not whatever processed junk might be tacked on to cheap hair/skin products trying to catch your eye. Foxbrim promises NO additives, parabens, fillers, silicones or fragrance to irritate your skin or plug up your pores. Since I have skin that looks like a moonscape full of blackheads and acne scars, argan oil's non-comedogenic rating of zero on a scale of 0-5  is extremely important. I have enjoyed a few moisturizers recently that gave me painful, red bumps by the next morning and made my blackheads worse, though they were touted as being great for problem skin. Read your labels!

  I am really satisfied with my Foxbrim Argan Oil, especially as I had doubted the claims that it is non-comedogenic and appropriate for skin/hair/nails in the manner so many sites rave about. My polish in these photos is Margit by Julep, I just can't stop repainting with this shade! 

 Argan oil is much less dense than the Vitamin C serum I've been working with recently. The texture is fluid and feels best when you heat a few drops in your palms before application. I wash with my Derma MD Wasabi cleanser and leave the skin damp, as argan oil absorbs better on moist freshly cleansed skin. I put about three drops in my palm, rub briskly, then use my clean fingertips to work the argan oil from my hairline  (and even into my hairline) to my eyes, using circular motions to really work the oil in as it wants to flow downward. I work the oil into my eyebrows, which I'm hoping will fill in as claimed on some argan oil enthusiast pages. I work the oil between my eyes onto the dreaded frowny lines, which have really been softened by my Amara Vitamin C serum but you can use both argan oil and serums in the same skin care routine without issue. I rub the oil in the orbital eye area, especially at the temple and outer eye. Some women use argan oil to remove eye make up, but I'm doing fine with Lush's 24/7 for now. Keep on working that oil down into the labial-nasal fold, softening up the acne scars and the general age lines as well as the lines appearing around my lower lip and chin area. I even run a bit over my lip line. I do avoid my nose right now, as it's recovering from a whitehead explosion due to the overly rich moisturizer I used days ago. Ugh, ageing blows but THIS really takes the edge off my rough facial skin and gives a hydrating plumpness without aggravating my acne.
  I finish my facial treatment by rubbing my palms all over the backs of my hands where all the spidery lines are and I saw immediate and lasting results, especially up between the knuckles. If you have to wash your hands a million times a day at work like I do, you will appreciate the tenacity of the softness, I will try argan on my legs and feet next. Not sure about using on my hair yet as it is very fine and I'm concerned that the oil might interfere with the semi-permanent color. 
I will be reordering Foxbrim's Argan Oil. 

Do YOU use ARGAN OIL? Have any tips for me?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Muddy Buddy

Spring in Houston Equals Mud

 We have two default seasons here in Houston, Texas: cool and humid versus boiling and humid. We are now in the cool night approaching furnace day known as "spring". Nonstop rain. Ugh.
 Stellar enjoyed a delightful mud mask yesterday, one of the first dry mornings this week.

 I don't recommend rubbing your face in my multi-dog gumbo clay yard mud. I DO recommend trying Pure & Essential Minerals Dead Sea Mud Facial Mask. I was pleased to be given a sample in exchange for my honest review and am a decades old fan of mud and clay masks in general and a new fan of this mask in particular. The texture is more gel in consistency than other mud masks, due to the aloe vera ingredient. I love this as it stays in place yet is smooth and non-gritty, allowing you to work it into your pores to get the full sebum reducing affect. The scent is very pungent eucalyptus, almost minty, yet didn't bother me as the mask dried. Ten minutes is the recommended time to let it dry, but I lost track of time and left it on for maybe half an hour without any issues. No inflammation, no redness. In fact, I have more redness with a quick salicyclic acid face wash than with extended time with this mask.
 The smooth gel nature of the dead sea mask made it the easiest mud mask I've ever washed off, though I do suggest washing the mask off in the shower so you can really steam it back up and wipe off with a washcloth very thoroughly. There IS a sulfur odor when the mask is washed off after drying, I'm not sure how to explain the smell other than smelling like Nair remover but it will pass once the mud is thoroughly wiped off and your skin is patted dry. The results are worth the temporary odor, to be sure. 

See, the mud mask is quite firm in the container and a dream to apply. After the warm water rinse, I inspected my face in my 10x hand mirror and saw many of my blackheads on my upper cheeks and nose were pulled to the surface and ready to be extracted. The mud mask had softened the congested pores and allowed me to just pop out the blackheads, then use a toner and my vitamin C serum. My skin post mud felt clean, taut but not stripped and my vitamin C serum absorbed easily. The instructions call for a weekly mask treatment and I can't wait to get muddy again. I will probably extend the mask over my neck and onto my chest and shoulders this go round. Give this small company a try, their product is a treat for any skin type, especially congested skin.
 Now, to the real question: WHO WORE IT BETTER, ME OR MY DOG?

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Scar & Eye Cream Gel Review

Scars happen. They don't HAVE to, though...

 I have been looking for an over the counter type product to reduce my acne scarring for some time now. My dermatologist pushes expensive prescription products that irritate my skin, or are just not effective enough to pay such a large sum for. As I am a beauty blogger, I was given the opportunity to sample InstaNatural's Scar Gel Cream in return for my honest opinion. I found the product more of a gel, as it is light, non-greasy and it absorbs very quickly. I originally used the scar gel on my upper cheeks where I have both old and active scarring from acne and from a skin peel gone terribly wrong years ago. While I did find the gel very soothing, without irritation, it had a texture that did not allow for foundation makeup to be applied over the dried product. As a cosmetologist, it is VERY important that I wear foundation to work, so I found another use for the the scar gel.
I have several dogs who occasionally scratch my arms or legs during play, sometimes these scratches abrade the skin and leave dark marks as they heal. I got two red raised marks in the soft underside of my arm three days ago after some silly play on the couch and IMMEDIATELY applied this scar gel. It did not burn or irritate and the redness of the area was soothed immediately. As per directions, I reapplied twice daily to the upper arm area where my skin is frosty white and soft. After the third application, I am convinced that this product sped the healing and kept the dark scarring from appearing as it does all up and down my arms and legs from various scratches and scrapes that I encounter at the salon or in the garden or by my dogs who really need manicures. Give this a try, it's a great product from a small company who offer excellent customer service.

Wow, I wish I had started this eye gel five years ago! I just turned 44 the other week and realized that I should have started a pro-active anti-aging skin care regime a minimum of five years back to prevent these fine lines and eye puffiness that I've noticed in the recent year. I live in a very old house with new found allergies as well, leaving me with bags under my deep set eyes that make me look like a bulldog. Beyond just vanity, I am a cosmetologist expected to project (and sell) a certain look of youth and health and glamour which needs a LOT of help these days.
 Enter InstaNatural Eye Cream, who generously provided me with a sample in return for my honest working review of the product. I had a great experience with their Scar Gel Cream reducing my inner arm scratches, and I am equally enthusiastic about this eye cream. I have a bit of creasing under the eye due to very harsh acne skin care, which I was focusing on for years instead of treating my eye area with gentle, hydrating products such as this. I apply the eye cream in the AM, fresh out of the fridge for a cooling sensation, just a small dot gently worked into my inner eye by my nose, sweeping under the eye to the full orbit by my cheek, past the outer edge onto my temple. The cream is actually more of a gel in its quick absorption and I can apply my full foundation and eye makeup within probably two minutes of application. There is no residue, nothing to interfere with make up application. In the evening, I apply the eye cream from the fridge again post-shower, before applying my nightly serum to the outer eye area. I awake to less puff, less shadowing and am seeing a bit of softening in the lines at the inner lower orbit where my poor nose/upper cheek has taken such rough drying treatment. I do not have to apply concealer under my eyes thanks to this product. I will definitely repurchase as this eye cream meets all my needs! DO NOT WAIT, start a preventive eye care regime today and give this product a chance.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

What Does a $1000 Luxury Mask Look Like?

Lionesse Gem Golden Sapphire Mask 

 I am a contest junkie. I spend the majority of my online time looking for hair inspiration, working on my portfolio using social media, and entering every contest that I think I have a chance at winning. I've been lucky enough to win palettes, hair care, skin care and toys for my friend's kids. Take a look at this incredible luxury skin care item that I was so LUCKY to win, as I would never be able to afford this super high end skin line called Lionesse.

 Everything about the packaging tells you this is a LUXURY product, from the thick golden logo box with magnetic closure to the dense, heavy gold and clear packaging. Absolutely beautiful, something to really show off in your bathroom or on your vanity to be sure. My nail color is Margit by Julep, a soft frosty greige lavender, one of my new favorites. 

 With a price tag of $1,000 (yes, ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS), you may say that the packaging is all well and good and so flossie but.... WHAT IS THE PRODUCT REALLY LIKE? 
 It is UNLIKE any product I've ever tried. It is a "mask" made with fruit extracts and gems, according to their promotional material. I cleansed with warm water, as I had already used a cleanser that morning and didn't want to overdry my skin. I applied the Lionesse mask in a very generous pump's worth and worked the light, slightly opaque white lotion down from my hairline to my chin, making sure all my facial surfaces were covered, including my T zone. The smell was heavenly, very high end and not overwhelming or of a single note. My poor skin has been blasted by harsh acne products and is in recovery and this "mask" felt so soothing, never oily or heavy as it sat on my face for ten minutes per instructions. You do not wash this mask off, just massage it into the skin. I did have some moisture bead up on it here and there, had the same results with those who used it at the salon, and you just smooth that back into the skin.
 Amazingly, I had NO BREAKOUT after use. No pimples, no redness, no congested pores, just soft skin that really stuck with me for DAYS. Recommended for weekly use, I decided to pass my luck onto the cosmetology school's salon for use with their facials as there's no way I could use all of that huge rich container myself. I hope the clients are delighted as I was when the box if presented and they enjoy a soothing massage with Lionesse.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On Being Counter-Intuitive About Oily Skin

On Being Counter-intuitive

 I will turn 44 in a few days and am feeling the self esteem pain of being stuck with both fine lines and acne. Consistent peels done at the skin spa are the only thing that works for me but the cost is way too much to keep up with the consistency, thus my skin lapses into congested pores, rough patches and fine crinkly lines along with some awesome lumpy white heads. I work in the beauty business and am expected to be the branding of my products and knowledge, so the skin issue worsens when I attempt to cover the acne and fill in the lines with primer and concealer and foundation and powder and.... well, now you see how I was at the point to try a trending product that I wasn't sure was *right* for my acne wrinkle combo. What if I broke out? What was the worst that could happen?

As if it were meant to be, Amara Organics provided me with a very generous size of their Vitamin C Serum in exchange for my honest review. I have never used a serum outside of recovering from a peel and wasn't sure what to expect as far as possible breakouts from putting a hydrating serum on my acne-prone skin. My first application was a drop to my fine line at the edges of my eyes, in the upper cheek area, as well as a drop to the creasing "laugh lines" that have suddenly popped up at the lower edges of my mouth. 
 My skin was so incredibly thirsty for this wonderful, slippery serum! 

The product is clear and has such a velvety feel, not slimy or gummy or oily. After the first day's application without any ill effects, I applied a drop or two to area between my nose and my cheeks, where I have not only acne scarring and large pores but am blessed with my cheeks sort of deflating and giving me a bulldog look in certain lighting and poses. Sisters, believe me when I tell you that within four days of generous application, starting in my smaller, drier lined spots and then spread all over my face, over my jawline and into my neck and cleavage:
This Amara Organic Vitamin C Serum softened my lines and pores.
My outer eye crinkles are lessened.
My nasal-labial fold pores and roughness have blurred and softened.
The laugh lines at the base of my mouth are less noticable.
My decollete looks smoother.
I am hooked on this product.
I am excited to recommend it.

 This isn't the greatest photo but does allow you to see the eye crinkle just above the beauty mark that is now hydrated and lessened and I couldn't be more pleased. I wash my face with a gentle cleanser each night, using my Clarisonic face brush. I pat dry, then apply a drop or two to each area I'm concentrating on, spread the serum to all parts of my facial area. I then continue down my neck and onto my chest. I usually only need one dropperful of this serum per day, so this is an item that is well worth the money as you will get quite a few uses from it. You *may* feel a slight sting as is the nature of acids, I didn't have an issue with it. Store in a cool, dark cabinet as the Vitamin C serums do tend to break down when exposed to light.
 I am ordering bottles of Amara Organic Vitamin C Serum for both my teen daughters and for my mom as I want to share this effective, reasonably priced product and the chance at improved skin with my family. Amara Organics is a family owned company with excellent customer service, please give this serum a try. I thought it was counter-intuitive to put a hydrating product over my acne and -boy howdy- am  glad I was proven wrong.

 *This is a sponsored post, powered by Brand Backer*

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Braids, Braids, BRAIDS

Claire's Braids

 Can I take a moment of your time to brag about how awesome my daughter Claire is doing in cosmetology school? Since she won't make her own blog/portfolio, someone has to show the world her style.

 Her braided pompadour was done by her classmate Glammed by Yasmika. The creativity found in cosmetology schools is endless, you should support your local school with a visit to their salon.

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Emo Phase

It's Not a Phase, Mom! It's Who I Really Am!

The 43 year old me version of the meme. I say it to my mom every time she questions my style but she isn't into memes so...

 The really best part is how many teenagers liked/followed my instagram when I put this up. My running joke is how if I bothered to white out and overexpose my pics, that no one would guess I'm an old fossil with teen girl hair. I'm their mom's age. *gasp*