Making The Switch: Cruelty Free

There are so many little signs and stickers on products that the “Cruelty Free” mark usually goes unnoticed. Before I begin I’ll say that I didn’t know how bad animal testing really was. The phrase “animal testing” is said frequent enough, but very few know what it really entails. You might be thinking, “Okay they test on animals for products that are being developed to see if they are dangerous, it needs to be done and it’s better than having a person!” That coupled with companies ability to make it seem like it’s not that big of a deal will have you not considering what’s really going on. The truth is there’s absolutely nothing humane about the tests conducted and there are alternatives to animal testing.

At this point if you have a weak stomach or are sensitive I encourage you to please not  continue reading, as the details it is extremely heart-wrenching and graphic.

As many as 200,000 animals are killed due to animal testing every year.  It is a painful death that is not guaranteed to be accompanied with injections or being euthanized. Chemicals are applied topically and orally documenting reactions both long term and short term and the “lethal dose” would be.  No method can take away the pain experienced during life, but there are options that would minimize the transition to death. Unfortunately those are not always used and it is cheaper and faster to let the animal die from extreme illness, any number of organs failing or breaking their neck among a few other terrible realities.

A lot of brands try to sweep under the rug that their products are sold in China. Really, this is as bad as testing on animals anywhere else, only it’s done overseas where it’s easier to keep quiet. In China they are required by law to test the toxicity of products using animals, so by agreeing to sell in China a company DOES comply with harming animals.

After doing some research and reading into company policies I have made the switch to only buying Cruelty Free products. There is no way to enjoy an eye shadow, toothpaste, lipstick, skin cream, etc. knowing what was done to get approved. It may sound silly, but I actually feel guilty in wearing it, not that I had anything to do with it, but by buying those products you are indirectly (some might say directly) supporting animal cruelty. Once you see it that way I’m sure you’ll also find it difficult to view things the same way.

There’s no doubt you’ll be giving up some good brands. That is without question. To name a few:

  • Benefit
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Clinique
  • MAC
  • YSL
  • Makeup Forever
  • Dior

 

Thankfully there are a lot of makeup brands that are on board with sparing animals from pain. Such as:

  • NYX
  • Pacifica
  • Urban Decay
  • Too Faced
  • Tarte
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills
  • Sugarpill

I’m grateful that in 2017 more people are becoming aware of their power and the part they play in bettering the situation. I hope that I have inspired you to consider choosing Cruelty Free instead. Animals deserve better.

More info on Animal Testing in Beauty Brands

 

 

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Tips For Freelancing

Freelancing is like swimming in the ocean by yourself for the first time. There’s fear, constant waves and much bigger fish surrounding you. I can’t say that those things go away even after time passes, but you get your footing, you know your brand (yourself) and you gain confidence.

If you are considering going it on your own here’s a few things to think about:

Let’s start from the beginning, let’s say as of a few days ago you are officially up and running, what now?

  1. Get out there. Spread the news. Tell anyone and everyone. Neighbors, Facebook friends, nearby businesses. It can be uncomfortable because there’s no team or boss you will refer to as for the reason for your visit, but keep in mind most people can appreciate the excitement of the formation of something new. It’s not to push yourself on them, just inform them that “Hey I’m here and this is what I do now.” Exchange information if appropriate and they’ll call you if they need you.
  2. Go to Networking Events. These can be a little overwhelming as you’ll be meeting a lot of new people in a short amount of time, but you never know if you stick in someone’s head. If nothing comes of it nothing lost.
  3. Consider pairing up with another freelancer. This doesn’t make you a “tag-team” and if it does it may only be for a short time, experience is always good and sometimes people prefer hiring more people to get the job done.
  4. Know your product, then sell it. This is really important. What can you provide?What’s your style? How much will you charge? What makes you different? All important to establish. Once you know that sell it. Showcase the best of your work and who you are. Luckily these days you don’t need to pay someone to do that, social media is convenient and inexpensive if it costs anything. After all who knows you better than you?
  5. Keep yourself updated and current. Update your business with the times. You may not run it the same way you did last year or even last month.
  6. Strike up conversations anywhere and everywhere. Unless you’re walking around with a sign on no one will really know what you do. If you’re working out of your house or traveling all the time there’s no place established for people to walk in and know what you offer. You never know who you’re sitting next to or what they need. This is also a good way to learn more. It’s the little tips that you pick up along the way that can sometimes make a difference.
  7. It’s harder than most other jobs. This is more of an opinion, however from what I’ve seen it’s a popular one. Your success is in your hands. Positive as that may be, it can be overwhelming at times.

 

Same Product for Face and Body…Time Saver or Time Waster?

Lately more and more products are multitasking, covering a couple of different needs. There are body washes that double as shampoos and bars that allow you to use the suds as you please either for your body, your hair or even a shave. Is all this multitasking a good idea? Is it a stroke of genius resulting in an all in one product or just putting off the inevitable of having to purchase for every part?

In hotels I’ve been forced to use those shampoos/body washes/ hand soaps. Usually it’d go on a scale of being fine for my hands, a little drying on my body and being terrible for my hair. However in hotels it’s mostly about keeping things industrial and cost efficient, so can’t exactly point to that.

Men as a whole are really into anything that makes their already relatively fast “beauty” regime even faster. It’s not uncommon that I run into guys that use the same bar of soap for pretty much everything. Companies that market to them giving their seal of approval stating that you can double everything up and get it all done in one shot just reinforces that. Now, that being said I’d also like to speed up and price down my daily skincare routine.

Recently I ran out of my face cream and the next batch wouldn’t show up until a few days later. I couldn’t not use anything. I had a body lotion that I noticed was technically okay to use on the body and or the face. Usually in these cases it results in a very thin, liquidy moisturizer for your face but your body feels okay or your body is coated in an obviously too thick face moisturizer while your face couldn’t feel better. I hadn’t tried anything out that was truly interchangeable. To my surprise the lotion didn’t break me out, it was a little more watery than I like for my face, but it did a good job of keeping it moisturized. I was in shock. I’ve been using it now for the past few days.

What has continued to cross my mind is that the skin on your body and the skin on your face is different. Different areas need different care. Even on your face there are areas that respond differently (take for instance the delicate skin around your eyes as compared to your forehead.) What I have ultimately decided on is that although there weren’t any negative side effects of using this body/face lotion I want to provide my skin with as close to the best as possible. Somehow I think that if the formulation is “decent” or able to be used anywhere it has to be lacking in one department or another. In a pinch I think it’s a great option, or even on vacation when you need to pack light, but for the time being I believe the best way is to go specific, even if it ends up taking a little longer.

Keeping Hair Healthy, Not Greasy

Is it possible to go a few days without washing your hair and have it look healthy? Yes. Are there other ways than dry shampoo? Yes.

I don’t know about you, but it seems 95% of advice about oily hair or hair that gets greasy involves dry shampoo. Don’t get me wrong, it works, but it’s just putting a mask on what can be improved. In the end I found that I was just loading my hair up with dry shampoo which created a film by the end of the day and left my hair looking dull. I still like dry shampoo, I use it occasionally, but it’s not your only option. In fact, since integrating these few rituals I barely have to use it anymore.

Sometimes you don’t have time to wash your hair everyday, or others choose not to add to the health of their hair. An easy solution is to wash your hair everyday, but sometimes that’s not even enough, I’ve seen hair that greases up within 30 minutes of taking a shower. I generally wash my hair every other day or every 2 days. If it is better for your hair not to wash it everyday I don’t want to be left out, but most of the time it’s just for lack of time.

Wherever you fall in the debate, here’s what I’ve been doing:

Styling Hair ASAP-I’ve found that the sooner I curl or straighten my hair the more it will last through the next few days. I’m not saying fry your hair by curling it everyday, but even giving it a few heatless waves will lift your hair off the scalp, your neck and face. Let your hair have the least amount of time resting on skin or contact with skin.

Sleeping with Hair Up- It’s a long night, tossing turning, resting on pillows, your hair on your face- all this + heat= hair that sticks to you. As mentioned above keep your hair off your skin, plus sleeping in a loose bun will add volume for the next day.

Hands Off During the Day- This is the last I’ll mention about the skin and hair, but it is important to be mindful of running your fingers through your hair/scalp during the day. The more you touch, the more oil will find its way to your hair.

Using A Balancing Shampoo- Everyone can use a shampoo that balances whatever it is that is out of order causing the oiliness.

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3 days without washing

Distributing Oils- You may have heard that your hair actually needs a little greasiness to be healthy. “It’s your hair’s natural oils!” That’s true, however they aren’t just going to magically gravitate to drier parts of your hair (especially the ends.) Even if you go a decent amount of time without washing your hair the majority of it would accumulate at the scalp. Every night I’ve been brushing through my hair top to bottom, manually distributing the oils. I’ll add that my hair has gotten stronger, shinier and in better condition through this practice. I find it easiest to do at night, but you can do it whenever works best for you.

Conditioning Selectively- I believe this is common knowledge, but just in case you need a reminder: use conditioner as needed and never on the scalp.

Incorporating DIY Hair Masks- Most of the time these are one ingredient conditioning masks such as a few tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil- and for this I do go up to the scalp. As saturated as it looks, it will come out with shampoo in the shower. It’s good every now and then to condition your hair and add back moisture and balance. It doesn’t get any easier than 20-30 minutes and an oil of your choice.

 

*Personal note* I apologize for not writing for a while. I will be returning to college in the fall and  I’m in the ever-daunting process of deciding what school to go to and what to major in. It’s been all consuming, but I appreciate your patience.

 

 

New Favorite Drugstore Everyday Foundation

Foundation is more of what I’m calling it. Technically this product is considered a “tint”, so something more like a tinted moisturizer. However I think the applicator indicates it is to be used more like a foundation. I wouldn’t personally use this the same as I’d use a BB Cream.

The product I’m talking about is Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint. Long ago I used to use Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup. I liked that for a while, but eventually moved on to try other foundations. As far as drugstore goes I’d say Neutrogena overall is one of the best.

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I found samples of the Hydro Boost Tint in a magazine about a month ago and I couldn’t get over how smooth my face felt when I had it on; what’s better than that is when I washed it off I could still feel the same smoothness. It improves your skin’s texture through you wearing the makeup. I thought that was pretty amazing. I’m assuming that’s what they are talking about when they claim “moisturizes and plumps skin for 24 hours”. Supposedly there’s Hyaluronic acid in it, however it seems like Hyaluronic acid is in a lot of things these days and I wouldn’t buy something for that. A lot of companies know that that’s a buzzword and while it may include a small amount of Hyaluronic Acid it may be just enough so they can label it. That being said, whatever mix of ingredients with whatever percentage of Hyaluronic acid is in this product I do like it. It really moisturizes your skin and it definitely looks smoother and healthier.

Let’s talk coverage. This is where it starts to show that it’s a tint. It’s light to medium I’d say. You can apply a few coats, but definitely let it dry a bit between coats. I don’t mind it being on the lighter side, if it’s for everyday you won’t want something heavy, especially with the warmer months approaching.

20170418_141417

My number one complaint with this foundation/tint is the packaging. Once I opened it in the store I considered not buying it. It’s got a wand, something similar to a concealer wand except thicker. For concealer that’s great. You’ll be doing smaller, more precise areas, however I’d venture to say the majority of people will be wearing this product on their entire face. It’s not practical. I didn’t want to put the wand directly on my skin because even if your face is clean it’s not the most sanitary to stick the wand back in. However, painting my foundation brush with a wand just felt awkward and silly, not to mention that it took time to get enough product. The way this bottle is designed there’s a narrow tube that leads to the rest of the bottle so there’s no way of bending the wand to get additional foundation. 20170418_141347.jpgI should also mention this product is not runny or very liquidy, it’s closer to a whipped consistency, so you can’t shake or turn the bottle to get the product to come to you. What this boils down to is that you don’t have full access to the product which you’ve purchased. This isn’t a $40 bottle of foundation, it was $14.99, however if you pay for it I believe you should be able to use it to its entirety or at least as close to its entirety as possible. I think it was cheap of Neutrogena and unnecessary. For that reason I may not repurchase this, but I do love the formula.

 

 

Eyelash Extensions: Worth it or Not?

In this post I’ll be talking about if eyelash extensions are worth it from the viewpoint of both the technician and client.

 

Technician: Recently I was trained in eyelash extensions. I had heard the amount of precision and patience it took, but I went in very eager to learn. It was tedious, there’s no doubt about that. You’ll also be working on the same person for up to two hours which could be a positive if you like to really get to know someone and spend a lot of time on one person, but if you like interacting with a lot of people throughout the day it you might find it boring. The people are laying down and usually provided with a blanket with their eyes closed so in a lot of cases they fall asleep, very similar to what happens when giving facials. You need full concentration on what you’re doing, I found it to be slightly more stressful than giving facials because let’s face it you’re holding pointy objects above someone’s eyes. You’ll gain experience quickly if you’re in a job where they only offer lashes. Everyone’s lashes are a little different. After some time you’ll begin to see the side of it where it is an art, where you can play with the angle that you flare lashes out or adding shorter lashes in between medium length lashes for more volume and really taking into consideration the person’s eye shape as well as their goals. Above anything else I can say is the beating your own eyes will take as they adjust to staring at something in such a close distance for hours at time. I experienced a lot of eye strain. I began wearing readers as I noticed all the girls I worked with either wore glasses or contacts. Going in I imagined the amount of patience required on an everyday basis becoming tiresome, but it turned out it was more physically taxing than anything.

Client: Although I did not get the extensions myself I did see the amount of care required to keep them clean and looking good. For the first 48 hours after you cannot get the lashes wet, so no heavy workouts and if you decide to shower you will need to wear goggles. It’s recommended you wash the lashes 2-3 times a day to keep any bacteria off them. Anything containing oil in makeup or makeup remover cannot be used. Something else important to know is that the lashes typically last for 2-4 weeks. It’s an investment on all fronts. I think some people really benefit from them and it can really change how you look. However for myself as I heard the amount of effort and time involved in getting them, I did think to myself that it wouldn’t be for me. I suppose it would become routine after some time, but if you have decent lashes or even semi-decent you’re best off with mascara and some false lashes.

 

For those that have eyelash extensions what has your experience been like?