Level Naturals Coffee + Sugar Body Polish Review

Some coffee scrubs can be really abrasive, even some sugar scrubs can be a bit much. This body polish is a good mix both of exfoliating and moisturizing.

Since this is an item that you will be using while trapped in the shower, the scent had better be pretty pleasant. The smell of this body polish is satisfying. Well, I say this as a coffee lover, but I think even people that don’t like how coffee tastes can agree it smells really good. There is also a sweetness that isn’t too powerful, but definitely present, like a hint of vanilla.

Aside from the smell the second thing I noticed was the firmness and density of the product. You will most likely need a spoon or paddle to scoop it out. Even after being kept in the shower in the heat it didn’t soften it any. The plus to this is that a little bit goes a long way and you won’t have the case of grabbing too much and wasting. It takes you actively scrubbing it in to get it to melt down. I would definitely rather have this than the similar products that have a scoop of sugar swimming in oil.

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As summer is approaching, I am fairly tired of coming out of the shower and immediately having to moisturize, let’s face it, we’ve been doing that all winter. Often enough I will end up skipping that step in the warmer months, but I can’t get away with that forever. I still need something on my skin or it will get a little dry, even with nicer weather on my side. Probably the friendliest aspect of this body polish is that it stays with you after the shower. You can really feel the shea butter, coconut oil and other oils doing their job. It’s like a built in moisturizer. You’ll notice after you get out of the shower there is a luminosity to your skin. It’s the look right after you use a body lotion.

This polish covers all the bases as it is gluten free, cruelty free and vegan. To close this review out I will end with what I started with, there is harmony in this product. You get moisture, exfoliation and a pleasant smell.

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How To Be Taken Seriously as a Young Makeup Artist

I’ve had my business card thrown out in front of me. I’ve had salon/ spa owners laugh at me making it clear that they were not taking anything I said seriously simply because I was young. It’s true, I was 19 and new to it all. It is hard going to an industry where you have to prove yourself and people have decades more experiences than you, but everyone has to start somewhere. I toughed it out and now that I’m a bit older and have been doing it for longer I want to give advice to those who are starting out as young or younger than I was.

1. Do not cheapen yourself or let someone else do it. People will try to convince you that you should take less money because you are young, but keep in mind that there is a difference between young and inexperienced. Sometimes they overlap, you can be both young and inexperienced, or you could be young but have a lot of experience and talent. While there is something to be said about the amount training and years into something you have the more you can charge, if you have come up with your price and you confident with it do not settle for less. If you charge something at one place or with someone know that that number may follow you. Makeup artistry is a lot of word of mouth and you can’t have people comparing vastly different numbers in a short amount of time. It’s a fast way to lose customers and clients. Another reason this is bad is because you’ll get in the habit of changing your prices because someone older than you told you to. If they are telling you that you are overcharging because of a legitimate reason, then it might be good to listen and do your own research, but keep in mind that if people sense you are young they may try to pull a fast one.

2. Get experience, but not always for free. I’ve done a lot of free gigs, but sprinkle them in with paid gigs. You will be taken more seriously when you get paid for your service, it’s just the way it is. Another way to look at this is to get experience through training, go to free classes and take any free advice you can get, but sometimes it is good to invest in a class and pay for a certificate or class.

3. Team up with someone else. It’s good to get together with someone else who is new and combine your skills. It’s also good if you can have someone take you on like an apprentice. This will most likely increase your chances of getting projects and clients. Don’t feel like you always have to find another makeup artist, team up with a hairstylist or a photographer.

4. Observe what others do. Do other people utilize social media? Do they carry around a pocket hand sanitzer while they work? Check out little details and see if any of them work for you. It will save you time from having to figure everything out yourself.

Show up on time, be as professional as you can be and know what you can bring to the table no matter how old you are.

Biossance 100% Squalane/ Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil Review

When I first heard about squalane it was in aesthetics school. It stood out in my mind as one of the stranger ingredients we learned about because most squalane is derived from shark, more specifically the shark liver. Pretty gross, but then a lot of strange stuff is marketed all in the name of beauty. Previously I would have never considered trying squalane, but then I was doing some research and I found the brand Biossance which uses squalane formulated from sugarcane and it definitely peaked my interest. Thankfully they had free samples of both their 100% Squalane Oil & their Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil. I had to try it.

The 100% Squalane can be used on hair, skin and nails. The first thing I noticed was the consistency was unlike any oil I had used before. It was extremely light and pretty much scentless. I liked the weightlessness of the oil. When I applied it to my skin it blended beautifully and gave my skin a healthy shimmer rather than an oily appearance. I put it all over my hands including my nails. I noticed a definite difference in my nails, they were moisturized and smooth even after taking nail polish off which usually leaves them dry. I generally wait a few days in between doing my nails to let them breathe, but after using the oil on them I feel like I could do them back to back without a problem.

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The Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil had a lovely pure rose smell. Initially I couldn’t put my finger on what happened when I applied the oil to my face, but it made my face almost “bouncy?” What I was experiencing was the firming/smoothing effect it has on the skin. I hadn’t come across a product that worked that effectively and quickly. As mentioned with the 100% Squalane it was extremely lightweight and my skin ate it up, it was really unique to use an oil that didn’t have an oily feel to it.

Overall I loved both products, I’m partial to the oil with the Vitamin C and rose oil, but it could be because of the smell. I love that Biossance uses sugarcane as a nice alternative and gives everyone a chance to try before buying, especially those who have never used squalane before. I definitely plan on getting the full sized oils next time.

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Why Do I Need A Toner?

 

If you’ve been recommended a skincare routine that is more than a few steps long it can be uncomfortable and confusing. How did you suddenly go from a wash and moisturizer to a middle step and steps after that? Today we’ll focus on the toners.

If we’re honest a lot of times toner appears to be an overpriced bottle of liquid. If you’ve never used it you may wonder if it’s really necessary or just an extra thing to buy. It’s a little bit of both. Can you get away without it? Yes, however if you have any goals for your skin you may want to reconsider. If there is any condition with your skin it can likely be further addressed through a toner. A toner’s speciality is balance. Things such as makeup, the environment and the act of washing your face can disrupt your skin’s PH. If your skin is too oily or too dry, there is most likely an imbalance in your skin’s PH. While it is pretty much impossible to avoid all factors that could negatively impact your skin’s health, you can counteract them by using a toner.

One of the main reasons I love to use toners is to remove any excess makeup that is left over after washing my face. Even in the case of cleansing twice, using an oil based cleanser, you name it,  you will still be able to find more makeup residue when using a toner. You’ll also find that days that you don’t wear any makeup at all you’ll still find after sliding a cotton ball with toner across your face it will not come up clean.

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Generally for everyone starting off just to give a feel of how toners work and can make a difference in your skin I would recommend using something neutral and calming. Something that is a pretty safe choice for anyone any age or skin type would be a rosewater, chamomile or aloe toner. The nice thing about using something like those options would be that you could use them throughout the day to refresh your skin.

Your options for toners also include astringents. Astringents are good for oily and acne prone skin.While most toners contain alcohol, astringents contain the most amount of alcohol, so it’s best to see how your skin reacts. If extreme dryness occurs it’s likely it’s doing more harm than good, keeping in mind that these products are meant to balance and not strip. In this case look for something that has a lower or no alcohol content.

The feelings your skin should experience after using a toner should be refreshed, clean and slightly tight (a tightening sensation is normal for toners.) If you’re ready to find your skin smoother, tighter, and more balanced it might be time to try a toner.

 

La Bella Donna Makeup Line Review

Recently I had the pleasure of working using the natural makeup line La Bella Donna. While working I thought that I had to share this gem.

This is the only makeup line that I had seen claim that wearing their makeup was better than wearing nothing. Now that’s a first!

First a quick few facts about La Bella Donna before I get into the review.

  • LBD is safe for pregnant women and those with immune deficiency diseases
  • LBD has no chemicals, parabens or additives
  • The minerals in LBD have the ability to heal a number of skin conditions such as acne, melasma, eczema
  • LBD will not clog pores and is suitable for all ages

What impressed me the most was the way people’s skin seemed to like the foundation (both powder and liquid) it complimented a variety of skin types and textures. I could put it over acne, dry skin, oily skin, sagging skin and it transformed the skin into an airbrushed canvas for me to continue on. The only negative was the limited shades the liquid foundation came in, which I have to admit is not something unique to La Bella Donna. The coverage that you can achieve through their foundation alone or with concealer is remarkable. The best part was many people said they felt like they didn’t have anything on and they didn’t look it either. It gives you that look of having just been on vacation or getting the perfect amount of sleep.

Most of the palettes can be used interchangeably. For example the contouring palette does not limit you to only using it for contouring. I know most contouring palettes “could” double as an eyeshadow palette, but LBD actually encourages this and intends for you to do this.

The pigments in all the products in the line are incredible. If you ever get to play around with any of the makeup you’ll experience that moment where you are able to swipe one finger over an eyeshadow or blush and get such an intense color. Something else nice is that it’s common for mineral makeup to come up powdery, but thankfully not with La Bella Donna.

Would you expect this kind of line to offer a liquid eyeliner? Well, they do and it has a beautifully shaped felt tip, another surprise! The pencil eyeliners won’t have you pushing hard or pulling on your eyelid to get the desired intensity. The mascara that LBD developed nourishes your lashes and it went on smoothly.

If you like variety with lip products you won’t be disappointed. There’s their version of a standard lipstick, “Baci Baci” which is a moisturizing lip sheer, the regular lip sheer which is like a lipgloss, lip pencils and duo lip crayons.

Screenshot_20180117-182726.jpgAnyone with any sort of skin condition or allergic reaction to standard cosmetics should definitely consider LBD. If that doesn’t describe you and just want to find a more natural makeup line I would highly recommend La Bella Donna.

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How To Test New Products Safely and Effectively

The holidays are approaching quickly and there’s a good chance you’ll receive some new beauty products. If your family and friends have been good they’ve been attentively listening to what you’ve been hoping for. There’s nothing better than getting to try out something new that could possibly be the miracle product you’ve been searching for. However, when you test out all your new goodies all at once and a mystery rash shows up a few days later you don’t know where to point to. Take these few tips along with you into the new year and any time you try something new to pinpoint what’s giving you trouble.

 

  1. Do a test patch. A reaction on half your face or part of your face isn’t good, but that reaction on your entire face and décolléte is even worse. A test patch is a way to put your toe in the water before going all the way in. I suggest doing the test patch where you intend on using the product. For example testing a face serum on your wrist isn’t going to give you the best results. Your face handles things a lot different than the rest of your body. Especially when we are talking about products that are supposed to have a dramatic effect in a short amount of time, like an acne treatment. If you’re concerned about having a serious allergic reaction a test patch on another part of your body will most likely rule that out, but that’s about it. For the most accuracy it’s good to put it to work where it needs to.
  2. One at a time. If you want to test an eyeshadow, lipstick and brow pencil out all on the same day that’s more than fine, but if you’re testing that all goes in the same place it may make things harder. For example if you test an eyeliner and mascara on the same day and something is irritating you it’s going to be difficult to figure out which is the culprit.
  3. Do not layer. This piggybacks off of the the previous thought, but is important enough to mention on its own. How can you tell which new product is  If you use a liquid foundation and primer use them both separately in the beginning for the purpose of testing them out. Try the primer out with an old foundation that you know doesn’t bother you and vice versa.
  4. At least skim the ingredients. It’s a pain, yes, but it’s always good to get an idea of what’s in the product you’ll be wearing. You know what works for you and what ingredients to watch out for. A product’s hype or popularity won’t negate the aggravating ingredients.

Happy Holidays and Happy Testing!

Review: NYX Color Mascara

Originally I bought this with the idea of using it for Halloween, but truthfully I had been looking for a product like this. I like the idea of color mascara and not many brands offer it.

I had high hopes for this mascara. In my mind, I envisioned a bright lavender mascara that curled and lifted my lashes as well as it colored them. Although I’ll be specifically reviewing the purple color mascara, things like the brush, formula and price point won’t vary from color to color.

I think that it’s common for us to give a pass to colored mascara in areas we wouldn’t for regular mascara. Almost as if because it has some color to it, it doesn’t have to serve as well being a regular mascara and doing the things mascara does. There may be some truth to this, after all most people don’t buy colored mascara to lengthen their lashes, that’s not really the point. However when these functions don’t exist you realize you miss them.

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In the case of NYX’s colored mascara there was not much lengthening or curling to be had. It truly just served as something colorful to coat your eyelashes. The color itself was pretty good, I definitely liked the pastel purple as compared to the darker purples on the market. My only color related complaint was that the vibrancy did fade as time went on and it dried. Speaking of drying…it took a LONG time to dry. Even when it was seemingly dry it still felt tacky. During this tacky period my eyelashes stuck together every time I blinked. The smell of this mascara was really strong, most mascaras do not smell like anything that should go near your eyes if we are truthful, but this was that smell multiplied. The wand was the definition of nothing special. It was as straight as can be and resembled closest to a lipgloss applicator.

To put it simply this mascara left me with mixed feelings. I liked the color of it, but it was only temporarily the color that I wanted. The time it took to dry was definitely a downside. The good news is at only $7.00 I don’t feel like it was a mistake. I think having a colored mascara as a part of your makeup collection is a nice option to change things up and this product fills that spot.