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.

Skincare Skin Care Cleaning Skin Cotton Pads

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.

 

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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.

Money Saving Tricks: Beauty Products

Why spend when you don’t have to? Over time I’ve found a couple shortcuts to save money here and there. If possible, I like saving money. I find it’s getting more and more difficult to find bargains so you kind of have to create them for yourself. In this post I’ve listed a few of my tricks.

 

  1. Order directly from the brand itself. This one I only started doing recently, but it has made quite a difference. The benefit to this is being exposed to sales that only happen online, free samples and not having use any gas. There are however some downsides that I feel necessary to mention, you’ll have to sign up with each brand if you want to take advantage of this, for example, if you use Sugarpill, Bare Minerals and Tarte, you’ll be receiving e-mails from each of them as compared to only receiving an email from Ulta or Sephora. Secondly, there is shipping and handling, so if you want to get free shipping you’ll have to spend a certain amount, without that I guess you could say that the gas argument is off the table.

    2. Use what you need and nothing more. It’s easy to grab a big handful of something out of a jar and waste half of it, but if you’re more conscious of what you use versus what you need you’ll extend the product. If you normally use 3 swipes of something try 2 and see if you notice a difference. I know we are getting down to the nitty gritty with this one, but that’s what saving is sometimes.

3. Check your kitchen first. If you can make it from things you already own why wouldn’t you. If it’s a make-it-yourself beauty treatment or remedy from the kitchen I’ve made it. From egg masks, to sugar scrubs to coconut oil deodorant (do not recommend that one, too messy)

4Don’t rule out what’s already cheap. If you’re faithful to expensive brands, once, just once try a drugstore dupe. You may be missing out. Some things can be uncomplicated if you let them be.

5. Buy in bulk. This is not always possible, but if the opportunity presents itself, jump on it.

6. Try before you buy. It’s always worth asking for a sample or tester to see if you like it.

7. Look for reusable products/ multitasking products . Towels vs. paper towels, brushes vs. cosmetic sponges, makeup removing wipes for the entire face vs. wipes for eyes and wipes for face (that is if you can tolerate that), you get the picture. You want something that can be used again and again, things that will last as compared to things you have to throw away after one or a few uses. Please do not apply this if you are doing makeup on someone else, use disposable wands, brushes if they are cleaned and everyone gets their own lashes.

 

 

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

 

 

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.