Eco-Friendly Beauty Tips

I recently finished a Bio of Environmental Concerns class in school, among many other things during the class we discussed how much waste is produced, the quality of products, how all of it is disposed of and how it impacts the environment. Of course everything needs to be done on a very large scale for it to make a real difference, but there are things we can do even during our beauty routine that can help out. A lot of these options have other benefits as well, such as saving money, time and effort.

Air-drying hair– Most of the time I air-dry my hair anyway because blow-drying my hair is time consuming and not that fun. It’s easier I find to just let it dry on its own, especially now that it’s summer it is is easy to brush out your hair and let the sun hit it.

Using everything to completion– Scrape the bottom, cut the container, use every last drop. Don’t throw things away that have product left. If you aren’t crazy about what you’re using and are tempted to throw it out offer it to someone else or sell it.

Taking shorter showers– This one is the least appealing, I know. Sometimes it is nice to take a long shower, but it’s all water being used. I found out that we are consuming water 50% faster than what can be replaced. Most of the time we just stand under the water, the actual time that it takes to shampoo/shave/wash etc. is relatively short. It’s nice to know also that your skin won’t be as dry.

Making it yourself– DIY is great because you’re using things you already have, most of which are natural ingredients.

Buying palettes vs individual packages– The palettes that allow you to switch out products are especially good. Rather than buying something with extra packaging get it down to the bare-bones and have the palette. In the end it is more economical plus you’ll have everything in one spot. Reusable packages, palettes, containers are what we are looking for.

Passing on the wipes- On a field trip to a sewage plant (yes it was as gross as one would imagine)  I was told that wipes never break down. They might say they are recyclable, but apparently none of them really do what they are supposed to do. Now, this was referring to baby wipes, but I would make the assumption that none of the wipes are good.

Thanks to that class I am almost hyperaware of what is going on all around us, however it is nice to be able to identify opportunities where I can do things differently. Most of it is really small and accessible to anyone.

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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.

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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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!

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