Monday, March 21, 2011

spring wishlist update: MUFE blush + moisturizer comparison

as stated a few posts back, lately i've been drooling over this beautiful coral-y blush by MUFE called "quickie." it was getting to the point where i was obsessing over it, so i finally went out to purchase it and am so in love! as per my usual routine, while in the mall one day i made a beeline to sephora, and while there i asked a MUA to apply the blush to my cheeks just so i could make sure it was as lovely in person as i thought it would be. i then got a sample to take home and try myself -- God forbid i purchase it, get all excited, then be unable to duplicate the fab look done in the store! thankfully for me, the cream formula was easier to apply than i thought it would be. blush is one of my favorite makeup items, but all the ones i owned up until this point were of the powder variety, and truthfully i was a little intimidated by the shockingly bright cream in the pump bottle that i saw on display at sephora. armed with my essence of beauty blush brush, i went for it....and actually got it right! after wearing it to work one day, i knew i needed it, so when my SO picked me up and suggested a trip to the mall, i was all for it.

not only did i snag the blush, but since i am in the market for a good moisturizer that i can wear under my makeup, i also got samples of the DDF ultra-lite moisturizing dew, as well as the sephora instant moisturizer. i have become a true OCM (oil cleansing method) junkie and love, love, love moisturizing with EVOO, castor, grapeseed or sweet almond oil, but they are not very foundation-friendly. from my initial testing, the DDF seems really great, and i can tell why it is one of their consistent best sellers: it is non-greasy, wears very light (almost like you're wearing nothing at all) and has no smell to it. while the sephora moisturizer is very lush and equally moisturizes both the oily and dry parts of my face, it is almost a bit too heavy for my tastes and has a strange smell that i can't quite put my finger on. both are available in approximately 1.7 oz containers, but DDF is in a pump bottle and sephora's moisturizer is in a jar. while the instant moisturizer is the least expensive option at $20 vs the $38 for DDF, i think i will spring for the moisturizing dew. with spring here and summer a yawn away, i will need a lighter option for the days when my face feels like it is melting off. plus, there's always eBay! *wink*

this month's beauty insider picks were average at best, but i was able to trade in 100 points for a small bottle of philosophy purity. at one time i was a philosophy junkie and would have been dying to get my hands on this, but now i simply plan on using it on the days where i am performing a chemical peel. speaking of which, today is the day for another lactic acid peel. i have become lightweight addicted to the smooth feeling of my skin after a 40% LA peel, and it makes me super excited for my TCA peel in a few weeks. my great spring skin is revealing itself, and i cannot wait.

ManeandChic's First Day of Spring Cleaning Challenge

maneandchic: First Day of Spring 2011! Spring Cleaning Challenge...:

one of my fave blogs since i first went natural in 2008 has been maneandchic, southerntease from LHCF's blog. it used to only be about hair, but she has a sick sense of style that she has since incorporated into the blog as well as some decorating tips and lifestyle mantras. i was delighted to wake up to a blog feed email where her spring cleaning challenge was detailed, and i absolutely think it's a great idea! i'm a messy person by nature (LOL) but that doesn't mean i haven't been trying to fix that, especially since moving in with my SO and having to consolidate everything into one 700-sq-ft one bedroom apartment. my mom's house still serves as storage for all the not-so-important articles of clothing, dorm room leftovers and furniture that doesn't match or won't fit, but it is a real eye opener to have to cram all those clothes, shoes, books, makeup and hair items, and things of that nature into a few small bags to bring back and forth! anyway, my personality is exactly why i fell in love with this idea -- i could really use the extra space, but the fact that it also encompasses "messy" ideas and people is another plus. don't we all need to get rid of a little baggage?

some of the basic rules:
*keep a list of what you purge, aiming for a minimum of 50 items
*you have 91 days (from yesterday until the start of summer) to accomplish the challenge
*write thoughts on a piece of paper and destroy it; replace bad thoughts with good ones via a journal or decorated notecard
*groups of things ONLY count as one item -- no getting rid of 25 pieces of baggy or too-tight clothing and saying you're half done!
*keep track of all the positivity that comes out of completing the challenge. i surmise the SO will be so happy to see my clothing stack reduced, not to mention my mood boost, at the very minimum.

about a month ago, my SO's mom sent us prayer journals decorated with cloth from japan that she purchased while staying there a few years back. she is of the ba'hai faith, and inside is a small prayer card that i glance at when i am having a tough time. i told him i wanted to save the journal for something special, and i think this is it. i cannot wait to see the positive manifestations that arise from this challenge. i will also try to share some of them with you guys as i go. anyone else up for the challenge?

Friday, March 4, 2011

end-of-winter opposite-of-blues

i must admit that more than my hair has been feeling the brunt of my lethargy lately, and *gasp* before last week i hadn't applied makeup, put in my contacts or painted my nails in about a month or two. thankfully, an article i read in feb 2011's shape magazine was all i needed to snap me out of it. this feature called "winter brights", which featured makeup so electric and happiness-inducing that i immediately wanted to bask in the glory that is sephora, had me looking up dupes for all the fab ideas listed: coral blush, hot pink lipstick, neon green liner, and bright sunny yellow nail polish. since my pockets won't allow that fantasy trip to sephora just yet, i chose to instead accompany the SO to walgreens and peruse the racks there. luckily for me, they happened to have one of the hot pink lipsticks from the article, milani color perfect in "rose hip." i promptly snatched it up, in addition to two cute maybelline color sensational lipsticks i had been eyeing for a while: red revival and coral crush. this pop of springtime radiance in my fist, i exited the store with a skip in my step. since i purchased these colors, i've worn the rose hip a total of 3 times and the coral crush twice. i'm still waiting for the right time to break out the sultry red lips....a date night, maybe? my general modus operandi is to do a simple black or brown eyeliner and just a hint of blush with the bright lips, a tip that has always served me well. wardrobe-wise, i'm also keeping it neutral: cool grey, black and tan pieces that let my makeup do all the talking.

the best side effect has been the overall impact on the rest of my beauty routine -- putting more time into my makeup has gotten me back into painting my nails as well, and as of now i am sporting china glaze's "for audrey," a nice sky blue shade, with sally hansen xtreme wear "blue me away," a shockingly bright turquoise, on my ring fingers. it makes me sad that i'll have to tone down the nails when i begin work on tuesday, but hey, that's what off days are for! in addition to getting back into my nail polish collection, i've also restarted my chemical peel schedule, since all that lovely makeup looks even more fab on flawless skin. i re-upped on a larger bottle of the 40% lactic acid peel from MUAC, as well as the 30% glycolic acid peel. i have done the LA peel twice, and i had forgotten how baby-butt smooth my face feels after one of these bad boys. i'll do these in prep for a TCA peel that i will do 2-3 weeks from now to tackle some of the hyperpigmentation i accumulated over the winter. although i am normally of the combination-skinned variety, for some reason my entire face was dry as the sahara for a good portion of the winter, and for me dry skin = breakouts galore. between the hydroquinone and the peels, i'm hoping to be in clear skin territory in time for memorial day.

i've started creating a wish list of products that i want to add into the springtime rotation. i hope to start checking things off my list within the next two weeks. although there's no real order to the items, i will admit i have been drooling over the blush ever since i first saw it, so that will probably be first on the list!

*l'oreal voluminous carbon black diorshow iconic bit the dust, so why not try some drugstore mascaras?
*china glaze crackle glaze line....not sure when they come out, but i've wanted OPI's black shatter for a while now. a whole line of crackle polishes? count me in!
*MUFE HD blush in #6, quickie.....a great coral shade also inspired by the "winter brights" feature.
*bright yellow nail polish....haven't chosen an exact shade yet, but just thinking about the color excites me so!
*a lighter shade of MUFE HD foundation for my springtime skin....153 is oh-so-perfect for my summer tan, but right now it's just a bit dark.
*DDF ultra-lite oil free moisturizing dew....heard such good things about this moisturizer, and since i need a good one, why not try it out?
*gucci guilty....building my perfume arsenal one luxurious scent at a time.
*MUAC green tea cleanser....i really loved their bar, and now that it has been converted into a liquid cleanser chock full of antioxidants i am dying to try it!

stroke of genius

the other day, i was going through a particularly lazy phase with my hair. even though i love twistouts for this exact reason (all they require is about 15 minutes of prep before bed and 2-3 minutes to unravel the twists in the AM), i couldn't even muster up the energy to twist my hair and thus decided a high bun would be the best course of action. i moisturized with my current obsession, giovanni smooth as silk conditioner, then turned my head upside down to gather it in a high bun. after tucking in the ends, i went about my day.

that night, when i took down the bun to moisturize my hair and get ready for bed, all these ideas i was having about the fun and elaborate styles i wanted to play with went right out the window in favor of again being lazy and hitting the pillow early. i decided to just add two flat twists on my mostly dry hair to the mix and pin up the ends. (i like this look well enough, more so when i do cornrows instead of flat twists, but like i said....i was lazy!) i added a scarf and went to bed half-disappointed for not doing more but 100% exhausted.

the next morning, i began to unravel the flat twists and think of what i was going to do with my hair, which was too stretched for a normal twistout. out of nowhere, i had the bright idea to simply stop unraveling halfway and leave the top twisted. as much as i love my bangs when my hair is straight, i DID get them cut knowing that they might look awkward when my hair is curly. most of the time this situation is remedied with a funky clip of some sort or a bobby pin, but this can get weird when anything less than an extremely high bun is involved. turns out leaving the top twisted was a stroke of genius -- the fullness of the stretched out hair in the back and the twists on top made for a style as fun as my mood that day. i initially went for a twistout puff, but decided on a bun (hey, the desire to protect my ends is innate now) and slicked back the sides with water and noodle head curling creme. finally, i swiped on a coat of lipstick and, satisfied with my look, i put a smile on my face to enjoy my day.

i have a love/hate relationship with the fact that my best style ideas arise from thin air....and in hindsight, usually can't be duplicated to produce better pictures. ha!

coming soon: march length check

I haven't been nearly as diligent at posting as I had hoped I would be this year, but the good news is I HAVE been diligent at taking great care of my hair. Just like I vowed, I've gotten into a nice twistout/twist-n-curl groove, and on my off days I simply rock a high twistout bun or wet bun. This has kept my hair nicely protected, adequately moisturized, and (hopefully) successfully retaining.

Most twistouts go something like this:
*cowash/leave-in with giovanni smooth as silk conditioner
*add noodle head curling creme or KC curling custard to help the style stay
*five flat twists for a normal twistout or 6-8 large two-strand twists for a twist and curl
*smooth lower half of twist with denman and set on perm rod
*take down twists in the morning and fluff
*optional: add EVOO or coconut oil to ends

I have decided that for my length check, I will straighten my hair at home instead of going to get a Dominican blowout. That is, I *would like* to get my hair silky straight at home and keep this $25 in my pocket, although it is reassuring to know they will always be there if I can't get it. I have a solid plan this time:

*DC overnight for 2-3 nights before straightening
*ACV rinse to smooth cuticles/remove buildup
*Lacio Lacio leave-in and Chi Silk Infusion ONLY prior to blowdrying
*comb attachment, high heat and SMALL sections (this is key) with my cheapie Wal-Mart dryer
*no products before flat ironing
*comb chase method using my Solia, set on 370 degrees
*optional silk wrap if things are looking wonky

I plan to start the DCing tonight, and once I get back to Virginia on Monday I will attempt to straighten my hair. Here's hoping I don't need that crucial of a trim and I've surpassed BSL, at least in part....