Gel Manicures

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photo credit: www.shizukany.com

I’m always in a rush, so I appreciate getting my nails done and not having to wait an additional 15-20 minutes just for my polish to dry! With that being said, can you imagine how ecstatic I am about new salon technology that cuts out the extra time on my salon visits? Take a wild guess at what I’m talking about, yep…gel manis!

Gel manicures have become my new obsession. Although they’re way more expensive than my regular $8 manicure, they are definitely some benefits to going for the gel. Okay so, gel manicures are about three times the price of regular manicures but they last twice as long. I can make it through two full weeks and not one nail has chipped –amazing! This also means I don’t have to frequent the salon so often, unless I really just want a color change.

The process is pretty simple:

  1. Apply a base coat
  2. Then, the gel color of your choice
  3. Next, add the top coat
  4. Last, place your fingers under the UV light

And within minutes you are all done! No Drying!

So saving time isn’t the only reason I converted to gel manicures, it is also really easy for me to remove. So I know I’m not the only one who has tried a bold color and when you’re ready to take it off, it takes almost ten years. Not to mention the color residue that gets left behind. I don’t ever have to think about that when I use gel. I just get two bowls, fill them with acetone and soak my nails while I’m relaxing watching tv !

Another reason I prefer this method is because, unlike acrylic nails, gel doesn’t weaken my real nails. With a list like this of positives, I think it’s definitely worth a shot. My only advice would be to purchase gloves with the fingers cut out because too much exposure to UV light is not good for your skin.

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Sweet As Wine

I absolutely hate re-applying lipstick — its super annoying! I’m sure if you’re reading this, you know exactly what I mean. It’s frustrating having to constantly think about your lipstick after a few bits to eat or sips of a drink. By the time you’ve finished your meal it ends up looking like you’ve consumed your lipstick too.

For this reason, I started a search for a brand that gives long lasting coverage.  Honestly, it’s a struggle finding lippies that are applied once and you’re free to live it up for the rest of the night without even thinking about a touch up.

But thanks to constant advancements in make-up technology, I think I stumbled upon something amazing! Recently, I was introduced to Maybelline’s Super Stay Wine Forever 14hr Lipstick, and I honestly think it’s one of the greatest products introduced to the market!  So here’s why – it’s a deep plum shade with a matte finish, and I love the color purple. Okay, so I’m sure those aren’t good enough reasons to tell you to go out and purchase this item, so let me give you a little more insight.

Wine Forever

Lately, there has been an influx of women going for a more bold or edgy look. Wine Forever is deep enough to accomplish this look but is still subtle enough that you won’t end up looking like a viper. Sometimes these colors are way too overbearing for certain skin tones but I think Wine Forever is a perfect fit for every complexion –it’s the perfect balance.

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Besides its being extremely pigmented, I like this product because it has a smooth texture. Another reason I like this color and product, is because it lasts for about eight hours, which is good enough for a night out.

With the positives, there were definitely a few negatives. So I didn’t like the fact that it made my lips feel so dry.  Next time, I will apply a lip balm before wearing the color. Another issue is, the price. It’s about $13, but I would rather pay that for a  lipstick from Sephora.

Cheap Weaves are the Worst Weaves

images-1Finding the perfect weave can be a long process, mainly because it requires a great deal of research! Hair comes in what seems like a million and one types, textures, and lengths; so finding a brand that gives you the look you’re going for, on top of staying laid for days, is definitely a task.  This is the reason women are usually most concerned with the quality of hair. They want to be sure that they’re purchasing a product that will remain in tact  even after a few weeks of installation. The problem is some hair only looks fabulous for the first couple of days and then becomes so raggedy that it doesn’t even look like it was ever done. Usually cheap hair has that effect. It’s either easily tangled or shreds like crazy. Then, the hair becomes super thin and appears fake — this is so frustrating! An experience like this is even worse when a sufficient amount of money was spent on the product.

So being the weave connoisseur that I am—a title I’ve given myself due to my numerous experiences with different hair companies and brands, I’m always on the hunt for affordable but quality products. Usually, I prefer to purchase my hair at a beauty store. At the store, I’m able to thoroughly analyze the quality of the hair. Over the years I became comfortable purchasing two brands — Bobbi Boss and Remy Saga, but lately they’ve been a huge disappointment. I’ve noticed with both brands that the hair would not last as long as it use to. So I knew it was time to start looking for  new go to items.

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After doing some research, I came across a site that seemed like it could be the answer to my problems – www.aliexpress.com.  Skeptical at first, I decided to give it a try. After scouring the site and reading tons of reviews, I decided to make a purchase from a company called Queen Love Hair. The first thing that caught my attention was the price. Queen Love Hair seemed extremely reasonable!  My purchase included 3 bundles of Brazilian Virgin Hair (14”,16”, 18”) and my total was $107 – I was ecstatic.

Unfortunately my excitement only lasted for a couple of weeks. By the start of the third week, the hair became difficult to manage. Tons of hair would come out when I brushed it and it no longer looked like there was 18” installed. My biggest nightmare came true! I invested in a product that was a complete waste of my money.

My next step was to try to revive the hair. I tried conditioning the hair and combing it hoping that it would bring it back to life, but nothing changed.

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After my disappointing experience, I could safely conclude this site is definitely a hit or miss. I’ve seen and heard plenty of women talk about hair that they’ve ordered from other companies on this site that’s absolutely amazing. My advice, is to thoroughly look into the company you’re considering ordering from. Don’t stop at just reading the reviews. Look into the company’s return and refund policy as well. After going through this experience I decided to contact the distributor but they were not interested in addressing my complaint. I’ve been exchanging messages which included pictures and videos of the hair for almost two weeks and they still refuse to refund my money or offer me new hair.

At the end of the day, whether you choose to purchase your weave online or in a beauty supply store, be sure that you’re getting a bang for your buck!

Prefectly Arched Eyebrows With Any of These Great Methods

Whether you like them thick or thin, they should always be on point and slightly arched. Yup, ladies I’m taking about eyebrows. Some of us were lucky enough to be born with perfectly shaped brows that require low maintenance, but then there are the rest of us that need to make the extra effort to keep them well groomed.

With so many alternatives it can be a little difficult to determine which method is the most efficient, cost effective, or gives the best results. We can tweeze, wax,  or thread,  but what’s the best option?

So here’s a quick breakdown of them all so you can make a decision:

Tweezing :

Tools –  One pair of tweezers

Pros/Cons

  • It’s inexpensive. A good pair of tweezers costs around $6-$8
  • You have complete control over the shape of your brows
  • It can be painful
  • Only lasts about two weeks

Waxing

Using the waxing method is pretty simple. You can either purchase an at home kit to do it yourself or make a trip to the salon.  A home kit costs about $10-$30 compared to the salon price of $ 7-$10. So, opting to do get them done can and end up being more expensive.

So this is how it works, apply the hot wax to the area you want to remove hair. Then place the cloth over it. After allowing  a few seconds to cool, quickly remove the cloth. The unwanted hair should be stuck to the strip. With this method you will have to play clean up. The shorter hair follicles that were not long enough to be removed will need to be tweezed.

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photo credit: www.iknowagui.ca

Tools – Hot wax and cloth strips

Pros/ Cons

  • I can last between 4-6 weeks
  • You have the option to do it yourself or have it professionally done
  • For maximum hair removal the hair should be at least ¼ inch
  • It can be painful
  • You can burn yourself

Threading

Threading is a very unique technique. You use thread to remove unwanted hair from the follicle individually.

Tools – Thread

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photo credit: materialisticmusings.blogspot.com

Pros/Cons

  • Lasts up to 6 weeks
  • No chemicals used
  • Only requires 1/16 of the hair follicle in order to be removed
  • It’s hard to find locations that offer eyebrow threading
  • Its expensive and can cost between $30 and $50

My advice is to continue doing research! Find the top rated tools and products and the best professionals in the business because having flawless eyebrows is everything!

Cover My Dark Circles!

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Finding time to get enough rest with a insane schedule is definitely a challenge. Between working, attending class, daily chores, and attempting to exercising regularly, getting a sufficient amount of rest seems almost impossible. Eventually, poor sleeping habits catch up to us and we start experiencing days where we look and feel like the walking dead.

Yes, I’m talking about the hideous bags that appear under our eyes. Depending on your skin tone, these dark circles can appear in either blueish or purplish hues and cause our skin tone to look aged and discolored.

Fortunately, there is a simple remedy for this unwanted skin discoloration and it comes a small container –concealer! Okay, that sounds way to easy, but there is a little more to it. The secret is finding a concealer with the right undertones to cover up the dark spots. So if you’re someone who experiences dark blue circles under your eyes, try a concealer with orange undertones. Or if your dark circles appear to be closer to a shade of purple, a concealer with a yellow undertone will do a great job of hiding those gruesome bags. Best part is, it only takes 10 minutes and a few tools to accomplish this.

Here are a few concealers that are superb for the job: MAC Studio Finish Pure Orange Skin Corrector and NYX Above and Beyond Full Coverage Concealer are perfect for blue colored circles. For purple colored circles, try Maybelline Coverstick Concealer in yellow.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Foundation brush
  • Concealor
  • Foundation
  • Powder

HOW TO APPLY

  • Use the foundation brush to apply the concealer on the dark spot
  • Then, use your fingers to blend the product in to your skin
  • Apply foundation to your entire face so that concealor is not visible
  • Finally, use the powder to set your products

Check out the video below for a quick tutorial!

BB Cream Bananza

What are BB Creams?

BB stands for “beauty balm or  “blemish balm”

How does it work?

BB Creams are used to even skin tones. They’re perfect for days when you want a glowing finish but don’t have time cake on the primer and foundation. Comparable to a tinted moisturizer, BB Creams blur out imperfections and hydrate your skin. They are easy to apply and the best results are achieved when applied with a foundation brush or a beauty blender/sponge applicator.

So what are the issues?

Unfortunately, BB Creams do not offer the full coverage of foundation. They are a light cover up but don’t erase all the problem areas. Another issue is that certain brands only offer a limited selection of colors that match skin complexions.
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photo credit: http://www.thelovelyguide.com

Maybelline Dream Fresh

  • $9
  • SPF 30
  • 5 shades – light, light/medium, medium, medium/deep, deep
  • Light coverage
  • Dry/normal skin  

** I use this regularly **

This product works well with my skin type, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for everyone else. For individuals with oily skin try Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream. According to it’s website it, “primes, protects, prefects, and controls oil in one single step.” Similar to Maybelline brand expect it specifically caters to oily skin and the price point is $ 40.

Similar to Maybelline Dream Fresh and Smashbox Camera Ready BB Creams, Garnier BB Cream claims to deliver the same results but costumer reviews suggest something different. According to reviews on Ulta beauty’s website, Garnier BB Cream leaves the skin dry. One other difference is that it only gives SPF 15.

 

 

 

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photo credit: http://www.imabeautygeek.com

With so many different products on the market, there’s a lot trial and error experiences. The best advice I can give is to do your research. Find out what type of skin you have and what your skin needs. This way you will be able to determine what products fits your needs. If you decide to try any of these products, please share your experiences with me!

 

Essie Fanatic: Fall 2013 Collection-For the Twill of It

One of my favorite pastimes after a hectic day is getting pampered at the nail salon.  I genuinely look forward to the weekly experience but I’m constantly faced with the challenge of picking a color that is bold enough to make a statement.

Just like fashion trends, popular nail colors change with the turn of each season. Personally, I love to experiment with all the newest shades and my favorite brand, Essie, never fails to give variety to choose from.

And just as expected, Essie’s fall 2013 collection did not disappoint. Six textile-inspired lacquers have been added to the still increasing Essie family. The newest additions include: Twin Sweater Set, The Lace is On, For the Twill of It, After School Boy Blazer, Vested Interest, and Cashmere Bathrobe.

 

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photo credit: http://www.styleitonline.com

I’m dying to try them all, but so far I’ve only taken For the Twill of It for a test drive, and I absolutely love it! It’s the prefect mixture of a medium brown with a green shimmer. For me, the coolest part is that it’s reflective. Depending on which angle the light hits my nails you see either a green or brownish purple tint –very retro!

VANITY ROUGE

photo credit: http://www.vanityrouge.com

Next I love to try Vested Interest. Not only is the name very endearing, but the color is super cute. A pale shade of green (my favorite color) which is perfect for the transitioning into the  fall season. It’s subtle, but still offers a splash of character to a ensemble.

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photo credit: http://www.vanityrouge.com

What makes Essie my favorite brand is it’s great quality. I can apply a color and not worry about it chipping or fading within the next two days. Another reason I appreciate the Essie collection is because it’s appropriate for any occasion. I don’t have to worry that a color I choose is too loud for an office setting or to boring to accompany a super-cute outfit for a night out. It’s so versatile and I 100% obsessed with it !