Bargain Beauty, Blemish Control, Cetaphil, Cleansers, Face, Maintenance, Skincare

The World’s Easiest Resolution

I’m not a resolutions person. Obviously. I mean, here I am, knocking the dust off this blog well into the second (technically third) week of January. A resolutions person would have been here that first Monday. To me, New Year’s resolutions are amateur hour. I’m making and breaking promises to myself 365, BAYBAY!!

My problem is, I always go too big. Lose weight, save money, find my life’s purpose, blah blah. That stuff is a lot of work! You know what’s probably way better for our mental well-being? Starting small. Make your bed every day! Kick your panties into the hamper instead of leaving them sunny-side up in the bathroom! Mop!
No. Don’t mop. I’m sorry I said that. FUCK mopping.

How about, instead, you could resolve to have cleaner skin? You don’t even have to buy a new face wash, or an expensive cleansing brush. Are you all ready for my ONE WEIRD TRICK?

Here it is:

Wash your face longer. For 60 whole seconds. That’s it.

Real talk, you guys; I know what you’re doing. I see how quickly you wash your face. I SEE YOU. But, it’s ok! I used to do the same thing! In fact, I considered myself a pretty accomplished face washer. I washed my face every night and most mornings, I used my Clarisonic. I would even wash my face when I was three sheets to an ill wind! Some of the mascara might be left behind, but, I’d AT LEAST use a cleansing wipe. So, pretty good, right? Pretty good, but could be better. Like, maybe better if I didn’t rush through it in just a few seconds. You know, like how washing a fork with soap real fast is good, but making sure you get all the crud off is preferable?

Still not convinced? (Pretend you’re not convinced.) Will a little bit of Beauty School Confidential help? Consider this; a big reason for the effectiveness of a spa facial is the extensive time spent on cleansing. Most estheticians will cleanse your skin twice during a facial. When all is said and done, you’re going to get, probably, a combined five minutes of solid cleanser on skin action. It’s not an accident that your skin is so bright after that! I mean, the default time on my Clarisonic is 60 seconds, and that thing is using sonic vibrations, or whatever, AND bristles. If the Clarisonic needs 60 seconds to get your face clean with all that technology behind it, your sweet lil fingers need at least that long. It’s so easy though! A big part of this cleaner face resolution is the simplicity, because hopefully, you’re already washing your face. So, you don’t have to do a whole new thing, you just have to a regular thing differently.

“But, Sarah,” you might be thinking, “60 seconds is a long time to count! What if I get bored or lose my place? What if I count too fast or too slow? How am I supposed to keep track of the time when I’m in the shower in all my nudely glory?!” It’s easy! Zones, guys. It’s all about zones. Your forehead? ZONE. Nose down to your chin? ZONE. Those precious cheeks? ZONE(S). Three zones, 20 seconds each. That’s all you need to do to get cleaner skin. It’s free, it’s easy, it works!

Since I’ve been making an effort to wash my face more thoroughly, I’ve seen a visible improvement in my skin. I have a lot less tiny white heads around my eye/cheek area, and, I haven’t been getting random, underground, throbbing, volcanic breakouts on my jaw and chin. I even managed to avoid the inevitable eruptions I deal with whenever I get sick, and those are usually really gross, and really hard to kill.

clean skin

HASHTAG NO FILTER

HASHTAG NO FOUNDATION, too. That’s right. No foundation. I have on a little concealer around my nose to cover some tissue related redness, and, I have on a little under eye brightener. But, that’s it. No foundation, no powder. No filter! Just my clean, moisturized skin. For comparison, here’s an unedited photo from the end of last summer.

clean face comparison

I think you can tell a difference. In the first picture my skin looks brighter, clearer, and smoother. I’m wearing a full face in this photo, and my skin still doesn’t look as good. See what I’m saying? I’m not making it up!

I don’t even use an expensive cleanser.

cetaphil cleanser

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, $7.49, Walgreens

Bet you didn’t think it was going to be THAT cheap. A cheap cleanser and your free fingers. That’s all you need. It’s really so easy! Easier than losing weight, easier than kicking your underwear into the hamper, easier than pretty much most things, and you get nicer skin. Happy freaking New Year! So fresh and so clean in 2015!

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Maintenance, Nails, Nails Inc.

Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar Base Coat

nails inc base coat

Sephora, $10

I’ve never had loyalty to a base coat like I do to my beloved top coat. I sort of just pick up whatever tickles my fancy at the time, and use it until I need a new one. A base coat has to be really bad or really good for me to notice any kind of difference between brands. Since I’m writing about this base coat, that has to mean it falls under one of those two categories.

Drumroll!!

It’s REALLY GOOD!!

I bought this on sort of a whim during the Sephora Friends & Family sale a few weeks ago. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel on my old bottle, and I was looking for something well reviewed that wasn’t too expensive. This Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar base coat easily fit the bill. I’ve been wearing it for nearly two weeks now, and it far exceeds any expectations I had.

I wore it under a highly pigmented, creamy black polish last week, and my manicure looked chip free for nearly the whole week. That’s pretty good. Through dishes, lots of typing, thoughtful/nervous/compulsive head scratching, and all my everyday dog and husband stuff, it held on. It also lasted through my cuticle chewing. Between the spit and the teeth scraping, most base coats give up the goat there, so the tops of my manicures are usually the first places to show chipping. I know that’s gross, and I’m sorry. It’s just one of the best ways I can illustrate the strength of this base coat.  It’s also the reason why I think I don’t catch common sicknesses very often. I always have my fingers in my mouth, so I think I’ve built up an immunity to, like, the germs that are on escalator handrails. OR, that could be how I caught Whooping Cough a couple year ago. I don’t think so though. I’m pretty sure I caught The Whoop from a coughing hooker who sat on the bench next to me inside a laundromat in Hollywood. She was not big on covering her mouth when she coughed.

Anyways. I didn’t mean to take you guys on a guided tour of my medical history there. You know how these things go, set out to write about a great base coat, end up telling everyone about the time you got Whooping Cough! That old chestnut.

Besides the great grip this base coat had on my polish, it also kept the color from staining my nails way better than my old base coat did. The black I was wearing stains like crazy, but it didn’t touch my nails. The skin around my nails was a mess when I took the polish off, but my nails were pretty clean.

Since I removed the black polish, I’ve been wearing the base coat alone. It dries really shiny, and it has a light pink color that looks pretty without anything else.

nails inc base coat swatch

If there’s a way to photograph your fingers WITHOUT them looking like sausages, I haven’t found it. 

Lovely! As you can see, my nails are pretty long and strong right now. I’m chalking that up to this base coat too. The consistency of it is unlike other base coats. It isn’t thin, it’s sort of thick and almost gelatinous. I like that! It makes me feel like my nails are getting a good treatment. After making sure my nails were good and clean, I used two coats of base coat, and put it underneath the tips of my nails, too. I don’t know if it’s the caviar element, or what, but my nails aren’t splitting on the sides like they usually do when they get this long. I keep accidentally jabbing them into things, and I feel them bend, and I think they’ll for sure have a tear on the side, but I’m always wrong! It’s great! Despite the relative thickness of the formula, it goes on easily without any dragging or unevenness. It dries quickly to a super smooth finish that really makes a great, even base for your manicures.

Base coats are important if you want to maintain your at home mani. Don’t skip this step! If you don’t use a base coat, start using one. You’ll see a difference!

I love this base coat. I think you’ll love it too, especially if you have problems with nail breakage. I’m totally going to buy it again!

Buy Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar Base Coat HERE.

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Beauty Tools, Clarisonic, Cleansers, Friday I'm in Love, Maintenance, Skincare

Worth it! Clarisonic Brush

clarisonic

That’s my Clarisonic up thurr. It’s a beloved member of our household.

I’ve been putting off doing a post about these because they’re pretty expensive, but today is the day! This is why…

Last night, for funsies/research, I sat down and did a full face of makeup. I’m talking FACE BEAT. Foundation, contouring powder, concealer, blush, two different kinds of highlighter, three shadows, my waterproof liquid liner, several coats of mascara, lip liner, lipstick, and a finishing powder. I don’t need to tell you it was fucking beautiful. But, I will. It was fucking beautiful. Later, in the shower, I used a cleanser whose specific job is makeup removal. That’s its whole schtick. After I rinsed my face, I was suspicious of the results, my face just didn’t feel clean, so I took another pass at my skin with my Clarisonic. Would you like to guess what I found?

Tons of makeup on my brush!!! The bristles were tan!

I was properly horrified. I even shook my head in disgust.

BECAUSE I WAS DISGUSTED!

It was at that moment that I decided it was time to do my civic duty, and write my post. So, today, Friday I’m in Love with my Clarisonic!

Like most people probably do, I initially balked at the price. They’re costly, there’s no way around that. But, last night’s experiment was all the validation I needed that mine was worth the money.

I bought my brush after The Great Kiehl’s Disaster of 2010. My skin had been destroyed by a beauty experiment gone awry, and I was desperate for answers. I was breaking out a lot, and my face was dull and rough. My cheeks, specifically, were a mess. They felt thick, like scars, and I was afraid I’d done long term damage. I’d gone back to my old skincare routine, and I was exploring more drastic options, treatments, masks, etc. I did some research on the Clarisonic, convinced Jason it was practically a medical necessity, and bought one.

After my first use, there was a difference; my skin was softer and brighter even using my usual cleanser. A week after I got it, my skin showed a lot of improvement. My makeup went on smoother, my moisturizer absorbed better, and my breakouts stopped. It was the first sign of hope that there could be a turnaround on my skin. I can’t even begin to describe my relief. I was thisclose to adopting a veil over my face when I left the house like I was Blanket Jackson.

Since then, I’ve taken on a routine with my Clarisonic. They say it’s gentle enough to use twice a day, I think that’s overkill. I think using it every day is overkill. I suppose this varies by face, but all my education and real world experience has taught me that it’s very rare for anybody to really need to exfoliate every single day. If you decide to get one, you can easily figure out what’s too much; just pay attention to your skin. Be careful of any redness or soreness, and adjust accordingly. Someone who wears makeup every day should probably use it more often than someone who doesn’t. I don’t wear makeup every day, and I know my face doesn’t like to be exfoliated every night, so I use my Clarisonic 2-3 times a week. Unless I’m reviewing a product for the site, I always use it before I do masks or treatments. It gets your skin very, very clean, and I always include it when I’m wearing A LOT of makeup.

I don’t know how you can justify the price to yourself. If you never get the chance to indulge in spa facials, maybe indulge in a Clarisonic. If you struggle with chronic or frequent skin problems, maybe tell yourself you’re upping the game! To be fair, you for sure would be, so it wouldn’t be a lie. Or, how about maybe you just want one, you are a GROWN WOMAN, and you deserve it! TREAT YO SELF.

treat yo self gif

HEY! It’s time for people to give you presents, riiiiiiiight? Put it on your list! If you write it there, under “pony,” it looks totally reasonable!

Buy your Clarisonic from Sephora HERE.

Or, buy it directly from Clarisonic HERE.

Be wary about buying it from anywhere else, there are a lot of fakes out there. Don’t want to spend all that money on a knock off!

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Beauty Tools, Cleansers, Education, Maintenance, Skincare

Cleaning Your Brushes: Bacteria and YOU!

When was the last time you washed your makeup brushes? A month ago? Last year? Never?

NEVER?!

DID YOU JUST SAY NEVER?!

I just…

I mean…

I can’t even…

That’s not ok.

It’s not like I’ve never been guilty of letting my brushes get dirty. For a long time, it didn’t even occur to me to wash them. I think I thought since I was the only one using them, it wasn’t necessary.

WRONG. JUST SUPER, SUPER WRONG.

Oils, dust, dirt, makeup, bacteria…these are the things that live on your dirty brushes. So then you use them, and you smear all that gross stuff around your skin. Doesn’t that sound awful? Keeping your brushes clean is good for the life of your tools, and it’s good for the life of your skin. Plus, it’s really easy and super satisfying.

photo-2

These are my dirty brushes. It’s been way too long since the last time I washed them. I’m really trying to get my skin in tip top shape, and I figured getting my brushes clean was a good idea. I’m not really acne prone, but I get those little white bumps. You can’t really see them unless you’re really looking, but I know they’re there, and I know what they are. Tiny little underground bacteria rocks. Gross. Have you ever tried to squeeze one of those out? That’s how I end up with a big hole in my face.

First, you’re going to need a cleanser. You can use a mild shampoo, like a baby shampoo, but I prefer to use a cleanser specifically for brushes. Those usually have the added benefit of being antibacterial.

sephora brush shampoo

Sephora, 2 oz., $7

I use this brush shampoo from Sephora. It does a great job of pulling even the most pigmented colors out of my brushes, and a little bit goes a long way.

After you’ve decided on a shampoo, and you’ve washed all the dirty dishes in your sink, you’re ready to get started!

First, thoroughly saturate your brush with lukewarm water.

photo 2

DO NOT drop it down the garage disposal. This was a dangerous game I was playing here. If any of those suckers had slipped down into that disgusting pit, that brush would have been dead to me. Like, might as well flip the switch and chop it into a million pieces because I never want to see it again. So, yeah, get your bristles good and wet, being careful not to lose it forever.

Next, squirt a small amount of brush shampoo into the palm of your hand.

photo 3

Don’t skimp, but don’t go crazy either. You want enough to break everything up, but not so much that you can never rinse it out, or you waste a bunch.

Then, swirl that brush around in the palm of your hand. You can go crazy here.

clean brush gif

Really scrub it good! You’ll start to see all the makeup coming out of the bristles, it’s pretty gnarly. Add more shampoo if you feel like it’s running short. Sometimes, I do this part twice. Especially on my foundation brush. That’s the one in all the pictures, as you can see, it was really dirty.

After you’re satisfied the shampoo has lifted out all the makeup and debris, give it a good, thorough rinse in the lukewarm water.

photo-2 copy

I see that this photo is sort of redundant. But, I’m trying to be as detailed as possible! Rinse, rinse, rinse the brush. Rinse it so good. Rinse it until the water is clear, and the bristles feel clean. You DO NOT want any extra shampoo or makeup left behind. That would make this whole thing totally pointless.

After your brush has been fully rinsed, gently squeeze out any excess water, and then reshape your bristles and lay your brush flat, to dry.

photo-2 copy 2

I like to put mine on a towel so they don’t go anywhere, and water doesn’t collect underneath the handles. I also like to let the bristles hang over the edge. That way, they dry evenly and you don’t have to come in and flip them. I wash my brushes when I know they’ll have plenty of time to dry, preferably overnight.

When everything is dry, just get the bristles fluffed back the way they need to be, and you’re all set! No more gross tools of cross contamination!

How often you clean your brushes is up to you. If you use your brushes on anyone else, you have to wash them after every time you use them. If yours is the only face they touch, then once is a week is the gold standard. If you never ever clean your brushes, try to get into the habit at least once a month, and work up from there. It’s a good thing to do for your tools and your complexion. My brushes are an investment, and they’ve been pretty carefully curated. I’d like them to last as long as possible.

Keeping your brushes clean is the kind of thing that seems obvious, but I have a feeling that it’s the territory of people who are really serious about makeup. I know I sleep on cleaning my brushes more often than I should, and I’m a state licensed beauty professional. I should really know better! Let’s make it our Thanksgiving resolution to keep our brushes cleaner. Together, we can make the world a less bacteria laden place.

P.S. I cleaned my BeautyBlender with Ivory soap. It took forever to rinse it clean, and I haven’t used it since then, so I don’t know if it was a complete success. It LOOKS like it’s clean, but the jury is still out. I’ll let you guys know.

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Maintenance, Personal

Hello, Sarice

I got totally good at not chewing or picking at my cuticles and the skin around my nails. I thought I broke a 20something years long habit. I was all proud of myself and feeling like I could accomplish anything. Like, I beat finger skin picking, it gets better and now I’m going to EGOT.

PSYCH ON ME!

Two of my fingers are bleeding right now, and the rest are mangled. That usually means I’m worried about something, but maybe I’m just hungry for my own delicious flavor. What the fuck? Sarah, you gross cannibal. I’m not even a fancy Hannibal Lecter type cannibal, I’m more the stick my own finger into a Ramen seasoning packet and then nibble on that type cannibal. ACK! So much sodium!

For the record, I have never eaten my own Chicken seasoned finger. I’m just saying, I wouldn’t ever braise myself or anything.

I promised myself a new full set of beautiful nails if I kicked the habit again, and I just got shipment notice on the FLOSS GLOSS Fall collection. Time to put the smelly hand lotion on the skin, and slap my own fingers away from myself again!

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Maintenance, Nails

ASP Nail Wrap Kit

Did you guys know you could patch a torn natural nail? I didn’t. All these years, I’ve been breaking one nail and then mournfully cutting off the other nine. Finding out now that things could have been different all along, well….it smarts. Growing out your nails is hard work! You can’t open soda cans, umm, you have to wear rubber gloves when you wash dishes, you have to be careful opening doors and stuff. Like I said, hard work!

Almost 2 weeks ago, I found a little tear in one of my nails. It was the kind that was up in the pink, so you know it’s bad. Not only are you going to lose your nail with one of those tears, but it’s going to hurt like a mother in the process. Then, you have to deal with that soft, pink, nail bed. It’s like a turtle without a shell! Just all exposed and sad. I’ve been growing out these nails since my white manicure, and I was not going to let them go without a fight. After a little internet sleuthing, some television, maybe a nosh, I headed for the Sally Beauty closest to my house to see what I could work up.

SIDE NOTE: Do you guys dislike going to Sally like I do? Maybe it’s because I usually beauty supply shop in the pro shops (ASSHOLE ALERT), but the Sally stores, and most of the girls working in them, are kinda tacky and dated. Am I just a snob?

8ball

Damn.

During my investigative process, I found people saying you could fix a nail with fiberglass nail wraps and nail glue. So, at the beauty supply, I ended up buying this ASP Nail Wrap Kit. I *think* it’s for doing at home acrylics, but it has everything in it, besides alcohol, you’d need to do a nail repair.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 9.47.15 AM

ASP Nail Wrap Kit, Sally Beauty, $14.99-$16.99

This is so, so, so easy. Stupid easy. You’ll be shocked!

First things first, gather up your supplies. Besides the kit, you’ll need little scissors, tweezers, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, a paper towel, a plastic shopping bag, and a nail buffer. I use this buffer.

This particular kit comes with “resin activator” whatever that is. I didn’t show you those steps, because I don’t think they’re necessary. You could just buy nail glue and fiberglass nail wraps to do this if you don’t want to get the kit.

The only pre-steps warnings I have are these: DO NOT touch your nail with your other fingers after you’ve cleaned it. Be careful not to touch the wraps themselves too much too. You really don’t want any finger oils compromising your patch. AND, the paper towel is for under your work area. Come on, be responsible. Don’t flick nail glue all over your table.

Last warning: pee first. That’s good advice for all nail work right thurr.

nailfix1

This part is so important. You have to remove any oil from your nail, or the patch won’t take. Clean your nail in the direction of the tear, so you don’t make it worse.

nailfix2

Trim just enough to cover a little past the tear, and enough to wrap under if you can.

nailfix3

I didn’t put it on my entire nail, just the area with the tear.

nailfix4

Use your tweezers to carefully place the wrap. Don’t use your fingers. Oils!

nailfix5

Using your finger inside the plastic bag, or the round end of your tweezers, smooth out the wrap.

nailfix6

Don’t glob it on, but be sure the wrap is fully saturated and smooth on the nail.

nailfix7

When the glue is dry, about 15 minutes, using a nail buffer, buff the nail until all the shiny spots are gone.

And that’s it! It might seem like a lot of work, but once you get the hang of it, not counting drying time, it took me maybe 2 minutes per nail. Way less time than it takes me to trim and shape all ten nails, and way less time than it takes to grow out a new one. I’ve had 2 patches on for nearly two weeks, and they don’t show any signs of lifting, peeling, or failing. My patched nails are all still intact, and under polish, you can’t even tell they’re there. Even without polish, you can’t really see the wraps.

Isn’t this so exciting? This is a whole new innovation for me. Nail repair! The way of the future!

 

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A man duhh, Maintenance

A man, duh

amanduhhWAH.

I burned Amanduhhh, you guys. That big crybaby.

If you’re so sad about it, STAY HOME. Don’t bring your emotions to this cool party! Right?!

mike dexter

You too, Mike Dexter. You animal.

Annnyways, I’ve had a couple people ask me for product suggestions for their dudes, so I wanted to share some of the tried and true man maintainers that we have around here.

Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap

drbronnerspeppermint

Amazon, $15 for 32 oz.

The clean rinsing formula combined with the (alleged [but I think it’s true]) antibacterial properties of peppermint oil make Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap a really great man wash. It almost works too well. When I first met Jason, he was an esthetician’s dream, covered in ingrown hairs and blackheads; then he started using this stuff, and he became less fun to pick at with tweezers. It’s good, I guess. If I’m not being selfish, it’s good.

Supposedly, there are 18 different uses for this soap. As far as I know, we’ve only used it for the one, but you never know where life will take you!

Another great thing about this soap is that since it’s covered in the rambling words of a 3 time mental hospital escapee, you’ve always got stuff to look at in the shower.

Neutrogena Men Razor Defense Daily Face Scrub

menfacescrub

Drugstore.com, $5.09

This exfoliating scrub softens and cleans the skin, while preparing the face for shaving. The exfoliating beads are good at getting dry and flaky skin, and all the gross crud dudes collect in their pores. Since Manimal started using this cleanser, his skin has been clearer and less zit prone.

Over the last 7 years, I’ve bought Jason countless face cleansers, in all different price ranges. For whatever reason, this is the one he’ll actually use. Who knows how dudes’ minds work? They’re so complicated! It’s like, whatever baby, I don’t have time to figure you out. Now, less talky, more cocky.

Wild Man Beard Conditioner

beardoil

Wild Rose Herbs, Etsy, $19.95

Jason has a sort of legendary beard. People love it! I love it. He looks super sexual and scruffy, but sometimes, he smells like a wet dog. Also, I know his beard is getting out of control right now, because I saw corn chips, ice cream sandwich, cheese, croissant and lettuce all lodged in his beard at some point over the weekend. It’s time to clean that bad boy up!

This product is sort of wishful thinking on my part, actually. Jason does own it, and it does work great. It cleans and softens his beard, makes it smell GOOD, and it moisturizes the often neglected skin under his beard.

BUT. That’s just one daily step too many for ‘ol J-Bone. So, the beard conditioner is a very special occasion thing.

I’d like to get that clean, soft beard on my neck on the reg, but, I guess I’ll settle for the one that has Del Taco in it. I like Del Taco!

*****

There you go! My first three manswers to your man prayers.

These products are all recommended  if you want your guy to look like this:

jasonbeard

BIG WEIRDO I LOVE.

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