Spring Cleaning: How Often Should You Clean Your Brushes?

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Last week I was chatting with one of my good good girlfriends and of course the topic of skin care came up. I’m always on my friends speed dial when they have any kind of ailment or skin issue, since I seem to always have a good remedy or product recommendation. My GGF (good good girlfriend) was saying that her skin was breaking out and she couldn’t figure out why. So I went down my normal list of questions:

How are your eating habits? Good 

Have you been going to the bathroom regularly? Yep 

Are you keeping your hands and cell phone clean? Yes

What about your makeup brushes, are you washing them regularly? *silence*

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Ding ding ding!!!  She had no idea that she needed to clean her makeup brushes, and had been using the same dirty brushes for YEARS!!!   Ladies this is NOT acceptable behavior, your makeup brushes must be cleaned regularly even if you do not use them often.

It’s actually recommended by dermatologists that we wash our makeup brushes daily… But ummmm who has time for that?  So washing your brushes weekly is acceptable.  For me, I’m going to be honest since I don’t wear makeup daily, I wash my brushes about once every two weeks.

Danger Zone

Using dirty brushes on your skin can cause numerous issues.  Breakouts are a huge consequence of using dirty brushes.  This is because over time the brushes become caked with residue, built up product, oil, skin cells and BACTERIA!!!

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning your brushes is super simple, you can purchase brush cleaners from brands like e.l.f., Clinique, Mary Kay and M.A.C.  Since I’m a cheap skate I just use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Oil Soap.  You can also use: unscented bar soap, dish detergent and even baby wash to clean your brushes.  Also, when my brushes are super caked with product I like to use avocado or olive oil to break down the gunk easily.

Brushes can be clean in  a few easy steps:

  1. Gently work the shampoo on the brushes with your fingers (be sure to avoid the barrel so that you don’t cause the brush to loosen)
  2. Press the water out with a towel
  3. Reshape the bristles and lay them flat so that the brushes can fully dry

Whatever you do, DO NOT soak your brushes!!!  This can cause the glue to loosen leading to the bristles to loosen from the barrel.

How often are you cleaning your brushes?  What products do you use?  I’d love to get suggestions from you guys!

Stay tuned as I continue my Spring Cleaning segment and discuss when you should throw your makeup away!

Until next time….

Sleeping Beauty… The Effects of Sleeping with Makeup On

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My schedule is so hectic some days, last Sunday was one of my busiest days. I had church, brunch plans, family to visit in the hospital, grocery shopping…. yea thats not even all of it.  I’m still trying to understand how people are able to keep it together when it comes to hectic schedules, but thats a whole different post.  Anywho by the time I had gotten home that night it was nearly 9:00 and I was beat.  I barely could make it to my couch I crashed as soon as I landed.  What I intended to be a 20 minute power nap turned into a full nights sleep.  I knew I was wrong, falling asleep with a full face of makeup is the ultimate no no!!!

If you think that one night of sleeping with makeup on won’t do damage to your skin, you are sadly mistaken.  When I woke up the next morning I had multiple blackheads all over my chin and cheeks.  This usually occurs when I sleep with makeup or don’t thoroughly clean off my makeup the night before.

There are several things that happen when we don’t take our makeup off at night…

  1. Your run the risk of eye infection – forgetting to remove eye makeup dryness and irritation, which can lead to infection
  2. Skin aging – for every night makeup is not removed, our skin ages by two days.
  3. Breakouts – leaving foundation on can lead to clogged pores and major breakouts
  4. Dry skin – failure to remove makeup can create a barrier that can block your beloved moisturizer from penetrating your skin, leaving the skin patchy and dry

To remove my makeup on a typical night, I use coconut oil and a facial tissue (literally melts the makeup right off of my face).  I also like to wash my face with Dr. Bronners Green Tea Castile Oil Soap or the Love Your Bare Face cleansing oil  from Julep its $28 so it is a bit pricey, if you are a Julep Maven you can get it cheaper when the secret store opens up. I also like to use my new obsession, Micellar Water to remove tough products like matte lipstick and kohl eye liner.

Sometimes it can be hard to get the energy to remove makeup, especially after a long night where partying may or may not have been involved *exit sarcasm*.  One habit that I try to maintain when I have a late night is to keep a box of baby wipes ( I don’t believe in makeup wipes) near my bed.  This way, even when I’m super tired I can quickly remove my makeup with a wipe so that I don’t do any damage to my skin or pillow cases!

What products do you use to remove your makeup?

 

 

Go Matte!!! But, Take Care of Your Lips

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I absolutely LOVE matte lipstick.  Many of you probably remember when I purchased 35 matte lipsticks back in January.  The madness hasn’t stopped with me purchasing matte lipstick, as I’ve recently jumped on the ColourPop Cosmetics bandwagon.  Their Ultra Matte Lippies are LIFE!!!  Even though I’m obsessed with matte lipstick, there is a downside to the wearing the chic and sassy product… Matte lippies can be damaging to your skin on the lips!!!

Regular lipstick typically has three main ingredients: wax, pigment and oil.  With matte lipstick the amount of wax and pigment is increased and the amount of oil is decreased which gives the lipstick that flat and dry look causing it to be matte.  The oil is what keeps your lips moisturized, so if the oil is decreased in the product it leaves our lips less moisturized and can cause the lips to be chapped, dry and many times sore due to cracking.

Its important to take care of your lips if you are an avid user of matte lipstick (ME!!!).  Since matte lipstick can leave your lips dry and cracked, moisturizing and exfoliating your lips regularly is vital.  When I use matte lipstick, there are three things that I make sure i do just about every night.

  1. Remove my lipstick with Micellar Water (some matte lip products are a bit harder to remove because of the lack of oil)
  2. Exfoliate my lips using a homemade mixture of honey and coconut palm sugar to remove the dry layer of skin on my lips (regular sugar is fine)
  3. Moisturize my lips using medicated lip balm or tea tree oil

Keeping this regimen has allowed my lips to stay soft and moisturized, but the moment I forget to do my routine, my lips go right back to feeling like sand paper!

Fortunately there are many matte lipstick collections that do not cause dry and chapped lips. These product have a bit more oil in them, allowing lips to maintain moisture  Here are a few that I like:

Remember, men don’t want to kiss a woman with sand paper lips…  So ladies, take care of whats under your lipstick!!!  What are some ways your keep your lips from feeling the effects of matte lipstick?

The Truth About Beauty Sleep

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  One major key in skin care and getting rid of puffy eyes is getting the right amount of sleep.  When we sleep, its like our body is pressing the reset button.  In order for your body to properly reset itself, its recommended that we get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night…  Seems impossible, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle like me.  Unfortunately, getting less than the suggested amount of sleep can take a toll on your appearance. Now, you can understand why its referred to as “beauty sleep”

There are many benefits to getting beauty rest:

  • Skin Renewal – Sleep gives our skin cells time to renew.  Every night when we are asleep, our  cells renew and rebuild.  Have you ever noticed how overnight pimples tend to come to a head?  This is due to cell renewal which allows our skin to push out toxins and assists with maintaining a clear complexion
  • Complexion – Sleep allows the body to boost blood flow.  This allows the skin to obtain a healthy glow.  The less sleep we get, the more likely we are to experience dull and lifeless skin
  • Healthier hair – Speaking of blood flow, it also plays a vital role in our hair. When we haven’t had enough sleep, our blood flow decreases. Hair obtains vitamins, minerals and nutrients from blood flow.  It’s almost like food for our hair.  The less food our hair gets, it is more likely to weaken making it extremely difficult for it to grow
  • Bright Eyes – Dull and puffy eyes can be attributed to many things, lack of sleep is one of them.  It’s pretty obvious that sleep allows our eyes to rest.  We are constantly blinking and straining our eyes, so it’s no wonder that they become puffy due to lack of rest.  It is also important to stay hydrated and sleep with an extra pillow for elevation which assists with reducing swelling.

Beauty sleep isn’t just some urban myth passed on from generation to generation.  Sleep is really much needed and is vital in our appearance.  For me, when I don’t get enough sleep my skin suffers majorly. How does lack of sleep affect your appearance?

Until next time…

Mario Badescu – Ceramide Eye Gel

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I never realized how important it is to care for the skin around our eyes.  A few years ago I was in Nordstrom buying a Clarisonic and I struck up a conversation with the sales associate about my skin care routine.  I told her what products I was using and she asked a question that stumped me.  “What do you use to care for your eyes?”  Never once had I ever considered caring for the skin around my eyes because I always thought that it was something I would do when I saw crows feet forming, or noticed puffiness around my eyes. Turns out, its never too early to start caring for the skin around our eyes.

The skin around our eyes is extremely delicate, and as we age the skin becomes thinner because of the breakdown of collagen.  The skin around our eyes can also become thinner due to smoking, sun exposure and other environmental factors.   The skin around our eyes has elasticity similar to a rubber band.  Just like a rubber band constant tugging and pulling cause the elasticity to break down.  Our eyes are moved 10,000 times a day by just blinking alone.  But think about how many times we rub our eyes during the day, smile, laugh, frown and make other facial expressions.  All of these effect the elasticity of the skin around our eyes, so its vital that we use some form of moisturizer, serum or gel that contain herbal extracts to keep the skin around our eyes looking picture perfect.

The Ceramide Eye Gel by Mario Badescu is packed with herbal extracts  and ceramides to help relieve tired and puffy eyes as well as keeping the elasticity of our our eyes in tact.  Its lightweight and greaseless so it won’t clog your pores.  One of my favorite ways to use it is to store it in the refrigerator as a way to refresh my eyes the morning after a long night.  You can find it at stores like Ulta, Nordstrom, Blue Mercury and Urban Outfitters for just $18!

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I’ve been using this product for about years now and I absolutely love it!  Try it out and let me know what you think.   What products are you using to care for the skin around your eyes?

 

Until next time lovies….

 

PiperWai

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I love my boss, she’s a fellow product junkie so she’s always hipping me to the new new and telling me what I should and should not buy.  A few months ago we were having our daily girl talk and she told me about an episode of Shark Tank that featured a natural deodorant called PiperWai  As soon as she told me about it I rolled my eyes because I have tried many many many different natural deodorants and NONE of them have worked.  I mean none of them have even worked for an hour.  Each time I have tried a  natural deodorant I’ve been left feeling extremely sweaty and smelling like…. well a dead skunk on a 100 degree day… NO BUENO.  Even after my boss told me about how the creators of PiperWai swore by their product I still didn’t believe her because all companies feel that their product is the absolute best.  A few months after she told me about it I developed a huge lump under my arm from the deodorant I used which ended up causing me to have a many other health issues, so I finally decided to try PiperWait and baybeeeeeee If this thang ain’t the TRUTH!!!

I did a little research on the product and saw that it was made from natural ingredients like cocoa butter, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil. Still a bit leery, I purchased the product in January but due to the popularity of their Shark Tank episode there was a 5 to 6 week wait for the product to be shipped.  I decided to order two of jars because if the product really worked I didn’t want to have to wait 5 to 6 weeks to have more delivered.  As soon as I got the alert that my package had been delivered I could not get to my mailbox fast enough.  I tried it for the first time and was almost immediately in love.  When you open the jar it looks a lot like play-dough; it’s soft and extremely smooth, the texture is kind of hard to explain.  To use it, you just take a small pea size pinch of the putty like substance and rub it under your arm.  The tiny pinch is just enough to cover your entire under arm area (one pinch for each arm).piper-wai

The whole entire first day I used PiperWai I kept smelling my arms to see if the deodorant was actually working.  I went a whole 12 hours and did not sweat nor did I have any type of armpit odor!  The fact that I had no odor at all was such a big deal to me.  This is because PiperWai contains ingredients that won’t allow bacteria to grow and thrive, which leads to fresh pits.  In my research on PiperWai, I learned that when we sweat under our arms it does not have an odor.  However, once bacteria reaches the sweat it causes that terrible foul odor like raw onions mixed with crushed garlic.  I also learned that the magnesium in PiperWai allows your body to block the offensiveness of sweat – isn’t science freaking amazing???

One of the things I love most about this product is that it does not clog your apocrine sweat glands like other antiperspirants.  Clogged apocrine glands can lead to large lumps forming under your arms which can be extremely painful and cause other health issues like various infections.  PiperWait is great for sensitive skin, it won’t cause any break outs or irritation to the skin. 

One jar of PiperWai is only $11.99 plus S&H.  $11.99 may seem a bit pricey but honestly its totally worth it because it will last for months! Right now there is a 2-4 week back order on it but its really worth the wait.  Try PiperWai today and tell me what you think!!!

 

My Back is Aching My Bra Too Tight!

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Ya’ll know I looooooooove YouTube. I get excited when any of my favorite subscribers post a new vlog or tutorial (see my favorite YouTubers here).   Recently Nitraa B did a video titled “All about Bras”). Definitely a must see for all women! She talked about caring for your bras, where to buy them, how to get measured and other topics related to bras.   Before watching the video I honestly thought Ummm I’ve been wearing a bra since I was 9 I’m pretty sure I know everything I need to know about them.” WRONG!!! Because I would soon find out that I along with 80% of the women in the US have been wearing the wrong size bra!

A few weeks ago at the suggestion of my mother and right after watching Nitraa B’s video, I went to get my bra size measured. For years I automatically assumed I was a 36 C. After going to my local Lane Bryant, I discovered that I couldn’t have been more wrong about my bra size. Boy I was off by quite a bit, because after working with the sales associate I found out that my size was…. WAIT FOR IT… A 42 DDD. Yep I had been wearing the wrong bra size for many many years.

After buying two VERY expensive bras my life changed.   My back pains that I was experiencing stopped, I don’t have any shoulder pain and my bras covered up my fat rolls in the back (just keeping it 100 with y’all) which made my clothes look a lot better.  I currently take a class that forces me to really look at how I present myself, and believe it or not under garments like bras and panties even came up in a class discussion.  As women, it is extremely important that we take time to educate ourselves on our clothing whether its visible or not. Studies show that women that wear the wrong bra can subject themselves to experiencing many health issues such as: deformed breast shape, bad posture, scars on the skin, blocked lymph nodes  and many other issues.

I highly suggest that each of you take the time to get fitted for the right bra. Your breast size is probably a lot bigger than what you actually think they are. Just look at what happened to me, I was off by 2 cup sizes and let’s not get started on how off I was with the band size SMH!  Getting fitted not only made me look better, but it also made me feel better about myself.

While bras are definitely an investment, I understand that for some, spending $80 on a bra is just not feasible , so here are a few helpful tips for after you get measured:

  • Don’t feel obligated to buy a bra from the same place you get measured, take your measurements to another store that is in your price range
  • Keep an eye out for sales, stores like Victoria’s Secret and Fredericks of Hollywood always have some kind of deal going on. February is always a good time to buy bras because of Valentines Day! Mark your calendar for semi annual sales at these stores as well
  • These days, there are all kinds of discount sites that offer inexpensive intimate apparel. Off Duty Intimates is an excellent site that offers bras that start at just $4.99 and they beyond a D cup!
  • Check out Groupon and No More Rack, you will certainly be surprised at what you find here

Oh, and I also understand how intimidating it can be to show your body to a complete stranger, so if you are uncomfortable with getting measured by a professional you can do it yourself using these instructions from Real Simple

Have you gotten measured and found out you were wearing the wrong size?  I’d love to hear about your experience!

 

Let’s Get Personal: Busy Girls Guide to Life…

Lately I find myself being busier than ever.  I work, I blog, I take classes, I volunteer, I have church and of course I have my social life.  At first,  I was extremely overwhelmed and couldn’t figure out how I could do everything in a 24 hour period.  I was a wreck, I was staying up until 1am every night and having to be back up at 5am.  The phrase “sleep deprived” was an understatement.  Then I developed a plan I like to call “The Busy Girls Guide to Life”.  Here are my tips for conquering my busy schedule without being overwhelmed.

Food
Being busy initially had me eating out nearly every day and night,  and that was costing me $200 a month or more.  I had to nip that in the bud ASAP!
  • Meal Plan
    • Choose a specific day of the week to go grocery shopping.  I grocery shop early on Saturday mornings so that I can avoid the craziness that occurs midday
    • Pick another day of the week to prep your meals.  I prep my meals on Sunday evenings.  I pick two dishes to eat on for the whole week and separate them into small containers so that I can just grab food and go!
    • Keep snacks in your purse so that you are not stopping and making unhealthy choices on the go 
    • Pack your lunch at night so that you are ready to go in the morning 
Homework
I take my homework with me wherever I go.  Recently I was in the emergency room for an abscess on my arm.  While in the waiting room and while waiting for the doctor I did my homework for the week.  You may not have to go to the ER this week, but chances are you probably have to run errands like getting an oil change, a pedicure or even waiting for your kids to finish at their sports practice. Take advantage of your time and kill two birds with one stone.
Clothes
Make a mental note each day of what you plan to wear the next day.  When you get home, lay out each article of clothing so that you plan to wear so that in the morning you can just shower and not have to spend time thinking about what you should wear.
Household Chores
Now this one is going to sound a bit pretentious.  But, if you are like me you barely have time to do simple things like clean your home.  So, hire a cleaning professional.   This does not have to be a huge expense.  Download the Handy app, to find local cleaning professionals that will be willing to clean your home for an extremely low price.  If you still dont think you can work hiring a cleaning professional into your budget, then dedicate one day each week to just clean your home.  You can’t function properly if your home isn’t in order.
Plan Plan Plan
I am a huge planner.  I write everything down that I have to do daily, weekly and monthly.  This way I’m never double booked.  The days of me attempting to attend multiple events in one day because I’ve overbooked myself are now over.  Many people like to add things to their calendar on their phone, but I like to see things written on paper.  Thats where my Erin Condren Life Planner comes into play.  My Life Planner allows me to keep my life organized and was an excellent investment. If you would like to order one, I have a special $10 off your first order deal just for you! Click this link to get $10 off of your first order  https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/jenniferhenderson0519  
If you can’t afford a Life Planner right now, go to your local TJ Maxx, Marshalls or Home Goods and purchase a journal for $4.99 thats another excellent tool to use to write your to do lists and be sure to scratch off each task that you ha
you’ve completed.
Social Life
My social life can be overwhelming sometimes, only because I tend to bite off more than I can chew. So my one piece of advice for your social life would be to learn to say no.  You DO NOT have to attend every social event.  If you do this, you will burn yourself out. So just pace yourself.
Health
Take a little time each day to workout.  Even if its only 15 minutes of doing crunches, working out is an excellent way to restore your energy and to stay happy.  
Personal Time
Take one day out of the month for your reset day.  A reset day is a day where you just chill out.  Sleep until noon, catch up on all of those shows on your DVR.  Just relax!  Being busy can take a toll on your body and your mind.  In order to maintain your busy lifestyle without burning yourself out requires you to take time out for yourself.
Last but not least… Quiet Time
I pray daily.  I like to take time each day to thank God for all of the blessings that he has bestowed upon me. Because I truly believe and know that without him none of the things that are going on in my life would be possible without him.  You may not pray, but take some time to meditate and sit in total silence.  You would be surprised at how fulfilling prayer and meditation can be.  You’ll experience a sense of peace over you that will guide you for many days to come.
Until next time lovies!!!

Her Name Was Lola…

Recently I watched a Youtube video from one of my FAVORITE YouTubers Vicky Logan.  She was going over her favorite products for the month of October, and one of the products she talked about was Lola.  Lola is a feminine product subscription service that delivers organic tampons.   Ok I know, you’re probably like what is an organic tampon???  Well… organic tampons are tampons that have not been treated with any chemicals like bleach.  They are made up of pure products that will not harm our bodies.   At first I thought…  “Hmmm this sounds like a ploy to get people to buy things they don’t need”.  But, after doing my research I realized bleach cotton does not sound very safe AT ALL!!!

I went to www.organiccotton.organd I was astonished at what I saw.  Bleached cotton can contain many chemicals that could be extremely dangerous.  Just take a look below:

Bleached cotton products have been known to contain:

  • ·         Heavy metals
  • ·         Formaldehyde
  • ·         Azo dyes
  • ·         Benzidine
  • ·         Chlorine bleach

If we wouldn’t want to consume these chemicals, why on earth would a woman want to insert these chemicals into her private areas?   After further research I found out even more disturbing information.

Using bleached cotton is suspected to cause:

·     
  •     Allergies
  • · Cancer
  • · Eczema

It also would not surprise me if there were more side effects that could be caused from using bleached cotton.
As you all know from my Instagram page and here, I have begun to develop a more organic lifestyle when it comes to the products I use in my home and the foods I consume.  Slowly I have started to transition from using chemicals and genetically modified items to using more natural products that have ingredients I know how to pronounce. This includes, feminine products, toilet paper, laundry detergent and skin care products.
The Lola brand offers safe organic feminine products for only $9 a month. They even have deal right now where you can get your first two boxes shipped together for only $9 and shipping is always free. 
For me the subscription service alone is perfect for someone like me.  I’m always super busy and I always seem to have to stop to get my products at the most inconvenient times.  Knowing that they will be in my mailbox right when I need them is perfect, and the fact that they are organic is an added bonus!  Think of it like Netflix for feminine care.  In fact I ditched my Netflix subscription just so that I could fit Lola into my budget.  Its more of a necessity for me than unlimited movies anyway!

I haven’t had a chance to try Lola yet, my first two boxes just arrived yesterday.  However, as soon as I try them out I will give a full review on what I think!
Until next time lovies!!!

Skin Care Routine Using Items You Already Have At Home… And Some You Don’t

Sometimes when I ask people about their skin care routine, they tell me they don’t have one because they can’t afford one.  Now that my friends is what is called… a load of poo!  A skin care routine definitely does not have to be expensive.  In fact, there are many drug store products that can be used annnnnnnnnnnnnnd there are also many products you already have at home that can be used in your skin care routine as well!  

Here are my tips for an inexpensive skin care routine:

1. Cleansing 

I like to use Noxema Classic Clean.  Its really inexpensive and it works great.  A standard jar can last at least two months.  You can purchase Noxema at any drug store and sometimes you can find it at any drug store and many grocery stores carry it too.  It usually runs for about $4.

2. Exfoliating

Baking Soda is an excellent exfoliator.  Its inexpensive and usually everyone already has it in their home.  Just take a few teaspoons and rub it on your damp skin.  the coarseness of the baking soda will gently give your skin a deep clean removing all dirt and oil from your skin. Baking soda can be purchased starting at $0.75 you can’t beat that!



3. Toning

Apple Cider Vinegar is like a magical potion that was sent down from heaven to cure all ailments and enhance our beauty.  ACV can be used to replace many beauty products.  ACV can even be used to tone your skin and set it back to its PH after cleasning and exfoliating. Just pour a little on a cotton ball and rub all over.  Since ACV is potent, you may want to dilute it with a little water first so that its not too harsh on your skin.  ACV can be purchased at any grocery store.  I prefer unfiltered ACV because its organic.  That usually runs about $3  or $4 but it lasts for months. 


4. Moisturizing

Now this one should be no surprise to you guys because you know I loooooooooooooooooooooove Coconut Oil.  Coconut oil can be used for pretty much anything.  Cooking, hair care, relationship issues… Coconut oil is the cure for everything.  Take a fingerfull of coconut oil and rub it on your hands and BAM you have a good skin moisturizer to end your skin care routine.  Coconut oil is probably the most expensive product on this list because it runs anywhere between $6 and $20.  Sometime you can go to stores like Marshalls and TJMaxx and find it on the clearance aisle.



Voila!!! You just got a whole skin care routine for under $20!  So get rid of the idea that you can’t afford a skin care routine because you can!

Until next time lovies…