Battle of the Blenders

There is an ongoing talk about what is a better blending product to use for makeup.  We all probably know what is more popular (Beauty Blender), it is even a six times “Best of Beauty” award winning makeup product!  

However, we also know that the Beauty Blender is roughly twenty dollars each!  With all the hype, who wouldn’t choose the magical Beauty Blender?  

Then, we have an affordable product that is $7.99 and that my friends is the wonderful Real Techniques Sponge.

Which one do I use and why? Continue reading Battle of the Blenders

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Am I Wasting My Time Living Through the TWA Phase?

What is a TWA?

For those of you who don’t know, TWA stands for “Teeny Weeny Afro.” It normally describes natural hair that is about ½ to 1-inch long, typically describing the post “big chop” style. This is normally the most annoying stage for most naturals because you can’t really do anything with it. It’s kind of just there. But that doesn’t mean it’s pointless or as plain as it sounds.

The biggest question that I’ve gotten would have to be, “how long does the TWA stage last?” Honestly, there’s no set time frame on how long you’ll have to withstand the TWA, but you can definitely have some fun with it! The most common time frame for TWA’s is anywhere from 1-2 years, maybe. I know that sounds like forever, but it goes by faster than you think. And when you’re dealing with the dreaded shrinkage, it may feel like you’re still in the TWA phase when in fact your shrinkage doesn’t reflect your hair’s true length.

The TWA phase can be a tedious one. Your hair is just starting to come into its own, and as it’s adapting, your hair continues to grow, your curl pattern can change as well, and sometimes that can mean different struggles and new findings when it comes to styling your new TWA. Some do absolutely nothing and just let their hair do its thing, some try their hand at a two-strand twist-out.

I know exactly what that feels like. For the first year or so of my TWA, I didn’t know what to do. I had previously become so used to styling my hair on an everyday basis, so when this came along I didn’t know how to not style it. I couldn’t style it! I barely had two inches of hair. That didn’t stop me from trying though.

My advice to anyone thinking of big chopping, or maybe you already have, just have fun. Don’t grow accustomed to one look or one curl pattern, because believe me, you’ll get used to seeing and styling a certain texture or curl pattern and then you’ll wake up one day with something completely different. A new struggle. Don’t let this discourage you because it can be a lot of fun…it IS a lot of fun. But it takes your patience to new levels for sure.

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Curly Hair 101: How to Tell the Health of Your Natural Hair

As curly girls, we know the amount of time that goes into maintaining and growing our natural hair. But are we taking care of our coils as best as possible, or are we doing the bare minimum because we know how tedious #WashDay can be? Check out the four indicators of healthy natural hair, and I promise you’ll never skip a deep conditioning treatment again!

1. Shrinkage

Your hair’s ability to draw itself in or “shrink up” as we call it, shows just how healthy your curls are. Seeing as though it hides our true length, shrinkage has proven to be one of the most annoying things for curly girls. But don’t worry too much, textured hair that shrinks up proves that your hair is at its strongest and most moisturized. Help to ensure the continued health of your hair with a weekly deep conditioning treatment to seal in moisture!

2. Elasticity

Elasticity or the “stretch” in our curls is closely related to the keratin in our hair. Think of healthy natural hair as a brand new scrunchie or rubber band; you can pull it as far as it will go and it still bounces back into its original position. On the contrary, unhealthy coils tend to be and look more lifeless, break easily, and struggle to spring back, if they do at all. Want to see if your curls can withstand the test? Gently tug on a strand or two. Do they bounce back into formation, break off, or struggle to get that curl back?

3. Shine

Shiny hair is normally hair that has a lower porosity and easily retains moisture. Healthy natural hair will shine without the help of oils and sprays because the shine comes from within. The next time you have the dreaded #WashDay, put your hair to the test by taking a curl and patting it dry (with a t-shirt or microfiber towel of course). Is it dull and lifeless, or springy and full of shine?

4. Fullness

The true fullness and thickness of natural hair can sometimes be a little hard to see, being that every curl is different and we tend to use so many different products, which can manipulate the look of volume in our hair. For example, certain cream based products can wear the hair down, making it look thinner. Naturally, fuller hair tends to “clump” together when it is combed or brushed. The best way to determine the fullness (or lack thereof) of your natural hair is to look at it in it’s natural, product-free, unaltered state.

How do you maintain the health of YOUR hair?

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Valentine’s Day Inspired Makeup

Hello, fellow readers! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I wanted to give you all some idea and inspiration on how to wear your makeup this weekend!

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The makeup look I chose to create is very simple, and can be done with little to no expertise.

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I used e.l.f Primer, shimmery pink, blue, and white eyeshadow, Maybelline Eye Studio eyeliner, Clinique Acne Solutions foundation, Miss Manga mascara, and a simple red lipstick by L’Oreal.

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I added the adhesive jewels for fun. If you would prefer to use heart shaped jewels to go with the Valentine’s day theme, go for it!

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Below are a few images that you can draw ideas from!

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All of these designs are perfect for a night out, a simple Valentine’s Day party, or just something to try for fun! Which makeup design was your favorite??

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“New Year, New look” Evolve Your Style!

Every year universal trends and styles are either discarded, recycled or evolved. These fashion trends are incorporated into our personal style, meaning the way we express our individuality changes in time as well.  I have found that one thing that truly gets me excited for the new year is shopping! Splurging on new items to add to your wardrobe at the beginning of the year kick-starts your “New Year, New Me” look. I’m sure that I share that same excitement of coming back from break owning a new hand bag or pair of shoes with a lot of women. Here is what I suggest:

Do research! This is made fun by hundreds of different fashion bloggers or “vloggers” on the internet who have created very specific “lookbooks” to showcase outfit ideas. Just find a favorite youtuber who shares your taste in clothing. Also look for trends that are on the rise. I have noticed that metallic materials are starting to be used a lot more in unconventional ways. Take the iconic rose gold for example as it has been seen in phones, shoes and even sticker tattoos.

Step out of your comfort zone! Getting away from what you are used to is always a great way to grow and that can be applied to many area in life. What is the one thing you were too shy to wear in public? For me that was heels so I opted for Chelsea Boots. These boots are perfectly cute to style with a winter wardrobe and usually have a subtle 1 or 2 inch heel.

Image Via wheretoget.it
Image Via wheretoget.it

Step it up! Maybe you have a clothing item that is forever ingrained in your personal style like oversized sweaters or jeans. Make some tweaks in your style by changing details in these items. Blue jeans can turn to distressed jeans and oversized sweaters can turn to low-rise sweaters. Also, now is a good time to consider buying that watch you have been eyeing for months to a year.

Restock! Make sure that you have all of your clothing essentials to start the year off right. You would be surprised how much matching underwear and pajama sets can boost your confidence. Do you have enough basic long-sleeve shirts? Or maybe you wore out your sweat suits? This is why I accept socks as Christmas presents.

Make-up! Make-up trends are just as prevalent as fashion trends and the same steps apply if you are wanting to step up your make-up routine. Subscribe to youtubers that post bomb make-up tutorials. Don’t be afraid to ask employees at Sephora or Ulta for pointers. Amp up your look by trying different techniques than you are used to and decide if you are ready to splurge on high-end products.

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Youtuber Raven Elyse

I hope that I have encouraged you to “glo up” for 2016! Here are a list of my favorite fashion and shopping websites for great looks and deals.


Some of my favorite places to shop:

asos.com

shoptagr.com

fashionnova.com

Here is a list of my favorite “Beauty Gurus” of color on youtube:

Jayla Koriyan

Raven Elyse 

Nicole Guerriero 

Tasha Green 

Erica Fae 

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Homemade Holiday Facial Scrubs

I have oily, acne-prone skin and I am not alone. Exfoliating works wonders for those of us with problem skin by removing dead skin cells and other impurities. Simply exfoliating with a facial scrub once in the morning and once at night helps me maintain radiant and healthy looking skin throughout the day. There is a lot to benefit from when you follow a face cleansing routine. There are many pricey manufactured products meant to exfoliate your skin but contain mysterious and often harsh ingredients that can dry out the skin or damage it, defeating its intended purpose. Luckily we can all avoid that by making our own face scrubs at home. They are inexpensive and made with natural ingredients that will nourish your beautiful complexion. They also would make a thoughtful gift. If your skin is in need of a fix after a stressful week of exams, before the festivities begin, try out these holiday exfoliating face scrubs below:

Cinnamon & Nutmeg Face Scrub

 DIY-Cinnamon-and-Nutmeg-Face-Scrub-via-missysue

Image by Missy Sue [http://missysue.com/2014/03/cinnamon-and-nutmeg-face-scrub-2/]

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon of honey

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Gently massage the scrub onto your face.
  3. Keep the mask on for 10 minutes (it can stay on longer if needed).
  4. Rinse the mask off with water while exfoliating the skin with your fingers.
  5. Repeat 2-3 times a week for best results.

How each ingredient helps:

Honey: Prevents dry skin.

Cinnamon: Prevents blemishes and leaves you glowing.

Nutmeg: Reduces blemishes while exfoliating the skin and removing blackheads.

 

Chocolate Sugar Face Scrub

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Image Via [http://homemadeforelle.com/10-simple-exfoliating-face-scrubs/]

Ingredients:

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup olive oil

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Lather generously onto clean face.
  3. Rub gently into the skin for 60 seconds.
  4. Allow to set on skin for 10 minutes, if desired.
  5. Rinse clean with warm water.

How each ingredient helps:

Olive Oil: Protects the skin against premature ageing and doesn’t clog the pores.

Cocoa Powder: Repairs skin cells.

Vanilla Extract: Its antibacterial properties cleanse your skin and makes it oil and dirt free.

Brown Sugar: Softer than regular sugars but strong enough to scrub away dead skin cells.

             

Pomegranate Beauty Scrub

pomagranate scrub

Image Via [http://www.homeremedyshop.com/30-amazing-diy-homemade-facial-scrubs/]

 Ingredients:

2 Tbsp melted coconut oil or extra virgin organic olive oil

2 Tbsp coconut or turbinado sugar

2 Tbsp pure honey

1 Tbsp ground pomegranate seeds (use food processor or blender)

1 tsp very finely grated organic orange peel (zest)

1 tsp rose water

Optional ingredient: 2 tsp organic cocoa powder

  1. Peel the pomegranate in the sink, in a big bowl and run cold water as you extract the seeds.
  2. Strain and rinse.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  4. Apply the mixture while in the shower
  5. Gently massage the scrub into your skin.
  6. Continue your shower and rinse with warm water.

How each ingredient helps:

Pomegranate: Hydrates to the skin and fights acne inflammation.

Rose Water: Naturally tones your skin.

Orange Peel: Contains Vitamin C that makes your skin look radiant.

Fun Tip: You can also save a few drops of the pomegranate juice to mix with a bit of coconut oil or olive oil to make a lip stain which can also be applied with a Q-tip or can also be used as a cheek stain. (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/homemade-pomegranate-beauty-scrub.html)

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Makeup Free Week

Happy Monday! Are you up for a challenge?

You should try and go makeup free for the entire week! Here’s 5 reasons why you should take this awesome challenge:

1) It will save you time
Normally, doing makeup in the morning can take thirty minutes to an hour or longer before you go to work or run out to do your errands. Why not spend that extra thirty minutes or hour getting a little more sleep or eating breakfast!

2) It will allow your natural beauty to showmakeup 2
By wearing makeup, your natural beauty is hidden under your cosmetics. Instead of wearing makeup, let the world see your natural rosy cheeks, your long eyelashes, and even show off your freckles! Being natural is beautiful.

3) This will give you younger looking and healthier
Some makeup clogs your pores and makes it difficult for your skin to keep its PH balance. If you have sensitive skin, makeup can actually make you get acne. Letting your face breathe and take a break for a week from makeup can leave your skin glowing and look brighter than ever!

4) It can save you money
Imagine not buying any lipstick, mascara, blush, or even foundation for a week or two. Over time that can save you a lot more money which you could invest in other items or activities. Maybe reduce buying makeup to twice every couple of weeks and little by little try to spend less on your makeup collection!

5) It will send a positive message
If you have a daughter or younger girl that looks up to you, seeing yo u go makeup free for a week is a positive outlook. She will see you being natural while still looking good without makeup and maybe follow in your same footsteps.

There’s nothing wrong with wearing makeup! Wearing it from time to time can actually make you feel prettier and maybe even a bit classier. Just remember to love your natural beauty as well as your beautiful made up face!

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Naturalistas You Should Know: My Natural Sistas

Do you want to learn how to grow long, thick, and healthy natural hair? Are you tirelessly searching for some natural hair inspiration? Well, My Natural Sistas can help you out!

My Natural Sistas consists of 3 biological sisters, Carmen, Toni, and India, who have become YouTube sensations because of their gorgeous natural hair, amazing beauty and makeup tips, helpful product reviews, and so much more.

These sisters are excellent role models for thousands of natural girls and women who interact with the sisters through Facebook, Tumblr, and of course, YouTube.

There are numerous reasons why you should know, follow, and love this trio. What are some of these reasons, you ask? Well number one, their hair is definitely #hairgoals and will surely give you sooo much LIFE!

Number two, these beautiful women aim to motivate, inspire, educate, and spread love not only within the natural hair community, but among women in general, which is awesome!

Number three, the videos posted by My Natural Sistas will help you out in almost any area of your life. They discuss numerous topics such as natural hair, health, fashion, fitness, beauty, and even love.

Don’t know what style to wear your hair, check out their videos showcasing up do and afro hairstyles. Want to learn how you can improve and simplify your makeup routine, check out their numerous makeup tutorial videos.

These girls are the go to natural sisters! Not only are they all gorgeous ladies, but they are also super sweet and caring towards their fans and girls and women everywhere who look up to them.

My Natural Sistas encourages natural women everywhere to WORK their natural hair! So embrace your curls and kinks ladies and keep your heads up high.

If you want to check out and subscribe to My Natural Sistas YouTube channel to stay updated with all of their amazing tips, you can do so here.

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Fingernail Polish Review

I love to paint my nails. I usually listen to music while painting them because it relaxes me and keeps me calm. For this reason, I do this task at the end of the day. Although it seems to be easy, painting your nails can be frustrating, especially if the nail polish will not do right or it just does not come out the way you want it to. My biggest problem is that I will get my nails perfectly done, and then I start doing something else instead of letting them dry and mess them up. I have had to learn the hard way of allowing my nails to dry for an hour without doing anything but listening to music. However, I have also learned that it is not always my fault when my nails do not come out right, sometimes it’s the nail polish. Therefore, I have tried so many different polishes to try to see what I like the best. Here is a review on a few brands that I have tried.

Claire’s Cosmetics. I have the hot pink and dark green with glitter in it. I really like this brand because it dries fast and comes out really nice and smooth.

Finger Paints. I have only tried the lime green. It has a really smooth finish without using a clear coat.

Salon Perfect. I do not really care for this brand. The white does not go on nice. The Purple is really pretty, but does not last long and peels easily. I like the shine that the clear top coat leaves, but it peels right off leaving a matte look.

Rue 21. I love this brand. The polish goes on smooth and glossy.

Pure Ice. I like to use this brand as a coat on top of another brand. It is too transparent by itself.

Nail Lacquer. I do not like it at all. It is very gooey and peels right of after it dries.

Avon Nail Wear Pro. It only lasts a day, not even a full 24 hours. It is nice when it is first applied.

New York & Company. It is very thin but goes on well.

Parisian. This is not a good quality of nail polish. It is very gooey and sticky.

When I want my nails really decorated, I use nail stickers. I prefer Claire’s Cosmetic brand. They are really easy to put on. They last for at least a week.

Sometimes removing fingernail polish can be a challenge. I use 100% Acetone, and it comes right off. I also like Claire’s Cosmetics nail polish remover pads.

Other tips…

  1. Paint one hand at a time. Allow one hand to fully dry before painting the other. If you don’t, there is a strong possibility that you will mess up the first hand.
  2. Use a top clear coat. This will leave you with a smooth finish and your nails will last longer.
  3. Paint in thin layers. Use thinner coats rather than thicker ones for a better result.

What is your favorite brand of nail polish? Which colors work best for you?

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Stop Biting Your Nails!

If there is one feeling that sucks a lot when it comes to dealing with natural hair, one that I know too well is the feeling of your hair snagging in your nails. As an ex-chronic nail biter, my hair strands would always get caught in my scraggly nails and sometimes it would hurt. If I knew how much of hair broke due to my horrid nail-biting habit, I would probably pass out!

For all my nail bitters, I know that quitting can be a gruesome task that is easier said than done. However, if you are truly committed to taking care of your hair, you are going to have to figure our a way to stop biting your nails!  When I decided I wanted to stop biting my nails, I made an effort to start doing my nails on a weekly basis. I would keep them nice and manicured because seeing them nice diverted me from biting them. I also started drinking a lot of water and rubbing coconut oil on my cuticles. I also carried gum in my bag so if I was ever tempted to bite my nails, I’d chew on it instead!

There are a variety of other things you can also do such as using an anti-biting nail polish or finding hobbies to keep your hands busy but I knew that my nail biting was linked to my nerves and stress. With that realization, I was able to train myself to do other things so I was no longer triggered to biting my nails. Finding out what triggers your nail biting will help you greatly as you fight to stop biting your nails. Your nails will look good and your hair will thank you!

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