Face Mask? Best secret beauty trick!  

I want to talk about one of my favorite beauty tricks that while I don’t mind disclosing I don’t really talk about it often and I don’t think many others either know about it or talk about it.  It is my favorite trick for getting that super smooth foundation finish.

Most people don’t want to talk about those baby hairs we have all over our face.  Some have more/ longer/ thicker than others but we all have them. I’ve only had one makeup educator bring up facial hair removal and I think more people need to be open about it.

I remove ALL the hair from my face, except eyelashes and eyebrows.  I picked this habit up from a childhood friend that is a cosmetologist and when we meet up years after high school she told me that she gets her entire face waxed.  I did the same thing you are probably doing right now.  I was stunned and made her repeat it a couple times, yes the whole face.

So she planted the seed in my head and I just couldn’t get it out,  so I scheduled my appointment and had my entire face waxed.

I got so many compliments the next day at work about how great my makeup looked,  that I looked like a photoshopped ad because all those baby hairs where no longer in my foundation!  I was hooked!

Shortly after that I got a prescription for Retin-A and one of the no-no’s for Retin-A is getting waxed so I had to find a new solution for those pesky blonde baby hairs all over my face.

First I tried treading but that really hurt and when it was over I still had lots of the short baby hairs left and I was not satisfied.  So then I switched to depilatory creams. First I used the Olay one and then I found out I preferred the CVS brand version, it’s less irritating to my skin.


It is about $23 a box, I get at least two full uses out of each box, and I can usually find them buy one get one half off which cuts down on cost as well.

This is how it goes; of course follow the instructions on the box.  You apply the protective balm stick all over your face and rub it in. Then I put a fairly thick layer of cream all over avoiding the eyebrows and areas where my lashes can reach.  Make sure to do weird spots like the end of your nose, and run it slightly under your chin and jaw line.  The first time I didn’t run it under the jaw and with all the baby hairs gone on the face the hairs under my jaw line looked a little too beard like.  I leave mine on for 15 minutes even though the box says 10.  This is how my skin looks immediately after removing the cream with a wet washcloth so you can see that it’s not very red or irritated.


If you try this out you will be amazing the next day when you put your foundation on how smooth your skin looks.
I hope you enjoyed my secret beauty tip!

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Lash Perm

So I have very long, but straight lashes. Years ago I turned to getting my lashes permed, this is a services you can get at several types of salons or lash experts. My biggest issue was finding some one that I like the way they did it, consistently being able to get into that person, & finding a decent price.  That is the biggest downfall is that I felt like there was such a wide range in pricing between the different salons and they are all offering the exact same service.

After watching several videos and having it performed on me dozens of times I gave up and decided this was something I can do myself at home.  This is something you want to be VERY careful with,  also if it’s the first time you are getting your lashes permed I would not do it yourself.  I did this with extreme care and lots of research.  In the photos below I used half the cotton rod & half the silicon roll so you could see both and that there are different ways.  Both the cotton & silicon come in multiple sizes for different length lashes and different types of curl.

These are the steps your professional will follow.  The instructions on the box tell you the information but the basics are first you glue the rod to your eyelid,  then the important part: you slowly and carefully glue the lashes (with the glue provided in the kit) up to the rod.  You want EVERY SINGLE lash glued firmly to the rod, and it the direction and order you want your lashes to look.  Any strange direction your lashes are glued in could result in that shape for the length of which your lashes stay permed.  Then you apply the perming lotion, and yes it smells just like a hair perm.  The box says to leave on 10-15 minutes, I did that and found that the thickness of my lashes required at least 20 min but I did try 15 min first to make sure I didn’t cause damage and then slowly added time to figure out my happy spot.  Then you wipe ALL of that solution off with q-tips and cotton pads before applying the setting solution.  You leave this solution on for the same length of time as the first solution.  Then when you wipe all of that off you will use the conditioning solution on a q-tip to slowly wipe over all the lashes and work them free from the glue.  Then after you lift the rod off from your eyelid you will be ready. You should avoid water & steam for 48 hours to insure that your perm curl holds.  As you know from my lash extension post that your lashes naturally shed and once they shed you will need to perform this again.  I find this typically last 2-3 months before I want to touch up.

I ordered my supplies on Amazon, make sure to read the reviews before buying.

You can also get your lashes dyed and then you don’t need to do anything with your lashes in the morning.  But I found the one time I got my lashes died that I ended up using mascara anyways because I wanted that extra volume, so save your money on that one.

Undereye Filler – Restylane

For years I have battled what I thought was under-eye puffiness.  I know I have posted several blogs about what I use to get the best result with what I was genetically given, but I still was not happy.

I had been to several cosmetic counters both low to high end searching for the miracle cream that would make me look rested.  Every consultant would look defeated and give me something that might help but none were ever convinced that it would work.
Then I consulted my dermatologist, maybe she had something that would work…. But I got the same defeated look.  Her best advice was to seek a plastic surgeon that does fillers, because surgery and fillers where my best option.
I went home and did a lot of online research and quickly discover while I hated the puffiness I was not yet prepared for the surgery solution, I watched the video and OUCH; it is just not worth it to me yet.
So I scheduled an appointment at a local plastic surgeons medi spa that came highly recommended for injections.
Here are a scattering of photos.  I don’t have any really good before photos because quite frankly I would always edited or deleted most photos that showed what it really looked like.  Day of photos have no makeup to speak of since I knew I was getting the procedure done.
Before:

Day Of Before

The day of and a few days before its best not to take any fish oil or pain reliever because they can increase the chances of bruising. At the appointment they had me lay back and smoothed on a numbing cream that they then waited 10-15 minutes to let it work.  Then she injected the Restylane with a very small insulin size needle.  Slowly injecting and rubbing the areas.  She would periodically stop and show me the progression with a mirror.  I was informed that I had one month that after the swelling went down and we could see the results to come back and use the rest of my syringe, since you pay for a whole one regardless if you use the whole thing.
Day of Right After

Morning After

2 Days After

6 Days Later

10 Days After

The day after and two days after there was a lot of swelling from the multiple injection points.

 
As you can see in my Day 10 photo the first application did not smooth out as they thought so I made a follow up appointment.  The follow up was scheduled 20 days after the original procedure, you want to make sure all the swelling is down before going to a follow up, I went well after the swelling was down mainly because of scheduling.
 
Honestly at 16 days post original procedure I was not thrilled with the results, I thought I was over filled.  You can see a raised area where the hollow use to be and it does not smoothly blend with either side.  I’m was hoping they can adjust it at my 20 day follow up.  And if not hopefully as it fades I will be happier.  
 
At my 20 day follow up I did need to use the rest of my unit.  But again I had to get through the process of swelling. Swelling was not as bad this time since there were less injection points.  Turns out I was not over filled I just needed filler added on both sides of the original trough to bridge the areas.  I am fairly happy with the results, I think they only thing keeping me from loving it is the fact that I probably needed more than just the one unit.  I think if in a few months I do an early refresher I will be loving it.  
Day of second procedure before injections

Day of second procedure after injections
Day after second procedure
1 week after second procedure
 
2 months past first procedure, 5 weeks after second procedure 
As always when that time comes I will update this post with new information.

5/31/15 Update:

In April a full six months after my initial injections I went in for a touch up,  I was by no means back to the original but I was noticing the crevice slightly again and went in with the hopes of not having to have as much done, just to keep a nice maintaining. 

I asked if there was anything with longer results and the suggested I might be a good candidate for Juvederm ultra. So we gave it a try and the immediate results looked great,  however it went way south.  Juvederm attracts fluid from your body and in my results, which varies between everyone greatly, it attracted A LOT of fluid.  3 weeks after the injections I had to have them partial dissolved and then injected with Restylan Silk to even everything out.  There were really great and did everything at no charge and everything looks great now.  The Juvederm wasn’t horrid looking but it  was not what I had spent my money to look like. 

My Lash Extensions

So I finally got my first set of lash extensions a little while back.  I’ve waited to write this review until I gave them a full run and the very last lash is gone.  While I had my lashes on I went and got trained on how to apply them professionally so I am now better informed.
You should arrive with no mascara or eyeliner on!  Individual lash extensions** are applied/glued to your actual lash. You want your lash to be as clean as possible so that the glue can adhere properly and give you the longest wear.  The lash artist should apply a protein remover to your lashes to break down any old residue before beginning the application process. They will also apply a pad or tape to your lower lashes to hold them down and help with keeping them from getting any glue on them. Lashes come in a large variety of types, widths, materials, and curls.  Lash extensions should only be slightly longer than your natural lash to give a realistic look.  I asked for a slightly more dramatic set since I normally wear false lashes anyways.
The process for a full set will take approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  So wear comfortable clothes and bring your relaxation.  You will most likely be lying down on your back with your eyes shut so feel free to fall asleep and enjoy.
Here is my Before/After of what the artist applied to me:

The better care you take of your lashes the longer they will last you.  My artist provided me with a spoolie to brush them every morning.  Yes they will twist and turn while you sleep, especially the first night. I actually found that the spoolie tugged on them a bit so I used my metal lash comb and that worked great! Sonia Kashuk at Target has a great one.

You do not want to get the lashes wet for the first 24-48 hours or however long your artist instructs you, each glue has a different set time so please be sure to ask. Avoid any action the causes friction or tugging on the lashes.  This is why most say that you should not wear mascara, in most cases the mascara does not cause any problems but when you go to try and remove your mascara is what will cause issues.

Lash extensions are considered semi permanent because while the lash is glued to your eyelash with a permanent glue, you naturally shed eyelashes around a 3 month cycle.   This is why some people will have a longer lasting set than others, everyone has a different lash cycle.

My lashes looked great for the first 4-6 weeks before I started to get fairly patchy, and it was about 3 months before the last lash came off.

While I loved the look my lash extensions gave me I found eyeshadow and especially eyeliner application to be more difficult.  My natural lashes lie flat down, which means they are not in my path with applying eye makeup.  The lash extensions however came curving up gloriously and created a little barrier that I tried to work around because I tried to apply my shadow and liner without touching the lashes to minimize friction.  This created quite a process for me, probably more challenging for me than most because of what I am use to.  I also found that the shadow landed on top of the lashes giving them a dirty look that I then felt the need to clean off, again impossible to do without feel like I was tugging.

Would I do it again…. yes but only during special seasons or occasions lasting longer than a week.  Probably around the holidays I might invest in a set again.  Any events less than a week in duration and I will either apply my clusters or strip lashes. When I do get lash extensions again I will probably not be quite as careful, they are more durable than I though and trying to not touch them caused me the most issue.

I think lash extensions are a great investment for Brides because it will look the most natural but glorious in photos, and they can enjoy them throughout the honeymoon.  Plus the time frame around your wedding you get more photos taken of you than you can imagine.

After taking the training let me tell you that I appreciate more what these people do to make this happen.  It is worth every penny of the retail price of $200.  Yes you can get them pretty much anywhere in my area of the country for $79 and that is a huge steal!  This is a very tedious process for the lash artist (and yes they are an artist so tip accordingly, plus they come at your eye with sharp pointy things so be nice) and extremely time consuming.

My training head!

** Individual lash extension are different from flare or cluster lashes that you can purchase from your local drug store or beauty supply.  Individual lashes are applied to the lash with a permanent glue, clusters are applied to the skin with a temporary or semi-permanent.  Individual lashes and coordinating glue are only available online or in the type of beauty supply/ nail supply that you have a license to get in.  Please do not let anyone use hair glue from a beauty supply or super glue to apply anything around your eye.

Eyebrow Dye

I died my eyebrows for the first time today!!!  Over the last year and a half I have been trying to grow out my over-plucked brows; the result of years trying to make my brows not so overpowering when I platinum hair in high school.

You can pay a professional to do this procedure and it normally runs about $25.

I chose to do it myself because I wanted a very particular shape and I am pretty handy with these types of things.

With the advice of my amazing hairdresser, I used Wella Medium Brown 411 Permanent Gel color with Volume 10 developer.  Per the instructions I mixed one part color with two parts developer.  I applied the gel with a stencil as my original guide with a thin flat eyeliner brush.  I removed the stencil and correct the shape to the exact one I wanted.  After ten minutes I wiped the color off and then reapplied to areas that need additional darkening.  Remember you can always reapply and darken the color.  So don’t wait to long to wipe it off, you can always go back and put more on.

I definitely still have some areas that need to grow back but this will make it much easier to fill in my brows every morning.

Gel Polish AKA Shellac

I have been getting Gel Polish manicures for about 3 years now and so it surprises me that there is still a lot of confusion about the product and how it works.  So I would like to do my best to give it a consumer’s explanation.

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Gel Polish is often referred to as “Shellac”, just as facial tissue is called “Kleenex” even if it another brand.  Shellac is a gel polish product by CND, but there are several other manufactures that make gel polish as well.  The most common I have seen is of course OPI came out with a gel polish line that is great because several of the colors are replications of the regular polish line; great if you want matching toes and don’t want to do the gel polish routine on your feet.  I have also seen quite often a product called Gelish, and a few others here and there at nail salons.
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You are also really starting to see the at home kits everywhere, including the grocery store.  I believe there is a Sally Hansen version, Red Carpet at Ulta, Haute by Luminess, etc.  These do seem to work; but for the same reason I don’t paint my nails myself, I don’t bother because painting my right hand with my left never looks pretty.
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Here are the basic steps that seem to be consistent both at the salon and with at home kits.

  1. Paint Base Coat
  2. Cure with UV or LED light for 30-120 seconds depending on the product and light
  3. Paint 2-3 color coats, cured between coats with the light
  4. Paint Top Coat
  5. Final Cure

The product comes out of a bottle just like nail polish and is applied exactly the same.  The only real difference is that after every coat you paint on you will cure it with the light.

Many people ask if “Shellac” is fake nails, my answer is no.  It does seem to give some added strength to my nails since the gel coats are thick and well bonded to my nails. My nails do grow much longer when I have gel polish on.  There is also none of the abrasive techniques used that you see when getting acrylics applied to your nails.  They will buff the top of the nail surface to create a better bond before the base coat, but this is done even when going in for a standard manicure.

The biggest benefit to gel polish is how long your nails look freshly polished. I have made it up to 3 weeks without chipping, only going in to get it replace because of the “root” nail regrowth.  I will say that the longevity of you gel polish wear is base on multiple factors including: proper application, color, brand, and water(which goes back to application).  I will say that Shellac does seem to have the longest wear, with OPI in a very close second.  OPI does seem to be a little harder to remove but not bad.  I also can tell that some darker colors and colors with strong glitter/metallic tend to remove harder than your pale matte colors as well. Again, not difficult, just after years of using the products you notice little differences.  The reason I have used gel polish for so many years is that I am very tough on my hands. A standard manicure is lucky if it last a full 48 hours on me, really lucky!  And while acrylic nails made my hands look fabulous and withstood the pressure, I cringed at the dremel tool coming at my hands twice a month.  During the years of acrylic nails sometimes my nail bed would get so thin my fingers would ache the morning after getting my manicure.  I don’t have the problem with gel polish.  I will state that I have heard some people do have issues with gel polish, but I think that can be said with anything.

The second best thing about Gel Polish, there is NO ISSUE with paying for your manicure or getting in your car and driving off!  Because as soon as they are finished with your nails they are COMPLETELY dry!!!

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The most important thing I want people to know; because it seems to be the biggest misunderstanding is how gel polish comes OFF!  You have to soak it off with pure acetone.  Most people don’t realize this and get get polish put on their nails, and then damage their nails trying to take it off themselves.  Please do not peel the product off, or scrape it off after trying to soak them in nail polish remover.  This will just damage your nails.  It is usually only $5-10 to have it taken off professionally if you are not going to have it put back on; and please pay a professional, especially if you have never seen it properly done.  Removal is included if you are having another color gel polish put on.

I do want to state that I am not a nail professional,  just a long term consumer.  So many friends have come to me with questions because they know this is the only product I use so I wanted to share; hoping that it will help someone with their decisions process and maybe make someones life a tad bit easier.

Quick Post Peel Update

Wanted to record this before my days blur together; it is Thursday evening 3 full days after my level 2 chemical peel Monday evening.  My face is shedding  dead skin like crazy!!! Trying to rinse my face gently with my hands revealed tons of pilled skin and putting on the post care evening moisturizer stung for a short time after application.  Hoping some dead skin will come off in my sleep so I don’t look like a molting snake at work tomorrow.  Other than that I have gotten one small zit on my chin, but the peel has not appeared to overly irritate my skin.

Falsies at work?

Today is the second time I have worn false eyelashes to work, the first pair was much milder than the pair I wore today.  Every morning I think about it, but wonder what is acceptable  for the workplace.  Here is today’s look after work, shopping, and dinner.

These are the beloved Demi Wispies, and probably the most glam I would ever attempt at the office!  I had no client meetings today so I felt brave and tried something new, several positive comments from my co-workers as I am probably known for always pushing the fashion and make-up edge at my office.  Being in a design based career allows me a few freedoms.
So I am curious as to everyone’s thoughts on what is acceptable at the office?  Would you attempt this look on a daily basis, leave a comment and let me know.

Facial….for your back?

I regularly get facials (every 4-6 weeks) to keep my sensitive, acne prone skin in the best condition I can.  The ladies at Faces365 are great and as I was checking out last week they reminded me that they offer other services such as waxing, teeth whiting, and a back facial!  And in the moment I was all… No Thanks.  But the this week I keep catching myself picking at the acne that had formed (the result of a shampoo switch) on my upper back and across my shoulders, nothing terrible, but it is swimsuit season after all!  Also the fact that I was unconsciously picking at it was not good.  So I walked in on my lunch hour to see if I could get an appointment someday soon and lucky me there was a cancellation tonight so I got right in. I had no idea what to expect, but it was quite nice.
Basically their back facial consist of 30 minutes while the use light Swedish massage pressure motions to work with cleanser, exfoliate, and finally moisturizer.  There was a few extractions, which were needed, and she asked permission to perform.  I was slightly disappointed a Clarisonic was not used, because that is a regular instrument used for their typical facials.  But to counterbalance that disappointment was the nice surprise that it really is like a nice relaxing massage, which I was not expecting.

Not something I think I need on a regular basis, but is a nice treat to yourself this time of year.  And thank you to the always wonderful ladies that are so nice!