Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reality of Weight Loss

Hello lovely readers,

Today I feel like talking about a topic I have rather mixed feelings about. The subject is weight loss reality TV shows. Programs such as "Shedding for the Wedding," "The Biggest Loser"and "Weighing In" all turn weight loss into a competition. Now I can't be entirely sure of how things are run on those shows, as I'm clearly not a part of the cast or crew, but I feel like it sends an unhealthy message to the audience and perhaps even the participants.

I applaud the participants for acknowledging their problems and for willingly accepting a change in lifestyle. I get that. However, it seems that these shows encourage fast results, with features such as weekly weigh-ins. They also encourage pushing people to their absolute limits, when in the reality outside of television it's actually much healthier for most overweight individuals, or those just looking to live healthier lifestyles, to take baby steps.

These reality shows seem to say, "Hey, you! Yeah, that's right, Chubby! Get up off the couch and run five miles. Cut out junk food completely, lose ten pounds a week and never look back!"

For some people, a total lifestyle change can happen overnight. Those "some people" would be an extremely small minority. For the rest of us non-superhuman beings looking to knock off a few pounds, that strategy is completely unrealistic and downright discouraging. The people on these shows are looked down upon and made fun of if they backtrack even a tiny bit in their newly reformed lifestyles. Let's be honest here: everyone makes mistakes.

I know some people think these shows encourage viewers to live healthier lifestyles and get up and get moving, and I understand that it can have that effect on some people. I'm entirely guilty of watching "Shedding for the Wedding" while working out. For me, it's kind of a motivator to not let myself go as much as these people have, and that's where I have another problem with the shows.

Though they have willingly put themselves in the spotlight for millions to ridicule them, I think it's unfair for me, and other viewers, to judge them and use them to make me feel better about myself. It's not healthy to use other people's failures to make ourselves feel better about our successes. On the flip side, it's not necessarily healthy to follow their paths of weight loss. It makes us think we can lose weight instantly, and if we don't improve right away, we're failures.

I suppose it's a love/hate relationship I have with these shows, but mostly a hate because the very thing that makes me like them makes them a somewhat cruelly guilty pleasure. I think there are much better motivators out there for weight loss, and much healthier ways of achieving it. I do appreciate the workout DVDs that have spun off the shows, but that's an entirely different category of media.

So there you go; those are my feelings on reality television weight loss programs.

What are your opinions on these shows?

To the best you, the healthy way.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mini Review: Paul Mitchell Smoothing Super Skinny Serum

Hello wonderful people,

Since my last mini review seemed to be pretty popular, I thought I'd do a review of a product I've been using for about two years. That would be Paul Mitchell Smoothing Super Skinny Serum.

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The reason I got this product originally was actually due to a misunderstanding. You see, the woman who was cutting at my hair at the time, lovely lady that she is, was under the misconception that I wanted to blow out my hair straight every day. So she did a beautiful job of blowdrying my hair and leaving it frizz-free and voluminous. She told my mother and I what she used, and, of course, we bought the product. 

For the next few shampoos, I recreated the look my hairstylist at the time had done, to pretty decent effect I might add. However, I really prefer wearing my hair naturally, so I started using this in the morning on clean, dry hair.

Well let me tell you: It works great for me either way.

Here's what the website, which you can find if you click on the link under the photo, says:
Super Skinny® Serum
Basics: La Básico:
Smoothes, conditions and seals strands.
Benefits: Los Beneficios:
Leaves hair smooth, shiny and frizz-free
in any weather.
Bonus: La Ventaja:
Speeds up drying so you get silky smooth results in less time.
Details: Detalles:
  • Our exclusive Super Skinny® Complex penetrates deep into hair to displace water and constrict hair for speedy drying and styling.
  • Lightweight silicones smooth, condition and seal hair with added shine.
Sizes (oz): Tamaños (onzas): .85 5.1 8.5
Now, this product really does seem to cut down drying time for me. You only need a very small amount, maybe a dime to a quarter size depending on the thickness of your hair. I use closer to a quarter sized amount, usually on dry hair that's been scrunched, though, like I said, I do also use it when I blow dry. The way I use it is to run it between my hands and then work from the bottom in the back towards the front and upwards, scrunching it into my curls and adding shine and softness. I'm even able to put the excess very close to the roots without making my hair look greasy.
I do realize that this is a rather pricy product ranging from probably around $14 to $24 depending on the size if you get it in stores. It's probably cheaper on places like Amazon. My reasoning for the price is that if you get 8.5 oz for $24, that's less than $3 an ounce, whereas if you go for John Frieda's anti-frizz serum, you could be paying $7 or more for one ounce. I'll let you do the math.
I hope this review was helpful. Just in case you didn't know, my hair type is very thick with medium bouncy curls.
What products do you like to add shine and smooth hair?
Here's to shiny, smooth hair!

About Me

Hello readers,

As I was struggling to come up with a new idea for a post, I thought, wouldn't it be fun to do another survey? Floating around YouTube these days is the "About Me" tag, so I decided to post my answers right here on my blog.

Here goes:

1. Do you have a middle name? 
I do indeed. My middle name is Meira. Just about no one is able to pronounce it when I tell them.

2. What is your Favorite subject in school?

Currently my favorite subjects are Intro to Communication and Culture and an English literature class focused solely on William Faulkner. All my friends think I'm insane because they can't stand Faulkner.

3. Whats your Favorite drink?


4. What is your Favorite song at the moment?

Well this isn't a new song, but my favorite at the moment is "Melody" by Kate Earl. It was free on iTunes in the summer and I quite like it.

5. What would you name your kids?

I really don't know. I used to think about this much more carefully when I was younger, ironically enough. I can't even remember the names I used to think of but they were the weirdest names. Truly. I  obsessed over my family's name dictionary as a child, picking out the strangest sounding ones, but I don't recall the names now.

6. Do you participate in any sports?

This one gives me a giggle. I've got absolutely no hand-eye coordination and I'm rubbish at sports. In P.E. in middle school and high school I just ran around pretending I knew what I was doing and letting everyone else play. I really appreciated that we got to choose P.E. junior and senior year, so I took dance. I danced when I was young, and I consider that a sport, but otherwise I much prefer exercise on my own to any kind of team sports. Well, that was a long answer to a yes/no question.

7. Favorite Book? 

The Harry Potter series are some of my favorite books, especially the seventh but I do love them all. I also love anything by Neil Gaiman. I wish I had more time to read for pleasure, but these days homework gets in the way.

8. Favorite Color?

I really like aqua and turquoise. Very beautiful and calming.

9. Favorite Animal?

When I was younger it was always horses. I'd say I still like horses quite a lot, as well as monkeys. As for an animal I could actually have, definitely dogs.

10. Favorite Perfume? 

I really don't own too many, and I generally prefer body splash/body spray, but my favorite of those I own has got to be Strawberry Champagne from Victoria's Secret.

11. Favorite Holiday?

Thanksgiving. My birthday occasionally falls on Thanksgiving. It's done so at least twice, and will again next year. It used to bother me a lot for some reason, but now I think it's a wonderful treat.

12. Have you graduated high school?

Yes I have.

13. Have you ever been out of the country? if so how many times? 

I've only ever been out of the country twice: once with my family to Canada, and once with a group of students from across the U.S. on a trip I won to Peru. I'd like to travel more, though, and I'm contemplating study abroad for my junior year of college.

14. Do you speak any other language?

I can speak Spanish, but since I've only taken literature and linguistics classes in Spanish this year, I'm a bit rusty at the moment. I can read and write and understand fluently, but speaking comes slower for me. This is my eighth year studying the language.

15. How many siblings do you have?

Two: a brother and a sister, both older.

16. What is your favorite store? 

I love Ulta and Target, as well as Barnes and Noble. I do also like Forever 21.

17. Favorite restaurant? 

I think it's local to where I live, so I won't say it here, but it's Italian.

18. Do you like school?

I do like my school. I was absolutely in love with it first semester, but this semester is a bit tougher and friends are transferring to other universities for various reasons so it's like starting over again.

19. Favorite youtuber? 

I can't pick one favorite! But I do love Anna Saccone, EGHearts, Community Channel, A Model Recommends, Pinkiecharm and SlightlyScented. There are many more, of course.

20. Favorite movie?

Again, I love the Harry Potter movies and "The Princess Bride". I also love "27 Dresses", "The King's Speech", "The Devil Wears Prada", "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Alice In Wonderland" [the new one], "Megamind," and "Tangled," to name just a few.

21. Favorite TV show? 

It was "That 70s Show" when that was still on. I rather enjoyed watching both seasons of the discontinued "Flight of the Conchords" this year as well. Now I'd have to say "Castle" is my all-time favorite, as well as "America's Next Top Model." I am partial to "Glee," but some of the recent episodes have just been disastrous.

22. PC or Mac?

Mac! Before my family got our first Mac, I was terrified of them. Now I've got a MacBook of my own and I love it!

23. What kind of phone do you have?

A rather unexciting red little Samsung sliding phone. It's cute and it does the job, so I don't feel the need to get a fancier one.

24. How tall are you?

5'3." I still consider that average, even though I'm pretty sure average is actually 5'4." Call me vertically challenged; what can I say.

I hope you enjoyed that little tag, and if you'd like to do it, I'd be thrilled to read your answers!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bright Lips and Blue Skies

Well, dear readers, it's another sunny day [I'm very tempted to say "here in the U.S.A.," but I seriously doubt it's sunny everywhere].

The weather has inspired me to wear one of my favorite bright lip colors, slightly toned down. It is Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in 038 In Vogue. I applied it lightly straight from the tube to my bottom lip and applied the rest and smoothed it out with my fingers.

As you can see in the bottom picture, it looks like a reddy pink in the tube and more of a bright pink in the swatch. When I apply a solid layer from the tube, it does look red on me but it really is just a very bright and intense pink. My camera isn't working at the moment, so I'll have to keep using my webcam until I can sort it out. The swatch at the end shows true to color, and the pictures of the lipstick on are slightly less bright than the color appears in person.

I haven't tried many other lipstick brands, but so far Rimmel, both the Moisture Renew and Lasting Finish, is a top contender for my favorite.

What lipsticks do you love? Do you enjoy a bright lip, or prefer more neutral colors?

To bright lips and balmy days!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Nothing Wrong With a Beautiful Day

Hello lovely readers,

Today was one of the cheeriest days I've experienced in quite a long time. The reason? The weather, of course. It was 75 gorgeous degrees fahrenheit here on campus. Yes, I have returned from an interesting and emotional spring break to the most amazing bout of actual warm spring weather. Back where I live, spring tends to be colder, wetter, and on occasion really rather nice. Here I'm finally experiencing the wonders of what spring should be like.

I'm a warm weather girl, and my year-round makeup works the best in this season, since, overall, I don't wear much! Here's my minimal makeup for the day. I was super excited to break out my go-to warm weather lipstick, L'Oreal Colour Riche Tropical Coral, which I first mentioned here.

Please excuse the webcam's fabulously bad quality and my monumental and unstoppable dark circles.

I really like the way my hair and skin looked today, and you can tell from the first picture that the lipstick is really quite natural looking on my lips. I just have on CG Aqua Smoothers Tinted Moisturizer in Fair to Light, and I used my e.l.f. concealer and Almay Smart Shade Concealer under my eyes, though they clearly don't do the trick. I used the elf concealer on blemishes as well.

As for my hair, since it's curly it looks shorter than it is but I was so happy to get a small trim and have the majority of the bulk taken out. My hair doesn't look like a bush! And it's curling nicely thanks to Aveeno Nourish + Style Soft Hold Gel Creme.

Unfortunately, my favorite hair gel-cream was discontinued in December of 2010 without my knowledge! I called the company and a very nice Suave representative informed me that the company no longer makes Suave Professionals Weather Protection 365 Anti-Frizz and Flyaway Cream Gel. Maybe it was the long name that detracted customers, but I really liked the product. However, I must admit that the Aveeno works as more of a gel than the Suave did, providing a better hold but still helping to eliminate frizz. For a laugh, you can check out what I thought about Suave here.

In any case, the weather did wonders for my mood today. I'm currently sitting in the lounge of one of the dorms with a couple of friends who have yet to start their homework. Now before you go scolding me for being the pot calling the kettle black, let me point out that I've nearly finished mine. Yes, I can finally say I started my homework at a reasonable hour.

How was your day?

To sunny days and happy faces!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mini Review: e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20


You're probably tired of "Hello dear readers" for the night.

Ok, ok. I promise this is my last post of the night! I wanted to do this before I forgot. I recently mentioned that I was out shopping with a friend at Target and she bought, as you might have guessed, the e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, in the shade Nude. At $3 you might not think it does much, but she's pleased overall. She didn't give me a ton of details, but she mentioned that she thinks it actually worked. She wanted her tinted moisturizer to give her a bit of glow without making her facial skin a different color and necessitating application of the product all over her neck just to match it. So I would guess that this did indeed give her a bit of a glow and some sheer coverage.

UPDATE: My friend just told me that this is not an oil free moisturizer. She thinks it was breaking her out, and has stopped use. This would probably be better suited to those who are not acne prone.

Image from

That is my highly sped up secondhand review of the product. In any case, if you're in dire need of a tinted moisturizer and hard pressed for cash, it can't hurt to try this out for the price. The tinted moisturizer that I'm using now is mentioned here and here, and I plan to give you more information at a [slightly] later date.

To glowing skin and flawless faces.


100% Guaranteed

Hello everyone!

So it seems that my blogging inspiration comes in quick succession, short bursts, and long paragraphs. I'll make it quick this time. Ok, I'll at least try.

I wanted to let you know what my 100% fail proof, foolproof way to wind down and relax. That, my friends, is my nighttime skincare routine. Yes, I'm quite proud of myself for that. My skin care has become absolutely a religious ritual for me. Whether I'm using my favorite cleanser, dotting on one of my spot treatments, or luxuriating in the bliss of a very pleasant moisturizer, I just can't help but feel great about the fact that I'm doing something beneficial to my skin that will help it look beautiful and, in turn, help me feel beautiful.

I've been getting lots of compliments on my skin lately, and to be honest that has as much to do with my skincare as the makeup I've switched to. I'll describe my current go-to makeup in another post, but I do think it's helping to make my skin look wonderful. That being said, my skin does seem to be clearing up for the most part. My problem area is always my chin due to hormones, but I think it's starting to clear. Right now I'm broken out a bit on my forehead, and I think that's due to poor diet.

Now I know skincare isn't as romantic as saying I like to relax with a bubble bath, candles, and my favorite magazine and not as ambitious as running a marathon, but it works for me. In any case, in order to wrap up what may soon become another ridiculously long post, I just want to say that my nighttime skincare routine seriously helps me relax. Now if only doing great things for the rest of my body calmed me down this much!

To a beautifully relaxed tomorrow!



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...It's a word that's been on my mind quite a lot lately. What exactly does it mean? We all know it means being secure with who you are and strong enough to live life with your head held high and several other cliche phrases that I'm sure you're all familiar with. I don't need to give you a dictionary definition, but I would like to speculate as to what it means to me, and to all of you. I think confidence comes naturally to some, but has to be learnt by others.

I believe confidence is something I have to learn. Lately I've been rather down and it got me thinking: What exactly do I have to do to bring myself up again? It occurred to me that there must be several things factoring into my relative discontent. Why can't I be confident? Sure confidence means not giving a damn what the Negative Nancys and Danny Downers have to say about you, but it has to come from within, and it has to radiate from some grain of truth in which you really believe that you are worth defending from the negative views of not only others, but of yourself.

For me, I think the barricade barring my way to success as a confident, radiant young woman is the fact that I don't allow myself to feel. I tend to ignore my feelings in order to accommodate others. If I were to say I've never been selfish, that would be a lie because selfishness tends to come naturally in humans. I'm lucky enough to be able to say that I've taught myself to look after and nurture others before myself. And that's exactly the problem. It's all well and good to want to help others as much as possible, but it's impossible to help them in the best way that you can without first becoming the best you possible.

Now I know this is all very cliche, and I do apologize for the utter mess that is my writing in this post, but I feel that sharing this with all of you may just be the helpful boost I need, and perhaps you can learn a thing or two yourself if you need it. I tend to neglect my feelings, force myself to push them away and pretend they don't exist. I put everyone else's needs in front of my own; I'm the go-to therapist for most of my friends and my immediate family members, simply because I'm good at rationalizing emotion. I can rationalize it for everyone else, but since I ignore my own emotions I don't even bother trying to sort myself out.

Why mention all this now? Well as you may know if you're a regular reader or happened to stumble upon my blog recently, you'll know that I've been on spring vacation this past week. Over my vacations at home, I tend to release my emotions onto my poor mother because I can't bear to show emotion in front of my friends. I don't know if I've been unintentionally conditioned to believe that showing emotions is a weakness, but that is a completely untrue statement.

Instead of sharing my feelings, I tend to comfort myself with food. Now, I'm a rather small person and by no means fat. I'm definitely petite, but I've definitely, let's say, harmed my figure with this habit. It's not that I don't love exercising or don't do it on a regular basis, but its effects are counteracted by this terrible way of dealing with emotions. In fact, I didn't even realize my eating was tied to my utter failure at controlling my emotions until I had a rather long chat about it this week.

So what is confidence? For me, it needs to be allowing myself to feel. Allowing myself to release the emotions that I know I have in here somewhere without caving in to comfort food as a way to deal. As a side effect, I now have iffy body image and so I have to fix that simply because my method of sorting out my emotions sabotaged it. See the cycle?

You're probably wondering what in Hades [please don't ask why I used that as an expression because I really couldn't tell you!] this has to do with anything, and why it's worth reading. I think that because this is mostly, for the time being at least, a beauty blog, that I should address inner beauty in a way that I haven't really thought about before. I don't think I can be as beautiful on the outside as I am on the inside if I don't allow myself to fully be myself to myself.

Ok, she must be crazy, you're saying. This is going nowhere, you think. I wonder where she's going to run off in this paragraph? Well I'm literally going to run off to pack for the trip back to university tomorrow, but I wanted to leave you with something, I suppose. And that is, whether you're the most confident girl in the world or your self-image leaves something to be desired, know that confidence means different things for everyone, regardless of the dictionary definition. I'm definitely in the process of building my own, and this is the first time I've really allowed myself to give my own emotions a chance at working their way into a permanent space in my consciousness. Maybe then I won't have to turn to chocolatey confections and cheesy goodness instead of facing my emotions.

And maybe, just maybe, I may become a better me to serve the people I love most.

I hope this helped at least one person reevaluate their approach at confidence if she [or he] needed an emotional pick-me-up.

Apologies for a long and predominantly incoherent speech.


Thursday, March 17, 2011


Hello everyone,

If you read my post on Beautypedia, concealer, and tinted moisturizers, you will know that I was looking at a few specific products to help cover up imperfections and give a more flawless finish to my face without a cakey look. I wanted something effective but still light enough so that I didn't feel like I was wearing a heavy sheet over my face.

I decided on the CG Aqua Smoothers Tinted Moisturizer in the end, about $6 at my local Target, also pictured in the earlier post, in the color Fair to Light. I have to say I'm very satisfied with it. I use it over my regular moisturizer, mentioned here and here. It gives me extra sun protection with SPF 15 in a mineral form, and I find that it deposits just enough sheer coverage to even out the redness in my skin and correct the tone enough to allow for slightly less concealer over discolorations. 

Which brings me onto my next subject: concealer. I didn't end up getting either of the concealers mentioned  here because I didn't get a chance to go to Wal-Mart to pick up Hardy Candy's Glamoflauge, and my Target didn't stock the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Double Face Perfector. I settled on the e.l.f. Tone Correcting Concealer in Light Beige, the lightest color available at my Target. I haven't checked to see if there are other colors online, but this seemed more suitable than either of the undereye concealers I currently use, and it was not a powder, a consistency I find makes my skin appear flaky and dull.
 Image from

I have not tried this yet, nor read any reviews [shocker, I know!]. It was $1 so I figured I couldn't go wrong trying it out, whether or not it actually works well. 

While at Target I also needed a base coat/top coat, as I am running out due to painting my nails once or twice a week. I prefer getting the double duty nail polishes because I  really don't find it crucial to buy a separate base and top coat. I'm not picky and so I snatched up the Wet 'n Wild Wild Shine Clear Nail Protector.

Image from

I'm assuming it's meant to be worn as a top coat, but I have no qualms using it as a base coat as well. It was also just $1.

My best friend was searching for a tinted moisturizer, but was tentative about the Cover Girl product I like so much. She has light skin as well, but quite noticeably darker than mine [as are most people]. She couldn't decide between the Fair to Light and Light to Medium so she ended up with a different brand altogether. She chose the e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, and I believe she got it in the shade Nude. This product was $3 at Target.
Image from

I'll have to find out what she thinks of it once she tries it, and, of course I'll let you know!

Happy makeup wearing!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Hello readers!

Clearly I have not yet gone to bed, and I've been reading blogs, so I decided to do this questionnaire from the blog Amarixe. You can find her questionnaire here.

Here are my answers:

1.) Mood: a mixture of happy and sad, bittersweet I guess, with a dash of excitement for tomorrow thrown in
2.) Do you have a subscription to any magazines? Seventeen, and I'm considering Allure
3.) Name one thing you are looking forward to in the near future. Seeing my best friend tomorrow after a couple months apart at school!
4.) Current nail polish: I don't know the name but it's a bright pink by OPI.
5.) Do you know how to identify any constellations? I know how you're supposed to identify the Big and Little Dippers and I can't remember the others. I probably wouldn't be able to, though.
6.) Do you like the idea of electronic reading (Kindle, iPad, etc.) or prefer an old-fashioned book? I prefer an old-fashioned book, but I understand the appeal of the Kindle.
7.) Current outfit: Pajamas!
8.) Do you like karaoke? I used to hate it, but I've gotten more confident about my singing voice so now I love it! I mess up the words all the time!
9.) What was your favorite cereal as a kid? I liked Lucky Charms and Oreo O's. Deliciously unhealthy.
10.) Weekly goals: I'm working on feeling better about myself and treating my body better.

That's all for now, folks. Please respond if you'd like, or you can head over to Amarixe to read hers.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Hello wonderful people,

I'm going to make a quick post tonight, as I've been taking advantage or spring break and going to bed much later than necessary. If you read my Heat and Hair Debate post, you may remember that I got my hair cut at the end of December and decided to try to avoid heat. Well, it is now May 15, 2011, [CORRECTION: It was definitely March 15], and I have not used heat on my hair since December 29th of last year. Perhaps you're thinking, Okay, Esther, that's fabulous; and you're blogging about this today, because? And I understand your curiosity completely. You see, I just got my hair trimmed and thinned again today. It still retains its length, because this is the first hairstylist I've gone to that understand that my curly hair looks better long. She's also the first stylist I haven't gone to in complete terror of ending up with some semblance of an afro. Essentially I'm writing this post to tell you that I succeeded in using absolutely no heat between haircuts. And you know what? My stylist said my ends looked good and she just needed to clean up the layers and get rid of some bulk. So no heat really does do great things for the ends of your hair. Throughout this journey I've learned the benefits of braiding my hair after washing it to give it some sort of style, or braiding it dry overnight to wake up with straighter hair. Yes, braiding my dry hair makes it look straight because it's very thick. I've also dealt with bad hair days by simply pulling my hair into an easy bun. I'm sure there are more creative things I could be doing with my hair, but I am thus far satisfied.

Are any of you going heat free?

To happy, healthy hair and hairstylists that don't bring absolute fear to their clients!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Change in Heart and a "Beautifully Informed" Website

Hello dear readers,

I'm finally free of the stress of sleep deprivation, terrible professors, and no time for much of a social life. Yes, that's right: I'm on spring break for a week! Hopefully, this means I will be able to post more often, despite the fact that I still have math homework, a novel to read, and a parody of William Faulkner to write.

I actually already wrote this post, but as I was trying to fix the spacing I somehow deleted the entire post and spent a ridiculously long time trying without success to recover it. So here I go again.

Onto my first order of business: You may recall that I raved about and defended the Physicians Formula Concealer 101 Perfecting Concealer Duo in Green/Light here. I still do believe that the "skin" colored side of this concealer is workable, and that this is a very good cream to powder concealer. The key here is the word "powder".

My skin is dry to combination, sensitive, and acne prone. In the summer and fall months, this product worked excellently to cover up redness and blemishes. It worked so well, in fact, that I had multiple family members and friends comment on how clear my skin was. [In case you're wondering, it wasn't]. However, this winter my skin has gotten extremely dry and this concealer not only cakes up but also draws attention to flakiness, as any makeup maven will realize that powder tends to do.

In short, I am seeking a great new concealer. In the same post as mentioned above, I also talked about the undereye concealer dilemma I'm experiencing. Essentially I am now on the hunt for a concealer that covers undereye circles as well as redness and blemishes, and I'm also considering tinted moisturizer to help even out skin tone. As someone who has only ever worn concealer, powder, and lipstick, I don't want to start on something as full coverage as foundation if I can avoid it.

The first product I'm contemplating is one that I've read reviews of on the site that I'll mention if you'll stick with me through this post. It got the second highest rating of "Very Good" as well as numerous great reviews by other girls on YouTube such as Pinkiecharm.

This is the CG Aqua Smoothers Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15.
Image from

This moisturizer is supposed to be great for evening skin tone while giving a very sheer wash of color and providing decent sun protection.

The next product is a concealer I'm considering and was also recommended by the website, which I PROMISE I'll get to, as well as Xteener on YouTube. It is the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Double Face Perfector.

Image from

This product is supposed to provide excellent undereye coverage as well as a useful highlighter, though it does seem a bit pricey for the amount you get. Call me naive, but I imagine using this up pretty quickly. Maybe it really doesn't take much.

The final product is one I've heard about solely from its massive following on YouTube. Videos praising this concealer have been popping up so often recently that it won't be hard to find one unless you spell every single word completely wrong. This would be the Hard Candy Glamoflauge concealer.

Image from

This product is reviewed on the website in the caption, as I've just discovered. It's supposed to have great coverage, but some people don't like it as an undereye concealer, and some people don't like it for redness. Others think it's great for everything, so I'll have to do some more research.

Now on to the website at last. This wonderful website is called Beautypedia, and it is run by Paula Begoun, creator of Paula's Choice, and her Cosmetics Cop team. They do really great reviews on products, and remain unbiased towards price. In fact, she and her team actually give harsh reviews to products that may be decent but charge outrageous prices for the amount of product you're getting.

This website used to be available only to paying subscribers, but became permanently free after the free trial months of January and February. Paula Begoun also has a radio show, where she uses the slogan "Keeping You Beautifully Informed," which I think is quite appropriate for what she does.

I first found out about the website when I subscribed to the Paula's Choice newsletter at the recommendation of my mom. No, I'm not being paid to mention this site, and Paula and her team have no idea how much I love their website.

Now, occasionally I'll find a product I love on her Average list. That's completely fine, because generally the aspects of the product that she thinks could be potential irritants don't actually harm my skin. The site is constantly updated with a comprehensive overview of products, and you can click on the Best Products to see what she and her team rate the highest.

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So that's all, folks. I really think this website is worth a look.

Also, if you would like to let me know your favorite concealers and/or tinted moisturizers, the feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Onto the hunt for the perfect complexion perfectors!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Skincare Tips Part 2

Hello dear readers!

This is part 2 of my skincare tips. The sources I used were the same ones mentioned here. Without further ado, here we go once again:
1. Try to avoid exfoliants with giant abrasive beads in them, because they're irritating no matter what skin type you have. If you have drier and/or more sensitive skin, exfoliating once a week is sufficient. If it's normal, combination, or oily and not sensitive you can go 2-3 times per week. Remember though, harsh scrubbing of broken out skin will only cause inflammation and can make the acne worse.
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2.Be diligent. Don't add in five products at a time, because even if it makes your skin look perfect, you have no idea which product is making your skin look so great. Then you have to keep buying all those products and you end up wasting money. Also, if you're impatient you can't really tell if your products are working or not. It can take up to a month for skin to react to a new routine, so the common consensus is to add no more than one product a month.
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3. Avoid alcohol in your facial care products as much as possible, because it's drying and can apparently lead to signs of aging appearing earlier. Sulfates, as I believe I mentioned in my hair care tips, are generally irritating as well, but the one to watch out for the most is sodium lauryl sulfate, as it's the most harmful to the skin.

4. Try to avoid touching your face. This is a given, as you don't want to transfer oils and dirt from your hands to your face. I always wash my hands before washing my face or applying any moisturizer, spot treatment, or makeup.

5. Replace your pillowcase at least once a week. Even if you're skin is clean and your hair free of product every night at bedtime, your natural oils still transfer onto the pillow. [Let's count how many times she says transfer in this post!].
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6. Stay hydrated and try to eat a balanced diet. Doesn't everything always come back to this? And regular exercise? They seem to be the miracle ingredients to a healthy body and beautiful skin. This isn't to say that you will have absolutely perfect skin if you have a healthy lifestyle, but it tends to be a lot clearer and more glowing. Staying hydrated is very important, because you want to hydrate from the inside out.
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7. Food allergies can cause breakouts. Foods such as dairy, especially skim milk, excess sugar, and glutens can cause these. If you think that's the case, try eliminating one of these food groops for a week or so and see if you get results. If your skin clears up, chances are it was due to that food that you broke out in the first place. Check out Paula's Choice Acne page for more information.

8. You can use baking soda as a natural exfoliant and save money this way. Just add a pinch to your favorite cleanser and lather it in your hands before working it into the skin. I honestly can't remember where I learned this tip, but numerous website suggest this. It's my favorite way to exfoliate, and it's great for sensitive skin.
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9.  Sleep! Well rested skin is beautiful skin. I can't really say I follow this one all the time, because copious amounts of homework and general procrastination just don't allow it, but I can say from that dark circles are more prominent with sleep deprivation, and skin looks duller. Your dark circles don't actually darken from sleep deprivation, but merely appear darker because your skin will be paler.
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10.  Don't worry about your skin "getting used to" the regimen you're using. Chances are, if it's working for you, you should keep using it unless you notice a negative change. That isn't to say you can't add in new products as you need them, but there's no need to switch your products every other day, week, or month.
These are all the tips I can think of for now. When in doubt, however, see a dermatologist if you have access to one if you have any serious problems or questions about skin conditions.

Thanks for putting up with my very wordy posts and irregular blogging habits.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Skincare Tips Part 1

Hello dear readers,

Stress and schoolwork and more stress have been getting in the way of blogging lately, so I'm trying to post at least once a week until the workload calms down. Who knows when that will be?

But alas, onto more important subjects: skincare. There are is a lot of debate in the scientific and cosmetic worlds about different ingredients and products that may or may not be harmful, or that may or may not be necessary. There are many misconceptions, and I'm certainly no expert so I don't expect everyone to agree, but these are just some tips from articles I've read on websites and in magazines.

A couple of the resources I used are Paula's Choice Cosmetic's Cop, The Style Diet, and various articles that have appeared on StumbleUpon under the beauty section. Granted, you have to choose Beauty as a subject of interest first.

Many of these tips are probably not new to most of you, but as a baby in the blogging world I feel like this is a post I have to make. I'm splitting this into two so you don't go blind with all the reading I'm giving you the option to do!

1.  Let's start with the most glaringly obvious rule: Wash your face, morning and night. We all know that it's so important to wash our faces at night in order to get rid of makeup, bacteria, and all the dirt and pollution our skin has come into contact with throughout the day. If we don't, it will not only absorb into our skin as we sleep, but some will transfer to our pillows where we will lay our lovely faces down again the next day. However, some people like to skip washing their faces in the morning. There is some debate about this, as some aestheticians or dermatologists would say it's unnecessary. But do you really want to apply more product over the product you had on the night before? Not to mention the oils you produce naturally and the fact that your face has been against a pillow unless you sleep on your back. Also, any hair product that you slept with is probably on your face. So washing it twice a day is really the best way to go.

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2.  Speaking of hair products, if you're like me and you wash your hair in the morning or afternoon and sleep with product in your hair, you might want to consider pulling it away from your face at night. At the risk of looking like Pippy Longstockings's long lost twin, I sleep with my hair in two braids every night in order to reduce the amount of product that not only gets on my face but that transfers to my pillow. As a side note, I also find that this doesn't pull on my hair as much as it would if I had it in a bun, though obviously I'd get even less product on my face if I did that. Also, sleeping on your back is said to prevent wrinkles, but don't stress out too much if, like me, you can't fall asleep that way.

3.  As far as moisturizing goes, there are some misconceptions about skin types and moisture. It's often said that oily skin needs a lot of moisture in order to prevent it from overproducing oil. But here's a news flash: Oily skin is ALREADY producing more than enough of it's own natural moisture. So moisturizing morning and night isn't really necessary for oily skin, but that doesn't mean it's not allowed. Just stick to a gel formula if you want to moisturize your oily skin. Obviously, the drier the skin, the creamier the moisturizer, but this isn't always the case. Dry, acne prone skin probably shouldn't be using such a heavy moisturizer. Combination skin or normal skin can usually use a moisturizing lotion.

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4.  There's often the misconception that sensitive skin is it's own skin type, but any type of skin can be sensitive as well. As a general rule, you should stay away from fragrance in your face products, but be especially wary if you have sensitive skin as it is irritating.

5.  Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are great acne fighters, but they aren't the only ones. I feel the need to put this out there, simply because I'm sensitive to both of those products. Sulfur based treatments can be quite effective as well, especially if nothing else works. I mentioned one in my skin care tips, and it works very well for me.

6.  A tip I learned from Anna Saccone is to wash your face at the end of your shower, after shampooing and conditioning. Some of the cleansing agents in shampoos and conditioners can cause acne, so it's important to wash your face after you've rinsed your hair and finished your shower. Again, even in the shower I wash my hands with body wash before washing my face. Call me crazy, but after rinsing out conditioner I don't want the residue to get on my face.

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7.  Make sure you always use sunscreen. I don't think I can stress this enough. Not only do you not want skin cancer, but you also don't want premature signs of aging like wrinkles, age spots, and sun spots. Preferably use a sunscreen with a physical block, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. I know there's some debate over the safety of microparticles of zinc oxide, but as I'm not an expert on skincare, I unfortunately can't give you the science or the facts about that. The only issue with a physical sunscreen is that it can give a slight whitish cast, but if you have that sunscreen in a moisturizer or foundation, you won't have that problem. It doesn't matter where you get your sunscreen, as long as you consistently use it. Make sure it's at least SPF 15 in the winter if you're indoors a lot, and at least SPF 30 in the warmer months. Anything above SPF 30 is only fractionally more effective, but still great.

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You can check this website out for more info

8.  Sometimes a gentle facial wash and moisturizer are the best things for broken out skin. If you can, go to a dermatologist and get a prescription treatment for acne, or get one off the shelves at the pharmacy, and use that as your acne treatment. By staying gentle with the other products, it allows the specific acne product to do the work while the skin is not being upset by other harsh products all at once.

9.  Look at ingredients in products before caving in to a cult super expensive skincare product. Special ingredients and secret formulas seem to be increasingly in products these days, but you need to see how high up that "miracle" ingredient is on the ingredients list. If it's not in the first few ingredients, chances are you can find a cheaper version of the same product that will do the job. This seems to be a personal preference, as you tend to feel that more expensive skincare must be better, but not all expensive skincare products are good and not all bargain products are bad. Don't cave in to the cult product unless you really enjoy indulging!

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This website may also help clear up some questions on ingredients.

10. Along these same lines, take skincare product reviews with a grain of salt. Someone might absolutely hate the cleanser you swear by, but that does not mean you have to stop using it. It just means that person has a different skin type than you. No one is the same when it comes to skincare, so embrace your unique skincare needs!

You can see my own skincare staples here if you're curious.

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you were able to get through it all. If you did, congratulations! Part Two is coming up quite soon. I just have to edit it, and it will be on its way!

Thanks for reading.

Here's to beautiful, healthy skin!