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Monday, February 22, 2016

Makeup Brushes I Need In My Life

Makeup Brush Wishlist

First, let's just take a moment to enjoy and relish in the beauty of these brushes! They're all beautiful, fluffy, and amazingly soft looking... you know for a picture.

Really quick, my current brush collection is not bad, but I am definitely missing some of those luxuriously soft powder, contour, and blush brushes that one MUST have to for her makeup brush collection to be complete.

Above are the four brushes I feel that my collection really needs and these are the cruelty-free brands that I really like and/or just want to try.

Sigma - F04 Extreme Structure Contour 
This brush is small so it can fit into the contours of your cheekbones, forehead, nose, etc... And for us gals who have smaller faces, a small brush like this is perfect. Also, I think the fact that it's still rounded would help with blending out the contour.

Bdellium Tools - Green Bambu 962 Slanted Blusher
I have 1 Bdellium Tools brush (Green Bambu 787) for blending out eye shadow and I LOVE it! The brush is a good weight in your hand, has stood up really well to washing, and just does the job seamlessly. So of course now I want more. And I would like an actual blush brush (I use slim powder brushes now) to place the blush where I want and blend it out.

It Cosmetics - 211 All Over Powder Brush
Ok, so I don't know if I need this brush, but come on it just looks awesome and who doesn't want to just powder the beejesus out of their face with a crazy soft fluffy brush? It's so fluffy!

Too Faced - Mr. Right Perfect Powder Brush
I have been wanting a tapered powder brush to gently place powder in the places I need it, especially the under-eye area. I think this would be great for that purpose, and just look at it... bow tie! Swoon...

What brushes do you have and love or just want to try? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Does Retinol Really Help Acne Scars?

I would just like to say to all those teenagers and young adults out there... life is not fair!

I was one of those lucky girls in high school who had a spot here or there (and completely freaked out about it) but overall didn't have acne. So when I got out of my teens, I thought I was home free. But then life slapped me in the face and said, "Wait a minute Amber, that was too easy. Here's some unending acne and scarring for you... oh yea good luck with all that when wrinkles come!" 

Yes in my mind, in this situation life is a capital B! But back to reality, it's true that acne doesn't end with high school. Apparently you can have acne and wrinkles at the same time... and apparently this can go on forever. So with that happy note in mind, we move forward.

I have pretty much banished the breakouts from happening (see my skincare post here), but I am left with hormonal breakouts (because your period isn't bad enough) and these scars. I have tried exfoliating, both chemical and physical, toners, ampoules, skin brightening lotions, and the list goes on and on and on.

I finally read about using Retinol to help with acne scars and found a relatively inexpensive, cruelty-free option that had good reviews. So I took the plunge. 

I purchased the OZ Naturals Retional Serum from Amazon and took pictures documenting my used for a month. See the results below.

As I'm sure you can tell, there is a noticeable difference in the texture and tone of my skin as well as the scarring.

This is by no means a miracle, cure-all kind of product, but it does have results none-the-less. I don't even know if I would have noticed without the pictures reminding me what was. But you can see that each week (especially between week 3 and 4) my skin became clearer and more even toned. I will most definitely keep using a Retinol treatment as part of my nightly skincare routine. Please see below for some notes and tips!
  • Please do your research on Retinol, I am not an expert and my results may not be the same as yours. I found no issues with sun sensitivity or redness, but I know that can be a concern.
  • Be sure to apply at night and always use a sunblock during the day.
  • When exfoliating or using other harsh treatments, I did not use the Retinol to ensure I didn't over do it on my skin.
  • Don't expect overnight miracles, as you can see results took a while to appear.
  • I do have a sun spot (age spot, whatever) high on my cheek and although there are Retinol treatments that claim to help with that, this one did not. 
So if you're interested in some anti-aging, skin tone and texture improving, and/or clearing up acne scars, I would definitely suggest looking into using Retinol in your routine.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thursday Thoughts: Learning to Love My Flaws

As you may have noticed, I've been thinking a lot about confidence lately. How do I get it? Who has it? How can I be confident, yet still want to change things about myself? Am I confident?

All these questions I think about and I never really have any answers. But what I've come to think is that confidence is loving who you are as a person on the inside and loving and accepting those things you cannot change on the outside. Beware, I am still a work in progress, but I'm trying and learning.

Now I know, nowadays we can change just about anything! From nose-jobs and boob-jobs to liposuction and face lifts and everything else I probably can't even imagine. I am not judging anyone who does those things, do what makes you happy and feel confident!

But for me, one of my biggest insecurities is my nose. I think it's too big for my face and just there... all. the. time! So, why in the hell would I start a blog which almost solely relies on selfies? Why would I put my nose out there for all to see? Well I guess I thought I'd learn my angles (thank you America's Next Top Model) and just get used to it after a while.

Although, angles and posing are really important to my selfie process - yes, there's a process - I really have come to accept my nose and... maybe even love it! It makes me me and it makes me unique!

So I challenge you to take a look at your insecurities, flaws, whatever, and try to accept that it's a part of you! It makes you who you are... and that's awesome!

Here are a few pics of me flaunting my flaw (my nose)!

Happy Friday Eve Everyone! Remember to be kind to yourself cause you're the only you that you've got!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How to Pluck your Brows Just Enough

Although I know plucking your eyebrows is a beauty sin right now, I still feel like it's an important skill to learn. It has taken me years of overplucking to finally learn how to properly keep my eyebrows groomed, full, and not bushy.

Here are a few tips on how I do this:

  • To avoid overplucking, go in with a plan. I'll show you below how I map out my brows to pluck.
  • Remember your brows are sisters, not twins. If you go in thinking you're going to be able to match them perfectly... you'll definitely risk pencil-thin brows.
  • Focus only on your natural shape, pluck the strays and don't worry about creating a "desired" shape. More likely than not, your brows are already the best shape for your face :)
What You'll Need:
Here's where I started with my brows and my plucking process:
  • Start by brushing up the brows and feeling out your natural shape. 
  • Use an eyeliner to map the overall shape of your brows. 
  • Set the pencil against your nose:
    • Align with the outer corner of your eye for the end
    • Align with your iris for the arch
    • Align with the dinner corner of your eye for the inner edge
  • Due to the natural shape of my brows I do go off the iris a bit for the arch and a little further in for the inner edge, but this is a good starting point.
  • Then just pluck anything outside of the lines - I usually focus the most underneath the brows, but occasionally you just gotta go above. 
  • Again... just use a gentle hand and occasionally move back from the mirror to compare brows so you don't go overboard.
Mine look like this when I'm done:

Then just to show you all the final look I added my makeup and filled them in with the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Soft Brunette.

I do like a fuller brow that goes in a bit at the nose. I read somewhere that this helps slim the nose, I don't know if it works for that, but I do like how it looks on me. Also I tend to extend mine out a bit past the eyes with brow products to finish the look off.

I keep my brow products pretty light, but I've been seeing more blondes with darker brows and I think that looks pretty good. I might need to try it... what do you think of the light hair dark brow look?