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Get Coconut Clean

29 Nov

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year you’ve heard that coconut can do it all. From cooking, to oil pulling, to makeup remover, to moisturizer, to hair mask…hell, I bet it can even be used to lose weight. I’ve never used coconut oil for anything other than cooking (and the one time I tried oil pulling for a blog post), until recently. And since then I am a believer. Coconut is the holy grail of beauty!!

I read online (from the infamous Mix & Match Mama) that coconut oil is a great face cleanser. I mean if Shay Shull uses it, I had to try it. I am now addicted and will ONLY wash my face with this. Let me break it down for you:

Coconut oil is all-natural and gentle – no chemicals or added preservatives. It will cut the grease without stripping the moisture from your skin as some facial cleansers on the market do. It is also anti-bacterial and helps protect your skin from potential pathogens and bacterial populations. It is also deep cleaning which means bye-bye blackheads. And although it is an oil, it apparently does not clog pores.

The biggest change I noticed when using coconut oil as a cleanser is the difference it made with blackheads on my face. They really started disappearing or becoming smaller and less noticeable. I also felt like my skin was actually clean of makeup and foundation – something I’m not sure every cleanser on the market actually does.

So how do you use it? I take a small dab of coconut oil and rub it between my fingers for a few seconds until it smoothes out. I then apply it all over my face, paying particular attention to my eyes to get off my eye makeup. I then wash my face with water. Coconut oil is of course still an oil, so it can be a slippery mess trying to get it all off with just water.¬†I’ll sometimes use a bit of face cleanser (I use Cereve for sensitive skin) to just cut the oil and it comes off very easily. Once you dry your face I promise your face will have never been softer!

It’s not a miracle product and I’m not promising your acne will be gone after 3 uses. But it’s as natural as you can get (make sure you use organic, virgin, cold-pressed).

Lipsticks for Winter

24 Nov

I am a lipstick addict. There I said it. My name is Sweet Child in the City and I am addicted to buying lipsticks. Help me, I’m poor.

I don’t leave the house without something on my lips. Like ever. (OK, maybe on a Sunday morning when I go to get an XL coffee and I had one too many glasses of wine the night before…maybe only then).

I thought I’d round up my faves so that YOU don’t have to go and buy the whole MAC store to find out the best ones. So kind of me ūüôā

Here you go:

MAC Rebel

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This is a new favourite of mine. It’s a plum based matte lipstick that pretty much goes with anything in the winter. Don’t be afraid of the purple tint – it’s really quite pretty and not as dark as it looks. I use a liner called Boiseberry from Annabelle to make the look a little lighter, but you can also use MAC’s liner in Currant to get a stronger look.

MAC Speed Dial

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This is my go-to everyday lipstick for work. It’s the perfect pink for your pout¬†in the winter season. It works especially well on blondes, and brings out green or blue eyes (if I do say so myself). I typically use a sheer gloss overtop, or layer with MAC’s Pure Silliness gloss for an added shot of pink.

YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in #3 Pomegranate

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This is my trusty old favourite. I wish it wasn’t quite so sheer, but the colour is so beautiful that I just know I have to reapply more often. If you don’t love bold matte looks, this is the lipstick for you. It looks quite bright in the tube, but it goes on very sheer.¬†I bought this for my Mom last Christmas and she loves it. It’s great for any occasion – work, holiday party, girls night out, and could¬†really work¬†with absolutely everything. It’s a bit of a higher price point, but seriously worth it in my opinion.

MAC Red (or Maybelline Red Revolution)

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I only wear red lipstick in the winter. And if I’m going to wear red, I go big or go home with MAC’s classic Red. It’s not too deep or too orange, and has a hint of a pink undertone which personally works well with my skin tone. I always wear a liner with red lipstick, and for this one recommend MAC’s liner in Cherry. If you want an identical lipstick from the drugstore, try Maybelline’s Red Revolution.

And there you have it…your lips are ready for winter!

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Welcome to the Short Hair Club.

14 Oct

Short hair, don’t care.

I recently did the chop. I caved to something different, held my breath, and let my hairdresser go scissor happy on my locks. My hair is now a la Carrie Underwood – shoulder length.

My hair is fine to begin with, so short hair actually suits it. After a little regret and a lot of practice styling it, I have now fallen head over high heels for my new do. And bonus – it is so easy to manage.

Are you thinking of a long bob? If so, check out some of my inspiration below and fall one step closer to great hair.

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How-To: Clean Your Hair Tools

15 Mar

One of my most viewed posts on my blog is one I did a couple years ago about cleaning your makeup brushes. I had no idea so many of you DIDN’T! Such a must ladies – those brushes are a breeding ground for germs and breakouts.

As it turns out, your makeup brushes aren’t the only beauty accessory in need of a little elbow grease. Our trusty cant-live-without hair tools also need some TLC once in awhile. All those hair products (think hairspray, mousse, even heat protectant) builds up and rubs off on the surface of our straighteners and curling irons. After awhile that build up can cake on, or even rub back off on your clean hair. Time to give them a wipe! Here’s how:

You will need: Rubbing alcohol, cotton pads, and a damp cloth

What to do: Make sure your hair tool is completely cool (and unplugged). Add some rubbing alcohol onto your cotton pads and gently rub them over the plates of the hair tool to clean. When you’re done, wipe down the entire hair tool with the cloth. If you find the hair product is (ew) really caked on, use a clean toothbrush to scrub it off.

When you should do it: You’re actually supposed to clean your hair tools once a week, but let’s be real…that’s just not going to happen. Aim for once a month and¬†we will all sleep well.

Your hair will thank you!

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Maintaining Your Mane

1 Mar

I was not blessed by the hair Gods with a beautiful head of hair. You know those shampoo commercials with models swinging around their gorgeous thick hair? Ya, not me. And never will be.

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It’s sort of my fault. I feel like I’m just genetically predisposed to have fine hair, but I really am partly to blame. I dry it. Flat iron it. Curl it. Colour it. Use drying products. And have never paid much attention to the right shampoos and conditioners. Well y’all that is all about to change. I am going on a HAIR DIET.

What is a hair diet? Well let me tell you. No more flat ironing and curling, unless I have to (i.e., going out where I need to look semi-acceptable…and no work everyday does not count). I vow to get it trimmed every 3 months – they say trimming dead ends more sooner rather than later helps with breakage. And I will start to take care of my hair – more treatments, using less drying products, and¬†natural shampoos.

The shampoo piece has been hard. Every one of the millions (accurate estimate) of bottles at the local drug store screams “OIL” “NATURAL” “SPECIALLY FORMULATED” “KERATIN”…where does a girl even begin! So I turned to my trusty best friend Google and I did a little research. Turns out the shampoo companies aren’t telling us the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help them God. Sure, they have added jojoba and argan oils, and used the latest “technology”, but they are also using the harshest and cheapest cleansing agents which actually leave your hair stripped down dry. Let me break it down for you:

1. Sulfates

They’re strong chemical detergents (also found in kitchen degreasers like dishwasher soap) that give shampoo that foamy quality, but they can cause scalp irritation, redness, and itching.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol

The petroleum-derived substance cleans and dissolves oils, but it’s also found in antifreeze, wood finish, and shellac. Alcohol is also extremely drying and strips hair of moisture, which can lead to hair damage and loss. Almost all hair-care products contain some form of alcohol, which can dry your hair out if it is in high concentrations. Stay clear of shampoos with alcohol listed as one of the first four ingredients, as this means that there is more than usual in the product.

3. Formaldehyde

The chemical preservative kills bacteria, but it’s also a known carcinogen that irritates the eyes and respiratory system and can cause skin inflammation.

4. Propylene Glycol

The detergent helps cleaning ingredients penetrate hair, but it also breaks down healthy-hair proteins and irritates sensitive skin and eyes.

5. Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

 Look for a shampoo that does not contain these ingredients, as they are harsh detergents. Products containing SLS have a cleaning power that is overwhelming, stripping the hair. 

6. Sodium Chloride

Better known as table salt, sodium chloride is used as a thickener in shampoos and conditioners containing sodium lauryl sulfate. Sodium chloride may also cause dry and itchy scalp in addition to hair loss. Also, this should be avoided in people who have keratin treatments, as it undoes the benefit faster.

7. Polyethelyne Glycol

Also called PEG/Polyethelyne or Polyoxyethelyne, this ingredient is included in shampoos as a thickening agent. It strips hair and skin of their natural moisture. 

8. Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)

Products containing DEA or TEA can cause scalp irritation and bad allergic reactions, and they also destroy all the good stuff in your hair (such as keratin), making your hair dry, brittle, and lifeless.

9. Parabens

Used to prolong shelf life of an average hair-care product, parabens like methylparaben and propylparaben are chemicals that are known for their toxic nature. Parabens not only irritate the skin‚ÄĒwhich can make your scalp unhealthy‚ÄĒthey can also affect your hormonal balance, which can result in hair loss.

10. Lanolin, Petroleum, and Mineral Oil

These ingredients are widely used in greases and pomades formulated for ethnic hair and offer no real moisturizing benefits. These ingredients actually weigh the hair down and prevent the natural oils produced by the scalp from being absorbed by the hair shaft. 

11. Dimethicone

It is usually used as a surface sealant in skin and hair products to coat surfaces in order to seal in moisture and act as a smoothing, texturizing additive, but research shows it is more harmful to our health than beneficial.

Wow, that’s a lot of bad. What about the good?

1. Glycerin

It acts as a protective barrier to follicles, helping hair retain moisture long after you’ve rinsed.

2. Nut and Seed Oils

Jojoba, avocado, and shea naturally add moisture and shine to hair while also removing oily build up.

3. Acidic ingredients

Sodium citrate or citric acid helps keep shampoo at the right pH balance to wash away dirt and oil while also causing hair cuticles to lie flat so hair looks shiny and smooth.

4. Panthenol

A form of vitamin B, it thickens hair follicles and helps to retain moisture and shine.

5. Look for shampoos that use a milder form of a cleanser such as sodium lauryl sulfoaccetate and sodium lauryl sulfosuccinate. These shampoos may not foam as much as shampoos that contain the harsher SLS or SLES, but they can efficiently cleanse the hair and scalp without overstripping your hair. 

6. Cetyl Alcohol

Not all alcohols in hair products are bad. This one is a fatty alcohol that helps with smoothness and shine in moderation.

So you totally just ran to your shower and checked your shampoo bottle. Low and behold it contains a ton of the harmful ingredients. Am I right? Or…am I right? So you’re wondering “where on earth do I find a GOOD one?” (sound familiar? My guess is you have also asked that question about boys). Well, I don’t have the answer to the latter, but I can tell you I have found a shampoo and conditioner that meet most of the standards. They’re also conveniently available at Sephora and won’t break your bank – 2 other criteria.

Meet Briogeo.

They’re products are the closest thing I could find for a bank-saving price tag that will also cure your hair woes. I’ve recently started using their Be Gentle, Be Kind Green Tea Shampoo and their Blossom and Bloom Ginseng and Biotin Conditioner. The shampoo takes some getting used to as their is no lather – remember when we removed sulfates? Yeah, that was the lather.

I also love using a deep conditioner once a week – usually on Sundays. Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioner is great, even for¬†my fine¬†hair. I usually leave it in for 5-8 minutes and my hair literally drinks it in. That combined with some coconut oil on the ends a few times a week and hello healthy, beautiful hair!

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And well, if my hair diet doesn’t work, I always have a solution:

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Favourite Thing Friday: Nars Hot Sand

19 Feb

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It’s the dead of winter. Your skin is dry. Your hair is dry. You are dreaming of summer.

I wish I had a total solution, but I don’t. What I do have is the one product that perks my morning up everytime I put it on. And it happens to be called Hot Sand.

Nars makes a lifesaving illuminator called Hot Sand that instantly takes my face from drab to fab. I mix a tiny bit of this with my foundation every morning and voila – a little bit of life emerges from my skin. You don’t need much of this product – no one wants to be a shiny mess. A little goes a long way.

Don’t believe me? Just read the reviews on Sephora.com. Apparently the entire population feels the same way!

So next time you are at your local Nars counter, pick up some Hot Sand. You can thank me later.

 

 

 

Favourite Thing Friday: Milan Mode

5 Feb

My name is Erika and I am a lipstick addict.

There. I said it. If I sold my lipstick collection I’d be a millionaire. But you know what they say¬† – a girl can’t have too many lipsticks! (at least that is what I say).

A love them all, but y’all I found a new great one. It’s Milan Mode by MAC. It’s the perfect combo of plum and pink, with a little sparkle to boot! The cool hues in it go great with a fall and winter wardrobe.

Check it out:

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You’re welcome!

Refresh Your Makeup Drawer

20 Jan

We’ve all been there – a makeup rut. Whether it’s the change in season, not having the right products to begin with, or you just feel the need to change it up, here are some tips to rejuvenate your routine!

Lackluster-Looking Skin

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Especially during the winter months our skin can get dehydrated and loose its luster. My favourite product to add to my routine in the winter during these times is Hourglass Ambient Powder in Dim Light or Luminous Light. These powders are described as “A universal finishing powder that features state-of-the-art technology to recreate the most exquisitely flattering types of light.” I don’t know about technology, but I can tell you these products will leave your skin with a subtle glow in all the right places. You can use the Dim Light version all over to blur imperfections, and use the Luminous Light version where you would normally use a highlight – high cheekbones, middle of the nose, and cupid’s bow.

Clumpy Mascara

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There is nothing worse than clumpy mascara. All mascaras will eventually get old, dried up, and clumpy, but you should be able to get a couple months out of a tube before that happens. If you have used your mascara for more than 3 months, toss it. If your new mascara is clumpy it may be time to look at a new one. A few of my personal faves include Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara, and, if you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, the Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Excess Mascara.¬†And if you do mind spending the extra bucks on a new tube, I’ve seen other posts about adding some eye drops to a dried up mascara tube to bring it back to life.

Lack of a Tan

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I loooooove self tanner. To the point that I am backpacking to Peru in May and absolutely will sacrifice space in my backpack for a tube of self tanner long before I take something I really need…like a pillow. I would sacrifice my beauty¬†sleep¬†for self tanner. That is just how much I love it.

All that aside, if you want a little colour in the dead of winter – meet your new best friend named Vita Liberata!They make an incredible mousse tanner, that when applied correctly, will give you that natural colour without looking like you just got back from the Bahamas for 6 months. Fake it ’till you make it, ladies.

Dry Lips

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The winter can wreak havoc on lips and make them dry and cracked. There are obvious ways to avoid this (exfoliate and moisturize) but if the inevitable strikes there are at least ways to combat it. A lip primer will always smooth any cracks and flakiness over so your lipstick will go on smoother and last longer. I will also add a lipliner and some highlighter to my cupid’s bow¬†if I really want to perk up the look of my lips. Finally, you can play around with using two lipsticks or a lipstick and gloss to create the illusion of better lips. I like using Mac’s lipliner in Sublime Culture with their lipstick Pink Pearl Pop, topped off with Politely Pink in the centre. The. Perfect. Pout.

Washed Out Look

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Sometimes doing something as simple as adding liquid vs. pencil eyeliner or filling your eyebrows can add that touch of boldness you are craving. I adore¬†Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner in black for a played up look at night and Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil¬†to darken and bring out my naturally light brows.

Dull and Dry Skin

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My skin in the winter acts like it hasn’t had a drop of moisture in months! And of course that is simply not the truth. But you can’t put a matte foundation on dry skin without looking a little sick. So I combat the issue with a radiant foundation in the winter…one with a sheen, a glow, whatever word you would like to use. My favourite is Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, and I’m sure if you asked most makeup artists out there, this would be their fave as well. It is incredible silky and smooth like. If you want something a little cheaper, Estee Lauder is my go-to. She makes a Perfectionist Youth Infusing Foundation that brings out the glow in you.

 

And who said you have to be a natural beauty year round?

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10 Christmas List Essentials for 2014

10 Nov

I’m back, y’all. It’s been a month (holy sh*t!) since my last post, but don’t fret. I am still alive, breathing, and definitely, most definitely have not been starving.

And I’m back with one of my favourite posts of the year….Christmas list essentials! I start making my Christmas list pretty late…you know, early August. And it probably changes 47393 times before Dec. 25th. But I can guarantee you these 10 essentials are going no where.

10. Fitbit

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Counts calories? Check. Counts steps? Check.¬†Tracks sleep? Check. Anything to help me live healthier, happier, and continently! But for real….everyone I know who has one raves about it.

9. Party Skirt

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You saw my post here, so you know I am dying for a party skirt. Too bad Christmas day doesn’t come BEFORE all the Christmas parties where you struggle to find something to wear….

8. Michael Kors Watch

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Classic – and I shockingly don’t own one (insert GASPS of horror here). A great watch is a staple in any accessories closet, and Michael is the king of great watches. Now I just have to decide between gold or rose gold…thoughts?

7. Rebecca Minkoff Purse

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Repeat after me….can you own too many purses? NO! Do we love Rebecca Minkoff? YES!

I am a huge fan of the mini mac. It’s the perfect purse for a night out or just a trip to the mall. The 5-zip is cute too, and it acts as a clutch without the strap.

6. Wine Glasses

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I seriously have problems with not breaking wine glasses. Actually, my dishwasher has a problem with not breaking wine glasses. Together, we are the worst at not breaking wine glasses. You can never have too many…

5. Quote-Worthy Coffee Mugs

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There is nothing better than starting your morning with a cute and clever cup of joe! These two above are from Indigo Chapters, in case you were wondering (hint hint Mom).

4. Coffee Table Books

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Everyone has a coffee table and therefore everyone needs a coffee table book. I will take any of the above please ūüôā

3. Hat

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Wide-brimmed hats exploded onto the fashion scene this year. I think everyone and their great-aunt’s sister’s cousin’s neighbour has one. You can find different styles and sizes, but my personal favourite is the trusty one above from Marciano.

2. Kobo E-Reader

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My Kobo is my Mom’s that I have stolen. And I love it and will only give it back once she buys me a new one (that’s not the¬†bratty spoiled child in me, I swear). I fit my Mom’s mine in my purse and always have it on hand when I have a few minutes to kill. So much more convenient than hauling around a heavy book!

1. Wall Map or Globe with Push Pins

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One of my globe-trotting friends has a wall map above her bed and has marked off all the places she has travelled with push pins. Such a good idea! A daily reminder of all the places you have yet to experience and a little motivation when you want to buy those shoes but also want to go to Thailand…oh, the cruel decisions.

Hopefully that gives you some holiday inspo, whether for yourself or others! If you want to check out last year’s version, click here.¬†Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!

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Happy National Lipstick Day!

29 Jul

Of course there is a #NationalLipstickDay. I mean, how could there not be?

Lipstick is my number 1 beauty must-have. Stick me on a deserted island with no one to impress and I still want need a tube. In honour of this great day, here is a link to an old post about my Fave Kisser Colours!


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