Empties | December 2015

I’ve been collecting trash in the corner of my room for the past month and I need to get rid of it. I didn’t use all of these products up this month, a lot of them are from November. Also, some of these products I’m just throwing out because they’re expired or nearly used up and I can’t get anymore product out of it, like nail polish and brow gel.

Hair

Tresemme Conditioner Naturals Nourishing Moisture
I raved about this in my November Favorites and I’m nearly through a second bottle. I’m in love with this conditioner and I’m telling all the curlies about it! This in the best conditioner I’ve used to keep my curls frizz-free, moisturized, and detangled when I condition. It’s inexpensive which is great for us curlies since we tend to go through A LOT of conditioner.

Suave Naturals, Tropical Coconut Conditioner
Before discovering the previously mentioned Tresemme conditioner, I used this as my co-washing conditioner because it contains no silicones, it’s super cheap, and smells great. Since the Tresemme conditioner is silicone-free I can use that as my co-washing and regular conditioner. It too also smells great.

Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave-In Conditioner
If you haven’t tried this leave-in conditioner, you haven’t lived yet. That could an exaggeration, but I much prefer this salon brand over drugstore alternatives. I’ve used a variety of salon quality hair products, and I don’t think they’re all what they’re cracked up to be. This is the exception to the rule. This is lightweight, conditions, and most of all detangles my hair after a wash. Right now, it’s one of two products in my hair care routine that’s not silicone-free (see which silicones are less accepted than other on NaturallyCurly.com). While I don’t follow the curly girl method, most of the produts I use are CG friendly and my hair has distinctly improved in health since I’ve discovered my holy grail hair products. This product is the only exception and I don’t plan on switching it out anytime soon. I love this leave-in spray and I have a backup waiting for me

L’Oreal EverSleek Sulfate-Free Smoothing Leave-In Creme
Another leave-in product that I use for different results. I like my curls to be sleek and as perfect as possible so I prefer using a smoothing cream over a thicker leave-in conditioner. I discovered this product the first time I tried the curly girl method and still use it. At one point I thought it was being discontinued from L’Oreal’s Hair Expertise line, but I can still find it at Target, Walmart, and if I’m in desperate need on Amazon. The best part, other than the fact that it works great at smoothing out my hair, is that it’s silicone-free. Another win for the curlies.

OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Intense Moisturizing Treatment
This used to be my holy grail deep conditioner, but after I finished this container I repurchased it and it’s so much thinner in consistency than it used to be. I used to recommend this over anything else, but I might be switching when I finish the container I have open in my shower.

Tresemme Extra Firm Control Gel
I purchased a few of these in the travel size for my trip to San Francisco this past summer and I needed to finish it off to make room in my collection. I didn’t love this gel and wouldn’t recommend it for every day use, but it’s one of the few gels I could find under three ounces for air travel. I found mine at Target.

Skin

Murad Environmental Shield Advanced Active Repair Serum
When I turned 25 I made it a point to start taking care of my skin, and that included adding in some more effective, high end skin care. I didn’t want anything that was anti-aging per se, but I wanted something that was going to help my skin look healthy and youthful. I shopped around and used a few various products, but ultimately returned to this Murad serum and I highly recommend it. It’s pricey at $90 but it’s made a difference in how radiant my skin appears and has helped reduce some of the fine lines that were on my forehead. I repurchased this and use it every night after taking off my makeup.

Cerave Eye Repair Cream
This was a “YouTube made me buy it,” purchase. It’s definately great for moisturizing around the eye area and as you can see from the picture I cut it open to finish it off, but it doesn’t do a lot for my fine lines or have enough anti-aging benefits for me to repurchase it.

The rest of my skin empties are samples including a Murad peel that was a gift with purchase the serum I use, Clinique and Caudalie skin moisturizers, and random Kiehl’s lip treatment I’ve had for a while.

Makeup and NailsEmpties December 2015 Makeup
A lot of these items are being thrown out because they’re old or not working the best anymore.

Cover Girl Lash Blast and NYX Control Freak
I’m throwing both of these out because they’re past the time I like to keep mascara around, which is around two to three months. Lash Blast mascara is a classic volumizing mascara which is the main thing I look for in mascara, after I use my waterproof mascara to hold a curl. Control Freak is my favorite brow gel even though the wand is a little large for going through the brows, but the formula is so much better than the Milani and Maybelline clear gels in my opinion.

Rimmel Fix & Perfect Pro Primer
This has been in my collection for so long and I finally used it all up. I don’t feel like it didn’t anything special for the longevity of my foundation or keeping me matte, so I wouldn’t repurchase it. Still on the search for the perfect base primer!

NYX Nude Matte Shadow
Hit pan on this so it’s time to throw it out. I’m not sure if NYX still makes this line, but the line is all matte of basic eye shadow shades.

Nail Polish
Wet N Wild Megalast nail color Haze of Love, China Glaze Twinkle Lights, and Out the Door top coat.

Sigma E50 – Large Fluff
This is a great brush for setting your eye primer or highlighting your brow bone and I’m so happy I had a back up in my collection. This brush is about three years old and the bristles starting coming out in chunks so it needs to go.

Favorites | November 2015

November is over and I’m sad about it. November is one of my favorite months of the year, mostly because it’s my birthday month. This year’s birthday celebration was rather quiet, but I got to spend it with my good friends and enjoy those around me that I care most about. November also brings Thanksgiving and the end of fall. Fall has ushered in winter and a new year is almost here – I can hardly believe 2015 is nearly over! Here are all my favorites from November:

TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture 
I repurchased this a few months ago after moving near a Walmart that carried the line for around $5, but if it’s difficult to find it can be found on Amazon. I tried this conditioner a few years ago when I was trying out a silicone-free hair routine and I don’t remember liking it for my curls. Since then, from the reviews on Amazon and Makeup Alley, the conditioner was reformulated and a lot people don’t like this formula. I however LOVE this conditioner and highly recommend it. This conditioner easily detangles my hair and moisturizes the curls to keep the frizz away. Since switching to this conditioner from some others that contained silicone, I can see a huge improvement in the health of my hair and how my curls looks; it’s rare that I have a bad hair day. While I’m not officially using the curly girl method, a lot of the hair products I’m now using are silicone-free and I’m loving the way my hair is looking and feeling.

Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation Natural Beige
I started a new job this month and I knew that I would be so busy during the day that I wasn’t going to have time for touch-ups. Since I’ve been getting more oily throughout the day, I wanted a foundation that was going to hold up. I had heard really great things about the formula of this foundation, and I haven’t been disappointed. I really like the color match of the foundation and how natural it looks despite being a higher coverage foundation. The lasting powder is about the same as my other matte foundations, but the fact that this foundation comes in a pump makes me like it more than the others. This foundation isn’t going to be ideal for traveling since it’s packaged in a glass jar, but that’s the con I have with this foundation so far. Not the worst thing!

Beauty Blender
I know the Beauty Blender is nothing new for anyone, but it’s really proven itself to me in the past few months. I’ve tried to apply foundation with a brush, just for the sake of trying, and they really don’t work as well as the Beauty Blender. At the beginning of November I tried the Real Technique’s beauty sponge hoping it would be the dupe I’ve heard so much about, but I returned it the very next day.

NYC Sunny Bronzer
I’ve finally figured out how I like my contour/bronzer to look on an everyday routine and the NYC Sunny Bronzer is perfect what I’m looking for. It’s not too warm for me, it’s perfect warming up my complexion. I wouldn’t do a full on contour with this product as it’s not meant for it, but it definitely is a great and easy to use product.

Sigma F23 Soft Angled Contour
To go along with my NYC Sunny Bronzer I’ve been loving this new Sigma F23 brush from their highlighting and contour brush collection. I used to use my Sigma F40 for my bronzing routine because it’s fluffy and doesn’t do a harsh contour. When I got the F23 I was able to do more of a contour, but it still keeps my cheeks look bronze. It’s the perfect brush to get just enough of an effortless contour/bronze look.

Sigma F15 Duo Powder/Blush
Another brush I’ve been loving is the Sigma F15 which I’ve been using with my face powder to set my foundation. Because I usually wear a higher coverage foundation, I don’t need high coverage from my powder. I just need enough powder to keep me from getting oily throughout the day and the F15 does just that. It’s also great for wiping away excess powder if I decide to use the baking technique for setting my under eye concealer.

Z Palette
I’m so excited to finally have a Z Palette in my makeup collection! Jake got it for me for my birthday this past month and it’s already full. I had a lot of Hot Pots from Coastal Scents and I really didn’t enjoy the palettes that Coastal Scents offered. I’m definitely planning on purchasing a few more along with some Makeup Geek eye shadows and depotting some blushes from my collection.

Old Navy
I’ve already dedicated a blog post about how much I’ve fallen in love with Old Navy, so if you’re interested you can check it out here. I highly recommend checking out OldNavy.com for business casual clothes or good basics for every day where. It’s also great for those who are petite or tall and have issues finding clothes that fit correctly. Old Navy only carries those styles online, but they offer free shipping over $50, in-store returns, you can always get a deal with coupons or discounts, and Ebates* is always offering cash back.

What products were you loving this past month?

Travel Makeup Bag & Essentials

I’m going out of town this weekend in Duluth for Grandma’s Marathon. I’m not running in any of the events, but my good friends are and I’m tagging along for the ride. This is the first trip of the summer out of three planned so far, and I’ve been preparing for what I want to bring with for a bit. I’m testing out some products that are air travel friendly for the trip to San Francisco in just a few weeks. So excited!

Makeup

I definitely tend to over pack everything when I travel. I usually justify it by saying I’d rather have options than leave something behind that I needed. I usually do the same with makeup, always packing extra item in case I want to do a smokey eye or glamorous look, but I never do. I think I’ve finally found the palette that’s going to solve this problem! I saw the Tarte Showstopper Palette, which is limited edition so go get it. You need it. I saw this palette on Lipgloss Leslie’s channel and I needed it. I went out a week later to purchase it and I’ve been loving it since. It has a large mirror, full size Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Fame, a generous amount of Park Avenue Princess bronzer and the same size Champagne Shimmer, and six eye shadows. There is no matte cream/highlight or black, which is a downside here, but I don’t mind bringing a highlight color in addition to this palette or using the very, very dark brown shadow in the Tarte palette in place of black. Love this, I really do, and it’s only $38. That’s a steal! I justified the purshase by telling Jake that it’s meant to downsize my packing when we travel this summer. He’s holding me to this, I’m sure.

Here’s the rest of the makeup products I’m bringing:

Hair

While I’m not flying this weekend, I am bringing mostly air travel friendly liquid products since I’m flying to San Francisco in about three weeks to test them out before our trip. I am cheating by bringing a full size conditioner, but that’s because my hair relies on conditioner to function each day.

Skin

I don’t get too picky with my skin products when I travel. I am on the search for an air travel sunscreen, but Target has quite the selection so I’m hoping to find something there. Most of these products are in my usual rotation every day.

I feel like I’ve done a good job at packing for this trip, and I’d like to attribute most of it to my new Tarte palette, but who knows! Maybe I’m just getting better at packing. I’m super excited to be visiting Duluth again; I probably haven’t been then since I was 14 years old. I’m hoping the weather holds out to at least get a few good pictures of Lake Superior and with Jake! Will be reporting back.

My Curly Hair Routine

This post will be my current hair care routine and how I go about styling it. A little background on my hair, I have naturally curly 3B hair with low porosity. If that sounds like a lot a mumbo jumbo, you can check out this website for more information where you figure out how to classify your curly hair type, its porosity, and what products will work best in your hair for control. I’m a fan of letting my hair be natural, even if that means being a little frizzy. I don’t use any heat on my hair, not even a hair dryer, and I haven’t used a straightener on my hair in years. My hair is pretty healthy and it seems to get healthier each month. First of all, I do not follow the curly girl method. I want to put that out there as a disclaimer, because I know a lot of curlies looking for hair care routines are looking for CG methods. Sorry about it! I’ve tried the CG method in the past, but it just doesn’t do well with my hair. I went back to using products that just work on my hair and I don’t have any problems with build-up of silicones or shampoo drying out my hair hair. That brings me to my first step, cleansing. I co-wash often like most curlies, and I use the cult classic Suave Coconut Conditioner every time I get in the shower to condition. Then twice a week I’ve been using theCantu Shea Butter For Natural Hair Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo, 13.5 fl oz“> Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo*, holy crap long name. Despite the name of this product, there are mild sulfates in this product, but I don’t think it’s as drying as other shampoos can be. I really love the smell and the consistency of this product and it works great to clean my scalp, which is what I need out of a shampoo, not necessarily to clean my hair. I run often during the week so I pretty much need to shampoo more than once a week. Next, I’ve been conditioning with the Suave Shea Butter and Almond conditioner*, which was in my April Empties. This conditioner isn’t ground breaking, but I did add this to my holy grail list because it performs wonderfully. Moisturizes, controls frizz, and detangles. I got a few bottles when they were on sale for $3 at CVS back in March and it should last me through to July. To detangle I just use a wide tooth comb while my hair has conditioner in it and then rinse. I wrap my hair up in a Turbie Twist while I dry off, moisturize, and prep my skin then I quickly comb through to get the last few tangles out. If I need I use a leave-in conditioner to help detangle, and right now I’m using the L’Oreal EverCreme Nourishing Leave-In Spray, which is OK but I really prefer the Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner. It’s a little pricey, but I love the consistency, scent, and it’s a little less heavy in my hair. To style I’ve been experimenting with new products and techniques, including plopping. Thanks to Reddit, I started plopping my hair with one of Jake’s tees I had in my apartment and I think I’m loving it. At first, I was leaving my hair in the tee for too long, but now I do it for about 20 to 25 minutes while I’m doing my makeup, then let my hair dry by air. As for products, my holy grail leave-in cream that I’ve been using for at least two years is the L’Oreal EverSleek Humidity Defying Leave-In Cream*, which I believe is being discontinued but I saw them at Target recently. I run this throughout my hair and it just smooths my hair down a bit. Some curlies may not like this if volume is your thing, but I prefer my hair to be pretty sleek so this is perfect. Then I’ve been using the Argan Magic Defining Curl Cream* and the Aussie Instant Freeze. I really like the Argan Magic, but I can already tell that the Aussie is going to be a holy grail for summer. It locks my hair in place and resists the humidity. It holds up pretty good for second day curls, but not so much as resisting humidity the second day. After plopping and letting my hair dry, I just wear it down. Sometime I pin my “bangs” back, but I’ve been loving it without pinning it, and a lot of people have been complimenting it. I hope this helps someone out there and you found some new products to try out. I definitely suggest trying out the Aussie Instant Freeze if you’re a curly looking for a new hold product.

April Favorites

I’m trying to get into monthly favorites posts. Mine will include a bit of everything, beauty, fitness, lifestyle, foods, and whatever I’m loving. Let’s get into it!

Beauty

Argan Magic Defining Curl Cream
I have been lurking on Reddit a lot the past month, and one day in the Curly Hair thread I found a post talking about this product and immediately ran out to purchase it. Unfortunately, I think this product has been discontinued as I found mine at Marshalls and TJ Maxx at 50% off the original retail price. It can found on Amazon, but at a inflated price. I’m not sure I would pay the inflated price, but at retail price and especially the $9.99 I purchased my three bottles at, I would recommend it to those with curly hair. It currently on Hautelook* this week, along with some other Argan Magic products. I have 3B curly hair, that needs a lot of moisture and high hold to control frizz. I stocked up on this stuff and will be using it until I’m out (like I said, three eight-ounce bottles with pumps!) then I will likely go back to my Curly Sexy Hair Curling Cream that I’ve been devoted to for the past two years.

Essie Madison Ave-hue
I got this polish during a present exchange at work two Christmases, but unfortunately it was limited edition. I finally used it on my toe nails at the beginning of April when the weather started warming up, and loved it! I repainted my toe nails with the color and painted my nails with it. I’m really enjoying it, which is surprising for a pink! I usually shy away from pinks on my nails, particularly my finger nails, but this color has a hue of mauve, as the name would suggest. There’s also the tiniest bit of shimmer in this color, which I don’t mind. I used to strictly be a cream finish nail polish girl, but the shimmer looks nice in the sunlight and is hardly noticeable the rest of the time. It’s just enough. Edit: My nails ends up chipping so fast, not even two days in. Just a fair warning about Essie nail polish.

Maybelline Bad to the Bronze
This is an oldie, but a goodie. I’ve owned this cream eye shadow for a while, but mine was so dried it that it just didn’t perform the way it was supposed to. So I repurchased it and I’ve been using as my eye shadow base or alone every day since repurchasing it.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer – Custard and Ginger
I didn’t want to like this concealer. I didn’t want to like it so much that it took me a year to admit that I like it. It gives great coverage for my acne scars, any discoloration on my skin, and works under my eyes. I recently purchased the color ginger, medium 2, to mix with custard, medium 1, because last summer I wasn’t able wear the custard shade because it way too light after I got a little sun. I think the custard matches me more-so than ginger, but I’ll work with both to get the perfect shade! Next, I’d love to try the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer!

OGX Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Intense Moisturizing Treatment
Holy moly, this is my new holy grail deep conditioner! For a long time my holy grail was the Macademia Deep Repair Masque, which is a pretty penny as it’s a salon brand. I had tried the OGX Hydrating Macademia Oil Intense Moisturizing Treatment assuming that it woud be a dupe for the Macademia deep conditioner, but I wasn’t impressed. I had heard good things about the Renewing Morccan Argan Oil treatment, but put off trying because I enjoyed the L’Oreal EverCreme enough to repurchase it on Amazon. This stuff though, is way better than the L’Oreal deep conditioner, even better than the Macademia deep conditioner. It leaves my hair so moisturized, soft, and manageable. I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes when I use a deep conditioner my hair doesn’t work well with my styling products, but this product is the exception to the rule. I will keep repurchasing this product for the foreseeable future and I highly suggest trying it out if you have drier or curly hair. If you have hair on the thin side, this product may be a bit too much, but you’ll never now until you try. I’m planning on trying the regular conditioner from this line and I have high hopes for it.

Contouring
Side note: not Kim K contouring. Light handed, soft contouring with powder bronzer. I forced myself to take the time to contour and bronze the past few weeks, and it’s finally something I appreciate in my makeup routine. I don’t have a favorite bronzer or brush I can recommend at the moment, but I’ll keep working on my technique throughout the summer.

Lifestyle

Declutter Videos
Jessica Murphy has a good playlist of her declutter videos and I know there’s other gurus that have been doing it for a while, but I feel like it took off in 2015 as lot of peoples’ New Year’s resolutions. I’m moving in a few months and I need to downsize so decluttering my makeup and beauty collection is proving a challenge. I threw away a lot of nail polish right away as I came to the conclusion that I use the same five colors in rotation year round, despite what season it is. I also tossed a ton of lip gloss and lip sticks away as a lot were, frankly, expired or never used. I decided I’m never buying lip gloss again as I literally never use it; I hate it.

Fitness and Food

I started my spring fitness routine back in the first week of March, which was high reps/low weight during gym time and an extremely clean eating diet. I don’t mind the weight lifting part so much, it’s the eating clean that’s hard. I wasn’t doing very well with my clean eating, ended up going out for dinner and drinks with coworkers and friends plus date night with Jake at a few restaurants, and a few weeks ago I decided to put an end to that. No more random dinners out for pizza and no more drinks just because. Jake and I did get sushi for date night this week, but I don’t consider that to be so unhealthy as most other restaurants. It’s been two since I re-evaluated my clean eating and I have to say I’m very proud of myself and the results so far are impressive. I’ve lost a pound, which is a lot for my size and frame, but I would like to point out that it’s not really my goal to lose weight, but trim some fat off.

My breakfast has been a protein shake every morning, with almond milk and half a banana. I eat the other half of the banana for a snack after a few hours at work. Lunch has been salads, with many vegetables and fruits, or a prepared dish that consists of broccoli, mashed sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Dinner has been more random, sometimes salads with a side of soup, frozen “chicken” nuggets with a side of vegetables, or cottage cheese with vegetables and fruit. Of course, I slip up and have some peanut butter or pretzels. The real secret to all of this is water. Water. And more water. I drink so much of it, not in an unhealthy amount, but I’m very conscious of being sure I am getting enough to feel full when I may otherwise want to snack. Anyways, I’m loving the healthy eating kick that I’m on and really hope I can stick to it for another month or so for summer.

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