The Acne Sufferer’s Perfect Foundation…Found!


Graftobian foundation

Graftobian Hi Def Glamour Creme

I have acne. Still. I’ll be 24 next month, and there has only been two short periods of time since I hit puberty oh-so-many years ago that I have not had a blemish on my face. There are times when I don’t break out in extremes, but I assure you — my skin always has a few zits on it.

With that said, I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect foundation for years. The problem is that when I’m not breaking out in extreme amounts, I am dealing with the inflamed scars that it leaves behind, which are usually just as hard to cover up.

I’ve tried a lot of different type of makeup with a lot of different methods. Everything is usually OKAY but never just fabulous. If you have acne, you know that there’s usually a trade-off with finding a heavy coverage foundation. It usually makes you break out more — and we’re back to square one. Light coverage foundations are for you lucky gals, who wear makeup to — what’s the saying? — “even out your skin tone.”

But to women like me and those blessed with better skin, alike, I present to you a dream foundation that truly has defied the odds of what regular foundations can do. Call it the prescription drug that’s sold over-the-counter — it is A-MAZ-ING.

My cousin, who has the most dewy, flawless skin you’ll ever find, is a foundation fiend. She loves finding that “perfect” foundation even though she could wear tinted moisturizer and be on her way. She’s well-aware of my foundation troubles and last time I saw her, she introduced me to the Graftobian makeup line. It’s not sold in drugstores, and it’s not sold in Sephora. It’s a line of stage makeup that’s frequently used in theatrical and TV productions. She had ordered their sampler palette, but none of the colors matched her so she gave it to me.

Wow.

The consistency of the Gratobian Hi Def Glamour Creme foundation is smooth, light and creamy — three qualities that are usually mutually exclusive in foundations. If you were wipe your finger across, you’d never think it was a heavy coverage foundation. And yet, once it’s on, there’s nothing left to see but an “even skin tone.”

e.l.f. studio high definition powder

E.l.f Studio High Definition Powder

I’ve found that with another dream product, the E.l.f. Studio High Definition Powder, I have truly found the answer to my foundation problems. This setting powder is the perfect complement to the Graftobian Hi Def Glamour Creme nd not only sets it but also gives you a poreless, super-matte canvas for the rest of your makeup.

You’re probably thinking there’s a definite catch to these products — they must be super pricy. Again, prepare yourself to be astonished. Both products TOGETHER total a cool $25.00. The foundation pot (which comes in a very generous amount considering how much you’ll even need to use per application) runs for $19.00 and the powder for $6.00.

Now, I couldn’t just rave on and on about these products by showing you them at work. So, I took a few photos so you could judge for yourself. As they say, the proof is in the pictures. I took all these pictures with the same camera, so not one of them has the benefit of “better quality.”

You might still have some questions about both products, so I’ll try my best to answer what you’re probably wondering.

Q: Does the Graftobian foundation cause oiliness?

A: I’ve found that it makes me considerably less oily than a lot of other foundations and definitely less so from any other liquid or cream-based foundation I’ve tried. Mineral foundation has been the best contender — but again — it didn’t cover as well. I really find that the E.l.f. setting powder makes the biggest impact here to prevent oiliness.

Q: Where can I buy the products?

A: Both products are available on their company’s sites, but E.l.f. sells its products in Target and Kmart stores as well. (Target has the biggest selection.) You can buy the Graftobian foundation on other sites like Amazon or eBay, but I highly recommend you find a stage or theater makeup store who sells the product. They have a huge range of colors that vary in cool, neutral and warm undertones (another secret to why it’s so awesome), and their colors tend to be much lighter on the skin than what it looks like in the pot. I wear Buttermilk but Enchantress was a close second. Both were warm undertone-based, but the latter was a bit more reddish in overall tone. Try it on in the store first!

Q: Do they last all day?

A: These products definitely do a great job of lasting through the day or night. I use a primer before the foundation (helps a lot for it to go on smoothly!) and a setting spray to keep everything matte and set. I think think the setting spray also helps keep the oil at bay.

I’d be happy to answer any more questions you have about the products or how I use them. Just leave me a comment below, and let me know if you end up trying them!

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Exfoliation Never Tasted So Good: 2 Face Masks You Can Make in Your Kitchen


Women spend millions of dollars a year hoping to find the secret weapon to have beautiful, Helen of Troy-type gorgeous skin. Considering we’re all pining away to look like a woman created completely out of myth — we still relentlessly strive in vain.

In recent years, dermatologists and beauty experts have sworn on the near-magical qualities of exfoliating your skin. By sluffing off dead skin and purging pores, the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne marks, and sunspots can dramatically be reduced.

How to go about it though? Treatments at a dermatologist’s office are pricey, and therefore inaccessible to most of the population. There are a ton of products you can buy at the story, but they can often be too harsh — with ingredients that can irritate and scratch your delicate skin.

Look no further than your kitchens, ladies! Nature has once again shown us who is boss in this world, and the secret to beautiful skin has been coming from the earth to your kitchen cabinets for years and you didn’t even know it! Check out the recipes to a couple of absolutely phenomenal exfoliating scrubs/masks below. For someone with combination oily skin, stubborn acne (complete with clogged pores and blackheads), and plenty of scars to prove its long history on my face — these two exfoliators have made such an immense difference in my skin’s appearance and feel that you’ll just have to take my word for it!

Sugar Scrub

 There are a handful of ways to make a sugar scrub, but there’s no need for herbal oils or anything else. All you’ll need are 2 basic ingredients: sugar and water!

-Add 3 tablespoons of regular sugar to a bowl

-Add 2 tablespoons of warm water

-Mix with your fingers or a wooden spoon (they’re warmer than a metal spoon)

It’s important that the sugar melts a little with the warm water, but this won’t happen instantly. (You don’t want the granules to be whole because they can tear at your skin.) You’ll find some of the sugar settle to the bottom of the bowl. Wait about 10-15 minutes so the mixture thickens a little. Apply with your fingers and work in a circular motion. Rinse and revel at your glowing skin! Do this once a day everyday or a few times a week for the best results!

Oatmeal & Yogurt Mask

Oatmeal mixed with yogurt has an amazing ability to purge oily pores and truly make you feel like your skin is breathing. Your skin will appear smoother and noticeably brighter because this mask doubles as an amazing exfoliating agent.

– Add 2-3 tablespoons of oatmeal to bowl

– Add 1-2 tablespoons of yogurt

– Squeeze juice of half a lemon

– Add 1 tablespoon of honey and blend in a mixer until smooth

Apply this mask to your face and let it sit until it’s dry and feels tight on your face. Rinse and repeat daily, and watch your skin’s appearance get more and more beautiful!

Note: play around with the proportions because you want it to be thick with oatmeal, but not so chunky that it doesn’t spread.

What’s truly phenomenal about the oatmeal mask is that it is incredibly hydrating for dry skin, but it thoroughly purges clogged pores and exfoliates. If there was ever a triple threat of a beauty product, it is oatmeal!

Real Deal Concealer by Laura Geller: Review & Tutorial


The other day, my mom and I ordered a new concealer by the Laura Geller makeup line called The Real Deal Concealer from QVC. And for someone with acne-prone skin (still), I always have issues with redness on my skin — and because I also have combination oily skin, I have to be careful what kind of products I use. Really heavy foundations tend to me make me break out so I have to opt for lighter ones, which in turn, don’t give me as good of coverage.

The solution to my problems was to find a great concealer, and I think I’ve done it! The Real Deal Concealer may look overpriced for a product that isn’t even 1 oz. in weight, but therein lies the first surprise. Because of its almost creamy clay-like consistency, this concealer offers super opaque coverage to tackle discolored areas like under the eyes and acne scarred skin for a very minimal amount of produce. It only takes a tiny drop to cover your face, and the tube costs only about $20.00.

I only have a couple of minor dislikes about this product: one being the fear that the creamy consistency may eventually cause me to break out. However, I have used it multiple times for all-day coverage and no problems so far, except the slight excess oil I get from wearing any makeup on my face. (That could also be a result of the powder and blush I am wearing, though.) The other setback being that it is important to make sure your face is moisturized, even if you do have oily skin, because any bit of dry patch may keep the concealer from spreading smoothly and cause flakes.

Overall

Pros: Great coverage, creamy consistency, big bang for your buck, all-day coverage

Cons: Need to make sure to apply moisturizer beforehand; could cause excess oil for very oily skin because of creamy texture

Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant: What’s the Difference?


The world is made up of all sorts of opposites, and everyone has their preferred side. There are the cat people and dog people, morning risers and night owls, tea sippers and coffee drinkers, and now there are the antiperspirant users and the deodorant users.

At least for the latter, many people may not even be aware of the difference between the two. Both are used to address sweaty underarms, yes, but contrary to popular belief, there are a couple of key differences between antiperspirants and deodorant that may really be worth knowing. You may just find out that what you’re using isn’t what you think it is, and there may be a better option for you.

Antiperspirant

Antiperspirants work to stop perspiration from occurring by blocking the pores from releasing sweat to “keep you dry” (as you will have heard many-a-commercials tell you.) What this means is that antiperspirant products made by popular brands like Dove, Degree, and Secret include ingredients like aluminum and zirconium to stop up the pores and block the sweat.

In recent times, there has been great speculation about the risk of these ingredients possibly causing or increasing the risk of breast cancer (because the antiperspirant may be applied closely to the area of the breast). While there has been no conclusive evidence linking these ingredients with causing cancer, aluminum-based products like antiperspirants can produce estrogen-like (hormonal) effects on the body when left on the skin to absorb, according to Cancer.gov. And because estrogen bas been known to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, aluminum-based products could indirectly be increasing the risk of breast cancer devleopment.

Additionally, by blocking the pores from releasing sweat and helping to naturally cool your body down, you may experience more discomfort when in a hot environment. If that wasn’t bad enough, clogged pores under your arms could also result in blackheads, pimples, bacterial infections and even cysts, as some studies have shown.

Pros: Stay dry

Cons: Increase the risk of developing breast cancer cells; disrupt body’s natural functions, nasty clogged pores

Deodorant

Deodorants work to stop the odor that may result from the mixture of sweat and bacteria under your arms. While they seem more like a quick fix and a way to mask a problem without actually solving it, they may also be much safer for you.

Companies like Tom’s of Maine make deodorants with what they say, “odor-killing bacteria” so as to solve the smelly problem while still allowing you to sweat. Products like these won’t be the solution to keep you dry, but only to keep you un-smelly.

Pros: Minimize harmful effects on your skin; allow skin to perspirate and keep you cool; address odor

Cons: May result in “pit stains” from wetness

Happy Medium

So, the big question is: what do you do? It may a good idea to invest in both an antiperspirant and a deodorant. Be advised, however, to carefully read the labels; antiperspirants often include deodorants, but a product that is deodorant alone is harder to find.

For days when you are wearing sleveless tops, try opting for the deodorant. Doing so will give you peace of mind that you’re not slathering on aluminum and zirconium on your skin, and you won’t have to worry about the “pit stain” issue.

On “sleeve days” when there is a real chance you may be sweating, use the antiperspirant. At least while there isn’t an overwhelming danger of breast cancer development, it’s probably still okay to use antiperspirants for the days when you’d like to avoid embarrassing wet circles under your arms. Even then, by minimizing your use of them you could make a big difference in minimizing the harmful and unsightly effects they can cause.

>>Watch below for a review comparing Dove Ultimate antiperspirant deodorant and Tom’s of Maine deodorant:

The Best Shaving Cream Replacement


A heavy duty style safety razor. This is a fun...

I am a firm believer in alternatives. There is always a better option than the one that is initially presented, and I have truly seen the light when it comes to shaving. I have traveled the road less traveled and am here to take you all back with me! (I really hope I haven’t lost my male readers here because let’s not pretend you don’t shave your faces, chests and nether regions. Trust me, we really appreciate it, so keep reading because I’ve got something noteworthy here for you too!)

Shaving cream/gel

It’s almost unimaginable for many to shave without some sort of lubrication between the blade and stubble. I’ve heard many women say they simply use soap, and I have done the same many times also. It can be a hassle and a big mess to use shaving cream and whether it be Skintimate, SatinCare, Gillette or whatever other brand — sometimes it just rinses off and then what? You’re stuck with a patch of skin still hairy and still left to be shaved. So, either you lather up again or you suck it up and use soap or nothing at all. The plus of using a cream/gel is that it provides the lubrication but also gives your skin a bit of moisture, as many are infused with Vitamin E. But alas, the hassle, mess and often counterproductive process isn’t worth a more comfortable shave experience.

The Alternative: TRESemme Hair Conditioner

If you are thinking to yourself that I’m about to unleash a secret that has already made its way around the grapevine, stop yourselves from judging too quickly. I know it is a commonly known alternative to use hair conditioner in the place of shaving cream, but even here there is Holy Grail of conditioners-turned-shaving-creams: TRESemme Moisture Rich Conditioner with Vitamin E for dry/damaged hair.

I have tried multiple hair conditioners over the years, and never thought twice of the effectiveness of one over the other. Comparing them to shaving creams, I thought they were less messy but nothing special. Conditioners come in different textures and many are light and weightless, made perfectly to coat hair without weighing it down (sound like a commercial you’ve heard?). Although this type of product is ideal for your hair, it won’t do much for your shaving experience. Having used conditioners as these, like by Dove for example, I have just noticed the help but overall dry skin in the end. The secret to the TRESemme conditioner is its serum-like consistency. Although, I’ve even tried other serum-like conditioners – TRESemme’s truly trumps the other.  Once smoothed over the skin, your razor blade will glide over almost effortlessly without missing a hair. It stays put, lubricates and moisturizes your skin with the added Vitamin E.

I have found that even a more dull blade will feel sharper and shave better when using this conditioner simply because of how amazingly it lubricates without disappearing before you’re finished. (Obviously, you should always use a sharp razor, but this is just an exaggerated example of how well this conditioner works.) This also means that those under-the-knee curves won’t be as daunting as your slide your blade under, over and around them.

Astonishingly, I have yet to cut myself once having been using the TRESemme conditioner and vow never to go back to shaving cream again. No product on my blog would ever go recommended, of course, without it also being a great deal, and I’ve got that for you too!

For about $3.50, you can pick up this TRESemme conditioner at your local Wal-Mart or choice of drugstore for a whopping 32 oz. bottle. Shaving cans cost about that and more for not even 1/4 the size. Plus — when you’re running low on conditioner (because for some reason shampoo always finishes last) — you’ll have no need to worry because you’ll have your SuperConditioner handy!

Pravana Beach Wave Perm Review: Two-Week Update


It’s been almost two weeks since my transformation from a pin-straight haired gal to a bonafide wavyhead, and I have to say I really love the change. It’s been really fun to wake up to new hair everyday. The waves are soft, natural looking and easy to manage. But — it wasn’t like that from the get-go!

After I got the beach wave perm done, I had to wait 48 hours to wash my hair, and since it had been styled, I just chose to keep it up and out of the way until I could wash out all of the product.

48 hours later, I was dying to hop in the shower and check out my new waves. I used the Pravana Sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner Anna from Trashy Roots Salon & Spa had recommended for me. While the conditioner’s scent reminded me of the conditioner the at-home color kits include, it did the trick. My hair was clean and soft once I got out of the shower. I towel-dried my hair, combed out the tangles and sprayed some of the Pravana Intensive Hyrdating Leave-In Conditioner in.

Scrunch, scrunch, scrunch…

Next, I sprayed my hair down with the Pravana Beach Wave Control Mist.

Scrunch, scrunch, scrunch…I was done!

Having been a bit wary of how much maintenance I’d have to give my new wavy hair, I was pleased to say it was actually really quick and simple.

The mist was supposed to give me the “beach wave-y” look, and it did — for a while. I have super thick hair, and with my layers and relatively short-length, it had a lot of volume on its own. I was concerned about the level of “poof” it might have with the waves, and I was right to be! Later on that night, my hair had taken on a personality of its own — with too much volume and not enough definition, I looked like a dog with big fuzzy ears! Definitely NOT the look I was hoping for!

What to do? I sprayed it through with the mist, as the directions said, to “refresh” my waves. It helped – a little. But really, all I was left with was some dampened waves and hair that was all tangles.

The next day, I decided to nix the mist and try the Pravana Curl Enhancing Gel. Anna had recommended I use this for a “wet look”. I gave it a go after washing my hair. I was surprised when I squeezed some out that it was more the texture of a serum rather than a gel. I worked it through my hair and did some more scrunching. Voila! Hours later, I had more defined waves that looked natural, yet styled. That didn’t take me any work or time at all, and the results were more than satisfactory! Plus, my hair doesn’t feel like it has a ton of product in it. I can still run my fingers through it without running into tangles.

My hair has on occasion taken on more poof than preferable, and on those days I’ve pulled out the mist. I find that it works well once my hair has already had some gel through it. Although I’m not a huge fan of the mist because it tends to feel more product-ey than the gel, it’s a good refresher for my hair in the middle of the day!

What’s funny is that although my hair is super straight naturally, and even more straight when I take a flat iron to it (to get out all the kinks) – no one has commented on my new do! I’m assuming that people have simply assumed it’s my natural hair and I normally iron it out everyday. Guess it goes to show you how natural this look really is! Even better is that I’ve been able to literally wash, gel, scrunch, and go every single day. No ironing out kinks — nothing! It looks super natural in the day and just as dressed up at night. I’m loving the versatility!

Here’s my look from day to night after the Pravana Beach Wave Perm: