Category: Pro Tips

8 Wedding Makeup Tips for the Modern Bride

This Spring, it will be 10 years since I started doing wedding hair and makeup in Las Vegas. Just saying that doesn’t even seem real to me- 10 years? WOW. It doesn’t seem like that long ago I did my first wedding, but yet when I think about how fast things change it seems like it was several decades ago, instead of just one. When I started doing wedding hair, it was all about the curly and high up-do complete with twisties and hosed down with glitter spray. I also had to print off all the inspiration images my brides sent- smart phones were just starting to be a thing, so I had to have the printed images on hand for the day of the wedding. My entire calendar was in a real-life paper day planner, and I do believe more than once I had to go back to a wedding to fetch it because I forgot it. At any rate- we’ve come a long way. There’s a lot that change, and a different set of rules when it comes to bridal hair and makeup. Here’s what I’ve learned, both old and new, wedding makeup tips for the modern bride.

1) Don’t count on Pinterest to show your wedding hair and makeup artist. This tip alone is what prompted me to write this article- Brides LOVE Pinterest. And I do too- it’s amazing. It’s pretty much the perfect way to collect ideas for your wedding day, and you should definitely use it! But, everything that you love, you need to take a screen shot of on your phone and save. Nearly every wedding now our brides try to pull up their Pinterest board, only to realize they either don’t have reception or the WiFi is crappy. You really can’t count on having access to the internet on your big day, even if your hotel or venue says that you do. Less than a second is all it takes to make sure your inspiration images for your wedding day hair and makeup are saved to your phone, keeping your stress level and timeline in order.

2) Let your mom do her thing. We love our moms and want them to look and feel beautiful! It’s their big day, too, and then there’s the photo’s to think of. But sometimes, mom really doesn’t want to wear lashes, and she probably does love her lipstick, and when you try to force her into a look she’s spent decades feeling comfortable with, it puts a damper on her day. Don’t try to change your mom unless she’s into it and wants to. If the feathered bangs she’s been rocking since 1984 are her thing, let her have them. We know you just want to photo’s to come out great and yes, her personal style may be dated to you, but it’s not worth it if she feels uncomfortable. And she’ll make us re-do it in a style or look she’s more comfortable with after, anyways.

3) Make friends with reality. I’m a big fan of Photoshop- I have convinced myself  more than once that I really AM 15 lbs lighter after not realizing how much work was done on an image. But, Photoshop has also really distorted our perception of reality. Those beautiful eye makeup tutorials? Yes, they look great on the person with the big eye shape who did them. And the smooth, flawless skin? You can have that in just a few clicks, but it may not be able to come from a makeup artist. We can only work with color, we can’t do anything about texture, so if your skin has some texture problems those will still be there after a professional makeup application. I have acne scars myself and trust me, if there was a way makeup could make my skin smooth, I would have figured it out already.

4) Your tattoo’s are part of you. Own it. We offer tattoo cover and are happy to take care of your 18 year old bright idea so Grandma doesn’t know, but understand that some tattoos can’t be covered without an understanding of what’s involved. You’re ex’s name is over your heart and you’re wearing a plunging neckline? If the fabric isn’t too snug, and that tattoo is fairly old, we can probably cover it with mild damage to your dress. But, if your dress rubs on the area where the makeup is applied, friction can make the makeup move. While most professional wedding makeup artists with use a water-proof, budge-proof formula, you have to understand that friction it’s a whole different story. That flower on your arm? Just leave it. If it’s not offensive, it’s not worth risking getting makeup all over your gown and your hugging guests. In fact, bedazzle it! Embrace it. We are starting to see brides bling out and dress up their tattoo’s to make them wedding glamorous.

5) Reign in your contour fantasies. In private groups and happy hours all over the country wedding makeup artists are talking about the contour trend and trying to find a nice way of saying “Yes, I’ll give you contour, but not Kim K style because you’ll look like a drag queen in person.” While I can’t speak for all the other makeup artists, I can tell you that I am a big fan of contour! I love how with just a few well-placed strokes I can define and sculpt a face. However, I don’t do it to the extreme that all these tutorials are showing you. It only looks good to you because it’s on camera- in real life, like your wedding day where guests will see you in person, too much and too harsh contouring can and will make you look like a contestant on Ru Pauls Drag Race. Understand that a skilled wedding makeup artist knows the perfect balance between making you look amazing in person, and flawless on camera.

6) Clip-In extensions. Own them and love them. All those amazing images of beautiful cascading waves you see? Yup, there’s a good chance a few extensions were popped into her hair to make it fuller, longer, lusher. If your hair isn’t very thick, layered, and long, we can’t create those big beautiful waves for you without adding some hair. Because most wedding hair and makeup artists work on location, it’s unrealistic for us to carry all the different kind of hair we would need to pop in extensions at a moments notice. You’ll need to do some advanced planning for that. So, if you plan on wearing your hair down, and you want that look, get yourself some beautiful clip-ins and we’d be happy to secure them in place for you. Also, be sure that your at-home stylist does NOT blunt-cut your ends, they have to be textured (beveled, shattered, razored) so that your hair and the extensions blend seamlessly.

7) Simple is Chic for your ‘maids. Pretty much all our brides now are over the matchy-matchy concept, letting their bridesmaids wear what suits them within the look/color scheme of the wedding. Same goes for hair, too, with most brides OK letting the maids pick out their own style. Having witnessed too many unflattering yet matching ‘dos in my career, I’m pretty happy that fad is gone. At least now, when our bridesmaids have similar hair styles, the bride is OK with letting us customize the look so it works with each individual bridesmaids features. However, when thinking of bridesmaids hair and makeup, keep it simple. Simple is chic, and having one bridesmaid who chooses this super intricate up-do with braids and curls and twists and every element she can find crammed onto one head of hair looks like she’s stealing the brides thunder. And, remember, the back of her hair probably won’t be in most photos. Then there’s the fact that if her style has all that going on, she’s going to time-stamp herself and classic elegance just went out the window. Simple is always timeless, always beautiful, and can still have a modern twist. Think down, beautiful curls or waves, maybe some pieces softly pinned back. Think low swept up-do’s, either clean or soft, depending on your taste. Makeup too, should be simple and classic, and somewhat uniform. You don’t want one ‘maid with winged eyes and red lips and another with purple smokey shadow and a nude lip. Choose a flattering idea, keep it simple, and let your ‘maids make it their own.

8) Airbrush isn’t always the right answer. I left this last because the tip is short, you can read my thoughts on airbrush makeup here. 

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Beauty Spring Clean! 5 Tips to turn your spring cleaning into a spa day

If you’ve grown up in Vegas like most of the ‘Co has, you can appreciate the intense heat a whole lot more than visitors do. I’ve had some of our clients tell us that coming here in July is like sticking your head in the oven- it can definitely be unpleasant if you’re not used to it! But, for those of us who have spent many hot summer nights here, Spring is a sign of margaritas and pool time and planting tomatoes and opening the windows to let the stuffiness of winter breeze out.

The idea of spring cleaning may not sound that exciting to you- who wants to scrub the house when it’s so beautiful outside? But, if it’s gotta get done, you might as well make the most of it. If I’m going to be indoors and out of the public eye all day, it’s yoga pants and beauty treatments all the way. And it makes me feel super-decadent. Somewhere around 5 pm, my house smells amazing, my body feels amazing, and I’m sitting outside sipping wine and dreaming of hot summer nights. Here’s 5 spring beauty tips that you can totally do on your spring cleaning day, to lighten up both your body and your home.

1) Even the most intimidating scrub-downs can be a little more pleasant with a frilly, super girly rubber glove. Before you slip them on, coat your hands with an ultra-rich Shea butter or coconut 5 spring beauty tipsbutter. Really rub it in and thick, then pop your rubber gloves on and get to work. By the time you’re done, you’ve got your own home-made hand softening treatment. The heat from your body and the gloves will help the intense moisture really penetrate those dried out cuticles and the scaly patches between your fingers- which you probably have if you washed your hands plenty during cold and flu season.

2) I love all those hair treatment masks, but who has time for that? If you take a shower in the morning, you probably don’t have 30 minutes to sit around waiting for it’s magic to work. There’s a good chance your going to shower off all the grime from a day of cleaning anyways, and hopefully no one is going to stop by for a surprise visit, so now is the perfect time. Whip up a quick home-made hair treatment on dry hair (it’s OK if it’s dirty). Massage it into your scalp and down through your ends, then comb through with a wide-tooth comb. Pop a shower cap on (or a plastic grocery bag and clip will do!) and forget about it. When you shampoo it out, get ready for some seriously silky locks!

3) Boost your beach-body work outs with a watermelon detox. This isn’t the sexiest thing to talk about, but roll with it. We eat, and eat, and eat all winter long. Even if you’ve changed your diet and started your morning runs again, you’re body is still hanging onto all kinds of toxins from all that merry. Watermelon is a super hydrating way to detox your body and flush out your system. When I say flush, I mean flush. If you’re going to be toilet-bound for a whole day, I highly recommend you do it in the comfort of your own home. Detoxing clears up your skin, slims you down, and gives you a major energy boost. It won’t be pretty, but it will be worth it. Check out this recipe and guidance on how to do a watermelon detox. You’re going to be at home cleaning anyways, might as well clean out your body, too.

4) Pamper your feet and get your toes sandal-ready. It’s way too easy to skip those regular pedi’s during winter. No one is going to see your toes under those chic winter boots anyways. Although our feet don’t take winter that hard when they are bundled up, there’s a good chance that they could use a little pick-me-up too. Slather your Shea butter or coconut oil that you used on your hands onto your feet as well, and pay extra attention to the side of your big toe and heel. Slip on thick socks and your sneakers, then go about your housekeeping. At least you won’t be embarrassed when you make your first trip to the nail salon for summer!

5) Triple-treat your beautiful face. You don’t need to be in a spa to get the deluxe treatment action going on. Before you do all of the things listed above, before you start your cleaning, get your skin in order. Start your day with your normal face wash, taking a little more time than usual to really clean your skin. Your next step is to exfoliate- you always want to exfoliate before a mask to help with better penetration. My preferred exfoliant is 5-6 non-coated Aspirin tablets dissolved with a little water and mixed with a little cleaners. Scrub your face in small, circular motions, taking care not to press too hard. Rinse off your scrub and top with a mask that suits your own unique skin needs. If it needs to set for a while, get a jump start on your cleaning. Come back, rinse it off, and either follow up with a double pack (meaning, another mask for another treatment) or, if you’re all set, layer on a thick amount of moisturizer. You won’t be wearing makeup today, so here’s a chance to really hydrate your skin without too much moisturizer getting in the way of your foundation.


Happy Spring everyone! Looking forward to grill-outs, warm nights, all things coconut, and maxi dresses!

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The ‘Co Convo – Nighttime Skin Routine

The ‘Co Convo: Nighttime Skin Routine

Being a beauty professional puts a lot of pressure on us to look good… actually, great… ALL the time. The very first rule of being truly beautiful is great skin care. Night is an ideal time to really care for and pamper your skin. Once the makeup of the day is washed away, it’s time to give that tender face some lovin’ and rest. It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing! Here’s what a few of the ‘Co does at night to put their best face forward the next day:

Melissa F: I always wash my face to get the day off. Toner, Vitamin C and moisturizer. If it’s Thursday, I do a quick microdermabrasion stacked with a chemical peel. I like to try a lot of different lines, from drug store brands to high end. Or, I make it myself, like my eye cream. I use what I think works best for me. In beauty school, they drilled into our heads that it is not the brand of the product, but the ingredients. If you know your ingredients, you can always find a steal.

Bri T: I keep it pretty simple. If I’ve worn makeup that day i usually remove my eye makeup with Aquaphor and use Cetaphil face wash with my Clarsonic. Once a week I will use the Eminence Mud Mask or Peter Thomas Roth Resurfacer and follow with moisturizer. Aquaphor is gentle and gets it all without irritating my eyes or skin around my eyes. Helps with fine lines and wrinkles as well. I can’t live with my Clarsonic. Gets my face clean as possible. I can really tell on those lazy days when I decide to use my fingertips. Cetaphil face wash is gentle and get the job done. Eminence mud mask burns so good! It attacks my occasional breakouts and I can feel it working. Peter Thomas Roth pumpkin enzyme peel helps to Resurface and brighten my skin.

Bianca S: My most favorite skin care night routine is simple and inexpensive. Papaya is one of my most favorite skin regimens especially for concerns of acne. I use papaya on a daily basis to hydrate my skin and help reduce acne. I cut a small piece of the flesh of the papaya and apply it to my face including the under-eye area. This will help get rid of those dehydration lines. Papaya has many healthy agent that can improve the health and appearance of your skin. Papaya contains anti-oxidants and both vitamins A and E which help hydrate, even skin tone and create a youthful glow. These nutrients also reduce dullness and fine lines. Papaya also contains ”papain” this very helpful enzyme gets rid of dead skin cells and can cure the skin of impurities such as acne, acne scars and large pores. I love using papaya because its natural. There are no worries about its questionable ingredients or chemicals because it doesn’t have any! Its one of natures many gifts to natural beauty.


Hayley A: My nighttime skin routine starts with washing off all my makeup with a product from Lush Cosmetics 9-5. It cleanses my skin, but also hydrates it. I finish with Aveeno Positively Radiant. I’m guilty of tanning, so the freckles I already have got darker as I’ve tanned and the lotion helps correct it.

Kay H: So my night time routine starts with my PTR (Peter Thomas Roth) anti-aging cleanser or my PTR  glycolic cleanser. I switch my cleansers about every four to six months. I wash my face twice and the second time with my Clarisonic. After my face is nice and clean I use my PTR glycolic toner. Once my face is dry I use two serums. First Exlinea by PCA under my eyes, which is the best serum ever! It keeps those under eye wrinkles away. The other serum I use at night is a 2% hydroquinone by HTC. This serum helps with hyper pigmentation. Once the serums set in I finish off with my PTR night moisturizer and my Bobbi Brown extra repair eye cream. I’ve used many eye creams over the years and right now this is one of my favorites. This one is great for anti-aging.


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A Professional Opinion on Mineral Makeup for Your Wedding Day

Mineral makeup is wildly popular. Phrases coined “swirl, tap, buff” have taken on a cult following. Boutique stores and alluring kiosks all promise better skin, free from breakouts and allergic reactions. Even dermatologists, my own included, sell the popular Jane Iredale line in their offices as a better alternative to more conventional makeup formulas.  All this is well and good, but one thing I’ve learned over the thousands of brides our company has worked with is that:

1) Most women hate the feel or look of non-mineral makeup (poorly applied or of low quality) and usually tell us they have an allergy or sensitivity so that they can use their own mineral makeup for their wedding day. They usually are also terrified of breakouts or lack of sanitation.

2) Mineral makeup looks flat-out awful in photos.

While mineral makeup may be a viable option for day to day wear, it is not appropriate for any kind of photography medium and is unreliable for long term wear. The concerns about conventional makeup are not unfounded- it’s true, too many sub-par makeup artists have spackled faces with greasy, oily products that shimmy down sweaty cheeks and oily noses in a really unattractive way. However, in my (experienced) professional opinion, that is almost entirely the fault of the artist and rarely the fault of the makeup line.

The reasons why mineral makeup is not suitable for your wedding day are few and simple-

  • Mineral makeup is a dry powder. When the dry powder oxidizes and mixes with the skins own natural oils, the color of the foundation alters and usually turns darker than the original color intended. Depending on the skin type, this can happen within a few minutes or a few hours- but far sooner than your wedding day will come to a bittersweet close.
  • Most mineral makeup contains a handy little ingredient named bismuth oxychloride. This synthetic ingredient (wait, isn’t mineral makeup supposed to be natural?) give that pearlescent finish to the skin. It also makes an otherwise normal sized pore look like a hole in the galaxy of your skin.
  • Another regular party-goer to the mineral makeup rave is titanium dioxide. This one at least earns it’s keep- it acts as a sunscreen, reflecting harmful rays that could damage the skin. This is a great thing! Except, it also reflects the flash of a photographers camera. That’s when you get the whole floating-ghost head situation happening. Your face, no matter how it looks in person, will be highly reflective in any photo using artificial lighting. Unless you plan on taking photo’s only in natural lighting outside, you can see why this wouldn’t work out so well.

All this is not to say that ALL mineral makeup should be banned from wedding-day festivities. Mineral lipsticks, blushes, and some bronzers can be a sure thing. A little gentle highlight on the cheek or lips will not negatively effect the outcome of your wedding day photos.

For day-to-day wear, mineral makeup is definitely a boon to those who have skin concerns or sensitivities. In this regard, it get’s an enthusiastic blush brushes up, especially for the sun protection factor. Applied correctly and used sparingly (heavy powdered faces are reserved for the 18th century Lady of the House) then mineral makeup is an excellent daily regime. However, mineral makeup just not the right choice for your wedding day.

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Monthly Beauty Subscription Services

Monthly Beauty Subscription Services

How many of you have a drawer of beauty “rejects”? You know, those items that you had to get because they take away wrinkles, smooth your skin, make you look like Heidi Klum? You get them home, try them out, they don’t live up to the hype and you have to tell them – “Your Out – Auf Weidersen!” I have that drawer. Whenever I can, I would raid the beauty counter to try and scour a few samples, but after a few side-eyes from the Chanel girl at the counter, my luck ran out and I was cut off. Then I heard about the monthly beauty subscription box services and my problems were solved!


birch box- monthly beauty subscription services

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Birchbox is one of the original monthly beauty subscription box services and visits my mailbox every monthJ For $10 a month (shipping included) you get a box of approximately 5 items. Some of the samples are the standard sample sizes, however I have received some larger sample sizes and last month, I received a card for a free year subscription to Women’s Health magazine with my samples. In the past I have received various shampoo, skin care, perfume, cosmetic samples. Some of them were brand names like Juicy Couture, Redken and others were brands that I haven’t heard of. What I like about Birchbox is they award you points for giving reviews. So I am actually getting a benefit from giving feedback. Once you receive a certain amount of points, you can trade them in for free products. On their site, you can purchase the full size items if you decide you can’t live without them.



Glossy Box

glossy box- monthly beauty subscription services

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Another one of the original subscription boxes, Glossy Box is another one of my favorites. A little more expensive than Birchbox, their subscriptions start at $21/month. They also feature larger sample sizes. I love to try out products more than one time, so it’s important to me that I have at least a week’s worth of product to make sure that I am making the right decision. Glossy box also offers rewards to their members. For reviewing products or referring friends, you get awarded “glossy dots” which can be used toward your subscription. At Glossy Box, they don’t offer a shop with full sized beauty items, so you have to find them at the cosmetics counter, Sephora, or online.



Glam Bag

glam bag- monthly beauty subscription services

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Internet You Tube Beauty guru, Michelle Phan now has a beauty subscription service as well. For $10 per month, you get 5 deluxe samples (some even full size) with a cute collectible bag each month. Each month has a “theme” and the products are centered around it. There is also an interactive component, as there are you tube videos that show how other subscribers are using their boxes to make them look fabulous. You can also use discounts that are shared with you to purchase the full size product!

What do you love about beauty subscription boxes? Which is your favorite?



About Jen: Jen is a blogger, mom, and self-proclaimed fashion and beauty addict. Once a big city career girl working as a personal shopper, she has traded it in for a quiet laid back life in the south. Although she misses life in the city and shopping for a living, she now enjoys living vicariously through the fashion bloggers that she follows and keeping up with the latest fashion and beauty trends.

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Beauty and Fashion Deals- Pretty Apps!

Beauty and Fashion Deals – My obsession with Apps

Do you want to save money on makeup or beauty supplies? Who doesn’t! What you might not realize is that all of these coupon apps that you see on the market can be used to save money on your favorite beauty supplies as well. Here are a couple of my favorite coupon apps that can also help you save money on your beauty needs:

Snip Snap

Did you ever walk into the department store, head to the beauty counter, spend a small fortune, walk out and realize that you had a 20% off coupon that you were saving just for the occasion that you left at home? That would have been $20 in your pocket (or a fabulous lunch and Starbucks)! On my shopping trips, with ADD and a small child hanging on my leg, I can never remember to bring coupons. If I actually do remember to bring them, I forget to use them.  Or if I actually remember to use it, they are expired. That’s why Snip Snap is one of my favorite coupon apps. I can snap a picture of the coupons I want to use and the app will ping me when I walk into that store or send me a reminder when the coupon expires. Although Snip Snap isn’t a dedicated beauty app, you can use it for saving money on all your beauty needs.

Coupon Cabin

I love buying my beauty products online. One of the big reasons is a lot of them offer specials like bonus samples, free shipping or money off with promotional coupon codes. Keeping up with all the coupon codes is difficult. That’s where my Coupon Cabin coupon app comes in. It searches coupon codes for me and allows me to use them when shopping online. Sometimes if I’m shopping on the go or want to see if there is an online coupon for my purchase in store, I will check Coupon Cabin app to see if there is a discount available. You can use this to find health and beauty coupon codes or whatever else you may be shopping for online.

Like the Coupon Cabin app, Coupon Sherpa is another app that offers in store as well as online coupons.

There are many coupon apps that are out there, but these should give you a great start on finding your makeup and beauty items on a budget. Don’t throw your money away. The only difference between a $50 Chanel foundation and the same Chanel foundation that you used a coupon on and bought for $35 is $15 that you can leave in your pocket. You can use it to buy something else you have had your eye on.

Do you use any of these coupon apps to save money on your beauty supplies?  What’s your favorite beauty coupon app?

About Jen: Jen is a blogger, mom, and self-proclaimed fashion and beauty addict. Once a big city career girl working as a personal shopper, she has traded it in for a quiet laid back life in the south. Although she misses life in the city and shopping for a living, she now enjoys living vicariously through the fashion bloggers that she follows and keeping up with the latest fashion and beauty trends.

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Safe Cosmetics Database

Authors Note: This article was written in 2010 and updated Sept 2013, and since then I’ve learned even more about the safety of our cosmetics. Specifically, the Safe Cosmetics Database. Something worth noting is that “hypoallergenic” makeup doesn’t mean much. It just means that the ingredients in the product do not generally cause a reaction in most people. Regarding the safety of mineral makeup because it’s “natural”… well, scorpions are natural, too. You going to rub one all over your face? The point is this: YOU, and only YOU, can determine what’s important to you in cosmetics. For me, I’m Vegan, so I recently switched most of my makeup brushes to synthetic fibers (in LOVE with Cozzette, if your interested). But, I despise mineral makeup. Use the information at hand to make your own choices about what cosmetics work for you.

A while ago, I was forwarded an email inquiring about lead-based lipsticks. You know how you get those chain emails where everyone is worried about a health or public safety concern and it’s the same email that’s been circulating for like, years? That’s what this was. Only, it was true.


The government, at best, loosely regulates the cosmetics and body care industry in Las Vegas. Loosely, at best.

Read that twice, girls and boys who want to be girls.

The stuff you shellac on your face and body every day really hasn’t been approved by a safety commission or regulatory group. Maybe some things kinda sorta get watched, maybe there’s some basic idea’s about what you can’t put in cosmetics, but it’s so loose and so unregulated that it really doesn’t matter. No one really cares if the emollient in your body lotion is a known carcinogen. I suppose you would, if you knew, but as most of us aren’t chemists we are none the wiser.

Cue hero music, enter the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The EWG is a wonderful organization who has taken the liberty of collecting the very information that we are not privy to and putting in an accessible place so we as consumers can go and get an unpleasant education about our beauty products. By visiting their website Safe Cosmetics Database, you can look up the various goodies in your makeup bag and see how they rank on their comprehensive Hazard Scale. The scale rates cosmetics from 0, being the most benign  to 10, being toxic sludge. It also includes in their crafty little ranking why that particular cosmetic was ranked as such. Case in point: My new favorite mascara, Lash Hugger by Tarte. Let’s see how it looks to EWG: Not bad. Not bad at all. Get’s a 4, which is pretty low, so that’s a good start. I know that the tube itself is made from recycled aluminum, which is a bonus. Still has hazardous ingredients but on a scale going up to 10, it’s pretty mild.

I try to go through this process every time I make a new purchase. It doesn’t always happen. If I need a product and there are no other options, I won’t look it up in the database because if I’m going to have to buy it regardless, why torture myself. If there are multiple options available, I always compare products through the database. You should do the same. Do that with your cosmetics NOW so that you know what to refill and what to change next time you run out of something. While your there, make a donation. It doesn’t have to be crazy, five or ten bucks is plenty. But these people are going to save our asses if we let them so let’s fund our own education.

Another thing that fascinates me about all this is that there are some cosmetic lines that are actually banned in the UK for toxic ingredients. So, it’s OK for us American girls to slowly slaughter ourselves with our own vanity because ignorance it bliss? I don’t think so. I’m not going down without a fight.

And when you hear me pull out the soap box, just remember: There is no real government investment in regulating the cosmetic industry.

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How to Speak Hairdresser

Really, someone should come up with a standard language that means the same thing across the board so we all know what the other means when we say “big curls”. But, since that doesn’t exist yet, and they don’t seem to have a font for it either, here’s what we hair dressers think when you try to describe a style.

Long Layers: This means you want long hair with some layers in it. Very few layers, at that. Your asking for mostly long hair with a couple of inches of layering at the ends. That means your shortest layer is going to be quite long, depending on how long your hair is.

Soft Curls: This usually means hair is curled with a big iron and little hairspray. Depending on the texture of your hair it might not hold, but it will be soft and if the hairdresser is good, smooth.

Wave: Wave? What kind of Wave? Jessica Simpson style, messy with straight ends? or Veronica Lake style, big and smooth? Get a picture for this one.

Up-Do: Do you want it high at the crown, centered in the back, or low on the nape? That can also mean something to the side. The term up-do has really changed, because girls stopped getting the crunchy-curl high and tight look and started going for low and full. An up-do just means that the hair is up somehow.

Ringlets: This usually means you want a tight, super firm curl all over. Think Shirley Temple. Be very careful with this. If you want a Playmate do and ask for ringlets, don’t get mad when you come out looking like your off to grammar school.

Half-up: Pretty self explanatory, but be prepared to explain how high you want the part that’s up pulled. It can be brought low and loose for a romantic, hippy feel or with tons of volume and high for a modern sexy effect.

No matter how aptly you describe your style, keep in mind that things can always be misinterpreted. A visual aid is always the best when trying to explain how you want your hair, or makeup for that matter, to look. This is just what goes thru my head when I am asked for these things. And keep in mind: The hairdresser who cuts and colors your hair is probably not the best person for styling. It’s two different beasts so their scope of possibility may be limited. Not saying they aren’t a fantastic hairdresser, but just like I’m not the God’s gift to women with gray hair, they probably are the same to special events and brides. Just sayin.

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Beauty Budget- When to Save, When to Splurge

In these lean and mean times, a girl still has gotta look good. It’s a good think that a few awesome products and pretty tricks separate the hotties from the…uh…homely. Don’t feel like your pay cut means a trip back to the dollar store. Here’s my top 6 Budget Beauty Tips!

Splurge- shop smart with your shoes

The general rule of thumb when it comes to purchases is that you want to invest the most in what is going to be with you the longest. A classic pair of black pumps will run you more than seasonal flip flops. Same thing with beauty. You need to be investing in what’s going to be with you the longest, and that’s your skin. Cut back whatever it takes for you to afford good skin care. Keep to the trifecta: Cleanse, Exfoliate, Moisturize. Nope, don’t bother with toner. I haven’t found any toner that was really needed. But the other three are must haves. Not saying you have to run out and drop a few hundred on Chanel. There are amazing lines available that work even better than department store brands, you just need to do a little research. When you do find the best for your skin, buy it and do without your weekly lip gloss purchase if that’s what it takes.

Save- cancer is expensive!

Lose the tanning bed membership. Cancer, anyone? Or if your lucky, you’ll just age prematurely from UV Damage. Nothing a several thousand-dollar trip to the dermatologist can’t fix.

Splurge- Less than a couple of latte’s and lasts longer

Continue to get the eyebrows done. Now that we have all those awesome little threading joints popping up, you can spring the 15 bucks to get cleaned up every few weeks. It’s just good housekeeping, and totally worth the money.

Save- we all know now why ombre is so popular

No more highlights. It’s summer, so you can let them grow out sufer-girl style. If you’ve been darkening your hair all over either from gray’s or just preference, find out how you can stretch out the space between appointments. If you’ve been with your stylist for a while, you can probably level with her.

Splurge- even dudes know something’s wrong if this isn’t right

Don’t cheap out on the foundation. If your a girl who wears foundation every day, your going to look silly if the cheap foundation you got doesn’t quite match your skin tone. If you can’t afford the right color and formula for your skin type, just skip it. But, if you need to have it, continue to get the correct color with the best forumla.

Save- it adds up!

Resist the urge to pick up a new gloss at the register. Those sneaky little devils in their pretty display right at check out, those pretty color’s glistening under the store light… no. You must remain strong. That $4 purchase 3 times a month will pay for those brows to get fixed, and trust me when I say no one is going to be looking at your lips if your eyebrows look like Robin Hood and his Merry Men are going to come running out any second.

It’s not going to be easy. Being on a budget never is. But, with a little self discipline and a firm grasp of what’s important, you’ll literally save face till we pull out of this. Then, if you go back to your wicked ways… well, that’s OK.

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Big Fat Truth About Stress

Stress and Weight Gain: The Big Fat Truth

The magazine racks are nearly bowing under the weight of all those glossies with screaming taglines about sex, makeup, and weight. And all of them have valid points- weight gain, especially in women, is a source of both inner and outer controversy. There’s this massive sign on the side of this super gym I drive past almost every day promoting free enrollment for women. We get it, society! You can launch all the “real women” campaigns you want but when you market your gyms and shape wear and fit models and motivational boosters, it’s hard to drown out the noise and desperation to be thin. And until recently I saw all this grand marketing as just more propaganda mixed in with everything else shoved in my face daily. But when I suddenly ballooned out last week after weeks of dieting, daily workouts, and general good health I was reduced to tears and became very hyper aware of all the “think thin thoughts” around me.

Diet and exersize has been a part of my life pretty consistenly for the past five years or so. Not because I felt over weight or had body issues, but because I liked looking better in my clothes and I liked the light, springing feeling being fit gave me. No crazy diets or work outs, either. Mostly daily cardio and plenty of clean eating. I wasn’t stick thin, but I felt balanced and never felt totally denied. I wanted to keep that comfort level, so in Janurary when I quit smoking, I immediately went on a diet as well. No reason to bloom out just because I stopped asphyxiating myself. All was well, and I’m super proud to say that as of today I am still smoke free!!! Except…

I started on the patches with lasted several weeks, and then when I finished the cycle used lozenges as needed. A few days of lozenges just to ease myself into being smoke free and just like that, I am taking my first shaky steps on the tight rope that is living life nicotine free. My proud high lasted for a brief, shining moment before plunging down into the utter depths of the depression as my dopamine levels became almost non-existent. Allow me to explain: When one smokes for a significant amount of time, the body stops producing  dopamine on its own and becomes dependant on the nicotine to kickstart dopamine release.  When one quits smoking, it takes a while for the body to start doing it’s job again. It’s that period between that’s the hardest. Doctors try to counteract this by prescribing various anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds, but that’s just trading one substance for another. Eventually, if you truly want to be chemical free, you gotta get through the dopamine dip and let your body start doing it’s thing again.

So here I am, sitting around way stressed out. My anxiety level is through the roof, and suddenly everything seems cataclysmic and urgent. I know I just gotta grit my teeth and get through it, so that’s the plan. In the meantime, I am not as stringent on my diet as I was at the beginning. The intense and unforgiving 4HB diet designed by my fav author, Tim Ferriss  is effective only as a lifestyle. And I just couldn’t hack it and be stressed out with low dopamine at the same time. So I modified the diet slightly so it wasn’t so intense, but still pretty good.

And then… last week… my waistline ballooned out as if I just had my way with a fair-ground full of fried oreos. Because, you know, when you’re stressed out the thing you want the MOST is to suddenly gain weight. I stared in the mirror naked and just cried.

It couldn’t possibly be the change in diet. Granted, I wasn’t eating super clean, but small and rare cheating may be cause for no weight loss or slight weight gain, but certainly not such a rapid weight gain.

My BFF Google had my  back and it didn’t take long to figure out the culprit in the case of Sudden Weight Gain: A sneaky little bastard named Cortisol.

I’m no dietician or scientist, so rather than try to summarize it for you here’s some link hookup:

Three Fat Chicks: How Cortisol Causes Weight Gain How to Lower Cortisol Manage Stress

A quick spree under the term “cortisol weight gain” will give you even more info.

So I guess at the end of the day, there’s more to stress management than the superior feeling of being calm in a crisis. If you get stressed out, you’re probably going to put on weight. If you put on weight, you’ll probably get stressed out.

Take two chill pills and call me in the morning.

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