Friday, November 30, 2012

Take This So Your Skin Isn't Gross: Things That Have Seemingly Made My Complexion Better

Hello beautiful!
Well ok, maybe you're not really that beautiful but most of my friends are, and they're really the only ones who read this thing anyway so it's like an 80/20 shot that's accurate. Otherwise I'm sure you're a very nice person or something. Speaking of things that aren't beautiful if you do read my little corner of the world you've heard me bitch about my skin before. It's to put it delicately...not good. Not only do I get the hormonal break outs most people suffer from, I also just have terrible skin allergies. I just randomly get hives and all sorts of other not fun things if the wind blows/the earth turns/ or someone looks at me the wrong way. The general cycle thus far is: I get hormonal/I break out/ the sebum irritates my already shitty allergies. I have been finding a series of things that work for me though so I will share them with you.

I leave myself little notes because I don't remember anything.

~Biotin-This B vitamin supplement is supposed to be for hair,skin,and nail health. I always kind of thought it wouldn't actually do much but it does. My nails are really hard and long, my hair feels much healthier, and my skin has been much more well behaved. This is totally the time of the month I should be breaking out and I only really got one little zit which is a fucking miracle. Biotin is supposed to aid in the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates (hello 90% of my diet!) and help with skin rashes. I have a feeling my skin's barrier function sucks and I've been trying to improve it considering I'm using/eating a lot of vitamin C which can be really harsh on your skin.

~Physically exfoliating daily-You are totally not supposed to do this. You should probably not do this. In fact it's probably irresponsible of me to even be telling you this but it's the truth. If you get cystic acne (which when I get acne I do) it can be okay to exfoliate hardcore since a primary cause of it is build up of dead skin cells.  Chemical exfoliation daily such as using a salicylic acid wash is fine for most people, but I have been using a granular scrub because I live dangerously. If you do not get cystic acne, don't do this. You're only asking for problems.

~Flax Seeds-I've introduced flax seeds into my diet since my diet consists of a lot of dollar pizza and mac and cheese and is just generally deplorable.  I'm really trying to counteract this by being a little healthier. Flax seeds regulate estrogen levels so if you are getting hormonal skin problems and don't want to be on the pill this might be a good natural option to regulate your hormones. It's not gonna alter them as much or the same way but it will help and since the pill fucks with my body too much when I'm on it this is a better option for it. You should take an ounce a day to really make a tangible difference.  I add them in the chocolate smoothies I get from Starbucks. What? I said I'm trying to get healthier not lose weight, okay?

~Clindamycin Phosphate Gel-This topical antibiotic inhibits bacterial protein synthesis at the ribosomal level which basically means it kills bacteria that causes acne. I put it on before bed every night. You need a prescription for this (or be living with someone who has one and isn't using it anymore...not that that's something I would do.)

~Taking half a Benedryl- If i feel the slightest bit itchy I take a half right away and I have been hive free for a good few weeks now. Antihistamines really don't agree with my system so I just take a half to avoid feeling lightheaded all day.

A handy way to add some flax to your life.

This regimen has been working a solid month, who knows if it will keep being that way but I'm pretty excited about it right now. It's nice not hating my skin so I can concentrate on what's really important: hating myself for not having a job yet :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Fix Your Fucked Up Hair

  Hello again. I am totally insomnia ridden, as I am wont to be, so you're getting two posts in the same "day". Exciting! So anyway, if you have any fun with your hair at all (bleaching, dying, straightening, curling) your hair is at least a little bit fucked up.  My hair has been all kinds of fucked up and it's actually super healthy right now so  I will tell you how that happened.
Red Ombre Killed my hair.

(I just want to quickly mention my boyfriend gave me that shirt, and I wear it to bed since I'm kind of against wearing shirts by bands you don't listen too. Sorry to any Skeleton Witch fans who got excited. )

 So I'm living with my aunt right now and we have had massive fights about me getting hair dye/ the overwhelming smell of bleach all over the house. To avoid this when I had the red ombre going on I began using the "bleach your hair in the bathroom of the LIRR train" method, which I have actually used before and is usually totally fine. A word of caution however, make sure the water in the sink works. It didn't. I had bleach on the ends of my hair for an hour. After it had already been bleached from black like 3 times. Now I've been pretty unrelentingly awful with things I've done to my hair before, but nothing compared to this. The bottom was a completely different texture than the top. The red ombre was one of my favorite looks ever but I just couldn't keep it up after that. Here is how you can fix a terrible screw up like that:

Pixie Cut

~Cut some of it off. Sorry, I know this isn't what you want to hear but it has to be said. If your hair is that damaged the best thing to do is start over.  When my hair was really damaged a few years ago I cut it all off and when it grew back it was the thickest and nicest it's ever been. I'm not saying you have to go that crazy, but cut a few inches off the bottom or even get some layers, be sure to get those ends off.

~Dye it a solid, darker color. This is something some of you may not wanna hear either, but it's true. If your hair is damaged darker colors will hide it better than lighter ones. I know you've seen the same girls on the train that I have, who've bleached their hair into oblivion and it just looks so thin and damaged and awful. When it gets to that point you kind of have to decide: do I want bleach blonde/hilighted hair or do i want nice hair?  Because sometimes you can't have both and it's more important to have healthy nice hair than to have exactly what you want. I'd love to have hilights or ombre again but bleaching black hair is a whole lot of hell I'm not willing to deal with.

~Sleep with deep conditioner in your hair. Put it on, put on a shower cap, sleep. In fact every minute you're not outside of your house: deep conditioner. Shower cap.  You can use whichever you like, I like the ones at Lush and Kiehl's.

My "real hair" is curly.

 If your hair is not "dear god what have I done?" damaged (if it is you should do this as well as the things I've mentioned above), but could use some work:

~Leave your natural texture alone for awhile: That means if your hair is straight, wear it straight. If it's curly, wear it curly. It doesn't matter if you don't "like" it that way. You'll like it even less if it looks like shit. If it's the summertime or you live somewhere warm, try using no heat at all for a month.

~If you color your hair use the Aveda color depositing conditioners every other day. They're super moisturizing and you're constantly adding "color" to your ends so split ends will show up way less.

~ Use gentler products. R&B hair moisturizer from Lush is really great if you're trying to break away from hairsprays and sticky stuff because it's moisturizing and it controls frizz. Use only the tiniest amount though or you will look like a greaseball. I also like Lush's Shine So Bright split end balm because it smells amazing, works, and you can carry it around in your purse. Aveda's Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair leave in is also really great because it adds protein back into your hair.

 After the train bleach incident, I did cut a bunch of my hair off, dye it back to all black and baby the shit out of it. So far it's really healthy and growing back!

Hope these suggestions were helpful. Please be nice to your hair :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Smell Fancy:TokyoMilk Dark "Excess"

Hello, gorgeous.

   Hi! I was visiting my Dad in Florida for a week and came back with TokyoMilk Dark: Excess Perfume and Hand Lotion. It has got to be my favorite thing from the absolute clusterfuck of consumerism that was my birthday. I think that after about 3 years I finally have a signature scent again. When I worked at Kiehl's in a past life, I got totally hooked on the Amber Essence Oil. It smelled great in general, but was absolutely perfect with my body chemistry. It stayed on even after a shower. People would literally stop me on the street and ask me what I was wearing. I vowed never to wear anything else. And then the fuckers discontinued it in favor of some light body sprays that stay on for exactly five minutes and are nowhere near as sophisticated *sigh*.
I spent the time between then and now searching for anything that smelled remotely like it. It was like that episode of friends where Rachel started dating a guy named Russ who was really just a poor copy of Ross. It started off ok with me trying the Prada Amber and Kate Walsh's Boyfriend and ended in a very dark place where I was wearing some patchouli abomination from fucking Urban Outfitters that had some slight trace of one of the Kiehl's base notes. I don't even know what brand it was. It just said PATCHOULI on the side of the bottle in purple. Yupp.

I now smell like amber and booze (instead of just booze)
  I've always favored a more masculine perfume scent considering how feminine I dress. This scent is composed of amber resin, oak bark, blood orange, and patchouli. You can really smell the blood orange when you first put it on and while I was really never a  fan of citrus scents, this one manages to not be so light and airy. It fades (at least on me) to something that smells a bit like leather and amber. It lasts a good long time, too. Apparently this is a "winter scent" according to much fancier and more specialized perfume bloggers. However I really like the idea of wearing this musky androgynous  fragrance with a lacy sundress and in the immortal words of Eric Cartman "WHATEVAH, I DO WHAT I WANT!"so I think I'm wearing it year round. It does share some notes with the dearly departed Amber essence, but it's got it's own thing going on. And I finally think I'm okay with that because I love it. I feel like it smells like me. I have thought other things were decent since the Amber essence, but this one has me smelling myself like a weirdo which I haven't done since I wore that.
Smelling myself like a weirdo.

  I did manage to smell the entire collection before deciding to take this one home with me, and it's a solid collection. I really didn't want this to be "the one" at first because Tainted Love had a skeleton key on the bottle and I loved the way it looked. I just thought it smelled terrible on me though, way too sweet for my taste. I am warming up to this one, the octopus is really cute too. The packaging on this line in general is really beautiful considering how "cheap" people who are actually employed keep saying it is. The fragrance is $36 and the hand cream is $22. I try to only spritz myself once a day but I quite enjoy carrying the hand cream around and putting it on because it feels great and the tube is just very very pretty. The tube also comes in a snazzy little pouch and if these are the sorts of trivialities that matter to you (as they do to me) you will really enjoy this whole experience.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Living off the Land: Do your whole face up in Sephora

  Hello there. While I am patiently waiting to get a real job, I thought I'd write you guys a post about what I'm up to (which is mostly going out all the time without really enough money to do it with).

  So if you suddenly find yourself already on the street, with no make up, and are randomly invited out, go to Sephora where your face can go from "0" to "dirty whore" in about 15 mins. They have testers, they have disposable applicators, it all seems pretty self explanatory right? It would be if the lighting in these places wasn't totally fucking horrendous. Which it is. In every single one of them. I imagine when they're erecting a new one (haha, I said "erecting") that they bring a couple different lights and a mirror and stop only when everyone involved looks like they have scurvy. This makes doing a full face of make up in there very difficult (coincidence? I think not).  Here are some tips that make it easier.

 ~ First off, you need a base that won't end up an entirely different skin color than the rest of you.  Take advantage of the fact that a myriad of moisturizers and eye creams are at your disposal in the same store as the make up, the smoother your face is the more seamlessly the make up will blend with your skin. Use the sheerest coverage you can get away with, preferably a BB cream or tinted moisturizer because if it is not exactly the right color it will be way less noticeable and easier to blend with fingers. If you need more coverage in a certain area, use a concealer. If you're confused about the shade, go one lighter since their overall lighting scheme seems to bleach everything out and that can cause make up that would usually be too dark to look just right.

~ Use a cream blush. They used to have a can of make up brushes everyone could use. While that wasn't the most sanitary thing in the world it was extremely convenient. Now all they have are these sad looking sponge things that will absolutely cake on powder blush. Use a cream blush because you can rub it in with your fingers. I know that if you have any sort of blemish or red mark that you think cream blush is your enemy, but that's not always true. After you've rubbed the normal amount on, mix a little cream based concealer with some of the blush and pat it on any marks. It should blend more seamlessly with the blush.

~ Use an eyeshadow base, it makes things spread more evenly on your eyelid and you are bound to miss something in this light. I personally like Urban Decay.

~ Use shimmery colors. They can be applied less precisely than matte colors. I find it's best to use a cream shadow first because as you open your eye it creates sort of a natural shape and crease and it's much easier to follow that with powder than to create your own shape in bad lighting. Layer a few colors over each other and blend the shit out of it. Try to make it look "smudged and smokey" on purpose.

~ Use a serious mascara (like Dior Show) to emphasize your lashes even though you can't use an eyelash curler. Hold the wand at the base of your lashes an push them up to give them a little lift anyway.

~ Choose a lipstain as opposed to a lipstick or gloss. It will stay on longer. If you need some shine and have at least a dollar, use a lipstain for color and then buy a 99 cent clear gloss from NYC at the drugstore.

~ Most importantly: keep reminding yourself as you're staring at every magnified pore on your face that this is not really what you look like and you do not need to walk with a paper bag over your head from now on. The lighting is just evil. I've gone into Sephora with some insanely beautiful people with flawless skin and they still looked bad. It's a total trap. The upside to this is if you can make yourself look remotely decent *in* Sephora, you will look pretty amazing when you come out. Some of the best make up looks I've ever done were in Sephora. Trust.

Full face done in Sephora. I'm not mooching, I'm "living off the land" ;)