Yes / Almost / No / Not Anymore

I started my beauty story here back in 2015; below is a summary of my must-haves (I don’t have many; a product must provide great results to make this list), favorite repurchased beauty products that provide great results (yes), particularly bad products (no), those that are close to being favorites (almost) and ones I will no longer purchase (not anymore). For reference, I have oily/combination skin that is prone to congestion, breakouts and hyperpigmentation. My hair is dry, thin and frizzy.

No:

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. Drying. Not much improvement.

The Ordinary Suncare. Heavy and leaves a very noticeable white cast.

Drunk Elephant Slaai. Waxy and irritating. Used on my hands as an overnight treatment and my hands were so dry in the morning.

Abnomaly Petrowhat? Drying. No improvement.

Going blonde ruined my hair. Ended up having to cut about 8 or 9 inches of damage.

Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser. Does not cleanse or rinse well.

Must-Haves:

Follizin Hair Renew Leave-In Hair Masque. Improves frizz, silkiness, softness and moisture.

Your Best Face Skin Care Quench. Antioxidant lip treatment hydrates, protects and heals dry cracked lips after only a couple applications. Rose Otto seems the most moisturizing.

IPL/Photofacial. Improves sun damage, hyperpigmentation, scarring, blemishes, redness and aging skin.

Briogeo Blossom and Bloom volumizing spray. A lot of volume. Extends hairstyle and wash day.

Retin-A. Improves acne, scarring, texture and fine lines (review coming up).

Favorites:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade and brush No. 12. I still need practice, but with this, eyebrows look full and natural.

Mixed nylon/boar bristle brush. Distributes oils. Removes dust, debris and static.

Got these scissors from Amazon. Great for trimming my bangs while the salons are closed. I found a great tutorial on YouTube from A Model Recommends https://youtu.be/EArJrHbbFrA

Boar bristle dry brush for daily body exfoliation.

Keratin straightening treatment. No frizz. Silky, healthy hair (review coming soon).

First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser. Smooths skin and improves redness and bumps.

The Chemistry Brand Heel Chemistry. Hydrates and softens skin on the feet. I use in conjunction with KP Bump Eraser.

Cosrx Blackhead Power Liquid. Took a while to see results, but improved blackheads and texture.

Klairs Toner Mate Cotton Pad. Particularly love the sponge cotton pads for applying products with a thin formula.

Amarte Daily ExfoliPowder. Gentle daily exfoliation as a second cleanse or morning cleanse on its own. Improves texture.

BioBliss Lash Serum. Thicker and longer lashes.

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics. Layer with toner or water for hydration and plump skin.

NIOD Sanskrit Saponins. As a mask and cleanser, improves texture and oiliness. Skin feels smooth.

Kopari Coconut Deodorant. Fantastic odor protection. I wonder if I can layer with Drunk Elephant’s Sweet Pitti which is really good at absorbing sweat.

Drunk Elephant TLC Happi Scalp Scrub. Exfoliates the scalp. Hair feels lighter and has more volume. Makes a good exfoliant for the face as well.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser. Removes makeup and sunscreen. No residue or irritation.

Almost:

Laneige Cream Skin. Moisturizes really well. Leaves a layer over the skin and I’m not sure that other products penetrate as well or as fast (review coming soon).

Etude House Sunprise UV Protection. Light weight. No white cast. Enhances dry patches and mixes with thin foundations.

Drunk Elelphant Sweet Pitti. Really good at absorbing sweat with applications throughout the day. Odor protection could be better during activity and when out in hot weather.

Not Anymore:

Your Best Face Skincare Balance. Was a must-have, however, with a reformulation, this no longer functions to absorb oil. The previous version stopped shininess and gave a matte finish to the skin. I no longer had to use blotting papers and this prevented foundation from moving around throughout the day.

Akita Hand Cream. This, too, was my must-have. After a recent purchase, something changed in the formula and it is no longer anywhere near as hydrating and leaves an almost dry feeling on the skin as it is rubbed in.

Thank you for visiting.

Skin Care, Hair Care and Makeup Routines

I store my skin care, hair care and makeup on Ikea Raskog carts and wheel them into my closet. This keeps products out of humidity, temperature changes and light in the bathroom.

Below are my routines using some favorites, finishing up others and adding in some new products to try out and review. For reference, I have oily skin prone to breakouts, blackheads, large pores and hyperpigmentation. My hair is frizzy, dry and damaged. I like natural-looking makeup.

Morning Skin Care Routine:

  1. Mask and cleanse with NIOD Sanskrit Saponins.
  2. Tone with Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner.
  3. Mist with Caudalie Grape Water and pat in The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics.
  4. Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid every second day.
  5. Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel.
  6. Saturday Skin Waterfall Glacier Water Cream mixed with The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder (every second day).
  7. The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30.
  8. Your Best Face Skincare Quench Lip Treatment.

Evening Skin Care Routine:

  1. Double cleanse with The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser and Biossance Squalance + Tea Tree Cleansing Gel.
  2. Exfoliate with Amarte Daily Exfolipowder.
  3. Tone with Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner.
  4. Mist with NIOD SDSM.
  5. Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel.
  6. Treat with Retin-A.

Morning and Evening Neck Skin Care:

  1. Cleanse as above.
  2. Mist with Caudalie and Marine Hyaluronics.
  3. Dior Capture Youth Age-Delay Advanced Creme mixed with L-Ascorbic Acid.
  4. Biossance 100% Squalane Oil.
  5. Add suncare in the morning.

Evening Lip Care:

  1. As-needed lip scrub with white sugar, L-ascorbic acid, The Ordinary Marula Oil.
  2. Marine Hyaluronics.
  3. Quench.
  4. Squalane oil.

Weekly Skin Care Routine:

  1. Steam.
  2. Foreo Luna 2 for combination skin.
  3. Choice of mask/Foreo UFO.

Shower Skin Care:

  1. Dry brush before shower.
  2. Cleanse with Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash with salicylic acid.
  3. First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10% AHA.

After Shower Skin Care:

  1. Mist with Akita Rose Water mixed with L-ascorbic acid.
  2. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration.
  3. Biossance Squalane Oil.
  4. Christophe Robin Intense Regenerating Balm with Rare Prickly Pear Oil on extra dry spots; knees, elbows, heels.

Shower Hair Care:

  1. Wash and condition every 5 days with Briogeo Banana + Coconut Superfoods Shampoo and Conditioner.
  2. Scalp massaging shampoo brush.
  3. Every couple weeks wash with Briogeo Scalp Revival Micro-exfoliating Shampoo and deep condition with Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask.

After Shower/Styling Hair Care:

  1. Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Clinical Densifying Leave-In Root Treatment.
  2. Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Leave-In Conditioner.
  3. Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil.
  4. Every couple weeks Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector.
  5. For styling, Briogeo heat protectant cream and Blossom and Bloom Volumizing Root Powder.
  6. For my bangs I use Redken 05 Dry Shampoo Paste to absorb oil and add texture.
  7. As needed Redken 02 Dry Shampoo Powder.

Makeup Routine:

  1. Smashbox Primer Water.
  2. Altilis Beauty BFF Foundation.
  3. First Aid Beauty Bendy Avocado Concealer.
  4. Becca Under-Eye Brightening Setting Powder.
  5. Becca Hydra-Mist Set and Refresh Powder.
  6. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette Unlocked.
  7. Morphe 9T Neutral Territory Artistry Palette.
  8. Benefit Eye Bright.
  9. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade.
  10. Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara.
  11. Nudestix Magnetic Matte Lip Color.

Thank you for reading.

Brunette to Blonde

My journey to blonde began months ago with a dream I had one night – I was at my usual hair salon, about to get my hair colored and cut by a stylist I had never been to before and she had had a few glasses of wine and suggested I get my hair colored blonde. I have dark brown hair with bronzed highlights and warm medium skin. I was reluctant to let her color my hair, as she was drinking, and suggested she ask my regular stylist what she thought about me going blonde. She started crying, saying I didn’t trust her to do her job, and that is when I woke up.

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I began by reading online about what to expect, maintenance and what shade of blonde would look best with my skin tone and then started to work on getting really healthy hair. I wanted to get my hair as hydrated as possible and used leave-in conditioners, hair masks and hot oil treatments, stopped using my flat iron and bought a UV protectant.

I’ve been going to Style Theory in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for the last year, and the owner, Celleste, created my color.

She started with the bleaching process while using Olaplex. Here’s a photo of about midway through:

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My hair got a bit lighter than this, but with being so dark, didn’t lighten to the level she wanted and was pretty yellow, so I was worried how it would look when dried. No worries though, my hair was then toned to a pretty strawberry blonde color.

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After this first stage of color, I continued hydrating with masks and oils and used Olaplex No 3, the at-home version, to repair and strengthen the hair. Olaplex strengthens and protects the hair by relinking broken disulfide bonds from chemical services, heat and mechanical damage. After giving my hair time to heal and hydrate for about 3 weeks, I was ready for the next session, this time using Malibu Color Prepare the day before the service. To use Color Prepare, shampoo and rinse, add water to the crystals, work through the hair, leave on for 5 minutes, then shampoo and rinse. Do not condition. This treatment prepares the hair for color by removing minerals to ensure color coverage and extends vibrancy of color.

For the second session, she bleached while using Olaplex, and then used a number of treatments and toners.

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A few days after this session I went back to the salon to get the Ultra Bond and Seal treatment. The Bond treatment replenishes keratin, protein and amino acids after multiple color services such as I had. It also helps relink and strengthen broken disulfide bonds in the hair. The second treatment, Seal, fuses the repaired bonds into the cortex (middle layer) of the hair. The first and second treatments were left on wet hair for about 15 minutes each. After this treatment, my hair was bouncy, soft and shiny.

Maintenance and care of blonde hair is something I’m still working on, finding the right products that work for me. The first time I washed my hair after the first blonding session, I was shocked at my hair texture (while actual texture doesn’t change, porosity and elasticity does, and the hair feels very different). I read articles about dry, straw-like hair after a bleaching process, but that didn’t prepare me for the actual thing. I thought it was the new Schwarzkopf BlondMe shampoo I was using. After trying two other shampoos (Malibu Color Wellness and Balance from Josh Rosebrook), the BlondMe shampoo is more drying than those, but still as I was rinsing these shampoos off my hair, it seemed to become swollen with water (because the hair is now very porous), tangled, stiff and straw-like. After conditioning, my hair smoothed out and felt relatively normal after drying.

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Blonde hair needs purple toned shampoo to prevent unwanted warmth; the yellow, brassy color on light blonde hair. As mentioned, I’m using the Schwarzkopf Professional BlondMe Tone Enhancing Bonding Shampoo for cool blondes. While neutralizing warm tones, this shampoo also creates new bonds in the hair fibers.

Blonde hair is dry and fragile; I need to prevent breakage and only use a wooden comb and have stopped using a flat iron. My hair stylist told me, when washing my hair, before shampooing, put conditioner on from about the mid-shaft area down to the ends, shampoo the roots, rinse and condition all the hair. This prevents dryness and breakage at the ends. Deep conditioners, hair masks, oils and Olaplex No 3 helps with damage, dryness and help protect the hair.

My makeup and jewelry had to change a bit as a result of the blonde hair. Instead of using the warm corals and bright pinks for blush, I now look better in a pale pink, and rather than my usual rose gold earrings and nose ring, I have switched to white gold.

The blonde hair seems to bring out the redness in my complexion, so I need a bit of concealer. My black eyebrows are more noticeable and they will have to be well maintained. I recently purchased the Fab Brows kit in slate/black and the slate color has a mattifying effect and helps the eyebrows blend a bit better with the ash blonde hair.

Of course, cost, number of sessions and time will depend on your hair; do you have old color, virgin hair, boxed color and/or damaged hair? The process can also be affected by the hair stylist’s experience. I am lucky that my hair stylist is a blonding specialist and a specialist in treating damaged hair. I’ve been to salons previously wanting to get my dark brown hair to a light brown, only to be left with burgundy hair.

This process can be listed as a color correction with charge by the hour. These two blonding sessions, for me, were about 9 hours total. Consultation is key. Roots need to be touched up every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on growth. While waiting a few months for touch ups may seem cost effective, the color service can take longer and cost more in the end.

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Maintaining blonde hair:

  1. Wash your hair in room temperature or cool water.
  2. Wash your hair less often. The washing process is drying, as it washes away natural oils. While I have an oily scalp and would like to wash my every second day, I can get away with every 3 to 4 days.
  3. Use a purple shampoo to neutralize warm, brassy tones from mineral buildup and oxidation. Get an in-salon toning service.
  4. Protect your hair from the sun. Use a UV protectant and wear a hat.
  5. Protect your hair from chlorine. Saturate with conditioner then wear a swim cap.
  6. Hydrate your hair. Use oil treatments, deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, hair masks, in-salon moisturizing treatments.
  7. Use sulfate-free, salt-free, color safe, moisturizing shampoo.
  8. Avoid styling products with sodium and drying alcohols.
  9. Protect your hair from heat. If you need to use heat, protect your hair with a heat protectant and low temperature setting.
  10. Protect your hair from mechanical damage. Avoid backcombing, use a wide tooth, wooden comb or brush, detangling from the ends of the hair up.

I have since made a post here, after having to cut my damaged hair from going blonde.

Thank you for reading.