Lip Stuff Queen

December 1, 2016

I know several lovely ladies who consider themselves lipstick queens. I am envious of their affinity for rich hues and awed by their ability to apply bold colors without a mirror. Sometimes I feel adventurous and try my hand at wearing lipstick...but I save those times for specific occasions and they are few and far between. You see, I'm not a lipstick queen, but a "lip stuff" queen. I might not be a hoarder of lipsticks but I consider myself pretty well versed with balms, treatments, tints and other lippy stuffs that moisturize more than the average chapstick. My collection for these types of products is vast - I even had to forbid myself from buying anything from the category for a few months because I realized I wasn't using the products I had till they were gone. But I can't help myself. And today I'm sharing some of my current tippy top favorites.

 

Gentle scrub…to get things super soft.

  • Sara Happ Lip Scrub in “Peony” ($24): any lipstick queen knows the importance of a good lip scrub – an essential step to keeping lips smooth, free of flakes, and prepped for color. But non-lipstick peeps (like me!) still need a little exfoliation action. I love this sugar-based scrub by Sara Happ because unlike some others I have tried, the sugar granules are large enough to actually buff of the top layer of dry, dead skin cells (so many lip scrubs claim to do this but aren’t coarse enough) but the formula won’t damage your lips. There are several “flavor” options but each is packed with essential oils so as you’re massaging the scrub onto your lips you’re also infusing them with tons of hydration. I try to use the scrub at least once a week to maintain super softness.

Super hydration…because lips crave intense moisture.

  • AMOREPACIFIC Moisture Bound Lip Treatment ($35): while this might have an unusually high price tag (it’s a clear lip balm, after all) once you use it you understand why. The formula goes on like a gloss – it’s super smooth and more gel-like – and has a high-shine to it but it’s not sticky or tacky. It feels so light you might worry that the hydration factor will fade but it truly doesn’t…your lips stay moisturized for hours. This is probably due to the “superior antioxidant protection” factor of the ingredients. I usually stick to using this at night because it locks in hydration so well.
  • rms beauty Lip & Skin Balm in “Simply Vanilla” ($25): I really love this balm because I can use it under my eyes as well as on my lips. I’m also obsessed with the light vanilla scent…it’s pretty intoxicating. If you’re an all-natural junkie then I highly recommend this. Not just because the ingredients are awesome but because it really, really sinks into the skin – no “sitting on the surface and looking pretty” with this stuff. The formula has a night weight to it and you can really slather it on when you want to. (P.S. it comes in a “Simply Cocoa” version)

Shiny balms…when you want hydration with a little something extra.

  • RODIN Oilo Lusso Lip Balm ($34): this is one of my favorite lip stuffs because it feels so fancy and luxe. Rodin Olio Lusso is a renowned luxury face oil and this balm contains the jasmine and neroli scent of the oil into a lip treatment. I’ll let you know that this balm is very, very light. It’s not very build-able but I’m obsessed that just a little swipe of it gives moisture and a high-gloss look. I usually put this on as the finishing touch at the end of my makeup routine. (P.S. it comes in this super adorable ring. Great conversation starter)
  • Bobbi Brown Lip Balm ($22): I’m a Bobbi Brown junkie and there are many BB products I can’t live without…but this balm just might rank as number one. I love the creamy consistency, the simple but chic silver tin, the non-greasy but extremely hydrating formula. I especially love that the balm can be worn under or on top of a lipstick or gloss. Usually you have to be careful about this kind of layering with a balm but this one emulsifies and plays really well with lipsticks and glosses. (Has anyone tried Bobbi’s Extra Soothing Balm? It almost sounds like it’s the Lip Balm on steroids. Might have to sneak some into my stocking)
  • Sara Happ “The Lip Slip” Lip Balm ($24): unlike the two shiny balms above, this one does more than just add some gloss and hydration, it also has a nice little nude hue to it. My lips have a lot of natural redness to them so I love that this balm tones that down but it doesn’t wear as a “color.” It’s very thick and gives lots of shine but there’s not a stickiness like you might expect because it really is a balm and not a gloss. And don’t worry, it might look like there’s a slight sparkle factor when you see it the container but it defiantly doesn’t read as sparkly or shimmery on the lips – just dewy and pretty. (P.S. it also comes in a tube version which I love when I’m caring a small clutch and/or don’t want to get my fingers messy)

A little color…for a natural dose of color.

  • Tata Harper Volumizing Lip and Cheek Tint in “Very Charming” ($36): unlike almost all the other lip stuff above, this one has more of a matte look when applied – something I like when I’m choosing to add a hint of color because it seems to look more natural and not like I’ve put on a lipstick. And though there is more of a matte factor, it’s not cakey and goes on sheer and smooth. Another thing that makes it different: it’s got ingredients that help fill in the lines of your lips and add some plumpness. Magic! Science! But wait, it’s all-natural, too! Oh…and you can also swipe it on your cheeks for a natural, light flush. I like the “Very Charming” color because the pink is closest to my natural lip color – it’s what I wear when my hair is dirty and pulled back and I need to feel pretty but not done up. (P.S. the formula comes in five other colors!)
  • Fresh Sugar Cream Lip Treatment in “Buff” ($24): I’m sure you guys know all about Fresh and their Sugar Lip Balms/Lip Tints – they are pretty infamous and I do happen to like the original formula (though it wears a little gritty on me and why it’s not in this round-up). Up till recently, the balms and tints were the only lip offerings from Fresh…but they just came out with Cream Lip Treatments and they’re fantastic. They are thicker and creamier than the balms and the hues are more saturated, too. There’s a little shimmer factor, but I find the formula to not be especially glossy (because it’s not a gloss, duh) so this helps reflect light and gift the look of a gloss without the sickness and without sacrificing the nourishing properties of the formula. (Full disclosure, I got my tube in store at Nordstrom and it’s not on their website yet…womp womp)

And there you have it, lots of options from a lip stuff hoarder queen! You can get them all at Nordstrom…along with a ton of other great beauty stuff perfect for gifting and stuffing into stockings!

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Hello, Radiance

November 30, 2016

I love a good facial and really believe in turning to trained aestheticians when it comes to treating my skin. But I generally only book a facial once a quarter (four times a year) due to the expense and scheduling. Between those visits I try to do the best at-home care I can...I love getting to show up to an appointment and hear, "Your skin is looking great!" rather than getting scolded for under moisturizing, picking, and not using my SPF and anti-aging products.

So the home care I mentioned. There are certain things I will and will not do myself. Like I would never try to wax myself. Or use any tools that could seriously damage my skin. But I do try tools that are deemed safe and yield incredible benefits when used properly and consistently. ReVit happens to be one of the aforementioned tools I use and I seriously love it. You may have heard the term "microdermabrasion" and even had an aesthetician use a microdermabrasion tool on you during a facial. ReVit is an at-home microdermabrasion tool by Silk'n, and like the ones used by professionals in the facial industry it combines gentle microdermabrasion exfoliation with vacuum stimulation. What this means: it removes dead skin cells and draws them into the device, leaving you with seriously smooth skin while also improving the appearance of age spots, fine lines and acne scars. Super easy to use and it's only $99. Sounds too good to be true but it's not...

 

You might recognize the Silk’n brand for their additional at-home beauty products (hair removal, anti-aging, acne, and cellulite treatment). They’re a leader for creating innovative devices that are both effective and extremely safe. The light, laser and LED based products have made it possible to achieve results that are often only accessible via professional treatments at-home.

With one of my biggest skin issues being an uneven tone due to combination skin and scaring (stupid adult acne) I was really excited to discover ReVit and immediately put it to use. Anything that has to be plugged into an outlet induces a little fear in me (would this hurt? burn? damage my skin?) but after reading a ton of reviews, watching videos, and testing the device on the back of my hand before using on my face, all my worries were put to rest and I got to work getting into the routine of using the tool.

.Basics of the tool:

  • ReVit comes in a nice little case which makes for easy storage and keeps all the parts clean and organized (a must for anything that’s going to be touching your face). Included in the kit is the device and cord, three non-abrasive diamond exfoliation “tips,” and two little baggies of filters.
  • The tips can easily be swapped (they range from “precision” [the light aqua], “fine” [medium aqua] and “corse” [darkest aqua]) and the filters should be changed every few treatments as this is where all the dead skin cells get trapped.
  • The precision tip is going to be the most gentle exfoliation and there are two suction modes (partial and full). When you first turn the device on it will be the partial suction mode, clicking the on button again gets you to full suction mode, and clicking it a third time turns it off. It really is a fool-proof product!

.How to use:

  • The instructions recommend cleaning your skin, drying it, then using the tool (without any topical toners or moisturizers on)
  • Choose a treatment tip most suitable for the area/skin being treated (I started with the precision tip for my first time. Now I alternate between the fine and corse tips each time I use ReVit)
  •  Turn the device on to the desired level (I set it to partial suction my first time to be sure I didn’t have a strange reaction to the process but now use it on full suction each time)
  •  Hold the device in one hand and use your other hand to hold your skin taut near the area where you’ll be going over first
  •  Hold the tip to face – like a pencil, being sure that it’s in full contact with the skin – then run the tip slowly across treatment area. Don’t keep the device in one spot, always have it moving!
  • The guide that comes with ReVit has a handy face diagram that correlates to a numbered list of areas to treat: neck (move Revit in downward strokes), forehead, cheeks and chin (stroke from the center outwards towards the hairline), around lips and eyes (using short upward strokes above the lip/eye then short downward strokes below the lips/eye, and out towards the hairline on the sides), and nose (straight downward strokes)
  •  Try to treat each area for approximately 5 minutes…this is always a challenge for me so I set a timer on my phone (my sessions usually last 15 minutes)
  • After covered each area, wash your face with cool water and apply moisturizer
  •  Use every 3-4 days

.What it does:

  • The first thing I noticed was the noise – the suction aspect makes for a low hum. The second thing you’ll pick up on is the suction itself…it’s very light and super gentle but you do get the feeling that you’re running a teeny vacuum over your skin. Sounds strange but it’s actually extremely satisfying to know that all those dead skin cells are getting buffed off then sucked away.
  • Though I use ReVit every 3-4 days (usually twice a week) as recommended and I don’t get any irritation, my skin does get a little pink when using the tool. The rosiness completely fades after I’m finished – it just shows up from the light exfoliation and suctioning.
  • You can look at before and after pictures of people who have been using ReVit longer than I have (I’ve had mine a little over one month) but the results are pretty amazing. We all know that safe exfoliation is essential to having smooth skin – but the light abrasion of ReVit removes the outer layer of dead skin, promoting the growth of new cells, which is why it helps improve your complexion, reduces scaring and pigmentation, and even treats fine lines and wrinkles. It’s like your favorite topical exfoliator on steroids.

Baby-bottom smooth skin is lovely and definitely helps with the effectiveness and absorption of skin care products, but what I love the most is that the stubborn redness I have from scars is really fading now that I use ReVit. I’ve been sharing the tool with Sally (who also loves it) and have already promised my mom that I’ll bring my ReVit home for her to try over Christmas. I’ve also been encouraging people to add it to their wish lists and/or give it as a gift this holiday season…nobody doesn’t love more radiant, younger, smoother looking skin and ReVit can be used on all skin types!

P.S. Silk’n is offering an amazing discount for 15% off any purchases on their site between now through the end of the year with the code “SilknTalk”!

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Beauty Brush Cleaning Made Easy

November 22, 2016

Did you know that Sally and I have three younger sisters? They are college and high-school ages and though there are years between us and some sisterly differences, one thing we all have in common is a deep love of makeup and beauty products. The first time I tried the GlamGlow Supermud mask was when I found it in my sister Lily's bathroom. Sally stole borrowed Grace's Bobbi Brown foundation when we were all in Austin for our sister-in-law's bachelorette party. And I'm frequently asking our youngest sister Sadie what mascara she's using (I got big giggles when she responded a few months ago with, "mostly Perversion"). Unlike me and Sally, our sisters are always on the up-and-up with what's new and amazing when it comes to beauty. All three of them were using BeautyBlenders long before we were and they're often schooling us in the latest and greatest.

When Sadie was visiting me and Sally in October we were discussing how often we clean our BeautyBlenders and Sadie mentioned that she would clean hers more often if she had a Sigma Mat like our sister Grace. Huh? What the heck is a Sigma Mat. Sadie explained that it was a great tool for cleaning brushes, duh. Over a month later, I decided to give this magic mat a try.

 

For someone who loves using make-up brushes for most all my beauty product application and has heavily invested in them, you would think I clean them more often. I’m very ashamed to say that I do not. They maybe get cleaned once every 6 months. Disgusting, I know! I did actually cleaned a few of my most-used brushes (bronzer, blush, and foundation) before Sadie’s visit…I had planned on doing all my brushes both for face and eyes but those three took me so much time that I lost steam and decided I would re-visit the task…later.

Fast forward a month and I got a silly skin infection on my face (so awesome!). My dermatologist recommended bathing in bleach and washing everything I own – including my make-up brushes. The task seemed daunting but I didn’t want the hellish infection to come back after finally clearing it up so I strode into the Nordstrom beauty department on a mission to get myself one of those Sigma Mats Sadie spoke of to help in the process. I found out very quickly that Sigma Beauty doesn’t just make one magical brush cleaning tools – they make several. There’s the Express Cleaning Mat (the one my sis Grace uses), a 2x Cleaning Glove, an Express Cleaning Glove, and a Dry ‘n Shape situation. Options! I jumped on the Express Cleaning Glove because it seemed like the best space saver and I liked that it could be worn on my hand but wasn’t a giant bit like the 2x Glove. I should note that I got the Express Cleaning Glove in-store for $25 but it’s only sold online in a “duo kit” that includes the glove and Sigma’s amazing Flat Kabuki Brush) for an awesome combined value (should be $50, sole for $39).Sigma sells their own brush shampoo but I already owned the i.D. ‘Well Cared For’ Brush Conditioning Shampoo so I decided not to get the Sigma version.

Once I got my very hot pink glove home I took it out of the packaging and scratched my head at the included instructions. Being the visual girl I am, I went to Sigma’s website and watched the video for the Express Glove so I knew exactly how to use the product (nerd alert). Then I gathered up about half my brushes (I decided to do them in two groups – what you see in this post is the first half) and my BeautyBlender, got my brush shampoo, and set up a little station at my bathroom sink.

The Express Glove has two sides – one for face brushes and one for eye brushes – each with different textures. There are seven textures and they are all marked with directional words like “refund, wash, rinse.” I started with the “face” side, making sure that those three textures were facing up, then slid my hand with my palm facing up through the wrist strap and my thumb through a side hole so that the silicone was nice and secure. Then I did the following with each face brush:

  • Got the glove wet with running water
  • Put a dime size amount of the brush cleaner on the middle “wash” section
  • Wet the hairs of selected brush beneath running water, then swirled in the brush cleaner directly on the textured surface
  • After swirling for several seconds, making sure that the cleaner was really worked into the brush hairs, I rinsed the glove under running water, swiped the brush head under running water, and returned to the “wash” section, swirling again. I repeated this process a couple times till I no longer saw any makeup residue on the glove
  • Then I held the front part of the glove (the “rinse” section) under running water and swept the brush vertically and horizontally over the texture to be sure all the makeup and soap was out
  • Lastly, I gently ran the brush head over the ridges on the side of the glove while squeezing water out with my thumb
  • There were a few brushes that had a ton of product in the brush hairs that I used the “refine” texture (the own closest to my wrist) for an extra deep cleaning

To do the eye brushes, I just rinsed the face side then turned the cupped part that went around my fingers inside out and slid my hand through the wrist strap as before but with the “eye” side facing up. Then I just followed the same steps above but with the “eye” textures (using about a third of the amount of cleaners per brush). I also got my BeautyBlender in on the action, gently rubbing it on the “wash” section of the face side. *If you do this, just be super careful – you don’t want to tear the foam of the BeautyBlender!

After gently squeezing out as much water as I could with the glove (you don’t want to pull ANY of the brush hairs out!) I laid each brush flat on a clean wash cloth. I’ve been told that this is the best way to dry brushes because standing them up to dry allows excess water to seep into the brush hairs in the metal part that connects to the brush handle. This is no bueno, those hairs will never dry and that’s just not clean. After letting the brushes sit flat while doing the cleaning, I took each one and gently swirled it on the wash cloth to fluff up the fibers a bit. Then I laid them down again and patently waited for them to dry (about 24 hours).

Two things:

  • No. 1: it is SO satisfying to see all the built-up product get cleaned and rinsed out of brushes. I did feel a little a bit of shame at having waited so long to get the gunk out but that was replaced with joy and followed by a promise to myself that I would do this once a month.
  • No. 2: I won’t lie, I was initially very skeptical of the Sigma brush cleaning tools. I mean, I trust my sisters and their beauty knowledge but I thought that having a tool devoted to the brush cleaning task seemed a little…excessive. Every time I had washed my brushes before I just put a little cleanser in my hand, and swirled a wet brush head in it repeatedly till it was clean and my hand looked like a prune. Let me just be the one to tell you: I got all my brushes clean in a ridiculously quick amount of time (maybe doing all of them in the time it took me to do three with my previous cleaning technique) and they really, really got clean (I didn’t just say “that looks good enough” and give up). I can say that I’m 100% a believer in the Sigma cleaning tools and am so glad I took note from my younger (and possibly wiser?) sisters and got one myself. I plan on sharing the Express Glove with Sally – because sharing is caring and sisters don’t let sisters use gunky beauty brushes.

The best part about having freshly cleaned brushes – aside from the fact of knowing that I’m not swiping hairs full of old makeup and dead skin on my face – is that they are so fluffy and soft. And cleaning them helps cut back those unwanted brush hairs that always seem to come off on my face when I’m using them.

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Daytime Makeup for Fall

October 31, 2016

I love make-up. Both trying new products, testing trends, and playing with various colors and application techniques. But I’m definitely a creature of habit…I generally stick to the same “look” and usually rely on faithful favorites. That being said, I’ve been adding tools like the beautyblender and swapping my go-to products more now than ever before and I’ve been loving the results.

During the day I tend to go make-up free (because I’m lazy and generally don't see anyone working from home). However, my schedule living in Dallas has gotten me away from my home office more often than not and I’ve been wearing more daytime makeup. Not feeling like going for my full night-time look (black liner, bold lashes) but also not wanting to go too minimal, I’ve found the perfect balance of simple and pretty in a palette that’s ideal for fall!

 

Nordstrom is always an easy one-stop-shop when it comes to all things beauty and I really trust the artists to guide me towards products that will work best for me. I’ve skipped over my face makeup and gone right into the fun stuff below but I’ll tell you that I’m wearing Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk in Foundation (no. 4.25) on my face (applied with a beautyblender) and Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Corrector (in Light Bisque) and Intensive Skin Serum Concealer (in Ivory) under my eyes. For my brows I use the Bobbi Brown “Light” Brow Kit with her Eye Definer Brush. A little bronzer by Benefit and that’s all before moving on to the below…

.Shadow // Did y’all know that Bobbi Brown is celebrating her 25th anniveray this year? I’m a BIG Bobbi lover. Her “nude” makeup look with natural touches of color speak to my simplistic soul. In honor of the 25th anniversary Bobbi came out with a collection of limited edition palettes inspired by three iconic cities (New York, Paris, and London) I love the “fool proof” nature of a shadow palette and have been using the Bobbi Brown ‘New York’ Palette (which has four nude shadows in matte and metallic finishes and a blush).  How cute is the outside compact with the Richard Haines illustration?!

Before I use any shadow, or even if I’m planning on having a bare lid, I always apply NARS Pro-Prime Smudgeproof Shadow Base. It’s the best eye base/primer I’ve tried (and I’ve managed to try several) in that it will NOT crease, or cake. It’s creamy but dries smooth and once I’ve got it on, I’m good to go with the below:

  • First: I sweep the “Cream” shadow from lashline to browbone using the Bobbi Brown Eye Sweep Brush. This creates a nice, neutral base.
  • Second: I dust “Birch” on my lower lid, from the lash line and up into the crease with my Bobbi Brown Eye Blender Brush. I love using the Blender Brush for this for added dimension and a slightly set-in look.
  • Third: using the Bobbi Brown Touch-Up Brush (a great brush when using any shimmer, glitter, or metallic shadows!) I layer a bit of “Champagne Quartz” on the lower lid. It gives a  day-time appropriate hint of shimmer that can be bumped up for evening.

.Liner // Typically I use a black liner (my go-to is Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner in black) since I use black mascara. But a black liquid liner is definitely pretty heavy for day time…so I have been using Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Dark Chocolate as a softer alternative. I did NOT think I would like a brown liner but I love how much more natural it looks! I should note that the “Espresso” shadow from the ‘New York’ Palette can be used to line upper and lower lash lines but I prefer the gel eyeliner because it offers longer wear time, a more defined look, and is easier for me to apply. Speaking of application, I use Bobbi’s Ultra Fine Eye Liner Brush for the gel liner. I make sure to coat both sides of the flat brush and gently scrape any “excess” off the sides of the jar before drawing along my upper lash line.

.Mascara // The Estée Lauder Little Black Primer Tint is my secret weapon…I’ve been using it for a couple years on my lower lashes because the formula is waterproof and the skinny, tiny brush is perfect for getting those smaller lashes. A few weeks ago I used it on my upper lashes (out of pure laziness) and was obsessed with how natural it looked while still adding some weight and length. I still like using a more heafty mascara for night-time but this is perfect for during the day. It doesn’t flake (ever – even when it gets to be on it’s last leg), can be layered under normal mascara as a primer or worn on top of normal mascara as a waterproof sealer. It’s also super easy to remove at the end of the day. Highly recommend!

.Blush // I love the blush from the ‘New York’ Palette – it’s a very nice natural hue – but I’m crazy obsessed with the color and formula of the Bobbi Brown Sheer Color Cheek Tint in Sheer Pink for during the day. I don’t love using my fingers for application so I love that the cream can be shipped along the apples of my cheeks and that I only have to do minimal blending with my fingers to do a natural-looking flush. It’s a sheer cream – so my skin and freckles can still be seen – and I think it gives a slight dewiness to my cheeks that I love for daytime!

.Lips // Generally, I opt for my RODIN Olio Lusso Lip Balm or the Sara Happ Lip Slip because I love a nude, natural lip. But I’ve been feeling like adding a little color to my kiss now that it’s fall and the below have been on rotation:

  • Bobbi Brown Rich Color Lip Gloss in Aubergine: this isn’t as dark as it looks, which I love, but it has a medium coverage which means it gives more pigment than the next gloss…
  • Bobbi Brown Tube Tint in Naked: this is like a “fall nude” as far as I’m concerned. It’s just a little darker than my natural lip and it gives awesome shine. (also here)
  • NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella: my biggest issue with bold-colored lipsticks is that they can be either super shiny (and get all over my teeth and the area around my month) or super matte (which makes my lips look cakey and dry). This lip pencil literally feels like satin – no stickiness, no dryness, just a very smooth texture that stays put! I like this red for fall because it’s not a “holiday” red but has more of a red wine color…fun to wear during the day if I’m just doing jeans, a white tee, and basic heels.

.Highligher // My final step when finishing my make-up for either day or night is to add a little bit of highlighter. I’ve got tons of highlighter products so I’m always rotating between powder vs. cream, color vs. a neutral sheen, etc. Time of year my skin lacks the natural flush I get in the summer so adding a swipe from my Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Nectar is a nice hit of color and shin on top of my cheek tint. I use the Laura Mercier Fan Brush because I’ve found it distributes the lightest dusting. The Shimmer Brick is fool-proof – just hold the fan brush up vertically and lightly sweep through all five shades of the Brick, then dust lightly on cheekbones after your blush.

And that’s it…my current fall make-up routine that is perfect for day-time and can easily transition into a night out if need be!

P.S. If you’re wondering how I got my wavy hair, click over to this tutorial post!

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Making Waves

October 24, 2016

This post has been a long time coming...many of you have been very complimentary of my hairs. Thank you! The strawberry blonde is the color I was born with. I was a very blonde little kid but my hair started getting more red in it during high school - I get some blonde highlight action from the sun during the spring/summer and then it gets more red in the fall/winter. My hair is naturally straight, very fine and silky (no texture whatsoever), but I have quite a bit of it (so it's on the heavy side). All I know about this combination is that I have a very hard time getting curls/waves and lift at my roots.

Growing up, my hair would NEVER hold a curl or a wave. Ever. I would take stylists pictures of the Olsen twins and ask for their waves before dances and any curls would fall within 30 minutes of leaving the salon. I gave up and embraced my naturally straight locks. After college I heard a lot of buzz about a certain curling wand (The Bombshell by Sultra) that could make any hair hold a curl and I tried it out. It worked! I used the wand for years - and it's a great tool - but in the past year my hair stopped holding a curl. Again. Between the recent changes in my hair and skin, I think my body is going through some sort of chemical changes. No matter the reason, I didn't want to loose my option for wearing wavy hair and I  did more research, tried a bunch of products (all of which are available for one-stop shopping at Nordstrom) and switched tools to find what worked. So for those of you who have been asking for it: here is a tutorial for how curl/wave my hair!

 

.Step No. 1 // Wash + Dry: I am NOT the person whose hair gets better the second day after washing. My hair is much better to work with when freshly clean than not and I really think that the shampoo and conditioner I use before curling makes a huge difference.

  • Wash: I had some travel samples of Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo and Conditioner and I randomly tried both while on a trip before drying my hair and using my curling wand…my waves held up SO much better and I bought big bottles to start using at home. I have a few other shampoos and conditioners (I think it’s good to switch things up) but I always use the Living Proof if I know I want to be curling. The Perfect Hair Day formula really does make your hair feel cleaner for longer (compared to my other formulas) and it doesn’t add any weight to my already heavy strands.
  • Brush: Because I don’t have thin hair (like Sally) my hair really never tangles. The only time I brush it is after towel drying when I get out of the shower. I’ve been using The Wet brush – which is the same thing as the Drybar Hairbrush – for years and it just does the job. Side note: I do use a small round brush if I’ve wearing my hair straight and smooth!
  • Dry: Sally and I swear by the hairdryers by T3. Faster drying time, no tangles, no frizz, healthy heat, tons of shine. Trust me, you NEED one of these in your life. I use the Featherweight Luxe 2i Hairdryer for everyday and take the Compact Folding Dryer with me when I travel (yes, I am the brat who can’t use what’s in the hotel bathroom).

.Step No. 2 // Curl: I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that when I went on the search to find a new curling wand that I would end up with one by T3. The love I feel for their hairdryers now extends to the Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand. What makes this wand so special (aside from it being being tourmaline and ceramic for smooth and shiny finish without causing damage, and having five heat settings that go up to 410 degrees) is that you can change our the barrels. You might think, “Is that really necessary?” And I can tell you that yes, yes it is. When my hair was a few inches shorter I used the tapered cone-shaped barrel. Sometimes I use the 1″ barrel for more defined waves but now that my hair has gotten a little longer, I use the 1.5″ barrel most often for getting full barreled waves. Clipping the three options in and out of the handle is super quick and easy (just don’t do it while the wand is turned on or if a barrel is still not, duh) and they lock in for safe styling. Side note: if you’re someone who has to use a clip when curling, T3 makes the Defined Curls 1″ Interchangeable Clip Barrel and Polished Curls 1.25″ Interchangeable Clip Barrel.

So here’s how go about curling, step by step:

  • I part my hair down the center and separate the two sides. Whichever side I’m not starting with, I loosely clip to the side so those strands don’t get in the way.
  • Whichever side I am starting with, I hold the wand with my opposite hand, and wrap 1-2″ sections of hair using the hand of side I am on. Example: starting on the right side, I hold the wand with my left hand, and use my right hand to wrap the hair.
  • I aways start curling by taking pieces from the back, closest to the part. I start with a section closest to the top of my head, then grab a section right below that, then below that, so I’ve covered a whole vertical column. Then I repeat as I move towards the front of my head.
  • Very important! Wrap the hair toward the back. You can see in the pictures that the strands go in front of the barrel, then wrap around. You always want the strands to be curling away from your face. I keep the last 1-2″ inches of hair that my fingers are holding off the barrel – keeping this small portion un-curled will make for a more beachy look in the end.
  • I tend to hold each section of hair for 10-20 seconds. The contact time is crucial for my hair to hold the curl. I gently unwind the hair from the barrel, while still holding the ends, and gently give the strand a little pull once it’s fully off the barrel – this keeps the curl intact but lengths it into more of a wave, less of a tight tendril.
  • I leave the .5-1″ section right by my face un-curled on each side and do those last.
  • Once one side is fully curled, I move onto the opposition portion. It’s helpful to turn your back to the mirror you’re using and hold a small hand mirror to check that there aren’t any missed strands in the back.
  • Very important! Let the curls set un-brushed, un-combed, un-touched for as long as you can! I usually use this time to do my make-up. You want to let the strands cool completely before you go to break them up…otherwise, you risk them falling out too quickly.

.Step No. 3 // Break-up, Texturize + Set: Don’t panic. You’re about to make those very defined curls look more like Victoria’s Secret runway waves. After you’ve given ample time for cooling, you can gently, gently use your fingers to break-up and comb through the curls. Don’t rake your fingers from root to ends – try to gently pull sections apart and shake portions together so the look is more cohesive and you can’t tell where the sections of curls were.

After you’ve done the break-up, it’s time to use a few products to add texture, volume, and hold:

  • Oribe Thick Dry Finishing Spray: Honestly, this product isn’t necessary for everyone – it’s a thickening and volumizing formula that I love to use right at my roots at the crown of my hair for extra lift – but you could get the same effect with a little light teasing. Side Note:I’m not sure why this isn’t on Nordstrom’s site yet but I did find it in store.
  • Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: If you’ve ever wondered how girls get the perfect “un-done” look with their wavy hair, it’s probably because of a product like this. Oribe considers it to be “dry hairspray” but I disagree. It’s not really going to freeze your curls or waves – but it will add incredible texture and lift. You can use it at the roots but I see the best results when I use it in the body of my hair between the roots and ends. Just lift up sections, spray, and use your figures to wiggle and shake the product into strands.
  • R+Co Outerspace Flexible Hairspray: Don’t be scared of hairspray. For me, it’s necessary. The trick is to find a formula that is going to give you hold but not shellack your strands or keep them from moving. Having helmet hair or crunchy curls is not pretty. I love this hairspray because 1) it gives a flexible hold that’s strong enough to set a look but wot weigh down strands, 2) the formula adds volume, which is a massive bonus, 3) it smells amazing (not like hairspray). Very important! Shake the bottle really, really well and hold at least 8″ away from your hair when spraying. I like to lift sections of my hair “up” but he roots while I spray to have that extra little bit of lift.

And that’s it! Compared to my skincare routine, my hair game is very straightforward. And I guarantee it’s easy to replicate. But, I know that not everyone has the same type of hair and texture as I do – so if you have questions I really recommend visiting Nordstrom in person to ask questions about various products or spending a little time on their site to browse the great selection of options…the SPACE.NK Apothecary has all my favorite brands!

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