Why I Started Double Cleansing

Why I Started Double Cleansing

For as long as I can remember, I have dutifully washed my face every evening and then slathered on moisturizer. That exact routine for years. It was only recently that I started to get a little, well, wild with my skincare. (Can you tell, thanks to the million posts I’ve written about it recently, like this one and this one?) 

Double cleansing has been a big game changer for me. And I think it can be a big game changer for you too. 

What is double cleansing? 

It sounds intense, but it’s actually very simple. Double-cleansing is the process of using an oil cleanser first (such as micellar water), followed by a foaming, cream, or gel cleanser. From Bustle

The theory is that cleansing oil removes the initial layer of dirt and grime and dead skin cells from your skin, pulling those nasty bits out of your pores and allowing the face wash you normally use to really get in there and do its job more effectively.

Sounds wild, right? It’s a process borrowed from Korean skincare, which is sweeping the beauty world right now. 

What I use

For my oil cleanser, I currently am using up my last bottle of Garnier Micellar water. (Garnier tests on animals, so in my attempt to make my beauty product entirely cruelty free, I won’t be repurchasing.) After doing some research and actually calling the brand information line, I’ll either be purchasing Simple brand micellar water or Sephora Collection’s Micellar Water & Milk. (Micellar water is an oil suspension in very soft water! If you want to go more intense, there are cleansing oils out there too.) 

For my regular cleanser, I use Ole Henriksen’s Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser. (I reviewed the whole line here.) 

Has it helped? 

Firstly, has double cleansing changed my skin? Honestly, yes. I feel like my face is much cleaner after I wash now. By using oil, you get all your make up off first thing; then, the second cleanser basically gets off any stubborn bits. I always struggled to get my eye make up off, but using an oil cleanser for my eye make up really changed things. 

The thing about having oily skin is that we produce more oil because our skin is actually dry. It’s just how our skin responds to hormones and dryness. There is a misconception that if you have oily skin, you shouldn’t moisturize. This is categorically false; you can take yourself from excessively oily to very dry really quickly. 

So not only did my skin feel cleaner, I felt like I was finally starting to produce less oil by using oil. In combination with my other skincare, I felt like the texture of my skin totally changed. 

Would I recommend it? 

Yes! If you want to take the plunge, there are lots of affordable micellar waters and cleansing oils out there. I like the looks of this cleansing oil from Sephora Collection. It’s an easy first step to add to your routine. If you’re using make up remover wipes to start your nightly skincare, this is a great way to reduce waste too. 

Beauty Tips: Summer Skincare Essentials

summer skincare essentials

Ever since I started listening to Natch Beaut (which I highly, highly recommend as a podcast!), I have gotten very into skincare. 

I used to be really... lazy about my skincare. But the more I listen to the experiences of others, the more I realize I need to get on top of a good skincare routine. I wanted to share a few of my essentials for summer skin. 

1. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum 

My skin texture pre-Ole Henriksen Truth Serum was... not great. I have really scarred skin thanks to years of cystic acne, plus I have rosacea and some melasma from my pregnancy. Overall, it's not really realistic for me to go bare-faced most days--or even use a lighter coverage foundation. However, Truth Serum really changed my world. My skin texture after 3 weeks of use is totally changed; my pores are smaller, my rosacea is really improved, and my dark spots have faded. I've gotten to the point where I dab on just a little concealer on weekends and go. This is huge. 

2. Source Vital Customized Facial Cocktail

I love Source Vital. I learned about them from Natch Beaut and immediately ordered my own custom cocktail. Here's what is in my cocktail: a base of neroli oil; infusions for acne & blemishes and oil control; and an extra shot of prickly pear oil (for dark spots and pore size). It is so soothing. I use it at night after my Ole Henriksen Transformation gel. I've only been using it about a week, but it has made my skin so moisturized and glowy. If you have drier skin, it's definitely a great way to go. 

3. Coola Suncare Classic Face SPF 30 

Listen, as I wrote on Monday, you need to wear a SPF moisturizer every single day. I recently started using this one from Coola because it's an unscented, cruelty free, available on Amazon option. I wear it mixed with my Transformation Cream moisturizer underneath my make up every single day. 

4. Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist

"But Michelle," you say, "how can I reapply sunscreen on my face over my make up?" Because, remember, you have to reapply sunscreen ever 60-90 minutes. 

Well, stress no more! Supergoop! has a setting mist with SPF 50; so when you're out at the lake, on the go, at work outside, or whatever, just mist some extra on your face, neck, and shoulders to get a double dose of sunscreen. It's also super refreshing. Supergoop! is a little expensive at $28 a bottle, but for something to keep in your bag for out-and-about retouches, it's pretty affordable. There is also a travel size if you just want to test it out. 

10 Years Later: High School

A few weeks ago, in my newsletter, I wrote about how my 10 year high school reunion was coming up. Can you believe that? I find it hard to believe that I graduated 10 years ago--and of course, that means I graduated from college 6 years ago. 

I feel very old saying, "I blinked and it was gone." In many ways, I still feel very young. But some days, like when my knees hurt or I'm so tired I let my son watch his Elmo DVD for the fifth time and lie on the couch, I feel positively ancient. 

This all got me thinking though: what really has changed about me in those 10 years? 

  • I went blonde. 
  • I got a pixie cut. 
  • I dyed my hair red about 100 times. 
  • I grew my hair out. 
  • I cut it short again. Repeat 4 times. 
  • I gained weight. 
  • I lost weight. 
  • I gained weight again. 
  • I started a fashion blog. 
  • I quit my fashion blog. 
  • I started a lifestyle blog. 
  • I quit that lifestyle blog. 
  • I started this blog. 
  • I started Twitter. 
  • I joined Instagram. 
  • Pinterest happened. 
  • I started dating Danny. 
  • I got engaged to Danny. 
  • I married Danny. 
  • I had a baby. 
  • I got a bunch of jobs. 
  • I quit a bunch of jobs. 
  • I did way more internships that I ever thought would be necessary. 
  • I quit a lot of internships, too. 
  • I worked a lot of early mornings in coffee shops. 
  • I spent hours and hours and hours reading about blogging. 
  • I got a job I love. 
  • I made a lot of friends through blogging. 
  • Made a lot of creepy enemies too! 

And that's all I can think of just off the top of my head. And that's just the things I've done. 

It's hard to always make a list of the ways I've changed over the years. I sometimes feel like I am still that 18-year-old girl, but I also know that she and I are two very different people. I think she'd be really disappointed by where I am--and also a little relieved that I'm not an absolute failure. I'd love to tell her how great the next 5 years will be for her, and really, that makes up for the 3 years that follow that time span ("the bad times"). I wish I could tell my high school self that things will be ok, I don't need to develop the Type A personality I currently have, and that it's ok to relax, and have fun, and you don't have to work 100% of the time all the time. 

What have you learned since graduating high school? 

Beauty Tips: Protecting Your Skin from the Sun

how to protect your skin from the sun

During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I got a sunburn. I refer to this sunburn as "the sunburn that changed my life." I still have sun damage from this sunburn. I still have a line on my chest and shoulders that is plainly visible from this sunburn. It was a doozy. I was sunburn from my neck to my hips, then all over the front of my legs. All because I decided to float in a pool for a few hours. 

Every part of my body hurt

The day after I got sunburned, my parents decided to go to the coast. Being that I was on break, I went with them. I have, honestly, no idea why. I was in so much pain; I couldn't wear real pants, so I wore sweatpants and a baggy tank top and, because my feet were so sunburned, flip flops that killed all day. I was miserable. 

When we got home, for the next two days, I lied in bed covered in damp wash clothes, trying out every single remedy from the internet I could find to end my suffering. Milk bath? Tried it. Apple cider vinegar? Yep. Aloe vera? Applied regularly. Cocoa butter? Did it. I coated myself in everything I could think of. 

By the time the sunburn stopped hurting, I itched all over. It was one of those sunburns: the itchy ones. I actually itched so much that I developed small blood blisters around my belly button, shoulders, and hips from itchy. It was misery. 

It was a solid week of misery. 

So this is my plea: don't get sunburned. 

I know! I know you'll tan if you get sunburned! I know it isn't always that bad! 

But every sunburn is literally one step closer to the big bad: skin cancer. The most easily avoided skin cancer out there. And as well, even if you don't end up with skin cancer after a lifetime of bad sun habits, sun damage makes you look older. Plain and simple, I know it's not nice, but sun damage gives you wrinkles earlier in life--and that includes tanning. 

So this summer, protect your skin. It doesn't have to be a drag, either. Here are a few simple pieces to protect that pretty skin of yours (and avoid a miserable few weeks like I had). 

1. Get a sun hat. 

Sun hats are some of the cutest summer accessories. Really. They look both vintage and really hip at the same time. Plus, they're in style so you have a ton of cute, affordable ones out there. Here are a few options: 

2. Wear sunscreen every single day, on your face and body. 

Listen, I know: sunscreen is a pain to put on. But in the morning, when you're doing your routine anywhere, here is my advice: keep a bottle of sunscreen (good sunscreen, like Babyganics SPF 50, which is what I use) next to your regular body lotion; mix a small amount in with your body lotion and apply to your arms, chest, shoulders, and any other body parts that will be visible (don't forget your feet!). It's the easiest way for me to get that original coat and still have my normal body lotion. 

Then, if you're out in the sun, reapply every 60-90 minutes. I know! That's a lot! If you're driving, make sure to reapply in the car because you can get sunburned in your car while driving. 

What about for your face? I personally love First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Sunscreen. I mix it with my Ole Henriksen Transformation moisturizer to use after I tone and before I put on my foundation. Remember, foundation is a physical barrier to your skin from the sun, but you still need to put SPF on! (Also, don't forget your neck and ears!) 

3. Consider long sleeves. 

Here's the thing: if you're going to be in the sun for hours, either at the beach or hiking, consider wearing long sleeves or a rash guard. Rash guards are not the fuddy duddy little kids' garments they used to be. Look at this one from Old Navy! That's cute. I'd wear that! 

A few options for long sleeved tops: this lightweight options from GAP is perfect for fun or while being active; this long-sleeved dress from Lulu's is cute without looking sweltering; and this long-sleeved peasant top from Forever 21 is great for work or play. 

5 More Podcasts I Love

podcasts i love list

Podcasts are something I never thought I would get really into, but surprise! I am. I started with Serial and then just started downloading true crime podcasts until I found ones I love. As time goes on, I’m not listening to every true crime podcast anymore (I can only handle so much) and have started to expand my horizons to other podcasts, like history and comedy. 

Here are 5 new favorite podcasts I’ve been listening to lately. 

1. Natch Beaut

Natch Beaut is a beauty podcast hosted by Jackie Johnson. Originally, I heard about Natch Beaut through My Favorite Murder: a commercial ran before an episode once and I was so annoyed by it, I actually skipped it. Fast forward a few weeks and I decided to not be a jerk and actually listen to the podcast. 

And guess what, friends? I really liked it. Jackie is not everyone’s cup of tea, but you know what? I love tea. She’s honest and loud and effervescent. I’m a proud member of the two hundy and I will not be quieted! Listen and fall in love today if you love honest conversations about cruelty in make up, skincare, the deception of the beauty industry, and more. 

2. Wine & Crime

I’m such a creep and I wish I was a member of this friend group: Wine & Crime is hosted by three childhood friends who are spread across the literal world now. They drink wine, get drunk, and talk about a true crime topic every week. They are irreverent and equal opportunity offenders of all humans. Holy Credonia, drop everything and go listen immediately. One time, I was listening to an episode while on a three hour drive and I started laughing so hard I had to pull over. 

3. You Must Remember This

Aside from some issues with their language use (they continue to use the words “hooker” and “prostitute” instead of "sex worker"), I love this podcast: You Must Remember This is a podcast that covers the history of Hollywood, in all its forms. From Charles Manson and those famous murders to legions of dead blondes, they’ve covered everything. I started with the Charles Manson season, then moved on to Dead Blondes. Now, I’m listening to the season the Black List during the McCarthy era. It’s interesting, well-written, and really fun. I listened to two seasons while driving back and forth to Southern California. 

4. Casefile

Do you love the dulcet tones of an Australian accent? Then you’ll love this podcast. Casefile is hosted by Anonymous, an Australian man with an accent that I can only describe as “honey on bread.” I call him Casey, but that’s a personal choice. He covers lots of Australian true crime stories that I’ve never heard about. My favorite episodes are his series on the East Area Rapist and the most recent episode (Case 54) on Daniel Morcombe. 

5. The Dollop

The Dollop is an American history podcast hosted by two comedians: one knows everything about the topic and one doesn’t. Basically, one tells a story and the other reacts. Hilarity ensues. My favorite episodes are 200 (Otto in the Attic), 210 (the New Jersey Shark Attacks), and 56 (Newport Sex Scandal). I listened to episodes 200 and 210 when I was on vacation once and my husband legitimately thought I was scream crying in our room; I was actually just laughing so hard I had started crying a little bit. They’re that funny. Perfect entertainment for right before bed and perfect for listening to with friends or your partner. 

5 Best Products from e.l.f. Cosmetics

best elf drugstore products make up beauty

Let’s talk drugstore products for a minute. 

I remember, years ago, when I was 12 or 13 and just starting to get into make up, that drugstore make up was all I really knew. To me, make up was either from the drugstore or from somewhere like Clinique. Clinique felt elderly, a little geriatric (and at the time, it was). 

In the last few years, make up has had kind of a renaissance: brands like Clinique have been reborn and are more popular than ever, alongside other high end brands, like Kat Von D, Marc Jacobs Beauty, and others. And drugstore make up, at the same time, has kind of grown up too. 

No more cheap Bonne Bell chapsticks and Wet’n’Wild eyeshadow that looked purely iridescent on your eyelids. No cheap, oily lipsticks and lip glosses that got everywhere in your purse. No, drugstore make up is more expensive than it used to be (without being as expensive as high end competitors) and it’s way better than it used to be. 

Which is where e.l.f. cosmetics comes in. E.l.f. is one of those brands that everyone knows: they’re at Target; they’re super cheap; and they’re known for being super, super cheap. So cheap you actually wonder just how they do it. So cheap that people tend not to buy it because they think it will suck. 

E.l.f. is one of those brands that people overlook and they shouldn’t. (I would argue Wet’n’Wild, despite its reputation as the make up of my childhood, is another amazing brand.) One reason why both e.l.f and Wet’n’Wild rock is that they are entirely cruelty free and have a pretty large selection of vegan products as well. 

Without further ago, I want to share my 5 favorite e.l.f. products. 

1. Natural Glow Face Palette in Fresh & Flawless

This is the palette pictured in my photo. If you’re wondering, to me, it’s the perfect travel palette. It has two blush colors: a cool-toned peachy pink and a crisp, rosy pink color. Both are very pigmented without making you look like a kewpie doll. It also has a bronzer, which is a great cool-toned ashy contouring color. The last square is the slightly lavender-tinted highlight; it’s not the most “blinding” highlight (as the YouTube beauty gurus would say), but it does the job. This is a great travel palette. The price? $8. 

2. Contour Palette

I wish this had a funkier name, but honestly, it doesn’t really need it. This is the first contour palette I ever bought and, at first, I was disappointed that it wasn’t cream. (I thought it was. I’m terrible at reading, I guess.) I’d only seen cream contours used in Instagram videos and wanted to try them. I ended up giving this a whirl and, honestly, this is another perfect palette for traveling. It has a killer highlight shade, a great brightening shade, and then two great contour shades; I used the lighter shade for most of my face and then the darker shade for my jawline (sparingly). I’ve been using it for 2 years now and, honestly, I’ll never buy another contour palette. I just don’t need it. And guess what? It’s $6. 

3. Aqua Beauty Blush & Bronzer duos

I’m kind of a sucker for blushes. For a long time, I only bought pink-toned blushes, but recently, I’ve been gravitating towards more cool-toned violets and peach shades. What’s up with that? This blush in Bronzed Peach is one of the prettiest colors I’ve ever seen: the bronzer is great for along your hairline and to use instead of contouring. And the blush? Silky, smooth, super pigmented, the perfect blush, honestly. Don’t buy those expensive Too Faced peach blushes; get this baby instead. It’s only $6. Buy two! (The Bronzed Violet is killer too.) 

4. Baked Eyeshadow Palette

Eyeshadow is the one area of drugstore beauty that is still lagging behind. Foundations are great; face products are great; but eyeshadows? Eyeshadow formulas are hard to do, I guess, because I’m still struggling to find great drug store eye products. That being said, I love (love) my Baked Eyeshadow Palette from elf. I have the Texas palette, but I’m really wishing I had the California palette. These eyeshadows are pretty pigmented (with a fair amount of fallout, but again, not bad for drugstore) and when you use a wet brush or your finger… girl, stand back. And it’s $10. Buy all three palettes and you still haven’t paid as much as you would for one Too Faced palette. 

5. Brushes

Listen: brushes are a necessary evil when it comes to make up. I hate buying them because they can be so expensive. But, e.l.f. brushes are so affordable and honestly, work so good. I love the Contouring Brush, the Ultimately Blending brush (perfect for blending out your contour or blush if you get a little heavy-handed), the Blush Brush, and the Total Face Brush (perfect for swiping off excess powder after baking). All of these brushes are less than $7 a piece. Considering a single Morphe brush can be $14+, that’s a bargain. 

Beauty Review: eSalon Shampoo & an Update

esalon shampoo review

A few months ago, I wrote a not-entirely-positive review of eSalon. You can read that here

Regardless of my experience, I have gotten a ton (and I mean, a ton) of referral credits because of that blog post. As they piled up, I started to think, “Maybe I should just use these.” 

Ultimately, my issue with eSalon came down to false advertising (don’t say you have violet undertone hair dye if you don’t use blue dye!) instead of a subpar product. eSalon is basically slightly expensive drug store dye; you pay for the extras (that stain guard, baby). I don’t find the quality many different from a box of Garnier Fructis, to be honest. 

That being said, because of all those credits, I’ve ordered a lot from eSalon in the past few months. Like, a lot more than I ever thought I would. Here’s what I’ve ordered. 

1. Hair dye in “chocolate brown” 

To return my hair to my original color (and not the craptastic red shade I’d ended up with the first time), I ordered a hair dye in… dark brown. I sent them a photo of my hair pre-dye incident and they matched it pretty close. My hair is dark, very dark, almost black, but thanks to that red dye, had faded to a weird wishy-washy pale brown. Not cute. It’s back to its original luster now, but like with my past review, even though eSalon says they cover grays for 8 weeks, mine are usually showing by 3-4 weeks. Not ideal, but honestly, not awful. 

2. eSalon’s Heart Lock It Color Care Shampoo and Love Unconditionally Color Care Conditioner

Listen, I really liked the samples of these shampoos I received in my first order, even though the color sucked. So with some credits, I ordered full size bottles. They’re pretty expensive for their size, but they’ve lasted since March, so I guess it’s not the worst. The shampoo and conditioner are bomb and I definitely feel like they’ve helped keep my hair color around longer.

3. Big Love Color Care Volumizing Shampoo

I’m always looking to add volume to my very flat hair, so as my first bottle of Heart Lock It dwindles down, I ordered the volumizing version of their shampoo. I actually love it; it works insanely well. And the bottle matches my bathroom decor so much better. 

4. Get Lifted Root Lift Spray

Because I opted out of the matching volumizing conditioner (since I’m only halfway through my first bottle), I ordered this instead. I love root lifting spray and this one fit the bill because it won’t damage my hair color. I find it works pretty well. Not as good as my tried-and-true John Frieda root lifter… but pretty good. 

If you'd like to try eSalon, you can use my referral link to receive $10 off your first hair color order. Just click here

4 Tips for Surviving a Road Trip with a Toddler

road trip with toddler

The trip to Disneyland, from where we live in Oregon, takes about 15 or 16 hours, give or take. 

15 or 16 hours, in a car, with a young toddler, can be torture. We had done a few road trips to places like central Oregon and Idaho, but nothing quite like two solid days in the car through the entirety of California. 

A few of my friends suggested driving at night so that Forrest would sleep. A few of them actually did this and had it backfire around the same time as our trip. The truth is, your toddler is not going to sleep great in the car, even if they normally sleep amazing in the car. If they're going to be in that seat for 14+ hours, they aren't going to sleep there very well. So prepare yourself for minimal naps and early bedtimes in hotels. 

We made it though, with minimal tantrums. How did we do it? Here are our 4 tips. 

1. Buy a DVD player for the car. 

Listen, I know. I always said I would never. But then my son reached toddler age and, you know what? Sometimes, you need to just distract them. A DVD player is perfect. We brought a collection of DVDs for him: Zootopia, Peter Pan, a Sesame Street DVD, a Barney DVD, and Toy Story. By the end of the trip, he was singing the theme from Zootopia whenever he had the chance. 

2. Bring snacks. 

When all else failed, we handed Forrest something to snack on. He is particularly fond of cereal bars, so we brought those, of course, as well as Goldfish, bananas, and apple juice. While sometimes he just made a mess (in the last 20 minutes driving home, he opened his milk cup, dumped it all over himself and the seat, and then mashed a cereal bar into it); otherwise, it was exactly what he needed to get over a tantrum. The first rule of toddlers is, if you can, distract them.   

3. Have someone ride in the back with him or her. 

For us, this was big: sometimes, it seemed like he was just lonely in the backseat. So, we would rearrange things and my husband would ride in the backseat with him. They would read books, watch Barney together, or just point out things along the road. 

4. Stop frequently. 

I hate stopping during road trips. I am goal oriented and, often, for me the goal is getting to our location. But with a toddler, it’s good to get out and walk around. We stopped at every other view point or rest area and got out just to stretch our legs; Forrest would walk around with his safety harness. We’d grab a snack or a soda and sit outside for just a few minutes.