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Beauty Review: Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask

Beauty Review: Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask | Writing Between Pauses

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I see something all over Instagram—you know, those viral products that every single Instagram baddie seems to be making videos about—I get intrigued. The part of me that works in marketing knows this is a marketing trick. The more we see something, the more we want to try it. Like those Coco & Eve hair masks. Or, in this case, the Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay masks.

A bunch of beauty gurus I follow had videos about this mask. They’re all similar. I know you’ve seen them! The Pink Clay mask is particularly intriguing to me because clay masks are amazing for oily and acne prone skin—but they can also be super drying, so your skin requires a lot of babying afterwards. I wanted to try it, but the price tag (nearly $50 for a tub) held me back.

However, a few weeks ago, Ipsy was offering some deals on sample and full size products to add to your Ipsy bag. Well, color me foolish, I saw the Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay available as a deluxe sample and thought, yes, I will pay $3 for that! It should be at least big enough to use 5 times.

Guys, I’m a fool. Truly, I don’t know how Ipsy keeps fooling me. You’d think at this point before I throw that sample into my cart and buy it, I’d look at the size information. To me, deluxe sample sizes should be fairly substantial. “Deluxe” implies you get at least a few uses, right? I’m not off base here. This is the hill I will die on. This sample is too small!! And for $3? I’m a fool, but you know what, this mask is pretty dang good. Sorry, spoiler alert.

I received this in my ipsy bag and immediately lost it because it is so small, it’s basically naked to the human eye. Just kidding. It’s not that small. But it’s pretty tiny and cute! I was so excited to try it, but I had just gotten back to Idaho—aka my skin was dry as a bone and absolutely wrecked. I decided to give myself a few days of moisturizing before I tried it and I’m glad I did. Without further ado, let’s jump into this review.

(If you want to read more about my adventures in teeny tiny Ipsy samples, click here.)

As a mask…

So, one of the ways to use this mask (yes, there are multiple ways, let me get to it!) is to use it, duh, as a mask. All over the face or in your problem areas (most likely your t-zone). After a few days of hardcore moisturizing (thanks Meriance!), I decided to go for it. I slathered this mask on, using almost half the tube for my apparently giant face, and waited.

And it dried down. Y’all, it dried down. My face was basically one, big tight bandage. Danny was laughing at me because I couldn’t really talk. It didn’t feel painful or bad, it just felt like I had gotten the most intense facelift in the world. It was funny, but also slightly horrifying. When I rinsed it off, my skin definitely felt super clean. Like, cleaner than it has been since I hit puberty and turned into an oil factory. I moisturized and put on some hyaluronic acid because… I was dry. I was clean, but my skin was parched. The next morning, my skin was glowy, but still very dry; I ended up putting on a few dabs of Dove’s DermaSeries moisturizing cream, which is technically for your feet. It helped though and truly, my skin looked amazing. It helped clear up some congestion I had from dry skin and environmental changes (that Idaho to Oregon drive, y’all) and definitely improved the texture of my skin.

So as a mask, I give it a solid 5 stars. It’s great if you have oily skin, but you need to moisturize a lot after using it. Or else, you might really wreck your skin. It also smells really good; lightly sweet without being overpowering.

Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask Instagram

As a spot treatment…

And here’s the second way to use it. Instead of using it as an all over mask, you can use it to spot treat individual blemishes. If you’re prone to dry patches, like I am during the winter, avoiding it as an all over mask it probably a good idea since it is quite drying. However, I had a cyst pop up over the weekend; I dabbed a bit of it on, let it dry, then went to sleep. When I woke up, it was pretty much deflated. I rinsed and moisturized and felt amazing.

So, if you need a spot treatment, this is kind of perfect. And really, it’s the perfect size for spot treating. Genius.

Final Thoughts

Is this worth the $3 I paid for it? In this size, I want to say no because I am naturally frugal and I really sometimes believe $3 should last me a month. But honestly, it is worth the $3, even though the size was a shock when I first got it. A full size tub costs $49 and has a net weight of 60 g (or 2.1 oz). The sample size tube is 13g, or a little less than 25% of the full size tub. In that respect, this little sample was worth it. It’s hard for me to say whether I would pay $49 for a full size tub of it; I do really like it, but there are comparably good pink clay masks out there from other brands that are much more affordable. They do have a holiday kit on sale at the moment for $59 that includes the mask, a mitt for rinsing, and a storage pouch.

Have you tried this mask? What did you think?

10 Quotes to Use on Instagram

I've written before about how I struggle with Instagram captions. It's definitely a challenge for me to write engaging content both on my blog and on so many social media platforms! But I'm trying... I started thinking recently about quotes that can be used in captions to add a bit of humor, thought, and, of course, engagement. I found a few great ones on Pinterest that I thought would be perfect to share. 

  1. Everybody has a chapter they don't read out loud. 
  2. Better an "oops" than a "what if." 
  3. "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." ee cummings 
  4. We look up at the stars and see such different things. 
  5. "Maybe one day we'll finally learn to love ourselves and stop apologizing for the things that make us who we are." R.M. Drake
  6. "Of course I feel too much, I'm a universe of exploding stars." S. Ajna 
  7. We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone. 
  8. You can ask the universe for all the signs you want, but ultimately, we see what we want to see when we're ready to see it. 
  9. Don't let someone dim your light, simply because it's shining in their eyes. 
  10. When it rains, look for rainbows. When it's dark, look for stars. 

For more great Instagram captions, I always turn to Pinterest. You can follow me here


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No More Instagram Themes

Does anyone else feel like something crazy is going on over on Instagram? I love nothing more than a careful Instagram: pretty photos, clever captions, glimpses of life behind the blog. But more and more, I've noticed the emphasis becoming about themes. A simple Google search reveals guides to theming your Instagram, tons of Pinterest results, and even more guides to keep your Instagram "on-trend."

Sorry, I had to take a break from yawning. 

Is it just me or are Instagram themes... boring? 

To be clear, I think some people do them right: they edit their photos the same way every time for a cohesive look. There's nothing wrong with that. But overwhelmingly, Instagram themes that focus on creating a specific look in the grid, or that plan out larger images, or only use certain colors, gosh, it's gets a little monotonous. 

Mostly, I think it removes the spontaneity and fun from Instagram. I don't really want to see the same, white-background photos over and over again. Already, the marble background flat lay has becoming devastatingly common and every time I see it, I can't help but want something, anything, else to come into style. 

So this is my plea to other bloggers: posting nice, curated photos in one thing. But no more Instagram themes. 


I would argue (and I mean, I am) that Instagram themes are boring. And not only are they boring, I think they remove the fun of Instagram. As a blog reader (as well as a blog writer), I don't want to follow people with perfect houses who only post perfect photos. Sometimes, life is messy: the dinner burns, the coffee doesn't taste good, your son has a blow out right before the newborn photo shoot. Excuse the language, but shit happens. That's life. 

And Instagram is meant to show a little bit more of your life, right? So why portray that life through an all-perfect theme? 

I carefully pick photos I post on Instagram now. But sometimes, I post a picture of my messy living room and linty leggings because, that's my life. And then, sometimes, I post a nice little flat lay, because that's my life too. 

All I'm saying is: you don't have to dedicate your Instagram to grainy, badly lit photos. But I beg you, let a little bit of your real life in. Not the curated side table that you keep clean for blog photos. Not the corner you keep meticulously clean. Not that piece of poster board you have covered in fake marble vinyl. Your readers deserve to know that sometimes life isn't perfect. Sometimes, it's not about a perfect Instagram feed. Sometimes, it's just about being authentic. 


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How to Write Better Instagram Captions

Instagram is a social media platform that I really struggle with. I don't like themes (expect a post on this soon) and I don't really get the need to make my house, or life, or child, or self, seem perfect. Sometimes, I feel really jealous over curated Instagram profiles because it just seems to take so much work

One of the most challenging parts of Instagram is writing captions. Seriously, captions. I can have a good photo and a good idea. But then I'm stuck, staring at that caption box. Like, what do I put here? What works? 

I gathered up a few resources to come up with a few ideas. Here they are. 

1. Write to engage. 

This is something I struggle with. When I post photos, I try to post something I think is funny or related to the photo. But on Instagram, when it comes to getting people's attention, there is a benefit to writing something that engages other people. This is a great post on doing just that

2. Be brief. 

Does this feel like it is at odds with that first point? A little bit. But here's the truth: it's possible to write engaging captions, without going on for sentences. I definitely try to keep my captions two sentences or less. Although I follow some great accounts (like my friend @poesyross) who use longer captions to great effect. For more about writing with brevity, click here

3. Make sure to edit. 

This goes without saying: before you hit post, make sure to proofread. I've definitely hit post before write as I notice a glaring, huge typo on my post. Oops. Not the most professional looking, for sure. For more on editing for length & more, click here

4. Use a quote. 

Here's the thing: sometimes, there just aren't words. You have a great photo. You know what time you need to post for maximum engagement. You have everything ready. Except words. Grab your favorite (related) quote, add a question, and post it with your favorite hashtags. Easy peasy. Pinterest is a great source for great quotes. Click here to view some

3 Ways to Improve Your Flat Lay Photos

It took me a long time to get good at flat lay photos. I have some doozies on my Instagram from back in the day. I've just recently started to get good at it... probably because I only just recently started really, you know, trying. Mainly, I started spending a lot of time looking at flat lay photos that I like (you can view a collection of them on my Pinterest) and really figuring out how to do it. 

A few notes: 

  • I really believe in having your own "style." A lot of flat lays seem to follow a similar formula: white or marble background, gold or rose gold accents, truly random props. I'm not into that. I use two plaid scarves as my backgrounds because that feels a little more "my style" for Fall and Winter. Come Spring, I'll figure something out. 
  • Don't feel the need to take flat lay photos if you just don't like them! I like them: they're simple, they're pretty, and the more you practice, the easier they are to take. 
  • It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't need a DSLR. I use my iPhone. 

Ok, let's talk tips now. 

1. Have the right apps 

I use my iPhone to take all my flat lay photos. Here's why: It's easier. I can take one really quickly while Forrest is halfway destroying my kitchen, then get back to business. I take photos with my iPhone camera. I have the grid option turned on--you can turn this on in settings--because it helps center things and make sure you're getting a good angle. Then, I edit using A Color Story from A Beautiful Mess. You can use a variety of filters (and buy some extras), but I use the same filters every time: Magic Hour (25%), Ginger Tea (25%), Disco Ball (50%), then either Everyday (50%), Lite Bright (50%), or Ruby Haze (50% or less). If you feel your photo wasn't taken in the best light and has that slightly "yellow" look, you can adjust the white balance in A Color Story as well. 

2. Take photos near a window. 

Point blank: the best light is indirect sunlight. I take photos in my bedroom, with the curtains open, on my bed. So set up your photo station near a window and snap away. If I miss daylight hours (which I often do), it's a bust: I'll never be able to edit photos taken at night, under artificial lights, to look as good as I want them to. Sometimes, I still post them anyway, but only when desperate. 

3. Crop accordingly. 

I think the number one mistake that I continue to make is feeling like I should't "crop" a photo. But sometimes photos look better when you crop out extra space. Prime example: When I post flat lays of books (like this one or this one), I end up cropping out a lot of "extra space" so you can focus on the cover. Don't be afraid to crop and that means, maybe cropping something partly out of the photo (like I cropped out my Kindle partially in this photo). 


Most importantly, don't be afraid of being perfectly imperfect. Like if your nail polish is looking rough. Or it's something you don't want to, um, put down on the ground. Or if you son decides he wants the book you're trying to take a photo of. It's ok. It doesn't have to be perfect. It's just Instagram!