beauty products

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?

Beauty Review: OGX Miracle Oil Line

Beauty Review: OGX Miracle Oil Line | Writing Between Pauses

Another day, another shampoo review.

A few months ago, I reviewed the OGX Coconut Oil Shampoo, which I quite liked. It did a lot to help my scalp, which was in pretty poor shape. As I wrote in my post about hair masks, I recently discovered that my scalp problems are mostly hormonal and my goal has become to soothe my scalp as much as I possibly can.

One thing I started noticing in the last 6 months had nothing to do with my scalp: split ends. I hadn’t had a hair cut in 3 years (it’s been 3 years ago this week actually!), when I was pregnant. It was just one of those things that got away from me. But since I don’t use heat styling, I don’t really get split ends as bad as I should. However, I was having a lot of breakage and split ends by the end of July. It just kept getting worse and while I knew the solution was to get a hair cut, I still kept putting it off. (But that’s really another story entirely, isn’t it?)

My hair started getting very dry during the summer. Not just my scalp, which was still flaring up occasionally, but my hair started to feel rather straw like. The problem really got bad when I was sent some shampoo to try and it absolutely destroyed my hair to the point where I had to email the company and cancel the sponsored post. It was bad, bad, bad! Just the absolute worst shampoo I’ve ever used on my hair. It made my hair dry and brittle, the ends seemed to start splitting at an alarming rate, and I was looking really ragged!

So at Target, I decided to treat myself to two pieces of the OGX Coconut Miracle Oil line because my hair needed it. I got the Coconut Miracle Oil shampoo and the Coconut Miracle Penetrating Oil. Here’s what the shampoo promises:

Create an island girl escape in your shower with this ultra-moisturizing formula for thick to coarse hair. Help repair, soften and revive damaged strands and discover silky, soft island-inspired hair.

And here’s what the Penetrating Oil promises:

This Penetrating Oil is the key to your island escape, to help revive your senses and your strands. This rich oil helps to calm frizz and tame flyaways, leaving hair silky soft and shiny.

Basically, both these products are intended to moisturize and help repair hair. Technically, they are both for hair types that are not mine (thick, wavy hair seems to be what they are advertised for), but since my hair was in such need of heavy repair… I knew I had to try something.

The shampoo especially is lovely. After one use, my hair was much less dry and brittle (from that awful shampoo!) and within a week or two, it was looking back to normal again.

The oil has become something I use daily: I apply it in the morning to help take impressions out of my hair (as my hair is so fine it often stays in a ponytail wave for a long time) and to help calm down visible breakage. It is also great for getting rid of static and frizziness when I do blow dry my hair. I have also noticed the oil helps my scalp when it is flaring up, feeling sore and flaky; I try not to apply it directly, but by moisturizing my hair, it does lend moisture to my scalp.

I have found both did a lot to help repair my hair from the damage I put it through, both from not getting a hair cut for my son’s entire life and from using a shampoo that really did a number on me. They are also both really affordable products, so if you’re hair needs a little TLC, they are absolutely a great option.

This line also include a dry shampoo, which I am very, very interested in trying. I rarely use dry shampoo, as I have found that it either leaves white marks in my dark hair or makes my scalp burn a bit (thanks sensitive scalp). However, I am really curious as this line is so moisturizing and lovely, I’m sure the dry shampoo is great too.

Beauty Review: Lush Bella Fruta Box

Beauty Review: Lush Bella Fruta Box | Writing Between Pauses

I received the Lush Bella Fruta box for Christmas from my mother-in-law and I was so excited! I'm kind of a newbie to Lush's products, because there has never been one near me. But they are a vegan and cruelty free company, so I absolutely want to support their products. As a note, from what I can tell, the contents of the Bella Fruta box vary between the website and what is offered in store. So the box I received doesn't match the website whatsoever, but does match some other reviews I found online! 

My Bella Fruta box came with: 

  • A Yuzu & Cocoa Bubbleroon
  • The Comforter Bubble Bar
  • The Comforter Shower Gel
  • Strawberry Feels Forever Massage Bar
  • Sympathy For the Skin body lotion
  • Avobath bath bomb

That's a lot for one box, especially when on the website there are only 4 items listed! I loved trying everything out, even though I felt super overwhelmed as to what to try first. I;'ve been working on this review since December, so it's fair to say, I've gotten well acquainted with everything. 

Let's jump in!

Yuzu & cocoa bubbleroon

Yuzu is a Japanese fruit that is kind of like a Satsuma orange: it smells citrusy (I would say closer to lemon) and quite fresh. This bubbleroon also has cocoa in it, to give it a sweet, chocolate smell as well. It is shaped like a macaron with a center of shea butter, to have a moisturizing, luxurious bath with plenty of bubbles. 

I used this my first night home from my trip to Idaho for Christmas. Idaho is notoriously dry and I always struggle to get my skin to rehydrate after a trip. The entire time I was in Idaho, I was slathering lip balm on to try to protect my dry, dry lips; I was chugging water and applying hand cream like a mad woman. And yet, still, my knuckles started getting so dry, they cracked. (You’re probably wondering how I survived 4 years of college in Idaho; long story short, barely.) 

At first, all I could smell was a sort of earthy, lemon scent. I didn’t actually smell much of the cocoa; there is a light, sweet scent to it, separate from the lemon, but it wasn’t over-the-top cocoa scented! It felt very luxurious and moisturizing, although it did turn the water a not exactly flattering shade of yellow. I quite liked how bubbling it got. Afterwards, my skin felt very, very soft and moisturizer. I followed it up with Sympathy for the Skin body lotion. Later, Danny did remark that I smelled a bit like a chocolate orange! 

The Comforter bubble bar

The Comforter bubble bar is scented with black currant and bergamot oil; it turns the water bright pink and creates tons and tons of bubbles. It is quite a large bar and I didn’t think to cut or break it in half (or even into fourths) until afterwards! I used the entire thing, so it turned my bath bright, bright pink and there was absolutely tons of bubbles! My mistake, really. I do wish it was smaller (and cheaper) so that you got more bang for your buck. 

The scent was pretty light and struck me as quite like blackberry, as opposed to black currant (although now that I think about it, I suspect they are very similar). It was very, very relaxing and made my skin feel very soft and supple afterwards. 

The Comforter shower gel

The body cream has the same scent as the Comforter bubble bar: that is, a berry-like scent with a sweet undercurrent of vanilla to smooth it out. I quite like this shower gel, but do find it a bit thin and slightly sparkly, which isn’t always a great day look! But I do feel like it leaves my skin quite clean, but without feeling stripped. It contains almond oil, which explains how it feels so moisturizing. 

Strawberry Feels Forever massage bar

Of all the products, this has been the one I've used the most, for the longest, and really enjoyed. It smells very lightly of strawberries; I keep it in a little jar in my shower and use it on my elbows, ankles, tops of my feet, and hands every shower. It basically dissolves body oil over you as you use it, which is quite nice, but not something I need every single day. I do appreciate that it forms a barrier for the parts of my skin that I struggle with. Also, I just love the lightly fruity smell. 

Sympathy For the Skin body lotion

I didn’t realize it, but this body lotion is actually banana and vanilla scented (and includes both). When I use it, I primarily smell vanilla, but did notice an additional smell that I didn’t love. It’s the banana! I’m not a huge banana fan, but I do quite like this body lotion. I love dipping into the little tub and using it! It contains shea butter and almond oil, both of which are relatively heavy moisturizers, but it absorbs very, very quickly. I don’t get left with that greasy feeling after putting it on in the morning! 

Avobath Bath bomb

This bath bomb was HUGE! I scared Danny by trying to cut it in half in our kitchen, but then I ended up using the entire thing anyway. It made the bathwater a really lovely, mermaid green color (very on trend). It smelled slightly of lemongrass, but not super strongly; I almost wanted it to have a stronger smell, because otherwise it just smelled a bit like baking soda. I did enjoy it though and it left my skin very, very soft. 

Beauty Review: November Ipsy Bag

Beauty Review: November Ipsy Bag | Writing Between Pauses

This month's Ipsy bag is probably my favorite ever. I love this bag. The physical bag itself, actually: mustard yellow with a beautiful, glittery gold accent. It's much larger than the past few bags and I can see myself genuinely using it for travel. 

I also loved every single thing in my bag. Some were bigger winners than others, but there is nothing in this month's bag that I would not want to use. Let's dive in! 

1. Naked Cosmetics Loose Pigments Mother Nature #06 ($14.95 value)

This is a loose pigment eye shadow. Not my favorite way to wear eye shadow, to be perfectly honest! I find loose pigments to be incredibly, unnecessarily messy. However, this color is really pretty. It's kind of hard to describe; in the tin, it looks dark brown, but once you start layering it on, it's not very dark and is more of an iridescent copper color with a aqua blue shift. It's very pretty! It's definitely not an "I would wear that every day!" color because it is so hard to work with, but I do genuinely like it. I've been using it to highlight my inner corner when I go for darker eyeshadow looks.  

2. Crown Brush C141 Chisel Brush ($5.69 value) 

I just told Danny the other day that I needed a new blush brush--and look what's arrived! This is a pretty dense, medium sized brush that would be perfect for subtle contouring and applying blushes. I've stopped contouring recently (just so much work!) so I've been using this for blush; it gives me a lot of control over blush and the bristles are soft enough to blend well. 

3. SKYN Iceland Berry Lip Fix ($14 value) 

I love a good lip balm (even though I do suspect lip balms are a conspiracy to make us spend money). This one is especially lovely because it has a wonderful berry scent. It is very thick and long lasting as well. I had a pretty bad cold this past week and I've been dabbing this on the skin underneath my nose to help it heal; it has been doing wonders! 

4. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Feisty ($29 value)  

I love Tarte blushes so I was so excited to see this in my bag! I have the shade Paaarty (which was in the free Sephora birthday gift this year) and now I have Feisty. Feisty is a warm, tan color. Definitely more of a summer, bronzey look, but still lovely when mixed with a darker, more purple shade. Tarte blushes are so long lasting and creamy, it's really hard to go wrong with them! 

5. ColourPop Cosmetics Ultra Satin Lip in Calypso ($6 value) 

I'm a sucker for a liquid lip, so you won't be surprised to learn that this is my absolute favorite thing in the bag! Calypso is a dark, pink-tan shade that is so, so pretty; it dries down so smooth and lovely. It's not transfer proof, but it does look amazing on. I was so nervous about which shade I would receive, but I'm so happy with Calypso; it's the perfect lip to replace my summer favorite (Wet'n'Wild Liquid Catsuit in Rebel Rose).

Final Thoughts

All in all, this month's bag is valued at $69.64. That's pretty good for a $10 subscription! As well, I like nearly everything in the bag! I would honestly repurchase any of these things, except perhaps the loose pigment eyeshadow; that is something that I would probably try to find in a dupe version!  

If you want to try out Ipsy, you can use my link here. (Note: I do receive extra points when you use my referral link!) 

4 Skincare Mistakes You're Probably Making

4 Skincare Mistakes You're Probably Making | Writing Between Pauses

When it comes to skincare mistakes, I've made just about all of them. I mean that seriously. As I wrote in my post about my acne journey (and trust me, it's a Lord of the Rings style journey!), I've tried just about everything when it comes to skincare. 

To preface, I am by no means an expert. If you're having serious issues with your skin, seeing a dermatologist or professional of your choice is paramount to finding the right treatment. However, for the average every day person, there are some little things we've all been taught (by teen magazines, primarily) help our skin. They are wrong and they can be doing more damage than you think. Here they are, the 4 skincare mistakes that almost everyone makes once and a while. 

(Psst, don't forget to read my post on winter skincare essentials!) 

1. Exfoliating too harshly, too much, or too often

When I was in college, I used this face wash from Clean & Clear that had little microbeads in it. (I've since learned that microbeads are one of the worst things to happen to our environment. Stop using microbeads!) I loved using it on my skin every night; I would scrub and scrub and scrub until my skin felt so soft and smooth. 

Friends, this is not something you should do! 

Recently, my friend asked me why she was having peeling skin on her nose. I asked about her routine. She said she used St. Ives Apricot Scrub every night, then used a face brush in the morning. I begged her (actually begged) to stop exfoliating. She had thought all the exfoliating would get the flaking skin off. I hated to be the bearer of bad news, but exfoliating damaged skin is just going to damage it more! 

You should exfoliate one or two times a week, maximum. As well, scrubs like St. Ives Apricot Scrub are much too harsh for even once-a-week exfoliation. Using a soft face brush or an exfoliant with natural, rounded beads (that dissolve, unlike microbeads) will make your skin healthier and stronger. 

2. Not Cleaning Your Make Up Brushes

When was the last time you cleaned your make up brushes? If you can't remember, it's been too long. For the health of your skin, you need to be washing your brushes at least once a week. And I mean, every single brush, including your beauty blender. Brushes can also harbor bacteria and mold, so if you have acne (like I do), cleaning is especially paramount. Spreading bacteria around your face is a definite no in terms of skin health! 

3. Using Pore Strips 

I used to love doing a pore strip. A few years ago, I learned that the dots on my nose were not blackheads like I thought, but sebaceous filaments. Sebaceous filaments are a natural part of human skin; they look dark and open, depending on your pore skin, and when squeezed, a small, plug of oil comes out. This can make you think that the oil isn't supposed to be there, but that's not true. It's just how our skin is and some people (like me) aren't genetically blessed with small pores, so ours look huge. You can shrink the size of your pores, but if you have flat, pinpricks across your nose that you think are blackheads, I have to tell you: that's just your skin, baby. 

Pore strips often remove the oil plugs out of sebaceous filaments. Marketing on these products has made us think these are blackheads, but they aren't (I promise!). Pore strips can damage your skin, make you break out (because removing that oil plug allows bacteria into your pore), and can break capillaries in your nose (I've done it). 

4. Using Inappropriate Acne Treatments (like Toothpaste)

When I was in college, a friend in my hallway knocked on my door and asked if I had any Windex. I said, yes, but what do you need it for? 

"I have a zit," she replied, nonchalant. "And Windex kills zits." 

Teen magazines have been spreading inaccurate information about how to treat zits for years. I remember smearing straight rubbing alcohol over my face once because a magazine said it helped acne (the chemical burn really hurt). I've also covered zits in toothpaste and gotten chemical burns. 

The logic behind using things like Windex or toothpaste on acne kind of makes sense, but realistically, these products are not designed to use on the skin and you risk giving yourself a serious chemical burn that can include serious scarring and infection. Do not, I repeat, do not put anything not designed for the skin on your skin. 

This includes "homemade masks" like honey and cinnamon (and any homemade mask you see on the internet that isn't backed up by science). I burned myself with a cinnamon mask once and ever since, I've been terrified to use it! 

3 Beauty Products for Halloween

3 Beauty Products for Halloween | Writing Between Pauses

Can I just say something about Blogtober? I am exhausted. I brought this on myself though. I’ve massively neglected my Instagram in favor of writing so many blog posts. The page in my bullet journal dedicated to my writing goal is dominated by writing blog posts in advance every single day… and I haven’t even started thinking about NaNoWriMo. (Gosh, am I going to take on NaNoWriMo after this!?) 

But I’ve also been loving Blogtober—having the chance to write all these posts that I’ve always wanted to write… like putting together my favorite outfits, finding new beauty products, sharing the best tutorials I’ve pinned on Pinterest… it’s been a lot of fun! 

I decided to take it easy on myself with this post. I love Halloween make up; it’s my favorite time of the year because, duh, Autumn, but also, Halloween and spooky-themed everything is so much fun. Here’s a round up of some of the cutest, most fun, and most spooky beauty products. 

1. Pumpkin Bath-o-Lantern Bath Bomb

Lush Pumpkin Bath Bomb

Before every busy Halloween, we all need a little self-care. This pumpkin-shaped bath bomb is scented with “exotic pimento, sweet vanilla and cozy, warming cinnamon,” and promises to turn your bath water a pretty, pumpkin orange. What could be better? 






2. imPRESS Matte Halloween Nails with Glitter Accents

imPRESS Halloween Nails

Press on nails are not something I ever thought I would recommend… or wear. But I really love imPRESS nails—I went through a phase of wearing them every week a few years ago (post-baby it’s much more difficult to rock a long nail) and they always last 7+ days. Seriously. 7+ days! These ones feature a gray-and-white matte color scheme with a spooky church yard and several glitter accent nails. Perfect for a subdued Halloween look. 






3. Make Up Revolution Vampire Night Lip Kid

Make Up Revolution Vampire Kit

This is such a fun lip kit! It features 1 matte liquid lipstick and a matching liner so you can contour your lips (or just prevent feathering—hello aging!) in the color Vampire Night, a rich, bloody burgundy color. Perfect for a vampire costume or just for fun. 

Beauty Review: The Luxe Vox Box*

Beauty Review: Luxe Vox Box | Writing BetweenPauses

*Disclaimer: As always, the asterisk (*) in the post title denotes a sponsored post or a post where I received product for free. All opinions remain my own. For more information about my disclosure policy, please see here

I love getting Vox Boxes from Influenster. I get so excited every single time. Needless to say, when I found out I was getting the Luxe Vox Box, I was beyond excited. I really love this style of Vox Box too because I love getting a variety of products instead of just one. Who doesn’t love trying a bunch of goodies instead of just one? 

For the sake of saving time, I’m going to do mini reviews of each product. Here’s everything I received—and what I thought! 

Dr. Brandt No More Baggage Depuffing Eye Gel

This is one of those products that I was excited to try, but isn’t something I would normally buy on my own. Even though I struggle with fatigue (especially at certain points in my cycle), I don’t necessarily get puffy undereyes or even dark circles. (Ok, that sounds like a humblebrag—but trust me when I say I have other skin issues!) The first time I used this, I didn’t notice a huge difference. 

The second time, however, I used it under make up and I felt like it made a huge difference. I usually color correct under my eyes (just to brighten my skin a little bit) and then use foundation as normal. I used this instead of my usual color correcting and I felt like it made my undereyes look smoother and brighter. I really enjoyed using it, but for $42 for a tube, it’s not something I would repurchase. But if you have undereyes that you struggle with, it’s definitely a great product! 

Amika Un.Done Texture Spray

I received two Amika products and I was most excited about this one, the texture spray. My hair tends to be quite flat and dull, especially on the days when I watch it. This is an aerosol spray, not unlike a dry shampoo, that is supposed provide “instead volume and perfect-imperfect texture.” It “utilizes an invisible, salt-free formulation to deliver effortless, tousled beachy hair.” 

Did I like it? No. Like dry shampoo, it gave my hair a texture that I would describe as straw-like and almost waxy. I love the feeling of smooth, soft hair. If a product can keep my naturally very soft, smooth hair feeling that way, but also give it volume, I love it—but that seems like asking for a lot. I used this two days in a row and both days, the volume it provided barely lasted two hours… but the waxy, gross feeling in my hair did last. Hard pass. 

Amika Nourishing Mask

I love a good hair mask—even though “hair mask” is a nice way of saying “deep conditioner.” I don’t use conditioner daily, because again, my hair texture is pretty lank and flat naturally and my hair is pretty healthy at the moment. It’s not something I really need to worry about. However, my hair does have a lot of breakage because I wear it in tight ponytails and buns a lot, so I was hoping this mask would help with that. 

I have been using this in the shower twice a week and I really love using it. I almost feel like it gives my hair a little bit more body than usual and definitely makes it feel very soft and look very shiny. This mask promises to "restore hair to its natural vibrancy and health from the inside out," which is quite a hefty promise; but it also says it "hydrates for long-lasting softness, shine, elasticity, and manageability." That last one is definitely true. At $28 for 250mL, it's not a terrible price for something you use at most 1-2 times a week! (The mini size which I've linked is only $10--great for sampling!) 

GrandeLips Hydrating Lip Plumper

This is the item I was dreading reviewing. Firstly, a lip plumper is not something I would ever, ever purchase or want to use. But I couldn't very well just not use it and fluff a review. I felt between a rock and a hard place. So I put aside my reservations and I put it on one morning early last week. 

Cue my rapidly scrubbing my lips and nearly screaming. Within seconds to applying, my lips were burning. Not just feeling warm or fuzzy. But burning. I had light chemical burn all around my mouth for several days. Don't buy this product. Don't use this product. I wish I had trusted my gut!

AQUIS Hair Towel

Ok, that last mini review was a bummer, right? Chemical burns are no good. But I love this hair towel. It is made from "Aquitex," a hair drying technology that is "ultra light." It is supposed to rapidly dry hair to "damp stage" without heat. I personally do not use heat on my hair, so this was something I was very excited about. With the change in seasons, my scalp has been very dry and itchy, so I've been having to wash everyday to avoid flakes and nourish my scalp with soothing ingredients. (If you're wondering, I've been using YesTo Coconut Tea Tree Shampoo.) 

I love the shape and thinness of this towel; it makes tying up my hair after my shower to do my make up very easy. It does seem to dry my hair very quickly, which is also very nice. However, at $30-45 for a single towel, it's quite expensive. I have some not-as-fancy hair towels from Target that were $5 a piece at the most that do almost the exact same thing. But if you have a lot of hair and want to cut how much heat you use on your hair, it would definitely be a good splurge. 

5 Beauty Products I Love Right Now

5 beauty products.png

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, but to be quite frank, I was waiting until I had five really good beauty products that I felt passionate about. I've been very so-so on beauty products lately: I think the more I learn about beauty, make up, skincare, everything, the pickier I get. It's like I used to think drugstore eye shadows were all about as good as it got; now I couldn't be pickier! 

These five products legitimately fill me with such excitement! It's hard to contain, truly. Let's jump right in. 

1. Soap & Glory's Peaches & Clean Deep Cleansing Milk 

I bought this face wash, originally, in a pinch: I needed something cheap, I needed something immediately, and I needed something that would just take my make up off. Soap & Glory is on a list of questionably cruelty-free companies, so I don't want to promote it as 100% CF. However, if you have sensitive skin and want to replace a micellar water that is totally absolutely not CF, it's a good option. This face wash isn't like other face washes: it's more like a thin lotion. I love using it first to remove my make up, then following up with a second face wash or exfoliant. It also smells amazing, just like peaches, and if I use it alone, it leaves my skin super hydrated. 

2. eSalon's Get Lifted Root Spray

eSalon has been such a hit-and-miss for me, but this root spray has been rocking my world lately. I have very flat hair, but also a lot of hair: so the longer my hair gets, the flatter it gets because of the sheer weight of it on my head. This root spray has been making the days I wear my hair down just a little bit more bearable; it lasts my entire day at work without touch ups and gives me just the right amount of volume, without making my hair feel like a sticky mess. 

3. The Body Shop's Tea Tree Face Wash

I love tea tree oil for break outs. It can be really harsh though, so I always worry about using it every day. However, the Body Shop's Tea Tree face wash has truly changed my mind on that front. I use this as a follow up to my Soap & Glory Peaches & Clean Cleansing Milk. Originally, this little bottle was an impulse buy at Ulta; however, I have since also purchased the full size bottle (I just haven't opened it yet). I am obsessed with this face wash. It's done a really good job of keeping smaller break outs under control for the last few months. If you're oily and acne prone, this is the perfect face wash and it's surprisingly affordable. 

4. Ulta Beauty's Rose Gold Palette

When I first bought this palette, I didn't have super high expectations. I just wanted the free gift Ulta was offering that week (it had a mascara and a bunch of other full size products; I can't help it, I love anything free). However, I've been using this palette almost every single day. The colors all follow along the lines of being muted, mauve-y pink and rose shades, with a deeper purple and a gray; the metallic row has a great selection of matching metallics. It's great for creating a monochromatic look. The metallic shades do need a little assistance (I use some of my Mario Badescu Aloe & Green Tea spray on my brush) to really pop, but for such a cheap palette ($16 after a coupon), it's totally worth it. 

5. SMACK! Beauty's Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Serum 

This was a bargain buy at TJ Maxx and I have to admit, I'm sad that I'll have to repurchase it somewhere else now. It was only $6.99 at TJ Maxx, so if you see it at your local shop, grab it. I alternate this serum with my Ole Henriksen Transformation Gel, just to avoid drying out my skin too much. I consider this serum a major contributor to my reduced break outs in the last two months. Retinol is used for anti-aging, but it also is a great chemical exfoliant to help prevent break outs and cystic acne. This was a great addition to my skincare routine!