Makeup Monday: Take It Off!

The title tells you the best tip in the world about having great skin: take your makeup off at night!

It’s advice I would do well to practice consistently. But don’t be me, y’all. Be better than me!

Anyway.

I’ve gotten questions about my skincare regimen for a while, and since we’re in the middle of holiday party season, let me give you some info on how I keep my skin looking good.

First: some background.

My skin has not always looked as good as it has now. This face has seen some unfortunate times due to puberty. When I tell you my face looked like a Nestle Crunch bar? I am NOT exaggerating. It was all broken out, full of dark spots, rough, and it hurt. Acne hurts, y’all. If you’ve never had it, or only had one or two, count yourself lucky.

Mine was so bad that there’s a span between 7th grade to senior year of high school that I didn’t have my school pictures done. I wouldn’t bring the little folder home. Senior year I discovered the glory of Photoshop and had them edit the hell out my face to smooth everything out and remove the shine.

When I first moved to NYC, and got my current job, my problem skin was still hounding me. It had cleared up a bit, but my face made me so self conscious. I didn’t really do makeup on my face, thinking that would make the problem worse. When you work as a make up artist, it’s hard to sell your services when you don’t bother to put any on yourself, right?

Yeah.

So, one of the vendors came to me at work and brought me some of their product to try. After years of trying EVERYTHING (Proactiv is a waste of damn money in my humble opinion), I tried some fancy, new to me company called La Roche Posay.

Y’all. I texted my mother a pic of me and she wondered what the hell I’d been doing up here. My skin had never been that clear in…ever. I’d found my magic bullet.

I use Effaclar from La Roche Posay. It’s rare you’ll hear me talk about something I sell at work, because here and there I like to keep separate. But I love it so much I just have to share it. I use the Gel wash, toner (the regular one), Duo (best acne treatment ever!), and mattifying lotion. Lo these many years later, I still use it. I’m confident enough now to share all types of makeup free selfies on Instagram, and I took a favorite one without filters a while back:

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No eyebrows or anything! Just lip balm.

That’s my skin story, and trust me, it takes some diligence to keep my skin looking as good as it does. If you’re looking for a flawless makeup application, the first step is making sure your skin is on point. To that point, I have some suggestions for all skin types to keep your skin beautiful, or to even help you heal your face if it is as problematic as mine. Please know: there is a solution for every skin, even the most sensitive, acne prone face. It will take time and patience, but I’m telling you: your silver bullet is out there.

So, let’s get started.

The basics of a good regimen is all about cleansing, toning, treating, moisturizing, and sunscreen. No, just because you have melanin does NOT mean you don’t have to use sunscreen. Black folks have the highest rate of malignant sun cancer because we have this false sense of security. If you have skin, you need sunscreen. Period.

Now that’s off my chest:

Cleansing: You’ll need to pick something that’s for your skin type. If you aren’t sure what kind of skin you have, try this. Wash your face, and then leave it alone for a few hours after. Don’t moisturize or anything. Take note of how your skin feels after a while. Does it feel tight? Then it’s dry. Got an oil slick happening all over? Then you’re oily (that’s me.) Shiny on the forehead, nose, and chin while your cheeks feel like a desert? Then you’re combination. And if you don’t feel any way at all? Congrats! You’re normal. Oilier and combo skinned folks will love a gel cleanser, as it helps to remove the excess oil from the skin and give a squeaky clean. Drier folks will love cream cleansers or oil based cleansers. Normal skinned folks? Use whatever makes you feel the best.

As a part two to cleansing, you may want to do a scrub too. I will say that anyone who has a reaction to too much scrubbing shouldn’t use a mechanical scrub (that’s with scrubby bits) and should stick to a mild (emphasis on MILD) chemical exfoliant (like glycolic acid) instead. Whichever you use, keep it to twice a week at the most. You’ll find your moisturizers and treatments sink in better. My favorite is from Vera Moore Cosmetics…best scrub EVER, I swear!

Toner: Again, choose based on skin type. Also: don’t think you need to skip toner–this really helps to get the deep down dirt that cleansers can miss. I love the toner I use because it unblocks and tightens my pores as well as controls oil. Drier and normal skins will love a hydrating toner (yes, they exist!) because it helps keep your skin nice and supple.

Treatment: These are fun and vary depending on what you need! Ok, a treatment is anything from an acne treatment to an anti-aging serum. Depending on how much dedication you have to regimen, you can do as many or as few as you like. I stick to just one acne treatment for day, and an anti-aging serum at night. My current serum is from Lierac, and I love the radiance it gives.

Moisturizer: I switch this up depending on the season, and you may find you need to do the same. Warmer months call for a mattifying lotion (I use this one) and colder months I love something with a little more moisture. I switch this up every year, and I’m loving this one from Lierac right now. And again, sunscreen! Pick a moisturizer with a sunscreen and save a step.

Bonus: I like to treat my face once a week to a mask, and I say pick a mask depending on what you need most: whether its radiance or clarifying, it’s a nice treat for your face and some well deserved self care.

If you’re not certain what brands you should try, I suggest putting some money into a subscription box to try different companies. I’ve done Glossybox in the past, and I’m looking to try the Essence Beauty Box soon.

In future posts, I will explore more of the favorite brands I love, and not just the high end stuff. Don’t worry, there’s some good stuff right in the drugstore you’re looking over, and I’m bringing that to you next week. Any questions on regimens? Leave them for me in the comments below or tweet them to me!

 

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Fatshion Friday: Fierce and Casual

So, when we last left off, I showed y’all some of the awesome fashion that was shown at last weeks Full Figured Fashion Week Indie Show.

For once, I actually got a chance to snag some pics of my own fashion.

๐Ÿ˜€

So, for the fashion show, I went with classic black. I know, I normally don’t do black unless I’m at work, but this dress had been hanging in my closet collecting dust since January (please don’t judge me), so I figured I’d give it some shine. I paired it with a nice neutral eye, fro picked out and pinned up, and my favorite red lip:

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Dress: ASOS Curve (Sold Out), Shoes: Payless

Now, I had another few pictures of the dress that included more of that super cute bow detail, but let me tell y’all…see, I didn’t check the sheerness of that dress. So, slightly too sheer dress plus insanely bright lighting (for pics!) equals you can see allllllll my shaper and bra, y’all. Just, dammit, man. I think I would have done better to do a black shaper instead of a nude one, but yeah. Don’t be me, y’all. Check that BEFORE you leave your house. This picture was taken away from the theatre lighting near the red carpet, so you can’t see anything.

So, I also got to attend CurvyCon this past weekend as well. I love the idea of shopping and panels and wonderful bloggers in one place. In theory. In practice…well…it was loud, crowded, and not enough seats. I did have fun for the time I was there, and got to meet some awesome folks as well as touch base with some blogger boos. ๐Ÿ™‚

Since I knew I’d be doing a lot of pictures, I didn’t go super fancy. I just wanted to be comfy. So I did sneakers and a cute skirt, and kept my face natural.

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Sneaks from JustFab.

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Skirt from Eloquii (check out theย Midi Skirtsย here!)/Shirt from FeminineFunk

I had a great time last weekend, and looked fabulous doing it!

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Nail Adventures: An Appeal For Warmer Weather

I feel like it’s been winter for 1,000 years now. Weather can’t decide between Cold, What The Fuck Cold, and Fuck It Cold.

Fuck It Cold is when you step outside your house to run an errand, the wind/snow/chunks of ice hit you and you decide “Fuck it; I’m staying home,” and go back indoors.

Guess which one we’ve had up here in NYC as of late.

It’s now March, when warmer weather is supposed to start creeping back in.

Apparently the damned woodchuck/groundhog/beaver/whatever the hell ran the idea of Spring off.

*side eye emoji*

I’m here to see if I can make an appeal to the Weather Deities. I’m not certain what I must sacrifice to get some warmer weather (first pair of peep toe heels? Two crop tops and a pair of shorts? Glittery polish?) but I’m thisclose to figuring it out and doing an offering dance to get some actual spring weather.

In lieu of me dancing (trust me, nobody wants that) I decided to make my nails bright and colorful like spring. Perhaps if the Weather Deities see my colorful fingers, they’ll be more inclined to paint the landscape to match.

Please?

So, I took some of the loudest polish I could find and added some metallic finish, glitter, and rhinestones. The result?

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I was hoping to channel ocean water and mermaid tails and warm breeze…You know, the kind of weather that makes you want to search for mermaids you’re 99.9% certain don’t exist but you look anyway?

Yeah.

I used Rimmel London 60 Second Polish in Districtly Come Dancing for 8 fingers, and Orly’s Luxe for two fingers. This is my first time using Rimmel polish, and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised. Even though it’s a quick dry polish, it doesn’t go on streaky, and one coat will do–but I wanted more intense color so I used two in my manicure. The glitter is from Fingr’s–it looks blue in the container, but looks more gold on the nail. Super pretty. They come in a set of 4, so now I want to try all of them to see how they blend. And because it’s me we’re talking about, I put a blue rhinestone on each pointer finger. Because why not. ๐Ÿ˜€

Oh, dear benevolent Weather Deities, please hear my plea and accept my offering. I hope my aquatic nails please you.

If they don’t, please know I’m prepared to give you full neon. Anything! Just bring back the warmth!

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Love, Glossybox

Hey loves! I’m back to regularly scheduled program his week, and I have an amazing Glossybox review for you today!

Now, if you wondering what happened to last month’s haul, I actually received a duplicate of the exact same box I’d gotten a few months ago. Down to the highlighter.

I wasn’t ready. I was also disappointed.

But this month, Glossybox redeemed themselves. I mean, look at how cute the box itself is:

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For the record, I keep these boxes and reuse them for nail polish and jewelry. So here’s what I got:

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Teadora Nourishing Exfoliating Bar in Rainforest at Dawn:
The card insert says that it’s an exfoliating soap packed with Amazonian super fruits that promise to firm and hydrate skin. I like how it smells, citrusy and woodsy without feeling like I’m rolling in grass.

Rituals Cosmetics Foaming Shower Gel Sensation in Yogi Flow:
The big thing about this shower gel is that it looks and functions like a can of shaving cream, but it’s a shower gel. So instead of putting it on a pouf, put a bit on your skin and foam it up, then rinse. It smells wonderful. The main scent is rose, and while I’m not a huge fan of rose, it’s subtle enough to not overwhelm.

Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner:
This is another take on the ever popular cowash products I’m seeing more and more in stores. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, cowashing is when one uses a conditioner in place of a traditional shampoo to wash up. It is more gentle on natural, curly hair than foaming washes. I personally don’t do them because I have a flaky scalp and product build up like whoa, but I could see using this on a quick wash day. It smells like a delicious fruit bowl.

Royal Apothic Tinties Lip Butter in Pink:
This is the cutest little tin of lip butter ever. See:

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Bonus: it’s full of argan and grape seed oils plus shea butter. Good for nourishing lips with a touch of color.

Julep Color Treat in Heartleigh:
It’s been some time since I shared a Julep shade with y’all, and this one is super cute. Chunky white glitter, micro silver glitter, and red heart glitter collide into a really cute topper polish. Because of the chunkiness of the glitter, I wouldn’t do this by itself because it will not be even. Here’s some closer shots of the polish and a quick one coat swatch:

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I was about to cancel my subscription, but ok Glossybox, you pulled it off!

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Since Snowpacalypse is Coming Today…

…how about getting a new book to read?

So, I was contacted by the lovely Leila Lacey about reviewing one of her books. And as I’m reading her email and I see it’s romance I’m all..

Ew.*eye roll*

Yes, yes, not a fan of romance novels. But hear me out, because there’s a good reason for that.

All the heroines in the typical romance novels are the same. They’re all in need of some type of rescue, and are usually thin, busty, and blonde. As if people of color just do. not. exist! in this world of romance.

And I just can’t relate to that. It’s hard to understand what love and romance looks like to Black folks when they aren’t properly represented in these types of novels. It’s easy to dismiss these things as fluff, but the problem is that even in fluff I’d love to have equal representation. That’s it. It’s good to know that we too can be sexy beings.

But Ms. Lacey’s novels are different. These are Black (!!!) women, successful in their own right, and get this…

They’re all curvy, plus sized women. Thank heavens! I won’t say these characters are perfect (Vixen, from the novel I read, has some body issues) but that is part of the charm. These are women that I can relate to because I know (and have been!) that same woman.

Once I got to that part, I was all in for giving it a try.

I had the pleasure of getting a couple of the books from the Curvy Goddess series, and I have to admit: I’m both impressed and hooked.

So let’s talk about the first novel in the series,ย The Vixen. Ok, we have a successful businesswoman, Vixen, who has been carrying on an online relationship with a man, Daniel, for 6 months. They finally meet, and through a series of misunderstandings and misconceptions, have a hell of a time getting it together.

I have zero intent on telling y’all if they do finally get it together. Go read the book! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Did I mention you can get it for free? See, you have nothing to lose! Go here and get yourself a copy.

Sidebar: I saw a lot of designers name dropped in this novel that I wasn’t sure if they did plus size clothes, but listen. I’d pay GOOD MONEY ย to get a hold of some of that swag that Vixen rocked in there. #Plussizeplease, D&G!

If you’re in the Northeast, please get indoors from this storm and stay safe. Get a new book! You’ll enjoy it, I’m sure!

Disclaimer: This novel was provided to me for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own.

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Glossybox Review: Yuletide Cheer

So I got my December Glossybox, all wrapped up like a precious gift:

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Fancy!

๐Ÿ™‚

And of course, so are the contents:

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I was so excited I didn’t even want to move my laptop out of the way!

Do you see the wealth of goodies here? I keep telling y’all, go get yourselves a Glossybox, you won’t be disappointed! Here’s the lineup of products:

Nuxe Masque Creme Fraiche De Beaute: I actually have heard of this before, and it’s lovely. It’s a moisturizing mask, and it leaves your skin very velvety. I have super oily skin until the dead of winter, so this helps to give my skin a drink of water.

Rituals Cosmetics Miracle Scrub: So, I actually hoped this was for my face (I LOVE a good face scrub), but this is for the hands. No worries, I like a good hand scrub too, especially before doing the weekly manicure. It’s a nice scrub, not too heavily scented. And it left my hands like butter.

Ciate Mini Paint Pot in Yule Rules: OMG BLUE SPARKLY POLISH. Which, ok, I need more nail polish like I need a hole in my head, but it’s so pretty!

Toni & Guy Leave In Conditioner: naturally I get this right after I’ve washed and conditioned my hair for the week. But a heads (heh) up: you can always use leave in conditioner as a styling aid (detangler) in between washings. So I’ll be using this before I twist my hair up this week. It smells really clean, which is nice.

And finally: BellaPierre Cosmetics Mineral Lipstick in Burlesque: This. Lippy. Y’all. Listen. A few Glossyboxes ago, I had a chance to try out their lip gloss, and I loved it. And I can tell you this lipstick is everything. Look:

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It’s still on my hand at the time of this writing, and I did the dishes before I started writing. Serious staying power. Can’t wait to wear this out! It’s a semi-matte finish, very moisturizing.

And that’s the roundup for this month! I’m loving everything here, and I’m gonna have to track down the rest of BellaPierre’s products. I think I’m in love!

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Holiday Lookbook: The Beginning

Y’all, we are full swing into the holiday party season. I have a whole post of pretty dresses for y’all to rock out and be as glittery and sparkly as you want to be coming soon!

But first, an appetizer.

The good folks over at Invaluable contacted me to ask if I’d like to do some styling with one of their rings. I thought, why not? It’s totally the time of year for a little extra bling and glamour. So, what I decided to do here was create a really nice holiday party look, full of all the sparkle y’all have come to expect from me.

Let’s get to it!

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How fabulous is that ring, y’all? That beautiful cluster ring (which you can bid on here if you love it too) was the inspiration for this shimmery glam look. Since I tend to wear all black every day for work, I go over the top when I can. This look is no exception.

Now this dress, from Rum+Coke. Listen. That thigh high slit, y’all. I love my legs. In fact, besides my bum, they’re my favorite body parts, and I would throw on those sky-high heels from Just Fab and STRUT, you hear me?

Oh, and the slit is on both sides. Yes, ma’am. If you wore this to a holiday party, and you attended solo, you’d leave with a new friend.

Seriously. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and I know y’all are like, ok, we get the dress and heels and ring. But, Char, where does the penguin figurine come in?

That’s a clutch, y’all. No, really! It’s a clutch!

A friend of mine, S, introduced me to the concept of the conversation piece when one is being social. If you’re a bit awkward, like I am, it’s hard to strike up convo. But, if you have something interesting on, like this clutch, you’re gonna be able to be friendly–everyone will want to know what it is, and then: “OMG, so cute!”

And now you have a friend. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have to say, it’s worked well the times I’ve done it!

Still looking for some good picks for parties? I’ve got something good coming for you Wednesday. Stay tuned!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. No compensation from Invaluable was given; all opinions are my own.

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