Microblading: Frequently Asked Questions

Microblading is a semi permanent brow tattoo that uses a blade to create small strokes to mimic brow hair. Brow shapes can be perfected, fullness can be added, and symmetry can be obtained with this simple solution. Microblading consists of a minimum of two sessions: the initial session and the perfecting session. It can require more touch ups depending on your skin type and other factors. Microblading has been around for many years and has reached a new level of popularity.  Here are some F.A.Q's about the procedure, please reach out if you have any questions that I haven't covered :)

 

  • How long does the consultation take and what does it cover?

    • The consultation takes about 30 minutes. Within that time, I map your dream brows, talk about color, aftercare, what to expect during the procedure, and go over any questions you may have. This is normally scheduled the same day as your first session, but can be scheduled on a different day if needed.

  • How long is the procedure?

    • The initial session including the consultation takes anywhere between 2 to 2.5 hours. The perfecting session will be closer to 1 hr long, but it varies per client.

  • What is a perfecting session?

    • The perfecting session is the first touch up session. It is scheduled 4-6 weeks after the initial appointment. At this point we will address any change in shape or color that you may need/want. I also go over any strokes that have faded. Fading is a normal part of the process, with some strokes fading more than others, and these are corrected in the perfecting session.

  • How long does it last?

    • Microblading lasts anywhere from 1-3 years on skin type, age, lifestyle, and skincare routine. Touch ups are recommended every 12 to 18 months.

  • How long does it take to heal?

    • Immediately after the initial appointment, the brows will be red and the pigment will appear to be very dark. Within the following days, the strokes will begin to dry and may scab, scabbing is normal and must not be messed with. It takes about 2 weeks for the skin to heal, and about a month before the pigment completely sets.

  • Who isn't a good candidate for microblading?

    • Those who are currently using Accutane, heart medication, have medical conditions such as heart conditions, have skin diseases or irritations, have had botox in the last two weeks, have had chemical peels, recent deep tans, allergy to lidocaine or other numbing agents.

    • Those who are pregnant or have diabetes require a doctors note clearing them for the procedure.

  • Can you touch up some one else's work/cover up a previous tattoo?

    • In some situations yes, but if this is the case please schedule a consultation so that we can make sure we can do this for you.

  • Is microblading painful?

    • The pain varies from mild to none, although every body is different. It is recommended to avoid scheduling your appointment if you are menstruating as this could cause discomfort during the procedure.

  • Should I wax my brows before I get them microbladed?

    • Avoid tweezing, plucking, waxing, and threading at least two weeks before your initial appointment. During your appointment I will shape your brows before we begin the procedure.

  • Is there an age limit?

    • You must be 18 years of age to get microblading.

  • How much does it cost?

    • Microblading starts at $350. This includes the initial consultation, first session, aftercare products and instructions. Any additional touch up sessions are $150.

  • Is a deposit required to book an appointment?

    • Yes. To ensure your booking time and date, 20% of the total amount is due as a deposit to hold the appointment.

Cruelty Free Guide to High End Beauty

We've all been there. You walk in and are instantly stunned by the never ending rows of makeup and the aroma of expensive perfume. Sephora: a majestic labyrinth full of luxury packaging and divine formulations. Every brand you can think of has it's own elaborate display. What to swatch first? What do I even need from here? Why am I sweating from decision overload?

It's okay, I've got your back.

 

Here's Your Go-To

Makeup Guide to Cruelty Free Luxury

 

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High End Cruelty Free Brands

 

Anastasia Beverly Hills

BITE Beauty

BECCA cosmetics

Bare Minerals

Buxom

Ciaté London

Cinema Secrets

Coola

Cover FX

Dose of Colors

First Aid Beauty

Hourglass

Herbivore

IT Cosmetics

Josie Maran

Kat Von D

Lavanilla

Marc Jacobs

Milk Makeup

Murad

Nars

Stila Cosmetics

Sweat Cosmetics

Tarte

Tatcha

Too Faced 

Urban Decay

 

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These brands still test on animals

Besame Cosmetics

Benefit Cosmetics

Bobbi Brown

Caudalie

Cane + Austin

Chanel

Clinique

Colorscience

Dermablend

Dior

Dr. Brandt Skincare

Dr. Jart+

Esté Lauder

Fresh

Givenchy

Glam Glow

Huda Beauty

La Mer

Laura Mercier

MAC

Make Up For Ever

Natasha Denona

Origins

Smashbox

Versace

Viseart

Yves St. Laurent

 

There you have it folks. For a separate guide to cruelty free makeup, check out last week's post. These lists were adapted from PETA's Companies That Don't Test on Animals List. If you like this post please comment and feel free to share <3

 

Cruelty Free Guide to Drugstore Makeup

I always get texts from friends & family who are out buying makeup and want to ask what brands are safe and which brands test on animals. Although I never mind those texts, (because any opportunity to talk about makeup makes my day) I figured that I should go ahead and put that information here on my website so anyone could find it. 

Animal testing is a deal breaker. Say no to companies that test on animals, and support the bad ass brands that don't. 

 

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Cruelty Free Makeup Brands

Feel free to try 'em all

Ardelle

The Balm Cosmetics

Bare Minerals

Bellapierre

Benecos

BH Cosmetics

Black Radiance

E.l.f

Hard Candy

Jane

Jordana

Jesse's Girl

Kiss My Face

L.A. Girl

Milani

No. 7

Nyx Cosmetics

Pacifica

Physician's Formula

Pixi

Shea Moisture

Sonia Kashuk

Wet n' Wild

 

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    Brands That DO Test on Animals

    avoid 'em like the plague

    Almay

    Chapstick

    Coty

    CoverGirl

    Elizabeth Arden

    L'Oreal

    Mabelline

    Neutrogena 

    Palladio

    Rimmel

    NYC

    This is a shortened list that was adapted from My Beauty BunnyCruelty Free Kitty, and PETA's website. For more expansive lists that include hair and skincare brands, please check them out they are great resource for buying cruelty free <3 

    Prep + What to Expect for Your Makeup Appointment

    PREP:

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    Come with Clean Skin

    One of the best things you can do to prepare for your appointment is to come with fresh clean skin. You don't want to waste precious glam time during your appointment for your artist to clean last night's mascara off. If you want to go the extra mile, feel free to exfoliate that morning too and follow through with your skincare regimen. 

    Bring Some Makeup Inspiration Pics

    If you aren't a subscribing member to all things makeup related, it may be a little difficult to put into words what kind of makeup you would like. If you want to make sure you are on the same page as your artist, be sure to show some pictures of looks you love or would like to try. You can start with celebrity photos on Pinterest, that should help you gauge what makeup looks you are drawn to. Also, be open to the artists suggestions, as it is our job to create looks that will suit you best. Come with an open mind, here is your chance to step outside of your makeup comfort zone.

    Find Out What You Don't Like

    While you are on your inspiration hunt for beauty looks, also take note of what you don't like. Tell your artist what eyeshadow colors you really despise, whether or not you're a glossy lip kinda person, or if you really dislike certain trends. This can help your artist avoid choosing something you won't like. 

     

    WHAT TO EXPECT:

    You + Your Artist Will Get Very Close

    Some people have a personal bubble that they don't like to invite most people into, say goodbye to this while you get your makeup done. Your artist will be up in your grill for about an hour blending out eyeshadow and tapping in concealer. Although they will do their best to respect your space, don't be shy to say you need a second to breathe or to sip your prosseco. 

    Ask Questions

    If you want to know what products they use, or if you want pro recommendations, feel free to ask your artist any and all things beauty related. They should be an excellent resource when it comes to recommendations as well as what is new in the world of beauty. Plus, Pro MUAs are most likely obsessed with makeup and they love to share that passion with anyone who asks about it.

    Rest + Relax

    Although you will be mostly sitting still, sometimes your makeup artist will need to get into the little nooks + crannies in your face to ensure that everything is nice and blended out. They could probably make it work without you doing anything at all, but I sometimes ask my clients to look up or down or to close their eyes depending on which area I'm working on. This should be easy, but I wanted to note it. Mostly though, relax! This is your time to sit back and sip on some fine wine (or coffee or whatever your drink of preference is) and forget about timelines, schedules, and adult-ing in general. Devote this one hour to deep thought and relaxation. Not only will you look glamorous, but you will emerge refreshed and ready to conquer the world. 

    Travel Must Haves + Tips for Beauty Lovers

    Ok - here is your all inclusive packing list for all things beauty along with my must haves for travel. I hope this aids you next time you're scrambling to pack and you don't want to forget anything <3 

    1. Skincare 

    Minimalism can be so helpful when packing, but not when it comes to skincare. Travel can cause havoc on your skin, which can manifest itself as dull or dehydrated skin, so definitely bring the moisturizer. Don't forget to toss in all those travel or sample sized products you've been waiting to try. Try to avoid products that aren't travel friendly, AKA anything over 3 ounces or those with dropper dispensers. The product can travel up the tube and stay in the dropper which is no bueno. Sheet masks are your friends too, because you can dispose of them and make room for items you may buy while traveling. The must haves in my skincare travel bag consist of: a hydrating mud mask, cleanser, a serum, eye cream, moisturizer w/ SPF, & a facial oil

    2. Makeup

    It may be helpful to know what your makeup routine will be when packing your makeup bag, if you are still figuring it out - this may help. The best way to minimize is to bring products that work in multiple ways or using bronzer and highlight as eyeshadows instead of bringing an eyeshadow palette. It really depends on what your must haves are when it comes to makeup. To save space, you can transfer makeup into small travel friendly containers and spare the extra mirror by bringing products with mirrors included. If you are going somewhere tropical don't forget the blotting sheets. Also, if you love full glam, don't forget your favorite lashes and lash glue. The must haves in my (not so minimal) makeup travel kit: Too Faced Rx Primer | Nars Sheer Glow Foundation | Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer | Kat Von D Lock It Setting Powder | BECCA Cosmetics Highlight & Lowlight Perfecting Palette | Nars Blush in Madly | ABH Modern Renaissance Palette | Urban Decay Perversion Mascara | KVD Liner in Trooper | ABH Dip Brow Pomade | UD All Nighter Setting Spray | Dose of Colors Liquid Lipsticks in Stone, Bare with Me, & Chocolate Wasted | Nars Velvet Lip Glide in Stripped | NYX Butter Gloss in Eclair

    3. Tools

    Time to whip out those double sided brushes and beauty sponges! Brushes are tough to travel with, I recommend bringing no more than 6 brushes. You can cut out brushes by bringing makeup products that include applicators, such as a liquid eyeliner with a brush tip or using an eyebrow gel instead of a powder. Don't forget you can use your fingers to apply cream products and eyeshadows so you can cut down on brushes that way too. You can also buy a travel sized makeup brushes to save some more space. Here are the makeup tool must haves I need/want to have when traveling: pencil brush | crease brush | flat definer brush | eyebrow brush w/ spooley | powder brush | beauty blender

    4. Hair Care

    Shampoo, Conditioner, Styling creams, oh my! While I tend to favor using the complimentary hotel shampoo & conditioners, here are a few tips for traveling with your favorite hair care items just incase you're going to Airbnb it this time. Dispense your favorite products into travel friendly 3 oz. containers and put them in a ziplock baggie so if there are any spills, your clothes aren't damaged. Don't forget your hair brush and a straightener if you're about that life, which includes bringing a heat protectant.

    5. Organization

    When it comes to traveling with brushes and cosmetics, don't make the mistake of throwing them in the same bag. You want to be sure to pack your brushes in a way that even if your luggage gets thrown around (which it probably will if you check your bags) that they will not get damaged. There are nice role up brush carriers that do the job. I recommend bringing your makeup items with you in your carry on. Why? Because makeup is expensive and precious and if it breaks while traveling that is fair grounds for ugly crying (first world probs, it'll all be ok). Pro tip: Playing Tetris with your items will ensure that you maximize space.

     

    How to Create Your Perfect Makeup Routine

    As a beauty lover, I am so fortunate to have friends who share the passion of makeup with me. Some of these people have always been into makeup since they were little, and others are just starting to dip their toes. One of my dear friends came to me and asked me to help create a makeup routine that would suit her needs and lifestyle. She is a teacher, so her time is precious. She wanted a simple makeup routine, but one that she could amp up if she had a special event to go to. I have written out some tips for those of you who may want something more structured when it comes to your beauty routine. I have included a few sample routines that can be easily modified to suit your needs. I am taking on new clients, so feel free to contact me if you would like a makeup routine specifically tailored to your needs, lifestyle, and budget. 

    1. Establish Your Makeup Philosophy

    Although this step doesn't have to take up too much of your time, it'll be important once you try to piece your routine together. Are you a *less is more*, or a ~*more is more*~ person? Do you favor simplicity over something elaborate? Do you want to stick to a signature style or are you more experimental with makeup? The philosophy you create is flexible and can change with time, but for now, it'll guide you. Pinterest will be your best friend in helping you navigate your feelings towards makeup. You can see what you like, what you don't like, what you want to try, and what you want to stay very far away from.

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    2. Build Your Beauty Arsenal

    Once you have an established philosophy, it is time to find products and tools that suit that philosophy as well as your lifestyle. If you are a minimal kinda gal, you can buy products that can be used multiple ways. If you want a signature look, nail down what that means to you. It could be smokey eyes and a nude lip. It could be a bare face with a bold lip. It could be lip balm and mascara. It can be anything you want. You may already have everything you need, so sometimes building your arsenal could mean eliminating what isn't essential to your routine. When looking for products also be aware of how you want these products to perform. If you want a neat liner look, opt for a felt tip and stay away from a kohl liner. If you need a long lasting base, look for foundations that are water resistant and avoid the BB creams. In  other words, find out what your holy grail products are. Having go-to products is one way to minimize time and effort without compromising quality or performance. Also, don't get sucked into buying a product only to find that it doesn't really do what you need it to (damn you glamorous packaging).

    3. Jump in, the water's fine!

    I always say the best part of makeup, besides it being a creative outlet, is that it washes right off. It can take some time to really figure out what you want your makeup to do. Have fun with it! Try out things you would have never considered. If you want to get better at makeup, challenge yourself to try a different makeup look every day (again, Pinterest will be your bff). I play with makeup sometimes before bed, just trying out fun colors or styles with the safety net that I can just wash it off or try it again in the AM if I really loved it. 

    4. Order of Operations

    Is my math nerdiness showing? Anyways, this part is completely up to you, and just like your makeup philosophy, it can change with time or even day to day. This may be simple, but I'm mentioning it because it is helpful to know what order to do your makeup in. I recommend starting with your eye makeup first if you like to wear eyeshadow, it eliminates the possibility of ruining your face makeup with fallout from blending. If you like a bold lip, I recommend putting on your lipstick/gloss before blush or eyeshadow so you can see what colors best go with it. If you like bold brows, start with that because it'll set the stage for the other aspects of your makeup without over powering them. 

     

    Sample Routines

    Here are some generalized makeup routines that are perfect for manipulating and adjusting. I haven't included product recommendations, but this is a good skeleton if you need a place to start. The steps are in order, but you can always switch it up.

    Top 15 Cruelty Free Foundations - Ranked by Coverage

    UPDATE 2/7/18: NARS is no longer cruelty free

     

    OK folks, my all time favorite makeup item: foundation! I have ranked my favorite 15 foundations by their coverage (lightest at the top, fullest at the bottom). I have included drugstore and high end options so you are bound to find something that works for you and your beauty budget. All items are cruelty free and some are even vegan [Those that are vegan, I have marked with a (V)] <3 Click on the product name to purchase*

     

    1. Urban Decay Beauty Balm $34 (V)

    This ultra lightweight balm works as a skincare product and leaves skin tone perfected. This is a great choice for those who want that ~*no makeup, makeup look*~ PRODUCT CLAIMS: Improved skin tone, improved skin radiance after 12 weeks of use, firmer skin after 12 weeks, and visibly smaller pores after 8 weeks of use. 

    2. Bare Minerals Pure Brightening Serum Foundation w/ SPF 20 $29.50

    This gorgeously light, but effective foundation is truly a standout product. Formulated without fragrance, silicone, oil, and parabens, it is a perfect friend to those with sensitive skin. It is also compatible with all skin types and leaves skin looking bright. PRODUCT CLAIMS: tone correcting mineral foundation + brightening serum in one, adjustable coverage with a natural finish

    3. Botanics Age Defense Foundation $13.99 

    This is the perfect light coverage foundation, and can be built up to have medium coverage. It makes skin look radiant and healthy. If you have oily skin, beware, this foundation is quite dewey. Although it doesn't say this product is vegan on their website, none of the ingredients are derived from animals, yay! PRODUCT CLAIMS: For smoother younger looking skin, minimizes fine lines and wrinkles.

    4. Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation $40 (V)

    This foundation never disappoints me. It manages to cover freckles and discoloration all while feeling light weight and providing a demi-matte finish. It can be built up to give more coverage, but you can always see your skin peaking through. PRODUCT CLAIMS: minimized fine lines and wrinkles, blurs imperfections, + improved skin radiance

    5. Nars Sheer Glow Foundation $47

    This foundation's reputation always precedes it, and for good reason. Although this formula is best suited for those with normal to dry skin, it provides the most stunning finish. I love the versatility of this product. You can use just a few drops for light coverage or build it all the way up to a full coverage foundation. Other products layer beautifully on top of it and it never gets cakey. Dermatologist tested, non-comedogenic, contains anti-oxidants, and is fragrance free. The only downside it that is doesn't come with a pump, so it can be a little messy. PRODUCT CLAIMS: hydrates for softer smoother skin, evens out skin tone, leaves skin bright + radiant.

    6. Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation $49 

    Another cult favorite from Nars, big surprise. Nars just knows what they're doing when it comes to foundations (+ concealers, + powders, + blushes, + basically everything they do they're good at). This formula provides a flawless weightless base that lasts all day long. A little goes a long way with this product, allowing flexibility with coverage. PRODUCT CLAIMS: flexible polymers move with skin allowing for breathability + comfort, provides coverage without masking skin, neutralizes redness + dullness + works long term to reduce discoloration.

    7. L.A. Girl Pro Coverage Illuminating Foundation $10

    This is for the makeup lovers who want that glow! This foundation provides a medium to full coverage look with just one layer. It provides outstanding illumination that doesn't look greasy. It can be set with a powder to provide a satin like finish and it blends like a dream. This foundation is also great for photos and video because of its HD quality. Formulated with anti-oxidants and without parabens. The best part? Their shade range is amazing for a drugstore brand. They also offer a shade that is almost white to mix in with other foundations to lighten them. PRODUCT CLAIMS: high definition, full coverage foundation, comfortable for all day wear, hydrates + improves skin's appearance

    8. Too Faced Born This Way Foundation $39

    This foundation is formulated with hyaluronic acid, infused with Alpine Rose, and also contains coconut water which is a combination fit for the hydration gods. It is formulated without oil, so it doesn't feel heavy and it is easily blended out. This foundation provides a medium to full coverage that sinks in and looks just like skin. PRODUCT CLAIMS: replenishes moisture, brightens skin's appearance, promotes elasticity, + provides undetectable coverage

    9. Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation $5.99

    If you want a lightweight, full coverage, photo friendly, affordable foundation, your search is over. Wet n Wild nailed it with this foundation. It looks beautiful in person and in photos and videos because it doesn't have a white cast when flash is used. PRODUCT CLAIMS: tested under 7 different light conditions to prevent flash back, delivers camera ready makeup, specially made with a matte, light-diffusing complex to give your skin #nofilter perfection. 

    10. Milani Conceal + Perfect 2 in 1 Foundation $10

    If you are a fan of a full coverage foundation with a matte finish that is budget friendly, this Milani foundation is a great fit. It is formulated to work as a concealer as well, so the pigment is much more concentrated than a traditional foundation. It can cover up discoloration as well as freckles. Prevent looking cakey by using this product little by little and using a sponge to remove any excess. PRODUCT CLAIMS: combats under eye circles, redness, full coverage water resistant foundation + concealer, skin looks naturally perfect, + lasts all day long

    11. Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation $25

    This product is amazing because it is so versatile. It can be used as a medium or full coverage foundation with a matte finish if used all over the face. It can be sheered out with moisturizer to provide light coverage. They also have shades made specifically for contouring and highlighting if you fancy that. The best part is that it is easily applied and blends out flawlessly with a brush, sponge, or even with your fingers. PRODUCT CLAIMS: 30 different shades with buildable cream formula, natural matte finish, ideal for combination or oily skin [side note: I have normal to dry skin and it works well for me]

     

    12. Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation $39 (V)

    This is one of those foundations that pack a punch when it comes to coverage, but still manage to leave skin feeling soft and healthy. This formula is oil free, and Tarte always formulates without mineral oil, parabens, pthalates, tricoslan, sodium lauryl sulfate, + gluten. Be aware this product does oxidize (reacts with the oils on your skin causing a change in color of product), be sure to try before you buy. PRODUCT CLAIMS: Oil free, 12 hour long wearing formula, SPF 15 mineral sunscreen, hypoallergenic, contains Amazonian clay, Vitamins A + E, and mineral pigments that soften skin.

     

    13. NYX Invincible Fullest Coverage Foundation $12

    One of my favorite full coverage foundations. This creamy foundation goes on smoothly and covers anything and everything on your skin. It has a matte finish and works well with all skin types. The product does last a full day which is a definite plus. The downside is that the shade range can be hit or miss, be sure to try out the shade before you buy. PRODUCT CLAIMS: exceptional coverage with a natural finish, covers challenging discoloration, and leaves skin soft, matte, beautiful + flawless

     

    14. BECCA Cosmetics Ultimate Coverage Complexion Creme $44

    This foundation is my holiest of grails when it comes to foundation. It contains a luxurious long lasting formula that covers everything you want to hide while providing a soft beautiful feel. This is what I wore on my wedding day, and it did not disappoint. It has 21% pigment, which is INSANE, most run of the mill foundations hover around the 7% range. Formulated without parabens, sulfates, + pthlalates. PRODUCT CLAIMS: Proven 24 HR wear, transfer resistant, water resistant, completely conceals imperfections, redness, hyperpigmentation + uneven skin texture. 

    15. Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation $40 (V)

    Now, for the Mac Daddy of all things full coverage, I present to you the All Nighter Foundation by U.D. This one is not for the faint of heart. This foundation will go on, and stay on for the long hall. No commitment issues here, and there is a shade for everyone. This foundation is formulated without oil and one pump can cover up everything you wish to hide. The packaging it is dispensed from is an air-free pump, which means you are getting every last drop of this majestic product. PRODUCT CLAIMS: full coverage with modern matte finish, waterproof, paraben free, + absorbs oils.

    That is a wrap! Thank you for reading. Please let me know if you have tried any of these foundations or which one you are dying to try next. 

    Much love,

    Denise V.

    *Links are affiliate links, which means if you click the link and buy anything I will receive a tiny percent commission. Thank you for your support!

    How to Conserve H2O in Your Beauty Routine

    Water is our most precious resource and sometimes we may not realize how much we are wasting (did you know that flushing your toilet can waste around 6 gallons per flush? 6!!!) You can look at your water bill to get an exact value of how much water you use in your household per month. Hopefully by making some adjustments, you can also see how much you have saved reflected on your bill. I could go on about the lack of access to clean water in other countries, or I could talk about the people in Flint, Michigan who are still without clean drinking water, but most of us are unaffected by this in our everyday lives. The truth is that we are all on this Earth together, and it is our humanistic duty to manage our resources responsibly. No one will keep you personally accountable for the waste you produce, but that is exactly why you should hold yourself accountable. All I am asking, is for you to look at your routines and see where you could save a little bit more, you know, for the greater good <3

    This post isn't to make anyone feel bad for enjoying their privilege to clean water. It is more to inform everyday people how to conserve a little bit more water on a daily basis. Here are a few tips on how to conserve water in your beauty routine:

    Morning Routine

    It's early, and you are probably tired, but it is always a good time to conserve water. One good way to do this is to stick to cold water in the AM. Waiting for the water to get hot just wastes it. Pro tip, if you want to take the lazy girl way out, skip cleansing. You most likely did a thorough skincare routine before bed so just splash some cool water on your face to get you up and moving. Follow through with toner and moisturizer and you are good to go. Don't forget to shut off the water while you brush those pearly whites too, or brush them in the shower :)

    In The Shower

    Long hot showers are next to heaven in my book, but they are a luxury I don't afford myself often. The meditative art of cleansing is thoroughly enjoyable, but it can be extremely wasteful in regards to water. Depending on the flow rate of your shower head, (on average it can be anywhere from 2.5 to 7 gal/min, which translates to 37.5 to 105 gallons used during a 15 minute shower) tremendous amounts of water are wasted. Although I won't ask you to give up showers all together, there are definite steps you can take to counteract this. You can start by replacing your shower head with one that has a lower flow rate. You can also time your showers to be sure you aren't in there for almost a whole hour (I've definitely been guilty of this). I also recommend turning off the water while you scrub up. One more thing you can do is skip washing your hair if you can. Most people can go 2-3 days without washing their hair. This is also pretty good for your locks because you won't be stripping the natural oils that hair loves. Try some dry shampoo if you feel like you need a pick me up (I recommend this one: Batiste Dry Shampoo)

    Night Time Routine

    If you don't wear makeup, then half the struggle for getting bedtime ready is over. If you do wear makeup though, you may find yourself with your face in your sink for a few minutes every night. I could go on about how wasteful it is to let the water run while you try to remove your makeup, but I digress. I recommend removing makeup with all natural cold pressed food grade organic coconut oil, like this one. It will break down your makeup and it feels really nice while it does so. You can then gently remove the oil with a towel or a cotton pad. Now that the heavy lifting is over, wet your face and work your cleanser into your skin (Need I say to shut off the water while you cleanse?). You can rinse the cleanser off, and viola! No more water needed. Follow through with toner, serum, moisturizer, and whatever else is in your beauty routine. Brush your teeth with minimal water, and you are done and off to dreamland.

    Going The Extra Mile

    If this is just not enough to make you feel like you are making a difference, I understand. Here are a few random tips to help save some H2O: 

    1. Don't turn your water faucet all the way up. Whether you are doing dishes, or washing your face, there's no real reason to turn the pressure alll the way up. You can most likely get the job done with less.

    2. Avoid using hot water if you can. If you have an instant hot water heater this may not really matter, but most people have to let the water run to let it get hot. It just saves that little bit more. (Or use tip #4 and save the water that you would normally waste while waiting for it to get hot for other uses.)

    3. Fix leaky faucets. Even one drop a minute can amount to a lot of waste in the long run. Fix those leaks as soon as possible. Also, report leaky faucets to whomever is in charge at your work, gym, restaurants, or any places you may visit.

    4. Use left over water for your plants or grass. Sometimes I pour myself some water, forget it in the next room and fill up another one. While that first glass may still be drinkable, you can go ahead and give it to your plants.

    Thank you so much for reading. If you have any tips that you use to conserve water that you don't see listed, please share your comments down below. Please share this post with friends and family in hopes of getting more people to be conscious about their water consumption.

    Much love <3

    -Denise V.

    Brush Maintenance: A How To Guide

    Some of the most important items in your makeup kit will be your brushes. Whether you are using $1 E.l.f brushes (no shade, those are dope), or if you are fancy as hell with your Wayne Goss brushes, it is imperative that you treat them well or neither will last.

    For Quick Clean Ups:

    I recommend purchasing a spray brush cleaner to keep product from building up in the bristles between uses. My favorite ones are the Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner and the It's Your Brush Love by It Cosmetics. Both of these cleaners have great formulas that clean and disinfect bristles and they both dry extremely quickly. If you would like a more affordable option, I have created my own brush cleaner which is only $7, and you can order one by contacting me via email or right here on my website <3 It comes in a spray bottle which is best for travel and convenience. 

    1. Spray bristles generously with the cleaner 

    2. Wipe the bristles off on a towel in circular motions or back & forth - don't use too much pressure or else you will move the bristles too much and damage the brush.

    3. Repeat if necessary to remove all product

    4. You're done! 

    For Deep Cleans:

    No matter how often you do your makeup, you should deep clean your brushes at least once a week..(unless you just don't wear makeup, but chances are you are here because you do). My favorite cleanser to use for deep cleans is the Beautyblender Blendercleanser Solid which is a solid soap, but you can even use dish soap if you don't have anything else. If you don't clean them often, bacteria builds up and enjoys feasting on all the left over makeup particles. Then you just put those back on your face day after day, and that can definitely cause some breakouts or even serious infections.  Cleanliness is next to flawlessness <3

    1. Wet brush bristles with warm water, avoid getting the brush wet above the ferrel (metal piece)

    2. Rub your brush into solid soap or into a dish with soap in it

    3. Massage the brush bristles in your hands to work out the product and don't tug too hard

    4. Rinse brushes & Repeat 2 & 3 if needed

    5. Squeeze out as much water from bristles as you can without damaging the brush 

    6. Wipe brush off on a towel to remove as much water from the bristles

    7. Let the brush air dry upside down with the bristles on a towel and the handle gently resting on an incline. This prevents water from going into the ferrel and breaking down the glue that holds the bristles. You can move the brush around so that it doesn't dry with the bristles all smushed to one side.

    8. All done!

    For Storage:

    Now once your brushes are nice and clean it's time to store them away. To store your brushes, keep them in a cool dry place that is out of the sun. You can put them in almost any container, but be sure that the bristles are in the air so that they don't flatten out and lose their shape. I love using big mugs to hold my face brushes and acrylic storage for my eye brushes. If you have a dual ended brush, store it sideways in a drawer so that neither side gets damaged.

     

    Leave a comment if this was helpful to you, and please share any brush care tips that you have down below <3 Thanks for reading, and feel free to share this with friends/family!

    How to be a Badass

    Step 1: Accept Your Badass-ery

    We all are our worst critics. Step one of becoming the badass you know you can be is just accepting the fact that you are already awesome. Once you stop bringing yourself down, you won't accept it from any one else. Look in the mirror, love what you see, and use your individual talents and passions to launch you into the life you want for yourself. You are the only person who possesses your own unique skills and only you can hone in on what life has to offer you.

    Step 2: Be Obsessively Grateful

    When life gives you lemons, make lemon pound cake (because cake>lemonade). The point is, if you want the most out of life, you cannot minimalize the great abundance around you. Be grateful for the friendships that surround you, the family that supports you, the roof above your head, the food in your tummy, the fresh air around you, even the bad experiences, everything. If you can turn any situation into a lesson and learn to appreciate those around you, then you are a total badass. Once you see that the struggles in life only launch you into greatness, you will always be thankful for them.

    Step 3: Don't Compare Yourself to Others

    The quickest way to diminish your accomplishments is to look at the grass on the other side. Your history and the path that lays before you is completely independent of anyone else. Just because someone else worked to accomplish something doesn't mean it is no longer available for you. What you deserve is specifically based on your work ethic and attitude. If you are too worried about others doing well, you are not putting focus on bettering yourself. It may be discouraging to feel that your hard work is going unnoticed, but just have faith that it will pay off soon enough.

    Step 4: Act As Though You Already Are A Badass (Because, you are)

    Sometimes our heart desires something that we perceive to be so beyond our grasp that we feel as though we may never have it. The problem with this mindset is that it tricks you into thinking that you don't deserve it, because it may be near impossible to accomplish. Avoid this at all costs. Wake up in the morning and emulate the feeling of already having what you are working for. Dress like that fashionista you dream to become, donate like the philanthropist you wish to be, flex your abs like you already have that six pack, take on as much work as you'd like to in order to further your career. Do everything you can do to be open to all opportunities that call upon your badassness, because they will fly by you if you aren't ready. 

    Step 5: Be Confident

     Life is a learning process, so don't worry about making mistakes, just learn from them and be confident that next time you will know just what to do. There is always room for improvement, so don't cop an attitude once things start looking up for you, but feel confident that the work you have put in is worth it. Also be confident in trusting your intuition, it will never lead you astray. 

    5 Reasons Why Your Foundation Isn't Lasting

    Do you spend a good amount of time in the morning getting glam, only to notice your flawless base fades throughout the day? Maybe you work a 9-5 and you really need your makeup to last the entire work day and make it through drinks afterwards. Maybe you have class in the morning and work in the evening and you just don't have time to touch up. Maybe you have plans to go protest and can't have your face melt off while you peacefully picket. I don't know, and I'm not judging. All I know is if you want to keep your face on, be sure to avoid doing these 5 things: 

    Touching your face throughout the day   I totally get it. You just have to face palm after hearing your coworker struggle with their ridiculous first world problems. Or maybe the stress from your daily life makes your eyes twitch and you just have to rub 'em. Or you can't help but think about how much makeup you're wearing, and the fact that you can't touch your face just makes you itch. I don't have an easy answer here. I too struggle with this, but I can tell you, with time - it gets easier.

    Touching your face throughout the day

    I totally get it. You just have to face palm after hearing your coworker struggle with their ridiculous first world problems. Or maybe the stress from your daily life makes your eyes twitch and you just have to rub 'em. Or you can't help but think about how much makeup you're wearing, and the fact that you can't touch your face just makes you itch. I don't have an easy answer here. I too struggle with this, but I can tell you, with time - it gets easier.

    Not setting your foundation with powder or spray   I almost didn't want to mention this, but I still have friends that skip this step! Why spend time applying and blending a foundation if you can just smear it away? Pressing a powder into the skin after applying foundation (or any liquid or cream products) really keeps that product in place. It only makes sense! You can use a translucent powder to set the face, or even a powder foundation if you fancy the extra coverage. Try the   Stay Matte but Not Flat by NYX  &nbsp;or the   Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder  .&nbsp;Too powdery for ya? Use a setting spray afterwards and it will add lasting power and tone down the powdery look.&nbsp;My favorites are the   Wet n' Wild Photo Focus Setting Spray  &nbsp;and the   Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray  .&nbsp;

    Not setting your foundation with powder or spray

    I almost didn't want to mention this, but I still have friends that skip this step! Why spend time applying and blending a foundation if you can just smear it away? Pressing a powder into the skin after applying foundation (or any liquid or cream products) really keeps that product in place. It only makes sense! You can use a translucent powder to set the face, or even a powder foundation if you fancy the extra coverage. Try the Stay Matte but Not Flat by NYX or the Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder. Too powdery for ya? Use a setting spray afterwards and it will add lasting power and tone down the powdery look. My favorites are the Wet n' Wild Photo Focus Setting Spray and the Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

    Not exfoliating regularly

    Exfoliating is so beneficial for removing dead cells that sit on the surface of your skin. It is especially helpful for those of us with dry skin or dry areas on our face that are more prone to flakiness. Those flakes can come off throughout the day and remove patches of makeup. Try a gentle exfoliator (This one rocks) and use it once a day to keep the patchiness at bay.

    Not using the correct primer  Ok y'all. Priming has come a long way in the recent years. Which is nice, but beware that not all primers are created equal. Some are for color correction, some are for smoothing, some are for hydrating, but the one you really want is a long wearing primer. ( This one is pricey, but sooo worth it )

    Not using the correct primer

    Ok y'all. Priming has come a long way in the recent years. Which is nice, but beware that not all primers are created equal. Some are for color correction, some are for smoothing, some are for hydrating, but the one you really want is a long wearing primer. (This one is pricey, but sooo worth it)

    Not moisturizing before your beauty routine  I cannot explain how important moisturizing is especially when you are putting makeup on top. You should be moisturizing twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Keeping your skin moisturized keeps skin looking plump and healthy, which means your makeup will glide on with ease. The foundation will be able to hold on throughout the day if the base is nice and hydrated. ( My favorite daily moisturizer )

    Not moisturizing before your beauty routine

    I cannot explain how important moisturizing is especially when you are putting makeup on top. You should be moisturizing twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Keeping your skin moisturized keeps skin looking plump and healthy, which means your makeup will glide on with ease. The foundation will be able to hold on throughout the day if the base is nice and hydrated. (My favorite daily moisturizer)

    Why I Went Cruelty Free

    I absolutely love makeup and skincare products as much as the next person, but what I don’t love are the cruel histories behind some of the most raved about products. I consider myself an animal lover because I have some pretty cute pups and I certainly can’t imagine bringing them any harm. So why was I then contributing to the cruelty of other animals with the products I was purchasing? Honestly, it was because I was ignorant to the facts, which is why I want to spread the word about how animal testing is hiding behind some pretty popular brands. When I learned that animal testing was linked to the products on my own vanity I couldn’t help but be surprised. There they were, the beautiful bottles of Benefit foundations and Maybelline mascaras, tainted in my eyes. I was hurt that most of my staple products had such an unfortunate history. I honestly just couldn't believe that animal testing was still so popular after the long history of an effort to stop it. So I vowed to only purchase and use cruelty free products from then on. What I learned was that going “cruelty free” is pretty easy, it is just about being a little bit more conscious about the companies I buy products from. The best part is, when I buy makeup and skincare products now, I know that my money isn’t going towards any animal suffering. The bottom line is that animal testing is inhumane and inaccurate, and those alone are great reasons to go cruelty free. 

    One reason to stop purchasing items that are tested on animals is because animal testing causes animal suffering. The environments these lab animals live in are so unlike their natural environments it causes measurable stress on the animals(1). Rabbits like to be in groups, and when they are isolated for testing, the stress influences their wellbeing(1). I would be stressed too if I were locked alone in a cage all day, and physically removed every few hours to be poked and lathered with irritating products. Not only is their housing unsuitable, but the tests these lab animals are subjected to are also painful and uncomfortable. The Draize test for example, is used to test for irritation of products by using albino rabbits(2). They pick albino rabbits because they are more sensitive than non-albino rabbits, which means they will most likely experience irritation when exposed to test products(2). The products tested can cause burns which can be extremely painful, and the animals have no choice but to deal with it. The stress these animals endure cannot compare to the stress in our daily lives. We as people have the power to remove certain stressors entirely, but these animals have no such choice.

        Another reason to go cruelty free is because animals are not the best models for humans, making the testing inaccurate. So not only are they mistreated, but the results from animal trials are sometimes unreproducible in people. This is mainly because there are fundamental differences between humans and other animals. Even individual humans react differently to a single product than other humans (ex: some one with dry skin versus someone with oily skin) and that problem occurs within our very own species. Only 5%-25% of animal test results are actually in line with human results, which is not very much(4). This disparity unfortunately causes false positives and negatives. A false positive, is when a product does well in an animal model yet fails to work in humans. Not only can these products be failures, but they can actually be harmful when brought to human trails. A false negative on the other hand, is when a product doesn’t work in the animal model, but it could actually work well in human trials. Hypothetically, if the toxicity of chocolate was being tested on dogs and not humans, it would be shown to be toxic and it would be dropped from further testing. No one could benefit from the deliciousness of chocolate because of the false negative. Think about how many useful and truly beneficial products are being thrown out because they fail the animal model! Not to mention how far science has been pushed back because the main vehicle of testing has been via animal models.

        It is hard to imagine that all of the industries participating in animal testing will just come to a screeching halt, but there are a few things you can do to help. Money talks, so buying only cruelty free or vegan products really helps. Most products that are cruelty free will have a little bunny logo on the packaging. If you want to take an extra step, double check that the parent companies are also cruelty free (Bobbi Brown is cruelty free, but their parent company, Estee Lauder is not). Beware of cosmetic companies that sell in China. They cannot guarantee that their products are not tested on animals because China requires foreign cosmetics companies to do so (ex: M.A.C. Cosmetics). Another thing you can always do is donate a little bit of money (even $1 helps) to a charity that focuses on helping animals, http://www.viralnova.com/best-animal-charities/ has some to choose from. As consumers, it is important to note where the money we spend is going. If we don’t agree with the values of certain companies, we have the right to buy elsewhere. Giving our money to companies that do good and aline with our personal values, will hopefully push other companies to jump on the cruelty free bandwagon.

     

    1. “Stress in Laboratory Juvenile Rabbits: Physiological Indicators,” Adina Baias, Alina Bodnariu, Ileana Nichita, Romeo T. Cristina. Banat’s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine from Timişoara, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Timisoara, 300645- Timisoara, Calea Aradului, 119, Romania
    2. Romanowski, Perry. "Animal Testing in Cosmetic Industry." Chemist's Corner. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 July 2016. http://chemistscorner.com/animal-testing-in-the-cosmetic-industry/
    3. Greek, C. Ray., and Jean Swingle. Greek. Sacred Cows and Golden Geese: The Human Cost of Experiments on Animals. New York: Continuum, 2000. Print.

    4. Lumley, C. E., and Stuart R. Walker. Animal Toxicity Studies: Their Relevance for Man. N.p.: Quay, 1990. Print.