Baby shampoo isn’t just for babies…

….it’s for me, my fellow Devas too! Seriously, I can’t imagine a day without it, because it gives me the best value at removing my makeup from my brushes…and it’s as “gentle on the eyes as pure water..” Granted, I don’t always use Johnson’s baby shampoo since the store brands work just fine, but I love this stuff on my personal brushes! A regular sized bottle lasts for seemingly  forever, which is way longer than I can say for those teeny bottles of brand makeup remover.

Although I don’t use the baby shampoo directly on my face since my cleanser gently removes makeup as well, cleaning your brushes is so important to keeping those Deva-licious faces clear of acne! The great thing about baby shampoo is that it’s soap that’s so gentle and safe for your eyes and not harsh for your brush bristles! 

(Disclaimer: I didnt get pics of my rag tag team of personal brushes..I use disinfecting brush cleaner for my personal ones, and I’m still trying to find my favorite one)

So here’s how easy cleaning your brushes is!

  1. Run warm, tepid water
  2. Squirt a small size dollop of baby shampoo in your hand (depending on the size of the brush, and how dirty it is)
  3. Wet brush bristles, with the end pointing down; this minimizes water getting in the base (ferrule) of the brush. You don’t want the water to loosen the glue that secures the bristles!
  4. Swirl the brush in the soap in your hand to ‘shampoo’ your brush until the soap is white, adding more soap if necessary; I can’t wait to get my hands on this Sigma Beauty brush mat! I hear it shaves so much time off of cleaning them! I currently have over 30 brushes 😬
  5. Rinse the soap until the water AND the bristles run clear when you squeeze the excess water out; that means NO bubbles when you squeeze!
  6. If you don’t have a brush stand to let them drip dry pointing down, lay them flat to dry on a paper towel. Can’t wait for my stand to arrive and tell y’all about it, I’ve heard it saves time too!


And there you have it! I’ve been scared straight on keeping my brushes clean ever since I had a not-so-small breakout a while back before I started freelancing (I had realized I was using dirty brushes!). I use mine more often now than I used to, and once I disciplined myself to wash my brushes after every use, it was bye bye bumps! Cleaning your brushes regularly (depending on your usage) not only ensures they last you a long time (the good ones ain’t cheap!), baby shampoo is a gentle, safe, and effective dupe for brand makeup remover, and it allows us freelancers to scale our cost on supplies! And saving money makes me happy! Lol

xoxo

 

Update: What’s in my Beauty Bag?

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!! 🇺🇸

I’ve been plagued by acne ever since puberty, but I was horrified to find that instead of it going away over time like most adults mine got worse! It took years for me to realize that my acne was diet and stress related; I had gotten so toxic! Now that I’ve made significant progress in that area, I’ve found that my travel bag has gotten so much lighter, and more organized! Thank God for travel sized containers too! Read on to find my first ever giveaway! 🎁

*Note: my brush doesn’t fit in the bag with everything else, but I’m good with that because I leave it out to dry anyway! Lol

So here’s what’s in it, and why it’s new! (Starting with the oldies but goodies!)

  1. Baking soda – It was in my bag before, and it’ll never leave because I really use it everyday. It has multiple uses (lip exfoliator, teeth whitener, and not to mention laundry lol), and it’s CHEAP! A box lasts for forever if you only use it in the bathroom.
  2. Clarisonic brush – Also a staple, and I must say with the price tag it’s so worth it, because I’ve used mine over 1460 times, which works out to about 10 cents/wash. So I’ve gotten my money’s worth! (wanna see the math? 365 x 2 years = 760 x twice daily = 1460 washes. $150 Mia 2/1460 = .10 cents! Now who says you don’t use algebra after high school? Lol)
  3. Calamine lotion – I used to use it to kill shine every day, but now I only use it when I do a full face of makeup. I don’t wear it everyday, and when I do, I forget I have it on when my face itches! Calamine lotion keeps makeup from itching my face. Period.
  4. Toner  – I reintroduced this one first as I had tried this line (2 years ago) before I realized and addressed my internal issues. Although Castile soap initially helped me clear my horribly clogged pores, it had started leaving my face feeling like it was so stripped. I had some of this left over and I was so glad I hadn’t gotten rid of it! The name is Toner, but it sure doesn’t feel like the others by the same name! It feels like water, and my skin feels so hydrated afterwards! So now it has a home in my bag’s fingertip sprayer.
  5. Cleanser – This is much more gentle on my skin than Castile soap. Instead of feeling like my face is paper thin, my skin actually feels clean and smooth without that squeaky-clean and stretched feeling. It smells so nice and clean, and removes my stubborn (read: waterproof) eye makeup too!
  6. Lip & Eye Cream – This little tube carries a huge punch! I apply this cream on the delicate skin under my eyes, the laugh lines forming around my mouth and nose, and even on my lips! Baking soda keeps them exfoliated, and I don’t have to use it as often anymore since this cream hydrates them! I’ve seen such a big difference in those areas in just a week!
  7. Preventage – It protects the delicate skin on my face from daily elements like uv rays, smog, etc. I had a huge issue with oiliness, and I’m so excited that this dries to a matte finish now!
  8. Repairage – This daily night cream really rejuvenates my skin overnight so that I don’t wake up with that harried, ‘just got out of bed’ look. I look refreshed when I wake up, and my skin feels as healthy as it looks!
  9. Whenever I do wear a full face of makeup, I must have my avacado and oatmeal mask handy to draw out any impurities that my Clarisonic couldn’t reach. Bye bye next day pimples!

 


These are what I use everyday (except for the Calamine lotion and avacado mask), and I’m loving my new skin! My oldies are excellent tools and products that I will never get rid of, I just had to demote them a bit because I just don’t use them as often anymore! I’m so happy my journey has taken me through the wilderness to learn how toxins express themselves! Address toxins, and your face will be so much more beautiful from the inside out, with no damaging meds! I’d like to help you on your journey too!

xoxo

P.S. Begin your Skincare journey this month for an entry per product to win this travel bag! It’s perfectly compact for your FAA sized containers, and there’s still room for a small toothbrush and toothpaste!

*Entries will be awarded until 7/31/16, 12 midnight PST, retail and loyal customers only!

Clarisonic Brush Head Review!

I have bought 3 of these fantastic brushes over the last 3 years (lost one tho, and my Mia 2 is reserved for my clients), and I must say my skin has improved so much that I’ve changed my favorite type of brush head 5 times now! Clarisonic has 10 brush heads that are compatible with my Mia 1, and they all address different skin issues ranging from normal skin to dry or acne-prone skin. The packaging and explanations are very informative, so at each stage of my improvement I was able to make a very informed decision as to which brush head to try next! If you’re struggling with acne and interested in a Clarisonic, here’s how my skin improved with these brushes, and yours can too! Crazy right?!

  1. Deep Pore Cleansing – It really tackled my cystic acne, and exfoliated my skin to uncover my horribly clogged pores. I could tell I needed to change brushes after a few months when my skin started to feel like I had washed my face with sandpaper.
  2. Acne Cleansing – My cystic acne was gone, but I still had huge oil issues. If I missed my nightly wash, I’d wake up with a new (unwanted) friend. The bristles are softer, but it still got the day’s gunk off of my face. I knew it was time to change when these bristles got too harsh for my face too!
  3. Delicate – This one was a try, because I was torn between this one and the Sensitive one (which I decided on next). I don’t have dry skin (like it’s designed for), but I tried it because I was aware of my skin becoming more sensitive to irritation. It ended up being a little too soft on my skin, as I didn’t feel as clean. I used it for a month lol.
  4. Sensitive – This one was better, as it didn’t tear up my skin yet I had that clean feeling after each wash. I used this one for almost a year before I walked into Ulta and found my next (and current!) brush head! I realized it was time to change (yet again) because although I have treated my underlying acne triggers, my skin’s texture could still use an improvemnent!
  5. Radiance – This one promises to get rid of sebum and reduce the appearance of hyper-pigmentation, and I must say it’s delivering on that! It feels so luxurious, like I’m washing my face with my foundation brush! Lol..I had a recent breakout, and the mark has really faded since I started using this brush. My skin feels softer, almost like it has been airbrushed, my makeup looks so much better on now, and I’ve been able to switch from Castile soap (my longtime fave) to my gentler skincare products which are really making a difference with my skin’s elasticity!

This is how well my skin has improved in just 3 DAYS of changing to the Radiant brush and using my fave skincare line and especially my Lip & Eye cream! I use my cream under my eyes, around my mouth, and even on my lips! It’s so hydrating, I can’t wait to see how my texture continues to improve! Get yours here!


I’m so happy with how my skin has changed over the last few years, and I’m glad I took the leap and invested in my Clarisonic. It has truly changed the way I clean my face, and I don’t believe I could’ve even begun to clear up my cystic acne without it. Now that it’s gone, I’m so looking forward to maintaining my new radiant skin!

How did you overcome acne?

Update! Hope My Journeys Help Yours!

I have to admit, I’ve come a long way! I had no idea my physical life would change so much, and it all started with me being tired of leaving my hair in someone else’s hands! To be honest, my journey to a healthier lifestyle began with my desire to produce my own head of full, healthy hair! I had issues with fluctuating weight and acne, but my hair was the bane of my existence. You see, I had worked as an assistant of an upscale hair salon and was able to help others with their chemically straightened hair, yet I didn’t want to deal with the expensive drama of getting mine done any longer. I could also appreciate the craft and science behind the chemicals so I didn’t want  to over process my hair, so I was in quite a pickle.

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So my natural hair struggle began; it happened in 3 stages, and I’m thankfully in my last one!

  1. My first pregnancy (BC) – I became aware of the chemical/pregnancy connection, and I tried to ‘go natural’….I lasted for a few months, but switched to presses and then texturizers because I got so tired of my then-fiancé’s family talking so bad about my hair and suggesting ‘solutions’ that do not even work on natural hair. Self esteem during this time: LOW
  2. 2nd pregnancy (BC) – I had given up the presses and texturizers, and exchanged them for wigs, weaves, and quick weaves. During this time, I was primarily focused on growth and then my edges were ripped out by my birthing braids and then by hair glue! Mama Mia was I frantic! Oil challenges that didn’t work and biotin that horribly aggravated my longstanding acne issues prevailed during this time. Self esteem: LOW
  3. Creamy Crack relapse – After two years, I tried a pixie cut that chopped all my hair off and I loved it! …for like 3 months. I loved my new look, but I couldn’t shake the vision I had for my hair; plus I didn’t like having to go back and spend so much time in the ‘beauty shop’ again. So I did another BC a few months later. Self esteem during this time: IMPROVING

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During this last stage, I did so much research to figure out why my hair frustrated me so during the one before and became determined to make it work this time! Not only did my edges come back, but I found ways to make it so much more manageable and retain length!  I was so happy with my progress, I looked to clear up my skin too! I’m in my 2nd and final stage, and this journey overlaps with my the last and current stage of my hair journey and starts around the same time as my health journey:

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  1. Surface – I discovered my large pores were awfully clogged, and I had to learn how to wash my face properly to address my cystic acne. I invested in a Clarisonic brush and used my Castile soap faithfully day and night to keep my face clean. I learned to keep new breakouts at bay by using my brush. At this stage, I’d wake up with a pimple if I skipped a nightly wash. Self esteem during this time: GETTING BETTER, and IMPROVED DRASTICALLY
  2. Within – I discovered my underlying causes recently as I switched my focus from merely losing weight to living a healthier lifestyle. I discovered toxins were coming out through my face and getting rid of them really keeps the acne away, not just under control. The oiliness is gone, and I’m able to really use more gentle facial products that really help my skin stay supple without over drying it. I’m sure that’s why I kept getting pimples if I skipped that nightly wash, because it doesn’t happen anymore! Self esteem now: ON FIYAH!!

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I also decided to stop being Oprah and get the weight off for good. I actually invested in a trainer for about two months, who introduced me to the world of clean(er) eating. I got really fit, learned how to meal prep, and how to sculpt my body with weights. Yes, I paid attention to everything he said so I was able to carry on when my finances didn’t line up. (Don’t worry, I’ll get you back Devin!) Although I haven’t been able to go to the gym in a year due to a couple of injuries, I’ve been able to maintain my figure pretty well! I make sure I drink enough veggies, drink plenty of water, watch what I eat, and I’m on my supplement game instead of medicines! My hair and skin are thriving, I’m cleaning my insides, and working towards maintaining a clean slate because I only get one temple, and I’ve got little ones depending on me!

The past couple of years have been so eye-opening for me, and I’ve learned so much about myself that I’m still amazed! No matter where you are on your journey, I realize it may seem as if you’re on a lonely road to nowhere. But if you stay the course, the more plain your road will become! Keep going, keep researching, keep trying new things to know what doesn’t work! This is the way your body will tell you what DOES work! Who’s with me?!

I’m a freelancer now!

I haven’t been sharing this with anyone, but I’ve been building my makeup kit since last summer…professional brushes,  foundation colors, eye shadows, lipsticks, etc. Everytime I popped into my favorite M.A.C. store, I bought stuff not only for me but for my future clients and got a few tips from my fave MAC girl.

And it all paid off this past Saturday! I had the pleasure of doing my business partner’s makeup for her senior prom! Yes you heard that right, she owns her own health, beauty, and wellness business with me at 18! Anyhoo, back to the story lol…

I worked closely with her mom to know what her look was going to be, and was immediately inspired by Aphrodite! She wasn’t going glam, for her dress was long and ombré and flowy and she wasn’t wearing heels but jeweled sandals…I envisioned her coming out of the sea and slipping on her sandals. I used majority MAC products of course, but she had gotten matched at Sephora for her Makeup Forever foundation and I fell in love with this palette for her dress so I scooped it up! I used the teal ones on the left and the middle one on the bottom for her look, along with a highlight color (Virgin) from my Urban Decay Naked palette.


We were on a serious time crunch so I didn’t get to document her transformation, but I was so moved by how everything turned out! Her initial reaction was priceless! She looked so beautiful, tears fell from my face after we dropped her off. I could hardly believe I did that! Here’s another peep at her final look!


I have now monetized a hobby of mine, playing in makeup lol…and I get to continue to add sunshine to the world!

My Top 10 Beauty Must Haves!!

Whenever I travel, I make sure I have ALL of these in FAA-approved containers because….I can’t be without them! I use most of these everyday, some as needed or weekly and these simple 10 have drastically improved my life and removed stress! Anybody with acne, y’all feel me on that one lol…anyhoo, here are my tried and true staples that, unlike so many others, that didn’t make the cut!

  1. Baking Soda – Its an amazing lip exfoliator and teeth whitener, for CHEAP!! Just dip your tooth brush in it to coat your toothpaste, and rub your lips with your soda-covered finger for smoother lips! A box of Arm & Hammer runs as cheap as 75 cents, the store brand’s even cheaper!
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide – It cleans pimples out after popping them, and minimizes scarring, cleans pores when applied with a cotton round or ball, and whitens teeth/cleans mouth when you swish with it after brushing!
  3. Calamine Lotion – Awesome makeup primer, lasts ALL day, and keeps me itch-free!
  4. Castille Soap – Deep cleans into pores, and removes ALL of the day’s dirt and grime!
  5. Clarisonic Brush – Ultra fast bristles remove EVERYTHING my hands can’t!
  6. Pimple Extractor – ELIMINATES scarring!
  7. Exfoliating Peel by It Works! – All natural alternative to microdermabrasion, my weekly spa treatment! (video review coming soon!)
  8. Toner by It Works! – All natural alternative to mainstream toners, it doesn’t sting at ALL, and it balances my skin’s pH! (video review coming soon!)
  9. Benzyl Peroxide – I apply it to protect newly popped pimples, and it helps keep breakouts at bay; my fave is by Neutrogena!
  10. Water! – It flushes toxins from my system so they don’t clog my pores like they used to, and my face doesn’t get rough anymore!

There you have it! Only one of them is a one time financial investment (Clarisonic), and although I did try a different brand of extractor, the more expensive Tweezerman won! (about $10, Post idea! Lol)…a couple of these items are under $5, and the rest are in the $20-$40 range and last forever! I’ve never had to buy everything all at once! Hope this helps!

What are your must-haves, let’s help someone! Leave a comment!

Rough Lips?

….brush em! Yep, that’s what I said! With all these lip exfoliators on the market now, it’s so easy to ignore the one thing that’s practically in everyone’s kitchen! 
Baking soda! 

I’ve been using baking soda along with my toothpaste for that extra scrub, so I started brushing my lips for a few seconds every time I brush, and I must say it’s made quite the difference! I really noticed my rough lips when I started wearing lipstick everyday, and baking soda has made my day!

It’s important to know that baking soda can be a bit drying, so keep the contact to a minimum…a quick brush back and forth a few times is enough, and don’t worry, you’ll see and feel results! 

So now that you’ve cheaply exfoliated, (a box is less than $1!!) a moisturizer is needed to protect the exposed, softer skin! At night, I use Baby Lips by Maybelline, and during the day, I use my MAC lip primer under my lipstick, and drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily keeps those chaps at bay!

You don’t have to spend a grip to get smooth lips y’all, because you’ve probably got the remedy in your cupboard! 

Is there a universal cleaner like bleach, but for our bodies?

You bet there is, and it’s under everyone’s bathroom sink: Hydrogen Peroxide! It’s not only a great antiseptic on cuts and scrapes without the burn associated with alcohol, but it’s an awesome teeth whitener, pore zapper, and flora balancer of the lady parts!

So here’s all the ways I use hydrogen peroxide:

  1. Every time I brush, I hold a bit of it in my mouth as a swish, and it brightens my teeth! Don’t fill your mouth with it, since the bubbles will make it swell in your mouth, and don’t swallow! You may also want to rinse with water or mouthwash afterward.
  2. When I wash my face, I moisten a cotton round and wipe all over my face! You really get to see it working, as your pores bubble for a few seconds  before they disappear! I also dab freshly popped pimples with a wet q-tip to minimize scars!
  3. I’ve been taking antibiotics for so long for recurring BV they don’t work anymore (and they never really worked in the first place!)..I had gotten really good with maintaining a healthy balance “down there” until I got out of practice for a few months, and it came back with a vengeance! Just douche twice daily with half hydrogen peroxide and half water for a few days, and it’s gone! 

You see, hydrogen peroxide is a staple in the bathroom, much like bleach is a staple household cleaner! I get mine for 88 cents at Walmart, and I can’t live without it! 

New lipstick…

…used to be a hassle for me, because of my pink lips. Pretty in the package, but nothing ever looked good on. And who has the time to take it back? I certainly didn’t. That is, until I discovered the MAC counter at my then-job. I loved how you can try anything on before you bought it!

That was about a decade ago…and even until now I had never successfully tried a dark lip. Since my lips are so pink, everything I did try just looked like I smeared dirt all over them, so I just stayed away from the darker colors.

But all that has ended! Ever since my girl @garchimede hooked me up with one, I think I’m in love with dark colors! Now that I’ve gotten over that hump, my fall collection has grown to FIVE! I seriously love trying on colors before I buy them. Not only have I embraced the dark lip, I have fun trying new colors! Here’s me and my new boo Matte Royal!

  
I’m so glad I broke out of that shell!

Colors shown, from left to right:

Rebel, Antique Velvet (my first!), Photo, Sin, Power My Spirit (limited); all M.A.C. Cosmetics 

How to have the same makeup bag…

…with different looks! I prefer to use M.A.C. Cosmetics and Urban Decay, but I’m a #BallerOnABudget of sorts lol so the cost is definitely not lost on me! I don’t have everything I want (yet!), so that means I have staple items that are always in rotation as I build my collection. So here’s how I afford what I want!

  1. Don’t throw out your old stuff yet! Use them til they run out, and/or determine what staple items you can replace to start your ‘good stash’ and use your drugstore stuff for daily wear til it runs out. (I still use drugstore eyeliner and mascara daily cuz I want my M.A.C. ones to last longer! Lol)
  2. Get staple items first! Things like your foundation, eyeliner, mascara, etc., will be used frequently and under/with everything so you definitely want to start there.
  3. Build a collection. Along those lines, you’d also want to start building your staple eyeshadow/lip color/lip liner colors, and it’s good to start with interchangeable colors. For example, two eye looks with one lippie, or a couple eye looks just by changing one color. It sounds technical at first, but your creativity will surprise you!
  4. Be on the lookout! As you build, always be aware of what you have so you you don’t over buy. What that translates to is, why buy another color that’s so close to one you already have? When I picked out a new blue lippie and looked for a new eye color to complement it, my helper showed me a couple, and I liked two of them before I realized I already had a similar color to one of them. So yay! I only bought one!
  5. Don’t forget your brushes! I’ve definitely noticed a major change in the way my M.A.C. brushes apply my makeup than my Target ones. I love Sonia Kashuk and all, but my M.A.C. brushes just do everything…better. (I keep them in my daily makeup bag, until I get my hands on the shorter M.A.C. brushes when they come out!) They’re  more precise, easier to blend with, everything is just better. And since your upgrading them, don’t forget to clean them properly, it’ll keep bacteria at bay, and make them last forever!

Looking great on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice what you want. I like the quality of the higher end cosmetics and how they work with my skin. I also love the fact that I can try them on before I buy. It’s just what works for me. So I hope these tips help you get closer to that makeup that seems out of reach!

xoxo