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?!

The dangers of not using your facial brush properly…

…for the life of me, I couldn’t figure it out! I was using my trusted Clarisonic, but I was breaking out and my skin looked horrible! 

Until I charged it….😑

Yes, I was being lazy…for a couple of weeks I rushed out the door, quietly reminding myself that I’d charge it upon my return. But we all see how that turned out! Lol 

As you can see from my post last week, the texture of my skin had changed, and I could tell from my constant selfies it was getting rough and darker. Not that having a tan is an issue for me, but my face just didn’t look as radiant as I had grown accustomed to. Not to mention my pores were still getting clogged, although I was still washing my face day and night!

The pic on the right is just from two washes on two consecutive days! For my skin, hand brushing isn’t enough…my skin needs the super fast pulses from the brush to slough off those dead, pesky skin cells! 

So if you have a brush that requires a charge, don’t be lazy like I was. Charge it! Lol

Time to moisturize…

All this talk about cleansing our skin, and a beauty regimen is absolutely incomplete without a moisturizer that complements your skin type. For us oilies, I was surprised to find that using a natural oil actually helped reduce the amount of oil my skin produces, which leads to fewer breakouts! Yay!

Grapeseed oil. It’s thin and lightweight, and like Castille soap it has many uses. It’s also the oil I use in my hair..since coconut oil started weighing my hair down. Its small molecules absorb quickly into the skin and hair, and form a protective barrier against dirt and grime.

Why an oil if my face is already oily? Glad you asked! The oil that comes out of our pores is called sebum, and its production goes into overdrive when we’re not moisturizing properly. Applying a thin layer of oil and drinking a healthy amount of water (at least half your body weight in ounces) daily will make all the difference! Over washing your face will not only irritate your face, but it won’t solve your problem. Twice a day is enough.

I had little to no oil during the day when I used the peppermint version of castle soap (mixed with a little water), followed up with a smidgen of grapeseed oil. It can be found in the oil/grease aisle of your local grocery store, next to the olive oil and I usually get it for around $7! It’s greenish in color, please don’t grab the yellowish olive oil! Your face’ll be slicker than an ice skating rink! Now that I think of it, think I’ll go back to that one lol..oil is another downer, just like acne. I’m always the ‘shiny’ one in pictures, and it messes up my makeup to where I’m blotting all darn day…adding more powder just doesn’t help. I buy a large bottle of grapeseed oil, and fill a travel sized spray bottle to spray a small amount into my palm instead of pouring. One pump is enough for me, and the bottle lasts for months as well.

The featured pic is while I used the peppermint version, and my face stayed like this all day! It was a Sunday, and I stayed matte even after singing for service! Yeah. I’m going back to that one, after I finish with the tea tree one. (It keeps my acne away, but I see I’m starting to be shiny more)…

Hope this helps y’all!

Breaking out?

Check your brushes! If you can’t remember the last time you’ve cleaned them, you’ve likely found the culprit. Bacteria love to hide and accumulate in the gunk that gets left in them!

And do you really want to transfer that ish onto your face?

If your answer is no, you better believe that washing your brushes regularly is just as important as washing your face! And, in doing so you’re actually extending the life of your dear brushes! Especially if you’re working towards stepping your brush game up. Side note: You just get what you pay for!

Now it took some time for me to learn this, but once I added this to my weekly ‘to-do’ list, I noticed a major change whenever I had to beat my whole face. I clean my brushes weekly, and after every full face beat.

Here are a few tips to clean your beloved brushes, and you don’t have to use expensive brush wash, feel free to use baby shampoo!

  1. Rinse your brushes (bristles down) under warm water.
  2. Try not to get too much water inside the brush as it can loosen the glue that holds them in place!
  3. Put a small amount of shampoo in the palm of your hand and whisk the brush in your hand until the lather is white.
  4. Rinse again (pointing down)
  5. Squeeze out the excess water and lay them flat to dry overnight and voilà!

Your brushes are good as new, and your face will thank you for it!

When was the last time you washed your brushes?

Okay, okay…my last post wasn’t quite fair..

…I didn’t show yall why I’m so in love with Castille soap.

Acne is just difficult to deal with, and if yours is as bad as mine was, it’s downright frustrating. There are many causes, but my main one was stress, which also makes acne a never ending story.

And it goes a lil something like this: you’re stressing about (the acne you already have); you get another pimple; you stress about the new pimple and do whatever (squeeze, exfoliate, agonize, etc) you can to get rid of it; if you pop it, it leaves a scar; if you don’t, you agonize over it until you do; then you’re left to deal with (bleach, conceal) this new scar and all the old ones you’ve gotten. Then you get another one! Made me scream so many times…

Until I found tea tree oil and Castille soap, and learned that I wasn’t cleansing my oily skin properly. Tea tree oil is an amazing antibacterial agent and you really feel it working. You have to be careful though, it will burn if used liberally. It’s advised to mix it with water, but I dab it on my skin with my finger to get that tingle I’m so accustomed to from my toner days. The difference with tea tree oil is that the ‘burn’ you get from most toners is from the alcohol in them…the burn from tea tree oil is from the oil itself.

I used a lot more tea tree oil in the beginning of my journey than now (read:everytime I washed my face! Lol), and now I only use it for infrequent (hormonal) spot treatments! I also use the tea tree Castille soap, which gives me that nice infusion without applying it directly..

Ok, so here’s a couple before shots…and some during, no makeup, no filter…(insert cringe..) Oh yeah, and BC #3 was in 07/13, just before I installed the yarn braids…


Finally I’m free, free from the acne stress, from hiding behind my scars…it took some time, but it was well worth it! If you’ve been struggling with acne, I encourage you to try Castille soap as its done wonders for me. Happy hunting luvs…

My favorite cleanser…

…is Castile soap! Since my skin is quite oily, Castile soap really gets the grime out of my pores…especially with the help of my facial brush! Ever since I found it, my skin has never been clearer!

Here are my top 5 pros:

  1. It’s cheap! I buy the large (32 oz.) bottle for about $20 (from Target or a health store like Trader Joes, or online), and it lasts me about 6 months – and I use it twice a day! Do the math: that’s about $3/month for cleanser! Note: Check your local Target’s travel friendly section for the 2-3oz samples for about $2!
  2. It’s all natural. It’s made with natural oils and organic ingredients! Cleaning an oily face with oils sounds counterintuitive, but it works!
  3. I feel such a deep clean, there’s absolutely no need for toner! I tried it once, and I nearly burnt my face off!
  4. It doubles as my body wash. So many uses! From laundry to pets, Castille soap is a natural alternative!
  5. Multiple varieties! The tea tree version is my fave so far, since it is a great antibacterial agent and it keeps me from buying tea tree oil separately for regular use. My pores are enlarged, and this really gets the grime out for my fresh and clean feeling!

The only drawback is that some varieties will make your skin dry. The peppermint and lavender versions made my skin feel cracked, and it hurt to raise or lower my eyebrows. Until I figured to add a little water to my pump bottle! Then I was able to use the rest of the soap before trying another! So if that happens to you, adjust the amount of water accordingly!

I dare say I tried another product after I started using Castille soap, but there was no comparison and I HAD to switch back! There is just no other clean, even after a day’s worth of makeup! Hope this info helps you all, happy hunting!

Take It All Off…

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…literally! If you’ve struggled with acne and oily skin as long as I have, I know you are very familiar with the term ‘exfoliate’. From buff puffs, to facial scrubs, there are products out there that promise smoother, clearer skin. During my journey, I’ve learned that my skin is too sensitive for buff puffs and the St. Ives Apricot Scrub as they scratched up my face worse than two cats in a fight. I also learned that my face doesn’t get clean by washing with my hands. I can’t use enough Biore strips to keep up with the blockages. That is, until I discovered the Clarisonic face brush. It literally helps me cleanse my skin without oversanding it, and I can choose a softer brush head! My skin has literally transformed from this, to this!

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Now this isn’t a post exclusive to Clarisonic, because at work I do use a…

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