2017…look back at it Make up Edition

2017 hot garbage we know.

SO let’s talk about make up that rocked my lil world. *Again affiliate links, y’all know.

Foundation:

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Total Control Drop Foundation. – Y’all. Y’ALL. 14$. The MOST adjustable coverage. I love this foundation. For drugstore, it is my holy grail even though it isn’t technically matte or long wear. A++

L’ORÉAL Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation. Honorable mention. This was my ride or die for a long time but, unfortunately when my skin cleared up it stopped being quite so awesome. Still HELLA good though.

Powders:

The Fiona Stiles INVISIBLE FINISH LOOSE SETTING POWDER is great. Not 26$ great, I picked mine up on super clearance at ULTA in the shade Sorrento. Finely milled, no flashback. Nice velvety finish. Ulta doesn’t carry it anymore but if you can find it discounted on Ebay yes. I’ve been using it under my foundation (we’ll talk about that later) and it is a very nice powder.

MAYBELLINE Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder. I picked this up in deep IN A DRUG STORE NEAR MY HOME, y’all that shit was amazing. So the powder is very finely milled, very soft and smooth. I’ve used a lot of loose powders and this one is right up there with my beloved Cover Fx matte powder. Even when I wear a satin finish foundation on occasion it keeps my face more matte than not. Even in the middle of the  period skin freak out, my face didn’t lose coverage or grease up. I def. recommend also it comes in a good variety of shades.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but I spend a lot of time looking for a pressed powder that works for me somewhat close to Mac Blot Powder (holy grail powder) and this year I’ve gone through a few. My current go to fave with notes is the Wet N wild Photo Focus pressed powder. Okay first impression I found it a little hard to manage. It added coverage and is very easy to cake up in a bad way. Also the compact has no goddamn mirror.

HOLD UP.

HELLO ENGINEERS. Yes the little dome packaging is sleek, it has a weight in the hand that doesn’t say, this is cheap shit. BUT, do you know how hard it is to hold your phone up to your face, palm your powder AND put it on. Nah son.

That said, I used a super fluffy little kabuki rather than the puff and made sure to blot before powder and the finish is lovely. Velvety. Very pretty. I recommend this one for folks who wear little or no foundation. It will add a bit of coverage and keep you lookin smooth.

NEXT ONE (I KNORITE, powders and lip products man.)

Honorable mention: MAYBELLINE Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder. This is the pressed powder and like the wet n wild can do you dirty if not applied carefully. That said it does give that silky velvet matte finish. Also super affordable. This one I don’t find in drugstores so much in my color.

Mascaras:

So I usually have a rotation of four or five mascaras depending on how I want my lashes to look. In the last few months I’ve been using ONE.

Rimmel Volume Accelerator Mascara, is a fucking ALL STAR. On the face of it, I thought I’d hate this mascara. This version has a huge brush, is very wet but y’all. First of all, it gives my lashes a lengthened fanned appearance. Also, I think it has indeed accelerated my lashes. I didn’t do before photos because I didn’t think I’d get effects. Even the Uniballer noticed my lashes look fuller. I want to try the serum too.

Wet N Wild Lash Renegade. It has a weird spiky brush with a wand and once I got the hang of it, I am very into the look. I like to wear fourteen pounds of mascara and I can with this without it getting too messy. WNW is cruelty free if that’s a thing you are into. It is cheap and hugely available. The only reason it isn’t my go to is because I have shaky hands and sometimes I can’t be having a spiky thing near my eyeballs. Love it. It is super good on the lower lash line for me, my bottom lashes are stumpy and this brush grabs them without being messy.

Lips:

I am a lip product FANATIC. Lipstick, lipgloss, balms, tinted balms YOU NAME IT! I love it.

First some all star balms. I suffer easily dehydrated lips. I have allergies and sometimes I mouth breath in my sleep and my lips crack.

A new favorite balm is the Badger Creamy Cocoa Cocoa Butter Lip Balm. I grabbed it on a whim and am very pleased. It goes on nice and thick, the cocoa butter melts right into your lips and they are very soft. It isn’t strongly flavored, it smells/tastes like unrefined cocoa butter. Also it makes an amazing matte lipstick remover and after scrub balm.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Pineapple Quench Lip Balm.  Another newer fave. I love this one for nighttime under a heavy thick product. Nothing weird in it, it doesn’t taste/smell super strongly. This is a great balm for people who don’t like a beeswaxy or thick balm.

Gloss next. I don’t mind a matte lip but at heart I am a gloss person. I love a wet look shiny lip.

First up a brand new fave. The Milani Stellar Lights Holographic Lip Gloss. Y’ALL. I haven’t been looking at make up for a couple of months since we’re moving/saving dollars. However, to celebrate my little poetry book coming out I snagged this on a whim because it was blue and shiny. YO. First of all, how DARE they come out with a duochrome gloss that is also hella sparkly. Second of all, the depth of sparkle in it is gorgeous. This is the holo/duochrome I’ve been DREAMING ABOUT. The color shift is visible on naked lips and it’s just amazing. I will be buying all of them.

Pro tip for brown babes especially those with dark or not red lips. Glosses like these are AMAZING on non red lips. If you want more of a nude sparkle, go for a goldenish tone version. For real.

I’ve gone through two tubes of the BURT’S BEES Lip Shine this year. One in pucker and one in the brownish shade. I found the coverage to be buildable from totally sheer to tinted. This is another one in that browny shade if you have brown or dark lips is !!!. A tiny bit sticky which I don’t mind. It is very moisturizing to me. And shiny.

For high end, hands down my pants Mac Lipglass is my shit. I buy one probably once every couple of years for at least ten years now? My favorites are the kind of milky shades, the nudes. The high sparkle ones. My favorite of the last few years came from their Star Trek inspired collab. MAC Star Trek Dramatic Color Lipglass (Warp Speed Ahead). Not the best feeling but it is so pretty I don’t even care.

Shout outs to the two dollar store glitter glosses I have that have more glitter than the more expensive ones. Don’t sleep on the dollar store y’all. Especially for small things like glosses and nail polish.

What else?

OH I have bought and used concealers and primers. Normally I don’t do all that but sometimes I like to have them on hand.

For my brown folks with the blue toned hyperpigmentation. Baby, come here. Closer, listen to your Auntie. This shit right here. WILL block that blue/blackness so you can be great. My favorite color corrector of ALL FUCKING TIME. L.A. GIRL HD Pro Concealer 

Y’all. If you are brown you want the orange. Start with a wee bit and play with it. SHIT WORKS. If you are tan down through medium beige, get the peach. If you are medium beige to very pale, get the peach and the white and mix them down.

To do undereye non hyperpigmentation things, I use NYX Professional Makeup Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand. I grabbed it on sale and it is creamy, easy to blend for concealer noobs and is amazing.

Okay my loves. I will calm down. These are my absolute stand outs for new/recurring make up faves. Next it will be hair stuff.

Stay tuned.

Auntie loves you.

Femme Files- Playing with my make up

Let’s talk beauty today my loves.

One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that my love of make up is something that fulfills some very specific needs. It lets me play, when I was a baby potato I loved playing dress up and doing a full face of make up. I could spend literal hours carefully trying to replicate make up looks from magazines. I have lots of good memories of this.

One of them was when my Mom was a hair model for a small salon. On select days, she’d pack me up and we’d go to the salon and she’d get her hair done and do a shoot. There was a make up artist who after seeing me gently looking in his kit, set me up at a station and I successfully duplicated a shiny red lip/smokey eye combo. I loved him, I never made a mess. It was magic to me then and is magic to me now.

Once I got over hating make up for a while in my 20s because I couldn’t afford Mac and drug stores usually carried only beige and dark beige I started playing again. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Lately I’ve been deep diving my stash for funsies.

First let me show you some old tries from years ago.

This one is from 2008ish? It was my first try at emulating a youtube tutorial. It was done by Leesha from xSparkagex (whom I still follow because she’s delightful):

hulkeye

[image description: close up of a brown eye. There is green and yellow eyeshadow on the upper lid, purple lining the lower]

Back then I was often too shy to post my make up experiments more publicly. I was in a make up lovers community on Livejournal that was so empowering and people were often so kind.

I didn’t wear a lot of color for a couple of years and I don’t know why. Lately I’ve been ALL about playing with stuff like mixing finishes, loud lips.

Let’s have a looksy.

20171003_120648.jpg

[image description: the author. Brown skinned femme wearing a long straight dark wig, smokey eye and sparkly red lipgloss]

This look was to go with my new wig. I have been into really undone brows (I almost shaved them off…let’s not talk about it) and here is my technique for a messy grungy smokey eye. You need something dark or black as a base. For this look I used a Sigma Black eyeshadow base that they don’t sell anymore. I also have this set from LA girl and it is the BUSINESS. It works better for me than the UD primer potion and most expensive shadow primers I’ve tried. So use the primer to rough in the shape you like then pack on black or dark eyeshadow and blend until you like it. I used the glittery black from this Maybelline The Rock Nudes Palette. For an inexpensive palette, I’m pretty into this one. Some of the shades you have to work with but overall, it is a great little thing for those dark colors. There are shimmer and matte finishes. I’m into it. The lipgloss was from the Wet N Wild Halloween collection and is super glittery in meatspace.

Don’t sleep on Wet N Wild, it is not the crap of my 90s teenagerhood. They are cruelty free and a LOT of their new stuff is the bomb y’all.

Next lewk.

20171031_061916.jpg

[image description: brown skinned femme wearing their hair in two plaits, black cat eye liner, matte black lipstick and smiling]

Technically this was my Halloween costume. Being an Old Goth means all I had to do was dip in my closet and voila, insta Wednesday Addams. Generally speaking, this is a go to I’m tired and still wanna be cute look. I have literally been doing the same cat eye for probably 20 years. Some days the wing is real big, sometimes not. I like to play with variations on a cat eye. I’ll do the upper wing in one color and the lower in another.

Some of my favorite combos include:

Black on top, messy burgundy on the bottom. I LOVE doing black on top with a metallic green on the bottom.

If you don’t have nine million liners for color pro tip.

For a neat line, do your primer or base color then use a firm small brush like this to pat on the color. Don’t swipe, pack. You can even use the edge of a sponge applicator to pat pat pat in the color. An angled brush like this one is pretty easy to use.

For a messier/grungy application, use a fluffier brush. For my eyes, I will start with the precision application and go in with a pointy blender brush like this one to blur out that shadow. Pro tip about brushes. You don’t have to use expensive brushes to do your make up. My go to daily use brushes are all from E.L.F.

My favorite foundation brush is this one from ELF. It’s their ultimate blending brush and it just works so well. I think I paid like six bucks for it. I have a 25$ one that is like it but I just don’t use it as much. It doesn’t perform as well. I have a TON of their eyeshadow brushes, the white ones. I love them.

I also love the Real Techniques brushes you can find in the drug store. My FAVORITE thing they make is this silicone eyeliner brush. Y’all. This shit right here was a game changer for me and my liner. It was weird to get used to but since there are no bristles, you can get some amazing fine control.

The thing about make up to me is that, it’s not permanent. It is for some of us, how we brace ourselves to deal with the world. Yes sometimes I do stuff that is questionable with my looks and it’s fine. I can take it off or I can rock with it.

Lately, I’ve been trying to learn how to do that neon liner look that was all the rage for a minute. I have yet to master it. I’m also trying to teach myself to put lashes on STILL and shit is hard af.

IF you wanna follow my make up shenanigans follow me on insta for mostly make up, food, random shit. Next time we’re here, I’m gonna talk about skin care I’m lusting after.

 

The Smallest Indulgences

Hello loves.

Today is fucking terrible so I’m gonna hit you with some cheap indulgences/mini reviews. Yes affiliate links are gonna be used. Don’t hate, appreciate.

FIRST THING. I love a good wet shine gloss with or without shimmer. Some glossy stuff I’ve tried lately.

Burt’s Bees Lip Shine, in Pucker.

Okay I grabbed one on a whim out of a clearance bucket because my lips were dry and if I’m gonna be real, my go to self-care, small treat thing is lip products. I’ve been wearing it all day today and the color is very sheer, the texture is thick and jelly like without being sticky. It has a pleasant but not strong sweet taste. Very shiny. Do like. I wouldn’t pay 7$ for it but if you spot one on clearance snag it.

The next thing I tried recently is the Milani Lip Oil shit.

Okay so…I LOVE how it smells. LOVE the shine but I don’t feel like it is much of a treatment. Lip oils had some moments from the early 90s and every now and I always LOVE the idea. Shine, treatment, COLOR but. Y’all. I also tried this one from Sephora and no. The thing about using an oil is that it is meant to absorb right? So while the concept is awesome and the immediate feel is really nice, this is not a great type of product for longevity. That said, if you don’t mind frequent reapplying, it is a shiny nice lil thing.

Next up, I have been getting back into my Nyx Butter Glosses. They are so great. They are inexpensive and come in some great colors. If you are someone who wants to try out some bolder lip colors but aren’t ready for something super opaque these are a great stepping stone. The colors tend towards buildable, they are shiny. They are usually 5-7$ and I LOVE them.

Another thing I love (because I’m wearing more matte lippies) are primers for lips. I like the one from Ulta. The clear Babylips also does the trick. A nice little soft layer. Some matte lippies won’t totally dry down over a primer but I’m willing to trade some wear time for more comfort.

What else?

Well, this post isn’t really about lipstick. It’s more about ways I utilize treat yosefl self care when everything fucking sucks. And right now, everything fucking sucks.

I’ve also been really getting all the way into my skin care stuff. How about a couple of quickie reviews for that?

Garnier SkinActive The Gentle Sulfate-Free Face Wash. I picked this because my face was irritated and I wanted something gentle and non annoying. Pros- no scent, it is a good size bottle and you only need a full pump or so especially if you’ve already removed your make up. My face in particular doesn’t like this. For some reason this product tends to over cleanse my skin. I think it is because I double cleanse and it’s just too much. I tend to reserve this one for days when I don’t need to double cleanse or I wore a fuckton of make up.

[MIZON] Tube Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream is another thing I’ve been experimenting with. This is not a miracle cream but it is very nice. I’ve been using it for about a month or so. If you want something that is more heavy duty and has some power, this ain’t it. I do suggest this for folks who are under 30 or just getting into skin care. I’ll finish the tube and try a new one.

Let’s talk some stuff I want to try. I’m very experimental with some stuff and I’ve got a lil bit of a wish/needs to try.

FORMULA 10.0.6 P.M. Perfector– I am a fan of this brand when I remember it exists. I have a few of their masks and really like them. I LOVE this one FORMULA 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask. It is hardcore and the bergamont fumes burn my eyes a bit but I find it really nice.

I have some facial oils I want to try too. Y’ll I cannot be without a facial oil anymore. I just won’t. I LOVE how juicy and plump they make my skin. ALSO protip, if you suffer skin flakiness near/in your hairline, using some of your face oil into your hairline helps a lot.I want to try the Mario Badrescu Rose Hip oil but I will probably buy it elsewhere because that is expensive af. When I buy more retinol from The Ordinary I’m probably gonna snag the rose hip oil as well.

ANDALOU NATURALS Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask- I REALLY want to try this one. The stuff in it looks good to me and that price is niiiiiiiiiiiiice. Y’all I am still so into the Peter Thomas Roth pumpkin mask but it is so expensive. It really would take up my self care budget for an entire quarter.

I’m super in love with the rebranding from Freeman and I want to try the FEELING BEAUTIFUL Manuka Honey & Tea Tree Oil Foaming Clay.  I really love the 4 in 1 ACV one. I love almost anything clay based.

How about some tips before I close it out for today?

Like hair typing, skin typing is only so good. Learn what your personal skin says. Mine tends to say, YO I AM OILY AS HELL BRUH! It also says, YO LOOK AT THIS FLAKY PATCH NATURE GOT ON U LOLOL FUQ U…And then sometimes it also says- LOOK HOW FUCKING FULL OF MELANIN AND GLORY I AM!

Listen to your skin. Sometimes it will let you know via rashes, breakouts or other weirdness that it has a need.

Just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean it is great. I learned this the hard way in my 20s and y’all nah.

Sometimes, starting simply works. Wash, moisturize, wear SPF. Like that’s really all. And two of those things can be combined.

If you are broke here are my instantly do something great for your skin tips:

  • WATER or other liquid, drink it.
  • If you wear make up brushes, wash them. You don’t need fancy brush cleaner. Hell you can use dishsoap, shampoo, facewash, brush wash, baby soap, body wash (best if it doesn’t have a lot of moisturizing stuff) whatever is sudsy.
  • If you are breaking out, do the above and also go easy on your face. Over aggressive cleansing can make you break out.
  • Be NICE TO YOUR FACE.

That’s all for now.

Go forth, feel cute cause you are.

Ten Steps- My current skin care routine.

Okay darlings. Today we’re gonna talk about how extra my skin care routine has become and I’ll review some stuff for you. Affiliate links will be used cause Auntie needs coins.

Ready?

Okay step 1 and 2 At night.

Lately I’ve been using the Garnier Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser Sensitive Skin. I had been using the Rice Bright Oil which is wonderful but I wanted something a bit easier to get and a tadbit cheaper. I use the cream on my dry face to remove my foundation and eye make up. This cream does a pretty nice job. I will say that on days where I’m wearing a fuckton of mascara or liner it doesn’t totally do the job. Then I swoop in with the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Makeup Remover. Alone I don’t feel like the micellar water can handle the amount of make up I wear but a quick swipe with it after the cream cleanser and make up is gone.

Step 3.

I’ve stumbled upon a bit of genius when it comes to my fickle face. I have a little collection of cleansers I rotate depending on how my skin is feeling. Unfortunately, African Black soap started drying me out so I busted into my stash. Pro tip, if you want to try expensive skin care, get travel sizes. First cleanser I’m into is the First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay. I love that it is a nice thick gel texture and it leaves my skin very soft and clean without stripping it. Next one I’m into but not fully sold on is the boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser. It hasn’t done miracle wonders BUT I do really love the warming sensation when I use it with my Spin for perfect skin brush.  Once a week or so I’ll do a cleanser/mask combo. I’m trying out the Freeman Facial Apple Cider Vinegar Clay Mask + Scrub. Not a miracle but I really do like how my skin feels after using it. The scrubby aspect isn’t super scrubby so it’s very nice. I also have a few random sachets of cleansers I will use when the mood strike. I tend to listen to what my face is saying. This week it says, HEY I WILL JUST BE UP HERE BEING A PEELY ASSHOLE. ENJOY THAT.

Step 4.

I use a 80/20 mix of Braggs ACV and purified water as a toner. Um. Y’all. Let me be real I HATE this step. I hate the smell of ACV and I hate how much my body loves it. Now I was skeptical about the claims I’d seen about this mix helping with balancing out skin, sebum production and apparently it’ll heal your soul. Um. Bruh. This shit…y’all…listen. I experimented and used it nightly for a month. The biggest thing I noticed was that my face felt more balanced. It was softer and had a brighter look. I went off it and yep there was a difference. I am so mad.

Step 5.

Sheet mask/other mask. I’ve been masking several times a week. From Amazon I picked up a variety pack of sheet masks. Dermal Korea Collagen Essence Full Face Facial Mask Sheet, 16 Combo Pack. And I picked up a pack of ten honey based ones as well. Those are so great for major hydration. If I’m breaking out I’ll use a skin clearing mask. Some in rotation are: FORMULA 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask. That one is excellent for the price point, it does have a strong smell and will sting your eyes. There is my ride or die Origins out of Trouble mask.  It is pricey but, y’all this shit will dry up a pimple on my face very fast and it’s not a mask I need to use weekly.

Step 6.

Next up I use a vitamin C serum. I’ve experimented and my favorite is the Clarity Vitamin C serum. I had stopped using it for a while and noticed that my dark spots were a bit more prominent and I was having a lot of them left over from any little pimple or whatever.

Step 7.

OKAY here is the first thing from the ordinary. First thing is the 1% retinol. Now I went through the peeling from that and I love this product. It had made tactile difference in my skin. My face is absolutely smoother, my pores look a bit smaller and the areas where I have trouble with texture have improved. Also the product is so friggin silky feeling.

Step 8.

For general anti aging I also picked up the Buffet from The ordinary. It feels very nice on the skin. I usually wait for about ten minutes after my retinol to apply it.

Step 9

Also from the Ordinary I picked up the 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil. It is meh. It smells like olives to me and feels nice. I also smooth it over my hair. It’s not as good to me as the Tarte Maracuja oil. My hair and face are both pretty meh.

Step 10.

My night cream. I’m still looking for my holy grail. I’m almost done with a jar of the Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Night Cream. It’s okay? It is very moisturizing which I want. It doesn’t do anything spectacular.

SO what is the point of all this?

Not perfect skin. My skin will never be perfect. My goals first and foremost is to have a more comfortable face. I have very oily, acne prone, highly reactive skin. Basically my face is hella greasy, I get pimples and I will peel or break out in a rash for no good damn reason.

I could get the same results in half the steps but, my ten steps are my nighttime self-care ritual. I take my time doing them. While I’m cleansing my face, I say a little cleansing meditation in my head. While I’m lubing up my face, I tell myself some affirmations and thoughts for good dreams.

This is a way I spend time with myself. Hands on my own skin making myself feel good. Yes it is wonderful to have my face feel smoother and more supple. Yes I LOVE road testing skin care but, I love knowing that I am caring for myself and treating myself with the best gentle love.

The last thing I do before I settle down to try and sleep is moisturize my butt. Right now I’m SUPER into the Tree Hut Moroccan Rose Body butter.

And there y’all have it.

 

Quickie Reviews!

Let’s do some quickie reviews. Some affiliate links, ahoy.

First up, some hair stuff:

Creme Of Nature Strength & Shine Leave-in Conditioner: I picked this up sort of on emergency status. I had no leave in with some slip and my hair was super really HOLY FUCKBALLS WHAT HAVE I DONE- tangled. Y’all this shit right here. It does have cones in it and that’s what I needed. You shake it and it gives a nice light mist and my hair digs the formula. I actually found it at Rite Aid in my hood.

Next up, I used the last of a little jar of SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Reparative Leave-In Conditioner.  I heard from some recent reviews that the formula had changed and y’all it has. It still smells good but I found that this newer formula does not moisturize my hair the way it used to at all. Not worth it. I won’t be rebuying it. Also like LOTS of other brands who made their big money on Black women they are backing away from Blackness and I ain’t here for it so they get no more of my black ass dollars.

I recently saw the new release of the Babylips line and I was so excited. I’m a big fan of the original babylips and picked up one of the new crayons. I got it in Playful Purple. Pros: major color. The color is fire. It is like BOOM all in your face which for a balm is pretty amazing. Cons: MAJOR CLOWN MOUTH. This is not like the buildable ones like my fave OG Cherry one. Y’all no. This new one is messy, it just got ALL over around my mouth after a couple of swipes. Good for the pahpow color, but, not really feasible for a little quick tint. Nah son. That said, I bought it so instead of wearing it as is, I found if I blot it down a few times the color is less shiny but stays put.

I’ve recently been wearing more eye shadow and y’all, I forgot how much I love the Revealed and Revealed 2 palettes. The shadows are well pigmented and blend easily. I feel like if you prefer more nudes (some of these are GREAT nudes for brown skin) and want nice quality without shelling out huge bucks these are pretty great. You don’t have to have both, if you’re my shade or around that I suggest 2 more than 1.

Next I’ve fallen ass over tea kettle in love with the First Aid beauty Ultra Repair Cream.  That said- this shit is expensive AF but, I do really love it. The big wow factor for my super dry body skin is the Colloidal Oatmeal in it. First ingredient and excellent for soothing itching burning skin. I probably use way too much (I’m nothing if not extra) but it is just so soothing and the light citrus scent is really nice. I probably won’t buy a big jar because it’s expensive, but it’s a great product if you are looking and got $$.

What else?

My current fave sheet mask is the Tony Moly I’m Real Red Wine Mask Sheet. My favorite weird mask is the carbonated clay mask One Bad Motha’foamer. Even beardy beard face Uniballer (my partner) loves that foamy one. I dunno if it really gets in them pores but it is so fun to do I love it.

If you are into interesting, unique and handcrafted perfumes, but don’t have BPAL money, y’all I GOT U BOO. Whisper Sisters. The owner Darla has got a magical nose for complex, deep and gorgeous scents. My personal faves right now are Spidora – red licorice, sugar, clove, aged patchouli. Eulalie – peach, rose, honeysuckle, carnation. And Cecil – brown sugar, black pepper, sugar. I have an ever growing collection of her work and y’all it is so good.

What am I looking forward to?

OH OH OH.

So, y’all I LOVE SOCK DREAMS and I just found out I have a referral link. So if you want to shop them, please use my link homies. I legitimately LOVE that company so much. I am wearing their socks right now.

PRO TIP. If you have dry hands and like fancy hand cream, watch for sets of the good shit around holidays. Gift sets are where it’s at. I’m currently using tube #3 out of a four or five tube set I got at Christmas from Sephora of Korres body butters. I will likely purchase this one when I run out. My favorite so far is the rose. The scent is soft and natural, the cream is wonderful.

Remember, travel or gift sets are the business if you want to try out something expensive without the huge ding to your wallet.

But, beware. You might get hooked like I have on this Peter Thomas Roth
Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer. Y’all. This shit is so expensive and I have a wee tiny bit of it left, it is so good. So so good. My face feels like the softest fattest little baby butt in the world when I use it. Like…it’s so rare to use a product and have immediate gratification but there it is. That 58 goddamn dollar tub of pumpkin goodness is my official holy grail mask.

That said, on recs from lots of friends I’ll be checking out some The ordinary skin care. I have my eye on this retinol and the rosehip oil.

I still love the Tarte Maracuja oil but I think for the warmer weather my skin doesn’t want it. Also the little bottle lasted me for months, I still have a good amount.

I will be switching my foundation up as well and will do some reviews when I FINALLY get my shit.

That’s all for now. I believe next time we’ll get our Goth Fantasist on, the more Genderqueer version for folks.

 

Struggle Bus Naturals- A little update

So in the last few weeks I’ve been feeling kind of down about my hair. I was experiencing some MAJOR tangling and haven’t been able to find my schedule for taking my hair down to braid now that I’ve changed shifts.

One of the drawbacks to hardcore protective styling for me is that I am not always able to see progress or milestones. My biggest milestone lately has been that my hair is now too much to do my whole cowash/detangle in the shower unless I want to wash my ass in stone cold water.

So I was thinking maybe of doing something else? I dunno. I watch a LOT of hair channels (I should not) and was feeling inadequate. Y’all I KNOW better than to compare. I mean, my hair is what it is. It’s not gonna be as glorious as one of the super long folks I follow.

Let me say this to my fellow struggle bus naturals. Your hair is gonna do what it do. For some of us there is no amount of product or manipulation to give us picture perfect all the sameish curls. For some of us, there are no laid edges without abusing our hair. A lot of us are not walking around rocking Instagram worthy hair all day every day.

Remember y’all, let your hair be your hair.

Now, over the weekend I decided to treat my hair SUPER nice.

I prepoo’d with coconut oil and did some finger detangling. Then I clarified my hair with one quick suds with a sulfate shampoo and followed with my liquid African Black soap.

I don’t do a whole wash in the shower anymore. Instead I shampoo in four sections in my sink. I have a hose thingy like this.   I also use a hair catcher in the drain. I used to exclusively wash this way until I started cowashing more.

I detangled with a bit of extra conditioner outside of the shower and while I was doing that with one section, I freaked out a little. Y’all, I have retained INCHES. When I started this round of protective styling I trimmed my hair to just below my shoulder. I trimmed a little bit as I was combing and look at how glorious my hairs is:

hair

[image description: a photo of the author a brown person from behind. One section of their hair is down and reaches a couple of inches below their shoulders]

Y’all.

That is all retention, which has been my biggest problem previously.

So here are my big super secrets.

  1. Figure out what your hair likes. Not what your fave youtuber likes. How to figure this out? Use a product consistently. Unless your hair immediately starts doing something wild or if your scalp is itchy, stop but, you have to give your hair time.
  2. Don’t try and rush your hair. Let it do what it do.
  3. Do what works and don’t screw around overmuch.

And that’s pretty much it. What works for me, might suck for you and that’s okay because we’re not in the same body.

A few other tips before I go.

If you start taking hair, nail and skin vitamins that have a lot of MSM or Biotin, drink extra water. If you don’t your face will break out. Your face might break out anyway, but, if it isn’t terrible, just roll with it. Again, give it at least 90 days and stay hydrated.

And love your hair. Doesn’t matter what kind of hair you have. Love your TWA, love your hair.

Now, as for me. I’m going to try that Jazz Nicole method of doing some crochet twists with NO CORNROWS!! If I can do it, it’s gonna be a spring/summer of UNICORN hair and I’m super hype. I’ll take some photos of it while I’m trying it. My plaiting has gotten quite a bit better so if I can do this, it’s fixin to be lit.

That’s it for now darlings.

Next time, I dunno maybe some new quickie reviews!

Why I wear Wigs.

If you want the short version, no I’m not trying to be White. I don’t hate my natural hair and bitch stop asking.

Let’s rewind time and look back at the mid-late 80s. Yours truly was a lil baby potato and I had some long ass hair. I loved my hair. I loved wash days when my Mom would section it off and I’d lay back with her hands in my hair. I loved having my scalp oiled, I loved the occasions I got to go to the Fancy Grown Lady salons and get my hair blown out and curled. I even low key a little bit loved the hot comb.

On occasion, my mom would wash and blow out my hair and I’d get to run around with it out. It was big and soft and fluffy. I remember being outside by myself in late Summer, none of my friends around and I just twirled around in the sunlight feelin myself. My hair is deeply intertwined with some of my earliest experiences of feeling beautiful and magical.

Like so many other things about being a lil Black child, I had no notion of there being a problem until other folks introduced them. When not pressed my hair was too nappy, not good, too big, too much work. I understand now that those comments from Black friends and family are full of internalized White supremacy and I forgive them. Yes, they hurt me very badly but I understand.

When I was a bit older and started relaxing my hair (lots of Black folks know this story) things went bad in my relationship with my hair. I didn’t know how to take care of it and thus it broke off. I got teased about it a lot. Sideways comments about my hair being greasy or being called nappy weeds.

In high school at various times I just cut it all off or wore tree braids. But I really hated my hair. I didn’t really know about extensions other than braids or wigs or weaves. I would look at the hair magazines and Black celebrities and I was just mystified as to why my hair didn’t look like that when I straightened it or whatever. The problem as far as I was concerned and as backed up by the culture I was exposed to was that I just had bad hair.

At some point I stopped trying to care and just did whatever I wanted to my hair. Relax and color the same day, sure! Cut it ALL off? Yup. Burn that shit with a hot comb? YUP.

In the late 90s I discovered wigs and would wear them time to time. I had the seed of the idea about protective styling but back then information on Black hair care was slim. I had some bad salon experiences, shaved my head, bleached it, had purple hair, orange hair, reds, lots of colors.BUT, I didn’t know how to get and keep my hair healthy.

Fast forward more to 2010ish. I discovered Black hair care on the internet. I joined a forum, I started finding videos and everything.

I started to learn and everything. Eventually I went natural and here we are.

So all that history involved, yes, I wear wigs.

I see a lot of things questioning or shaming Black women for wearing wigs or weaves.

So let’s breakdown some whys.

  1. Because she goddamn well wants to. Black women are allowed to make decisions about their hair and how they deal with it and yes, sometimes it is because of some internalized self hatred and sometimes not. Leave them the fuck alone.
  2. Protective styling. For me, once I got my hair healthy I discovered that my super secret for length retention is protective styling.
  3. Because wigs and weaves and braids are fun.

Let me address #3 some more.

I have what you could call a short hair style attention span and I greatly enjoy looking however the fuck I want whenever the fuck I want. I like having different colors, textures, lengths and styles of hair without doing damage to my fluffy wonderful mane.

Additionally, I’m fuckin grown. I pay my own bills and it is really none of anybody’s business about my damn wigs.

Someone not too long ago tried really hard to shame me about my wigs and shit and y’all, I’m not the fuckin one.

The bottom line is that Black women get beat on emotionally, spiritually, sometimes physically regarding anything we do with our hair. From racist corporate “dress codes” that bar anything not “neat”, to having to battle the military to wear cornrows or natural styles, to having to argue with people about how deep issues with hair go.

And for some of us, it is really just hair because Blackness is not the monolith you’re looking for.

At the end I’ll say this.

Before opening up your mouth to fuss at a Black person regarding their hair, don’t. if you want to know what’s up, ask us kindly but if you are not also a Black person don’t expect an answer because we’re not here to do that type of labor for you. There are eight million resources you could read so Google that shit.

 

 

Struggle Bus Naturals- Dollar Store Supplies

Hello darlings.

Let’s talk about ways to lower the cost of being natural.

Like everything else, we all know that being natural can get all in our pockets. Conditioners, trying new products etc. Let’s talk about some strategies to help lower that cost a bit. And I’ll share some pro tips on making it work.

First let’s talk supplies.

Things I think you need to have on hand, whether you’ve got a big fluffy fro or a two.

1.) Shower comb. (These are affiliate links, but always look at the dollar store/Walmart, etc. for this stuff.) When I first went natural, I bought a lot of higher priced combs from beauty supplies etc and broke every single one of them. Now I buy them in this style from the dollar store. I keep one in the shower for wash day and one by my bed for out of shower detangling. If they have any little bit of an edge on them, take a nail file and smooth them down and boom. Excellent comb.

2.) Cheapy conditioners. I keep bottles of the stuff on hand for pre poo detangling if my hair is tangly, I use it to add slip to my cowashes. Sometimes if I’ve done something to my hair and it’s dry and tangled, cheapy conditioner to the rescue. I also use some of the conditioners from Tresemme to form the base of my cowashes. My faves are: Suave Professionals Conditioner, Almond + Shea Butter, TRESemmé Flawless Curls Conditioner, Curl HydrationGarnier Fructis Style Damage Eraser Conditioner,Aussie Mega Moist Conditioner with Pump, and my super all time fall back always does me right Suave Essentials Conditioner, Tropical Coconut. I’ll do a post about how I mix my cowashes for best cleansing and how to figure it out.

3.) OILS! I LOVE oils, oils love me but it can get expensive. If you are a coconut oil user, check discount grocery stores. I have bought/spotted giant jars of coconut oil for under 10$ at Big Lots. Check here to see if you have one close by. For oils like Castor oil here’s my trick. I use a bargain brand light castor oil as an additive to my deep conditioners, pre poos, and cowashes. I use Viva Naturals Castor Oil. The bottle lasts quite a long time. It isn’t cold pressed but I found it performs just as well as my super fancy organic blappity blap. The other brand of oils I’m fond of is the NOW brand. I have used several of them and been satisfied every time.AND you can get smaller bottles so you can try out an oil and see if it agrees with you. Like this avocado oil.

Other stuff to watch out for at the dollar store.

Shower caps, those gold foil conditioning caps, butterfly clips (essential to working with hair in sections), headbands (I like the soft cloth kind), those terry cloth turban/wrap things. Now with those I suggest using them less to dry your hair and more to contain any pre-poos or other messy conditioning stuff.

My biggest tip is to focus on creating yourself a basics stash. Your ride or die conditioners, shampoos etc. Don’t commit to the biggest most expensive thing first. Using up a product you hate is a hell of a task.

Next struggle bus naturals post, I’ll do a photo tutorial of how I mix my cowashes.

I See you 2017

Hello darlings.

I hope this finds y’all well as you can be.

Can we talk about 2017?

I keep saying it, but I’ll say it again. I’m turning 40 this year. Holy damn.

Let’s talk the Old Goth at 40.

I’ve given up cheap ballet flats for good. I gave away my last pair with some sadness. I’ve figured out that because of the shape of my feet, I’m best with mary janes with some stretch, my trusty Doc Martens and boots.

And how about some protips?

If you have feet that are more narrow at the heel, Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Plus. Look for the thicker padding and stick some of this in the back of your shoes. it can help if your heels slip around in shoes, help breaking in shoes AND it even helps breaking in new Docs. Also, y’all. Be nice to your feet. I know shit is expensive, but do take care of them, especially if you are diabetic, or don’t drive.

Next thing. It’s time to start transitioning from my holy shit I’m cold style (lots of layers and leggings and tall socks) to, oh damn I’m kinda cold but getting sweaty.

I am so tired of wearing leggings. Yes, I look adorable in them. I’m giving some major 90s realness with my big sweaters and leggings, but I miss dresses.

I’m so excited about the return of babydolls to go with my skater dresses. I’m a 90s bb and I just LOVE that there are so many affordable options for the cuts I favor and most of them come in black or kinda fugly dark floral prints.

I’m working up a new pin board (shop style affiliate link y’all) with some of the stuff I really REALLY want to be wearing for spring. I have fancy goth aspirations but frankly, I’m really a comfy femme old goth and that’s okay. A lot of what I like you can easily goth up with accessories and styling.

Along with the season change, I’m changing my whole work day. I’m retiring from being a professional night owl and moving back into the daytime worker world. I’m not enthused about getting up at the buttcrack of dawn, I am pretty excited to think that my partner and I will be able to go out and do stuff!

Also, like since I might actually have a life outside of work I need going out wear right?

I want to stop here to make a note of something I’m experiencing in the post Trumpfuckian nightmare.

As things have progressed, I’m settling into this very uh, peaceful rage. I want to pull out all my weapons all the time and that includes my Femmeness. I am walking around with my booty out, back straight and chin up.

I walk around giving fewer and fewer fucks about a lot of things daily. Among them, what anyone ever has to say about how I look, how I work out my gender presentation etc. Not. One. Single. Fuck.

Being that I’ve been unable to wear the amount of dresses I like, I’ve been opting for feeling like I’m representing some beat face rugged Femme Realness and I look quite unbothered.

My go to look aside from big sweaters and leggings and tall socks has been my new FAVE skinny jeans. Y’all, I actually really hate to wear jeans. I don’t like how denim feels on my skin most of the time. I have the Lovesick High Waisted black skinny jeans.* They are super black, very comfy. I’m kind of chunky teenager size and I have these in a size 15 for bloated days (today) and a size 13 for a tighter fit. I do find the legs a bit too long for me and they aren’t as skin tight skinny on me as they are on the model but I actually really like them. I also have the lower rise version and I would actually pay full price for em.

For a jeans hater like me, they are pretty great.

I also enjoy some nerdy tees. Uniballer and I are both big fans of Tee Turtle (good sizing range, variety of cuts, GREAT prices and cute designs).

And as for my make up, I’m back to dabbling in the slightly weird. Today behold my faceballs.

Okay so I’m wearing a big ass wing today. For my big wings I do not fuck around. I use a very very black gel liner. (Affiliate links ahoy) My current hands down fave is the L’ORÉAL Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner 24 Hour liner in Blackest Black. I’ve used eleventy billion kinds of liner and for a big ole super black wing this is my never fail. It is as dark as Mac Blacktrack Fluidline but it’s not 17 damn dollars. A lot of the time I buy them bogo and always have a back up.

Being that I was really not fucking around, I used my Aesthetica Pro Series Lip Brush for my liner. Now I know some of you are like um, but lip brush? No seriously. If you have a big ole eye and love a bigass wing, this type of brush makes things way easier. Also, remember if you have a bigger brush the line is always gonne be chunkier and you may need to go in with a smaller brush to pack product at your lashline. I have like four of that type of brush and they are perfect for me.

Next I did something a lil weird. I put this random (it is in an unlabled baggie so it may have been a prototype or 1 off) bright red eyeshadow right in the inner corner of my eye above the liner line. That wasn’t an accident I did it on purpose. I used a little flat shader brush like the one in this kit on amazon. I didn’t blend I just packed color in there. To pack color on, you want to press press press and not do wiper motions. I really wanted a splotch of friggin red and didn’t put on another color or blend it at all. I used the edge (this takes practice) of the same brush and packed that color on my lower lash line too. I took it to the end of the cat eye liner (I cannot get a good pic) and a little in the inner corner tear duct area. Then I piled on mascara and finished with my fave griege nude lippie.

NYX COSMETICS Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipstick in Honeymoon. I’ve tried both high end and low end liquid matte lippies and the lingerie line is in my top two for comfort and wear.

Then I powdered the shit out of my fave and walked out the door.

I cut my own damn bangs on this wig, I’ve got a rekindled interest in doing less “proper” make up. I don’t give a fuck.

I want to fully inhabit the fuck out of my GenderQueer Chunky Assed Old Gothness.

How I present my outer body is my armor. It is how I survive and how I shore myself up when I’m flagging. Look at my face, I know that not only am I the enemy of many factions who are now in charge that it will chap their collective ass to have me walking around with my head up, not cowering in fucking terror.

So you know what?

Fuck it.

That said, I’m going to resume my little body modification savings fund. Maybe for my birthday I’ll finally get my septum pierced or get a small tattoo.

If you followed me from the blogger days, y’all know every year at the gentle prodding of friends I make a ridiculous wishlist for my birthday. I made one. If you buy me a book PLEASE buy the cheapest copy. I don’t need em brand new y’all. Find that here. 

I am depressed and scared. I’m making some other life changes that are scary but happening. Life is rolling on and I gotta roll with it or get flattened.

Stay tuned for some other major announcements.

If you want to follow my other writing, sign up to my writer newsletter which is really a love letter to my fellow creatives. I talk about art, resistance, trauma, what I’m workin on. Lots of stuff. Check out the archive here and sign up if you’re so moved.

I love y’all.

Take care of each other and yourselves.

Love,

Auntie Shannon

 

 

A few quickie reviews.

I’ve tried out a few new things recently and nothing that needs their own entries so how about some quickies?

Last month I tried out the monthly snack box Graze (my referral link for new folks) basically it’s a monthly sampler of super healthy snacks. It is somewhat customizable with some major caveats. If you’re like me and don’t like nuts that much, there’s not a whole lot on offer. I liked two things out of I think 8 and I gave my partner the other things and he didnt’ care for them much. That said, if you do like nuts I do think it’s a nice deal. If you find yourself in need of snacks at work or whatever, it’s a nice little treat box. I believe right now if you sign up, you can get one free via my affiliate link.

The next thing is the Ulta Ultra Rich hand and nail cream. I have the Coconut almond milk one and y’all. It is 12$ and well worth it to me. The scent is light, not super perfumy and the texture is very rich and creamy without being greasy. This is the hand cream I use at work. I have really super dry hands that crack and this helps keep my hands more supple during the day. If you don’t have super dry skin, this will just feel super luxe and keep your hands the way they are. Don’t expect miracles but it is good stuff.

I’ve been using a new nighttime moisturizer for about a month and y’all…I mean like…so. The NO7 Lift & Luminate Night Cream. Y’all. for 25$ this cream is super rich and feels thick on the skin. I use this last at night and in the month I’ve been using it regularly I’m seeing that my skin is absolutely softer, I have a few patches on my face where I get these irritated thick dry skin over ingrown hairs and this stuff softens that up.I use it all down my neck and onto the tops of my boobs. It is a really wonderful rich cream and it takes only a little bit to go around and the jar will last a while. Like every other goddamn moisturizer, I’d prefer it to come in a pump or tube but yanno.

Now I have to show y’all something that is expensive AF and that I am so in love with it hurts. Like, I did not want to like it, but I friggin love it. The Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. From Fall through probably May my lips are super prone to cracking. Doesn’t matter how hydrated I am, if I don’t’ have a cold it is allergies or just how my body is. It hurts and leaves discoloration around the corners of my mouth. Normally at night I use a combo of a good heavy, waxy lip balm (generic Burts Bees type or the Eos balms) with a generous (thick and gross) layer of Rosebud Salve on my lips. I don’t know what the super secret formula of that is, but it works. I like the original flavor.

NOW.

I picked up some samples of the Agave lip mask from Sephora a while back……..holy shit wow.

I don’t care about the colors, I slopped that shit on and know that I mouth breathed all night because I was congested. Not only were my lips supple in the morning there was STILL product on them. Normally I’d tell myself, please don’t buy that shit again, but, I want to keep being able to wear ALL my fave lip looks so I’m likely going to pick some up.

I have some other new skin care stuff I’m trying. I’ve kept my promise to myself and have some really great stuff stashed at home to tryout.

What else is coming up?

I’m putting together a page that will have links to indie POC artists because that is important to me. Keep an eye out for that.

MMm what else? I dunno y’all. Stuff.

Have you tried anything new and awesome lately?

You can tell me.