Struggle Bus Naturals Post- WTF DO I DO NOW…

Ahem.

Hello my loves. It has been a while since I’ve made a struggle bus naturals post so here go.

My name is Shannon and I’ve been natural for years now and I struggle. I’ve been working on identifying my natural hair struggles and I’ve had a lil bit of a breakthrough.

  1. Problem number one. I have not updated my practices with my hair enough. I realized this when I tried to do a high bun and realized I haven’t done one in long enough that my prev methods were for shorter hair.
  2. Related to #1, I over trimmed again and my length is awkward.
  3. I fell off doing what works for me.

My hair is not in bad condition at all. Up under my wigs since forever, things are going well in there. I am a mostly juices and berries natural. I just am. I think I got a little caught up in the natural hair community again and that is not my jam.

I am a henna loving, handmade sheabutter using, oils and butters and herbs type natural. SO during the time where we need to be wearing masks I got me a whole ass new plan.

I am rebooting my routine and protective styling to fit what I LIKE doing with my hair, what my hair likes, and what suits my life.

The first thing I’m bringing back are henna glosses on the regular. I won’t be doing full henna treatments because our pipes are old but, a gloss goes all right.

I’m sticking with my hardcore LCO method. It is what my hair thrives on. I’ll do an updated post on individual treatments later.

I’m gonna keep doin my lil ugly Miss Celie braids.

New thing. I’ve purchased a few new headwraps. Since I am an essential worker and I ride mass transit I’ve been wearing masks out. I find it easiest to wear then around a headwrap bun.

I’m going to go back to studying more ayurveda and other herb type things. I love learning more about it and frankly I’ve done well using them.

Now, my goal is to get my hair back to full health with good ends. I’d like to repair or try to fix some of my stress hairloss. If i don’t..fine.

THEN next hurdle will be styling.

How y’all feelin babes?

And a foto of my hair as I was moisturizing and detangling yesterday.

20200422_180508

[image description: the author a brown skinned femme with naturally curly hair sectioned off, lookin tired.]

Y’all I was spent but I put my lil plaits in and got my hair fully detangled and moisturized.

Struggle Bus Natural- Big ole Update

Let’s talk about my hair.

So this is gonna be a lowkey hair growth update and some observations because I blew out my hair and have been wearing it out.

I’ve been natural for I dunno how long. I had a few times where I went back to relax my hair a bit.

Last weekend I gave myself a blow out because I got bored with my wig and am in the home stretch of my move and didn’t want to really be messing with my hair.

For a while I’ve been kind of struggling thinking my hair was thin. Now that I’ve figured out more how to care for my hair I dunno. I think that too many years of following other naturals who don’t have the same texture as me or my head of hair was rearing up.

I don’t have the big magnificent hair that we see as the marker of Black beauty. I just don’t. It is big. It is not orderly and my fro does this when I don’t mess with it:

That is how my hair looks completely nude. No product. Freshly washed and just let to do what she wanna do. I have a deep natural part in my hair that literally goes from my forehead to almost the crown of my head. I have always had it. The texture of my hair along the part is looser and grows almost kinky straight.

I also thought my edges were thinning. I do have one slightly baldy spot in my edges on the left that happens when I am too stressed out. It just does. This move has maxed my stressed levels so my lil freakout spot is filling back in but was clean bald for a minute. Also the softest bit of skin ever on my whole body for a bit.

I looked at some older photos that I can’t find now and y’all, that’s just how my edges are.

My fellow struggle bus naturals. Hey, you. Come here. If your hair isn’t the fluffiest most plum n juicy curls it is okay. Your hair is great. My hair is great OKAY.

Okay.

SO I gave myself a BOMB blowout. I prepood with coconut oil. A word about coconut oil. I know it has fallen out of fashion. Personally my hair is not on the straight protein bandwagon and doing an overnight coconut oil prepoo once or twice a month makes a huge difference for me. If I use coconut oil a bit sparingly, it works way better. Pro tip.

Then I double cleansed. I used the Shea Moisture (yeah I know we’ll get to it) Raw Shea butter shampoo. (YES amazon affiliatelinks cause Auntie needs coins). So a while back Shea Moisture decided to cash out and go “multi culteral” and in their ads, really ignored the Black women mainly who shot that brand into the stratosphere. They did apologize but I am still not really into them. I also know that some of their products have changed a lot so they are more friendly to White folks and that just makes me angry. I had some of the JBCO lines and compared bottles on the same products and it was very disappointing. THey also called some Black bloggers liars for pointing it out. So I don’t really fucks with them that much.

I had it around and used it.

I followed up with a sulfate shampoo. Garnier Fructis Brazilian Smooth Fortifying Shampoo. Y’all, I have so many Garnier products they are really going in. I LOVE their stuff and it is so inexpensive and easy to find. When I know I’m going to use heat I always use a shampoo that is either anti breakage or fortifying or smoothing. Straightening wash day is about keeping my hair strong and moist.

I followed up with my black tea rinse. I use a jug basically and hot tap water. I drop 4-6 bags of plain black tea in there the night before (I like it strong, if you don’t drink tea or coffee do it an hour before you wash) and then before I wash I dig out the tea bags and drop in a few drops of lavender essential oil or peppermint. Over the years I’ve tried many anti breakage and anti shedding remedies and always come back to black tea. You can also do it in a spray bottle as part of your leave in or do it like I do. After rinsing out all my shampoo I saturate my hair with the tea and massage it into my scalp. Then I added my deep conditioner on top.

I always mix my deep conditioners. I have yet to find one single formula that does it all. This particular mix I wanted some strength and a lot of moisture and less oil than I use when I am not heat styling. I had some trial packets of the Garnier Whole Blends Repairing Mask Honey Treasures so I used some of those. A few sploots of Pantene Pro-V Anti-Breakage Conditioner that I picked up at Grocery outlet a while back. Interestingly, the black folks line from Pantene irritates the shit out of my scalp. I filled it out with some random other moisturizing conditioners. And of course I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil and just the smallest dollop of castor oil. I sat under my bonnet dryer for fifteen minutes, had a hot flash and went and took a nap.

I have a handheld dryer with this giant weird comb/brush/roller attachment thing. It is really old and they don’t make it anymore. But basically it has a finer tooth comb bit, then the air comes out of the larger tooth bit and on the back are these little velvety roller things. Once I figured out how to use that with the tension method voila. For heat protection I used Garnier Fructis Style Smooth Blow Dry Anti-Frizz Cream. Y’all that shit is so good.

This was my result, no other product. Just before I cut about 2 inches off.

hairs

[image description: The author, brown skinned person with kinky blown out hair. Wearing glasses and a lip ring]

Y’all look at my hair.

Is it the thickest? No. But it is so beautiful and I’m so happy with my progress. My roots weren’t super straight which is fine. Yes, all my hair photos I’m bare ass because I don’t wear clothes when I do my hair.

My next project post move will be to make more of my hair growth/scalp stimulation/healing oil. And this summer I might start whipping my own shea butter. AND this summer, I’m tackling some styles so stay tuned for that.

That’s all babes.

Skin Care updates.

Hello darlings.

Let’s talk about skin care today and the state of my skin and whatnot.

For reference. I am 40 will be turning 41 in March. Very VERY oily skin that is prone to:

  • Peeling
  • Rashes
  • Dehydration
  • Major hyperpigmentation and scarring often for no damn reason.

I also have skin that is highly sensitive to weather changes, hormones, anything. My skin as I get older gets more extra.

SO wanna see?

nakedface

[image caption: photo of the blogger, brown skinned femme with a naked face.

I really wish I still had my old phone so y’all could get a better idea of where I started. I do still have a scar/s on my forehead from a bad bout of dermatitis but, with gentle regular care they have faded. Also if you look at the corners of my mouth where my skin splits in the Winter, it is lookin pretty clear.

On my check on the right, you can see two dark marks. Both of those are from two MAJORLY clogged pores. Traditionally, since puberty I’ve been prone to whiteheads. From the teeny ones to big ole HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THAT type ones. The smaller ones caused the most hyperpigmentation on my face. Even if left alone.

Those two marks were the other clogged pore, just clogged up for ages without a bump. I treated them at first with a drying solution which only made the top layer of skin peel.

SO y’all…I know this is counter intuitive but I ignored them.

My skin care routine has been a little off. I’m trying not to buy new skin stuff until after we move and I figure out my storage situation. Here’s what I do in general lately.

  1. Remove make up with whatever, balm, oil, make up wipe. Occasionally I take my eye make up off with castor oil if I’ve been more extra than usual that day.
  2. Cleanse with cleanser.
  3. Rinse very well.
  4. Pat dry.
  5. SOmetimes mask right away.
  6. Or skip #5 use my ACV/Water toner.
  7. Vitamin C/hyalauranic acid serum (under 20$)
  8. Retinol (I’m out and my fave is discontinued *SAD MOO*)
  9. CVS even skin oil.
  10. Moisturizer.

Now. I’ve been doing the 10-sometimes up to 13 step skin care for about a year now. This is the result. My skin is visibly softer, I am way WAY LESS prone to scarring. Let me tell you a story.

A few periods ago, I grew a monster pimple. The likes of which I thought I left in my 20s. It hurt, it was red and ragey for a good four days before it even started to whitehead up. I treated it with my favorite OH SHIT mask.

Let me pause here.

ORIGINS Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask to Rescue Skin Problem. Y’ALL. I know I talk about this product every skin post but I am on tube #3 and it is my real ride or die oh shit product. It is potent. I used a dab of it on Zitzilla every day and it withered. It is in fact expensive but one tube goes a LONG way if you have fairly clear skin and only really need it for oh shitness.

Now, even two years ago I would have wound up with a big almost black mark on the side of my face. When my face scars, the hyperpigmentation will sort of spread like a blob as you can see.

I had a faintish darker than me brown spot for a few weeks and it was gone.

That is HUGE.

Now for most of my life I’d STILL have the scar.

Look at my left cheek, no scar.

Up close I have a few little slightly darker brown scars but they fade fast.

The huge thing is that I stuck with the extra routine. The basics are my skin likes being very clean then, exfoliated and heavily moisturized. This is where I say, you have to give stuff a chance to work.

Right now this moment my face is a bit broken out because I’m out of some of my stuff as I mentioned. My skin is still in good condition, I am concentrating on keeping my skin well cleansed, I do a light peel mask weeklyish and I am still using my spin brush. I also moisturize really well.

I moisturize more than I thought I ever would. I mean, had you told me twenty years ago I would not only moisturize but not be using sebum killer cleansers and aggressively trying to perfect my skin.

Instead, I’ve learned to be gentle with myself even in trying to clear up my skin.

So there it is. After we get moved and whatnot I will talk about what I’m putting back in and going to try out.

 

Aromaleigh- Indie Make up Review

Hello darlings.

Long ago yours truly was SUPER HEAVILY into indie make up. I bought a lot of it and sort of fell off of it.

Not long ago Aromaleigh came across my FB feed and I hadn’t bought anything from them in years and I made a wee tiny order.

Well after my order came I was fairly violently reminded why I stopped buying a lot of indie.

So let’s go.

I purchased a sample of the Porcelana Oil Control Mattifying Primer PowderSPIRITS WEPT Lip Lush and a lip balm.

Let’s talk about the primer first. Frankly I was really hesitant to order because at a glance, obviously this is not really for brown people. The face stuff from this brand is not really brown friendly and hasn’t been, wasn’t when I first ordered years ago and I don’t know what I was thinking. From the site:

Porcelana Oil Control Mattifying Primer Powder is a Magnesium-based translucent primer powder which is finely milled with a creamy feel. A thin layer of Porcelana applied to your problem areas can greatly help in keeping your image of perfection… all day long. This product is based on Aromaleigh v1’s “Porcelaine” Primer- it has the same exact formula, but we’ve adjusted the 3 tone levels to be more user-friendly. Instead of coming in light-medium, medium and medium-deep, Porcelana is available in light, medium and deep.

Ahem. This is the “deep”

20180118_115358.jpg

[image caption: a baggy labeled deep porcelana oil control primer powder, set on brown skin]

Ahem um.

Okay this should be renamed. There is literally nothing “deep” about this shade. It is deep beige? So opening my pretty little package I just sort of stared at it because…look at it.

Now I did try it on my face. I’m experienced with primer powders, I’ve been doing that Jackie Aina trick of powdering pre-foundation for years. First impression when I put it on, holy shit this is ashy. It was not cute and I had to really work my foundation to cover the ash and STILL got some flashback. Not awesome.

Also, it made my face greasier than normal. When trying out primers, I do nothing else different to my face. Daily I wash my face with cold water, I put on my Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging Daily Face Moisturizer With SPF 30 (review soon), use either Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer (review also coming soon) or Pixi Flawless & Poreless Primer, use powder then foundation. Normally, at this point in my face I maybe blot before I leave work but otherwise after about 6 hours my face goes from matte to satin.

This primer had me at full greasy shiny in less than 4 hours.

I honestly shouldn’t have bought it, after reading the page on the site about picking foundation shades and seeing this:


Deep (Aromaleigh Level Four): Your skintone is darker, possibly of mediterranean or other ethnic descent, and you tan easily.

“Other ethnic/tan easily” is cosmetic code for nah. this is not for Black people darker than tan. So Aromaleigh for us browner folks in terms of face stuff, skip it. Just don’t.

However, the lip and eye products are so beautiful.

The liplush in Spirits Wept is such a perfect reddish brown nude for brown skin. If you don’t want a lipstick and want something with a bit of sheen and moisture this is the business. It is so close to my natural lip color I can’t even get a good photo. It has a slight lovely scent, goes on silky smooth. Definitely a great thing and I will buy more. I’ll probably grab a few more shades because a nice not streaky brown nude lip balm is a really great addition to your collection. Especially for folks who don’t really go for a lot of make up. If you want a bit of zoom but nothing like BAM POW LOOK, this is a great product for a great price.

As I remember now, this is a great brand for very beautiful eye color formulations. Hands down, Aromaleigh has my favorite color shifting eyeshadows. These are so beautiful and so soft and blendable. I have several and they are another thing I can recommend for brown skin. A wash of a nice colorshift on the lid, mascara and gloss and voila. Low key glam.

So overall, I’m generally pleased. We all know I LOVE my lippies and even the regular balm I got has been settled into regular rotation. I use it under my Rosebud balm on my lips before bed and my regular winter cracked mouth is healed. If you are darker than Rihanna, don’t bother with the face stuff.

Next time, I’ll review one of my all time fave indie companies Fyrinnae. 

2017 for the Struggle Bus Natural.

About the last one for the year y’alls.

I’m gonna look at hair stuff.

SOoooo y’all.

I had intended to make this big dramatic post, patting myself on the back and twerking in joy because I found a braid extension that doesn’t involve cornrows and that I can do. If you are interested see here. If you want to learn how to do cornrowless crochet braids of any type, seriously sub to Jazz Nicole and learn. Her videos are easy to follow and even I COULD DO IT.

So I practiced. And Sunday I got started.

First thing what had happened was-

I had some MAJOR knots down at my goddamn scalp. I could feel them. Getting them out was traumatic. Because I’ve been mainly finger and wide tooth comb detangling, I’ve avoided a lot of breakage buuuuuuuuuuuuut them little evil ass gremlin knots slipped through the big comb and I damn well know that gliding my fingers from scalp to ends is a no go. SO that was, fucking terrible.

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

Because I don’t heat style more than maybe once a year, I had to fight them knots. I was very gentle but about a quarter of the way through, my scalp started to hurt really badly. Just, sore and bruised so I stopped and resumed on Monday. When I was almost in tears because my whole goddamn head was hurting like I got hit, I should have stopped but………..I did not.

Listen to your Auntie babes.

If your body is saying. HEY NO PLS WHAT THE FUCK STOP NO FUCK U BITCH! Listen.

However, after a few maybe scissor happy trims my hair is doing very well. It is juicy moist, soft. Everything I want and I’m retaining length. That is huge for me because I’m going for booty length hair and I can’t be losing my inches to bullshit.

 

 

The evolution of oh noness. First pic, doing the first section. Holding my hair out I was feeling myself. Second photo, me feeling myself HUGELY. My pretty little braids were soft and shiny. Swingy. Third photo, hours later this is the sweaty face of defeat. That was the point I decided to just give up.

So defeat.

But! Good news.

I have added a new layer of understanding about my hair.

I need a hard all the way down to the scalp, tiny ass comb detangling at least once a month.

My current routine is working out very nicely. Here’s how I get down.

I am hardcore protective styling. I’m wearing wigs.

Doing the LOC method regularly works for me. My hair still loves a heavy ass butter/oil PAPOW combo. When I’m on my game, I only really need to moisturize after washing, then two days later. Then again on wash day.

Now let’s talk about some products I like.

For moisturizing. For a non handmade cream I like some few brands.

Asiam Double Butter Cream. Not bad. It is nicely moisturizing, has good stuff in it and is pretty easy to find.

Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream. WITH a caveat. Cantu products are VERY proteiny. Use with caution especially if your hair is protein sensitive. That said, it is a great one to use if your hair is feeling a little weak. Not a lot, a little goes a long way.

Really for me if something has a good base of shea butter AND has oils, it’s gonna be great.

Oils:

Commercially blended oils.

This one does have a silicone but it’s not a biggie for me. My hair isn’t mad about cones. Hot 6 oil. I love to use it as a base for other stuff.

I like to mix in:

Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Always a fave of mine. My scalp LOVES this shit and when I have an itchy spot it does it for me.

I will also drop in a little bit of peppermint or tea tree oil.

For commercial oils, what you want is to make sure they don’t have mineral oil and if you’re sensitive to silicones skip it.

Oils from the grocery store.

Coconut oil. Y’all do not get fooled into paying vast amounts. Go to a hood grocery, buy a jar of coconut oil. I know it isn’t the big thing anymore but my hair loves it.

Other kitchen oils: olive oil is amazing. For me I like my oils a bit heavier but olive is great and no it doesn’t have to be the fanciest most extra virgin olive ever. Plain ole olive oil, just check the label to make sure it is pure olive oil.

If you live where you can get to a brown folks grocery, look for palm oil.I’ve used it as a hot oil treatment and it was GREAT. Also avocado oil but it is expensive where I live so I tend not to use it.

For ultra softening get a good fatty ass oil.

Non eatin oils:

I LOVE light castor oil and buy one or two bottles a year. My brand is NOW Solutions Castor Oil. Y’all. This is so great to have on hand. I use it to boost conditioners, I use it when I have dry scaly spots on my butt. Honestly that one is my one true love. I’ve used others, jojoba etc but my hair likes it heavy.

Leave ins:

I bounce between two primarily.

My first love is the Oyin Juices n Berries. I am a ride or die og Oyin fan. They make my FAVE whipped butter.  I love the light mist and the scent of juices and berries. This is great for me. It does have glycerin in it so I alternate it with another leave in.

Creme of Nature with argan oil – Strength & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. I LOVE this product. It is a bit more of a heavy spray but gives some excellent slip. Really great. I love this one.

Plain water is great. Occasionally I like to do water mixed with a sploot of oil.

The biggest thing I’ve learned this year about my hair is that I really need to just do me. I LOVE learning about the big wide diverse world of natural hair, I just gotta remember not to try EVERY DAMN SHINY THING ON MYSELF.

Also y’all, I had some setbacks didn’t make my goal length and I am so happy. I love my hair so much.

Coming up in 2018 I’m planning on going HARD on the protective styling. What can I say, I want mermaid hair.

There will be more wig reviews, maybe some struggle bus how to basics?

I dunno.

Happy new year y’all.

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.

2017…..looking back.

2017 has been a giant trash fire.

So….yeah nope.

That said let’s talk about some of my favorite things.

Skincare up first. *Most of these will be affiliate links, Auntie needs coins cause bitches gotta eat.

Cleaners:

L’Oreal Pure Clay Cleanser Detox and Brighten. I am on my second tube of this and I really love it. Leaves my skin nice and clean, it lathers up nicely. It is a bit too perfumy but overall it does me good.

Garnier Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser Sensitive Skin. Y’all know (I will do a new reggie post soon) I double cleanse my face. I picked this up and am about done with a tube. It removes make up really nicely. I use this first. It is gentle enough that my skin stays moist but it does a good job on my long wear foundation. If you don’t wear fourteen pounds of mascara regularly, it gets off mascara well too.

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser. SUCH a great mid/low Sephora type price cleanser. It does in fact deep clean but doesn’t leave my face stripped. This one is in heavy rotation I use it at least twice a week. It is nice and thick, has a great texture on the skin.

BIORÉ Charcoal Acne Cleanser.  This one is a winner with a few caveats. First one, my personal face is very suspicious of salicylic acid. I don’t use it a lot because my skin will get mega dehydrated. That said, I keep this cleanser on deck for hormonal breakouts. Or if my face just feels grody. It will clean the shit out of your face. Great low cost deep DEEP cleanser to have on hand.

GARNIER SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Makeup Remover.  When I first got this, I kind of hated it. I felt like it leaves a film, took WAY too much work to get my make up off because I wear a shitload. HOWEVER, it is really great to follow the make up removing lotion and it will get off ALL my seventeen pounds of mascara and liner without scrubbing. It is great to just get off any missed make up and I’ve been using it daily. If you have dry skin and don’t wear a lot of make up, this might be amazing for you.

Toners:

Now I am a relatively new convert to this step. That said. I’ve been trying some.

I use a 50/50 mix of Bragg USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, With The Mother  and filtered water. I actually feel personally attacked by this. Y’all. I HATE HATE HATE the smell of acv but, it works so well on my body. It works so nicely it makes me ANGRY. I legit get mad. The toner, balances my face and my skin just feels better using it. I used it for three months, took a month off and absolutely noticed a difference in the feel of my skin. I haven’t been able to do a shot of it a day but, baby steps. We’re gonna revisit it.

Moisturizers/serums/oils.

First up Vitamin C serums. My two favorites are Claire-ity 25% Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E and Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E – Anti-Aging Tropical Facial Serum by Umber.  They are almost identical. The Umber serum is a tad bit more liquidy but they perform the same for me. I like having my hyaluronic acid in with the vitamin C. This is another product I questioned the efficacy of. After I ran out of the Claireity I went without for a couple of months and yeah. It matters for my skin. Using vit c serum absolutely helps keep me from developing new hyperpigmentation, my skin is more even toned. Also my current hyperpigmentation smooths out way faster.

THE ORDINARY Buffet. I was on the fence about this one but stopped using it for a while. When it joins with all the other shit I put on my face, smoother skin. Plumper skin. Hydrated skin so I really do love it.

My FAVORITE facial oil isn’t available online. I use a CVS house brand brightening oil. Y’all. It is the SHIT. I was underwhelmed with Argan oil for my face, I honestly grabbed it on a whim and I am very impressed. I’m not sure about the brightening powers but, using it has absolutely upped the general moisturization of my face. HA WAIT I lied. Find it here.

Masks:

Get a snack this is taking a while. For masks I keep quite a few on hand depending on what my skin needs. Some are interchangeable some not so much.

I use sheet masks a lot. I picked up this multipack and y’all. I especially recommend using these after any deep cleansing, deep exfoliation or peels. Mostly, I use them for the hardcore moisture. Also it is just relaxing.

Next up some hardcore ride or dies.

FORMULA 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask. This is marketed for teens and if you’ve been  here a minute, y’all have seent it. This brand is marketed for teens but I bust it out when I’ve got hormonal breakouts or my skin is just trippin. I love it.

Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask. For surface scrubby exfoliation (for me it helps with my peely scaly ass face) this is really great. Not too gritty, leaves my skin soft and fresh. Also the price!!!

Another OH SHIT MY FACE mask is the ORIGINS Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask to Rescue Problem Skin. Y’all. Y’ALL. This shit right here is reserved for my OH FUCK OH FUCK WTF IS THAT SHIT moments. It is powerful and not for the sensitive of faceballs. It is intense enough at drying up pimples that now that my skin is generally clear I reserve it for spot treating bumps, mainly anything with a whitehead, or those shitty under the skin bumps. It works. It will make your eyes water.

I use other masks mainly for relaxation. For instance those packet sauna masks and shit. The Montagne Jeunesse Red Hot Earth Sauna Masque is one of my favorite things on earth. It doesn’t do  much but I love the sensation of self heating so much I will buy them by the handful for strictly relaxing purposes.

Moisturizers- eh none this year have blown my socks off.

So let’s stop there cause I got more and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Come back probably Monday for body stuff!!

What are your faves?

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.