Happiness = Good Hair Days: How to get the perfect curls that last for days!

Alright ladies… a few of you have asked for it – so I’m sharing my hair secrets! From curling tutorial, to keeping it looking fresh, to using affordable products… all my tricks are below for you!

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First of all… I love my hair! It may be the one thing I love the most, other than my long natural eyelashes. I have a ton of it, it’s fine, straightens easily, and holds curl very well. The technique I use will work for any hair – unless it’s super super curly, then I’m not sure this tutorial is for you. So sorry! If your hair is fine, thick, coarse, dry, oily – then you’ve come to the right place!

First lets start off with products! Some people think the more expensive the hair product, the better it is for your hair. While this may be true in some cases, you can find similar products with the same ingredients for a lot less and they will perform the same way. I work in food production – and I can tell you that a lot of brands use the same formula for items, but just the packaging and price point will differ! No need to spend a fortune, but some items are definitely worth a little splurge! The shampoo and conditioner I use religiously is only $6.99/bottle at Walgreens, Ulta, or Target! It’s Hask brand, and I use the nourishing coconut formula. This gets all my tangles out, and helps keep my hair super healthy and strong. I’ve used it for years and love it!

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Before I dry my hair, I always flip it upside down and run Moroccan oil through my ends. I can use about a quarter size amount, because my ends are dryer and can use the extra moisture. This also helps protect the ends from the heat and helps seal them while styling. If the ends are starting to get a little rough in between haircuts – I will also use a split end mender with the oil! The oil I use is below. There are two versions – one is a little thicker, and one is a little more penetrating! Both work great depending on how dry your ends/hair may be.

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Once this is in my hair – I use a wet brush to get all the tangles out and will just blow dry. My brush of choice is just a paddle brush – and this works well with any type of hair, and will help smooth out any bumps or curls. Once my hair is dry, I spray it all over with a little hairspray. I choose to splurge a little on my hairspray and get the Moroccanoil brand in the firm hold. This hairspray goes a long way, because a little makes for lasting hold. I have a lot of hair so I make sure I lift up all the layers and get a coating everywhere. Brush that out and make it smooth… then start to curl! This hairspray is anywhere from $22-24. So a splurge, but not terrible!

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I prefer a wand that does not a have a clamp. I feel the clamp creates a different style of curl that falls easily and does not last as long. I love the L’ange wands. I have two – one in a 1 in barrel, and another in a 1.25 in barrel. That half an inch makes a big difference in the way the curl falls – so for my length currently, I prefer to use the smaller one! You can usually get these on some great deal! I got both for under $45 when they retail for over $120! Do you need to spend a lot on a curling iron? Absolutely not! With the right product and technique – your curls will hold whether your wand cost $25 or $250! I prefer ceramic over titanium. They both get very hot, but ceramic is a more even heat across the wand – where the titanium can have hot spots.

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Hold the wand facing down and wrap your hair around it – away from your face! If the wind blows, you want your hair going with the wind not against it! Leave the ringlets in place until you’ve curled your whole head. Comb through them with your hands to create your loose waves – and spray with a texturizing spray! Then finish with a little hairspray. If you missed a spot or don’t love how it’s falling, you can re-curl those pieces once you see how everything looks. In between washes, I usually put my hair in a high pony with a scrunchie – very loosely when I sleep – and spray dry shampoo in it before I go to bed! This helps soak up the oil that may come during the night, and keeps the volume into the morning. Then I usually just have to re-curl a couple pieces in the morning and off I go!

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My tutorial video is linked below! Hope you enjoy!

New Beauty Product Review

In the past couple months I’ve been getting some new beauty products – and wanted to share my own thoughts and give you an honest review! Some of these products were referrals from other bloggers I follow, and some were my own finds by researching what is out there for the type of make-up/skincare I was looking for. I recently stumbled across a website called Beauty Pedia – and this is honestly the BEST site to use if you’re looking to try something new for yourself. Sometimes its hard to rely on a random recommendation, or a post where someone is saying “this is great, OMG the best, buy it!” Then you spend $40 on a new foundation that might not honestly work for you the same way. What Beauty Pedia does – is completely breaks the product down from performance, the honesty behind the claims the brand is making, how well it works, some of the side effects, and background information on the company that produces the product. This was HUGE for me. I have combination skin – its a little oily, but also has dry spots. I wouldn’t consider my skin sensitive, however it can get irritated easily if there are a lot of dyes or perfumes or certain chemicals that are known to cause irritation.

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Beauty Pedia lets you search in so many different ways. You can choose the product category – then sort by price, by rating, by brand, and when the product was last rated in terms of the date of review. This is so helpful! I personally check the rating first, and then narrow down the best options for my skin, all while being mindful of the price. Obviously you want a five star, but the reasoning for it getting a four may not be of a concern for you – so really read why they give it the score they do to determine whether or not that matters to you. Not every product is on here, and by no means is this the beauty bible you need to live by, but it is such a great guide when looking for something new.

I do not wear a ton of face makeup. I’ve always just felt like the more was on my face, the heavier it felt and then I was constantly fighting oil and breakouts. This could be a combination of not using the right products, maturity of my skin, and my daily routine – but either way, the lighter the better. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE makeup – give me all the eyeshadows and I am one happy girl! I realized however, that I was constantly just buying the same things over and over again because that’s what I’ve always done, and turns out that wasn’t working too well for me!

Last summer I switched over to Tula products for my daily skincare routine. I honestly saw a difference in my skin after the first week. You can read my Daily Skincare Routine post from last week for my journey in finding this brand! This is what jump started my pursuit of new products to enhance my beauty routine. Your skin and face are in front of everyone all day long, so you might as well put your best face forward, am I right? Got new everyday lotion, some exfoliators, serums and oils, etc. Things I always stayed away from because I thought they would irritate my skin… and always assumed oils would make my skin oilier. Oil actually cuts oil… craziness! I’m so glad I did some more research!

I’ve also recently fell in love with some Kiehl’s products for my daily skincare routine. Not all of them have fantastic ratings, (not everything is rated on this site FYI), but they seem to work well for my skin, and can be mixed well with my Tula products without irritation.

Anyways, enough of my rambling on and on… let’s get to the reviews and the good stuff, and unfortunately not so great on things I was hoping would work!

Tula – So my daily routine always includes Tula. They also have some Kefir products which are a milk oil base and are super hydrating. I have the cleanser and the moisture repair pressed serum. The cleanser pumps out liquidy, and then just melts into a moisturizing milk. It takes off makeup just on it’s own without water, and leaves your skin feeling so smooth and refreshed. I keep this in my shower and use it in the morning! I still love the Tula face cleanser better for removing the day from my skin, but this cleanser is also great when your face is already clean and you just need to hydrate! The pressed oil is just amazing. It’s similar in consistency to a soft coconut oil, and just soaks completely into your skin for instant hydration. It goes smooth and after a minute or two does not look greasy at all. I like to use this if my skin is feeling extra dry, or I see areas that may be a little irritated from makeup or lots of stress on my skin… and it works miracles. Highly recommend. They made a new mask for this line – and I am definitely going to try that next!

 

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Kiehls Micro-dermabrasion  – This is a brand I just recently added into my routine about a two months ago. They have been around forever and are known for using natural and safe ingredients. It does say they test on animals – however this is only because they sell outside of the US to other countries that mandate animal testing. So in the US they do not, which is why it states “not tested on animals unless otherwise required by law”. Not sure if that is important to you or not, but that is why some products use that statement on their packaging. Not all their products are rated very well on Beauty Pedia – but again, if they are working for your skin, then go for it! The microdermabrasion scrub is by far my favorite investment. It’s affordable and comes in a generous size. You have to be careful with scrubs and their ingredients. You want it to really remove and polish, without making micro cuts in your skin. The scrubs that have larger chunks in them can actually make tiny abrasions in your skin and will get irritated and inflamed. OUCH! This scrub is super fine, and does a great job of removing dirt, dry skin, flaky skin, and works for all skin types. I use it twice a week, sometimes three, and its wonderful. Little bit goes a long way and it does not dry out my skin at all- so it’s a great investment.

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Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil –  You can combine this into your moisturizer, add it to any of their masks, use it alone… and it repairs your skin overnight! Kind of like a revival during your sleep! I was sold because I had a patch of irritation around my nose for about three months. I tried everything and nothing helped cure this area – until this oil. It just calms your skin and adds so much moisture. Its good for all skin types, and just repairs and evens skin tone and texture while you sleep. I use about 4 drops a night, and this little bottle is still almost full after a month – it will last forever and is only $47!

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Kiehl’s Buttersticks –  I’ve also got a couple of their tinted lippies- they’re great! SPF 25 tinted chap stick is basically what they are. Adds a pop of color, but really hydrates and keeps your lips moisturized. I don’t wear a ton of makeup to work everyday (like to let my skin breathe here and there) – and these are a great option to add just a tint of color. I have the touch of berry and the simply rose and I love them! They look like a lipstick in the tube, but they go on sheer.

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Glam Glow Fizzy Lip and  Lip Balm treatment – Chapped lips were literally my arch nemesis this winter. OMG it was the worst its ever been… and didn’t help that Chicago winters are 8 months out of the year, ha! I was hoping this duo was going to cure my lip blues… but I honestly am indifferent. The scrub is not bad – tastes good and when you add water to it, it bubbles and fizzes on your mouth. Not sure what’s in there, but it’s kinda fun! However if you’re lips are hurting – you don’t really need to add some fizz. The balm is actually SUPER jelly and amazing when you put it on, however I felt like I had to apply a lot, and while it feels good right when you put it on… I’m not sure it helped heal anything. The packaging is so cute and fun… but goes to show that not everything pretty and pink is really worth the mula – $20/each. I will continue to use it because I don’t feel like it’s making my symptoms worse, but I most likely will not re-buy.

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Daily Concepts Hair Towel – so this little towel helps speed dry your hair! My hair is shorter and doesn’t take too long to dry, but I wish i had this when my hair was longer. It does a great job of taking out a TON of moisture! Also helps reduce frizz and cuts down on dry time.

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Briogeo Hair Mask – I got this hair mask in my fabfitfun box, and while I’m not wowed beyond belief, it’s not terrible either. When I think hair mask, I think of like an old Herbal Essences commercial with the amazing voluminous nourished hair that is super shiny, and I’m dancing in a field of flowers rejoicing in the wonderfulness of my new conditioned hair…. too much? Ha! Well this didn’t bring me to that field of flowers, but it didn’t make my hair worse. At the moment I am indifferent, but I am going to keep using it and keep it on a little longer to see if that makes a difference, because it does have good consumer reviews. Not sure I would spend my own money on this, however the FabFitFun box was only $29 with code YAY if you’ve never ordered one before… so I am glad I got to try it this way rather than spend the full price on this one item.

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Marrakesh Argan & Hemp Oil Therapy – so this also came in my fabfitfun box and I’m so glad it did! It’s super thick and smells amazing – kind of like oatmeal and cocounuts. My ends are typically very dry compared to the roots of my hair, so I actually put this on when my hair is dry – and it adds a ton of shine and moisture and smells amazing. It soaks in nicely after a minute or two, and I was able to style my hair and seal my ends. I really like it and will definitely get this again when I run out! Also works well if you put it on your hair while it’s wet before styling. Only around $20 in most stores.

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Philosophy “Love Swept” spray – I got this new perfume in a mini size just to keep in my purse. It’s such a light and refreshing floral scent. There are definitely days at work where I am running around, in and out of the manufacturing plant, doing R&D work in the kitchen – and I NEED a spritz here and there to mask the smell of stress. This one is great and really affordable! It’s only $20 and the scent lasts all day. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it recently… it’s always nice when people think you smell great as opposed to a sweaty hot mess (which is how I feel most days lately).

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Tarte Eye Shadow Pallet – AMEN to this pallet! This was also a fabfitfun item, but I found it at Ulta for $30, and will definitely buy this when it runs out or at least another pallet in the Tarte family. This one is all gold, pink, and bronze tones that are perfect for summer. The one darker color is like a plum/brown shade – which I love because I have hazel eyes, so the plum color really makes them pop! I’ve been using this all week and they stay on nicely and hold their color without fading throughout the day. LOVE me some eye shadows! Considering the whole box was only $29.99 – I would have been happy just receiving this one item!

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Clarins Eye base – on the topic of eye shadow…. where has eye base been all my life? Why did no one tell me how amazing it is? Essentially its like a concealer for your lid, that holds your eye shadow in place so it wont crease. It also makes the color of your eye shadow really pop – and stays in place all day. I don’t know how I never knew of this product, because my shadow ALWAYS ended up in the crease of my eye. I just assumed it was because I have oily skin… nope, just not using this amazing base. I was told by a few people this was the best, and it’s $26 dollars and I am a forever customer. Helpful hint, it does work the best if your lid is free of any product. So in the morning I try and put my eye cream just underneath my eyes and not on my lid… this way it works the best for me.

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Bobbi Brown “Peace, Love, Beach” shadows – there are three pallets in this little series, and I opted for the Beach combination. They’re great! I randomly read somewhere that adding a tiny of copper to underneath your eyelid makes you look less tired… not sure if that is true, but I love the little glimmer it adds to my everyday makeup routine. Plus I’m usually always tired so it can’t hurt right? These shadows are very pigmented and just make your eyes so shinny and beautiful. I love them. I think I can probably find something similar at a lower price point next time, as this pallet was $30 for only three colors.

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St. Tropez Instant Self Tanner – After countless positive things other bloggers were saying about this self tanner – I bit the bullet and purchased. I got the Instant tan for $40. Instructions say to use a mitt for application, and leave on different lengths of time depending on the color you want to achieve. It definitely works, and stays on for a long time! AMEN. It’s a mouse/foam, so once you pump it into the mit, it spreads on evenly and rubs in nicely to your skin. I don’t love how it looks on my hands and feet. Those are the two hardest parts of the body to apply self tanner to, but this brand seems to stick in weird places and gives me a little uneven color. I’ve tried avoiding my hands and then combining some of the tanner into lotion – then putting that on my hands and feet, but that didn’t seem to help either! Could completely be user error – I mean I am new to self tanner in general, ha. However I do love how it looks on the rest of my body. Not orange, and lasts for 3-4 days. It does rub off a little before you rinse off, so my advise would be to wear loose baggy clothing and long sleeve top to sit around in after you apply so it does not get on your furniture, blankets, sheets etc.

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St. Moriz Self Tanner – This is a much more affordable self tanner and also is a foam – so its super easy to apply with a mitt as well. $10-13!! This does not last as long as the St. Tropez, however it looks much better on my hands and feet for whatever reason. I did a combo of the two the last time I applied and did not experience the hand/feet struggle! Hooray! It does stay on for a day or two – so if you don’t mind applying more frequently… this is a great option and price!

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Free people sleeping mask – So I’ve never used a sleeping mask, but there are definitely nights were I have a hard time falling asleep. Other nights… I’m out in about 3 seconds! This mask has a little weight to it, which helps just put the right amount of pressure on your lids to keep them closed and put you into sleep mode! Still getting used to having something around my head while sleeping – but getting over that each night I use it.

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Super Goop Unseen Sunscreen – ladies, this is the HOLY GRAIL of sunscreen to wear under your makeup. It’s literally a primer, and yes – it’s called unseen because it goes on matte and clear. Has no white residue whatsoever. It also acts as a moisturizer and helps fill in the lines and imperfections in your skin (like a primer is supposed to do), and helps your makeup application look flawless. Cannot say enough good things. It’s safe for any skin type and can be used by itself just as a sunscreen! It is $40, but that’s similar cost to any other primer, and this one is packed with sunscreen protection and other awesome nutrients for your skin. Job well done, Supergoop!

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Super Goop Acai Fusion Lip Balm – now this is a lip product that actually heals AND is loaded with essential sunscreens. Forever customer. Smells great, goes on shinny and sheer, protects, and heals! $9.50.

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Ok – more to come later as I continue to try new things… please send your recommendations below for products you love! Anything hair, nails, skincare, beauty I am all about!

 

Hair Care + Styling Tools

I recently chopped off seven inches of my hair… ahh! I’ve been saying for over a year that I wanted to try a lob (long bob), and finally had the courage to make the cut! I will say that I definitely miss the length on some days just for ease of styling – however I feel very chic and sassy with the shorter length!

When my hair was longer I could easily throw in some Moroccan oil on my ends, a texture or root boost spray along my hair line, and blow dry it with a big round brush – and boom, done! Throw in a couple big loose curls and I could go days without shampooing thanks to some dry shampoo, and toss it in a pony on days where I was stretching the time frame in between washes.

Shorter hair is definitely a little more work – but now that I’ve gotten into a new routine, I’m loving my new look! First thing I had to change was the way I curled my hair. Before, I was using a 1.25 barrel wand for really pretty loose natural looking curls. When the length came off, I felt like when those curls fell, my hair looked like a big triangle – not good! I tried curling with my flat iron, a 1- inch clamp curling iron, a large 2-inch iron… and wasn’t loving any of it. I ended up buying the same L’ange curling wand I had in a 1.25 barrel – in the 1-inch ceramic size. This was the same size I used in the salon the day it was cut, and I loved how it looked – and the style lasted for days with just a few touch ups! These wands sell for about $120 dollars – however the brand will run frequent specials for any ondulé for $45. Such a great deal!

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What is the difference between a titanium wand and a ceramic wand? I had the same question! Did some research and basically found that the titanium wands heat up super fast, however they can have hot spots – so sometimes you can get a little uneven heat throughout the wand. Also – if you accidentally burn your had or any part of your skin, the burn seems to be a tad more intense and leaves a mark almost immediately. Yes – I’m speaking from experience, ha! I’ve curled my hair for years, but when I first got a wand without a protective tip on the end – I would get my finger, neck, or my shoulder all the time. SO freaking annoying! Anyways, the ceramic wands will still heat up fast, however it’s a more even and controlled heat. So you wont get those hot spots – and it’s a little less painful if you happen to tap your skin, and so far I haven’t gotten a mark when that has happened! Keeping my fingers crossed there.

Both types of wands will give you a great curl if you use the right products and technique! For me, I found that the best way to curl for my length of hair was to first straighten the bottom inch or two with a flat iron, and then curl my hair by just wrapping medium sized chunks of hair around the barrel. This creates a natural looking bouncy curl, but leaves the ends a little straight. When the curls fall a little throughout the day, it looks more like a wave and my hair no longer looks like a big triangle! HOOORAY!

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When my hair is freshly washed, I start by combing it out with a wet brush. Ladies – if you have not invested in a Wet Brush – go to the store IMMEDIATELY and buy one! They’re anywhere from $10-12 dollars and do wonders for untangling hair right out of the shower. Mine is always super tangled when it’s wet, no matter what conditioner I use – so this brush is seriously a lifesaver! After it’s brushed out, I add the Living Proof Split End Mender, and the OGX Penetrating oil to my ends. Order doesn’t really matter, so I just combine them both into my hand, flip my head over, and massage the products into the ends of my hair. I avoid the roots of my hair as much as possible because I tend to get more oily at the base of my head, and my ends typically are dryer due to the lighter ombré color in my hair.  Both these products help seal the ends, and add moisture to prevent drying. The oil also does a great job of adding a little shine.

I blow dry my hair upside down for about 3-4 minutes to give it a little extra volume and get most of the moisture out. Then I flip my hair back upright, section my hair off in horizontal layers, and dry with a large round brush to smooth out the waves. I naturally have a little wave to my hair, so the round brush really helps straighten those out before I style my hair.

Once it’s dry – I either straighten with my flat iron, or curl with one of my wands. I add the Moroccan Oil Luminous Hairspray to my dry hair all over before I begin to curl. I brush it out so it’s smooth, then section off my hair and begin curling. Once I’ve completed my entire head, I flip it over and add the OGX Bodifying + Bamboo texture spray. This product does go on a little wet as opposed to most aerosol texture sprays, so shake it up really good before you apply. I separate most of my curls upside down with my hands, and then TA-DA! Perfect curls are complete. I add a little Dry shampoo to my hair around my hair line, and ears (since I’m always tucking my hair behind them multiple times a day). This helps combat some of the oil that I know eventually will appear!

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For everyday use – the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day is the HOLY GRAIL of dry shampoo. I’ve tried them all – and this one 100% is the best out there. It actually cleans your hair – and I’m able to go three days in-between washes, when I was normally on the every other day schedule. Sometimes I can push to four if I wear it in a pony! Doesn’t have a smell, and truly just re-freshens your hair with little to no residue. I have really dark roots, so most dry shampoo tends to leave a white powder – this one does not, and the small amount that may show up right after you spray to your roots, easily disappears when you massage the product in. AMEN sista! 

I also love the Dove Refresh + Care dry shampoo. There are a few different kinds, but I always get the Volume & Fullness spray. It’s a super affordable option for everyday use! It does have a little scent, but it’s light and refreshing and fades after you apply it to your hair. I use this before I go to bed, to help combat the nigh time oil that pops up during sleep. It also adds a little volume, which is great if your going on a couple days without shampoo and your hair needs some umph! 

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That’s my routine! Hope this helps for anyone with my style of hair, and also any length of hair really! What are your favorite affordable products? Comment below so I can try them!