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Last August (2012), I moved from BC to Ontario and my skin had never been worse! The summer in Ontario was very humid and hot! And my skin got increasingly oily, and I had breakouts worse than I ever had before. I broke out on my forehead, my cheeks and chin/jawline and it made me very self conscious. In addition to the breakouts, my skin was also very congested causing the texture of my skin to look very dull and bumpy and no amount of physical exfoliants (such as the St. Ives apricot scrub, or even my Clairsonic) would help. I took to the internet in search of products that would help! All I could find was that I needed to let my skin adjust… and so I waited for months! And nothing helped. I was breaking out so much and I was afraid my skin was going to scar from all the breakouts.

So I finally took a chance and purchased the Neostrata oil-free smoothing lotion, Level 3 (10% glycolic acid). I was hesitant to buy it because it was quite expensive ($30-$40) but I’m so glad I did! After about a week I had noticed my forehead was significantly less bumpy and the frequency of my breakouts (which was literally new breakouts every morning I woke up) was decreased! It was my first time using a product with glycolic acid and at first it stung a bit, I think due to the amount of breakouts I had on my skin, but now I don’t notice any stinging. I’ve used the Neostrata lotion for about a month and a half now and my skin looks smooth. I feel like it even helps control the amount of oil my skin produces throughout the day! Before this lotion, my skin was so oily I was blotting several times during the day. I went through blotting sheets so fast! it was disgusting.

Since purchasing the Neostrata lotion (and it’s a product I will continue to purchase!), I have  made a few other changes to my skincare routine and have tried new products that I feel have really made all the difference in my skin. I still get the occasional breakout, but that’s nothing major to me! I can easily cover them with a little bit of concealer.

Here is my new skincare routine:

Evening Routine: 

  • I pre-wash my face with the Ole Henriksen Aloe Vera Deep Cleanser, just to remove the initial layer of makeup on my skin. I then take more face wash, lather it in my hands and apply to my face and use my Clairisonic Mia. Rinse with luke warm water and gently pat dry with a clean towel.
  • I use the Clean and Clear persa-gel 5 (benzoyl peroxide) cream on my breakouts if I have any and let that soak in for a few minutes. I then moisturize with my Algenist Firming and Lifting Cream all over my face. Then apply the Olay Pro X eye restoration complex cream to the skin around my eyes.

Day Time Routine:

My daytime routine is what has changed the most! Thanks to a wonderful worker at LUSH who gave me this amazing tip! She told me that my skin might be so oily because i’m over cleansing and stripping the oils from face. What happens when you strip natural oils from your skin? Your skin compensates by over producing oil! So she recommended instead of repeating my night time routine in the morning, to simply spritz my face with the Tea Tree Toner Water and massage my daytime lotion (the neostrata lotion previously mentioned) immediately into my skin while it is still moist from the Tea Tree Toner. At first I was reluctant to do this because I feel like the oil was going to break me out more! But she said that technically you haven’t done anything over night, so your skin is still clean (as long as you’re sleeping on clean pillow sheets). By spritzing your skin with the toner water first it helps you to absorb your moisturizer into your skin, but also to absorb the natural oils your skin produced over night. I have to say that this is my favorite skin care tip ever! I maybe blot my skin once throughout the day… ONCE! That’s such a change for me! And I breakout much less frequently. Daytime skincare steps:

  • Spritz face with Tea Tree Toner Water, immediately apply pea sized amount of Neostrata lotion to my face and massage in! That simple.

I hope this was helpful to some people! If you have any questions please post a comment. I also will include links to the products, so that you can read about them and decide for yourself if they’d help you too!

Cheers!

Shannon

Products Mentioned:

http://www.sephora.com/product/productDetail.jsp?keyword=OLE%20HENRIKSEN%20Aloe%20Vera%20Deep%20Cleanser%20P42316&skuId=966010&productId=P42316&_requestid=40100

http://www.sephora.com/firming-lifting-cream-P303024?skuId=1394261

http://www.lush.ca/Tea-Tree-Water/00405,en_CA,pd.html

http://www.sephora.com/mia-skin-cleansing-system-P285163?skuId=1200997

http://www.neostrata.ca/products/-category/exfoliating/oil-free-smoothing-lotion-level-3/32/

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Hi Lovelies!!!

Long time no post, I know. But I’m back to bring you a post that was requested by a friend of Shannon and I’s. Lately my nail polish routine has consisted of a solid colour on the nail, with a glitter tip and when our friend saw my instagram photos she was shocked I hadn’t done a tutorial. So here I am, and here you go!

Here are some instagram photos I’ve taken of previous nail combinations 🙂

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Alrighty, so as you can see it’s a simple colour, with some glitter on the tips. On with the tutorial !! 😀

1. Choose your colours.

Illamasqua Phallic & Sephora by OPI Only Gold For Me

2. If necessary/wanted add base coat (I didn’t for this tutorial as it was not available).

3. Paint nails with as many coats of the base colour as needed. Phallic only required two coats. Allow to dry completely.

4. For the purpose of experimentation for this tutorial, my next step was to paint my nails with the matte top coat. When doing this at home should you choose to do so, this step is not necessary as you finish with the matte top coat at the end.

5. Apply glitter nail polish of your choice half way up the nail to start.

6. Continue by adding additional layers of the glitter polish, but towards the tip of the nail. This creates a gradient effect with less glitter towards the middle of the nail, and chunkier glitter on the tip of the nail. Allow coats to dry for a couple minutes between layers. When working with glitter, too many coats can cause the polish to go goopy, making it hard to work with. So be patient, don’t touch anything and then move on 🙂

7. This step is very important. After applying as many layers of glitter as you would like, allow your nails to dry completely. If you apply a top coat on top when the polish is still wet, it will shift the glitter which we don’t want now do we! Once dry, apply a top coat. I chose matte today, but you can choose regular if you would like! My favourite regular top coat is Seche Vite.

(You’ll notice I don’t have the glitter on my nails at this point. It’s because I chose to apply the matte top coat after painting my nails with the base colour. For tutorial purposes I wanted to show the difference between choosing a glossy top coat and a matte one)

Here’s the finished product!!!

I hope that you guys enjoyed this post, and if you try it at home let us know what you thought!!!

xoxox

Caitlin

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Hey everyone,

Recently I’ve been trying to work in natural remedies and products into my health care and beauty routine. I have a few things I’m still trying out (such as apple cider vinegar, and blackstrap molasses) that I will get to in a future post, but for now I wanted to talk about my Shampoo Free experiences.

I first became interested in this movement a few months ago. I have consistently been sensitive to different kinds of commercial shampoos. I found my scalp being itchy, flaking, and irritated! I’ve had to switch between many different shampoos – everything from dove, to l’oreal, fructis, joico, etc.! I began to read up on the harms of sulfates and SLS, so I began trying out organic shampoos such as ones by Giovanni, Abba, and even LUSH shampoo bars. Giovanni actually worked really well for me for about a year and then all the sudden I was back in the same old routine of irritated scalp. So I figured I’d try to phase out all commercial soaps all together.

I tried using baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse but I didn’t really like the way it left my hair feeling. It felt as thought I had some weird build up in my hair and scalp. On top of that, my hair looked really dull.

I then found Chagrin Valley shampoo bars. I couldn’t believe how natural the ingredients were! For example, their Coconut Milk Shampoo bar contains: Saponified oils of sweet almond, coconut, sunflower, rice bran, castor bean, jojoba, organic palm, canola; organic coconut milk; water. That’s it?? I couldn’t believe something that natural could possibly clean my hair, but I ordered a few sample sizes and was cautiously optimistic! I ordered the coconut milk bar, ayurvedic bar and summer sunshine bar. I tried the coconut milk bar first. It left my hair “waxy” and very textured… the extra “texture” was nice at first – I had slightly more wavy hair than normal, but after a few weeks and a few washes it was clear that this waxy build up was not going anywhere! it just got worse and worse! It was such a strange feeling. My hair felt almost wet even if it was dry, and didn’t really look “greasy” but felt like it was and looked really stringy. I couldn’t wear my hair down at all! I then tried the Ayurvedic bar and the same situation happened! So I switched back to “traditional” shampoos.

I spent hours looking online about other people’s experiences with shampoo bars. There seemed to be mixed reviews and many had also experienced the “waxies” as they called them on different hair forums. Some suggested using an apple cider vinegar rinse to help clarify the hair, while others attributed it to hard water. Some people claimed it was just a “transition” phase that my hair had to go through and that eventually it would stop. I was not ready to give up on going all natural with my hair so I decided to try again. Many people claimed that the lather from the Chagrin Valley bars was very rich and luxurious, something I had not experienced while trying them out initially, so I decided to switch up my technique and I’m so thankful I did! Let me tell you about what I was doing that DID NOT work for shampoo bars. I would lather the bar as much as I could in my hands then apply to my hair all at once and rinse out. Now here’s what I do that has made all the difference!

1) Section hair horizontally, separating hair into top and bottom securing the top part on a bun on top of my head with an elastic. Leave bottom section hanging down.

2) Get into shower, and wet the entire bottom section so it is completely soaked. (if the top section gets wet it really doesn’t matter, just as long as the top section is out of the way so you can concentrate on cleaning the bottom half)

3) Separate the bottom section in half so I have one section on either side of my neck.

4) Take the shampoo bar and run it from top to bottom of the hair section really working it into the hair and voila ! It actually lathers! After a few times of running the shampoo bar on my hair I put the bar aside and really work it into my hair and scalp using my hands.

5) Rinse very well! Then move onto the other sections.

All together I separate my hair into 4 sections. After they’re all cleaned individually I do one last overall rinse and then i’m done! I have quite long hair so I feel like separating my hair into sections really helps the soap lather and clean efficiently as opposed to just gliding on and forming that waxy coating I initially experienced. If you have thicker hair then perhaps doing more smaller sections will benefit you too. Now granted it does take a little longer than traditional shampoos but for the luxury of being able to use something really natural on my sensitive scalp, it’s more than worth it for me! After shampooing with the shampoo bar my hair doesn’t have that “stripped” irritated feeling, it just feels clean. I also noticed that I don’t really use conditioner after. After shampooing my wet hair doesn’t have that slick, soft feeling which I believe is attributed to the silicones that traditional shampoos and conditioners contain. However, once it is dried (I really try to let my hair air dry completely, and avoid unnecessary heat from a blow dryer if/when possible!) it is shiny and soft, especially considering that I don’t use a conditioner!

Coconut Milk Shampoo bar on the left and Summer Sunshine shampoo bar on the right. I keep them in a metal container out of the shower as they will melt from the moisture and a lot of product will be wasted.

One of the samples I ordered from Chagrin Valley.

 

I have become a big fan of the summer sunshine bar! And have even found natural shampoo bars in my local health food store that I am excited to try. Since I am quite new to these shampoo bars, I am still being cautiously optimistic that my hair and scalp continue to react well to them. I will definitely keep you posted! If you’re interested in shampoo bars I encourage you to check out your local health food store or the Chagrin Valley site: http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandsalve.com/ I had a very good experience ordering online from the Chagrin Valley website. The shipping was prompt and wasn’t too expensive! The best thing to do (in my opinion) is order a few sample bars from them and just try a few to see which ones suit you best, or take a look in your health food stores. Just make sure that whatever you purchase is as natural as you can find! I encourage you to look on the Chagrin Valley website just to see what kinds of ingredients to look for, and they also have really good information about natural shampoos that I found very interesting!

I hope this was helpful and interesting! I will be sure to update soon if I have anything to add.

Please share any comments or questions!

Shannon

(these were my own opinions and have not been endorsed by any of the products mentioned 🙂 )

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Hey Everyone!
I haven’t done a post in a really looong time. I’ve wanted to but just haven’t had the time. Caitlin and I have had a lot of changes in the last few months. We both are going back to school and have both moved to new locations! Caitlin is going to be going into a business program and I’ve been accepted into a Masters program so it’s been a very exciting time for us.
Anyways on to what this post is really about: Moisturizing Dry, Cracked cuticles.
I’ve always been self conscious of my hands. I always thought I had such “man hands” hahaha and on top of that my hands were always dry with my cuticles cracking no matter the time of year. I really thought that the use of a regular body moisturizer on my hands would help my cuticles, and when it didn’t, I thought that’s just how they were supposed to be. They literally have been cracked and dry for so long that I just thought of it as normal. Lately I’ve been a lot more aware taking better care of them. I have found that small changes have made me feel more happy with my hands and that taking a little more time to care for them has made all the difference.

I want to show you some before and after pictures!

Here is a before picture. This is a picture I took of a new nail polish I have fallen in love with called “you callin’ me a lyre?” Unfortunately, I could never bring myself to post it as my cuticles look so cracked and I was too embarrassed! As you can see my pinky is so cracked it actually has a sore on it… and that was the norm for me! I have to admit though that my cuticles have looked much worse than this.

Before

Here is my after photo. As you can see my nails and cuticles look much healthier! No cracks or sores to be seen.

After

The main difference I made to my hands was adding a cuticle cream. I had tried creams made specifically for cuticles before but I always found them either too oily, or ineffective. As a result I never kept up the routine long enough to see a difference, and/or got tired of leaving oily residue all over my house! The cuticle cream I use now and will continue to repurchase is “Burt’s Bees lemon butter cuticle creme.”

Ingredients: Sweet almond oil, beeswax, lemon oil, tocopheryl acetate & tocopherol (vitamin E), cocoa butter, candelilla wax, rosemary extract, beta-carotene.

This is so quick and easy to apply! It reminds me of a lip balm in size and consistency. It’s in a very convenient, small package so I can take it anywhere with me. The texture of the “creme” is light and it just takes a few seconds to rub in a small amount of product and you’re good to go. I wouldn’t even really call this a “creme” as it is more solid and melts at body temperature. It has a nice light lemon scent that I find quite pleasant. The best part of this product is that it didn’t take too long for me to see results. It took literally only a few days for me to see a dramatic difference. Going from years of chronically dry cuticles to “normal” looking hands in a few days time was quite a pleasant surprise to me! I literally only apply this once a day usually at night as I’m watching tv or before bed (and it takes less than a minute for me to do both hands). This product retails for about $6.00. I know this is a product I will continue to use. I normally use this in conjunction with Aveeno’s intensive relief hand cream, or any other moisturizer I happen to have on hand.

I hope you found this helpful! if you have any questions please leave a comment!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Shannon

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Hey Guys!

Today I had a good day and posted two new videos!

The first was a video on products that I use to help combat my extremely oily skin. I mention products from facewash to makeup setting tips! Check it out!

The second was actually a request that someone had left in a comment on one of my videos. Here’s a look at each lipstick that I have in my shelving unit. I have to say that I paid for all of these myself, and it is in no way a means to brag about how much I own. I honestly don’t think that one needs this much. Ha ha!

Remember to subscribe to my youtube channel for all video updates 🙂

xoxox

Caitlin

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Hi Everyonnee!!

I’ve had a crazy busy day, yet somehow I managed to get two videos up!!! I donno how I did it but here they are to share with you all 🙂

January Beauty Favourites:

What’s In My Bag?!

I will be back hopefully soon for some more posts. Got a review of a mascara coming up soon!!

Back to studying. Work full time + two tests on Thursday = very stressed caitlin.

Thanks for reading, and remember for all my YouTube video updates you should subscribe 🙂

Caitlin

 

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Hi Everyone!

Hope your week is going well!! I filmed a couple days ago a makeup tutorial. I’m getting better at this whole editing the video sort of thing! 🙂 Its a total learning experience for me, and I’m glad you guys are along for the ride!

I did a basic brown smokey eye with a bit of gold, and it’s really easy and super wearable! Check it out!!!

Hope you guys enjoyed 🙂 Remember, subscribe to my channel if you want to stay updated with all the videos that are posted!! Shannon and I might be doing a sister tag soon!!!! AHH!!

xoxox

Caitlin

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