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Basics of Highlighting and Contouring

December 21, 2014
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How to Contour

Learn how to contour your face to create the illusion of perfect symmetry! Contouring and highlighting are makeup techniques used by nearly every makeup artist designed to bring light to certain features on your face while creating a shadow effect on others. The goal is to create an illusion with makeup that draws attention to specific areas while diminishing the look of others. Depending on your skin or preference, you can contour and highlight using creams, liquids, or powders. For highlight, you will want to use a shade lighter then your skin tone. For contour, you will use a shade darker then your skin tone. I prefer to always use a highlight color that has a little bit of shimmer to give a glow to the face. For contour, use a matte color for the perfect shadowing.

  • Cheeks

    I like to start with my contour to map out my face. Start by applying a darker shade to the hollows of your cheekbones from the hairline down the cheek about halfway and blend. If you have trouble finding the hollows of your cheeks, suck in cheeks like a fishy face and you will find the hollows. You can add as much dark color as needed but always start out light and build up. You can also bring the contour up the sides of the forehead near the hairline to create a smaller forehead. Apply highlight right above the contour on the tops of your cheekbones where light naturally hits the skin. When applying blush, concentrate on applying it to the apples of the cheeks.

  • Nose

    The nose can be a little bit tricky, but with more practice it looks amazing! Apply your contour color on each side of the bridge of your nose. I like to start the contour from the tip of my nose and bring it upward to ensure a straight line. Apply the highlight color down the very center of your nose.

    Tip: The more you blend, the more natural your contour will look!

  • Eyes

    When it comes to highlighting the eyes, apply highlight underneath the brow. That will help arch the brow and make it look clean. Also you can apply highlight color into the inner corners of the eyes for a more awake look.

I Don’t Need Botox in my Twenties—And Neither Do You

December 20, 2014
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This is my personal opinion but I believe getting botox in your 20s is way too early.

I think that both men and women become their sexiest after thirty. So why mess with your face now?

In our 20s, we make the biggest skin mistakes. Those mistakes actually create wrinkles versus preventing them. I’m not saying it’s time to start chemical peels and microdermabrasion now, but little things here and there—and maybe some big things—will help you avoid going for the botox needle in the near future.

Here’s a list of lifestyle tips to follow if you’re serious about anti-aging or want to slow it down a bit.

  • 1. You Don’t Need a Cigarette or a Drink to Party

    I’m not saying be a bore and don’t go to parties. You’re only young once! When you’re older, it’ll be more awkward to explain. But while partying, make healthier choices.

    Say no to smoking.

    No, seriously. Not only will your health thank you, your face will love you. Smoking constantly deprives the skin of oxygen and vital nutrients. So some smokers appear pale, while others develop uneven coloring. Youth is about glowing skin and having makeup free days. And trust me, 20s are very youthful if you do it right. As for wrinkles? Smoking basically destroys any collagen or elastin which means your skin starts to drop and those laugh lines or forehead lines will be set in stone—actual hard lines.

    Also why do smokers generally have more eye wrinkles or crow’s feet than anyone else? The warmth from lighting up cigarettes and squinting to keep smoke out of your eyes contribute to visible crow’s feet. Meanwhile, chemicals from inhaled tobacco cause internal damage to the skin structures and blood vessels around your eyes.

    Alcohol consumption is no better. People can have allergies to salicylates which is usually found in wine whereas hard liquor and beer don’t let your body properly metabolize, resulting in puffiness and breakouts.

  • 2. Enjoy the Sun…with Caution

    I’m not saying to live under a rock for good, but there are safer ways to enjoy that summertime sun. You have to be smart and safe when you decide to lay down and get some color. Sun exposure is a major cause of premature aging.

    According to Dr. Arthur Perry, a Plastic Surgeon, “It is the ultraviolet light (UV) contained in sunlight that is responsible for much of the aging of the skin. Chronic UV exposure causes wrinkles, splotchy pigmentation, visible capillaries (telangiectasia) and loose, rough skin. UV causes damaging substances called free radicals to be produced. UV also depresses the natural antioxidants in the skin, contributing to more damage. Ultraviolet light damages your genetic material (DNA) every time you are in the sun. To convince yourself, compare the skin on the back of your hands with the skin on the inside of your upper arm. The upper arm looks better in everyone.”

    So stay safe with UV-Protection Sunglasses, a big stylish hat, a generous and constant re-applied amount of Sunblock/Sunscreen with UV Protection and take breaks from the sun. Note that just because the spf number is higher, does not mean you don’t have to re-apply it as often! As for tanning, though a little bit won’t hurt you—Vitamin D, whoo!—there’s always the option of tanning salons. But see this article from the New York Times.

  • 3. Sleep Deprivation—You Only Live Once

    Whether it’s starting work, going to college, or enjoying $5 Fridays, we lose sleep: for a good reason or not. We tend to sleep a lot less after we turn 18 and that continues until our 30s or beyond. One of the first places that lack up sleep shows up is on the face—those dark circles and bags under the eyes and sagging skin are all signs of aging and lack of sleep. Besides for sleep deprivation affecting your brain, it also prevents you from making the best decisions during the day time—maybe you grab the sugary cookie over a healthier option for that quick pick-me-up. Sleep deprivation is never a good idea.

  • 4. Dieting and Lifestyle

    Yo-yo dieting is a sneaky contributor to aging. Whether you’re Vegan, Paleo, Carnivore, or whatever else is healthy: stick to it. No heartbreak, reunion, wedding, or anything with a timeline is worth either:

    1. Starving yourself for days or weeks to fit into whatever. Your Health is much more important than That Dress.
    2. Emotional eating—candy, fast food, or any other “moping friendly” snacks.

    “Rapid weight gain or loss can cause visible changes in the skin, such as stretch marks and laxity,” says Dr. Jennifer Linder, a dermatologist. Healthy living is nature’s beauty treatment. “If you drink plenty of water and consistently eat a healthy diet, your skin will look better.”

    Also, now that you’ve embarked on a healthy lifestyle, it’s time to start taking vitamins and dietary supplements—One A Day, vitamin D, biotin, etc.

    Along with a balanced diet, an exercise plan will also help with your skin, thanks to that sexy thing we call sweat. “Increasing blood flow to any area of the body promotes the metabolism in that area, and it makes sense that [when you exercise] toxins would get flushed out and cells will heal and grow faster,” says dermatologist Dr. Jessie Cheung.

  • 5. Skin and Makeup

    Whether you wear makeup everyday or every once in a while, there is a correct way to take care of your skin before and after makeup.

    This is a personal opinion but buying a foundation that is on the “cheaper side”—i.e. less than 20 dollars—for daily use is not a good idea. If it will be on your face daily, make the investment and get a good foundation for your skin. Please be willing to drop the money whether it’s a mineral powder foundation or a liquid. How you apply it is very important as well. Roughly applying makeup can torture skin. Rough handling can cause wrinkles and fine lines to appear from harsh handling. Be gentle to your face, especially tugging around the eyes.

    If you can, once a week take a day off from your makeup to let your skin “breathe.” Because of school or work, I wear makeup almost five days a week, but the second I’m off, I reach for a makeup wipe and go home prepared to do my nightly routine. Do not wait until bedtime to wash cosmetics off. The longer makeup stays on your face, the longer it will clog pores and the more likely skin blemishes will occur. A good idea for that makeup off day is to make that the day you do your eyebrows or use any home masks or facials.

    Forgetting to take off your makeup off at night ages your skin! You may find it tempting to fall into bed after a busy day—or a late night on the town—without cleaning your face. But skipping a cleanser at night can lead to breakouts later. During the day, environmental toxins, like dirt and pollution, build up on skin and invade pores. This can cause complexion problems. So don’t hit the sack before you wash. Use a good cleanser and save your skin. Keep a box of cleansing towelettes bedside for added convenience—simply swipe and sleep.

    Taking your makeup off correctly goes hand in hand with having a good skincare routine that has a cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer, and whatever else works for you.

But life shouldn’t just focus on whether or not you’ll look twenty forever. And who wants to, anyways?

The best anti-aging secret? Being stress-free.

Relax, crinkle your nose, and enjoy your days!

Pucker Up For Winter with a Do-It-Yourself Lip Scrub

December 19, 2014
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Lip exfoliation is important to add to your beauty routine, especially in these dryer months. Just like your skin, lips regenerate and need help shedding those dead skin cells. Gently exfoliating them can prevent chapping and ensure your lips are soft and supple. Exfoliation makes your lips moist and helps retain moisture longer.

A good base is the key to an even and long-lasting lip liner, lipstick, and gloss application. Lipstick won’t stick to dry, flakey lips and also looks bad. So before you apply your favorite winter lipstick, try this homemade lip scrub. Lip scrubs are made to be sweet and great-tasting so scrubbing is healthy and enjoyable.

In the past I have purchased lip scrubs that were ridiculously expensive. But I’ve realized the ingredients were pretty much things I had in my kitchen. I use this every winter and absolutely love it! It makes such a big difference in how my lips feel and look, and it is so easy to make. It also smells yummy! Lip scrubs also make cute little gifts for the holidays for friends and family by placing the scrub into little mason jars adding a label and a bow!

Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

  • One part honey
  • One part coconut oil
  • One part brown sugar
  • A little bit of vanilla extract, optional

Mix all ingredients together and put into a small container. Store in refrigerator and use when needed. I use it before bed and put on a good lip balm overnight.

Light Up the Holiday Season: Shampure Candle

December 18, 2014
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Aveda Shampure CandleI was exposed to the Shampure aroma during my first visit to Cinta Aveda Institute. The lit candles are placed throughout the guest areas and allow this aroma to simmer in the air. However, I learned that I had an affinity for the aroma when it attacked me in the restroom. What a lovely scent! I had to find out what this scent is. It turned out that the Shampure scent has a combination of numerous flowers and plant essences, lavender and ylang-ylang to name a couple.

I love lighting candles, especially during the holiday season, and the Shampure scent gives off a calm and pleasant aroma – perfect for the holiday chaos. In addition to the wonderful aroma, the candle can last for 50 hours or more. I like that the candle is a compact size yet it can withstand the long hours of being lit during the holidays.

What really topped the cake for me, however, was when one of my educators shared with me that the candle can also be used as a moisturizer! Say what?! How? The candle is made with soy wax so one can pick up some wax while the candle is lit and use it as a hand moisturizer. Surprisingly, it does not have a greasy feeling at all! Also, because the wax is made from soy, it is safer to inhale compared to many other alternative candles. I wouldn’t recommend finger-dipping into every hot, soy wax candle to use as a moisturizer, but the Shampure candles are definitely a good substitute when no moisturizer is readily available.

Holiday Party Hairstyle

December 17, 2014
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Holiday Hairstyle

To achieve this look, you should prep your hair with:

  • Pure Abundance Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Pure Abundance Style Prep
  • Volumizing Tonic
  • Phomollient Styling Foam

You’ll need these thermal styling tools:

  • Blow Dryer
  • Medium-sized Round Brush
  • Thermal Styling Iron/Wand

Use these products to add volume and texture:

  • Aveda Hair Potion
  • Aveda Air Control Hair Spray

Begin by spritzing towel-dried hair with the Pure Abundance Style prep, and then add the Phomollient Styling Foam and Volumizing Tonic. Work this into your hair so that everything is evenly saturated. Comb through the hair to ensure thorough saturation.

“Rough dry” the hair. This means to dry hair to about 80%. It sounds crazy, I know. But trust me, it makes styling much easier!

Section the hair into three to four equal horizontal parts. Begin in the lowest section on the back of the head and blow dry with the round brush. It’s okay if the curls you form aren’t perfect, as you can touch them up with a thermal tool later. Continue working this way up the head until all the hair is 100% dry.

After all the hair is dry, add Aveda Hair Potion to the root if more volume and texture is desired. Then section the hair again to begin adding finishing curls and waves. This is a deconstructed look; remember, it doesn’t have to look perfect; the messier, the better!

Section it one final time, into a half-up-half-down pony tail, and secure it with a hair tie. Use bobby pins if required. Finish the style with a little holiday ribbon tied in a bow, and enjoy yourself on your night out! You’ll look great!

The Power of Positive Energy and Intentions

December 16, 2014
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One of the most important things I have learned while being in school is the power and importance of positive energy and intention.

I have always been a strong believer in the power of positive energy. I believe that if you stay positive in your thoughts and actions, good things will happen. However, I really was unfamiliar with what was meant by intention.

I first heard about intention from a massage therapist with whom I work. She said that if you always have good intentions during a massage, then your guest can only receive those positive intentions. But if your intentions are in the wrong place, they are almost guaranteed to be felt by your guest.

I heard this discussed again while in school and, by that point, I was really interested in trying it myself.

Now, I practice positive energy and intentions during every facial I perform. I like to spend a few moments before and after the treatment, with my hands touching my guest, either on their shoulders or on the sides of their head. I take a few deep breaths, and think to myself what I hope my guest will receive during their treatment, both physically and mentally. Maybe it’s glowing skin or the gift of relaxation. By just taking these few moments to pass along my energy to my guest, I have found that it really does result in a better experience.

There is nothing I love more than the feeling I get when someone is genuinely happy with the service I performed, and they leave feeling better than they did when they arrived.

Your Hair in the Winter

December 15, 2014
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Winter HairWhile you’re enjoying your holiday season, your hair could be suffering! Harsh winter winds, snow, and rain can cause seriously dry and brittle hair. This can take away your hair’s luster, shine, and softness. I know that my hair sees a dramatic change once the winter season kicks in!

One of my favorite products to combat this is Aveda’s Dry Remedy Moisturizing Masque. It can really be a hair lifesaver this season for all hair types. And, yes, it is safe for color-treated hair too.

This masque locks in intense shine, moisture, and softness with Aveda’s patented Deep-Moisture Complex, featuring natural ingredients like buriti oil. 93% of women agreed that their hair felt immediately softer and more moisturized after using this product just once, and I agree.

This is one of my favorite products for dry hair, especially during the winter season. This product only needs to be used once a week. Just smooth the product evenly through your damp hair and leave it in for two to five minutes, then rinse it out thoroughly. For best results, you should use the Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo before applying, and then follow the masque with Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil.

The new aroma made with natural ingredients like lavender, ginger lily, and bergamot will leave your hair smelling as great as it feels!

Memorizing Facial Massages

December 14, 2014
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Memorization can be one of the hardest things for some people, especially memorizing hand movements.

When I began learning to give facial massages, I thought, “Oh great. I’m only going to remember a few moves and forget the rest.” Thank goodness that our instructor allowed the video to run while we practiced the motions; it was a very soothing process. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when she told us that she wasn’t showing the video anymore, that my heart stopped for a second. I thought, “Oh snap. I don’t know it!” I should have given myself more credit. To my surprise, I had remembered it. From that moment, I began to practice more. It shouldn’t just be in class; I highly recommend practicing at home.

I practice on my cat, Boo. Although it’s completely different, remembering the motions was the key to my success. Also, it was very amusing to watch my cat enjoy his personal massage while watching a movie.

Another form of practice is upon friends and family. If you have a very tight schedule, like I do, it can seem impossible to put the time aside to do this. I practice in the shower or on a small pillow. Making different fun learning environments can be better than always practicing on friends and family.

Working on learning through different avenues allows you a chance to become more adaptable and plays with your senses. It gives you a chance to become sensitive with your finger tips—playing with different textures and thus developing your senses. I find this beneficial because it allows me to become more detailed-orientated when I conduct skin analysis.

Beauty Behind Ice

December 13, 2014
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Freeze your flaws away by trying out an ice facial treatment. Ice can be used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions from blemished to aging, and it can be done simply from home. Depending on what you’re looking to treat, ice can provide some major benefits.

  • For blemished skin—Hold an ice cube directly on a problem area to reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain from deep, cystic acne. Wrap an ice cube in a plastic bag, and hold it onto the blemish for 10-15 minutes for results.
  • For tired eyes—wrap an ice cube inside a clean wash cloth and hold over your eyes for 10-15 minutes to reduce swelling—or “bags” under your eyes. For a more powerful effect, brew caffeinated tea and freeze it into cubes, following the same instructions.
  • For dry/flaky skin—Create an icy scrub which will produce an awakening, cooling effect that’s perfect for mornings. Combine a few ice cubes with a few pieces of papaya into a blender to make your exfoliant. The ice pieces act as a mechanical exfoliant, while the natural enzymes in the papaya will act as a chemical exfoliant, to help further smooth the texture of your skin.

Ice cubes held to female face.

Getting a Manicure

December 12, 2014
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Most people have gone to a nail salon or spa for a manicure. Some places are better than others. I have a favorite place that I like to go, but what happens when you’re out of state, or your favorite place is closed? How do you know that you’re going to get the same level of service that you get at your usual place?

Do you going to Yelp and read reviews? Do you rely on a friend who seems to know what they are talking about? Do you take the time to go online and research the health code scores over the last several years? With all that, even the top places can still give you bad service. So here are a few tips and things that I want from a nail salon.

Manicure Close-up When you first walk into the salon, has anyone greeted you? Look around to see if you can locate a recent health code score—they’re required to be publicly posted. Always make sure that the person doing your nails has a cosmetology or manicuring license. You always want to be sure that any beauty professional performing service for you is properly licensed. Now look to make sure that the place of business is clean in general. Before sitting down for your service, your manicurist should have taken a clean cloth or paper towel and, with a bottle of disinfectant, sprayed and wiped down the nail station. A clean towel should also be put over the nail station as you’re being seated. It is very important that your manicurist has gotten all the clean, unused supplies from proper packaging. This includes the buffer. Most places try to get away with using the same buffer from client to client, but infection can get spread that way. Relax while the manicurist is performing your nail service, but still pay attention to what he or she is doing. Never let the manicurist cut your cuticles—they should just be slightly pushed back.

You’re almost finished. You’ve got nice, pretty, polished nails and hopefully you’ve received a safe manicure with great service. Have fun and happy nails!