Two bold lipsticks for timid wearers. 

It's no secret nor shock that the beauty world goes nuts for dark lip colors during the autumn/winter season. I like to think that I'm different -- a trend breaker if you will -- because I rarely dip my lips into the deep tones that send other beauty gurus into a frenzy but the truth is, I don't avidly avoid those shades for any reason other than the fact that I just don't wear lipstick. Period. Light shades, dark shades, nothing makes a difference because I just don't do it. Any of it. Well, I suppose any of it is a bit strong. I have been known to dabble in red lipstick every once and a while but that's usually when I'm desperate for a confidence boost or I'm slipping into a "fuck it" attitude because I'm in a bad mood. If I'm putting red lipstick on, someone's got to die and it's either going to be my self-insecurities or the first unfortunate soul to cross my path -- whichever crosses my path first. 

That said, I am working on getting out of my comfort zone on certain things and I would like to make lipstick my task for this upcoming chilly season. I feel a bit more comfortable with the idea of wearing dark reds and purples than I do nudes (it doesn't make sense, I know that but just go with me here) so I figure now is the perfect time to get a jump on my aversion. I have a couple of darker colored lipsticks already in my collection but I've never fallen in love with any of them. I picked these two up from Burt's Bees on a total whim (I'm a sucker for a sale) and I've actually been pleasantly surprised. When I originally swatched them on my hand, I loved the smoothness of the formula. I'm massively over matte lipsticks, I think they had their time and it was all well and good but please can't we move on. I'm tired of sandpaper lips, they're not cute. 

Left: 524 Wine Waves. Right: 522 Crimson Coast.
The formula of these lipsticks is what actually pushed me to purchase them (baring the 50% off sticker) because I think it helped balanced the dark coloring. As I said before, the lipsticks have a very smooth texture, but they're not creamy. I would say they're more so watery because they apply quite sheerly. This isn't for lack of pigmentation though which I feel like is a common --almost shotgun-- conclusion that people jump too when someone says the word sheer. Because the lipsticks have a sheerer application that doesn't lose any pigmentation, they create a really nice middle ground that allows me to wear a bold color without feeling like I'm steeping too far out of my comfort zone. Think of it as baby step bold.

I've never been someone who believes in sugarcoating and when it comes to product reviews, nothing bothers me more when a blogger or vlogger doesn't acknowlege or share the faults of a product. I think openly discussing the cons of a product is one of the more important things when it comes to reviews becasue it gives consumers a full and honest picture in regards to the item they're interested in. I personally find that my trust in a b/vlogger takes a hit when they repeatly neglect to mention shortcomings of products, espeically is it's a sponsored ad. I know that there are some sponsor contracts that don't allow the discussion of problems with the product but then that always begs the question, what's to hide? Nothing perfect, and I personally believe in being out and open about imperfections is a much better way to build trust in a brand. But hey, that's only my opinion.

Heeding my own view, I thought I'd let you in on the issues with these two lipsticks. Actually, I should say the issue because I've only found one. Since the lipsticks are a dark color with a fair amount of pigmentation and a watery formular, they have a tendancy to bleed. This is by no means a deal breaker in my book because let's be honest, there aren't many non-matte dark lipsticks that don't bleed, it's a very common issue. As long as I make sure to wipe the lipstick off before eating and check on it throughout the day, I find that I can avoid the "just made out with someone while wearing lipstick" look. But if that's your vibe, more power to you.


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Feeling disconnected in the age of connection. 

I've been on the hunt for weeks, searching for a way to describe my relationship with social media and it wasn't until I can across the fragment above that everything clicked into place. I grew up in the internet era but not the social media age. I had internet growing up, and that was normal. When I was a small child, I played Barbie Dress Up and Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego online but since I was right on the verge, I used VCR and I even had a walkman. I was raised during the transition period but since technology moved so quickly, the transition only took a few years. My first phone was a Nokia flip phone (indestructible) and my second was one of those LG phones with the slide out keyboard (I thought I was so cool). A couple of years later for a birthday present, I was given an iPhone 3G. I had been introduced to Apple previously with an iPod nano, which let's be real, was a huge step up from a walkman. Everything seemed so cool and advanced but looking back now, it's nowhere near the level of tech that kids are growing up with today. I missed the Myspace gen by a couple years so my first introduction to social media was on facebook. After that, I was introduced to Tumblr, Twitter, Youtube and it wasn't until my early teen years that Instagram reared its head. 

I think I was lucky to have grown up when I did. The kids and teens growing up right now are being raised in a digital world and while that does have a vast amount of pros, it has some pretty hefty cons as well. I had privacy growing up and I feel like that's a concept that has completely flown the coop. Now, everything is online and I'm not just referring to data and information but people's entire lives. Social media has become such an ingrained factor of our society that it has completely changed the way we project and share our lives. A false world with deceptive images is created and a demand for perfection is amplified through filters, airbrushing and staging. Self-image, it could even be described as self-branding, has become so important with the rise of social media. We have an inherent need to seek approval from others and through the creation of social media, that need has manifested into a desire for the most likes and followers. 

My relationship with social media has always been a little bit off because I don't quite feel like I fit into the social media generation. I think I've always had one foot in, one foot out when it comes to social media and that mindset has shown itself in the fact that I'm more so a consumer than a producer. I love watching Youtube videos, but I have absolutely no desire to make them -- I tried once, and we shall never speak of it again. I find a huge amount of entertainment scrolling through Twitter and Tumblr (yes, I do still use Tumblr, shocking) but I rarely ever tweet or post something of my own. Instagram is a battle I've been fighting for years now. I have no problem getting into the rhythm of scrolling and double tapping but I constantly fall out of rhythm with uploading my own photos. My personal Instagram has six-month gaps between photos because I forgot and honestly, most of the time I just don't care. Out of all of my relationships with social media, that one is the most problematic because Instagram is such a huge facet of the blogging industry. It's a fantastic way to drive traffic to your site (barring the absolute fuckery that is the algorithm) and it's a great way to solidify your branding. It's also one of the top ways to create relationships with other bloggers as well as companies looking to collaborate. Basically, if you can crack it, Instagram is a goldmine.

Nothing is perfect though, and Instagram is no exception to that rule. Instagram went from a platform for creative expression and a digital photo album to a business and with that evolution came caveats. When people started to make money off of posting photos, yes it created a whole new industry, but it also brought about a new form of duplicity. Instagram became less about capturing memories and more instead about curation. People could curate their feed to showcase a perfect life, even if it wasn't one they were living. Standards of beauty, fashion, and lifestyles became unattainable because they were misleading. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have a vendetta against anyone who has found success through Instagram. If you have managed to get a piece of the goldmine, the, by all means, more power to you, but I worry that people outside of the bubble forgot that what we see if supposed to be unattainable.

That's the point.

I want to restate once again that I'm not here to call out people who have created successful careers with social media, this post has nothing to do with that. Instead, this has everything to do with how my own morals fit into socials at this moment. And I specify at this moment because I have no doubt that as I get older, my opinions will change and in a couple of years, hell in a couple of months, I could have a completely different outlook. But in regards to here, and now, this is where I am and this is what I think. Simple as that.

I want to utilize social media as a resource: whether it be to build a following and find my place in the blogging community or simply to carve out my own personal aesthetic. I can't help feel as though there is something holding me back and for the life of me, I can't place my finger on it. Do I need to be taking social media more seriously, viewing it a business instead of pleasure, or do I just need to buckle down and force myself to do it? But then again don't both of those ideas defeat the original purpose of social media: to have fun. Maybe I should scrap it all and just go mental, posting whatever I want without any regard to curation or maybe I should just pull back from it all. It's quite a conundrum, and to be honest, I haven't even an inkling of the answer.


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Take the pressure off dealing with your stress acne.  

Stress and acne, two of the most naturally unfortunate parts of growing up. I want to say I blame puberty for both of these, and I suppose in a way that's feasible. Puberty is what kickstarts acne with all its chemical imbalances and of course, with those chemical imbalances come the onslaught of hormonal imbalances. And what do hormonal imbalances bring? Stress. In some form or another, at least. Stress and acne. Acne and stress. They both suck, no matter how you slice it.

While they're pretty powerful mood-dampeners by themselves, they bring a whole new level to awful to the equation when one breeds the other. I have a breakout? Insert the debilitating self-consciousness and worry about what others think when they see it. I have stress? Here's a pimple, or twelve. A vicious, vicious cycle that we continue to perpetuate, simply because the idea of acne has been ingrained into our minds under the category: Freak Out. We've been conditioned to panic the second we see any impurities and it's awful because most of the time, we don't have any control over the said impurities. 

The question becomes how to deal with both stress and acne. Is there a way to combat one, and that will affect the other? Or do we have to tackle each individually for a successful result? While I think that tackling both individually is the most effective way to deal, I know that managing one and reaping the rewards of those effects is also a possibility. If I'm only choosing one, my approach is going to change. Battling acne is often more physical, while stress is more mental and emotional. Obviously, all three elements affect both but when the common causes of each are broken down, they usually fall into those categories.

Acne is often a physical product of an improper diet, problematic facial products or a lack of self-care. The self-care aspect can be broken down into things like the amount of sleep and exercise a person gets. By creating a regular sleep and exercise routine, our bodies have a chance to function properly and it lessens the workload the chemicals in our bodies have. Unfortunately, sometimes our body needs a little more help (I know mine always does) so using certain products to help battle the acne makes the effort that much more effective.

I have a trio of favorite products at the moment but I'm always looking for more to add to my collection. Two of the products are cult classics and should be no surprise to anyone (I'm here to reiterate their amazingness because when something's this good, it deserves it) but I've also thrown in something for people with a more natural preference in products. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion have been raved about until the entire industry was blue in the face and I have no intention of breaking that streak.  A lot of times, products receive hype that they don't necessarily deserve but that is not the case with these two. Not only do they actually work to reduce acne, redness, and inflammation, but they do it at lightning speed. If I go to get with one of these on my face -- or if I'm in a serious crisis, both--, when I wake up I look like a completely different person. My spots have all decreased in size, some are completely gone, and the redness that usually overtakes the right side of my face (yes just the right, it's weird) has become a faint pink. I can deal with pink.

My natural alternative to the two beauties listed above is pure lemon oil. Now, let me preface this with a warning. Do not put this straight on your face. Lemon is extremely acidic, which is why it is so effective in treating acne. It literally "burns" out the bacteria, but if you don't dilute this oil it will burn your face. I usually dilute my lemon oil with Jojoba oil, which is also a great product if you're trying to salvage your complexion because it's both anti-bacterial and extremely hydrating.

There are some arguments over whether or not natural products work as well as synthetic ones and while I stand by the fact that the lemon oil works just as well as the two chemical acne solution, the truth is the oil takes a bit longer to work. Both the Drying Lotion and the Niacinamide serum are overnight miracle makers, while the lemon oil takes a few weeks of continual use to really be effective. The wait time and effort required can often be a turn-off when it comes to natural products but I honestly think that in the grand scheme of things, natural is the way to go. Better for your body, better for the earth -- who cares if it takes a little while longer?

There are some people who will choose to tackle to stress side of this situation rather than the acne side. I applaud those people because they must have a much stronger mental energy than I do. Dealing with stress seems to be a never-ending wormhole, once sucked in, there's no escape. At least not for myself, you might have better luck. Because I am perpetually stuck in the rabbit hole that is stress, I'm not exactly a reliable source on how to eliminate stress, but I can share with you the ways that I attempt to combat it. Attempt being the operative word.

Something I've recently decided to do is set aside one day a week completely for myself and what I want to do (or not do). I call these my "meditation days" but the reality of it is, it's usually just me lounging around in my sweats --sometimes I see how long I can forego putting on pants-- watching movies, ordering in food and avoiding most any kind of social interaction possible. I try not to use social media, I shy away from texting, and I leave my phone on do not disturb. I also put a restriction on doing any work. Anything I do must be "mindless" in a sense. I take this time to edit photos because I find it a very relaxing and repetitive task that doesn't require my brain to be actively firing as I spend an hour shifting the temperature of a photo back and forth by five points.

I take this day to paint my nails, do a face mask and if I'm feeling particularly frivolous, a hair mask too. I tidy my space, do laundry, maybe even clean my makeup brushes. I tick off necessary activities that allow me to space out but still allow me to feel as though I've done something with my day. Although I will admit, if my stress has been particularly vicious, I will not remove myself from the warm and comfort of my duvet and mountain of pillows barring the need to pee and retrieve food. Nothing productive happens in that even. I won't look at photos, I won't wash my socks and I certainly won't attempt to tidy anything. On those days --granted they only come around once in a blue moon-- it's just me, my blanket, a pizza and some feel good, early 2000's television masterpieces.

There's an underlying bias in our society that views day like that as guilt worthy and intangible. We very much live in a work, work, work society and I find that we often push even the most basic forms of self-care to the back burner because of our visceral need to be productive. While productivity is fantastic and very much the bedrock of our society, I think that the amount of pressure placed on its importance can be quite toxic. Yes, we should be productive, but we also shouldn't feel bad for taking a few hours, or even a whole day off from productivity. It's unhealthy to be "on" all the time, and yet it is something that we normalize.

Alongside taking my day off, I also try to partake in some popular de-stressing activities. I dabble in yoga every now and again, I try my hand meditation, and I go on walks to enjoy the fresh air and scenery (trees calm me). None of these acts are miracle workers but a little here and a little there does make a difference.

There's unfortunately not more I can say to the stress angle, particularly because if I had it all figured out, we would be having a very different conversation. I'm about to head my own advice on tackling my acne --if I don't take it, why would anyone else-- and slather my face in pimple perishers. As for my stress, wish me luck. I'm going to need it.


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Destigmatizing this stigma. 

I've recently hopped on the train of tackling stigmas and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. One that I've been wanting to talk about for a while, but didn't feel like I could really give a helpful analysis of is therapy (or counseling, if you prefer that term). I have been in therapy twice now, the first time almost four years ago, and the second is right now. I decided in May that it was about time I started seeing a therapist again. My anxiety had gotten extremely debilitating and after some persuasion from a friend and a glowing review of a local therapist who accepted my insurance (important), I found myself comfortably seated on a plush sofa, waiting for my first appointment. Now, anyone who has gone through therapy will stress the importance of finding a therapist that fits your needs but also one that you mesh with. There isn't any point to seeing a therapist you don't like and most likely, that will be a situation that will end up being counter-productive. A lot of the time, it takes a few tries to find the right fit --it's a two-way street, both you and your counselor have to feel that it's right-- but I ended up being quite lucky and I loved the therapist I picked on the first try. Well, this time, my experience in 2015 was a bit different, but it also had very different circumstances.

As I said earlier, I started going to back therapy in May, which in hindsight was kind of awful timing. I go to school out of state of I split my time between two places of residence, and they're 600 miles apart. I started therapy with about three weeks left at school, after which I went to Greece for two weeks and then was home for another two months. Not my best plan, but I was desperate at the time. I actually found those three weeks of appointments --I went twice a week-- to be really helpful. During those three weeks, my therapist and I worked purely on short-term tactics that I could use to find relatively immediate relief. This was exactly what I needed for that little window of time because I was able to use the advice she gave me to ease my time overseas as well as the rest of my summer.

Coming back to school, I had to decide if I was going to pick therapy back up. Over the summer, I had done a lot of thinking on the subject of therapy in general as well as how I personally felt about it and whether or not I thought it was a necessary part of my life. All of that ended with a very firm yes, I would return to counseling because while I was no longer in extreme crisis mode, it was time that I began to work through some of my deeply rooted issues. And to be very honest, there are a lot of them. What can I say, I'm human. I have previously written some posts that touch on certain issues (like my problems with communication and anxiety), others I have yet to share because I don't feel like it's quite the time. Deciding to return to therapy was the best decision I could have made, but that doesn't mean that it was an easy one. Therapy often means confronting the deepest facets of yourself that weigh you down, that eat at your soul and make every day just a bit harder. That's not exactly the most comforting sentiment, especially when that confrontation is coupled with work to make those parts less controlling. But with the right therapist, all of that scariness and stress isn't as horrible, and eventually, it just becomes a part of the way you live your life.

I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to therapy and when anyone tries to correct them, they're often met with very closed minds. The first of the misconceptions is that therapy and a therapist is there to fix your problems. I have a massive issue with this because when it comes to mental illnesses, they're not something to be fixed. Just because I struggle with mental illnesses doesn't mean I'm broken, or less of a person. It's the same as having a cold or the flu, there's something wrong with a part of my body that I can't control, but I can treat the symptoms so it becomes manageable and I can figure out the causes so I can work to prevent any illness in the future. Now the only thing off with this metaphor is that mental illness is a lot harder to kick than a cold or flu, it takes a lot longer to fight it and even more so to win.

Another misconception about therapy, more specifically therapists is that they're just there to listen to your problems, and then tell you the perfect solution on how to deal with them. No. I mean they do listen to your problems, but they're there to challenge you, to help you find another way of thinking. My therapist constantly asks why I do what I do, or why I think what I do and so much of the time, it enlightens pieces of my personality and my makeup as a physical person that I never would have noticed before. There are so many times when she'll ask me why I do something or think something, and I'm gobsmacked because I have no idea why. It's in those moments that I'm able to grow and evolve the most becasue I begin to challenge myself.

The final (of this post, there are so many more) misconceptions that I see way too often when it comes to therapy is a lot of people think they should be ashamed of going. It's a very taboo subject to talk about (which is stupid because it's all about talking). I am not, and have never been ashamed to talk about therapy. I don't shout it from the mountain tops or work it into every conversation --that would so annoying and I'm already annoying so I don't need the extra boost-- but if someone asks or I feel it's a warranted subject to bring up, I'm more than happy to talk about it. I've never understood what drives feeling ashamed about therapy. I went through some trauma what seriously screwed me up. And now I'm getting help to deal with it. What the hell is wrong with that? I went through some shit, so I found a non-biased third party individual who would sit and listen to me while I worked through everything. And that's problematic? I truly don't understand.

I want to make it clear that everything written here is all taken from my own opinions and experiences. Therapy is such a deeply personal thing, and everyone has their own view on it. I have no doubt that many of those views differ greatly from mine, and I'm always open to hear about them. I genuinely believe that when it comes to tackling stigmas in the hopes of one day dissolving them, the only way forward is with communication. If we, as a society, can't communicate, we remain uneducated and that is the greatest disservice to ourselves and future generations. It is only through tackling the tough subjects together that we can learn enough to make a positive difference.


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They grow up so fast. 

This past week marked the four year anniversary of my blog! Granted, it's gone through a few serious facelifts and identify changes in those four years, the backbone has survived 1,460 days and counting.  I've never written an anniversary --or blog-iversary if you will-- post because it's taken me almost four years to get really serious about blogging. I started this blog because I stumbled into the community and saw something that I really wanted to be a part of. I saw creativity and freedom, but I also saw kindness and support. For a fifteen-year-old girl who was struggling through some brutal times, that was just what the doctor ordered. I found a place where I could express myself and interact with a community that was passionate about the same things I was without having the face what was happening in my physical reality. Blogging and its community really saved me. And I know for a fact that I wouldn't be where I am today, happily going down the career path I have chosen if I hadn't started blogging then and there.

My blog has grown alongside me and its changes have paralleled many of my own. I started out not really knowing who I was, what I was doing or what I wanted to be. Now, while I don't have anything perfectly figured out, I've got a much better idea. Blogging helped me fall in love with the beauty industry and because of that, I'm now pursuing a degree in Beauty and Fragrance Marketing -- a 180 from my original major of writing. I want to say the switch took a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing but in all honesty, after I found out beauty was an available major (it's new), I switched two days later. And I've never been surer of a decision. I still love to write, I even switched Writing to my minor, but there isn't the slightest doubt in my mind the beauty industry is what I want to call home. 

I've learned a lot in these last four years. When I started, I didn't know anything photography or editing, I had never heard of SEO and my writing was absolute crap. Not self-deprecating, just a fact. While I am no means a professional photographer or the next Jane Austin, my skills have improved ten-fold. Don't believe me? Go back into my archives. I'll be here viciously cringing as you do but hey, anything to make my point. I know that even though I've learned a lot in four years, I still have miles to go and I'm genuinely excited about that. I can't wait to look back again in a year, maybe two or even three, and see how I've grown from here, how I've improved and evolved. That statement, of course, begs the question, do I really think I'll be writing this blog in three years? I suppose the answer is both a yes and no. Or possibly summed up better as an I don't know. I hope I'm still writing in three years -- future me, if you're not, I hope you have a damn good reason-- and I hope that I'll still be writing under my own brand, at least a little bit. I know eventually, I'll probably transition to writing for other people --hell I'm an editor at my school fashion magazine, I do that now-- but I hope that I find a way to create for just myself. Everything that I've created here in this blog started as a girl just desperate to create her own little corner of the world, and now it's transformed into something more. Now, I'm not talking follower count or pageviews, because let's be real, I haven't taken this seriously for long enough for any of those to have real weight, no I'm talking about my brand. 

We live in a society that placed a high value on self-branding and I have been marching to the beat of that drum since I started this. I think of my blog the way some people think of their resume, the only difference is I'm a bit more personal here than I think any sane person would ever be on their resume. That's because while yes, this is a huge part of my resume, and yes, this is basically my portfolio, I still get very personal on here because it's the only place I feel comfortable to do so. And because I know that through talking about the personal, the awkward and the horrible, it humanizes Danielle Reine. It humanizes me. It's so easy just to be a face, to just be some carefully crafted words when the option to hide behind the screen is there. But here I am, a living, breathing, beating human. Danielle Reine is my brand, but it's also me. It always has been. 

So happy anniversary Danielle Reine, it's been a trip. I can't wait to see where we go next. 


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Put your torches and pitchforks down Bank of America, I'm still sticking to my college budget. Kinda. I never do product reviews while I'm in the process of trial, partially because I prefer to wait until I have a fully-formed opinion to give the most in-depth information but this time, I thought I'd do something new.  I picked up a few bits here and there, some products I have had a bit longer of a time to test but I feel like I've got a good idea about their pros and cons.

NYX Total Control Foundation: $13.99
Now I do have to confess, I'm not usually one to buy what's considered drugstore foundation. It' nothing to do with price or quality, I just tend to have very sensitive skin and I've had a few issues with somw drugstore foundations so I'm a bit wary. It's taken me a while to venture back to the world of drugstore foundation and I think this product has restored my faith. I bought it on a reccomendation from a friend who is a makeup artist becasue i had just run out of my higher coverage foundation and there was aboslutely no way I could spring for another bottle. I joked about about pitchforks and tourches but in reality, my bank account would have gone full Michael Myers on my ass (it's October people, Halloween is upon us). So out of pure desperation and blind faith, I purchsed the foundation.

I love it. There, I said it. I am absolutely, positivly in love with this foundation. I want to marry it and have its babies. Too far? Anyway, you get the point. I'm not usually a high coverage user becasue there are few things I hate more than cakey makeup. Actually even just the reminder that I'm wearing makeup becasue I can literally feel it sitting on top of my face is so gross that I'm even a bit uncomfortable thinking bsout it. Gag. I 'm very much the kind of person who likes to forget the wearing I'm makeup until I'm  reminded by looking in the mirror or I accidently rub my face and end up resmebling a racoon. Good times, yes? The weightless, natural vibe is very much up my alley but some times, your girl just needs somthing with a bit more of a magic power. Abracadabra, bye bye zits and redness, hello perfect skin. The reason I really like this foundation is becasue it's very much high coverage --beware: a little goes a long way-- but it's super lightweight. It's a rather runny fomrula but I'm honestly completly okay with that becasue it allows the foundation to apply in thin layer which counteracts cakey sterotype that comes with most high-coverage foundation.

Olaplex Hair Perfector N. 03: $28.00
This is the least tested of the products I have on my list but it's probably one of my favorites. A quick bit of background: I have naturally curly hair, but due to of years of continual heat use, it's extremely damaged. I also have a history of dying my hair which hasn't helped its condition in the slightest. Over the summer, my hair got to an absolutely disgusting quailty and I decided that it was time to do something about it. I had heard whisper of Olapex throuhgout the years but never really looked into it. After doing a bit of research, I decided to purchase this bottle which is the third step in teh Olaplex process but the only step available to the public. The first two steps in the process require a hair dressers lisense to purchase, which was my first clue that this stuff actually works. So like the unliscensed scrub that I am, I went ahead with only the third bottle and did a treatment. I left it on for about an hour --apperently the longer the better-- and when I washed it out I coukd immediatly feel the difference. Granted, it's not a miracle worker and honey, my hair needs a mircle but it's progress. I can work with progress. I'm hoping with some more treatements over the next few months, I'll really be able to salvage my hair.

Frank Body Creamy Face Scrub: $21.95
I was in desperate need of a exfoliante becasue my pores revoluted and decided to all get clogged and gross. I've tried a couple of exfoliators in the past and learned that I have to be careful becasue while I don't have massivly senstive skin, exfoliants can easily dry it out. Harsh scrubs can destroy our moisture barrier which is what helps us produce good, natural oils in proper proportion. With the destruction moisture barrier, more oils are produced out of proportion and this can either create a large amount of bad oils or it can decrease the amount of oil produced in general, drying out the skin. My body tends to gravitate towards dry, so any sort of exfoliant that I use needs to be on the lighter and gentler side of the spectrum. This face scrub has quickly become a favorite of mine becasue it is semi-gentle formulation -- I wouldn't go so far to call this a gentle formula becasue my face does feel sightly abused after I use it, but in a good way -- and it smells so, so good. It's a coffee based scrub so it packs a triple punch of feeling good, smelling good and working well enough that I can actually a difference. My face feels a lot smoother which is a godsend becasue I've been struggling textural issues for a while and since the scrub is coffee based, it helps to detoxify my skin as well. Side note: use this product sparingly though, a little goes a long way.

NARS Climax Mascara: $24.00
So I'm a bad beauty blogger in the sense that I veimently refuse to try new mascaras. Why? Becasue I'm genuinly terrified that I will never find one as good as Too Faced's Better Than Sex mascara. It's ridiculous, I know. I have no issue trying literally any other type of makeup (skincare is a whole different ballpark) but for some reason, mascara is a no. Even the idea just gives me the heebie-jeebies... My therapist has seriously got her hands full, man. In effort to take charge of my life, I'm making myself branch out and try to mascaras --this is such a stupid problem to have, my god-- so in my last forey to Ulta, I picked up the NARS Climax Mascara. I put away my loyal Better Tha Sex and have only been using this mascara for the last month. Overall, I really like it. I'm not sure I can say with full certainty that it will be my new staple but I think it's the first step in getting me past my mascara rut.

 ThisWorks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray: $29.00 (full size)
While I'm all about blogger cult produts, this was one I was seriously unsure about. It's one of those products that you hear about and you're kind of just like that sounds dumb and unnecessary but I want it. But at the going price of $29.00, I refused to buy it so I have just been contently sitting in my curiosity. I recieved a travel size version of the product in a subscription box, and was super excited to try it out but I was also a bit apprehenisve becasue I was about 90% sure it was just a gimick. After about a week of afternating nightly sprays, I've come to two conclusions. Conclusion one: I love, love, love this smell. Conclusion two: I don't think this product makes a huge difference but it's such a nice, little luxe product that makes you feel bougie. And who doesn't want to feel bougie?

I'm undecided if this is a type of post that I'm interested in doing more of in the future so if you liked this -- or hated, but let's remeber constructive critisicm-- let me know. Overall, I think all of these products fall into the thumbs up category, which rarely happens so I'm quite happy abuout that. If you think I'm missing out on any amazing products, whisper it down in the comments so I can sneakily take a look without my bank account coming for my head. Cheers.


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