This morning I went to put some make-up on, you know, in one of those ‘just because’ moods. However, I was stopped cold in my tracks looking at the condition of my favourite foundation brush. It couldn’t ‘rerk’, so I abandoned ship and decided to clean them. Unfortunately, though, I was already halfway through the process before I decided it would make a nice little DIY beauty post, I don’t have before and after photos.

I don’t own a brush cleaner, so my cleaning tool is pretty much my fingers. My cleaning agents are dishwashing liquid  (yes, that’s exactly what I said) and apple cider vinegar. Together, by themselves (dry) or in a bit of water (lukewarm or room temperature, doesn’t matter) the make-up falls right off!

I really wish I had thought to take a picture and show you ladies the catastrophe my flat top brush was, but, oh well. Looks good as new! The brushes kept their shape and lost no fibres. None, zip, zilch, nada!

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By the way, if you’re wondering, this set is one I bought on Amazon about 3 years ago, and giiiirlll was it worth the purchase! They should still sell it, but don’t quote me on that. It was around  $10 or $11 at the time. They are soft and great quality!

For a black woman of the tropics myself, wearing a full face of makeup daily is an absolute no-no. I just can’t do it. But most days, what does make it is at least a coat of foundation. I am a matte loving creature. If it’s matte or smoky, give it to me please, all day everyday...

Mind out of the gutter and focus! Lol.

Personally, I look for 4 things in my foundation;

  • Medium to full coverage
  • Matte
  • Durability
  • Lightweight
  • Look great in pics

I also need my foundation to be able to keep me fresh-faced for a trip to the store, and still give a stellar performance if I need to be beat to the gods. As you can see, my makeup needs simple and finite. I found all of them in the two foundations, I am about to recommend.

Maybelline Dream Matte Mouse

My Shade: Cocoa (Dark 3)

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This was my foundation for the last 2+ years. When I first bought it and I got a look at the packaging, I wondered what kind of rip off was this? But much to my satisfaction, a little product goes a very long way, it is truly a mousse like texture.

I didn’t think there was any other drugstore foundation this good. Beautiful colour (though not a complete match for me), light and airy, matte, and in pictures was a flawless. I could also get a decent (3-4 hours) before I would need to blot or touch-up. I didn’t look for anything else because I was completely happy with it. I still love it!

Maybelline Fit Me  Matte and Poreless

My Shade: Coconut (#355)

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So the other I decided to see what was on the market before getting my foundation. This doesn’t happen very often with my beauty product, because, well,… I am a creature of habit. If I find a product that supplies all my needs, I hold on for dear life. So when I came across this beauty, and the ravings about the perfect shade match, I thought now was a good a time as any to try it out.

When I put that first coat on, holey moley my spine danced! P.E.R.F.E.C.T. The shade is amazing, ladies. It’s matte, lightweight, a longer wear that than the Matte Mousse ( I got 8 hours very nicely) and is gorgeous in pics.It’s so beautiful I will be getting the dewy finish version as well.

I definitely recommend getting these two foundations for everyday wear.

My last hair blog spoke of my dead end hair journey a few years back. To refresh, I abandoned it because it was simply not working for me. (See previous  hair journey article for more details). I have hair that requires minimalist attention to be healthy and thriving. I am also relaxed with 4C type hair. I have 3 different textures, but they are all 4C. So what do I use in my hair?

My wash regime is NOT weekly as is purported as a ‘must’ by the masses. I do not do it. As a matter of fact, how often I wash may or may not be directly linked the amount or kind of products that I have used or simply whether or not I think my scalp has sweated more than the usual. Whatever the case, I adjust my washing regime as is needed based on the mentioned events. In an ordinary week when I’ve simply sparingly applied my cream and liquid moisturizers, I wash every 2 or 3 weeks. I do NOT apply oils daily ( once or twice a week) and use water based moisturizers over oil based ones. With oil based moisturizers, my hair dries out much too quickly and requires a lot of moisture daily. Then in a few days it requires a sulphate wash because it feels stiff and dry. When using such a product, a wash once or twice a week is needed. This is why it is important to realize how your hair reacts to products.  I also do not co-wash as I find no need for it.

Pay attention when your hair speaks. I use the Creme of Nature Argan Oil Strength and Shine Leave-In Conditioner. This stuff is my holy grail and when I have this on hand, no other products are necessary. I also use Nk Naturals Peppermint Hair Butter as my moisturizer, but, unfortunately the manufacturer has discontinued making the product. My heart aches for it because I have yet to locate any as good this one. My oils are random and can be singular or mixtures of olive, coconut, carrot and tea tree. The lighter the oil, the better my hair accommodates it.

I relax my hair every 4 to 8 weeks depending on how much my hair has grown. Any longer results in breaking. The only exception is where I’ve added braids to my hair. I put in braids once or twice a year for 3-4 weeks. No longer. I DO NOT ‘stretch relaxers‘ because this stresses my hair and my scalp.  The length I would gain from it is equal or less than what I would lose needing to trim. This makes that counter productive. I do protein and hot oil treatments and deep conditioning every few months as I feel they are needed.

I trim ALL split ends upon discovery. No matter when that is. I don’t attempt to fix them, ever. I trim them all. (I’m partial to my hair looking freshly cut and sometimes trim for that reason only). As a result, I rarely end up having split ends. I very rarely use heat for styling. As such, I do not own a flat-iron and will not purchase one.
Following a relaxer, I wear my hair down for about two weeks. After that, very loose ponytails/buns and twists and corn rows. These are quick, cute, require minimal manipulation and keep my ends protected and away.

That’s all I do and my hair is healthy. Of course I realize this approach is not for everyone and I do it this way because it’s best for my hair. I tried it the popular way and it did not go well. (See previous hair blog).


Disclaimer: I am not a professional hair care provider. I make no allegations that the above is proven to be best for anyone other than myself.

“Beauty is skin deep”.

Yes, yes it is. It would appear ny pregnancy pieces are all bout phenomenons I found shocking and/or enlightening throughout my journey. Nevertheless, here’s a bit of information on an impressively important aspect, Skincare. For us first timers in this pregnancy business, (well for me at least), skincare is of grave importance.  Prior, I had mildly dry skin which was almost never obvious to anyone else except for those rare lapses in beauty maintenance. I did find though, that during pregnancy I have been presented with quite a few variations.

The first trimester came with a sudden onset of severe dryness. Perhaps it was dehydration since I was constantly consuming copious amount of water which never seemed to be enough or it was a craving? Water never tasted better too!  Whatever the stimulant, my coping mechanism became reliance on a DIY concoction I prepared and started using as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Raw Shea Butter, Olive and Coconut Oil, whipped with even a bit of Tea Tree and Carrot oil. This mixture was and continues to be my saving grace. Let me hasten to point out that the original purpose of this mixture was to manage and/or prevent stretch marks, whatever case becomes as I progress. (Twice daily applications to breasts, tummy, lower back, hips and occasionally thighs and legs). The fact that my skin had turned dry was an unknown I happened to be prepared for. I continue to use my concoction and will continue to do so. Third trimester and no tummy marks yet.  I have also included some other skincare measures to help me combat the issue. I had to purchase a good moisture based body wash since bar soaps had started to irritate my skin.I felt an assualt of moisturizing products (along with water consumption) would be appropriate. I chose Dove’s Nutrium Moisture line for that. I have also been using Jergens Coconut Hydration lotion. This is just a product I used prior to being pregnant because it was good with my skin. I have lately added to my collection Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula for Stretch Marks massage lotion. I really doubt it will do anything my DIY concoction will not, but, I will admit it’s lighter and smells better. It just makes me feel better to include it. It is very moisturizing and my skin is relishing it.
Second trimester took me to the acne bit of things and it was then I found my regular facial care products were simply incapable of coping. My breakout was also becoming inflamed which isn’t something with which I was previously familiar. To say I felt like an ugly duckling would be accurate. And then it happened. I began to use a bit of cake soap (laundry bar soap). While it is a bit drying, it keeps the acne to a minimum and got rid of inflammation. I experimented by cessation of use and sure enough, my face started to become inflamed again. So at least until my nugget pops out of the oven, my regular products are on pause. (Clean like me wash mi face with the cake soap!) I, however,  must always, moisturize after a wash. My skin did get a bit oily farther along but I have heard that accounts for the ‘glow‘. For now, cake soap and moisturizer it is!

The rest of the body gets less attention but not so much as to the point of disregard. I’ve never been much of a razor user to shave my legs, I’m a Nair girl through and through, but I have used the razor a couple of times lately for the simple fact that it’s a bit quicker and let’s face it, I’m not as flexible these days! (Welp!) Pregnancy has been kind to me in this area though. The hair growth my legs normally sees is mysteriously absent. (Same for my eyebrows but I am NOT complaining). Hair removal lotion is  an extra source of moisture that doesn’t require the frequency razors demand.

There’s also that little matter of this season’s ungodly tropical heat. My tolerance for it is fairly minimal (if at all existent). The joy I experience on a rainy day is …. well downright wonderous! During the more perpetual lashings if heat at the peak of the summer heat, I found myself victim to chaffing for the first time in my life. My saving grace? Body powder! Keeping the area dry and excessive applications has sent that rash packing as fast as it came! I am actually quite relieved.

To more private matters, a bottle of feminine wash and a steady supply of pantiliners are my busom buddies! (Pregnant ladies, you know what I mean!) These two are my everyday products which have become monumental during pregnancy.

Aside from the products, a myriad of the above and others, skincare is as much internal as it is external. Don’t forget.. fruits, water, vegetables, water and … oh yea, WATER!! Dry, stretching skin can never be a good thing. We cannot stress the importance of moisturized skin enough. Not just oiled/oily but moisturized skin! So doing my thing while mother nature does hers? I’m definitely here for it! Wish me luck!

I’ve often heard that I am the kind of woman one would label as high maintenance. See, this isn’t true. Sure, I like to look good, but truthfully speaking, what woman doesn’t? Don’t we all feel a little better with fresh nail polish, recently done hair, symmetrical brows and freshly shaved legs. These are the things that make myself feel so very woman!
Often times, we attribute having ourselves put together with being financially well off. But that’s not necessarily the case. There are some very common household items and practices that can help you to stay awesome and feeling well put together, even under the stifling Jamaican economy.

NAILS 

Some women are perfectly contented to simply keep their nails short, clean and well-shaped with perhaps a coat of clear polish. Clean nails are always a plus. If you are contented with this look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. A bottle of clear nail polish, a nail clip, buffer and a bottle of remover won’t cost you JMD$500 and these are all re-useable items.

If you are like myself, who prefer ‘done up’ nails, there is the option to polish your own nails. Now, this will take a little practice and a steady hand, but the results are worth it. You would need to spend a little on a few bottles of nail polish, however, this offers you the freedom to change your color as many times as your heart is content with. You can also swap colors with girlfriends and family members to keep it interesting. I haven’t had extensions, gel or acrylic on my nails since July 2015. And the only thing I can say I truly miss is a good solid French do. (Yes, I’m a french nails lover). In this case, if you do not have naturally hard nails, a nail hardener is your best friend! U may have to shop around for one that is a worthy brand (L.A. Colors make awesome ones for cheap), but you will be so much happier for it. You could also opt to make your own hardener at home. I’ve been doing this since I was 15 and first decided I do not care for short nails.

How To: DIY (Do It Yourself) Nail Hardener

Take a clove of garlic and chop it in pieces big enough to go into a nail polish bottle. Drop the garlic into a bottle of clear nail polish and have it sit for about a week. Voila! You now have nail hardener that cost you next to nothing, hardened nails, to polish as often as you wish and ever changing nails!

SKINCARE 

This one is not a one size fits all because, well, we all have different skin types.

If you feel the need to relax yourself with the occasional facial mask, there are a few items around your house that can help you.

Astringent

Alcohol  (Rubbing) or Apple Cidar Vinegar diluted/undiluted  (depending on what your skin can handle) can be applied to a cotton ball and used as an astringent. You may want to do this twice a week if you are using them undiluted or everyday diluted with water.

Mask

Egg white, lime/lemon juice, banana. Wear this mask on freshly cleansed face for 15 minutes to half an hour. Then rinse with water.

Scrub

Egg white, sugar/baking soda, olive/coconut  oil. Make into a paste and gently work over face for 3-5 minutes. Rinse with water.

**Baking soda can also be used on its own with water as a scrub.

Facial Steaming

You can cleanse your face, add coconut/olive oil and hold your face over a bowl of hot water (BE CAREFUL NOW!) with a towel covering your head and bowl to trap the steam. This is not only a great way to open up your pores, you can use this remedy to release congestion!

HAIR 

Did you know that a bottle of stale beer makes a great treatment for relaxed hair? It does! Add the beer to your hair after shampooing and cover with a plastic cap/bag for 45 minutes without heat and 15 minutes with heat. Your hair will thank you for it!

Vinegar makes a great stripping agent for build up on relaxed or natural hair. You may use white or apple cidar vinegar after shampooing and before conditioning.

Spoiled Mayonnaise makes a great protein treatment along with eggs, conditioners and olive/coconut oil. You may apply to dry or wet hair. Apply mixture to hair and cover with plastic cap for 45 minutes without heat. Shampoo hair as normal.

Hope you find these useful ladies!