Posts filed under How-to

Twist Out Win: Cantu, Beautiful Textures and Naturals by Gina B

If you follow me on Snapchat (ChristeneCarr) you will know that I often say twist outs are the devil.  They are time consuming and results may vary not just depending on products used but on order of application, temperature, drying method,  and quite possibly the State of the Union. The last two twist outs were a success so naturally I have to share the results and the products used.

Treat + Cleanse + Condition

My hair is like some reality TV stars -- always thirsty. A pre poo treatment of castor oil always enfuses moisture and helps with elasticity.  I heat it up (placing the bottle in a bowl of hot water,) apply to dry hair, cover with a plastic cap,  sit under my dryer for 15 to 20 minutes then follow with shampoo and conditioner.  For this wash and condition I used the Creme of Nature Straight from Eden Natural Oil-Infused Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner from my February Cocotique Box. The shampoo has amazing foaming action but doesn't leave my hair feeling squeaky or stripped.  The conditioner is very light but gives enough moisture. (If I didn't start with the pre poo treatment I would have  gone with a deep conditioning treatment post wash.)

Styling

Twist Out Win- Cantu, Beautiful Textures And Naturals By Gina B 2.jpg

Everything up to this point took about 30 minutes.  This next part feels like it took 34556 hours! After rinsing the condition from my hair I towel dried and applied Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-in Conditioner and finger combed it all through my hair. I then applied Cantu Coconut Curling Cream ($7.99) to a small section of my hair, parted it with my fingers from front to back, combed it through then worked the Naturals Gina B  Kiss My Ash Body Balm ($16) (Yes, a body balm) through the ends then did a two strand flat twist and a bantu knot at the nape of my neck. I repeated this process until I did my whole head (approximately 1 hour). I had to spritz with water a few times to work in the products -- this is an important step (it can be the difference between smooth defined twists and crunchy fuzzy twists.  Don't ask me how I know.) I let it air dry overnight -- or in this case for several days because when I attempted to take down the twist, they were damp.  I cursed all the Gods, re-twisted it and reached for my turban. 

 Day 3.

Day 3.

On day 5 I re-twisted by spritzing with water and applying a little more Naturals Gina B Kiss My Ash Body Balm to the ends. 

I have to celebrate my twistout wins because fuzzy, limp, undefined twist outs are like unsolicited DMs from creepy dudes -- never far away. Here's to hoping all your twist outs from here to eternity come out exactly as you want them. 

Posted on March 10, 2016 and filed under How-to.

How I Regrew My Eyebrows in 3 Easy Steps

Big, bad, banging brows are all the rage.  The days of the line thin brows are behind us (for the moment) and brow product manufacturers everywhere are rubbing their hands together and counting their coins.  (Ok, that last part might be a bit of an exaggeration.) There is no shortage of brow filler products available that will allow you fake big brows -- but why fake it when you can have the real thing?  If your sparse brows are due to over waxing, tweezing, threading or shaving, these tips I used to regrow my own brow might help you.

I Got Bangs

Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. A while ago I got a full weave that included a bang -- since the bang covered my brows, I was able to leave them unshaped for almost two months! Don't get me wrong, I wanted badly to touch them but the promise of fuller brows was enough to keep my hands off my favorite Tweezerman. I understand that not everyone can grow bangs on their journey to great brows -- the key is to keep your tweezers, waxing strips, threads and razors away from your brows.  For me, bangs simply made it easier.

I Used a Brow Growth Serum

Prior to getting bangs I really wanted to commit to a brow growth serum but I always forgot to use it.  ALWAYS! With the bangs, no one (including me) was seeing my brows, so,  I was cool letting them live their best life. Every night when I pinned my hair back to wash my face I was reminded of my end goal - better brows.  Instead of reaching for the tweezers I would reach for the growth serum, apply it and retreat from the mirror hopeful for better brows tomorrow. Rapidbrow Eyebrow Enhancing Serum (Ulta, $39.99)

I Exfoliated

Every hair re-growth story I have ever read includes an "exfoliation" step. This led me to the conclusion that if I wanted to regrow my brows,  I definitely needed to exfoliate.  So, twice per week I took 15 seconds to gently massage some St Ives Apricot Scrub with Salicylic Acid (Ulta, $4.99) over my brow area (No, I didn't get it in my eye.)  The exfoliation increases circulation as well as sloughs away dead skin. Could the growth serum have worked without this extra step? Maybe. But that's moot now because I've got brows!

My brows were always thin but through over shaping they got even thinner.  It got to the point where on any given day, I was wearing 80% brow product and 20% actual brow -- that's no way to live. After getting my bangs, committing to a brow product and gently exfoliating every week, my brows were fuller than they had ever been.  In two months I was able to flip the script to 80% brow, 20% brow product.  That's a ratio I can live with.

Posted on September 22, 2015 and filed under How-to.

8 Foundations for Dark Skin

The right foundation is like a bit of magic.  Just a little can give you a fresh face glow and a couple of more layers can give you the base for the most glamourous look.  While I no longer have an issue finding my foundation shade, I realized that other woman with dark skin are still searching to find their correct, shade, formula and finish.  In this post I will highlight my favorite  foundations (those I currently use) in the shades I use in hopes that it will help you to find something that works for your beautiful brown skin.  

Cover FX Cream Foundation

 Wearing Cover FX Cream Foundation in N100 (This picture is from 2012 -- my skin was !!!!)

Wearing Cover FX Cream Foundation in N100 (This picture is from 2012 -- my skin was !!!!)

Any foundation conversation I have, starts with Cover FX. I first met the brand at The Make Up Show New York where I bought my first cream foundation kit -- it was love at first swatch.  I Love the cream foundation because I can sheer it out and set it with their translucent powder for  light finish or build it up for more complete coverage.   Cover FX products are formulated based on undertones -- Pink (P), Neutral (N),  and Golden (G). I wear N100 in the cream foundation. $42

Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick

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Nothing beats a foundation stick.  I can literally draw four stripes (across my forehead, cheeks and chin) and use my flat top Kabuki brush to blend it in and have my base done in under a minute! Throw on a dab of concealer, a little blush and some mascara, quickly fill in my brows and my face is done in five-seven minutes. I wear shade 6.75 Almond and there are four other darker shades. I'm impressed.  Are you impressed?  You should be. This formula uses a transparent base and skin tone correcting pigments.  It is so smooth and light weight that you can hardly tell there is makeup on your face. $44

Black Up Cosmetics Full Coverage Cream Foundation

 Wearing Black Up Full Coverage Cream Foundation in HC 08 and HC 09

Wearing Black Up Full Coverage Cream Foundation in HC 08 and HC 09

This is another brand I discovered at the Makeup Show New York.  As you might have guessed by now, I'm a cream or liquid foundation kind of gal. While I do occasional use powder, creams and liquids are it for me.  The Black Up  Full Coverage Liquid Foundation has kind of a neutralizing effect on my skin...out of the tube it looks like it will be kind of orange but once I blend it in, it's perfection.  It is light weight and wears beautifully.  It is formulated without oils and fragrance. I'm shade HC 08 and HC 09. The range goes up to  HC 15.  $42

ELF Cosmetics Moisturizing Foundation Stick

I love a good bargain and nothing beats being able to get your face beat on for pennies on the dollar.  This ELF foundation cost $6 but It is only available in 8 shades, i wear Coffee, the 7th darkest shade.  This foundation is "enriched with antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients Shea, Vitamin E, Cocoa, Grape, Avocado, Macadamia, and Aloe to nourish and hydrate the skin." $6

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H

 Wearing Lancome Teint Idol 24 hr in Suede 520 W

Wearing Lancome Teint Idol 24 hr in Suede 520 W

This  is a long time favorite that i haven't used in a while (the life of a blogger.)  The Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H foundation is said to provide 24 hours of wear (I have never worn it that long.) While I haven't put it to the true test, it wears beautifully whenever I wear it and when worn with a primer, it stays somewhat matte on my oily skin for about 4 hours. The formula is lightweight and coverage can be sheer to full, depending on application. It is available in 28 shades.  I wear shade Suede 520 W. $45.50

Diorskin Star Teint Studio

This is a new acquisition. The foundation is said to be "inspired by the professional illuminating techniques and expertise of Dior makeup artists." It is a super lightweight brightening foundation the cover beautifully and wears well. The Diorskin Star Teint Studio is available in 14 shades. I'm shade 070 - Dark Brown; there is one shade darker. $50

Becca Ultimate Coverage Complexion Creme

 Wearing Becca Ultimate Complexion Cream in Sienna and Tobacco.

Wearing Becca Ultimate Complexion Cream in Sienna and Tobacco.

The  Becca Ultimate Coverage complexion Creme is one of the most pigmented foundations I have ever used. If my face is clear (i.e. pimple free,) a pea size amount or smaller can get me full coverage...it's actually a little insane how well it covers. Acoording to Becca, the foundation is clinically proven to provide 24 hours of wear, but like the Lancome foundation with similar claims, I have never worn it for 24 hours.  Becca Complexion Cream  is available in 20 shades.  I wear shades Tobacco and Sienna.  $44 [You may see my full review here.]

Ruby Kisses 3D Face Creator

This foundation is seriously underrated.  The shade range is extensive and the coverage, wear and finish are exceptional.  This is the kind of product I would drop serious coins on but it retails for a mere $6.99. This was one of the first split pan foundations I used and it's still a favorite.  It was out long before the highlight and contouring game went mainstream. Ruby Kisses 3D Face Creator is available in 16 split pan combinations for a total of 32 shades. My exact match is level 15 but I also have levels 14 and 16 that I use to highlight and contour. $6.99

What's Your Favorite Foundation?

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Posted on June 22, 2015 and filed under Product Review, How-to.