Charcoal Teeth Whitening

It's been a craze this past summer: whitening your teeth with charcoal powder! So I tested it out for 2 weeks to see if it actually works. 

 
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Instructions (what I did):

  1. Wet toothbrush thoroughly
  2. Dip toothbrush into charcoal powder (make sure to tap the container down to make the powder even prior to opening)
  3. Tap out excess
  4. Brush your teeth for 1 minute on the outside 
  5. Spit
  6. Add toothpaste to your toothbrush
  7. Brush the rest of your teeth for 1-2 minute
  8. Rinse and Smile
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  • Be careful when spitting into the sink. Spit first then run the water to rinse. It will go everywhere! Tip: keep a sponge nearby to wipe down the sink!
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush and don't brush too hard! 
  • Use it ONCE a day! 

 

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Verdict: I believe it works really well! My teeth are brighter and whiter after almost 2 weeks of use.

What does it taste like: tasteless. It's completely tasteless. It's really strange to get use to. 

It's great for people who have sensitive teeth since there aren't any chemicals used. The powder is super fine so it hasn't gotten stuck in my gums. However, I would just do a minute with the charcoal and the other minute with normal toothpaste. My gums got a bit sensitive from brushing it for two minutes with charcoal and another 2 minutes with toothpaste. 

The only problem I have is that my teeth are super white for the day and then it kinda fades back a little bit. I have to brush my teeth every day with it to keep the "whiteness". If you want "super white", I would go with crest whitening strips. But overall, I think it's a great investment.

Get it here for less than $12!

Stay beautiful, beauties! 

 

My "Full Look" Makeup Routine

If you know me well, I usually never wear makeup during the week. I either go all out, or nothing at all. So many of you have been asking to see what my full makeup routine consist of. To make things  visually easier, I made a video (click below) to go with the product list and tips in this post. 

 
 

Read them all or skip down to what you need! 

  1. Moisturizing Serum: Jojoba Oil- get it here. This stuff is a seed oil, whose chemical makeup is the closest to your skin's natural sebum. It protects your skin, moisturizes it, and for those who are oily- tricks your skin into thinking you already produced enough oil for the day (you won't get oiler). It's non-comedogenic and great for sensitive skin! Tip: Let is absorb for 5 minutes prior to your makeup routine.
  2. Face Primer: Lancôme La Base- get here. Hands down the BEST silicone-base primer for all skin types. I've tried so many different brands, but this one is my favorite! It smooths out your skin, makes you use LESS foundation, and keeps your makeup lasting all day! Tip: A bottle should last about 6-8 months. 
  3. Eye Primer: Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion "Anti-Aging"- get it here. Want your eye shadow game to stay on all day? Here's your answer. This primer helps eye shadow stay into the night without creasing or rubbing off. It also helps your eyeliner stay put, especially if you have a wing! 
  4. Eye Shadow: Urban Decay "Heat" Palette- get it here. This palette was sold out in one day. This is the first palette from UD that has WARM undertones. All the shadows have hints of gold and copper without over-kill. It's fabulous for every skin tone. Tip: If you think your UD palette makes you a bit too ashy, grab one of these instead. 
  5. Eye Shadow: Stila "Eye are the Windows-Soul" Palette- get it here. If you want a palette that covers the basics, this one is it. It has shimmer and matte colors, but covers the neutral spectrum. There's champagne, gold, silver, matte browns, shimmer coppers, darker browns, and even black.
  6. Eyeliner: Urban Decay's Perversion Liner- get it here. My favorite felt tip eyeliner. It is water-proof and smudge-proof. It goes on BLACK BLACK. I really like that I can make a very fine wing with the felt tip. 
  7. Mascara Primer: Urban Decay's Subversion Lash Primer (not shown in video)- get it here. If you have shorter lashes, or thinner lashes- GET THIS. This is a primer you use on your lashes BEFORE you put on mascara. It creates a "layer" for the mascara to "stick" to and gives you super long and full lashes. Tip: Apply primer to one eye and then add mascara while formula is still wet on lashes. Repeat with other eye. 
  8. Mascara: Urban Decay's Perversion Mascara- get it here. (not shown in video) This formula is creamy and doesn't get clumpy! It isn't "waterproof" but it is water-resistance, so it'll come off more easily with your nightly makeup remover . If you want a waterproof version, try this
  9. Foundation: Temptu Air- get it here. Airbrush foundation is the best! I use the Silk Sphere pods in "Beige". The foundation is silicone-based so it won't clog your pores; it lasts all day and still looks fresh at night; it's buildable; it's waterproof; it's sweat proof; and you don't have to use a brush! It's travel-friendly too- this thing is has it's own usb-charger built in. Just charge the unit and attach the pod on to spray anywhere! 
  10. Concealer: Giorgio Armani Maestro Eraser- get it here. I love this stuff. (But I'm afraid they have a new formula with a different name.) What I do like about this particular concealer is that it's an orange-based concealer- meaning it will color correct your dark circles that are blue or black. Tip: If this one doesn't fit you, find a concealer that has an "orange" undertone to off set your dark circles.
  11. Eye Powder: Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Power- get it here. Ever look like a raccoon from all you eyeliner just smearing under your eyes? This stuff is magic. Dab some on with a brush after your concealer/foundation and watch it brighten and illuminate your eyes. This super soft and fine powder also creates a nice barrier so your mascara and eyeliner won't smudge off
  12. Face Powder- RCMA No Color Powder- get it here. I did put this powder into the container shown in the video. I've learned from being under some of Hollywood's greatest artists that this the GO-TO powder. It softens, blurs without caking. It's super silky and this bottle will last you a whole year for just $12.
  13. Contour: Anastasia Contour Kit in "Light to Medium"- get it here. I love this kit. The contour color (middle brown) is absolutely perfect for every skin tone. It has just enough warmth to pull off a natural look. The yellow powder is perfect for a matte highlight under the cheek bones, nose, and forehead. Tip: This palette is refillable! The metal pans are magnetic! 
  14. Bronzer: Benefit "Hoola"- get it here.(not shown in video) Two words: MATTE BRONZER. Get glowing skin without looking like a sparkle-fest. I love the brush it comes with! It's perfect for contour or adding more color on top to seamlessly blend a s darker contour and blush together. My mini one has lasted over an year. 
  15. Blush: Nars "Orgasm"- get it here. This iconic blush is pink with a bit of gold flecks to create at subtle "glow". I get a bunch of the smaller ones to travel with! Want a little less shimmer? Try "Deep Throat". Want more gold sparkles? Try "Super Orgasm".
  16. Highlighter: Mac Mineralize Skinfinish in "Soft and Gentle"- get it here. It's velvet soft and creates a beautiful champagne shimmer highlight. The shimmer pieces are very fine so you won't get giant speck of glitter on your cheek. It's a cult favorite and mine! 
  17. Setting Spray: Urban Decay "All Nighter" Spray- get it here. (not shown in video). SPRAY to finish and your makeup will not MELT, MOVE or SMUDGE. It will stay fresh all day. This stuff lowers the temperature if your makeup to make it lasts 12+ hours. You face will thank you halfway through the day. Tip: Spray in a "T" shape and an "X" shape for best results!
  18. Lipcolor: Tarte Lip Paint "Delish"- get it here. This rose mauve is perfect for those who want a dusty but nude color. Plus this velvet rich-formula (non transferring) dries matte and won't dry out or crack! I like it cuz my lips are dark and it almost matches perfectly as my "nude". Tip: to find your "nude" color, pucker your lips. Your lipstick color should match the inside of your lips. 
Jojoba Oil

Jojoba Oil

Lancôme La Base Primer

Lancôme La Base Primer

UD Eye Shadow Primer Potion

UD Eye Shadow Primer Potion

UD Heat Palette

UD Heat Palette

Stila "Eyes are the Window- Soul"

Stila "Eyes are the Window- Soul"

Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder

Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder

RCMA No Color Powder 

RCMA No Color Powder 

Nars "Orgasm" Blush

Nars "Orgasm" Blush

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UD All Night Setting Spray

UD All Night Setting Spray

Tarte Quick Dry Lip Paint

Tarte Quick Dry Lip Paint

Thanks for sticking around! Tune in next week for more blogging- I think we got some skincare, masks, serums, and charcoal testing coming your way! 

Stay beautiful, my beauties! 

 

DIY Fresh Manicure That Lasts (almost as long as gels)

What if I told you that I can help you get a fresh manicure at home that will last almost as long as gels?  Yes, it's totally possible and I usually get it done in about 30 minutes.

Get ready! Long post, lots of photos!

Tools: 

  • Cuticle Softener 
  • Cuticle Oil
  • Makeup Remove Wipes/ Exfoliating Face Wipes
  • Bowl
  • Cuticle Pusher (optional)
  • Orangewood Stick
  • Cuticle Cutter/Nipper (optional) 
  • Nail Trimmer 
  • Nail Buffer
  • Nail File
  • Cotton Balls
  • Alcohol
  • Acetone (Polish remover works too, but I prefer acetone since it's stronger and faster)
  • Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Set 
  • Polish Color of Choice- I used Essie "Blossom Dandy"
  • Mess no more! Liquid Tape for Nails (optional)

Step 1: Remove

  • Tip acetone into cotton to soak through. Remove old polish (if you have darker or red polish on, you might want to use a couple of rounds of cotton to get everything off). 
 
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Step 2: Cut and Trim

  • Cut down your nails (optional). I've taken up climbing so I have to keep these babies as short as possible.
  • Take your file and shape your nails. I keep mine round because that's the strongest shape.
 
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Step 3: Soak

  • Add soap and warm-hot water into bowl. 
  • Soak fingers for about 3-5 minutes.
 
 

Step 4: Push Back

I like transferring my blue cross into a dropper bottle. It makes it easier to apply!

I like transferring my blue cross into a dropper bottle. It makes it easier to apply!

Be gentle when pushing back your cuticles! 

Be gentle when pushing back your cuticles! 

For this step, I recommend that you do one hand at a time

  • Take cuticle softener and add a couple of drops onto your cuticles.
    • Blue Cross is one of my favorite cuticle softener/remover. You can get it Sally's Beauty Supply. Please don't use this if you are allergic to lanolin
  • Take your orangewood stick and begin to push back your cuticles. Move from right to left, going in a crescent-moon shape. If your cuticles get dry, add more softener as you need. 
    • If you want to be gentle, or if you have sensitive cuticles, please keep to using the orangewood stick. It's optional to use a stainless steel cuticle pusher to push back your cuticles. Do not push straight into your cuticle. Raise the pusher to a 45-degree angle, push down onto the nail bed while gently pushing back. Be gentle! 
Don't lay the pusher FLAT

Don't lay the pusher FLAT

Do ANGLE it at 45 degrees

Do ANGLE it at 45 degrees

Step 5: Clean Up

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  • I picked up this tip from dear friend of mine who is a Hollywood manicurist: Take a makeup remover wipe and cut it in half (one for each hand). Fold it over your index finger. Begin pushing back and scraping in a windshield wiper motion from one side of the nail to the other. Use a clean side of the wipe every 2 fingers. You'll see all the gunk come off. 
    • Optional: cut any hang nails or trim any cuticles. Always use a sharp nipper. You actually have more chances of nicking yourself with a duller one. Grab one here.
  • Take your buffer and buff down your nails gently. This eliminates gunk leftover on the nails and gives your nails a fresh start. 
  • Apply cuticle oil all over your cuticles. 
  • Repeat on other hand.
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Step 6: Wash and Prep

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water to get rid of excess oils.
  • Lightly buff the tops of your nails one more time. 
  • Tip alcohol onto a microfiber (a towel works well, too) and wipe down all of your nails.D
    • DO NOT touch your nails with your fingers after!! Polish will last longer and stick better to dry and oil-free nails 
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Step 7: Mess No More! (optional)

This is a great option for those who cannot paint in the line. Think of it like blue tape for your nails! It's kinda magical when you want clean edges. Remember it's not going to be completely perfect, but it does help tremendously! This stuff is great if you want to marble or sponge ombré your nails!

Get it here!

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 Do not use if you are allergic to latex!

  • Paint a fat and wide layer the pink glue around your cuticle- be careful not to get it ON your nail bed! Go as far away from your nail as you need to. 
  • Add a second coat before the first one dries. 
  • Let dry completely

Step 8: Base Coast, Polish, Top Coat

My absolute must-have! 

My absolute must-have! 

Make sure your nails are wiped with alcohol/acetone before painting the base coat! It sticks better- less chips!

Make sure your nails are wiped with alcohol/acetone before painting the base coat! It sticks better- less chips!

Paint as messy as you want! (I painted super messy to show you guys that the "Mess No More!" kinda-sorta-works)

Paint as messy as you want! (I painted super messy to show you guys that the "Mess No More!" kinda-sorta-works)

This gel lab set from Deborah Lippmann is amazing. It paints on like regular polish, but lasts longer and stays shinier. It is a bit thicker than regular polish, so make sure to use a sparing amount when applying! Get it here!  

  • Using a small brush or even a q-tip, wipe nails once more with alcohol or acetone really well. This is what will help your polish stick correctly. 
  • Apply base coat.
  • Apply 2 coats of color - Pick up enough in the brush and float the brush over your nail. Don't jam the brush straight down or else you'll get streaks.
    • Remove the liquid tape after polishing EACH nail with the second coat (while the second coat is still WET). Using tweezers is probably the easiest! If you wait too long like I did, the latex will peel off from under the polish and you'll still have polish stuck on your skin-booo. 
    • TIP if you are a skilled painter: Paint everything but your thumbs first- that way you have your thumbs free to scrape off any polish that hits the sides. Paint your thumbs last
  • Apply top coat. Remember to seal the bottom edge of your nails with one swipe from left to right. (this helps keep your nails from chipping!)
  • Clean up any bits of paint leftover with a small brush dipped in acetone.
    • If you have a copious amount of polish stuck on your skin and on your cuticles, wait 2-3 hours until completely dry and wash your hands in warm water. The excess paint will come right off! 
    • If you hate waiting for polish to dry, try drying drops! They literally "freeze" your polish so you can get going on your date! Beware! Some drops make the "shininess" fade away faster
Peel off latex on each finger right after second coat of polish 

Peel off latex on each finger right after second coat of polish 

Steal the top coat to give you man a couple more extra days. 

Steal the top coat to give you man a couple more extra days. 

Clean up with acetone dipped into a brush

Clean up with acetone dipped into a brush

Remember that practice makes perfect! It took me almost an entire year of constantly painting my right hand with my left to actually get good. Keep trying!

Tip: After 3-4 days, wipe your nails with alcohol (no more than 71%) with a clean microfiber and apply one more layer of top coat. Don't forget to seal! It'll keep your mani looking fresh!

Essie: Blossom Dandy

Essie: Blossom Dandy

Essie: Blossom Dandy

Essie: Blossom Dandy

Disclaimer:  Please be careful when using any tools or chemicals on your skin as most of the ones mentioned in this post are "for professional use only". Please note that I have had my professional license for over 10 years, and the technique I have shown here is my own way of doing my own manicure at home. I am not responsible for anything that happens to you. Following any advice in the blog post is done at your own risk. 

Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask

hmm.... bubble mask? Find it here on Amazon

 
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It hit the market a while ago and people went nuts over looking like foaming bubble monster! I have to admit, I really like playing with bubbles, so I wanted this mask for the fun of it. Hehe. I was able to get a hold of the real deal straight from Korea (thanks, Lina!). This magical bubbling mask is supposed to clean up your skin and pores while leaving it moist and smooth

This will mark the second time I tried it. The first time my roommate and I left it on too long, and it started to irritate our faces. Don't worry, it was totally our fault- we got distracted by the bubbles and kept snap chatting away. LOL But really, please read the directions on the box before starting. 

If you want to watch my masking process, check out the video on my IG!

 

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Directions

Step 1: Start with a fresh clean face

Don't mind the period pimple and the rosacea. I got attacked by allergies this week and Claritin dries me out so bad. It's either my nose and head suffers, or my skin does. I'll take the skin. 

Wash your face. Steaming is optional

Step 2: Apply mask

Use a brush or use the spatula they give you in the jar. Apply on a thin but opaque layer. I like using a foundation brush because I can cover larger areas of my face more quickly. 

Step 3: Rinse after 3-5 minutes

Don't get too distracted by the bubbles. You'll feel your face tickle as the bubbles start to form. After 3-5 minutes, massage the mask in with a bit of water (and play with the bubbles). I didn't leave it on as long as most people do since my skin was extra sensitive this week. 

Rinse well. Be warned that the mask will carbonate while rinsing so just keep rinsing and rubbing gently! 

Step 4: Apply Serum/ Lotion

The mask is suppose to leave your face moist, but I partially disagree. My face felt a pinch drier than normal so applied my hydrating serum from La Roche Posay.  

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Price: $9

Verdict: This is a super fun mask to use during sleepover party or if you're bored! It's fun to watch as the bubble magic happen. If you leave it long enough, the foam comes up about an inch over your skin. You'll look like a gray smurfs. Hehe.

My skin felt nice after. It wasn't as smooth as I hoped it would be, but still a tad smoother. I'm sure some kind of exfoliation happened when the bubbles were bursting. The only downside is the amount of product in the jar. After 2 rounds, there's less than half left. I left it in my cabinet for about a month since the first round, and the mask bubbled inside the jar (not sure if that was normal?).  Overall, this is a fun and entertaining mask for a great price. It's not one that will treat your problem skin or make you look amazing. It's just fun.

Tip: For kids under 10, (if you really want to them to try it), I would do it on their hands or forearms or another part of their body that has "thicker" skin. 

Happy masking, my beauties!!

 

 

 

 

 

Removing Gels at Home

For all you beauties out there who love gels but don't have the time or the money to go redo them, here's a way to take them off at home.  (please read the disclaimer below) 

 

Disclaimer: Attempting to remove gel nails at home comes at your own risk. It is highly recommended to seek out a professional nail technician to help you remove your gel nails in a salon. Please be careful when using any tools or chemicals on your skin as most of the ones mentioned in this post are "for professional use only". Please note that I have had my professional license for over 10 years, and the technique I have shown here is my own way of removing gels on myself. I am not responsible for anything that happens to you. Following any advice in the blog post is done at your own risk. 

 

 
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Supplies: 

  • Aluminum Foil- I used the 18 inch long box instead of the 12 inch standard box. You can tear more squares
  • Cotton Balls
  • Acetone - Please use acetone. Simple polish remover" will not work as well. 
  • Coarse File 
  • Nail Buffer
  • Cuticle Pusher
  • Nail Strengthener (optional)
  • Cuticle Oil (optional) 

Step 1: Prep Foil Squares

Fold in half. Tear off 5 sections first.

Fold in half. Tear off 5 sections first.

Tear rectangles in half

Tear rectangles in half

You should have 10 squares

You should have 10 squares

Tear off about 4-5 inches of foil. Fold the foil in half hotdog-style. Tear off vertically about 2.5 inch squares. You'll end up with 5 rectangular pieces.

Tear each of those rectangular pieces in half where the original "hotdog" fold is. You should now have 10 squares. 

Step 2: Break the Seal 

 
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The top coat of your gel set is what protects your gels and makes them shiny. You are going to have to break the seal

Take your coarse file, lay it flat on your nail, and begin to file/buff away just the top layer of your gels. If your file isn't as coarse, it'll take a lot longer to file through. Don't go back and forth in the same place too often or else you will eat through all the layers and scratch your REAL nail. 

File/buff until all the "shininess" goes away and your nails look "roughed up". 

Step 3: Pull, Soak, and Fold 

Pull off a piece the size of your nail

Pull off a piece the size of your nail

Soak the cotton in acetone

Soak the cotton in acetone

Start with your pinky and work your way around. Be sure to complete one nail at a time.

Grab a cotton and pull off a small bit as large as your nail. Pour acetone into the cotton piece until soaked. Place a foil square under your nail and apply the cotton to the top of your nail. 

Fold the foil back towards your body. Then fold over the right side towards the left. Then fold the left side over the right. Squish the foil tight. 

Place cotton on top of nail

Place cotton on top of nail

Fold back towards you

Fold back towards you

Fold right

Fold right

Fold left

Fold left

Repeat for all 10 nails. Wait 5-10 minutes. *hint: do all 8 fingers first, then your thumbs last

 
You'll look like Edward Scissorhands for a while

You'll look like Edward Scissorhands for a while

 

Step 4: Scrape Off

After 5-10 minutes, your gels should be ready to take off. Open one foil at a time. Take your cuticle pusher and carefully scrape the gel off with light-medium pressure from your cuticle towards the tip of your nail. Don't scrape it too hard! The gels should come off with ease. 

Repeat for all 10 fingers.

If there are bits of stubborn gel left over, soak a new piece of cotton, wrap that nail again for 3-5 minutes, and scrape the gel off again. 

 
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Step 5: Buff Nails

Once your nails are all clean with no gels left, it's time to buff. Your buffer should be from a fine to medium grade. Nothing too coarse.

Place your buffer flat on top of you nail and move right to left in a "sawing" motion. Tilt the buffer to the left and right side to get the curved edges of your nails. 

Your nails should be smooth after a couple motions of this.

Don't mind the bit of "dust" from the buffer than comes off. 

 
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Step 6: Clean Up

Wash your nails/ hands thoroughly. 

Cut down or file your nails to your liking. Apply a nail strengthener or polish a fresh color. 

Follow up with a cuticle oil to keep fingers from feeling too dry. Voila! 

 

 
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Professional Advice:

1) Please do not peel your gels off. The base coat is stuck to your nail bed. Peeling off your gels means peeling off that first layer of your nail and the gel too. Yikes! 

2) Please be wary of how many times you continuously get a new set of gels. After so many rounds, your nails will feel weaker and thinner. This is not because of the acetone or the buffing. This is due to the lack of oxygen your nails are getting. Your nails are not "breathing"- they are suffocating because you are constantly placing gels on them for weeks on end.

I personally recommend taking a break after every 3-4 sets of gels. Remove your gels and just wear regular polish or nail strengthener for about week. This will give your nails a chance to breathe again and will ensure that your nails stay strong and healthy. 

3) If you can't keep up with gels, polishing with a sheer color can help them look more professional. Once your polish chips, remove the color and start again. If you can't keep up with polish, ask for a buff shine! It's a "shine" layer on your natural nails that will just fade. 

Happy Friday, my beauties!