Let’s talk about the Scalp Massager

I have seen a multitude of videos touting the benefits of these toothy scalp massager tools. I’ll admit I was intrigued. When I saw that there was one for sale on the Shop Miss A site, I went ahead and bought it. Like most things on the Shop Miss A site it was $1. I figured that for a $1.88 cost I could try it out and see how I liked it. If I didn’t or if it proved to be something I wasn’t going to use, then, well, I only spent a $1.88.

The bristles are bendy silicone spikes. They are the same length, but the width varies. The thicker spikes are on the outside and the thinner ones inside the ring of spikes. The handle fits well around my hand and has grooves for my fingers. This is especially important as it is used in the shower with shampoo in the hair,. Soap and water make things a bit slick. This is easy to hold onto in the shower with shampoo lathered in my locks.

Over all it is a well designed tool.

But does it have a point or is it just another pointless bit of kit taking up space in the shower?

While the description on the Shop Miss A site was limited to Scalp Massager, it is identical to the Vegamour GRO Revitalizing scalp massager ($16) at least in the photos so I went with their description as to what I might expect from this tool.

Give your scalp the love and care it deserves! The GRO Scalp Revitalizing Massager features a series of bristles that stimulate the scalp and boost scalp health, providing both an exhilarating scalp massage and relaxing experience. Ideal for all hair types, this hand-held massager can be used on a dry scalp, or to work in your Vegamour hair growth serums, foams, or shampoos. Safe for color-treated, bleached or chemically treated hair, Suitable for all hair types, Can be used on both wet or dry hair

Vegamour

I’ll admit I have no way to really test scalp health but I do know that after I use a scalp scrub my scalp does feel good and my hair feels healthier and logically it makes sense to keep your scalp in good health. So I had high hopes going into this.

First I tried it with dry hair. I made certain to try it after I had several events where i did things to my hair (hot tools, heat protection spray, styling cream, etc) There was nothing in my hair at the time, product-wise, but my hair had been through a lot in the week of the dry scalp trial. I do not have an overly dry scalp and I have never had a problem with dandruff but I did notice that after I used it, there were tiny little bits of stuff. As I was using it to massage my scalp and I didn’t have anything in my hair at the time, I am guessing that it was knocked loose from my scalp.

As gross as that sounds.

I did try to take a picture, but the little bits were more things felt rather than seen. If I pulled my hair up to my eyes I could see little bumps of stuff on my hair (not a lot but enough that I could feel it with my fingers). I simply couldn’t get the camera close enough to pick up anything. it kept fuzzing the photo out. I will need a more intense lens. And to be fair it was something more felt than seen.

I did really enjoy the feeling of the bristles on my scalp though. It really was a very nice massage. It did tangle up my hair a bit on the ends. And the bits freaked me out so I went immediately into the shower.

while it clearly did something on dry hair, and I think if I was messaging a scalp serum into my hair, dry hair would be a fine use for this massager. For me however it was better on wet hair. Perhaps because I would use the teeth to comb through my hair periodically under the spray, I didn’t get a much tangling when I used it in the shower. The shape of the handle kept oit from shifting about too much and I didn’t slip or slide with it in the shower.

With shampoo it worked beautifully well. The lather was intensified in the shampoo and because I have thick hair, the action of the brush allowed both the shampoo to get right down to the roots of the hair and the water to actually get in and rinse out the shampoo more efficiently. It also felt amazing on the scalp.

It did nothing for me with conditioner or a conditioning hair mask, however paired with a scalp mask it was fantastic. I used it with my favorite Christophe Robin Sea Salt Scalp Scrub and it was utterly fantastic. I needed less product because the scalp massager helped get the scalp scrub deeper through the forest of my hair. It also drastically increased the foam. It was lather-tastic.

In truth it halved the amount of product I needed to use to get the best results. While I love this hair mask, it is not an inexpensive product. Full price for it is $53. which is why i tend to buy it on sale. (Incidentally, the Christophe Robin site has this mask for 40% off right now. So it is only $31.80 and yes, I stocked up.) The fact that this massager lets me get the same results with half of the product means my jar will last a lot longer. While I may need a microscope to see what is actually going on with my scalp and some sort of photo lens to see the microscopic bits that I’m pretty sure left my scalp, only needing half of the product to achieve the same great hair is a result i can stand behind. It also makes this $1 hair tool from the Shop Miss A website, far more valuable than it seems.

I picked this up thinking it was probably going to be something I tried a few times and then forgot about. Instead it has become a part of my hair washing routine and the means of extending the life of a product i like. While i will look out for long term benefits over the next few months, in the short term I can say, my hair feels fantastic, I use less product and more of the product I use gets rinsed out as the tool helps separated things so the rinse water can get in. On top of all that, I get a really nice relaxing scalp massage every time i wash my hair. For that alone I would repurchase this Scalp massaging tool. I would also pick it up at Shop Miss A. It is a great tool of good quality and $1.88 is really hard to beat.



Using the Beauty Bakerie Blending Eggs

Beauty Bakerie recently sent this pack of Blending Eggs over for me to try out and I have to say they are just adorable. The pack comes with six blending sponges or ‘eggs’ and the package is designed to look like an egg carton.

It is also made of the type of cardboard that is easily biodegradable so I can either put it in my recycling bin or put it in my composter when I am done with it. which I rather like. it is also what i do with regular egg cartons actually.

But that isn’t the point. It is a lovely look and I do like that I can easily recycle the packaging, however it is the product that counts. This set has six blending eggs and the set is usually $18. However they have an amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale, which is 40% Off Sitewide from 11/23 to 11/29.

And yes I will be using this as an excuse to pick up more of their liquid lips. if you didn’t read my review of them last week, then to sum it up, I think their matte liquid lips are amazing.

So big sale, big opportunity. Now back to the makeup sponges.

Each egg is individually wrapped and has the classic round with a pointed end. All of the eggs are the same and while I understand why, I do like a little bit of a flat edge on my makeup sponges as I find them useful. It isn’t essential and I can clearly use the makeup sponge without it, but I like to have one edge. This slight disappointment (and mostly just preference) is really my only complaint about these sponges.

Like all Makeup sponges, you wet them and squeeze out the excess water before use. At least I do. And like most makeup sponges these expand when wet . They are a little more than double the size when wet. In general I find that I need to wet makeup sponges, squeeze them out ant then let them sit for about twenty minutes before using them. It gives the surface moisture time to sort of evaporate while still leaving the sponge expanded. that way it is still big and soft but not leaving damp patches on the skin.

This sponge has what I would call a medium firmness which is actually my preferred type. I don’t like when they are too soft as they don’t feel like they do a good job applying things like powder or smoothing out foundation. I likewise don’t like when they are really firm because then it just doesn’t feel comfortable when i use them to apply makeup. Iknow, I always feel a bit like Goldilocks when i talk about makeup sponges. This one is too hard, this one too soft and to be honest the ones from Beauty Bakerie are just right. They are that medium density I prefer. hey also hold their expanded size really well. They clearly shrink back down a they dry but it will stay expanded for several hours. I actually found that helpful when i needed to do a touch up on the fly this weekend. It was quite helpful.

For me the six pack actually works well too. I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to wash makeup sponges every day and they can get pretty nasty looking pretty fast. So I like to keep a jar of them, use a different one each day and then when i do my laundry put them in a mesh bag and toss them in the wash. I wash them with dark towels and aI let them dry naturally rather than putting them in the dryer and this has always worked well for me. These sponges responded well to this treatment and they will no doubt serve me well for a long time to come. I am quite pleased with these Beauty Bakerie Blending Eggs. They are a good product in an adorable packaging and they are a good price. The price is about to be even better due to the Black Friday Sales too. so if you are looking to stock up on makeup sponges, these are a pretty good bet. Since i have the sponges, I’ll b going for the lippies.

Holiday Gift Ideas: Makeup Eraser

One of the items I use daily but don’t always think to mention is my Makeup Eraser. While i once had one of the original pink Makeup Erasers, it has since gone away. Oddly it didn’t actually wear out, but my babydoll accidentally grabbed it when he was fixing the lawnmower (he thought the size meant it was a hand cloth). So I passed it onto him because of the oil stains.

In the above picture there are two makeup erasers. The rainbow colored one I have used for a little over three years. the colors have faded a little bit but it is still going strong. The purple one came to me in a subscription box last month. If I remember it was a Glossy Box. I really enjoy having two to trade out. I also have several small Makeup Erasers in use. I have one that I specifically use for removing eye makeup so that I don’t get other makeup in my eyes.

Even when i use a cleansing balm or an eye makeup remover, i use them paired with my Makeup Eraser so that i don’t risk staining regular wash cloths with makeup. One of the trends that I really like is the seven day sets that Makeup Eraser is coming out with. Thus allows you to use a different cloth each day so that you are never risking cross contamination and you don’t have to worry about putting old makeup back on your skin. It also reduces the use of disposable products like make up wipes. If you are purchasing gifts for someone who wears makeup, or looking for something new for yourself whether you just want to have something to take off your makeup or you want to reduce your bathroom waste, Makeup Eraser has some great sets this year.

Makeup Eraser has paired with Disney to create several sets. There is the Limited Edition Nightmare before Christmas set which is still available as I am writing this. There are also several princess packs. The one that always draws me however is the Disney Villains set which is pictured here. All of their sets are $25 regularly priced. there is currently a $5 off code on the site for first time buyers (it should come up automatically but I’ll also link it at the bottom of this post).

If you are looking for something without a printed design, they have those sets as well. This set Is in the same purple that I have. Personally I like the darker colors. Even though I know that all of the makeup will wash out once I put it in the washing machine, there is still something in my that wants to use a dark colored cloth when removing mascara.

This set comes with a small mesh bag. These mesh bags are great for holding the cloths while you are rotating through them. Also they are great in the wash. i don’t like washing the makeup erasers in the bag because i think then need a little more space to float around in the washer,. But I tend to use them to wash my makeup sponges. I put the sponge in there and chuck it into the wash. The bag keeps hair and lint off of the makeup sponge. Then I take the sponges out of the washer and let them dry on their own.

And then when everything is dry the cloths go back in the bag. Actually, to dry my makeup erasers, I lay them flat across the top of the dryer while the dryer is running. They are stretched flat and dry with the heat wafting out of the dryer but don’t actually go through the roughness of the tumble dry. The Makeup erasers come in a multitude of solid colors, from pastel to black.

If patterns are your thing then Makeup eraser has you covered. They have variety of patterns for you to choose from, both in the original size and in the smaller seven day sets.

this Kiwi and lime print is one of my favorites in the full sized versions. Not only is is a fun and fresh print but it comes with a hair clip and a makeup bag. It is still the same price as the other sets ($25) although to be honest I would probably pay that for the makeup bag alone. I think it is a really nice looking bag. I love the bags with the flat bottoms. I always think they fit things just a little more neatly for travel.

Whether looking for a single Makeup eraser or looking for a seven to 10 day set, there is a pattern or a color to suit just about everyone’s personality. I personally love that about the brand. This is one of those products that I use on a daily basis and it helps me to reduce my waste in the bathroom as well as take off my makeup so that my cleanser is washing my actual skin instead of washing a layer of makeup. I find I get better results from my cleanser if I use the makeup Eraser to give it a head start. Even though I don’t always talk about it a much as I should it is one of my favorite skincare tools and well worth picking up for either yourself or someone you love this holiday season.

Take $5 Off Your First Order with Code WELCOME5 at Makeuperaser.com. Limited Time Offer.

Shop Mickey and Friends Collection at MakeUpEraser.com!

Using the IsoClean Cosmetic Sponge Cleaner

Please excuse the bashed nails

I have a confession to make. I have always taken a pretty lazy approach to cleaning my makeup sponges. I keep several around that I can rotate through and then at the end of the week, I put them in a net mesh bag and put it into the laundry with my jeans for a good washing. The mesh bag keeps hair and lint from sticking to the makeup sponges and then once they come out of the washer I take them out of the bag, do a quick squeeze and rinse in the sink to make sure all of the laundry soap is out of them, and then I let them dry while my jeans go onto the dryer.

The bag I use is this one from the Laundry bags site. It is less than $3 and really useful to have around. I also use them for washing delicates. In all fairness I should admit that I wash my makeup brushes with Ivory soap. I put a bar in a cheap plastic soap dish and just use it like any other brush cleanser. I have used official brush cleanser before and it worked fine, but then so does the ivory soap and the hardware store around the corner from me sells them for $0.98 per bar.

However I recently received this ISO Clean Cosmetic Sponge Cleanser in a subscription box so I thought why not give it a try. This size is listed for $10 and it’s description runs…

1st sponge before cleaning

Make your sponges sparkle! ISOCLEAN’s cosmetic sponge cleaner expertly eliminates harmful bacteria, dirt and stubborn makeup stains, making your cosmetic sponges look as good as new in just 60 seconds!

And so to test I took two makeup sponges into the bathroom to give them a good clean. One started out damp from my makeup application today and the other started the test dry. Both had seen some heavy use and had foundation, cream blush and powder on them.

after two washes

One of the makeup sponges was from Luxie and has a slightly rubberized tip while the other is from Shop Miss A. It is the Mochi Wonder Blender with the cut edge. Both are actually quite nice and are the ones I tend to reach for the most actually. The shop Miss A sponge is a little softer and less dense. The Luxie is firmer and I happen to find both useful. Actually Luxie is having a sale. (Their sponge set is currently only $16 instead of $40. Actually so is their Florals Brush set (now $16 instead of $40) Most of my favorite shadow brushes come from this set actually). The Firmer sponges tend to work well with blending cream blush products while the softer ones I like for powder.

2nd sponge before cleaning

Both had seen some use. As per instructions I coated the makeup sponge with product, massaged it in and rinsed it off. I ended up washing each sponge twice. The first wash took off the surface stuff but then when I was squeezing the last of the soap and water out, there was still product coming out from the interior of the sponge. so I gave it a second wash. After the second wash both sponges were pretty clean. There were a few stained spots that I suspect will easily wash out in the wash, but for a hand washing this IsoClean worked well. The second wash was really needed to make sure all of the product got out of the sponges, but in the end it did. Also for the purpose of this test i used both of these sponges as my only two sponges for a full week instead of my usual switching out.

2nd after two washes

I will say that even a single wash took a bit longer than a minute. I times it at 98 seconds to get the soap all out of the makeup sponge from the first wash. Which isn’t that much longer when you think about it. The second wash took pretty much the same amount of time. And it was after the second wash that I felt the makeup sponges were clean enough to use again.

All in all this was a good product. It has no scent, took the makeup out of the sponge and didn’t leave a soapy residue on the skin. I like having this makeup sponge cleanser around, but for me this is going to be something I use when I’m traveling more than when i am at home. For me, I find it more convenient to have a bunch of makeup sponges, use each one once before putting it in the mesh bag and then at the end of the week just putting it in the washing machine. If you are only using one or two sponges and want to wash them during the week to keep them fresh (without doing a load of laundry – and I wash them with jeans and other gardening clothes so potential staining will never be an issue).

Over all, I think this is a good product to use. After washing I did use the makeup sponges again and found I had no allergic reaction to the product and indeed there is no scent to cause issue as well. As an added bonus, the container is sturdy and reusable while the company sells refill pouches. While I did have to wash these sponges twice to get rid of all of the makeup, there is only a pinkie’s width of product used out of the container for two sponges. However if I were to use this Iso Clean to clean these two sponges once a week this small 110mL bottle would last for 12-14 weeks. which is not bad, especially considering this $10 bottle is their smallest size.

I was impressed with this IsoClean Cosmetic Sponge Cleanser. While it probably won’t change the way i clean my makeup[ sponges, I like having it as an option and will certainly be using it again.

Trying out the AOA Studio Professional Hi-Def Brush Set

While I have occasionally received sets of makeup brushes in subscription boxes, over all I tend to purchase my makeup brushes singly. However I did want to try out several different types of brushes from the Shop Miss A Website and this AOA Studio Professional Hi-Def Brush set was only $10. It includes ten brushes in a carrying case. Five of the brushes are face brushes. Of the other fire, one I ended up using for highlighter application, and the pointed one I found great for working with concealer under by eye. The other three were really good for blending shadows, but they were a little bit too big for me to use as eyeshadow brushes.

newly opened

So Seven of the ten brushes are exactly what i need for my daily makeup application and then I had to roll in a set of luxie shadow brushes for application, while using the remaining three to blend. so these weren’t the only brushes i was using, but they did the bulk of the heavy lifting. I used them for both cream and powder products.

After two weeks of use

I have to say, I was impressed with these brushes. The handles are sturdy, The metal ferrules are fixed well in place and the bristles are a good quality. None of the bristles were falling out when they arrived and none of them shed during two weeks of use. There is not a super density to the bristles of the face brushes. They are not like the super tightly packed Kabuki style brushes, but they are dense enough to be used with cream products as well as powder. in fact I think the fact that they are not so densely packed means that they have the ability to switch between powder and cream easily.

These brushes aren’t fancy. There is nothing showy about them. But they are good solid brushes that i think will last for a while and that i will get good use out of. Considering the price I was actually pleasantly surprised by how high quality they actually are.

the smaller brushes

I will say the case is a little less high quality. It is a wipeable plastic that is designed to sort of look like faux leather. I expect it will wear out long before the brushes do. And being white it is going to get dirty fast. I think if I were to purchase this again i would go with a darker color bag. This is easy to wipe down but with the white I feel like I need to wipe it down after every use.

The bag is nice for travel though, which is actually why I chose the set rather than picking up individual brushes to try out. I noticed on my last trip that while I had makeup cases I really didn’t have an easy way to carry makeup brushes. they just spilled out everywhere or piled up in the bottom of the case and had to be cleaned off before use. Having case where each brush has it’s spot is fantastic when traveling. It also ensures that I am not leaving anything behind.

And while I am not overly fond of the material the case is made of, it is well made. The stitches are all in place and it seems sturdy enough. And to be fair the material is wipeable and easy to clean. I have just never liked the feel of that plastic-y material and any thing I have ever had with ties stitched in like this has ended up tearing off at some point so it is partially me expecting it to come off. It is very sturdily sewn in so I don’t think it is coming off soon.

As far as kits go, this was really nice. The face brush selection is exactly what I use. I will probably replace the three larger eyeshadow brushes with smaller ones simply because I prefer the control of smaller eyeshadow brushes. But honestly to replace them, I will probably order some shadow brushes from Shop Miss A to replace them with now that I know they are of this quality.

I am always suspicious of the quality of something this low cost, but quite honestly they are of good quality. Not only would I happily purchase this set again, but as I have several family members just starting out on their make up journey, i might pick up some extra sets for gifts this year. This AOA Studio Professional Hi Def Brush Set is a great starter kit. I just might not go for the white case next time.



One Month of My Fitness Pal, the free Version

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Regardless there was a spate of time where the weight was put on. And it didn’t come off. It stayed. Then I decided to go on a weight loss journey. The reason was simple, I woke up one morning and got out of bed and couldn’t remember when my feet didn’t hurt at some point throughout the day. I decided that was not a good thing and that it was high time I did something about it.

I know, not as sexy as wanting to look good in a bikini or getting ready for a class reunion or even running a marathon, but it was my reason for losing weight.

the problem was where to start. while I am a full time writer now, I went to school for (and still write about) Architectural History. It means I can tell you a great many sociological reasons why American banks were designed to reference Roman architecture, but I can’t tell you squat about the human body aside from a third grade song listing the bones of the skeletal structure.

So I dove into the world of dieting and fitness.

I don’t know if you have been, but it is a terrifying place. It is also full of very opinionated people.

What I wanted sounded simple in my head. I wanted to shave some weight off of my body so my feet didn’t hurt shortly after I got out of bed. I wanted a program that I could maintain for a life time rather than a quick fix. As at my heaviest I weighed 246 lbs, I knew there wasn’t going to be a quick fix. I was in for a long haul. Crash diets weren’t going to work. Cutting out a single food group wasn’t going to work. i had over a hundred pounds to lose and I needed a long term solution.

What I landed on was portion control and regular exercise. I know, like ,making my feet not hurt it isn’t the sexiest of diet plans. There is no cool name or concept backed by pseudo-science. it is no magic fat melting pill. I just needed to balance my calories in and calories out. As simple as it sounds I have tried many ways to do this. The simplest way for me is a food diary. I have used a notebook and pen to record what I eat and how much activity I got, but then I had to look up the calories and while it was helpful, it is just plain easier to use an App for that.

mfp_dashboard_small UI

My problem with a lot of the apps is that they seem to assume that I am purchasing pre prepared foods. While this works for a few things, I tend to cook most of my meals. One of the things I really liked about the My Fitness Pal is that I can build a recipe. I can type the ingredients in and then tell they system how i portion out what is created. Then it tells me how many calories I consumed.

The recipe builder and food diary are the two elements of the My Fitness Pal app that I use the most. One of the things I like is that it lets me keep the regularly used items in the list so each morning I don’t have to input coffee I can just check the box and have done with it, easy peasy. I am sure most of the apps do that, but it is the recipe builder function that is in the My Fitness Pal app that I have found a lot better than most and the most helpful. It takes a bit to add the recipes in but once you have then you are done.

mfp_dashboard

While I have used these features for years at this point (off and on), this month I committed to using it and building the habit of logging in every day. For me, keeping track of the food keeps me on track. I also enter my exercise so I can figure out my calories in and calories out. Oddly enough the checking in section has been hugely beneficial. While I weigh in once a week officially for the Friday Weigh in, I really like the habit of getting on the scale each morning and just typing the info in to the system for a chart. I know there are going to be some points (like the holidays) that I don’t want to do that, but there is something i really like about seeing the chart grow and build. I think it is because while there is a degree of up and down in my dieting, I can look at the chart and see that even if this week I gained half a pound, the chart still shows an over all downward trend. I find that encouraging to see. It really helps me not get caught up[ in minutia.

The blog function has also been useful for me as well. It has been a way to just add quick thoughts about what is going on. New foods I’ve tried, things that go well or don’t go well. I have also found inspiration in the news posts about various exercises and foods that come up on the site. Overall it has been a really good tool for me to use and after a solid month of use, I am now in the habit of using it. It has become routine to log in and input what I am eating and to log in my work outs.

the version I have been using though is the free version. I have found that sometimes I use a free version of a program and love it, and then dislike the paid version. On the other hand, sometimes once I try he paid version I find there are parts I really don’t want to let go of and remain with the paid version. There are several items on the paid listing that are intriguing to me;. There is a greater depth to the food logging app and a guided nutrition plan. There are also recipes targeted towards my nutritional goals. As I am always looking for new recipes to try out, I am very interested in that. The paid version sounds like it would actually be a benefit. So now that I have gotten used to the free version i am going to give the paid version a trial and then do a side my side comparison to see if it is the right plan for me or if I was fine with the free version of the app. So shall we see if the paid version has elements that I really need, or if the free version is all that I need? I think we shall. Let the trial begin!

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Two weeks of the Kusker Water Flosser

For the past two weeks I have been using the Kusker Portable Oral Irrigator. It is basically a water pic/water flosser. Oh, and if you are interested Kusker gave me a 10% off code of MSMIMSY.

I grew up using the super clunky water pics with a little tip fitted onto a long cord that led to a plastic box with water in it. while I loved the feeling the water pic gave my mouth, the device was sometimes more trouble than it was worth. The cord tangled. If you didn’t fit the box on the machine just right then it wouldn’t quite work (the gears had to line up on my model). And worst of all water could remain in the cord and go stale so you had to run it a bit to make sure all the older water was out before you actually used it. And sometimes it still tasted stale.

But I always loved the clean feeling using a water pic gave my mouth.

This water flosser from Kusker had all of the great clean mouth feeling that I loved, but none of the troubles of the model I used as a kid. First of all there is no cord so water isn’t getting trapped anywhere. It has water in it when you are using it and then it is not there when you aren’t.

The tips were easy to trade out (this model has four to choose from). They snapped in and when you wanted to remove them, you pressed the button at the top and lifted it out. It was super easy to change them out. I found I generally used one of the standard tips for general cleaning and then I used the tip with the soft white tip for really getting between the teeth.

This model also has four modes to switch between depending on not only your sensitivity, but what you are using the device for. To go over my teeth I used the regular mode, and when I went to work on my gums I generally found the soft mode more comfortable.

selecting the mode

Without the cord the water starts to come out of the tip as soon as you press the button, so you need to put the tip in your mouth before you turn it on to avoid making a mess. I was initially concerned about switching modes due to this, but you can change the modes without turning on the water flosser. You simply press the mode button and select the mode you want, then put the tip in your mouth and press the power button.

No muss, no fuss.

One of my initial concerns was also dealing with weight. It looks as though it is going to be a heavy device. It isn’t. even completely filled with water the device was not too heavy to use comfortably. It fit in my hand well and the textured grip kept it from slipping no matter how wet my hands were.

While the water flosser gave my teeth and extra clean feeling, to really bump it up, I did add a little bit of mouthwash to the water carafe and it worked beautifully. This device was easy to use and I really enjoyed the extra clean feeling my teeth (and gums) got from using it. I only used it once a day and once I got into the habit of using it right after brushing my teeth at night it was easy to incorporate it into my routine.

While I didn’t travel in the past two weeks, the provided bag fits the device and charging cord easily, and even has a separate pouch for the separate tips so I know it would be very easy to travel with. I think the key would be to let it dry out completely before packing and everything will be fine. I anticipate getting a lot of use out of this device. The Kusker Water Flosser has earned it’s place in my bathroom and in my dental line up.

Let’s Talk Loose metallic eyeshadow pigments…

Growing up there are many things that i was taught. I was taught that when filing my nails I should always file in one direction so as not to weaken the nails as I filed them. I was taught that in addition to soothing irritating rashes from nettles and other stinging plants, witch hazel made a really good toner. I was taught to replace my mascaras after a maximum of six months to avoid the possibility of an eye infection from potential mod growth.

In the myriad list of things large and small that were taught to me dealing with glitter eyeshadow wasn’t one of them. I’m sure it was about somewhere when i was younger but it wasn’t in the list of things I was taught and not something anyone in my family really used. If it was referred to it was probably in the realm of stage makeup and not everyday wear.

There is just something fascinatingly attractive about loose glitter eyeshadows. They aren’t an everyday sort of thing and I think because of that, bringing out the individual glass pot of glitter shadow whether it is from Hourglass or Lottie London, makes the makeup preparation feel like something special. Or perhaps that is just me.

Perhaps you are an old hand at applying loose pigment glitter shadows, if so, feel free to skip this post. If like me you like playing around with the glitter shadows but often make a mess, perhaps what I learned can help you out.

I’ve found that a dry shadow brush when applying loose glitter pigments just makes a mess. It really doesn’t matter which brand you try, the application will be patchy and you will end up with more glitter on your cheeks and down the side of the nose than anything else.

Spraying the shadow brush with Setting spray does tend to help. It makes the shadow fly about less because of the moisture and will adhere to the lid in a much more cohesive manner. The problem can be thr bristles. First off the loose shadow wants to stick to the bristles. And if you have chosen the wrong brush then the glitter can end up in places where you don’t want it. If using a brush then choose one where the bristles are tapered in instead of flat or bushy as those bushy bristles especially will scatter the loose pigment in places where you might not want it. Spray the brush first and then dip it into the pigment before applying.

using a lid primer or a concealer on the eyelids prior can help it stick, but don’t forget a setting spray after you apply it. Be sure to use a setting spray that doesn’t irritate your eyes.

Sometimes the hands are your best tools. I generally fins that applying the loose pigments with a fingertip makes the pigment go exactly where I want it to. Then I spray it to make sure it sticks. However my finger is often bigger than I want when applying the shadow and it can look a bit messy.

Enter the cotton swab. It gives you the same rounded end as your finger tip but is much smaller. To use I spray it down with setting spray and dip it into the pigment before applying. Because the cotton tip is a solid bit of cotton, there are no bristles to spray pigment anywhere but what you put it. You can apply even pressure during application and if you spray down the clean end with setting spray, you can clean up any fallen flecks of pigment with little to no hassle. Taking out the loose flecks means there is less pigment that can fall to your cheeks or slide down the sides of your nose.

Will there still be fall out? Possibly. some loose pigments do work better than others but eventually all of them will fall. By applying a base coat, whether of concealer or lid primer, using setting spray on the cotton swab and cleaning up the loose flecks and then spraying it down with setting spray when your look is complete, you can have better control and lessen the amount that falls throughout your wear time.

I’m sure that trained makeup artists have their own way of doing things (and it is probably better) but for those of you who are like me, an amateur enthusiast who just likes playing around, I hope you find this useful. After all, professional or not, we all deserve to sparkle.

Skincare Tools of 2021 moving into the New Year

This year saw several skincare items appear in my various subscription boxes. And to be fair I have given them all a chance to become part of my daily routine. The thing is, my skincare takes place in a powder room. There is a pedestal sink and one small glass shelf on which to place the skincare I am using. And that includes tools.

While a bathroom rethink is on the horizon, mostly involving a fresh coat of paint and replacing a boxy cabinet with two shelves with more functional shelving, every item I keep in my bathroom as part of my skincare line up has to earn it’s place. While each item may enter, it may not stay for long. So lets look at some of this year’s contenders.

First up, we have the jade roller. I have no clue what brand this particular one is. I think this past year I received three or four of them in boxes. The link is just to the Amazon site featuring a plethora of them. It is a nice handy tool that requires no batteries. It is nice and I really like rolling it over my skin. It is something I will use. However I do find that I I only reach for it in the warmer months. I just don’t reach for it when the temperatures drop. And I really like when the jade roller is cold. It has been very useful in helping to cool me down when I am over heated and it helps with my heat headaches. But it does work best when it is cold. So I am going to transfer it to the fridge instead of keeping it in the bathroom. It is a good little tool, but it won’t remain in the bathroom.

This leads us to two items that look very similar. One is the Rose Quartz Vibrating Facial Roller from Luxe and Willow and the other is the Complex Culture Sonic T-Bar vibrating massager. The rose quarts tool seems to be trying to give the same benefits as the jade in the jade roller. I like that it remains cool even if it is just in my bathroom and not the fridge. In fact it works just a well on some of my tension headaches which is why I have less of an issue relocating the Jade roller to the fridge. I also like the rounded surface of the tool and the way it feels on my skin.

While the T-bar design operates the same way, I find the metal bar on my skin not as comfortable to use and I simply do not reach for it. while these tools function nearly identically, it is the rounded design that causes me to reach for the Luxe and Willow. So the Luxe and Willow will remain in my bathroom while the Complex Culture will not.

Since we are still on stone based tools, I have to mention the Gua Sha tool (again no clue about the brand). It is a nice item and feels good in the hand. I tried it and I honestly can’t say I saw any change in my skin. There was no improvement or if there was it was less than what I had with the other tools. While I find I will pick it ip and turn it over in my hands, I tend to pick it up much as you would a worry stone and not like I would a skincare item. There is also no easy place to put it in the bathroom. If I lay it flat then it not only takes up a lot of space, but I often forget it is there and put things on top of it. It doesn’t stand uptight and the edges are all rounded so leaning it against something doesn’t work because it slides off. Over all I just don’t use it.

The PMD Massaging tool I find I am using more and more of. While I reach for it often, I find when I reach for it depends on the product I am using. If I am using a cleanser that is more creamy than foamy, I will use it with the cleanser. I massage the cleanser around and then rinse off (both my face and the cleanser) I generally find I get a better clean this way and have less evidence of makeup residue on my toner pads. I have also been using it with serums. I’ll apply the serum, wait a moment and then use the wand over the serum to massage the serum in.

While I don’t think it actually does anything major to the serums, what it does is gives the serum time to absorb in completely before I move on with the next step of my skincare. This is especially useful if I am layering serums. For example if I have one Vitamin C serum for brightening the skin and another hyaluronic acid serum from pluming lines, using the pmd wand on my skin between the two gives the first time to absorb before I reach for the second serum. This tool has certainly earned it’s place in the limited space of my bathroom.

And finally we come to the last tool. Technically I think I have had this tool longer than a year, but it is such a useful tool that I just have to mention it. Plus it was in the cup with the other tools and I happened to grab it when I picked them up. This is my silicone skincare brush. This one is from Cosmedix, but I highly recommend picking up any silicon brush to have one in your skincare routine. This one has a smooth and a textured side. The smooth side is fantastic for applying face masks. It helps waste less product and keep everything neat and tidy. The textured side is great for massaging in serums and creams into the skin. I especially like it for massaging in serums around the eyes, especially in the crow’s foot region. It is excellent for really getting the serums in the area you want them to concentrate on. For me I also like the tapered end of the brush as it makes getting into the nooks, especially around the nose, easier for both masks and serums. This brush will remain in my bathroom until it falls apart. Then I will get a new one. At the moment, it is by far my favorite skincare tool.

These six items came to me this year in various subscription boxes. In the end two will be eliminated from my routine, one will be located to the fridge for seasonal use and three will remain in my bathroom and my skincare routine moving into 2022. While I’m sure there will be more items in subscription boxes moving forward, I also have my eye on several skincare tools that I want to actually give a try. Some are highly praised by others, some just look like they could be good ideas. There were also a few items that looked like horrifically bad ideas. I’ll admit those did have a sort of train wreck sort of appeal, but for the most part there is a limited amount of trauma I am willing to put my skin through. So unless a medical professional I personally trust gives it a green light, I will avoid the items on that list.

The point is that these are the items I am starting off using in the new year. Others will arrive, some by choice and others by chance. And upon their arrival these are the items they will be competing for space with on my small skincare shelf. I can’t wait to see what makes it through the year. But we have a full twelve months for that.

Skincare Tools: LARUCE Beauty Face Disks

A while back I received this trio of Laruce Face Disks in a Boxy charm box. I have been using them off and on as I try to get a feel for them. In general I like these sorts of products because it helps me lessen the amount of waste in my bathroom routine. I have completely phased out makeup wipes (although I will admit that there are times when I really do miss them) and I have almost completely switched over to reusable rounds instead of disposable cotton wipes. (when cleaning out my skin care drawer the other day in my quest to round up all samples and foil packs I found an unopen tube of cotton rounds in the bottom of the drawer. I’m trying to use them on the few occasions when I actually need something disposable. Otherwise I am with the reusable ones.

So when I received this trio, it was right up my alley. The set retails on the LaRuce Site for $24. All three have different textures and all three are, as you can see, differently colored. They come in a reusable plastic envelope (which is actually pretty good for travel. It makes the trio easy to chuck into a bag without having them scatter throughout the luggage.

On the back of this bag, there is a recommended use for the rounds. The white round is recommended for makeup removal, the gray for toners and serums and the black for washing the face. So that is how I have been using them. Each of them have had varying degrees of success. So lets go through them each separately.

The first is the white round. This one is designated for makeup removal. I’m not sure about the wisdom of making it the white one. While this image of it use has it unwashed, I have used and washed it several times. Aside from some small lipstick stains from darker products, it washes well. When I used it, I used it in two separate ways. The first way is the same as I would use a Makeup Eraser (my go to makeup removing cloth). I wet the round and used it with no products, just water to take off my makeup. It wasn’t the greatest.

I had to work really hard to remove the makeup with no cleansing balm and just this round. The rounded edge was great for going in under the eyes though. If I used a cleansing balm or cleansing oil, then this round was great with makeup removal. It is soft and it took the balm and makeup off well. It is just not a round you can use without a makeup removing product. But that’s okay, it doesn’t have to be a stand alone product and as long as you remember it isn’t then you will be fine.

The grey face round is designated for use with serums and toners. It was my least favorite of the lot. While it feels good on the skin, it also absorbs a lot of product. It sucked in toners and serums and dispersed them throughout the interior of the round rather than keeping it near the surface. As a resultI ended up using at least three times as much product as usual, much of it staying in the round and ending up in the washing machine. It washed out well, but in general I prefer to use my skincare on my face and not in my washing machine. It is simply too absorbent to do the job it is designated to do. I will probably repurpose it as an additional makeup wipe type of product and use it that way so it won’t go to waste, I just simply won’t use it with toners and serums.

The third, black colored facial round was the best in the bunch and one that I will actually continue using. It is designated for washing the face. To use I wet the round and then dispensed the cleanser on top. I used both cream and gel cleansers during this test. I don’t think that cleansing oils would work terribly well, but the creams and gels were great. The round was dense enough that the product sat on top of the round and didn’t all fall to the center. I used the same amount of product as I normally use. There was something really nice about the fluffiness of the round and I really liked that if my makeup removing process (done prior to face washing) left any residue, it didn’t stain the round. I have had products stain washcloths before so this was a definite plus.

One drawback that they all had, was that I wished the loop of a tag was slightly bigger so that it could be more easily hung up on a hook to dry after being rinsed out. Otherwise I liked the size and I like that they have different textures. The black facial round I will be incorporating into my daily routine. The gray and white rounds I will use with a cleansing product to remove makeup. They won’t be the first things I reach for, but I do like them enough to keep them around.

Now comes the trick question. Would I repurchase these? That is a difficult one as I really like the facial wash round and am just okay with the other two and this trip is not sold separately. For travel this is a good trio to have in your bag. For everyday life I will probably use my Makeup Eraser and the facial wash round on a daily basis and only occasionally pick up the other two rounds. But I don’t think the $24 price tag is unreasonable and I think that while not my favorite set if you are looking to eliminate waste and not stain your washcloths, this is a good set to start with. Just don’t use any of the rounds with toners or serums and you’ll be fine.

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