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.

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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.

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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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Testing out the Billion Dollar Brushes

The brush set, new and just out of the package

Recently, Billion Dollar Beauty sent a package over and contained in that package was the Pro-Brush Essentials Kit. I have been using the kit ever since to determine how I feel about them and how they work.  I absolutely love testing out new makeup brushes, especially when they are in a pre arranged kit like this.  Not only is it fun to try out new brushes, but I always end up learning something about how I actually apply makeup when I do. 

I think it is because I’m testing I am not just reaching for whichever brush I want automatically from my stash of brushes but using a specific set so I have to focus. The set in general is a lovely one to focus on.  It is black and gold with gray bristles.  The bristles are soft and well attached.  I had absolutely no issues with bristles falling out.  The quality is very nice. 

I really like that they are infused with charcoal.  It doesn’t add any dust to your face (if that is a concern), but it is infused into the bristles.  Charcoal has anti-microbial properties in it which quite honestly I think is genius in a makeup brush.  I am pretty good about washing my brushes, but in all honesty I generally wash the ones I’m using once a week.  Otherwise I use  a color switch. Having a little help in keeping the microbes in check between washes is definitely something I can get behind.

Plus, I’m pretty sure it is also what gives the bristles their cool gray color, which personally I am partial to. I also like that the bristles are synthetic and cruelty free. 

As I go through the six brushes in the kit, I am going to use the name that is inscribed on the brush itself as they don’t have numbers.

Powder Brush

Powder Brush: It is nice and fluffy and applies powder products well.  I started off using it for my powder, but I found I generally I wanted to use another brush for powder instead.  I absolutely loved this brush for applying blush. So I ended up using it as my blush brush and I really enjoyed it as a blush brush.  It applied product well and then was dense enough that I could use it to help blend in the blush.

Foundation Brush

Foundation Brush: I’ll be honest, I didn’t like using this for foundation.  For my foundation, I really wanted a densely packed brush like the one I usually use and I did end up rotating in my 999 Master Blender from Bdellium tools.  However I loved this brush for dealing with loose setting powder.  I found I could use less powder and really control where I put it when I used this brush.  For me, that is what this flat brush was made for. It swept away any eyeshadow fall out and was then used for the powder.

Contour Brush

Contour Brush: This worked well with any powder bronzer or contour I paired with it.  I was very pleased with its performance.  The angled edge was perfect for applying across my cheeks and it really helped blend the product well.  It wasn’t as good for my cream based products.  When I tried it with the creams I generally found I blended better with my fingertips.  Admittedly I usually find I blend cream products better with my fingertips.   But for powder products it worked really well.

Eyebrow Brush

Eyebrow Brush:  This worked perfectly as you would expect. This size brush is always fantastic for the eyebrows.  It worked well with both powder and cream products.  It paired with the Billion Dollar Brows Pomade is a fantastic duo for me. I found that once cleaned off, this brush worked really well for lipstick application.  I have a couple of cream lipstick pans that it worked well with.  I also have a couple of lipsticks that I’ve worn down to that they no longer give the best angle during application, so it is easier to use a brush to get the clear lines.  A brush like this is especially useful if you have a deep red or berry shade that sometimes gets a little messy when you apply it.  Using a small angled brush can give you so much more control.  This little brush worked well for both lipsticks and its designated eyebrow status.  It is a style of brush I always find a use for so I’m not surprised that I liked having another one in my collection.

Highlighter Brush

Highlighter Brush:  I’ll be honest, until I looked at the handle to write this up, I didn’t realize this was a highlighter brush.  I tend to apply my highlighter with my fingertips.  I don’t like a bright blazing highlighter strip but more of a blended in glow and fingers work the best for me. This brush I have been using as an eyeshadow brush and it is a really good blending brush and just all round eyeshadow brush.  In fact partnered with the actual Eyeshadow Brush in the kit, the two brushes were all I really needed to do my eyes.  Now I do have a rather tame eyeshadow look as I lean more towards everyday looks than the super creative ones.  I actually envy the super creative looks. Occasionally I try to emulate them at home when I am just playing around.  Usually that ends up with me looking like I got into some sort of bizarre fight and ended up the loser. Or they will look fantastic when my eyes are closed but then everything is hidden when I open my eyes because they are somewhat hooded.

The point is that for an everyday look, the Highlighter brush was the perfect general all round eyeshadow brush.

Eyeshadow Brush

Eyeshadow Brush: the last brush in the Essentials kit and the one I used for shimmers.  It worked well with shimmer application and when called upon it helped blend fairly well.  It isn’t as thick as the Highlighter brush so I often called upon the highlighter brush for blending, but the eyeshadow brush did a really good job.  With some shadows and glitters it needed to be damp to work well but the brush worked well either damp or dry with no bristle fall out.  I had some eyeshadows that I played around with that required a lid primer and this eyeshadow brush worked well applying the lid primer to the lisd as well as blending it into place.  Then it had to be washed, but after washing it was as good as before and fantastic with the shimmers.

Overall I thought this was a really good mix of brushes.  It is a nice kit that gave most of what I wanted when putting together my makeup.  I added a different foundation brush because I prefer a kabuki style brush for foundation, however the foundation brush in this kit will definitely become part of my everyday makeup kit in a different capacity. I really enjoyed the use of the flat foundation brush, just not with my foundation. Other than that, the only thing missing from this kit is spoolie to finish off your eyebrows.  And as I have quite a few of those around, many attached to eyebrow products, it was no real problem at all.



Skincare Tools: Silicone Exfoliating Pad

I’ll be honest, when this came in one of my subscription boxes, I thought, I’ll never use that.  I have seen these small silicone exfoliating pads around for years, but never actually picked one up.   I know that sounds strange considering how much I enjoy a good exfoliation.

It just seemed like something I would never use. An extra tool to clutter up my small bathroom sink area.

But I decided since it was here, I might as well give it a try.

This particular Silicone Exfoliating pad comes from the Vintage Company.  It is soft pink silicone and has a suction cup on the back so that you can attach it to a tile or the mirror or what not in your bathroom/ shower and not lose it. It is also the perfect handle by which to hold it. It slides easily between two fingers and is quite maneuverable around the face.

The suction cup is quite handy actually and not only keeps it in reach but helps it to dry out quickly without liquid hiding in the depths of the silicone bristles.

The bristles are soft and the exfoliation is very light.  I have to say I was quite impressed with the way this pad worked.  I use it with my normal cleanser.  I tried the recommended way of use first.  The card included with the tool says to wet the pad and put a little product on the pad.  Then gently cleanse in a circular motion.  This worked well but, I’ll be honest, I much preferred to put the cleanser on my face as normal and then use the tool in circular motions before rinsing off.  I found that if I applied the product to the pad and then to the face it sometimes would be too w and drip off and I’d lose some of my cleanser.  So I found it easier just to put the cleanser on my face before reaching for the tool.

It is a very light exfoliation which at this time I really appreciate.  I really didn’t want anything harsh and this worked well.  I have been using chemical exfoliates but there is a part of me that always likes a good physical exfoliation. This came me the feeling of a physical exfoliation (because it was physical) but it wasn’t harsh and I never had any sort of damage.  I found this especially useful when I use it post clearing mask. 

One of my favorite clearing masks is the Herbal Dynamics Beauty Chamomile and Cacao Clay Clearing mask (and not just because it smells of cocoa).  This mask tends to draw out all of the buried clogged pores and essentially help everything work to the surface.  When I used the mask and then later used this exfoliating tool with my cleanser I found that it had just enough exfoliation to help but not enough to cause damage. 

I was skeptical when it first arrived thinking it was a tool I would never use.  It has now become part of my daily routine. It is a simple and cost effective skincare tool that really is nice to have around.

LovelySkin

Let’s talk reusable…

For a while now I have been trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce. Some of it has taken only a bare minimum of thought. Packing boxes shredded and added to the garden compost or to lay under garden beds to prevent weeds from poking through. Refillable water bottles. I have to say as I do like carbonated water, my Soda Stream has been fantastic for this. I use the Soda Stream to make the bubbles and dispense it into an actual glass to drink instead of actually drinking from the Soda Stream bottle which causes that bottle to last a bit longer as well. To be honest I just use the carbonated water, I haven’t tried any of their actual flavors although I keep meaning to. I might put that on my list next time we reorder tanks.

However, while I lower the level of disposable water bottles and for the most part contain the trash from most of my subscription boxes, my bathroom does produce a lot of waste. I have been working to combat that. While I adore the ease of makeup wipes (well the good ones anyway) I have stopped using them.. Occasionally I will get a pack in a subscription box, and i can’t lie, they are usually a treat. They really are quite convenient. However, I have stopped purchasing them individually.

Instead I use my Makeup Eraser, they come in all shapes and sizes. I generally have one that has no makeup on it that I use for general touch ups (both wet and dry) and I use another Makeup Eraser to take off the makeup. At the end of the week I will use the one I kept clean to remove that day’s makeup and then chuck everything into the wash. I really want to get a set of the smaller seven packs of makeup erasers so that I can start each day with a fresh one, but the system I am currently using works really well.

The next item that I have been working on eliminating are the disposable cotton rounds. I use quite a few of them in a day. I’ve tried several different types of rounds but none of them worked quite right to replace the rounds for me until I received the Magnitone Wipe Out Swipes in a Look Fantastic box. I recently (as in arrived yesterday) received another set in a Birchbox so I now have six to rotate around. I’ll probably still order a full set of six ($20 on Birchbox – I can’t find the small Swipes anywhere else. The makeup removing cloths are everywhere, but not the Swipes)

So why do I like the Magnitone Wipe out Swipes?

The first is the size. You can see in the photo the size of the Magnitone Swipes compared to other replaceable rounds that I have tried. The Magnitone rounds are the same size as a normal cotton round, while the other reusable wipes are much larger. Now I know that sounds strange, but bigger isn’t always better. The larger rounds are a bit too large to use for things like toner (my primary use for the cotton rounds) They roll up when used and just aren’t as easy because they are too large. At the same time, they are too small to remove makeup. The larger rounds are just an awkward to use size and if I am going to replace the rounds I needed something that worked as well.

The Magnitone Swipes are the same size as the cotton rounds. So that starts off as a plus. They are very soft on the skin. My one issue with them is that they can be a little too absorbent. I have found with things like toner, putting the product on the cloth just means you have to use a little more product. At the moment I am using a spray toner So it isn’t an issue, I spray my face and use the round to pat it in and make sure there is no excess. With Essences, the other item I generally use rounds to apply, I’ve actually stopped using any rounds and dispensed the essence into my hand then applied it to my face. I’ve just found that any essence absorbed is too much. it doesn’t matter if it is a reusable round or not, I just use my hands so that if anything else absorbs the essence products it is my hands and not some sort of cloth.

In general the most difficult thing I have found about switching to reusable products like the Magnitone Swipes and Makeup Erasers is finding a place to put the used ones. I just keep a small plastic container under the sink and drop the used ones in along with my washcloths which I change out during the week as well. I find that it gives the washcloths and used rounds and Makeup Erasers a place to live and to dry out.

The drying is the big issue. I didn’t want to add the wet cloth to my laundry basket. In the plastic bin they can dry out together and not cause musty moldy sorts of issues. I just need to remember to add it to the laundry when I am ready to wash. I will say that while the set that just arrived is new, I have been using and washing the Magnitone Rounds I have for over a month now (they came in February) and they have come out of the general wash looking as clean as new and with no wear showing at this point. I’m sure there will come one wash too many and they will need to be replaced, but for the moment, they are holding up quite well.

There are a multitude of reusable products out there that can help you cut down on waste. These are some of the ones that really work the best for me. I clearly haven’t tried all of the products out there and will no doubt try more, but this is what works for me right now. I’m sure you will find what works for you. If there is one piece of advice that I would give to anyone who is trying to use more reusable products in their bathroom routine it is to find a designated landing spot for the used reusable items to stay between use and washing. when the reusable pads came in just added them to the jar where I was keeping cotton rounds and didn’t think about it until I had a pile of used rounds and nowhere to put them. For a while I wasn’t using them simply because I didn’t like piling them up behind the fawcett and didn’t want to ut damp cloth in the laundry basket. Having that designated spot to put them really helps incorporate the reusable rounds into a process. Once you have a process it can become routine. Routines become habits and before you know it, reusable is the way you live.

Celebrate Earth Month at MakeUpEraser.com and Receive a Free Reusable Tote with Every Purchase (While Supplies Last). Offer expires 04/30. No code required

Makeup Eraser

SodaStream USA, inc

One Month of PMD Daily Clean: Was it worth it?

While I have had this PMD Clean for a while, I’ll be honest, I only occasionally used it. I tended to forget about it. Which I find a little amusing actually. I used to have A Foreo Vibrating facial cleansing tool and I used it twice daily without fail. Then came the last move and it was lost. Several of our boxes were destroyed and a couple were missing. I lost most of my perfume collection, hair tools and sadly my Foreo. I know I should have put it in my carry on but it was already full so I packed it with the bath stuff instead. Big mistake.

It was kind of a mess.

I somehow never got around to replacing my Foreo even though I always intended to. I think the washing machine and dryer went belly up about the same time the reimbursement check from the movers came through so we ended up using the money to replace them since they were more immediate concerns. Sometimes in life, you have to make the adult choice.

The PMD Clean came to me in a Boxycharm a while ago. I thought “Great I can use this and then get the UFO sonic masking tool from Foreo instead.” I have to admit, I’ve had my eye on that since it came out. Given my love of masks are you surprised? And of course now I also want to try out the new Bear Facial Toner too. I swear they have come out with some really interesting products that I just want to try. A lot of facial tools I kind of avoid because they look a little bit scary, but these just sort of pull me in and say try me. But that is not the point to this post. Admittedly sooner or later I will make several purchases and it will no doubt be the subject of a later post.

To the PMD clean.

So I set the PMD Clean up in my bathroom and then promptly forgot about it. Now, to decide if it is worth keeping around I moved it front and center and used it twice daily for a month in order to find out. So lets look first at what the website has to day about it.

The PMD Clean is a smart facial cleansing device. With over 7,000 vibrations per minute, our SonicGlow™ technology not only ensures a deep cleanse, but operates at a perfect frequency to lift, firm, and tone problem areas for a more youthful appearance.

PMD Website

Okay, not the most elaborate description. The website further goes on to tell you that to use with a cleanser you apply the cleanser to the tool, and then apply to the face. The back of the head of the tool is supposed to be useful for massaging in serums and moisturizers. The bottom of the tool is rounded and I believe it is supposed to be useful for something or other but it wasn’t on the site and I’m not sure where I heard that. The device also comes with a little stand.

Let’s address the stand first to get it out of the way. It is nice and small and fits the bottom of the PMD Clean perfectly. However if you don’t fit the device in just right then it will fall over. It is kind of annoying when your hands are wet from rinsing your face or covered with product from applying moisturizer or serum. I usually just lay the tool down and then fit it back into the stand once I was done. However you have to dry off the tool before you fit it in the stand otherwise the stand gets gunky really quickly.

I like that it is battery operated and waterproof. While a part of me really prefers rechargeable tools over battery powered ones, the lack of a charging port means I can comfortably take this into the shower with me. Sometimes I like to apply makeup remover just before I step in the shower and then rinse it off when I shower. So I find that beneficial.

I like the thought of the four settings but to be honest, I really just chose one setting and used it everytime I picked up the tool. The options are nice, but I didn’t really use them. This month used the PMD Clean with makeup removers, both oil and balm, cleansers, moisturizers and serums. And yes I washed the head after each one.

Front side

While the site recommends applying the cleansing product to the tool and then putting the tool to your face, I found this didn’t work the best for me. I found that if I applied the product to my face and then used the tool it worked better for me. Perhaps that is personal preference, but I really didn’t like the way the product dripped when I lifted the tool to my face. I felt like it applied well to the tool when it was horizontal but once lifted upright gravity took hold and product was wasted and things got messy.

So I very quickly learned to apply the product to my face and then reach for the tool. Using it this way also insured I had proper product coverage on my face. Because it is silicone the tool does not absorb product but there is no measuring it out either. Applying it to the wand first meant that where I touched it to my face was the area that received the most product. So I had to add more product.

As I said before I did use the Foreo before and I didn’t really have that problem, but I think that is due to the surface area being so much larger. I applied the product to the top and it still rolled down the surface, there was just more surface so it didn’t drip off.

back side of PMD Clean

When applying the product to my face I used the exact same amount of product that I would normally use. There was not a lessening of product usage. With cleansers, both makeup removers and general cleansers, I used the front of the wand head. To be honest, I really liked using it. I am not entirely certain it made the products work better, but I did find that once I reached for the tool I spent more time working the cleanser into my skin. Using it extended the length of time I used the product and I think because of that I felt the products “worked better” than they did without the tool.

Do I think that it is going to make a bad product better? No. I think that using the PMD Clean tool caused me to spend more time washing my face than I would without it. I enjoyed the vibrations on my face. One interesting result is due to it being allergy season. Using the intense vibration of the PMD Clean tool on my sinus area when i was all blocked up helped loosen things up a bit so that after i rinsed off my face I ended up blowing my nose. Not to be too gross about it, it seemed to shake out the snot a bit. So I was a little less congested. Which I appreciated. And yes there were mornings where after I finished washing my face I pressed the tool against my blocked sinuses just to help clear my nose out.

But that isn’t the point of the tool.

Just the cleanser on damp skin

With cleansers I noticed that I got more foam out of the cleansers than I normally would. Which I kind of like. I’m currently using the La Roche Posay Toleriane Foaming cleanser. It goes on creamy to damp skin and then as you begin to rinse it foams up to wash away dirt and makeup residue. I saw a lot more foam on my skin when I used the PMD Clean than when I didn’t. Just something to note.

However, this tool has a flip side to the head. A flat side with a series of bumpy lines. This side of the tool is supposed to help apply moisturizer and serums. I’ll be honest, I hated this aspect of the tool. It worked fine on the fleshier parts of my face like my cheeks but it didn’t feel pleasant on my forehead or around my nose. I tried using it a couple of times and then just switched back to using the front side of the tool. I didn’t really like using the tool with moisturizer, but I did like using it with serums.

Increased foam with the PMD Clean

Again the reason is time. When you apply serums generally you need to wait a bit before moving on to the next step of your skin care routine. (Mine has many steps). The time lets your skin absorb the serum fully before you move on. Often I am guilty of rushing this step. When I used the PMD Clean tool, I automatically gave myself the time. Again the vibrations may have encouraged the product to absorb more fully, but I just don’t know. I do know that because I took more time, the serum had more time to fully absorb before I moved on.

Moving forward I will use the PMD Clean wand with cleansers, both makeup removing products and general cleansers, and I will use it with serums. I saw no benefit to using it with a moisturizer. I also only like the front side of the tool. I can see the thought behind the back side and even the rounded nubby bottom, but I didn’t enjoy using them. I only used the main side of the PMD Clean. It is like the multiple speeds, they are good in theory but in practice i just didn’t really need them. I chose my speed and stuck with it just as I chose the side of the tool I wanted to use.

The wand shape is nice and easy to hold. It is an easy to use tool and I will continue using it. Truthfully though I might end up getting some sort of tooth brush stand and using that as a holder rather than the little plastic stand it comes with. The precise balancing needed to keep it upright is going to drive me mad one morning if I don’t. Do I think that the wand shape is an improvement over the traditional shape of the Foreo? Not really. I would prefer more surface area and I think even the Foreo minis have more surface area.

The PMD Clean is a good skincare tool. Do I think it magically makes your skin perfect and blemish free? No. But I do think it encourages you to spend a little extra time letting your products work, which as we are mostly talking about cleansers, can lead to better skin.


La Roche-Posay- ACD

Simple Cost effective Makeup Brush Cleaning

This past weekend I had a conversation with a cousin (technically a cousin’s child so, second cousin).  She is just getting into makeup (she is thirteen and allowed to play with it at home to learn the basics, but not yet allowed to wear it to school  – I think there are rules at her school regarding makeup as well as familial ones, but I’m not sure.  I just know she practices at home) but there was some concern because she wasn’t really cleaning her makeup brushes. She would just knock off the color and continue using them.   As we get along pretty well, I was asked to bring the topic up when we next had a makeup themed conversation. 

I was surprised to find that one of the reasons that she wasn’t cleaning her brushes was that she thought brush cleaner was expensive and she wanted to use it sparingly. She also didn’t see why it was all that important since knocking off the color meant that it wouldn’t mix with the other colors when she applied it.

So that led to a different conversation and this post.

While I’m sure all of you my darlings, know this, sometimes it just needs to be said.

First of all, cleaning brushes is important because bacteria can live inside the brushes and not only transfer to the makeup you are using, but also to you.  As we were mostly talking about eyeshadow brushes we were also talking about bacteria in the eye.  It’s not pretty. And if you don’t believe me, I suggest a quick google search regarding eye infections. 

I’ll leave you to do that on your own as I can’t take it.  In horror movies I can watch any number of horrific things but I can’t watch anything to do with damage to the eyes.  It is the one thing that will make me close my eyes in a horror flick. 

Not the eyes.  Just not the eyes. Oh, the horror. 

So you can do your own search if you are curious.

Just be warned it’s bad.

So clean the brushes.

I also have to admit, I don’t often buy brush cleaner. 

I have used products that were specifically designed as brush cleaners and some of them I really liked.  Some I didn’t.  Over all, what I use as my standard is listed below.

My essentials for cleaning brushes involve a few basics. First, a textured mat.  These can be picked up in many places.  I have seen them in TjMaxx, Ulta and a myriad of places on line.  Mine came from the Dollar Store and cost me – you guessed it – a dollar to purchase.  They had many shapes and sizes, but I thought the watermelon looked cute.  And it fit in my sink, which is not the largest of sinks and I didn’t want something that would be too large.

The second thing I buy is Ivory soap.  I like it because it is an effective soap that cleans and kills bacteria, it has no colors in it and it smells nice.  On Amazon a three pack will cost you $4. At the grocery store around the corner I believe single bars were offered for about a dollar unless there is a sale and then for some reason Ivory soap went down to $.49 per bar. I don’t know why, but my grocery store has that sale twice a year and has ever since we moved into the neighborhood (and probably well before).

Thus far I am in for a maximum cost of two dollars to clean my brushes.  And those are my only really dedicated products. 

the set up in the sink

I have a bowl that I put the soap in.  I made sure it is bigger than the bar of soap so I can put water in the bowl and turn the soap bar periodically when I want a fresh side (depending on how many brushes I am cleaning at a time.  The bar of soap goes in the bowl and the bowl of soap and the cleaning mat go in the sink. 

I stretch an old towel over the top of the closed commode lid and then I take a handful of brushes to the sink.  I wet the brushes, generally in one shot so that I don’t have to keep the water running.

Then I take each brush individually, run it over the top of the soap until it is frothy. I then take the soap filled brush run it over the textured mat and when I think it has been cleaned, I rinse off the soap to make sure.  When I am happy I set it on the towel and continue with the process.

If the brushes are a little dry by the time it comes to wash them, I dip them in the bowl with the soap to rewet them and then continue.  It saves water and gets everything clean.  When I am done I rinse off the mat and set it aside to dry. 

I then wash any makeup residue off the soap, rinse out the bowl and leave them to dry.  Once dry, the bar of soap goes into a plastic soap dish that I picked up in Target’s travel containers section.  It was $.99.  It isn’t really necessary, but I do like keeping my makeup cleaning soap away from the rest of the soaps.  It isn’t that it can’t be used as soap, but I’ve noticed it tends to disappear if I don’t keep it separated. especially with so much hand washing going on these days.

Left to dry, I forgot that some of those brushes had white tips.

After that it is only a matter of leaving the brushes to dry.  I tend to wash face brushes at a different time than eyeshadow brushes just because of space constraints.  I wash the face brushes on Saturday and then leave them over night to dry.  When they are ready to be put away, I go ahead and wash the eyeshadow brushes that I used the week prior. Sometimes of course face brushes sneak into the shadow brushes like in this image from this weekend. I like to rotate brushes so that I’m not using the same brushes all the time so not all brushes get washed every week, but I really don’t like to let brushes sit. 

Plus I’ve found that if I do it once a week, I am less likely to forget as it becomes routine and it doesn’t take that long. I am all about establishing a routine. Generally it takes about ten minutes to wash my eyeshadow brushes from the previous week, and that includes setting up and my post wash clean up.

When I wash them I also inspect the brushes for missing bristles and over use and find out which ones I need to remove from my collection.  While I love the feeling of a nice clean brush, I really like avoiding the possibility of getting an eye infection from a brush I didn’t clean. 

While there are many fantastic makeup cleaning products out there, and several of them I really like using, in the end what matters is that you use a product that kills the bacteria and germs, but is gentle enough not to kill the brushes and that you find something that you will use on a regular enough basis to keep your brushes clean. For me that is usually Ivory Soap and a textured silicone mat.