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Hair

Product Review: Curls & Brows!

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I’ve decided to start sharing my thoughts on beauty/hair products more often since I can’t stop buying them and can’t say no to free products (that are relevant to my type of hair.) I want to try them all! I bought this little kitchen cart from Ikea to use to hold haircare product overflow and each hair washing day is like Christmas, with new products addressing quality of curl, moisture and blonde correcting. I’ve been using NYX’s brow pen since it’s so easy and looks natural, but I decided to give Essence’s version a try.
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Essence sent me their How To Make Brows Wow make up box and I love that it has mini tweezers and a shimmery highligher. I tested out the Love Blondes color on the left and the Love Em All next to it with the conclusion that the Love Blondes, though lighter, looks more natural and blends better with my naturally light eyebrows. I also love the highlighter–it created more definition with my brows, especially since they’re a bit overgrown at the moment.
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I’m very loyal to Matrix Biolage Gelee, but I find Deva Curl’s Light Defining Gel just as amazing. It doesn’t make my hair all stiff and weighed down, but it’s also heavy enough to actually control my hair. It’s a tough balance with thick, dense, curly hair. I switch between these two gels now.
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Dove sent me the Quench Absolute Intense Restoration Mask. It’s a more budget friendly option compared to Ouidad’s 12 minute deep conditioner. Directions say to leave on 3-5 minutes, but I left on for 10 and my hair felt soft and less hay-like. Speaking of soft, nice hair, I need a shine serum post shower. I float through different types because most seem to work for me, but Toni and Guy’s classic shine gloss serum smells SO GOOD. Even Kyle complimented me on how great my hair smelled and I owe it to this tiny little product fighting to keep the frizz at bay.
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As always, open to product suggestions! Any hair product that I should try that you recommend?!
And here’s my original step by step hair routine

Beauty, Hair

Quick Bun Updo For Curly Girls!

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I partnered with Meijer this holiday season to share a couple tips on styling curly/wavy hair for the holidays and my most favorite and easiest style is the top bun. I think this can look quite elevated with curly hair, and bonus: take little effort and time which is what I’m all about.
I started with clean hair. I know a lot of people say dirty hair is easier to style, but my hair gets more like dreadlocks the dirtier it is so I prefer to do more with one day or two day old hair, which I consider to be pretty clean. All you need is a hair tie and two bobby pins! I also added a little extra John Frieda Oil Elixir to smooth the frizzies around my face too. So with these few items, you can get started!
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Step 1: High pony. Pull all your hair up into a ponytail, paying little attention to making it perfectly smooth, if there’s a weird bump, I just address it later with a bobby pin. I prefer the imperfect with styling my hair, I want it to look effortless, not homeless or too stuffy. It’s about getting the right balance.
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Step 2: Wrap your hair like a donut around the base of your ponytail. To secure your hair, use a bobby pin or tuck the end of your hair into your elastic band. If you like a tighter bun, tucking it into your elastic band tends to keep it in a tighter ball and it’s what I do for workouts, but for something more special, I make it a little looser and fluffier by using just 2-3 bobby pins securing it.
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If there are any pieces sticking up in the bun, I just tuck them back in the elastic band. I also tend to pull pieces of hair down around my ears, a little messier the better for me!
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This post was sponsored by Meijer
Hair, Inspiration

My Hair & Skin Musthaves

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I’m always testing out new hair products and I’ve got my tried and true and newest obsessions, plus drugstore deals and a couple splurge-worthy items. I might not style my hair a lot or get crazy with my make up, but I do care about my hair since it’s just..everywhere and my skin, because let’s face it, my skin is a dick and it requires constant upkeep.

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Not pictured are my large, oversized Biolage Matrix Smooth shampoo and conditioner, which is my go-to at home. I’ve been trying so many new shampoos and conditioners lately just to have other options and I found the Dove Pure Care Dry Oil shampoo and conditioner to be quite hydrating. Once I’m out of the shower, I let my hair air dry, but not without first applying a serum, curl cream and my most favorite gel in all the land: Biolage Gelee. The first photo pictured in the post features two products I was skeptical of, but tried and loved. My friend Liz bought me the Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream last year and I absolutely love how it moisturizes my hair, cutting back on frizz. Especially after a blow out and my hair is the most dry, it eats it right up. I was also leery of the BB Pret-a-Powder. I’ve tried a ton of dry shampoos and they either make my scalp itch or looks like I dumped baby powder on my head. This one doesn’t spray out, which I really like and I can control how much goes in my hair and it soaks up the oil without making me itch like crazy.

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I think there are so many great serums out there and no matter the brand, this is an absolute necessary item in my arsenal of hair products. I grew fond of Ouidad’s Shine Glaze since a little goes a long way, but I’ve always loved John Frieda Frizz Ease, especially this new one I tried, the nourishing oil elixer.
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I had such typical teen acne in high school and in college, but once I was out of school, and perhaps it was the stress and my hormones, but it just grew to be so much worse. I’ve gone to dermatologists, been on Accutane and other skin medications, and it somehow reverts back. I’ve used Proactiv since I was 15 and it really helps keep the acne at bay. It’s never completely cleared my skin, but it keeps it in check. I use Proactiv every night (step 1 cleanser not pictured above, not looking photo worthy and still sitting in my tub] and for morning cleanses, I like this Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil. I’ll use this or something lighter to take my make up off at night too instead of Proactiv. 
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My wallet was assaulted on such a small bottle of this Kate Somerville Exfolicate. $20 for such a tiny little bottle, but the larger size was $80something. I bought it over a month ago and I’ve been using it twice a week and I still have a ton left in this tiny little baby bottle. I can’t express to you through the written word how much I love this product. It sloughs away dead skin and makes my skin feel smooth. The Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque is also a godsend. I used to use a sulfur mask by Proactiv and found it to be extremely helpful when used as a spot treatment before I went to bed. This product comes in a large jar and is worth the price. I use it as a mask and also as a spot treatment for stubborn zits.
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Lastly, for the rare day I take time to do my hair and blow it out myself, these are my go-to products. Both of the Jose Eber tools work great, I can particularly tell a difference with how quick my hair dries with this infrared dryer. I used it again earlier this week when I was in an extreme time crunch post-shower with wet hair..so I straightened my hair quickly and I honestly spent 15-16 minutes on, which is probably the quickest I’ve ever straightened my hair. Used to take me a couple hours in high school!
Anyways, my hair takes a beating from these tools though so I use Ouidad’s 12 minute deep treatment before and after blowouts and use Morrocanoil which is a heavier serum that hair just soaks up.
Beauty, Hair, Inspiration

Date Night with CO Bigelow

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I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m pretty low key when it comes to planning dates. It’s usually centered around “I’VE GOT A FIVE DOLLAR OFF COUPON!” And so then we go. Kyle will change out of his gym shorts and I may or may not change out of my sweatshirt. We also live together, so the excitement of going out together isn’t what it was last fall when I’d nervously apply 8 layers of deoderant and kept up on my manicures and pedicures.

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Since I now work out 6 days a week, it’s more important to me to be taking care of my hair and skin rather than get dolled up with all the extra make up products. CO Bigelow sent me a package of products including the Rose Salve and Mentha Lip Shine that I’ve already been using for years (hello soft lips and minty breath!) along with their lemon body lotion and Not Your Ordinary Daily Shampoo and Conditioner and Lemon Sugar Body Scrub. So, I’d rather not smell like an armpit on a dinner date, but also not have to worry about reapplying eyeliner and all that jazz.
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For this particular date night, when I tried out all the products at once like a mini spa morning, we packed our bags, got dressed in this exact outfit posted on the blog last summer and headed to the little tourist German town in Michigan called Frankenmuth, where Kyle grew up. I’d never been there so we visited all the candy shops, general stores and ate dinner at his favorite hometown restaurant, Tiffany’s, and took James to the dog park to test his agility skills and let him run like a crazy little man. 
CO Bigelow supplied me with the items above!
Beauty, Hair, Inspiration

Heat

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I’m a sucker for anything hair and so naturally, I checked out the new salon in town, Heat Blow Dry. The space was beautifully designed with chandeliers, a coffered ceiling and so many pretty details from the chairs to candy jars. Co-owner Dan Bucilli was one of my favorites at his old salon and I’m so happy for him to have his own business, especially one that caters to blowouts, something we needed here for some time. If you live in the mid-Michigan area, check it out.

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My friends and I with Dan!
Hair