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THE BRA GUIDE : an honest look at bras

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80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size.

 

Think about that. Flip it. Only 20% of women are wearing the correct size. The most common mis-sizing is bands that are too large, and cups that are too small.

For years, I too wore the wrong bra size and I had no idea. The lack of support left me with tension headaches, back pain, and boobs hanging lower than necessary. And it’s not just a big boob problem: As long as I’ve been a person with boobs, the struggle has been real. The difference for Big Boob Betties, is that improper support can cause health issues, and many times stores and their sales staff are ill-equipped to help: The don’t carry larger sizes and they don’t really know what our needs are. For years I was shopping at chain bras stores in the mall, where they carry up to cup size DDD or F- if I was that lucky. Even in the plus size stores the options above a F are dismal.

They’d measure me and say I wore a 44F and so I wore that for years- but the band would ride up, the cups / boobs would droop, the center would gap, underwires would poke and it would dig into my shoulders. It didn’t help that when I was younger I was obsessed with all my bras being sexy, lacy, push up, etc. While I worked at Costco I constantly had quad boob or needed to readjust because my bra style was inappropriate for the activity, and was completely the wrong size.

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One thing that helped me immensely was getting a proper bra fitting. I got mine done at Nordstrom. I had bought Oprah’s favorite bra online, on recommendation of my friend, who’s name also happens to be Cora. (Hi Cora!) It didn’t fit so I went to return it to Nordstrom. BTW Nordies has a great return policy. The gal was like- I can see this is the wrong size for you, let’s measure you. I’ll admit I figured she was just trying to sell me stuff but I went along with the ruse anyway. In the private dressing room with patience and zero judgement, she said my size was actually a 42G UK, 42H US. She brought me a ton of different styles to choose from.  They all fit! From minimizers, retro inspired bullet bras, smoothers, to sexy lacy numbers! In each of them my boobs were back up where I’d like them to be, and the band felt pleasantly snug but didn’t ride up. The center rest against my breast bone. I nearly cried in the dressing room- finally bras that fit. I couldn’t believe it. It bought 5.

Three factors led to this watershed moment: A store that carried my size, a store that carried a huge selection of high quality, well designed bras build for my body from many different brands, and a caring and most importantly knowledgeable sales assistant. I cannot stress that last one enough.

You can measure yourself at home but a true bra fitting is more of an art than a science. Two women with different breast volumes and levels of muscle tone might wear the same bra size on paper but have different support and shaping needs. Well trained bra experts will be able to determine your needs.

Another thing I cannot stress enough- cup sizes are not equal across the spectrum. A 32g is a smaller breast volume than a 42D. Don’t get hung up on your size, just find what works for you- all boobs are awesome.

If you have a Nordstrom, I highly recommend them because it’s free, and they have wonderful Customer Service across the board. If you don’t have one near you, I recommend a bra specialty shop, vs just popping into your local lingerie chain (especially if you have a feeling they don’t make things in your size, I’m looking at you Victoria’s Secret). You might get lucky and find a well trained and honest person at a retail store, but in my experience, they will try to fit you in what they have available because they need to make a sale. I wore a bra with a band too large and my breasts overflowing or constantly popping out for years due to this. Another thing to consider, if you’re feeling pressured to buy, you’re not going to make the best decision for your needs. Go into the store thinking I’m not buying something if it’s not perfect. Keep the receipt just in case.

Black bra with a measuring tape isolated on a white background

General bra measuring guide

 

If you can, have a friend assist you. Measure around your body just under the bust, keeping the tape as straight as possible. This if your band size. You might try taking two measurements, loose and super tight and then using the number in-between. Next, measure around the fullest part of your bust. Try measuring when you’re standing up relaxed, one bending over at a 90 degree angle. The reason to do this is because if you have less perky boobs, you may have trouble measuring around the fullest part of your bust when standing, and that may hang lower than your band measurement. Again take the number that is in between both if they are different. Ok- have this number? Subtract your band number from your cup number. Each inch is a cup size, so if you have 7 inch difference that’s a G cup US. Now to finish, band sizes are even numbers so if you wear a 41 you’ll want to round up to a 42, or down to a 40 depending on the bra itself. A tip for the over 30 crowd: If your breasts aren’t as perky as they once were, you may want to move down one cup size due to the lack of volume to ensure better support.

conversion chartbra_sizes

 

Bra Construction and Support

 

The support of a bra should come from the band and the cups- the shoulder straps are just for a little extra help in keeping the bra in place. If they are digging in, you’re causing unnecessary strain on your shoulders, neck and back, particularly if you have heavy breasts. If it’s digging in, you need to loosen the straps. That’s a general rule and some people are just more prone to digging in based on their muscle tone and age, and I’ll have more info about how to ease this that in the accessories section below.

The wider the band is, the more support for your heavy boobs. Sadly this also means more hooks. We’ve all seen the “grandma bra” jokes in movies. Nowadays I don’t give a damn- just give me that support. For my younger friends, I know this can be difficult to accept. As a teen in the locker room I was already sporting double D’s and it was really embarrassing to not have two hooks like everyone else. But less support isn’t doing anyone any favors. Just do what’s right for your body; Poor support can lead to life long back pain, tension headaches, and a whole host of stuff much worse than having 3, 4 even 5 hooks in the back of your bra. On the flipside, if it’s too tight you could be over-squeezing your body and it can cause breathing issues. Having boobs- it ain’t for sissies.

While this isn’t always possible, I do recommend doing a bit of due diligence and looking for the best quality bras you can afford. Note I didn’t say the most expensive- there are tons of poorly constructed bras that cost a small fortune. Trust me that you’ll know quality construction and a good fit when you see it. Buy quality, and take excellent care of them, and they’ll last.

When you first purchase a bra, it should fit snugly on the last row of hooks- meaning the right row. You shouldn’t be able to get more than two fingers in there comfortably. sometimes this is down to poor quality/overly stretchy materials used to make bras. The extra rows of hooks are for when the bra inevitably stretches out so that you can fasten it tighter. The standard is 3 rows, so just keep moving it on down to the the left as the bra become looser.

BRA TYPES FOR EVERY OCCASION

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Now let’s talk about different bra types that might be useful depending on your lifestyle and the silhouette you’re hoping for.

Minimizer/Smoother/Full Coverage – I like ones that are smoothing, and pack the girls in with full coverage. I wear these when I need to move around and not worry about over the cup spillage, such as when I’ll be out and about all day running errands, or when I’m wearing a t-shirt, or something where I’d like my boobs to be more contained, like when wearing certain dresses or a button up shirt that is otherwise tight in the chest. These are also great for when your boobs hurt your back- by keeping them up and right up against the body it makes it easier to support their weight.

My favorite is the Basic Beauty by Wacoal- this is sold in lots of sizes so it’s good for everyone. A little pricey but they last for years (solid construction, good materials). Another thing I like is it packs flat; A lot of molded cupped bras can be a pain in the ass to store when you have big boobs .

Wacoal Basic Beauty I wear a 40H http://bit.ly/1S9XxKA
Wacoal Basic Beauty (link for smaller cup sizes) http://bit.ly/1sKkAqZ

T-shirt Bra – everyday bras that provides comfort and support but aren’t very noticeable under clothes. The Wacoal is OK for this but because it is full-coverage, it comes up higher and might show under a tank or other wide neck tops. I tend to prefer an Elomi Etta under just about anything. It does give a slight retro boob look though, so if you like a rounded silhouette you want to look for something lightly padded, molded supportive cups like the Lane Bryant Balconette. A few other styles I love and recommend:

Strapless/Multiway The number one bra related question I get is somehow related to strapless bras for the well endowed. For my plus size friends, the Lane Bryant multi way is a godsend. For everyone, what you want are molded cups to add volume and shape, a rubberized band to minimize slippage, and boning on the sides to add support.

Strapless Bra from Lane Bryant – http://bit.ly/1S9XbUi

Longline – perfect for under fitted bodice dresses, vintage clothes and if you can find a strapless one, perfect for under strapless dresses. This whittles your waist and makes you stand up straighter so it’s excellent for posture. A must if you like vintage styles. Unfortunately, mine was discontinued but I’ve heard great things about the Goddess Longline- they use a different sizing guide so be sure to check before you order.

Longline Bra- http://bit.ly/1PyP4kk

Sports Bra- I like hella support for my big boobs because without it running on an elliptical is unbearable. I love the  Glamorize Double Layer Sports bra because it has a firm hold and this double layer allows you to customize the hold. Sadly this is the only one I can strongly recommended- however it comes in most sizes, a black and white version as well as a pink and orange one I just bought while researching this video.

My Favorite workout Bra – http://bit.ly/29qcpuz

Lounge Bras – For general paling around the house and comfort, I tend to favor underwire-free bras as well as those with a thicker band for support. With that said it can also drive me nuts when my breasts touch too much on a hot day. Most of the time I just wear the Elomi Etta as I feel it’s the perfect combination of sexy, comfort and support. Another great option is…

No-Wire Cooling Bra – http://bit.ly/29roEDH

Bralettes- Torrid!!!! I know other places have them, but this is where I bought several different styles. Now in terms of real support- these aren’t doing much for my tig ol bitties, however they are great for around the house when I just want a little support, or for when I want to add some sex appeal to an outfit, I’ll wear one over a regular bra. Speaking of sexy….

Torrid Bralettes – http://www.torrid.com

Sexy- when buying these I’m less concerned with support, and more with what looks amazing. I’ll fudge bandwidth, number of hooks and cup size for instance.. Sexy is subjective and I can’t say this is what a sexy bra looks like but here’s where I like to shop for them:

Hips and Curves- Sexy Bras, Lingerie, Stockings, fishnets, corsets and costumes. It’s like a naughty candy store! http://shrsl.com/?~cuun

Lane Bryant- great for contemporary lingerie, nice for chemises and the odd sexy bra http://bit.ly/1S9ZAOO

Elomi- vintage inspired styles like the Etta  http://www.elomilingerie.com/lingerie/latest-collections.aspx

Torrid-Bralettes-
http://bit.ly/1sKoRKZ

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Bra lingo

Band vs Bandless- means the bit of fabric under a bra. If you have trouble with your bra digging in, look for bras with a band.

Bra accessories

Chicken cutlets or other boob enhancers. These are little silicone or fabric pieces you put in your bra to give you a boost in volume and cleavage.

Bra extenders – a handy tool, lots of places have these, just make sure the hooks of the number match the number hooks on your bra- and uneven amount can cause uneven tension on the hooks and wear out your bra faster.

3 hook bra extenders $8.00 http://bit.ly/1S9QcuG
Assorted sized of bra extenders $15 http://bit.ly/1sKcjDm

Strap Clips: to clamp the two straps together when your top is narrower than your bra naturally lays (these rarely work, they usually itch the shit out of me. Best to get a multi-way bra or a bra with a J-hook. Elomi and a few other higher end bra brands included these in several styles.

J-hookScreen Shot 2016-07-10 at 3.06.56 PM

Rubber strap cushions- keeps them in place and also helps minimize dig-in. Down side it they are pretty visible so not great for under all clothes.

Comfy Straps $12.50 http://bit.ly/1S9QzoUScreen Shot 2016-06-17 at 12.45.17 PM

BRA CARE

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I invested time, money and research into finding the perfect bra for each need- I want to keep them in tip-top shape! With that said, I’m not a sucker for fancy delicates soaps or gingerly washing them by hand, under the full moon by candle light or whatever the cool kids are doing. Good bra care is as simple as washing in a machine on gentle cycle in a delicates bag. You can get these at a dollar store- I found a cute Minnie Mouse one at Daiso. Then to dry simply hang them up to air dry- Do not put your bras in the dryer- this will make the underwire more prone to snapping and wear down the fabric and stretch them out. DON’T DO IT.

My hope is that this bra guide has helped you in someway. I’ve poured months of work into this, and it was an absolute labor of love.

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MAN CARE MONDAY WITH MIKEY!

Hey everybody it’s Mikey! A message to all the gross dudes out there: You’re walking around smelling like a zombie dude. WASH YOUR SHIT!  I hope you like my men’s skincare video as much as I enjoyed filming it for you! Please share this video with your friends with beards!

Beard Care

Face Cleanser – http://bit.ly/28Xv2T4
Beard Wash – http://bit.ly/28WOEdu
Close Shave Oil – http://bit.ly/28WOfrk
Pre Shave Guard – http://bit.ly/28Xv4Kr
Shave Cream – http://bit.ly/28Xv2lS
Tattoo Care kit – http://bit.ly/28WOO4v
Post Shave Balm – http://bit.ly/28XuXie
Razor Burn Relief – http://bit.ly/28XvzEa
Daily Defense – http://bit.ly/28Xvxwm
Proactive+ spf 15 – http://bit.ly/28WOHGj
Mustache wax Bay Rum – http://bit.ly/28Xve4v
Mustache Wax unscented – http://bit.ly/28Xvj8n
Beard Balm – http://bit.ly/28XuPPD
Beard Oil – http://bit.ly/28WOnqX
Radiance pads – http://bit.ly/28WOmDD

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Makeup Atelier Paris Smoky Peach Makeup Tutorial

Sick of makeup palettes that over promise and under deliver? What if I told you I’d found a line of eyeshadows that knocked my socks off? OK this statement might be a little premature since I haven’t actually tried the entire line, but this Burnt Umber Palette from Makeup Atelier Paris is exceptional. Truly one of the best I’ve tried in terms of color payoff, blendability, smoothness on the eyelid and the texture decisions that were made for each color. The black in this palette is so smooth you will freak out! Add in a few of your favorite pink shadows and you’ve got the Peach Makeup Palette of our dreams. I need to collect more of these. I love it so much I used it on a a friends engagement shoot this weekend (she lives and breathes orange/peach). I was so blown away with the awesome look I modified it slightly to create this tutorial for you guys. I also used this new lash band hiding technique I learned from makeupby_alo on Instagram! Let me know if you’d like to see a more in-depth video on this new technique.

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WHAT I USED

Urban Decay Enigma Primer – http://bit.ly/1WN8BFp
Laura Mercier Artist Palette – http://bit.ly/24PAnAu
Viseart Paris Nudes – http://shrsl.com/?~ctk9
Makeup Atelier Paris T02 Burnt Umber – http://shrsl.com/?~ctkc
Smith Cosmetics Brushes 232, 256 & 253 – http://www.smithcosmetics.com/collections/brushes
MAC 252 Brush – http://bit.ly/1WN9he2
Kat Von D Mad Max Brown – http://bit.ly/24PAxb8
Eyelash Torture Device – http://bit.ly/1Yq3L0j
KISS Shy Lashes – http://bit.ly/1WN8WrF
Lash Applicator Tool – http://bit.ly/1WN95vd
Duo Latex Free Glue – http://bit.ly/1WN92zB
Pixi Copper Glow Liner – http://bit.ly/24PAE6E
MAC 239 brush – http://bit.ly/1MwkzNL
OCC Feathered Colored Pencil – http://shrsl.com/?~b24p
Make Up For Ever Smoky Stretch Lash – http://bit.ly/24PC9Sh
BITE Beauty Radish Lipstick – http://bit.ly/24PBaS1

Tutorial for this Hairdo

disclaimer- this video isn’t sponsored however my friends at Beautylish sent me the Makeup Atelier Palette to try; All opinions expressed are based on my own experiences and obsession with makeup.

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HAIR DYE TUTORIAL: How I Ombre Dye My Hair Extensions!

 

Today I’m sharing with you a step by step hair dying tutorial showing how I ombre dye my hair extensions. Throughout this process I discovered that this is easier to do that my own hair, but not without it’s own challenges. Below is a full list of supplies you will need if you’d like to color your own hair in a similar way, as well as links if you’d like more information on the supplies I use.

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Hair Dye Supplies

Extensions – http://bit.ly/IM_Hair1723
Royal Platinum 200 Grams: Use Code IrresistibleCora for 10% off
Clairol Natural Instincts 4RV Burgundy – http://bit.ly/1r1Ygr7
Evo Fabuloso Copper – http://bit.ly/1WvxPrQ
Conditioner of Choice
Joico Color Therapy Shampoo – http://bit.ly/1WvxwNN
Fabuloso Mahogany – http://bit.ly/1r1YE9c
Special Effects Deep Purple – http://bit.ly/1WvxIN3
Special Effects Virgin Rose – http://bit.ly/1WvxLrX
Special Effects Atomic Pink – http://bit.ly/1r1YK0H
Diane Hair Dye Bowl – http://bit.ly/1r1Zhj1
Tint Brushes – http://bit.ly/1r1ZVx3
Blending Brush – http://bit.ly/1r1ZMtu
Gloves to protect your hands. It might be worth your while to invest in reusable gloved VS throw away. I’m currently using up the last of my disposables so I can make the environmentally friendly switch.
Here’s a few links to videos I’ve done in the past about Hair Color & Care!

Keeping Hair Color Vibrant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1EJrKfC05A
Gingerella – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjYrGK1Hzjw
Orange is the New Black – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyC8dg2wM8U
Live Free & Dye Hard – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ht5PZKXzCg
Detailed Hair FAQ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCX_EdjId5o
How I fixed a Botched Dye Job – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oznNmAyHGk4
Favorite Bargain Hair Products – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAaAbc2CxnE
Older Hair dying tutorial from 2010 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPUu1dNTbqA

FTC- Hair Extensions provided by Irresistible Me All opinions expressed are based on my own experiences and life long obsession with skincare.

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No BS Skincare Advice

First of all this is hella information. You’ve opened Pandora’s box of skincare. Pan-Cora’s Box if you will. This is probably way more than you wanted to know, but hopefully this is useful as a reference/recommendation guide.

I’m passionate about helping people navigate a confusing and often misleading industry, and I hate how much misinformation is out there. 90% of skincare products are either harmful to the skin or do nothing. Sadly marketing hype has a lot of us fooled that expensive = better.This is a lie. There is good skincare to be had at many different price points. The secret is to find skincare experts you can trust, and research your products. Effective products don’t have to be super expensive. With that said, there are places where you can get more of a bang for your buck, and I’m going to cover a wide price range in all categories. Active ingredients are where it’s at but using them can be intimidating, and there is so much crap out there it’s like “Where the hell do I even start?” I gotchu boo.

You don’t want to try it all at once. When you can, go to places like Sephora and get samples, and work your way up to a full routine. If you have to buy things, keep the receipt, most places let you return things within a reasonable time frame.

I’ve listed all the steps in a complete skincare routine. and then broken down each step with multiple recommendations. There are some interchangeable steps, like applying oil WITH moisturizer, or Retinol AFTER moisturizer, but this is a basic guideline.

A complete skincare Routine looks like this:

First Cleanse – remove makeup with wipes or Micellar Water – PM
Second Cleanse – washing your face with cleanser – AM & PM
Acid Tone – AHA or BHA or both if you’re down like that – AM & PM
Flower Water tone – humectant luxury; – AM & PM
Treatments- vitamins, antioxidants, etc addressing your skin concerns. Some AM some PM.
Oils – not for everyone, but this is part treatment, part moisturizing. AM & PM.
Moisturizer – a gel, lotion or cream like to to lock it all in and protect AM & PM
Sunscreen- some people like a stand alone; I like a moisturizer with sunscreen. AM only- reapply if you’re going to be outside longer than an hour.

 

STEP 1: CLEANSING

First Cleanse/Makeup Removing

First of all, dudette… you have to use a cleanser separate from wipes- this was a hard habit for me to break too. I’ve had this conversation with most of the women our age and I get it. Wipes are easy, and Wipes are fine for taking makeup off, but you’re not getting it all off with just the wipe, and it’s not good enough to rinse your face with water after the wipe. You need to use a cleanser with either a clean washcloth that you switch out everyday or a clarisonic. The gentle friction will remove all the dead skin and debris from the environment etc…

More on exfoliation later…

I recently switched to a micellar water in place wipes. I prefer Bio Derma Sensibio which you can buy from Beautylish, but Garnier makes a drugstore option. It’s basically teeny tiny molecules of oil suspended in water. It will take off even waterproof eye makeup without stinging or making your eyes cloudy and since you wash your face with cleanser right after its fine to use all over the face.

One other note: even if you only wear sunscreen during the day consider using the micellar water or a wipe as your first cleanse anyway: Sunscreen designed to stay on, take the time to properly remove it so your nighttime skincare can sink in.

  • Bioderm Sesibio- Paraben Free & the Original
  • Garnier- the drugstore version. the ingredients are different and I haven’t used it.

Second cleanse- actually washing your face

If your skin is dry skip anything foamy. If your cleanser makes your skin feel even slightly dry or tight after cleaning stop using it. That tightness is micro cracks in the skin where bacteria can get in, causing acne, breaking down collagen, and will weaken the skin over time causing crepe texture and wrinkles. I like to have two cleansers, a light gel and a balmy one to mix it up, though lately I just use the jelly/balm one. Also of note: You have to wash your face in the morning. Our skin sheds cells, we sweat, and you’ve got your nighttime skincare on.

Below are a list of cleansers I recommend

general cleanser/traditional gel types

  • Cera Ve Foaming face wash- huge bottle and cheap. I use this in the shower on my neck and chest too. I know the foaming bit sounds counter intuitive to what I just said. Yes it foams a little tiny bit but it doesn’t dry out skin. Zero smell, dermatologists recommended skincare line. not paraben free but you’re also rinsing it off right away so still worth considering. NOT PARBEN FREE.
  • Fresh Soy facial cleanser- smells great and non really non-foaming. Expensive. Paraben Free
  • first aid beauty Face wash- moderately priced. Creamy wash, gives a good clean not stripped feeling. No smell, and they sell great mini sizes for travel. Paraben Free
  • Creamy/Balm/Jelly Cleanser
  • NUDE skincare Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleaning Jelly- this is different from the others because you put it on the skin dry, then after you massage it in you add water and it turns into a milky consistency. Excellent for dry skin. Sephora is going to stop selling this line because- it’s stupid retail politics… Long story short they will be sold elsewhere but at Sephora this might still be available and even on sale because Sephora won’t be selling it. It’s normal $38 but I got it for $26. I haven’t had this as long as the others but so far I’m really impressed. Smells nice. Paraben Free.
  • Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser $38- Works just like the NUDE cleanser, but you get a lot more. I haven’t tried this but I will when I run out of the NUDE version.

 

STEP 2: ACID TONE

Ok this part sounds scary. It’s not. The goal here is to correct the skin’s PH balance after cleansing and switch it on to a more active mode. The toner you use is really important, and if toner makes you think of the 1980’s and scary alcohol potions from Clinique or Sea Breeze, you’re not alone. Well formulated modern toners are amazing. Brilliant. Essential. The focus “ingredient” here is AHA or BHA acid. Why do you need this? Touch your face. You’re touching dead cells. Thats what makes skin appear dry, dull, etc. Plus those greedy little dead cells are soaking up all the skincare products you put on top making it hard for the good stuff to reach live cells.

But you may be thinking- can’t I just use a scrub or an exfoliator. No, you can’t, and here’s why: When you use one of those face scrubs you will eliminate some dead skin cells which is why it feels nice right after using one. But you’re also causing micro cuts in your skin which open you up to bacteria and damage. Think of it like this- Acid Toner is a chemical exfoliant that will help the skin help itself. It speeds up cell turnover, sends dead skin packing, and prevents acne, millia, and all kinds of shit we don’t want. A scrub is a physical exfoliator what it like taking a nail file to your face. It might smooth it out in the moment but it’s causing unnecessary damage.

Let me break down how they work:

AHA works on the skin’s surface weakening the bonds of dead skincells, making it easy to slough off. It helps clear and prevent breakout. Smooths fine lines. tightens skin.You can see results with this is just a day or two, full results in 30-60 days. There are a few different types of AHA, I prefer Glycolic to Lactic, tartaric, and Malic but everyone is different. Glycolic and Lactic are the most effective. I use this twice a day, some people use it once a day.

BHA works within the pore, thinning out oil, and accelerates cell turn over. Some people say they notice it breaking them out at first- really it’s just bringing forth everything that would have happened eventually. There is only one kind of BHA and its salicylic acid.

Use these and your makeup will look better, your skin will be softer and brighter. There’s other stuff but that’s the gist. Since they do different things, I recommend both. You can use them at the same time but some people like to use one at night one in the am. I use AHA Glycol twice and day, and BHA 2 times a week. It’s really important they are stable and at the right Ph in order to be effective. There might be other good ones, but these are all tested and approved by skincare experts far more knowledgable than I, and for what it’s worth I’ve also tried all of these. These are perfectly fine to use with dry skin.
There are other more aggressive options, but that’s for hard core skincare folks, and most need to be bought though med spas.

  • FIRST Aid Beauty: pads. AHA. Inexpensive and more mild than a few of the others, great starter. Sometimes they sell small packs which are great for travel. Paraben Free.
  • pixie glow- AHA
    my personal fave. Inexpensive, available at Target, in the Pixi makeup section- great skincare and makeup line. Really effective and blows my mind how much better my skin looks. I even have Mikey using it- it’s chock full of great stuff like alcohol free witch hazel and other stuff. Highly recommended.
    Paraben Free
  • dr Dennis gross pads- AHA. They sell a regular and extra strength versions. Work great but really expensive. They also sell convenient travel packs.
    Paraben Free
  • Paula’s choice 2% BHA liquid. Great salicylic acid choice, inexpensive, effective. I’ve used this for years and when I was going through my less is more phase I stopped using this and my skin looked terrible. Only available online or if you can find a medspa locally. Just buy it online. Stinks like BHA, slightly vinegary. Whatever it works. Paraben Free
  • Clinique mild toner- BHA really mild and no alcohol. Inexpensive. Great if the Paula’s choice is too intense. Paraben Free

 

It’s important to wait a few minutes before moving on so your skin can absorb this and it can activate. I usually take this time to make my coffee/ read facebook…whatever. You also want to use this all over the face- I use this on my eyelids without getting it “in” my eye. And finally use a cotton pad, not a cotton ball- the pad doesn’t soak up and waste as much product.
STEP 3: Water Toner /Moisture Mists/Flower Water

This step is totally unnecessary so feel free to skip it, however when you skin is slightly wet it will better absorb what you put on top. You do this after the regular toner because you don’t want it to be over active, and that acid needs to be the first thing on your skin. These also contain a bit of glycerine and flower extracts which act as humectants beyond what just water will do. There are lots of great options in this category but I’m only recommending two because this step isn’t essential:

  • Mac Fix+ smells freaking incredible like Japanese Sugi nettles; contains glycerine, caffeine and cucumber among other things.
    Paraben Free
  • Yes to Cucumbers- Excellent budget option. Green tea, Cucumber, and flower extracts. Local brand (San Francisco). Great fine mist spray which is exciting given it’s lower price point, super hydrating.
    Paraben Free

STEP 4: Treatments

This is where you can tailor your skincare routine and where you should spend the most money. This is when you apply watery textured serums. I don’t recommend any kind of silicone textured serum because it can ball up when you apply your makeup or rub other products on the face but some people swear by them. Other treatment options would be like Coq10,
There are so many different types of products worth exploring, so I’m going to focus on two main ingredient categories that I find essential – Vitamin C and retinol. I like to use Vitamin C during the day and retinol at night.
Vitamin C vastly improves skin’s brightness, fades scars and dark spots and is a major player in anti aging as it prevents future damage. It has so many benefits I can’t even list them all. I’ve linked an article about it. It is a fickle ingredient so it needs to be stabilized, so most of the truly good options are $$. The price range here is $48-$115. I’ve sampling different versions trying to see if splurging is worth it. I’m sure it is but for now in using the cheaper one.

http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/anti-aging/_/how-does-vitamin-c-help-skin

First Aid Beauty-Facial Radiance Serum- this is the least effective has the amount of Vitamin C is small, however it’s a good one to start with as it is the cheapest. It also contains Licorice root which is a great brightener as well. It’s also chock full of peptides and other good for your skin stuff.
Paraben Free
Paula’s Choice vitamin C serum- Chock full of peptides, vitamin E, Ferulic Acid and 15% vitamin C this is one of the stronger concentrations. Also one of the cheapest.
Paraben Free

Drunk elephant C- Firma – Crazy awesome formula, 15% Vitamin C, Ferulic Acid, fermented Pumpkin and Pomegranate extract. Effective. Expensive. Smells awful, like metal.
Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum – most elegant formula: niacinamide, algae extract, peptides, ceramides. Uses a newer form of Vitamin C. Hella expensive, Bay Area brand, Smells incredible. I originally bought the Drunk Elephant one and returned it for this.
Paraben Free

Retinol- derived from Vitamin A this helps speed up cell turnover, boost collagen production which improved skin plumes and elasticity; it reduces both fine lines and wrinkles and improved the appearance of pores. Like for real. No bs. This stuff works. And I know you’re thinking- isn’t that what you said about those acids? Yes and no; They work in different ways, and retinol works deeper and more effectively and does a whole host more, but if needs the acids to break down the dead skin in order to get to the fresh cells. Retinol is a skin-communicating ingredient, meaning it as actually effect change in the cells. This will stop if you stop using it of course. What I’m recommending is over the counter retinol. There are also concentrated prescriptions like Retin-A which are more effective, but also more irritating. You need to go slow with this one, once or twice a week, then work your way up. You still might want to introduce some of the other things like the acid toning and vitamin c before you introduce this, however retinol is an important anti aging factor and it’s so important to at the very least try it. You’ll thank me when we’re old ladies.

Two important things to consider: Retinol can make your skin photosensitive so only use it once a day, at night. Secondly, there have been studies where it caused birth defects in huge quantities. It’s safe to use, but not while pregnant.
Paula’s choice retinol

Neutrogena retinol

Peter Thomas Roth retinol- retinol in a light oil. This one works pretty darn good.

Cera Ve retinol- this was the least effective for me, however it might be a nice starter since it’s the cheapest as well.

Sunday Riley Luna- this one is special- it is an oil that contains “retinol ester” which is a new form of retinol. Unlike traditional retinol or Retin-A, this won’t cause the same kind of skin irritation or flaking so don’t worry about this. This product has a patent on the ingredient, but I’m sure someone will knock it off in the future. This one is the most expensive by a long shot, but it’s the most effective one I’ve ever used, and it’s the most expensive.
Other Treatments:

First Aid beauty Water Serum

Weekly Masks

Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne

Paula’s Choice 9% bha- acne, skin exfoliation
Oils- your last step before moisturizer/Sunscreen. This helps a lot with hydration and you apply it second to last for textural reasons. This is part treatment, part moisturizer. Facial oils can work brilliantly for even oily skin so try it! So many option here, I’m not going to go into this at length but here are several I’ve tried and recommend:

Fresh SeaBerry oil

nude skincare oil

Sunday Riley Juno – dry skin

Sunday Riley Artemis – Acne prone and oily skin

Josie Maran Argan Oil/light Oil- the light oil is good if you don’t like the feel of oil.

Josie Maran Milk Oil – lightweight, think lotion like consistency

Tarte Maracuja oil
And lastly, moisturizer and sunscreen.
Frankly, this is the last thing you apply and if you’re using rockstar products from your acid toners to your treatments, you really just need something basic and hydrating with an elegant texture to seal it all in. I don’t like to go nuts and splurge here. I still use something well researched and that has great ingredients but I get the drugstore version. I’ve listed a few great ones. I like to combine my sunscreen and moisturizer during the day since my skin is combination, but some people like to have a separate sunscreen and moisturizer for added hydration. Additionally, I prefer mineral sunscreen. I could argue both sides of this but you probably give zero fucks if you’ve read all of this. Geeze Cora just recommend shit already. Ok here we go:

Moisurizer with suncreen:

First Aid Beauty: SPF 40- all Mineral/physical sunscreen

Cera Ve AM SPF 30- Mostly Chemical with Zinc Oxide
Sunscreen only:

Sheishedo- expensive and undeniably one of the best sunscreens on the market. Waterproof, excellent.

Kiehls- chemical sunscreen but BUT- it actually works and has an amazing texture, works well as a makeup primer.

Moisturizer with sunscreen:

Cera Ve Am-chemical and mineral sunscreen hybrid. Cheap. Effective.

Moisturizer without sunscreen:

Cera Ve PM: cheap, contains amazing and impressive ingredients for the price- texture is amazing. Highly recommended.

Belif Aqua Bomb and Aqua Creme

More Resources:
I’m going to link to skincare guru Caroline Hiron’s website. Paula Begoun is another great source although she has a habit of down rating excellent skincare lines like Sunday Riley because they contain fragrant oil and some suspect that she down rates products that are competitive. Thirdly, Dr Shultz is an excellent source.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWl7rIYGLnCwVpuO1DmrEUQ

As for products lacking parabens: To be clear, here isn’t any evidence linking parabens in skincare to cancer. The main source of this worry is a study done on rats in much larger concentrations than is in skincare products much less could be absorbed by the body through the skin. Parabens/preservatives stop your products from spoiling and stabilize the active ingredients so they can work properly. With that little lecture in mind, the stigma of this was enough that most companies have phased it out of their skincare, so there still are tons of great products that don’t contain parabens if it’s still a concern 🙂 I will let you know if the products I recommend don’t contain parabens.
While all of this advice is based on science- sometimes science be damned, something does or doesn’t work. That one of the reasons there are so many different products out there.

UD lipstick bullets

URBAN DECAY LAUNCHES VICE LIPSTICK- 120 Shades of Lipstick Heaven!!!

ARE YOU SITTING DOWN? Urban Decay is about to drop it’s biggest launch yet- a total of 120 lipsticks,  74 of which are Brand. Spankin’. New. THERE IS A GREEN PEOPLE! This is not a drill!!!! A few weeks ago I noticed that the revolution lipsticks were on sale for just $11, down from $22, and now we know why. These new Vice Lipsticks will be $17 a bullet! Say what now? Yep. It’s rare to see a company launch a product that is less expensive than one it is replacing. Part of this might be due to the less expensive packaging, but I haven’t tried these yet to say for sure. When I get them in my hot little hands I’ll share, share share and share again. I’ll have to, there’s like a grillion colors.

Speaking of the colors- each retailer will carry 100 of the overall 120 shades- there are 80 core shades, 20 Sephora exclusives, and 20 non-Sephora lipsticks. I’m thrilled to see Urban Decay return to it’s roots with the less common colors like Junkie, Heroine and Perversion, as well as a few of the best colors from the Gwen Stefani Launch being made perm- HELLO Firebird! Come thru with your gorgeous self. Below is all the info I have at this time, I don’t have a launch date yet but I assume it will be soonish.

– thank you to Courtney of Phyrra.net for hooking me up with the info on these- love ya!

lipstickLipstick 1 lipstick 2

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