Money Saving Hacks – Make Up

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

As you guys know, I have a deep love for make up as both a way to cover up blemishes but also as an extension of personality. I really believe make up, like clothing, can help bring the way we feel to the surface. So in this post I am going to talk about ways I’ve seen my money disappear and ways I’ve saved money over the years with my make up.

Brush Cleaners

I’ve been seeing theses products becoming more popular over the years and I’ve never bought one. I have ten year old brushes that are just as nice as they day I got them after a decade of washing them with dish soap and conditioning them with a small amount of my hair conditioner. I’ve never had an issue with hairs falling out of brushes or them becoming damaged due to washing. I let them air dry upside down and wash them at least once a week.

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Expensive Bright Palettes

While I think there is merit in purchasing a large neutral palette that you can get a lot of use out of, buying 14 shade+ palettes of neons or varied shades can be a money drain. If you use your colours according to your skin tone, you will have a hard time using most of the palette. If you want to experiment with trendy colours on a budget, consider a 9 shade palette with a theme.

Buying All High End Products

Eva Blakeman – Marcelle’s Face Powder

There are products that are undoubtably better in the higher price range. Foundation, mascara and brushes are all products that are generally better above the drug store quality. Eye shadow, liners, lash curlers, high lighters and bronzers have great quality at the drug store. Brands like Physicians Formula and Marcelles offer great products at reasonable prices. Buying Sephora brand foundation is also a great way to keep a daily use product in a lower price range. A bottle of their foundation is $25.00, which is a few dollars more than drug store, but certainly easier on the wallet than Estee Lauder and other comparable brands.

Clean Your Make Up

I can’t tell you how many people I know who don’t clean their make up or disinfect it. This massively shortens the life span of a product. (Also, always use clean brushes). Ensuring your make up and tools are clean will also help reduce acne so there’s a bonus. I use isopropyl alcohol to sterilize but I’m sure there are alternatives. On that note, use a tool to remove product from pots instead of your fingers to reduce bacteria in the pot.

Take Advantage of Sales

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Whether you shop at Sephora or Shoppers, there are sales and there are points. Sephora admittedly isn’t as easy to build up and use points as Shoppers, but staying loyal to one or two stores can help you build up points and take advantage of sales. The key to saving money with sale prices is not to over buy during sales. Only get what you need and you will actually save money. Then at the end of the year, use your accumulated points.

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Online Shop

Eva Blakeman – Gold Colourpop Palette

When it comes to affordable make up, Colourpop is the best. Shipping is low, individual prices can be as low as $4.00 a shadow and their 12 colour palettes can be as low as $12.00. Their liquid lipstick doesn’t have the longest wear time, but you can’t beat its price. While their lipstick requires regular touch ups, their powder formulas have excellent quality.

Duplicate Products

Every year there are new palettes, new products and new trends for us to pour money into. Looking at it reasonably, do we need a gel liner, a stamp liner, a liquid liner and a stick liner? Probably not. Same way we don’t really need three nude palettes, 30 lipsticks and endless highlighters. While it can be fun to try out new products, wait until your current product has become empty or has reached its lifespan before buying a new product. Take the time to test products before purchasing to help reduce buying trendy products that might not suit you.

Own Good Brushes

There are two ways to buy tools. The first is to put very little money into them and need to replace them often, the second is to invest in good tools that will last. Some affordable good quality brushes that I’ve used are Sigma, Morphe and Sephora. It is also important to note that even the best brushes will break down if you don’t care for them. It is important to clean and condition your brushes and to store them where they won’t be crushed or constantly rub against each other. In the long run, buying a product once is much cheaper than having to repurchase many times.

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Always Consider Your Skin Type / Tone

We return a little to trendy products here. Consider your skin type before purchasing any product that goes directly on the skin. If you have dry skin and you are buying matte products and heavy alcohol setting sprays, you will only aggravate your skin. If you have a very warm skin tone, always make sure you are buying something with undertones that suit you. While there are some colours that look lovely on everyone, it doesn’t mean the undertones will. Red lipstick is universally loved, but depending on your tone, you may want an orange undertone, a blue undertone or a true red. Ensuring you only purchase things that suit you means you will not only look better, but that you will get your moneys worth of the product.

As always, I really appreciate you coming here to be a part of the community. If you have any tips you want to share, please do so in the comments! I would love to hear what you have to say and learn from you.

Eva Blakeman – Money Saving Hacks

Styling By Skin Tone

Welcome!

You know I love fashion, I love shoes, and I love wearing black. I wore black as my only colour for years due to insecurity with my weight and not understanding what colours fit me Shopping in the same stores my friends did I rarely found shades I felt confident in, so I hid under my black dresses and shirts. As I got older I realized that I was shopping in stores that had strong summer themes, which lead a lot of their clothing to be in warm tones, which just don’t suit me! I changed where I shop and suddenly I can find just about anything in a flattering shade, and when I can’t, I’ve learned how to adjust my look to wear it better.

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While skin tone does influence which colours look better naturally against your skin tone, they don’t have to limit you. Today we are going over how to determine your skin, eye and hair tone as well as what colours match well with them. After that we are going to get into how to adjust your make up and hair style to wear colours that aren’t as naturally suitable for skin tones.

Determining Tone

It is important to check your tones under natural lighting, indoor lights will skew results. (This also comes into play with dressing rooms with fluorescent lighting).

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Skin Tone

The quickest and easiest way to determine your skin tone is to look at your eyelids and wrist for your veins. If you see them as purple or deep blue, you are cool toned. If they are a blueish green, you would be a neutral tone and if they are olive or green you are warm toned.

In my case I have very purple veins showing around my eyes and deep blue on my wrist. This leaves me as a cool toned individual.

Eye Tone

Eyes are interesting as blue can sit in any category. If your eyes could be considered “ice blue” or a deep blue without yellow tint, they are cool. Other cool colours include grey and deep green.

Neutral eyes includes dark brown and blackish eyes.

Warm eyes include blues that have a tint of yellow or a brightness to them that would be reminiscent of water. Warm also describes mid to light brown as well as hazel and light green eyes.

I have a Scandinavian looking ice blue eye with a dark band around the exterior, leaving me in the cool category once again.

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Hair Tone

Hair tone doesn’t really have a neutral but it is very easy to see if your hair is warm or cool. In the case that you have matching tone for your skin and eyes, it is recommended to dye your hair in the same tone. It isn’t necessary, and even as this sounds contradictory, dying your hair to match your other tones looks more natural.

Hair tone is most easily seen in the undertone of the colour. Cool hair will have blue, silver, ash or violet undertones where warm hair will have red, brown or yellow undertones.

I have dark blonde hair with no real hue, but seems to be cool. I do have lighter blonde balayage that I have to use purple shampoo on to keep it cool. When it becomes yellow the colour looks odd framing my face but lends well to why warmer toned shirts.

Matching Tones

A good rule when it comes to tones when shopping is to hold the fabric directly against your jawline. If your natural skin tone seems accentuated by the colour, it likely matches you, if you wind up looking ill or natural beside the colour, it isn’t a good match.

Something to be aware of is the trend of clothing tones changing depending on the season. In the spring and summer months you are much more likely to find a plethora of warm toned clothing whereas in the winter months you are more likely to find more cool toned items. Autumn tends to be a fairly even mix of the two. When in doubt, navy looks good on everyone.

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Cool Tone

Cool toned skin looks marvellous paired with jewel toned colours. Bright blues, emeralds, deep purples, ice blues, true pink and the good old white and black. For metallics, cool tones can wear gold as metallic surfaces reflect their tone onto what is around them. A gold metallic shirt would reflect warm tones onto your face, warming you up (in order to make this work the best, warm up your eyes with red or yellow toned colours). Gun metal and silver metallic work well with cool skin tones without adjusting warmth in the face.

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Neutral Tone

Neutral toned skin can play with both warm and cool colours without it looking off. Faded blacks aren’t a good match with neutral skin, so make sure to protect your blacks when being washed. Dark denims, shades of brown and mustard yellows can really compliment this skin tone.

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Warm Tone

Warm toned skin pairs nicely with rich ruby reds, blush pinks, pastel colours and leafy greens. Floral designs often look very nice on warm toned skin as they often have a combination of the above mentioned shades. Rose gold and gold looks lovely paired with warm skin and gun metal can be used if you cool down the eyes with greys, blues and purples.

Adjusting To Other Shades

Colour against the face

Separating colours that don’t match your tone with white, black or neutral tones can help you wear the colours you love without looking off. A white collared shirt with the collar popped over the sweater that doesn’t match can change the whole look. Using a scarf can have the same effect.

Warming Up Or Cooling Down The Face

Warm toned skin compliments gold naturally, but metallic shades can be used to change the appearance of tone on the face. A cool skinned individual who wants to wear warm toned clothing could use a gold highlighter and yellow toned brown shades round the eyes.

For a warm toned individual who wants to wear cool toned, try using a more purple hued blush and blue, white and purple tones around the eyes. Also using a matte finish foundation will help keep the cool toned look.

Clashing Hair colour

In the case that you hair tone does not match the tone of the top you are wearing, separate them. An up-do will separate the two tones that are clashing. Another option if you really love warm toned clothing but you are cool toned is to balayage your hair. If the top is cooler near your face and the bottom is warmer where it would rest against clothing, it can help pull it all together.

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Weddings and Confidence

While it is generally easier to wear what matches you, it isn’t always what you like or what you have the opportunity to wear. Weddings can be the most problematic as bridesmaids don’t often have a lot of control over hair style or dress colour, but you can always fake a different tone for a day with neutral foundation instead of your cool or warm tone and use a little highlighter to warm you up if you need it.

The most important thing I want to say about all this is that while there is colour theory and everyone has good and bad shades on them, the most important part of pulling off any outfit is confidence. Don’t let your clothes wear you, make sure you wear them. Pull your shoulders back, straighten your back and walk with the knowledge that you can do anything.

As always I really appreciate you coming here and spending some time with me. I love hearing back from you guys so please let me know what’s on your mind in the comments.

How To Deal With Combination Skin

Hello,

As you guys know I have combination skin. I tend to be very dry on the chin and around the mouth but oily on the nose, cheeks and forehead. I often have acne on my cheeks and jawline and black heads on my chin and nose. After seeing a dermatologist and trying many products, I have managed to put together a routine that keeps my skin pretty clear.

I should point out, I am not a dermatologist nor a doctor, so all of this is based off my own experimentation with products. If you also have combination skin and have found other products work really well for you, please let me know so that I can try them too!

Daily Use Products

Micellar Water

I use micellar water every morning and night before any other product. It’s able to lift dirts and oils from the skin and doesn’t need to be rinsed off. If I’ve been sweating I use it to remove the sweat from my face to reduce the bacteria from trying to move in. I love using it to remove eye make up as well as it is very gentle around the eyes.

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Salicylic Acid

While this solution does contain alcohol which dries the skin, it is able to penetrate lipids and disinfect. It kills the bacteria both on and in your skin, treating acne. I use the Clean and Clear Astringent because it’s inexpensive and it works. This is a morning and night daily product for me.

I also use this salicylic acid moisturizer to help reduce bacteria on my skin throughout the day. While it does leave my skin feeling hydrated, the hydration is short lived. This moisturizer is more of an anti acne product that it is a hydration product. Nonetheless I like it and have found it to be very useful.

Hyaluronic Acid

This is an acid naturally found in the body and it helps keep moisture in the skin. I love using it after my acne treatments to hydrate the skin. It’s also thin enough to be used for facial massages. Most evenings when I apply it I massage my skin with it thoroughly, reducing stress in my jaw muscles and the underlying muscles on my forehead.

Tea Tree Oil

I use this night mask from the Body Shop for two reasons. The first being it has visibly decreased acne, the second being it’s a little sticky which helps me not touch my face. It has a strong scent at first but dissipates quickly after applying it.

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Bi-Weekly Products

Benzoyl Peroxide

While this product is drying to the skin, I love it. I use it as a mask a couple times a week in the evening. It is also capable of penetrating the lipids so using it as a mask allows the product time to really get in there and kill bacteria. The formula is use is also a Clean & Clear product and I find after using it as a mask, a lot of my dry skin sloughs off with it when I remove it using a face cloth. I should warn you that this product will bleach your wash cloth and towel, so either use white or commit one face cloth and towel to your benzoyl peroxide days.

Microneedling

I use the derma roller twice a week before applying my hyaluronic acid. You can read here about my experience with the derma roller. You do have to vie very careful with disinfecting both the skin and the tool or you can risk infection in the skin. It’s important not to use it near the eyes, but when properly used it allows for much deeper absorption of products applied. I would recommend this tool to any adult who wants to hydrate, reduce acne scarring and help the collagen production in their skin.

Collagen

Photo by Nika Akin on Pexels.com

I use the Mario Badescu Super Collagen Mask. While it has a whipped rubber texture, it dries into an incredibly tight chalk like mask. I’ve noticed improvement in over all pigmentation after use.

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Exfoliation

I love my Mary Kay microdermabrasion product. I use it once or twice a week as an exfoliator. The particles in it are small enough that I have never torn my skin with it, but sturdy enough that my skin feels incredibly fresh after use and I can see no dry or dead skin left on my face.

Lifestyle Changes

Hydration

As we all know, hydration helps skin. Drinking enough water helps my skin and removing coffee and other caffeinated beverages from my diet has helped keep me hydrated as I am no longer ingesting diuretics.

Daily Bathing

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I take a bath nearly every night, which gives me time to relax, but more importantly in this case, gives me a good amount of time to invest into my skin care. It also ensures that the sweat and dirt of each day gets removed from my entire body each night. I used to shower every two to three days, and I found my face and back had more acne at the time. I can read a book while masks dry or medicated masks do their work, allowing me relaxation and productivity at the same time. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

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Establishing Routine

Skin care routines only work if they are routines. Establishing one can be difficult, especially if you have a partner or children, as their needs may need to come before your own. This is why establishing a routine daily is important. If everyone knows it’s your time to take care of yourself, you are more likely to be able to commit to it. Whether that means waking up earlier than others in the home or taking a daily bath, without consistency a routine won’t work.

Cutting Out The Junk Food

We all know nutrition and skin health are linked and a lot of people notice changes in their skin when they remove something from their diet. In my case, removing dairy and greasy foods leads to better skin. All in all, a healthier you will have healthier skin.

Thank you for being here today and taking the time out of your day to read this post. As always I love being able to talk to you through the comments on on social media! My links are in the bar below and I hope to hear from you soon.

Skin Care Practices

While I was looking through some old binders while cleaning during this period of isolation, I realized I could use some old course outlines to share information about the basics of cosmetology. This will be much more in depth than it is casual.

I am not a doctor and no information in this article or on this site should be taken as medical advice. Please consult with a medical professional should you have any skin or health concerns.

Let’s start with establishing your skin type. Your skin type will likely change over your lifetime so checking every once and a while to ensure your products and treatments are the most effective for your present skin type. There are a few ways to figure out your skin type, but the simplest is to wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. After half an hour, look in a mirror and see if your skin has an oily sheen. If you have oil all over your face, you have oily skin. If you have oil forming on your nose and forehead but not the rest of your face, you likely have normal/combination skin. If your face feels tight and dry when you smile or talk, you have dry skin. If you have a combination of tight skin and oily patches, you have combination skin.

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Let’s talk about cleansing per skin type. Double cleansing is often recommended, especially for those who wear cosmetics or sunscreens. In order to double cleanse an oil cleanser is used first, then the appropriate second cleanser like a foam or lotion cleanser is used depending on the skin type. For dry skin cream cleansers are ideal as they clean the skin without stripping it of essential oils. Micellar water is another great choice for dry skin as the tiny oil particles in the water lift dirt off the skin. Oil cleansers are also a good choice for dry skin, as they work well with every skin type. Oily and combination skin benefit from gel cleansers, foam cleansers, clay cleansers, powder cleansers, bar cleansers and exfoliating cloths and mitts.


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The next step is the use of a cleanser. There are a variety of cleansers available depending on skin concerns. For acne and black heads, astringents with salicylic acid are often used. For dry skin botanical cleansers are soothing. When toners are purchased they should be picked for the current issues with the skin. Toners with high amounts of alcohol can dry out skin. Ones with witch hazel, aloe and urea are generally good for soothing and minimizing pores. Some toners that work well for dry and combination skin include ingredients like vitamin c and hyaluronic.

Eva Blakeman – Hyaluronic Acid

Let’s get to nourishment for the skin. These are ingredients that have an effect on the skin that are found in skin care products. Cassia Augustifolia Seed is an extract that binds water which hydrates the skin. This ingredient does not have any barrier properties, so silicone or other petroleum products should be applied or also in the product to keep the moisture in the skin. Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is a strong anti-inflammatory. It increases blood flow and is beneficial during breakouts. Aloe vera is very rich in antioxidants and vitamins that soothe and calms dry skin. Vitamin E is a natural water barrier that protects the skin that is also full of antioxidants.

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In this skin care industry active ingredients are often marketed without much explanation as to what they do, so let’s clear that up. For a more complete list of ingredients click here. Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA) is a common chemical exfoliator that often uses lactic and glycolic acids. Benzoyl peroxide is a common anti acne ingredient that often dries the skin but does penetrate the skin very effectively with it’s ability to kill bacteria. Caffeine is often marketed to reduce the appearance of cellulite and puffy eyes. While it does work, it is not a long term product, but it does work short term, though it may cause irritation to some people. Collagen is a protein that binds water to keep skin hydrated. A very common ingredient is glycerine, a humectant that moisturizes and softens skin.

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Protecting the skin is just as important, if not more important than moisturizing. There are three ingredients found in sunscreen and some cosmetics that protect from both UVB and UVA to different degrees. Avobenzone protects from both very well but is a chemical ingredient not found in plants or animals, which some do not like using. Zinc oxide is a mineral ingredient that works just as well as avobenzone for dual protections. Titanium dioxide is another mineral ingredient that protects from UVB fully but offers limited protection from UVA.

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Let’s talk about sanitary practices. When working on yourself you don’t have to worry about blood-borne diseases or infectious diseases when not sharing any products or tools. On that note, do not under any circumstances share tools, brushes, or any other items that could transfer mucus, blood or any other method of disease transmission. For personal use items they should be washed with an antibacterial soap, scrubbing away anything on them, then sterilized with isopropyl alcohol. For cosmetics, they can be sprayed with isopropyl alcohol.

I hope you enjoyed the article and if you have any questions, suggestions or advice to share please do it in the comments below!

My Favourite Skin Care Products – May 2020

Just for reference, my skin type is combination dry and oily. I have found this products work well for a variety of reasons, but I only have experience in my own skin type with them. Some of the tools and products are considered to be universally good for all skin types but you really don’t know if it works for you until you try them.

Eva Blakeman – Mario Badescu Facial Spray

Mario Badescu Facial Spray – This product was one I wasn’t really sold on until I owned it myself. With such simple packaging and labeling the cost is minimal. The spray is almost addictive and actually makes a decent setting spray over makeup. I’ve found that mid day when I’m slowing down a little a quick spray makes my face feel less oily, the scent is very refreshing and the mist itself wakes me up a little. I don’t think it’s a product that would change your life, but I certainly like using it.

Eva Blakeman – Derma Roller

Derma roller/ microneedling – Another item I wasn’t sold on until I used it. I did a lot of research on derma rolling before I purchased one and I have to say that hygiene and sterility is incredibly important with this tool. It is a 0.3mm needle roller with just over 500 needles. I have found my skin has evened out, cleared up and stayed more hydrated since using it twice a week. It really helps my hyaluronic acid absorb deeper into the skin. It is mildly uncomfortable and if you don’t feel comfortable using a product like this, you shouldn’t use one. Dermatologists ofter provide treatments with these, but for me, I like having control over my skin care at home.

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Eva Blakeman – Mary Kay timewise

May Kay timewise – For a physical exfoliator I find this one to be just wonderful! The particles are very very small and after years of use I have never had any issues with it. My dead skin comes off very easily with little effort with this item without pushing the product hard into the skin. One day I think I will switch to a chemical exfoliator but that will wait until my skin gets a little older. Unlike a lot of drug store exfoliators, this has never torn my skin or caused me any pain while using it. I think it’s very good for sensitive skin.

Eva Blakeman – Sephora Mask Stick

Sephora Bamboo mask stick – This item was an impulse buy and it is one I do not regret at all! The item says it has enough product for 15 uses but my experience is that it has enough for about 30. I don’t think it has any long lasting effects but it is very cooling to irritated skin on my nose and chin. It feels hydrating and the next morning my skin still feels smoother. Above all other things, I like having a quick mask that makes me feel good with it’s scent that I can wear without it flaking into my book as it dries.

Eva Blakeman – The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Mask

The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Mask – Another inexpensive product that I have loved for years. The scent is a little strong but I have noticed a significant reduction in blackheads when I use it regularly. It has a cooling effect on the skin and the texture is that of a thin jello. It doesn’t combine well with other night time products, so I have to use it on it’s own which sometimes doesn’t feel like enough hydration, but combined with an under eye cream and moisturizer on the neck I wake up with my face feeling fresh.

Eva Blakeman – Clean and Clear Dual Action Moisturizer

Clean and Clear Dual Action Moisturizer – This moisturizer and I go back many years and I have always found it to be a good product. It hydrates well while treating acne at the same time. I often use it over an oil (yes I know moisturizers don’t penetrate through oils well) because it matte-i-fies the oil, allowing me to go into public without looking very oily.

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Eva Blakeman – Micellar Water

Micellar Water – I love the Bioderma and the Garnier micellar waters for make up removal and mid day skin cleansing. I know I’m prone to touching my face and over time my sunscreen becomes less effective so mid day I really like wiping off the old sunscreen, cleansing my face and re-applying sunscreen. It also takes off mascara and eyeshadows beautifully.

Eva Blakeman – Illumine Lab Face Oil

Illumine Lab Face Oil – This has been a daily staple for the better part of the year. I love how well it hydrates my skin and how easy it is to do facial massages with this oil. It has a lovely, mild scent and it absorbs very quickly into my skin for an oil product. Hyaluronic Acids do wonders in skin care. I also liked the Roche Posse Hyaluronic Acid, but admittedly it was much more expensive than this one. I don’t feel any noticeable difference between the two when it comes to my skins texture and hydration after use, though this one does have a warmer, less clinical smell to it.

Eva Blakeman – Favourite Skin Care

Microneedling – Too Painful or Awesome?

Microneedling is the use of many micro needles puncturing the skin in order to stimulate the skins production of collagen as well as a method used to help other products to penetrate the skin. I am not a doctor, so this should not be taken as medical advice.

This is often done as a cosmetic treatment, but home rollers are available and that’s what I’m going to focus on. I purchased one in the hopes that I would help my acne scarring and the fine lines that are stubbornly creeping onto my face as well as to help me with preventative skin care in regards to anti ageing.

There are safety issues when using these at home as well as a risk of bacterial infection and damaging the skin. All information I could find before I started using my micro needle roller stated that the needles should be boiled once removed from the wrapping, then submerged in isopropyl alcohol for 15 minutes before every use. You should wash your face with a cleanser and then wipe the face with isopropyl alcohol before starting with the roller. This is all in the interest of not getting an infection or pushing bacteria into your skin and should be taken seriously. Needles should be replaced as per the manufacturers instruction, which is generally after three months of twice a week treatment.

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The way I have been using my micro needle roller has been to push hyaluronic acid deeper into the skin after treatment in order to help plump up my skin and hydrate it while also diminishing acne scarring. After rolling I apply a hyaluronic acid to my face with clean hands or cotton pads and I do not let anything touch my face at all until I go to bed.

Dermatologists that I’ve read from state that no chemical peel agents, vitamin c or retinol should be used directly after micro needling and no cosmetics, sunscreens or other face products should be applied for at least 24 hours after needling while the skin is recovering from all the tiny holes you punched in.

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It is also recommended to stay out of direct sunlight after needling (though staying out of the sun is just good advice in general for keeping skin looking young and avoiding sun damage).

Okay so let’s talk about the actual experience of microneedling. Is it very painful? No. I have medium thick skin which doesn’t seem to hurt as much as it feels like tiny pricks. I would say tweezing a single eyebrow hair hurts more than micro needling the entire face. I hear people with thinner skin, especially on the forehead, that reducing pressure is needed. Are there bacterial issues doing it at home? Yes. Keeping everything sterile is very important and choosing a needle that is made of top quality metals is important. Cleaning the whole tool is also important. While the needles are what puncture the skin, ensuring the whole tool is clean will reduce bacterial transfer. Is it safe to use on the eyes? No! Do not use micro needles around the eyes. The skin there is not going to like it and you could cause immense damage to the eyes. Have I seen improvement in my skin? Yes I have. I won’t say the needling is the only cause of improved skin as I have increased my daily water consumption and cleaned up my diet in the last couple months as well. I have seen some of my scarring start to fade out, but I’ve only been using it for a month. At the end of three months I think I will write again about the improvement and issues I have had, and will tell you if I will continue using this method of skin care.

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I should also say that they are dangerous to children and pets and should be kept in their cases, out of reach.

The cost of a roller for me was $18.00 CAD for a 0.3mm needle. It is recommended that beginners start with shorter needles, and that home use does not exceed 0.5mm. I should also point out, if you are bleeding from micro needling, you are pressing too hard! You should not be bleeding from a home treatment. Sometimes you will bleed from professional treatments as they use deeper needles, but they are also trained professionals who know how to deal with this.

Overall, Ive been enjoying the use of this skin care device and I will continue using it for now to help my skin reach it’s full potential. Having had bad acne for many years, discolouration and uneven skin tone, I am happy to have found something that has been helping me take control of my face again.

Understanding Skin Care

Understanding the ingredients in your skin care can help you take care of your skin better!

With thousands of years of history and endless products on the current market, skin care can be a confusing thing to understand. Ingredients, products types and tools can blend together and the true purpose of them can be lost. Let’s unravel it all and talk about skin care simply.

Information below should not be taken as medical advice. Please see a doctor before using medicated products.

Photo by Nika Akin on Pexels.com

Retinoids

Retinoids increase the level of collagen produced in the skin and increases the production of new blood vessels. Collagen reduces fine lines and wrinkles in the skin whereas new blood vessels means more blood, oxygen and nutrients traveling to the face.

Hyaluronic acid

This nearly clear substance is naturally created in the body, mainly found in connective tissue and in the eyes. It retains water and increases lubrication, increasing moisture when applied to the skin.

Salicylic acid

This acid is commonly used as antiseptic, anti bacterial and as a food preservative. Due to its ability to kill bacteria and germs it is commonly used to treat acne. It is capable of penetrating and breaking down fats and lipids, allowing it to penetrate into pores to kill the bacteria within them.

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Benzol peroxide

Similar to Salicylic acid, this medication works by killing bacteria. This product does deactivate most retinoids so be aware of which products you are working with to keep them efficient. It may cause drying and peeling of the skin. It is important to wear sunscreen after using this product.

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Glycolic acid

This acid works in the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the lipids that hold dead skin cells together. This allows for “chemical exfoliation”.

Nicotinamide

Another acne treatment that works by reducing the sebum secreted in areas where it is applied over a long term period. It is also an anti-inflammatory, which is why it is also used in treating inflammatory skin condition.


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Lactic acid

Lactic acid can break apart normally unbreakable lactates. This means it can make water soluble things that are usually not. It is also used as a disinfectant in cosmetics.

Zinc Oxide

This white powder has the ability to absorb both UVA and UVB ultraviolet radiation. It is commonly used in sunscreens and in some SPF foundations to protect the skin from sun damage.

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Jojoba Oil

Derived from the jojoba seed, this oil is used in cosmetic and hair products to increase the moisturizing effects of the product. It is an indigestible oil and is most commonly found in products labeled “all natural”.

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Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is commonly used to treat acne, scent, dandruff, lice, insect bites, fungal infections and bacterial infections. Effectiveness has not been definitively proven. It is poisonous if ingested and considered unsafe for use on children.

Alpha hydroxy acids

AHAs and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) are ingredients commonly found in chemical peels that allow the skin cells to break apart and allows the newer skin cells below to be at the surface.

Astringent

Astringents are the strongest form of toner, usually containing a high level of alcohol, used as an antiseptic to the skin. They can remove lipids from the skin, but can also be very irritating to the skin. For less irritating astringents, look for alcohol free ones.


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Toners

Toners are designed to remove lipids from the skin while also keeping the skin moist with humectants like glycerine. Some toners like acid toners are designed to create micro tears in the skin to permit exfoliation. Skin tonics are another type which are designed to hydrate skin.

Microneedling

Commonly done at home with derma rollers, micro needling is used for collagen induction therapy. This means that using these needles can force the skin to produce collagen. Due to its piercing of the skin, it also allows other products and medications to penetrate the skin.

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Face rollers

They commonly come in jade, quartz and metal. When cooled before use they can soothe your skin, reducing puffiness and tighten pores. General use benefits include improving blood flow to the face, lymphatic drainage and it can help distribute skin care products.

Dermaplaning

Through use of medical grade blades, the top layer of the skin is removed in a physical exfoliation. It also removes hair on the face. It is said to reduce fine wrinkles and acne scarring. It is highly recommended to have the cosmetic procedure to be performed by a certified dermatologist.

I was very excited to write this post. Being someone who wants to be preventative through skin care in regards to aging, I dug deep into researching to formulate a skin care routine that would benefit my skin the most. I think the age old advice holds true though. Wash your face twice a day, wear sunscreen daily and never go to bed with make up on your face.

I would be very happy to make another more specialized list on cosmetic procedures, tools or products if you want it! Let me know in the comments or like the post to let me know you want more.

The reason I wrote this is due to my interest in preventative skin care in regards to acne, aging and sun damage. Not everyone is interested in these topics, but to me they seem rather important. Looking at my family on both sides I have seen both very graceful aging and less so graceful aging and the difference has been skin care and commitment to protection from sun damage. I do not want to age quickly, nor do I want to have acne scarring for my lifetime, so looking into and committing to preventative skin care is a part of my daily life.

How To Grow Out Your Nails

This is based on what worked for me. This information should not be taken as medical advice and if you are noticing issues with your nails, please seek medical advice from your doctor.

I am the kind of person who’s nails are always short, broken and plagued with hangnails, but that has recently changed for me. I believe this massive improvement comes in combination of a lot of changes I’ve made. That all being said, my nail painting skills have not increased much yet, but I imagine over time they will.

Eva Blakeman – White Nails

The first part is nutrition. Yes I know this is the most common advice available when it comes to skin and nail care, but there is a reason for that. Reducing and eliminating junk foods and massively increasing my water intake has done wonders for my nails ( and my skin! ). In short, I gained some weight during this period of self isolation and I had to make some changes to my diet which has led to positive changes in my health and my appearance.

Eva Blakeman – Base Coat

The second part is consistent nail care. I do not buff my nails and I avoid cutting them. I much prefer file my nails every second day or so to stop them from reaching a breaking length. I do get acrylics every Christmas and every year I regret it because they file the nail so thin that it takes weeks after removal to have strong nails again. I keep my nails painted with a base coat to protect them and often add some colour for fun. My favourite base coat is shown above. It’s the Sally Hansen Strengthening Base Coat and it is my current favourite. I’ve used the Essie base coats and the Revlon ones but this one has been taking good care of my nails.


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I avoid soaking my nails in water as it makes them soft and they tear very easily when they have soaked in water. To avoid this I keep my hands dry as much as I can while taking a bath, dry my hands thoroughly after washing and while doing the dishes I use a scrubber to keep my hands out of the water. It is not always possible to keep my nails dry, which is why painting over the tip of the nail with the base coat is very important to me, as it increases the time before my nails saturate with water.

Eva Blakeman – Cuticle Oil

I stopped cutting my cuticles. This has changed my fingers so much. I use an orange stick and the Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil ( as seen above ) and it has changed my fingers from tender, rough and a little bloody to smooth and strong. I chose the Essie oil because it was inexpensive but if you know of any other great nail or cuticle oils, please let me know in the comments!

I file broken nails. As much as they have improved, I do sometimes still break a corner which leaves that sharp broken edge that drives me insane. To avoid me biting the nail off, I file down the broken area until it is smooth and re-paint the nail. This alone has saved my nails more than anything else. It does require keeping a nail file in your purse, but it is much better than me ripping my angry nail off.

I am very happy to have “pretty” nails for the first time in my life and hope to keep them healthy for a long time. I do keep my nails fairly short to avoid breakage as I am not always the most careful individual, but they are actually longer than they have ever been before.

As always, if you have tips or tricks you want to share, please do so in the comments!

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Eva Blakeman – Grow Out Your Nails

Great Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar

Oh apple cider vinegar, (ACV) a underused product that packs a good punch of flavour and power. For such an inexpensive item you would think we would be using it for everything, and well we almost can. I’ve put together a list of uses for it that are practical. If you have more uses for it, please share them in the comments.

Zest Up Your Meals

This tangy vinegar goes well into your tomato sauces, while cooking your chicken, to make some lovely vinaigrettes and even in light soups. As with all new flavours add gradually until you reach bliss with this raw flavour. A very popular use for ACV is as a marinade for steaks. Let it be said that if you have some very gamey meats try marinating them in ACV with onion, garlic, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. 

Keep Your Pets Fly Free

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Well fly free is a lot to promise, but when livestock ingest ACV they don’t get harassed so badly by flies, horse flies and wasps. Others say spraying a diluted vinegar on your house pets will reduce the chances of fleas. Both of these effects are caused by the scent and acidity of the vinegar that creates a less than hospitable place for bugs, making them much more likely to leave your pets alone. 

Kill Weeds Without Killing Your Lawn

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No one likes weeds, but getting dead patched on your lawn for years after using harsh products is quite the eyesore. Try mixing apple cider vinegar and soap to kill those pesky weeds. Spray as close to the weeds as possible. Repeat as necessary.

Cleaning Your Home

My mother swore by being able to clean anything with baking soda and ACV, as they react together to remove the strongest stains with a light abrasive. From your porcelains in the restroom, to your counters, floors and walls this is a great way to give a deep clean. And as an added bonus this cleaner won’t hurt your pets or kids if they decide to lick the floor. 


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Clean Your Humidifier

Another one I watched my mother do countless times. Soak your humidifier in ACV to remove scale and clean your filters. A little scrubbing may be required and remember to rinse thoroughly with water or your room will smell strongly of ACV. 

Get Your Feet Ready For Summer

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ACV has two great uses for your feet, and you can do both of them at the same time! Soak your feet in ACV for 15- 25 minutes for 5 – 10 days to kill toenail fungus, and soak your feet in ACV in ACV and Listerine for 15 – 25 minutes for the dry skin on your feet to easily slide off with a pumice stone. 

Ear Aches

A couple drops of ACV can do wonders if your ear is killing you. Other remedies include hydrogen peroxide if you feel like there is an infection, followed by warm baby oil. If infection is present the hydrogen peroxide will bubble and itch the inside of your ear. Empty and refill your ear until bubbling stops, rinse your ear out then put warm baby oil in your ear. If doing this to your child, hold their head still to ensure they don’t turn and get peroxide in their eye. Once the oil is in the ear, a cotton ball can be used to keep the oil in the canal for half an hour.

Cleaning Your Kettle

Boiling a 40:60 mix of ACV to water for a few minutes will break all the calcified gunk that gathers in your kettle. Rinse it out throughly before using it again and you are good to go.

Rinsing Out Product Build Up In Your Hair

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Using a 50:50 mix of water and apple cider vinegar in your hair will help remove build up of products, oils and dirt. Let is sit on your scalp for a few minutes then rinse out. For the most effective way to do this, you can keep your scalp submerged in this mix while gently rubbing your scalp.

As A Marinade

Anyone who smokes their meat knows about injecting fluids, and most often apple cider vinegar is used. For beef you can’t do better than the sweet and sour flavours that seep into the meat as it marinated in apple cider vinegar. I would recommend adding some garlic to it as well for a truly delightful steak.

Eva Blakeman – Great Uses For ACV

Hope you enjoyed, and if you have more uses for Apple Cider Vinegar please put them in the comments down below.

Products I Wouldn’t Recommend

As you might know, I tend to try out new products and a lot of the time I find great cosmetics and skin care. Unfortunately there has also been a fair amount of products that didn’t turn out so great, so I thought I would save you the trouble (and the money) and list out some products I’ve tried that just didn’t live up to their potential.

For reference, I have combination skin so these comments are based on performance on uneven skin with acne, dry zones and oily areas.

Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation.

This product just did not want to do its job. It was not long wearing though it claimed to be 24HR wear. It flaked off quickly, sunk into my skin (no matter what primer I used) and made my skin itch like you wouldn’t believe.

Rimmel Stay Satin Liquid Lip

This lipstick was streaky, smelled like crayons and smeared like you wouldn’t believe.

Tarte Amazon Clay Blush

If you like a very discrete blush this might work for you, but getting out of the pan is not easy or fun. I needed to push the hairs on my brushes into the pan with my fingers to pick up any pigment. Perhaps I just had an over-pressed pan, but from what I’ve seen when I looked at other shades in Sephora, they all seem to be like this.

NYX Total Control Foundation

This product does have its use as a lightening agent to add to other foundations, but on its own it just doesn’t have any coverage. Now it is supposed to be buildable, but after a couple layers it just looks incredibly cakey and doesn’t sit well on the skin. I’ve used it as a contouring liquid under my eyes with some success but would not recommend it for anyone who wants coverage from their products.

La Senza Metallic Lips

This product comes with a very low price tag which does explain why the formula isn’t on point. It’s incredibly thick, sticky and smears in seconds. Good luck keeping it off your teeth. It does have a nice scent but with its almost slimy texture it just isn’t a good product.

MDM Flow Liquid Lipstick

While the colour, applicator and general formula feel great, the product dries down too much, leading it to flake off within 20-30 minutes. It suffers from the same issue the Colour Pop lipsticks do.


While there is a lot of great out there, some products just don’t make the cut. There are about 20 other products I wanted to add to this list, but in the interest of not being too nit picky I reserved only the worst offenders for todays list.

If you have some products you have had issues with, please share them in the comments to help keep everyone informed!

EVA BLAKEMAN – NO BUY LIST – MAKE UP