Striking Oil – My 5 Top Oils for Hair, Skin and Nails

As a teen with oily skin, you learn to fear the oil. I invested in a lot of products meant to soak up, blot, dry out and suck the oil out of my skin. As an adult, I’ve learned to not be afraid to embrace the idea that oil is not all bad. In fact, it’s probably my skin’s shiny nature that has kept me from having more fine lines at 40 plus. My toddler is trying to accelerate things to catch my face up with my age, but I’m fighting back and learning to keep my skin, hair and nails soft and healthy with oil based beauty products.

oils-for-skin-and-hair

I was always into beauty product DIY when I was younger, so Olive Oil was my first exposure to using oils for hair and skin since it was always around and my mom didn’t mind me using it. It was easy to heat up a little olive oil with a few drops of essential oil and make myself a hair treatment at least once a month. I still occasionally try and fit in a homemade hot oil treatment, and I always massage a little into my cuticles when I’m cooking. And if I use to much then I rub the extra on my knees and elbows. Olive oil is pretty good head-to-toe, inside and out!

deep cleansing oilSince I was already familiar with the benefits of olive oil, DHC , a Japanese skincare company, caught my eye years ago with their olive oil based products. I fell in love with their Deep Cleansing Oil, and been using it now for about 15 years! It was the only thing I found that could take off all my heavy duty cosplay make-up, false lashes and mascara and gobs of liquid eyeliner, and leave my skin clean without scrubbing it three times. I also love that their catalog comes with free samples every time!

My next favorite oil is Jamberry’s Cuticle Oil. While I do really like this one, to be honest, I used to always use Delore Nails cuticle oil and was out of it when I hopped on the Jamberry train and tried out a bunch of wraps and got the starter kit. So I started using the cuticle oil like the Delore Nails and found I liked it better than I ended up liking the wraps. I peel those things off in less than 24 hours. So I have yet to run into a cuticle oil I haven’t liked. I have some serious cuticle issues.

jamberry

A new favorite was recommended to me at Cortello Salon, where I recently went to get my summer blond back. To protect those pretty highlights from the sun and smooth my color treated hair, they rubbed in a few drops of their ReForm 4U Hair Oil before blow drying and styling. reform hair oilI took a bottle home and use a few drops when I get out of the shower, and then a few more if I am heat styling. On top of being free from all kinds of harmful chemicals, vegan, not tested on animals and made in the USA, it also smells beautiful. I’m very sensitive to scented products and I think this smells clean and fresh, but not in an overpowering way.

And now for my last and most recent oil, a facial oil by Beauty Counter called the #1 Brightening Facial Oil. It’s a blend of seven natural oils with a fresh citrus scent and it soaks right in leaving my skin nice and soft. You can use it alone, or add a few drops to mix with your usual nighttime moisturizer for an added boost. I really like the way this stuff leaves my skin feeling- soft but with no greasiness like you might think would come from an oil.

BC_No1BrighteningFacialOil-SKU1041_Alt01In fact, overall I think that’s the message here: oils do not have to be “oily.” A good facial oil doesn’t leave you slick and gooey and a good hair oil doesn’t make it look like you need to wash your hair. Beauty oils are made to soak in and are amazing moisturizers. So don’t be afraid to try an oil, even if you feel you are producing plenty on your own!

Do you have a favorite oil to recommend? Let me know!

* Post contains Amazon Affiliate links *

Gift Crushes for Mother’s Day – or Just Treat Yo Self!

Mother’s Day is coming up fast! Maybe you’re trying to figure out something really good to ask for, or what to get your own mom this year besides the usual flower bouquet. Babbleboxx has assembled an impressive collection of gifts sure to please any mom on Mother’s Day. (or really, any woman, any day!) Read on for product details and special discount codes from Sandisk, Dermaflash, Maidenform, Bellame Skincare, Davina by Vince Camuto and Edible Arrangements.

mothers day gift ideas

1) First up is the iXpand Flash Drive from Sandisk
I think I took about 50 photos a day after my son was born. Photos of EVERYTHING! I would burn through my phone’s memory and have to find time to download them all the computer. The iXpand Flash Drive for iPhones makes it super easy to save all your photos and back everything up! The little device plugs right into your phone and works with an app to quickly free up your phone space so you can take even more photos and videos. And if you don’t have an iPhone, there’s also the Ultra Dual Drive m3.0 for Android users so every mom is covered!

2) When mom’s skin needs a little pampering, look no further than the Dermaflash 2.0, which is a unique tool for an exfoliation process called dermaplaning. It removes the top layer of dead skin cells and peach fuzz, leaving a smooth prepped surface that lets skincare products absorb more easily and make-up glide on smoothly. My skin felt super smooth after just one use!

Click here to shop the Dermaflash website and use code MOTHERSDAY to save 20% on your purchase!

3) After mom gets done dermaplaning, she’ll need to pamper her skin with some luxurious skincare products and Bellame Skincare has just the thing – the Acqua Lumiere Hydrating Cleanser and Hydrating Serum. The ultra-luxe European style cream cleanser is known as the “dream cleanser” because it packs a powerful punch from a high-powered hyaluronic acid to lift away impurities and omega-rich oils to nourish and hydrate. It’s so luxurious it even doubles as a moisturizing mask! Bellame also has the softest bamboo washcloths great for massaging the cleanser into skin and wiping away all make-up and impurities lifted by the cleanser. Right now you can receive a FREE set of six luxurious washcloths with the purchase of the Acqua Lumiere Collection on Bellame.com.

After cleansing, follow-up with the Acqua Lumiere Hydrating Serum, a liquid anti-aging powerhouse that delivers a highly concentrated dose of mineral anti-oxidants, collagen, omega-rich oil and Vitamin C to boost firmness, block inflammation and repair sun damage while targeting fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration. The very definition of “good things in small packages!”

4) Next up is something way better than flowers – a gift basket from Edible Arrangements! I absolutely LOVE getting these. I don’t know how they do it, but their fruit tastes better than anything I get at the grocery store, and not just because some of it is drenched in chocolate. It’s all so ripe and perfect – this fruit basket actually made me like melon! So not only is it delicious, but it’s good for you too. Our whole family has been eating fruit all week.

The fruit arrangement shown here is the Mother’s Day Swizzle Bouquet and it makes an impressive gift! Packed full of fruit, including melons, grapes, cantaloupe and chocolate covered strawberries and topped with a special Mother’s Day Gourmet Belgian Chocolate Pop. This is all sorts of YUM! Use code BESTMOM for 15% off $65+ purchases until 5/11. And if you wait until the last minute – no worries! They can deliver treats the same day!

5) Now that mom has transferred her photos, taken care of her skin and has a belly full of chocolate dipped strawberries, she’s ready to lounge around in her new Maidenform Loungewear Cami and Tap Pant Set. The cute and comfy microfiber and lace set is soft and easy to wear with an elastic waist and adjustable cami straps. The collection also comes in five different versatile options and is currently on sale!

6) And finally top it all off with a spritz of Divina by Vince Camuto. A summer scent that evokes a bright cheerful day with lots of floral notes. This long lasting fragrance is a blend of grapefruit, mimosa blossom and musk but had me thinking of gardenias in full bloom.

Hope you all have a very happy Mother’s Day!

What are you hoping to get this year?

* Post sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com  * SanDisk provided by Western Digital*

My Busy Mom Make-up Routine

Since I’ve become a perpetually tired frazzled mom, my morning makeup routine usually consists of wiping my face with a cold rag and slapping on some moisturizer. It’s the kind of look that needs a good Snapchat filter to make it presentable. But since I’ve started doing beauty product reviews, I’ve had a reason to put in a little extra effort while testing out products, and I really enjoy it. Looking better makes me feel better. I smile more. I say hi to people. I leave the house.

So since putting a little effort into my appearance actually improves my life, but it’s still a very busy life, I’ve managed to whittle it down to a routine that takes less than 10 minutes. I use primer, cover-up, mascara, brow pencil, lip gloss and powder.

Before and After make-up

Here’s what I do:

1. I start with the BECCA Anti-Fatigue Under Eye Primer primer because it does half the becca under eye primerjob for me in one little swipe. I got this as a free sample and now I’m hooked. Sometimes if I’m really in a hurry, I just slap this on under my eyes and go. At $32, it’s a little pricier than my usual make-up, but it makes me look better in five seconds so it’s worth it.

2. I use a super tiny bit of medium coverage make-up under my eyes, on my eye lids and over any spots on my face. I have a scar and some hyper pigmentation from the sun I like to cover.

3. I do a quick little brow fill in with a pencil because mine are skinny and light. You can totally skip this if you already have good brows.

4. Mascara! I feel like mascara really makes a big difference and makes me look more awake. Right now I’m using MAC Zoom Lash in black, but I just checked an it seems they are doing away with this so it’s time for me to find a new mascara.

5. I’m really shiny so I like to put a little BECCA Setting Powder on my shiny spots. Any kind of anti-shine powder will work.

6. Swipe on some tinted gloss and I’m ready to go!

Full disclosure- I brushed my hair too.

I’ve actually kept up with it the past few weeks. I can’t say I do it every single day, but at least 5 our of 7 days now I don’t look like a hot mess. If I’m in a super hurry, I have a two-minute routine that just consists of the primer, mascara and a little dusting of powder.

And then if I have a good two hours and a lot more products, I can do this:

Candy Keane pin-up Marilyn Monroe

*I dressed up the other night to volunteer at a cancer benefit with a Rockabilly Prom theme, so I decided to go all Marilyn for the evening.

My husband, the guinea pig

When Baldwin Men Care contacted me about doing a review for their Mens Nourishing Cream, I replied back that I wasn’t a man but I happen to have one that I’d happily subject to their product testing. They don’t test on animals, but willing husbands are free game!

I should note that my husband is a fan of fancy face cream. If he runs out then he dips into mine. So I knew he’d be into trying it, I just wasn’t sure how he’d be at giving me an in-depth review. He gave the anti-aging face cream a try, which is made with Dead Sea minerals, argan oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E, African shea oil and dunaliella extract.

I had our son model the manly face cream since I kept forgetting to get my husband to do it. He wore a hat and tie for the occasion:

So this is how it went the first night he tried it:

Me: How does it feel?

Hubs: Greasy

Me: Greasy? Like it didn’t soak in? or slimy?

Hubs: I think I used too much. It’s very fragrant. (he starts moving toward the bed and is still a good 12 feet away)

Me: I can smell you from here!!

Hubs continues to get into bed.

Me: (hiding under covers) I can still smell you! You need to try it again in the morning.

Hubs: But it says it’s for nighttime use!

The next day he left for a business trip and took his cream with him. He used it every night and continues to use it now. He said it just takes a little and it isn’t greasy. He did, in fact, use too much the first time. Getting a descriptive review out of him was not all that easy but he did say he liked it, his skin feels good, and he actually likes the smell. I’m very sensitive to smells so I still tell him to use it at least an hour before bed. The smell is one of those strong “manly aquatic” smells. It’s nice in small doses.

So the final test results are: Mens Nourishing Cream is good cream with a powerful manly cologne smell. It just takes a little, which means it will last a while. And you get to go to bed with a good smelling man with soft skin, so it’s a win-win all around. You can purchase it on Dead Sea Minerals Cosmetics and use code GeekMamas for 15% Off.

Like FREE Stuff? Enter to win a skincare combo worth $90!

Baldwin_combo_compactLike Baldwin Men Care on Facebook, Like this post and comment for a chance to win the Baldwin Men Combo:
Moisturizing Lotion
Nourishing Cream
Bath and Body Shower Gel
Shampoo

*Winner chosen at random, contacted by e-mail and prize is shipped directly from sponsor, US entries only please
PS – this post contains Amazon affiliate links so I could possibly make a few pennies if you purchase something.

***

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My Blond Ambition

img_5468My first VoxBox arrived from Influenster and I was pretty excited to get to try out the Schwarzkopf Professional BLONDME tone enhancing shampoo and conditioner mask for free. This is a combo product review and regular blog post, because I actually already had this “Blond Ambition” post in my drafts just waiting to be finished so I figured, why not combine them?

I’m usually excited to try anything for free, but currently my blond needs some help so this was just what I needed. Since I went SAHM, I have not gotten within 20 feet of a salon and only then because I was driving past it.

I’m just going to confess right now and tell you all I was not born blond. In fact, I was so un-blond that I had a full head of nearly black hair. I’ve always felt this was a terrible mistake. Like, maybe somebody switched my hair follicles at birth. My hair continues to disappoint me by growing out of my head several shades darker than I desire, so of course I turned to the bottle at an early age. The bottle of Sun-In, of course.

As soon as I discovered this “natural” way of going blond I soaked my hair daily and fried myself in the sun all summer. I was rewarded with a brittle mess of very brassy blond strands and got to tell everyone honestly, “the sun did this.”

I later moved on to the salon, and spent my son’s last day of daycare at the salon getting highlights, lowlights and all the lights in between because I knew it would be the last time I saw the salon for a looooooong time. Stay-at-home-moms do not get the luxury of 4 hour salon visits.

So now I am tackling these dark roots with some fancy Miss Clairol from Sally’s Beauty Supply. And I’ve been wanting to go a little darker blond so of course that translates into “orange.” So back to my free sample stuff. I liked it! But, I am a fan of the purple shampoo products in general. I felt like the products toned down the brassiness and darkened the blond a little, while making the lighter blonds stand out a little more. I probably would have been super impressed if I’d never tried a purple toning product before. But I was very happy with the results. And the hair mask was conditioning enough that I didn’t have to follow-up with my favorite conditioner. I have curly wavy weird hair that just turns into dreads if I don’t use a good conditioner. I think every blond needs some kind of toning shampoo/conditioner to brighten things up every now and then and these products did a nice job. They are a bit on the pricey side for me right now as this SAHM gig doesn’t pay well, so I wouldn’t use them as my every day product but more like a weekly blond refresher.

And one day, after pre-school starts, I’ll get to visit a salon again. I’m hoping they can give me the most perfect blond I’ve ever seen…the color growing out of my son’s head (I produced a true blond so I think that grandfathers me in, right? Lol)