Retin-A Update

Holy crap it’s been awhile since I last blogged! I had to reread some of my older posts to remind myself what kind of head space I was in and of my blogging style. Needless to say, it’s been a long time. In order not to bore anyone I’ll keep what I was doing over the last couple of months for another blog post. Here, I’ll focus on what my skin has been doing since I started Retin-A back in December.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in depth in my December post, but I went through some pretty bad purging and dryness. It was never too terrible but there were times where my skin was noticeable dry and flaky and I looked like a dehydrated hot mess. It was pretty obvious I was using a Vitamin A cream starting the second month when along with the dryness, I got quite a few bright and shiny red zits to prove it. Yes, it’s fair to say that I never broke out that badly in my life (besides when I was on hormonal birth control) and I still have some of the scars on my skin from the ordeal. But while slightly traumatizing (I mean come on as traumatizing as silly skin issues paired with OCD can be) it was necessary. My pores were still super clogged from the months spent with my IUD and my skin had loads of hyper-pigmentation to go along with that. Still, I don’t want to give an inaccurate idea of my skin. It was actually always only ‘moderately’ bad/ breaking out. Never anything cystic and my whole face was never covered. I was just a freak about it and wanted baby bottom smooth skin. Every imperfection grated on me and made me an anxious mess about stepping out of the house.

The months of purging and peeling didn’t help my situation. More angry red spots that I couldn’t even cover because my skin was so dry that the makeup I put on top of it made it look worse. Eventually, I had to switch all of my skin care up,going to a new ELTA MD UV Clear  46 Sunscreen, CeraVE Skin Renewing  Night Cream (a fucking life saver), and the Glossier Skin Tint (which has how been recently reformulated to have oil in it which seriously sucks crap but I have two pre-reformulation bottles as backup). This transition, especially with the moisturizer, helped my skin finally get some much needed hydration back all around the same time my skin was actually stopping purging and started resembling the silky smooth skin of my dreams. Oh yah, and my oil came back as soon as summer hit too.

Was it worth it? Was the fourth time I started Retin-A finally the time I was going to stick through it? Yep. It was. And I completely owe my current complexion to my patience (a big factor here), my skin care routine, and the wonderful collagen inducing rebuilding factors of Vitamin A.

Now is my skin perfect? No. It’s not. It still has hyperpigmention. Some areas are still a tiny bit dry sometimes. I have a small spot every now and again that for the most part goes away quickly within a few days. Occasionally (like once or twice since March) I’ll get something a little less small that’s a pain in the ass but Retin-A still takes care of that rather quickly. I’ve been told this is because the medication I’m on can cause breakouts, but I need my medicine and my skin is silky smooth, I wear very little makeup, and strangers now (repeat now… I never got this before in my life) say my skin looks fantastic. That’s of course, on it’s good days.

You might be wondering why I took the time to write yet another skin care journey post, the skeletons of which fill up internet chats and blog sites like ship wrecks surrounding a sand bar, but I promise I have a point. What I wanted to say here, is that it was worth it. This is coming from a woman who hates flaws so intensely that she would rather not leave the house than be seen without concealer, a woman who used to majorly pick at her skin and told her boyfriend at the time that they couldn’t Skype for her first months on Retin-A because she didn’t want to look ugly. As it turned out, no matter how much I wanted to quit during those early stages, the result was worth the infinitesimal struggle and the journey from December to March wasn’t all that painful. Yes, I still skyped my boyfriend. Yes I still went on dates and met new people. Yah, I even still looked pretty. And the end result of a couple months of discomfort was the beautiful skin I was promised. For my moderate acne and oily prone skin, it was the exact skin solution I needed.

Now here are some before and after pictures. Unfortunately, most of my footage is photo that I can’t upload here but I did get one picture of the side of my face that broke out. Keep in mind that is was after the major redness had gone down. The second picture is of me today. 🙂

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Having Fun With Makeup

A few months ago I blogged about being frustrated with makeup. Now I’m still on a skincare “journey” trying to get my skin to the point that I’m comfortable without concealer or BB Cream/ tinted moisturizer, but I’m learning to at least like makeup again. How? I’ve been making it a point to use fun products that I wouldn’t normally have gone for so I can continue to have that adventurous and artistic relationship with makeup that I used to have. Below I’ll talk about some of the products that really helped me step out of my comfort zone.

First: My Make Beauty Face Gloss. It’s an excellent wet looking highlight that also hydrates the skin and locks in moisture. It’s also a great eye gloss (which is a look I love) and great for wearing over shadows, or my favorite way, over my bare eyelids for a natural look. I love this product and it’s make better and has less ingredients than the YSL one I almost purchased. This makes me really want to check out Make Beauty more and try a lot of the inventive things they have to offer.

Next: Everything Colourpop. For me Colourpop is that brand that I buy things from when I’m unsure if I’ll like a certain look because the products are so inexpensive, creative, and numerous that I feel like I can experiment a little bit without being completely let down if something doesn’t work how I want it to (but who am I kidding, I’m always a bit crushed if something doesn’t work out right). For me my biggest experiment (besides Anastasia’s Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette for the reds, which I hesitate to mention because now this is a comfort palette for me) was the Yes, Please! palette from Colourpop. It was the first palette Colourpop launched and I stayed away from it thinking these weren’t my colors for the longest time. I mean they’re are only three browns and one of them is the color of red clay. Plus they’re are three yellows (one matte, one light gold, and one marigold) and a whole bunch of oranges and reds paired with some peachy tones. It wasn’t a color scheme I was at all comfortable with. I didn’t know how I would make this palette wearable on an everyday basis (but I did come out with a cute, naturalish everyday eye look). I just bought it because I saw that it won a whole bunch of awards and I wanted something to spice up my life. And boy, did it. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my eye looks with these super warm tone shadows. The marigold and matte yellow shade are surprising hits for me and I finally found the perfect all over skin tone matching shade with ColourPop’s Full Zip (seriously my eyelids aren’t pink or anything but this shade works for that purpose). I’m in love. And I’m definitely taking this palette with me on a trip to Canada I’m going on.

Some other ColourPop shadows that really worked for me was The Ying to my Yang shadow set. These aren’t my colors in a whole different way. Once again, there are no browns, there is a matte black which isn’t something I work with a lot (matte dark browns are my jam for my outer v), there’s a sparkly white, a duochrome red/ green, and two hypermetallic shades called Snake Eyes and my personal favorite, Glass Bull (seriously one of those eye shadows that just transforms a look). I’m also taking this set on me to my trip to Canada. They’re just so cool toned, metallic, mauvey, and smoky and defintely a look. Thankfully, it’s a look that really actually worked on me and it’s a statement I like. It’ll be nice to wear these on a night out with some winged eye liner.

Other Shadows include Colourpop’s Poodle is just a beautiful pink that I like to pair with one of my other experiment: Huda Beauty’s mini  Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Mauves. Seriously beautiful shimmers that just won’t quit in this palette along with some beautiful red, brown, cherry colaesque shades that make my day. I recieved a lot of compliments when I was wearing this palette as well. Customers and coworkers actually stopped me to tell me how beautiful my eye look was both times I wore this so I can really appeircate this palette and the sense of adventure it brought out in me because I wasn’t exactly into wearing pink eyeshadows all the time either before this. Nor did I know how good they would look with my blue eyes.

My last makeup experiment has perhaps been my easiest and most complimentary yet: mixing cream blush colors to create a perfect concoction. Lately my go to blush has been a dab of Glossier’s Puff mixed with another dab of Glossier’s Beam. The result? A beautiful peachy pink that looks great on my skin tone (my friend even commented that my face was looking nice because it had some color to it) and isn’t too warm or too cool. I’m in love.

My next experiment is going to come in the form of the trying the Fudge gloss (a beautiful red brown color) from Anastasia Beverly Hills. I saw this on someone at Sephora and I immediately fell in love. I just have to wait until next month to purchase it because my New Year’s Resolution was to only purchase one cosmetic product a month.

What are some ways you’ve been experimenting with makeup recently? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

New Updated Skincare Routine for Oily, Acne Prone Skin

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: you could fry an egg with the amount of oil my face produces. This means my skin does unpleasant things like shine, break down makeup, get congested, and just generally have large pores. The good side of this is that my face shines (yah for that oily glow), I look about four years younger and will continue to look younger because of my skin type (something I try to remember every time my skin breaks out), my skin is soft, and it isn’t dry. The few times I’ve over treated my skin and had to deal with dry skin made me thank the gods that I don’t have dry skin because I don’t know how people who have dry skin can deal with it. Putting makeup on when you have dry patches is incredibly hard and I salute everyone who does it.

Now all that being said, I semi-regularly visit dermatologists to deal with some of the problems my skin has (mostly the congested skin) and I changed my skin care on a dermatologist recommendation this past week and I’m hoping to see a big difference in a few weeks or so. Let’s get into it.

Morning: Just to be clear, not all of this was dermatologist recommended. Some of it is just my added products. But first I wash my face with a CeraVe Cleanser (switching between the foaming and hydrating, but my derm said I should really use the foaming). Next I use my jade face roller from Mount Lai to give myself a quick facial massage and just generally liven up my face (it even has a small side for getting underneath my eyes). Then I put on a topical antibiotic Clindamycin Phosphate Topical Lotion, followed by my Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum when I have the time (this really has been helping my face not scar), The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution and EGCG Serum for my puffy undereyes, my Drunk Elephant B-Hydra moisturizer and my Elta MD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 sunscreen. After all of that I take a Minocyclin antibotic pill when I have food in my stomach.  That’s it for my morning skincare :). My doctor also recommended that I pick up a Salicylic face wash to use on the mornings I didn’t use the Retin-A creme the night before but I’ll see how my skin handles the increase in Vitamin A first.

Nights: Here is where the magic is going to happen. First off, a couple hours after dinner I take another Minocyclin pill. Then I get the makeup off my face with Bioderma Micelluar Water, wash my face with that same CeraVe Cleanser, put on a pea sized amount of Retin-A (an increased concentration of Vitamin A from my Differin gel to clear up my congested skin) 2-3 times a week at first. I’m going with two times for two weeks, three times for three weeks, and then upping it from there. After that I put on my same B-Hydra Moisturzer and call it a day. On the nights I don’t use the Retin-A creme I use The Ordinary’s Buffet Serum and Glossier’s Super Pure Serum along with some Nexcare acne patches to keep me from picking at my skin.

And that’s about it folks! I’m really hopeful that the Retin-A will work for me this time around and not cause me too much trouble if I introduce things slowly and carefully. I’m also thinking of reading The Acne Answer by Marie Veronique via Glossier’s recommendation to see if I can get a handle on any hormonal stuff that may be going on. All and all, I’m really happy with this new skincare routine and think it will be more effective than the last regimen a dermatologist put me on (but then again, I did make an extra derm appointment on January 3rd to see if they had different recommendations/ solutions for the hormonal aspect of what I think is going on). More updates soon!

My Cotton Candy Space Princess Look/ NYX Ultimate Brights First Impression Tutorial

So just to be clear I never usually buy what I say I’m going to buy because something else takes my fancy for no particular reason and I usually spend a long time planning any purchase over $10 because otherwise, I have a history of being unhappy with my purchases. However, in this case, I went for it. I bought NYX’s Ultimate Brights Palette when I was at Target the other day because I had a look in mind and I hadn’t been so inspired by a palette (that I could reasonably afford) in a long time. Below I’m going to walk you through the look I created and give my thoughts from my first time using the palette.

First off, here is what the palette looks like (keep in mind though that apparently starting from the red shade on the left, colors two, three, and six are pigments and not safe for direct use in your eye… which is really confusing and they don’t exactly spell that out anywhere but in a photo on a covered up sticker on the back):

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It’s really full of bright colors and different tones but there are a lot of pretty wearable shades in the palette as well that could be used to make a fun, but not so in-your-face look.

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For example, the yellow, orange, and muted green shades along with the more muted pinky purples aren’t quite all unwearable on the daily, especially if they aren’t paired together or with another, more muted companion palette. Personally, I bought this to really go all out there so you won’t see me using it for something subdued any time soon, but I do want to point out some of versatility this palette has.

Now here are pictures of the look I created with the palette (I didn’t use winged eyeliner because I really wanted the shadows to pop on their own):

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Now as you can see, my eyebrows are all crazy (ignore that if you please) but the look is also really simple (I only used three shades and three brushes, not including my finger tips), and the lip really adds to the otherwordly spaciness of the whole ensemble.

I’m going to walk you through what I did rather quickly because it took a couple of seconds honestly.

  1. First I used the pinky purple shade in my crease with a Real Techniques crease brush (after I applied eyeshadow primer) and just really buffed it in there.Inked20171108_105005_LI
  2. Next, I used the cool toned, more cotton candy-esue blue shade on my entire lid, patting it on with an ecotools eyeshadow brush before I switched to my wet n wild large shadow brush to get more pigment on the brush (and therefore more color pay off). I felt like this shade needed a little building up, but once I got it there, I was quite happy with the appearance.Inked20171108_105005_L2
  3. After that I took my crease brush and went into the hot pink shade, first patting and blending on my outer v eye area for a diffused pink effect and then really laying the pigment down some more with the same brush. Then I popped quite a bit of that same shade into the inner corners of my eye and to the inner part of my lid (but not into my crease) because I decided to go for a sort of ‘halo candy eye’ effect. When all that was done the blue looked a little more subdued than I wanted so I patted more of the blue from the second step on my eyelids with my finger. That’s when I really felt how intense the color pay off was so I highly recommend trying your finger with some of these shades.Inked20171108_105005_L3
  4. Lastly, and I guess I lied a little here, I did use some of that fun bright blue shade on my lower lash line simply with a crease brush. I also took my finger and popped more of that hot pink shade into my inner corners for a really bright effect.Inked20171108_105005_L4

And that was the full look! Of course I added mascara and my usual face makeup on next (there was some fall out with the palette, but only the blue shades) and went in with my Glossier Paint Cloud in Puff, a tiny bit of highlighter, and for the lips since I wanted a really liquidy look, (I went back in forth between wanting to use this product and the Glossier lip gloss for a glass sort of effect) Colourpop’s Ultra Glossy Lip from their My Little Pony Collection in the shade Ponyland.

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For the round up: I was really impressed with the color selection and color pay off from these shadows. They were exactly what I wanted and I was able to create a simple, but punchy look from them too. The palette is definitely beginner friendly (as you can probably tell I’m not an eyeshadow goddess or anything) and the only time I had the slightest trouble was with the first blue shade. That being said, it’s more than a bit strange that the pigment shades aren’t technically ‘safe’ for getting into the eyes. Thankfully, a majority of the shades are however. 🙂

I’m really looking forward to seeing how I’ll use this palette in the future! Thanks for reading and let me know what looks you would like to see with this palette!

 

 

 

For later

OK there is a story behind this two pictures. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately so I haven’t felt or looked my best. Today I couldn’t sit still thinking about going to work because I couldn’t stand how ugly I looked or useless I am.

I took these pictures because I want to be able to look back at them at a later time and call myself on my bullshit. Right now I just can’t but I can say: Here is what I look like today and I’m going to work like this.

And that’s enough for right now. Please let me know if you have any tips for when you feel like this!

Cool Products I Want to Try Out ASAP

Now that I have a job and some means of income that doesn’t pull straight from my savings, I can afford to be looking at some cool new products. Now this doesn’t mean I can afford all of them (or nearly all of them) but these are some things I’ve been considering now that I have money and the Sephora VIB sale is coming up!

First off, let’s start with lip products. I really want to get my hands on Touch in Sol’s Metallist Liquid Foil Lipstick in LucyJasmine, or Sophie. Now I’m leaning towards Sophie because the color is right up my alley, but I really want something wearable as well. Well, as wearable as glitter lips can be! I already have a sample size of Zaza and I think the formula of these is fantastic! It would be a perfect New Year’s Eve/ Holiday lip color or a nice special occasion thing when I feel like going all out.

Now moving on to eyes… I really want an eye gloss. I know they’re always rated poorly and you can get a similar effect just by putting lip gloss on your eyes but I want something that’s actually formulated to be around my eyes and I’ve sampled eye glosses before so I know what I’m getting into (and I love them). Here are some options: a super pretty clear eye gloss from YSL that I’ve previously sampled or Mac’s Studio Eye Gloss/ Steve J & Yoni P for a super shiny, wet look. Let me know if there are great cheaper options out there, please!

While we are still on eyes I’d like to get to more traditional eye makeup like Laura Mercier’s Eye Caviar stick in the shade Tuxedo or Kiko Milano’s Long Lasting Shadow Sticks in the shades Black and Lagoon Blu .I like the texture (but not the cost) of the Laura Mercier one but I saw (the super awesome) Youtuber violette_fr use the Kiko ones in some of her videos and I loved the way her looks turned out!

In the eye department I’d also like to try NYX’s Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette in Brights because I’m a big fan of having fun with makeup now and I know I could make the brightly colored eyeshadows wearable for work (or you know, my days off).

Now I’m sure everyone else has tried Fenty Beauty but I have yet to buy any products from the brand. I’ve gotten shade matched in the foundation (shade 120–for fair skin with neutral undertones… and also the third from lightest shade because I’m so god damn pale) and that had a nice feeling, though I didn’t end up purchasing because I don’t do foundation. However, what I’m really interested in are the Match Sticks (yes I love Stick products) in the shades Amber (a super cool contour shade that makes me want to try contouring), Starstruck, and Confetti. I’ve also seen these used on the eyes and they looked like a great multi tasking product so I’m super keen on these.

Ok we are getting near the end of my list but I would also like to throw out that I really want to try ELF’s Mad for Matte 2 because the shades seem really similar to the Too Faced Just Peachy Matte Palette, their Sport Active line (because I’m into sweatproof makeup), and their Beautifully Bare Highlighting Stick in the shade Fresh Morning Dew because even though it has Coconut Oil and my skin is majorly acne prone, I still love the idea (and look of) a pure glossy, wet-skin looking highlight. I can’t help myself.

Last but not least I want to try some of Target’s new skincare items by the brand Whamisa in the Green Tea Line for Oily Skin because 1) it looks like it could actually work and 2) after I was already interested in purchasing it Ingrid Nilsen, who has a very similar skin type to mine, recommended it.

Now that’s just about it for my list of makeup I want to try but mark my words, I will be buying whatever Glossier’s Holiday Set is this year because while I had a not so great experience in their store, I love their makeup and I deeply regret not purchasing last year’s set (especially since I own almost everything from it).

Thanks for reading this! Let me know what you’re thinking of purchasing in the coming months!

 

 

 

 

 

Goals Update: Best Birthday in a Long Time+ Book Haul from NYC

I don’t think I’ve hid the fact that I’ve had some struggles lately or that I’m “working on myself” quite a bit. That being said, this past Sunday (well the 15th( was my Birthday so I took a break from everything I was doing and hoped on a train to NYC to visit my other friend in Manhattan. It was awesome (besides one store experience… see my previous My Experience at the Glossier Show Room to hear more about that) and I pretty much had my dream birthday besides the fact that I was broke af. But here are some goal updates with an added bonus of a book haul from The Strand.

Job:  I was hired at my dream job. Let me repeat because I’m so happy–MY DREAM JOB. It’s a job I’m perfectly suited for and I’ll basically be selling books. After all my money troubles and health struggles, it’s so satisfying and just plain nice to be able to write that I have my orientation tomorrow. Besides becoming a therapist, I feel like this is the job I was born to do. When I told one of my best friends Joey, she said that it was a perfect job for me because she associates me with books and warmth. I’m so happy that I can finally get afloat financially and go to work everyday.

GREs: I’m super nervous for these but to be fair, three of the programs I’m applying for don’t require the GREs. I really need to get on top of this though because my test date on the 4th is coming up.

Cooking: I’m back to making my rice balls and tofu. My bread making class (using yeast) is going really well and I’m learning a lot. I just made Anadama Bread and it turned out wonderful. I made Raisin Bread the week before and that also worked out great. I’m very glad that I’m learning this super useful skill because homemade bread is the best. It also doesn’t take too long to make! Next time I’ll take a picture of my loaf before I cut into it!

Transportation: I still have my amazing health insurance that helps with transportation but I really need to get my license. I needed to get it pretty much yesterday, but I’ve had the GREs and other stuff going on. I’m going to have to pay my parents for gas now, and honestly, I’d rather have the freedom of being behind the wheel. Basically, this is the only goal I’m hardcore failing at.

Volunteering/ Classes: I’ve actually been volunteering at a mental health clubhouse the last month, doing their data entry, helping out with interns and planning, and stuff like that. It’s been extremely fulfilling and I’m made a lot of friends and met a lot of nice people along the way.

I’m also still continuing to work towards my grad school goals. I’ve gotten all the letters of rec I needed, wrote a personal statement, and have started all my applications. My parents birthday present to me is paying for $130 dollars worth of application fees. Getting a job is also really helping this goal because now I’ll be able to afford to pay to apply!

Dating: Has been going wonderful. My boyfriend is visiting me right now.

Here’s a photo of us:

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He’s super wonderful and damn near perfect so I’m really happy right now.

That’s it! I actually had a panic attack the other day (which was awful) because I feel like too many good things are going on in my life right now. I just feel like my life has never gone this well and the universe is going to take it away from me somehow, someway, which is super illogical.

Oh I almost forgot… the books I got from the Strand for my Birthday this past week!

  • Sex and Rage by Eve Babitz, which is written just how I like the books I read to be written. It’s a bit magical and poetic. A quote from the back is that it a novel about “a dreamy young girl moving between LA and New York”. I highly recommend checking Eve Babitz out.
  • Total Mood Killer by Merritt K and Niina Pollari is a poetry book that I also highly recommend. My favorite poem so far is “Every Mascara Is Exactly the Same” and features the lines “i wondered how many makeups/ it would take for you to like me”. It’s a beautiful book so far. 🙂
  • Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, the Sleep You’re Missing, the Sex You’re Not Having and What’s Really Making You Crazy by Julie Holland, MD is a really interesting book that I picked up because it relates to my chosen field (psychology) and a lot of it seems centered on discussing psychiatric drugs, which is definitely a subject I enjoy reading multiple opinions on. So far her writing style is extremely engaging and the subject is hitting home a bit. I figure that even if I disagree with her (which I haven’t so far but I’m not too far in), it will still be worth it to read more opinions and be more aware of some of the literature that’s around and heavily concerns my field.
  • Smut: Stories by Alan Bennett is just a fun book I picked up. I wanted something a little out there, something fun, and something “tender and comic” as The Independent (London) says on the back of the book. I haven’t really started the book yet, but it’s a really small book that I can’t imagine will take too much time to read.

 

Thanks for reading! What books are you currently reading? And what are your goals? How is your life going? Comment below!