Gray Hair Update

Hello! It’s been awhile!I haven’t posted in about 9 months because my account got taken over by a bot or something. Oops.

As mentioned in this post back in September, I’ve stopped dying my hair and have been growing my gray hair out. I wanted to update about this because I am still going strong and want to encourage others who are dabbling with the idea or are struggling through the first couple months.

Month 1-2:

Returning to school was okay – the grays hadn’t grown “that much” in those 3 weeks. Funny how, as those days and weeks went on, the typical feeling of stress and embarrassment for someone potentially spotting my roots wasn’t there. Typically, after those couple weeks post-dye, I would be starting to consider the next dye because I noticed some silver showing. Instead, after those 3 weeks, although some growth had started to show, I was more bummed that it wasn’t growing faster, not embarrassed that my roots were showing again.

It was so freeing. I knew I was a slave to dying my hair and playing into the whole vanity and young-age stuff. But how amazing I felt letting that go and embracing my natural hair!

I did use this L’oreal root spray for a couple weeks during the first and second months. However, I realized it made my hair smell bad (not terrible, but it wasn’t a nice smell) and anytime I touched my head, colored residue would be on my fingers. I’m pretty sure I had it in my hair for the top two pictures below. As a temporary fix, it was okay, but I’m glad I stopped using it.

Months 2-3:

Mid-late September 2016 [6-8 weeks no dye]
People started noticing a bit more after 2 or 3 months. A student made a comment in October or November about my having gray hair. The rest of the students told him how rude it was, but I embraced the comment and explained my motive for doing it. I told him about my past with dying and expressed my frustration with the double-standard in society about men and women with gray hair.

I think it’s important, especially when we decide to do something that isn’t “normal” by societal standards, we keep our composure and express our reasoning so as to highlight its positive aspects, not get angry or embarrassed and turn away from our decision.

Months 4-6:

Late November 2016 [4 months dye free]
I think these were the harder months because I was seeing more friends and family during the holiday season that hadn’t seen me since my decision, so I was worried about what they would say. Everyone was either supportive and said something, or they didn’t say anything. Whatever.

Late December 2016 [4.5 months dye free]
I really started to see the different shades of silver and could really start appreciating the variations. It was during this time that I started getting more compliments and people started speaking up about it.

January 2017 [5 months dye free]
Some comments have been a bit awkward, like when one of my adult co-workers said, “Your hair is gray!” Wait, what? I hadn’t noticed… However, most of them have been positive; one of my more respectable co-workers said, “I just want you to know I think your hair looks great and you’re a badass for growing it out.”

Months 6-8:

These were some rough months personally and professionally – a lot of crappy things have hit my school community, so there hasn’t been much time or reason to think about my hair. I guess I’ve enjoyed having one less thing (dying my roots) to worry about.

I am now 9 months without dye and I wish it would grow faster. I chopped a whole lot of hair off over spring break about 6 weeks ago which suits my face better and has helped get rid of old brassy highlights.

Late March [about 8 months dye free]
I love the way my natural hair is growing in; I have some kickass natural highlights! People pay hundreds of dollars to get hair like what I’ve got growing on.

It makes me happy and a bit surprised when someone brings it up now because I’ve gotten to the point where it’s just part of me. I don’t fret everytime I look in the mirror, worrying that a gray hair is popping up. I don’t waste money on harmful box dyes or expensive salon visits. Although, I do really miss the head massages when they wash my hair!

There were times when I thought about going to a salon and asking them to blend the ends of my hair to match my roots – AKA dye my ends silver. However, the bleaching alone would probably cause my hair to break off. And my wallet would seriously cry for the amount of money it would cost.

So I’ve decided to just do it the natural way. There were times when I felt self-conscious because of the way my roots looked growing out. I felt like I looked awful in pictures because of the two-tones that was my natural and dyed hair. I was worried about the potential rude or hurtful comments. I was worried about looking old (although I’ve always been told I look 5-10 years younger than I actually am).

But deep down, none of those things were big enough to deter me from my mission of growing my gray hair out. Those nudges of self-doubt were overcome by my feelings of empowerment. Those rude or not-totally-tasteful comments were outweighed by the massive positive and uplifting comments.

I don’t feel old because I’m not old. Just because I have gray hair doesn’t mean I am less silly or upbeat or hip (well, okay, maybe don’t ask my high school students about that one). I choose to be who I am. Maybe it’s because I’ve entered my mid-to-late twenties and am feeling more at peace with myself, but I am loving this feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I still have those days where my hair doesn’t style the way I want or I feel a little more jiggly than I’d like, but overall I’m happy with how things are at this age.

As I mentioned in my previous post, if you’re thinking of joining the gray hair movement, here are some resources I found and still find extremely helpful:

  1. Gray and Proud Facebook Group – There are some amazing women (and men!) in this group that post progress photos, positive [and negative] comments they receive from people, and words of encouragement for those just starting or still in the grow-out phase.
  2. How Bourgeois Blog – Lauren has a whole section dedicated to her posts about growing her gray hair out. She also has tips on how to manage the growing out phase (AKA skunk stripe) and is overall encouraging.
  3. Grombre Instagram

Aging Gray-cefully

I made a huge decision this summer: I, Holliday, at the age of 27, am going to stop dying my hair to cover up the grays.

I’m excited and nervous and have a lot of other emotions about it, but I’m doing it.

A hair over 3 years ago, I wrote a post about how much I hated dying my hair for root coverage purposes as I’ve been genetically gifted with early onset graying. Dying is expensive, time-consuming, unhealthy in many ways, and just overall a pain in the ass.

At the age of 15, a stylist at SuperCuts found my first full-blown gray/silver/white hair while giving me a cut. It was traumatizing and I had her pull it out because GET IT AWAY!!! I started dying my hair soon after and the frustrating cycle of frequent coloring began. I was hyper-aware of any shimmery non-brown hairs; I distinctly remember being alone in the bathroom at my community college a few times, close to the mirror, pulling out any visible gray hairs. I was, quite frankly, embarrassed and ashamed of them.

For the past few years, it’s gotten to the point of dying my roots every 4 weeks. I’ll usually visit a hair salon 2-3 times per year and use box dye during the weeks in between. As much as I love going to the salon (scalp massages are my ASMR, for real), a piece of me dies every time I give my credit card and hear the price of my color, wash, dry, and style. During the in-between, I get a box dye that is on sale, usually in medium brown, and spend an hour applying the dye, waiting for it to process, and washing it out.

Tom knows how annoyed I am at this process and has been telling me for awhile now that I should just let the gray grow. As a guy, he doesn’t care about gray hair as much as losing hair or finding that his hairline is receding.

I pushed the idea away until recently when I actually started researching going gray – I found a bunch of good blog posts, articles, videos, and super supportive social media accounts celebrating women going gray. Now, the majority of women within these groups and posts are at least 40, but there have been a few younger women like myself.

Two of the main things women have mentioned in their reasoning for waiting so long to let their natural color show are:

  1. I didn’t want to look old.
  2. I didn’t want to look haggard.

Why are both of these the first characteristics we think of when we are thinking of women with gray hair? When men have gray hair (George Clooney is the #1 example), we think of them as wise and powerful. We often call them “Silver Foxes” (go and Google “silver fox person”…notice what the top results are? men. no women). I don’t want to make this whole post about gender equality…I just had a whole discussion with Tom and our friend Tony about that, so that’s enough for me for one day, thanks.

So I’ve decided that I want to crush these stereotypes that we humans  (men and women alike) have given for graying females. I’m not going to fear looking old or haggard; I’m going to own looking different. I commented on a video I watched of a woman’s progression photos while growing her gray out (see list of resources below). She replied with a really sweet comment; I especially liked, “Today pretty young brunettes are two a penny…but beautiful girls with natural silver streaks in their hair are much more outstanding and rare!”

Youtube Comment

Besides that, young girls have started paying a fortune and ruining their hair to obtain a grayish silver color. That could be me for free AND with healthier hair! I’ve also found that most women who finally stop dying look younger than they did while they were dying! Maybe it’s the unnatural color, maybe they are generally happier and freer!

I’m only 4 weeks in which is when I would usually be putting on the gloves and applying dye to my hair. I catch myself thinking about how people will judge me and how weird my roots will look after a couple months and how easy it would be to go back to my “comfortable” zone of dying every month…but, instead, I’m going to take this one day at a time and continue to look to the positive people on the social media forums and groups for emotional support. I’ve bought a couple plain baseball caps as emergency cover-ups and I plan on getting some headbands to help when the roots are really bad.

These first few months will be the hardest (I’ve gathered from my research) but I’m excited when I think about the end result; I think I have some nice natural coloring underneath all the dye. Even just dying my hair one flat brown color has resulted in highlights, and I’m sure those are where the lightest whites are.

I hope to inspire other women to join in the “ditch the dye” movement like so many women have inspired me; if I’ve at least peaked your interest, check out these great resources that have eased my anxiety about diving in:

To conclude: I’m going to be a young, silver fox, dammit. Join me!

My Invisalign Tips

It’s been over 2 years since I started wearing Invisalign, and now that I’m in the retainer phase (which I will be at from here on out), I figured I should share my top tips. Some are pretty obvious, but others I learned the hard way.

  1. Seriously, wear your aligners. Like, whenever you’re not consuming things other than water, wear them. They recommend 22 hours per day, so try to stick as close to that as possible. You’re already paying a ton for this treatment, so why not get the best and quickest results instead of farting around and complaining about having this amazing opportunity to improve your smile? Snarky? Sure. Truthful? You’re darn tootin’.Duh Napolean Dynamite
  2. Brush and floss your teeth [and brush your aligners!] at least twice per day. I mean, this is just what the American Dental Association recommends, but many people still don’t follow these suggestions. I never flossed (except the day of dental appointments) until I had Invisalign. And even then, I honestly couldn’t floss with the ribbon floss; my fingers just don’t work that way and I can’t unhinge my jaw like a snake in order to reach my molars. So I tried floss picks and my life has been changed. Seriously, try them out.
    • Note: Now, I may have been a bit excessive in brushing and flossing literally after every meal before putting my aligners back in. But you know what? I came out of this experience with only one teeny tiny cavity that was caused by my tooth having a little crevice in it. It wasn’t between my teeth because I let food and gunk build up while my aligners encapsulated said gunk and bacteria harvested and rotted my teeth. If brushing your teeth is not a plausible option in a certain setting or situation, eat an apple or chew some sugar free gum before putting your aligners in. Don’t just not put them back in because you can’t brush and/or floss [see tip #1].happy tooth smile
  3. Following step #2, bring a small baggie with a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and your aligner case with you everywhere. This way you’re ready post-meal to at least try to keep your mouth healthy and clean. I kept a kit in my bag during grad school, then in my drawer at work so I was always prepared.toothbrush kit
  4. Only drink water with your aligners in. For real. And, whatever you do, DO NOT try to chew or even just have gum in your mouth with your aligners in. Seriously, this will not be good when (not if, when) the gum gets adhered to your aligners and gets stuck everywhere. Trust me. Not worth it.No drink, food, gum
  5. When inserting your aligners, make sure to really push them on your teeth. It’s not enough to just get them on, make sure they are on as snuggly as possible. I think this is part of the reason my aligners became so ill-fitting [see picture below] as my wedding approached; I was putting them on, but never really pushed them as securely as I should’ve. Luckily, they just rescanned my teeth after my wedding and got me a new set of aligners, but this is not a quick process and will set your treatment time back.Ill fitting aligners
  6. Just hang in there for the first day or so of new aligners. They used to give me headaches because of the pressure they put on my teeth. And yes, it may feel like you’re about to rip your teeth out when you take a fairly new set out before eating and whatnot. Your teeth aren’t going anywhere. Trust me, it’ll hurt for a bit, but the benefits will be greater than the pain. So just pop a Tylenol and focus on something else. Maybe have a dance party to take your mind off of the discomfort.You can do it waterboy gif
  7. Glass attachments (for your aligners to grip) and metal buttons (for rubber bands) pop off. You will probably swallow them. It’s okay. They initially put on more glass attachments than necessary because the chance of them falling off is high. It’s an easy process for them to put on a new metal button. It won’t ruin your treatment, just call your orthodontist, let them know this happened, and they’ll schedule you to come in within a day or so to pop a new one on. Which brings me to tip #7…Invisalign metal button glass attachment Toronto Braces
  8. Choose an orthodontist that you like and trust, but also one that is nearby. You don’t want to have to travel so far just for a small metal button to be put on in under 3 minutes. Trust me. When I moved from the Upper West Side to Long Island to Brooklyn, my orthodontist’s office remained in Midtown. Luckily, when I was in LI, I still worked in Brooklyn, so I would schedule appointments right after work or over long breaks because 2 hours is just not worth the trip.

Alright, I think those are my top tips when wearing Invisalign. If I think of any more, I’ll definitely chuck them in here. And if you have any, please leave a comment to share!

My Invisalign Journey (14): Officially done.

Alas, here we are. At the end of the journey. It’s been a little over 2 years since I first looked into Invisalign, and a little less than 2 years since I received my first set of aligners.

I’m happy to report I would do it all over again and recommend it to anyone looking into straightening their teeth. I’m happy with the results, it wasn’t super hard to keep up with wearing them and brushing after meals, and the discomfort of new aligners every 10-20 days was manageable.

Buuuut I’m seriously glad it’s over.

I’m hoping to get my official after photos soon – I’ve emailed Dee but haven’t gotten a response, so I need to try again. For now, here’s an idea of the difference. [Left: Dec. 2011; Right: Oct. 2015]

beforeafter

It’s been a little over 6 months since my last appointment, and I’ve had the same 2 duplicate sets of aligners since then to wear full-time. I admit, I was a little more lax about these last 6 months than the rest of the time, but I still wore them pretty much all the time. I didn’t take a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss with me wherever I went like the previous 18 months, but I still wore them every night and brushed in between [most] meals when I could.

I recently bit the bullet to get a crown put on that tooth with the filling because it was starting to bother me again. Not, like, aesthetically because who sees that deep into my mouth? No, it was starting to feel a bit sensitive like when you have a cavity. Obviously not a good sign when you already have a filling.

So, about 3 weeks ago, I had the filling taken out and a temporary crown put on the tooth…and hated the entire experience. So. much. blood. And discomfort. And the sound of drills. Oh! Awful.

My dentist told me not to use my Invisalign with the temporary as it’s made of plastic and could just pop off when taking my aligners out. I didn’t want to stop wearing my aligners, especially with my upcoming final appointment, so I cut the last two teeth pockets off of the top aligner so that the affected tooth wouldn’t be bothered or compromised.

Two weeks ago, I had my FINAL appointment at Dr. Jacquie’s office in midtown. I got to see my favorite technician, Dee, whom took care of me on my first few appointments as well as a bunch throughout my time there. It was actually bittersweet. We caught up a bit on life: I told her about my JV girls volleyball team going undefeated in the regular season, she told me how much happier she is after a particularly hard time she had last year. I kind of just wanted to go out for coffee with her to extend our time together and our conversation. Is that weird? Maybe.

I showed my cut up aligners and explained the situation with my temporary crown. She said it was good that I was still wearing my aligners but that I should get a retainer within the next 2 months because teeth move in such a way to touch other teeth. So without the aligners keeping the last two top teeth (crowned tooth and molar behind it) held in place, they might actually start pulling downward to touch the bottom teeth, throwing off my bite which could lead to problems like TMJ.

Teeth are weirdly needy.

Before leaving, Dee spoke those beautiful words I’ve been waiting two years to hear:

You only have to wear the aligners at night.

HELLZZZ YEAHHHHHHH

So until I get my retainers, I don’t need to wear my aligners during the day. And once I get said retainers, it’s the same deal: only nighttime wear.

I got my permanent crown put on the following day (again, not a pleasant experience since my original tooth is practically non-existent anymore) so that’s one less thing to worry about. I will be getting the retainers towards the end of November since she said there’s a deal around Black Friday that sounded way too good to pass up. And I won’t have to deal with a crazy mob of people, so that’s cool.

It’s been a fun ride. Sure, I had pretty awkward looking teeth for awhile there. Sure, it was a pain the arse having to brush and floss after meals to put my aligners back in. Yeah, it’s expensive up front.

But.

In the end, I’ve now gained a smile I smile about. I’ve gotten a bunch of compliments on my teeth since going through this. I now am not [as] embarrassed when I have to take out my aligners before meals. My jaw hurts less because my bite has been aligned. It’s been an investment in me, my confidence, and my happiness. To me, the price, the time spent brushing and flossing, and even those awkward few months of buck teeth was and has been worth it.

Summer 2015 Favorites: People, Surgery, and Stuff

Although summer isn’t “officially” over, it is for us teachers, so I gotta get this in now! Another season, another set of things to appreciate…

First, let’s start with Tom and my in-laws for their love and support before, during, and after my surgeries this summer. Tom helped me get comfortable by gently arranging pillows to my liking, brought me food sometimes, hugged me when I was frustrated, and has literally been my crutch a lot since my foot surgery. My in-laws have been nothing but generous in letting me stay at their house to recover, letting me take over their couch, and making me feel welcome and comfortable throughout the whole summer. And, finally, Finster for his wonderful cuddles and endless entertainment…except when he’s napping, which is 75% of the time.

Cuddle time!!

Also, for all the people, friends and strangers alike, who have reached out and offered help and/or encouragement in any form since having my surgeries. I seriously appreciate you all.

Touching story time: on our way back to Stony Brook from Brooklyn about a week ago, Tom and I had to actually cross over the track at Huntington because our connecting train was on the other track. Usually the connection follows behind the current train, but whatever; usually, it’s not a problem. However, I was moving at a snail’s pace because I was only 2 weeks out of surgery.

We made it to the elevator to go up just as the doors were closing, so a man inside held them for us. We walked over the train via the platform and found the elevator to go down on the other side; by now, about 5 minutes have gone by, so the train is about ready to take off. When we finally got down to the ground, I was telling Tom to run to the train and hold the doors, but he refused to leave me.

Wouldn’t you know, as I’m walking up the flight of 5 steps to the platform, I saw the man from the elevator standing halfway out of the train, waving to the conductor to wait for us. I was so grateful and totally exhausted from that trek, so when Tom and I sat down, I bawled like a baby. Silently, so as not to draw attention, but nonetheless, tears were a-flowing.

I was frustrated with my lack of mobility and felt hopeless and scared about a potential future like this. Mainly, I was having flashbacks of my mom when she used a cane, and then a walker, and then a motorized scooter. I was always the one by her side and appreciated the people who helped her and me during those tough times.

And now, I was so thankful for this man that took the time to hold the train for me. He could have just gotten on, taken a seat, and not had a second thought about me. But he didn’t. I thanked him as we got on, but I wish I could thank him 100 times more. He doesn’t realize just how much that meant to me.

Gah, all the feels.

Which brings me to said surgeries. Although they’ve been burdensome, and as much as I may have cursed myself for doing them while in the recovery phase and feeling like my summer was nothing but recovery, I’m happy I went through with them and am glad I got them out of the way!

redressed feet

Now let’s go to some of my favorite products from this summer: First, my trusty Batiste dry shampoo. I’ve mentioned this in multiple blog posts and will continue to recommend it to anyone interested in minimizing the number of times they wash their hair in a week. It’s been great all summer as I let my hair go unwashed for 3-4 days while also sweating and/or being pretty much couch-ridden after surgery.

Similarly, I used Oribe dry texturizing spray while I stayed at my in-laws after my foot surgery. It smells delicious and doesn’t leave any trace of white film or powder in my darker hair. I received a sample size in my Birchbox subscription, so it’s handy for traveling. What’s not handy is the price; the teensy weensy 2.2 fl. oz. purse sized one retails for $22. Yeah, disgusting! A regular 8.5 fl. oz. costs $42.

Batiste Hint of Color Brown Dry Shampoo     VS.   Oribe dry texturizing spray

>>MATH TIME!!!! Batiste is usually around $6 or $7 for the 6.7 oz. can – at $7, that’s $1.04 per fluid ounce; Oribe costs $4.94 per fluid ounce for the full size can! You’re paying almost $4 more per fluid ounce with the full size of Oribe! But wait, it gets even grosser: the Batiste travel size is usually $3 for 1.6 oz, coming to about $1.90 per fluid ounce while the Oribe comes in at $10 per fluid ounce for the travel size! Horrendous. Awesome product, I just don’t see it being worth that much money.<<<

Speaking of, my next favorite is wearing my hair 95% au naturel during most of August. After washing my hair, I’ve been letting it air dry with just a couple spritzes of my It’s a 10 Leave In spray and it actually doesn’t look all that terrible. I love not having to use heat on it as it’s already 80° so I’m sweating a lot, I save time, and my hair feels sooooooooo much healthier! I think I’ve only used heat (in the form of a straightener to curl my hair for my birthday dinner with Tom) once in the past month. Woot! I totally recommend anyone who wants to try a no heat challenge to do it – embrace your natural hair and notice the difference that it makes when you let your hair be who it wants to be without heat. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

au naturel hair

I am loving the Lash Sensational mascara by Maybelline. I’m on my third tube and really enjoy how it makes my lashes look fluttery and separated while also lengthening and defining them. I have been using the Very Black non-waterproof one and I have had no fallout or flakes and it stays all day; it actually takes quite a bit of [gentle] elbow grease to remove it entirely at night!

Which brings me to Simple Micellar Water. I saw a couple YouTubers talk about this and I was suckered into trying it out. I think it’s great! It’s a facial “cleanser” (doesn’t foam up or anything…it’s, like, water) and makeup remover that is super gentle, doesn’t sting my eyes, and takes off makeup with a few swipes of a cotton pad! Plus, I don’t have to rinse it off like the oil-based makeup removers because it’s pretty much like using water already.

Going with the skin theme: sunscreen. I’m white. Like, ghostly white. I went to Virginia Beach in July with a group of my best girlfriends from high school and we spent a few hours lounging on the beach on our first full day there. I sprayed myself multiple times with SPF 50 as the sun was really intense, but between that and the fact that we were in and out of the water to keep cool, I got pretty darn burnt.

Which brings me to my next favorite: Aloe. Any aloe. I used an entire tube (with a little help from my friends, but mostly me) of Walgreens’ brand Aloe Vera because, well, it’s cheap. I got the one for sensitive skin so it doesn’t have any added scent or lotion or anything. Just aloe.

I’m glad I brought the tube because all of us benefitted from it at one point or another. I actually bought another tube after coming home because I ran out of the first tube. I got burned so bad, I ended up with some sun blisters…yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Even with the excessive aloe and lotion applications, peeling happened, but it wasn’t as gross or as extreme as I expected. It was bad, don’t get me wrong, but I think the aloe helped it a bit.

And even though I got sunburned, I still favorite time at beautiful beaches. Here we have Montauk at sunset – Tom and I stayed on the beach until all the stars were out because we don’t get to see them in Brooklyn.

Montauk beach

How about my smashbook? I’m happy with the progress I’ve made and hope to finish it by the end of this year! I got a lot of it done out in Montauk as we sat on the front porch of our bed and breakfast.smashbook collage

Side note: I got a different journal to house the smashbook – I went with this gorgeous one that has ring binding to allow more room for expansion as I fill it.

smashbook cover

I also loved celebrating my one year anniversary of marriage to the wonderfully handsome Thomas!!! And going to Montauk for a weekend away together!!!

At the beach

Last, but certainly not least, I’ll favorite that I’m a teacher and had the privilege to have a summer vacation. Cheesy, but whatever. I spent lots of time reading for school and spent some time prepping a bit for my classes, but I spent more time not doing work stuff. I hung out with coworkers [friends], and although work stuff always tended to creep its way into conversations, we always ended up talking about life outside of school, too. I’m excited to be going back, teaching all math, coaching volleyball, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones. And I can proudly say I love going to work every day even though it gets stressful and overwhelming a lot (second year teacher here, I’m sure all the veterans are rolling their eyes).

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. — Dalai Lama

I did that thing: Ombre Nails!

I did it! I finally sat down and tried out the ombre nail thing. I know I’m about 5 years late on this band wagon, but there’s never a better time than the present, amirite?? Plus, it’s summer. As a teacher on break, I have time on my hands, so I used that time on my hands and am really impressed. Also, what better time than summer to try out a fun, colorful ombre nail?!

Hand with nail polish and sponge

I bought a bag of cosmetic wedge sponges from Walgreens with the intention to use them solely for trying ombre nails. When I got home, I picked out my colors – I chose a bright green, blue, and purple, all by L.A. Colors. I knew they weren’t the best quality nail polishes, but I wanted to use those colors anyways.

I figured I would just jump right into it, trying it out without a colored base. So I painted three stripes onto a full-sized makeup sponge and pressed them to my pinky nail. Buuuut the colors weren’t opaque enough, so it just looked silly. I got my nail polish remover and took off the goofy ombre and decided to turn to YouTube where I knew I had seen one or two tutorials before.

This one showed me that it was easier if I cut the sponge to a smaller size, closer to the size of my nails. So I did.

She also urged me to paint my nails white before proceeding with the ombre colors. So I did. I painted all nails except my thumbs with two coats of Alpine Snow by O.P.I.

Nail polish

Once they dried, I coated the sponge with the three colors again. Then it was time to apply it to my nails. I dabbed my pinky with the sponge and it looked cool! I think the white base coat is what really helped the colors stand out and stay on the nail instead of the sponge. I definitely needed two coats of the colors because, again, they were not very opaque.

Each time I painted a nail, I had to reapply the tri-colored stripes to the sponge for the next nail. As can be expected, this was kind of a messy process. I had excess nail polish on my cuticles as well as on the pads of my thumbs and forefingers, as those were what I was using to hold the sponge.

However, I did not find it much more difficult to apply using my left hand as it usually is when straight-up painting my nails. The right always comes out looking wonky because I am not a lefty. This process was equally difficult and equally easy on both sides. Does that make sense…?

right hand ombre nails

Once all 10 nails were ombred, I used a Q-tip with some polish remover to clean up the edges. There was still some stray color leftover, but it wears off after a day or so. Nobody’s perfect. You live and you learn it. And if I mess it up sometimes. Nobody’s perfect.

Hannah Montana. I just couldn’t resist.

When I cleaned up as much as I could, I then applied my new Revlon Liquid Quick Dry top coat.

And voila! Here’s the end product! Like I said, they aren’t perfect – my nails and nail beds are not long, so they aren’t hand model material. But they look pretty dang cool regardless!

I encourage you to try it out yourself. Once I got the hang of it, I was on a roll! From very start to very end, I think it might have taken me 15 minutes, with the original mess-up included. I was also watching Legally Blonde on Netflix, so I may have gotten distracted a few times.

If you do try this, send me a picture or a link to one. I would love to see what color combinations you come up with!

Review: Circa Absolute Lash Icon Mascara

I’ve tried plenty of mascaras since I started wearing makeup. And by “makeup”, I’m not counting the crap that is sold to really young, pre-pubescent girls. The kind that makes you break out just looking at it.

Nowadays it seems that every brand comes out with a “New and Improved!” or “Never Before Seen!” mascara every week, making it impossible to choose one brand or tube. I was in Walgreens two weeks ago and needed a new mascara. I had seen the new Circa (Eva Mendes’ makeup line) display a couple times, so I figured I would give their mascara a shot. The items in the collection are pretty pricey, so why not get something that I’m sure to use daily instead of a nail polish or eyeshadow that takes forever to use up?

Lash Icon box

I grabbed the Absolute Lash Icon because it claimed to volumize lashes without clumping. That’s usually what I’m looking for – a little bit of length, but a whole lot of volume. And by a whole lot, I mean a somewhat normal amount because I don’t want to look like I’m wearing crazy fake lashes here.

The claim: “Be iconic – this instantly volumizing and conditioning mascara magnifies the eyes and emphasizes the lashes, accentuating the eye with intensity and depth. The secret lies in its unique formula and oversized brush, molded to separate, coat and curl each lash for a false eye-lash effect. Flexible and fast drying, this all-in-one adds instantaneous volume while enriched with Pro-Vitamin b5 and Avocado oil, for lashes that won’t cake, clump or crumble.”

Yes please! And for the $11 price tag, I was hoping it would do all that it said it would. I got it in the color Black Brown; I don’t exactly remember why, but I want to say it was because it was either that or Blackest Black, and I wanted a more natural-looking color.

When I finally opened it up, I found the tube itself was very substantial and quite heavy. I’m surprised, though, that it is actually the same length as a “normal” drugstore mascara, but it is a lot bulkier. When I unscrewed the wand, I was greeted by said oversized (more like SUPERSIZED) brush. It’s like a regular mascara wand was blown up to twice its size and then glued to one of those mini torture ball mascara brushes. Scary. Here are two pictures of the Lash Icon brush (bottom) compared to Maybelline’s Lash Sensational.

mascara brushes

I must say that I actually didn’t mind the first application as the brush didn’t have a lot of product on it and the formula went smoothly onto my lashes without clumping. But after that initial application, I’ve hated it ever since. I have actually been scraping the brush on the side of the tube to get excess product off before applying with a very light hand to my lashes. And it’s clump city. So then I go in with a completely clean mascara brush that I took from Sephora to separate and take off the excess-excess product. And the clumping has only gotten worse over the 2-week period that I’ve had the mascara.

After all that extra time and effort (which is realistically only 2-3 minutes, but still – ain’t nobody got time for that in the morning!), my lashes look pretty decent. It dries at a normal speed, so that’s not really anything to brag about. Feeling my lashes right now, after I’ve had the mascara on for about 3 hours, they feel flexible and not hard, which is a plus. BUT I’ve noticed A LOT of fallout and flaking throughout the day. It’s like winter hit my eyeballs – flakes for days! Not a cute look. And I can’t say that I’ve noticed any conditioning that they claim because of the amount of product I’ve been wasting via necessary clump removal and flaking!

So overall, I really disliked this mascara. I just threw it out and will start using the Lash Sensational tomorrow morning (fingers crossed that goes better). I tried to push the $11 as far as I could, but in the end it was $11 disappointingly unwell spent.

So as a quick recap:

Pros:

  • Flexible lashes.
  • Good ingredients for possible conditioning – I’m grasping at straws here…

Cons:

  • Oversized brush is SUPERSIZED.
  • So much caking, clumping, and crumbling.
  • All the flakes.
  • Coating is not uniform and curling is not fantastic.
  • No visible conditioning here.
  • Expensive as heck!

Empties (Spring 2015)

I did one of these a couple months ago, but I have used up a few products that I really want to give shout outs to, so I’m doing another one. So deal with it.

Just kidding. Thanks for reading part or all of this post! Onward!

I want to start with is the Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque (I got the 8.5 fl. oz but it also comes in 16.9 fl. oz.) because it is the bomb. This stuff is fantastic. I mentioned it in my recent post about healthy hair and (BONUS!) my hairdresser just yesterday told me that my hair has grown so much and is so healthy and shiny!

Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque

I recently realized that the brand has been re-vamped and the name is now “Macadamia Professional”, which I’m sure is just a scheme so they can jack up the price. Ulta no longer carries any “Macadamia Natural Oil” products in-store or online. I think other stores that still have any of these products in stock are discounting them heavily, and you can still find it on Amazon for a decent price.

Anyways, I use this product every time I wash my hair, which is about every 3-4 days. I use a little bit of my regular conditioner more at the roots, and then I take a glob of the Deep Repair Masque and smooth is all over, mostly concentrating on my ends. I leave it on while I shave and wash my face so that it really soaks in, and then I make sure and rinse it out really well. I haven’t had a problem with my hair looking greasy, even when I put it on my roots and it smells great. I bought a tub of Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil deep conditioner to replace my Macadamia one but have yet to use it, so I’m really hoping it works just as well. If not, I may have to bite the bullet and pick up the Macadamia Professional one.

The next item is the Marvelous Moxie lip gloss by Bare Minerals. I bought it after going to one of their stores and having them do my makeup to get an idea of what color products I should use. Mine was in the color Show Off, a nudey pink with teeny tiny glitters. I really liked the color because it was subtle but gave a hint of color and made my lips glossy. It’s a bit sticky, but I’ve had stickier so it wasn’t that bad.

I am actually really proud of myself for having used the whole tube. I don’t think I’ve ever used up a makeup product fully in my life – I either don’t like the quality to begin with so I don’t use it, I find better products/colors so I forget I have them, or they expire before I have the chance to finish them. I recently purchased a Buxom lip gloss in the color Kristen because it looks very similar and supposedly plumps your lips.

Batiste Hint of Color dry shampoo in Dark & Deep Brown is a holy grail product of mine. I’ve tried a few different dry shampoos and it’s safe to say that they don’t hold a candle to this one. I recently got a bottle of the Medium/Brunette for my friend and co-worker Amanda to try and she told me the other day that she realized how well it worked in comparison to other brands. The nozzle of hers broke (or maybe just got severely clogged?) so she used a different kind and she said it just wasn’t the same.

Batiste Hint of Color Deep Dark Brown dry shampoo

I was out at my in-law’s house last weekend and only had my travel-size Batiste in Blush, so I used it and was immediately regretting this decision. I mean, I really needed some dry shampoo because I didn’t have time to fully wash and style my hair. But, the gray streaks it left were not going away, even after extensive rubbing at my roots. I had to use some water to get rid of it, which is kind of missing the point of the dry shampoo in the first place. Also, I dislike the smell of the Blush formula because it’s really florally which is my least favorite scent.

Next up is a supplement. I’ve tried the Hair, Skin, and Nails and Biotin supplements before, but A) I hated that they required me to take 2 or 3 pills per day, B) They smelled/tasted horrible, and C) I didn’t notice a difference while taking them. I understand that it takes awhile to see the benefits, but 4-6 weeks should be enough. BUT, I found a great new version by NatureMade that A) only requires you to take 1 pill per day, B) They don’t smell or taste horrible, and C) I have noticed a difference already!

NatureMade Hair Skin Nails Supplement

I’ve been taking them for 6 weeks but started noticing a difference in week 3 or 4! The effects have mostly been noticeable in my hair; it seems to be growing faster! I was usually able to hold off on coloring my roots every 6-7 weeks, but I started noticing them more prevalently after 4 weeks of coloring. I ran out and got a new bottle as soon as I noticed my first one running low and wouldn’t you know it, Walgreens was having a BOGO sale at the time! So I got two bottles because why not?

The last two items are not so much “I loved the products so I used them all up!” type deals. The first is a night cream that I just wanted to use because I payed money for it. It’s the Botanics Age Defense Replenishing Night Cream. I disliked the smell right off the bat – it’s like really earthy and reminds me of being in a bunny’s cage, minus the poo. I don’t really see any positive results from night creams at the moment, so the smell alone is enough to keep me from re-purchasing it.

The second (and final product) is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat nail polish. I’ve heard people swear up and down that this product is amazing, drying fast and keeping nails chip-free for days, but I wasn’t super duper impressed. It may have dried pretty quickly, but I still had chipping within 24 hours of painting my nails. I also didn’t even use the whole thing up because I think it expired before I had the chance. I went to paint my nails one night only to be greeted with a really foul-smelling Seche Vite. The bottle was only half-used and I definitely didn’t get the 36 months out of it that it claims.

Hope this helped anyone curious about these products. Let me know your experiences with them or tell me what products you’ve been using up!