Fishtail Friday

Hello, My name is Vanessa and I have severe braid envy. I never really learned to “do” my hair, anything beyond putting it up into a ponytail is beyond my skill set. My hair (which I named Bianca years ago, long story) is long, straight, and pretty thick, Bianca doesn’t like to do anything but remain long, straight, and pretty thick. Bianca takes about five minutes to tame every morning, requiring little more than a good brushing and a light spritzing of hairspray. She doesn’t like change. Once, years ago, I decided to get a spiral perm (’twas the 90s), Bianca said, “hell to the no”, and the curls just refused to take. Just like that, hours of marinating my hair in toxic chemicals washed down the drain.

So when my beautiful friend Dana started talking about wanting to try some braid tutorials, I felt that all too familiar pang… it just won’t work, Bianca won’t allow it. Armed with a brush, some hair ties, and unbridled enthusiasm, Dana decided to take on the challenge. We turned to one of the braid tutorial queens, Lauren Conrad, for guidance.

 

We watched the video a couple of times and dove in…

She made it seem so easy in the video, I thought – there’s no way. But after just a few minutes of practice Dana had the hang of the fishtail back and forth!

We even stopped for some Snapchat filter antics. Sidebar: aren’t we just about done with the dog filter? You guys know how crazy I am about dogs, but come onnnn.

I asked Dana to do a half up, half down brain because I have severe hair up anxiety. If I don’t feel hair covering my neck or down my back I get a little nervous.

Color me shocked, Bianca let herself be tamed! Truth be told, I’ve been using a sub-par shampoo and it’s left the old girl a little weighed down, that made her a little more docile and open to being braided. Once I get a good dose of clarifying shampoo in her and take her in for a trim, she’ll be meaner than ever.

But let’s hear it for trying new things, even something as simple as a braid! Follow a tutorial, or just make it up as you go along – if it doesn’t work, no biggie. Don’t be afraid to refresh your hair/makeup/clothing routine once in a while.

Test Kitchen: Sephora Hand & Lip Masks

What’s cooking, good looking? I saw these new masks at Sephora and couldn’t resist, because Sephora knows the way to my heart and wallet. The lip mask ($3) is available in Rose and Shea Butter, I went with rose (obvi). And the hand mask ($6) is available in Argan, Aloe, and Avocado. I went with aloe, because I’m an idiot and didn’t notice avocado was an option until just now. So let’s open  up the Fleek Week Test Kitchen and see what we’ve got, shall we?

 

Lip Mask – $3

Hand Mask – $6

 

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Above is my before lip pic, no major chapping or dryness, just kind of lackluster.

Total disclosure, I got confused and almost applied the paper cover instead of the actual mask. But I figured it out, the mask was tucked between two sheets of paper. I was afraid of a weird smell or taste, but it was totally fine. The roughest part is having to shut up while you leave it on for 15 minutes.

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The hand masks come labeled separately and are much neater than I expected. There are two layers of glove, so the gel doesn’t spill out and your hands stay nice and clean/dry while you have them on.

I happily discovered that you can still use your phone/touch screen while wearing the gloves. So that made my silent 15 minutes go by that much faster.

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There was even enough time to do some interpretive dance and mime.

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… Fast forward 15 minutes and I removed the gloves, like with regular sheet masks, rubbed in the leftover product. My hands definitely felt much softer and more moisturized. Some of that smoothness wore off as I went about my day and washed my hands, but the did stay noticeably softer even with the day’s wear.

It’s a little hard to notice in the photo, but my lips were also softer and not as dry.

Here I am, wondering when Sephora will come up with a full body mask suit.

Viva México! 


Yesterday was Cindo de Mayo, but we’re still in full celebration of México mode here at Fleek Week headquarters. We just want to share some of our favorite inspirations from the world art, beauty, food, and culture from Mexico.


Frida Kahlo

Going beyond the strong brow game, Frida is a vision of color and a celebration of individuality. She was girl power before there was girl power! An artist in her own right, she remains an inspiration to this day. When you feel like coloring outside the lines (in terms of life, fashion, art, etc.) channel your inner Frida and let your beautiful freak flag fly.


Tostilocos

This is nacho basic Mexican snack. (I couldn’t resist) You may not be as familiar with this snack as other treats from Mexico, but tostilocos are amazing. They come to us from the imaginative mind of street vendors and are tortilla or corn chips on Mexican steroids. You take your plain old chips and add: cueritos (pickled pig rinds), cucumbers, jicama, Japanese peanuts, lime juice, Valentina hot sauce, Chamoy, and Tajín chile powder. Mix in as much of each ingredient as you can handle and enjoy.


Dia de los Muertos

Day of the dead imagery is really popular, pretty much everyone is familiar with the colorful sugar skulls that symbolize the holiday. Dia de los muertos begins on October 31st and ends on November 2nd, and it’s not “Mexican Halloween”. Yes, there are costumes, skeletons, and graveyards, but it’s a celebration of loved ones who have passed away. Friends and family build altars (ofrendas) filled with sugar skulls, marigolds, photos, and the favorite food of loved ones. It’s a holiday that expresses the unique outlook on death of the Mexican culture.


Color

Colorful food, clothes, personalities… even as a sullen goth teen in black, I couldn’t deny my love for the vibrant color that permeates Mexican culture. You see it everywhere – art, beauty products, clothing, home decor, food, etc.

There’s so much beauty and inspiration found in all cultures, thanks for indulging me in celebrating mine this week, Fleekers.

Lipstick Marathon: Jeffree Star Liquid Lipstick

 

This past week Jeffree Star made some lipstick waves after he publicly called out Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kit brushes as being “unacceptable” (something I actually heard/read about from a few other sources as well). Jeffree Star should know what he’s talking about, having his own popular line of lipsticks. So I thought, let’s have some fun and put his to the test.

Right off the bat, I have to admit my bias for Jeffree Star’s lipsticks ($18). The names alone are enough to win anyone over: Redrum, Drug Lord, Dirty Money, and Masochist just to name a few. I mean…

 

I’m trying out Unicorn Blood, because of course I am.

With objectivity thrown out the window (my research methods professors just died a little inside), I will be faithful in documenting how well the lipstick does all day WITHOUT REAPPLYING. Do you know how crazy that is for someone with lipstick OCD?!

   Okay, taking some deep breaths and just going to dive in lips first.

This is immediately after applying at about 7:30 a.m., I did apply a lip primer, but other than that no extra tricks or wizardry. Please don’t judge my mustache, Frida Kahlo rocked it and so can I (and my waxing appointment isn’t until later this week).

 

I never thought Jeffree Star was throwing shade at Kylie, it seemed more like a legitimate “WTF, girl?” critique about the quality of the product she’s putting out there. Point to Jeffree, because his brush is one of the best I’ve ever tried. It’s not a brush, but rather a soft plush applicator, which makes more sense for a liquid lipstick. Those stray brush bristles are going to make application sloppy (in my opinion). It’s difficult to see in the photo above, but there’s also a slight curve to the applicator and that makes all the difference in the world. It let’s you apply the lipstick in one even swoop on your lips instead of dabbing or going back over it repeatedly.

  
Fast forward about an hour to 8:30, when I arrived early (aka on time) for work and decided to take more selfies because the lighting was so good. Lipstick still looks flawless, as not a crumb or drop of food or drink has made it past my lips.

 
At this point I realized I could use Snapchat to time stamp these photos so I can keep track of their order. By this time I’d chugged a protein shake and had a granola bar, which is basically like a candy bar but whatever.

Finally some signs of wear, after a string cheese snack, quite a few sips of water, and endless work phone calls. The area that seems to have taken the biggest hit is the inside bottom lip, but otherwise that lipstick is holding on like Wilson Phillips.

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Post lunch, my lipstick anxiety is setting in. I am desperate to reapply, but I’m holding out for 5pm. The lipstick actually looks okay, especially if I keep my mouth closed. But the fact that I can see it fading and bare lip in some areas is sending me into high blinkies overdrive.

 

Final check-in of the day, I’m excited to see the results but also dying to freshen it up – no matter what it looks like.

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I did it! Made it through the entire work day without reapplying! Color me impressed, Jeffree Star. I cannot believe this lipstick lasted an entire day, that has never happened, and I’ve been around the liquid lipstick block. The colors might be a little edgier than what you’d normally go for, but if you’re looking to add some razzle dazzle to your lipstick routine, these are in it for the long haul and are definitely worth the $18 price.

Kimmy & The Gang Are Baaaaack!

The wait is finally over, at loooooong last we finally have a new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! Let’s crack open a bottle of Pinot by Tituss and have a gif partaay!

All those months of uncertainty, when no one would confirm the date for season two, we tried to console ourselves as best we could.

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We distracted ourselves with travel and culture.

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We kept our eyes and ears open for any bit of information.

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We were at our wit’s end!

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Netflix finally announced that April 15th would be THE DAY…

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OUR TITUS IS BACK!

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Omg we missed you too, Lillian!

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If you need to reach us this weekend, we’ll be binge watching Kimmy & Co. and drinking ourselves into a pinot noir oblivion.

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Netflix and take a chill pill, we’ll see you next week!

Send Nudes… Lipsticks, Ya Pervs!

 

I saw this nude lip kit at Sephora earlier this month and knew I had to have it. I’d been wanting to try some nude shades but didn’t want to commit to buying a full size tube of anything too pricey, and this was perfect. I went back to pick it up and it was, of course, sold out. As luck would have it, I found it at a Sephora in Las Vegas just this past weekend. I snatched it up right away and knew I’d be sending Katy some nudes all weekend.

Nude lips can be a little tricky for some skin tones, as my gorgeous friend Marie put it:

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My skin is a medium olive-ish tone, and it always seems to be stuck somewhere in between all shades of makeup. I’m either the darkest end of light, or the lighter side of medium and it seems like the nude shades available are all made for fair/light skin. It makes it especially difficult when the shades are always shown on a model with fair skin (ahem, beauty industry, please take note). The color will look completely different on us olive and dark skinned ladies, and we’re left $20 poorer with a lipstick that will be tossed into the back of a make up organizer (or given to your mom).

Anyhoo, let’s see what Sephora’s nude kit has to offer, shall we?

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Bottom to top: Laura Mercier Milky Way, Marc Jacobs Prim(rose), Nars Dolce Vita, Nudestix Whisper, and Tarte Namaste.

Let me apologize now for the terrible bathroom lighting. My Vegas vacation left me with zero time to get proper photos in natural light and I didn’t want to filter these and misrepresent any of the colors. The florescent lights washed my skin tone out a bit, but the lipsticks all came across pretty accurately. But as you can see, some of the colors look much different from the swatches on my arm in the photo above.

 

This basically looked like lip gloss on me… very nice gloss, but nothing special. It’s a bit too shimmery for my taste but mom is going to love it.

 My favorite from the box! The Marc Jacobs pencil is creamy and can be worn alone, which I love. It’s a rosier nude, which looks much more flattering on my skin tone and would be the one item in the kit I’d buy in its full size.

 

I also liked Nars’ Dolce Vita, another slightly rosy nude shade. It’s very sheer with just a little shimmer and I’d rock this with a lip pencil or on a day when I wanted to skip bright or heavy lip color.

 

The worst, I’m actually laughing at how this made me look exactly like a toe with lashes. It just made my lips totally disappear and I can’t think of when I’d ever want that. However, its saving grace is that it’s a lip and cheek pencil. And as awful as it looked on my lips, it worked pretty well as cheek color.

I loooooove Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint, I’ve already bought two of the shades and matching pencils. I liked this shade, it would look cool with some retro 60s makeup. Mixed with a darker pencil, it could be something I’d wear day to day.

I picked two shades to try with a darker nude pencil, Smashbox Always Sharp lip pencil in Nude Medium. I wanted to try two different finishes (creamy and matte) with a pencil or another shade of lip color. On my top lip I have the Nars Dolce Vita, and on the bottom is Tarte Namaste. I think most nudes need a little customizing and look best blended with a pencil or another color.

If you’ve been wanting to experiment with nude lips, one of these kits is a good way to try a bunch of shades/brands/finishes. Team with with your BFF and share the cost, then have fun arm wrestling over who gets to keep which lipstick.

In Living Color: Paint a rainbow on your beautiful face

Color correction isn’t new, but it’s having quite the moment now. Sephora just came out with a new line called Bright Future that features color correctors and concealers ($14 each). There’s a whole world of color correcting products out there, at all kinds of price points. This is what Sephora has to offer, and that’s just a tiny slice of the color correcting world – Nyx has powders, creams, and liquids, Maybelline has the Cover Stick, and Ulta has its own palette too. But let’s focus on Sephora’s Bright Future for now…

 

I had a birthday gift card burning a hole in my pocket, and some annoying red spots that do not seem to be going away. It seemed the perfect opportunity to try this colorful magic. It might be a little overwhelming because there are seven color corrector options and 20 concealer colors to choose from. I knew I wanted to upgrade my concealer (I went for a bargain Nyx version that was like my concealer training wheels) and just focus on one or two color correctors.

Quick color lowdown – the correctors work by neutralizing the unwanted colors/tones on your face. Think back to art class when we learned about the color wheel, you’ll want to pick something on the opposite side of the wheel. If you want to zap out red, you’ll need to use its opposite, green.

Green – neutralizing redness

Purple – sallow/yellow undertones, dullness

Pink/Peach/Melon/Orange – brightens up tired skin for different skin tones

Yellow – neutralizes blue/purple from bruises or under eye circles

 

I’ve been struggling with some redness (stress loooooves to march itself across my face) so I grabbed the tube of green. And I’m forever obsessed with brightening, so I grabbed a tube of the pink as well.

 

The applicators are supposed to help you dispense just the right amount of product on your face. Just dip it into the tube, and dot it on the areas you’re working on. Then blend it in with a brush and/or a blending sponge. If your color issue is a larger area, you might want to go for the color primers/creams that are meant to be applied all over (Smashbox’s Photo Finish is outstanding).

I was a little too into it, so I totally forgot to take photos of the pink dots, but I applied it where I normally would have applied highlights (between the eyes into the forehead, brow bone, on the cheekbones, and right in the ol’ cupid’s bow.

I made sure to blend, blend, blend, then applied the Bright Future concealer in Eclair (#10), which is a spot-on match for my skin and makes me so happy I could cry. The color corrector and concealer did such an amazing job, I opted to go for a sheer coverage BB cream instead of medium/full coverage foundation. *gasp* I added some Laura Mercier finishing powder (my faaaaave), and I was all set!

 

I still see you there, pimple! But you’re much more low-key and don’t look caked in makeup. I asked my friend if she thought my makeup looked any different and she commented that I looked “glowier”. My face felt lighter without the heavier foundation, my red spots were in check, and my friend thought I was glowing. That’s good enough for me, I’m sold on color correcting. Even if it’s not something I need to do every day, knowing it’s a new skill in my bag of tricks makes me feel armed and ready to take on the world, one stress-induced break out at a time.