Clarisonic Reviews - Acne

For a quick review of what you really want to know:
Does it work? Yes
Does it irritate? No.
Is it better than other brushes and worth the extra money? Yes.
I love my Clarisonic! on to a more detailed review.

Clarisonic Exfoliation and Acne

I've always been a fan of exfoliation - scrubs, peels, etc. I love the clean feeling and smooth surface of my skin after a good scrub (even if it's just from my towel when I'm drying off). For most of my life, I have struggled with acne - which means that sometimes my skin thanks me for a good scrub and sometimes it screams at me as it gets inflamed. It's not easy to balance good exfoliation with low irritation, but Clarisonic does it perfectly!

I'll admit, when you're used to a more aggressive scrub, the first couple of uses of the Clarisonic can feel like it's not quite doing the job. Give it a few times, however, and you'll be feeling like someone just did a buff 'n shine on your face.

After using the Clarisonic Cleansing System for a while, here are some things I noticed:

  • Smoother skin
  • Smaller pores
  • Less redness and irritation
  • Skin tightening
  • Healthier glow
  • Less breakouts of acne

Clarisonic vs. Olay Pro-X Cleansing Brush

Before I invested in my Clarisonic, I wanted to be sure that I would actually use the brush every day and not quickly give up the ritual to skip back to my previous exfoliation methods. So, I started with a much cheaper, simple electronic Olay Pro-X Cleansing Brush. I stayed dedicated to using it, and it worked fine, but I wasn't getting the same results that everyone who used a Clarisonic swore to. Deciding that I would stay consistent, and very interested in achieving the results others talked about, I invested in the Clarisonic.

First, I must tell you that they are truly two different products. Though the Olay Pro-X Cleansing Brush works well for basic exfoliation, the Clarisonic Cleansing System uses ultrasonic cleansing (like the Sonicare toothbrush used for deep cleaning your teeth), which utilizes sound vibration to gently and deeply clean pores. Sonication (the mechanism used in ultrasonic cleansing) is used for delicate processes like cleaning jewelry and extracting microfossils from rock (which obviously requires thorough yet gentle care). As this method is obviously prized for it's ability to deeply clean while remaining gentle, it makes perfect sense to apply its uses to skin care. So, where the ultrasonic cleansing of the Clarisonic gently oscillates at 300 times per second, the Olay Pro-X simply spins the brush in a circle (which wears out the brush quickly and can cause irritation).

Clarisonic Video: How It Works

Here's a video with a lot of great information about how it works, how to use it, and some medical opinions about it. The video is a bit older and doesn't show the more convenient and updated Clarisonic models available, but the overall information is the same, and it's the most thorough video that I've found.

  • Men interested in how it helps prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs, check the video out at 2:29.
  • To understand the specifics of ultrasonic cleansing, check the video out at 2:52.

Clarisonic for Skin Tightening

Ultrasonic devices are also used for skin tightening (we'll explore this in another post). Though I'm sure its not as drastic as what I would see from a unit specifically designed for skin tightening, I have personally seen my skin getting tighter just from using my Clarisonic.

Where Can I Buy a Clarisonic?

Amazon is a great place to get both the newest and past Clarisonic models. Check these out!

What About You?

Have you had any experience with the Clarisonic or similar products? Did you think it was worth it?

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How To Do Skin Treatments with Banana Peel

Banana peels can be used form many different types of skin treatments:

  • Acne
  • Rashes
  • Age spots
  • Psoriasis
  • Bug bites
  • Bee stings

I was recently in a foreign country when I got a skin rash. None of the classic western medicines were available to me. The few skin creams that I was able to get to soothe the itchy, irritated skin didn't help at all. Desperate for relief, I started looking online for a natural remedy - something that I could buy at a local grocery store. That's when I came across different uses for banana peels as a skin treatment. I used it and it became my lifeline. It was amazing how quickly and effectively it worked. Here's how to do it.

How To Use Banana Peel For Skin Treatment

  1. Peel the banana (Plantains can also work).
  2. Place the inside of the banana peel against the affected area of your skin (as if your skin were the fruit).
  3. Either leave in place, or gently rub depending on the area needing to be covered.
  4. Leave on for as long as you can stand it (at least 20 minutes).
  5. Rinse with cold water.

As my rash covered a large area of skin, I rubbed the banana peel on my skin. It leaves a bit of a residue on the skin, but this is really helpful. I found that as long as the residue was there, the itching wasn't. For the worst areas, I wrapped the used banana peel and left it against the skin. A lovely side benefit - my skin was really soft after using the banana peel.

Tips for using Banana Peels on Skin

  • Use organic bananas as commercial varieties are grown with a lot of chemicals.
  • Always test the banana peel on a small portion of the skin or rash. Everyone's skin is different and rashes can react differently.
  • When I used the banana peel on my face, it became flushed. It didn't irritate the skin; it just brought a lot of blood flow to the area. I was a little concerned at first, but it worked wonderfully there as well.
  • When using on a bite or bee sting, you can simply cut a small portion of the peel and bandage it onto the bite or bee sting and leave it in place.
  • It can be left on overnight (once you have tested it on the skin and resulted in no irritation).

Personal Experiences with Natural Treatments?

Well, I've shared my sanity saving experience with the benefits of banana peels on a skin rash. Have any of you used banana peels for a skin treatment? What about other natural remedies that you could share with us?

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St. Patrick's Day - Wear The Green

Whether you’re representing the Irish, celebrating Ireland’s conversion to Christianity via St. Patrick, or simply avoiding getting pinched, there are several ways to “Wear The Green” on St. Patrick’s Day.

Still, there is more in traditions than just wearing green. In 1681, an English traveler by the name of Thomas Dinely noted a seires of St. Patrick's Day practices:

“the Irish wore Celtic crosses, had green ribbon in their hats, pinned shamrock to their clothes” Tomas Dineley, 1681

Let me introduce you to the many ways you can represent Ireland and celebrate all that St. Patrick's Day represents.

Many Ways To "Wear The Green"

Wearing The Shamrock

Felt shamrock for bootsThe shamrock is iconic for Ireland. Many associate it with the “Luck of the Irish”, but it is said to have been used to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

“In his teachings, St Patrick commonly referred to the Holy Trinity, and it is claim that he used the humble shamrock, a plant that had always grown freely across Ireland, to illustrate the symmetry of the Trinity.” The Wearing of the Green: A History of St Patrick's Day
“[Shamrock] is worn by people in their hats on the 17th day of March yearly, which is called St. Patrick's Day, it being a current tradition that, by this three-leaved grass, he emblematically set forth to them the mystery of the Holy Trinity.” Caleb Threlkeld, 1727

'Wetting' or 'Drowning' of the Shamrock

Wetting the shamrockOne interesting tradition involving the shamrock is the wetting of the shamrock.

"At the close of the festive day, the piece of shamrock, which had resided opon the wearer's clothing, was placed in the bottom of a glass or cup, then covered with punch, whiskey, or any other available alcohol. The Wearing of the Green: A History of St Patrick's Day

I'm sure it doesn't go without notice that there is often a lot of drinking involved with the revelry of the St Patrick's Day feast. This is, in large part, due to St. Patrick's Day falling within Lent (the Lenton abstinence period where Catholics are to refrain from such things). This "blessed" feast allows a one day reprieve from Lent, and thereby...a lot of indulgence.

For those looking to "wear the green" by wearing a shamrock, here are some great options that will survive through multiple celebrations...whether you choose to follow the "wetting of the shamrock" or not. (Click on the images below to view or purchase these products via Amazon.)

The Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross is an iconic symbol of St. Patrick's Day. It is a cross with a circle that is often accompanied with the celtic knot or the trinity symbol.

“It is believed that St. Patrick combined the symbol of Christianity with the sun cross, to give pagan followers an idea of the importance of the cross by linking it with the idea of the life-giving properties of the sun.” Irish Blessings. (2014). The legend of the Celtic cross
"It has often been claimed that Patrick combined the symbol of Christianity with the sun cross...placing the cross on top of the circle represents Christ's supremacy over the pagan sun." Wikipedia - The Celtic Cross

(Click on the images below to view or purchase these products via Amazon.)

St. Patrick's Day Hairstyles

Green Hair Chalk

One simple and fun way to "wear the green" is to put it in your hair...and we're not just talking ribbons here (though those are nice too). Why not try out some green hair chalk this year? There are several different types and shades available. One nice thing about hair chalk vs. sprays is that you can pick out some individual strands and mix up the look. I especially like this when working with curls! Coloring individual curls makes it "pop" without looking like stripes. This also works if you're doing any sort of updo or partial updo...which brings us to some fun tutorials for St. Patrick's Day Updos!

3 Ways to Wear a Celtic Knot

This is a great step-by-step tutorial with close ups of how to create the Celtic knot hairstyle three different ways. There's the Celtic knot half updo, the double Celtic knot, and the side Celtic knot. This gives you a good foundation to come up with your own creations as well.

How to: Celtic Knot Half Updo and Ponytail!

I love the Celtic knot ponytail - it's such a clasy, finished look. Though the video above gives slower step-by-step instructions, this tutorial shows how to do the hairstyle on yourself, using a Bobby pin to hold the loop.

3 Leaf Clover: Shamrock Hairstyle Tutorial

This video shows you how to do a shamrock hairstyle. With a few twists and hair ties, you can create your own St. Patrick's Day Shamrock updo. Add a little green and gold ribbon to finish off the look. You can also braid the three areas instead of twisting them, as that might be easier when working with only two hands.

St. Patrick's Day Green Eyeshadow Tutorials

It's always fun to have an excuse for a little more drama around the eyes and what better time to try out different styles and shades of green!

Smokey Emerald Green Eye Makeup Tutorial

As the name suggests, this is a darker, smokey look with some glittering feel to it. I like this one better for evening, but with the right outfit, you could definitely rock it in the daytime.

St. Patrick's Day Nails

How To Do Water Marble Nails

This is a super simple tutorial that shows how easy it is to do water marble nail designs. She doesn't have any special nail tools. All you will need is the following:

  • Masking tape (or almost any tape will do)
  • Q-tips
  • Toothpick
  • Water (room temperature)
  • Set of nail polish colors you desire to use (at least 2 different colors)
  • Clear coat nail polish to finish.

DIY Nail Tools

How To Add Dots To Nails

Next, you can add the dots in any design you like. As each nail will turn out a little differently from the water marbling, you can perfect the look on each nail. See the image below and how the dotting on each nail was different according to what was needed to give a finished look to the marbling.

Though there professional tools available, you also have simple tools sitting around the house that can be used for various sizes of dots:

  • Toothpick
  • Ball point pen
  • Push pin
  • Bobby pin
  • Eraser

*NOTE - If you don't wait for the water marble nail polish to completely dry, then the dots will pick up some of their pigment. This can be a great effect or a disaster, depending on your goal. Experiment and have fun!

Before and After: Nail Dotting and Water Marble

Quick Clothing Ideas for St. Patrick's Day

Though you can certainly go with the classic "Kiss Me I'm Irish" T-shirt...or it's counterpart "I'm not Irish - Kiss Me Anyway"...or even "Kiss Me I'm Pretending To Be Irish"...

...Some of you might be looking for something a little less direct. With that in mind, here are some great options:

  • Green Scarfs
  • Green Hats
  • Shamrock Laces
  • Shamrock Button Covers
  • (Click on the images below to view or purchase these products via Amazon.)

What About You?

How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Are there any traditions or history that you can share with us? Any special tips on more ways to wear the green? Tell us how you make it special!

Just For Fun!

Here's a fun selection of things from Amazon: shirts, scarfs, hats, funny sayings, history, Irish Pub cookbooks, jewelry, makeup and more! Have Fun!!

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Disney Hair: Love It or Hate It?

Disney's Rapunzel peekingI'm a Disney fan, a princess fan, and a happily-ever-after fan. I like the fairytale, even when it's unrealistic. I like the dream, the idea, and even the possibility. Now enter the Disney hair and I'm pretty much the same. I appreciate the beauty and dream of hair that is always perfectly styled - even when wet, when first getting out of bed, or in the middle of a windstorm. I also appreciate that some of those style are available to me...even if I can' wake up with them. Once in a while though, I enjoy seeing even a Disney princess having a bad hair day.

So, whether you love Disney hair and want to learn how to do it yourself, or you hate Disney hair and want to see those Disney princesses in the same agony of hair disasters that you face everyday - read on and be satisfied.

Love Disney Hair? - Learn How To Get It

Here are a few tutorials to get you started on how to do Disney Hairstyles.

How-To Do Anna's Coronation Hairstyle from Disney's Frozen

How-To Do Merida's Hairstyle from Disney's Brave

How-To Do Jasmine's Hairstyle from Disney's Aladin

How-To Do Belle's Coronation Hairstyle from Disney's Beauty and the Beast

How-To Do Elsa's Braided Hairstyle from Disney's Frozen

Caution: Bad Hair Day sign

Hate Disney Hair? - It's Time For A Bad Hair Day

A big shout out to Loryn Brantz of BuzzFeed for giving our Disney princesses real hair - wet, tangled, frizzy, bed-head and more. See Ariel's "before-and-after" photo below, as well as a few takes of her friends. To see all of the princesses with real hair problems, check out If Disney Princesses Had Realistic Hair.

Disney's Ariel with real person wet, platered hair. She's on the rock with water splashing Disney's Ariel - on the rock with water splashing - normal Disney hair

Disney Princesses with real hair problems, like static, bed head and more

What About You?

Do you love or hate Disney hair? If you love it, what's your favorite style? Do you have a tutorial to share with us or one to request? If you hate it, do you have any other great "Disney realistic makeovers" to share with us? Keep it coming!

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Korean Beauty Perspective

I like the balanced perspective concerning beauty in South Korea.

Balanced Perspective? Are You Serious?!?

I know that saying "I like the balanced perspective concerning beauty in South Korea" may seem like a ridiculous statement to some. South Korea is in fact known for an over-the-top concentration on beauty with multiple plastic surgery procedures and makeup techniques employed to achieve the perfect look. The balance I refer to isn't in their standard of beauty itself, but rather their realistic appreciation for what it takes to achieve the beauty they so value. Allow me to explain.

American Perspective of Beauty

In America so many men want women to be beautiful, but when they find out that it took a woman two hours to get ready, they think it’s ridiculous. They want a certain look and shape, but when they find out that someone went through surgery to achieve it, they look down on her. They want beauty, but they place more value on those who are simply born with it vs. those who work to achieve it. Someone going through pain and effort to achieve beauty is somehow looked down upon, while the people who did nothing to earn it are vaunted.

Korean Perspective of Beauty

In South Korea, men value that women spend time on their appearance. They don’t look down on it. Korean men are more realistic about valuing not only the beauty, but also what it takes to achieve it. They are complimented by the time that a woman puts in to looking good, and they also put time into their own appearance. Beauty isn't as one-sided in Korea as it is in so many Western countries. Korean men spend a great deal of time, money and energy into their own appearances, and not just for a hair cut and a nice outfit. 

"[South] Korea is the world's largest men's skin care market...growing at more than 20% a year". Total Beauty via Euromonitor International, 2012
"Growth is being driven by such factors as...rapidly growing men's cosmetics sector." Barker via Korean Chamber of Commerce [KCCI], 2013

In the CNN article, "Welcome to the plastic surgery capital of the world", Violet Kim explores the world of beauty and plastic surgery in South Korea. During this time, she speaks with a couple of plastic surgeons, including Dr. Kwon Seung-taik. He shed some light on the Korean attitude toward beauty that I really appreciate.

"Koreans have a special attitude toward beauty. To Koreans, beauty is something that is attainable through hard work -- just like anything else...According to Kwon, Koreans have less respect for inherited beauty. They see beauty not as something to be envied, but something to be attained. "It's kind of like an ‘if you’re pretty, I can be pretty too!' attitude," he says." Violet Kim's CNN interview with South Korean Dr. Kwom Seung-taik, 2012

The Perspective I Appreciate

So, when I say that "I like the balanced perspective concerning beauty in South Korea", I'm not referring to whether one should have such standards of beauty (I will always view that as a personal decision for each individual). I am, however, referring to the fact that if one does have a high standard of beauty, they should have an equally high appreciation of what it takes to achieve that standard. I also appreciate the perspective given by Dr. Kwon,

"beauty is something that is attainable through hard work -- just like anything else...[it's] not something to be envied, but something to be attained."

One isn't born educated, successful, knowing how to play an instrument or even how to deal socially with people. If you find those things desirable, however, you can work hard to achieve them. Beauty can be the same thing, if it's important to you.

What About You?

Share with us and let's all learn from one another.

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How To Do Eyelash Tinting At Home

Using an Eyelash Dye Kit

My first experience with an eyelash dye kit was when I was a pre-teen and my mom was using it. She dyed my eyelashes for me and I was in love with the results! My eyelashes tend to bleach in the sun, causing them to look short and sparse. Eyelash tinting helped my lashes look naturally dark, which also made them look longer and thicker than my naturally bleached out version allowed.

As an adult, I went in search for my own eyelash tinting kit, and though there are now quite a few different varieties on the market, I was delighted to find the same tried and true Roux Lash and Brow Tint that my mom had been using for years. I'll give you some links to other varieties, but the following are details, instructions and tips for DIY eyelash tinting using the Roux Lash and Brow Tint. (Many tips and instructions work for other brands as well.)

Eyelash Tint Kit Includes:Roux At Home Eyelash Tinting Kit

  • Eyelash Tinting Primer
  • Eyelash Tinting Dye
  • Eyelash Tint Remover (to remove any accidental dye from skin)
  • Skin Guards (to protect skin under they eye from being tinted)
  • Wooden sticks for application

Additional Recommended Purchases:

  • Plastic gloves or finger covers (to prevent dye on fingers)
  • Vaseline, cocoa butter, or some other non-irritating but sticky like substance to place between skin and skin guard so that it will stick.
  • Cotton to place on wooden sticks for application

How To Do Eyelash Tinting: Steps

  1. Wrap some cotton on the wooden sticks for application. These are better than Q-Tips, as they are smaller and more precise - especially if doing lower lashes.
  2. Place Vaseline, Cocoa Butter, or similar product under eye. Be careful not to get it on your lashes.
  3. Secure skin guards under eye by gently pressing it against the Vaseline or cocoa butter. If using, put on plastic gloves or finger guards.
  4. Using the cotton covered wooden applicator, apply eyelash tint primer on all lashes you desire to tint. Be careful not to get it on your skin or in your eye.
  5. Let dry.
  6. For best results, apply a second layer of eyelash tint primer. Let dry.
  7. If you got any eyelash tint primer on your skin, you may apply eyelash tint remover, using a new applicator. Be careful not to touch lashes with it, as it will remove the primer from them as well. Do not get into your eye.
  8. Using a new applicator, apply eyelash tint dye on all lashes you desire to tint. Be careful not to get it on your skin or in your eye. (Note: The eyelash tint dye will appear clear, until it mixes with the eyelash tint primer. When it touches the lashes where the primer has been applied, it will turn black or brown, depending on the color you purchased.)
  9. If any dye is found on your skin, apply eyelash tint remover, using a new applicator. Be careful not to touch lashes with it, as it will remove dye from them as well. Do not get into your eye.
  10. Let eyelash tint dye dry completely. There is no need to apply a second coat, as the eyelash tint primer affects this more than the dye itself.
  11. After eyelash tint dye is completely dry, gently wash eye area. You may see some dye wash off. This is ok. You may use the eyelash tint remover on your skin, if necessary.
  12. Enjoy!

Tips for DIY Eyelash Tinting

  • Don't perform it right before going out. They eye area can sometimes be a little red from the irritation of continued washing. It's not dangerous; just think of how you usually look right after taking your eye makeup off. Let your skin calm a bit before applying makeup.
  • Sometimes you may wake up the next morning and have eye goopies that look like you got a bit of mascara in your eye. Don't worry; this is just the natural cleansing of anything you may have gotten in your eye. Just wipe them out like normal and move on.
  • I sometimes apply a little cocoa butter to the top eyelid as well, near the lashes but not touching. This helps prevent dying my skin if I get clumsy.
  • Always use new applicators for each part of the process.
  • Always allow each layer to dry completely before moving on to the next step. I have sometime rushed this and it simply means that my lashes don't get as dark.
  • If you want darker lashes, it is absolutely worth the second coat of eyelash tint primer, but only if the first coat is completely dry first.

What About You?

Have you ever done eyelash tinting at home? Have you tried eyebrows? What product did you use? Were you satisfied? Any additional tips you can share with us?

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Professional vs. At Home Beauty Treatments

Which Should You Choose?

When comparing professional treatments to at home beauty treatments, you can't help but notice that the cost of just one professional treatment could often buy you those at-home beauty products you've been checking out. Here are some things to consider before you dive in either way.

Professional Beauty Treatments

When it comes to professional treatments of things that are also available for home use, I always have the same advice:

"If you’re not confident about the method or the value of a specific product or procedure, simply try a professional treatment first, to see how it’s done."

If you do try a professional treatment first, you'll usually find one of the following things:

  • It's easier than you thought, and you're thrilled to be able to do it at home whenever you want, and for much cheaper.
  • It's harder than you thought, and you're glad you found this out before investing in a do-it-yourself, at-home unit or product you will never use.
  • You're confident you can now do it at home because you watched a professional do it and now you're not afraid of doing it wrong.
  • You find out that the product or procedure are not for you (it didn't work, caused irritation, or isn't worth the time and/or money, etc.), and you saved yourself the investment in a do-it-yourself, at-home unit or product you will never use.

No matter which of these you discover, it can be worth trying a professional treatment as a sample before investing in a do-it-yourself, at-home unit or product.

At Home Beauty Treatments

Personally, I love the convenience and cost-effectiveness of at-home beauty treatments. The more I've done, the more confident I've become in knowing what I'm capable of and what I'd really use. This has come based on experience with both professional and at home treatments. As you get more experience, things will become less scary and daunting. Don't forget, we also have the forums where you can discuss things with people who have done whatever beauty treatment or product you're considering - so ask away.

Consider at home beauty treatments when:

  • The cost of one professional treatment is not much less than buying the at-home unit/product, which can be used for several treatments.
  • There's little to no risk involved (other than a possible mess or mild skin irritation).
  • The at-home unit or treatment is so inexpensive and proven that there's virtually no risk involved. It's really just about which method you prefer.

My Experiences

Things like teeth whitening, dermabrasion, and tinting eyelashes are all simple things that I don't even bat an eyelash at. I view them more like an extra long toothpaste, deeper scrub and messier mascara. I've upgraded to laser hair removal, micro-needling, and chemical peels all at-home now, but I had tried professional treatments for most of these first. Once I saw how easy it was, and knew what kind of skin irritation was normal, I was not afraid to do-it-myself.

When trying a new beauty treatment for the first time, I like to know what to expect. Sometimes that's as easy as a little research or a conversation with someone who's done it before (forums are great for this). If that's not enough to make me comfortable doing a treatment at home then I'll try a professional treatment first. There's a real assurance when a professional, who does this everyday, tells me that what I'm experiencing is normal. Then, I'm ready to put on my DIY gloves and get to work on that beauty treatment at home.

What About You?

What are your favorite DIY / at home beauty treatments? What would you be too afraid to do yourself? Share your stories with us!

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Happy Girls Are The Prettiest

Wouldn't You Agree?

There's something special about a smile that can't be contained. It lights up more than the face and it carries farther than to those who first witness it. Happy girls truly are the prettiest, because somehow, they make you want to be happy too.

What About You?

Do you remember a time when your happiness what your best feature? When you didn't feel like you looked your best, but somehow others around you thought you looked beautiful because they could see your joy and it was lovelier than any makeup you could ever put on? Have you seen this in someone else? Share with us your story.

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