Perfecting Primers to Make Your Pores Perfect?

Winter is brutal on my skin.  I have very dry skin and in the winter it becomes a disaster!  I have tried everything from Aveeno Eczema to Johnson’s Baby Lotion to fix the disaster that is my skin.  The major downside to winter skin is my pores are much more noticeable.  Ugly skin if awful y’all.  Awful!  I put three “pore minimizing” primers to the test hoping they could help my dry skin with huge pore issues.

For this round of testing I grabbed “prestige” brand pore minimizing primers and gave them each at least a three day trial run.   The three are: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing, Benefit Professional Face Primer and Makeup Forever Skin Equalizer Primer – Smoothing.   Good luck remember the names of those three… they’re all super long and wordy!

Perfecting Primer Review

Makeup Forever Skin Equalizer Primer – Smoothing:
Best smelling!  Matte finish for the oily skin ladies!

MUFE was my first prestige cosmetic brand love affair.  I fell in love with their original formula HD Foundation in the mid 2000’s.  Despite their foundation issue, I have faith in their brand which made me very hopeful this primer would be my new ride or die for smoothing/pore perfecting.  The first thing that stood out from the other two primers was the scent.  This one has a very citrus scent.  It reminded me slightly of Pledge or another cleaning product.  Thankfully once you apply it and it dries the scent disappears.  If I had oily skin I believe this would have been my go-to pore primer but I don’t.  I have very dry skin.  The mattifying effect it had on my skin made every line and dry skin flake much more noticeable.  I would strongly suggest thing one to someone like Autumn who has oily skin, but this leathery skinned gal is going to pass on using it unless I miraculously wake up tomorrow with brand new skin!

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing:
Meh, buy the original!

My ride or die “regular” primer is Smashbox Photo Finish primer.  I love their original formula so much that I really convinced myself this would be the winner of these three primers.  I wanted it so badly to be the winner.  It disappointed me.  I have used this primer daily for almost a month because I purchased the travel size which is larger than the other “deluxe samples” I used.  In my heart I truly believe if I kept using it we’d fall in love with one another.  I do not hate this one.  It doesn’t make my skin look horrible but it also doesn’t improve the texture like advertised.  I don’t notice my makeup looking better or it lasting longer as I do when I use the original formula.  Overall, I would skip this one and purchase the original if you’re wanting a truly superior formula.

Benefit Porefessional Face Primer:
Ride or die pore minimizing primer.  You MUST own!

Let’s chat about my ride or die.  The one I always grab off the shelf when my skin isn’t as smooth and beautiful as I wish it would be.  My true love that I really thought might let me down against the other two but proved it’s my pore prime soul mate… Benefit’s Porefessional Primer.  I adore this primer.  It’s my go to if I don’t grab Smashbox Photo Finish (the original; not the pore smoothing!)  This seems to be the only one I tried that doesn’t make my skin very matte.  They do make a matte version for everyone with oily skin.  My skin continues to feel moisturized vs moisture zapped.  It also does a fantastic job of filling in  my pores and toning down the leather situation I have going on.  If you’re new to primers or don’t like the silicone fill of many makeup primers this is your holy grail!  I cannot praise it any more.  Benefit produces a fabulous product.

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I Washed My Hair 4 Times In An Entire Month | How To

Autumn here and I’m getting 100% real here with you guys today. I HATE washing my hair. In the words of Mr. Grinch, “Hate hate hate, double hate, loathe entirely.” It really is that bad y’all! I used to be an avid washer. I washed, dried and either straightened or curled daily. Despite using product to protect my hair, I still had TONS of damage and split ends. My hair was also extremely oily if I skipped a day of washing!

About a year ago I discovered dry shampoo and my world was forever changed. I’ll admit, I was extremely skeptical. There was NO way I could go without washing my hair. I decided to give it a go and see what would happen. I washed my hair on a Monday and Tuesday morning threw my hair up in a bun while I showered. Got out of the shower, sprayed my hair with some dry shampoo, styled and went about my day. By Tuesday evening my hair was a greasy mess. I decided to go ahead and try to alternate washes every other day. After a very LONG few weeks, I noticed my hair was less greasy by the evening of day 2!

Fast forward to a year later and I am only washing my hair once a week! I get asked about my hair ALL the time so I thought I would share some tips I have learned along the way when it comes to using dry shampoo.

1. Use dry shampoo before bed!
If you only take one thing away from this blog, it’s this!! Using your dry shampoo before bed really does make all the difference. I used to use dry shampoo in the mornings while I was getting ready. My hair would look pretty dull throughout the day. When I started using dry shampoo at night I noticed my hair was MUCH shinier and softer in the mornings. The dry shampoo will absorb all of the oils as you sleep so when you wake up, you’re ready to go!

2. Don’t be afraid to try a different brand!
I see so many people who only try one brand of dry shampoo and quit because they felt it didn’t work. I have used 5 different brands over the past year and the last brand that I tried has been my favorite. I’ve tried everything from high end dry shampoos at Sephora to drugstore dry shampoos. Some of them were terrible, some have been great. My personal favorite right now is Batiste! I can find it at Wal-Mart and it’s under $10!!

3. Spray, rub and then brush!!!
When using dry shampoo, spray the product onto your roots, rub it in and then brush it through your hair! I have pretty dark hair and with this method I don’t have issues with the dry shampoo leaving a white residue on my head. Also, brushing the dry shampoo last helps distribute the oils it absorbed from your scalp down to the ends of your hair!

4. Give your scalp time to adjust!
Every time I post about not washing my hair for a week I hear the same thing… “I could never do it. My hair is so greasy I have to wash every day!” Let me tell you, my hair used to be oily and flat. I washed it every single day, sometimes twice a day if I was going out at night. I understand your struggle greasy haired girls!!!

It took my scalp a few months to completely adjust but it did adjust. Your scalp produces oil on a supply and demand basis. If you’re constantly washing your hair and stripping your scalp of those natural oils it produces, what will happen? Your scalp will produce more oils because it thinks you need more. You have to train your scalp by slowly increasing the days between washing.

In the beginning, there were many days I wore a hat or my hair up because there was so much oil! For two weeks I washed every other day, weeks three and four I washed every three days, weeks four and five I washed every four days. I would use dry shampoo on the nights I didn’t wash. Now my scalp has adjusted and I wash every 7 days and usually only have to use dry shampoo once or twice in between.

You have to give your scalp time to adjust, it won’t happen overnight. It’s a process that can take months!
I get asked a lot what my favorite dry shampoo is and I have to say Batiste! I’ve tried everything from high end to low end and the Batiste is my favorite. It smells great, works well and is only around $7 at Walmart! You can find it at pharmacies and also Ulta!

Dry shampoo has made life so much easier for me. I have extra time in the mornings (ie. more sleep) and my hair looks so much better! Since I’m not washing and drying every single day, my hair is shinier and has tons of volume. I also have less split ends and my hair is healthier in general! I will sing the praises of dry shampoo from the rooftops!!

Here are days 2-7!

dry hair tutorial

dry hair tutorial

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Play! by Sephora | October 2016 Box Review

I’m not going to lie to you, I have been waiting on this box to arrive for almost a year.  I (Kelly) am a subscription box addict and also their biggest critic.  I signed up for Birchbox back in 2011/12ish when subscription boxes were becoming all the rage.  I then bounced back and forth between Ipsy & Birchbox.  Both boxes disappointed me because they weren’t fulfilling my needs.  I didn’t want to receive drugstore products in my box.  I could buy those as Ulta or CVS for $6 if I wanted to try them.  I wanted to receive the products that I would never try unless I had a chance to sample them prior to dropping $40+.  I wanted my prestige brands!

When Sephora announced their new Play! boxes I was immediately in lust.  Sadly they were limited to larger cities and I live in small city.  I waited… and waited… and waited some more until finally the email arrived (almost a year later!) that I was chosen!  It was my turn!!!

My first box arrived and it was fabulous!


Play! by Sephora is a monthly subscription box featuring deluxe sample sized products.  The box costs $10 a month and includes a handful of prestige brand cosmetic and beauty product samples.

Cost: $10 a month in the US

Shipping: Included in your monthly fee.

What’s Inside: The October box included an adorable satchel (is that what you’d call that?) that said: Lipstix & Chill.  Plus FIVE deluxe samples of prestige products.

play-by-sephora-october-2016

Flash Photo GlossThe Estee Edit:
I absolutely love a good lip gloss.  The shinier the better!  Estee Edit’s new Flash Photo Gloss does not disappoint!  This stuff is very shiny.  The product boasts that it has blue micro pearls which give your teeth a more white appearance.  I didn’t see a magical change in my teeth color when I put it on, but I also wasn’t on set with a professional camera and lighting.  That could definitely make a difference!  This gloss is very thick and tacky.  If you’re not a fan of sticky gloss I would definitely steer clear.  It’s not my favorite gloss in the world and I don’t think I would buy it again.  If you’re in front of the camera for a living this could be worth adding to your makeup collection!

Skin Dew Hydrating Essence Mist & Setting SprayFarmacy:
I’m not going to lie: I haven’t used this sample yet.  I absolutely love setting spray but I don’t use it enough to purchase full size bottles.  When I get my hands on a sample sized bottle I save it for my night time makeup or special events.  I did spray a bit on my face to smell/feel it and the first impression was fabulous.  I think Urban Decay Up All Night setting spray will always be my ride or die setting spray but if you are a fan of the Farmacy brand this one could be a great alternative.

Bamboo Creme Frappe Skin Reviving Fresh GelErborian:
Say that name three times fast.  Really, do it!  If you could do it then you’re better at speaking than I am because that’s one very long name.  When I received this sample Autumn instantly commented how much she loves this brand.  I cannot remember having ever used their products in the past but her positive input excited me.  This product does not disappoint!  It does exactly what it promises: moisturizes, absorbs quickly and has a light feel to it.  I really love this one enough that I have put it on my list of possible moisturizers to purchase in the future.

Side note on moisturizers: I have found that once you find what type of moisturizer works/you love that it makes your life much easier when hunting for the perfect moisturizer.  I love a glycerin based moisturizer.  Almost every moisturizer I try and instantly love has glycerin as one of its top 3 ingredients.  Alicia taught me to pay attention to the ingredients in the products you love/hate and beauty product shopping will become simple.

Always on Matte Liquid LipstickSmashbox:
I am not a fan of lipstick or anything matte.  I feel like most matte makeup makes me look more washed out and pale than I am but I didn’t hate this one!  The applicator has a little bowl built into it to ensure you receive the perfect application and it stays much better than most lipstick.  I still have to pile on some gloss to give it some shine.  Chances are pretty much zero that I would purchase a matte lipstick but if you love matte this is probably the best one I have tried recently.  Maybe someday I’ll grow up and learn to love lipstick, until then I’ll stick with my Nars gloss.

Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed OilChristophe Robin:
This stuff is amazing y’all!  I am on a quest to have healthy hair after a unfortunate event in July 2015 with my hair and a lot of bleach.  Recently I have been using Living Proof hair care and I decided to throw this little gem into the mix.  Every time I use this on my hair it smells amazing throughout the day, it styles better and looks healthier.  The price makes me want to cry a bit but I may actually purchase a full size of this item if I keep loving it as much as I do right now.

Mon ParisYves Saint Laurent:
I am without a doubt the worst person to ask for perfume recommendations.  My nose couldn’t decipher between apple and strawberry scents if it had to and my idea of whether a perfume is good is if I like how it smells.  I don’t hate this one which is a huge plus.  I tend to hate most perfume.  I wore it for a day and the scent stayed with me.  I will most likely use the rest of the sample and move on.  It has a bit of a musk scent to it and I’m a fan of light and airy fragrances.  I give it a A+ for staying power.  If only I loved the scent a but more.

Review:  I’m pretty sure you’ve already gathered that I absolutely loved this box.  It is by far the best box I’ve received from a subscription box service thus far.  The products are all items that I will definitely give the samples a try!  There was nothing in the box that I immediately re-gifted to another of the mom’s to try which usually happens with my subscription boxes.  This is a definite win for me!

Box Value: Approximately $44!  It’s a bit tricky on some of the products to figure out the retail value of them but the value was enough that I felt it was $10 well spent.

Want to Try?  Due to high demand Play! is currently on a waitlist status.  Hop on over to get your name on the list.  It’s absolutely worth the wait!

Disclosure: The opinions expressed in this review are my own.  I do not receive compensation for reviews.  This post may contain external affiliate or review links.  Kelly paid for this subscription.

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Beauty Battle: Shampoo

Very few things bring out opinions like beauty products.  Women will battle until the end to prove that their favorite lipstick, mascara or foundation is the best.  Don’t believe me?  Ask your best friend what her favorite beauty product is and tell her you hate it!  She’ll give you the 90 reasons why you’re using it wrong, you need to try it again or you bought the wrong shade.  Devotion to beauty products is unwavering.  The ladies at HtKS have decided to battle it out for you!  We’ll share our favorite and least favorite items and if we have a difference of opinions on one we’ll battle it out.

 The Item: Shampoo Beauty Battle: Shampoo Generic Value

Autumn’s Pick: So I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t wash her hair. I wash once a week and use dry
shampoo in between! (I’ll be blogging about that next month so make sure to stay tuned!) I’ve always been a huge fan of Biolage Matrix shampoos and conditioners. I love the smell of them and love the way they make my hair feel but I DON’T love the price of them or how hard they are to find in my small town though. I have to drive at least 30 minutes to be able to purchase! By the time I spent money on gas and the shampoo, it just wasn’t worth it to me.

I was chatting with my hair stylist and she told me that Sally Beauty sells a generic version of Biolage Matrix shampoos (The brand is called Generic Value Products). What?!? I had to go check it out!! Sure enough, I found the generic version of my favorite Biolage shampoo (Ultra Hydrasource). The icing on the cake? It was only $7!!!

For $7 I could definitely give it a shot. I bought the Generic Value Products Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioning Balm and took them home to give them ago. You guys, I was SHOCKED! This stuff was exactly like my beloved Biolage!!! The GVP shampoo smelled the same, felt the same and lathered the exact same as the Biolage!! I started looking at the bottles and noticed on the back they have a comparison of the Generic Value Product Hydrating Shampoo and Matrix Biolage Ultra Hydrosource Shampoo. 99% of the ingredients are the same!!

I know some of you are probably thinking of the Suave version of Biolage that Walmart and drugstores sell. This is NOT the same stuff. The GVP products are have a much more creamy and thick consistency compared to the Suave version. If you’ve tried and love the Suave brand, give the GVP brand ago. You’ll be shocked at the difference!

If you love the Matrix Biolage shampoos, definitely give the Generic Value Products brand a try! You can use those savings to splurge on more GVP products. They make generic shampoos, conditioners and styling products for brands like It’s A 10, Kenra, Paul Mitchell!

Beauty Battle: Shampoo Living ProofKelly’s Pick: About a month ago I noticed that my hair was falling out in an alarming amount.  My doctor
immediately tested my thyroid and the results came back with no issues.  It seems my hair was just unhealthy and deciding to shed… a ton!  I had been kicking around the idea of trying out Living Proof‘s Perfect Hair Day (PHD) line after receiving a sample of their 5-in-1 styling treatment and loving it.  The hair loss pushed me to stock up on some Living Proof products to try.

Living Proof is all about using science to improve your hair.  They even provide you with a questionnaire based tool to determine which products best fit your need.  I settled on the Living Proof PHD shampoo.  The first week of use I didn’t love it.  It was just a shampoo to clean my hair.  The second week I noticed that my hair was shinier, in better shape and wasn’t shedding as badly.  I almost always purchase “salon quality” shampoo but typically it’s whatever is on the latest and greatest sale.  This is the first product I will spend full price purchasing because I love it.

The perk: A little goes a long way!  I have been using a 2 ounce sample for two weeks with a ton remaining.  I am using the entire Living Proof line – shampoo, conditioner, 5-in-1 styling treatment and nightcap treatment which could be contributing to the product’s success.

Try Living Proof today by saving $10 at Ulta using my referral link!

Jenn’s Pick:  When it comes to shampoo, if it’s on the shelf at Target I’ve probably tried it. Most leave my hair feeling dry, flat (thank you volumizing shampoo), and greasy. Since I’m still searching for that perfect shampoo/conditioner combo (or maybe because I like to try new products with pretty packaging), I change shampoos frequently. This week I’m using Pantene Pro-V Color Revival shampoo and conditioner. My thoughts? It’s just ok. It does the job without leaving my hair feeling too greasy, but I don’t feel like my hair color is being “revived” by any means. To get that added shine, I just resort to a coconut oil hair mask and it works every time.

Jenn’s Diss: The Not Your Mother’s Haircare Line’s Way to Grow Long & Strong Shampoo (wow, that’s a mouthful). Kelly recommended that I try this shampoo on one of our many Target trips, so I took the plunge. I tried this shampoo for a solid two weeks thinking the results would get better. Much to my disappointment, things only got worse. I can describe this shampoo with one word. Yikes.  Stringy and greasy hair for days, ya’ll. My recommendation? Just stay away.

beauty-battle-suave-shampooAlicia’s Pick: My favorite shampoo is a cheapy but a goody! Here is the details on my hair type and washing habits. I have wavy to curly thick but moderately fine hair. My scalp is on the dry side and I do tend to have some frizz.

I don’t color my hair often. I had balayage done about a 6 months ago and it is still going strong.  I also don’t wash often. One to two times a week max, but I use dry shampoo in between washes.

On to the good stuff! I love Suave Professionals Mint and Rosemary shampoo. It is a dup of Aveda Rosemary Mint and sells for $2.94 for 28 ounces at Walmart. The mint is so cooling on my scalp and the scent is not artificial smelling like a lot of hair products. It does the job and cleans my hair without leaving a residue or drying it out. It is a quality shampoo without the bells and whistles at an amazing price!

The Results: It doesn’t look like there’s a standout winner amongst us this time.  We each have our favorites however we definitely have a battle on whether Not Your Mother’s Hair is amazing or meh!  What say you internet?  Have you tried it?  Whose side are you on the love it (Kelly) or hate it (Jenn)?

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