All posts tagged “Beauty

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In November, I silently celebrated my 10th natural hair anniversary. It was silent because you didn’t know. I didn’t mention it because I was a little preoccupied giving birth… Damn, you guys demand so much from me.

Anyway, the decision to “go” or “return” natural was a combination of no longer feeling like commuting to New Orleans (approximately 3 hours) just for hair and nails, being unable to find a good local stylist, and I got tired of waiting long hours (anything longer than 2 hours is a job that I need to clock-in and get paid by the end of my shift/appointment); most importantly, I became “woke.”

You know, that stage where you “return” natural, denounce organized religion, date a Muslim (my ex was a Five-Percenter), become angry at the government, and a google-expert in black history and the African diaspora.

It was tough. I had no idea what I was doing, it wasn’t popular (I don’t think I was aware of YouTube at that time), I tried a host of products, big chopped twice, blew out my hair to eliminate shrinkage, suffered from heat damage twice, and was ready to shave my head. Then, Mom suggested Sisterlocks.

That was the most important sentence in this blog post. Why? Because she’s always asking why I don’t mention her so not only did I mention her, she’s in bold.

Anyway, her recommendation was 4 years ago and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (right above marrying Husband but below trying dark chocolate for the first time).

Although I’ve written extensively about Sisterlocks, let’s do a super brief summary *takes a deep breath* Yes, Sisterlocks are expensive, must be locked regularly (or you will damage your hair), requires no products, low day-to-day maintenance but results include super growth and hair envy.

Yeah, so you owe me a “Happy 10-Year Natural Hair Anniversary,” “Happy 4-Year Sisterlocks Anniversary,” and “yes, I am jealous of your hair.”

Read other posts about Sisterlocks, read and share my previous post: In Loving Memory of Breast Milk. Subscribe, like, and follow me @pinkgumbeaux.

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Nearly 2 years ago, I started a blog series entitled “Faux Product Reviews.” I’m always excited to try new products and have been reviewing products since my blog’s inception. In contrast, I recognize that my reviews may not always be my ministry. I often don’t read instructions or ingredients (because I like to live my life on the edge) and sometimes it takes a while to determine a product’s effectiveness. Some products I tell you about immediately, some I use for a few weeks and other times I link reviews for you (because I am such a good noodle). As a result, I kept it real with you because while it’s somewhat informative, I don’t have all the answers *insert Kanye’s “you ain’t got the answers Sway hereNow that you know why Faux Product Reviews exist, let’s travel down memory lane to determine what I’m still using, what’s a bit… blah and what’s total bulls***.

Faux Product Review 1: Perfect Mattifying Primer sucked. Mostly because the pump was ineffective while I had a half of primer left. I did some research and found that other people had the same issue and for that price?

Faux Product Review 2: Vitamin Plus was recommended to me as a result of a facial; however, I’ve had better mattifying moisturizers and no longer use it.

Faux Product Review 3: Naked Tonic Curl Renew is something I still have and occasionally use; although, it is preferred that moisture not be added to Sisterlocks. The Sisterlocks Gods prefer the production of oil naturally; however, the water here can be super harsh so I spray it every now and then.

Faux Product Review 4: All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray is runner up to De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray for Oil-Control. With my oily skin, I am not likely to buy it.

Faux Product Review 5: Rosewater is still my favorite and I use it everyday; however, I dabble with other rosewater products.

Faux Product Review 6: Matte About You is still in my nail polish drawer. I use it when I feel like being matte which is rare. One thing I don’t like is that the matte top coat attracts residue which darkens nail color so yeah, you don’t really need this.

Faux Product Review 7: Apple Cider Vinegar smells like urine but is so effective for so many reasons. I use it twice a week for facials and pedicures.

Faux Product Review 8: Coconut Oil is another favorite. I use it to remove makeup and moisturize cuticles.

Faux Product 9: Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara is my favorite mascara. I bought the full-size tube, bottle or whatever it’s called after I was done with the sample.

I used Faux Product Review 10: Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder while it lasted. There are better setting powders.

Faux Product Review 11: Tweexy is the most unnecessary product I have ever encountered in my life; however, I wish I would’ve come up with it so I can become rich from something that’s collecting dust in the back of your nail polish drawer.

Faux Product Review 12: Seche Dry Fast Top Coat is a staple and a cheap but effective top coat.

Faux Product Review 13: Veil Mineral Primer was OK. I did replace it a few times but remained on the hunt for something that would minimize my oily skin.

Faux Product Review 14: Fineliner Ultra-Skinny Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner is my second favorite liner. I have it in both black and blue.

Faux Product Review 15: Mat Velvet + Mattifying Foundation was a favorite. I don’t have a legitimate reason why I stopped using it but wouldn’t mind revisiting it in the future should I start wearing foundation again.

Faux Product Review 16: Konjac Cleansing Sponge w/ Bamboo Charcoal was bomb and I need to replace it. Actually, let me order it right now.

Ok, I’m back. I still have Faux Product Review 17: Beautyblender Pro but haven’t used it in ages.

Faux Product Review 18: Tweexy Again! So, the first time I simply introduced the product. This time, I took the plunge and ordered this bulls***. As stated previously, it’s unnecessary and will increase the chances of you spilling nail polish everywhere.

Faux Product Review 19: Coconut Nail Art is for kids.

Faux Product Review 20: Seche Clear Base Coat is a bit blah. I actually went back to Deborah Lippman’s Hard Rock because I need a base coat that strengthens my nails.

I used Faux Product Review 21: All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation for like 2 days than returned it for:

Faux Product Review 22: Total Cover Cream Foundation which I really liked. Also, it matched my skin perfectly but due to the oily skin (which is worse since being knocked up), I’ve been taking a bit of a break from foundation.

Faux Product Review 23: Ole Glow VoxBox was probably my favorite VoxBox; particularly, since I was already using a lot of their products. I may buy the Power|bright kit in the future, I just haven’t been in the mood to spend 55 bucks and do additional skincare steps.

Faux Product Review 24: Midnight Blue Black was a waste of time and money.

Faux Product Review 25: NYX Butter Lipstick is a great inexpensive lipstick.

Faux Product Review 26: Konjac Cleansing Sponge w/ Complexion Clearing Clay is another favorite. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of their cleansing sponges but ensure you replace them in a timely manner.

Faux Product Review 27: NYX Cosmetics HD Finishing Powder is terrible. It’s basically chalk in a compact container.

Faux Product Review 28: Make Up For Ever High Definition Pressed Powder is better. I still have it but it’s no longer my go-to powder. However, I really don’t think these are for women of color. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way.

Faux Product Review 29: Model In A Bottle was recommended to me via Twitter and I wanted it to work so bad. It smelled terrible, burned and just did not work for me. Once again, oily skin prevails.

Faux Product Review 30: Endless Summer VoxBox was my second favorite VoxBox. I have both Max Factor’s Masterpiece High Precision Liquid Eyeliner and Masterpiece Max Mascara on today.

Faux Product Review 31: Mario Badescu Facial Spray w/ Aloe, Herb & Rosewater is my backup rosewater.

Faux Product Review 32: Vinosource Moisturizing Mattifying Liquid is probably one of the best moisturizers I have ever tried; however, it’s a bit costly for the size of their baby tube.

Faux Product Review 33: Perfect Intensity was a disaster but made for a funny story. It’s also one of those situations where I probably didn’t really follow directions. I am sure the color would’ve been more visible had I bleached my hair but I don’t want to damage it.

Faux Product Review 34: Intensive-C Radiance Peel is another product that I really wanted to work. It even burned a little so I thought it was cooking the oil and blemishes off but there were no real results after finishing the bottle. This is the first Murad product that sucked for me.

Faux Product Review 35: Aloe Vera is the holy grail. Although there are many uses, I apply it as a face mask.

Faux Product Review 36: Pink Gel Coat is my favorite top coat ever and I am awaiting my mom to buy me another bottle. Maybe I will add it to my wishlist so one of you can buy it for me *adds to list*

Faux Product Review 37: Melted Matte is another favorite. Moisturize your lips before applying because this will suck the life out of you. Your lips will look pretty but dry at the same time.

Faux Product Review 38: Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is still my go to sunscreen but I’ve been thinking about trying other sunscreens.

Faux Product Review 39: Sugar Advance Therapy Lip Treatment is my favorite but my gosh, it’s costly. I use this mostly in the winter.

Faux Product Review 40: Sugar Lip Polish is another favorite and I usually buy it every winter; however, I have provided an alternative because not everyone wants to spend 24 bucks for a baby jar of lip scrub.

Faux Product Review 41: Aloe Vera Toner is OK but has been recently replaced because I needed something a bit more aggressive.

Faux Product Review 42: Err Thang Perricone would be my favorite skincare system but I ain’t got it. Not for skincare anyway. I did see drastic improvement but yeah, their cheapest kit is 100 bucks a month so no…

Faux Product Review 43: Lavender is one of my favorite scents, I use it for aromatherapy.

I wanted Faux Product Review 44: Dermalogica Ultracalming Kit to work really badly due to the positive results as a result of the facial. However, I barely finished the kit. Like I’ve mentioned many times, pregnancy has given me acne and extra oily skin so I am not sure if it matters what I use right now but have found cheaper alternatives since dumping this.

Faux Product Review 45: Rock Hard Hardener & Basecoat was a waste. It was going to be impossible for me to follow the steps for optimal results because I LIKE NAIL COLOR. As stated previously, I ditched this and went back to Deborah Lippman’s Hard Rock

Faux Product Review 46: Naturally Dry Antiperspirant has been surprisingly effective. I am still using the same deodorant from this post.

I am on my second tube of Faux Product Review 47: True Complexion BB Cream. I love it but recommend adding a bit of concealer if you suffer from dark marks.

So far so good for Faux Product Review 48: Sacha Buttercup Setting Powder. Warning, do not get this stuff on your clothes, it does stain.

Well, that took forever. And, I’ve bought a boatload of new products over the last few weeks so I hope you’re looking forward to more almost, sort of… kind of reviews. You’re welcome. Read and share my previous blog: The Wedding of the Century

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Source: Tom’s of Maine

My name is Ashlee and I am a sweater. I sweat in the winter, I sweat in the summer and I sweat when I’m nervous. Sometimes, I sweat in my sleep. Everyone has their cross to bear, mine happens to be sweaty which means despite the many claims that deodorant is harmful, I need to wear it or bring a floaty to ride the perspiration river.

So, what’s the alternative? Some people are lucky enough to ditch deodorant completely but for the rest of us in the real world, there are a host of safer options. I selected Tom’s of Maine’s Naturally Dry (if you couldn’t tell by the above photo).

Tom’s of Maine Naturally Dry antiperspirant sticks provide clinically proven 24-hour wetness and odor protection made entirely from ingredients derived from plants and minerals that meet our stewardship model for safe, effective and natural. Naturally Dry AP contains a wetness protection ingredient made from recycled aluminum (which was originally derived from natural mineral bauxite ore). The product also contains anti-microbial olive leaf extract, 100% natural fragrance and is free of artificial preservatives and animal ingredients, just like all our products.

So far, so good. I haven’t experienced sweaty pits; despite, only using it for a week or so. Also, this deodorant is half the price of what I usually pay for deodorant. In contrast, this deodorant is probably not at the top of a tree hugger’s list but if it’s good enough to be sold at Whole Foods, it’s good enough for me.

Whew, who knew deodorant was so important? For more information, ingredients and reviews, visit Tom’s of Maine. Read and share my previous post: The Story of My First & Last Canoe Trip




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I ran out of Seche Clear Crystal Clear Base Coat which was OK because I needed a new base coat to strengthen my nails. I immediately thought about buying OPI’s Nail Envy ($12 to $17 depending on where it’s bought) or Deborah Lippmann’s Hard Rock ($20) but then I saw Rock Hard Hardener & Basecoat. The name of the company is European Secrets and because I like secrets, the box was cute and it was only 5 bucks, why not?

Base coat and strengthener in one, Toluene and Formaldehyde free and protects dry nails. European Secrets Rock Hard Hardener and Basecoat produces stronger harder thicker nails and can be used alone, as a hardener, or as a basecoat. Creates a moisture shield that protects dry nails. Bonds together a cross-link of fiber proteins. Five times stronger than any other hardener.

I had high hopes for this because I like secrets and the box is cute, remember? However, after using it once a week for 3 weeks, my nails have not improved. They are not strengthened or rock hard hardener. Then, I read the pro tips:

When using as a hardener apply one or two coats daily the first week. As a base coat apply one to two thin coats,and let dry before applying polish.

OK, so its my fault because I didn’t read or follow directions? How come it couldn’t just…work? So, I’m going to give it another try by applying 2 coats when I polish my nails but probably will never apply it daily because I don’t wear my natural nails, ever. Under no circumstances. Never. My nails are always polished with bright color and full of attitude.

Anyway, shop Rock Hard Hardener & Basecoat at Sally. Read and share my previous post: Chewing Gum Season 2 in 5 Minutes or Less

Most importantly, read directions.

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February HuesBox encourages you to love and indulge in yourself while the March HuesBox helps you jumpstart your “Operation Summer Time Fine” and craft your best mind, body, and spirit for summer! For more, visit HuesBox


What’s in my February HuesBox?
Classic Matte Lipstick in Fearless & Vixen by j’elaine
Luxe Lollies Lollipops
Boy Bye Scrubbing Soap by Body By Tee
Henna Tatto Kit by New Age

What’s in my March HuesBox?
Carrot Oil Bar Soap by Clear Essence
Mango Display Tea by Chado
Grapefruit and Lemon Bath Bomb by Alabee Bath
Nature’s Syrup Body Butter in Lavender Love