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Product Review.



BareMinerals Biolucent Mineral Brightening Treatment Face Concern Level 1. If you are just beginning to incorporate your medicine into your skin care routine and you have little to no skin concerns, the BareMinerals Biolucent Mineral Brightening Treatment is the right choice for you. You will noticeably see brighter, even, and smoother skin. Some have noticed their breakouts minimize as well. One pump is enough to cover your entire face, neck, and chest. It is a brightening mineral based blend and infused with fruit acids so it will be gentle enough but effective in preventing your skin from future aging. Although I love Vitamin C serums for most skin, Level 1 skin should always start with a more mineral based formulation to start, building their medicine strengths in time. Great for all year care. Price: $55.
 

Kiehl's Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate
Face Concern Level 2 or Level 3. A great friend reminded me of this phenomenal line. Kiehl's is one of my all time favorites! The Kiehl's Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate has an amazing blend of L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and hydrators that will balance, smooth, brighten, hydrate, and give an overall healthy glow to the skin. If you are beginning to see your skin change due to age, this is a good treatment for you to start. The 10.5% of Vitamin C will penetrate into your skin, provide all those results, while nourishing, balancing, and preventing future aging. Great for all year care. Price: $60.
 
 
 ZO Medical Brightalive Non-Retinol Skin Brightener and
ZO Medical C-Bright 10% Vitamin C Serum
Face Concern Level 3. Dr. Obagi is the doctor behind the Obagi skin care line and has now created ZO Skin Health, Inc. These two products can be used separately or together depending on the severity of your concerns. The ZO Medical Brightalive is non-irritaing and has a blend of enzyme exfoliants, and Vitamins C, A, and E. This combined vitamin blend also has a 12 hour time released moisture to balance the health of your skin. The ZO Medical C-Bright 10% Vitamin C Serum can be used by itself or in combination w/ the Brightalive for a more aggressive yet non-irritating correction. The C-Bright blend is proven to help penetrate even deeper, correcting deeper, brightening, and locking in moisture and health as well. This is the medical grade version of Vitamin C. Price: $90 and $120. 
 
 
 
Colorescience Champagne Lip Shine SPF35 & /Nude Lip Serum Nude lips are IN, so if you are looking for a nude, lightweight gloss that has SPF protection, try the Limited Edition Colorescience Lip Shine SPF35 in Champagne. You can wear it alone or put it over your favorite nude lip pencil and/or nude lipstick. Another top favorite is their Lip Serum in Nude. Combined with peppermint and Vitamin E, this serum is a gorgeous Nude color, great for every skin tone, and can be used alone or combined with your favorite lip color. Colorescience is partnered with the Skin Cancer Foundation, mostly in medical facilities, and is known for their dry, powder sunscreens.



 
Carol's Daughter's Brown Sugar Scrub
Check out the Healthy Beauty Page for an at-home recipe version. If you don't want to deal with the mess, or if you just would rather not take the time to do it at-home, Carol's Daughter has a great version that you'll love!  It has all the great ingredients like Vitamin E, Olive Oil, and Brown Sugar. In the description, it mentioned that it has honey in it, but I didn't see it in the ingredient list, so I would just add honey from your cabinet to get those hydrating benefits. The smell is heavenly, too. Enjoy.



Bronzers/Highlighters - Colorescience & MAC
Colorescience is the purest mineral makeup on the market. It is excellent for your skin because it contains no mineral oil, talc, perfumes, dyes, or any other harsh ingredients. The Bronzer in Bronze Kiss and Highlighter in Champagne Kiss are beautiful for achieving that Illuminating Glow. There are actual crushed pearls in these powders that the Asian culture uses to brighten and even out the skin tone. Infused with essential oils like lavender makes this a luxurious blend. You can get these at any leading plastic surgeon, dermatology office, or high-end spas. MAC also has a Mineralize catagory that has some beautiful colors for Bronzers and Highlighters. For a matte bronzer as mentioned in the Illuminating Glow article, the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Dark, Dark, or Deep Dark are great options. Highlighters in the Mineralize in Comfort is a great option as well.


Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal
What's the BEST over-the-counter product to get those pearly whites?  By far my first pick are the Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal!  I've used them and absolutely loved the result!  My orthodontist actually recommended I use these first before I decide to get them professionally whitened.  In as little as 3 days, you will start to notice a brighter smile.  Seriously.  I know that sounds really fast, but it's true.  The whitening is the same enamel the dentist uses so it's safe.  You use the strips once a day for about 25-30 minutes, they stick really well and you can even drink water while they're on.  There's two week's worth (14 days) in each box.  It's over $20, but totally worth the investment!  They're even individually packaged so you can travel with them.  They say they're safe to use up to twice a day, but I only used them once a day.  It also states that the whitening lasts up to two years, but I drink a lot of coffee so I plan to do it again in about a year.  There's nothing like enhancing your beauty with a beautiful, white smile.  Believe me, people will notice!


BeautyBlender
Do you want to have that perfect, flawless face?  Do you want your makeup to go into your skin effortlessly?  Do you actually want your makeup to look like your skin? Well, problem solved!  The Beautyblender is a must have if you want that flawless, perfect skin finish. It's a sponge, but not just any sponge.  It's Hollywood's latest makeup secret.  All the Hollywood set makeup artists swear on this.  The thing is, when you use your fingers or that infamous triangle sponge, you can get streaks and that makeup look we all hate.  The Beautyblender is beyond amazing!  By using this, your makeup will actually look like your skin.   This sponge is made to have no edges and is latex free, non-allergenic, and odor free.  You can actually use this same sponge to apply your concealer, foundation, tinted moisturizer, pressed powder, bronzer, and even blush.  The key is to dampen the sponge first and bounce your product across your face.  By doing this, whatever you're applying will actually get into your skin, actually improving your tone and texture so you can have that flawless finish.  Look at the shape.  The pointed side is used for all those hard to reach places like around your nose, under your eyes, and where your eyes and nose meet.  This side is also great to cover blemishes.  In order to cover properly, you will need to use the stipple and twist technique.  The rounder part is used for your larger areas like your cheeks, forehead, and chin.   Check out the great tutorials on the various application techniques.   The cleanser, too, is a must have in terms of maintenance.  It's called the Beautycleanser.  Check out what the cleanser looks like here.  After every use, you should wash and place it in the container that came with it called a pedestal.  The pedestal will allow the sponge to dry properly.  This cleanser is great for all your makeup brushes too! Enjoy your new, flawless face!


Entire Hair Lines




Mixed Chicks
I've heard amazing things about this entire Mixed Chicks Line.  It is a little on the pricier side, but all the products are extremely hydrating and if you have naturally curly hair, your curls will be defined and moisturized.  I have a girlfriend that uses this who has beautiful natural curls and LOVES it!  These products are made by two women who could not manage their own natural curls, so they decided to create this line.  I love that this was formulated by women who have the same issues as many.  The products are lightweight and not sticky or heavy.  I know my salon in Durham, NC carries this, but you may have to go to the Mixed Chicks site to find out where you can get it locally.


Miss Jessie's
I love Miss Jessie's Product Line and specifically Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding (which comes in scented and unscented) and their Baby Buttercreme (for your little ones).  If you have curly and/or natural hair, or if your hair is relaxed and you want definition in your curls, then these are the products for you.  My sister uses the Baby Buttercreme on my beautiful niece and nephew and she absolutely loves it. She says it tames their soft edges and adds just the right amount of hydration.  I love the story of how this line began as it's rich in southern history.  The picture I posted is of the Deluxe Value Pack which I love.  You can try all of their popular products in 2 oz. jars.  Find the ones you love and purchase the bigger sizes later.  The prices range because there are various sizes. Check out the store locator for where you can find your Miss Jessie's.  Keep scrolling to find the products I am currently using.  Go to the Hair Page to see pictures on how these products assisted in my hair growth.




Shampoos
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Cream Lather Shampoo
This is a great, inexpensive moisturizing shampoo.  The ingredients are filled with great moisturizing oils such as Olive Oil which penetrate to the center of your strand, Meadowfoam Seed Oil that helps to moisturize the middle, and Sweet Almond Oil that wraps around the surface of your strand.  Great to use when working on creating that moisture/protein balance.  I purchase all my Neutrogena Triple Moisture Products at Walgreens, but you can get them at CVS as well.

KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp Moisturizing Shampoo
This is a great shampoo if you have a dry/itchy scalp.  It's still pretty moisturizing, but it's great in terms of eliminating flakiness.  Some of the ingredients include Menthol (very soothing and cooling), Citric Acid, and some great natural extracts such as Rosemary (great for dryness), Chamomile (soothing), Lime, and Cornflower.  This is a little more expensive then the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Line, but the KeraCare line focuses a lot on balancing the pH of your hair and it is trusted by a lot of professionals. Here's a full list of Keracare products.


Conditioners
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner
This is a great, lightweight, moisturizing conditioner.  This has very similar ingredients to the Neutrogena Shampoo listed above (Olive Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, and Sweet Almond Oil).  Leaves your hair very soft and hydrated.






KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp Moisturizing Conditioner
I love this conditioner for my scalp when it has that dryness.  It feels extremely soothing and really helps to alleviate the flakiness.  I love the feel on my scalp and even though it's soothing, it's also pretty moisturizing.  I usually purchase my KeraCare Products from JCPenney's, but I've been seeing them at more locations.  They are a little pricier than the Neutrogena products, but again, the professionals use them.  I love KeraCare because they focus on the pH balance which is key for healthy hair strength.





Deep Conditioners
Silicon Mix
Dominican Products are the best for any grade of curly hair!  The Silicon Mix is one of my all time favorite deep conditioners.  If you ever go or have gone to a Dominican Salon, they will most likely have this deep conditioner treatment as a professional treatment option.  After I shampoo and condition in the shower, I usually section my hair and put the Silicon Mix throughout my hair, combing it through so it's easily distributed.  I place a plastic cap on my head and either sit under my hooded dryer for 30 min or if I have more time, I leave it in for about an hour while cleaning the house or reading.  This has really helped with my protein balance.  I have purchased either on Amazon or your nearest Dominican Salon may have it to purchase.  It's a great price and the 16 oz. that can last me a whole year!

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Mask
Clearly I love the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Line!  This Deep Recovery Mask smells amazing and has those three great oils for extra moisturizing and penetration.  This deep conditioner gives a more moisturizing balance while the Silicon Mix gives more of a protein balance.  This too has the Olive Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, and Sweet Almond Oil for extra penetration.  The price is very reasonable and I will deep condition for 30 min with a plastic cap.  Again, I get all my Neutrogena products from Walgreens or CVS.




Leave-In Conditioners
Lacio Lacio
Another one of my favorite Dominican Products.  I use two trustee leave-ins, one for wash days and the other for everyday use.  Leave-in conditioners help tremendously with split ends and give a protective layer from daily wear and tear.  I use Lacio Lacio after I have deep conditioned on my wash days.  This is one of my staple products for sure.  Love this!  I usually purchase on Amazon, but I'm sure you can get it at your nearest Dominican Salon.


Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-In Cream
My all-time favorite product that I can never live without!  I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but I love, love, love this product!  I use this Silk Touch Leave-In every single day, morning and night.  I focus on my ends and work my way up.  It smells amazing and is extremely lightweight.  It's not heavy, sticky, or oily.  It makes my hair super soft.  This is the ideal daily moisturizer that is mentioned in one of the rules in the hair article.  Moisturizing and sealing is a must if you want to keep your length!  I seal this moisturizer with 100% Jojoba Oil (listed in the Oils section).  I love doing dry roller sets with this as well.  I'll put in my leave-in, put the jojoba oil to seal, and then put a few rods in my hair overnight.  When I wake up, bouncy, beautiful, soft curls.  Love this product!  Walgreens and CVS have this, but it tends to be sold out a lot.  I'm assuming other people love it as well!

Protein Treatments
Aphogee
Ok.  If you are experiencing breakage and damaged ends, the Aphogee Protein Treatment is a must-have!  I have to be honest with you.  It smells horrible and there's this whole process of putting it in that is not very fun.  The product dries hard and then you rinse it out.  Did I mention it smells horrible?  The directions state to use it every six weeks, but I do it whenever I start to see small, tiny hairs in my bathroom.  This is an indication that you are experiencing breakage.  This treatment will strengthen your hair with the protein balance you need to eliminate this breakage.  Because this is a potent and strong protein treatment, it is VERY necessary to use a moisturizing conditioner and deep conditioner to re-balance the protein/moisture content in your hair.  I usually use this a week after I get my relaxers to rebuild the strength in my strands and in terms of maintenance inbetween relaxers, I assess my breakage and use accordingly.  I feel without this treatment, my hair would not be nearly as strong.  Again, this is a must in terms of protein/moisture balance.  I purchase this at Sally's and make sure to follow the directions precisely.


Oils


Pure 100% Jojoba Oil
I love Jojoba Oil!  I love it for my hair, my skin, AND for my body.  I mix it with all my moisturizers to get a little extra hydration.  Jojoba Oil is the closest oil to your natural oil (sebum) your skin produces.  It's great for oil and/or acneic skin too.  I know what you're thinking?  If you're oily, you would never want to put more oil on your skin, right?  Jojoba Oil actually helps to balance your oil in your skin and when your skin's balanced, you have less breakouts.  When I use it on my face, I prefer to use it at night since it's a bit oily, but I love it for my hair too.  It doesn't have a smell and it's extremely lightweight.  I use this twice a day and I partner it with my Silk Touch Leave-In.  This is my sealant for my moisturizer.  I always concentrate on my ends first and work the product up.  Again, I always use my Jojoba Oil after I apply my Silk Leave-In to my hair.  I think this, combined with deep conditioning and no heat has really helped maintain the length.  These are my standard two products where I also do dry styling such as roller-sets, bantu knots (to achieve waves), or braidouts (to get that natural look).  Don't worry, I will provide information in the future on how to achieve these various looks.  I purchase my Jojoba Oil from Trader Joe's.  It's the cheapest there (around $7) and Dessert Essence is a great brand, pure 100% Jojoba Oil.

Facial Masks
Murad ~ Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask
I love this fruit enzyme mask! I do this mask once a week with steam (view my post on the 30 Minute Facial). Murad is a great dermatologist-made brand that focuses on results while maintaining healthy skin. This mask is extremely gentle, but will give you the results you will see immediately. Ideal for any and all skin types including sensitive, combination, oily, or dry. The combination of the lactic acid and papaya will help to dissolve the dead skin cells that make your skin look dull and lifeless. Both ingredients are gentle exfoliants and also help to reduce inflammation. If you use weekly, your skin will be soft, smooth, and will help to even skin color and tone. Your skin texture will improve, makeup will go on smoother, and you will have a fresh glow while reducing any fine lines you've been noticing. If you use prescription Retin-A, this is a mask that you can use on a weekly basis that won't harm the skin and will help to restore moisture. Believe me, it sounds to good to be true, but it's not! Great product and a great brand. Oh and a quick secret. This product comes in six individual packettes. You can get 2-3 uses out of one packette, so it's totally worth the purchase. You can purchase at Sephora, Ulta, Beauty Brands, or here.