I’ve taken to adding Hylauronic Acid serum from The Ordinary to my castor oil and shake. I do this because there is some anecdotal evidence that Hylauronic Acid users have reported a positive side effect to using HA for wrinkle plumping is a noticeably more lush lash line. Worth a try anyway!
Next to DMV, the post office is up there with some of my most hated places. This is not beauty-related but I find it to be a relevant life hack to almost anyone. This is a trick that allows to make labels via PayPal and eBay without actually conducting an eBay transaction. I’ve been using it since the inception of my business. Just follow this link and sign into your PayPal account to create a mailing label for anything that you’d like to ship. No post office visit required! Free tracking is included. You just need some paper, ink and a home printer.
For some reason, ebay and Paypal like to bury this link but here you go! Hope this makes your life easier and saves you some time.
It's Who You Know
I belong to a women's networking group in LA which has been the biggest boon in so many ways. It's part castings, part feminist rant, part politico, part nightlife, part fashion and style, part comedic women all coming together to share their experience of working and living in LA. As a former casting associate of both scripted and reality TV, these types of groups are essential. Like they say, it's who you know in Hollywood and I got REALLY lucky in the friendship department.
Of all of the incredible opportunities I've had because of this group, the beauty ones are a stand-out for me. There have been many times where someone in the group was looking for a "model"...although not your typical kind of model you'd normally think of when you conjure up the Los Angeles casting couch in your mind. For THIS kind of modeling, you lend your face/hair/body to be practiced or demo'ed on. I've gotten micro-pigmented brows and liner, lip filler on camera for a plastic surgeons ad ("look how painless it can be!" *don't flinch*) face filler by practicing MD's and RN's and free facials to name a few.
Now I had long coveted getting permanent makeup, specifically eyeliner. I had read about international microblader Daria Chuprys YEARS AGO in a major women's magazine - but I never dreamed she'd get to teach her students on my face for free! Now, as you probably know, brow microblading is wayyy more popular than permanent eyeliner - at least it is today. Who knows why brows are the more requested service? For me, I already have full, dark, bushy wiry brows. They didn't really need it but it couldn't hurt to look as put together as possible every day. Just FYI, no matter who you go to, your microbladed lines don't stay as sharp and fine as you see in their artist's adverts. It all blurs and blended together and in my experience, the artistry doesn't matter as much as other places. Plus, boldness fades 80% in its final form.
For me, permanent makeup is about ease. Sloth makeup, as I like to say. Eyeliner was my first foray into permanent makeup. When I lived in Hawaii, I once commented to my roommate how great her eyeliner looked everyday even in the muggy tropical weather. "That's because it's tattooed on, girl!" Eye stuff is my legit phobia, but it was at this time I decided to forge ahead with LASIK, so I decided to bite the bullet and get the lazy pants perma-makeup I had always wanted.
First, Daria did my liner on top , me acting as the model. However, I wanted it thicker. So, I found another lady in LA in the Koreatown neighborhood, "Sherri Permanent Makeup". In the airy loftspace, I told her I wanted a thicker line than originally done and I was sure of it. After all, I had been doing my makeup the same way since I was 12 and I wanted my lash line to look lush - every day! The only thing she said she would not do was a "wing", for that would look "sad" as one ages.
For my lower liner, my sister and I went to Spade Makeup in Redondo Beach to see the owner, Marjan . She is the is the sweetest! She uses organic ink only and does free touchups to get you to the boldness you want. Everyone's skin takes to tattoo ink differently. Mine likes to shove out the pigment, so I need a couple goings-over. Marjan took the time to gently swab and numb and chat while she did my lower line where she dotted the lines (mostly in the center of the lash line, below where your pupil is centered) This is a better look than a instead of making a sweeping,, connected bold line going all the way across, which can actually make eyes look smaller. Again, I still want a thicker, more prominent dots on the lower line, so I will be going back for my touchup shortly.
Lip Blush micropigmentation
(Sure to be the next big thing!)
Back to my secret women's group. I just saw a post for an artist named Nora in my group who has been doing permanent brows for awhile now, needed a permanent "lip blush" model. Not too many people volunteered but there I was, waving my hands all over the internet. I mean, I always thought getting your lips tattooed was taking it a little far, but maybe she could just give me a flush a color? I *was* a bit hesitant. Growing up near Philly/Jersey Shore, I had seen some bad brown liner work and some overdone brows/liner.
However, like I mentioned before, my makeup looks haven't changed much over the years.
1. Consider permanent makeup if you are lazy.
2. Consider permanent makeup if you live in a humid climate
3. Consider permanent makeup your makeup tastes have stayed the same for 15 years or more.
4. Consider permanent makeup if you are seek out the artists whose work you really love on instagram and travel to them.
5. Consider permanent makeup if you understand you may need multiple touchups soon after and every couple of years and you make sure to understand the touchups fees BEFORE getting started.
6. Consider permanent makeup if you find an artist than can match your real life everyday makeup with a pigment/ink that have they can use in the studio you. (Bring your fave makeup shades WITH you so there is no miscommunication!)
Have you ever stayed out of town of noticed the quality of the water at a hotel or something can greatly affect how your hair looks and feels? I grew up on a peach farm in NJ and we had hard well water. My mom would get us huge 40lb bags of water softener pellets from the farm feed store we'd have to lug to the basement to keep our hair and skin nice. Now, personally, I have the type of hair you (dry/coarse/color-treated) don't have to wash for 4-5 days at a time. I can even put shine products on the ends and use heavy conditioner every time I wash. Because I do so much with hair coloring, I always have to use a sulfate-free shampoo (read:gentle) so I don't wash away my expensive dye job. I shower almost every day, but I've invested in high-end shower caps (avail at places like Marshalls) so I don't have to get my hair wet, washed and blown dry every day (Who has time for that?)
A couple years ago, my little sister moved into the nearby city of Philadelphia from our hometown. She said it was affecting her hair something horrible! Interestingly, when we were little, the style of slicking down your long side pieces into a deep part and plastering it severing to the head with gel was in style. You'd see all of the Philly girls wearing their hair like this. Well, now Hollee said she knew why: "That style caught on because of this awful city water!", she lamented. "There's nothing else can do with your hair! It's so greasy! I can't go to work like this!"
She began to look for answers. She came up with two really inventive holy grail product/tools for her greasy hair: 1) Aquasana shower head water filter and 2) Degrease shampoo. Now she won't use anything else!
An interesting and funny post-script to this story: I recently noticed my little sister washing her hair a couple months ago. I commented on the fact that she used very little shampoo in her hand. She replied, "Didn't Mommy force you to use only a dime-sized dollop of shampoo?!" Um, no my mom never taught me this and our mom swears my little sis is making this up! Now, Little sister uses a generous amount of shampoo these days - and as you can imagine! - her hair situation has improved that much more!
So as I mentioned in my last post, I do my lash extensions a little differently than most, straying from what is recommended - but that's what works for me. As I said, I get my lashes done every 2 months, waiting until they are almost gone. I also layer castor oil and lash serums on WHILE I have extensions on. Personally, my lashes last forever (thanks to my lash tech, Em) so I'm not too worried about overgrowing the original hair follicle that is attached to the extension. I keep a lash serum next to my bed and a lash serum in my car, in the console so I can apply at stoplights before doing my makeup. ALSO - I use Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 eyeliner/lash serum which is a milder, less pigmented version of Kat Von D's tattoo eyeliner, as far as look and style go. I have some goop for Ardell that looks like clear mascara that is also a "lash conditioner" whose main ingredient is "castor oil". Plus, I glop on pure castor oil at night and take Multivitamin + Biotin + Fish Oil gummies (by NatureMade.) I'm serious about keeping the hair follicle underneath strong and healthy, you could say! My lashes underneath aren't AS long as my extensions -but- with mascara, the underneath real lashes pick up the mascara and seem comparable in length. However, compared to other people, I don't get the LENGTH that other people do, as much as I get new follicle growth - which kind of bums me out! I want my lashes to touch my eyebrows/sunglasses! But remember, lash serums don't necessarily makes your hair longer as much as it increases the growth cycle of the hair follicle.
...And now for the bad news: Latisse/Careprost/Bitamaprost and their analogs (BabeLash, GrandeLash, LashBoost etc.) recently have been said to thin the skin around the eye, causing aging effects. Now, I haven't researched it myself bc A) I have an eye phobia and B) I don't wann give up my lash serums but my sister looked it up and said it's true.
Now I'll tell you the other personal downside: (aside from the redness from the vasodilation effect lots of people get) I get hair growing EVERYWHERE around my eye - sprouted in the corner near the tear duct and down my cheeks and under my eye. Now as I've mentioned before, I'm of Eastern European descent and my hair is strong and coarse. So I just end up dermaplaning with my DermaFlash or using a regular razor in a pinch or waxing the overgrowth. If I don't, my eyeliner/mascara drip will cling to the micro-hairs, making me look aged and tired.
A girl told me once, when lash extensions were first beginning to be all of the rage in LA, that I would never like my face again WITHOUT extensions once I started getting them. And boy, was she ever right! I've been having a long love affair with lash extensions for about four years now, and I figured I'd share with you all of my tips and tricks and do's and don'ts.
My friend Annaliese once said that lash extensions were her number #1 beauty treatment, as in the make the most difference in bang for your buck. And that's certainly true. Time-saving, too - meaning you can do this one thing for your face, and look totally put together without having a stitch of makeup actually on your face. That's always nice - to rock a clear and fresh face and still feel good about yourself.
Let's talk price. Lashes are NOT cheap, as you probably already know. It's time-intensive, detailed and laborious work for a true luxury service. I've personally paid anywhere from "free" (as a model for those learning - do not recommend!) to $90, tip included. And that's super modest pricing. And I've heard of them priced as high as $200 per set in LA for something called ActiveLash, a trademarked service that is supposed to last longer for the sweaty, athletic people. I have never tried it though.
Below is me, around 2014 before I started getting lashes at all. I should point out though, that I did have eyeliner tattooed already on. Now, I have both lash lines micropigmented heavily, and my lashes microbladed as well.