I’ve had my ups and downs with natural mascara (who hasn’t?), but over the last year or so natural mascara has really improved. I don’t get those pangs of longing for the old stuff anymore. A handful of them perform as well as conventional mascaras, and I’ve been impressed by mascaras from RMS Beauty, W3LL People, Antonym, and 100% Pure. Maybe you’ve found your holy grail mascara, maybe not. Whatever you’re using, you can extend the life and performance of your mascara by following these tips.
1. Consider ditching the eyelash curler.
Yes, you read that correctly. Many women revere eyelash curlers (I was one), and it’s true that they can create a fabulous eye-opening affect. I recently ditched my curler, and I’m so happy I did. Despite using “best practices” to curl my lashes, curling was too abusive overtime and caused my lashes to shed more frequently than they would otherwise. Forcing my lashes into an unnatural shape also caused my mascara application to be uneven, so when my lashes would inevitably lose their curl a few hours later, they looked more blah than ever. When I ditched the eyelash curler, I found it much easier to get natural lift because I can start my mascara application at the base of my lashes rather than above the bend where the curler imprints. My lashes look longer, more graceful and hold their shape all day long.
2. Apply mascara first and powders second.
When you dust on loose powder foundations, setting powders and eye shadows a fine layer of powder settles onto lashes. If mascara is frequently applied over little powder particles, the wand picks it up and mixes it in with your mascara. The formula will dry out and become clumpy more quickly as a result. Wait to dust on powders until you’ve applied mascara. If you must apply mascara last, then clear lashes of any debris by swabbing them with a damp Q-tip. Let lashes dry completely and then apply mascara.
3. Don’t pump your mascara wand up and down in the tube repeatedly.
When I began using mascara, my instinct was to dip the wand rapidly in the tube. I don’t really know why, perhaps for the same reason I hold my mouth open when I apply mascara — it’s a natural instinct. Pumping the wand drives air into the tube and causes your mascara to dry out, shortening its lifespan considerably. One dip and a twist of the wand should collect enough mascara. If you get too much, use the lip of the tube to scrape extra mascara off the wand and then push that extra back into the tube when you return the wand. If you’re not a fan of that, use the stem of a Q-tip or a shred of wax paper to wipe excess mascara off the wand. Don’t use a tissue because it will leave little paper fibers on the wand and clog the formula over time.
Do you have additional tips for getting the most out of mascara? Share in the comments!
If you’ve tried chai tea, chances are you ordered a chai tea latte from Starbucks or purchased ready-made chai tea concentrate or tea bags from the store. As with most things, the homemade version is far tastier and more robust. In just a few minutes, you can make your own chai blend that will ward off that winter chill, get your blood circulating thanks to the spice quotient, and save you some cash in the process.
Aromatic spices lend incredible flavor to chai as well as a heaping dose of health benefits. Spices contain antioxidants and other healing compounds that help fight a range of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Use them liberally and often. Buy the highest quality spices you can afford in small quantities so they stay fresh. Here’s a simple template for a warming, comforting chai tea. You can adjust this recipe to your own taste.
Chai Tea – makes 4 cups
- 10 cardamom seeds
- 10 cloves
- 5 black peppercorns
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- 2 cups of whole milk or fresh milk substitute like almond milk
- 4 bags of black tea
- honey or sugar to taste
- Crush the cardamom seeds, cloves, and peppercorns. You can do this with a mortar and pestle, a coffee bean grinder, or by putting the spices in a plastic bag and crushing with a heavy mallet or pan.
- Add the crushed spices, ginger, cinnamon, milk and two cups of water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add tea bags, cover and steep for 10-15 minutes. You may also let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes for a stronger brew.
- Strain the chai blend into cups. Add honey or sugar to taste. If you only need one serving, decant the rest of the chai into a mason jar or glass container and store in the refrigerator. Reheat for a quick cup of chai.
The spices in this chai recipe each have unique health benefits. Here are a few of them.
Cardamom seeds contain phytochemicals that are well-known cancer fighters, specifically breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. Cardamom soothes the stomach and helps with constipation. The aroma also fights depression and reduces stress.
Cinnamon reduces your risk for heart disease and diabetes. It improves how cells metabolize glucose, so it helps keep blood sugar levels balanced, which in turn helps with sugar cravings.
Cloves aid proper digestion, soothe an upset stomach and relieve bloating and gas. Cloves also have antimicrobial properties that help fight the bad bacteria and parasites in your digestive tract.
Ginger reduces inflammation in the body and helps relieve nausea. It’s a warming spice that boosts circulation and lowers blood pressure. It’s also antiviral, perfect for cold and flu season.
Black pepper is a stimulating spice with components that increase the body’s absorption of vitamins and nutrients like beta-carotene, vitamin B and selenium.
Do you make your own chai blend? What else do you add?
The best ideas are often born out of necessity, like when you’re running late and need to look put together so you decide to skip a step and use lipstick on your cheeks instead of blush. With so many multi-use lip and cheek products on the market, it’s not a stretch. Usually when I apply a matte lipstick, I swipe a bit of clear balm on top just to add a bit of gloss and moisture. Each time I do, the tip of my finger picks up some of the lipstick and balm.
In a pinch for time, I decided that little dab of color on the tip of my finger would be the perfect stand-in for blush, and it’s become one of my favorite ways to wear color on my lips and cheeks.
The best part? Now my color selection for blush is much more varied. Here’s my go-to combination and how to get the look.
- Apply a matte lipstick to lips. Don’t go crazy; just apply enough to get opaque coverage. If the lipstick is too thick, gently blot once with tissue. The lipstick that led to this revelation and the one I keep reaching for is Crimson & Clover by Ilia Beauty, which is actually a tinted lip conditioner that acts like a lipstick. Crimson & Clover is a vibrant red with pink undertones. It’s a bit cherry-popsicle, but it doesn’t feel too young.
- Next, use your middle finger to dab a soft lip or face balm on top of the lipstick, tapping the balm into lips. The balm should be appropriate for the face and have a bit of sheen but not too much shine. The Kahina Lip & Face Balm (just released!) is my current obsession. It combines beautifully with the Ilia lipstick to create a moisturizing layer.
- Smile and dot the apples of your cheeks with your middle finger — yes, the one you just used to apply balm to your lips, which left a nice smear of color on your fingertip. Blend the color in like you would a cream blush. A little goes a long way because Crimson & Clover (and Ilia in general) is so pigmented. The Kahina Lip & Face Balm highlights the cheeks and helps distribute the lip color, plus it’s packed with nourishing, calming ingredients.
This application works best with a matte lipstick and a balm that is appropriate for the face with a bit of sheen but not too much shine. Ilia and Nudus lipsticks work great for this, as do balms by Kahina and One Love Organics, though I can picture many stand-ins that I haven’t tried yet. I love this bright pop of color on lips and cheeks, especially in the winter, but I like to limit color elsewhere when I go with this look. Nude eyelids, a swipe of mascara, and this quick lip and cheek trick are all I need for a put-together look.
Have you used this makeup shortcut? Would you try it?
Here we are, two full weeks into the 2015. Thinking back on 2014, I’d say it was the biggest year yet for clean beauty, and the industry just keeps growing. Even a few years ago, choices for clean personal care products and cosmetics still felt somewhat limited compared to the conventional side of aisle. That is simply not the case anymore, and with so much choice available it’s easy to miss some great products along the way. Here at No More Dirty Looks, we reviewed lots of our favorite items in 2014 and shared many DIY skincare hacks, but we didn’t come close to scratching the surface. We love checking out the reader-submitted Morning Routines to learn about what you rely on, whether it’s DIY or a luxe bottle of specialness from any number of clean beauty brands. So let’s do a little reminiscing, shall we?
What were your favorite clean beauty discoveries of 2014 and why? Tell us in the comments!
Despite my best efforts, I found myself coming down with a cold right after Christmas. Blame the travel, the stressful busyness of the holidays, or simply the season. As soon as I felt it coming on — that faint tickle in the throat, cloudiness of the head, fatigue and mild congestion — I knew I had to act quickly to minimize it as much as possible and keep this cold from taking over my life for a week or more. I’m a firm believer in foods that heal, and thankfully I was prepared with a few potent edibles that contain superfood powers. Here’s what I did:
1. Eat a spoonful of raw honey and chopped garlic each day. One of our readers recently shared her grandfather’s proverb: A clove of garlic is like 10 mothers. That really stuck with me. Indeed, garlic is potent medicine. Fresh garlic contains a compound called allicin that is released when garlic is chopped or crushed. Allicin is what gives garlic it’s fresh aroma, and it also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Raw honey also has medicinal benefits. I like manuka honey because it is especially antibacterial and healing, and can even be used to treat wounds. From the moment I felt ill, I began eating a spoonful of raw manuka honey with a clove of chopped raw garlic. Together the taste is fantastic. Just be sure to swallow the garlic with the honey or you will find out just how strong raw garlic can taste.
2. Drink Fire Cider every four hours. Have you heard of this folk remedy? It not only boosts your immune system, but it can help stop a cold in its tracks. This one requires some advanced planning, but after using Fire Cider to beat this cold in record time, I think everyone should have some on hand. To make it you steep vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs, and peppers in apple cider vinegar for 4 to 6 weeks. The vinegar is then strained and blended with honey. Fresh ginger, horseradish, garlic, habanero, and onion make this strong stuff. The infusion process draws out the antibacterial, antiviral, and warming properties of the ingredients. The flavor is incredible. At the onset of my cold I began drinking a tablespoon of fire cider every four hours. Each shot gave me instant relief and cumulatively helped nix my symptoms. You can find my recipe here.
3. Sip homemade chicken broth. A lot of attention is being given to the health benefits of bone broths these days. A hearty stock or broth made from the bones of a chicken, this elixir is worlds apart from the flavorless chicken stock that comes in a can. Every time I roast a chicken, which is usually once every week or two, I reserve the bones and cartilage for homemade broth. It is the simplest thing in the world to do, and the results are incredible. If you’re not ready to make broth right away, you can freeze the chicken remnants until you are. Simply fill a stockpot with water, add the chicken bones, a halved onion, a halved carrot or two, a few cloves of garlic, and a handful of parsley stems. Simmer for at least three hours until the water becomes a golden elixir. Strain and store in the refrigerator, or freeze if you won’t be using it in the next few days. I like to freeze my stock in ice cube trays and then store in freezer bags so I can access small servings at a time. The broth is obviously great for cooking, but it’s wonderful for sipping when you’re not feeling well. It’s nutrient dense and nourishing, a tried and true remedy.
This trifecta helped me bust up a cold in just a few days. My cold never really reached it’s full potential, and I’m certain these three remedies aided a speedy recovery and kept it from escalating into a full-blown cold.
Have you tried any of these cold remedies? What do you do when you feel a cold coming on?