Hello my beauties!

Boy has it been a long time since I’ve blogged. That’s a good thing, it means I’ve been busy. But I’ve missed it. I’ve missed opportunities to get my thoughts, learning, and experiences down on paper, and I’ve missed how it made me connect all with you. I may not get back to the frequency that I used to (I’m looking at you, weekly Sunday blog spot) but consider this my hearty return to the web.

Part of why I wanted to write to you today was to tell you about an incredible new service available in our community! Anyone that knows me knows – if I could only leave the house having done one makeup step, it would be mascara. My natural lashes are SO short and hardly hold a curl. Mascara helps me feel awake and like I even have eyelashes (even if they’re short ones). If I could wear false lashes every day, I would. But alas, I’m far too low maintenance for that ish. For years I’ve been interested in getting lash extensions because they look incredible and would speed up my daily routine, but for various reasons I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger. Partly because of the upkeep, partly because of the cost, and partly because over time they can damage your natural lash, which I don’t have too much of to start with. I probably will try them at some point still, but it just hasn’t been the right time.

Enter the newest lash craze that I had to try instead: the lash lift and tint. I saw this trend circulating around social media and was both intrigued and scared. But when my girl Brooke Becnel, owner of Spruced Hair and Brow Studio started offering this service and I saw her results, I knew I had to try it. So I called her up and the rest is history. I’m officially HOOKED.

Here’s a video that shows a quick version of what the lash lift does: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EN3vVS6VNA

I have to be honest, unsure of the specifics, I was nervous. This looks like it could hurt, or at least be a bit uncomfortable! But since Brooke has a reputation as THE best (maybe even just the) brow girl of Bellingham, I knew I was in good hands. First, she chose which size curl would be most appropriate for my lashes (the smallest one for these little babies, by the way). She then put in place the rubber barrier and adhered my lashes to them. The perming solution went on first, and then after it sat and was removed, she repeated the process with a setting lotion to condition them. Lastly, she gave them a tint to give a faux-mascara effect and enhance the look of their length. All-in-all, I planned to be there an hour but the appointment took less than 40 minutes!

I’ve attached some photos because I’m a sucker for before and afters. These are all just selfie’s I took on my iphone, so forgive me for the lack of quality.

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This is a before and after of the lash lift and tint (side note: before pic = no makeup, after pic = foundation/brows but NO mascara). I took these pics in the same place/lighting to compare, but I felt squinty being outside in my after pic and so here is another after pic that I took in my car later – again wearing NO mascara.

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So for the next few days, I proceeded to do something I haven’t done in….ever??? Go to work/everywhere without mascara on! I’ll run to the store/do basic errands here and there without mascara, but have never gone through a whole professional day without it. But these results just had me obsessed! And because I love saving time in the morning, it made me happy to skip the extra step because I didn’t need it.

BUT THEN. This weekend I had a wedding, and so I decided to put mascara on for the first time and HOLY CRAP. It felt like I had falsies on, but I didn’t! The perm will last longer with the less mascara you use, so I plan to only do it every few days, but I was amazed. I still can’t believe these were my natural lashes! Here’s a before and after including pre-lash lift, post lash-lift with no mascara, and the post-lash lift with mascara. I can’t even believe it!

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For one more reference, here’s is a “before and after” where the before is a photo of me wearing 2 coats of mascara AND using a lash curler a week before my lash lift, and then the bottom is me with 1 coat of mascara after my lash lift.

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CAN I GET AN AMEN!?!?!? Lash lift/tints last approximately 6-8 weeks, about the same as lash extensions do. Ladies, if you’re looking for a way to enhance your natural lashes without getting extensions (for half the cost), this is it. If you get yours done, send me a before and after! I want to see how it changes your lash game!

xo,

Ashley
Love Beauty

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“Dear Ashley,

I’ve been wondering about BB Cream! What’s the deal with it? Should I use it? I’m not currently using any foundation but would like a natural looking one for when I’m dressing up and what not.

– Tori”

Thanks for asking, Tori! BB Cream has taken the cosmetics market by storm the last few years and it continues to grow as a hot new seller. I’m sure there are lots of other ladies out there wondering the same thing, and so I’m excited to share a bit more about it!

BB Cream is short for beauty balm; it is a multi-purpose skin care/cosmetic product that I like to refer to as a tinted moisturizer on steroids. If you have really dry skin (like myself), you may still want to use your regular moisturizer under it, but otherwise it has a lot of moisturizing properties and so you can be just fine by using your BB cream solo. In addition to moisturizing and adding a tint, BB cream’s other big claim to fame is having a built in primer as well, which will helpBellingham Makeup Artistfill in pores and smooth out fine lines/wrinkles (Still learning about primer? Check out my recent post here). Because it is a skin care product that acts as a cosmetic, many BB creams also carry added bonus’ of antioxidants and other healing properties. It is definitely a kick-butt product!

When to Use It
BB Cream really can be used most any time. It is perfect for the person who wants a light, second skin, refresher without the heavy coverage of foundation. BB Cream is usually light to medium coverage, so if you are looking for something for a night out but don’t often wear foundation, it may just be the perfect solution for you. For myself, I wear full coverage foundation daily and so BB Cream is just not enough for me. But I find myself reaching for it when I travel or go on vacation. It’s perfect for those occasions because it means I can pack less products in my bag and it lightweight/has SPF for the sun. I also use it on those few really hot days in place of my foundation each summer, too.

The only time I would not recommend using it is as a moisturizer/primer under foundation. It is really meant to be a stand-alone product. In addition to feeling/looking too heavy under foundation, I’ve noticed it changes the finish of the foundation to appear flat/one dimension, losing it’s luminosity. Pick one or the other, don’t mix both!

How to Use It
BB Cream is easy-peasy-breezy to apply. Although I would recommend avoiding your fingers and using a brush to apply foundation, BB Cream is just the opposite. Since it is half moisturizer/primer, your skin absorbs it more than regular foundation, therefore applying it with a brush can get tricky. I have found best success applying it with my fingers and rubbing it in just like moisturizer. Just be paying attention when you apply it; it’s easier to miss spots when using your fingers and you don’t want it to be streaky! Make sure you spread it all of each area of your face and blend it down into your jawline/neck. That said, if you find you have better luck with a brush, do it! The key is always finding what works best for you. If you have redness in areas (like your nose and chin) use your ring finger to dab/stipple in a little extra product over the areas that need more coverage.

If you want/need, conceal and set with powder, just like you would with regular foundation. It’s not necessary to set with powder, but I like to because it has a stickier finish than foundation due to it’s skin care properties.

BB Cream Recommendations
Since it is part skin care, you want to select a BB cream for your skin type, just like you would any moisturizer.

For dry skin:
I recommend Garnier’s BB Cream Skin Renewal Miracle Skin Perfector ($13) or Too Faced’s Tinted Beauty Balm ($34). Both add an extra kick of moisture and a glowing-dewy finish that us dry-skinned ladies often long for.

For oily skin:
I recommend Bobbi Brow’s BB Cream SPF ($40) or L’Oréal Paris’ Studio Secrets Magic Skin Beautifier B.B. Cream ($10). These are among the lighter-weight BB Cream options and will help mattify and fill-in large pores.

For acne-prone skin:
Estee Lauder’s Day Wear BB Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Cream ($40) is one that jumps ahead of the pack with lots of antioxidants as well as skin-soothing properties. It has a oil-free formula that still provides moisture and a glow to those dry, blemished areas. Clinique’s Age Defense BB Cream ($37) is another leading solution for not only acne-prone skin but sensitive skin too.

For normal/combination skin:
Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Beauty Balm and Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm are the leads in the category – a good catch all for any skin type or normal skin. Both have radiant, glowing finishes and blur imperfections wonderfully.

BB Cream vs. CC Cream
If you do much research, you’ll find not only are there BB Creams, but there are also CC Creams! What the what?? How do you decide?! Well, CC in the CC Cream stands for “color correcting”. CC Creams usually have all the same features of a BB Cream (tinted moisturizer + primer + SPF + antioxidants) but also has some more color-correcting components and usually has a fuller coverage. This is great if you want the benefits of a BB cream but need fuller coverage or have heavier discoloration that you want to correct. My favorite CC Cream is this one by Peter Thomas Roth ($48).

BB and CC Creams tend to come in a one-size fits all package (light, med, dark, etc) but sometimes one size does not fit all. So try them out if you can/need to. And if one doesn’t work, most stores (especially drug stores and department stores) have great return policies, so don’t be afraid to try again if you need to. But if you’re looking for the perfect summer/travel/lightweight coverage product, the BB Cream will be perfect for you! Have fun trying it out!!

xo,

Ashley

Have a question you’d like answered? Email me! info@lovebeautybellingham.com
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“Dear Ashley,

Can you give me some tips on how to clean my makeup brushes? And how often should I do it?

– Vincy”

Thanks for asking, Vincy! This is a great question and one I am excited to talk about, mostly because it is SO important! Makeup brushes over-time can grow and harbor bacteria and germs, so it’s important to clean them on a regular basis. Doing this will prevent potential breakouts, stye’s, or catching virus’ such as pink eye. Cleaning your brushes will not only keep your face and eyes healthy and safe, it prolongs the life of your brushes too! It’s a simple step that will only take a few minutes of your time but will be well worth the minimal effort.

How Often Should You CleaCleaning Makeup Brushesn Your Makeup Brushes?
As a professional, working artist, it is vital that I clean my brushes in between every single client that sits down in my makeup chair. But for personal use, cleaning them that frequently is not necessary; how often you put makeup on will probably determine how often you clean your brushes. At a minimum, you should be cleaning your brushes at least once a month, which is probably ideal for those of you who only wear makeup a few times a week. If you wear makeup on a daily basis however, it is best to clean them weekly. For my personal brushes, I only wear eye shadow and liner once a week or so, so those brushes I will clean about once a month. But I use my foundation brush and blush brush daily so I clean those once a week. Since foundation is such a heavy product, I often even clean that brush twice a week sometimes! One other thing you may notice about cleaning your brushes (and part of why I do it so frequently) is that you will get a cleaner application of the product. My foundation always goes on better the first use or two after I’ve cleaned it. Even just for that reason alone it’s worth to keep up on your brush cleaning! If you ever drop a brush on the floor or in the sink, those are other times you will want to be sure to immediately clean your brush  and wait to use it another day.

Step by Step: How to Clean Your Makeups Brushes
Cleaning your brushes is not only easy-peasy, but it’s fast! I’ve laid it all out in 5 quick steps which will take you from start to finish in a matter of minutes.

Step 1: Fill a small bowl with lukewarm water and a pump or two of brush cleaner; stir.brush
Step 2: Rinse the brush under lukewarm water, rubbing out the product that easily comes off.
Step 3: Swirl the brush in the bowl of soapy water.
Step 4: Rise under lukewarm water once more, gently rubbing out the excess product and soap.
Step 5: Gently squeeze out the excess water and lay flat on a towel to dry, or hang upside down to dry. (Do lot leave standing up to dry, as that will allow the water to seep down into the base of the brush, creating the possibility for breeding mold/bacteria through the excess moisture.)

If you’re in need of a good brush cleaner, there are quite a few out there! This one that Sephora carries is affordable and great, but most drugstore brands you will find at Target and Fred Meyer will also have their own that should work just as good. If you have to clean a brush and are in a pinch, a gentle soap or facial cleanser can do the trick if needed too!

Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to having a healthier face and happy brushes. Cleaning them can be hard to remember to do regularly, especially if you’re not used to it. I’ve decided to make Sunday my brush cleaning day and clean whatever brushes I need to for the week on that night! If you notice yourself getting out of the habit, don’t be hard on yourself or put it off longer, just jump back in and clean them as soon as you remember! Your face will thank you for it!

xo,

Ashley

*Have a question you’d like answered? Email me! info@lovebeautybellingham.com

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“Dear Ashley,

How do you choose a lipstick color that compliments your skin tone? When I pick a color it looks great at the store, but when I get home the color is just a touch too orange.

– Kiah”

Great question, Kiah! I LOVE lipstick! If I was stranded on a deserted island and could only have 1 makeup product with me, it would probably be a bold lipstick. I just can’t get enough!

In general, when looking for a lipstick to match your skin tone, here are my key tips on finding your perfect shade with a few key pointers on selecting those bolder pink and red colors!

Fair Skin Tones: Picking a color that is either crisp in color or sheer will compliment your skin-tone best, rather than something in between. Try an orange-red or a pink with a peachy tint to it. This will brighten your fair skin and neutralize any reddish undertones. Petal pinks are also a great choice for you!

Medium Skin Tones: If you have medium skin tones you can be the most versatile with your color selection, so try as many as you’d like!  JustChoosing Your Lipstickwatch out for pinks with too much blue undertone because those may wash you out; instead, try a bright, watermelon pink. Also seek out reds that are neutral or have warm undertones.

Dark Skin Tones: Bright and bold colors complement darker skin tones beautifully, so don’t be afraid to try something new! When looking for a red, find a color with hints of cranberry, crimson, or warm brick. When searching for a pink, look for shades of magenta and fuchsia.

You brought up a great point however about how a lipstick can look good in the store and then different when you get it home. This happens often! Lighting in many makeup stores can be dim, harsh, or fragmented, so it’s no wonder colors can look different once you walk out the door! Before you leave the store, try a few color swatches next to each other to see some variety and give some comparison, ensuring your confidence in the color you’ve selected. Then walk around the store and check it in different mirrors, just in case the lighting varies around the store. If you still have the color on when you leave, check it as soon as you get out in natural light to make sure the color still looks the same. If all else fails, most companies have GREAT return policies. If you purchase something that just wont work, return it! Don’t feel bad about it – sometimes that happens and there’s no use keeping a product you won’t use. And often times the sales associate pushed you into it anyways, so if it’s not your cup of tea, return or exchange it for something new!

Phew. I hope this helps! Lipstick is so fun, so keep playing with it!

xo,

Ashley

*Have a question you’d like answered? Email me! info@lovebeautybellingham.com
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“Dear Ashley,

Someone recently told me to avoid mineral oil in beauty products, especially lotion. Looking into it online, I could not find a solid answer as to whether it is harmful for your skin. Learning about how it is produced makes me feel like I want to avoid it though, but thought I’d ask you. Any insights? Thanks!

– Rachel”

Oooooooh, I am excited to answer this question! Making sure I use quality products with safe ingredients is something really important to me, and I feel like it’s something many people in our local area of Whatcom/Skagit County are thinking a lot about right now. There is a lot that goes into understand mineral oil and it’s place in makeup products, so bare with me as I dive deep to talk about how it’s made, how it’s used, and what you may or may not need to think about when selecting products with mineral oil.Bellingham Makeup Artist

What is mineral oil and how is it produced?

This is probably the singular, most important thing to understand when it comes to learning about mineral oil. There are 3 kinds of mineral oils out there: 1. paraffinic oils, 2. naphthenic oils, and 3. aromatic oils. The type of alkanes (organic compounds that consist entirely of single-bonded carbon and hydrogen) in the oil determines which class the mineral oil falls under. All 3 have different chemical makeups and uses; paraffinic mineral oil is what is used in cosmetics and personal products (makeup, lotions, etc) and it is derived from petroleum (fossil fuel).

Mineral oil derived from petroleum is made by the residue of plant and animal life (plankton and algae) after it has been exposed to extremely high pressure and temperature deep within the Earth’s crust. Once taken out from the ground, it needs to be purified and refined. This is the process where the mineral oil, it’s class, and uses will change. How it’s made is actually what makes it safe to use on skin! While other classes of mineral oil are refined, such as what we use in cars and for household purposes, it is still has carcinogenics that you would not want to put on your skin. However, paraffinic mineral oil is so extensively refined and purified that there is hardly anything left of the original oil/compound at the end of the process. What IS left is a clear, odorless liquid with high moisturization and healing properties – very different from the other mineral oils used for industrial purposes. This concept may make sense to some of us but may be scary to others. If it scares you, think of it this way: plant extracts such as aloe, witch hazel, rosewater and a TON more are all common ingredients in our cosmetic products. But nearly all oils derived from plants also need to be dramatically refined/purified before being considered safe for the skin. It’s the exact same concept and process and both are taken from compounds of the earth.

The biggest myth about mineral oil

The “natural” movement in cosmetics, food, and just about everything is sweeping the nation right now. And for good reason! In our strides through modern technology we’ve created a lot of man-made, modified compounds that have substituted natural ingredients across the board and we have done this to the detriment of quality and safety. But with that movement has come 2 major flaws; 1. fear-mongering from those with environmental political agendas, and 2. misrepresenting and misunderstanding key products/ingredients such as mineral oil and spreading mistruths about them. Couple that with our tendency to believe everything we hear or read on the internet because its out there so it must be true, rather than doing our own research, has done us and the industry an injustice. Most all arguments opposing mineral oil out there does not speak to the paraffinic oil used in cosmetics, but rather the lesser-purified naphthenic classification of mineral oil, which yes, is labeled toxic to humans. Significant research has shown however that paraffinic oils have no indication to be toxic or carcinogenic and have been deemed safe by the World Health Organization, the US and British Pharmacopeias, and the FDA (which regulates it’s purification).

One of the most common lies out there about cosmetic mineral oil is that is comodogenic (meaning it clogs pores). While this is true of other classes of mineral oil it is not true of paraffinic oil (again an example of why information out there is misleading about mineral oil in cosmetics – they’re basing their information off the wrong kind of oil). Scientific research time after time has proved paraffinic oil to be non-comodegenic, meaning your skin health won’t suffer by using it either.

This is all great, but why is mineral oil even in my cosmetics?

In addition to being colorless and odorless, paraffinic mineral oil does not oxidize. What does this mean? Well, when your open and begin using any makeup, lotion, or other personal care product, the second it is open it begins to react with the oxygen and it’s compound make up starts to change – the shelf life on your product starts to deteriorate. Oxidizing can cause your product to change smell, appearance, or even color (foundation colors will often change by the time you get to the bottom of the bottle because of this process). Because mineral oil does not oxidize, it is a safe, natural product that will stabilize the formula of your cosmetics so they can maintain their shelf-life. Another benefit is that mineral oil heals wounds quickly and for years has been considered to be one of the most effective moisturizing agents out there!

To sum it all up….

Paraffinic mineral oil used in cosmetics and personal products is COMPLETELY safe! With that said however, please use anything you put on your face and skin with discretion. While it has been proved to be safe for general public use, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to have an allergic reaction. Every person’s skin is different and so if you think you may have an allergy to mineral oil, discontinue using it immediately. But I hope for the rest of you that this helps you feel safer and confident in continuing to use it in your personal care items!

xo,

Ashley

*Have a question you’d like answered? Email me! info@lovebeautybellingham.com

{References}
Cosmetics & Toiletries, February 1998, pages 33–40
Journal of Dermatologic Science, May 2008, pages 135–142
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-mineral-oil.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_oil

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