Beauty Products, Pretty Well

Quick & Easy Natural Makeup Look

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I am all about effortless, quick, easy, and light makeup routines. There was a time in my life when I wore heavy foundation, which always felt more like I was wearing a mask. If my eyes ever ran water or shed tears, it looked like the Red Sea had parted down my cheeks. I’ve also had seasons of contouring and attempting the great smokey eye, which looked more like a black eye. I’m not knocking it. I just don’t have the skills and the vast majority of women do not either. My sister, though, is a makeup prodigy, and she does amazing things with makeup on a daily basis. If you need some tips and trips on taking it to the next level, I will give you her contact information! If you are just trying to make it through a day of work looking put together and without melting down, then I am your girl!

This is an actual picture from this morning. Hello, Friday and long weekend! I go through various makeup routines from time to time, but this has been my go-to look for the past two weeks or so. I’m using a lot of Beautycounter products right now since I am a consultant. I’m really trying to decide which products will become staples in my own routine, but I am loving everything so far. Here is what I used!

Note: Just click on the product names for direct links to the products.

Foundation and Concealer: Touchup Skin Concealer Pen in Light, Tint Skin Foundation in Linen

Setting Powder: Mattifying Powder 

Eyes: Eyeshadow Duo in Shell/Malt, bareMinerals Pink Eye Color in Finesse, Color Outline Eye Pencil in Violet, Tarte Lights/Camera/Lashes Mascara

Blush: Color Sweep Blush Duo in Flamingo/Apricot

Lips: Lip Sheer in Rose, Lip Gloss in Opal

Setting Spray: Balancing Facial Mist (this stuff is seriously the bomb!)

That’s it! 11 products for a quick and easy, natural makeup look.

I hope you enjoy your long weekend with family and friends. As a military spouse, I will be holding my husband extra close and remembering his friends who are no longer with us. Thank you to all of our Veterans and their families for your service.

Beauty Products, Health, Pretty Well

When Natural Beauty Fails

I was sifting through old pictures on my phone a few days ago. I found a few pictures from my early days of switching to natural beauty products, and they gave me a good laugh. They reminded me of the phase I went through in elementary school of using hairspray to spray down every single flyaway in my hair. I seriously looked like a greaser. In all fairness, there was no reasoning with me so my mom just let me go at it every morning. My youngest sister also went through this phase a few years back…hair slicked right down to her head. I guess it just runs in the family! It’s a wonder all of my hair didn’t fall out during that period.

As I experimented with natural products, there were definitely items that did not work for me. I thought I looked good but the fact that I did not continue to use those products and the photographic evidence prove otherwise. And, it wasn’t just makeup. I remember my skin feeling like a seashell from the natural body wash I was using. My hair also returned to early greaser days as I switched to natural hair products. Then, there were my attempts at making homemade laundry detergent, which my husband eventually (and so kindly) asked me to step away from. The entire process ended up being wildly disappointing. I looked older and worse than ever and our clothes felt dirty. Great.

Sometimes natural products do not work. 

Like everything in life, we often have to work to find a great fit. What may work for one person may be a total misfit for another. I had to learn to step away from reviews and start trusting my gut on certain products and, for a while, I did go back to my less than natural favorites. I went back to my trusted products that I had used for years because at least I looked okay while using them. I came back around, though, and was determined to discover new favorites that were also safer and without completely breaking the bank. I also had to accept a few things about myself. Like the fact that I am not a maker of products. There are plenty of laundry detergents out there that are safe and do not require me to spend time grating soap. You may be very skilled at that, but it just wasn’t for me.

Sometimes you find a wonderful natural product that you just can’t live without!

I decided to really use samples to my advantage, and that is one of the best pieces of advice I can give to anyone making a transition with their beauty products. I quickly learned that there are a few brands that I love and that work for me. I try to stick with those companies rather than spending all of my time trying new brands and products. Along the way, I’ve discovered some really awful products. Some really disappointing brands. I’ve also discovered that what may be awful for me may be your absolute favorite and that is perfectly okay.

What works for me? 

  • Beautycounter: Seriously my favorite brand at this time. I use so many of their products. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, facial oil, foundation, lipstick, etc. I LOVE that I can get all of these products in one place. My husband even uses it and loves it. I also love that I get to work as a consultant and connect friends and family directly with items I believe in! Let me know if you’re interested in any samples by emailing prettywellblog@gmail.com. 
  • One Love Organics:  I haven’t used anything by One Love that I haven’t loved. Everything is made in small batches and you can really tell that they put a lot of thought into the quality. LOVE!
  • Indie Lee: I love their glass bottles and I love their products even more. Only one product from them has not worked for me. Everything else has been a dream!
  • Vapour Organic Beauty: I would call Vapour the Cadillac of natural beauty. It’s luxurious plus they offer samples so you can try it before diving right in!

Of course, there are very popular companies that have not worked for me & are not on my list. There are also a ton of companies I have not tried at this point. My best advice: find what works for you slowly but surely. And, for goodness’ sake, do not turn into a greaser! If it’s not working, move on!

-Jess

Beauty Products, Pretty Well

Sale Alert

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you are looking forward to your weekend. There are a few sales I want to update you on for the weekend.

Pretty + Well

Fig & Flower: My absolute favorite store for purchasing safer beauty products. They carry all of my favorite brands and are a local Atlanta business. They are showing some love with their Earth Day Sale through Sunday. You should show them some love, too! 10% off $100, 15% off $150, 20% off $200.

Click here to shop Fig & Flower! 

Beautycounter: You know I am a huge fan of Beautycounter. Right now, you get a free deluxe trial size product when you purchase one of the following: Cleansing Balm, Charcoal Bar, No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil, No. 2 Plumping Facial Oil, No. 3 Balancing Facial Oil, Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation, Sheer Lipstick, Protect All-Over SPF 30. Any new customers of mine will also receive a special gift!

Click here to shop Beautycounter! 

Target Naturals: Target has really stepped up their game in the natural product department. Today through Saturday they have 10% off natural beauty and home products.

Click here to shop Target! 

Happy Shopping! I will add any additional deals as I find them 🙂

Beauty Products, Health, Pretty Well

Redefining Beauty

My history with beauty hasn’t always been clean.

I held my breath as the doctor approached my forehead with a syringe. The waivers were signed. The possible outcomes were understood. Today was the day I would say goodbye to that pesky line between my eyebrows. I was 23 years old and a few years of looking at the computer screen and thinking too hard were beginning to show on my face…specifically right between my eyes. The line had become a catch-all for my makeup and a source of insecurity. I was much too young for this, and I knew there was already a solution in place. So, I called up my esthetician and scheduled a consultation and then an appointment. Within a few days, I walked out of the office with a shiny new forehead.

As I went to sleep that night, I felt a wave of panic come over me as I realized I could not exactly move my forehead. The connection between my brain and muscles had ceased, and it freaked me out! While I spent the next few months more confident in my looks (goodbye forehead crease!), I promised myself I would never go through the process again. I started to ask why this was the latest beauty craze. Sure, we want to look young. Sure, it can help with headaches. But, there was something that was now missing from me..from who I am…my ability to express myself felt completely stifled. Some people are perfectly okay with that, but I was not ready to let it go.

Today, my forehead line has returned. It’s a little deeper than before. I know that no cream or natural remedy will fix it. I even went through a few nights of trying to use wrinkle tape to help smooth it out. Lately, I’ve really been working through accepting the aging process and focusing more on self-care and wellness rather than just outward appearances. Putting something on my skin that is toxic simply is not worth it. I’m already dealing with a compromised immune system, and I am on a mission to give my body the best chance to be healthy.

And, the reality is, this injection was not my first attempt to look better. At a young age, I started having chemical peels and going through Retin-A treatments. I had acid applied to a scar on my chin to help it heal again in a less noticeable way.  My chemical peel journey ended after the peel refused to settle down…leaving me with the worst feeling face ever. All of these moments…all of these instances…made me look at myself and question the underlying insecurities.

What is beauty? Why is our society pushing so hard against the aging process?

And, you may ask, what is the difference between injections and simply using a natural cream with promises of brightening your skin? Honestly, I do often ask myself this question. Isn’t the motivation ultimately the same?

I think the difference ultimately lies within the risks we are willing to take in the name of beauty. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel prettier but…what happens when prettier means taking major health risks?

What is the definition of beauty? What value has our culture placed on that definition?

For me, I am in the process of redefining what beauty means to me and how I perceive beauty in others. I want to tell young girls that makeup does not define them. That perfectly shaped eyebrows and smooth skin are not necessary. I want to tell them that they are enough, and they are beautiful.

The quest for perfection is trickling down to younger and younger generations. It has to stop somewhere and it’s going to take a generation of young women standing up and saying…

“I’ve got some lines and that is just fine. My skin is not perfect, but I will not sacrifice my health in the name of beauty.”

No one will ever be perfect on this journey. I am surely not. What can we do? We can begin to redefine beauty, and we can begin to encourage our mothers and sisters and friends to trend toward wellness and health. One step at a time.

 

Beauty Products, Pretty Well

Eyeshadow Favorites

Let’s talk about eyeshadow. Eye shadow is one of my favorite beauty products. It’s versatile, affordable, and really sets the tone of a makeup look. I can barely walk away from a beautiful pink or gold shimmer. I had a nice collection of colors from one brand that I ended up setting aside for cleaner alternatives. I thought it would be hard to replace them, but I quickly found new favorites. The best part? The new ones do not bother my eyes! Ever. I am sharing with you my three favorite eyeshadows to date.

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RMS Beauty Eye Polish

This eyeshadow is creamy and full of pigments. A little goes a long way, and it’s super easy to apply even with your fingers. The end result is a subtle, glossy look that leaves your eyes looking fresh rather than heavy. The best part? It pulls double duty and moisturizes the eyes while being worn to help fight aging! If you do have oily skin, just make sure you use a minimum amount rather than using a normal amount. This product lasts forever!

Favorite Shades: Lunar, Myth

100%

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Eye Shadow

This eyeshadow is most similar to the one I said goodbye to for a cleaner alternative. So easy to apply and blend. You really can’t mess up the application process. Plus, it stays put all day. There is a great selection of shades to choose from…all free from synthetic dyes!

Favorite Shades: Star Bright, Sugared

vapour

Vapour Mesmerize Eye Color

The first day I wore this eyeshadow a coworker stopped me and said, “Your eyes look amazing today! What did you do different?” Well, the difference was the mesmerize eye color. It’s fantastic. It’s creamy but it also reminds me of a powered eyeshadow. It does not crease or run like your typical cream. The pigments in the product are truly amazing, and you are guaranteed to have a twinkle in your eyes! Fig and Flower has an awesome eye palette available with three awesome shades to get you started.

Favorite Shades: Sugar, Firefly

I hope you are able to find a clean shadow for your makeup collection. I think you will be happy with any of these!
-Jess

Beauty Products, Pretty Well

A Sea of Choices

I tend to get overwhelmed when I have too many choices to make at once. Heck, I even get a little overwhelmed when trying to decide what to eat for dinner. We have so many options screaming at us in all areas of life on a daily basis. There is social media (pick your favorite). Many websites are unusable due to the vast amount of ads flanking the pages. Decisions lurking around every corner and so many things competition for our attention, our time, and our money. It’s becoming our norm as a society and, honestly, sometimes it scares me. I don’t want this place, Pretty + Well, to be a source of confusion for you. I don’t want you to have to feel like you need to go out and buy a bunch of stuff NOW…because you don’t! I want you to be able to make healthy choices for your life in your time and in your way.

After I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and realized it was time to make some changes, I did feel this urge to change everything  at once. I had moments of filling my online cart with tons of new items to begin transitioning into a more natural lifestyle. I placed unnecessary pressure on myself to make changes really quickly. Throughout the journey, I have experiences times of great success  and times of regret when a product failed after spending good money on it. I realize the journey can be frustrating, and the many options before you can be overwhelming. Here are my tips for navigating through the sea of choices when it comes to beauty products (and anything else for that matter)!

  1. Set a budget! My husband, being oh so wise, decided to give me a budget for buying products to begin with. This helped me set some initial goals and get some of the excitement out of my system.
  2. Set expectations! Do you plan to just transition your beauty products? Makeup? Haircare? Do you also plan to transition to natural household products? It’s important to decide what your goals are for making changes!
  3. Replace one product at a time! Change takes time, and I am more on board with a “slow and steady wins the race” approach rather than a hurried approach that may not stick. For me, I knew mascara had to be first since it was causing me issues every day. For you, it may be another product.
  4. Research before shopping! The Environmental Watch Group has a database called Skin Deep. This was the most helpful tool for browsing products in specific categories. It was also a helpful way to explore my current products to decide what I should no longer use!
  5. Visit a store in person! I was so excited to learn about a natural beauty store in Atlanta called Fig & Flower. My husband and I decided to go check it out, and this is where I spent my initial budget. I felt like I was in heaven. I was able to get some product sample and advice from the store owner, Sara. It also helped me narrow down the product selection. The brands I discovered in Fig & Flower are still my favorite, and I still buy many of my items from the website. Check them out!
  6. Samples are your friend! Many products have a sample option on their website if you do not live near a store. You often have to pay for them, but it’s an affordable way to try out different shades of makeup and beauty products. It’s also useful if you are like me and like to change things up frequently!
  7. Give yourself a break! Lifestyle changes can be hard, so please remember to HAVE FUN! Include friends and family on your journey. Connect with bloggers. Find a way to share your journey and let it be an adventure rather than a burden.

I hope this helps with you with your plans to transition into natural products. I am rooting for you, and I am always happy to answer any questions you have!

-Jess