5 Amazing Beauty Hacks This Free Tool Is THE BEST For

If there’s one tool that every beauty lover should have in their glam room, it’s a spoolie. I know it may not look like much, but it’s an MUA’s secret weapon as it has SO many different uses: from taming brows and flyaways to plumping your lips and fixing your lashes. If you’re not familiar, a spoolie is the small mascara wand that you can find on most beauty counters, or they’re often included in brow kits, but that definitely doesn’t mean you should limit them to your brows. Here’s I use my fav beauty tool for a whole range of hacks….

To tame flyaways

There’s nothing worse than when your glossy blow-dry gets caught in the rain – or exposed to the desert heat. To combat frizz when you’re-on-the-go and keep flyaways at bay, make sure you have a spoolie in your purse at all times – I swear, it works wonders! As the brush is so fine it’ll smooth down any baby hairs and leave your hair looking silky smooth. For maximum impact, spray your spoolie with hairspray before combing it through your hair to get ultimate hold and shine – do this almost every morning!

For brows

There’s arguably no better brow tool for taming your brows than a spoolie! For ultimate hold, coat your spoolie with a little hairspray, and for thicker looking brows, brush your brows upwards up until you reach the arch and then brush the brows toward your hairline.

Extra hack: For longer lashes and brows, dip your spoolie in castor oil and then brush it through your hair. Castor oil is bursting with protein and fatty acids that can strengthen hair, making it the ideal remedy for extending the length of your lashes and brows.

For false lashes

One of my all-time fav hacks transforms a $2 pair of lashes into super luxurious, natural looking lashes. Just grab a spoolie and any drugstore lashes, and brush the lashes outwards, in horizontal back and forth motions. This will separate the lashes, making the lash strip appear fuller. Even, if you’re not a fan of falsies and you’re a die-hard mascara fan, if you run a clean spoolie through your mascara-coated lashes, you’ll separate each lash, getting rid of any clumps and again, making your eyes look more dramatic.

For your lips

This hacks only takes 30 seconds, and it’ll give you THE softest lips: just apply your fave lip balm or oil ( like to use coconut oil as it’s super hydrating and tastes delicious too!), then, using small circular motions, brush your lips gently with your spoolie.

For your nails

Using a spoolie to remove stubborn nail polish is basically a two-in-one nail treatment, as it gets rid of any stubborn polish while also gently buffing your nails. Just dip your spoolie in nail polish and buff away – the fine bristles are ideal as they’re able to access the cracks and crevices of your nails.

Let me know if you guys have any other amazing hacks you do with your spoolie in the comments.

IGNORE Everything You Ever Heard About Pores – This Is How You’ll Make Them Smaller

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that we’ve all been cursed with pores – they’re the bain of our lives, here to ruin our makeup! I spend waaay too much time thinking about cunning skincare regimes to get rid of them once and for all, and carefully trying to disguise them with pore-minimizing primers and HD powders. You’ve probably bought products that claim they will shrink your pores and erase all trace of them, well we’re here to get your facts straight with the ultimate tea on pores from skincare expert Dr. Kelly. Here’s how you can minimize your pores in the only way possible, but curb your expectations too – sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

What exactly are pores?
Each pore is actually the opening of a hair follicle. On the face, the follicles are tiny or sometimes even invisible, but there are oil glands that live at the base of the follicle and these can over-grow making your pores bigger and more noticeable. This often starts at puberty, and feels like it never stops!

Why are some people’s pores so much more visible than others?
The size of your pores is mostly due to genetics and hormones. You have no control over your genetics, but there is a lot you can do to help manage your pores to make them look as invisible as possible.

How can we get rid of pores?
No product can permanently shrink pores, but there are some very effective products that do a great job of making them look smaller. The best topical agent for making pores look better is the nightly use of topical retinoids or retinol, which are forms of vitamin A (a natural ingredient). Retinoids do two things: it increases skin cell turnover, which helps improve the overall thickness of the skin, and they increase the purging of oily plugs from the pores – the less packed the pores are, the smaller they look. Salicylic acid is also an excellent ingredient as it exfoliates deep into the pores, which gets rid of dead skin cells that can make the pores appear larger.

If you have large pores, do you just need to accept it and blame genetics? 
Partly, but there are still many measures you can take to help them appear smaller and to prevent them from getting bigger. The most important thing you can do is use sun protection every day. Sun dehydrates your skin and makes the oil glands over-grow, making the pores look bigger. Some people get a tan because they feel it masks the pores and makes them look smaller, but this is a temporary effect, and in the not-so-long-run, it will make the pores bigger, as well as making blackheads and whiteheads worse from the excess oil that plugs the skin.

Will controlling oil with a good skincare regime improve your pores? If so, what do you recommend? 
Ingredients like salicylic acid, niacinamide, caffeine, and retinol can have an excellent impact on the size of your pores. Taking antioxidant supplements like niacinamide, zinc, copper, and folic acid by mouth can also be very helpful as they have powerful antioxidant and wound healing effects. They’re also anti-aging – who doesn’t want that benefit?!

Do natural DIYs actually have any effect?
DIY masks can have a temporary effect, but not a lasting one. Using egg white masks and yogurt masks, combined with honey can be beneficial for tightening pores. Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and it doesn’t clog pores.

Try: A gentle steam can hydrate the skin and make the pores more receptive to products you apply. Once your skin is soft and hydrated, you can apply a mask of yogurt and honey or egg white and honey for 5 minutes, rinse off, and then apply 1-2% salicylic acid lotion to help exfoliate deep into the pores. Top it off with a hyaluronic acid moisturizer as this will offer maximum hydration without clogging your pores. The result will be radiant, smooth skin.

I also get a lot of questions about the use of alcohol wipes for the treatment of acne and pores, but this does nothing to kill the bacteria that causes acne, it does nothing for the pores, and it only serves to dry out and irritate the skin.

There’s one other alternative for reducing pores: 
The Clear and Brilliant laser is also an excellent and gentle option for an in-office treatment to help reduce the appearance of pores and improve skin texture. I also find it to be safer than other lasers for my patients with skin of color.

Now that you know the truth about pores – aka you might just be prone to having bigger pores – we hope you feel better about your options. Basically, there are ingredients you can use to minimize the appearance of pores, and by using a thorough cleansing routine and non-comedogenic products (that don’t block pores), you can help to make your pores look as small as possible. You also need to realize that your pores look bigger to you than anyone else. Why? Because you spend all day focusing on yours and not staring at other people’s! And yes, most of the images you see online and in magazines have all been airbrushed, but I can promise you, celebs and influencers have pores too!

WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK?

10 Ways to Relieve Stress

I haven’t touched too much on stress and anxiety on my blog, but I deal with it every single day. I have spine issues so stress really takes a toll on my body and back. It’s so easy to let stress get the best of me, so as soon as I feel stressed, I take a minute to become self-aware and begin de-stressing. Here are my 10 ways to relieve stress and I hope this helps you too!

  1. Breathe
    • When we get stressed or anxious, listen to your breathing – is it fast and shallow? As soon as you feel tense, try breathing slow and deep. The increased intake of oxygen will help calm your nervous system.
  2. Pamper
    • As a beauty blogger, this is probably my favorite thing to do.  Create a mini spa oasis at home – light some candles and pamper yourself with your favorite mask or give yourself a manicure. You deserve it!
  3. Drink tea
    • I love tea, like really love tea and recently I learned that there’s an art to drinking tea. Instead of just pouring yourself a cup, pay attention to the boiling of the water, the steeping of the tea, and then take a moment to savor each sip. Focusing on the experience can be calming, just make sure to drink decaffeinated tea like this one.
  4. Music
    • You know how you listen to music before heading into the shower? The same thing applies to your night in. Music can be a powerful tool to quickly change your mood and I love using apps like Spotify and Tidal that have ready-made playlists to match your mood.
  5. Journal
    • Sometimes when I have so much on my mind, I write down what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling that way. Once I have everything down on paper, it’s like having a weight lifted off my shoulders and then I can start tackling whatever is stressing me out.
  6. Read
    • If there’s one thing that’ll put me to sleep, it’s reading. Get lost in a story and it’ll take your mind off of your stressful day and chances are, it’ll put you to sleep like me.
  7. Exercise
    • Now I’m not the most active person but walking helps to put my mind at ease. This is something I recently picked up and I’ve been really feeling the endorphins! I love that feeling of knowing that I took time out of my day to get myself healthier.
  8. Meditation
    • I have been able to master this technique, and I know many people who love meditation. In fact, my therapist is a strong believer in meditation and recommends it for everyone, not just for people who suffer from anxiety, depression, stress and etc.    You can use meditation apps or find a guided meditation on YouTube.
  9. Stay offline
    • If work and emails are sources of your stress, turn off your phone and computer to reduce the temptation of checking and responding to emails.  As much as work is important to me,  I try to remember that my health is much more important. Social media can be strainful so try to separate yourself. I know that is hard especially for those who earn money through Instagram like myself but it is not impossible.
  10. Cry/Smile
    • Relieves Stress. A good cry can provide a feeling of relief, even if our circumstances still remain the same. Crying is known to release stress hormones or toxins from the body, and as a result, reduces tension. It provides an emotional release of pent up negative feelings, stresses, and frustrations.
      • When all else fails, smile. Smiling releases a hormone called serotonin (the happy hormone) and can boost your immune system. By having a positive attitude, you’ll have a sunnier outlook on life. Try it!

Don’t get me wrong I love makeup and using makeup to feel good, but working on my inner beauty is a priority for me too! Stress can be detrimental to your overall health, so remember to take at least five minutes out of your day to relax. Happy de-stressing!

HOW DO YOU DE-STRESS?

Ask Lee: How To Know If You’re Ready for the Chop

As all of you know, I keep shaving off my hair. It was my first real haircut in years, so it was a big change. But I’ve got to say, I’m loving my short haircut so far! I’ve received a lot of compliments on my hair from followers, family members, and strangers. There have been a few messages on my Instagram asking me why I did it and how I felt before and after the chop. Today I wanted to address those questions in my latest Ask Lee post. Here are the things to consider before getting a major haircut…

Is everything else in your life stable?

I understand the instinct to chop your hair off right after a breakup or other major life change. But as nice as it is to start fresh, you’re also more likely to make a rash decision you’ll regret. So if you’re considering making a big change to your look, try to do it when everything else in your life is status quo.

To some, it might seem I woke up one morning and just shaved off my head but,  in reality, I thought about it for a least 2 weeks. Sometimes I do things without thinking and with my hair, I put a lot of thought into it. If you know me, you know growing up I hated getting trims. Always felt like they cut off too much. It was never a good time until now. I still don’t trust anyone with my hair but my aunt Jillie who went to cosmetology school and her specialty was haircuts shaved my head for me. After looking into my mirror, I knew I made the best decision for me. 

Can you take it slow?

When I told my hairstylist Jillie that I wanted a shave, she kept asking me am I sure. The reasons I wanted to shave off my hair was because I had dead ends and because I wanted to be free.

But I would suggest you cut a little bit off first and get used to playing with your new texture and length before really going for it. It will make the transition a lot easier and also gives you a chance to change your mind. 

Are you prepared for high maintenance?

It’s a big misconception that shorter hair is easier to care for. Yes, you might save a little time shampooing. But it takes more time to style shorter hair, and you will also have to get more frequent trims (every 4-6 weeks) to maintain your shortcut. I now wear wigs whenever I just want to switch it up or don’t feel like dealing with my short hair. 

But I will say, I’ve been using Curls, Elasta QP and Orshaircare for months now, maybe even for a year and my short hair has been easier to handle and to take care of especially when my hair is under those wigs. I now shave my own hair with Wahl Corded Color Pro Color Kit. The kit has everything I need and more, I feel like a real barber.

If you answered yes to all three questions, then you are ready for a short haircut!

I know it seems silly to put so much thought into getting a haircut, but as anyone who has ever had a bad haircut knows, it’s best to really be sure about these things! Plus, if you anything like me, then you will want to make sure you have the best barber and tools for your hair. Also, make sure you in the right frame of mind to make this type of big decision that can change your life forever.

Are you considering cutting your hair?

I hope my advice helped!

XO Lee