There’s a mantra that spiritually dictates my life—a guiding light, if you will.
“The blonder the better.”
No, really. KG after getting her highlights refreshed is Peak KG®.
While this mostly indicates sheer superficiality, it also guarantees I know a thing or two about becoming (and staying) your best, blondest self. Who better to direct you in this arena than someone who considers her hair color a central tenet of her identity?!
(OK—I swear I’m just kidding—but I do think I’ve discovered the best out there through trial and error since 2011 when I started going blonde.)
These products, for the price, cannot be beaten, and that is a hill I will die on. There’s so much stuff out there and so much fantastic marketing that preys on women’s low self-esteem (tangent) that it’s hard to know sometimes what’s worth the money.
I’m big on products that deliver the most bang for your buck. Don’t hassle with me that 10-step, hair-mask, raw egg-and-avocado oil sprays. Nobody got time for that (especially someone that’s really trying not to wash on the daily).
Here’s the breakdown of your #FUNdamentals:
Shampoo • Conditioner • Leave-In Spray • A WetBrush
And bonus points, if you’re feeling spicy:
A Conditioning Wash • Hybrid Volumizing/Dry Shampoo Spray
…for days you aren’t shampooing but you’re a little greasy
I’ve talked about this shampoo before about six months ago (which should inspire even more confidence that I use and love this) in a post called “How to Make Your Blonde Look So Good that Your Straight Male Friends Notice.” Inspired by true events.
It’s the Joico Color Balance Purple Shampoo, only $26 on Amazon for 33 ounces (I bought my first 33 oz. bottle sometime in February and I’m still using it, for reference).
Having used several other purple shampoos in the past, including the Paul Mitchell and Aveda versions, I know a good purple shampoo when I find it. The color payoff was so much less noticeable in the others that when I switched to the Joico product I started getting comments and compliments that same week.
If you want a cool, platinum blonde tone (vs. a golden or warm tone), this shampoo is it.
Full disclosure and caution, though, if you use this every single day and leave it on for over a minute each time, you’ll definitely start to see a violet hue (TBH, I think it looks kinda dope and Instagram filter-y, but that’s not everyone’s thing)—so be sure to use it every other day or less and wash it out as soon as you’re done scrubbing it in. ~Expectation-setting!~
Moving right along.
Color-treated blonde hair is infamously dryer and more brittle than dark hair, so a great conditioner is critical if you’re trying to grow your hair (or just want it to look full at every length).
The best conditioner I’ve ever used is the It’s a 10 Miracle Daily Conditioner. While it’s usually $20-something in stores for a small bottle, this link is for a $25 33-oz. bottle. Thank me later.
Not only does it have a heat protectant built in, but it does a really good job when paired with the purple shampoo of striking that balance where the hair has texture and volume at the roots but is soft and smooth through the middle and bottom (the ideal polar opposite of the “greasy at the top, dry at the bottoms” phenomenon).
I use three pumps of this product through the middle of my hair down to the ends (concentrating on the ends) then wrap the hair up in a bun to soak in the conditioner while I wash my body and shave (3 minutes max.). I read once that leaving conditioner on too long can actually backfire because it softens the hair shaft so much that it breaks.
OK, so now you’ve rinsed and you’re out of the shower.
Time for your leave-in spray. Whether you plan to blow dry and style or not, a leave-in spray like this one is always a good idea because it also functions as a detangler (#YUGE for blondes), a UV protectant (again, big), and adds shine.
My go-to (I don’t even want to know how many bottles I’ve purchased over the last several years) is the It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product. (Again, $24 for the 10-oz. bottle linked.)
Y’all, I was being cheap once and bought a Tresemme version instead, and was so pissed off after three days that I threw it away and repurchased It’s a 10. That’s what happens when you try to CUT CORNERS, people.
While I hate heat-styling my hair because I’m obsessed with looking and feeling like a mermaid, this pretty much takes the guilt out of it.
I use about 5 sprays on towel-dried hair, focusing mostly on the ends and middle, then brush through with my trusty WetBrush. (I always use the leave-in spray before brushing so I get the detangling benefits, and trust me, I feel the difference when I travel and don’t bring the leave-in spray).
If you care enough about your hair to have made it this far in an article about shampoo, you likely already have a WetBrush, but if not, holy sh*t—you need one. The bristles are soft and have more ‘give’ so when you hit a snag, the bristles move around it more delicately (rather than ripping out knots). If you only have $10 to spend on your hair, this will make the biggest difference for length and breakage.
Bonus points stuff
Recently I’ve introduced something called conditioning wash into my routine because sometimes my hair feels a little greasy and I want it to smell clean, but I don’t want to put it through a full, sudsy shampoo. Conditioning wash was designed for curly hair, but is beneficial for minimizing shampooing.
I like the Aveda Co-Wash product a lot. I was skeptical since I didn’t like their regular shampoo or conditioner, but I was really pleased with this one. It smells really good (in my opinion) and really does feel like scrubbing a conditioner into your scalp. I scrub it in, throw my hair in a bun, wash my body, then rinse. If you use leave-in spray and blow dry after this, your hair will look really clean. It’s kinda magic.
According to Thomas who literally washes his hair with shampoo once per week (!!), you can do this with regular conditioner too (he washes his hair with conditioner every day). I’m not so sure about this since I remember my greasiest high school days where I’d legitimately let the conditioner creep up one inch too far and then I’d be cursed with an oily mess post-shower. Whatever, Tom.
I’ve never been a fan of dry shampoo because I never really found one that worked for me. It was super annoying—I’d be a grease ball and turn to dry shampoo for respite, and it’d end up just caking more product on top of the grease that wouldn’t seem to do anything except call more attention to it. I think my hair is too thick for it? I don’t know.
Living Proof did a big push on social a few months ago about their Full Dry Volume Blast product. I’m just a sucker for beautiful blondes with big hair (shout-out Olivia Rink) and any product they push, so I snagged a bottle. And while it DOES give me volume (especially when I curl), it had a really unexpected but fantastic side effect: it works better than any dry shampoo I’ve ever used at keeping my hair looking fresh.
But here’s the key: you have to apply it when your hair is clean. Flip your head upside down after freshly blow drying and spray on your roots then hang there like an idiot for about 10 seconds so it’ll ‘set’ with all your hair upside down. Flip it right side up, brush through it gently, and you’ll be amazed at how long your hair stays clean. Even when I take a bath in my own sweat at Sculpt, it somehow stays pretty dryer and fresh.
I bet their dry shampoo works well since it appears they’ve figured out the right ingredients for this, but I’ve never tried it. Recommendations, anyone?
That’s it, folks! And now the stuff I feel you gotta say after writing 1,400 words about hair:
I think that’s it. Give this stuff a shot, blondies, and let me know what you think!
Every morning at 5:30 a.m., I am confronted with the same groggy, horrific question: Are you going to succumb to the temptation of being a reasonable person and sleep for two more hours?
…or are you going to be a legitimate psychopath, climb out of bed into the darkness outside, and go get screamed at by a peppy Sculpt instructor in a room heated to 95 degrees?
The especially ironic thing about when I’m writing this—Thursday night—is that, this morning, I overslept through my alarm and missed my 6 a.m. class. Do as I say, not as I do.
Before I list a few ways that I’ve essentially manipulated myself into making this habitual, I just have to throw this out here: there are some people whose circadian rhythms just don’t allow for this.
I’d say it’s sheer willpower or ‘wanting it bad enough’ (and, to some extent, it is), but after living with some people like my college roommate Buns, I understand that some people are just night owls and can’t wake up before 8 a.m. That’s OK. If you know for a fact that that’s you and you LOVE your nightly workouts, then more power to you. As long as you’re moving your body and getting your sweat on, keep on with yo’ bad self.
There is nothing inherently better about a morning workout. It’s simply a matter of preference. I personally prefer them for my lifestyle right now for two reasons:
The important thing here is that part of the reason I have elected to do these really early workouts is not because I innately love waking up at 5:30—I don’t—but because I hate driving to a workout in rush hour traffic after work more.
Working out isn’t an option for me; it’s something I have to do to keep my endorphins high and temper my high-strung nature just a little bit. In short, waking up early and getting it over with is the lesser of two evils for me.
So, here’s the deal, starting with the basics.
Step one. Establish that exercising is a priority in the first place.
If you have a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude about exercise, this just flat-out won’t work. You have to really want it and really care. If you WANT to abandon the ‘take it or leave it’ attitude and you WANT it to be a priority, I’d say consider the fact that exercise is the quickest way to improve your life most significantly.
You’ll sleep better. You’ll be happier (seriously, endorphin rushes are so real). Whether you see results or not, you’ll honestly just feel better about yourself. A lack of confidence catalyzes most of the negative experiences in our lives, in my opinion, and this is a pretty easy solve for that.
One of my friends who got into Sculpt texted me a few weeks in and goes, “This is the most 'privileged white girl' thing I’ve ever said, but I feel like this is changing my life. My body doesn’t even look different yet, but I just feel so much better about myself.”
Now that I’ve been going consistently for half a year (I can’t believe it’s been that long already), I know I’ll never stop because I’ve become obsessed with the muscle definition it’s given me. It sounds superficial, but there’s nothing like feeling confident in your own body. (Now, if only I felt confident in my own SKIN—unfortunately, Sculpt can’t fix acne scarring.)
[Interested in acne scarring and skincare, too? I break down my optimal mix of high-end and drugstore skincare products here.]
That’s part of the challenge with getting started—you don’t know how much you’ll love exercising until you stick with it for a little while to see some semblance of results. Once you see them, you’ll probably never want to stop.
But that leads me to…
Step two. Find an exercise class or routine that you ACTUALLY really enjoy that offers morning sessions (almost all do).
This is a two-part jam: it’s important to find something you love because then you’ll (a) actually want to go and (b) feel obligated to since you’ll probably be paying for it.
There’s something about the psychology of spending money on exercise that makes it more of a compulsion. When it’s up to me to just go jog around outside at 6 a.m., I’m probably going to feel less pressure to get out there and suck it up than if I know my credit card got hit with the $140 charge for unlimited class membership the day before.
[Unsure how to budget around this? This post from February introduces basic budgeting and has a free downloadable spreadsheet to plug in your take-home pay. With a little finessing, you can probably find a way.]
When you pay for something, you feel more obligated to use it. If you can afford to implement an exercise routine that costs money, I’d honestly recommend doing so. Most gyms cost less than fitness studios (and some places like SoulCycle are entirely out of my budget) but having some skin in the game will increase your likelihood to make it to class.
When you take the time to find a class you actually like, you’ll probably start to run into the same people over and over again. This offers an accountability-adjacent effect where you feel like you’re part of a larger group.
I know some people have workout buddies, but to be honest, I’ve always felt that backfires because if they bail, so do you. You don’t really want your motivation and commitment to be dependent upon another person’s willpower.
But the 6 a.m. crowd in general is always the same—and it makes me happy, because most are bad-ass young women who work at top law firms and consulting groups who get up before their 12-hour grueling work day to come sweat it out. I’ve become good friends with a lot of them, and seeing their faces every morning gives me a sense of community that’s truly preferable to sleeping in.
There’s also an element of pressure. These are the girls who use the heaviest weights, do all their pushups on their toes instead of their knees, and never skip. I have gotten exponentially better and more competitive just from working out with those who are intense enough to wake up that early for class.
When I skip, I experience this weird fear that they’ll notice I’m not there. Very effective in overcoming the temptation.
I remember a few weeks ago I opted to get an extra hour of sleep and skip class, and I was in a genuinely irritable, pissy mood all morning because it totally threw off my mojo. Weirdly enough, without that morning start with my 20ish sweaty compatriots, I felt a little lonely and off-kilter.
It’s funny how quickly something that once seemed impossible has become such an integral and enjoyable part of my day.
Annnnnnnd that’s where we get to:
Step three. Suck it up for the first couple weeks to make it a habit. Once it’s part of your routine, you won’t think twice.
Sometimes there’s literally no hack for day one. It’s just dragging yourself out of bed and making yourself go. There are plenty of small tricks you can employ here (the most common being ‘lay out your clothes the night before’), but to be honest, when your alarm goes off at 5:30 for the first time, you won’t give a single shit that your exercise outfit is laying on the ground by the door. Not a single one.
Sure, it’ll stare up at you in shame and disgust as you blow past it on your way to work, but it’s not going to actually affect your behavior.
You just have to decide the night before that you’re going—no excuses—and force it.
But let me tell you, usually once or twice is enough to make you realize, Hey, this is actually pretty great. Each time after that is less of a hurdle.
Sure, some days are worse than others if you’re dehydrated or exhausted, and those days I’d recommend skipping—but mostly, it’s the first time or two that takes the most sheer grit to just do it. (Cue vintage Nike ad.)
I remember during the first week I started going at 6 a.m. I literally said out loud to myself in my pitch black, cold room (it was December at the time), “Quit being a little bitch and get up.”
There’s something oddly empowering about talking shit to yourself. Like, don’t be a baby. Just get the F up and go. People do much harder stuff much earlier, every single day.
It’ll take a week or so to actually make it a HABIT, but once you step out of your studio or gym at 7 a.m. to the quiet, chilly morning air with your workout behind you, I promise, you’ll be HOOKED.
There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself, either. So,
Step four. Treat and incentivize yourself.
Mine is with coffee. There’s a Starbucks next to the Mockingbird studio and a Houndstooth Coffee (boutique shop) next to the Henderson studio, so after I go to morning class, I walk next door and get an iced coffee. The amount of times that THAT has been the reason I’ve gotten out of bed? More times than I’d like to admit.
This (obviously) gets pricey, but I buy coffee nearly every day anyway, so this didn’t really introduce any new significant financial burden. I’m not even sure what else would incentivize YOU, personally, but the coffee shop stop afterward always puts that perfect cap on the morning before I have to go get ready for work.
It’s some quality “me” time (like, two hours’ worth) before I have to step foot into my job. It makes a difference.
Some people are into juice bars and acai bowls. That’d probably be too expensive to do every single time, but if you’re only working out in the morning 2-3 times per week, you could probably swing a green juice each time.
Luckily, most fitness studios and gyms are located near places like that (thanks, strategic marketers and product placement) so they usually make it as convenient as possible for you to give them your money. Lucky us.
And if the idea of working out that early without coffee is horrendous to you, I'd suggest buying cold brew from the store (I like that Stok brand) and bringing it to class with your water bottle. I'm basic and #BrandLoyalAF so I love this reusable cold cup from Starbucks, linked here for $24 on Amazon.
Lastly, remember that fitness is a marathon, not a sprint.
I’d be nothing without a good exercise pun. Ellie and I always talk about how counterintuitive it is to get down on yourself for skipping a workout. As effective as calling yourself a 'little bitch' to get out of bed is, be gentle with yourself. If you need to skip or fitness doesn’t come easily, do not feel guilty. Don’t feel bad about it. Just keep trying.
Your body is an incredible thing that works hard for you day in and day out. Treat yourself to a workout (in the morning, if you want) and think of it as giving back to something that does so much for you. If you go from couch potato status to working out 6 days a week, you’re probably going to burn yourself out. There’s no reason to introduce that crazy pressure into the equation.
I like Sculpt because it makes me feel strong and confident. Plus, the community is bomb. It’s the highlight of my day. That’s why I want to teach—to give that same feeling of confidence and inner peace with yourself to other people.
You can try CorePower if you have one near you. OrangeTheory is another popular one, so are SoulCycle and CycleBar. If you feel noncommittal, try ClassPass and go to a bunch of different ones in your town, and you’ll probably notice you look forward to one more than the others. I like the consistency of the same place, people, and workout, so I opted for CorePower.
You CAN do this. I promise, nothing will improve your mindset and self-esteem more than introducing regular exercise into the equation.
Thanks for reading.
It’s extremely easy to get carried away with skincare products, mostly because the beauty industry is incredible at marketing everything as a non-negotiable necessity in your routine—or face crow’s feet, at your own risk.
Recently I found a routine that has been working REALLY well for me (I feel like I should knock on wood, since I literally woke up this morning with a zit for the first time in months—sigh).
I realized a few weeks ago as I was doing my nightly skincare routine that it’s actually a perfect balance of intense products and gentle ones, with price points to match.
Removing your makeup
For starters, I remove my makeup with coconut oil. Straight-up, baking aisle coconut oil. There’s literally a jar of it with a spoon sticking out on the edge of my tub. I scoop some out, warm it up, and massage it into my face to dissolve all my foundation and mascara.
When we were in Cabo, I brought face wipes (the Simple brand) to take my makeup off so I didn’t have to explain to TSA why I was bringing a jar of coconut oil to Mexico with me. And let me tell you—I realized after a couple mornings of waking up with dried mascara caked under my eyes how much I can’t go without an oil makeup remover. The wipes just really don’t compare.
The best part is that this prime makeup remover is $4.99 in the cooking section of the grocery store and lasts forever!
There are plenty of makeup and skincare brands that have tried to capitalize on the oil cleansing trend and market their own brands of coconut oil makeup removers (complete with fancy packaging and names, like Clinique’s $30 Take the Day Off Balm), but the truth is, regular coconut oil works just as well—if not better.
I've also tried olive oil in a pinch (and out of curiosity), but for some reason it doesn't really work as well. The molecules in coconut oil are too big to soak into your skin, which may have something to do with it—something you've likely noticed if you've ever used coconut oil as a moisturizer.
Cleansing & exfoliating
After I’ve greased up my face and made it so I can’t see through my blurred, oily eyes, I bring out the (in my opinion) star of the show: the Skinmedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. I blogged about this in the past when I started using it because I was so impressed, but months later, I’m still just as sold.
This cleanser uses gentle chemical and physical exfoliation to brighten your skin by sloughing off dead skin cells.
Similar to my coconut oil “you don’t know what you have till it’s sitting in your shower at home while you’re in Mexico” experience, I used a travel-sized drugstore cleanser while on vacation rather than trying to find a mini of my AHA/BHA.
By day 3 of sunscreen and makeup and improper cleansing, my face looks so congested. I don’t know how to describe it, but you know when your skin just looks like there’s a film or a haze over it? It didn’t look clear and bright like it usually does, and that was all the convincing I needed that this cleanser actually makes the difference.
Ellie turned me on to the next two products: one is a $4 drugstore find, and the other is a $45 Ulta purchase. Buckle up.
I’ve never been a “toner” girl. I tend to think the same people who use toners are the ones who use primers—they’re just the extra products that brands throw in the mix to gouge you of just a little more money. But when Ellie told me about her $4 witch hazel daily toning, I was interested.
Although I’ve read witch hazel is too harsh for skin, I was pleasantly surprised when I started using it because it doesn’t burn, sting, or leave my face red. It’s what they use at the threading salon on your eyebrows and upper lip to clean your pores after ripping all the hairs out of them (just me? Ok, cool).
I squirt some on a cotton ball and rub it all over my face after cleansing to pick up any extra gunk that the cleanser may have missed. Usually the cotton ball looks the same afterward, but every once in a while I'll catch some dirt or makeup on it and be like—that’s disgusting, thank God for this extra step.
Moisturizing & treating
Finally, I combine my tried-and-true CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion with the Mario Badescu Peptide Renewal Serum. I put a couple drops of the serum into the moisturizer, mix it together, and massage it into my skin. And then I glow like the top of the damn Chrysler building.
The lotion is extremely basic and has some solid ingredients without any fluff, and the serum gives it that extra kick. If there's room for improvement in this routine, I think it's at this phase—I bet there's a really solid, gentle moisturizer out there that delivers just a little more bang for your buck. Skinmedica makes an AHA/BHA cream, so I may have to try that out.
Another moisturizer I used to love (and truthfully, I forget why I quit using it) is the CeraVe SA Lotion. It's a basic moisturizer that they market to 'rough, bumpy skin' because it has salicylic acid in it. I think that'll be my next moisturizer purchase, so I'll let y'all know the results.
The peptide serum was a surprise to me because I was expecting it to be primarily hydrating (and maybe even a little gimmicky), but it’s one of those products where my skin feels slightly sensitive after using—like the way Retinoids make your skin feel—like it’s actually doing something.
The best part about this nightly skincare routine? Waking up in the morning and having beautiful, hydrated, glowy skin with a bright under-eye area without a trace of residual mascara or makeup grossness.
What’s your favorite skincare routine? Anything I absolutely need to try?
Let me know if you end up purchasing any of this and liking it—I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
Here’s the thing: if you’re the girl who genuinely enjoys beating your face with the beauty blender and baking powder every morning, more power to you. Genuinely. But because of the necessities in my morning routine (which involves Sculpt and eating breakfast), time had to give somewhere. And that was my beauty regimen.
Now, before we get too deep in the weeds about superficial stuff, just know that I've got two solid things in the pipeline for y'all: one is an interview with my dear friend Ali Anwar, who founded, owns and operates his own wealth management firm. He also has five degrees. He's also a director in the sales & marketing department at Texas Instruments, a Fortune 200 company. Oh, and he's 25. Does anyone feel inadequate yet? Me too. Anyway, he have a lot to learn from him.
I'm also working with my friend Haley Loflin to collaborate on a piece for young women who want to get into investing but don't know where to start. This has been on my mind a lot lately (let's make our money make money, shall we?) and she's a little bit of a self-taught subject matter expert. I felt like if more women (like me) felt empowered with knowledge of the basics, they may be more apt to start.
But until then, makeup.
This is the makeup look for the woman who would sooner wear nothing at all than spend time bronzing—for when you want to look clean, polished, and put-together, but you don’t give a shit if your coworkers think you’re a 10 out of 10. (Maybe you are without makeup. I am not.)
This is also a solid alternative if you’re running pitifully late for something or have errands to run but feel like you need to get yourself a little ‘together’ first.
I have this theory about the ideal beauty routine. I call it the ‘deserted island’ state. It’s the concept that we should all strive to achieve a beauty regimen so low-maintenance and attainable that when we’re all inevitably faced with Gilligan’s fate someday and stranded on deserted islands, we still look hot. Anyone else? No? OK. Cool. Still up for discussion whether or not spending four hours in a salon chair for a full highlight would pass the deserted island test, but I don’t think I’d like the answer.
In short, I’m all about optimization of time and efficiency of effort—let’s get the biggest bang for our buck (both literally and figuratively). In my opinion, these are the three products in a makeup routine that offer the best return on investment.
So, I love experimenting with different foundations. I swear, there could be one that gave me a 10.0% APR and I’d still probably be like, yeah, but Estee Lauder just came out with something I really want to try…
Right now I’m obsessing over the brand essence of Glossier because I love the “you, but better” idea (and their product copy on the website is honestly killer). I have yet to purchase anything from them, though, because I get sketched out by trying entirely new makeup online without even seeing it in-store. Anyone into Glossier that can vouch for their products? Let me know.
The Clinique “Even Better” foundation is something I had in my vanity anyway that holds similar promise. It has SPF (bye, wrinkles, I’m over you—I don’t want to be tan, I want to be 23 forever), offers normal coverage, but still looks dewy enough to where your skin actually looks like skin. I don’t think anyone would look at me and be like, Wow, so bare-faced, but I also think I could say I wasn’t wearing foundation and people would probably believe it.
I also like it because its price range is in the mid-twenties, rather than the high thirties, forties, or fifties like most of the other foundations I like (Estee Lauder Double Wear Light and Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, to be specific). Another feather in its cap (granted, this is purely based in social proof) is that it has over 2,000 reviews on Sephora, over 1,000 on Clinique's website, and over 1,000 on Ulta's website, and still maintains a rating in the high 4s. Anything that's widely loved is usually a universally solid choice.
I need foundation because my skin has such a naturally pinkish tone to it. I always look like I just came off a ski hill. I think it’s just residual redness from being on Accutane five years ago, but who knows. I’m sensitive, OK?
I didn't wear makeup to work for a couple weeks as an experiment with morning time and I literally had a coworker stop me in the hall to ask me if I was OK because it looked like I had been crying (red face, dammit). And alas, this 3-minute process was born.
First, I wash my hands and wet a cosmetic sponge (yes, one of those “vitamin E” sponges that come in the packs of 48 for $1.99). I get the whole attraction to Beauty Blenders, but as I mentioned before, #Accutane—I am a psycho about transferring bacteria onto my face, so using a fresh sponge daily makes me feel better about covering my face in product.
I get the sponge drenched then wring it out so it grows in size but retains its moisture. This fills the sponge with water so it’s porous but doesn’t just soak up all your foundation first (because it’s full of water). It blends it a hell of a lot easier, too.
Then I dab the foundation literally all over my face and blend it until it looks even and there aren’t any streaks. Here’s the fun part: no concealer or powder. I know, so naughty.
By 5 p.m., I definitely look a little shiny, but again—I’d rather look a little shiny (in the beauty industry, the word is ‘glowy’) than totally mattified. That’s just personal preference. I think shiny skin looks younger. (Again, #23Forever.)
Next step is a cream blush.
So we’ve evened out our skin tone and lightly toned any redness or dark spots with the foundation, but now it’s time to add a little life back in. I’m a big fan of cream blush for makeup like this because, again, it looks very natural.
I love this one from Revlon because it was at the drugstore for around $10. Can’t beat that. I use a stippling brush to swirl in the product, soft-smile at myself creepily in the mirror, and tap it on my cheeks. Done.
I use the color “Smitten” because it’s natural but still noticeable (nothing like a blush that’s so faintly colored that it looks like you’re brushing on more foundation! #value!).
Lastly, time to make your eyes visible to the world. I curl my lashes with a drugstore eyelash curler then use the L’oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara. I love the mascara-only look because, if applied correctly without clumps, it furthers the “Is that girl even wearing makeup?” ambiguity. Once you throw eyeliners and eyeshadow into the mix, you’ve blown your cover and made your hot girl disguise evident. * winks *
OK, and pro tip on the mascara—the “Carbon Black” color is super black, but it bleeds onto your skin. I don’t know what’s different about that formulation, but I swear, when I used to use it I’d have raccoon eyes from my greasy-ass eyelids. I just buy the regular black (or black brown) color instead and it doesn’t transfer the same way.
And, my friends, there you go—a tried-and-true three-minute work makeup situation. Obviously if I’m going “out” out or to anything where I’m dressed up, I’m definitely going to put more on (bronzer, powder, lipstick, etc.), but for sitting in a cubicle and staring at a computer screen, this has always been great.
And no, it doesn't involve a bikini, but I'm not above clickbait.
Ladies and… other ladies, do I have a hot take for you.
All blondes—yes, all of you—need to be using purple shampoo.
(OK, so here’s the thing: I’m working on a long form piece right now about love, overanalyzing, where shit hits the fan, how to avoid the basic psychological pitfalls… but it’s taking me a long time to articulate my thoughts because I really want this piece to be SOLIDLY logical. So in the meantime, I have this post about literal shampoo for you. Stay tuned for the first LOVE post since my “Exercise in Solitude” post from September.)
So back to the purp.
My hair is naturally dark blonde, and I started highlighting it my junior year of high school because all my friends were blonde and that’s what you do when you’re 17. Oh, all the people I hang out with have blonde hair? Where’s the nearest bottle of peroxide?
But thank GOD I did, because being a bossy blonde is my brand now and your girl has never looked back.
Side tangent—one time a boy came up to me at a bar and, in a poorly executed attempt at a pick-up, goes, “You wanna know how I know you’re not really blonde?”
“Your eyebrows are dark.”
Had this dude never heard of Julianne Hough? Cara Dele-f***ing-vingne? I took that free drink and left the country after that comment.
Anyway, being blonde is great. Blondes are like left-handed pitchers! They always get a second look, even if they don’t deserve it.
But few things are worse than brassy blonde. It’s that unintentional gold/orange hue that comes up when artificial blondes’ natural hair color has orange undertones. (Also known as: me.)
Enter: purple shampoo. And not just ANY purple shampoo, because I’ve been using purple shampoo for years. But this particular purple shampoo that surprisingly works FAR better than any of the others I’ve used.
Here’s how I know it’s making a difference:
A straight male on my Team at work today goes, “Katie, did you do something different to your hair? Your hair color looks really good.”
After I picked my jaw up off the conference table, I thanked him for noticing. I haven’t gotten my hair highlighted since early January, and started using this shampoo last week.
Claire’s been saying since day two that my hair looked ‘way better’ but I figured she was just doing her duty as a diligent work wife and bolstering my self-esteem (except… did it look bad before? I don't know, I never know how to take comments like that).
Then, this afternoon at the nail place, some old blonde woman from the pedicure chair goes, “Your hair color is so beautiful—how do you get it like that?”
IT’S THE PURPLE SHAMPOO, I hollered, nearly standing up from the manicure table to pull up the link for her.
This shit is GOLD. And when I say gold, I mean purple, because it’ll make your blonde hair NOT gold.
It just gives your hair this faintly silver/violet hue that makes the blonde look so fresh and natural, rather than brassy and dull. Pretty sure it’s an optical illusion, but so is the entirety of my hot girl disguise (dresses, mascara, the works), so why stop at hair?
Without further ado, here’s the goods. It actually smells a lot better than the other purple shampoos I’ve used:
It’s $16 at Ulta but $10 on Amazon, so I just dove into the grape abyss headfirst and got the 33 oz. bottle for $33.
Happy sudsing, ladies!
This whole kale saga has been playing out on my blog for about a month and a half now, which, by Internet terms, means it has REAL staying power.
Recently I’ve been trying to switch things up because I realized my current kale smoothie likely had a little too much fruit sugar and not enough healthy fat (enough skinny women have passionately convinced me that some fats ARE indeed healthy so I’m on board, people).
The result of my toying?
My new ‘kale protein’ bowl, as I’m calling it. This is my post-6 a.m. Yoga Sculpt meal that I eat awkwardly with rushed spoonfuls between showering and brushing my teeth as I hurry to get ready, only gagging occasionally when I remember that I’m effectively eating leaves. Whatever. Beauty ain’t easy.
This is also probably a solid time to mention that almond butter is hands-down the best thing that’s happened to me in 2018. Even though it costs a heart-wrenching $11 a jar (I’m sorry, mom, I know), it makes everything—even a literal bowl of kale—taste good.
Without further ado, here’s the kale protein bowl recipe that combines the protein of collagen powder with the fibrous, nutrient-dense power of kale and the healthy fat of almond butter to pack a pretty killer metabolic punch.
First thing’s first: Add your kale. I’m still using Rob’s food processor because I’m lazy and cheap, so I just shove as much as possible into it until I can guiltlessly proceed with the less offensive ingredients.
Then, I scoop about a tablespoon (I use that measurement loosely—it’s a massive mound worth its weight in gold) of almond butter (I love Jason’s) on top, and put half a banana in as well.
The reason I only use half a banana now is because resident skinny b*tch Kelly LeVique (who I blogged about here, noting her ‘fab four’ methodology) said fruit is bad. Just kidding—but really, for maximum nutritional benefit, you should limit the fruit to about ¼ cup. So, half a banana it is, Kelly. You win.
Next, add your scoop of collagen powder and a scoop of chia seeds.
I’m going to level with y’all here—I’m not entirely sure why skinny Kelly is all about chia seeds, but lady loves them, so guess what? Katie loves them, too. They add a nice texture to the overall situation and cost, like, 90 cents a pound, so just go for it.
And ta da—pour your concoction into a bowl and eat it with a spoon! It’s a little too thick to drink like a smoothie, and when I put it in a bowl, I feel like I’m eating one of those $9 Highland Park mom breakfasts from places with names like Jūce.
Let me know if y’all like it! It’s a pretty agreeable way to still do something good for yourself, especially first thing in the morning.
As we’re all thoroughly aware, I am a skincare fanatic. I love finding skincare that actually does what it claims it will (what a novel concept), because I’m seriously skeptical of those 43-step processes that involve you shelling out triple digits for multiple serums, moisturizers, toners, etc.
The way I think of it, your skin probably functions similarly to the way most other things in life work—the best approach is balance and practicality. Humans have roamed the earth for a lot longer than complex multistep skincare has been around, and things have been just fine. As I’ve been saying a lot lately in multiple arenas of my life: let’s not overcomplicate this.
I think the key is finding the most effective, efficient mix of products possible, taking into account that there’s definitely a diminishing rate of return.
(In other words, one really solid cleanser and one really solid moisturizer or serum will probably produce pretty similar results to a process that takes twice as many products—and will likely produce significantly better results than a cheap cleanser and a lackluster moisturizer, or worse, using nothing at all.)
Now that my own personal philosophy that you likely don’t give a shit about is out of the way, I want to tell y’all about a cleanser I bought from Megan, my resident plastic surgeon/skincare guru.
The product is actually from her plastic surgeon’s office, which somehow just makes it feel more legitimate; it feels like I'm buying a product that’s medical grade, rather than the result of nice branding and strategic placement on a Sephora shelf. I’m honestly over buying skincare based on packaging and brand names. I almost always end up disappointed, and even if I’m not blatantly unhappy with the results, I’m not happy enough to justify the continued cost.
And I'm sure those of you with skin insecurity can totally relate: when I feel like my skin looks good, I'm legitimately in a better mood. There's just something to be said for feeling—literally—comfortable in your own skin.
On the simplest level, skincare that works—more or less—has exfoliating properties (whether that be chemical or mechanical). This is because most of the common skin ailments, like acne and blemishes, dark spots, and uneven skin tone, are the result of your skin cell turnover process not functioning properly—for any number of reasons.
Your pores either get clogged because dead skin cells aren’t sloughing off, or your scars/spots get darker or more pronounced because the epidermis isn’t being forced to refresh itself (this is an extremely oversimplified explanation, but you get the picture).
Exfoliation is the solution most good skincare relies on, and this cleanser is no exception:
The Skinmedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser ($47)
Ok, I know that’s a lot of money for a cleanser, but it’s a huge bottle. And trust me when I tell you—it works. I really can’t remember the last time my skin felt this soft and smooth, and not in the superficial “this cleanser is definitely leaving some bizarre residue on my face to make it abnormally soft” way (i.e., the way a lot of hair products work), but more in the “I feel like every dead skin cell that was stickin’ around not paying rent is now off my face” way.
AHA and BHA stand for alpha-hydroxy acid and beta-hydroxy acid—basically, you’re putting super gentle acids on your skin that are dissolving the junk. There are also super small mechanical exfoliants (the little granular pieces that ‘scrub’) that help physically break down the barrier so the acids can do their job.
If the idea of using acids on your face freaks you out, that’s totally fine—just know that my skin is actually pretty damn sensitive post-Accutane and I’ve had no problems with this cleanser. I use it morning and night, with my Clarisonic, and I’ve only noticed an improvement. I feel like the small blemishes I have actually fade a lot more quickly. The purple-tinted discoloration doesn’t stick around long.
Granted, I can’t attribute everything to this cleanser in a vacuum since I’ve also been drinking my body weight in water every day and consciously cutting back on sugar, but I feel confident that majority of the immediate results (smoother skin, improved tone, fewer small blemishes, makeup sits better, etc.) are a consequence of this cleanser.
I follow it up with the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion, because I’m still #cheap and haven’t ventured into the plastic surgeon moisturizers yet.
Let me know if you give it a shot. I know they make a sample size, so if you have access to a medispa, I’d stop by and see if you can get a sample first.
Let me take you back to the night of the National Championship (can I get a roll tide?). I frolicked from bar to bar with my crew of crimson revelers, indiscriminately picking up Budlight after Lemondrop and slice of pizza after chicken wing. It was a magnificent caloric experiment in poor decision-making.
Knowing I’d be hopping (read: dragging myself) onto a flight to San Diego at 9 a.m. the next day, I stumbled home at a modest 4 a.m. with visions of 50-yard OT touchdown passes soaring through my consciousness. (My parents are probably SO proud right now—I promise this was a one-time, victory-fueled romp.)
After promptly oversleeping by an hour and a half and nearly missing my flight, I rushed to the airport without eating breakfast, without grabbing water, and with a nasty, persistent throbbing behind my eyes. The ghost of beer buckets past. I looked like I had aged 10 years and gained 10 lbs. Cute.
Is it any surprise that I felt absolutely horrible the entire day? I was so distracted by how I had utterly trashed my body (like I said, not typical for me) the night before that I couldn’t focus on anything else.
This is a common theme in my life when I behave in an unhealthy way.
Whether it’s eating terrible food, having one (or several) too many, or sleeping for 4 or 5 hours instead of 8, I always find myself agonizing in the aftermath. I realized, after one too many bad choices: Hey, I really hate the way this makes me feel. I should prioritize my health & wellness so I feel focused, energetic, and on top of the world every. single. day.
Here are some of the habits and products I’ve inducted into my daily routine that have given me crazy energy, confidence, and—at the risk of sounding cheesy—happiness. My hope is that it'll give you some encouragement or ideas, even if it's just marginally helpful.
I read a lot of health & wellness blogs, hang out with fitness instructors semi-regularly, and listen to a lot of Podcasts that deal with this stuff—so I've tried my fair share and feel like I know what's worth it and what's not. Below, I've distilled some of the best stuff from all my favorite sources.
HABIT: Exercising in the mornings before work.
I’m not here to tell you what to do. But, if you’d like some unsolicited advice (and if you’ve made it this far, I assume you do), work out in the mornings before you do anything else.
If you work ridiculous hours or have some unusual extenuating circumstance like being the mother to a gaggle of children, then maybe this isn’t practical for you. But for everyone else working your typical 8-5 job, I swear, this will change your life.
I worked out at night (6 p.m.) for months when I started working full-time, but I realized I wasn't getting home until, like 7:30 p.m., and then had to shower and make dinner. It was kind of depressing. I felt like I didn't have a life.
Plus, my coworkers actually NOTICED when I started working out in the mornings and commented on how much more energetic I seemed. (Today at lunch, Matt commented I had been a ‘hoppy energy squirrel’ that day, and I’m still deciphering what the hell that was supposed to mean.)
Matt, who wasn't working out at all, started running in the mornings at 5:30 a.m. and told me he couldn’t believe how much more energy he had throughout the day. Matt has a 2-year-old and is in his forties. If Matt can, you can.
Look, I get it. I was super nervous to try it for the first time because I didn’t think I could exercise that early in the morning, but I surprised myself at how quickly the body warms up once you start pushing it. There's legitimately nothing better than walking into Starbucks at 7 a.m. as the sun is rising, knowing your workout for the day is done.
A few hacks for this:
Lay out your workout clothes the night before.
Don’t feel like you need to wash your face or brush your teeth first (sorry, just don’t), and worry about that after to save time and get a few extra minutes of sleep in.
Don’t eat first. I know this is controversial, but Kelly LeVeque, the nutritionist who coaches the likes of Jessica Alba and Chelsea Handler, explains in Episode #98 of the Skinny Confidential podcast that you reap the benefits of intermittent fasting when you work out first thing in the morning without eating beforehand. But, she explains, you should drink water first. If you have time, I would encourage you to listen to this entire podcast. It’s incredible how saturated it is with applicable tips and tricks for health and wellness. She dispels juice cleanse myths and other ‘fad’ diets.
In my current routine, I drink one bottle of water before and during the workout and then finish another one in the hour after—essentially, I drink 32 oz. before even arriving at work in the morning. (If you’d like to hear me wail on and on about the benefits of hydration, check out my 2018 Mood post here.)
And bonus: You can still go to happy hours and friendly dinners after work without feeling like you’re skipping a workout. As one of my old yoga instructors used to say about skipping yoga for happy hour: “Congratulations. You played yourself.”
HABIT: Drinking a green smoothie after my workout.
This is the first thing I put in my body in the morning, post-workout. My current recipe is linked here, and it has collagen powder in it. But other folks who know far more about this than I do (like Kelly LeVeque and my wellness coach pal Maggie Gehlsen) will tell you that you’re better off pairing foods that metabolize effectively, namely:
Fiber, protein, fat, and greens.
For example, this could be:
I pulled this recipe from Kelly’s website. She has a TON you can try.
Mine has too much fruit in it (i.e., sugar) but it’s primarily kale and has ginger and collagen in it so I am #unconcerned.
PRODUCT: The Living Proof Full Dry Volume Blast.
So it turns out working out at 6 a.m. is great until it’s 7:30 a.m. and it’s time to wash your hair. Enter Full Dry Volume Blast.
I have been especially skeptical of sprays that purport to make your hair more voluminous, but this one definitely does it.
That’s not, however, why I love it. Dry shampoos have historically annoyed me because they always seem to paradoxically exacerbate the grease I can see and feel in my hair. This product doesn’t claim to work as a dry shampoo, but DAMN, it sure does.
My hair looks freshly washed for days.
This morning, it was day three, and I hadn’t used any product but I didn’t have time to wash my sweaty mop of hair before my first meeting and I was #stressed. I whipped out this product, sprayed it in the roots, and then wrapped it in a loose bun on the top of my head.
One of my (40-year-old male) coworkers commented that my hair looked like it ‘had a lot of volume’ today. I.e., it didn’t look like a limp, greasy mess.
For the best results, I’ve found turning your head upside down and spraying into the roots from about six inches away—then holding your head upside down for a few seconds—works best. Then you just tousle it out, and you have Texas hair, y’all!
HABIT: Drinking a lot of water throughout the day—five water bottles, at least.
To quote a Tweet that’s now been sent to me four times:
“Day 7 of drinking 96 oz. of water a day. A lot has changed. I pee 14 times a day. My skin feels great. I feel energized. I can now shapeshift into a lizard whenever I want. I can lift 3 Honda Civics with my pinky finger (left hand specifically) & harvest a field of crops in 0.7 seconds.”
Yep. It’s all true. All of it.
No, but really.
PRODUCT: Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (I’m shade 2.0)
As noted above, I am a greasy person. I love dewy foundations, but damn, I struggle to find one that hasn’t slid around by 5 p.m.
This foundation does the absolute best job of not sliding around or oxidizing on the skin. I usually have to blot my nose late in the afternoon, but other than that, it’s one of those foundations that looks the same the entire day.
I apply mine with a wet sponge, because it does set fairly quickly. If you’re dry, stay away from this—it’ll cling to those spots and not blend. But if you’re combination or oily, you seriously need this. It's $42, which is steep, but it lasts awhile and in my opinion the skin is the most important part.
HABIT/PRODUCTS: Replacing candy & donuts with healthy snacks during work.
I don’t know if all workplaces are like Southwest, but there is candy and junk food around CONSTANTLY. For someone whose sweet tooth sits in the driver’s seat of her psyche, it’s incredibly challenging for me to pass up on them when I’m feeling that afternoon hunger twinge.
Only recently did I have the bright idea to—you guessed it—buy my own snacks! (I know, shocking revelations happening in my cubicle.)
I went to Kroger and found snacks that were high in healthy fats to really satisfy that ‘sweet tooth’ craving that bombards my amygdala every 27 seconds.
These are my favorites:
Larabars. Whole 30-approved (not that I’m doing Whole 30) and made with very minimal ingredients—typically just dates and nuts. My favorites right now are Cashew Cookie, Banana Bread, Apple Pie, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.
Justin’s Almond Butter. Wowee, this ish is ‘spensive, but damn—it’s delicious and only made from almonds and palm oil. Plus, it comes in these little squeeze packs, which are convenient and cute as shit.
Plantain Chips. When I occasionally crave the salty popcorns and tortilla chips that litter our communal tables, these come in clutch. They satisfy that salty craving without being terrible for you.
I must disclaim: I still eat sweets at work. It’s not like I’m turning down the donuts and M&Ms and other garbage food that’s constantly thrust in my direction. But I eat FAR less of it. Whenever I feel hungry, these foods placate that sugary craving.
I buy all this stuff at Kroger. The Larabars are about $1 a piece, the Justin’s is $1.59, and the plantain chips are in the bulk section and super cheap.
HABIT: Making my own food.
This one is double points because it makes you lose weight AND save money. Win/win.
Now, I’m sure 98% of you who are sweet enough to read this far are like, “Katie, I already cook my own food—that’s so college to not make your own meals.” People, I was living in 2015. I ate Lean Cuisine’s and Ramen. My body was a processed food dumpster, and if I wasn’t eating frozen food, I was going to Chipotle.
For those of you who DO NOT CURRENTLY ENJOY COOKING or are weary of trying, just do it. Seriously.
Every week, I buy some lean beef, some chicken breast, and then produce (broccoli, carrots, corn, black beans) and I swear I never pay more than $30 and can eat for a week and a half. Granted, I’m small, so if you’re a 6’ dude pushing 250 reading this, that won’t be enough.
But the moral of the story is, it’s unreasonably cheap. And surprisingly easy. When I do go out now, I get super pissed at how expensive restaurant food is because I know how cheap it is to make it yourself. That said, eating out is now a treat I save for the weekends and it’s less guilt-trippy.
HABIT: Reading before bed instead of watching TV.
I recently read a list of the top 10 books for writers and purchased four of them on Amazon within five minutes (and I threw in “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***” for good measure because I *love* self-help books).
Anyway, once I had a slew of new reads, I started settling in for the last hour or so before bed with a book instead of watching Gossip Girl for the 14th time through. I’ve noticed I sleep better, and I feel much calmer when I go to sleep at night. As anyone who’s ever taken an English Literature class knows, reading makes you sleepy.
And that's a wrap. I'm sure there are other things that'll come to me later and I'll definitely post as they do, but for the seven of you who are still reading this, give these little tips a try and let me know if you feel differently after a couple weeks.
Right now the wheels totally fly off on the weekends for me, so hopefully I can discover some 'weekend wellness' tips to help keep me on track.
It's a good thing Alabama only wins the National Championship once a year. ;)
Thanks for reading!
So I don’t know about y’all, but the only thing that annoys me more than people telling me to eat kale is that “KALE” T-shirt trend. I don’t want to eat leafy greens. Why would I eat leafy greens when there are tacos and burgers and sushi and about a hundred other things that don’t make me cry while I eat?
But I’ve heard time and time again from just about every skincare guru that leafy greens are really good for your skin (and overall health, obviously). Ugh. Yawn.
Thanks to Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential, I’ve found a really bomb recipe for the ideal skincare smoothie that doubles as a way for me to eat vegetables without gagging. I modified it a little bit based on personal preference, but this thing actually tastes really good and is so much cheaper than going to your local juice bar for an $8, sugar-packed smoothie.
Before I launch into the ingredients, here's why it's awesome for you:
Sidebar: I used to waste a lot of money at juice shops because I loved the idea of doing something good for my body that didn't totally suck, but I like this even more because I know exactly what's going in it (and what's not—the amount of added sugar in some of those juices is horrible for you).
Another little fun fact about juices: juicing gives you the byproduct of the fruit or vegetable, but omits all the fibrous benefits. This means you're essentially drinking the fruit sugars without pairing it with the fiber that makes it healthy. Not ideal.
Here’s what you need:
A handful of kale. (Sorry, y’all. Smile through the pain.)
A handful of spinach. (Let’s just pack this thing with greens since we won't be able to taste them anyway.)
One whole banana (peeled). This is mostly for taste and texture, but bananas are good for you—especially in the mornings.
A handful or two of blueberries. Again for taste, and also for antioxidants!
A hunk of ginger root (about 1½ inch long). I love ginger root because it’s anti-inflammatory. Most problems in your body are related to inflammation—seriously, it’s weird, look it up—but especially in your skin. I use a generous amount of ginger in mine because (a) my skin is a little red and I suffer from inflammation and (b) I love the taste.
And now, the star of the show: a heaping spoonful of collagen powder. Let’s talk about collagen powder really quick—your body stops producing collagen, the youthful protein that keeps your skin plump and wrinkle-free and keeps your joints healthy, when you’re in your late twenties. I got this particular brand, Neocell, at CVS for about $15, and they regularly run specials so you can stock up. For me right now, this is mostly preventative, but I think it’s good to supplement your natural levels so they stay healthy.
You can also get it on Amazon for about the same price. When I first started dabbling in collagen powder, I worked with a health consultant at The Vitamin Shoppe and did some research on the best types of collagen and forms (because nothing's ever straightforward). If you can't find this brand in particular, no worries--just look for Type 1 and Type 3 collagens, and try to find it in powder form (for whatever reason, the pills don't absorb nearly as well in your body). This Neocell brand seems to be very trusted in the supplement industry.
Then add about half a cup of water and blend it up! I use Rob’s food processor to do so, but a blender would probably work even better.
I bought all of these ingredients (minus the collagen) at Kroger for about $18 the other night, and I’m pretty sure it’ll make about 6 smoothies. That’s about $3 a piece, which is far more doable than the prices at juice shops.
Give it a shot and let me know what you think!
Greetings from my bed! I’m writing this in my matching cityscape pajama set on a Monday night, because there’s nothing quite like over-caffeinating yourself to the point of vibration during the work day so you’re extra productive when you come skidding into home (armored in a full-body suit of flannel, of course).
So here’s the deal. I need to have a moment about my Clarisonic, because I feel we all can benefit from this revelation.
My Clarisonic is like a tried-and-true outfit that you get super excited about and wear all the time and then decide you need to stop getting photographed in it because people are going to think you only own one article of clothing, so you shove it in the back of your closet and don’t look at it for a year and a half.
Just kidding. What actually happened was this:
I was a senior in college, had been using my Clarisonic for years (literally), and got to the point where I realized the brush head replacements were bleeding my wallet dry. Frankly, I just didn’t trust myself to be responsible enough with replacing them, and when you let them get old and brittle, they harbor bacteria and can exacerbate breakouts. Yum.
So I said, to hell with you, Clarisonic, I’m back on hand-washing!
And that’s been the name of my cleansing game since about this time last year. But over the past few months, I’ve felt very ‘blah’ about my skin. It was breaking out slightly more than usual, and it just looked dull. I’m not crazy about exfoliating cleansers because I have a really nasty habit of completely overdoing it, but I was feeling like my old trusty cleanser/moisturizer routine was leaving something to be desired.
Then, one afternoon, I was rooting through my under-sink basket for Benadryl (#hives—it’s an aesthetic), and I stumbled upon my Clarisonic, sans brush head.
I clicked the button and it revved to life with all the unflinching enthusiasm of a Toyota Camry. I sat there for a second, hunched over my miscellaneous bathroom basket, wondering whether or not I should pull the trigger and get another brush head to give it a shot again.
I won’t lie, I had my doubts—I’ve done dutiful research on the benefits and risks of Clarisonic cleansing, especially since so many dermatologists have conflicting opinions. The product description itself says it’s gentle enough to use twice daily, but a lot of experts say that’s way too much stimulation if you’re using it in tandem with other chemical or mechanical exfoliants (like a retinoid or a scrub).
I, however, was using nothing of the sort. Approximately 12 hours later, I was in the car on the way to Ulta to purchase a (mildly pricey) second chance.
For $28, I nabbed myself the “Radiance” brush head. I’m not sure how this one functions any differently than, say, the other six options that all look the same, but the bristles felt soft and—let’s be real—who doesn’t want to look radiant?
I reasoned with myself that I’d venture back to my knock-off Amazon replacement brush heads (you can get a pack of two for around $12) after giving the real deal another go.
So this was about a week ago, and I have to say: I’m already noticing some of my more recent acne spots are fading much more quickly. I had this stubborn blemish in October that literally wouldn’t go away. It was the zit that wouldn’t take a hint. Even after it flattened, the purple scar was so persistent. Over the past week, it’s faded dramatically.
So here’s my thing: Yes, a Clarisonic is expensive. If you’re like me (an early adopter who then lost interest), I’d encourage you to go drop $30 on a new brush head and give it another shot. If you’re someone who never purchased one, do a little research and decide if it’s worth the Christmas gift ask.
A quick note: if you’re using prescription-strength stuff on your face, this’ll probably send you over the edge. It really cleans well (I’ve noticed my skin has looked much brighter since I’ve gotten back onboard), but if you’ve got other exfoliants happening, it probably won’t be good.
If you’re just rockin’ a regular old cleanser and moisturizer and feel like your skin needs a little vibrance and extra kick, give it a go.
Who knows—in another week I might have a slew of breakouts or some other unsightly skin condition and I’ll be back here refuting every single one of these claims, but so far, I’m thrilled I decided to get back on the power cleansing bandwagon.
Do you have a Clarisonic? If so, what do you think?
All things beauty.