april-beauty-picks

April Beauty Picks

So I really had quite the opportunity to discover new beauty products this month. Why? I lost my entire bag of makeup in a cab on the way home from my friend’s house. Cue the violins. So after I had a good little cry (kidding, not kidding) I had to go out and stock up on all new beauty essentials. The silver lining of my taxi tragedy was that I found a few gems that I absolutely love. From a mascara that can withstand sweat, rain, tears, and naps, to a luxe serum that has pearls in it, these are my five favorite beauty finds of the month.


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1 // Artistry – Ideal Radiance Illuminating Essence

First things first, this serum is a freaking godsend. My cousin Marina actually introduced me to Artistry when she began selling the line and I instantly became intrigued by its quality and cult-like following (Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lopez are fans). It was difficult to choose which products I wanted to buy, but I ended up settling on this one. My skin is pretty clear but I have always been prone to blotchiness and dullness. With antioxidant packed ingredients like acerola cherry and skin-soothing pearl protein and flower essences, this oil free serum has already made my complexion brighter and my skin tone more even and fresh looking. It’s a splurge at $133 but I think it’s worth every penny.

2 // CoverGirl – LashBlast 24HR Mascara

If there is one thing I never leave the house without, it’s a few coats of mascara on my lashes. My biggest pet peeve however, is when it flakes under my eyes and I look like a raccoon at the end of the day. This is one of the few mascaras I have found that looks as fresh at 7 pm as it did when I applied it at 7 am. It makes my lashes full, long, and lush and doesn’t flake at all. The only flaw? It’s a bitch to take off. I find coconut oil does the trick though, and it’s a small price to pay for fresh, fluttery lashes all day long.

3 // Revlon – Kiss Balm in Berry Burst

I’m more of a lipstick gal than a balm girl, but this tinted formula is kind of like a hybrid between the two. It’s super hydrating and leaved a pretty wash of colour on my lips that brightens my whole face. It’s also SPF 20 which is an extra bonus. I love this for when I don’t want to have a dramatically bold lip but I still want a little colour.

4 // Marc Jacobs – Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer

I love this eye liner for the same reason that I love CoverGirl’s Lashblast 24HR Mascara. It. Lasts. All. Day. Long. I truly hate when my eye makeup smudges and this highly pigmented gem never fades. Unlike the mascara, this is super easy to wash off. It glides on easily and can make my eyes look subtly defined or sultry and dramatic. It’s pricey at $33, but I love, love, love it.

5 // Artistry Essentials – Pore Cleansing Masque

My favorite thing to do after work is as follows: light a few candles, switch on Netflix, apply this mask. My face always feels a bit greasy at the end of the day and this deep cleansing mask is perfect for soaking up excess oil. With mineral clay, brightening ginseng, and nourishing copper and zinc, this reaches deep into my pores to pull out dirt, debris, and sebum. It also tingles in a very satisfying way that makes me feel like it’s really working. I use this two or three times a week depending on what my skin needs, and it leaves my complexion soft, smooth, and matte. It also doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, but as always, you should always spot test a mask before slathering it all over your face.

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

February Beauty Picks

february-beauty-picks

So, I have been trying my very best to cut back on my spending this month. Why? My boyfriend and I went to Jamaica last week and stayed at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall. It was an absolutely gorgeous and luxurious trip but it was all insanely expensive. Seriously. Beyonce and Jay-Z pricey. I don’t know who I thought I was. I’ll be paying off this trip for the next couple of months and so my favorite little indulgences have to be sacrificed for the time being. Goodbye $6 matcha lattes, sushi takeout, and perfume binges. That being said, my monthly subscription to Ipsy‘s Glam Bags is one treat that I will be keeping. For $14 a month I get five miniature beauty products from luxe brands like Tarte and Too Faced and that is simply too delightful to pass up. I honestly haven’t bought a tube of mascara in ages because they keep sending me different ones (and despite being samples, the sizes are pretty generous!). If you haven’t already signed up for a beauty subscription service like Ipsy (Birchbox is another good one), I highly recommend it! You get a lot for your money and it’s a fabulous way to try new products and colours that you normally wouldn’t have access to or think to buy. A lot of the products I have received have become favorites of mine and are ones that I will definitely repurchase when I run out. So without further ado, here are five products that I have absolutely fallen in love with this month.


 

1 // Trust Fund Beauty – Nail Polish in $12 Latte

Okay, so I have never in my life thought to buy a brown nail polish. I just thought it was a dull colour and I generally like my finger nails to be fresh, clean, and simple. I normally lean towards pale petal pinks, nudes, and french manis. When I received this in my Ipsy bag I was actually kind of disappointed because the deep brown/purple hue was such a departure from my signature style. I loved the cheeky name as someone who enjoys her overpriced coffee. After giving the colour a try I quickly changed my tune. It’s very dark, almost black, but seems to change subtly from deep coffee brown to dark purple depending on the light. It’s not at all goth and has a subtle sophistication that I love. I won’t wear it much longer – it’s too dark for summer. It’s the perfect moody shade for fall and provides a striking contrast against my silver rings.

2 //  Tarte – Amazonian Clay 12-hour Naughty Nudes Blush in Sensual

If your favorite bronzer and peachy blush had a baby, this would be it. It’s a beautiful shade that instantly warms up the complexion and lasts a crazy long time (12 hours is absolutely accurate). It’s great for the winter months and brightens up a pale visage. It also enhances my newly acquired Jamaica tan and looks beautiful against darker complexions.

3 //  The Balm Cosmetics – Meet Matt(e) Trimony Matte Eyeshadow Palette

I am kind of obsessed with this palette. I rarely wear colour on my lids and almost exclusively opt for play-it-safe neutrals but I can honestly say that I adore every single one of these shades and they work great for day and night. Each shade is named after a different Matt – i.e. Matt Lopez, Matt Reed, Matt Evans. My favorite colour is Matt Moskowitz. It’s a lovely dark purple that is subtle enough to work for every day while still providing a fresh pop of colour. I’ve been wearing it every day lately instead of my usual brown and taupe shades.

4 // NYX – Butter Lipstick in Ripe Berry

Creamy, moisturizing, highly pigmented, long-lasting – this HG of a lipstick seriously ticks every single one of my boxes. The satin finish is gorgeous and is a refreshing change from the over saturation of matte options out there. I honestly cannot get enough of the juicy colour which is reminiscent of raspberry wine. It’s very sultry without being super dark. I’ve been wearing it every day since I got it and I doubt I will be tucking it away anytime soon. Love. Love. Love.

5 //  Be Fine Food Skin Care – Gentle Face Cleanser

If any of you have read my other posts, you will know that skincare is one of my (many) obsessions. No amount of makeup can truly cover up unhealthy skin and so I make it the main focus of my beauty routine and I do my best to use quality products and a consistent regime. Whatever your skin type, I can pretty much guarantee that this lovely cleanser would be a happy addition to your own routine. This soothing cleanser whisks away all traces of makeup, oil, sweat, and gunk without leaving my face feeling parched. It also manages to remove my waterproof mascara without any problems – a difficult feat. True to its name, this nourishing cleanser is packed with vitamin-rich ingredients such as oat bran extract, wheat amino acids, and sugar cane. Sweet.

xoxo,

Alicia

January Beauty Picks

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A brand new year – that means it’s time to buy a whole new slew of beauty products right? There is nothing more invigorating than the first few weeks of January. Sure, it might be a cliche, but at the time of year it feels like the slate has been wiped clean and that all of the bad habits (excessive caffeine, not enough sleep, procrastination etc.) of the previous year are gone. It’s also a great time to refresh one’s beauty routine, whether it’s trying a new hairstyle or colour, switching up one’s daily makeup look, or adopting a more luxurious skincare regime. Right now my focus is on being healthy (eating clean and exercising regularly) and pampering my skin into perfection. I don’t plan on totally changing my look – I want to look like me. Only better. Behold, my five favorite beauty buys this month, all of which have been doing a great job keeping my strands soft and shiny, my skin clear and dewy, and my makeup on point.

1 // Fresh – Sugar Face Polish

My boyfriend got me this for Christmas (he’s a delight) and I am obsessed with it. It’s a multitasking hybrid between a scrub and mask with nourishing ingredients like grapeseed, macadamia, and strawberry seed oils, as well as skin softening brown sugar. Simply smooth it onto your damp, clean complexion, leave it on for ten minutes, and then gently slough off dead skin cells, dirt, and debris as you rinse it off. Voila, a glowing, balanced complexion.

2 // Revlon – Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour in Addiction

This has been my go-to lip colour for the past two months. It’s a gorgeous deep fuchsia hue that instantly brightens up my face even if I am wearing no other makeup. The matte finish is striking but doesn’t leave my lips parched the way other matte lipsticks or liquid colours do. This is a stunning colour for day and night and has become a mainstay in my makeup bag!

3 // LUSH – Daddy-O Shampoo

I recently dyed my hair balayage and bought this shampoo after my colourist recommended that I buy hydrating products to maintain my colour and minimize damage. After trying a couple of different shampoos, this one has become my favorite. I love that it is all natural with luxurious, hair-nourishing ingredients like seaweed, citrus juices, and rose and bergamot oil. It keeps my newly blonde tresses bright and fresh and my hair is even softer than before I coloured it. Plus it has a lovely violet scent – soft, powdery, and feminine.

4 // Nars – Blush in Angelika

I have to admit it – I have been cheating on my trusty bronzer with this awesome blush from Nars. While I love the warm, glowy look that a dusting of bronzer gives me, a soft wash of petal pink blush is so refreshing and looks so pretty against my much paler, winter complexion. Although this blush looks very bright in the compact, it looks natural and subtle on my skin. Pair this with a few coats of volumizing mascara and a slick of rosy lipstick for a flirty, flushed look that rivals that of Disney princesses. Dear bronzer, it has been swell but I think it’s time we took a break.

5 // Tarte – Maracuja Oil

A lot of people find facial oils to be intimidating. After all, oily skin is the enemy right? Never fear – this hydrating elixer, rich in fatty acids and vitamin C sinks in almost immediately, leaving the skin quenched, plump, and silky soft. Since I’ve been using it (morning and night under my moisturizer) my skin tone has become more even and smooth with a dewy glow and I find myself reaching for my concealer and highlighter less frequently. This is a pricey product but if you give it a try I think you will find that it is worth every single penny!

xoxo,

Alicia

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November Beauty Picks

Although I love to experiment with my makeup and play with different hairstyles, the foundation of my beauty routine is a solid skincare system. This hasn’t always been the case. When I was younger I was quite rough with my skin – I would go to bed without taking my makeup off, I’d pick at pimples, I’d scrub my face with harsh, sandpaper like formulas (St. Ives Shards of Glass Apricot Scrub, I’m looking at you), I would always forego SPF. When it comes to universally known skincare sins, you name it, I did it. In my late teens I began to develop more of an interest in skincare and sought out help from estheticians and facialists to give me a better sense of how to take care of my complexion. What did I learn? Less is generally more and to exfoliate and moisturize regularly, albeit gently (there is no reason to rub sharp, overly abrasive scrubs into your skin, unless you are trying to remove calluses from the soles of your feet). In the winter, when the air is cold, dry, and unforgiving, my skincare routine becomes a little more indulgent – think masks, serums, oils, etc. I keep my makeup simple, focusing instead on keeping a glowing complexion. Behold, my five favorite beauty products this month.


1 // Lush – Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub

LUSH has become a favorite brand of mine over the years. Why? Their products are often vegan, are ethically produced, and are handcrafted using nourishing, organic ingredients. Ocean Salt is a tried and true classic and is one of the brand’s most popular products. I can totally see why. First, it smells like a margarita thanks to its clarifying blend of vodka, salt, and lime. Second, it manages to deeply cleanse and exfoliate my skin without making it break out – this is no easy feat. It’s not a scrub I use everyday (it’s quite stimulating), but it’s great for giving my skin a rosy glow and keeping my complexion free of blackheads and flakes. I use it about once a week.

2 // Lush – Let the Good Times Roll Facial Cleanser

Ahh. This may have taken Angels on Bare Skin’s place as my all-time favorite cleanser. With hydrating corn oil, maize flour, warming cinnamon, and exfoliating cornmeal, this moisturizing cleanser makes my face feel like silk. Plus it smells absolutely amazing – like sweet caramel corn or buttery pancakes. The texture is a little bit gritty but isn’t too abrasive. I use it everyday and it’s like a gentle polish for my skin.

3 // ModelCo- Contour Stick

I used to be a little bit hesitant about applying contour during the day. It felt too extreme and getting it juust right can be very challenging. Enter this delightful gem from ModelCo. I simply draw a little line under my cheekbones and along the sides of my nose before blending it well with a sponge. I then dust a little bit of bronzer on top. Bam! A natural, glowy, sculpted look that looks anything but clownish. I love how blendable this product is and the creamy formula lends a slight dewiness to my complexion.

4 // Naked Cosmetics – Advanced Skin Cream

Next to exfoliating, moisturizing regularly has made the biggest difference in my skin. I can be a little bit high-maintenance with my routine (I have night creams, day creams, serums, oils, and eye-creams) but this is the moisturizer I keep in my purse for when I’m on the go and I use it more than any other moisturizer. With light yet hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter, and algae, it never fails me and consistently leaves my skin feeling supple with a dewy glow.

5 // Too Faced – Better Than Sex Mascara

Better than sex? That’s a tall order for a mascara to deliver on. Still, this tried and true fan favorite lives up to its name. With plenty of collagen in its formula, it lifts, lengthens, and thickens my lashes in only a couple of swoops. Truly, I look like Bambi when I use this bad boy. Only sultrier. This is an expensive formula but it is one that I like to treat myself to. Try it. When you see your long, lush, fluttery lashes you will agree that it is worth every single penny.

xoxo,

Alicia

Top 6 Lip Plumpers

  
I remember in the early 2000s everyone was chasing after a plumper pout. From lip injections to liner, it seemed like everyone was trying to get the Angelina Jolie look. Flash forward to 2016 and everyone is trying to emulate Kylie Jenner with copious amounts of lip liner and matte lipstick. Another temporary alternative to painful and expensive lip injections is plumping lip glosses. Do they really work or are they just lip glosses that tingle? I have tried many lip plumping glosses over the years and below are my six favorites.

1 // DuWop Lip Venom

This one is very expensive for its size (these tubes last me about three months) but it does work. I like that it is a clear formula, it’s not too shiny, and it makes my lips look full, naturally pink (it enhances my own lip colour), with just a touch of shine. Are the results dramatic? No. I don’t suddenly morph into Rosie Huntington-Whiteley when I use this gloss but the results are noticeable. Plus I enjoy the tingling sensation and the root beer-esquire scent.

2 // Fusion Beauty Lip Gloss

At around $40 a tube, these glosses are hella expensive. That being said, the collagen rich formula is hydrating, silky, and non-sticky. The colours are also vibrant and gorgeous. As far as its plumping abilities go, it’s effects are subtle but visible. It gives a just-finished-making-out, slightly swollen effect.

3 // Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker

This gloss is my all-time favorite. It is pretty sticky (wearing this with my hair down in windy weather is pretty much a no-no) but it gives me the best, most bee-stung results. It tingles a lot, to the point where I feel like my lips are vibrating, but I am left with full, pouty, rosy lips. Bonus: it smells like chocolate and lasts for ages. 

4 // Too Faced Lip Injection

This plumping serum promises to make one’s lips fuller with long term effects after prolonged use. While I don’t necessarily feel that this has made my lips genuinely fuller, it definitely gives me a plumper pout after I apply it. It makes my lips tingle, almost uncomfortably so, but it also makes my lips red in a just bitten kind of way. 

5 // Smashbox O-Plump

I really love this gloss and it is my second favorite on this list. It has a silky texture, gives just a hint of shine and creates a soft, subtle, natural looking pout. I love the colour it gives my lips as well. It goes on clear and then transforms into the prettiest, rose pink ever. This is a great gloss period, but it also creates results that are noticeable and beautiful. 

6 // NYX Pump It Up Lip Plumper

I love NYX products, I really do. This plumping gloss is no exception. It’s results are not dramatic and it won’t give you lips that are noticeably bigger but it will make your lips look more pillowy, soft, and hydrated. It also gives just the right amount of shine. I like to layer it over my lipsticks and I find that the combination of my lipstick with this gloss makes my lips look fuller. This is a nice lip gloss overall but if you’re expecting to look like Angelina Jolie, this isn’t going to give you the trout pout you are looking for. It is a nice product though and one that I would recommend if you are looking for an effect that is more subtle.

Have you tried any of these plumping glosses? Are there any out there that you love and I should try? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

may-beauty-picks

May Beauty Picks

When it comes to my beauty routine, I am a firm believer in paying a lot of attention to the basics. Sure, I love to play with makeup and try new things with my hair but a solid foundation of good skin care is so important and goes a long way when it comes to making sure the rest of your regimen stays on point. I recently came back from a two week trip to Europe with my boyfriend (pictures are to come soon when I finish editing them!) and let me tell you, travelling from country to country doesn’t give anyone much time for anything but the basics and eight hours on a plane or train can wreak havoc on the complexion. Luckily, I had a fantastic arsenal of products at my disposal to combat all of those travelling skincare woes.

1 // Simple Cleansing Micellar Water

I had been hearing about micellar water for a while in magazines and beauty blogs. As a favorite of models and beauty editors alike, I was curious to try it. I ended up buying a bottle in Berlin after customs threw out my face wash and I was shocked at how well it removed ALL of my makeup  while being very gentle and hydrating. Mascara, tinted moisturizer and lipstick, not a trace was left on my face. As someone who is sometimes too lazy to take off their makeup at the end of the day (shameful, I know), this was a godsend.

2 // Garnier Skin Active 5-in-1 Miracle Skin Perfector

Before I left for Europe I knew that I was going to have very little time to dedicate to primping. Hopping from train to train really doesn’t leave any time for a half an hour routine. I bought this with the idea that I could just dab some on my face with a bit of mascara on my lashes and that I would be good to go and it was perfect for that. Seriously, this brought my total beauty routine down to ten minutes. Before buying this I had never used foundation or tinted moisturizer and I was a bit nervous that it would make me break out. I have been using it for a month and if anything my skin has gotten clearer.

3 // Essentiel Elements Wake Up Rosemary Body Lotion

This fragrant lotion tackles two of my chronic issues: dry skin and having my default mode as high strung and stressed out. The formula is non-greasy and light, almost like a gel, but it sinks in right away and leaves my skin feeling thoroughly quenched. I can’t get enough of the refreshing rosemary and mint scent (my boyfriend hates it and says it smells like Vicks VapoRub, but what does he know?). The herb fragrance reminds me of being in a yoga class or at a spa and I find it to be very soothing. I keep a miniature bottle of this on my nightstand and in my purse at all times.

4 // Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist

I actually discovered this brand through work and I immediately fell in love with the brand’s minimalist, almost clinical packaging as well as their commitment to creating all natural products out of organic food-grade ingredients. This mist is toning and hydrating with coconut water, rose, witch hazel, aloe and hibiscus and I can honestly say that it makes the skin glow from within. It also smells amazing, like shoving your nose into an opulent rose that was freshly plucked from the garden.

5 // Smith’s Strawberry Lip Balm

I hoard lip products. Seriously, its ridiculous how many balms, lipsticks and glosses I have on hand at any given time (my former boss used to tease me about it every time she would bag check me and see thirteen lipsticks in my purse). I used to have Smith’s cult-classic, Rosebud Salve and while I liked the formula and its versatility, I never liked the smell which smelled more like baby wipes to me than rose. I fell in love with this lip balm for having the exact same texture but with a sweet, nostalgic strawberry fragrance. The scent is completely artificial but in an endearing way, like strawberry ice-cream. It may be packaged as a lip balm but I use it on my cuticles, elbows and anywhere that needs a little extra moisture.

xoxo,

Alicia

december-beauty-picks

December Beauty Picks

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As we are in the middle of winter, keeping my complexion from looking like a parched, flaky, blotchy mess is my main beauty priority. Skin quenching masks and serums help one battle the icy winter chill, preventing irritation and chapped skin and keeping it dewy. Also, as the holidays are coming up, party preparation is in order and there is nothing like a glittering eye shadow or luminescent blush and bronzer set to transform one into a winter goddess. Stay warm, moisturized and lovely this winter.

1 // Dr. Jart + Ceramidin Liquid

Hydration is key to healthy skin. I have combination skin and I used to be weary of moisturizing my skin because I had the common but wrong idea that if my skin was too hydrated it would break out. Now that I moisturize my skin regularly, I notice that my breakouts have decreased and my complexion is a lot more balanced (when skin is irritated and dry it overproduces sebum to counteract this dryness). This light as air serum is chock full of aloe, licorice root, and ceramide (a component that time releases moisture). It protects the skin’s natural moisture barrier, keeping it plump, hydrated and soft. After cleansing with coconut oil (it sounds counter intuitive but oil cleaning does wonders for removing makeup, dirt and oil from the skin), I will spritz on some ylang-ylang floral hydrosol and then follow it up with this serum. It sinks right in and I swear, since using this my skin hasn’t been dry once and its the middle of December.

2 // Peter Thomas Roth – Cucumber Gel Mask

As a self-proclaimed mask addict, I love indulging in a luxurious face mask at the end of the day. Nothing is quite as refreshing or satisfying as melting away the day’s grime with a cleansing, nourishing mask. Usually it is recommended that one only uses a mask a maximum two or three times a week. I tend to use them more (and have had no issues, but everyone’s skin is different) and usually alternate hydrating masks with deep cleansing so that I am not irritating or drying out my skin. What I love about this particular gem by Peter Thomas Roth (a new favorite of mine – I also adore the brand’s anti-aging cleansing gel as well) is that it is so gentle I can indulge in my daily mask habit without any fear of my skin freaking out. With an abundance of antioxidants and fruity extracts of cucumber, chamomile, papaya, pineapple, sugar maple, bilberry, aloe, lemon and orange, this ultra-hydrating mask soothes, cleanses and nourishes, giving the complexion a plump, quenched appearance and dewy glow. I keep mine in the fridge so its even more soothing after a long day.

3 // LOC One & Done Shadow Stick Trio – Rise & Shine

This shimmery shadow trio has become a favorite of mine. They glide on easily with a creamy texture and are highly pigmented. My favorite colour is Day Trip (a soft shade of fawn) and it is great for every day as just a pale, glimmering backdrop for curled, mascaraed lashes or paired with ruby red lips for a glamorous, Hollywood siren look.

4 // E.L.F Studio Bronzer in Golden Bronzer

My complexion is quite fair and I like to add a bit of bronzer just to keep my skin looking warm, healthy and awake. I used to spend more money on my bronzers because I wanted to avoid the artificial, orange, shimmery look that so many bronzers give. I have tried higher end brands like M.A.C, Urban Decay, Estee Lauder, and Benefit and yet this cheap little palette outperforms them all. This bronze has a light shimmer which initially put me off of purchasing it but after a coworker of mine (who always has the most gorgeous, glowy face) recommended it to me (and told me that it was only five dollars) I bought it. The shimmer is fine and just lends a soft, illuminated look that is actually very natural. With a bronzer, peachy blush (that mimics a natural flush), highlighter and a darker, soft chocolate shade for contouring, this compact has everything one needs to create a warm, natural looking glow.

5 // Salon Gioje Keratin Protein Mask

My hair is ridiculously dry. I have very curly, fine hair and it’s prone to damage if I so much as blow dry my hair. To keep my hair from looking like torched straw, I go out of my way to hydrate it, using loads of conditioner, coconut oil, and this rich, protein rich mask. Protein, keratin and amino acids make this formula as nourishing as it is hydrating. My hair routine is as follows: moisturize hair with coconut oil the night before I wash my hair (I wrap it in a bun and sleep with it in my hair, letting it soak in), I condition my hair before I shampoo (seriously), I shampoo my roots and leave the ends alone, and then I run this mask through my hair like any other conditioner, put a shower cap over it and let it soak in for ten minutes and then I rinse it all out and put leave in conditioner in.  It’s all very high-maintenance, I know, but it does keep my naturally dry, curly hair as soft and hydrated as it is ever going to get. I find this mask even reduces the amount of split ends I get in between hair cuts. I am not crazy about the scent (it smells like an older man’s cologne mixed with eucalyptus) but it works so well that I can forgive it. Curly haired ladies, this is a must try.

xoxo,

Alicia