Beauty hacks | Pt. 1

(Links are in purple

So I want to start this post by thanking you for your feedback! Its always so helpful to know what YOU want to read here on the blog. Of course I like to write whatever is on my mind, but sometimes the mind and the blog refuse to cooperate, ;) In which instance posts like this are born.

Without rambling on, here are a few "life hacks" that have become standard in my beauty routine. I wish I had the time and energy to vlog for you guys, but I don't. :P So bear with my typing away and try to visualize (since I'm also not a pro photographer,) as best as you can.

"Girls should be two things. . .classy and fabulous." -- Coco Chanel

Eyelashes *~ If you are one of those blessed people with naturally long, voluminous (I can never pronounce that word,) sweeping eyelashes, then you can skip this tip. I hate you. :P lol Anyway, my lashes are short, stick straight, and just meh. Actually, if I don't wear mascara, you can hardly see them. And its all about the lashes, right? Here is what I do to "fake" beautiful, healthy eyelashes.

Caster oil for growth. That's right. I actually learned this via youtube. (Yay to people who have a life that allows them to spend time. . .filming all day. I admire you.) Every night before going to bed I dab caster oil along my lash-line, making sure they are fully coated. They shouldn't be sticky, since the lashes soak up all the moisture. Caster oil has become my best friend for so many beauty treatments, and I really do notice a difference in the length and volume of my lashes. Be patient--you won't see results overnight. Stay faithful to the routine, and I promise ladies, they will grow. Its like a miracle remedy.
Curling know-how. My mom taught me this trick rather recently, actually. I'm telling you, the 80's (because she is so proudly an 80's gal,) was the best decade ever, hands down. Anywho. So I have these straight, short (but growing!) eyelashes, and they won't curl for anything. Too many times I've walked away crying because I've ripped half my lashes out. No joke. Cruel, cruel world. But there is hope! With your eyelash curler, gently apply pressure, release, then work on another part of your makeup. In a few moments, come back in with your curler and try again. Do this, curling then pausing, every few minutes, until the lashes gradually start to crimp, and are forced to stand upright. The added benefit? You aren't yanking any out. It takes about 10-15 squeezes, but with this method my lashes always curl and stay curled.
Meet my bestie, waterproof mascara. Maybe this is common knowledge, but the day I met waterproof mascara, my life was changed. For years, besides never knowing how to properly curl my lashes, I couldn't figure out why mascara drooped. . .clumped. . .felt too heavy. For the life of me, I couldn't keep the things curled! Then I did some more online snooping. . .and voila! Now my lashes stand upright and proud, all day long. Thank you again, youtubers.
 The most length. When applying your mascara, instead of weighing down your roots, swipe upward toward the tips of your lashes. Make sure to coat all the way to the top, and apply a few layers to create length and volume. Too much mascara at your roots will only weigh them down and encourage clumping.

Hair *~ I'm Italian, but unlike most of my breed, I have very light skin. And very dark hair. We could always blame the 25% Polish side, I suppose. Whatever the reason, I've always struggled with my hair. There is a lot of it. . .but it isn't thick. It grows fast. . .but always looks scraggly. Gorgeous Pinterest-perfect locks? In my dreams. (Speaking of, any hair tips you have I'd love to hear about! Leave a comment in the section below and let me know your secrets to amazing hair. :) ) As any of my regular readers know, I've recently gone on a journey to grow my hair out. Here are a few of my findings.

 Wait. . .wait for it. . .ok, ready? Caster oil. Right again! The stuff is just pure awesomeness. It works on lashes, and it does wonders for hair. I keep a bottle (found at my local organic market,) on hand at all times. Make sure to buy only 100% pure caster oil, no additives. Application is easy, but messy, as caster oil has a thick, honey-like consistency. I usually apply a hair-mask once a week, but when I was less busy I moved up to every other day. My favorite application is as follows*~

  1. With a long tail comb, part your hair above your ear. Using a bottle, (empty condiment bottles work well,) squeeze a small amount of caster oil along your part. Rub in. Continue to part the hair and apply oil until the entire head is covered.
  2. Once all of the oil is applied, (careful, the back of your head is harder to reach. I usually start in the front then work towards the back,) gently massage your scalp to evenly disperse the oil and stimulate the hair follicles. 
  3. Using a wide-toothed comb, comb from your hairline to the tips, working all of the oil into your hair. It should be completely coated. Feel free to add more oil as needed. Make a bun and secure.
  4. Now comes the "fun" part. You can use a shower cap to cover your hair, (which is the easiest--but also the messiest-option,) or do what I do. . .use a plastic grocery bag. I just make a small slit in the from, plop the bag over my hair, and use the slit to tie off the ends. Then I tuck everything in to make a disposable cap. 
  5. Cover with a beanie to keep the heat in for a more stimulating effect, and let sit for 2-4 hours or more. I don't recommend overnight, but that is totally preference. I can't promise you'll look glamorous, but the half-crazed appearance is worth it in the end. ;) 
  6. Watch some Netflix. Get those nasty chores out of the way. Once your hair has soaked for the desired length of time, wash out the oil with shampoo and conditioner. Note: it may take several washings. For me, usually 2-3 times. If you leave any oil in your hair it will stay greasy.
  7. Enjoy your longer, thicker, healthier, softer, shinier hair! :)

Blowout! Don't be afraid to blow dry your hair. I used to be one of those "oh my my goodness, I'm going to fry my hair with all the heat!" people. Not true. This may be shocking, coming from a girl who advocates natural-everything, but I've been through enough battles with my hair to know what works. My hair is thin. Blow drying it makes it rawr. I also wash it every day, since it tends to get oily. Bad, I know, but again, whatever works. I'm looking into a good dry-shampoo for my Colorado adventure. But I've gabbed enough. *~

1. First, I always wrap my hair into a make-do bun while doing my makeup. Totally optional. ;)
When I'm ready to fix my hair, I use a pick to de-tangle any snarls, (my hair has one good quality--it is usually snarl-free,) then put some heavy-duty mousse into my roots. JUST the roots. This gives lift and volume while drying.  

2. If you don't want to use heat, you can just stop here and give your hair a good brushing (after its dry.) OR you can go ahead and start blowing that hair out! If I'm in the mood for extra poofiness, I'll use a rounded brush (another best friend of mine,) to "lift" and separate sections of my hair. This leaves me with a ton of volume. If I'm going for a more placid look, I'll just blow-dry normally, making sure the mousse is completely dry.

3. Brush from the roots (you can even flip your head over for double the volume). . .and your done!
Even more volume. I don't stop there. Remember, I have very flat hair. To give it even more lift, once its dry I will use a comb or brush to tease the hair at the crown of my head. Make sure to tease the sides as well, then arrange your hair the way you want it to lay. Lastly, using a regular comb, smooth the bumpy pieces down (this way you won't look like something from a baroque painting,) without combing through the teased area. If you are like me and have a part that doesn't stop but insists on traveling to the back of your head, this is a good way to make it look like everything is under control. There. Now you are totally ready to rock whatever the day brings. ;)

Skincare *~ This is an area I am still exploring, every day. I have yet to find a good routine that works for my combination skin. I'm also going to be honest for a moment and admit that I have jawline acne. It is one of my biggest insecurities, and something I am desperately trying to cure. Have any of you dealt with that type of acne? Any recommendations you might have would be greatly appreciated! 

An oil for everything. I've mentioned it before, and I'll mention it again. . .because I can't sing the praises of coconut oil enough! I never use it on my face, as it breaks me out, (though I think when I wrote this post  it was still part of my facial routine.) HOWEVER, it is the best for shaving, and ladies--you must try coconut oil as a replacement for lotion! Just rub a small amount between your palms, and use it all over your body, just like a regular lotion. So healthy, and it makes your skin glow and sooooo baby-soft! I've been using coconut oil every day this week, and I love, love, LOVE the results!

Makeup *~ Nearly forgot this one! Here I'm going to tell you my secret for natural looking eye-liner and foundation. Just follow these simple tips.

Eye shadow. . .as eye liner. Yep, no pencils or pens for me! I love makeup, but I also like to look as natural as possible, while playing up my features. Instead of a regular liner, I purchase a dark brown eye shadow from the drugstore, and use it to line and tight-line my lashes. Tight-lining is the most important step for me, as it adds the look of fuller, darker lashes. I use the same eye shadow to fill in my brows.

BB Cream. My absolute favorite product right now! If you've been battling with heavy, cake-y foundation, definitely give BB cream a try. It makes my skin look so smooth and natural, and has amazing properties that fix imperfections, evens out skin tone, reduces redness, and also works as a moisturizer. There aren't very many color options on the market, but I've found Maybelline's Dream BB Cream adjusts well to my skin tone, and also treats acne.

If you liked this post and want to see more, leave a comment below or click that cute little "follow" button in my sidebar. ;) (Hint hint) If I reach 100 followers by the time I return from Colorado at the end of August, I might just have a giveaway. How about that, can we shoot for 100 followers by September? Oh, I think we can. Don't forget, I love hearing from you, and even more, I want to know what YOU do to ease up your daily beauty routine. Hope you enjoyed this post, lovelies! "Talk" to ya soon*~


  1. Good tips!
    The Maybelline bb cream is great! It's better than liquid foundation, in my opinion.

  2. Nice tips! I too, have struggled with adult acne. I went to an ND and she put me on a regime of silica homeopathic, vitamin B6, zinc, fish oils and vitamin A. She started me at 100,000 iu per day of the Vitamin A for a month, and then reduced to 50,000 (if your lips start to chap, immediately reduce dosage). It worked! Sadly I had to reduce my vitamin A to 10,000 iu per day upon marriage because if there is any chance of getting pregnant you shouldn't be on that high of a dosage, so my acne is back somewhat. :/ But for all you unmarried girls out there....

  3. What a fun post to read, Michaela! I love learning other people's secrets. I might have to try caster oil for my hair and/or my lashes at some point -- while I wouldn't classify my lashes as really short or really thin, it would always be nicer to have them longer and thicker . . . right? :)

    I haven't really dealt with acne on my jawline, though if I'm stressed out I tend to get cysts on the sides of my face, which isn't very pleasant. They hurt and then they scab over and leave scars. I don't really know how to treat them . . . a lot of the time I don't even know why they break out because I often can't remember a particular instance/period where I was very stressed out. Hmm.

    Dance A Real
    walking in the air.

  4. Castor oil is *amazing* for growing eyelashes! I mix equal parts castor oil and jojoba to take off my makeup (I just massage it in, then wipe off with a warm washcloth. It even takes off eye makeup!) and I've noticed that my lashes are longer than ever! The curling method is something I'll have to try, my lashes aren't super straight, but they don't hold the curl very well either.

    I struggle with jawline acne occasionally, too. =P blehhh. Right now my skincare regime includes moisturizing with jojoba oil (and castor + jojoba oil to take off my makeup), then honey masks once or twice a week and baking soda for gentle exfoliation. Exfoliating with baking soda really brightens up my complexion, I love it!
    You might be dairy free already, but I find that the less dairy & sugar I consume the better my skin is. Easier said than done, though =P

    As far as makeup I've been loving Cowgirl Dirt makeup. The best part is that it is very natural and I love sticking with natural things as much as possible. It's not super heavy coverage either, which keeps things looking fresh. :) You should definitely check them out! http://www.cowgirldirt.com/

    Right now my very favorite hair care product is sweet almond oil. It's a lot less "sticky" than castor oil. I usually just massage it into my scalp then put my hair up and exercise or something, then wash out. It's not super heavy, so I can even get away with massage a bit in and leaving it in without washing. If my hair is looking dry I'll also rub a little between my fingers and smooth it over my hair. I also try to wash/rinse my hair in cool water and use baby shampoo, as most other shampoos are kind of harsh on my curls. What type of shampoo do you use?

  5. I bought castor oil after you mentioned it in a previous post. It is sitting in my closet daring me to use it on my eyelashes and possible brows and hair; I do have fairly thick hair, but not really on the top where I need volume. I am kinda lazy and a little bit unnerved by more greasy/messy application. I have coconut oil that I use to remove my eye makeup, but I do not use it much on my face as it tends to cause me to break out more.

    Ever since I learned of tightlining (Pinterest, I think) I have used it. Major difference. I also, when I remember it occasionally line my lower waterline with white as this trick is supposed to make one's eyes appear larger.

  6. this was a really cool post, I love all the tips and tricks, and how real and practical they are :) and I found that the lack of videos/photos wasn't a problem so good job :)