Category Archives: Beauty

My Skin Journey // A 20+ Year Battle with Break Outs & Acne

I used to be ashamed of my skin.

You may not know it now, but I used to have terrible acne. And I was embarrassed about it. Have you ever heard the term “pizza face”? That most definitely could have been used to describe the appearance of my skin throughout elementary (yes, I got my first zit in 4th grade!), middle, and high schools.

Disclosure: This post contains a review of a complimentary skin treatment provided to me by Seven Inlets Spa. All opinions are my own!

Deep, painful, red lumps and bumps covered my cheeks and chin. In my teens, it also covered my back, upper arms, and even sometimes the bumps popped up on my chest. To hide my embarrassment, I slathered on foundation, often in a shade that was much too dark for my skin tone, and to mask the body acne, I wore clothes that covered it. It was honestly hard to tell sometimes what tone my skin actually was beneath all of the redness and irritation I created.

Recently, I was invited to the Seven Inlets Spa at Little Creek Casino for a facial, and it was this experience that reminded me that even just a few years ago, I would have been terrified to have an esthetician remove my makeup.  In fact, my conversation with Hannah, my esthetician during my facial, inspired me to share my skin journey and what I’ve learned over the years. She explained that she sees clients all the time who feel embarrassed or ashamed of their skin when they come in for a facial.

Not only did I not want the help of an esthetician, but I was too afraid to go to a dermatologist, fearing that they would give me the same “bad advice” that every other doctor gave me. (Mostly it was either to tell me “it wasn’t that bad” and then prescribe medications that didn’t work for my skin.)

Instead, I threw everything at it – alcohol laden pads to strip everything, even the good oils, away. Benzoyl Peroxide creams, Salicylic Acid based gels. I tried mud masks, high concentrations of tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and more. I visited websites and forums to try to replicate other peoples good results in getting rid of their breakouts. You name it, I probably tried it.

No matter what I did, the pimples persisted.

Then, I started hormonal birth control around the time I left for college. I also stopped using so many skincare products on it, mostly out of laziness, but also because I didn’t need them anymore. I used less foundation, ultimately using just a light wash of mineral powder to even out my skin tone from some of the hyperpigmentation left over from blemishes long gone. I was thrilled. I thought I had finally cured my acne for good.

Until it returned.

Continue reading

My Purifying Hair Care Routine for Summer

Disclosure: Thanks to Pantene for sponsoring this conversation. All opinions are my own!

My hair has been top of mind lately as we go into summer. It’s the time when my hair goes through the most extremes; whether it’s taking a dip in the pool, spending time outside in the sun, or getting blasted by the air conditioning in the car and at the office. With a medium length haircut right now, I’m fortunate that I have less overall hair to manage than I used to. However now I find I battle different problems, like product build-up, greasier roots, and dry feeling ends. How’s a girl supposed to keep her hair fresh all summer long and manage all of these problems within her haircare routine?!

Pantene Charcoal Shampoo and ConditionerAfter recently adding some soft highlights and lowlights to my hair for summer, I’ve been noticing that my scalp has been more sensitive than ever. I’ve been trying to go easy on the products, but I find that even after one wash, my hair is already looking greasy. Heavy moisturizers in my shampoo and conditioner leave my hair looking dull, weighed down, and ultimately oily after just a single day. Fortunately, I was recently able to try out the brand new Pantene Charcoal Collection. Just like charcoal in skin products, the charcoal in this new shampoo and conditioner works to purify the hair, from the root to the ends in only one wash. Pantene is a brand that I’ve loved and used since I was in elementary school, and I love how they’re always creating innovative products to meet the needs of a modern woman like myself!

Continue reading

Short Hair, Don’t Care… One Year Later // 5 Things Cutting My Hair Taught Me About Myself

Just over a year ago, I chopped off all of my hair. Ok, well maybe not all of it, but it sure felt like it! What is craziest to me one year later is that at this point, having long hair feels so foreign to me that I almost don’t recognize older photos of me with long hair.

But a year ago, I didn’t feel that way.

Disclosure: The Style Witch did provide me a complimentary haircut and the conversation I had inspired during it helped inspire this post, however, I wasn’t obligated to write it. All opinions are my own! :)

Photos by Megan of Diary of this Girl Megan

Last year, you might recall that I wrote a post called Short Hair, Don’t Care. Right before we bought our house and moved, I walked into that salon, sat in the chair, and showed my hair stylist the top photo that comes up when you Google “LOB” and asked what she thought. We agreed it would be a good style on me, and off I went to get shampooed and conditioned.

About an hour or so later and my hair was feeling lighter. Much lighter. And I honestly may have had a minor freak out inside. And again the next morning in the shower. You know when you get a fresh cut and run your fingers through your hair? It’s usually one of the best feelings, but this time it stopped abruptly and I remembered again:

Oh yeah, it’s all gone.

Continue reading

5 Ways to Refresh Your Look with Kroger Beauty

Long day at the office? Feeling a little sweaty after running a few too many errands? These are all situations I find myself in fairly frequently, especially come the warmer months here in Seattle. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve found a few beauty essentials to keep in my purse at all times that make it easy to refresh your look in just a few minutes!

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Kroger and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

So what are these coveted beauty essentials? Fortunately, you won’t need to spend a fortune to get them because they are all available at your local Fred Meyer, QFC, or Kroger store! I love that I can buy my groceries and pick up my beauty essentials in one place. Hello, convenience1 For me, a great texturizing spray, a one and done makeup palette, and a few simple beauty tools are all you need to refresh your look in 60 seconds.

How to Refresh Your Look in Just a Few Minutes

For the full list of must-haves that you can find at your local Fred Meyer, QFC, or Kroger store, read on!

Continue reading

Behind the Scenes at Alaffia HQ // Giveaway!

At 5:30 am, my alarm started buzzing and I groggily turned it off. Not long after, it went off again. This time, I got up. I was off to Olympia, WA and wanted to be up and on the road early enough so as to not hit rush hour traffic. But, why?

Because I was off on a weekday morning adventure to visit Alaffia, a skin, body, and hair care brand that is known for its ethical trade practices and do-good values for the women of West Africa. They also just so happen to be headquartered right outside of Olympia, Washington’s state capital, in Tumwater.

With Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Donald Yamamoto, in town, Alaffia invited state and local government learners, local business leaders and their respective staff, as well as little old me, to welcome him and learn more about the company. Being familiar with Alaffia products already, it was great to get a behind the scenes glimpse of the products, from ideation to manufacturing to shipping.

While there, I was also first to see a lot of new product that will be coming out very soon and of course was sent home with lots of goodies to try! Curious what I learned about Alaffia and want to win some products to try for yourself? Read on!

Continue reading