I want to interrupt my normal beauty blogging to talk about something that effects me very personally. My anxiety. If you prefer my regular beauty posts as opposed to posts like these then feel free to check back in next Tuesday to read about beauty things that I still suck at.
There are thousands of people whose mental health effects them in some way during the holidays. Even with Thanksgiving already being behind us the time between now and Christmas and even New Years is really difficult for me. I want to really focus on my personal experience because I know that everyone experiences anxiety differently and I can’t speak for everyone.
Some of my biggest struggles
One thing that makes the holidays difficult for me is traveling to visit family. There are kind of two parts to this one. I never really know when a panic attack is going to strike so it is really hard to always be prepared for it. I know that Chris can help me to calm down sometimes but what if we are around family that doesn’t understand what is going on? What if we are in a place where I can’t do some of the things that help me to cope? What if they think I’m crazy?
These are some of the things that go through my mind when we are traveling. The biggest thing is that I can’t really explain what’s going on when I get anxious like that and the people around me will think that I’m crazy.
Are these fears irrational? Probably. Do they keep me from wanting to travel and just stay home where the only person who can think I’m crazy is Chris? Yes.
There are certain triggers that can’t be avoided in some situations. For example, I work in retail so when I get to be irritable because of my anxiety I have to bury that under a deep layer of a customer service smile and fear of being fired.
What I do to try and help
One thing that I do is I write this blog. I hope that maybe it will be a little easier for people to understand that I can’t do constant activities or when I am feeling anxious I can’t just calm down at the drop of a hat.
Another thing that I do is I keep a panic attack emergency kit with me when we are traveling or when we are going to be around family/friends for extended periods of time. For me this includes lavender/ginger tea packets, unscented lotion mixed with calming essential oils, and headphones. These things will usually help me to calm my anxiety enough to get to a place where I can do some breathing exercises and go for a walk.
With Christmas around the corner it can feel like an obligation to visit family and friends and to not feel like an inconvenience. Traveling and visiting can be stressful for me and I am sure for others. It is tempting to just stay home and send a card. If that is what you need to do to make sure you are in a healthy place I will be right there with you!
When your parents want you to come downstairs and talk to Aunt So-and-so or when your family wants you to go caroling on strangers doorsteps anxiety can rear its ugly head. Sometimes going out to distract yourself is the answer but sometimes staying in and focusing on yourself is the best thing to do. For me, I just have to take it one thing at a time so that I can do what it best for me.
Note: there are associate links in this post. It just means that if you click on them and purchase something, I will get a portion of the profits.
If it were up to me I would be allowed to bring a whole extra bag on trips just to make sure that I have everything I need for any skin/makeup/hair emergency. However, Chris would probably think I’m crazy and also be upset because its heavy and I would make him carry it.
Even when we just go to his parents for the weekend I still overpack beauty items before I go back and reign myself in. Will I actually use texturizing cream, hair oil, hair masks, and color enhancer? Probably not but when I’m packing all I think to myself is “What if I really want to have wavy textured hair with this dress and I don’t have the right size curing wand or my sea salt spray??????” Honestly, its not a big deal and I know that Vacation Kate probably won’t want to put in that kind of effort anyway.
So how do I balance Beauty Addict Kate and Traveler Kate?
Doing the things you know you should when it comes to skincare is great but if you are still doing things that you shouldn’t its kind of like taking one step forward and two steps back.
I have tried so many skincare remedies and methods but when it comes down to it some advise is downright awful.
Don’t use an apricot scrub
So I am definitely someone that is guilty of using this. However, apricot scrubs generally are made from apricot shells which leave tiny micro cuts on your skin which can end up leaving you with more acne. I am not an expert on the exact science of this so ask your local dermatologist or skincare expert if you are curious about how exactly this works.
Do still exfoliate
Sometimes you will still end up with dry skin and exfoliating can still have some good benefits for your skin. I recommend finding a more skin friendly sugar scrub or exfoliant with those little beads in it. My favorite is the Vitamin E Facial was from Soap and Glory. The beads are perfectly round so there is no skin damage!
Don’t skip moisturizing (even if you have oily skin)
If you skip moisturizing then your skin will only want to produce even more oil to compensate for being dry. I used to only use toner when my skin was really oily but that only made it worse. If you have oily skin and you want to lesson it skipping moisturizing is not your friend.
Do try a water based moisturizer instead
Your skin produces oil to try to make sure it has all of the nutrients that it needs. Sometimes if you have oily skin and you use an oil based moisturizer then it will just sit on top of your skin instead of soaking in. Try using a water based moisturizer. They will have less oils in them and can help your skin to get the nutrients that its looking for. I personally don’t use a water based moisturizer so I don’t have a good recommendation but most brands such as Neutrogena, IT Cosmetics, Clinique, and Glossier make water based moisturizers that have some great reviews.
Don’t over wash
It can be really tempting to wash your face way more often than you need to. However, as someone that has definitely been there I highly recommend that you don’t. When my skin was really bad I would wash it a ton because I thought that it would help but it was actually contributing to my acne.
Do wash morning and night with a good face wash
So when I say good face wash I just mean one that is right for your skin type. Sometimes store brands work perfectly well as long as it has what your skin needs. I used Noxzema for a long time and it worked really great for me but when my skin became dry it was not what my skin needed so now I use something totally different.
Don’t wear your makeup to bed
I don’t care if you are so tired that you can’t hold your eyes open or you have come home drunk and are on the verge of passing out. DON’T DO IT. There are so many gross gross things that can happen with bacteria when you don’t take your makeup off before bed. I am, once again guilty of this and I will testify that taking your makeup off makes a difference
Do take your makeup off even if it is the only thing you do
If taking your makeup off is the only skincare thing you do before bed it is so much better than leaving it on. The majority of the time you should still be doing a good skincare routine that works for your skin but if there happens to be one night where you just can’t do it at least take off your makeup.
There are definitely a lot more things that I could cover but I feel like these are some of the big ones and maybe in the future I will post a few more of my tips.
(Also here is a wedding picture because it is one of my favorites.)
So my anxiety has been in a super weird place lately so I have been trying to focus on my mental health so my beauty website has had to simmer on the back burner lately. After a near-hospital experience, several panic attacks, and a lot of anxious pacing I feel like things are starting to balance out again. It took a lot of natural oils and encouragement from my parents and Chris to get me to this point because I could not have done this without them.
My anxiety isn’t something that I talk about a lot publicly. There are few people that I talk about it with so I like having an outlet that I can talk about it. Now, onto my skincare post!
My Little Skincare Secret
So I only call this a secret because it is something that I didn’t know about until I was probably 19.
WASH YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES.
This is probably is no surprise to a lot of people but to me I only washed my brushes and sponges when I felt like they were dirty. It wasn’t about my skin so it was hurting my skin.
How often should you wash them?
So I read somewhere that brushes used for powder should be washed every 3-4 uses and brushes used for liquids should be washed every other use. I have no idea where this came from but it is about how often I wash mine.
How do I wash my brushes?
I use a Johnson & Johnson baby wash to wash my brushes. I have found that it is really easy on my skin and it smells so good. I also use a brush washing mat that I got on Amazon. I wash them and towel dry them and let them finish air drying over night. Usually by the next morning everything is dry and ready to use.
If you aren’t in a place to spend money on a brush washing mat and brush wash then there are options! For the longest time I washed them with just my hands and unscented hand soap. This worked for me and I really only tried other things out of curiosity. I have yet to try bruh cleaner so stay tuned for that one.
Why should I wash my brushes?
So this one is really the big question. The biggest reason is that makeup brushes can build up bacteria that can cause acne and infections. Between the moisturizer and the primer and foundation there is a lot of places for something to worm its way in and cause problems with your skin.
When I was still suffering from bad acne I was using so many products to try to cover it up. The more that I kept my brushes clean the more that I noticed less surface level acne coming up.
Let me know what you guys think and what your brush cleaning routine is like!
I can’t speak for the experience of every dry skinned person in every dry region but I feel like there are probably definitely some people who share my struggles. In my last post I talked about some things that I do to help with winter skincare but in this post I also want to recognize the things that happen that suck. So, here is a list of the things I experience as a person with dry skin in a dry region during winter.
1. A lot of redness, irritation, and pain
For me, whenever I use a moisturizer or lip balm it BURNS. No matter what I do things burn a lot. It makes my skin red and irritated and look like I just tried a failed face mask. When its windy it makes my skin chapped and basically everything hurts.
2. I have extra lip balm and lotion EVERYWHERE
I am pretty sure that during the cold winter months I could single handedly keep the lip balm and hand lotion industry in business. I have some in my car, my purse, the pocket of every pair of jeans I own, my makeup bag, on the coffee table, and also literally in my hand right now. When it gets cold my hands and my lips crack and bleed. I also have to recognize that I use a lot of hand sanitizer as well. I work in retail and I am constantly handling money and people basically sneezing on things before they hand them to me so I use it a lot which means I also use a lot of hand lotion.
3. I get to try lots of new products
Since I go through moisturizer, hand lotion, and lip balm pretty quickly I also get to try more of them. I don’t like repurchasing a lot of products so I really like to try different products for my hands and skin. Right now I am using some Zoella products that I am loving but by next week I could be trying something totally new. (This isn’t necessarily something that sucks it kinds just happens.)
4. Snow makes my skin even worse
Usually you would think that with snow comes the extra humidity and I get a little break with the dryness. I honestly wish that were the case. The snow makes it super weird and for my skin its not snow its more like sNOw. I know that this isn’t super helpful but for me I know that my kin gets more irritated and more red.
5. Indoor heating is my enemy
Going from the cold outdoors to a warm heated building makes my skin more, you guessed it, dry. It makes it really tight and irritated. For example at work when I go inside the skin around my mouth and eyes gets really tight and even starts peeling and flaking. Not like right away but throughout the course of my shift it gets this way and by the time I take my lunch break it really effects my skin when I go back outside.
6. Wearing makeup is really hard
Any moisture that is in my primer/foundation gets sucked up by my skin within a few hours of application. My skin around my mouth and eyes are yet again my biggest problem area. They start to peel and flake under my makeup and then I end up with red patchy spots. My makeup also oxidizes very quickly. My lip color also really struggles because my lips are cracked and peeling as well.
Yes I realize that this post sounds a bit complain-y but I just want everyone else who struggles with dry skin to know that you are not alone. The little things that frustrate you frustrate at least one other person!
So as it starts to get more dry and cold here my skin starts to dry up like a raisin. However, I kind of like that it gets kind of dry because then I get the chance to try out new products and tell you guys all about them.
There are affiliate links in here. That basically means that if you click the link and make a purchase, I will get a portion of the profits.
So I am still using my Soap & Glory Face wash and I am loving it however, I am lonly using it at night now. In the mornings I am using the Garnier Skin Active Clean + Pore Purifying 2 -in- 1 Clay Cleanser/Mask. This really helps my skin to feel really good all day without stripping it of any of its natural moisture. I feel like my body in general really likes charcoal so when I saw this I thought it might be a really good buy for me. I haven’t had a trouble spot or acne since I started this face washing routine and I am really loving it.
I feel like the constant change from the cold dry weather outside to being inside where everyone has the heat turned up can take a tole on my skin and this is part of what helps it to stay balances as far as moisturizer goes. I think it also smells clean and makes my face really glow!
The other face wash I use is the
I know that there are a lot of people that just take off their makeup with their face wash but I am not one of those people. I feel like that doesn’t get all of my makeup and is just a recipe for getting clogged pores. On days when I wear lighter makeup I like to use the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. I tried a small travel size of this first and really liked it so I decided to get the full size. I was a little skeptical about cleansing water at first but once I tried it I really liked it. I found that it didn’t dry out my skin, which makes it perfect for winter. I don’t have to rub my eyes too much to get off anything including waterproof mascara.
When I wear a full face of makeup I like to use a makeup remover towelette. For this I like using the Botanicals Collection Green Tea Makeup Cleansing Wipes. For me this doesn’t make my skin as dry as a lot of other makeup remover wipes. What I really love is that the wipe itself is really thick and I feel like that helps me get all the makeup off my face. In the winter I feel like its really important to keep my skin as clean as possible because when my pores get clogged my skin just gets more dry and irritated.
I know that this brand makes a lot of varieties of this and this is the only one that I have tried and I am really excited to try more.
I use the Loreal moisturizer in the morning and I feel like it really makes a difference for my skin. I never really understood the term baby smooth until I tried this moisturizer. It makes my skin soooo soft. It has the perfect amount of moisture where my skin doesn’t get red or dry but it doesn’t leave my skin oily either. I can apply makeup over it and it stays really well. I love this for winter because I feel like with wind and rain and snow its hard to keep my skin happy but this seems to be really helping.
At night I love to use the Soap & Glory moisturizer. I was a little confused and hesitant with this when I first bought it but I have really fallen in love with it. When I picked it up it felt almost empty but when I opened it up when I got home I realized that it was because it is a lightweight mousse moisturizer. I love this stuff because it doesn’t take much to really feel like my skin is well moisturized overnight. During the winter I still keep the window open a bit in our bedroom overnight so I love that this helps my skin not dry out. It feels like it creates this moisturizing barrier between my skin and the outside world that is really beneficial.
Another reason I really like this is because I really struggle finding a good overnight moisturizer that goes on well over my prescriptions and doesn’t irritate my skin around my mouth and eyes. This one does a great job at fixing both of those problems and it smells great. Honestly, I have no idea why it is called speed plump and what that had to do with overnight moisturizer but whatever.
Pretty much everyone I know has a car chapstick, purse chapstick, pocket chapstick, makeup bag chapstick, and home chapstick for during the winter. Since the skin on the lis is so sensitive this area has a lot more work to do to stay moisturized. I have approximately 400,000 chapsticks but the one that I get in the winter is the Vaseline Lip Therapy in Rosy Lips. I bought this at first because I love the smell of anything rose and I know that everyone tells you to put vaseline on dry skin so I figured it was a match made in heaven. Little did I know that I would really fall in love with this. It smells AMAZING and seriously keeps my lips feeling soft all day long. Even when I am eating and drinking and talking to customers all day.
I never used to like anything that I had to put on my finger and then on my lips because it left my finger greasy but this one doesn’t.
I also drink A TON more water in the winter. I have no idea if this has anything to do with my skincare routine but it seems to make a difference for me.
So in my last post I talked about some awesome stuff I got to try out from Influenster. I got some awesome toothpaste, some shampoo and conditioner, a face mask and new trident gum.
So I will just get right into the reviews!
Hello Activated Charcoal with Fresh Mint and Coconut Oil Toothpaste
So funny story: I actually bought this toothpaste just a few days before I got this box so I was really excited about it. I mentioned in my last post that I had wanted to try a more natural toothpaste and this was a great start. It makes my teeth feel so clean. It is also a black toothpaste and mostly it is fun to use. When I brush my teeth at night its funny to look in the mirror and see black teeth. It has a really great natural mint taste which I think is great.
The thing that I really want to focus on is how it makes my teeth feel so clean. I was a bit afraid that the charcoal would make my teeth feel weird but I really feel like it makes them so fresh and gets everything off of them.
Hair Food Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner Infused with Honey and Apricot Fragrance
So the first thing that I will note is that this stuff smells amazing. I have never smelled any shampoo or conditioner that smelled good like this one does. It smells fresh and fruity and clean and sweet at the same time. Honestly that doesn’t quite describe the scent so you should just go out to your local hair product dealer and smell it yourself.
However, I can’t say that I was crazy pleased with it. My hair felt clean but the ends felt ver dry and damaged the next day. This was particularly frustrating to me because I have just cut my hair so it shouldn’t be to that point of damage yet and I also pay special attention to conditioning the ends fo my hair. Overall, it was nice to try but I don’t see myself purchasing it in the future.
7th Heaven Dead Sea + Clay Peel Off Mask
So I have mixed feelings about this mask. The first night I tried it I actually really liked it. (There was way too much product for just one use so I had to split it into two nights.) I put it on and it was a lot more thick and sticky than I thought it would be. However, once I let it dry for a bit it turned more solid and all peeled off in one fluid piece. Honestly, that was pretty fun and one of my favorite parts. My skin felt good and I genuinely enjoyed it.
The second night that I used it was a little less positive. I was hesitant to try it because my skin is really dry and sensitive. As soon as I put it on my skin started to burn a little. I kind of pushed through because whenever I put something moisturizing on my skin it starts to burn so I thought that it would go away. The burning continued around my eyes and mouth until the mask was totally dry. I didn’t notice any serious irritation after I took the mask off but I can’t say it was a pleasant experience.
Trident Vibes Gum and Phone Pocket
The gum was actually super good. Chris and I split it and we both agreed that it had really good flavor that lasted a long time. I can’t wait to use my free coupon to get a full package of it. the phone pocket is really fun. My only issue is that I have a denim case so it only stuck for a few days.
Overall I would rate this Vox Box a 3/5 stars. Some stuff was awesome and some was nice to try but I wasn’t in love with.
More about Influenster
So I am not an Influenster expert so I would mostly recommend that you go check out their website and decide to join if it seems like your thing. I know that I love love love finding reviews for products that I want to try. I cna just pull up the app, and find the product that I’m looking for and look at lots of reviews for it. You can find it at Influenster.com
I received all of these products for free as a trial from Influenster.
As someone who loves beauty but is also trying to keep a budget I absolutely love Influenster.
If you haven’t heard of Influenster I highly recommend that you look into it. Essentially you write reviews for products that you write and after a little while you get the chance for them to send you free full size products to review.
I have been using Influenster for a while and I just got my first box and I am so excited!
The thing that I really love about Influenster is that it really encourages me to try new products so that I can write about it. I also know that it gives me the chance to get new free things. You can also use Influenster to find products and see how they are rated. This has saved me so many times when I am looking at new products to buy. Sometimes I’ll look something up and see the reviews and it’ll make m either put it back on the shelf or it’ll convince me to spend the money on it.
What I got
I just received the Study Break VoxBox and it has some pretty cool stuff.
It has the Hello Activated Charcoal with Fresh Mint and Coconut Oil toothpaste. I have always really wanted to try a more natural charcoal toothpaste so I am really happy about this one. Funny story: last week I finally got the courage to buy some and I bought this exact one. Now I have two!
The next thing that I got was the Hair Food Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner Infused with Honey and Apricot Fragrance. Hair Food is a brand that I have seen around but I have never really reached for it before. I have been looking more at the reviews for it and I am seeing some really positive stuff so I am excited to try it.
It is also getting colder and windy here in Idaho so I am looking for something that is going to keep my hair soft and moisturized.
The next product that I got is the 7th Heaven Dead Sea + Clay Peel Off Mask. I am actually really hesitant with this one. The last mask that I tried made my face burn so badly so I haven’t done another face mask since. I am still going to try it but I am concerned that it is going to make my face burn.
The last product that I have is the Trident Vibes Gum. I already took this one out of the package but I want to wait until my review post to tell you guys about it! I also received a stick on phone case and a coupon for a free package of gum so that is pretty awesome.
Keep an eye out for my next post later this week talking about what I thought about all the products and more about Influenster! I’ll be posting pics and reviews about each product as well as links to places to get them and how to get free stuff from Influenster.
To see my official social media posts with reviews follow me!
I figured with a new website and a new last name I should re-introduce myself.
My name is Kate Simmons and I love beauty.
How I started
I was definitely that girl in the 6th grade that wore pink glitter eye shadow and clear mascara. I think that I have come a long way since then. I started to get more into makeup when I started reading Seventeen and when I saw my older sister dong her makeup. I would beg her to do my makeup and make me look like her constantly.
The first high end makeup product I bought myself was a Too Faced setting powder. It smelled like chocolate and made me feel like a grown up.
More than anything I wanted to look like the popular girls at school who wore makeup and were cheerleaders and had boyfriends. I kept experimenting with makeup and beauty and skincare and I still do to this day.
In college I started to have skin problems. My skin was really bad for about a year before I finally went to a doctor and did something about it. I am very blessed to be on my parents insurance plan which covered the medications that I was put on because I would have not been able to afford them otherwise. In total it would have been about 600$ for three medications. Within about a month I saw huge progress. I struggled with dry, peeling, and burning skin for three weeks and then I finally started to see the acne go away. Now, I still have visible scars and discoloration but, a year ago I would have never thought that my skin could look like this.
Where I’m at now
Now I have a wonderful husband, a cute little apartment in a cute little town, and a blog where I can write about my passion.
As far as makeup I definitely spend way more than I probably should but I absolutely love what I do. Every-time I go out with a full face of makeup and someone tells me how good it looks it encourages me to keep getting better. I have found great brands that I love and I have found the look that really suits me.
Outside of the beauty aspect of my life I’m relatively average. I work a part time retail job that I actually kind of love. I really like the people that I work with and where I live the people don’t seem to be too crazy. Standing on my feet for 8 hours a day isn’t my favorite but it definitely could be worse.
I am also getting ready to graduate with my associates in general studies and move onto getting my bachelors in Communication. I started out working on my bachelors at BYUI and about half way through I met Chris. For us to be married and live in the same city that meant that I had to move to a different city. Now, I am finishing my associates online before moving onto the bachelors program at the state college here.
I absolutely love the field of communication and the more that I work in it and learn about it, the more I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing. It involves a lot of writing (which I obviously love or I would not voluntarily write a blog) and getting to know people.
I also struggle with anxiety. Over the past year my anxiety has skyrocketed from what it was previously. I am still learning to handle it and working out medications and whatnot but I feel like maybe I’m getting a grip on it. I have written a little more in depth about my anxiety before so I don’t want to delve in too deep here. You can read all about it here.
Another fun thing about me is that I am Mormon. This is a huge part of my life and I love sharing it with people. However, I don’t want my religion to overtake what the point of this site is. You guys are always welcome to message me on my social media channels if you want to ask me more personal questions.
I hope this helps you guys to get to know me better and why I do what I do!
By now I think I have pretty well established that I like Ulta Beauty A LOT. I love that their focus is all things beauty. This includes makeup, skincare, hair tools and haircare. All of which are things I love. When I learned that I could get free makeup from Ulta, then I was super sold on them.
How I started
Initially I was really skeptical of using any Ulta Beauty brand products. I had never heard much about them and I was worried that I wouldn’t get the same results as with more expensive makeup. Once when I was in, there was a sale going on where if you spent a certain amount you got a bag of samples of their makeup and I figured why not. I grabbed a few simple products like a sharpener, a gloss, and setting spray and collected my free bag.
I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised by almost everything in the bag. The only things I remember not being in love with was the mascara. (Too Faced Better Than Sex will always hold my heart.)
That free bag was about 80$ worth of makeup and as a bonus I genuinely loved the makeup. Now, every time I see that deal I always stock up on my favorites and happily collect my bag of free makeup. I get so genuinely excited about what is in these bags. Even if I don’t love it, I still love learning what I do and don’t like. Usually you spend about 20$ on Ulta Beauty brand makeup and, in my experience, you get about 100$ worth of free makeup. In my opinion, that is a pretty fantastic deal.
The most recent time I got a super cute rose gold glitter bag with makeup remover wipes, liner, mascara, a shadow pallet, a contour pallet, lipstick, gloss, eyebrow tint, and a few other goodies. (I’ll list them all below.)
I can honestly say that for a lot of these products I am definitely a return customer for them. This is how I fell in love with some of their lip colors and liners.
If there is one recommendation I can make to you guys is to keep your eye out for this deal at Ulta and take advantage of it.