Category: Beauty and Fashion Tips

5 Essential Makeup Brushes for Building Your Kit

essential makeup brushesWhether you’re a total makeup junkie or if you’re just now getting into the beauty world for the first time, to truly beat your face, you need the right tools.

Of course, that means reading reviews, watching makeup tutorials, and even asking local makeup artists their preferences when it comes to brands, shades, and lip kits. But the most important makeup tools of all aren’t the actual products you use.

Instead, it’s the makeup brushes you use to apply them.

Making an investment in the right essential makeup brushes can seriously upgrade your application skills, and help you to avoid a patchy or caked-on look.

In other words? They’re a smart investment, especially because they often allow you to use less product.

Keep on reading our makeup brushes guide to learn which brushes you absolutely need to buy.

Choosing High-Quality Basic Makeup Brushes

Before we get into the essential makeup brushes that beauty enthusiasts of every level have to own?

Let’s first discuss how to find quality brushes. We know that you’re always looking for a great deal, but making a larger investment in your makeup brushes upfront will save you in the long run.

Plus, it will prevent you from running back to your fave makeup store every month, and buying even more makeup just because you’re there.

While these brushes might be great for commercial use, that’s not the kind of texture you want on your face! To ensure the brush is soft enough, gently rub it against your inner arm before you buy. Check out the texture, and see if it feels soft as opposed to scratchy.

Finally, make sure the brush didn’t leave any fibers behind. Those tiny black and brown hairs are a pain to pull off your face, and you’ll risk ruining your makeup.

The Essential Makeup Brushes

Now that you know how to pick the best types of makeup brushes, let’s get into the essentials.

No kit is complete without these fluffy additions. Brushes are a much better alternative to applying with your hands, because you don’t want to risk transferring the millions of bacteria on your hands to your face.

Just make sure that you wash your brushes, at minimum, once a week. This will keep them germ-free, and can even extend their lifespan.

1. A Foundation Brush

This small, flat brush for liquid foundation looks almost like a paintbrush — and for good reason.

It will help you to get an even coat of your foundation, and allows you to create buildable coverage for areas that might need more makeup than others.

To use it, put a small amount of your liquid foundation on the back of your hand, and use the same grip that you would for a pencil. Pick up a small amount of foundation, and start applying foundation all the way up to your hairline.

We know that you’re likely curious about the Beautyblender, a spongey foundation tool that’s certainly a cult item in the makeup world. And while your foundation tool is matter of personal preference, the truth is that a traditional brush doesn’t require you to use as much makeup as a sponge.

2. A Powder Brush

You’ve worked hard to apply your foundation, your concealer, and even your bronzer and highlighter.

Now, it’s time to lock it all into place for the day using a powder brush. Apply tinted or translucent powder by sweeping the brush over the product in a circular motion.

Tap off the excess, and apply in large, circular motions across your face and neck.

3. A Blush Brush

Blush helps you to look more awake, and gives your face dimension and definition.

However, you don’t want it to look like a giant streak across your face. A blush brush helps you to get the perfect application every time.

Also, if you’re a fan of highlighter, you can use your blush brush to add a little golden shimmer to your upper cheekbones and the area above your lip.

It will give your skin a serious glow!

4. An Eyeshadow Blending Brush

This brush is a must-have if you want to prevent your eyeshadow from looking streaky and choppy.

The goal with proper eyeshadow application is to have one shade seamlessly transition into another. After you finish applying the colors of your choice (pro tip: medium on the lid, dark in the crease, and light on the browbone) grab your blending brush.

Using windshield wiper motions, slowly blend the shades into each other.

5. An Eyebrow Comb

It’s no secret that eyebrows are all the rage in the beauty world. So, it goes without saying that you have to add an eyebrow comb to your basic makeup brushes.

Brush your brows upward, using a little clear brow gel for especially unruly brows. This will help you to make your arches more pronounced, and will make it much easier to apply color.

Add These Different Makeup Brushes to Your Kit

We hope you’ve enjoyed — and learned from — our list of the top five most essential makeup brushes.

Remember to do your research online before making an investment, and whenever possible, buy them in person.

There are all kinds of super-cute and themed makeup brush kits out there, as well.

In addition to helping you to feel a little more festive every time you put your face on, investing in a brush kit will also help you to save money.

Looking for more ways to save on the products you use every day? Ready to score some serious deals on your favorite makeup? Want to learn how to get glowing skin?

Keep checking back with us to get access to the latest deals on a wide variety of brands and products.

Current Fashion Trends 2018: What’s Your Fall Style?

current fashion trends 2018Selling over 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes since 2013 signals more than just profit for Starbucks. The long lines tell us it’s time to get the sweaters out and brush off the boots, too.

If your winter wardrobe is feeling a little too familiar, don’t worry. Some of the current fashion trends 2018 are familiar, also. Tweeds, 80’s retro, and oversized coats are all the rage.

If those Pumpkin Spice Oreos you have in the pantry beeline to your waistline, you’re in luck.

If you follow the 2018 fall trend, no one will notice. From the cut of slacks to your favorite winter coat, most everything’s bigger this year.

Here are a few highlights from the forecast:

Big, Oversized Coats

Designers are answering the call of #MeToo among their customers with empowerment.

Women entering the workplace during WWll had clothing for protection rather than decoration. This year’s runway shows hommage with suit coats, trench coats, and double-breasted jackets.

The newest versions are loose-fitting and long. Though a few designs show a belt, it’s the shape and length of the clothes that shine rather than what’s underneath.

Textured, Floral, and Long

Dresses in floral patterns and appliques are at the very shortest, mid-calf. Textures include chunky knits and stiff fabrics that stand up straight.

Classic herringbone, tweed, and bright skirts pair up with sweaters and flat boots. Slacks are wider-cut and show with layers.

And, ala streetwear, the look topped with a hat or fitted hood are tres chic.

80’s Memories

It’s not Madonna’s black bustier, but Boy George’s long, colorful coat that’s back. Power suits, big shoulder pads, and animal prints come calling as well.

Are you a hardcore 80’s clothes junkie? There’s also gold lame and leather jackets with several inches of shoulder.

Remember pants that gather at the ankle? Yep, they’re back. Jumpsuits, too. Is this the final demise of the skinny jean? We can only hope.

Prints, Checks, Fringe, and Ruffles

There are loads of bold prints as we bid a fond farewell the old block patterns. Long dresses and skirts show layers of ruffles or fringe at the hemlines.

There’s a smattering of vintage for those who like checked patterns over houndstooth.

It’s not your gramma’s gingham though. Today’s checks range from neon green to big black, red, or purple.

Check Jacquemus for some of the coolest new 2018 arrivals.

The Cable You Don’t Want to Cut

We love our cable knits, and for sure they’re here to stay. They’re a comfortable friend we can bring to work, play, and date night.

This fall, there’s hooded versions, sweaters and matching slouch hats. Muted tones are perfect in layering comfortable tunics.

Don’t overlook dresses and skirts, too. These pieces pair great with scarves and leggings for both fun style and cozy warmth. Like our favorite latte, they never let us down.

Can You Find Current Fashion Trends 2018 on a Budget? Yes!

The current fashion trends 2018 that are a rerun of old are easy to find in thrift shops, too! Check out our 5 Types of Clothing to Look Out for While Thrift Shopping to get started!

Must-Know Beauty Secrets: 7 DIY Remedies for Split Ends

split ends

If you’ve ever worn your hair long at all, you probably know that split ends are super annoying–and that loads of different things can cause them.

From washing with the wrong sort of shampoo, to using water that’s too hot, to using a not-so-perfect brush, split ends can befall even the most gorgeous heads of hair.

Most hairdressers recommend a haircut every 4 weeks or so to help cut down on those pesky split ends–but let’s be honest: factoring haircuts into your schedule and your budget that often can be a huge no-go.

Instead of booking it to your hairdresser’s chair every time you catch sight of a new split end, consider trying out one of our favorite DIY split end treatments instead!

Here they are.

1. Coconut Oil

You’ve already heard what coconut oil can do for your skin and your digestive tract–but did you know the stuff can also help repair split ends?

Since, as you probably know, split ends are usually results of different sorts of deep damage to your hair (if you didn’t already know that, click here to learn more.) It’s important that split end treatments get deep into the hair for repairs, too.

Try applying a coating of coconut oil to the ends of your freshly-shampooed hair (or across its whole length, if you’re feeling generous), then wrapping your hair in a towel to sit for 30 minutes. When enough time has passed, hop back in the shower and shampoo your hair 2 more times to prevent any unwanted oil buildup.

Repeat this every 2 weeks or so and watch your hair repair its split ends, and adopt a gorgeous new glow overall!

2. Avocado Protein

First, avocado toast for your tummy, then avocado protein for your locks!

Combine one raw egg with an entire avocado (fingers crossed they’re on sale!), mashing the substance until they two ingredients are mixed well. Once they are, add olive oil, mixing in more and more until the whole solution is smooth and just a little thicker than normal store-bought conditioner.

Once it’s been mixed up, apply the mask to your whole head and let it soak for 20 minutes or so. Then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Voila!

3. Fish Oil

How many times has your doctor recommended you start taking those big, smelly fish oil pills? Too many, probably. But when it comes to your split ends, you may want to listen up!

Omega-3 and -6 oils found in fish oil can work wonders for your split ends. Bust a few fish oil capsules into a saucepan set to low heat, then mix them with a couple dollops of coconut oil and lavender for 5 minutes.

Pour the solution into a bowl, then dip your ends in and start to work the stuff up until it’s gone a few inches from your roots. Wrap your hair in a towel, then let it sit for about 40 minutes. Shampoo twice to rinse out excess oils!

4. Honey & Olive Oil

This one even sounds delicious and calming, right?! Mmm.

The combined nourishing potential of olive oil and honey make them the perfect duo to help fix up those split ends. This mix can also work to nourish the scalp and boost your hair’s shine overall.

Combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of raw honey, mixing them together thoroughly. Lather the combination into freshly shampooed hair, let it sit for 40 minutes, then shampoo once more and rinse well!

5. Egg Yolk

Since ancient times, eggs have been famed friends of human hair. When it comes to deep conditioning and restoration, there are few relevant rivals for the egg yolk, which contains loads of protein.

Mix an egg yolk or 2 with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, almond oil, and honey (you can already tell how well this one’s gonna work, huh?!). Apply it to your entire head, from roots to ends, then let it soak for 35 or 40 minutes.

When enough time has passed, rinse the solution with lukewarm water (don’t want to risk cooking any eggs to your scalp!) and a gentle shampoo.

6. Beer

Maybe your split ends are out-of-control enough that you’ve already turned to beer for help coping–but next time you head to the fridge, grab an extra bottle for your hair itself.

Beer can help nourish your hair the same way it nourishes your soul–kind of. Its proteins and sugars are great for damaged hair. They soak in and repair damaged follicles, targeting your well-worn ends.

Next time you’re in the shower, grab a beer that’s gone flat (never a fresh beer, since the carbonation has potential to damage your hair further!), shampoo your hair as you normally would, then step away from the shower’s stream to pour the beer over your hair. Coat your whole head with the liquid, letting it sit for 3 minutes or so before rinsing it with warm water and another shampoo.

7. Old-Fashioned-Trim

There are loads of different ways you can treat your hair’s split ends and general…well…”blah.” Many creams, masks, and treatments can make your hair look healthy and fabulous again when done right.

But, when it comes down to it, there are still occasions when nothing is going to solve your split ends problem but another trip to the salon for a quick trim.

If you’re concerned about losing length by getting those split ends chopped off, just let your hairdresser know you’re working to grow your hair out. Ask her to do her best to cut only what absolutely needs to go, instead of that generous couple of inches she sheared off last time.

If you’re worried about spending money on a trim, you might try watching some tutorial DIY videos, and keep your hairdresser on standby if the situation goes wrong!

Do everything you can to treat your hair right–but remember, sometimes the only thing that’ll give you that fresh feeling you’re after is a good, old-fashioned trim!

Want More on How to Do Away with Split Ends?

Millions of people suffer from split ends every year–and millions will continue to do so if serious change doesn’t occur.

Okay–enough with the melodrama!

If you’re looking for more information on how to deal with split ends and keep that mane of yours healthy and glowing, check out the rest of our awesome thrifty beauty content!

How to Buy a Watch You’ll Love Forever

how to buy a watch

What do you think of when you see a watch?

Watches weren’t always a status symbol. Their initial role was to tell time. But throughout history, they became an accessory that complements even the most basic of outfits.

Today, the market is overflowing with watch brands–but not all are made equal. There are clear differences in quality, workmanship, style, materials, and price.

Keep reading to learn how to buy a watch you’ll love (and wear) for years to come.

How to Buy a Watch: The Basics

Buying a watch may look as easy as going into a store and picking one. However, there are some basics you should know before you invest in this timeless accessory.

Read on to learn which details to pay attention to and how to make the right choice for you.

1. Budget

Before you start browsing for watches, you should set a clear budget.

If you want a truly exquisite watch, be prepared to pay thousands of dollars. But if you need a good starter timepiece, you can find high-quality watches from well-known brands for $300-$1,000.

Department stores and chain retailers offer all sorts of price ranges if your budget is limited.

The price usually reflects the workmanship, mechanics, brand heritage and quality of materials. Bear this in mind when you’re deciding on your watch purchase.

2. Style

Before you buy a watch, consider your personal fashion style.

Are you into classic, sophisticated clothing? Or do you prefer a more playful, casual look? This will determine the watch styles you should get to match your outfits.

For example, rubber and plastic watches won’t go well with a suit. Sporty watches with complications may work for casual wear, but not for business casual.

Dress watches with metal or leather straps are usually a great choice for any outfit. Whether you’re a man or a woman, a beautiful watch can take your style to the next level.

3. Occasion

True watch connoisseurs know how to pick a watch for every occasion.

For formal events where you’d wear a gown or a tuxedo, your watch should blend in with the outfit. Dress watches are your best choice here as they’re sophisticated and minimalistic.

Dress watches also go with date night outfits or corporate office attire. In more casual work settings or for a night out with friends, you should go for a simple, modern watch.

You don’t have to buy an expensive watch to make your outfit look good. You can dress well on a budget–as long as you know how to pick and combine your pieces.

4. Wrist Size

When you’re trying on watches at the store, consider your wrist size. You don’t want the wristwatch to be too big or too small–otherwise, it might look disproportionate.

The best way to determine which size to buy is to measure your wrist circumference. If it’s 6-7 inches, go for a 38-42 mm timepiece. If it’s above 7 inches, watches with 44-46 mm width will fit you perfectly.

5. Mechanism

One of the main differences in price between high-end luxury watch brands and all other watches is the built-in mechanism.

Most companies producing expensive watches make their own in-house mechanisms and pay a lot of attention to detail. They test the mechanism several times to ensure it’s perfect before installation.

This requires time, testing materials, and expertise–all of which increase the watch’s worth.

Brands that offer more affordable watches usually order the mechanism already assembled from the supplier. This is why they cost less than luxury brands.

6. Features

Aside from telling time, watches serve other purposes.

For instance, aviator watches come with complications that pilots find useful during their flights. Driving watches are used by racers, bikers, and even cyclists to measure speed, lap times, and mileage.

Diving watches are intended for divers and can tell time, depth, and immersion time left. They’re waterproof, made of durable materials, and can be read in the dark.

Casual and dress watches may come with fewer features. But if you’re only wearing them as an accessory, a minimalistic design is all you need.

7. Movements

There are three main types of watch movements:

  • Quartz
  • Mechanical
  • Automatic

Most medium and low-priced watches are made with quartz movement because it’s cheaper to produce and gets the job done. They’re battery-operated and don’t use complicated mechanisms to operate with accuracy.

However, true watch aficionados will only wear watches with mechanical movement. This is an indicator of craftsmanship and heritage. Mechanical watches are manually wound and the hands move in smooth motions rather than ticking one second at a time.

Automatic watches are similar to mechanical without the need of winding them by hand. They’re called automatic because they use your motion to keep working. As long as it detects your wrist movements, it’ll keep ticking.

8. Workmanship

Watch-making is nothing short of an art form. It involves a lot of patience, attention to detail, knowledge, and creativity.

Watch buying is not that much different. Those who know how much effort goes into making a top-notch timepiece will invest in one to honor the watchmaker.

If you open any two watches, you’ll immediately notice the differences in their mechanism and materials used. To learn more about the features of a quality watch, view here.

9. Get Recommendations

You can read every watch buying guide you come across, but you’ll get the best information through recommendations.

Ask your friends and family if they recently bought a watch and if so, how they made their decision. If you have someone in your circle who knows watches, ask them to come with you when you shop.

The best way to guarantee quality is to learn as much as you can and stick to your budget.

The Best Watches Are Timeless

If you’re wondering how to buy a watch you’ll love and wear forever, these tips will help you make the best choice.

For more fashion and style tips, head over to our fashion and beauty blog.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook too, where we post daily updates and talk about all things fashion, thrift shopping and living frugally!

Top 10 DIY Face Mask Recipes to Save Money

diy face mask

Forget spending your money on sheet and clay masks–you can give yourself the spa experience right from the comfort of your own home.

Because let’s be honest, sometimes we’re just too lazy to run to the store for a new face mask. So why not turn to your kitchen for some DIY mask recipes?

These masks can tackle any skin problem out there–acne, dryness, dull skin, and more. All you need is simple, all-natural ingredients like avocado, honey, and oatmeal that you can find in your kitchen.

Follow these simple recipes to pamper yourself with the perfect DIY face mask.

Top 10 DIY Face Mask Recipes to Save Money

While there are a lot of DIY recipes out there, this list features some of the simplest, most effective masks–all made out of ingredients you can find in your home.

Although it’s always fun to treat yourself to a spa facial, these face masks are much easier on your wallet–and they can be a lot of fun to put together.

Let’s get into the top 10 recipes you can try.

1. Hydrating Avocado Mask

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Mash the avocado until it’s soft, then mix in the yogurt and honey. Keep stirring until it forms a creamy paste. Apply to your face and leave it on for about 10 to 15 minutes.

The avocado and yogurt provide a moisturizing and cooling effect, while the antibacterial effects of the honey can help fight off acne. This moisturizing mask is perfect for calming stressed-out skin.

2. Refreshing Banana Mask

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Mash up the banana into a paste and then mix in the juice and honey. Try to get it as fine as you can, but it’s okay if there are lumps. Let the mask sit for 10 to 20 minutes.

Who knew that bananas could be good for your skin? This tropical mask will give you a healthy, all-natural glow–and it’s gentle enough for even the most sensitive of skin types.

3. Nourishing Honey Mask

  • 2 chamomile tea bags
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

First, brew one cup of the chamomile tea with the two bag and let it cool. In another bowl, stir the honey and yeast together. Then add just enough chamomile to create a paste. Let sit on your face for 20 minutes.

Although most of the other masks incorporate honey in some way, this mask is designed to harness the raw antibacterial power of honey. It’s calming for sensitive skin, fights off acne bacteria, and is rich in B-vitamins.

4. Cleansing Vinegar Mask

  • 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

Mix the two together and apply to your face with a brush or a cotton pad. Let sit for about 10 minutes after it’s dried and then rinse off.

Vinegar has been used as a skin toner for centuries–and it’s just as good for your skin today. It works a lot like botox injections to tighten and reshape the skin. Using vinegar on your face can cleanse your pores for a cleaner, smoother look.

5. Tightening Egg White Mask

  • 1 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon of orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

Separate the egg whites from an egg and whisk in a bowl until it’s fluffy. Then stir in the orange juice and turmeric powder to make a light paste.

This mask is great for oily skin or large pores. With a boost of vitamin C to brighten your complexion and turmeric to calm inflammation and even out your skin tone, the egg white mask can tighten your pores and calm acne flare-ups.

6. Exfoliating Sugar Scrub Mask

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Stir together equal parts of brown sugar and coconut oil to form a grainy paste. Apply with gentle, circular motions to exfoliate the skin. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse it off.

This mask works as an effective exfoliator and a mask. The brown sugar helps to clear away dead skin while the coconut oil replenishes and hydrates your skin barrier.

7. Calming Oatmeal Mask

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain oatmeal

Stir the ingredients together and then apply to your face for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water–and be sure to clear the oatmeal from your drain.

While this oatmeal face mask might seem weirdly breakfast themed, it’s surprisingly effective. It mattifies the skin and soaks up oils, all while calming the skin with oatmeal and tightening your pores with egg yolk. This mask is great for the end of a stressful day.

8. Brightening Papaya Mask

  • 1/2 cup papaya
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice (optional)

Mash about a half-cup of papaya in a bowl, then blend in the honey. You can add a squeeze of lemon juice for extra brightening power. Apply to your face and leave on for up to 20 minutes.

This mask is great at lightening the skin and evening skin tone. The blast of vitamin C can help correct issues like hyperpigmentation, sun spots, acne scars, or otherwise discolored skin.

9. Age Defying Cocoa Mask

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oats
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 tablespoons honey

First, combine the cocoa powder, cream, and honey. Then gradually stir in the oats until it forms a paste. Apply a thin layer to your face and leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Chocolate doesn’t just taste amazing–it can do wonders for your skin too. It helps with the production of collagen in your skin, which can reverse signs of aging. Plus the oats and honey will soothe and moisturize your skin.

10. Acne Fighting Milk Mask

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons nutmeg

Mix these ingredients together and apply a thick layer to the face. Leave on for up to 20 minutes and then rinse off.

Honey is a natural acne fighter, but nutmeg can also exfoliate your skin to prevent future breakouts. To top it all off, milk can soothe irritated skin and replenish moisture.

Saving Your Face and Your Wallet

These DIY face mask recipes are super easy to put together–not to mention great for your bank account.

So the next time you get the urge to splurge on an expensive spa treatment or face masks from Sephora, check your kitchen cabinet first. You might just have everything you need to keep your skin healthy, glowing, and blemish free.

Looking for ways to take your skin care routine to the next level? Check out our beauty and fashion tips!

The 6 Most Affordable Skin Care Routines

affordable skin careAge has a funny way of sneaking up on you, especially when you’re busy raising a family. One day you’re looking cute and not a day over 22. The next day you look in the mirror and somehow you’ve become your mother.

Many parts of being a mommy don’t do your skin any favors. Those long summer days at the park or in the pool wreak havoc on your aging process.

Plus, every time you do the classic frowning “mom glare” or squint to sniff for a dirty diaper, those lines and wrinkles get further and further embedded until they’re there to stay.

Here’s the good news, though: even affordable skin care tips can help you repair the damage that has been done and fool the world into thinking you actually sleep.

To make sure you can fit that confidence boost into your budget, try these skin care options that won’t break the bank.

Affordable Skin Care Tips for Moms

Before we delve into the specifics, there’s a skincare rule of thumb to keep in mind: keep it simple.

For moms with hectic schedules (i.e., all moms), that’s a dream come true. Fewer products means a quicker routine and a lower cost. But there’s an actual scientific reason, too.

The more products you use, the more likely it is that one of them will irritate and inflame your skin. For some of us, a few mild products can be too harsh when they’re used together, and there are few things that make you look tired faster than a puffy inflamed face.

With that in mind, check out these minimalist skin care tips.

1. Daily Sunscreen

When it comes to looking young but living long, sunscreen is a miracle in a bottle. As the experts at Albany Laser explain, sun exposure (even small amounts over time) adds up to create age spots and cause premature wrinkles as well as sagging skin.

Unfortunately, sunscreen is among the most underestimated skin care products. Add it into your daily routine ASAP.

P.S.: sun damage happens to people of all skin colors. It’s true that people with darker skin are less at risk because their skin’s pigment provides a barrier, but that barrier is not a full-on shield. Sunscreen is a must for everyone.

2. Cleansing and Moisturizing Twice Daily

If you’re looking to drill down an extensive skin care routine into a more manageable one, you can work wonders with two products (in addition to that sunscreen): cleanser and moisturizer.

Whether you’re trying to manage your skin care as a working mom or as a full-time mom, a cleanser in the morning and in the evening is important to clear those pores of oil, damaging pollution, baby poo, etc. A moisturizer locks in the hydration immediately after you cleanse, keeping wrinkles in check.

Some skin care experts recommend one moisturizer for the morning and a separate one at night. While there are some moisturizers that have specific strengths like this, sticking with one that’s made for daytime and nighttime is budget-saver.

3. Choose An Exfoliant Instead of Expensive Brushes

One of the latest crazes in skincare is a type of exfoliating brush with all types of bells and whistles, from the rotation to vibration.

Sure, these gadgets are cool. But many of them have a price tag of $100 or more, so if that’s not in your budget, is it worth the financial strain? No, it really isn’t.

There are plenty of inexpensive exfoliating creams or exfoliating scrubs at most drug stores that can still give you that baby-smooth feel. Just remember to limit exfoliation to about twice per week to avoid inflammation.

4. Make it a Spa Day With a DIY Mask

Those daily minimums are great for times when you’re on the good and just need to avoid completely neglecting your skin. But everyone needs a little pampering from time to time (okay, moms need it more than most).

When you’re in the mood for some self care but your bank account can’t handle a spa day, head into the kitchen instead.

DIY skin masks are all the rage among broke millennials right now (and anyone who prefers organic options, to be honest). There are countless recipes you can make with ingredients in everyone’s cupboards, from apple cider vinegar to lemons. Different masks have different specialties, too, so look for one that targets your problem areas.

5. Combination Products

As we mentioned earlier, cutting down on the number of skin care products you use is best for your skin, your look, your budget, and your schedule. There’s always a limit, though, because you can’t overlook certain important elements like sun protection and hydration.

That’s why the skin care geniuses invented combination products. These handy multi-taskers take on multiple functions at once. For instance, many brands have a product that is a moisturizer, pore minimizer, and sunscreen all in one tube, and it also has a subtle tint to cover up some imperfections.

6. Pre-Compiled Regimens

If you’ve tried the minimalist approach but it isn’t getting you anywhere and your skin just needs some extra love, have no fear. It might not do you any favors on application time, but there’s still a way to save some cash a more complex skin care routine.

Many brands have pre-compiled skin care regimens. Many are designed for a specific focus, like acne control or age reversal. The experts and chemists at the skin care brand have created a package of products that work toward this goal, and they usually cost less than you’d pay to buy each product separately.

Finding Your Sweet Spot for Affordable Skin Care

All the tips above are great ways to take care of your skin and your budget at the same time. At the end of the day, though, everyone’s skin is unique, so it’s all about trial-and-error to find the right routine for your skin.

For more ways to look great without tanking your family’s budget, check out our blog for affordable beauty tips.

Healthy Layers: The Benefits and Risks of Low Level Laser Therapy

low level laser therapy

Perhaps even worse than seeing those first strands of gray is realizing your hair is thinning.

While it’s a natural part of aging, the thinned-out look just doesn’t tend to work for women as well as men. So what do you do? There are recommended at-home remedies, suggested vitamins and tons of products promising amazing results.

But none quite compare to low-level laser therapy.

Are you losing hair? If you want those lustrous locks back but aren’t so sure about laser beams surrounding your head, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you all there is to know about low-level laser therapy here.

The History

In 1967, only a few years after the first working laser was invented, a Hungarian doctor tested the machine on mice to see if it would cause cancer. His name was Endre Mester, and his findings would create a new age for hair care.

After shaving the test mice and splitting them into groups, he applied low-level laser therapy to the test group. In so doing, Mester made a startling discovery. Instead of cancer, Mester discovered the mice’s hair was growing at an accelerated rate.

Although it has been used for decades, low-level laser therapy has only recently gained mass acceptance. Today, it is viewed as a beneficial method for hair restoration and is approved by the FDA. Discover more about low-level laser therapy’s widespread use and acceptance here.

What Is Low-Level Laser Therapy?

In low-level laser therapy, a machine applies a specific wavelength to your scalp. Usually, this wavelength is between 630 to 670 nanometers, which has been shown to foster hair growth.

Low-level laser therapy is offered through several methods. Customers can purchase caps or combs to use at home several times throughout the week. Patients can also undergo therapy with a doctor, who will use a machine to apply the light.

How Does It Work?

When the light is applied to your scalp, it is absorbed in the outer layer of the skin. Cellular energy in the hair follicles is created, strengthening the cells for hair growth. The follicles expand to create new, thicker hair.

The process also increases blood flow to the hair’s roots, which helps bring the nutrients and oxygen to the follicle. These are necessary elements for healthy growth.

The Benefits

Low-level laser therapy has many great benefits for users.

Hair Regrowth

Androgenetic alopecia, or hair loss, affects half of the males over 40 years of age and 75% of females over 65. It’s estimated that 80 million men and women in the US experience drastic hair loss.

The greatest advantage of low-level light therapy is that it actually works. In one report, of 32 patients with androgenetic alopecia who underwent light therapy, 8 showed significant improvements and 20 showed moderate improvements. The remaining 4 demonstrated no improvements.

As a 2013 and a 2016 study say, it is both “safe and effective.”

Unfortunately, the therapy only works to strengthen existing follicles. If you are completely bald, this therapy will not work.

No Pain

The low-level laser used in this therapy causes no burning or pain whatsoever. This is because there is no intense thermal energy in the light source, which is why it is often referred to as “cold” laser therapy.

That means no pain from surgery or weeks of recovery.

Non-Invasive

Even better, this form of light therapy is not invasive at all. Doctors don’t have to cut into your body in order to help your hair regrow or attach hair from somewhere else.

It’s pain-free and easy.

At-Home Treatments

If patients choose, products can be purchased for at-home treatments. That means no more having to go to the doctor’s office. It also means you can undergo the treatment at a time that’s convenient for you.

Risks

As with any device, there are risks. The good news here is the risks are very slim. While experts still debate correct wavelength usage and effectiveness, they all seem to agree that low-level laser therapy is pretty much safe.

As CBS reports, “In nearly 30 years of use, there have never been any concerning side effects from properly-applied low-level laser therapy.”

Telogen Effluvium

One mentioned side effect of laser healing is a temporary development of telogen effluvium (TE). TE is possibly the second most common reason for hair loss and typically includes a thinning of hair when numerous follicles go into a resting phase.

Studies indicate patients experienced TE only in the first one to two months after treatment, but the condition disappeared upon continuation.

Putting it simply if you notice your hair thinning a tad more after first starting, don’t panic. This is a rare circumstance, but in a few weeks time your hair follicles will pop out of that resting phase and start cropping out the top of your head.

Patients with Melanoma

If anyone with melanoma is considering using low-level laser therapy, it’s imperative they speak to their doctor. Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that often spreads throughout the body.

When used at correct wavelengths, studies have shown no effects on tumor increases. However, at high doses, some studies have indicated increases in tumor volumes.

Improper Maintenance

If you do not use products according to their instructions, hair loss may return as a natural result of aging. Upon resuming treatments, the loss should slow.

Further, if consumers use wavelengths that are beyond the specified parameters, the therapy can damage hair.

No Guarantee

Finally, it should be noted that, while all experts agree laser healing is safe, many argue about its effectiveness. Some patients have phenomenal results using the treatment, but others may experience few or no effects.

Lustrous Locks

In a nutshell, low-level laser therapy is an extremely safe treatment for anyone interested in salvaging their lustrous locks. While most studies indicate it’s effective, professionals still argue about just how much light therapy can aid in hair regrowth.

If you’re still uncomfortable about the dancing lights around your head, there are other options. Check out our article about essential oils. Not only are the all the rage of late, but we have a secret blend that can boost hair regrowth.

Shh. It’s our little secret.