My Pool Beauty Essentials

If you haven't noticed my Instagram account by now, you know that I love to swim. I particularly love to do what I call, "Otter around". Essentially, it's just laying in the pool and floating around, you know, like an otter. But being in chlorine 5 days a week can wreak havoc on your hair so I thought that I'd share some of my pool beauty essentials. Stuff that I figured out I can't live without. 

(Just a heads up, the highlighted links are affiliate links. Chosing to buy from those links helps support this site, which I thank you for. )

  1. Pool-Beauty-EssentialsOGX Kukui Oil: When you have thick, curly hair you know that every little bit helps when it comes to fighting frizz. Well, as you know chlorine also takes out the moisture from your hair. That's when this bad boy comes into play. This stuff helps lock in moisture and repels humidity so that you don't end up walking around like a tumbleweed with a body. Plus, this stuff smells AMAZING! I wish I could figure out what the fragrance is because I love it! 
  2. Goody TangleFix Brush: I don't know how many times I'm going to have to say this in this post, but I have thick, curly hair. Do you know how hard it is to brush my type of hair? If you do, you know about busting hair ties and snapping brush handles just trying to wrangle it, and how much it hurt when your mom was trying to tackle it when you were little. If you don't, well, it's a thing. It happens. If I don't detangle my hair during my after swim shower, well, let's just say it's not hard for me to achieve the deadlock look but this baby is contoured to fit right into your hand and doesn't hurt so *BAM*. 
  3. OGX Sea Mineral & Moisture (Conditioner): I'll just tell you right now that I barely shampoo my hair. Honestly, I do it like every two weeks, but I condition my hair every day, which means that I go through HUGE amounts and I've tried practically most of the brands out there but I'm really finding that OGX works for me. Just like the Kukui Oil, this stuff smells amazing but can't figure out what the fragrance is. I'm finding this leaves my hair silky smooth. Not completely smooth but as smooth as a 2B girl can get. 
  4. Wet N Wild Mega Length WaterProof Mascara: Look, just because I'm in the pool 5 days out of the week doesn't mean that I don't want to look pretty, and for a little over $5, I'm not complaining because this stuff works! 
  5. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion: Looks guys, swimming is a full body exercise so more than likely you're going to lose weight, unless you're pretty slim to begin with. I'm not, so I've lost weight, some of it pretty drastically. Stretch marks are inevitable and I have them on the inside of my thighs and some around my waist. This helps reduce the looks of those stretch marks by using vitamin E, cocoa butter, shea butter, and Bio C-Elaste. 
  6. Wet N Wild H20Proof Liquid Eyeliner: So apparently when Wet N Wild says H2OProof, they mean it. I tried a little experiment to see how long this would stay on. I learned that if I didn't take it off, it would stay on for three days. THREE DAYS, PEOPLE!!!! Even then when I did finally decide to take it off, there was some serious rubbing going on trying to get it to come off. 

So there you have it, my pool beauty essentials. Do you do a lot of swimming? If you do, what are some of your beauty essentials? Let me know down in the comments. 

Amanda ❤

Insta Natural Dead Sea Mud Mask and Vitamin C Toner Review

I've never been one for facial masks. I see them all the time at the drugstore and never bother to pick one up although I am a bit curious about them. A few weeks ago I was having super bad breakouts. I got the opportunity to try the Dead Sea Mud Mask from Insta Natural ($24.95). 


Here's a little info about the mud mask from Insta Natural: 

"An all-natural detoxifier and purifier that comes from the renowned and sacred Dead Sea. More than a million visitors each year flock to this extraordinary body of water in the Mediterranean, which contains many minerals beneficial to the skin." 

"It is great to expunge acne, pimples and blackheads. It also helps to restore an even skin tone for a smoother complexion." 

So I took them up on it. If you're prone to breakouts or even really bad acne, you know you'll try anything just once to see if it'll be the product that'll actually work for you. This was one of those times. 

Initially it did freak me out a bit to slather mud on my face especially because it's gooey, but I was able to get over it. The directions say to apply a thin layer to clean skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes until it dries. Don't use the mud mask if you need to talk for the following 10-15 minutes because it will dry out and your face will have a very limited range of movement. For removal, I used a warm, damp washcloth. They say to use circular motions as well. 

I have oily, sensitive skin so there aren't very many products that I can use aside from witch hazel to try to clear my skin. What I liked about the mud mask was that in my case, it was able to bring up the impurities like blackheads and whiteheads, so that I could also use my regular skin care routine to clear out the blemishes. 

During this review, I also got the chance to try out the Insta Natural Vitamin C toner ($17.49) which was kind of perfect timing since I had run out of my regular Garnier dark spot corrector a few days prior and kept forgetting to pick up some more. 

InstaNatural-Vitamin-C-Serum-Brand-Backer-ReviewIt smells VERY citrus-y so if you're not into that scent, I wouldn't recommend it. The directions say to spritz it on your face but I found that the nozzle of the spray head was spraying it solely around the perimeter of my face and completely missing my T-zone so what I started doing was spritzing a cotton pad a couple of times and then just wiping my face with the cotton pad. So far, it seems to be working but my face hasn't totally cleared up yet so I'm just giving it some more time. 

I've only been able to use the mud mask once in the time that I've had it and I'm actually wearing it as I type this up. Depending on how it goes, I'll see whether or not I'll add the mud mask into the weekly maintenance rotation. 

I'll do a follow up next month to let you guys know how it's going! 

Until then, I will let you know that this is a SPONSORED post, but the above statements and opinions are 100% my own. I did not receive monetary compensation for a positive review and should my opinion of the product change in the future, I will let you know. 

Amanda ❤

Coppertone Clearly Sheer Review

Coppertone Clearly Sheer Sunny DaysI'm a big proponent of using sunscreen, but I'll admit that I forget to put some on sometimes. I normally use Hawaiian Tropic but then this opportunity from Bzzagent appeared and I said, "Why not?" That's usually how things go. I often think, "What have I got to lose?" Anyway, I decided to accept the invitation for this bzzkit, and I'm really glad that I did. I had noticed that the product that I was using before was leaving my face even more oily than what it naturally is and I was having really bad breakouts and I couldn't figure out why. I was doing my normal face routine, I regularly change out my pillowcases but it never occurred to me that it could be my sunscreen. 

Coppertone has two formulas for this specific sunscreen. One for sunny days which is basically every day use here in Southern California and one for beach and pool. I received the sunny days sample, which I don't even think I should say sample beings that Bzzagent sent out a full size bottle. I didn't know what to expect from it but when I first opened the bottle to smell it, I was quite surprised. The sunscreens I'm used to usually have that beachy smell but it was the opposite when it came to this. It smells light and airy which makes sense afterwards beings that it's for everyday use, and usually one doesn't go to work smelling like the beach. 

After making the switch my face cleared up almost immediately but it also left my face feeling super soft as well. Since getting it in the mail, I'm already more than halfway out of it. I've been thinking about whether or not I'd buy it again but everyday I'm leaning more towards a repurchase and not going back to the Hawaiian Tropic one for everyday use. So obviously, I REALLY like it! 

Actually, I still have two samples left so if you'd like me to send them to you so you can try it yourself, leave a comment and I'll send them out to you! 

Amanda ❤

May 2014 Beauty Buys

May's Beauty Buys

Somehow I got really into watching beauty videos on YouTube. Mainly DulceCandy and Liana Beauty, but also a little bit of Natalie Kayo from Discoveries of Self, as well. I think I have a thing for British based vloggers. Oh well. 

When it comes to makeup I like to keep a very neutral face. One reason I'm wary of putting on too much product is because I have very oily skin, so I feel if I put way too much on, the oils are just going to seep through and product is going to shift. I'll tell you right now, I'm definitely a drugstore girl. I'm on a budget and I'm totally not afraid to admit it so with that being said, let's get into it. 

Neutrogena Wave: Okay, I KNOW that the wave is ridiculously old, like 2009 old, but lately I've been super bummed that Clarisonic's are out of my price range. During the lady times part of the month I'm prone to really bad breakouts and I wanted something that was going to really get in my pores and clean them out. Not to say that I don't wash my face regularly because I do have a routine, it's just that when it comes to wiping away product, I was using just a regular face washcloth and I didn't feel like I was getting everything. While I don't necessarily feel this is really getting everything as well, I definitely feel like it gets more than what the washcloth was. 

Curls Unleashed Curl Defining Creme: I know this is a product for the natural hair niche but let me tell you this works wonders for my hair. I have thick, wavy to curly hair  and actually, all three colors (Red, purple, and teal) work great for me depending on what I want my hair to do. I just wash or condition my hair and while it's still wet, I apply this evenly throughout. I have a little quirk, I like to have something weigh down my hair slightly so that it isn't prone to frizz and whatnot, despite just washing all the product out. This stuff is just the right amount of heavy that I like, but not too heavy where I feel like I just washed my hair in vain, and the curls that I get from these products are AMAZING! My favorite part is when I'm walking and have my hair down, when the wind blows, I can get a whiff of this stuff and it makes me smile. It smells AMAZING. Like a light lemon chiffon. You can see my curly hair routine here. 

Renewal Deep Action Pore Cleansing Strips: Ain't no shame in buying store brand, especially if you're on a budget like mine. Let's get straight to the point, I needed something to pull those disgusting little blackheads that accumulate on my nose out. I don't need to pay $8 for Biore strips when the Rite-Aid brand will do just fine. I'm just saying! 

Bag Balm: Remember how I said earlier that I'd been watching Youtube videos? Well, YT being the quicksand of the internet that it is, somehow I got led to this video of Essiebutton and FleurDeForce doing a drugstore dash. This was one of the things that Essie picked up and it seriously intrigued me. I have really dry and ashy elbows. No matter how much lotion I put on them they never get softer so I wondered if this stuff would be able to help me combat that. First of all, if you've never been to the countryside and/or are curious as to what cows and horses smell like. I highly suggest you go to your local drugstore and take a whiff of this stuff before you purchase it (if you do). I'm completely used to the smell beings that my grandparents live where there are high number of cows and horses so that didn't put me off. Really, it just made me miss my grandparents but getting back on topic. This stuff really works! It has the consistency of petroleum jelly so it's very thick....and it smells like cows. If that alone grosses you out, I would consider trying something else to cure your dryness. As for me, I just put it on my elbows at night about 30 to 40 minutes before I go to bed and then just wash it off in the morning during my shower. I can't stress enough though, if you're not used to the smell or it grosses you out, try something else. 

NYX Matte Finish: Back in the day I used to obessess over MAC's Fix+ finishing spray, but $21 is a little too costly for my pocket nowadays. I happened to come across this stuff and I love it. I like setting my makeup with a spray as opposed to a powder for some reason and this works perfectly. Oily skin= Matte whenever I have the option. 

Maybelline ColorSensational in Rum Riche: When I buy lipstick, I tend to go for red, coral, or orange and it dawned on me that I don't have a good dark nude. It comes off as more of a raisin color on my skin tone 

NYX Eyeshadow Base in Skin Tone: Another replacement of a MAC product. I used to use the eyeshadow primers a lot back in the day. I quit wearing eyeshadow because I felt like it should shift and crease too much because of my skin and I'd been thinking about ponying up the dough to get the MAC primer again until I found this at the drugstore. This helps your eyeshadow stay put. The only thing I'm concerned about is that the pot is small, really enough to get a finger in there, except I don't like using my fingers, so I'm going to have find a brush small enough to use for this.  I used it and I did not see a crease at all in my eyeshadow that day so I'll be hopping back on the eyeshadow train again. 

NYX eyeliner pencils in black and brown: Believe it or not, I've never used an eyeliner pencil. It's always been liquid liner for me so I decided to give it a shot. Black for when I want a dramatic look but honestly, I've been using brown the most for a soft everyday cateye look. How have I never used these things before? It's basic makeup 101. Obviously I missed that, but I'm making up for it now. 

Coppertone Clearly Sheer for Sunny Days: This is the latest campaign I'm in for BzzAgent so I received this free actually (I'm required by law to say that). I've been testing it out. I'm a huge proponent of sunscreen. Mostly on my face, neck and hands, to prevent aging because we all know I love me a good tan everywhere else. This isn't my normal sunscreen but I'm giving it a shot. So far what I've observed of it is that it's light in that it doesn't leave me feeling like I've just slathered on a nickel sized amount of SPF 30 on my face. It absorbs quickly into my skin and it's actually left my skin feeling softer, but the best part? I haven't had ANY breakouts since testing it. Remember, oily skin and lady times? So far I really like it, and am even considering buying it once I run out of the sample. It also doesn't have that beachy, tropical scent that my regular sunscreen has, so it really is great for everyday use. 

And that's it for my long ass post so I'll be seeing you in a few days! 

Amanda ❤

Longer Lasting Home Mani's

Orly Bonder

I'm not compulsive about painting my nails every week but I like to paint them about once a month. I don't get acrylic nails done because they're just uncomfortable to me when I'm typing at work, so having short nails is my go to. The only thing is, when I paint my nails at home, it never fails that at least one will get smudged during the drying process and eventually two days later, one of said nails would chip. So cut to last week when I'm reading the May issue of InStyle and they're doing their beauty roundup for 2014 and I see this as one of their picks. 

Orly Bonder is a basecoat that has a rubber texture and according to the box is like "double-sided tape for nail polish." I went out to Sally's that same day and bought some to try. I'm a frequent Sally's shopper and knew I had seen it there before on my previous trips but I never thought to pick it up, but I'm glad that I did. 

I tried it last Saturday and a week later, I still have the same paint job. It's only now starting to chip which is really good considering I go through so much during the week. There's typing, writing, and a myriad of other things I'm doing during the week that nail polish has to endure but since using the Orly Bonder, it's standing the test. 

I'm definitely glad that InStyle brought this to my attention because it's changed the way, and maybe even the frequency, that I paint my nails. 

Orly Bonder .6 oz. 

Have you ever used Orly Bonder before? Thinking about giving it a try? You totally should and let me know what you guys think of it in the comments. 

Amanda ❤

My Daily Skincare Routine

Skincare Routine


Sometimes I need a little motivation from a guy to get my gears going. So is the case when it came to my skin care routine. I follow mac_daddyy on Instagram, and one day it dawned on me how clear his face is. I've always been prone to breakouts but that was mostly because I was never really adamant about washing my face. I did it maybe twice a week. I had dark spots from when I would pick my face, and that's when I read about Garnier dark spot corrector. I've been using it ever since and the spots seem to have lightened or gone away. In December that's when I really started to take care of my face and wash it twice a day with this routine. In the January issue of InStyle Magazine, they had a piece on a 30 day skin plan where the guinea pig (real person tester, not ACTUAL guinea pig) had oily but sensitive skin. Totally me! 

I read the ingredients to look for when purchasing a product and soon found what I needed. It makes perfect sense to have two different routines for day and night since you need the products to do two different things. Day would be to protect and night would be to rejuvenate, or something to that effect. 

I've been doing it for about a month now and I have definitely seen results. I no longer break out as much as I used to. If I do have a breakout it's my fault but it's literally just one or two and they clear up within a day. It's also left my skin feeling really soft and those dark spots are practically non-existant now. You would have never known that I was prone to constant breakouts. 

What products do you use for your daily skincare routine? 

Amanda ❤

My 3 Product Beauty Routine

3 Product Beauty RoutineI'm not one for much makeup. I wouldn't say that I have an extremely busy life, but I have other things to do and think about, that when it comes to my makeup routine, I don't need an elaborate set up. Despite the fact that I don't look my age and could probably stand to wear more, I like to keep things natural looking. So these are the three products that go to every day. 

Being a poor college student, I have no shame in saying that I buy from the drugstore. They're cheap and get the job done so that I don't leave the house looking haggard, and that's always a plus. 

Pretty much any time I'm going to leave the house, I put on some blush, bronzer, and mascara and I'm good. The mascara is Lash Accelerator Endless from Rimmel London in black. I actually received this in an Influenster campaign a while back, but I'm almost out of it and need to find more, and haven't had much luck finding it. I swear by this mascara and will continue to buy it until they no longer make it. 

The blush I use is from Wet N Wild and is called Berry Shimmer. The bronzer I use is the Sun 'n' Bronze bronzing powder from NYC. Right now since it's winter and I'm a little paler than normal I'm using Hampton's Radiance, but once summer hits and my tan comes back, I'll use Coney Island Glow. 

Now of course when I'm trying to get a little more polished I have other products but this is what I wear on a daily basis. If you're wondering what I look like wearing only these three products, just take a look at my profile picture in the sidebar. 

So yep, that's what I look like on a daily basis. What products do you use, and which do you live for?  

On an unrelated note, how are all of your guys' New Years going so far? 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

Coiffure A La Independance



I was watching 'Marie Antoinette' the other day, and despite the countless times I've seen it, this short shot in the movie spiked some curiousity. I was going through my copy of Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion, and came upon the actual name of this hairstyle/hat. The "Coiffure a la Independance" is also known as the "triumph of freedom" and was worn in 1778 to honor Benjamin Franklin's appearance at the French court for negotiation of a treaty between France and the US. 

Did anyone find that as interesting as I did? 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

Curly Hair Routine

Curly Hair Don't Care- Curly Hair Tips

I consider my hair to be my best asset, and as  a Leo, my hair is my pride and joy. I love it, but I hate it at the same time. I joke that maybe I should just shave it all off, but who am I kidding? I'd never do that. One the rare occasion that I wear it down, I usually get a compliment about it. 

The thing is, my hair isn't thin and curly, it's thick and curly. Most of the time I have it up in a bun, simply because it's the best thing for me. I'm one of those people who gets hot easily and if my hair is sticking to my neck, I'm going to be cranky and uncomfortable, but just because it's in a bun doesn't mean that I don't take care of it. 

Here are some tips that I find work most for me. 

1. Wash/rinse  your hair in tepid water. Using warm water makes it more frizzy because the heat stays locked in when you go to dry it.  The Shampoo and Conditioners that I found work for me are either Vidal Sasoon, or Pantene Pro-V.

2. Never brush or comb your hair when it's dry. I know, I know. You always hear people say "Never brush your hair while wet" but really, it's the only way a person with curly hair CAN comb it. I comb my hair with a wide tooth comb until I can run it fully through my hair without it getting caught on a tangle. Then I use medium tooth comb to get all the smaller tangles. Believe me, there are tangles, and BAD ones too. Sometimes Pantene Pro-V detangling spray

3. I know this is going to be a little weird to understand, but as soon as I wash my hair, I put more product back into it. I have no other choice. It keeps my hair from drying out and getting all poofy, and curly hair needs something to weigh it down. At least mine does. Most of the time it's Leave-in Conditioner. I use the curl defining creme by Curls Unleashed or Pantene's Anti-Frizz cream

4. Don't towel dry. Instead, use an t-shirt to dry your hair. Using a T-shirt helps reduce the amount of friction going on up there and that's something you don't want to have. I find just wrapping the shirt around my hair and just squeezing it downward from root to tip getting rid of excess water works best. 

5. I know a lot of people with curly hair blow dry their hair using a diffuser but I just let it dry naturally. 

6. Every three days, I condition it and reapply the leave-in conditioner. But I wash it about every week and a half. 

It's a lot of maintenance and my arms get tired since it's so heavy and long, but it's worth it. Would you be surprised to know that I still have virgin hair? I've never bleached or dyed it before. I keep thinking that once I do, it's going to be too much to keep up with, ON TOP, of how I take care of it now. 

XO Panda

Amanda ❤

Cherry Lips- My Favorite Revlon Shades

#108 Moment On The Lips

Wearing lipstick is something that can make a woman feel confident and sexy. Buying the high-end brands for esteem purposes is well and good when you can afford it, but when you're in student mode, there's nothing wrong with drugstore products. 

The Lipstick Effect

Last semester I learned about a little concept called, The Lipstick Effect, which essentially goes something like this: In hard economic times, women will forego buying large luxury items such as coats, purses and shoes from a particular designer/label, and instead opt for smaller items from said designer/label. Lipstick, nail polish, perfume, etc. They can still buy into the brand that they love, gain the esteem from buying said item, and not dig too much of a hole in their pocketbooks. 

For some people, $10 for lipstick is decent, but $30 or $40 for one may seem a little crazy.  So here's a list of the four drugstore lipsticks that I wear. You must remember that each shade suits me and my complexion. The thing about lipstick is, you just have to keep getting back on the horse until you find the one that works for you. 

750 Kiss Me Coral: I was looking for an orange/red shade last summer. For me it's something fun and flirty. 

525 Wine with Everything: A burgendy shade to tone down the day looks. 

740 Certainly Red: The classic red that every girl looks for. It's great for bringing that extra 'oomph' to night looks.

683 Demure: In my opinion, a girl needs two lipsticks in her repertoire. A great classic red, and an even better nude. For my complexion, this color works best.

[This post is a submission for IFB project #108]

XO Panda
Amanda ❤