What I’m Using: March 2019

First day of spring! It’s a strange day when 50 degrees becomes what feels like barbecue and tanning weather. The sun’s been peaking out the past week or so here in Chicagoland, even though you still see the occasional snowdrift on the ground and there won’t be a flower in sight for three more weeks yet. In terms of beauty, this seems to translate into something more exciting and celebratory- more color, a new scent, and that whole idea of “feel good” beauty. It may not look like spring yet, but we can certainly pretend.

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The reputable classic: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate

This stuff is expensive, it really is. I’ve only ever purchased the mini size and I use a pea-size amount only once or twice a week to make it last. But … it works. This is the first chemical exfoliant I ever used and I can’t ever go back. The glow and difference in texture was noticeable pretty much right out of the shower. I should note that my skin doesn’t appear to be especially sensitive to chemical exfoliants (as in, my face doesn’t experience redness when I do AHAs and BHAs), so just beware if you decide to try it that you may react differently. I keep ExfoliKate in my routine during fall, winter, and spring and kick it out once summer hits and my skin isn’t so dry. So for now, it’s like my little spring cleaning routine.

The totally-unnecessary-but-super-fun extra: Glossier Play Glitter Geleé & Detailer Duo (Geleé in Phantasm)

Okay, this is just for fun. But it’s like, really fun. I used to wear glitter constantly in middle school. Every day I had a different color on- I did green, gold, red, anything. I love Stila’s Glitter and Glow liquid eyeshadow in Smokey Storm these days for some grownup glitter that can be subtle (or not!), but Glossier’s take on glitter is not for the faint of heart. It’s the chunkier stuff that’s really full-on craft store mode, and the Phantasm shade reminds of a the holographic Rainbow Fish. However, I especially love the Detailer tool Glossier has created for applying glitter- a silicone multitool that’s shaped like an angled eyeliner brush. It’s one of the things I’m surprised no one’s thought of before; it makes glitter application way easier, especially if you want to be really precise.

I’ve tested out the glitter once and plan to wear it on our quick vacation this weekend in Michigan. Because, you know, if there’s any place you think of when you think of wearing glitter for a night out, it’s for sure Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The luxurious shower addition: Weleda Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash

Another great Whole Foods sale find! While typically something like $12, I got it on sale for $8. And because it’s a smaller bottle, I use less of this body wash at a time than when I use, say, Dove, and unnecessarily squeeze out a giant blob because I feel like I have an endless supply. This formula is lighter than Dove but almost just as moisturizing (and much more natural). The smell is soooo relaxing too. There’s also primrose, pomegranate, and lavender for those extra sleepy night showers.

The fragrance I’ve been saving for spring: NEST Indigo Rollerball

Nothing – nothing, I tell you! – can usher in a new season like a new fragrance. But I have to be careful when I introduce a new perfume into my life because scents become so emotional, so quickly. You immediately start associating it with whatever memories you make while wearing it, so choose its debut activity carefully! I love several of NEST’s fragrances, and Indigo is mysterious and alluring. My nose always latches on to tea-based fragrances and this has a top note of Moroccan tea that’s creamy and a little mystifying to me. I love its moodiness; I just have to make sure it doesn’t make me feel too moody myself. :/

Bonus! The convenience you’ve been missing in your life: ClassPass

My friend introduced me to ClassPass with a $9 trial and I have to say, Kristin! Thank you! ClassPass is a service that allows you to pay a certain monthly fee that then gives you access to all varieties of fitness studios in your area. You can pick and choose what classes and studios you’d like to visit; there’s no commitment to one location or one type of fitness. I personally use it for yoga and have loved the freedom of being able to try different studios. Tried a class that’s a little too voodoo mama juju? Go somewhere else. Love one particular place? You can stick with it. Want a trial month? Get at my link: http://class.ps/maiA0

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Concerning my hair, and how much I used to hate it but now do not.

It’s true. I really, really hated my hair up until perhaps two years ago.

During high school, I wanted long, straight hair. Well, perhaps with a little wave, but I thought the most beautiful hair was blown-out, flat-ironed hair. I remember finally getting a flat-iron for Christmas that had legitimate power (as in, you could fry a piece of bacon with it by just passing it through the plates once) and I was so excited. Finally- no more weird kinks, no more untamed baby hairs at the front of my face, no more frizz.

And so that’s how it was for me for like, six years. When I had the time, I’d blow out and flat-iron my hair until I was satisfied with it’s texture. And because I barely knew how to properly proceed with such a task, it would take me forever. The real problem, however, was the fact that my hair is nowhere near naturally straight. It’s wavy, verging on curly. Add to this the fact that it’s not terribly thick, and you’ve got dry, somewhat delicate hair … not ideal for frequent frying (say that five times fast). On top of that, I’d spend all this time trying to control my hair into what I thought it should be only to have it zap back into its natural state once any ounce of humidity hit. It was a grueling era of fighting against my genetics.

And then in mid-to-late college, I discovered the curling rod. Oh, the curling rod. At that point I’d gone from desiring pin-straight locks to wanting Kim Kardashian’s Disney princess length and perfect waves. I’d even given thought to getting extensions (a thought that doesn’t pass through my mind anymore … perhaps more on that later). And so, again as a result of not knowing what I was doing, I’d wind each section of hair around and around that rod, until my head was covered in brown spring-coils (and it didn’t even look like Kim Kardashian). I thought it looked good, my friends may have thought it looked good … but looking back, it didn’t look that good.

But something happened between that point and now. I began to lose the luxury of a little something called time. I was working at a coffee shop (and do I still work there? I’ll never tell …) and teaching high school social science all within the same days, and there were just too many days where I had to just get up and go. Toss my hair up in one of my beloved topknots or just leave it the way it was. I’m not a good waker-upper, and so whatever my hair looked like when I got out of bed … was pretty much how it was going to stay all day. But as I would peruse through one of my fashion publications, I’d be surprised to see how much messy hair was being sent down the runways. Or how much easy hair, I could say. And then, on the beauty blogs I’d read, I’d always see these beautiful French women with clear, luminous skin without makeup, but paired with undone hair. It would look so, “I don’t give a damn but I know I still look fine”. And that’s when my idea of beautiful hair changed.

Beautiful hair has texture, versatility, and health. Beautiful hair is like an art media that can be molded into what you want. You can curl it, straighten it, color it, style it sleek, style it rumpled and messy, or just do nothing with it. You can just leave it be when you want, because beautiful hair doesn’t need to be controlled. It is well taken care of, and left alone when it needs its alone time. Beautiful hair is loved in its natural state.

Sometimes I make some waves in it, but most of the time I let it air-dry. I’ll blow it out every once in a long while, but most of the time I just let it be. I am a deep-conditioner addict (as in I leave it on for twenty minutes or so and I do it every third wash), and I only wash it twice a week. I’d perhaps like there to be a little more of it and maybe a little thicker, but I find myself satisfied with the fact that when a hairstylist gets hold of it, I frequently get compliments on how easy it is to work with. If a stylist is giving me the thumbs-up, that’s all I need. Here, a look at the products that keep my hair at its best-

I’ll give a breakdown on why some of these are my favorites later, but you can probably at least tell that I like to take the more natural route when it comes to my hair. And I prefer the natural look, as well. I’m not looking for overdone, I’m not looking to add to what’s already there, and I’m not looking for Kim- I’ve got me. That’ll do. xo, MR