Trying Not to Have Garbage Nails In 2018

 
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Before boarding a plane where we were to be sitting in the very last row, my dad gave me this sage advice: "Set your sights low so you won't be disappointed." He probably didn't mean for me to extrapolate that little quip beyond that particular scenario, but I took it and ran. All of this to say, I'm aiming for achievable goals in 2018 because the world is such that I'm looking to grab a W any way I can. To that end, my New Year's resolution for 2018 is to not be a garbage person with awful, garbage nails.

Like many problems I face in life, I attempted to solve this one by buying a bunch of stuff. It's a tactic that works for me about 47% of the time and you can't argue with results like that. 

I was recently telling someone about this journey I'm embarking on and they asked me what products I've been using. So here I am again, blogging for the three to five people who asked or actually care about any of this. As good a use of my time as any, I'd say. 

(Briefly: Amazon.com, AKA the pit that I throw all my money into, made me an "influencer" and I don't really know what that is, but I'm going with it because it feels like one step closer to full on SPON CON and brands sending me free shoes and stuff. You can find the full link to all these products and other shit that I've bought here. Every single thing I'm mentioning is something I paid full price for with my money so woo for me.) 

 

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One of the best reccomendations I ever got was OPI's Nail Envy Nail Strengthener. It's kind of a pain because you have to apply it every other day and then remove it after a week and start over but I'll be damned if don't see a vast improvement in my nails when I'm using this. 

At some point, I googled, "how to not have shitty nails" or something like that. A lot of articles talked about using certain oils for nail health which eventually led me to this site listing a bunch of oil concoctions for specific nail issues. Eventually I settled on the "nourish-your-nails oil" and got to cooking: 

For storage I bought some of these glass bottles with droppers.

I usually put the oil on at night and then slip on some cotton gloves to keep everything insulated. Apparently these are "moisturizing," but I think they're really just cotton gloves. I don't remember how exactly I stumbled across this lotion but I saw "Healthy Hoof Cream Intense Protein Treatment" and was SOLD.

 

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It's this really thick cream and smells a little weird so you know it's effective. Uusally I'll apply my oil mixture, follow it with the lotion and then slip on my gloves. Also, it's $6 so why not? 

I love a sheet mask and will buy the Karuna Hydrating Serum + Hand Mask every once in awhile. It's good to put on at night and then put on your gloves before bed so all the JUICES can work overnight. 

I also bought these Kocostar Nail Therapy situations which are like little mini masks for each nail. They are very hard to put on and might be a placebo but I dunno. Buying shit is fun. 

And then, of course, the only thing that's actually probably doing anything at all effective: 2.5 mg of Biotin

I had been at this regimen for about a month and my nails were starting to look pretty not shitty!! Another recommendation I kept seeing for nail health is to get regular manicures. There's a new nail salon in my neighborhood I've been walking and driving past for weeks and finally caved. Allow me to be so bold as to say that I think from now on, I only fuck with that gel manicure life because regular polish chips for me almost immediately and makes me IRATE.

Anyway, Color Camp is this cute new nail salon on Beverly Blvd behind The Grove and they give you free LaCroix with a straw. On my first and so far only visit, I splurged on a "super gel" manicure which apparently is a formula from japan that "strengthens nails, promotes growth".  

 

When I was getting my nails done, I asked my technician how long this super gel stuff would stay looking good and she said about three weeks and possibly longer depending  on how hard I am on my nails. Almost immediately after, I ordered dishwashing gloves and that's about as much effort as I can put forward to that sentiment. 

I dunno man, here we are. It's good to have at least a few goals that are rather achievable especially as the planet descends into madness. At the very least, I'll be able to look down at my slim cuticles and strong keratin and delight for a moment, enjoying how my nails look as I type out a text message asking a friend whether or not I need to evacuate due to forest fires/massive earthquakes/nuclear attacks/billionaires who have started eating non-billionaires. It's not a lot, but it's something. 

 

Some Brief Thoughts On 'Cosmic Journey: Solange Plus Blood Orange and Special Guests'

On Sunday, September 24th, Solange performed at the Hollywood Bowl. It was fantastic. I have a few thoughts:

  • Witnessing true artistic growth in real time is incredible and rare. 
  • Can you be proud of people you don't know? I am proud of Solange. 
  • It seems like being a teen mom can really work out rather incredibly if you play it right.
  • Of the many factors that separate those who are great from everyone else, chief among them must be the ability to have a real vision for one's art. It goes beyond just knowing how that fight scene will look or what track 8 might sound like. It's knowing what song will play during the season finale of the third season of your show that's not even on television yet. It's being able to pinpoint exactly how the hem will billow when the model spins while wearing a gown not yet on the form. Solange clearly has that vision. You can tell she was able to see every detail of Cosmic Journey from the very beginning. She saw the set. She saw the costumes and the hair. She saw the dance breakdowns. She saw the way the trumpets would glint under the stage lights. There's something to an idea hitting you over the head and lingering in a way that consciously and unconsciously informs your work. It's like even when you don't know what you're looking at, you can still see it. Even when you don't know exactly how to execute it, you can hear the applause. Vision is everything. 
  • That bitch can dance.
  • Few things on this Earth are better than the scope and fearlessness of black hairstyles at a black-ass concert or event. 
  • One of the best things I ever wrote was about A Seat at the Table
  • Alan Ferguson, Solange's husband, has a monumental beard.
  • Every beautiful black person in Los Angeles was there. Relatedly, I would pay a good deal of money to regularly hang out with or attend events with that exact group of people. Someone take note.
  • "F.U.B.U." should be Solange's "Niggas In Paris". That is, during the Watch the Thrown Tour, Jay Z and Kanye West would perform the song upwards of 7 times a night and it was fucking amazing--what I assume ascending to heaven feels like. Solange performing "F.U.B.U." was like that. It was damn near a religious experience. It's a song you want to hear over and over with a group of black people and forget the sad truth that life can't always be like this. I would've watched her perform that song for 30 minutes straight. 
  • Replace all iconography of the Virgin Mary with Miss. Tina. 

I Love Highlighter More Than Anything

Let me start by making it very clear that I am not a beauty blogger. I am a woman who has dedicated a lot of time to honing a skincare and makeup routine that works for me and the only reward is knowing I've done my best to worship the spirit of Our Lady of Bronzed Radiance, Her Luminesce, One, Jennifer Lopez, Divine Goddess of The Glow. Today, however, I will act the part of a beauty blogger and if Sephora wants to wire me some extra points, I won't be mad at it. 

The reason I'm writing this is because I've gotten like 6 requests for my highlighter routine and that seemed like plenty. Not to brag, but I do nail it when it comes to that Glo Worm look. My highlighter philosophy can be summed up with one simple rule: wear a ton of highlighter. Honestly that's about it. Just put too much on. Much like Domino's cheesey bread, if at any point it doesn't feel excessive, it's not enough.

In the spirit of transparency I'll admit my skin does have it's own base glow. The first of photo of me--where my eyes are closed and I look like I'm smelling fresh croissants or something equally quaint--is makeup-free. I won't get into all the skincare shit right now because that's a whole situation, but you should know I was going to an event that day so I used one of these Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon pads and followed it up with a lemon brightening sheet mask I got at CVS. 

DISCLAIMER: FOR COOL POEPLE'S EYES ONLY

Perhaps the most important part of this look is regularly basking in the Los Angeles sunshine. Which is to say, if you are cool and I like you, you should move to LA and hang out with me and you'll glow like that basketball from Space Jam forever.

OK, so we've got a baseline glow happening, now we start playing that shit up. I don't remember exactly how I stumbled upon Maybelline's Fit Me Dewy + Smooth foundation but I was probably walking through Target and saw a shade that seemed very close to my skin tone and took a chance because they have a great return policy. Previously, I used Armani's Luminous Silk foundation, which is also excellent but honestly this Maybelline situation is better and costs 1/6 the price.

AND NOW FOR SOME MAGIC. What you want to do is mix in a couple drops of the Cover FX Enhancer Drops into either this foundation or your foundation of choice and consider your life changed. On days when I want to go lighter, I'll mix this Jesus potion in with my moisturizer and people think I have some sort of skin condition called "perfection".  

Let me also point out how you guys can tell this is some real-ass shit. I didn't even bother to wipe off the residual product from these vessels or buy new versions that photograph better. This is my real life. 

NARS makes the best concealer on the planet and it has the word "radiant" in the name and I feel like I really don't need to say any more than that. 

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This summer I explored the tinted moisturizer/BB/CC cream options because I wanted something with that was light but offered decent coverage and preferably contained sunscreen. MAC answered my prayers with their meticulously titled Lightful C Tinted Tinted Cream SPF 30 With Radiance Booster. The best part is this already has highlighter in it and gives me a similar effect to the COVER FX drops without having to go all in. 

With the first draft of our face done (the middle photo above) it is time to really ramp shit up and make your face look like a sexy disco ball and yes, I know that's repetitive.

Now, if you watch an actual makeup artist apply highlighter, they usually do so just along your cheekbones and on areas that they want to, duh, highlight. This is where I buck convention and possibly make history because my only goal is to highlight my ENTIRE FACE. Oh yes, I put the highlighter all over my cheeks. Colourpop's Super Shock Highlighter is my favorite because the consistency is great and it costs $8. I own a bunch of shades but my absolute favorite is Avalon and a close second is Most Necessary which it seems they're not selling anymore so HA! (Actually I feel bad. Sorry. It's a great shade but they have a bunch of other options.)

I use a regular blush brush and just give that stuff a whirl all over the apples of my cheeks and up the bone a bit. Ka-blam. 

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For the final, final touch, I take the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter and brush it along the top of my cheekbone and a bit down the bridge of my nose, in the middle of my forehead and on my chin. A lot of people suggest using a fan brush for highlighter, but I've learned that I hate fan brushes. Anastasia Beverly Hills makes a highlighter-specific brush and though it may sound like I'm exaggerating here, this brush is remarkable. I like it a lot better because it's fluffier and easier for me to blend with it and you can apply product elsewhere on your face more easily. 

The photo on the right (click for it to inch of a bit and fit fully into the frame) is my final look and they can probably see my face up in space. While I do highly recommend everything I use, I imagine you can achieve a similar look using different products. For example, I've been told that the Sephora Radiant Luminizing Drops are a great, less expensive alternative to the COVER FX drops. 

All that said, whatever you decide to use, you should definitely put a ton of it on your face, sit back and wait for the compliments to roll in. I'm serious, just put a ton of highlighter on your face. Go ahead, do it. 

#1 MAC Lightful C Tinted Tinted Cream SPF 30 With Radiance Booster (Dark Deep)

#2Maybelline Fit Me Dewy + Smooth (Coconut) 

#3 COVER FX Custom Enhancer Drops (Candlelight) 

#4 NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (Amande) 

#5 BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter (Champagne Pop)

#6 Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter (Most Necessary) 

#7 Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter (Avalon)

#8 Anastasia Beverly Hills Brush #23

Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops

Not to brag, but I frequently receive compliments about my skin and I take said compliments while laughing to myself because little does everyone realize that this bottle of gold is my secret; not water or sleeping or shit like that. Now you know.