Neroli Salon in Milwaukee: My Lash and Nail Experience

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Disclosure: I received complimentary service in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

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Let’s admit, we all need some pampering and time to ourselves, away from work, family, even our significant others. And what better place to go to in times like these than a beauty salon, especially an Aveda one?

It’s been two weeks since I received the services at the salon. Yes, a part of me procrastinated, but another part of me wanted to actually see how long the nails and lashes are going to last. And I have to tell you, I am more than impressed! I only lost a few lashes, and my nails are not chipped at all. Grown out, but no one is really looking that closely.

I will start with lashes! I had lash extensions once before (you can read about it here), so I knew what to expect. My esthetician Elise was the sweetest! She is the one who actually made this whole experience happen! Turns out she knows one of my blogger friends Kaitlyn and she sent her my way! Lesson 1: Make friends and stay in touch with people! 

I spent 2 hours relaxing and chatting with Elise while she was doing my lashes, and the 2 hours flew by in no time. I shared with her how stressed out I’ve been lately, and how much I was looking forward to the service. We both agreed that her job is not just about making someone’s lashes longer, but rather making that person happy.

Hands down my lashes make me feel prettier, happier, and more confident than ever. Additional bonus – when you cry – your mascara won’t run, because you don’t have to wear any. Lesson 2: It’s okay to be emotional (especially when Mercury is in retrograde! Anyone else feel my pain?)

Since having my lashes done 2 weeks ago, I’ve only started touching up with mascara in the outer corners of my eyes this week. I think one of the most popular questions I get asked about lash extensions is how long they last me. And it honestly depends on the person. I know this is a cop-out answer, but everyone’s lash cycle is different. It’s like hair. Lashes fall out. And if you don’t make a wish and blow them away, then you are not keeping track of them. Lesson 3: Dream often. But if you are seriously thinking about getting lash extensions, try to pay attention to how often you lose your natural lashes, that should be an indicator of how long the extensions will last you.

I love my extensions for a few reasons: I wake up looking ready. There is absolutely no mascara that can help me achieve the same (or even a similar) result. I can still sleep on my stomach and somehow get away with it!

If you are thinking about getting extensions, I highly recommend doing it at Neroli in Third Ward with Elise! From effortless casual conversation to fanning the fumes out of your eyes, she is your girl and she will make sure you leave looking and feeling like a million bucks!

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My manicure experience was as amazing as my lashes. And I think a big part of it was really hitting it off with my estheticians. Lisa did my nails, and that girl is a riot. We talked for 2 hours as she was doing my nails and even after, as she was walking me through some of her favorite Aveda skincare while making me samples. How thoughtful is that? There are a few products I definitely have to go back for, like the Tulasāra Wedding Overnight Masque.

Lisa was very helpful when it came to picking out the design. I wanted something simple that would go well with everything. So when she suggested a reverse french manicure that included a nude, I was all in!

I have never gotten this many compliments on my nails before.

And to make it all better for you my Milwaukee friends, Lisa has been working on some unique Milwaukee nail art that I can’t wait to get done! The amount of effort and drive this girl puts into her work combined with the creativity is so inspiring, it’s literally helping me write this post!

Thanks to Lisa, I am not only loving my nails, but have a few beauty products to write reviews on for you!

Thank you so much to Neroli Salon and Spa for providing me with these complimentary services! I will definitely be coming back. Please follow Elise and Lisa on Instagram, the preferred choice of social media these days.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you may have! I will gladly answer those 🙂

 

Models Own Make up at Ulta

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Playing with make up is probably one of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately I don’t get to do it as much as I wish I could. So I decided to turn it around this weekend and finally got to the package from ModelsOwn, which is a UK based brand now available at Ulta.

Price wise ModelsOwn is on par with NYX and other drug store brands. The products come in bright and colorful packaging which makes it even more exciting.

Here is what I got to play with today:

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Luxestick Velvet Lipstick in Deep Berry ($8.99) – a great deep color I will definitely be saving for nights out and fall. It’s easy to apply, and lasts a good amount of time, but I definitely recommend using a lip pencil with it!

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I-Definer Kohl Pencil Eyeliner in Black Onyx ($7.99) – love this pencil, it’s precise, intense and waterproof. Plus it goes on very smooth, especially when you draw hearts on your hands 😛

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Sculpt & Glow Highlighter Powder in Peach Pearl ($11.99) – a summer must have for all of us who’ve been deprived of natural glow by mother nature. Use it on your cheekbones, nose and cupid’s bow for best results. I always put my highlighter on before powder just in case I overdo it, then the powder helps conceal the excess highlighter. What about you? Are you a before or after powder highlighter girl? Confused by the question? Me too! Let’s move on.

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Barely There Eyeshadow Palette ($17.99) – a great starter palette if you are just tapping your toe in the world of makeup. It combines dusky pinks, soft nudes and creamy browns for creating a truly natural look. It does come with a few shimmery colors so you can easily take your look from day to night. The palette comes with a dual end brush and being the brush snob that I am, I actually don’t mind this applicator. So kudos to you ModelsOwn! However, I highly recommend using a primer as this product tends to get dusty.

And there you have it! I have successfully played around with some make up and hopefully wrote a decent review for you to enjoy! I believe there is a special promo going on around this line at Ulta at the moment. But I do want to let you know that this product was sent to me for review and this is my honest opinion. Have a gorgeous day everyone!

 

Athleisure + Monday Mode Link Up

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Have you heard of athleisure? It’s my favorite trend ever, because you get to combine workout clothes with everyday clothes, like jeans and this Gap body top. I also can’t get over these Reeboks I thrifted for $5.55!

Do you athleisure? Make sure to tell me by leaving a comment below!

Please join us for the weekly link up and let us know if you’d like to co-host! I’ll be sending out a reminder email later this week with a sign up doc 🙂

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My Balayage Experience at Get Dolled Up Salon with Melissa

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I love getting my hair done period. So when Melissa from Get Dolled Up reached out to me offering a balayage and hair cut experience at a Shorewood based salon I couldn’t say no!

I switched from highlights to balayage in 2014, when I saw an picture on Instagram and knew that my hair didn’t have to look stripey, but could have a beautiful blended effect. And have been a balayage convert ever since.

Melissa spent about 4 hours on the cut and color but it was so worth it! Last time I got my hair done I wasn’t happy with the cut. The girl cut out a weird bang portion that I was looking to get blended in, resulting in me requesting Melissa to take about 2 inches off.

The balayage looks amazing, I got baby lights added, which I’ve never had before, they make the blond strands stand out even more. I also got to try Schwarzkopf hair dye again after a very long break. Schwarzkopf is a really popular brand in Russia, but having been living in the States for a long time, and coming from Minneapolis, which is Aveda central, it was a nice change.

Now bleached hair can be tricky to take care of, that’s why I also want to share my favorite products that help me keep my hair looking blonder and healthier longer.

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  1. Shimmer Lights Shampoo and Conditioner – use these once or twice a week to keep your hair from looking too yellow.
  2. Maple Holistics Grapeseed Oil – rich in vitamin E, it’s perfect for hair growth. I love deep conditioning my hair and massaging my scalp with it about once a week.
  3. Coconut Curls by OGX – even though my hair is pretty straight, I use this product on my ends to keep them from being too dry.
  4. Matrix Heat Buffer – a must have spray for every time I use a styling tool, like the GHD curve featured in last weeks Beauty Brunch Post, a blow dryer or a straightener.
  5. Matrix So Long Damage Iron Tamer – a cream type of heat protectant. I use this on damp hair more than anything. The heat buffer (#4) is perfect for dry hair.
  6. L’Oreal Extraordinary Oil – perfect for a finishing touch to make my hair smooth and shiny. See the full review on L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Hair line on my YouTube channel.
  7. Dessange Paris Color Restorative Top Coat Serum with UV filter – same idea as the oil above, but the UV protectant makes it my number one choice!

I hope you enjoyed my hair transformation and find my list of products helpful! Let me know if you’ve tried any of the above and what your opinion is! Have a product that works for you? Please share that as well in the comments below!

Luminess Air Airbrush Essentials

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Testing out and reviewing new beauty products is probably one of the main reasons why I love blogging so much. Today I wanted to share my review of the Airbrush Essentials from Luminess Air.

I started using Luminess Air products about a year or so ago, and quickly fell in love with the ease of application, ability to determine the coverage, and the long lasting effect of it.

This fall I’ve partnered up with Luminess Air again to bring you a series of reviews that I will be sharing over the course of the next few months.

I started with the Airbrush Essentials. A set of 3 products aimed to target different skin concerns. The set includes:

  1. Porcelain – helps create the smoothest, most flawless skin.
  2. Eraser – erases uneven skin texture and large pores.
  3. X-out – conceals dark circles under eyes.

All of these products are meant to be used pre-foundation. Porcelain is a primer, Eraser is a serum, and X-out is a concealer. So you are getting a variety of products in this set.

Now when it comes to using them, I definitely prefer Porcelain most days, with a little X-out thrown in as needed.

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Now if you’ve never used airbrush makeup, I would recommend starting out with as little as possible and gradually layer up. When applying multiple layers of product, like I have here, don’t over-do it. Less is more, and a little goes a long ways are the two rules that are definitely applied to airbrush cosmetics. My other tip, always use finishing powder. I’ve been trying out Luminess Translucent powder, however I am not impressed with the brush and how the dispenser is set up. So I would definitely not recommend that.

Overall Airbrush Essentials set impressed me with the performance, color (that was a concern, because I thought it wouldn’t match or layer with the foundation well) and ease of use. I do appreciate Airbrush Cosmetics for eliminating the need to touch my face, and its ability to conceal almost everything.

Have you tried Airbrush Cosmetics? What did you think?

Get a discount off your next Luminess Air order with code: Beingzhenya25

Back to School Hair Styles with Folica.com

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Happy New School Year to all the Gophers and everyone who started college classes today! Major FOMO over here, so major I can’t even, but the fact that I don’t have any more homework to do definitely helps 😉

Today I partnered up with Folica to share a few of my favorite college hairstyles and hair care tips.  There are two essential tools that I think ever girl needs in college: a straightener and a curling iron. I don’t know what I would’ve done without the two! Thanks to Folica I got to try two new styling tools: Solia Superhot Professional Titanium Flat Iron and 1″ Salon Curling Iron/Wand by Hot Tools.

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Other than wearing my hair down and the go-to bun, today I am going to share a few looks that have been a favorite for a while.

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1. Tucked away. And not behind the ear 😛

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2. Trucker hat. Because sometimes you have to put a hat on it!

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3. Side cornrows. These are also a golden opportunity for creating glitter roots! Stay tuned for more on that soon!  Back to school hair styles with Folica.com

4. High pony or half pony. The 90’s are back not only in fashion, but in beauty as well! My mom used to call this high pony a palm tree. So there you have it – a palm tree with you wherever you go, even though the summer is almost over!  Back to school hair styles with Folica.com

When it comes to hair care, I follow two simple rules: choose what’s best for your hair and switch between brands often. That’s why I went with Grow Gorgeous Density Shampoo and Conditioner as well as Grow Gorgeous Density Shampoo and Conditioner set. When you have fine, color treated hair like mine, these two product lines make the most sense.

I hope you find what’s good for your hair, style it like never before, and have an amazing school year!

PS. Folica is a great resource not just for purchasing tools and hair care products, but hair inspirations, glam guide and latest news from the beauty world!

PPS. I also have a fun announcement! Next Monday Rachel of Rachel’s Lookbook, Jewel of Style Optimist and yours truly are starting a hot new trendy link up for all you style, fashion and beauty bloggers out there! Stay tuned for more info! Psssst – there will be a giveaway too!

Beauty Favorites // May

Beauty Favorites May

It’s finally time to round up some of my May beauty favorites, and yes, I am fully aware it’s June 😉

1. NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Sandstorm ($6.99) provides soft light brown matte finish on your lips and lasts through a few cups of coffee.

2. NYX Lip Lingerie in Baby Doll ($6.99) a light and brighter creamier nude that once again provides a matte finish for your lips.

3. It Cosmetics Sunshine in a Compact Vitality Anti-Aging Matte Bronzer in Warmth ($34) a soft lighter bronzer that makes contouring a breeze and comes with anti-aging ingredients including hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, and vitamins A, C & E.

4. Matrix Oil Wonders Volume Rose pre-shampoo treatment for fine hair ($24) is an oil that you use before shampoo and conditioner and leave on for 3-5 minutes. It changed my hair washing routine and my hair for the best. In addition to volume, shine and light rose fragrance is a bonus perk.

5. Sigma 3DHD Kabuki brush ($24) designed for all areas of the face to apply liquid, cream and powder products, this brush has been perfect for blush this spring, and I can’t wait to use it with bronzer this summer!

6. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant ($55) is a rice-based enzyme powder that activates upon contact with water, releasing Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to smooth the skin and accelerate cell renewal. Perfect for every day use, I prefer to use it in the shower.

7. It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ ($38) a full coverage product that improves skin texture, brightness and increases skin hydration. I stopped using a day cream when I started using it. I am stepping up from the light to medium shade for the summer as well.

8. It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Transforming Moisturizing Super Cream ($48) works for all skin types, even the most sensitive (worked for me when I had my semi-annual finals stress rash breakout). This product deeply hydrates, restores radiance and reduces the look of pores, uneven texture and discoloration with collagen, hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides, antioxidants and colloidal oatmeal. It also smells amazing!

9. NYX Wonder Pencil ($4.49) A concealer, eye brightener and reverse lip liner all in one, it’s a must-have for everyone! I use medium shade for the summer.

10. It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eye Brow Pencil ($24) when it comes to eyebrows, I’ve done it all – gel, dye, eyeshadow, numerous pencils, but this has been my favorite out of all! This universal (yes, one color does fit all + covers gray!) and long-lasting eyebrow pencil has an oval shaped tip which makes it perfect for both thin and thick brows. The spooly end brush gives a natural polished look.

11. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Prague ($5.99) one of the few bright colors that I have been wearing after I switched to the nude side. Being a lipstick junkie is hard, but this raspberry color makes it easy and fun. And, of course, once again I am a fan of the matte finish.

12. NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator in Sunbeam ($7.49) perfect for face and body and for when I get tired of all the matte finishes.

13. It Cosmetics You Sculpted! ($40) foolproof contouring, hands down! So far I’ve been using soft contour, matte and radiance highlight the most, and it doesn’t take more than 2 minutes every day. Make up is really not that hard when you think about it.

14. Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Foaming Mask ($56) brightens, detoxifies and refreshes skin, because that’s exactly what I needed after stressful days and sleepless nights during the finals. It’s like an instant miniature face lift! On the side note, I still can’t believe I pulled 23 credits off.

15. It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush # 7 ($48) a foundation and concealer brush that I’ve been using with powder and only powder. I still think nothing is better for applying foundation than your own fingertips. The concealer brush is perfect for applying powder in the eye area, I specifically use it to blend out any eye shadow imperfections that I’ve created (because you know, I am almost 30 years old, I have yet to learn how to do a good crease blend 😉 )

16. Eco. Refresh Cleansing Lotion ($12) an odd one out of this whole review, random product I came across, which actually got the job done. Made in Australia specifically to care for sensitive, dehydrated or combination skin. This lotion contains Papaya, Vitamin E and Oat Extract to easily remove makeup while calming and nourishing the skin and repairing damaged tissue. For someone who constantly suffers from stress rash breakouts, this product was perfect.

17. Heavenly Luxe Angled Radiance Brush #10 ($38) a brush that I use with the You Sculpted! palette, works so well, because I, for once, followed directions 😉

18. Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two Day Extender ($20 for a full size, $10 for travel) That meme that’s going around telling everyone that by the end of the week my hair is 92% dry shampoo is true, and I can’t tell you how many times this product has saved me time this past month. Texture is an added bonus.

Well here you have it, my May favorites! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these, and what your thoughts are. Also, was this too long of a list? Not long enough? Do share! And finally here is a fun little Periscope video by yours truly! Enjoy!

Facing Acne

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Summer is my favorite season, hands down. But my skin breaks out the most during this season. All the time I spent sailing, or hanging outside at the beach can negatively impact my skin. Fortunately, I have a go-to product when it comes to dealing with breakouts – Proactiv.

I partnered up with FacingAcne.com to talk about this product with you today. The three step system helps take care of everything, from cleansing, to toning to moisturizing. They even have an SPF containing moisturizer for those of us concerned with sun damage. I have found out that Proactive works best for me when I use it once a day, or as a week-long treatment. My skin is sensitive, so using it for more than 7 days dries it out.

Having worked in a beauty industry, I’ve learned the importance of a 3-step program. A lot of people skip out on the toner, or substitute it with serum. And that’s not okay. I would recommend using the toner at least once a day before going to sleep, because that’s whats really going to help remove the dead skin cells and help the skin absorb moisturizer better. And that to me is the best anti-aging tip out there! (Coming from a girl who turns 29 next week!)

What are some of your favorite skin care products? How do you fight acne?

Disclosure: Facing Acne provided me with the product, all opinions are my own. FacingAcne.com does not sell any of the products mentioned above.

Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat Review

  
Cleaning makeup brushes is an important and necessary task, but if you are like me, it takes a while. The amount of brushes that I have, plus the amount of brushes that are tucked away, still in their packaging is seriously scary. It used to take me at least 20 minutes to wash the entire collection. Until I got the Sigma Brush Mat. 

Sigma, if you didn’t know, is a Minnesota based company, and a YouTube sensation. Their brushes are known for incredible quality and ease of use, and the constantly changing makeup collection keeps surprising the customers with new colors. Anything to help us be more creative and bold when it comes to our makeup. 

  
The brush mat has suction cups on the bottom, and attaches to your sink. The right side is for face brushes, while the left one is for eyes. There are seven different sections (textures) for cleaning, refining and rinsing the brushes. And it’s incredibly time saving. I was done washing all my brushes in under 10 minutes. My life has never been easier! 

  
The Spa Brush Mat is $32 and is available on Sigmabeauty.com or at their Mall of America location. 

  

One last thing, don’t clean your beauty blender using the mat, it will be destroyed! 

Beauty Brunch: Collagen Factor

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Having been obsessed with serums and anti-aging products for the past year or so, I started researching collagen and it’s benefits. 

Collagen is a type of fibrous protein arranged in a triple helix pattern and found extensively throughout the bodies of people and animals. It supports skin, internal organs, muscles, bone, joints, and cartilage. There are at least 16 types of collagen that occur naturally in the body, with the most abundant form in the human body being known as type 1 collagen. Collagen works in tandem with elastin to give skin its texture, structure, ability to stretch, and appearance. Sun damage (extrinsic aging) and chronologic aging (intrinsic aging) causes collagen in the skin to deteriorate (Sources Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, December 2013, ePublication; PLoS One, August 2013, eCollection; and Molecular Cell Biology, 4th Edition, W.H. Freeman, 2000) – Paulaschoice.com

Meehan Formulations has a small, but effective collagen line, called Collagen Factor, which helps restore skins elasticity, and slow down anti-aging process caused by sun, environment, and chemicals.

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I was lucky to try Collagen Serum and Finishing Moisturizer. And here is what I thought.

Collagen serum 

A lightweight serum formulated to stimulate the growth of collagen and greatly reduce the signs of aging that occurs from diminished elasticity. The tinted version contains pine bark and vitamin C which add a little sun kissed glow to your skin!

The product came in 1 oz amber glass bottle with a dropper. Are you thinking what I am thinking? How very vintage! I love using the dropper. It makes me feel like I work in an apothecary. The serum itself goes on smoothly, but leaves my skin feeling wet, so I let it dry for about a minute before applying the moisturizer. The product doesn’t really have any smell, and that’s definitely a plus. I normally use about 5-10 drops, and measure them off separately for the different parts of my face, mainly forehead and cheeks. Having spent the majority of my summer outdoors, this is the product I want to keep around for as long as I can to prevent/slow down sun damage.

CollagenFactor

Finishing Moisturizer

A light moisturizer, inclusive of the serum, designed to stimulate the growth of collagen and greatly reduce the signs of aging that occurs from diminished elasticity.  Moisturizer base is a non allergenic foundation moisturizer that supports all skin types, including sensitive skin. 

The moisturizer has a pinkish tint to it. I am so used to white colored products, that I was a little surprised by that. As you can see in the picture, the moisturizer comes out from the pump and holds it shape. If it can do it to my skin in the long run, I am in 110%! Once again the product has no obvious smell. It goes on very smoothly, absorbs quickly, but leaves my skin feeling a little sticky, until I apply my regular foundation, or simply touch up with a finishing powder.

What’s with all the anti-aging products, Zhenya?

You may be wondering, why I have been so obsessed with anti-aging products. There are two reasons. No woman wants to look older than she really is. If I can slow down the appearance of wrinkles without Botox, using only the skincare products, I will take full advantage of that. I am going back to college to get another bachelor’s degree, and want to put my best face forward.

Have a great Sunday! How do you take care of your skin?

Disclosure: These products have been provided by Meehan Formulations. All opinions are my own. 

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