Guides and How To’s

Dry Skin Makeup Tips for a Flawless Face

Photo Credit: You Beauty


Between combating plunging temperatures outside, and battling artificial heating inside, even the oilyest of skin can start to dry out..and dry skin only spells disaster for a full face of foundation.
Base makeup of any sort clings to the tiniest of flakes and quickly starts looking cakey and gross. Plus, unlike a pimple or dark spot, you can’t conceal dry patches or rough texture; you have to actually fix the problem to get rid of it.

As someone with chronically dry (not to mention sensitive) skin, I’ve tried all sorts of things to keep my makeup looking smooth and flawless, without having to cake it on or having it separate a few hours later. Here are my tips for a flawless face when your face starts flaking off:

Start with the Skin

Photo Credit: Geekyposh-That rabbit knows what’s up 😂


-exfoliate regularly and before big events to provide a smooth, flake-free canvas (be sure to hit areas like your hairline, jawline, the corners of your mouth, and the sides of your nose-all easily missed spots for flakes). 

My recommendations: Cure Natural Aqua Gel (chemical), Ettang Peeling and Soothing Mask (chemical-kill two birds with one stone and get deep moisture after peeling!), Skinfood Black Sugar Wash-off Mask (physical)

-moisturize regularly and before big events to plump, hydrate, and nourish skin. Sleeping packs, wash-off hydrating masks, and sheet masks are all super helpful, especially if used right before makeup application.

My recommendations: CosRX Brightening Rice Overnight Spa Mask, Ladykin Affinitic Lifting Cream, Goodall Barrier Cream, Etude House Moistful Collagen Cream

Prime Time

-Emollient primers help smooth down rough patches and flakes 

My recommendations: NYX Pore Filler, Benefit Porefessional

-If you find that your makeup tends to separate, make sure your primer and base makeup are either both oil-based or both water-based. Much like salad dressing, oil and water don’t mix. Oil breaks down makeup (exhibit A why oil cleansers are so effective) so choose and match your formulations carefully. You may find it best to skip a primer all together!

Laying the Foundation

Photo Credit: A Piece of Toast


-Sheer foundations, serum-style foundations, and “dewy” finish foundations will be more hydrating than medium-full coverage foundations and matte finishes, which can be more drying.

My recommendations: Bare Minerals Serum Foundation, 3W Clinic BB cream, Urban Decay Naked Foundation

-A damp beauty blender will pick up excess product so you use as little product as possible to get the job done. Less product means less flake-clinging-grossness. 

*By using a beauty blender to dab on foundation and not buffing product in with a brush, you prevent micro exfoliation which can lift up dead skin flakes and further irritate skin.

*Damp beauty blenders also emulate a popular skincare practice in Korea where the hands are used to pat in water left from the shower into the facial skin instead of wiping the face with a towel. A damp beauty blender is dabbing water into the skin, hydrating it much the same way.
-Patting on product in several different directions in the same area helps to keep the product from settling into fine lines and clinging to dry spots. In the eye area and smile line area, it will help prevent creasing.

-Reach for creamy, buttery formulations of things like blushes and highlighters over powders. They tend to smooth over dryness instead of sticking to and highlighting it. 

These are the main things that have really helped me achieve a more flawless face even in the middle of wintertime. Proper skin maintainence to prevent this problem in the first place is of course the best thing you can do to ensure consistently good makeup, but sometimes our skin needs a helping hand to look the best it can 🙂

Perfect Skin Chok Chok Makeup Tutorial

Photo Credit: asianclub

Ever wonder how those Kpop stars have such perfectly glowing skin? 

In Korea, there is a word to describe anything that is literally moist: chok chok. This elusive, natural dewiness is the ultimate achievement in terms of Korean skincare. However, not to be confused with oiliness which is excess sebum on the face, chok chok is a glowy freshness of the skin that makes it look, well, moist, and also lit from within.

While the “10 step” Korean skincare routine’s contribution to any run-of-the-mill Kstar’s enviable skin state is old news by now, there are still a few tricks hidden up the Kbeauty sleeve for achieving that perfectly dewy, glowing, chok chok skin.

It’s going to start with the obvious: moisture.

Even though “true” chok chok skin requires time, patience, and diligence, it can be faked to an extent in a matter of minutes. By focusing on the “apple zone” of the face (an invisible triangle shape formed along the cheekbones to meet at a point on the jaw), it becomes easier to cheat having fresh, dewy skin. 

Photo Credit: Pinterest/CosRX


To begin, apply a deep moisturizing cream or serum all over the face. Seal in the moisture by applying a half sheet mask, or cotton pads soaked in a brightening toner/serum to the apple zone (I personally find first treatment essences to be best with their high concentrations of brightening yeast ferment).There are also specific patches available for purchase that brighten this zone, but the effects are relatively easy to recreate at home.

Photo Credit: Byrdie


While the mask/cotton pads are working their magic, move on to the eye area. This tutorial is about the skin, but if you decide to go the Korean route, eye makeup is generally light-colored, natural, and subtle, with little if any mascara and deep brown/black tighlined eyeliner. Eyebrows are thick, full, and straight, but filled in with a light-hand. 

At this point, the mask sheet/cotton pads can be removed (you can keep it on for longer if you’d like, but once the edges of your mask/pads start to dry, it’s time to remove them or they will begin to sap the moisture back out!). Gently pat in any remaining product with your hands. Your skin should be noticeably softer, smoother, and moist. 

Photo Credit: Blogarama


To even out skin tone and hide any red areas/blemishes, mix a 1:1 ratio of Bb or Cc cream with a facial oil, serum, lotion, or cream. This makes the coverage light and natural, and ensures your skin won’t dry out during the day. 

*Beauty Note: be aware of your bases here. If your Bb cream is oil based, and your facial lotion is water based, the resulting concoction will have a high chance of separating on your face. Make sure your keeping water-based formulas with other water-based formulas, and oil with oil-based ones. 

For the most natural effect, apply your base by dabbing it on with clean fingers or with a damp makeup blender/sponge. Build up more thin layers in the areas that need additional help.

Got some pesky spots that still need more coverage? Pin point concealing works best with chok chok style skin. To do this nearly undetectable concealing technique, simply take a full coverage concealer on a pinpoint eyeliner brush, and directly cover the area (presumably zit). Then take a clean finger/blender, and dab to blend the edges out.
Chok chok skin not only looks fully hydrated, but bright and glowy as well. Accentuate this with a liquid or cream highlighter along your cheekbones, Cupid’s bow, nose bridge, and the centers of your forehead and chin. Basically, anywhere natural sunlight would hit your face. Concentrate your efforts on the cheekbones/apple zone. 

Photo Credit: Fashionlady.in


Don’t forget to apply a subtle pink blush along your cheeks for a natural healthy glow. It should blend seemlessly into the skin; the more natural, the better!

With this look, there is no need for lots of powder. Powder will only kill that beautiful dewy sheen you’ve just worked so hard to achieve! If you do use it, do so sparingly and lightly, and only to set areas like the undereye that tend to crease regardless of a product’s moisture content.

*Bonus Tip: to further set off your now luminous and glossy skin, add a pop of bright color to your lips. In Korea, the gradient lip is all the rage for doing this!

Photo Credit: SeoulStine


This look is quick and simple, highlighting radiant moist skin instead of forcing skin into perfectly matte, powdery submission.

All to often, makeup is used to masterfully hide flaws instead of masterfully accentuate the good. This look is not only easy to accomplish, but easy to wear!

Keep calm and chok chok on!

Get Your Smoothest Lips Ever in Time for Fall

0SJLZHNF2N.jpgToday it finally feels like fall (sort of), and I honestly couldn’t be happier. Fall means s’mores and cocoa by the fireside, that sweet, smokey smell of chimneys burning, hot apple cider to sip on while leaves change their color, not to mention the cozy clothes and chunky knits. And we can’t forget the pumpkin spice latte, am I right?

The cooler weather doesn’t just mean better beverages and snuggly sweaters though; the refreshing chill in the air brings with it the joys of chapped lips. If you’re anything like me, the chapping factor  is maybe a teensy, tiny bit exacerbated by constant sipping on all the yummy, hot drinks.

I figured that while everyone is feeling a little uplifted with the change in weather (or from a higher caffeine intake stemming from an aforementioned Starbucks beverage), why not share some simple lip DIY’s that will ensure your lips stay smooth as silk while you enjoy all things pumpkin and cinnamon-y.

DIY Lip Scrub

Exfoliation followed by moisture is the easiest way to your smoothest ever lips this fall and winter season. Scrubs for the lips are made up of two essential parts: something to scrub and something to nourish.

Sugar makes the best exfoliating agent; what kind of sugar you use is up to you. I personally like brown sugar. As for a nourishing agent, oils are frequently on hand. Castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil, Vaseline/petroleum oil, and the like are all good choices. You can also use honey or even some spare flavored lip balm for tastier scrub. How much of anything you use will be up to if you want to make it fresh or store it for multiple uses. You can control the graininess by adjusting how much liquid you use in relation to the scrubbing agent. Add more liquid to make it less harsh.

Once you have your scrub base whipped up, you can customize it to your liking with essential oils like peppermint. You can also add in things like coffee grounds, cocoa powder, matcha, etc to add more flavor and smell to your “lip scrub experience.”

Some of my personal favorites:

-brown sugar and honey

-mocha (white sugar, petroleum/castor oil/non-flavored oil, and a mixture of coffee grounds and cocoa powder)

-coffee scrub (brown sugar, coffee grounds, coconut oil-great for body too!)

-brightening lemon (sugar and coconut oil, finely grated lemon zest)

Frankly, there aren’t too many limits when making scrubs. All of these can be used on the body as well. Once you’ve finished exfoliating, finish off with a moisturizing lip balm (or body lotion) of choice, making sure to really massage it in. Your lips and skin should feel baby soft and glowy, ready to take on the world, winter dullness be damned!

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Need more? Elizabeth from Everything and Nothin’ did a post a little while back on preventing chapped lips that not only features another great scrub recipe, but also tips on preventing and getting rid of chapped lips as well. If you struggle with this, you should definitely check it out! Its very helpful and informative 😊

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Now, go on and enjoy some quality time with the falling leaves, a pumpkin spice latte in hand.

What are you looking forward to this season?🍁🍂🎃

 

 

 

 

Getting Ready for School with the Pros

Hi there everyone! This week’s beauties on fire collaboration is a back to school theme. 

School is back in session for many, and getting up early to catch class is never fun. I actually wrote about? divulged? pretty much all my tips and favorite products to make those difficult mornings a little less stressful in my Back to School Beauty Guide if you’d like to check it out (#shameless self promo 😜).

However, to be honest, I’m a total morning person and don’t have too many qualms about waking up an extra half hour early to slap on a sheet mask or make sure my hair is done. Like, a morning person to the point I’ll wake up early on weekends just to sip on coffee outside or whatever and get a head start to my day. Eeeewww, I know. At least it’s coffee and not a green smoothie, right? Right?!

Anyway, back in my Ye Olde College Days (I graduated like 3 months ago lol), I loved to watch and copy looks from YouTube videos to get ready for the day, namely PONY Effect and Lisa Eldridge  makeup tutorials. Most of the time, it never took much longer than the videos themselves, and was an entertaining way to start the day-almost like getting ready with one of your friends…well, in a weird, impersonal, virtual sort of way.

If you aren’t as ridiculously as much of a morning person as me, instead of pausing every so often to replicate the steps as you get ready in the morning, you can always watch them the night before and screen shot the look-whatever works for you.

Anyway, enough with this long intro. Here are some of my all-time favorite get ready with a famous makeup artist (GRWAFMUA?) videos whose looks I still replicate to this day.

PONY TUTORIALS:

LISA ELDRIDGE TUTORIALS:

NIKKITUOTRIALS:

I personally love every single one of these tutorials because all the looks are fairly easy to recreate, look good on pretty much everyone, don’t require anything too crazy, and-most importantly-are wonderful for the classroom or office.

What do you guys think of these tutorials? Does anyone else love watching YouTube videos while they get ready? 

Be sure to check out the other posts for this week by clicking on the picture below:

A Non-Perfect Brow Guide for People with Non-Perfect Brows

 As I seemingly am always pressed for time getting ready (thank you Korean skin routine) and am not really a fan of spending 15 minutes doing my brows alone like so many of the tutorials and YouTube videos out there, I thought I would write about how a “brow-lazy” girl does her brows (in two minutes, tops, no joke).

This post was originally inspired by a comment on an article on the Into the Gloss website. It was something along the lines of “yet another girl with good eyebrows to begin with doing a brow guide-what about the non brow blessed people?!” Good-to-begin-with brows or not, I still think it’s a great starting point for those learning how to fill in their eyebrows

But this comment did get me thinking. Blonde brow’d people have so few products that match their color (always seem too brown) AND that are also easy to find (when I went brow makeup shopping, ULTA had two Anastasia taupe brow kits and no blonde ones, but about 10-15 of brown and black shades kits!). They also deal with young children questioning their brows’ existence all the time-we certainly aren’t the most disadvantaged brow population out there, but we definitely don’t come to mind whenever “bold brows” is tossed around! So, here is a Non-Perfect Brow Guide, made by a Non-Perfect Brow Person.

These are the products I use and how I use them to do my brows on a daily basis:

I use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Kit in Taupe and like Maybelline’s Brow Drama Mascrara. Super simple, super easy

Prep work: About once a week, I’ll go in with a pair of tweezers and focus my efforts in the Unibrow Danger Zone. I’ll also take a minute to clean up the space under my brow, removing any weird baby hair or strange strands that don’t belong. If anything is getting overgrown, I use a pair of manicure siccors to trim it down. Regularly keeping the brows groomed helps keep makeup time down- much like clearer skin means less time spent on base makeup 🙂 This is generally the area of eyebrows that leads to Non-Perfect Eyebrows via Brow Horror Stories. Try to prevent that.


1) Since I like to use powder over pencil, I run a clear brow gel through my brows to give the powder something to stick to and to brush my brows into a fuller, more well-kept state.

2) I then take a spoolie and brush my brows downward, and use brow powder to sketch out the arch, making a light line. I then use the spoolie to brush the hairs back up over the line.


3) I take the same shade of brow powder and use light, feathery strokes to add definition and color to my brows. I use the spoolie to blend out the powder and distribute it evenly throughout the hairs.

Tip: Go easy on the color on the inner parts of your brow, and avoid extending the brow longer than the outer edge of your eye-this can make the eye area look droopy!

4) Repeat powder and blend step as necessary. Generally once will suffice. Make sure there aren’t any weird gaps in the application.

5) To add a final layer of definition and to keep brows in place all day, I finish off with a tinted brow mascara. I lightly run this through my brows in 1-2 quick strokes. Run the spoolie through brows a final time to disperse any clumps or concentrations of color.

Bonus Step: to get my brows to “pop,” I’ll add a little highlighter both on my brow bone and slightly above the arch of my brow during that step of my makeup.

I personally feel that blonde brows are more forgiving than darker brows in terms of maintainence, but a lot harder to actually define and use makeup on. In a way it’s nice (forgot to pluck? Not really a problem!), but also it makes many looks harder to pull off without that bold brow to frame everything. For me, a hint of color and combing things into place is enough for daily wear.

What is your current brow routine?  Do you have any Brow Horror Stories of bleaching or overplucking? 😜

Back to School Beauty Guide: Must-Have Products for a Flawless Look

School has just begun, and getting back into the swing of things can be tough. The days are growing shorter instead of longer, and our schedules start filling up more and more as we try to balance school, work, life, and the upcoming holiday season. The increase in stress means we all need a little more shut eye to look and feel our best, but having to get up early to get ready can interfere with the best laid plans for a full 8 hours snooze session.


I’ve put together this mini-guide to offer some tips, tricks, and products that will allow you to hit snooze as many times as you need, and still look amazing, whether you have 5 minutes or 30.

Flawless Skin:

For mornings when time is of the essence (or just very late nights when you can’t be bothered), combine your entire skin routine into one step using these handy 7 Second Morning Sheets by Skin Factory. Many people I know swear by these sheets, most of them claiming it is just as effective (if not better) than their actual routine.

Keep your nose clean and clear with blackhead removing sheets. There are numerous reputable brands that offer everything from simple peel off strips ranging from 1-3 steps to more elaborate extraction kits. Use them 2-3 times a week for best results.
There are also peel-off mask options that may be better depending on your time and tastes. Elizavecca’s Hell-Pore Clean Up Mask is one of my personal favorites.
A fresh face starts with a clean face; nothing feels more invigorating than a good morning cleansing session. CosRX makes a very appropriately named low pH Good Morning Cleanser that is perfect for getting your day off to a glowy start. If you tend to struggle with acne, try this salicylic cleanser by CosRX or Skinfood’s Tea Tree cleanser to keep spots at bay.

Make sure to put hydrocolloid bandages on your shopping list to make pimples literally disappear overnight. There are many different options at many different prices. There are these by Nexcare, and, of course, a CosRX version.

Investing in and regularly using a sleeping pack or two will help keep your skin healthy and hydrated while you sleep-not to mention, give you a literal I-woke-up-like-this glow when you wake up. When you are pressed for time and/or can’t bring yourself to apply an army of skincare products, having one or two trusty sleeping packs will ensure your skin doesn’t get too neglected. There are many options, but here are my top three picks:

  1. CosRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask (light enough for daily use, but doesn’t slack on moisture in the slightest)
  2. Dear By Enprani Bounce Cheese Cream (not an actual sleeping pack, but it is thick and moisturizing enough to be used as one)
  3. Scinic Snail Matrix Cream (again, not a real sleeping pack, but a perfect alternative to one for those with oily skin as I know many of my readers struggle with this)

(And just because this is so perfect for fall and this post, a bonus one: Too Cool for School’s Pumpkin Sleeping Pack)

And don’t forget to relax with some sheet masks! Try the Its Real Line by Innisfree for natural moisture, or any of the coconut+fruit-infused line by Leader’s. My personal favorite is the mask with coconut and orange. If skin is looking dull, brighten it up with SNP’s diamond and pearl masks. For acne-fighting power, try Leader’s Pore Scaling Black Aqua Mask or some wash off options like Scinic’s All Day Fine Pore Mask.

Fake it Till You Make It: Make up

Cushion compacts provide natural, flawless coverage in no time at all. They combine the coverage of a makeup sponge with convenience of a portable powder compact. It’s amazingly quick to apply, and you can even make your own! Tuck one in your bag for quick touch-ups on the go.

For mornings when you are especially pressed for time, it’s good to have a few lipsticks that can multitask as not just lip color, but blush and even shadow as well. After swiping some color on your lips, using clean fingers, pick up some color off the tip and apply to the cheek, and then some on the eyelid for quick pops of color and awake-ness. Hot poured tinted glosses make blending even easier.

If you have more than 3 seconds to spare, investing in a eyeshadow quad or a small palette with natural, simple  colors makes pulling off “I woke up like this” a breeze.

Have absolute zero time? There are options of cute palettes that include concealer, BB cream, and a colored tint, all in one convenient package. If you continually find yourself running late enough to need to apply makeup in the bus, car, or bathroom, a product like this will be a saving grace. But even with snooze-button-hitting habits aside, this is great for on-the-go touch-ups as well. Try this super-cute one by Dinoplatz.

Create a Pimple Survival Kit. Carrying around a small bottle of eye redness remover drops, some Q-tips, and a waxy concealer like the dark circle concealer from Skinfood (it works on pimples just as well as circles!) will help neutralize any sudden spots that may crop up as you walk across campus (or from the break room back to the office). Keeping an ice pack or spoon in the freezer at home is wonderful for not only taking down the swelling of large zits, but can also be used to depuff eyebags and cheeks.

A brightening concealer can help fake a killer inner-glow. Try the Naked Skin Weightless Concealer from Urban Decay. It works as a highlighter in a pinch and can help you fake awake when applied around the eyes.

Healthy Hair is Good Hair

Keeping your hair as healthy as possible is the best way to live bad hair-day free. Finding ways to avoid heat styling such as overnight styling methods like rag curls, pin curls, braids, etc keep damage at bay. To find out more about these methods, please see this post for my rag curling and braid tutorials, and this post for my pin curl tutorial.

Sleeping on a satin pillow case helps keep static at bay (not to mention keeping your skin looking younger) as does running a dryer sheet over your mane.

Regular conditioning treatments are crucial to maintaining healthy, manageable hair. L’ador makes many fantastic products that will honestly make everyday a good hair day. For regular conditioning, try their Tea Tree Scalp Clinic Hair Pack for silky soft strands. For more luxurious once or twice a week conditioning treatments, try their 10 minute Hydro LPP Double-Collagen Treatment or their Perfect Hair Fill-Up Ampoule (see my review on it here). This brand also makes a shampoo as well that helps protect color treated hair. It is very gentle and great for thin-haired gals too. Looking for a sulfate-free shampoo formulation means less damage for your hair (the less suds, the better).

For severely damaged hair, there is the famous and pricey Olaplex-a hair treatment designed by scientists that actually repairs the broken bonds of damaged hair. While I had this treatment done in a salon, post-bleach/balayage job, it is available for home use both to mix with color/bleach and also as a post color/bleach treatment. In my experience, the results were mind-blowingly smooth and it honestly felt like my hair had not gone through any processing at all. It actually felt healthier than it ever had in my life! If you want visual proof, Guy Tang uses it in almost all of his Youtube videos and you can see how (and how well) it works from those. Here is a link to his channel if you would like to watch and see for yourself.

With these tips under your belt, you’ll be able to get the sleep you need while literally “waking up like this” every morning, with minimal effort.

Disclaimer: These links are simply here for your convenience. At the time of writing this post, I am not affiliated with any of these links.

The Pikachu Hair Cure

This week’s Beauties on Fire voted theme was Pokemon! Don’t forget to vote on next week’s poll via Twitter 🙂

Does your hair look like you’ve recently hugged a Pikachu (or just stuck a fork into an electrical socket)? Read on to learn how to combat frizz even on the worst of hair days!

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Know Your Opponent

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Frizz is caused by a lack of moisture (aka dry hair). The cuticle opens up as hair dries out to let the moisture from the outside air in. So overly dry or humid air can trigger this reaction. If your hair is chemically processed, very fine/curly, or is subjected to frequent hot tool styling, then your hair is going to be drier and more naturally frizz prone.

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Train for Battle

Making sure your hair is properly hydrated (just like your body or skin), is going to be the most effective plan of attack.

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Here are the essential  weapons you’re going to need in your toolbox for frizz-free hair, all day, everyday:
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Sulfate-free shampoo helps to not strip hair of moisture

image-Regular deep conditioning treatments ensure your strands are getting the hydration and care they need. Applying it to the bottom 2/3 of your hair and letting it sit 5-10 minutes will not only intensely smooth and soften your hair, but, since it’s not applied at the roots, it won’t weigh your hair down in the process.

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-Ditch any hair product containing alcohol as alcohol dehydrated hair and can leave it brittle.

image-Carrying around dry oil or lightweight styling wax/cream can help you navigate the day with perfect hair. When you notice it beginning to frizz up, just smooth hair back down with a little moisture (even hand cream can be used in a pinch).

Learn Some New Moves

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-Wait to blow dry until your hair is 80-90% dry. The direct heat dries out hair…which leads to you know what!

image-Just like you would your face, don’t rub hair with a towel. Gently wrong out excess water, then wrap up in a towel to let it absorb the rest.

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-When hair is damp, apply a leave-in conditioner (or even a lightweight hand cream or lotion!) to the ends of your hair as that area tends to be the driest and most frizz prone.

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-Start experimenting with heat-free styling methods. There are so many ways to get beautiful curls or smooth strands without the blow drier or iron of choice!

image-If your hair is wavy/curly, or just very fine or brittle, finger comb out of the shower, and avoid brushing hair while very wet. For wavy-curly hair, brushing while dry can create a frizzy mess. Make sure you finish brushing hair when 80-90% dry; finger comb instead as it is much gentler than just tearing a brush through your hair!

Gotta Catch ‘Em All…flyaways that is!

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-Try using a dry oil (like Argan oil) or alcohol-free hair wax warmed up between your palms to help smooth hair and unwanted fly-always after blow drying.

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-An old toothbrush sprayed with hairspray is a super easy to smooth rouge baby hair and frizz away.

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And remember, any bad hair day can be disguised under a hat!

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Now you can relax and enjoy life-frizz free!

Click on the image above to be taken to the main page for all the other posts!
*All Pokemon Images/GIF from Giphy!