Monday, December 21, 2020

WRAP IT UP

In December of 2019, a year that we hilariously wished would end so that we could make our "my vision is 2020!" sentiments come to life, I posted a photo with the following caption:

This time of year is always the best for reflecting. It can be so hard to do so without comparing or    dwelling! I realized that I haven't really felt like myself for a while. And I haven't been even scratching the surface of what I'm capable of. But I finally feel like I'm moving toward where I'd like to be. It's been a really weird few years, and I'm very much looking forward to 2020. I can't wait to share another year of beauty with you all!

All I can say is L O L...I guess I can recycle that caption?

I could say so much about this year. In fact, I've been trying to find the right words for my yearly wrap up for over a month now. I've written several different versions of this, all of which came off as way too whiny. Who wants to hear that? Things are tough enough! I'll save my whining for my journal (and my husband, poor guy). 

What I really want to say is THANK YOU. The percentage of small businesses that have closed their doors forever due to Covid is staggering, and without my amazing, loyal clients, mine would be one of them. I'm doing everything in my power to prevent that from happening, I promise! I might be barely hanging on, but my grip is firm and I am confident that I will be writing another year in review next December. I love you guys so much, and I truly am only living my dream because you have helped get me here. I can't believe that I get to do this for a living! Full time! I was really scared after my nanny job ended, because it meant that stability ended too. But the capability is endless. I can focus on giving you the best experience possible when you come to CDB. I cannot wait to create some amazing things in 2021. Whether you came in for one brow appointment this year or you get a treatment once a month, I'm grateful for your support of my business and I would not be here without you. 

I know that things won't magically be better when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, but I'm setting positive intentions for 2021 regardless and I hope that you'll join me. If the magic doesn't come, I guess we'll just have to create it!

love & lipstick (& new beginnings),
Cherrie



Sunday, November 22, 2020

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Personally, I'm offended that the holidays are here already. This year has felt like a month and a million all at the same time. But trees are up, Mariah Carey is inching toward the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and best of all, prices are slashing! I've put together a few great gift ideas for those of you who are feeling overwhelmed by the idea of hitting the mall-especially during a global pandemic. Let's go!

1. Gift certificate to Cherrie Darling Beauty! Okay, yes, I was obviously going to start with this one. This is the perfect gift for several reasons. First, you can make it out for any amount. Need to give a casual acquaintance something small? Box of chocolates and $10 gift certificate to yours truly...easy peasy! Second, you can choose to purchase a gift certificate for any service. If your wife has been hinting that she'd like to relax before she goes crazy because she recently became a distance learning teacher, you can gift her with a Deluxe Facial and take the guesswork out of it. Trust me, she'll be happy. Third, you can buy a gift certificate for people who don't even live local! You can send one to your cousin in California and they can schedule a Digital Consultation or purchase products that will be delivered to their doorstep. You can't go wrong! Plus, if you buy gift certificates during my Black Friday sale (Black Friday-December 1), you get 10% off! 

2. Image Skincare Hydrating Essentials Skincare Set. I've been using Image Skincare for 5 years now and there's a reason it's one of the best selling professional skincare brands-it works! I use a ton of Image products in my treatments and my clients are die-hard fans of several of their bestsellers. Image is offering several cute holiday sets, but this particular kit includes the Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser, Vital C Hydrating Anti Aging Serum, and Prevention + Daily Ultimate Protection SPF Moisturizer. It's an amazing starter kit that covers almost everything you need for a full regimen (throw a night cream in there and you're golden!). Separately, this kit would total $148, but bundled together, you get it for $126! Plus, if you order during my Black Friday sale, shipping is FREE! 

3. Customized product gift sets. I can work with any budget to help you design a gift for someone in your life. I use several different lines in my treatment room and can honestly create anything from a sample bag filled with lots of goodies to test or a full blown regimen. There are certain things that ALL people need in their routine, such as lip balm, SPF, moisturizer, and cleanser. I can help you choose what will work best for your recipient and make sure it doesn't break the bank. No matter how much you have to spend, I can make it happen.

4. If you're local, you should definitely check out everything The Willows has to offer. I joined the team at The Willows a few months ago, and while a fire in our building set us back a little, we're still kickin' in our temporary space and have plenty of options to take care of all your wellness needs. Lori does massage, reiki, cupping, and other types of wellness treatments. Let's face it, we've all had a stressful year. What would be better than getting a massage and then popping into my treatment room for a facial? Nothing I can think of! After grabbing a gift certificate for CDB, grab one to see Lori for one of her amazing sessions! While you're at The Willows, you have to check out Deb's shop, Under the Crystal Moon. There are sooooo many pretty, shiny things! Really cool, unique gifts. I don't know much about crystals, if I'm being honest, but Deb is a wealth of information and guided me toward the perfect choices for me to keep on my bedside table. I'm willing to do ANYTHING to suck the negativity out of 2020 and put some happy vibes into it instead. At The Willows, you can find something for everyone, and best of all, for any budget! 

5. Stocking stuffer ideas. You can't go wrong with any of these. They work for any skin type or condition! Image Skincare's Ormedic Lip Enhancement Complex (my number one bestseller, $22), a hydrating or anti-aging sheet mask ($7), Four Star Favorites sample kit ($22), or Skin Script's Cucumber Hydration Toner ($12.50). Pop one of these into a stocking with some chocolates and you're good to go!

There are so many amazing businesses that need your support right now. Restaurants seem to be getting the most attention (and it's certainly well deserved), but don't forget about your small bookstores, family owned hardware stores, consignment shops, boutiques, etc. I know that it might cost a few less dollars to go to Target and that Amazon can get your stuff delivered in less than two days, but Target and Amazon are going to be just fine. Our small businesses will not. So yes, my gift guide is filled with stuff that will support my business, but there are many out there that could also use your support. I highly recommend making your next shopping trip closer to home and opening your eyes to some of your local spots that you might have never noticed before! Some really awesome spots in my neighborhood of downtown Bethel? Relay Bookhouse, Disc & Dat, Occasions, Byrd's Books, Britt's Nail Bar, Putnam House, J. Lawrence, and Portofino. There are so many more! Visit an old favorite or try something new. Either way, shop local!

If you have any questions about gift certificates, treatments, products, or anything at all, just send me a message. I'm happy to help!

Happy Shopping!

Cherrie

cherriedarlingbeauty.glossgenius.com

instagram.com/cherriedarlingbeauty

facebook.com/cherriedarlingbeauty


Friday, November 6, 2020

QUENCH YOUR THIRST(Y SKIN)

What are your favorite signs that fall is officially in swing? Pumpkins, crisp leaves, apple cider donuts? So many wonderful things come along with the season, but you know what isn't on the list? Dry, flaky skin. Has anyone else been waking up with the driest mouth and lips now that the cold has creeped in? I know I have. It's definitely time for me to bust out my humidifier (and time for you to do the same). Aside from that, and of course drinking plenty of water, there are some key products and treatments that I'm going to be focusing on throughout these colder, drier months. Here are some of my favorites!


Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($32): This creamy, hydrating cleanser gently removes makeup and impurities, quenching skin with essential vitamins and antioxidants. It infuses the skin with Vitamins A, C, and E to boost radiance as it cleanses. It's a treatment room go-to! When I use this on my clients, they always comment on how amazing it smells. 

Image Skincare Ageless Pure Hyaluronic Filler Serum ($70): This concentrated topical filler contains six forms of lower and higher molecular weight hyaluronic acids to rapidly smooth away the appearance of wrinkles. Delivers an immediate, noticeable boost of hydration. Most serums tend to be on the thinner side, but this baby is thick. I use it in lots of my treatments and it's also a bestseller with my clients.

Image Skincare Hydrating Repair Creme ($72): This luxurious creme quenches and soothes the skin. Essential Vitamins A & C provide ultra nourishment while revitalizing texture and supporting elasticity and firmness. A blend of hyaluronic acid and ceramids help to lock in moisture and soothe sensitivity. Another best seller! 

Hale & Hush Soothe Essence Serum ($39.95):
This serum is a one stop shop for everything your skin needs to return to a stronger state, from moisturization, irritation control, and redness reduction to protection against oxidative stress and supporting skin's barrier function. I use this pretty much every night and now that facials are back, I'm using it in most treatments as well. I can't think of anyone who couldn't benefit from this product.

Hale & Hush Hush Hydrate Gel ($36): Hush Hydrate is a delicate and moisturizing formula chock full of botanical extracts, antioxidants, and skilled inflammation fighters. It soothes and cools the skin immediately on contact AND it doubles as a mask or a lightweight moisturizer. Ever since discovering Hale & Hush back in March, I've been obsessed. I now use this product after every facial waxing service because of how well it soothes the skin, and also use it as a mask in so many of my facials. I know a lot of people with oily skin who hate the thought of using moisturizer because they feel like it will make their skin oilier (it won't), but this product is extremely light (but mighty!)

Hale & Hush Saffron Meristem Cream ($49.95): This is a luxurious comfort cream loaded with numerous key ingredients to care for dry, sensitive skin. It contains shea butter and special complexes to moisturize, calm redness and irritation, nourish and repair the skin's barrier (which in turn protects against daily environmental toxins). Saffron is one of the world's most expensive spices, and the Saffron Meristem Cream provides antioxidant, anti-aging, and brightening benefits. I don't reach for this very often in the summer time, as it's slightly heavier than some of the other night creams I use, but it is PERFECT for this time of year. 

Skin Script Cucumber Hydration Toner ($20): Rehydrates the skin while improving cellular functions and absorption of ingredients (try spritzing before you apply your products-they'll absorb better!). Soothes and cools irritated skin, reduces discomfort, balances surface lipids, assists in boosting hydration levels, provides probiotic support to the skin's acid mantle to support acneic skin. I love misting this over my clients' skin during treatments, and it's also great to keep in your bag and spritz onto skin throughout the day. It's super refreshing.

Image Skincare Ormedic Lip Enhancement Complex ($22): AKA The Holy Grail. This ultra hydrating, polypeptide formula improves the visual volume of lip contours. Instantly replenishes and hydrates to make the lips look naturally full. This is the last step in all of my facial treatments and is HANDS DOWN my number one best selling product. If you're still using chapstick, you're missing out. Grab this little miracle and let it work its magic.

Hydration is SO important to healthy skin, and there are tons more products that I could add to this list. Of all of them, I think these are the standouts. Every person's skin is different and I highly recommend consulting with your skin care professional to choose what is best for YOURS! If you're local, schedule one of my many customized facial treatment options and I can help you make the best decision (while also slathering your skin with some of these goodies!). While every treatment is different depending on your skin and your goals, hydration is a part of EVERY service. If you aren't local (or not able to come in for a treatment), schedule a Digital Consultation with me so that we can design a customized regimen. Just a few key products can make a HUGE difference!

Remember, drinking lots of water is great, but it's not enough to keep the skin hydrated. The skin is the last organ to benefit from drinking water. You absolutely need to drink plenty of it, but you also need to make sure you're using topical hydration helpers as well. Give some of these products a try and thank me later!

love & lipstick (& lots of moisturizer),

Cherrie

cherriedarlingbeauty.glossgenius.com

instagram.com/cherriedarlingbeauty

facebook.com/cherriedarlingbeauty

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

THE CURIOUS CASE OF SOCIETY NOT ALLOWING WOMEN TO AGE

Scrolling through Instagram last year, I found myself on the page of a very popular newly-minted esthetician and business owner from Texas. In one of her posts, she's obviously celebrating her birthday, and the caption is "cheers to looking 22 forever!" It's just a simple, fun caption by a young woman who is thriving (I LOVE TO SEE IT), but it did give me pause. No one is 22 forever-so why should they look it?

The beauty business is many good things, but it's also a beast. It's no secret that we're constantly inundated with photoshopped, filtered, and perfected images. I've spoken about this ad nauseam (and will continue to do so) because it perpetuates unattainable beauty standards, but there's so much more to it than scrolling though unrealistic looking images. It's bad enough that there are brands selling us a standard of beauty we cannot attain, therefore brainwashing us into thinking there is a problem with how we look naturally, but they're also selling endless products and treatments that promise to fix those problems. This seems a lot like punching someone in the face and then selling them an ice pack. 

When I started my business, I decided to never edit an image of myself in any way. I've mostly received messages of support and gratitude when I've spoken about my choice to do this, but I've also heard from people who see it from a different perspective. I want to make it very clear-it is never my intention to make women feel that what they CHOOSE to do is right or wrong. It's their choice, and I respect it. I don't think that using a filter for your Facebook profile pic is a big deal. I don't judge injections or fillers or surgeries. Many of my friends and clients have them! Here's where I take issue: if a high profile makeup brand is posting about a new foundation and only sharing images of poreless, smoothed skin that's been digitally altered, it's safe to say that the foundation will not look like that on an actual person. But ACTUAL people are the ones buying the product. Beautiful eyeshadow applied by a professional makeup artist looks completely different in the behind-the-scenes unedited photos than they do in the published photos. Why? Why use a computer to make the shadows look seamlessly blended in a way that the human hand could never accomplish? Instagram influencers editing photos and then telling you what products you can buy to achieve the same "results" is frustrating. You can buy all the retinol you want, you are not going to look smoothed to poreless perfection, glowing to the gods, no line or texture in sight. Certainly not forever, anyway.

Recently, well known makeup artist Wayne Goss released a new line of products, and the campaign featured models that hadn't been airbrushed. One of the captions said, "With my cosmetics line, I want you to see the beautiful models. But realistically. As they really are. Beautiful. That includes pores, lines, and texture. Because we all have them. And they don't take away from anyone's beauty. It's important that you see a true representation and not an overly airbrushed portrait. Be you. Be beautiful." My jaw actually dropped when I saw the photos. Being able to see how the makeup looked on actual human skin seemed WEIRD because I'm so used to seeing the altered images from most companies! Seeing real skin should not be so surprising, but it's so rarely done in the beauty world. I hope that more brands follow Wayne Goss' example! And because I know how beautiful it ACTUALLY looks, I can't wait to purchase the products.

I don't call these things out to shame anyone. I don't think that I'm better than anyone because I'm pointing out the lines or texture in my face. I DO think that it's important to regularly remind women that the images they are seeing are not anything they should aspire to achieve, because they aren't real. I understand that influencers and brands have to sell a certain image in order to sell products. I just personally prefer to see more of what brands like Wayne Goss are doing. I based my entire business around being affordable and accessible to every type of person, so it's important for me to present myself in a way that the average person can relate to. I'm not interested in helping my clients to look 22 forever. Women who look 42, 62, 102 are all just as gorgeous and deserve to feel represented by the beauty industry. Making my clients of ALL ages feel good about themselves as they are, and not like they should be reversing the hands of time, is a top priority. I want you to have YOUR best skin at any age. 

To all of my fellow women, I hope you are looking in the mirror every night and admiring yourself instead of comparing yourself. Society is tough enough on us, we don't need to add to it. While scrolling through social media or flipping through a magazine, don't compare yourself to what you're seeing. Celebrate all of your fabulous features. Beauty is for all of us!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

FUN IN THE SUN

Ah, summer. Sitting outside, BBQing, cocktail in hand, everything’s perfect...BUT WAIT! Did you remember your sunscreen? I know, I know, I harp on this a lot. But you know what? There’s a good reason-more people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each year than all other cancers COMBINED. Statistics show that 1 in 4 people will develop skin cancer before the age of 70. ONE IN FOUR! Much like your favorite sunscreen, let that sink in.
I bet that some of you are thinking, “yeah, sure, but I don’t burn, I tan” or “I have dark skin, I don’t need sunscreen.” Simply put, you’re wrong. When your skin tans, it’s literally your body’s way of saying “hi, you’ve damaged me, I’m producing all of this melanin to protect you from further damage, help me please.’ There is NO such thing as a safe tan (unless it’s a spray tan!). There are two different rays-UVA and UVB. Think of it this way-UV(AGING) and UV(BURNING). Even if you aren’t getting sunburn from the UVB rays, the UVA rays are doing damage. Yes, you read that correctly-you're causing damage to your skin whether you burn or not! This is especially important for people with darker skin to know. You may be less likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer, but if you are, you’re more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage and, as a result, have a worse prognosis. Yikes!
Perhaps scaring you with cancer statistics won’t work. I know that most of us have the “it won’t happen to me!” syndrome, so I get it. Allow me to appeal to your vanity, then. Did you know that UV rays are responsible for about 90% of your skin’s visible signs of aging? Those rays break down the collagen in your skin and make it harder for new collagen to develop. I could go off on a collagen tangent, but I’ll save that for another day-just trust me when I say that you want as much of it as possible. Wrinkles, sagging skin, leathery texture, and dark spots can be prevented by regular and proper use of sunscreen. I can do a lot to help you with these issues in the treatment room and in providing you a home care regimen, but preventing them in the first place is best.
I don’t want to bore you, but it’s important to know just a couple of things about sunscreen. First of all, SPF (sun protection factor) numbers are kind of hard to understand. It’s not about how many minutes or hours you can be in the sun. SPF tells you “how long the sun’s UVB rays would take to redden your skin if you apply the sunscreen exactly as directed compared with the amount of time without sunscreen” (skincancer.org, source below). To make it all a little less complicated, I’ll give you some basic suggestions to follow. I recommend that everyone use either SPF 30 or SPF 50. Anything over 50 is just giving you a false sense of security. Anything less than 30 isn’t strong enough. You want to find a sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection, so that it’s protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays at the same time. If a sunscreen doesn’t say broad spectrum, it’s only protecting you from the UVB rays! Not good enough. Know that most of us aren’t applying the proper amount, either. You should be using at least a shot glass sized amount on your body (personally, I think you should use more, but it depends on how much skin you have to cover), and you need to be reapplying regularly. Experts say every two hours, but if you’re out in the sun all day (especially if you’re sweating or in the water), you’re going to want to do it more frequently than that.
You should be protecting your skin from the sun in other ways, too. Be aware that even if you are reapplying sunscreen religiously, if you’re fair skinned and out in the sun all day, there’s a good chance you’ll get a burn. If you’re at the beach, be sure to bring an umbrella. Wear a wide brimmed hat. Take breaks and sit in the shade. Don’t forget to protect your scalp, your hands and fingers, your feet and toes, your ears, your eyelids, your lips...places that we often miss when running out the door. Sun exposure is cumulative, and every step we take to protect ourselves can help prevent skin cancer and premature aging.
I use sunscreen 365 days a year, rain or shine. 80% of the sun’s rays get through clouds, so don’t skip just because it’s gloomy out. There are a lot of options out there, and you all know that I’m a believer in professional products. Personally, I love Hale & Hush’s Broad Spectrum SPF and Image Skincare’s Prevention+ SPF for my face. Both will protect you from UVA and UVB rays while providing the skin with other essentials as well. However, sun protection is such an important topic that I think anything you use is better than nothing. Drugstore sunscreen is better than skin cancer, hands down. I use drugstore sunscreens for my body and even though I have extremely fair, sensitive skin, I’ve never had a problem with any of them. I think spray sunscreens are fine if you’re using them correctly, but it’s still best for the original application to be a liquid. It’s helpful to be able to see that every spot of skin has been covered! Lastly, be mindful when choosing a sunscreen that some companies make false or misleading claims. Anything claiming to be “natural” or “chemical free” is just marketing-those terms are not regulated by the FDA. Everything is a chemical, and not all chemicals are bad.
Please, please, please add sunscreen to your skincare routine. Make it a habit. You won’t regret it, I swear. If none of my words have moved you, google skin cancer or aging from sun and look at some of the images. You’ll see what I mean. Protect your precious skin!
love & lipstick (& sunscreen, goddammit!),
Cherrie

Thursday, May 7, 2020

ADVICE FROM MR. MIYAGI

Okay fine, it's actually just advice from me. But who could resist a wax on, wax off reference in a blog post about waxing? Not me, obviously.

You probably wouldn't know this from my social media posts and (way too) frequent discussions about skincare products, but the majority of what I do in the treatment room is actually waxing. I find it funny, to be honest, because I had almost zero interest in the waxing portion of my esthetics school coursework. To my surprise, I discovered that I truly enjoyed it. So much so that my first job after graduation was at a big waxing chain. It was a great experience and I loved so much of it. The company itself, maybe not so much. I didn't love being pushed to do a brazilian and an upper leg in 15 minutes, pushed to sell products, pushed to go faster even if it meant bringing the quality down...ah, I digress. What I did love was building relationships with people, learning how to make a physically and mentally painful situation less so, learning new techniques from my fellow wax specialists, helping to solve "skincare down there" issues, transforming brows...the list goes on. I've been waxing for several years now, and it's so much fun! Of course, it's work too, and like working with facial clients, waxing is a team effort. If you want to have smooth, clean, flawless skin anywhere, it's going to take some effort and proper home care. A lot of people think that they can come in for their wax and forget about it until their next appointment, but that's not the case at all. Grab a cup of something (or a glass of something, I won't judge) and let's learn a little bit about hair removal!

While I personally find the science behind hair growth fascinating, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that you probably won't. However, it is important to know that there are three stages of hair growth, and that regular waxing helps to train the hair to all be in the same stage. When you first start waxing, you'll probably notice that some hairs grow back pretty quickly, while others take a few weeks to grow in. Basically, it's patchy. That's because not all of the hair was in the same stage of growth when it was removed. It can take several waxes to get all of the hair in the same stage of growth, which is why consistency is important. Once the bulbs are regularly being removed from the follicles at the same time, the waxes will be smoother and the growth will be slower. Removing the hair at the bulb also weakens it, forcing it to grow back smaller, which is why regular waxers notice that the hair is finer (thinner-looking) when it does grow back in. When you shave, you are just removing whatever hair is at the surface of the skin, so it will never grown back slower and finer. Think that Nair or any other depilatory cream is a better option than shaving? NOPE! Those types of products are only removing the hair at the surface of the skin, too...plus giving you a chemical burn! I also want to point out that despite what anyone tells you, waxing, sugaring, and threading are all doing the same thing (albeit in a different way). It's removing hair at the root. All of them will produce the same results. Sugaring experts may tell you that sugaring is less painful, but it's still removing hair from the root, so there is obviously going to be discomfort no matter what. Threading experts will tell you that it lasts longer than tweezing or waxing, but it's still removing hair at the root, so it's not possible for that to be true. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with sugaring or threading. Just be aware that many claims are misleading. If you're removing hair at the root, there's going to be some discomfort involved. Technique, proper home care, etc. can reduce that discomfort, but there is no such thing as pain free hair removal. Of course, the more you wax (sugar, thread, tweeze, whatever), the smaller the bulb, the less it hurts. Don't think that laser is necessarily your best bet, either. Laser hair removal doesn't work well on anyone who doesn't have light skin and dark hair. Lasers work by targeting the pigment, but if you have light skin and light hair or dark skin and dark hair, it can't do that. So it's limited in the results that it can give. Don't believe the marketing that often comes with laser hair removal, either-it's not permanent. I worked at a big waxing chain on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, and a good portion of my clients had laser treatments in the past. They all told me that at least some of their hair had grown back. Again, I'm not saying that laser hair removal is bad. Just that it's not permanent, not for everyone, and not realistic for a lot of people. Be sure to do a lot of research with whatever you choose. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before moving on, it should be noted that electrolysis, the process of removing hair by inserting a probe into each individual follicle and destroying the growth center of the hair, is a permanent method of hair removal. It does require several treatments and can only be done one hair at a time, so it's best to do on smaller areas. However, I'm trying to be thorough, so I thought I'd mention it!

Now that we've gone over some of the basics, let's focus a bit on the actual process. Some common questions I get from first time waxers are: 
  • "Is it going to hurt?"
  • "How long will the results last?
  • "When do I need to come back?"
  • "You don't mind looking at vaginas all day?" (I do a lottttt of brazilians)
As I said, yes, there will be some level of discomfort no matter what. We're pulling hair from the root, y'all. But as I also said, with repeated waxing, the bulb will get smaller and it won't hurt as much. Waxing pros recommend coming back every 4-6 weeks. For those on the newer side of waxing, it's best to come back toward the 4 week mark. Seasoned waxers can go 6 weeks or so. This is generally speaking, of course. Each person is different. It also depends on the part of the body, too. Most people wax their brows every 2-3 weeks but their legs every 5-6. With my clients, I start them out at the 4 week mark, and then reassess at every appointment. It's so exciting to be able to tell someone "I think we can go 5 weeks this time." I love that results are visible after just one session and that those results continue as long as the client is consistent. Consistency is key. It's like I tell my facial clients-you can't come in with acne and expect one facial to give you clear skin. You can't expect to get a facial every two months but do nothing at home and have clear skin. Proper home care is essential, and this goes for waxing too. There are some unicorns out there who can get their monthly wax and not have any issues with ingrown hairs or dry skin despite not putting any effort in at home, but they are not the norm. If you want the smooth skin that a wax can give, you're going to have to keep up with exfoliation and hydration. If you're prone to ingrown hairs, you'll have to apply ingrown hair serum regularly. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Another seemingly obvious yet important thing to note is that you should be following all of your wax pro's instructions. This will vary, of course, but here are some basics:

  • No sex, saunas, or sun exposure for 24 hours after your wax. Yes, I mean it.
  • It's tempting, but keep your own hands off your freshly waxed skin. You're putting bacteria in those open follicles-YIKES.
  • Always update your wax pro if you are taking any new medications. Some medications can make the skin more sensitive or even cause bruising and lifting. Accutane users cannot be waxed for a FULL YEAR after they stop using the medication!
  • Let your esthetician know what your skincare routine has been like. You don't want to book a brow wax for a Friday if you had a chemical peel on Monday. Even something like using a seemingly harmless OTC acne cream with salicylic acid or benzyol peroxide can cause serious damage to the skin. Permanent scarring is possible!
  • Avoid tight/irritating clothing on the day of your wax (and for a few days following). That lace thong is lovely, but it's going to feel like sandpaper on freshly waxed skin. Not the kind of exfoliation we're going for.
  • Don't over OR under exfoliate. Once a month is not enough. Once a day is too much.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise for 24 hours after your wax. Trust me, booking a 9am brazilian before your 10am spin class will bite you in the ass. Literally. 
Your wax specialist will have her own recommendations, and it's best to follow them. The person who knows your skin is in the best position to personalize your regimen. ALWAYS reach out if something doesn't seem right. In my experience, it's an easy fix and you'll be well on your way to smooth skin in no time! 

Another common question that I get asked is what products to use at home to maintain results. I love Relax & Wax products because they're gentle yet effective (and also developed by an esthetician, so that makes sense). Here are some of my favorites!
  • Scrub Me Luscious is a yummy lemon scented exfoliant ($29). 
  • No Trauma Momma is for post-wax soothing of the skin ($15.50). 
  • No Scream Cream is applied about 45 minutes before your wax to numb the area-hellooooo less painful brazilians! ($20.50).
  • Get The Bump Outta Here! will keep ingrown hairs at bay ($20). 
As for lotion, I think that good ol' Aveeno does the trick. I know that there are a lot of high end body lotions out there, but in my honest opinion, spending $30 on a body lotion is completely unrealistic. I can go through a bottle a week and there is no WAY that ya girl is going to spend damn near $100 a month on body lotion. I prefer to keep my money on my face, thank you very much. Depending on how dry my skin is feeling, sometimes I'll use something thicker (like Nivea) and every once in a while I just rub myself down with some grapeseed or jojoba oil. Ask your waxing pro about what's right for your skin!

I could go on all day about waxing (and it kind of seems like I have, jeez), but I try to keep my blog posts fairly general and basic. Specifics are hard, because everyone's skin/lifestyle/medical history/etc. is so different. I hope that some of the things that I covered have helped, though! And if you're a client of mine, I hope that you always know that you can reach out to me about any concerns you might have. There are no stupid questions! Like I said, sometimes the thing that's plaguing you is a super easy fix. Not a client of mine? Well, you can be! I promise that I do a good job of making first time waxers (or those who have had a bad experience elsewhere) very comfortable. There's not a bad joke I won't tell or a self deprecating comment I won't make in order to make you laugh. If you don't believe me, read some of the reviews on my website (cherriedarlingbeauty.glossgenius.com)-the majority of my clients were first time waxers when I met them, so you can imagine that they were brimming with anxiety when they walked into my room. It's important that they have a smile on their face when they walk out of it. I love what I do and I hope that it comes through in my work. 

Is there anything that I didn't cover that you have questions about? Feel free to send me a message-I'd love to help!

love & lipstick,
Cherrie

P.S. Let me know what you'd like me to cover next! I love your feedback. Catch ya on the flip!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

ROUTINES ARE IMPORTANT

On my last blog post, I talked about the differences between professional and OTC products. I hope that you learned a thing or two! Today, I thought I would expand on the importance of using professional products by talking a bit about skincare routines in general. I have accounts with three different professional skincare companies (in order to make sure that I have options for EVERYONE), so I'll be breaking down a sample routine for each. Of course, there is no one size fits all when it comes to skincare. I've struggled with finding a way to highlight products on my social media accounts because I don't want a random person scrolling by to think that a particular product will be their saving grace when their skin type, conditions, allergies, sensitivities, lifestyle, amount of sun exposure, etc. isn't being taken into consideration. For instance, there are many great products for lightening hyperpigmentation (a fancy word for dark spots) out there. Unfortunately, if you aren't being guided by a professional, you may purchase it thinking that it's a miracle in a bottle. You could be perfectly diligent in making sure that you're using it twice a day, but not realize that your efforts are futile because without daily application of SPF, those dark spots would just get worse. Yikes! However, I do want to highlight the fact that it's possible to have a basic (three product) skincare routine that is easy and relatively affordable. What products to use will differ from person to person...these are just examples!

Let's start with Image Skincare. I've used their products for many years, and have seen great results on both myself and my clients. I used to absolutely love their SPF, but their new formula is just...not good. And since Image retails that product for $44, anything less than spectacular isn't going to cut it (I'd also never suggest something to y'all just to make money-if I don't believe in it, you will always hear me say so). I always recommend using an SPF, but because of this reformulation, you won't see one listed here (see my other lines for SPF options, or check out the super popular ZINC IT OVER SPF Mist from seriouslyfab.com). A simple morning routine could be Vital C cleanser (my price: $24/6 oz) followed by Vital C Hydrating Intense Moisturizer (my price: $51/1.7 oz). In the evening, use that same cleanser and follow it up with Ormedic Balancing Bio Peptide Creme (my price: $55.50/2 oz). Total cost: $130.50.

I've been using Hale & Hush products for a little over a month now, and I have to say, I'm obsessed. As a redheaded, pale, freckled gal, sensitive skin was quite literally built into my DNA. H&H was developed for sensitive skin (though it treats all types of skin with potent ingredients-there is no fluff here), and I love it so much that I'll be buying the entire line once it's time for me to reorder. So many of the products were formulated to repair the skin's barrier, which is really the first step in transforming anyone's skin. A basic morning routine would be to cleanse with Quiet Wash ($21.95/3.3 oz) and follow it up with their Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($31/1.7 oz). For evening, cleanse with Quiet Wash and apply Vital Lipid Lotion ($49.95/1.7 oz). Total cost: $102.90.

Last, I'd like to introduce Skin Script. I've used several of their products in my treatments before (many of you have commented on your love for that refreshing spritz of Cucumber Hydration Toner!), but I've finally added their entire line into my system! Skin Script was developed by estheticians and I love their approach not just to the products, but to their company in general. Their price point is amazing, plus many of their products are offered in multiple sizes, so if you're on a tight budget, this is the place to start (though FYI, using smaller sizes obviously means going through them faster). In the morning, grab the Pomegranate Antioxidant Cleanser ($10/2 oz) and follow it up with Sheer Protection SPF 30 ($24/2 oz). In the evening, cleanse the skin and apply Ageless Skin Moisturizer ($15/2 oz). Total cost: $49.

Are these prices higher than what you'd find at the drugstore? Absolutely. But the ingredients and delivery systems of those ingredients make a difference (again, see my last blog post for more information). Plus, you only need to apply very little of a professional product to achieve maximum results-they should last you several months. If they don't, you're using too much! Just like our mothers told us in regard to the makeup you put on for 8th grade picture day, less is more (okay fine, maybe that was just me, but it's still true). Of course, if you're using a product twice a day, it will go twice as fast (i.e. cleansers, eye creams, etc). Reach out to your skincare pro for guidance on what is the proper amount for you.

Yes, if you have special skin concerns like hyperpigmentation, acne, wrinkles, etc., it's likely that 3 basic products are not going to cut it-you'll need a few other products thrown into the mix. But having 3 basic products is a great way to start your professional skincare journey. You can build on those products and not only correct skin issues, but prevent future ones. My own routine has several more products and steps, but skincare is my profession (and my passion!). Once you make the switch to pro products and see the results that they can make, you'll see why it makes sense to invest in them and you'll be passionate too.

Home care has always been a vital component of reaching and maintaining your skin goals, but since the entire service industry is shut down right now, it's the only way to do so. My Magic 8 Ball keeps saying "Reply hazy, try again later" regarding the future of my business (and therefore providing treatments), but designing the perfect home care regimen for you with products that I stand behind is one way that I can continue to be of service to you. If you are interested in investing in your skin, please reach out to me. I'd love to see if I'm the right fit for you!

Lastly, to my dear clients: I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy. I certainly miss having my hands on your faces, chatting with you, and being a little slice of relaxation in your life. I don't know what the future holds (damn Magic 8 Ball), but I will let you know as soon as I do! Sending you all a great big giant e-hug.

love & lipstick,
Cherrie

P.S. Are you more interested in WAXING related info and products? Well then boy do I have a blog post for you! Coming soon<3

Monday, April 13, 2020

TRUST ME, I'M A PROFESSIONAL

I didn't really get into skincare until I was in my late 20s. Before I went to esthetics school, the idea of paying more than $6 for a cleanser (or "face wash," as those who are not in the field tend to call it) was an insane concept. It brings me great shame to admit, but yes, I was once...*GULP* a Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, St. Ives Apricot Scrub user. So trust me when I say that I understand why people are hesitant to pay the price tag that comes with using professional skincare products. I've been in your shoes! Take this journey with me to learn why you should be marching those shoes right out of the CVS beauty aisle and why you should make the switch to professional products instead.

I can say with 100% certainty that the most common question I am asked is "what drugstore products do you recommend?" To put it bluntly, I don't. You don't come in for a service and expect me to use drugstore products on your skin, right? You're spending your hard earned cash to experience a professional treatment. During a facial, I use cleansers, toners, exfoliants, masks, serums, moisturizers, eye creams, facial oils, lip treatments, etc. Hundreds of dollars worth of products! Clients are always so happy with their results, and are eager to learn how to maintain them between the recommended monthly treatments. And of course, they want to do so in the most inexpensive way possible. But I didn't use a $6 cleanser or a $12 serum on your skin during the treatment, so how can I tell you that doing so at home will get you the same results? It won't! 

OTC (over the counter) products differ from professional products in a variety of ways. They are mass produced, made for consumers who are "self diagnosing" their own skin conditions, and therefore contain a very small percentage of active ingredients (and a large percentage of filler ingredients) in order to avoid irritating skin (and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the stuff you're buying at Sephora, Ulta, Macy's, etc. is also considered OTC...despite costing just as much as pro products!). Professional products, however, are made in small batches so as to maintain the integrity of the ingredients. Pro skincare lines also use more technologically advanced delivery systems, meaning that active ingredients can get to where they need to go in order to do what they need to do. For instance, if you have a serum that is making a claim to have x% of an active ingredient, but the molecules of that serum are too large to actually penetrate the skin's surface, that ingredient cannot do anything other than sit on top of the skin. Professional lines use molecular technology that allow ingredients to penetrate the skin's layers in order to effect change. They also take into account the skin's pH, whereas OTC products normally do not. The skin's pH should be between 4.5-5.5, but OTC products make the skin too alkaline, which leaves the skin susceptible to bacterial growth and free radical invasion. Protecting the skin's barrier is the most important thing for all skin types! Bottom line-OTC products strip the skin. Let's leave the stripping for bachelor parties, shall we?

I've seen some articles claim that the best way to see if a product has effective active ingredients is to check the order of ingredients listed, but unfortunately that's not exactly true. I was trying to find a way to say this well in my own words, but I think this quote from celebrity esthetician and trusted skin care expert Renee Rouleau does a better job than I can:

Two products can have the exact same list of ingredients, and one will be highly effective while the other could be completely useless. The difference is the concentration of those ingredients. One product may use a very small amount while the other uses a clinically active level. Unfortunately for you, the consumer, there is no way to understand the difference. This is because all ingredients are supposed to be listed in order of the concentration used, but for ingredients with a concentration less than 1% they can be listed in any order. There’s a big difference between an ingredients used at .01% versus 1%, but you would never know it from the label on the bottle, tube or jar.

Don't forget that a lot of the claims that you see have absolutely no ACTUAL, LEGAL meaning. Terms like "dermatologist tested," "clinically proven," or "studies show..." are not regulated. A dermatologist can take a product, test it on their own skin and no one else, have a terrible reaction, but the product can still make the claim "dermatologist tested" because it's technically true. It's misleading, though, because it leads the consumer to believe that it's been tested on a ton of people and has been proven by a doctor to be considered safe. False! There is a lot of bullshit in the beauty industry, and consumers don't have time to do their homework on every product or every claim. That's why it should be left to the professionals. The claims that professional skincare lines make are usually based on results from an unbiased, third party lab, and there is information readily available to back it up. Professional brands work directly with estheticians in a very hands-on way, so you can be sure that when you're having a regimen designed for you, it's done by someone who knows what they're doing. There is a reason why licensed estheticians only work with one or two skincare lines. They take trainings from these brands, they use the products on all different skin types and conditions, and are constantly updating their knowledge based on the newest information available. They know how that specific line's delivery systems work, they stay up to date on product reformulations, and they are able to check in with clients on a regular basis to see how their skin is reacting to new products. Your local drugstore employees aren't checking in with you to see if your new moisturizer is working with your acne prone skin, but I bet your esthetician does!

I know that it's tough to want to shell out $60 for a Vitamin C serum when you see one on the shelf for $15. But it's not the same! When you use a high quality product, you don't need to use as much of it and you don't go through it as quickly. Professional products will last longer, they'll do more for your skin, and they come with an expert who can help you tweak your regimen to make them work for your specific skin type and concerns. Yes, that does mean that they cost more. But cost and worth are not the same thing. Plus, when you're using the right products, you don't need as many of them! You can start your professional skincare journey with just THREE products and see positive results, I guarantee it. Once you see the difference the right products make, you won't even look in the direction of St. Ives anymore. There are a lot of professional lines out there, and it can definitely be overwhelming. Reach out to your skin care specialist (if you don't have one yet...ahem...allow me to introduce myself). Personally, I use a well respected, industry leading brand called Image Skincare and have recently added Hale & Hush (a brand dedicated to sensitive skin and Oncology patients) as well. I'm obsessed! I can't wait to reopen so that I can share their products with you guys. Until then, if you are looking for some advice on building a regimen, I can guide you via the internet. Simply reach out via my website (cherriedarlingbeauty.glossgenius.com), my Instagram (instagram.com/cherriedarlingbeauty), Facebook (facebook.com/cherriedarlingbeauty), or my email (cherriedarlingbeauty@gmail.com). Now is the perfect time to try something new! As always, let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to hear from you!

love & lipstick (& liposomes!),
Cherrie

Saturday, March 21, 2020

APOCALYPSE NOW(ISH)

Well well well, things have taken quite the turn, eh? Just one week ago, something like this current Covid-19 situation seemed like it was only possible in the movies...but the world is ending AND there's no Jake Gyllenhaal to save us? Lame. I'm not gonna lie, this is tough. I know that I'm not alone, either. I have a lot of friends who work in the service industry, and we're all taking a real hit right now. I truly don't know what the future will hold for CDB-this is probably the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. I'm doing my best to just take life one step at a time because I have no idea what else to do. What I can tell you is that I'll be here to talk too much and share beauty info with all of you no matter what (unless the zombies show up, then I'm out). I figured that since we're all stuck at home and unable to get our favorite services done, I'd share some ideas for maintaining ourselves until it's safe to go outside again. PLEASE, put down the razor and wait for me! 

I'm going to start with some tips for maintaining brows, because that's my most popular service and I know that even if you're not allowed to leave the house, some of y'all are going to go crazy when they grow in. Basically, I want you to do as little as possible. Fill in the brow as you normally would if you were doing your makeup, and tweeze the hairs that are outside of that shape. Even if you don't fill in your brows, this is still a good technique to keep you from removing the wrong hairs. If the hair is super close to the brow line, leave it be! Don't get too crazy tweezing between the brows either, because you may end up tweezing too far in on one side and then we'll have a lot of work to do to grow it back in. Put the tweezers down after each hair you remove so that you can assess the situation before continuing. As for anything on top of the brow, don't bother. Simply grab the stragglers and get the heck out of there!

My second most popular waxing service is the brazilian, and I know that letting the hair grow in is going to be a challenge for some of you. I beg you to do it, though. Instead of resorting to shaving, trim the hair down if it's simply too much to go au naturale. On the plus side, if you've never been waxed and have been waiting for the perfect time to grow out your hair, this is it! It's also the PERFECT time to finally listen to me about proper exfoliation and hydration. No one is rushing off anywhere, so you can spend as much time in the shower as you'd like! Everyone's skin is different, but I recommend exfoliating about twice a week. Hydrating the skin is a must every day, but especially after exfoliating. When my clients take my advice, they always come back and tell me that a.) their wax hurts less, b.) their hair takes longer to grow back, and c.) they experience less ingrown hair issues. This advice goes for all waxing services, really. Start following these suggestions and see what a difference it will make!

As you know, I've spent a lot of time making it very clear that influencers who sell products to the masses despite not knowing anything about skin type, skin conditions, ingredients, etc. are not trustworthy. Giving skincare advice is difficult to do online, where you have many people reading your posts but don't have a way to check in with them personally to see if it's appropriate advice for their specific skin. I love to design routines for clients who I've worked on and who I can easily check in with, but just posting "Vitamin C is great, use it!" can cause problems. Vitamin C is great, but it's strong! Many people need to be eased into it. Some people may experience purging when they add it to their routine, and if they can't text you and ask if what's happening to their skin is normal, they're going to let that serum collect dust in the back of their medicine cabinet while they privately question your knowledge. The personal connections and trust formed in this line of work are really the key to making the magic happen. If you're about to use a product that you're unsure about, or you're noticing that your skin doesn't seem quite right, reach out to your esthetician. Don't have an esthetician in your life? You're missing out! If you're not a current client because you don't live close by or just aren't sure that facial treatments are for you, I do offer a Digital Consultation for $20. I can analyze your skin via photos and ask you questions that will help me to build you a regimen using the product lines that I have accounts with. If you're a current client, you can do this at any time for free. Don't hesitate to ask! ANYWAY, I digress. While you're stuck at home, this is a good time to clean out your beauty supply graveyard, aka the medicine cabinet. Most products have a little symbol that tells you how long it lasts before it expires, but if it doesn't and you know it's older than 6-12 months, definitely toss it. Better safe than sorry! It's also a good time to test out some products that you've maybe purchased but never really used. That way, if you have a reaction, no one will be around to see it!

I know that a lot of you have products at home but aren't consistent with using them. There is no better time to organize your bathroom to ensure that they're right there so you can remember to do so! Think about how glowy your skin will be when we come out of hibernation if you take care of it now. So many of us are going to come out of this looking a little worse for wear because of all the stress and frozen pizza, but this doesn't have to be you. The best thing you can do right now is make sure you're cleansing your skin morning and night, and hydrating with moisturizer. If you have a breakout but no products at home to combat it, see if you have some calamine lotion to spot treat. Use a lighter oil like jojoba or grapeseed to give yourself a little facial massage once or twice a week. Those sheet masks you've been hoarding? Have at it! It's so basic but it's honestly the best advice I can give, other than to be sure you're using your SPF when you go outside for fresh air. And yes, I know that every day is feeling like Sunday right now, but if you actually designate Sunday as an exfoliation day, you'll notice a difference in texture for sure. When this is all said and done (if I still have a business to go back to), we'll be able to do some more results-driven treatments in the studio. Until then, just do your best to keep the skin healthy at home!

Makeup wise, I've been feeling the need to purge my kit for a long time. Essentially, I retired from makeup artistry last summer, though I'll still take the occasional one on one session. I had a lot more to get rid of than most of y'all at home do, so it took me some time, but it felt awesome to get rid of it. I encourage you to spend a little time going through your bag and throwing away anything that you've had for a while. There are many guides for this online (hello, Pinterest!). Powder products can usually last a year or two, liquids 6-12 months, lipsticks about two years, mascara about 3 months. When in doubt, toss it out! Professionals are trained to remove products from their containers in a sanitary way, but at home, we aren't using spatulas to scrape lipsticks or squeezing foundation onto palettes. We're using our fingers, and fingers have bacteria. If you touch your foundation tube to your fingers, you've contaminated it. Please don't think that just because you use foundation once or twice a year that you can hold onto it longer. It doesn't make a difference to the bacteria multiplying away in there. And formulations have a certain shelf life before they start to break down and won't perform properly anyway. If you don't wear makeup often, consider switching to a powder foundation so that it's more cost effective for you.

Once you've gone through your products, wash your makeup brushes! You can use a makeup brush cleanser for this, or you can just use a little baby shampoo mixed with a few drops of antibacterial dish soap. You'll want to do this carefully, so as not to destroy the glue holding the brush together. Don't submerge the whole brush, but instead hold the bristles under tepid (not warm, not cold) water and massage the water through. Put a little of the cleanser mixture in your palm, and massage the bristles. Squeeze, then keep massaging water until there is no soap left in the bristles. You may have to do a second cleanse if you don't do this on a regular basis. Once clean, Lay brushes flat on a clean surface (such as a kitchen counter). I don't suggest laying them on top of a towel, but a paper towel is okay. Bigger brushes may take a day or so to dry, so be patient. Make sure you don't shove a bunch of wet brushes into your brush bag. I use a fresh ziplock bag for my brushes instead of a brush bag, but if you do have one, be sure to clean and sanitize it before putting your brushes back in. After doing all of this, I literally felt like I lost 5 pounds. It was not just physically cleansing, but metaphorically cleansing too. Give it a try!

My last couple of tips are free and for everyone. First, I 100% think that we should all be meditating. It's been such a help for me over the years and with all the stress we're currently feeling, it will probably help you too. Even just 2-5 minutes makes a difference. Go on YouTube and look through their meditation options. There are tons of them, guided or otherwise. Stress does terrible things to the skin, and meditating is a free way to combat it. Another thing we can all be doing is yoga. Yoga is the sister of meditation, and though I could not tell you one single pose, I do several of them throughout the day to help with back pain. YouTube is also a great free resource for this. Any pose that has your head upside down is also really good for the skin, as it increases circulation. Get your downward dog on, guys (okay fine I know one pose).  Lastly, although I'd love nothing more than to be totally wine drunk throughout this craziness, let's make sure we're drinking water. I've frequently told you that drinking water doesn't do much for hydrating the skin directly, however, it does help to keep our internal organs working better. If our bodies don't have to work as hard at dealing with all the sludge inside, it does mean that the health of our cells improve and therefore our skin can see benefits. So drink up, bbs!

I know that this is a tough situation for those who are unable to work right now, and I can't deny that I've shed some tears myself. I have so many friends in the esthetician community who don't have any other income to rely on, and it breaks my heart to see so many people struggling through this. I hope that you are all doing your part by staying home so that we can return to our regularly scheduled programming as soon as possible. Please continue to support your local small businesses the best that you can-I've had so much takeout this week that I'm going to need to LIVE at the gym once it opens back up. Lots of people have asked me what they can do for me, and I'm grateful for the kindness, but because the future is so uncertain, I ask that you refrain from buying gift certificates or prepaying for services. Instead, I'd love for you to leave reviews on my Facebook page, share my posts on your Instagram stories, engage with me in the comments, and give me some suggestions for what you'd like to see in the future. All free ways to support me and help me to build my base! I love you guys so much and I hope that I have some good news to report soon. Until then, I'll be working on the next blog post. A little birdie asked me about ingredients, and I will be delivering. See you soon!

love & lipstick,
Cherrie 

Monday, March 16, 2020

THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

There's a fair chance that song will be stuck in your head now. Sorry, y'all. If I have to suffer, we all have to suffer!

I thought I'd make my first official blog post one highlighting a few things that I love the most. My 'desert island' beauty must haves, if you will, not by any means a comprehensive list of my favorite products. And the best thing is, they are items that are relatively affordable and easy to buy. Yes, the skincare products that I talk about have to be purchased through me in order to get them at a discounted cost, but what's easier than sending me a text with your order and picking it up a week later (or, if you aren't local, having me ship them to you)? Pretty much the same amount of effort as going to your local drugstore and picking up products there...except ordering through me means you'll be getting professional products that will actually do something for the health of your skin. Alright, enough with that. Let's dive in, y'all!

The first thing I do on an average morning (after shaking off the existential dread) is head to the bathroom. I grab my trusty Image Skincare Vital C Cleanser and massage away the night's sweat and dirt. A lot of people skip a morning cleanse, and I don't recommend that. While you sleep, your body temperature fluctuates. Your face is smushed up against your pillow, and unless you're changing your pillowcases daily, you're smushing it into several nights' worth of bacteria. Think about the stuff in the air, floating around and settling onto your skin. Do you really expect any other product that you put on in the morning to absorb properly if there's a layer of sweat, dirt, bacteria, or last night's drool? Wash your face! The Vital C cleanser is so creamy and gentle-perfect for a morning cleanse.

After cleansing, I dry my face gently with a fresh towel. I have a stack of small hand towels that I use for this purpose. I never ever reuse a towel. I wouldn't dream of picking up a towel I'd used the day before, damp and filled with bacteria, and then putting it on my freshly cleansed face. Yikes! I have the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. If you struggle with breakouts and reuse towels, changing that habit might help! You can even use a fresh paper towel if you don't want to run out to your local Bed, Bath, and Beyond right now. ANYWAY, yes, gently dabbing my face dry with a fresh towel, check. Next up, I apply my Image Skincare Prevention + SPF Daily Moisturizer. I'll be completely honest, they recently reformulated this (higher percentage of zinc oxide now) and I haven't tried the new version. I will definitely update you guys when I do, but I'm crossing my fingers it's just as good as the original. I literally cannot leave my house without it, rain or shine. Most sunscreens smell weird or can leave a chalky feeling on the skin, and this doesn't do that. If I happen to be stranded on a deserted island one day, Prevention + will definitely help keep my skin looking youthful and prevent sun spots until I can be rescued. No matter what sunscreen you prefer, it's an absolute must 365 days a year. 

After my easy peasy morning skincare routine is done, I spend about two minutes on my makeup. This is definitely just a "need to seem like I care about what I look like but I pressed snooze 3 times" routine. My holy grail mascara, L'Oreal Voluminous original formula in Black, is as good or better than the $25+ mascaras you can buy at Sephora, and I've tried pretty much all of them. I always go back to Voluminous. Even when I find a high end mascara that I like, there's always something that makes me think, "hmm, this is good, but is it that much better than the Voluminous?" and I go back to my trusty drugstore mascara that costs me less than half the price. It doesn't flake, it doesn't give me raccoon eyes, it gives me perfect volume without looking clumpy, and gives them a little length too. Plus, it's not like a lot of high end mascaras where it looks great for a week and then you have to throw it out because it gets dry. I do find that the first few uses of it are kind of meh and that it takes about a week for the spoolie to have the right amount of product on it to work its best, but stick it out! It's definitely worth the buy! After lashes are done, it's time to give my super light brows a little color and lift. I've been using Maybelline Brow Fast Sculpt gel mascara and while I'll admit that you have to play around with it a bit at first, once I figured out how much pressure to use and how little product I needed on the spoolie, I became obsessed. My brows aren't just sparse, the hair itself is also light. Pencils can work okay, but having the gel that can cover each hair and also the sparse areas where skin is exposed is a GAMECHANGER. I prefer an imperfect brow these days, so it works for me. I don't like the super sculpted "Instagram Brow" and I discourage my clients from getting their brows shaped that way too. As we age, our precious brows will thin out the same way that our head hairs do. So I'm doing my best to keep as many of them around as possible. I suggest y'all do the same. Alright, off my pedestal. Onward! Luckily, this step isn't always necessary thanks to my good skincare habits. But I'm human, and I have acne-prone skin, so I do get breakouts from time to time. I'm also vain and absolutely cannot just walk around without covering them up. The best concealer I've ever tried is also by L'Oreal. True Match is exactly what it says it is! You can buy it for warm, cool, or neutral undertones, which is awesome. I'm definitely cool (hardy har har), and their lightest shade works perfectly for me. It covers blemishes well, isn't thick or chunky or hard to blend, and doesn't feel cake-y at all. If I do use concealer under the eyes, I always press a little Rimmel Stay Matte powder (the best there is!) to help set it, otherwise it can crease. Most of the time, I put on a little lipstick as a last step. When I want the perfect neutral-but-not-nude lip, I grab my NYX matte lipstick in the shade Natural. Honestly, I think it will work on every skin tone, it's really versatile. I rarely have to touch it up, it doesn't feather into my lip lines, the formula isn't too drying. There are a lot of shades that they offer, and I've never tried one that I didn't like. After checking the mirror to see that everything looks okay and winking at my reflection, I'm out the door!

My nighttime routine changes fairly often, so I wanted to highlight the one evening product that I'd have with me if I was stranded (and it kind of feels like I am, due to this coronavirus situation. Yeesh!). Image Skincare's Ormedic Bio Peptide Creme feels so good on the skin. It's slightly thicker than some of my other favorite night creams, and you'll definitely feel the difference. If you're wondering what a peptide is, you're probably not alone. I'd never heard of them until esthetics school. Peptides are chains of amino acids that are vital for collagen and elastin, two things you definitely want plenty of. I had a teacher explain it to me using a really simple analogy-if you're thinking about it as a mattress, collagen is the stuffing, and elastin is the spring. If you pinch your skin and it immediately bounces back, you have great elasticity. If you pinch your skin and it takes a little time for it to go back, there is less elasticity. If your skin seems like it's losing volume, it's probably a lack of collagen. We'll get into this in a later post, but for today, just know that you want to maintain both and that peptides are a great way to do that!

I'm a beauty junkie, and I have countless skincare and makeup products at home. If someone were to force me to grab just a few to get me by, these would be my choices. It doesn't take much to look and feel your best! I'd love to hear about what you guys keep on hand, too. Is there something amazing out there that I need to test out? Let me know!

I'm going to be bringing in some new lines soon, and I'm always trying products, so this is just a current list. When I find something that I absolutely love and think you should know about, you'll find a full review with before & after photos here. And now that the studio is closed due to the current pandemic, I'll have plenty of time to overshare beauty related goodness with you guys. I hope that you all use this social distancing time to take care of yourselves, and as soon as I can, I'll be opening back up to take care of all of you. Stay safe!

love & lipstick,
Cherrie

cherriedarlingbeauty.glossgenius.com

instagram.com/cherriedarlingbeauty

Thursday, March 5, 2020

LET'S GET IT STARTED IN HERE

Welcome to my blog! I know that you probably already follow me on Instagram, like my page on Facebook, read my newsletters, etc. and are wondering why on earth you'd want to hear me ramble on (and on and on) another platform...but I think is the best way for me to relay bigger pieces of information that you can refer back to at any time. I mean, I can discuss the importance of exfoliation and how the skin functions better because of it on an Instagram post, but will you actually stop scrolling to read that long caption? Not likely.

So here's what you can expect from this blog: me talking too much (a given), me going off on tangents (you already expect this if you read my newsletters), me finding a pun in everything...but also the good stuff. I'll be sharing my reviews on makeup and skincare products, my thoughts on current beauty trends, things I think you should stay away from, how to make your beauty routines work for YOU, overviews on certain treatments, FAQs, why staying consistent is the key to results, etc etc etc. Honestly, I won't be following any rules with this, other than that everything in this blog will align with my business' mission-combining affordability and quality so that EVERYONE has the chance to add a little luxury to their life. Because let's be real, no matter how many pros out there say that "skincare is not a luxury, it's a necessity" we all know that's not the case. Necessities are food, water, shelter, etc. Of course, taking care of ourselves is important, however we choose to do so. But I'm aware that spending your hard earned dollars on beauty treatments is a choice, and I'm so honored that you choose me. I love this industry and I'm proud of the way that I run my business. Rest assured that I am 100% upfront with you all and will never try to sell you something I can't actually provide. Let's leave that to the car salespeople, shall we?

I hope to post every other week, but I work a lot so I can't promise that. I'll do my best to try, though (which is pretty much the same thing that most of you tell me when I remind you that you should be exfoliating😝). I would absolutely love for you to send me some questions or things you might want covered in future posts, so don't hesitate to let me know if something is on your mind. Everything I talk about on the blog will be written in a way that everyone can understand, too, so I hope to be able to teach you a couple of things along the way. I'm excited! I hope you are too. Be on the lookout for the first REAL post coming next week(ish)!

love & lipstick,
Cherrie

cherriedarlingbeauty.glossgenius.com
instagram.com/cherriedarlingbeauty