Microblading

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Eyebrows have made a huge comeback in the cosmetic industry. People are paying more attention to their ‘furry friends’ now than ever, so it’s no wonder microblading has become so popular. Eyebrows are the perfect accessories of the face and the way they are styled can tell a lot about the person underneath. Unlike traditional cosmetic tattooing, microblading employs a small micro blade that inserts pigment into the skin; each stroke mimicking a thin strand of hair. I have struggled with the appearance of my eyebrows for years and was relentlessly teased by my brother and classmates for having “no brows.” My natural eyebrows are extremely fair and thin and I had for years wished I had fuller eyebrows, so when I heard about microblading and the differences from the not-so-appealing cosmetic tattooing, I decided I had to try it out for myself.

 

I wasn’t going to let just anyone add permanent marks to my face, so after a lot of researching about the process and the artists, I came across Linda Bishop, a tattooer that specializes in botanical tattoos and cosmetic microblading. I’ll admit I had been following Linda on social platforms beforehand after reading about her in an Inked magazine, so when I saw that she began venturing into cosmetic tattooing, I was immediately interested. Linda now is the owner and business woman behind Koneko Studio, an interior design dream studio that specializes in tattoos, microbladed brows and freckles, and lash extensions.

Earlier this year in June, I decided to take the plunge. My wonderful husband drove me to Dallas, Texas with some extra time for exploring. We ate at Pepe’s and Mito’s Mexican Cafe right before we made our way to the Deep Vellum bookstore for Caleb to pick up a good read. We made our way to Heart in Hand Gallery, a rad little shop with handmade goods, where Linda used to tattoo at. I made my way back to Linda’s studio and she applied a numbing cream to both of my eyebrows. We chatted about American Apparel a little bit and then she left for a bit to let the cream do it’s magic. I have to say that the numbing cream was the worst part for me of the whole procedure. I felt as if the cream was comparable to a mini migraine at the forefront of my skull. Thirty minutes passed before the microblading began. It was fairly painless.

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I didn’t feel any pain from the blade, but I did hear the scratching-like sounds.It was done before I knew and I was most pleased with the whole experience from start to finish. Linda is an expert at brows, hands down, and I felt completely comfortable the whole way through. After a waterproof clear bandage was placed, I left the Studio feeling confident in my new look. Linda and her staff sent me with a goodie bag full of wipes, lotion, and care sheet, and of course a lollipop and sticker for good measures. I didn’t take any photos of myself for the first couple of weeks because at first the brows are very bold and as my husband mentioned (on multiple occasions),  they tend to make you look surprised all the time. I made sure to follow the aftercare instructions to ensure proper healing. No makeup for two weeks afterwards, no sweating, no excessive sunlight. I kept up with the cleaning and moisturizing as indicated and the results were life changing. The people closest to me noticed a change, but quickly adjusted to it. I got tons of compliments on my eyebrows and hardly no-one notices that they are not my natural brows.

I decided to schedule a retouch in mid-November because the pigments on the outer edge of my eyebrows didn’t take as well as I would like. I booked my touch up with the understanding that you cannot change or miss your appointment for any reason of you lose the complete payment of the procedure (this caused a few messes, as my appointment was moved up two hours (which they state on the booking please be prepared that your appointment may move up or down a couple hours) causing a work interference I had to adjust with my coworkers). We arrived in the knick of time, as I had to leave an hour early from work and drive straight through, no breaks, no food beforehand, but worth the threat of losing the deposit and payment.

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Koneko Studio is absolutely gorgeous. It has a very open layout with high ceilings; it takes a modern meets industrial interior design with pops of green for a both welcoming and healing atmosphere. A velvet green couch sits in the waiting area alongside a beautiful mountain book and a bowl of blow-pops, warheads, and other assorted candies. The space is filled with greenery: gorgeous plants cover the window seals and the corners of Koneko with plenty of maneki-nekos figurines. The second go-round, I was called to the back for my touch-up. The numbing cream was applied on my brows, but this time around it didn’t give me a migraine sensation. Caleb was told that he should wait up front because most people go alone in the procedure area, but what they don’t know is I have extreme anxiety of being in public with out my husband or someone I know near.

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After the numbing cream had set in like last time, Linda went over my previous brow streaks, boldening the appearance of each one stroke by stroke. This time around, the procedure hurt much more. I felt every streak and internally cursed as my toes tightened with every touch. Although more painful, it was much faster. I was in and out in no time. I made sure again to properly obtain to my follow-up rules. Nothing would explain why the second round was more painful. I was not on my cycle and my body shouldn’t have had any reason to be hyper-sensitive. Possibly the amount of cream used may have affected my change in pain, but either way it was totally worth it.

If you haven’t gotten a tattoo before or another similar cosmetic procedure, the pain is part of the process. For myself, my tattoos are usually most meaningful in my life and the pain helps with the process of healing. For instance when my grandmother died, I got a memorial tattoo of a heart-shaped pin holder in the fold on my inner elbow. The tattoo artists at the shop warned me that the spot would be extremely painful (they don’t sugarcoat anything) and that none of them had their inner elbow tattooed because of this. Sure enough I looked around at all the artists and despite being covered in ink, the inner crease of their elbow had a gap of bare skin showing! This definitely made me begin to question my placing, but I went ahead. Although it was painful, I related every line with the pain of losing my grandma. I even cried (for the first time while getting a tattoo), not from the pain of the tattoo, but from the pain of the loss I experience. Although, nothing compared to that experience, my eyebrows is just another accomplishment to defeat the person I once was; one that never stood up for herself and let other criticize everyday.

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If you’re thinking of getting your eyebrows microbladed, here’s what you need to do and know:

  • research your artists in the area, the location, and the techniques
  • be prepared to go makeup free for at least two weeks
  • if you’re a gym junkie, your face must remain sweat-free for two weeks after the procedure
  • commitment: you have to be able to abide by the follow-up regimen – using the wipes/lotion provided twice a day after the first initial three days following
  • keeping your face water free for two weeks after
  • keep your budget in mind: you get what you pay for! If you’d like pricing information for Koneko Studio, contact them at Info@Konekostudio.com
  • If you’d like to book your eyebrow appointment with Linda, you contact the studio at booking@konekostudio.com

 

After the appointment Caleb and I even got to enjoy Dallas for just the moment. We ate at an amazing little Thai joint called CrushCraft that serves up fast and cheap, but oh-so-good thai food with inspiring and colorful decor in a totally unique industrial building! Such an instagram worthy lunch that topped off a perfect day trip. When can we go again? That day was so amazing. I love traveling with my husband. Dallas, Austin, any nearby cities… I love it and breathe for exploration. Our day trip to Dallas was mostly a trip for me to touch-up my beloved brows, but it was so great to briefly explore. We cannot wait to move to the city (we’re thinking San Francisco!) in 2018.

Have an amazing New Years and enjoy your brows!

xo,

Cass

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Makeup & Beauty Routine: WIMB?

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After receiving positive feedback on my last What’s In My Bag post, I decided to do another version: makeup style. I don’t wear makeup everyday, but when I do, I have specific order on which products I use and I always ensure that the products I use are cruelty free. As an animal lover, vegetarian, and advocate for animals, using cruelty free brands is essential to my lifestyle. I hope you enjoy this post as I uncover my beauty secrets.

Note: None of these companies are sponsoring my post

Before applying makeup, I make sure that my face is clean. I am currently using a micellar cleanser, a gentle face wash, and curology (in the evenings) for outbreaks.

Step 1:

  • I use either Exceptionoil or Very Useful Face Cream to hydrate and moisturize my skin. My favorite out of these two products by Go-To Skin Care is the Exceptioil, it smells like roses and is a light non-greasy oil perfect for skin and nails. I usually use the face cream if I feel like I need extra moisture later on in the day.
    • “Smelling approximately 92% better than everything else that exists or ever will, Exceptionoil is a do-it-all, do-it-oil that nourishes, soothes and conditions the skin, nails, heels, cuticles and hair. Saturated with 100% natural oils and butters, including certified Monoi de Tahiti, your skin will very much appreciate the deep nourishment of this balm, proving it by instantly gobbling Exceptionoil up and leaving no greasy residue whatsoever. Exceptionoil is outstanding when traveling, doubles as a lush body fragrance, is a must-have during winter AND summer, and will do a heckload more for dry, thirsty skin and all those ‘rough bits’ than that $4 body lotion you’re using. No offence to that lotion, of course, but we’ve definitely smoked him.” –Go-To Skin Care
    • “An ultra-hydrating and lightweight daily moisturiser that defends your skin against premature ageing, and smells pretty alright, too.This is face cream that is as much about anti-oxidants as it is moisturisation, because anti-oxidants are just as important. They stop free radicals (found in UV rays, smoking, environmental pollutants, toxins) attacking your skin, which is the main cause of ageing in the shape of wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity and suppleness. And since we get 50-80% of our free radical damage before we turn 21, there’s good reason to be incorporating anti-oxidants into your skin care as early as possible, (and for as long as possible.) Very Useful Face Cream boasts powerful anti-oxidants CoQ10 and the dazzling Amla Berry, known to have 30x more anti-oxidants than oranges, as well as many lovely replenishing oils and butters. Your skin is thoroughly hydrated, supple, smooth, soft and most crucially, shielded from those havoc-causing free radical bastards.” –Go-To Skin Care

Step 2:

  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus™ Face Primer – I apply my primer before applying any foundation to smooth my skin out and so that my makeup wear lasts longer. I have been impressed with this formula so far. It’s non greasy and helps application of makeup.
    • “Remember when you were a kid, watching fairy tales, wishing you had a magic potion to transform yourself instantly into a glamorous princess? Well, we’re here to make your dreams come true! This miraculous primer can be used all over your face to minimize the appearance of pores, fill in fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone, prevent your foundation from caking, and brighten your complexion for ultra-vibrant color that lasts all day. Magic! How does it do this? Because we basically put diamonds in a bottle! No, really, we did. The key ingredient in this miracle primer is white sapphire, formulated into a smooth, silky cream that glides on effortlessly, leaving behind a crystal complexion. Just think of us as your fairy godmother!” -Wet Wild       

Step 3:

  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus™ Foundation (in Bronze Beige) – Using my Oil & Wind Silicone Beauty Applicator, I apply this newly formulated foundation by Wet Wild. I had previously been using the creme foundation, but stores stopped selling this foundation, so I transitioned to the Photo Focus™ Foundation. I end up using a lot less product because it comes with a built in spatula to apply to your face and goes on smoothly. The silicone applicator has replaced my beauty blender because it doesn’t loose its shape or get torn apart. This applicator is also much easier to clean and it feels more sanitary.
    • “Your skin, only better. Our new high-performing, skin-perfecting foundation underwent major road testing under seven different photo lighting conditions to deliver flawless camera-ready makeup every time. Specially made with a matte, light-diffusing complex to give your skin #nofilter perfection. High-performing, breakthrough formula. Featuring light-adjusting complex to help prevent white cast in photos. Tested under 7 light conditions with and without the use of flash.” –Wet n Wild

Step 4:

  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus™ Concealer (in Light/Medium Beige) – After foundation is applied, this concealer is applied under my eyes and any concerning areas that need just an extra touch. I use my silicon applicator to blend in the formula. Perfect for covering my bags!
    • “Let your natural beauty shine with our selfie-tested creamy and luminous concealer. Tested to be white cast-free under seven different photo lighting conditions, this high coverage concealer allows only your best features to get noticed. Gorgeous skin will be your only look.” -Wet Wild

Step 5:

  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus™ Pressed Powder (in Warm Beige) – After canceler is completely blended in, I use my BH Cosmetics Brush vegan brush to apply the powder for full coverage. Once I have all these steps completed, my face is almost ready to go!
    • “Your smartphone just met its makeup match. Pack this genius pressed powder in your bag for endlessly amazing photos every time. Light-diffusing pigments give your skin a veil of silky natural looking perfection in photos and IRL. Wear it alone, on bare skin or over Photo Focus foundation for a flawless finish. Sets makeup with an unbelievably soft, satin finish. Reduces shine throughout the day. Each shade covers a range of skin tones.” –Wet Wild

Step 6:

  • Dusty Girls Natural Mineral Blush (in Golden Delicious) – I love adding a bit of bronze color into my cheeks. Thanks to Cass and her Be Kind To One Another Boxes, I was gifted this amazing pigmented blush and have used it constantly ever since. Never tested on animals, this mineral blush goes on so smoothly and looks flawless.
    • “Softly contour your cheeks with this versatile shade for a flawless, matte finish. Pressed with a blend of gold and terracotta tones to brighten your smile and enhance your complexion.” –Dusty Girls

Step 7:

  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz (in Dark Brown) – I had my eyebrows microbladed back in June by the wonderful Little Linda who runs Koneko Studio. She gave me the perfect shape to fill in and I require a lot less product than before thanks to the procedure. I plan on doing a future post on microblading as it has completely changed my look and given me confidence. I use my Eyebrow Duo Brush from e.l.f. cosmetics to help brush my eyebrows up and smooth them out after applying the brow wiz.
    • “An award-winning ultra-slim, retractable pencil that creates precise, hair-like strokes. Use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz®‘s fine tip to spot-fill areas where brow hair is sparse, and the custom spooley end to blend for a flawless finish. Mimics natural hair. Long-wearing, smudge-proof formula. Glides on effortlessly. Available in 10 shades.” -Anastasia Beverly Hills
    • “This convenient dual-sided brush includes a dense angled brush on one end to precisely fill in and contour brows while the wand side combs and shapes hair into place. Perfect to use with powder, cream, and gel formulas for a polished look.” –e.l.f. cosmetics     

Step 8:

  • Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara – This mascara is the perfect addition to make my lashes pop. I, however, wish that I had an everyday use mascara (I have my eyes on this one!) that wasn’t waterproof because it is hard to get off! I love the way my lashes look, but they can get clumpy and the formula is hard to get off off of anything!
    • “Go ahead and cry happy tears, Better Than Sex Mascara is now WATERPROOF! Our iconic hourglass-shaped brush unlocks the volumizing formula that thickens, lengthens and curls for the most extreme, mind-blowing lashes. One coat and lashes are full, defined, and stretched to unbelievable lengths. Two coats and lashes look even more luscious, curled, and dramatic. Three coats and you’ve achieved the most intense, voluminous, waterproof lashes possible!” -Too Faced

Optional Steps for Night Out looks:

  • If I was going out to an event or something a bit more glamorous, I would add in highlight and contouring for a more dramatic look. I use NYX’s Wonder Stick (inWS01 Light/Medium) to achieve a fierce look. This highlight/contour is a bit more sticky than I would like, but it gets the job done.
    • “The Wonder Stick is our ultimate dynamic duo: One side for a brilliant highlight, the other for a sleek contour. Now available in two more highly pigmented color combinations! Each couple is creamy as can be, which allows for beautiful blending. Available in six color-coordinated shade pairings.” -NYX Professional Makeup
  • I would also use Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner to complete a more dramatic eye. This paired with my Naked 2 Urban Decay Palette (not pictured), which would never fit in my makeup bag, and some false lashes, helps take my daytime look to a hot nighttime look! Depending on the event and time, I can use different shadows to create different looks. I also like to add in some shades (especially Dubai!) in from the Burgundy Palette from Kylie Cosmetics (not pictured) to give my eyes that extra pop they deserve. Last but not least I would apply some liquid lipstick in either Mary Jo K, Leo, or Candy K by Kylie Cosmetics. These lipsticks have been my absolute favorite: they smell like vanilla cupcakes, go on smoothly, and last a long time without smudging. I am planning on getting more in the future!
    • “LINE IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT. Nothin’, we mean nothin’, makes whipping out a killer Kat Eye easier than Tattoo Liner. This brush-tip liquid liner is the magic wand of makeup. Kat uses it every single day, and we really aren’t sure how we would get along without it ; ) Why, you ask? The highly pigmented, 24-hour-wear formula is waterproof and transfer-resistant. That means those lines aren’t goin’ anywhere…Insane days and sleepless nights can’t touch our Kat Eyes! The precision brush tip is the key to super-fine lines. No less than 325 flexible bristles come together in a tight, crisp point, ready to unleash invincible lines. The supple, saturated brush glides across lids in silky, smooth strokes, making Tattoo Liner the ultimate tool for both makeup newbies and beauty pros alike. We often marvel at how amazing it is that a teeny-tiny tip can contain so much possibility—wings, fine lines, detailwork…we could go on all day! Choose from raven-black Trooper or rich, chocolate Mad Max Brown for all your Kat Eye needs! We ❤ seeing all our KVD Beauties killin it in Tattoo Liner! Share your wild & wonderful creations with #kvdlook! #VeganAlert! 100% Cruelty Free Forever!” –Kat Von D Beauty
    •  “You demanded “MORE NAKED!”—and Naked2 delivers. From luminous shades with shimmer and sparkle to the smoothest mattes imaginable, Naked2 is packed with 12 never-boring taupe-hued neutrals (including a gorgeous grayish brown, a glittery copper and our lewdest, blackest black). Expand your Naked range to create even more sultry neutral looks, smoky dramatic looks and everything in between. The case has an art-school inspired look with a hinged lid—taupe metal with embossed chocolate brown artwork. It’s smooth, modern and cool to the touch—a real tactile experience. Naked2 includes a professional-quality, cruelty-free double-ended shadow/blending brush.” –Urban Decay
    • “The #KylieCosmetics Kyshadow pressed powder eye shadow palette is your secret weapon to create the perfect Kylie eye. Each Kyshadow Kit comes with 9 pressed powder eye shadows that can be used together to recreate Kylie’s favorite looks or customize your own.” –Kylie Cosmetics
    • “The Matte Liquid Lipstick has high intensity pigment for an instant bold matte lip. The extremely long wearing lipstick contains moisturizing ingredients for a comfortable, emollient and silky feel that does not dry your lips out. Mary Jo K is a true blue red. Leo is a true deep burgundy. Candy K is a warm pinky nude.” –Kylie Cosmetics                                                                            

That completes my makeup routine and skin care routine! It’s so important to remove your makeup every single night to prevent bacteria build up on your skin! I again use a sensitive face wash after using a micellar cleanser to take off my makeup. If I need spot treatment for break outs, I use acnedote by Alba Botanica (which has a large selection of acne products that are all cruelty free) and this skincare tool by Tweezerman.

I added a short video I put together of my beauty routine to go along with the products described above. I hope you all enjoy my efforts!

 

I hope you enjoyed a look into my routine and beauty product secrets.

Until next time!

xo,

Cass

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e.l.f. Skin Care Routine

 

So, you may not know this, but Eyes Lips Face, more commonly referred to as e.l.f.,  released a new skin care line available at Walmart recently, and I was one of the lucky few to get my hands on the trial edition last weekend. I also snagged some night cream from the line, but the cashier I had was a rather old, mean lady that refused to sell it to me because it was not in the system. The cashiers I’ve had previously that came across this problem would simply asked me, “how much did the item cost”, and I would give my answer and then they would simply enter into the cash register that they sold item for such amount. Obviously, this lady wasn’t going to take anybody for their word and said, “well I can’t sell this to you, sorry.” Honestly, even if I tried to debate this, it would literally take forever for some night cream, so I figured to the heck with it!

First off, I like the simplicity of the packaging and the neutral color choice, it just gets across that it’s here to clean your mess of a face up. I have used this now for about two weeks and it makes my face feel fresh and definitely moisturized. My face is baby smooth and I really love that e.l.f. Is a cruelty-free company, so I know that animals are not being tested on for selfish esthetic needs. The price definitely appeals to me as well, as expensive skin care lines beg you to sign up for an automatic reorder (when a trial hasn’t even started). I was hesitant about and illuminating eye cream in the skin routine care, but now I have noticed how my bags are slowly fading and I look much more rested, whether I get the needed rest or not!

My few complaints are that the face wash bottle has a faulty cap that sometimes doesn’t secure properly, leading to spilt dreams. Also, the pump for the moisturizer doesn’t pump the right amount of product very well. I often have to take it off completely. Other than the mechanical set backs, the products are well made and smell great. I can tell a difference in my skin, including the disappearance of dark under bags, a brighter and clearer complexion, and less oil buildup. Overall, I think that this skin line is a definite try.

e.l.f. Skincare Starter Kit:

  • Daily Face Cleanser, 3.71 fl oz; Daily Hydration Moisturizer, 2.53 fl oz; Illuminating Eye Cream, 0.49 oz
  • Daily Face Cleanser gently cleanses and hydrates
  • Illuminating Eye Cream helps moisturize delicate under-eye area
  • Daily Hydration Moisturizer hydrates and nourishes