Madam C J Walker Beauty Culture Brassica Seed & Shea Oils Silkening Leave In and Blow Out Creme

 Every revolutionary step we take has been paved by trailblazing women before us. Madam C.J. Walker was a woman who lived with a vision that was beyond her time. America’s first female self-made millionaire, Madam Walker defied history and expectations and built a global beauty empire that empowered women to be their best – while enriching communities across the nation through her generous philanthropy and activism. Whether you are building a business, getting an education, raising a family, ascending the corporate ranks, serving country and community through public office, the military, non-profits or volunteerism, or any combination of these and more – you are a Modern Day Madam…a woman defying the odds every day to create the life you desire.

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Inspired by the original Madam Walker, Madam C J Walker Beauty Culture is more than a brand, it is a legacy. Reimagined for modern beauties and our specific hair needs, these are performance driven products formulated with natural, high quality ingredients that deliver results and help us all to be unapologetic in the expression of our individual beauty.

I received two items from this line to try. I was encouraged to peruse the  Madam C J Walker Collection on Sephora's website and choose a couple of products that would best suit my own tresses. I went right to the Brassica Seed and Shea Oils Smooth Style line. I have long, rather thicker than normal, wurly, frizz prone hair that is dry and damaged, thanks to my affinity for being blonde and playing with creative colours. My hair needs deep hydration, tons of slip and to be coated, cushioned and protected from friction, heat and just day to day living. Madam C J Walker delivers.

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Madam C J Walker Brassica Seed & Shea Oils Silkening Leave In is formulated with Brassica Seed Oil, a natural alternative to silicone that provides the slip, smoothness and luster I desire without creating buildup or weighing my hair down. This rich, balmy stuff smells absolutely delicious with notes of Spun Sugar, Red Velvet Creme and I detect Musk, as well. The scent is prevalent without being overwhelming and it lingers softly, beautifully in my hair for days. Oh, and it leaves my hands smelling nice for hours, even after multiple hand washings.

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I like to apply Silkening Leave In after I wash my hair. I put my freshly washed and conditioned hair loosely in my turbie for a couple of minutes then let it down, divide it in half down the back and apply about a nickle size dollop, first to one side then the other, concentrating on my length and ends then finishing up at my roots and crown. I get a little extra to work into particularly dry/frizz prone areas of my canopy then I detangle, working gently from my ends upward, using my wide tooth comb. The Brassica Seed and Shea Oils provide the slip I need to nearly effortlessly work the snarls from my tangle prone wurls and deeply hydrates and softens my distressed tresses. If I'm air drying, I add a little hair oil to seal in all of that good moisture and further soften and condition. I then damp bun or let it hang loose to dry. From my first use of this gorgeous product, it became a favorite.

Ingredients:
-Brassica Seed Oil: A natural alternative to silicone. 
-Shea Oil: A natural deep conditioner for hair. 
-Sage: Supports scalp health.

Water, Glycerin (Vegetable), Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides (Coconut Oil), Behentrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-7, Glyceryl Caprylate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*+, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Symphylum Officinate Leaf Extract, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Coco-Glucoside, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Algin, Chitosan, Gellan Gum, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend). 

*Certified Organic. 
+Fair Trade

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Blow drying or as I like to call it, "blow frying" is a step I have to take if I want the sleek, smooth look I prefer for my hair. Being absolutely hopeless with a blow dryer and round brush, I rely on my Revlon One Step Hair Dryer and Styler and of course, Madam C J Walker Brassica Seed & Shea Oil Silkening Blow Out Creme.

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The Silkening Blow Out Creme is, in reality a thin, quite liquid-y formulation that contains Brassica Seed Oil and Shea that provides natural heat protection and brush glide to reduce tug, friction and breakage. This blow out creme has the same delicious, delightful scent as it's sister product. When I use this product before I blow dry, my hair comes out so soft, silky-smooth, shiny and it stays that way for days and days, even when I wear it up then let it down, again. If you follow me on Snapchat, you will have seen my hair in it's sleek, shining freshly blown out glory. I am so impressed with this incredible stuff!

Ingredients:
-Brassica Seed Oil: A natural alternative to silicone. 
-Shea Oil: A natural deep conditioner for hair. 
-Sage: Supports scalp health. 
-Panthenol (Provitamin B5): Blocks moisture and keeps hair shiny. 

Water, Glyceryl Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin (Vegetable), Diheptyl Succinate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*+, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glyceryl Caprylate, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Panthenol, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Glyceryl Undecylenate, PVP, Polyquaternium-7, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut Oil), Coco-Glucoside, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Algin, Chitosan, Gellan Gum, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend). 

*Certified Organic. 
+Fair Trade
I am not, however impressed with the packaging. The tube in which my Silkening Blow Out Creme arrived has a large opening and merely tipping it down to dispense the product results in a gusher with splashing and blow out creme running down my shirt. *sigh* I have to be very careful about how I dispense this product for use. If you ask me, this gorgeous stuff needs to be in a pump bottle or, just switch the packaging of these two products. Put the blow out creme in the disc top cap bottle and the thick leave in in the tube.

Packaging aside, I am deeply impressed with Madam C J Walker Beauty Culture products and their mission statement. The Brassica Seed & Shea Oils Silkening Leave In and Brassica Seed & Shea Oils Silkening Blow Out Creme are beautiful products that deliver the results that they promise. Both products are free of Sulfates, Parabens and Phthalates and this line is Cruelty Free.

Madam C J Walker Beauty Culture has a full range of products designed to address the concerns and unique needs of every hair type. Have you tried this brand? What are your favorites? Please do tell.

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Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush in Snapdragon

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A little while back I entered a giveaway hosted by the lovely Amber of Daydreaming Beauty. The prize was the winner's choice of one of two shades of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush. Much to my delight and intense gratitude, I was one of the lucky winners and my shade choice was...

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Snapdragon! I know. You're shocked. Erika went for the coral/pink. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush is housed in Becca's signature chic, industrial style packaging that fits neatly into makeup case drawers and looks great on my dressing table.

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This velvety soft powder is beautifully pigmented and silky to the touch. Just a tiny bit on my brush supplies a luminous, translucent flush with a soft, golden glow that makes my cheeks look lit from within. This blush blends beautifully and it wears, on my skin all day long with no need to ever touch up.

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Swatched in a swipe and blended out with a brush. I swear, I need to improve my lighting, my swatch photos are a nightmare! But I hope that you can see just how gorgeous, pigmented and softly translucent this blush is.

I have my greedy eyeballs on a couple more shades of the Becca Shimmering Perfector Luminous Blush. In addition to my now beloved Snapdragon, I believe that Camellia and Foxglove would suit me, quite nicely.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush is available at Sephora, it is Paraben and Sulfate free. Becca is Cruelty Free.

Are you using, loving these blushes? What is your favorite shade?

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Sample Saturday | Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation & Concealer

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Foundation. It is a makeup item that is for me, fraught with angst. For that reason, I have very few foundations in my life and I tend to remain extremely faithful to them. But like anyone, I like a new foundation, now and again and it's fun to try samples of the latest and greatest, on the off chance that I will encounter a winner.

 Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation and Makeup Forever Ultra HD Concealer. I had been eyeing the foundation on the Sephora website and arguing with myself about whether or not I should order it. Most of the reviews I have read and seen on YouTube were quite positive, some call it Holy Grail. However, most of the people doing those reviews are substantially younger than I and do not share my particular skin concerns.

 As there is no Sephora store in my immediate area, I can't just run out to get samples and let's face it, $43.00 is a bit much to risk on a flyer. I know that I can return but wrapping and packing it back up, sending it back, waiting for my refund... Raggle Baggle I don't need or want. So, I was happy to receive these samples in a recent Sephora order. Finally! I can see what all of the hoopla is about!

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The Claims:
Developed specifically for the film and TV industry's most advanced technology, Ultra HD Liquid Foundation creates a naturally flawless complexion—in and out of the spotlight. Invisible under the latest, super-focused 4k lens, this revolutionary foundation features uniquely-coated pigments that provide medium to buildable coverage with an even lighter weight, second-skin texture that looks just like skin. This formula leaves your complexion with the same flawless results that you’d achieve with a flat foundation brush in a tap and stretch motion. It contains hyaluronic spheres to ensure comfortable wear on all normal, dry and combination skin types, and it lasts all day, leaving a natural-looking finish. Now available in an expanded range of 40 shades to match all skintones, Ultra HD is the perfect everyday foundation for a flawless complexion—and it doesn’t require touch ups. 

The Reality:

Wow. Where do I start?

Shade: Too dark and far too yellow for my fair, neutral skin tone. No worries, in this case as I was testing formula, not shade. I figured that if this stuff did blow my doors off, I could get matched, next time I'm in the Valley and can pop into a Sephora.

How Does It Apply? Smooth, easy. I applied it once, with a brush, once with a damp Beauty Blender. The brush gave me fuller coverage, the Beauty Blender more sheer.

Finish? Very smooth, supplying a perfected, blank canvas. I actually kind of loved that aspect. My skin, at least for a little while looked as near absolutely flawless as it could be.

How Does It Feel? In a word, heavy. This makeup feels like a mask on my skin. It is suffocating and after a few hours, I was ready to claw it off my face.

How Does It Look? On me? Immediately upon application, lovely but that didn't last for long.

How Does It Wear? This is where this foundation really came off the rails for me. Wear is abysmal. This foundation soon started settling into every fine line, wrinkle, fold on my face. I was able to gently smooth it back out and setting it with powder helped it "hold the line" for a little while but by my next mirror check, about an hour later, my face looked like fifty miles of bad road. Every little line, deeper line, the tiny cracks around my mouth and chin. My forehead. Oh. Lord. No! Aside from the setting and cracking, this foundation did hang together beautifully without fading, clotting or transferring. It even held up to my allergy stricken beak being blown a million times. That's impressive!

The Verdict: 

Guilty of being utterly incompatible with my skin type, texture and tone. The concealer, while a lovely match for me, did a halfway decent job on my dark circles, for a little while then just devolved into a mass of lines and faded to allow my darkness to take control, once again. So it's a no, as well.

Please understand, I am not trashing these products. I am just saying that they are not appropriate for my own skin. I have seen this foundation and concealer work beautifully for other people, mostly those much younger than I. I believe that this makeup was designed with young, firm, line free, oil prone skin in mind. I just don't slot into that category. If you do, I suggest that you take this stuff out for a test drive, you might really love it. You can get free samples from your local Sephora and I strongly suggest that you go in and swatch and get samples. While Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation is available in a wide shade range, their undertones are pretty limited. R for pink, Y for yellow. There are no neutral tones so finding a shade match may be a challenge.

I had fun trying this foundation and concealer out and I'm happy that I had samples with which to play before I made the what would have been for me huge mistake of purchasing this foundation.

Do you use Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation? How about the Ultra HD Concealer? What has been your experience with these products? Please do tell.

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Youngblood Lunar Dust in Twilight Lights Up My Complexion

Hi. My name is Erika and I am a highlighter freak. Next to eye shadow, highlighters most rock my happy little makeup world and no matter how many I acquire, I want more.

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Basically.

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Youngblood Cosmetics has a beautiful light reflecting mineral highlighter they so aptly named Lunar Dust. I received the shade Twilight to add to my little highlighter hoard stash and share with my gentle readers.

Ingredients:
Mica (CI 77019), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Corn Starch Modified, Lauryl Lysine, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Carmine (CI 75470), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163).

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Packaged in a sifter jar is a blend of ultra fine minerals, good-for-your-skin-oils and shimmery goodness. This pale, radiant white highlighter has the softest hint of gold and multidimensional colour shifting particles that feel silky to the touch and impart to my fair complexion a beautiful, luminous glow that is never invisible or "too much."

My favorite method of application is; with a soft highlighter brush, sweep it gently along on top of my cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose, across my forehead and above the arch of my brows then buff a little on my chin and cupid's bow. This beautiful powder can also be mixed with a favorite moisturizer, lotion, primer to impart a glorious glow all over my face or any part of the body I please.

Youngblood Lunar Dust in Twilight is ideal for very fair to medium complexions, the hint of soft gold gives it the ability to work for both cool and warmer toned light complexions. For tan to deep skin tones there is the beautiful Dusk, a gorgeous, glowing rose gold.

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Swatched here, in a swipe and blended with a brush. I believe that I photographed this swatch in natural light coming in through my window. If you follow me on Snapchat, you would have seen this highlighter in action on my face.

 Youngblood Cosmetics are available from their website or find local stores with their handy-dandy store locatorYoungblood Lunar Dust is Cruelty Free, Vegan and Gluten Free.

Have you tried this beautiful highlighter or it's sister shade? What are your favorite Youngblood Cosmetics?

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