7 Beauty Tips Tested

There are sooooooo many do’s and dont’s out there when it comes to your “beauty”.

DO sleep a lot.

DON’T stress.

DON’T eat sugar.

DO drink water.

DO exercise.

DON’T forget to wash your face.

DO pamper your skin.

DO drink more water- with lemon.

DON’T eat dairy.

DO drink milk.

DON’T have caffeine.

and on and on.

But when you don’t live in a spa and you work all day (in or out of the home) who is really able to follow those guidelines? Do you get a mini facial every week? Do you get enough sleep every night? Do you eat sugar? Yeah. It’s real life over here too.

Now in month 6 of my year long challenge I have learned some things.

A. Doing a new category each month is a great way to keep me on my toes and not get bored or settle into old habits- at least not as quickly.

B. A month is also a super short time to master anything, or even wrap my head around the tip of the iceberg. I start learning about something like inside-out skin care and then it leads into a healthy digestive system and hormones and….whew! There is so much amazing information out there that it can be exciting but also overwhelming which is completely counterintuitive to my mission. While learning is one of my values if it takes over and makes me want to spend more time and money then I am fulfilling it in a negative way. So I’m watering it down ok? You get my drift.

C. I am no expert here. I am trying this stuff out. Giving myself a year to look at my life from all angles. To tackle everything I can, even just a little, and take inventory. My goal this month, and this year is primarily to assess and address the areas that cause the most stress, simplify them, become intentional about them and move on to the next. I am searching for more joy. Yes, yes, I know happiness isn’t found out there, but so much of the out there has been overshadowing my joy that I want to remove it so I can do ME better.

D. When you try more than one thing at a time it can be hard to tell which one(s) are really doing the trick. I tried to pick things that worked in harmony with each other- as in I could realistically keep up this pattern- and not burden myself more.

I am trying to stick to my values, keep it my kind of simple, and have fun with it!

When I got over my giddy thoughts of skincare and makeup (that girly girl still lives here) and really thought of a simple beauty month as it related to my intentions and values I got serious. I made a plan, a challenge for myself if you will. What would REALLY get me to think less about more products– whether simple or natural or whatever- and focus on essentials and living intentionally?

So now as I am going into week four of my Simple Beauty month here is how I kept it my kind of simple:

I started with a week of excess product purging.  I analyzed my daily routines such as in the shower, hair care, makeup, skincare, and special occasions- and what I really use in all those areas. These past two weeks I focused on treating my skin and body better from the inside out. Now in week four I am really thinking more intentionally about what I put in my body and on my skin and going back through those products again to see if there is anything I legitimately need- like moisturizer or mascara- and what else I can eliminate that might be harming instead of helping.

I learned so much these last two weeks. Two books were really awesome at breaking the science down for me and helping me apply the principles. Glow by Nadia Neumann and Clean Skin From Within by Dr. Trevor Cates “the Spa Doctor” (a woman!). I am not affiliated with either but thought I would share my resources because they have helped me really shift my thinking. I have purchased countless products over the years thinking that the next thing might solve this or that. Money and time and ENERGY that I won’t get back and that I don’t want to continue spending that is for sure.

Now that I am finding more confidence in the rest of me, in who I am, I find that my insecurities about my appearance are shrinking. As such my desire to over stress about products and clothes and covering up those aspects is shrinking as well. The burden is lightening and that is minimizing at it’s finest I’d say!

Ok. So you are like….the title of this dang post is 7 Beauty Tips Tested and you are rambling on and on! Get to the point already! So here goes.

I decided to pick 7 things from the books and google searches and magazine articles out there to try for my two weeks. Trying to keep it simple right folks? I’ve got a lifetime to try new things (not a plug for consumerism or stress whatsoever) so I didn’t need to put it all into 14 days. I picked:

1.Better skin from the inside out:

Basically what I put in my body, and what I leave out.

  • I tried the dirty lemon drink thing, of my own making. Yep I made it myself. I have collagen peptide powder, cayenne pills (my throat simply cannot do straight powder. I love spicy food but I’ll be coughing all day if I drink the stuff), lemon food-lemonjuice, and honey as sweetener cuz I prefer it over artificial ones anyway. – The low down? I did notice a difference. My skin felt more radiant? I can’t quite put a finger on it. Maybe it’s a placebo thing. Either way I like it.
  • Consuming WAY less sugar. I love sugar. Always have. I fight that side of me like Jekyll vs. Hyde. Paula Dean and I are tight when it comes to baked goods. So instead of a complete abstinence- who am I kidding- I opted to curb my cravings during the day with my drink and better snacks. I used more raw honey to sweeten things- and I even tried Sugar 2.0 in a baked good- turned out ok! I feel way better when I know I am trying. And by-the-by raw honey is a great face mask!
  • No caffeine. This one wasn’t that hard as I found out a couple years ago that caffeine makes me break out. Not horribly but it is sure fire if I have a Dr. Pepper I’ll have a little friend on my face in a day. I have never been a coffee drinker #mormon, but I started drinking Crio Bru a couple of years ago and it is like chocolate tea. No caffeine. Great energy. Although there was one headache tired day that I could have really gone for a Dr. Pepper y’all (transplant Texan coming through) BUT I held strong!
  • More raw veggies- especially dark greens. I really really tried to make a converted effort to eat even better than I normally do these two weeks. More stuff into smoothies, more salads, doing three or four vegetable options with dinners just to make it interesting for myself and the kiddos. Makes your whole body just feel good. (Pictured here- thanks sis! are some nightshades which if you have problem skin might be good to avoid!- I thankfully did not have to. Me and tomatoes and peppers? Besties.)

journal and food-2

  • Simple ingredient meals- like lunch! I food prepped for my lunches and that helpeda lot (light bulb for next months simple meals challenge!!!) I always had roasted cubed sweet potato and Brussels sprouts in the fridge plus avocados and salsa, as
    well as cooked quinoa and dark salad greens on the ready for a quick Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 11.26.48 AM unch. Food ingredient prep is awesome sauce I tell ya.
  • PS my new favorite dressing? Right there —–>

2. Oils:

Oils are fairly new on my radar as the holy grail they are. I’ve done essential oils for sickies for a while, or good smells from a diffuser, but I’ve really been coming around to their many incredible applications of late. PLUS I am a huge sucker for make it at home stuff so, yeah.

  • I only tried one new oil on my face this month, but it was already purchased a while back and just arrived. I had needed a new daytime moisturizer for under my makeup and when a friend, and relative, AND celebrity all made mention of it recently I thought what the heck. Enter Soco Anti Aging Serum. It looks like you are putting iodine on your face and feels super greasy….for like 5 minutes and then. AND THEN. It is awesome. Glowing skin instantly. Well, in ten minutes. But that is close enough for me. It made it onto my favorites things page.
  • Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate- I have been using this for a while and I really like it. Until it runs out and something else pops on my radar as being any better I will use this. It feels wonderful and makes my skin soft and provides the skin care bottles scrub oil face serumperfect counterpart for my every other day retinol schedule. I feel like it soothes and nourishes on those off nights from the power packed harsh stuff. It is packed with anti aging essential oils.
  • Squalane- I have also been using this for a while and I think I just like how clean it feels when it absorbs. I put it on whenever I feel like it.  I like that it is a natural oil found in your skin and body anyway. I use it anywhere I want a little extra moisture without a full on lotion.

Verdict? Oils are great. Essential ones in roller bottles and diffusers. Others on your face and dry hands, and we can’t forget the good ones like coconut and avocado and olive that we eat too! Oils are staying in my beauty regimen.

3. Sleep:


I am just going to write



here ok? You and I both know about this one. No scientific research or testing needed. If I had found something that told us we could look and feel amazing on 4 hours of sleep Iwould. But it just isn’t going to happen. What happened when I purposefully got myself into bed on time and got some sleep? Less bags, more energy, better workout….etc. Better day. So, not much testing needed, just execution.

4. Less is more makeup:

I have been finding that as I age more makeup actually looks worse. Well, for day to day. In pictures? Load it up baby. But for hitting the grocery store, going to playgroup or doing school pickup a 5 minute face is much better- AND much simpler. Here is the catch though. If I am not doing those things up there like taking care of my skin from the inside or not getting enough rest then it really gets scary up in here. See those bags there? Yeah. Hereditary tear troughs magnified by lack of sleep and poor diet are oh so sexy (said no man or woman EVER)

Want to know what I’m doing these days to keep it less? Sure you do.

  • tinted sunscreen or cc cream I like Juice Beauty CC or Pixi H2O Skintint. Juice Beauty is packed with more goodness for your skin, but on some days when I feel shiny or want a slightly more made up look the gel to matte thing the Pixi does? Amazing.
  • tinted undereye treatment. I am trying to use less concealer under my eyes as even the good stuff like It Cosmetics ByeBye Undereye (which I do love) can look cakey and dry. I have started using this tinted treatment by ColoreScience after my oils and brightener and setting it with some powder (Laura Mercier Eye Brightening-amaze balls) on days when it’s just me and the kids and the vacuum.

    5 minute face in the car headed to school needing some chapstick
  • only concealer on problem spots vs all over coverage. I am trying to avoid the slippery slope of doctoring up my whole face just because I can. When I really need to go somewhere and the bare-ish face with steps 1 and 2 isn’t gonna cut it then I sparingly use a concealer under my eye, and on any blemishes or red around my nose and mouth.
  • a minimal eye. a little smudged eyeliner, bare with a thin extended cat eye, or just some brown thrown in the corners. Those are my go to for a quick lift. It really does help with a slightly downturned eye to add a little somethin out there. Plus some good volumizing mascara.

Psssssst: one last thing- not entirely directly related to the minimal makeup thing for this month but is an important factor in it for me. Brows make a huge difference. I have finally learned, after years and years of not doing my brows justice that they really do make a HUGE difference. I took the plunge and got mine microbladed last year to fill in a few holes and arch them a bit and it changed my world, and my face tremendously. Not sayin to go out and do it without thinking long and hard. Grab a good old pencil or some powder and a brush and see what brows do for your face. For me it was a great way to visually get the attention off my undereye.


Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 1.27.36 PMNot trying to yell at you with the caps there but well, maybe I am yelling, at the universe. Water is life. Water is everything. I always try to drink water but when I challenge myself to really get in the FULL ounces or more daily, everything is affected. Try a water challenge for yourself. Not a liquid challenge- a pure water challenge. Toss in some fresh lemon or cucumber sure…but get it down. Less headaches, clearer skin, anti-aging, curb appetite, feel better. Really. I’m no health guru but I know it is true. Yes. I have this bottle. It is my gym and “drink more water” bottle. But I love my white 20oz one for at home.



6.  Toss out the Korean 10 step thing:

I was trying to do something close to the 10 step routine as so highly suggested online. I know it has some merit but by golly my night routine time is precious. Not saying my skin is not precious but when I think about flossing (already daunting with braces….) and brushing and washing and exfoliating and toning and essence-ing and seruming and oiling and moisturizing and treating……the simple intentional feelings of my day go poof.

It is pampering, it is, but my husband just stares at the drawer full of bottles and potions IMG_1778
and lotions and then at my shining slippery face and is bewildered. Plus I can’t remember what night I am on for product switching and have to keep all my bottles lined up in their respective order to remember it all. Whew. K, I’m done typing about it. Basically I want to take good care of my skin so I can age as well as possible but I also want to feel simple and joyful before bed. I want to do my night routine complete with some reading and brain dumping and talking to my husband aka best friend.

So I took it down to a 6 step routine (bwahahahaha….) jk. well. 6 products. But a MUCH faster regimen. Cleanse, tone, serum/vitamin c stuff, retinol or oil and then moisturizer over retinol in the dry areas. Plus some undereye treatment cuz you saw that business up there. Find a few products that work for your skin concerns or stick with what is already working and then let it go. There is so much out there, it’s a multi-multi billion dollar industry for a reason. If there was a perfect product we would know about it. I have fallen prey to the FOMO when it comes to beauty products- namely to fix the under eye thang. Well. Turns out fillers are the only fix. Soooo no use wasting my money on plumping serums. Fun thought though for those of us who like products: When you run out of something is a great time to try something new if you want!

7. Exfoliating less

We’ve all heard that exfoliating is king, or eh queen, or whatever. However I read that for sensitive skin even a Clarisonic (which I use) every day can be too much? I tried just hand washing my face several times a week- getting it good and clean of course- but giving the brush a night off.  While I think I need more time to tell, I will say it has not proven to be a bad move. My skin isn’t more dull or breaking out or anything from stopping so maybe I’ll keep it up. Being more gentle to my skin can only be a good thing right?


This is not a good test by any scientific standards as I did too many things at once and had no control group.  So when I say I “tested” these beauty tips don’t take it literally. I limited my ability to detect really which one(s) were most effective and can’t prove the results of my testing. That being said however I am learning what works in my life and I encourage the same.

Making life simpler- however that looks to you-  and feeling good about yourself is all positive in my book. So I will keep doing (and not doing) what brings joy to my day and my soul. This month was a testing ground. An opportunity to think about this one aspect of my life and make a few changes and then move on with what I have learned. I will continue to modify and evaluate the inflow and outflow as my life circumstances also change. And I will try to write and share about it when it does!


What does simple beauty mean to you? What products (or foods) can you not live without? What positive changes have you made lately? Please share! Like I said, a girly girl still lives here.

Don’t take life too seriously. Seriously. Try not putting any makeup on and doing some of those selfie poses those social media master gals have goin on. It is hilarious. I can’t hold a straight face! How do they do it? Maybe when you are hot with tons of makeup on and a ring light you feel less like hiding from the monsters that are your eyes that day!


photocreds: me, google for the lemon, and my little sister @livileighh

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