I’m so not over Summer! I mean I know it’s officially over, but with the weather the way it is in Dallas I’m still going to be rocking this cute tube top dress til at least the end of the month. Maybe even October! This dress is under $25 and can only be found in stores. Check here for availability.

Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty started Sunday and they have tons of great deals going on, but today in my personal opinion is the BEST deal. I’ve posted before how important it is to take care of both your neck and hands in order to keep looking young (read it here if you missed it). Well this is the best of the best when it comes to neck creams and I’ve NEVER seen it on sale. It’s pretty expensive so the fact that it’s a whopping 50% off and now $67.50 means you need to pick this up asap! Buy it here!

 

-V-

I am a huge fan of Botox! I started getting it done when I was 28 (don’t judge) and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m such a proponent of it that I’m on my 5th friend that I’ve gotten to try it out and they all equally love it. I know some people are curious about it, but still have some unanswered questions in order to decide whether they’re gonna take the Botox plunge or not. I’m here to help you with some knowledge I’ve learned and with my own personal experience. Let’s get started.

WHAT EXACTLY IS BOTOX?

Botox is actually a particular brand name for botulinum toxin which temporarily restricts muscles from contracting causing wrinkles. It’s actually said to be preventative because if you get it early enough than your face will never get used to making those facial expressions that cause the wrinkles to begin with! The most common places it is used is to get rid of crow’s feet, frown lines (which are the two lines that show up in between your eyebrows called “11’s”), and forehead creases (the horizontal lines that can show on your forehead when you raise your eyebrows). It’s also been know to be used in armpits to decrease sweating, temple area to reduce headaches/migraines, soften thick jaw muscles, gummy smiles, lip lines, near lips to make them look bigger by preventing the top lip from disappearing when smiling, approve dimpling in chin, and thick neck bands. I’m sure there’s even more that I’m leaving out.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BOTULINUM TOXIN?

Botox- The first to be introduced in 2002 and why everyone just calls all botulinum toxin Botox even if they really mean another product. For the rest of the post I’ll be referring to botulinum toxin as BT and only use Botox if I’m referring to that specific type of toxin.

Dysport (pronounced “diss-port”)- Introduced 7 years later and claims to spread the toxin farther than Botox and to take into affect quicker and last longer (Botox usually takes about a week to see the full results).

Xeomin (pronounced “zee-oh-min”)- This toxin was first launched in 2012, but there was some drama with them stealing some consumer stuff from Allergan (the company that manufactures Botox) so they had to re-launch in 2013. Very similar to Botox except it lacks carrier proteins which claims to produce fewer allergic reactions or resistance to the toxin. Also the only one that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

WHICH BT IS THE BEST?

This is from my personal experience and from opinions from friends. First, I’ve never tried Xeomin. I’ve never even been offered it before. I read that it might be cheaper than the other two because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and shipped in dry ice like the others so some offices pass on the savings to you. Botox is my personal favorite. It’s what I’ve used 99% of the time. It takes a week for me to see the final results, but I just plan accordingly and make sure I get it done a week before an event. It can last anywhere from 3-6 months. I’ve read that with continued use of Botox you can slowly spread out how often you need it because of long term weakening of the muscle and your face being “re-trained” on the use of your facial expressions. I honestly believe that because when I first got it done it would only last me about 3 months, but now it usually lasts me up to 6 months. My “11’s” are the worst and I noticed that my face was “re-trained” and I don’t make that frown face hardly as much as I used to. I know it sounds weird, but trust me. The only other place I’ve used Botox on is my crow’s feet, but luckily I don’t have them very bad to begin with. FYI you can only treat your crow’s feet with BT and not the wrinkles directly under your eyes. Those wrinkles are actually REALLY hard to get rid of, but can be improved with filler (that’ll be another post soon) or retinol which I’ve posted about before. I recently tried Dysport and I wasn’t a fan. It seemed to only last me two months, but my friend uses it and she loves it. Dysport is supposed to spread farther after injection so it’s better for larger areas cuz you’ll need less injections. Some doctors mix and match toxins. My friend gets Dysport for the larger forehand area and Botox for her smaller crow’s feet area. I was recommended Dysport by a new doctor that I’ve been seeing. Usually when you go to a new doctor they’re not sure how many units of toxin you’ll need because we’re all different and some of us have stronger facial muscles than others. They often go conservative and check on you in a week and if you’re not satisfied they offer you to come back for a touch-up. My advice. ALWAYS GO BACK. I made the mistake of not going back once because at the time my face looked perfect, but soon after the muscles started contracting. The doctors will touch you up for FREE if you go back soon, but after that you have to pay again so trust me just go and get more. I went back to get a touch-up of the Dysport and it STILL only lasted two months which is why I’m going back to Botox.

DO THE INJECTIONS HURT?

It depends. While it’s definitely not a walk in the park, I have a high pain threshold so sometimes I tell them to skip the  numbing cream and just get on with it. Beauty is pain though so I don’t mind at all. Sometimes you can hear the muscle crunching when they inject the toxin which creeped me out at first, but not a big deal anymore.

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?

There are all sorts of side effects that are possible as expected with a toxin. Too many to list, but I’ll tell you the most common ones. The first is a headache. I’ve only gotten a headache once and honestly I think because this other new doctor (I’m currently trying to find the best doctor in Dallas right now) was I think insulted that I called him out in front of a resident and told him that my Botox faded quickly from the previous visit so he aggressively injected my forehead. Jerk. FYI he shall remain nameless, but he’s supposed to be one of the top plastic surgeons in Dallas. Anyways, it was just a headache and my face looked fabulous afterwards so whatever (I never went back though). Second, is a droopy or uneven eyelid. I never experienced this with Botox, but I finally did when I tried Dysport. Not sure if it was the Dysport or the doctor’s fault. Mine honestly wasn’t that bad I just realized that when I was coloring in my eyebrows that one of them needed to be colored in slightly higher. For two of my friends though, it was rather noticeable. One of them had one eyebrow arched a lot high than the other. The other friend had one of her eyebrows droop to where she had one arched eyebrow and one straight one. I honestly believe that this side effect is caused by the doctor so make sure you do your research. The last common side effect is bruising. I typically don’t bruise, but if I do it’s usually a small dot where the injection was and can be easily covered up with makeup.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

I say it ranges about $10-$15/unit with $12 being average. 1 unit of Botox = 2.5 units of Dysport. 1 unit of Botox = 1 unit of Xeomin. Some places even do it by area. One doctor I went to would charge $300 for the first area  ( i.e. “11’s”) and $250 for the second ( i.e. crow’s feet). It depends how many units and how many areas you get done. I always just get two areas done so mine is usually anywhere from $450-$550 depending on units. I would say if you’re really lucky and don’t need that many units and only get one area done then at minimum you’ll spend $250. Keep in mind that except that one doctor who charged per area, most doctors won’t give you a total price. They’ll just tell you how much each unit costs ( usually you have to ask) and then they just start injecting away. The doctor won’t stop injecting until they get it perfect which could be $300 or $500 later and you won’t know until you get to the checkout desk. If you’re budget conscious then your best bet is to let your doctor know you want to start off with your area that bothers you the most and ask them how many units they used when they’re done to figure out the cost and whether you want to move on to another area. Some manufactures’ or offices will run specials too. I had one doctor who if you paid $1,000 for an entire bottle you would pay only $10/unit instead of $12 or $13. They would keep the product for me and keep track of how many units I had left, but I made note of how many units I had left too just in case.  Yes I know it’s expensive and you may want to bargain shop, but please don’t. This is your face for god’s sake! I’ve only ever been injected by medical doctors. Two dermatologists and two plastic surgeons. There are some med spa’s where some nurse’s do the injections and though that personally still makes me nervous, I’ve heard some wonderful things about nurse’s. JUST DO YOUR RESEARCH.

HOW TO FIND THE BEST DOCTOR?

Ask around. If you see someone who’s face looks fabulous ask them who they go to (if they admit to it). I’ve seen some really horrible frozen faces around town so I wouldn’t just trust reviews. I’d make sure you see a patient in person. My favorite doctor ever was a dermatologist in Los Angeles (supposedly she’s Jennifer Lopez’s doc) and I was referred to her by a friend who looked amazing. She really was a big difference. Mainly with filler (I promise that post will come), but I also never had any side effects with my Botox  and just looked fantastic. I was so bummed when I moved to Dallas and had to find a new doctor. My LA doc actually recommended someone, but it ended up being that doctor who aggressively injected my forehead 😳 He really may not be a bad doctor, but I just didn’t like his bedside manner. Who knew doctors could be so sensitive?  Anyways, ask around, look at pics or a patient in person and DON’T  be cheap about it unless a possible droopy eye is worth saving several hundreds of dollars to you.

CONCLUSION

So should you do it? Well first, can you afford it? It’s actually kinda addictive because once you get it and you see how young and amazing you look then you’ll want to just keep doing it. On the other hand, nothing happens if you just stop doing it or take a break from it. If you don’t have the funds to do it consistently then you can just do it around special occasions as long as you don’t get addicted to it. I personally think that BT and fillers mixed with great skincare products (retinol!) are the key to looking young forever! 😍 Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments or any doctor recommendations (especially in Dallas)!

-V-

I never actually thought about how mixing certain ingredients in your skincare could be bad, but it makes sense considering how strong certain ingredients are such as acids and others that can cause major dryness. I actually ran into this topic while researching my other post about the correct skincare order. I’m glad I did though because I’ve definitely mixed some of these bad boys together before. Oops 🙈 Read below to make sure you don’t make any of these costly mistakes.

 

  • Retinol And Alpha Hydroxy Acids(AHA) i.e. Lactic And Glycolic Acids- This combo will cause redness, irritation, and can cause sensitivity to light. If you forget or don’t realize a product contains either of these until it’s too late, the best way to remedy the issue is to take a anti-inflammatory such as aspirin and putting on some hydrocortisone cream.
  • Citric Acid With Anything- This also causes irritation and can be found in many moisturizers. Look for the ingredient on the back it will simply be labeled as citric acid.
  • Retinol and Acne Treatments- I’ve definitely done this before! 😱 My favorite acne treatment contains benzoyl peroxide which combined with retinol actually deactivates each other so no wonder why sometimes my blemish seems to take forever to go away! Many other acne treatments contain salicylic acid and this mixture causes dryness, redness, peeling and may increase sensitivity to light. Salicylic Acid is also known as a BHA so be aware of that.
  • Vitamin C And Alpha Hydroxy Acids(AHA) i.e. Lactic And Glycolic Acids- Done this too! 😫 The acids change the pH of the Vitamin C and render it useless. Common names for Vitamin C are ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate, ascorbyl palmitate.
  • Vitamin C And Retinol- Same as above. There are some products that contain both that are safe to use because the retinol is time released which means the Vitamin C works right away and after your pH level goes back to a retinol friendly level then the retinol continues to be released.
  • Exfoliators And Skin Brightening Products- Exfoliators remove dead skin cells to reveal new, smoother skin and skin brightening products can cause sensitivity to light so the combination can actually result in dark spots. The best way to fight this is to use SPF.
  • Niacinamide and Vitamin C- Niacinamide turns Vitamin C orange/brown which means it’s useless. It’s also known to make skin flush and red. These things apparently happen very slowly, but it’s still best to use these separately to be safe.
  • Retin-A And Scrub Exfoliants-  The prescription, Retin-A, is great for treating wrinkles and renewing skin, but it can also cause peeling. Make sure you’re not making it worse by using a rough exfoliator with beads.
  • Probiotics And Antimicrobials- Topical probiotics are great for clear skin and consist of what’s considered good bacteria. Some common ingredients that kill bacteria and that can often be found in acne treatments are citrus, tea tree oil, sulfur, and benzoyl peroxide so make sure you’re not combining these.
  • Vitamin C and Copper Peptides- Copper oxidizes the Vitamin C rapidly and doesn’t give it enough time to work so mixing these renders them both useless.

Some ways to fix these problems is to use the ingredients at different times of the day. For example use an AHA during the day and retinol at night or use one on one day and the other the next.  You also may see or even have some products that are actually made with some of these combinations in them, but know that they’re in smaller doses so they don’t have the same negative effect. With that being said, they also don’t have the same positive/full effect either so it’s up to you whether you’d rather have them mixed and not work as well or separate and get the maximum benefits.

Top: Agaci (linked this top a couple of weeks ago and now it’s 50% off!)

-V-

I’m all about standing out and being unique so I love having one-of-a-kind items and getting things custom made. I’m definitely not alone on this and beauty companies took notice. More and more companies are creating different products that you can personally customize yourself. Read on to find out all the coolest products you can personally make yourself including customized skincare that is specific to your skin concerns!

 

FINDING FERDINAND– Custom Lipstick

This company lets you create your own lipstick. You go to their website and pick up to four colors ( choose the percentage of each color you want to include) out of fifteen and they mix them for you and even let you name your new color. They have a starter kit lipstick palette which is unfortunately sold out, but it includes all fifteen color options and two empty wells for you to mix the colors yourself so you can decide in person which color is your favorite before you order your custom lip color. Hopefully this comes back in stock soon.The lipstick costs $30 or if you’re not 100% sure on your color they offer a lipstick sample for $6. You can also create a lip tint for $30. They have a custom makeup palette where you can pick three shades of either blush, highlighter, or bronzer and five shades of eyeshadow. You can’t create your colors, but they do give you a fair amount of option colors to choose from.

(Courtesy of Findingdferdinand.com)

MATCHCo– Custom Foundation

Finding a foundation that is your EXACT skin color is ridiculously hard. MatchCo has created a way for that to be not only possible, but easy. You download their app which scans five different areas of your skin to analyze your skin tone. The results are a perfectly matched foundation with your name and date that it was created personalized on the bottle. The founders describe the formula as a combination of tinted moisturizer and light to medium coverage foundation. The foundation retails for $49.

(Courtesy of Getmatch.co)

COVERGIRL CUSTOM BLEND Custom Foundation

Ok so this is supposed to be pretty similar to Matchco except two things. It’s new and the foundation is $25. I almost didn’t include this because I looked up the reviews on the app and apparently they don’t include undertones for African-Americans. The scanning of your face doesn’t seem as detailed as the Matchco so i’m not sure how exact the foundation will be. It is about 50% cheaper though so it may be worth a shot if you want to save some cash. Download the app here to get started.

(Courtesy of CoverGirl Custom Blend App)

THREE CUSTOM COLOR SPECIALISTS– Custom Makeup or Recreate Discontinued Shades

This is for all you ladies who had a favorite makeup product and were devastated when it was discontinued. Luckily that has never happened to me (knock on wood). They have an entire discontinued shade archive that you can look into to find your old fave. You can also send a small amount in if they don’t have it in their archives. If you want something completely new you can make your own shade by sending in for example a paint chip, a photo from a magazine, or two colors that you want blended etc. They make several custom products like tinted eye brow gel, eyeshadow, cream concealer, loose face powder, blush and a few others.

(Courtesy of Threecustom.com)

FUNCTION OF BEAUTY– Custom Shampoo and Conditioner 

This company customizes even the smell of your shampoo and conditioner. Go to their website and first pick out your hair type, structure and moisture level. You then get to pick five hair goals ( i.e. volumize, deep condition, lengthen, fix split ends, thermal protection etc.) Lastly, you pick your product color, fragrance (also level of fragrance), and of course you get to pick a name. 8 oz of both bottles will cost you $36. 16 oz runs $46.

(Courtesy of Functionofbeauty.com)

SKIN INC.– Custom Serum

We all have different skin concerns so Skin Inc. has created a custom serum to tackle your specific needs. You start off by taking a quiz that asks questions such as your age, how easily you tan or burn in the sun, top three skin concerns, your lifestyle (i.e. if you smoke, sleep habits) etc.  It takes all this info. and suggests three serums that you can mix to create your own. You can even order this online at Sephora.

(Courtesy of Sephora.myskinidentity.com)

INSITU– Custom Skincare

This company has several skincare products for you to choose from to customize. From pore minimizing mist, anti-aging face care, detoxifying exfoliator, to dark circles and puffiness repair etc. It even has products for your body such as body butter. Like other companies you start by taking a test that will recommend certain products then from their you get to customize them. You can decide such things as the texture and what time of day you’d like to apply it. The only downfall is that it’s located in London so shipping takes 10-15 days.

(Courtesy of InsitU.me)

There’s even more companies that are creating customized products soon so I’ll keep you guys updated with any new product releases. Oh and I ordered my custom lipstick sample from Finding Ferdinand over the weekend. Can’t wait to get it! 💄😍

-V-