How I Got Rid of Dry Skin

As far back as I can remember, I have always had very dry skin. I have spent so much money over the years on skin care products from the drugstore, as well as the expensive department store brands. The one issue I had with some of the very rich cream moisturizers, is my face would break out. I have heard the myth so many times that if you have dry skin, your face won’t break out — well that is not true for me. So, I would end up with dry, flaky, skin with a bunch of pimples that I couldn’t really treat because all the products for acne pretty much dry out your skin.

And I know there are those of you out there that are telling me I should exfoliate and that will help. I also tried exfoliating once a week, and when that didn’t help, I did it more often. It did not help.

I have literally tried everything, including going to a dermatologist (but I won’t go into that here).

You have absolutely no idea how frustrating it is to get ready to go to work or somewhere important, and as soon as you put on makeup, your face starts to peel. And yes, I have tried hundreds of foundations, and got the same result.

About 6 months ago, everything changed — I watched a youtube video from Wayne Goss called How to Cure Dry Skin. In the video he talks about a few products (very inexpensive) that he used to get rid of his dry skin. Although I chose not to use all the products, I did something similar.

In the video, Wayne talked about a regime that he used to get rid of his dry skin. The products he mentions are bicarbonate of soda for exfoliation, glycerin/glycerol, oil (olive, coconut, almond, etc), and vaseline. You need to mix the glycerin with water before applying it to your face. Wayne said to get a spray bottle and fill it with water (I used distilled water), then put about a tablespoon of the glycerin in it. There are complete instructions on how to use all the products, and in what order in the video (I put a link to it at the bottom of this post).

While I chose not to use most of the products because I was having such difficulty with my face, I did try the Glycerin. And it worked, I couldn’t believe that I have spent so much money and suffered so much embarrassment over the many, many years with my dry, flaky skin, that I finally had a solution.

Since I started using the glycerin water, my skin is no longer dry and flaky. I do have to say that it took a couple weeks for all the dryness to go away. But after the first application, I noticed a big difference in my skin texture. Also, I have stopped buying all the expensive skincare products, in fact, my skincare regimen is very simple and inexpensive. I use only a few products – I outlined my routine below if you are interested.

In the morning, I wash my face with African Black Soap, then after I dry it off, I apply John Masters Organics Vitamin C Serum, then I spray on the Glycerin Water (see above for info on mixing it with water). You can spray your face first if you prefer, I use the Vitamin C Serum first because I think it might absorb better (who knows). Anyway, then I apply Shea Butter – yes plain shea butter. And that’s it. It does take a little while for it to absorb, so I have a wait a little bit before I can apply my makeup. If you wear mineral makeup, I am not sure if that would really apply evenly, you may need to use a different moisturizer.

At night I follow the same routine, only I put a lot of shea butter on my face, kind of like a mask. I recommend if you do that too, you should pull your hair back so it doesn’t get all greasy.

*One note: I would use a small bottle for the glycerin water and change it frequently, every week or so, so it stays fresh.

I have been following this routine for months and I have not had dry or flaky skin. And I have saved soooo much money on skincare products. I bought a big tub of the shea butter and it has lasted me forever. Also, one bottle of the glycerin will last a very long time. Really the only products I spend money on are the vitamin c serum and the African Black soap. I also changed over to a drugstore foundation. So I have saved so much money with the change.

Resources:

  • Wayne Goss, “How to Cure Dry Skin” video on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KIrsKwu0K0
  • Glycerin: if you can’t find it at your local drugstore (which I couldn’t) I found Glycerin at Amazon. After reading all the reviews, I ended up purchase the NOW brand of glycerin
  • Shea Butter: you can find this in bulk a number of places. From what I have read, there are different types of shea butter that you can purchase. I bought the West African Shea Butter, I don’t know if it is better than the others, but I did get it for a good price. Here is a link to Amazon and all the different varieties of Shea Butter
  • African Black Soap: I use the Nubian Heritage African Black soap. I can usually find it at my Whole Foods Store. There are a number of brands out there. Here is a link to the African Black Soap at Amazon
  • John Masters Organics Vitamin C Serum: I found this on the John Masters Website as well as at Beauty.com. But you can find it a number of places.

**This post contains affiliate links – see my Disclosure Policy for details.

What to Look for When Shopping for Wardrobe Basics

With so many clearance sales going on right now, you can find some amazing deals on basic staples for your wardrobe.

When buying wardrobe basics it is important to select quality-made clothing so that it will be able to withstand frequent wear and cleaning.

If you are not sure how to pick out a quality-made garment, we listed 3 of the most important qualities you will want to check before you make a purchase:

  • Color Saturation: If you are buying a dark color such as black, make sure it is a “true” black and doesn’t have a faded look to it. The lighting in some stores doesn’t accurately portray the color. If you can, take the skirt to the window and see how it looks in the sunlight. You may also want to compare it to another piece of clothing that is black to see how the colors against each other
  • Fabric Quality: You can tell just by touching the fabric if it feels thin or cheap. Also, check the label of the garment to see the fabrics used (it is also a good idea to check the washing instructions)
  • Workmanship: Check all of the stitching on the garment (especially the hem) to make sure the stitches are uniform and secure. Take extra care to inspect the thread to make sure it isn’t fraying. If your garment has a zipper, be sure to test it to make sure it slides up and down smoothly

If are not confident you can pick out a good fabric or workmanship, try going into a high-end store to look at the quality-made clothing they offer. You can even try on different items to see how they fit. You don’t have to buy anything, but with all the amazing sales going on right now, who knows, you might get lucky and find a great bargain on something that you normally could not afford.

Not sure what basics you need in your wardrobe? We have a list of 11 Basic Items Everyone Needs in their Closet

Beauty Product Shelf Life

Ever wonder how long you should keep your beauty products?

We have compiled a general guideline that lists how long you should keep various beauty and skincare products (for specific expiration dates and shelf life, it is best to contact the manufacturer).

Moisturizer: 3-12 months
Moisturizers with natural ingredients, plant extracts, essential oils, and botanicals are best used within 3 months because they will lose their efficacy. Moisturizer can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, so make sure your hands are clean before reaching into the jar, or use a q-tip instead.

Quick tip: when you open a new product, write the date on the container with a waterproof marker – that will help you keep track of how long you have had it.

Foundation: 6-18 months
Oil-free foundation tends to have the shortest shelf life because it will dry out quicker than other types, whereas moisturizing, cream, and compact foundation will last longer. Like moisturizer, foundation can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so make sure you don’t contaminate the jar/compact when using your foundation. Liquid foundation that is packaged with a pump dispenser is a great option.

Powder: 2-3 years
Powder may actually last longer, but two years is the longest you should keep it. For pressed powder, you should frequently wash/change the sponge. Continue reading “Beauty Product Shelf Life”

Back to School & College Essentials

If you are heading back to school or going for the first time, there are essential items that you will need while you are there. I have created a basic resource to help you.

Click on the heading below to find basic tips, purchasing ideas, and a checklist for supplies every student needs for school.

  • School & Office Supplies: Find a listing of school and office supplies every student needs for school. Includes everyday items, basic school supplies, and office equipment for a dorm or apartment.
  • College Wardrobe Essentials: Not sure what clothes you will need to pack for college? I have a guideline for the types of clothing you will need (i.e. casual, everyday, formal), a checklist with the specific clothing items you should take with you to college, and purchasing tips for finding the best deals.
  • Dorm & Apartment Supplies: The section includes some of the basic supplies you will need for your dorm or apartment, includes items like an alarm clock, lamps, linens, and general personal care items you will use whether you are living in a dorm room or renting and apartment.
  • Kitchen Essentials: Whether you are renting an apartment or staying in the dorm, you will need to eat – and possibly cook your own food. The checklist contains basic items you will need for your kitchen.
  • Laundry & Cleaning Supplies: This section includes basic items you will need to do laundry in a dorm or apartment along with products and supplies to help you keep your apartment or dorm clean.
  • Electronics for Back to School: Every student needs electronic equipment, including calculators, a computer, etc. This checklist contains general use items along with specific items needed for dorm or apartment living.

Shopping the Sale: How to Get the Most for your Money

When shopping a sale, it can be very tempting to spend more than you can afford. Here are some easy ways that have helped me so that I don’t end up with the dreaded ‘buyers remorse’ and the hassle of returning items that were out of my budget and bought on impulse:

  • Make a list of items you ‘Need:’ Using a list can help you decide which items you need to buy right now and which can wait for another time. When you stick with a list, it will keep you from making emotional purchases and spending more than you can afford.
  • Make a budget: Before you buy anything, make a budget so that you know how much money you have available to spend. Be sure to track all of the purchases you make to be sure you are on budget and not overspending.
  • Don’t buy anything without comparison shopping: Be sure to check 2 or 3 websites and even do a Google search for the item you want to purchase. With so many sales going on, you can often find a item cheaper if you just take a little time to comparison shop.
  • Always use coupons: It will only take a few seconds to do a Google search for coupons – and with so many stores offering coupons, it really pays to take the time. Also, be sure to sign up for your favorite store’s email list – I have found a number of them send coupons that you can use at the store or online.
  • Don’t be in a hurry to purchase: There will always be a sale somewhere, so don’t feel pressured to buy everything right now.

The Outlet Mall is a great place to find bargains – if you are planning to shop the outlets, be sure to read my article How to Save Money at the Outlets for tips on finding Sales Info and Coupons to use at the outlet mall.

Find more Shopping Tips & Resources »

Shopping Tips for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

One of the things I love about shopping is finding great deals on items I actually need. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday there will be many bargains to be had, but if you aren’t prepared and don’t know what to look for, you can end up regretting how much money and spent and what you purchased.

Here are a few easy shopping strategies to help you get the most for your money without any regrets.

Shop Around
Before making a purchase, it is always best to check different stores to see if you are actually getting the lowest price.

Check various online retailers and if you have time, visit your local store to see if they are selling the item cheaper. I can’t tell you how many times I have just bought an item that was advertised as being the ‘lowest price ever,’ only to find out that I could have bought it somewhere else cheaper.

Check the Return Policy
This is one of the most important things to check before you buy anything online or at a store. I have had a couple bad experiences in the last year with returns, and have learned to read over the store’s return policy before making a purchase.

When reading the return policy, you first want to make sure the product you are buying is returnable. I have read a few return policies that do not allow for return of certain items. One of the most important things to check is the return days – this will tell you how many days you have to return the product. Also, be sure to read the process for making a return. This should tell you if they charge a restocking fee and what the shipping charges will be to return the item. If the merchant requires that you print out and use their label for returns, find out how much they are going to charge you for return shipping.

Also see the article I wrote on Why you should always check the return policy

Finding Deals at the Mall
If you are planning to go to the mall, be sure to visit the mall website. I have found that some malls post coupons and information on sales and special events going on at the mall. If you have a favorite store at the mall, be sure that you visit their website and sign up for their email list.

How to Save Money at the Outlet Mall
The outlets are also a fabulous place to find bargains on Black Friday (or anytime). Be sure to visit your local outlet mall’s website, many provide information on current sales and events.

Also, the outlet mall may have a Preferred Shopper or VIP Club you can join. By joining, you may be enable to gain access to special coupons or advanced notice of sales. For more tips on saving money and time at the outlets, you can read How to Save Money at the Outlet Mall

See Also How to Protect Yourself When Ordering Online for more tips on what to check before you make a purchase.

Happy Shopping!

Get More Shopping Tips & Resources

College Wardrobe Essentials

It can be difficult to decide what wardrobe essentials you will need for college. If you are going to be moving and staying in a dorm, you don’t want to take your entire wardrobe with you, but you also don’t want to be in a position where you don’t have anything to wear.

When trying to decide what clothes to take with you to school, it is easier to break it down into categories of the types of clothes you will need and when. Here are some situations you might want to consider before buying wardrobe essentials for college (this information can apply to both men and women):

  • Attending Classes: you will most likely wear casual clothing, like jeans or a sweatsuit to class, except for special occasions, like giving a speech or lecture that may require more formal attire.
  • Business/Formal Attire: There may be certain occasions that you will need to dress up from what you would normally wear to class. If you have to give a speech, go to an interview, or decide to join a professional group, you may need to wear a suit or at least a nice pair of dress pants and blouse (or shirt for men) depending on the event. To make sure you are prepared for any event, you should have formal wear (business suit) and business casual attire (dress slacks and blouse/button-down shirt).
  • Clothes for Work: If you already have a job or decide to get one after school or on the weekends, you will need clothes for work. The type of job you have/get will determine what type of clothes you will need to purchase.
  • Weekends and After School: think about what you normally wear on the weekend or after school, what types of activities you will be participating.
  • Shoes: You may have all the clothes you need to wear for every occasion, but if you don’t have the right shoe, it can break your outfit. Be sure to take shoes (and socks/stocking) that match the clothing you are planning to wear. Nothing can ruin an outfit more than a pair of shoes that look out of place.

See also: College Wardrobe Essentials: Purchasing Tips & Checklist

Cleaning Out your Closet: How to Stay Organized

If you stay organized while cleaning out your closet, you won’t have to waste time and feel overwhelmed by the process.

Before you start taking everything out of your closet, you might want to invest in some sort of closet organizer(s) to better separate and organize all your clothing, shoes, belts, etc. You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars for a professional closet system, you can buy inexpensive closet organizers or shelving from your local Wal-mart, Target, Home Depot or Amazon.com. (it is best to decide this “before” you start your closet organization process).

Another nice touch is wood hangers – I recently bought wood hangers at Costco and was surprised at how much better and more professional my closet looked just by using wood hangers instead of the plastic ones.

Cleaning out your Closet:
The best tip I can give you is when taking items out of your closet, resist the urge to just throw everything in one pile.

Because I like to keep my clothes organized according to when and where I am going to wear them, I like to separate all the items (as I am taking them out of the closet) into categories with a system that I refer to as my “what, when, where theory:”

  • What season you are going to wear the item in
  • When are you going to wear it (i.e. to work, on the weekend, in the evening or special occasion, etc.)
  • Where do you wear it – i.e. top (blouses, shirts, sweaters), bottom (skirts, pants, etc), both (dresses and suits)

You can also separate your shoes, belts, scarves, etc, into similar categories.

By placing everything into categories, you will stay organized throughout the process – and it will make it easier and save a lot of time when you are putting everything back in your closet.

Putting Everything Back in your Closet:
When putting all the clothes back in your closet, try to keep everything organized by placing them in your closet according to category (i.e. work, casual, evening, etc). I also like to organize my clothing by color and pattern, kind of like they do in the department stores. It may seem a little neurotic, but it makes it much easier for me to pick out something to wear when I am in a hurry.

Out of Season Clothing
So that your closet doesn’t get overcrowded, store all the clothes that you aren’t going to wear this season in a box. Be sure to mark the box with the name of the season so that you can easily locate it (you don’t want to get it mixed up with other boxes and accidentally throw it away).

Organizing your Shoes
Instead of having all your shoes scattered in the bottom of your closet, you can buy a shoe tree or shoe rack to place all the shoes you are planning to wear this season.

To store shoes for next season, you can either take a picture of the shoe and put it on the front of the box or if you don’t want to invest money in printing out all the pictures, just write a brief description of the shoe and the season you would wear it.

It is a lot of work, but once you get your closet organized you will be surprised at how much time you will save trying to find what to wear.

Cleaning Out your Closet: How to Decide What to Keep

When cleaning out your closet, it can be difficult to decide which items to keep and which to throw or give away. If you just aren’t sure what to do, ask yourself two questions (if you can answer all three questions, the item is worth keeping):

  • When am I going to wear this item again?
  • Where I am going to wear it? Can you wear it to work, on the weekends, or special occasions.
  • What am I going to wear with with? Make sure the item you are planning to keep matches other items you already have in your wardrobe.

If you have an emotional attachment to the item, or you just aren’t sure what to do, put it in a separate pile (see Tips for Cleaning Out your Closet).

How to Protect Yourself When Ordering Online

More and more people are doing their shopping online these days. I know I purchase more than I ever have on the Internet. Unfortunately, not all of my experiences have been positive.

Based on my past experiences, here are a few things that I have learned to check before making an online purchase:

Shipping Charge: before you spend your time finding products on a particular website, find out how much they charge for shipping. I don’t know how many times I have spent an hour or so researching and adding products to my cart only to find out the shipping charges are too high for my budget.

Return Policy: be sure to read the return policy before making a purchase. The first thing I check is the number of return days and the procedure for returning the item(s).

If the merchant has a store, see what their policy is about making returns to the store (instead of paying to return the item by mail).

You will also want to check to see if they offer free shipping on returns and if they refund the shipping charge you paid to get the item.

Warranty: if you are buying electronics or a pricey item, be sure the website is an “authorized” dealer for that particular product/manufacturer.

Be sure to read over the warranty terms and look for exclusions and limitations. Also, review the procedure for sending the item in to be repaired – some places will actually charge you shipping or repair charges.

Contact Information: check to see if the website has a customer service number or email address where you can contact them with any issues.

If you aren’t familiar with the company, you should try to call the number before ordering, just to see if it is a legitimate number and someone answers.

Security & Privacy: before entering your credit card or personal information, it is important to do 2 things:

  • check the website’s terms of use and privacy policy to see how your information will be used
  • be sure the site is using a secure server and you see the “https” in the address bar. If you aren’t sure what https is, you can find more information on https at wikipedia.org

Do a Google Search and/or Check with the BBB: if you are not familiar with the company or merchant, you can always do a Google search to find out if they have a good reputation. You can also check the BBB website to see if there have been any complaints filed against them.

Search for Coupons: I have a rule that I will not make a purchase online without a coupon. Almost every company offers some sort of coupon for a percent off or at least free shipping. If you don’t have a coupon, they are easy to find by doing a Google search.

Resources:
The Federal Trade Commission has two articles that I found very informative: