The Bear Essentials

Hello friends! Happy March! It's finally time to start getting excited about spring and St. Patty's Day! It's also time to get a little sad about not being in Miami this year for WMC/MMW/Ultra. But I guess that's a part of growing up, right? At the very least, it's what I'm going to keep telling myself... Recently I've had a lot of people ask me what some of my favorite beauty products are - hair serums, eye liners, lip stains, nail polish, makeup remover, etc etc. So, ladies, here it is. My list of essential products. I hope that you enjoy it. And I'm sorry dude-man-friends, I promise that my next post will be about something more bro-friendly. Like sports. Or beer. Or whiskey. (Most likely all of the aforementioned topics.)

I'm not a super fancy person. I try and keep my daily routine as low maintenance as possible because in reality, I'm not very good at being a girl. I'm pretty good at pretending to be a girl. Or I'd like to think so, at least. However, when I do find a product that is both cost effective and efficient, I swear by it. And it takes a lot to shake me from my loyalty to that particular product.

That being said, most of the products I have acquired over the past six months are the result of an extremely generous family friend giving me a ridiculous Sephora gift card as a college graduation present. For that reason, a lot of the products I am about to rattle off are found at Sephora. But feel free to take the basic idea and run with it at your local CVS/Duane Reade.

OK. Let's start with the basics. I like to get a good scrub down first and foremost. My body wash of choice has been for lord knows how many years the St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter scrub. It smells delicious. I like to smell delicious. And in case you didn't know, oatmeal and shea butter are both excellent for your skin.

The super secret product behind my luscious locks has a fantastical story. My junior year of college I was in a rather mundane international studies class. During one particular class we were giving group presentations about something or the other. Since I'm a goody two shoes (don't laugh - I took my academics pretty seriously), I was sitting at the front of the classroom and the young man standing directly in front of me had the most fabulous hair. EVER. It was long, and glowing, and smooth, and every minute or two he would flip it out of his face and I decided that I HAD to know what shampoo/conditioner her used. The Q&A portion of their presentation came up and I involuntarily raised my hand and blurted out the question "What shampoo/conditioner do you use? You have fantastic hair." He told me Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine and I've been hooked ever since. (Kudos if you actually read that whole story.)

One of the essentials that I have sworn by for the past two years is a men's razor. Ladies. Invest. Yes, they are more expensive and they aren't as frilly. But I have never in my entire life loved a shaving device as much as I love the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power Razor. My legs have never been smoother. I don't even use a shaving cream, because it's an extra step (I'm pretty lazy) and somehow I can never manage to keep the shaving creamed leg out of the water line long enough to shave the entire leg. Just regular body scrub on my loofah and this God-sent razor are enough for me.

So that's the shower routine. There's also the daily face washing routine. Fair warning - I'm about to share with you the most expensive toy in my entire beauty regiment. It is by no means necessary, but it has become a staple in my life. I spent an absurd amount of money (thanks Sephora gift card) on a Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System. Why? Because I was young and stupid and at the time I had no other real use for my gift card. But it turns out, I'm hooked. The brush moves super friggin fast to get a deep clean going and the bloody device actually beeps and tells you when to move the thing from your forehead to your chin to each of your cheeks. And then shuts itself off automatically. I'm a huge multi tasker, so it's super easy to wash my face and brush my teeth in the mornings and nights with this thing. The face wash I like to pair it with? L'Oreal Go 360 Clean Deep Exfoliating Scrub.

Showered and scrubbed squeaky clean from head to toe? Check. On to the next.

Moisturize thoroughly with your favorite body lotion or body butter. Why? In the summer time because you want to show off your super sexy limbs. In the winter time because dry skin is the worst. But mostly because it feels fantastic to have soft skin - for you and anyone who touches you. I tend to go with the Vanilla Body Butter Duo from The Body Shop. I love the smell of vanilla because it's soft and subtle, but it's definitely there. And it goes with my yummy natural theme.

I have spent YEARS looking for the perfect way to go from a wet mop of hair to a semi decent everyday hairstyle in less than ten minutes. Friends. I have found it. Let me clarify something first, for those of you who don't already know. I have a lot of hair. It's thick. It's heavy. And it used to be very long - now it's slightly less long, but I swear it grows a quarter inch every time I fall asleep. I HATE blow drying and styling my hair. It's the most evil and frustrating thing in the world. I don't have any patience for it - not if I have to do it myself and most certainly not if someone else is going to be doing it for me while I attempt to sit perfectly still in a silly backwards black cape.

Anyways, getting back to the point - I found my perfect styling method. Apply three to five drops of Ojon Damage Reverse Serum. Flip hair over. Blast the underside of my hair for about a minute with my hair dryer set to high. Flip hair back over to normalcy. Dry bangs on low setting with a round brush for about a minute. Flip hair back over. Blast again on high for another minute. Flip back to normalcy. Blast around my head for a minute. Fix bangs. Let the rest dry naturally. Friends. Almost every day is a fantastic hair day. Let's just hope that the humidity of summer doesn't fuck this up for me too hard.

After that, it's just a quick dash through makeup land and I'm ready for the day. Let me just preface this by saying, it's stupid how little makeup I wear. I absolutely hate wearing makeup, but I recognize that a few key touches can fool anybody into thinking I spent the last 3 hours primping. Ready? GO!

I don't believe in foundation or face powder or cover up. Never have, never will. Half because I hate the way it feels on my skin and half because I'm just fed up trying to find the perfect color to match my ever changing skin tone. Instead, I wash my face daily, bleach my face whenever necessary (to even out the skin tone) and then apply a light moisturizer every day and every night. My facial moisturizer of choice has been Olay Active Hydrating Cream. Simple. Cheap. Effective.

First step, eye liner. If you're a brown girl like me you know that eye liner is THE MOST ESSENTIAL THING EVER. My personal favorite for the past couple years has been MAC Eye Kohl in Smolder. Once you go MAC, you never go back. Truth. Second step is optional. Sometimes I wear mascara, sometimes I don't. Depends on how much sleep I've gotten and how fanciful the place I'm going is. I haven't found the perfect mascara, but that's mostly because I don't really wear it all that often. Here are the two I have been switching off between: They're Real by Benefit and Supernova by Fresh.

Third step (and this is the killer) is the lips. Recently, thanks to my best bear Hillary, I've been experimenting more and more with lip color. I started with some very basic lip sticks. I've never been a fan of the lip gloss - it's too sticky and shiny for my taste. Even with lip sticks, I hated that it was so mushy and the coating on my lips would get easily smudged and had to be replaced every hour or so. Ugh. ENTER THE MAGICAL LIP STAIN. I am OBSESSED with lip stains. In particular, the Cream Lip Stains by Sephora Collection. I started with the Endless Purple shade, then moved to Classic Beige and then finally found a store that had the Always Red I had been searching for. I love how it's a long lasting stain and it's got a matte finish in bright, vibrant colors. I don't wear eye shadow very often, and when I do it's mostly browns and shimmery golds, so my lips are really the only pop of color in my makeup routine. This red has been life changing. LIFE CHANGING I TELL YOU. OK. I need to calm down. It's not normal to get this excited by a lip stain.

And that's it, friends. That's the bear routine. I know that this post was really long and probably completely unneccessary, but it's nice to share lady secrets with lady friends. It makes me feel more lady like.

Leave me a comment with some of the beauty essentials that you swear by!

With cherry red kisses, xx Nikbear