Frizzy hair? Silicones are out, oils are in

You may have heard some talk about avoiding silicones in your shampoo, conditioner, and even styling products, especially if you have curly, coarse, or frizzy hair.  What’s that all about?

Short answer: they can build up on your hair and be hard to remove.

Long answer isn’t quite that simple.

Many products that claim to tame frizz contain silicones. Most people don’t think about it one way or another, as long as their hair is under control. But many lines use non-water soluble silicones that deposit on hair shafts, and stay there even after shampooing, creating build up that can dull hair and keep it from looking shiny. And if you use sulfate-free shampoos, it can be even harder to remove these silicones from the hair.

The non-water soluble silicones that you might want to avoid include:

Cetyl Dimethicone
Cetearyl Methicone
Stearyl Dimethicone

There are silicones that are water soluble, and you can find a complete list at the Science-y Hair Blog (which is a really great resource).

Going through all my hair products, I was surprised to see that many of them had these silicones in them. Even in products that I wouldn’t even have guessed, especially “oils.”

To remove these bad silicones from your hair, you’ll need a good clarifying shampoo, but one that doesn’t have sulfates – those will only contribute to frizz because they are such a harsh lathering agent. I personally love Purify Shampoo by Pureology, which clarifies even color-treated hair gently.

Once you rid yourself of these shine-destroying silicones, you’ll need to get products that tame frizz without depositing ingredients that can’t be removed easily. Because my hair is all of the things that silicones are supposed to help, like frizzy, coarse, untamable, curly, and just altogether unruly, I tend to focus on hair oils to help me style my long hair. Oiling hair has long […]

Style Saturday: a gorgeous cocktail dress for the holidays

For New Year’s Eve, I try and do something somewhat dressy and festive, because it’s often the only time I get the opportunity to wear an honest cocktail dress.  I live in a super casual town, and it’s rare that there is an event that requires me to show up in a beautiful cocktail dress, but New Year’s Eve is different. It’s the time of year to break out the false lashes and nail polish with glitter, dig out my black stilettos, and put on a dress that I absolutely love. I might even get to wear the mink coat that my late mother left me (don’t worry – I’d never buy a new one) if I’m lucky. Because really, where does one wear a mink coat in a beach town?

This year, just like last year, I’ve been looking through vintage styled cocktail dresses, and I wanted to share my favorite brand with you: Stop Staring!. Stop Staring! was born in 1997, by Alicia Estrada who was only 17, and has been providing retro chic vintage style cocktail dresses and separates ever since.  All of the clothing is made right here in the United States.

Sizes go right up to 18, and celebs such as Zooey Deschanel, Jessica Alba, Nigella Lawson, Ashley Greene, and Olivia Munn, have worn Stop Staring! among others.

I purchased a cobalt blue metallic one shouldered number from them a few years back, and it is one of my all time favorites – I get so many compliments on it when I wear it, it’s crazy. So here are my picks for this year – and I can’t decide which one I’m going to get.


Left to right: Billion Dollar Baby in Navy ($154), Nightlife Fitted Dress in Black ($154), Million Dollar Baby in Red ($152)


Left to right: Alexis in Metallic Champagne ($174), […]

Smoky Eye Friday: Neutrogena night out look

The holidays are coming up, so let’s get right into a traditional smoky eye, shall we?

Celebrity makeup artist and Neutrogena brand ambassador Amy Oresman created this look called Night Out. It’s a dark, bold, and intense smoky eye, and it’s much easier to do than it looks. I recreated the look as best as I could, and did it with the following steps:

Using a paddle style eye brush, I applied Crease Proof Eyeshadow in Forever Platinum. This eyeshadow is so long-wearing that you can use it as a primer and shadow with excellent results. It’s a fairly thick and pigmented cream, and it’s easier to apply with a brush, but not necessary. I used this from the lash line to the brow bone.
Using the Longwear Eyeshadow quad in Smokey Steel, I used the lightest color from lash line to brow bone and worked it in well.
The second darkest shadow, a light-ish gray, went from lash line to the crease. I have hooded eyes, so my crease needs special attention.
The third lightest color went on the lid only, patted on with a large tapered shader brush.
At this point I stopped, took out my fluffy blender brush and blended all of these shades out.
Applied another coat of the third lightest shadow to the lid and blended again.
I wanted to make sure the matte black shade really stood out, so I sprayed my angled eye shadow brush well with setting spray, and applied wet. This shade went along my upper lash line and my waterline.
Underneath the eye, under the matte black, I used a fine eye liner brush to apply the third lightest shade (the one on the lid only) right underneath the black.
After I was sure the black was completely dry, I used a firm smudge brush and buffed the color out.
I […]

How to use a beauty blending sponge

Beauty blending sponges are all the rage, but there has been a lot of confusion around how they are best used. After answering this a few times for various different people, I realized, “hey! this would be a great post!” So, I organized my tips into a friendly list format that should answer most questions, and if I miss a concern, don’t hesitate to drop me a line in the comments and ask. I promise I’ll answer.

Retrodiva’s Best Tips for Using a Beauty Blending Sponge
These tips apply to all the sponges out there. They are all essentially the same, but the materials and quality may differ.

stipple, don’t rub: wet the sponge throughly and dip rounded end into makeup. Then stipple lightly on skin – an up and down motion rather than a rubbing one
roll back and forth on the face as a way to stipple
to erase mistakes, use a dry sponge and drag along the skin. the dry sponge acts as an eraser
use pointed end to blend in concealer
use the rounded end to dip into translucent powder and apply to the skin
after wetting the sponge, wrap a towel (paper towel will work just as good) around it to remove excess water
some say you need to squeeze it underwater 10 times until it reaches a larger size, although I have never found this to be true
you must clean your sponge every time you use it; glycerin-based soaps seem to work well, as do professional products designed for the purpose
can also be used for cream blush: add blush to apples of cheeks and blend out. Add more color as needed, blend each layer
same applies for cream highlighters
rumor that the blender is not as effective on water based makeup as it is on oil or silicone based formulas
use the pointed tip dry […]

5 eye creams that really work

There are so many eye creams out there, it’s hard to navigate and find the one that works best. Or really, one that works at all. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on eye creams, and I have some pretty high standards. I need three things out of my eye creams:

Banish bags: I can get super puffy eyes, mostly from allergies, but sometimes my face just likes to freak out. There isn’t much rhyme or reason to it, but I need something that can get rid of that awful swelling.
Remove dark circles: probably similar to the above – I tend to get “allergy shiners,” and I’ve talked about this dark circles phenomenon before. Whatever the cause, I need something to banish the circles, because makeup can only do so much.
Keep the wrinkles at bay: I’m starting to get some laugh lines, and I’m not happy about it at all. And since this is a relatively new thing for me, I’ve had to pay more attention to this need.

So here are my current best eye creams that take care of all three:



Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream: one year ago, I would have thought that this formula is way too thick for my breakout-prone skin. But what I’ve found out is that not only does it meet my three basic needs, it also fades sun spots. I had a small spot forming, because in the ’80s, we didn’t wear sunscreen. I’m not sure we even knew what it was. But we loved tan accelerators, and my face is beginning to show it.
Lift Lab Lift + Firm Eye Cream: this banished my dark circles in no time at all. It was also nice and light, and didn’t make me feel as if I had oil slicks under my eyes. I also saw […]