August was a solid month. It kind of felt like it lasted forever, but I got so much accomplished—I cleaned my makeup brushes (something I haven’t done in a disgustingly long time because it takes forever), I deep cleaned my car (also gross), I spent a good amount of time by the pool, and I finished 3 new books! It’s definitely still kind of a weird feeling not preparing to go back to school this time of year (although I may or may not have bought myself a new pack of pens during the back-to-school supplies sales) but the end of August means that we’re now in the months ending in -ber. I can almost taste the PSLs, smell the crisp autumn air, and feel the chunky knit sweaters. We’re so close, y’all! Here are the things that helped me get through the last full month of summer and well on my way to the beginning of fall.
Not Your Mother's Blonde Moment Treatment Shampoo/Conditioner — $7.99 each, Ulta.com
As a blonde, I’m not sure how I ever got away with not using a blonde-specific shampoo and conditioner treatment. Sure, I’ve used color-protecting products like my life depended on it, but I never really understood why my hair color would still become dull and lifeless after just a few months. After my sister worked as a receptionist at a prominent hair salon and came home with a purple shampoo/conditioner duo from Kevin Murphy, my interest was piqued and I began to do some research of my own. Essentially, purple shampoos and conditioners mitigate brassiness in hair because of where purple and yellow sit on the color wheel.
It’s a similar tactic when it comes to color correction in your makeup—if you’re normal skin tone is a bit red, you might want to consider using a green color-correcting fluid to balance it out and the same thing for an orange fluid if you want to get rid of the blue hues under your eyes. In elementary art class we learn complementary colors as those that sit across from each other on the color wheel, but I bet you never thought it would have a real-world application like this. When you wash your hair with purple shampoo, it absorbs a small amount of the purple pigment to neutralize any of the yellow brassiness and keep your color as cool-toned and vibrant as when you left the salon. Just make sure you don’t leave the shampoo in for too long without rinsing unless you want your hair to absorb more of the purple pigment than it should. (Don’t worry if it does, it will rinse out after a few more washes!)
This shampoo/conditioner duo from Not Your Mother’s combines everything I love about the purple treatments my hair stylist uses without as much of the expense. In true NYM fashion, it smells great, does exactly what I need it to do, and uses safe ingredients I can feel good about. This month, I’ve been alternating it with my regular Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner from Paul Mitchell and I can definitely tell a difference in the color of my hair! It’s been almost one full year since I last had my hair colored and this is usually about the time that I start getting an itch to get back in the salon chair, but this pair of products has been a life (and wallet) saver!
Febreeze Unstoppables Wax Melts — $3.51, Amazon.com
If you need to know anything about me, know this: I love a good scent. I’m a pretty big perfume fiend but the real bread and butter of my aroma artillery is candles. It certainly doesn’t help that I live in the same town as the Paddywax headquarters (hello factory sale) and I burn candles in my apartment like it’s my job, but one downside to candle-burning is that the effects only really last as long as there’s a flame. When I come through the door after a long day at work, I want to be smacked in the face with the sweet, sweet scent of whatever wax-filled vessel is sitting on my coffee table at the time. Obviously, I can’t entrust my cats with keeping my apartment safe with a lit candle while I’m gone all day, so that’s why I was so glad I discovered these beauts at the grocery store. (I linked the Amazon page for reference.)
I hopped on the Scentsy train when it first gained popularity several years ago, but I never really did much with my burner after I used up the first few cartons of wax I received with it. Scentsy reps are kind of hard to come by these days unless you specifically seek them out (no thank you) and even then they give me the same uncomfy feeling as the rest of the multi-level marketing schemes that are all over Facebook. (Do you, Janet, but if I wanted a $43 lipgloss I would go to Sephora.) I recently found my burner (melter?) and decided to give it another go with these bad boys I found while grocery shopping and my life has been forever changed.
First of all, they’re about half the price of a normal Scentsy wax bar and honestly last a little bit longer in my opinion. They’re also much easier to find IRL than those name brand waxes, so you can smell whatever scent you’re interested in before actually purchasing. (I’m a firm believer in the sniff-before-you-spend philosophy.) These wax melts might not smack me in the face when I walk through the door, but they do welcome me in with the sweet aroma I’ve been missing from my unlit candles.
Shoes and Accessories from Amazon’s The Fix
Honestly, the screenshot below from the landing page for The Fix says everything you could need to know about my favorite private brand from Amazon. It’s equal parts glam and affordable without skimping on quality and they constantly surprise me with new textures, styles, and surprising details to keep up with the trends of the season. (I mean, how could anyone resist those black feathery pom-pom mules?) I’ve loved updating my shoe collection for fall with The Fix this month because Amazon makes it so easy to return a purchase if it doesn’t fit how you thought it would or if you simply don’t like the style as much as you’d hoped, so there’s less risk involved in shopping for a high-quality good.
ColourPop Brow Boss Pencil in Taupe — $5, Ulta.com
When I first started getting in to makeup, I became exceptionally well-versed in the holy grail products of the beauty community. Laura Mercier Translucent Powder? Check. MAC Paint Pot in Painterly? Check. NARS Creamy Concealer? Check. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz? Check. I had never really considered much to do about my brows up to that point, but once I learned the brow-defining witchcraft of this magical pencil I knew there was no turning back. After a while, though, I found it difficult to shell out $21 every few months just for brow bliss so I quickly found myself in search of a less expensive alternative. (A dupe, if you will.)
That’s when I found this brow pencil from my beloved ColourPop. I’ve always loved ColourPop for their originality and dedication to innovative products (looking at you, Super Shock Shadows, with your amazingly weird texture) but one thing that’s continually impressed me is how they’re able to deliver such high-quality products at such affordable prices. Now that ColourPop products are available at Ulta, it’s just as easy for me to get banging brows for less than a quarter of the cost.
sephora Collection Solid Brush Cleaner — $14, Sephora.com
As I mentioned in my intro, one task I checked off my to-do list this month was cleaning my brushes. Word to the wise: don’t sit around and think about how much bacteria has built up on your brushes after multiple uses without a deep cleanse. Don’t watch countless YouTube videos or read all of the articles about said bacteria, because you will be running to your sink to scrub Satan out of every bristle that has ever touched your face.
Washing my makeup brushes is usually a two day long event—actually cleansing them only takes about an hour to get through all of them, but waiting for them to dry takes at least 24 hours, which isn’t super easy to pencil in if I have weekend plans for which I want to wear makeup. So, needless to say my brushes were long overdue for a deep clean when I scrubbed them down a few weeks ago.
This solid cleanser is one that I’ve repurchased multiple times and for good reason. It smells great (unlike the beautyblender version) and works just as well for both my beautyblender and my brushes, plus it’s easy to travel with (hello TSA liquid regulations) and fits easily in my drawer (unlike some of the liquid cleansers on the market). And I have to say, it’s made a significant difference in the way my makeup applies. My eyeshadow blends better, my contour has cleaner lines, and overall I don’t feel as much like I’m grinding gunk into my pores.
Temptations Cat Nip Treats
Things I love about being a cat mom: nighttime snuggles, early morning snuggles, afternoon snuggles (you get it). I also love giving my kitties wet food every once in a while as a special treat, and giving them kitty treats when they’re being needy. Which is always.
When I lived with my parents for a few months last summer, they found these cat treats that turned my kitties into stoners. They’re laced with THC catnip, which is something I haven’t seen anywhere else. Plus they’re easy to scoop up at the grocery store—no special trip to the pet store necessary! Let’s be honest, I can’t (in good conscience) write more than a few lines about why I like these cat treats, so I’ll just leave it at this: my cats seem like they like these more than any of the others I’ve bought for them, so that’s good enough for me.