Flawless Skin with At-Home Chemical Peels

Beneath the Make Up: Flawless Skin with At-Home Chemical Peels 

Chasing youth is a messy, expensive – and sometimes painful – business.

Fortunately, achieving flawless skin has been exponentially less painful – at least to my budget -since I traded Obagi and in-office chemical peels for ASDM Beverly Hills.

Click here to visit ASDM Beverly Hills

Chemical Peel

ASDM Beverly Hills products in my OTC skincare arsenal: Glycolic acid (30% and 50%), salicylic acid (20%), eye cream, melasma serum, Tepez Cream and Skin Fading Lightening Lotion (not pictured).

I could wax poetic about ASDM’s entire product line (except its eye cream – although more expensive, I prefer and HIGHLY recommend -even to prescription retinol- StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Eye Treatment for combating under eye fine lines), but instead will concentrate on its affordable, complete line of professional, low pH, skin chemical peels.

ASDM Beverly Hills offers a complete line of professional, in-office medical grade chemical peels.

I will never again spend $500 on an in-office chemical peel package!

Quick Guide to Chemical Peels
For acne-prone, oily skin. Helps to control sebum production, kill acne causing bacteria and deeply cleanse pores. Produces pseudo-frost and is self-neutralizing.

Glycolic acid is a naturally occurring fruit acid known as AHA (Alpha Hydroxyl Acids). Glycolic peels help to rejuvenate skin by loosening the bond that holds dead skin cells on the epidermis. This stimulates new growth of skin and removal of old, dead, dull skin. Requires neutralization; I mixed equal parts baking soda and water.

Gentle, moisturizing peel. Increases collagen production, resurfaces skin, improves skin texture. Reduces the appearance of uneven skin. Varies in its requirement for neutralization.

Typically used for more advanced photoaging changes, including wrinkles. Causes visible whitening of the skin, referred to as frosting. Self-neutralizing.
*ASDM does not sell TCA peels; however, I use TCA 15% Gel Peel with Salicylic Acid 5%  and love it! It’s an extremely light peel; however, you can apply several layers to get a deeper peel.  Also, do research further into TCA peels if you decide to go that route; there’s evidence of carcinogenicity in animals.  Glycolic, lactic and salicylic are definitely safer!

My Experience
I initially ordered 50% glycolic acid.  ASDM Beverly Hills accidentally sent me 30%, but corrected the mistake 2 hours after I notified them via email by shipping me a bottle of 50%, and allowing me to keep both.  A+++++ customer service.

I started with the 30% glycolic acid.  I followed the instructions in A Practical Guide to Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion & Topical Products, then applied ASDM’s Tepez Cream.  A Practical Guide makes the entire process simple and stress free.  READ IT! I’ll even share it with you for FREE! :)


I did not peel the first time, but noticed a marked improvement in my skin.  My skin appeared more even, red marks reduced and my pores were hardly noticeable. You can apply the peel with either a chemical peel fan brush or cotton face pads; I’ve used both.

I peeled slightly after performing a 2nd 30% peel, and peeled heavily after performing the 50% glycolic acid peel.

Although you shouldn’t do more than 1 peel every other week, I’ve been doing 1 a week… I don’t recommend it, unless you don’t mind looking like a crazy red faced snake.

When I performed the 30% peel on my mom and brother’s girlfriend, neither peeled after the 1st round. My brother’s girlfriend peeled after the second.  Both noted extremely smooth skin and smaller pores after the first treatment. You will probably NOT actually peel after 1 treatment. It may take 2-3. However, you’ll notice results immediately.  Remember, results are progressive, so commit to doing a series of 6 peels.

As for the salicylic acid, I don’t have oily skin, so I use the 20% salicylic acid as THE most effective spot treatment whenever I feel a blemish on the horizon!  I’m a picker and use it BEFORE I pick.  It brings all of the gunk to the service, at which time I extract it all with a professional blackhead & blemish remover kit.

One of my favorite Internet Facebook friends (we met through a creeptastic Internet TROLL back in the day and bonded over a mutual love for all things makeup and skincare related), Brandi from Chicago, used the lactic acid peel and said:

“I did the lactic last week I’m doing the glycolic sun. It was pretty gentle. Only slight peeling on my chin not bad at all. Cleared my pores out like crazy! I passed it onto my mom bc I want something a bit more harsh…”

After trying the glycolic, she said:

“So I left it on for 2 mins for my first glycolic and am going to up it every week now. I haven’t peeled and my skin literally looks flawless. I was only red that night and haven’t peeled at all which I’m sure I will the longer I leave it on. I think I’m going to order a higher strength because I only got 30% to start so in going to increase my time for my next 2 and then move to a higher strength. My makeup even looks smoother. It’s insane. I’m loading on moisturizer at night before and after to prevent super dry skin but my skin is looking more even now which is great. You have me obsessed!”

Photo Evidence
I broke out HORRIBLY while vacationing in Costa Rica (I had to wear a hat every single day!) and had little marks ALL over my face. I looked like I was recovering from the chicken pox! After almost 2 months and at least 6 peels, I can finally leave the house without makeup!  WHOO HOO!

chemical peel before and after

Please note: the last photo looks unnaturally flawless because I took it in my bathroom, with amazingly flattering INDOOR light.  The first 2 photos are in unflattering OUTDOOR light.  I have no foundation on in any of the photos, and did not use a filter or enhance any of the images in anyway.  Although, I did have chapstick on in the last photo!  You can definitely see my progress. My skin looks pretty great in the middle photo, during afternoon outdoor daylight.

Overall, I feel like I definitely achieved in-office results at-home with ASDM Beverly Hills’ chemical peel line.

PLEASE write me and share your experience with ASDM’s products if you decide to give them a try! Also, do a better job of documenting your progress, because they will give you a free product if you take before/after photos and share them.

Lastly, be sure to use the promo code DISCOUNT15 for 15% off. If you have any trouble getting the discount, send them a simple email and they will correct your bill before they ship your order.


Unbeweavable Sale On My Donna Bella Hair Extensions

Fuller Hair Without TumbleWeaves, On-going Maintenance or the Dreaded Medusa Do

The only thing I loath more than under eye wrinkles, is paper-thin hair. Either cut that shit, or stock up on Donna Bella hair extensions during the Black Friday 4 Day Sales Event!

I ONLY rock Donna Bella kera-link hair extensions. And I’ve tried them all.

Great Lengths Hair Extensions, So.Cap, Vision, Lord and Cliff, Vision, West Coast Hair, His and Hers Hair, Celebrity Extensions, D’Vine Lengths, Hairdreams, Cinderella Hair, Micro-Cylinder, Basic Links, Klix, Clip-Ins… you name it, I’ve tried it!

Donna Bella never leaves me with tumbleweaves, slippage (if installed correctly), broken down bonds, shedding or matted glue and/or hair. I buy 8-11 packs of Donna Bella’s kera-link hair strand-by-strand fusion extensions in either the 22″ or 18″.

Donna Bella Black Friday Sales Event Details

Check out Donna Bella’s site for more information.  Donna Bella is offering a ton of perks, which vary day-to-day.

Friday, November 28th, all professional hair extensions will be 15% off. Clip-ins will be 50% off.  In addition, you receive money back in the form of a gift card.

Donna Bella Black Friday Sales Event

Cyber Monday offers a spin at the wheel for an additional percentage off.

Vanessa’s Hair Extension Guide

Hair extensions before/afterThe Rundown
Finding the right extension method will depend on budget, preference, and hair type. While fusion and tape-in extensions can be used on just about any hair texture, weaves are best suited for curly, kinky hair. I think links are best suited for coarse hair as well; I had to run around with a pair of tightening pliers in my handbag when I tried links.

Fusion extensions tend to be the most expensive ($500 to $4,000) and have the most time-consuming application process (up to three hours); they also last the longest (three to four months). By purchasing directly from Donna Bella, I end up spending $600-$700 every 17 weeks.

The tape-in application process is much faster (about an hour) and more affordable, but requires more frequent maintenance (every six to eight weeks).

Laura Kemezis and Joanna Calhoun-Shaver at Complete Beauty in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan install all different types for unbeatable prices.

Human Versus Synthetic Hair
When it comes to purchasing hair, you get what you pay for. Price will vary greatly based on quality of the hair, as well as the desired quantity (for thickness) and length. Synthetic hair is much cheaper ($50 to $100) but won’t blend or style the way human hair does. I only buy human. I dye and heat style my extensions.

How to Cut and Style
Good extensions should be entirely undetectable—blending your natural hair with the extension is critical. The best way to do this? A great cut. After the extensions are in, your hair should be cut DRY, with layers that blend the two hair types. You can color extensions darker (no bleaching!), but it’s best to choose a shade close to your natural color to avoid over processing. Or you can mix and match various shades for a more natural-looking blend. Julie Miklush at Bashar Salon in Somerset Collection in Troy gives THE BEST cut.  THE BEST.  

Removal is more difficult than extensions with easily broken down bonds. I can remove a head of Lord and Cliff fusion extensions in 30 minutes. It takes me hours to remove a full head of Donna Bella.

When it’s time to remove my Donna Bella fusion extensions, to ensure the least amount of damage possible, I do it myself at home. No one is going to be as gentle with your hair as you will be. I use the highest percentage of rubbing alcohol I can get my hands on, squirt the alcohol directly onto the bond and crack the bond with needle nose pliers. Then I simply pull the extension out.

Repeat 80-110 times.

The Damage
Putting additional stress on your hair will result in some damage, regardless of the type of extension you choose. Placement is also essential. Extensions should be placed where hair is strongest. Try to avoid areas along the hairline, where hair is the most fragile. Also, do removal yourself, at-home, when you have plenty of time.

Kylie Jenner Big Lips with Maybelline Drugstore Liner

Want bigger lips without the cost, bruising and pain of injections?

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Since Kylie Jenner debuted larger lips, it seems like EVERYONE does!  We associate full lips with an accentuated border with beauty and youth.  In fact, tribal peoples worldwide have introduced various materials into and through the upper and lower lips of both genders to enhance beauty.  An African tribal chief explained:  “What kind of person would she be without Pelele (lip plate)? She would not be a woman at all.”  Bro is right; we don’t call em’ DSLs for nothin’.


photo 9
As soon as I saw Kylie’s larger lips, I knew exactly what she had done.  And it wasn’t lip injections!  I immediately set out to defend Kylie’s honor by waging war with her haters.  My Facebook thugging didn’t seem to be getting me anywhere, so I did a short tutorial with an affordable $5 drugstore lip liner to prove anyone can have lusciously large lips.

Please note:  I’ll tell you exactly how I’ve altered my appearance, and admit that in 2012 I went the tribal route by injecting Juvederm Ultra into my lips.  15% of Juvederm Ultra likes to stick around permanently; consequently, my lips are permanently larger than my natural God-given lips.


IMG_0001 2


Sexy, right?!  The pain, cost and downtime associated with injections is not for everyone.  I bruised terribly, had to concoct a story about my dog hitting me in the face with his bully bone, then ran around a sales conference looking like I shared an elevator with Ray Rice.  It took 2 weeks to recover.  So… If you don’t want to run around looking like a domestic abuse victim, skip the injections and watch my video.


For those of you who don’t want to sit through one of my terribly edited videos, here are written directions:

To create the illusion of hugelips, the trick is to line outside your lips with a lip liner 2-3 shades darker than your natural lip color.

Simply line the OUTSIDE of your lips and fill.

I used Maybelline New York ColorSensational Lip Liner in Nude or Rose.

This liner won’t smudge, smear, feather or bleed.  Best of all?  Nude goes with any lip color!

No lipstick. No lipgloss. Just liner.



How to Apply Fake Lashes: Tutorial & Review of Younique Fiber Lash Mascara


Forget fake lashes!  Forget eyelash extensions.  Achieve the same look with Younique Fiber Mascara.

People are always asking me to recommend a life-changing mascara.  This is IT!

The 3D Fiber Lashes thicken, lengthen and promote curl.  It is water resistant but easily washes off with warm water and facial cleanser.  The price is right on par with any mascara you would purchase from Ulta or Sephora.


The three-step process combines Transplanting Gel and Natural Fibers (in 2 different tubes) to help create the appearance of incredible thickness and volume to your existing lashes.


To prepare your eyelashes for optimal results, curl your eyelashes, then apply one thin coat of your own regular favorite mascara and let it dry.

Apply Moodstruck Transplanting Gel to your lashes.

Immediately following, and while the gel is still wet, apply the Moodstruck Natural Fibers.

Reapply the Transplanting Gel a second time to seal the natural fibers onto your lashes.

Repeat until you’re satisfied with the length.

photo 3

The feather-like fibers can be off-putting at first; however, the end result really is fantastic and lasts all day.

I never trust before/after photos, and had an extremely difficult time trying to capture the effect on myself, so check out my vlog below, which features the FULL application process.  Fast forward to 7:16 for the actual review.  The video is slightly ridiculous! I didn’t shower, am wearing gym clothes and take you through the ENTIRE unedited application process, so you can see in real-time that it takes 5-7 minutes to achieve dramatic volume and length.  It isn’t exactly exciting, but gives you an accurate idea of how the mascara works.  Don’t hate.

Also, I would like to note that I am not a Younique representative and earn no commission on purchases; however, my representative, Lonni Jo, is as knowledgeable as she is gorgeous.  Lonni Jo set up an online party for me, so you can purchase it HERE.


20% Off Sephora’s Holiday Event: Shopping Guide

 WARNING: Sephora.com Keeps Crashing

Today through November 10th, Sephora VIB and VIB Rouge Members get 20% off in-store and online with code GIFTROUGE or GIFTVIB.  If you don’t have VIB status, a VIB friend can let you use her 20% friend in-store pass.  If you can’t make it to Sephora in-person, ask a friend to use her online account, which includes free shipping.

Take this opportunity to load up on staples you know you will purchase in the next 6 months (foundation, eyeliner, powder), the pricier items you’ve been eyeing that never go on-sale anywhere else (Clarisonic, fragrance, hair styling tools) and limited edition holiday gift sets.

Shop top beauty gifts for her under $25.

Last night my mom and I attended the pre-sale party, where we dined on cupcakes, loaded up on free samples and purchased a lot of make up.

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My Purchases
MAKE UP FOR EVER Studio Case / Studio Case
MAKE UP FOR EVER 242 Large Blender Brush / 242 Large Blender Brush
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Caramel
Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick / Luminous Crème Lipstick Vouvray
Urban Decay Primer Potion
Sephora All A Glow Face Palette (concealer, blush and highlighter set for contouring)
Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder
Givenchy Photo’Perfexion Fluid Foundation 20 SPF
Sephora PRO Flawless Powder Brush #40
Sephora Perfecting Concealer Brush #20
SEPHORA COLLECTION Classic Multitasker Powder Brush #45 / Classic Multitasker Powder Brush #45
Hourglass Ambient Blush Palette
Narsissist Cheek Kit
Laura Mercier Baby Lips
Laura Mercier Natural Lips Lip Pencil
Fresh Sugar Lip Legends / Sugar Lip Legends
Sephora Favorites Draw The Line / Draw The Line
Sephora Favorites Cologne Sampler / Cologne Sampler

Stand Outs
SEPHORA COLLECTION Classic Multitasker Powder Brush #45 / Classic Multitasker Powder Brush #45
My favorite NEW find!  With its 5 star rating and 7,000+ loves on Sephora.com, it looks like I’m not alone.  My mom even purchased one!  It’s super soft bristles flawlessly apply, buff and blur your liquid, cream or powder foundation.  I own the Urban Decay Optical Blurring Brush and think this Sephora brush is superior in every way!  Click “Shop Now” below for the direct link.



Givenchy Photo’Perfexion Fluid Foundation 20 SPF
I’m usually loyal to Make Up For Ever and Urban Decay Naked; however, I think this is my new go-to foundation.

It’s a creamy foundation with SPF protection that works like a concealer to correct imperfections, smooth the skin’s texture, and even out the complexion.  With the expertise and speed of a digital retoucher, Photo’Perfexion conceals dark shadows and sallow complexions.  It goes on smooth and velvety and delivers a flawless finish minus the heavy, cakey feeling.  I used it in-store with the SEPHORA COLLECTION Classic Multitasker Powder Brush.


Buyer’s Remorse
MAKE UP FOR EVER Studio Case / Studio Case
Sephora All A Glow Face Palette (concealer, blush and highlighter set for contouring)
*Both of these products were lackluster and the same looks can be attained with products you probably already own.

WARNING: Sephora.com Keeps Crashing

I was on Sephora.com last night starting at 8 PM – this morning around 11 AM, trying to score the 1 thing I had my eye on that isn’t available in stores:  simplehuman Sensor Mirror – Sensor-Activated Lighted Makeup Mirror.  Unfortunately, Sephora.com has been down due to the high volume of traffic and I missed out!  I’m always running late and it’s usually dark by time I get my face together… so I was looking forward to this cordless mirror that promises to illuminate your face with natural light and “adapts to your behavior … It becomes more sensitive during use, so it won’t turn off unexpectedly.”  I even called Sephora, pled my case and begged them to look around for one of these babies… they laughed at me.  It’s available on Amazon for less than the $200 retail, so I may try to sneak that one past Josh and write a review.


Holiday Shopping List
Sephora has a ton of inexpensive, high-quality gift sets.  If someone has a signature look – black eyeliner, red lips, celebrity-inspired contouring- purchase a gift set you know they will use while encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone.  For example, my MIL always wears black eyeliner and red lips.  Finding the perfect red lip is quite the feat, so I purchased her Sephora Favorites Draw The Line Gift Set, so she can experiment with several different types of black eyeliner. Fragrances never go on sale, so I stocked up on Sephora Favorites Cologne Samplers for the men in my life.

s1633072-main-hero-300Shop value sets and gifts at Sephora.

The Sephora Favorites Cologne Sampler features 12 samples in a faux-leather toiletry case and a voucher for 1 full size bottle of cologne.  There is also a perfume version for ladies.

Happy Shopping!