The other day, I stumbled on a little hack that I just had to share with you guys.  This one of my favorite new beauty hacks because it makes shaving my legs so much more effective.  All I had to do was move one of my favorite skin moisturizing products into the shower.

The product I'm referring to is one of my ride or die winter essentials.  I've never gone without this item since I was first introduced to it by a stewardess with flawless skin.
Gel moisturizers have been a lifesaver ever since.  But, once summer rolls around, I tend to swap out gel moisturizers for lighter options.  Recently, I learned of yet another application for gel moisturizers that I was super excited to try out.

It's so simple that I'm baffled as to why I haven't thought of it myself.

Basically, my gel moisturizers have now taken on the role of shave gel.  They are the quintessential shave gel alternative for a few reasons.  The most convincing is because shave gel will leave your legs so ultra smooth and hydrated.  They moisturize on a deeper level that lasts beyond the shower experience.

I attempted to replicate this same process with Neutrogena's Bath Oil but baby oil gel was far superior. The thicker consistency of gel left my legs feeling so much smoother and moisturized.

I now have to buy another baby oil gel for my dresser because this one is never leaving my shower.  I'm glad I learned of this hack prior to summer.  You have to try it.
There's a show called Big Brother that provides 24-hour live stream video of the contestants as they compete for a grand prize.  Recently, they launched their first celebrity edition of the show.  The moment I learned of this, the first thought that crossed my mind was that I would learn the beauty secrets of some of the celebrity houseguests.

I didn't watch the live stream as much as I wanted but, of the little I did watch, one thing became extremely clear.  When bored, most of the ladies lounged around with little masks under their eyes.  It was commonplace for them to hydrate their undereyes before every taping of the live show.

I thought it would be a great idea to try this for a little while and see if consistent use of these eye masks could really make a difference.  But I was concerned about the cost.  Since I don't earn millions of dollars a year, I had to come up with a cost-effective way to have ample amounts of under eye sheet masks at my disposal.

Thankfully, I found the perfect solution.
I've purchased under eye masks in the past but rarely used them.  Why? Because a lot of them are kinda pricey.  This keeps me from really committing to a regimen of using them consistently enough to see any long-term results.

*turns to the camera and says*  "There has to be a better way!"

There is a better way! And it's so cost-effective that I don't even blink at the thought of wearing eye masks daily.

Muji offers plain, dry eye mask sheets for only a few cents per pair.  They're made of thin cloth-like cotton that's super absorbent. They soak up your serums and lotions in a second and hold the moisture in while you hydrate your undereye.  You can grab 30 sets of under eye sheets for less than $10.00!  That is an absolute steal!

Don't worry about having to purchase serum for the mask, chances are you probably already have some at home.  I've alternated between using Missha Essence, La Mer's Treatment Lotion, or leftover serum from previous sheet masks.  Any liquid hydrator will work.

Sometimes I use these on my nasal labial folds, or forehead like Tracey Ellis Ross.  Once my eye area is adequately hydrated, I place the same sheets over my smile lines to get the most bang for my buck.

Now I can use sheet masks multiple times a week as I lounge around without an ounce of guilt.
For those who are interested, Muji also offers plain full-face sheet masks as well.  They're perfect if you have a ton of serums at home and want to quickly use up your serum/toner collection.  These eye masks are probably my favorite recent beauty purchase so, of course, I had to share the good news.

My plan for the next several months is to amass a small collection of statement midi length skirts.  These skirts will, hopefully, take the place of the denim that I typically default to.  I'm a huge fan of skirts but I haven't been intentional in refining my skirt collection. I wasn't really inspired to do so until now.

The "problem" with fuller-length skirts is figuring out how to wear them in a way that's young, fresh and stylish.  Sometimes longer skirts tend to look overly frumpy or outdated.  But, if done right, they can become the critical statement piece in a classic, feminine look.
Currently, I'm loving the pairing of a midi length skirt with a tailored crop.  The combination of the two pieces creates a wonderful balance of modesty with a hint of sexiness.
Not all crop tops are created equal.   Some are designed only to show off a only tiny bit of skin.  If you're not a fan of showing off your navel, feel free to opt for high waisted skirts.

Play around with different variations of this look depending on the event. For instance, I love how she added a cropped jacket as an additional layer elevate the look.
Honestly, you can't go wrong with this a skirt paired with a fitted top.  It's simple to put together and ultra versatile.  Play around with the perfect skirt length and top that best fits your individual style.

Yesterday, I made a couple of stops to some local beauty supply stores in search of a product or conditioner to help me address my unusually dry hair.  My hair was in need of something special and intense.  A product with the ability to transform it with just one use.

Once I arrived at the second location, I realized that the answer to my ultra dry hair would not be found at any of the stores.  I didn't need another product, I need to refine my technique.  More specifically, a technique I developed a couple of years back when my hair was at its worse.

I'm here to share this intense moisturizing technique with you today.
The entire process consists of 4 steps.  But, it's so powerful that I was able to execute only two of the four steps yesterday and create amazing results.  The moisturizing technique is a play on the L.O.C (liquid, oil, cream) Method but with a few minor differences to make it more intense.

When I first implemented this technique, I wanted to do more than just moisturize my hair, I wanted to infuse it with moisture.  This meant that I had to get a little creative with a few tweaks here and there.

Ok, here's a break down of my intense moisture infusion routine.

STEP 1.  Hydrate
Before I moisturize with a creamy product I hydrate with a liquid.  This is somewhat typical of the L.O.C process.  But I like to make sure that the liquid both dampens the hair while actually moisturizing it.  Water alone isn't a great idea.  Instead, I create a moisturizing water that's comprised of ingredients my hair adores.  Examples include aloe water, a small amount of my favorite leave-in from Biolagepowdered MSM, and maybe a tiny bit of ACV to help bring down the pH.  Lastly, I make sure that I use a spray bottle with an ultra-fine mist because I don't want to wet the hair, I want the tiny water particles to be absorbed by the strands.  This makes a difference.

STEP 2:  Oil Mist
Here's where it gets interesting.  Instead of grabbing oil from a bottle on layering it on the hair, I reach for my nifty oil mister.  For those of you who aren't familiar, you can add your favorite hair oil to a salad oil mister and lightly oil your hair without weighing it down.  For my intense hydration method, this is ideal.  My goal is to that the products penetrate my strands so I use (fractioned) coconut oil to mist my hair for now.

Once my hair is lightly coated with a hydrating water and fine particles of oil, I tie my hair up in a satin scarf to allow everything to penetrate.  This step is key.

Thirty minutes to an hour later, I check in on my hair to see how it's going.  Sometimes, those two steps are enough.  But if my hair needs a little more TLC, I then move on to steps 3 and 4.  Basically, I then reach for my favorite daily moisturizer and sealing oil and apply as normal.  Steps 3 & 4 are meant to moisturize and seal the outer layers while steps 1& 2 moisturize the deeper layers.

The end result is a total transformation of my hair.  The difference between how my hair looked and felt yesterday versus this morning is like night and day.  Best of all, the moisture actually lasts.  Sometimes we work on strengthening our cuticle layer so much that products have difficulty penetrating. If you have low porosity hair, this method might work well for you.

I'm officially going back to this way of moisturizing until further notice.  This time, I may experiment a bit with various oils.  For instance, I'm really curious to see what it would be like to try squalane or baobab oil in the mister.  Oh, and if this technique doesn't work for your low porosity hair, give the moisturize, heat, seal method a try.

A few years ago Salma Hayek stated in an interview that she doesn't have much time to work out to maintain her lean figure.  Instead of sweating it out in the gym, she holds her body in a way that "activates her muscles" all day long.

When I first heard of this, my mind immediately wanted to dispell her "fitness secrets" as a big fat lie.  Shortly after giving the interview, a bunch of news outlets published articles to dispell the myth that holding your body a certain way to maintain a toned figure is possible.

Over the years, I've really reflected on what Salma said and now I realize that she may actually be on to something.
Part of the reason why I couldn't just dismiss her claims is because I'm fully aware that certain "exercises" don't require gym equipment to provide solid results.  All we have to do is engage them properly to enjoy the benefits.

I'll give you some examples.

Most women are encouraged to do kegel exercises for the sake of strengthening their pelvic floor.  Kegals are simply a series of contractions that can be done anywhere, anytime.  By pulling in your inner pelvic muscles you strengthen that area.  If any of you have consistently practiced your kegels, you know that they really do work! Some will notice a difference in strength within weeks.

The other movement I know that offers muscle toning without traditional exercise movements are transverse abdominal exercises.  Basically, these exercises target our inner corset (the transverse muscles).  Back when I was serious about creating a toned/fit waist, I invested a couple minutes a day contracting the deepest layers of my core.  The results were astonishing.  All I did was pull in my tummy as much as I could while holding the contraction.  That movement created enough tension to activate the muscles in a powerful way.
Salma Hayek wearing a corset to help snatch her waist while maintaining good posture.
Planks are another (more advanced) version.  Again, all you have to do is "hold your body a certain way"  (parallel to the floor) and you activate and strengthen your entire core muscle group.  There's no contraction involved (unlike sit-ups) but they still tone the core in a major way. There's something to be said about contracting a muscle to help it maintain it's strength. Obviously, exercises that involve a full range of motions is ideal.  But, we can discount the potential of simply activating our muscles.

I remember the old workout videos from the 80's.  At the end of each set of reps, the instructor would urge everyone to hold and squeeze the muscle to feel the burn.  And burn it did.  This was often the most difficult part of the workout.  All we were doing was holding and squeezing.

Again, simply contracting and hold the muscle doesn't create an ultra-toned physique. But, we can't completely reject Salma's technique of holding and activating her muscles all day as nonsense.  Because it kinda does make sense. At the very least, we know that by contracting and holding, we activate the flow of blood to that area.  This brings more oxygen to the muscle and that's a good thing. More blood to the muscle means we create more energy (ATP).

Sitting or standing in a natural, fully relaxed position, requires little to no effort.  But the simple act of focusing on our posture, or better yet, contracting and engaging our muscles requires a bit more effort.  This could this could result in burning few extra calories per day.  Heck, if you simply stood up while working on your computer versus sitting, you could burn up to 50 extra calories per hour.  No extra movement involved.  Imagine the possibilities if you coupled standing with kegels and transverse exercises while squeezing the glutes.

At the very least, I believe we should be conscious about engaging our bodies and maintaining good posture at all times.  Most everyone slouches but if you focus on being poised, it helps you stand out.  I'm sure Salma still works out, she probably incorporates this technique as a supplement for those times when she can't step for in a gym.  By keeping her muscles engaged, she probably retains more muscle tone than if she were to go weeks or months without working out.  This fully won't replace your gym visits for gaining muscle but it certainly can't hurt to try.