BirdFashion Road Trip Essentials


I don’t know about your part of the world, but it certainly feels like summer here in Texas. What better time than now for a good old-fashioned road trip? It’s a summer staple in America; we have books and movies and songs about the event, and to my mind, it’s an excellent chance to experience something new without ever having to get in a TSA line.

I just got through with a wonderful road trip with my parents and sister. We drove from Texas to Massachusetts, and it was incredible. On this trip, I not only saw some gorgeous sights, ate amazing food, and talked to friendly people, but I was inspired to blog about what I wore and took with me that made my road trip even better. If you’re hitting the road this summer, here are some suggestions on what you can bring along to enjoy the journey just a little bit more.

  • Clothing that isn’t restrictive – It wouldn’t be a road trip without hours spent in the car, so your clothing choice is going to determine a lot of your comfort on this trip. Structured waistbands are probably not your friend here; opt for sundresses, maxi skirts, or leggings and tunic tops. Nobody looks good after ten hours in a packed car, so embrace it and get comfy! For undergarments, bust out your comfiest sports bra or t-shirt bra. You don’t need underwires trying to shank you while you’re napping against the car window. When you consider shoes, consider the weather, but have one pair of slides or flip-flops that you can wear while you’re actually in the car. Sitting for a long time makes your feet swell, so you need something you can kick off. You can pack your comfy or cute shoes in the trunk for sightseeing once you stop for the day.
  • Some way to be alone – This sounds counter-intuitive, since you’re going on a road trip to go somewhere *with people* right? But let’s be realistic here: after a couple days on the road, you’re gonna run out of things to talk about, or people’s normal habits are going to get annoying. You can create some privacy for yourself even when you’re crammed into a vehicle together, but it takes some preparation. If you like to read (and can do so without getting carsick), pack a novel or two to get lost in, or bring your Kindle. Does music soothe your soul? Bring an external charger for your phone and some comfortable earbuds so you can get your groove on without a dead phone ruining your day. Coloring books (like my personal favorite) or small craft projects are good options too, as long as you have plenty of sealable storage options for your supplies. Losing a 64-pack of colored pencils under the seats wouldn’t go over well with the driver.
  • A way to record the journey – You’re going to want to celebrate and remember this epic trip you’re taking, so bring along a way to memorialize it! Ditch the phone-camera and bring a legit video camera along if you have (or can borrow) one. Or if you want to travel light and aren’t going for an HD movie experience, keep your phone and post some good moments to Facebook Live or Snapchat so your friends can follow along. Of course, if you’re feeling lo-fi and a little artsy, you can always go for a journal or a sketchbook. Bonus with those last two: you never need to charge them.
  • Car-appropriate skin care – Long car rides to places with different elevations, weather, and allergens can do a number on your precious skin, and leave you looking like the road you came in on when you disembark. In addition to your regular morning and nighttime skin routines when you get to your AirBnB, consider an in-car skincare pack. You can use this for skin emergencies, or boredom emergencies (car spa party for the passengers?). Pack a small bag with moisturizing face mist, sheet masks, cleansing wipes, body lotion, and a travel-friendly refreshing eye cream. Depending on what your skin does in the car, you’ll have a chance to address it on the go without making a mess. Don’t forget to put that sunscreen on everyday!
  • A sense of adventure! – There is no such thing as a perfect road trip. You might get lost, have a flat, get into an argument with your car-mates, or find out when you get there that the art gallery you really wanted to see is closed for renovation. It’s disappointing, and it’s *completely* okay to feel bad when things go wrong. But road trips are about having an adventure, and those disappointments can either be just disappointing, or they can be part of the adventure. Getting lost may take you through countryside you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. That argument could end in one of those deep, soul-searching conversations you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Your favorite gallery might have been closed, but what else is in that town that might similarly blow your mind? I can’t guarantee you road-trip success, Fledglings, but I can say with some certainty that if you practice optimism and gratitude the whole way, it will be much easier to roll with any surprises that come your way, pleasant or not-so-much.

Safe travels! Comment with some photos or stories about your own road trips and what products you can’t leave home without.

Product Review: Burt’s Bees Cleansing Cloths

img_1963

Yeah yeah, this one’s not strictly K-Beauty, but sometimes you need to get more face wash and your PinkSeoul box is on its way, so you don’t feel like paying $20 for cleanser that you might already be getting, so you go to the drug store. It happens.

I also needed something travel-friendly, since I’m taking a family vacation in a couple weeks, and I’ve used face cleansing wipes for as long as I’ve been adventuring around this world – they’re the most handy things ever. You can put them in your checked luggage in a zip-top bag with zero issues, they don’t count toward your liquid carry-on if you want them on the plane, and you can freshen up in the smallest or grossest bathrooms your travels may take you to – they work on most non-face body parts as well, just saying.

I hadn’t used any Burt’s Bees products in years and years, but I remember being a huge fan of them in college. There was this adorable hippie nature shop near the UNT campus, and it sold Amy’s frozen vegetarian meals and essential oils and Burt’s Bees products. The Burt’s Bees brand has since been picked up by one of the larger conglomerate companies that actually controls everything we buy, but from what I can tell their packaging, branding, and formulations haven’t really changed. I’ve seen that with craft beers as well; when Coors or Anheiser-Busch buys a local brewing company, they don’t change how their beer tastes, they just help distribute it more widely and take a cut of the (presumably much larger) profits. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is up for you to decide, but there it is.

I got two different packages of the face wipes, since the drug store had a BOGO sale, but the one I’m using currently has white tea extract in it. For me, this is a perfect face cleanser for my morning routine. It freshens up my face just enough for me to get my toner, eye cream, and sunscreen on. Bonus: it’s quicker to use than cleanser and water! For someone who’s just perpetually late for work because why does it have to start so early, anything convenient is a winner for me.

When I used these face wipes at night, they didn’t really do as well for me – my face was a little greasy the following morning, making the morning use of the wipes less effective. So now I use my Mizon face cleanser at night, and the wipes in the morning. It’s making my regular cleanser last longer, and I still get the benefits of convenience and effectiveness from using the wipes in the morning. I’m guessing the reason these wipes weren’t doing the job for evening cleansing is because they weren’t dissolving my sunscreen well enough to take it off – sunscreen is oily, and it takes some work to remove it properly. Word to the wise: you can take shortcuts with your skincare in the mornings (as long as you’re applying sunscreen), but at night, you should go all-out on it. Sleep is when your skin repairs itself, so it’s worth investing an extra five minutes in doing your full routine properly.

I did not try these for makeup removal, but since they didn’t do so great removing just my sunscreen, I certainly wouldn’t recommend them as a solo act for taking your makeup off. One of the labels does claim that the wipes remove makeup, but I’d probably use them to loosen up my makeup, then follow up with oil- and water-based cleanser to really get it all gone. I find that wipes often work better for getting eyeliner or mascara off, because I have a little more control over the remover and I’m less likely to get oil in my eyes.

These wipes have a mild smell, definitely not perfumey, so it’s in keeping with what I remember of Burt’s Bees products. None of their products tend to be heavily-scented, and they’re generally really mild, so they’re great for sensitive skin. The packaging is good too; a lot of face wipes just have a sticker to keep them closed, and that sticker fails after about a week. The Burt’s Bees wipes have a little plastic lid that snaps closed, which keeps them from drying out. You can always stick them in a zip-top bag as well, to keep the moisture in longer. Or add a splash of water to one before you use it – you’ve got options, is what I’m saying.

All in all, I’ve used some other face wipes before, including some K-Beauty ones, and these are among my top picks for cleansing cloths. They’re great for general freshening up, for morning cleansing, and for travel. The packaging is solid, they don’t smell too strong, and they’re really affordable (I think I got both packages for $8, and that equals like two months’ worth of wipes if you use them once a day).

If you need an affordable-yet-effective cleansing wipe to add to your summer skin arsenal, Burt’s Bees cleansing wipes are a good option.

Product Review: Studio 35 Beauty Deep Cleansing Mask


This review is a little different from my usual ones, because this isn’t a K-Beauty find – I got this mask at a drug store in town. I was hanging with my bestie, and we wanted to get our spa on, so we picked up a bunch of masks on their BOGO sale.

This review is also a little different…because I didn’t like this product. I’ll get into that; let’s get started with the review.

The Deep Cleansing Mask is aimed at purifying your skin and helping draw impurities out of your pores. I really needed this the other day, because I’m doing this stupid super awesome and healthy fitness challenge this month, and my skin is Freaking. Out. All the sweating I’m doing is giving me horrible, red breakouts all over the place. They’re not cystic acne breakouts, they’re just really red and obvious and need to go away, like now.

The main ingredient in this mask is kaolin clay, which I’ve heard is the new hotness for purifying skin – I even saw a commercial for some clay-based shampoo for managing oily roots, and I’m kinda tempted to give it a try after my I Love Juicy runs out. So I was pumped to try this mask, and I was really hoping to see some results in the form of less acne on my poor, sweaty face.

This mask is bright, robin’s-egg blue when you squeeze it out of the packet. I applied it evenly all over my face, and it felt a lot like other clay masks I’ve worn before, in that I could feel it drying and kind of tightening my skin as it sat. It rinsed off really easily, which is a great quality in a face mask for me. I used a washrag with warm water on it to loosen it up, then I used my hands to rinse the rest off.

Now, I said I didn’t like it, and this isn’t because it didn’t work well or was difficult to use – it really did soothe my breakouts.

No, this stuff smells TERRIBLE.

Oh man, it smelled so bad. Like bathroom cleaner. It literally smelled like tub and tile cleaner. I’m pretty stalwart in the face of bad smells (thanks, former health care job!), so I powered through it for the fifteen minutes of recommended set time, but MAAAAANNNNN. It was a chore. My skin even smelled a little bit after I’d rinsed it off and finished my nighttime skin routine. After my morning routine, the smell was completely gone, so it won’t make you smell forever, but during the time it smells, you will definitely notice it.

Would I use this product again? Yanno…probably not. I know for a fact there are other masks out there that soothe my breakouts and don’t smell awful. It was effective, and it’s a cheap mask (especially if you’re getting that BOGO deal), but it was just not worth smelling all night.

Moral of the story: drug store skincare can absolutely be great! But sometimes you get a miss, and for me, this was a miss. It did help my skin, and it was affordable, but it just didn’t smell good. I may try some of their other masks later and see how they work/smell, for the sake of comparison. Never let it be said that skincare is not an adventure.

Product Review: Skinfood Royal Honey Emulsion


As you can see from the photo, this emulsion came to me in the form of a sample I got in my latest PinkSeoul box. I’ve changed my order from ‘pore care’ to ‘having fun with K-beauty products,’ because I’m awash with gorgeous pore care products and would like to change it up a little. Hopefully they’ll keep sending me great stuff to review for you guys!

This emulsion from Skinfood is excellent. I use it as a serum, and since there’s so little of it, I mainly put it on my chin and neck, with a little to spare for the rest of my T-zone. It doesn’t smell very strong at all, and it soaks in well, so no extra oil (always a bonus for me).

The first time I used the emulsion, I got a big surprise the next morning: the zits I’d gone to bed with had literally transformed overnight from ‘under the skin and inflamed’ to ‘open and healing!’ Wow! It’s like this serum hit fast-forward on my hormonal breakout. I kept using it with my regular skin routine, and it’s done a great job getting any new acne to open up and clear away. I think it’s the honey component that’s so great, as honey has been used for centuries to treat infections and soothe skin due to it having some antibacterial properties. There are even recipes out there for at-home face masks that include honey.

The package says to use the emulsion during the moisturizing step of your routine, which, by all means do that thing if it works better for you. I’m still using my May Coop Raw Moisturizer, though it’s almost time to switch to a lighter one for spring and summer. For me, the Royal Honey emulsion works great as a serum.

I’d probably buy this again, given the chance. I’m definitely happy with how it helped my acne, and with how it’s tightened up my face. If you’re looking to soothe and heal your skin from a nasty breakout, this is well worth looking into.

Product Review: Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash


Okay, so this one could alternatively be titled, ‘How the Fashion Bird Doesn’t Follow Instructions.’ But I got there eventually, and that’s what counts, right? Join me on this journey.

If you’ve followed the blog for a bit, you’ll know that my skin is oily, acne-prone, and in need of just all the exfoliation. So when I found out about enzyme powder and rice powder cleaners, I thought ‘Great! I can exfoliate SO MUCH now.’

I got the Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash in my previous PinkSeoul box, and I was super pumped. Not only is this some extra exfoliation, but it’s also a much-cheaper enzyme powder cleanser than the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder that I absolutely love, and absolutely can’t afford right now. Vickie, if you’re listening, you know I’d buy only your products on the regular if I could, but as it stands, I buy what I can and shill for you on all my social media accounts instead. You seem really nice on Snapchat, so I think you’re okay with this.

I do have to thank Vickie, though, for showing me how to properly use the Tosowoong powder, after weeks of getting it wrong. I’d been using it as a scrub, just putting the powder on my wet face and rubbing until it lathered up, and I was really only getting mediocre results that way (probably because I was scratching the crap out of my face twice a day). Then I watched Tatcha’s Snapchat story one day, where Vickie explained that no, Bird, enzyme powders are not supposed to be a scrub. You’re supposed to pour a little powder into your hands, put some water on the powder, then rub it between your hands to dissolve the powder into a foam. Only then do you put it on your face and start washing.

‘Well,’ I thought. ‘That explains the middling results of this scrub.’ I started using my cleanser like Vickie recommended for hers, and lo and behold! This stuff is amazing, when you use it properly. My skin feels so soft right now, and just smooth and luminous all around. My nose-blackheads are almost invisible, which is just huge for me, and some of the acne cysts I’ve been battling along my jawline are finally starting to clear up properly.

Weird how things work better when you use them as intended.

Now that I’ve used the Tosowoong powder properly for a bit, I can safely say that this is a great product, especially if you have oily, rough, or congested skin. The enzyme action helps clear away all those extra skin cells that keep hanging around, and the foaming action feels really pleasant. It rinses off very cleanly, so there’s no residue or anything left behind, even if you’re double-cleansing or washing off makeup. There’s also not a strong smell to it, so I’d definitely recommend this to any Fledglings who are sensitive to the more perfumey skin products. At $11 on Peach and Lily, I doubt you’ll find a better deal on a cleanser – I’ve been using mine for almost two months now and haven’t used it up.

Of course, as an avid traveler, one of my favorite parts about this powder is how well it travels. No melting, no leaking, no separating – it’s POWDER. I could put this in my checked bag on a plane flight and save some room in my carry-on, as long as I taped the flip-top lid closed or put it in a baggie.

I’m going to get some more product reviews to you in the coming weeks, so keep watching the blog, and feel free to send me suggestions for new products to review on Twitter!

Natural Deodorant: Making the Switch

In the last blog, I reviewed Lavanila’s natural deodorant, and how it’s an overall good product. This week, I’m going to give you some hints if you want to switch to a gentler, less-processed brand of deodorant. It’s a bit of an adjustment, but if it’s a move you want to make, I’m here to ease the transition. Like I said a couple weeks ago, you’ll still get good results once you’ve adjusted to it.

If you’ve never switched from big-box to natural deodorant before, here are some things you should know before you make the leap.

  1. There’s an adjustment period for your body. Big-box deodorant has a bigger effect on your skin than you’d think – your body gets used to you using it all the time, so when you first stop using it, you’ll probably feel a tiny bit sweaty and/or smelly for a week or two while your skin adjusts to not being coated with metallic powder (Wikipedia says there’s no link between deodorant and health problems, as does the FDA, so going natural is an entirely aesthetic decision, but yeah, metallic powder). The excessive sweating calms down after that time, because your body has adjusted to life without the chemical stuff. You might just need to wash more often during that adjustment time.
  2. There’s an adjustment period for your mind too. The thing about chemical deodorant is that it makes your sweat smell like whatever insane fragrance they’re running that production cycle, so you kind of forget how humans are supposed to smell. When you start smelling like a human again, i.e. no longer sweating perfume, it’s a little unnerving. For a bit there, I couldn’t shake the idea that I smelled and everyone knew it. In Western society, that’s a pretty big problem. But I ran it by some close friends (because what are friends for?), and my mom has never been one to mince words if I smelled weird because her nose is as sensitive as mine, and it turns out it was all in my head. No, I didn’t smell like Coconut Moonbeam, but I didn’t ‘stink’ either. What a relief.
  3. You can’t reapply. You know the drill: you didn’t shower last night, you need to get out the door, so you put on another layer of deodorant and some body spray and it’s fine until you can shower after work, right? Not so with the natural stuff. It doesn’t have as many, or the same kind of, preservatives as the chemical stuff, so it soaks into your skin and wears off by the end of the day. If you’re an every-other-day shower-er, you might find yourself needing to just wash your pits with a washrag on your off days, so that you can reapply the deodorant to freshly-cleaned skin. It doesn’t fail to work entirely if you skip this step, but it definitely doesn’t work as well as if you’d washed up.
  4. There are two kinds of sweat. I knew this academically from a couple of Anatomy and Physiology classes I took in college, but it was a different story when I smelled the effects on myself, and it was a little surprising at first. Regular, daily sweat that’s there to regulate your body temperature doesn’t really smell all that much – natural deodorant handles this kind of sweat easily, even if it’s from working out. But then there’s stress sweat. Yikes. Stress sweat has some other chemicals in it, because  you’re sweating due to a different biological process that I won’t bore you with, so if you nearly get rear-ended, or your boss starts yelling at you, you might just start sweating in such a way that your deodorant can’t keep up. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s entirely possible that you’re the only one who can tell, but it is surprising when it first happens, because again, you’re no longer sweating Coconut Moonbeam, you’re sweating regular sweat like humans do, so you kind of become more aware of what’s going on in your body. For me, that’s a good thing, but it might not be for you. It’s good to be informed.
  5. Oh yeah – you start sweating again. It’s damnear impossible to find a mainstream brand of deodorant in America that isn’t also an antiperspirant. For the record, deodorant = not smelly, antiperspirant = not sweating. That metallic powder I mentioned earlier actually clogs up your sweat glands, which is what keeps you from sweating. It’s one of the reasons I switched – personally, I think we’re supposed to sweat. Natural deodorant doesn’t have that antiperspirant factor at all, so you have to get used to sweating again, just not smelling rank when you do it. Like I said, the extra sweating calms down after a bit, but if it’s hot out, you’re just going to sweat. The upside of this, however, is that while the big-box deodorant can sometimes cake onto your shirt when you sweat and be hard to wash out or stain your clothes, the natural stuff doesn’t do that. My clothes get cleaner and last longer if I’m just sweating normal human-sweat and not ‘sweat mixed with god-knows-what and Coconut Moonbeam fragrance.’
  6. It helps if you shave. Look, I’m not against armpit hair on anyone of any gender. It’s hair, and it’s on you, so I don’t care. But this isn’t an aesthetic thing – natural deodorant actually works better if it’s applied to hairless skin. It gets to soak into your skin better without hair getting in the way. Since it’s a gentler product, you kinda have to give it a leg-up by making sure it has the best chance to come into contact with your actual skin, which is the part that’s sweating. Also, more hair = more body odor. Why fight an uphill battle?

Hopefully this will arm you (see what I did there?) with some knowledge before you up your natural-skincare game. You may need to try a few brands before you find one that works, but once you do, I hope you enjoy the results. Happy hunting!

Product Review: Lavanila Natural Deodorant

 


There are several reasons a person might want to switch to a natural deodorant – maybe their skin is sensitive to the big-box brands, or they want to try a smaller brand to support a different kind of company, or they don’t like smelling like Cucumber Moonbeam all day. Wearing the natural stuff does require a little more work than the big-box deodorant, but if you’re thinking about making the switch for whatever reason, I have some tips for you, as well as a handy product review. You can get good results with the more natural products, with a few adjustments to your routine.

I got a hot tip from a Buzzfeed article a couple months ago, so I decided to try a new kind of deodorant. I’ve mentioned before that I once made my own deodorant using essential oils, but the thing about the homemade stuff is that it doesn’t travel well. The recipe I used, while effective, is made with coconut oil, which is only solid at room temperature. Leave it in your car for too long, and it’ll turn to liquid and you’ll have to wait for it to solidify again before you can use it, or risk making a huge mess. Gods forbid the container you put it in doesn’t seal well.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to use the terms ‘big-box deodorant’ and ‘natural deodorant.’ The first will describe your mainstream stick or gel antiperspirant/deodorant combos that we all see on the aisles at the pharmacy. The latter will describe a botanical-based deodorant that still goes under the arms to make the user smell better, but is an alternative brand that might be less widely-available than the Big Box kind and is formulated differently. Are we good? Okay.

I’d done a round or two with some other store-bought natural deodorant brands before, but I didn’t like them for one reason or another. The main reason was that I smelled nasty when I used them, which kinda defeats the purpose of buying deodorant in the first place. They were also weirdly sticky when I applied them, which was off-putting. So when the article suggested Lavanila natural deodorant and insisted that it works well AND smells good, I was willing to give it a try.

Generally, I steer clear of any kind of scent that makes me smell like dessert, cuz ew. So I wasn’t completely on board with the vanilla scents in this line, but I thought I’d roll the dice on the Fresh Vanilla Lemon scent and see what happened. Citrus is usually a winner for me, so I was hoping the citrus would come through stronger than the vanilla.

Lavanila is some good stuff. It doesn’t have an overpowering smell like so many big-box deodorants do, which is a big plus for me. I don’t like having a ton of competing smells on me all day. It mostly smells like baby powder, but the smell is so subtle you have to work to find it once it’s on. It also stays solid, and goes on with a kind of powdery finish, so it’s convenient to keep and to wear. Overall, it’s a good one, and I’d recommend it.

Come back in two weeks if you’re wondering what it’s like to switch from big-box deodorant to the natural stuff! I’ve got some tips to make it easier and more effective.