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Indie Farming Sim Breaks Through Kickstarter Funding Goals

Look out, world! There’s a new farming sim in town, and they are SMASHING through their kickstarter goals!

Coral Island is a brand new farming sim game created by indie developers Stairway Games. At first glance, it might seem like your basic plant-harvest-repeat cycle resource management system, but take another look, and you’ll soon see why it completely shattered its kickstarter goal in the first two days (actually, in the first 36 hours).

A familiar top-down camera styling let’s players imagine themselves as the new farmer in town, a town that resides on Coral Island, a name given due to the coral reefs that surround it. While you work to manage your property, your livestock, crops, and more, you also have a chance to befriend the many varied and diverse people of the island. And, maybe, even meet an islander sure to become that special someone! You can marry, have children (up to two), and work to better the community, restore and protect the coral reefs, and keep the short-sighted Pufferfish Drilling Company from stepping in.

While it contains all the basics you’d expect from a farming sim game (mining, fishing, planting, harvesting, etc) it is confidently doing it in its own style, which is evident from the moment you watch the demo. The 3D styling is reminiscent of TemTem, with a solid mix of cute smooth textures and chunky geometrics that are as every bit as soothing to look at as is the environment they portray. Plump fruit, bright sunlight, and crystal clear water are the backdrop to this new farm, and the 3D models don’t stray too far from the expected norm in this way, but still manage to bring something with a cohesive unique style of its own.

A refreshing change is the mix of traditional character portraits alongside their 3D counterparts. When engaging in conversation, their illustrated avatar pops up alongside the dialogue box. Personally, this was the point where I decided this was the game for me. The art is charming, vaguely reminiscent of the new Disney style direction, and it beautifully renders for us a wide and diverse cast of islanders. The art made me want to get to know these characters and this story. David Lojaya has done a great job, and I’m honestly very excited to play the game to see more of his art and interpretation of these characters.

Most of their stretch goals have already been met, including islanders having different seasonal clothing, children (NPC and player’s children) aging through teen years, underwater mer-village access, bug catching, and so, so much more.

There is a lot to unpack here, and anything more that I would say would be a watered down version of what Stairway Games could say best themselves. Be sure to follow them on twitter, and don’t be late in participating in the kickstarter! There are only so many exclusive rewards, and you could have your chance to play as early as June this year.

So who’s going to be playing in the alpha with me???

"XOXO, Amber" in hand-styled script
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Get $30 to spend for Amazon PRIME DAY

This post may contain affiliate links to help me pay to keep this blog on the web. For more on that, check here

What is Amazon Prime Day, and why should you be FREAKING EXCITED about it?

Amazon Prime Day is the biggest online shopping event next to Black Friday.

This year (2019) it will happen on July 15-16, and you definitely don’t want to miss out.

The good news is, you can sign up NOW for a FREE trial of Amazon Prime – and cancel after the event if Prime isn’t right for you without penalty. Yep, that’s right! You get a 30-day free trial, but if you’re like me, you want to cancel things as soon as possible so you don’t forget about it and get surprised by a fee the next month.

So here’s what you do:

  1. Sign up for your one month free trial of Amazon Prime (or go HERE if you are a student for a SIX month free trial!)
  2. Open the clock/alarm on your phone
  3. Set a reminder for July 18th to cancel your membership (or December 18th if you’re a student)
  4. Get $10 to spend when you download the Amazon app for the first time.
  5. Get another $10 to spend after you make your first in-app purchase!
  6. Set up the Amazon Assistant on desktop to get $10 off your first $50 purchase.
  7. Shop with the benefits of Prime membership on July 15-16th

That gives you a whole week free – just long enough to stick around for the AMAZING deals of Amazon Prime Day. (And students, trust me – you want that Prime. Man, I could have saved so much money getting supplies and quality ramen online, shipped right to my student box.) And while you’re there, be sure to check out things like Prime Videos, Prime Music, and compare all the things you’re buying at the grocery store to what you can get at Prime Pantry. (You’d be surprised how much money you can save by subscribing!)

The kicker is that you cannot participate in Prime Day Deal unless you are already an Amazon Prime Member.

Why be an Amazon Prime Member???

There are a lot of reasons to love Prime, but to be honest, my favorite is the most basic – free shipping. This has saved me so much money, not just on shipping but also on things like gas money.

“How is this possible?” you may ask. Well, I’ll tell you. You know how when you’re going about your day, just doing your thing, and suddenly, you realize you need this thing for a project. Maybe it’s a notebook, a pen, or a special hair clip for this new hairstyle you saw on YouTube you want to try. But you just went to the store yesterday, and you already took your bra off. It would be way too much work to go out now.

So pop open your Amazon app (or browser) and see what your options are! If you can wait to days, you don’t even have to put on your going-into-public outfit to get it. (Bonus!)

Are you at the store and see a deal you just can’t refuse? (This has happened to me on multiple occasions, actually.) I saw a great deal on a TENS unit at TJMaxx. But just to be sure I was getting the best deal, I checked amazon. In this case, it was cheaper for me to get it at the store. But the next time I was there, I saw a hair straightener. I decided to double check. Even on clearance, Amazon won out the day! I just had to wait two days, and I kept the extra $20 in savings. Sweet!

Amazon Prime gets you a lot, including the following:

* Instantly watch thousands of movies and TV episodes
* Borrow Kindle books
* Get unlimited FREE two-day shipping (no minimum order size)

And, of course, access to Prime Day deals which is for members only. Got it? Good!

So if you’re continuing to read this, I’m assuming you’re already signed up for Amazon Prime.

The Good Stuff

Well, that depends on what you’re looking for (psst, it’s a great time to start your Christmas shopping!) but I’ve got some really great ideas below that I think you’ll like.

Psst! Google Chrome hasn't been playing nicely with amazon on desktop. If you don't see pictures of the products and deals below, try switching up your browser!

Tech and Gaming

For all the tech on sale, go here!

A Ring doorbell is definitely on my list. Especially because I can pair it with my Alexa show below and see who is at my door even when I’m upstairs battling it out on Apex Legends or Overwatch. (You even get a free Legendary Item for Overwatch, too.)

And speaking of gaming . . .

This is the gaming chair Cadillac for geeks. Marvel fans, rejoice. This SIDIZ design comes tricked out with Spiderman or Black Panther themes, and it looks great.

Beauty Finds

For the full list of beauty deals, go here!

And if you want to look great when you’re livestreaming, these next few goodies will be a perfect addition to your collection.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love Milani’s product formulas! This is a fantastic palette, perfect for the upcoming season and one that will carry over into the new year. Bonus: it has its own highlight and contour shades! I recommend this for light to medium skin tones.

Thankfully, at this most auspicious decade of my thirties, acne is rare. But because of hormone imbalance and the like, it is also pretty gnarly when I do get one (read: cystic, under-the-skin, painful little buggers). It’s also not great look when I’m trying to get the perfect selfie. The great thing about these patches is that they deliver targeted treatment. You don’t need astringent, medicated ointment all over your face when you only have two or three problem spots. These are also discreet, so if you have to go out in public, you won’t feel like you’ve got a bandaid on your face!

You know I love a good setting spray. While normally I buy matte sprays, I’ve found that in the fall and winter, a dewy spray is just what my skin needs. It also works great for balancing out a matte formula foundation, like Fenty, Milani, or e.l.f. brands tend to be.

Boss Babe Finds

The Rocketbook is definitely one of a kind and something every boss babe, college student, person who uses a notebook needs. Seriously. It saves so much money. You can reuse the same book multiple times! Just wipe clean. It even comes with a pen and microfiber cloth. Although, I suggest getting a bunch of Frixion pens. Not only are the pen needed to get the reuse-ability of the Rocketbook, but they are probably going to become your favorite gel pen – because they are ERASABLE. (You’re welcome.)

There are certainly a lot more deals that will become available (the surprise is half of the fun!) so be sure to log back in starting 12am PDT on July 15th. Deals quantities are limited, so be sure to use your Amazon Assistant to alert you when deals you want go live!

Have fun shopping Amazon Prime Day, and be sure to come back and comment with what your best score was!!!

"XOXO, Amber" in hand-styled script
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Best Instant Camera?

The first camera tested, the original Polaroid One Step.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more on that, check here

There are a lot of instant photo options in the market nowadays. From the most popular Instax Mini with it’s array of colorful accessories, to the new HP Sprocket that connects to your smartphone. In a digital age where most of our photos are looked at from a screen and stored away often never to be seen again (at least until Facebook or other social media platform reminds us of throwback days), printed photos are regaining their appeal. And there’s good reason.

I can still spend a good hour looking through my grandmother’s many photo albums. I own only a few photo albums, and all from my childhood, but the memories they bring back are fond, and the pictures are often humorous and endearing. In this digital age of social media, we cull through numerous photos and take many more until we get “the one.” In the days of film, you often had no idea what the result would be until you picked up the packet of images from the photo department.

And the allure is stronger with old-fashioned instant cameras like the Polaroid. You get just one chance to capture a single moment that can never be replicated. Instant cameras are a piece of magic.

But like in many fields, there are so many options, it’s hard to make a buying decision. I am not particularly loyal to brands, mostly because this is a field where I have little experience. Polaroid has made its name synonymous with the square format print, but does that mean it is the best option? I wanted to find out.

The Contenders

Original Polaroid One Step Land Camera

I used Color 600 film paired with the neutral density filters. Because the 600 film is more sensitive to light than film meant for the OneStep, the neutral density (ND) filter reduces the amount of light the camera allows in so that your photos are not over-exposed (that sun bleached look). You can use the SX-70 film, but it was not available in time for me to do this review.

Ease of Use: ★★★★☆

The Original OneStep is very simple. You insert the film cartridge, hold down the shutter to eject the protective covering, and you are ready to start shooting. The only thing that makes the original OneStep difficult to finagle is its bulk. It’s odd size and shape make it impossible to simply slip into a purse and be on your way to capturing memories. But for taking instant photos, it could hardly be easier.

Functionality: ★★☆☆☆

Not surprising at all, this camera has very little features. It takes photos. It has a flash. I could not figure out if the flash could be turned off. (There was no manual with my ebay purchase.)

Accessories: ★★★☆☆

The Polaroid OneStep Land Camera with Q-Light Accessory

While retro and not currently manufactured, the availability of accessories for this little guy are prolific. In its prime, Polaroid produced several different types of accessories, mostly flashes of some sort, that improved (or were marketed to improve) the quality of the images. Carrying cases, storage cases, and film are quite easily come by, though they are not necessarily inexpensive. And since the accessories are no longer in reproduction, you have to rely on third party resales to obtain them. Surprisingly, I was able to find more accessories for this camera than the other two tested.

Photo quality: ★☆☆☆☆

Selfie comparison between all camera prints.

This old guy has perhaps seen better days. Whether it is an issue of needing a refurbishing, I don’t know. But the results were murky at best, garbage at worst. In the photo above, the original camera tests resulted in row 1 image 2 and row 2 image 1.

Overall: ★★☆☆☆

Summary: With the many instant print cameras out there, don’t bother spending your money on a retro model – unless you enjoy having a camera to refurbish.

2. Polaroid OneStep2

The new Polaroid OneStep2 has just enough retro charm and functionality to make me want to purchase it just by looking at it. (Is that just me?) It has several different color options (I bought Sky Blue, but there is also classic white, and even a Stranger Things limited edition)

Because this is the next generation of Polaroid’s OneStep series, I want to get into some comparisons before we get to the rating. (If that doesn’t interest you, you can scroll right down to the stars!)

I found the two cameras to be very similar in size. I expected having the shutter button beneath the much improved larger flash might lead to having stark finger shadows, but that never happened. It did take me forever, though, to figure out where my film indicator was. All other instant print cameras I have used have the scrolling number wheel somewhere on the back of the camera housing. It took me looking it up in the manual (duh) for me to realize that those little dots on the top of the camera are LED lights that indicate the amount of film left. I think that is a nice touch, once you know its purpose.

Having the button on the front also made taking selfies really easy considering the cameras bulk. And the USB charging is an upgrade that certainly makes it more sustainable (retro film packages include a battery to run the camera) and ensure you always have a well-powered flash. Overall, a very nice, recognizable upgrade.

Ease of Use: ★★★★★

Whether taking a selfie or a group photo, indoor or outdoor, flash or no flash, the OneStep2 was simple to manage and understand (aside from my LED film indicator mystery mentioned above). It was honestly just fun to use.

Functionality: ★★★★☆

With its USB charging and the ability to turn off the flash, this little camera already has more than one leg up on its other instant camera competitors.

Accessories: ★★★☆☆

Even though its accessories are more up to date than the those of its retro predecessor, they are few and more pricey than other brands, like Fuji’s instax series. Your choices of accessories are limited. The strap is exactly the same strap as the original OneStep, a thin band that will rub your neck raw, although it can actually be removed and replaced with almost any other neck strap, which you would want to do. (Unless turtlenecks and protective ascots are your thing. You do you.)

Photo quality: ★★★★☆

Photos taken with the OneStep2

For instant print cameras, Polaroid really does have the winning combination. The colors, while off from what our eyes see, read very clearly once developed. If you want something closer to what the naked sees, your cell phone will take better photos. But instant cameras are an entirely different realm, and in this arena, Polaroid is king. The images included crisp, clear details from different shooting distances and selfies equally.

Overall: ★★★★☆

This was so close to five stars. There were a few things I liked better on the next camera that I would like to be able to Frankenstein together for the perfect instant camera, but ultimately, those little things come down to personal preference. If you like the look and excitement of what Polaroid prints have to offer, you won’t be disappointed with this camera.

3. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

This is the camera that I started out assuming would win. The SQ6 has more features than any other instant camera in its price range. It’s design and shape make it preferable to taking it with you and capturing memories on the go.

Ease of Use: ★★★★★

This camera was the easiest to use in multiple ways. It has two shutter buttons, one on the top, and one on the front which is optimal for taking a selfie. And when it comes to selfies, the mirror on the front of this little guy makes it possible to make sure everyone is in the shot. (But seriously, don’t try getting a selfie with more than three. There will not be room. Unless you enjoy the “crammed too many in a photo booth” look.)

Because of its slim design, it hung flat against my body and was even able to slide into a medium purse. Of the three, this was by far the more portable design.

While I did give it five stars, the SQ6 did have one annoying hang up: the viewfinder is on the right hand side. That seems like such an odd thing to nitpick, but when every single camera I have held in my hand (which is a stinkin’ lot) has the viewfinder on the left or in the center, trying to use a viewfinder on the right hand felt like I was trying to write with my non-dominant hand. I’m certain this is something anyone could easily adjust to, but it may throw you off. It certainly did me, as well as anyone I handed it to.

It doesn’t seem like much, but trust me, that right hand viewfinder is wack.

Functionality: ★★★★★

A duel exposure image taken with SQ6

Out of every camera I tried, this one had more ways to use than your simple point and shoot. Take a look at the back of the camera again and see for yourself all the different shooting modes.

Shooting modes, left to right: Auto, Selfie, Macro, Landscape, Double Exposure,
Lighten, and finally, Darken.

This camera gets you the most for the price. In fact, the only downsides I can think of are 1) I just wish the prints were larger, and 2) it uses disposable batteries. The USB features of the OneStep2 just feel right with everything else that I have that is compatible. I hate trying to remember what type of battery each electronic takes. Come on, Fujifilm, this is 2020, not 1992. That being said, the camera is functionally top of the line in its price range.

Accessories: ★★★★☆

The line of Fujifilm Instax cameras have been established for years, and with that, an assortment of different accessories have been produced. From photo albums, locker or fridge magnet frames, neck straps, cases, and more, there is something to personal your Instax experience to your liking. However, there are fewer accessories for the SQ6. Most of the Instax accessories are for its Mini series of cameras.

Out of the box, the SQ6 has a premium neck strap (complete with padding) and even colored flash gels. I was really excited about the inclusion of gels. These flash gels are more superior than those flimsy little strips of color plastic film like most gels. These are durable plastic clip-ons that attach right over the flash and are thick enough to not be blown away or lost in the depths of a camera bag or purse.

Photo quality: ★★★★☆

Photos taken by the SQ6

The SQ6 takes square format images, much like the beloved Polaroid. However, SQ6 prints much smaller images.

The SQ6 print on the left, OneStep2 on the right.

When at the optimal distance, the pictures were crisp. However, in order to get a good selfie, you have to remain very still. While in the photo above it looks fine, in person the Polaroid has much sharper details. (But to be fair, I did not use Selfie mode on the SQ6 as I hadn’t learned about that yet. It would probably clear that up.)

When it comes to color rendering, it does a good job, as well as one can expect from instant print cameras.

Overall: ★★★★★

This camera is the clear winner for the price. It really allows you to do more with less.

That being said . . . I didn’t like the photos as much as I liked the Polaroid’s prints. There was just something about the size that didn’t feel right. It’s not something I can explain, so it most likely comes to an emotional attachment or nostalgia to the size of the Polaroid prints. The Fujifilm square prints are odd. While the Instax line of minis prints are familiar, like a business card, the SQ6 prints don’t feel right in my hand. It’s an odd place to be, because if I were to base it off enjoyment of the photos alone, I would pick the OneStep2. But as an overall experience (handling the camera, using it with the strap around my neck, finagling its size into normal activities) the SQ6 is the clear winner (aside from the right side viewfinder).

If you want to purchase, you can find great deals on Amazon here:

Polaroid OneStep2
Fujifilm Instax SQ6

So, while my conclusions were not exactly conclusive, I hope that my experiences and details help you to figure out which square format instant camera you would prefer. Which one would you buy?

"XOXO, Amber" in hand-styled script
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The AMAZING Skin Solution that takes LESS than Five Minutes

You may have seen my recent video on my instagram, but just in case, I’ll make sure I share it below. In the video, I do a (sped up) version of my nightly routine. While I recorded it, including extra time spent showing off the products, it was actually UNDER five minutes, and that included removing my makeup! WOW! I was absolutely amazed.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more on that, check here.

Products Used:

  1. Facial Cleanser by Instanatural – use the cleanser as directed. If you need a little extra makeup removing power, add a little extra virgin olive oil in with your cleanser. (TRUST me!!!) Wash away!
  2. Toner – Vitamin C by Instanatural – depending on the toner, the directions may differ, but generally, you want to shake the product, dispense into either your palms or on a cotton round, and pat it gently onto the face. Toner is so important to your facial routine. But it won’t give you the benefits if you don’t have the right product (avoid alcohol at all costs!) and don’t use it at the right step. Toner is done after cleansing to adjust the PH balance of skin back to where it should be. This allows the products you’re about to put on your face to actually do the work they are supposed to. If your toner makes your skin feel “tight,” most likely, it is just a drying agent and not a balancing one, and that is a HUGE NO NO!
  3. Serum – Vitamin C by Instanatural – the serum is the powerhouse of your nightly routine. It is the agent that delivers the compact, concentrated nutrients that help your skin. I love the vitamin C serum because how it helped reduce my redness and in general, evens my skin tone! You might want a different serum depending on your skin goals and needs, but if you’re new to skincare, you can’t go wrong with this one! (And the smell is simply YUMMY!)
  4. Roller by Witty – I love using my roller! Not only does it just feel awesome, but it also helps me save money! Seriously. I can get away with just a few DROPS of my serum when I use my roller because none of it gets soaked into my fingertips! (To be fair, in the video, I use more because instagram.) It is also great for helping with cystic acne. Pop that baby in the fridge and apply it to any inflamed areas to reduce swelling. It also works great for reducing morning puffiness.
  5. Night cream by Instanatural – after you’ve applied your serums, the cream is going to be the protective layer that keeps your skin hydrated and helps you to absorb the nutrients from the serums while you sleep. I had the pleasure of being taught how to give yourself a spa facial by a premier aesthetician, and it makes such a difference. I’ll be able to do a video on that later, but for now, when you apply lotion, only dispense it on your fingertips. Your fingertips absorb product the least, which means it will last longer and most of it will go on your face where it belongs. Tap your fingers together until you have an even amount on each fingertip (sans thumbs). Then, gently tap the product all over your face until it is evenly absorbed. It helps to stimulate circulation as well as prevents aging by eliminating unnecessary tugging. Plus, it just feels nice!

I’ve been using Instanatural since 2017 when a friend introduced it to me (Thanks, Savannah!). It’s made in Orlando, and I admit, this FL girl loves that! (Plus, I feel like it’s genuine Florida citrus in these products!) The products are clean, not tested on animals, and actually work.

No filter, no editing, just my face, half brows and all!

If you’re wondering if these will work for your skin, I’ll share what skin hurdles I have and how these have helped. First, my skin is combination. I have patches that are usually oily and patches that are sometimes dry. I also have random breakout (usually coinciding with my cycle) and have hyper-pigmentation, where the skin is perpetually red after a breakout in the past. Even though I have rarely broken out since high school, my skin retains the redness of each one for months, sometimes years! I also have sensitive skin that gets easily irritated and inflamed. I have the best experience with my skin when I regularly do this nightly routine. During the day, I also use Instanatural day cream and sunscreen if it is in the summertime. I exfoliate as needed, which is usually every 1 – 2 weeks. Also, I have found that drinking lots of water makes a big difference, too!

So tell me – what works for your skin? What products do you love? Try this easy nightly routine; I’d love to hear your results!

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January BoxyCharm Review

Have you been considering a beauty subscription to BoxyCharm? Take a peek at what I received and how I used it!

The January box contained five full-sized products as well as two Tatcha masks. And with the look I created, I used all of them! (Except the masks.)

This look is perfect for glasses and glam! I used my regular Anastasia of Beverly Hills dip brow pomade and Maybelline concealer to do my brows.

In the crease of my eyelid, I used Malibu, the dark hazelnut shade. On my lid, I used Heat Wave, the pinkish shade to the right of Malibu. And in my inner corner, I pressed a good amount of Treasure to really make sure it popped behind my lenses. Then with a liner brush, I smudged more Malibu into my lash line on both my upper and lower lashes, focusing on the outside corner. It darkened it up just enough to bring attention to my eyes without closing them in. (When it comes to wearing glasses, a lot of times, less is more!) Then, to finish it off, I put on mascara.

The real focus of this look is the GORGEOUS lipstick by Ofra! This beautiful shade, Havana Nights, not only is perfect for the winter, but it also feels amazing. 

This is my second month of getting BoxyCharm, and I am in love! I have done beauty subscription boxes before. I have even done Ipsy. But because of the full size products, premier brands, and better curated content, the value in BoxyCharm is SO worth the additional ten dollars! Still not sold? Consider this: the Tarte palette alone retails for $36! That’s incredible! And on the rare chance I get something I’m sure I won’t use (haha) or something I already own, I know it will be quality products that will make amazing gifts to my girlfriends throughout the year. Win win!

Are you ready to check out more? Then go to BoxyCharm‘s website. I’m not an affiliate or anything like that. But if you do sign up with my link, we both get a little extra lovin’ from BoxyCharm as a thank you! So go check them out!

Until next time,

"XOXO, Amber" in hand-styled script
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Buh-Bye Winter Woes

And hello to nourished, hydrated skin!

It’s that time of year again. Depending on where you are in the world, you might be experiencing one of the more frustrating beauty hurdles of winter:


And it’s just dry everything! 

Dry hair, dry scalp, dry skin . . . what’s gal to do? Well, after battling this beast for a while now, I’ve come up with a list of my favorite things for different winter issues.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more on that, check here.

First, you have to get rid of dry, dead skin. You can’t bring it back to life, but you can help it along so that your new, fresh skin below can really shine.

Body Care

  1. Flake Away body scrub by Soap and Glory

I stumbled upon this at Target and later spied it Ulta as well. To make it easier for you, I’ve got a nifty link to find it online, but you might want to check out stores just in case.

What’s good?

  • Delicate, uplifting scent
  • Lightly scented
  • Eco-friendly
  • Scrubs the flakes away

(Because the only thing that should flake in winter is snow.)

If you’re being price conscious, you can make your own scrub at home using things you probably already have around the house. A word of caution: some things should NOT go down the drain, like certain oils or coffee beans, even though they make great scrubs. Always check before it goes down the drain!

Psst! If body scrubs aren’t your thing, get a natural loofa sponge! Not only are they completely organic and biodegradable, but they’re great for cleaning and scrubbing around the house, too!

2. The Righteous Butter by Soap and Glory

Together, the Flake Away and Righteous Butter make a killer combo! A real one-two punch, a hadouken to K.O. your winter woes!

Seriously, I’m pretty particular (i.e. picky) about lotions and anything scented. Not only because of my scent-triggered migraines, but also because of my “super sniffer” of a nose.

I have the sort of sniffer that makes going to the laundry aisle or anywhere within a two-block radius of Bath N Body Works or Yankee Candle a nightmare. (Anyone else feel me???)

But this. I couldn’t stop smelling it! It’s surprisingly complex, delicate, and just a joy to smell. The Righteous Body Butter is definitely one of my top faves!

Hair and Scalp Care

3. Ouai Scalp and Body Scrub

At a pretty penny, this would definitely be considered an investment into your beauty routine and self-care regimen. It does say you can use on body, but because of the price, I like to save it just for my scalp.

It is scented with their incredible Melrose Place perfume, a delicate blend of bergamot, rose, lychee, and cedar wood, that makes me feel like I’m leaving an upscale salon in New York after a lavish treatment. It is classy, and for that reason, plus how well it handles scalp flakes, it is my first fave on the list for hair and scalp.

2. The Doux Sucka-Free Shampoo

I’ve been using this since August 2018 and it has revolutionized my curly girl routine. It gets rid of all the buildup (and the flakes you just rubbed off) and leaves your hair a fresh, clean canvas for your next step. Cleansing properly is key to getting moisture in the cuticle of the hair where it is needed. If there is anything left on the hair, that lovely conditioner or mask isn’t going to be able to do it’s job.

This gets it done.

Simply scrub your hair, paying attention to the scalp, mid, and ends as separate areas to cleanse to make sure you don’t miss a spot. Just remember: “get squeaky clean.” Once you rinse out the shampoo, if your finger can squeak on the hair on your scalp, you’re done!

Seriously, you need this stuff. Not only is it amazing and the only thing I use now, but it is also a woman run business, and she specializes in natural hair. So go get it! Right now!

3. Scalp & Shampoo Brush by MAXSOFT

If you’re really struggling with a case of winter flakes on your scalp, get yourself one of these! Yes, I know they are sort of making a resurgence on social media, but they’ve been around forever. They are affordable and help make sure that you really stimulate and cleanse the scalp. And for around $8, it’s a good investment!

Pro tip: this is a great tool to help keep your nails in good condition!

4. Deep Treatment Masque by Shea Moisture

Did you know? You should always do your masks before you condition! When you condition, the hair cuticle soaks up all the conditioner it can hold, making a masque simply get washed down the drain without getting the full benefit.

I use this hair mask and a gel heat cap to really open the hair cuticles and give this a chance to work. If you want a more consistent heat without having to put your cap back in the microwave, this is the best one out there.

The Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque is well worth the investment. It has lasted me for months with a once to twice a month regimen!

5. Fresh Rinse conditioner by The Doux

After you rinse that mask away, it’s time to leave a little sumthin’ sumthin’ on your hair to protect it during the heat of styling or the cold harshness of winter weather. That’s where this conditioner comes in. It has been the most effective conditioner to help me detangle. (And when your hair is down to your waist, you need all the help you can get!) I used to run out of hot water before I finished combing through half of my hair. But now with the Fresh Rinse and the power of my Brush with the Best, I get it done in less than half the time!

6. Scalp Oil by Shea Moisture

Scalp oil is going to be your best friend during winter. I love the Shea Moisture line of products, and this is no exception.

To use, part your hair into sections. In each part, place a few drops of oil onto the scalp, avoiding the hair as much as possible. Use the pads of your fingers to massage it in.

Depending on your hair needs, you can put this on prior to styling, fifteen to thirty minutes before your shower, and the night before wash day for a deep conditioning scalp treatment.

Hand, Feet, and Nail Care

  1. Stainless Steel Pedicure File

For all that is good and holy, please STOP putting those cheese grater things to your poor feet!!!

They are actually illegal for salons in many states to even use because of how dangerous they are! Medical professionals in the linked article suggest even using a nail file, which is basically what this bad boy is, except large enough to do your foot in a few strokes instead of hundreds. And since it is stainless steel, I keep mine in the shower ready for use!

Pro tip: for extra smooth results, first soak feet in a hot water bath filled with baking soda and a few drops of your favorite essential oil! Or, if you don’t want to science things up, here’s my favorite foot soak.

2. Cuticle Oil

You know those dry, scaly cracks and crevices next to your nails that sometimes peel into the worst hangnail of your life???

You need this.

I’m bad at remembering to use it, but when I do, it is a world of difference! No more frustrated picking at my cuticles! No more bleeding!

Pro tip: I’ve started keeping mine on a table next to the front door. I give each nail a quick swipe and run it in a bit. With my hands occupied on the wheel, driving is the perfect time for them to soak it all up!

3. Tocca Mini Hand Cream

Hand lotion is a bit of a luxury for me, and I don’t normally notice it until I’m away from the house (and anything I can do about it). So my favorite lotions are small enough to drop in my purse and creamy enough to nourish my skin without any greasy residue. (Because eww.)

You’ll love this lotion by Tocca! You can snag it at Anthropologie, or you can use the link above.

So there you have it! My favorite ways to beat winter dryness from head to toe. In the comments, let me know what has worked for you!