Shave Shave Hooray!

I shave my face now. No, I’m not transitioning or having a Britney moment. What I’m doing is one of the it skincare and beauty trends of late and I can’t believe I waited so long to try it. You’ve likely heard of Dermaplaning (it has been around for awhile) or wondered about it yourself haven’t you? If the term shaving your face makes you a tad uncomfortable or dissuades you from trying, we can use Dermaplaning. Much prettier isn’t it? “Hey Connie, I’m shaving my face now.” or “Hey Connie, I’m dermaplaning my face now.” Definitely a difference. I’m the type to call a fig a fig though and it’s basically shaving your face… and you want to do it.

Today, I’m going to debunk two of the biggest reasons why I waited so long to try and, what I’m guessing, may be your own two biggest fears. I’m also going to give you a few pointers because in my limbo of fear, I did major research, read reviews, researched some more, reviewed some more and then researched again just in case before I delved into it. 

For anyone wondering what I’m even talking about, dermaplaning (or face-shaving in my books) is a procedure you receive by a trained technician one to two times a month, with each session lasting around thirty minutes. The cost is relatively low considering costs of other skin treatments. In the session, the technician surgically scrapes any irregularities off the surface of your skin using a sharp blade. New gadgets have also hit the market for you to achieve similar results at home. The process removes the outer-most layer of dead skin and any peach fuzz found on the face. As someone who isn’t hairy, let me just say you never thought you had a mustache until you dermaplane. You never thought you had peach fuzz until it clumps up on your face the same way your dog’s hair clumps in the comb. You never thought you had dead skin because you exfoliate often with your cleanser but then you see your face glowing like a happy little firefly on a summer night after you do it. It’s kind of horrifying, addicting and amazing all at once. 

I watched blogger after blogger and models and influencers rave about this process. I saw trusted professional services offering it and read article after article about how wonderful it was for your skin. I read the cons and scoured reviews of products only for the negatives and kept coming up empty-handed. Obviously there are some cons but not the ones you’d think. I was intrigued as the benefits of this treatment were wild—brighter skin, minimizing fine lines, lessening age spots/discoleratin, makeup going on flawlessly, makeup not settling into fine lines as much, skin regenerating new cells more quickly for younger looking skin, minimizing acne scars, less breakouts, I mean on and on. I was terrified to try it for two reasons only–that my hair would grow back darker and thicker. Somehow I saw myself morpohing into The Bearded Lady in The Greatest Showman

What tipped me over the edge? It wasn’t the constant debunking of my two fears. It was that I rolled into the new decade on the other side of thirty-five and I couldn’t help but notice signs of aging settling in (to my fine lines). At last, based on my research and my vanity, I was finally convinced to go for it. I can assure you the two fears I was most concerned about are myths and I’m going to kick in a few tips for you if you opt for an in-home treatment as I did. You can pay to go see a technician for the professional service, but you can also do it in home just as easily and with pretty similar results. I’m not telling you what to do either way—you have to do what you are comfortable with and these are my personal results.

1.) Will my hair will grow back thicker? No it won’t. I’ll say that again for those in the back–NO. It won’t. What your facial hair was, it will continue to be. Shaving doesn’t change the structure of your hair follicle. This is probably the biggest myth with dermaplaning. I know it was my biggest fear. I was convinced that my tiny, blonde wispy hairs would grow back thicker and coarser. Biologically, it’s simply not true. If you already have coarse hair, expect for it to stay the same. If you have wispy hair like I did, expect it to stay the same. No thicker. No bearded lady. 

2.) Will my hair grow back darker? No. It’s not going to magically change colors anymore than your eyebrows change colors or your hair on your head changes color when it grows. It’s going to come in not only the same density (as discussed above), but also the same color. Again, your genetics determine your hair follicle and it’s not going to change by shaving. 

I think that these two fears can be compared to people who get lash extensions. When you take off lash extensions it’s a shock. Your lashes likely haven’t changed much but it seems like they’re gone. That you suddenly have no lashes. With dermaplaning, once you have shaved and know what you look like without that forest of peach fuzz, it will seem more noticeable to you if you let it grow back because you’ve gotten used to it not being there. It’s not going to come back any darker or thicker but once you’ve done this treatment you notice the difference. Just like plucking, too. Remember that first time you did your brows and you realized you had rocked a unibrow for a few years? Was that just me? Anyone? Ok maybe that was just me. But my point is you realize it only because you are aware. 

I have a few tips for doing this procedure in-home. 

1.) The tool is important. You do not use a normal razor on your face. Don’t be whipping out your shaver for your legs to do your face or stealing your husband’s trusty blade. Use a single blade. My favorite is the Tinkle razor three-pack. Not only do they work great but they are dirt cheap. Get them here: https://www.tinkleyourface.com You can snag these on Amazon as well, but there are a lot of sellers sneaking in fake razors. I didn’t want to chance it. I’d pay to be sure you get what you want.

2.) Always dermaplane with a clean, makeup-free face. I like to do it at night after I remove makeup and cleanse. If you don’t, you are just scraping off makeup, ruin the razor and miss a ton of hairs and skin. Afterwards I cleanse again and give my face a dousing of my favorite serum and then moisturize. 

3.) While you’re at it, touch up those brows. Don’t forget your brows. This is an amazing way to remove some unibrow action and get those pesky hairs under the brow bone area. You want to be ultra careful around your eyes (do I really even need to say that?) as your skin is thin there. Despite waxing or plucking religiously, you don’t always get all the hairs and sometimes you can’t even see them—but they’re there. This will remove them for epic wow brows. Just don’t shave off your brow tails. Slow and steady.

4.) Do your entire face. Don’t just do your chin or skip your nose or your forehead. Afterwards, you’ll notice—so will everyone else. Do your entire face. It will especially affect your makeup if you only do one area—why does she have a funky shadow on her forehead? I like to start around my cheekbones and work my way down to my chin. I then start up at my forehead/brow area and finish with my nose and upper lip. Remember, this process isn’t all about the hair—it’s about getting rid of the dead skin. So even if you have little to no hair on your forehead, you want to get rid of that layer of dead skin. Also, don’t go against the grain (for lack of a better term) and careful around your hair line so you don’t start shaving your head.

5.) It’s addicting but don’t overdue this. Do it on an as-needed basis. You’ll know. Just like your at-home glycolic peel or microderm, you only do them a couple of times a week MAX. This is a whole other level treatment, so I would say once a week max if not once every two weeks. Like I said, you’ll know. You don’t necessarily want stubble growing back but don’t overdue it for the sake of your skin.

6.) Be careful with sun exposure immediately following dermaplaning. You should be wearing SPF every single day as is, but still be careful going in the sun after doing this—it’s fresh new skin you’ve uncovered and it will fry. 

There you have it folks. I’m hooked and you will be too. My initial results were incredible and immediate. My skin is brighter, healthier, younger looking and will continue to be with each swipe of my Tinkle blade. My makeup (which I had a pretty good makeup game to begin with) leveled up. It will transform your skin. Don’t wait to try it as long as I did out of fear of the beard. It’s a myth. Again, speak to a professional if it will make you feel better and maybe have it done professionally the first time. However you decide to finally delve into this, I think you’ll love it and if you’re still scared to admit you’re a face-shaver I promise your secret is safe with me. 

I’d love to hear your feedback if you decide to try or if you’ve been on this for awhile, tell me your results and how you are liking it. Maybe I missed a tip you want to share–please do so below. Also, leave any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

My Low-Carb Lifestyle & Five Tips for Living Your Best Low-Carb Life

For me, low-carb has become a lifestyle—coming to me as naturally as my cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It’s not for everyone, though. Fitness, eating habits, skincare, fashion, makeup—all of them are not a one-size fits all for people. What works for me may not work for you and what works for you may not for me. With that being said, I can say with certainty that low-carb has and continues to work for my lifestyle.

I’ve had three c-sections. After Tia, the weight came off pretty easily. I had started attending fitness classes five days a week and was running at least three times a week up to five miles per run. With just one child and no other job title other than “mama” at the time, I could keep this commitment pretty easily. The weight came off and I was in stellar shape. 

I remember lying on the table during my second c-section and feeling that rip. If you haven’t had a c-section you won’t know this, but if you have, you know the rip. It was a painless pressure feel of them ripping apart those abs that I had worked so hard to get back (and I had gotten them back–they were pretty). I think this doctor was feeling especially aggressive that day because I don’t remember a rip like that with Tia. Anyway, the rip, the tug, the pull and instead of thinking, I can’t wait to see this baby, I remember thinking, there go my abs. And my friends, there they went. If anyone sees them let me know, I’ve been looking for them since. 

Losing the weight after my second c-section was radically different than my first. It just didn’t come off the same. Those last ten pounds hovered and my body felt…saggier. I mean, let’s be honest. There’s no pretty way to put it. Everything didn’t bounce back into place rubber band style like it did the first time. I was eating healthy and working out. I couldn’t hold the same commitment to fitness as I did with Tia because I was now running a business and raising two babes only 16 months apart with a husband working six to seven days a week (he’d leave at 5:30am and get home around 6:00pm). I walked a ton because that was easy to do with the girls and we had a treadmill and weights and I had a fitness program a trainer had given me. I ate healthy meals and didn’t overindulge. But the weight wasn’t coming off. At this point, I knew I needed something a little more. I knew my body well and was well aware of health, fitness and nutrition from a lifetime of sports and trainers. I looked at a lot of diet options and finally decided to try the Atkins. With Hadley, I went hardcore into this diet. I learned about it, read a ton of articles and religiously followed it for six months. I’m not getting into the nitty gritty of it or saying that’s the diet to follow—there are a lot of articles swearing it will kill you and equally as many saying it’s epic and amazing. I’m not going there. What I’m saying, is Atkins is how I ventured into low-carb. I strictly followed it for a time and then shook it out to fit into my life. It wasn’t about my life fitting into the diet—it was about the diet fitting into my life. Eventually, it wasn’t a diet and was my lifestyle. I knew what I could eat, how much, what things affected me most, where I needed to be for carb intake for my energy and more. I guess it became my own diet because I perfectly curated it to my life. 

In 2018—a year and a half after I had Carolyn—we went to Florida. I had been eating (sort of) low-carb after her birth and continuing to be moderately active, with two to three mile walks almost daily. But I wasn’t feeling good. My pants were snug. The weight I had initially lost was creeping back. I saw a picture of myself on the beach and just had that feeling…like, yikes. Now, I carry my weight well. People like to give me grief sometimes and would even say “you look great,” “you don’t need to lose weight,” etc. This isn’t coming from a skewed image of myself. This was coming from a, I know my body better than anyone and I’m telling you, I don’t feel good and I don’t feel healthy and you might not know it because I have an oversized sweater on but I can barely button these pants place. So, I decided to recommit to what I had learned. What worked for me before, worked again. I tweaked only two things—upping my cardio and cracking down on my carb count. 

I’m in as good of shape now as I was after Tia. Same size pants. Clothes fit well. All the things. The low-carb lifestyle I had adopted and adapted after Hadley is what best works for my lifestyle and my body. Like I said, it’s not for everyone and there are tons of different low-carb options out there with lots of different terms and names. Each has its own following and merit. My body is a different body after three c-sections and that’s ok, but I know my body well and it’s healthy and happy and looks great in whatever I decide to dress it in thanks to the low-carb lifestyle I follow. 

If you too are on a low-carb diet or have decided on this lifestyle, or are maybe thinking of it, here are five of my favorite tips for you to help make it a bit easier. Most importantly, remember this simple equation for counting carbs: Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols. 

1.) Hold the starch, extra veggie. Why even tempt yourself? When you go out to eat is likely your biggest set-up to fail. When you’re home, you’re in control. When you’re out, you usually get a big ‘ol side of starch. What I like to do is remove the temptation completly. Anytime I’m out with friends or for date night I order my protein (typically a filet or salmon) and ask for extra veggies instead of the starch. They are usually happy to accomodate. The good news is, your veggie option is usually broccoli, asparagus or green beans. If it’s carrots, run and ask for something else. Consider carrot a starch. Usually it’s one of those green veggies though and then you’re in business. I like them steamed and put lots of lemon or even some shredded parmesan on them if they have it available. 

2.) Cauliflower is your new bestie. Your new bestie also smells like garbage, but you’ll get past that. I missed bedding my meals on rice. It wasn’t the rice I missed though, it was just that extra something with my stir-fry or that saucy casserole I had made. I missed my homemade spaghetti but it was the sauce I missed, not the pasta. Cauliflower can replace all of that. Tuna casserole? Use cauliflower rice instead of noodles. Beef Stroganoff? Use garlic mashed cauliflower (see recipe below–it’s one of my favorites) instead of mashed potatoes. Spaghetti? Cauliflower rice instead of noodles. You can replace just about anything with cauliflower something. Yes, it smells, but it is incredibly healthy, keeps things moving (if you get what I mean) and is a perfect filler for those things you think you miss.

3.) Don’t be fooled by whole wheat, bean, vegetable or whatever pasta. Pasta is pasta. I check labels. Pasta companies are getting smart. Low-carb is huge–almost as big as gluten–and they are trying to offer variations to their pasta so that it’s healthier and we’re tricked into thinking since it isn’t that regular pasta it must have less carbs. Is whole wheat pasta healthier? Yes. But it usually has more carbs than regular pasta. Is bean pasta healthier? Yes. It has less carbs than regular but it’s still loaded with carbs. Just because it’s healthier doesn’t mean it fits into the lifestyle you’ve chosen. It’s best to steer clear in general and opt for Zoodles, Spaghetti squash or cauliflower. 

4.) Water is life. I’ll keep this part short. When you cut carbs, you can get bunged up like a gopher (as my husband would say). You should be drinking about a half gallon of water every day as it is, but when you go low-carb–especially early on–you need to hit that and then some. Water is a vital part to any low-carb lifestyle and it’s essential that you drink it by the buckets or else you’re going to find yourself in major struggle town. Water, water, water. 

5.) Find an app you like to track your food, exercise and carb intake. Tracking is important with anything in life–if you set a goal for yourself and you want to achieve it, you have to track it. The same goes for your carb goals. Writing in a journal is fine, but there are apps out there now that have the actuals for you and take a lot of the guesswork out of it. Whatever your target net carb for the day–50, 100, etc.–you want to be tracking throughout the day to see that you do or don’t hit that. You’ll be surprised at how much you eat and how many carbs are in a lot of foods you initially thought were good for this lifestyle. My favorite app to use is MyFitnessPal.

People always ask what I miss most living low-carb and I get a kick out of it. I can eat carbs. I still do eat carbs and of course I cheat here and there. I don’t really miss anything, though in all honesty, because you can find a low-carb version of just about anything. Anything you can’t find in low-carb, there are fabulous substitutes to trick your mind and satisfy your craving. Parmesan crisps, Alyssa’s cookies, sugar-free Jello, Stevia, cheese cubes, and turkey sticks are some of my favorite snacks. I drink wine, use creamer in my coffee, splurge on pizza, you name it. But I’m disciplined, too, and took the time to find out my best version of “low-carb” that best fits my life and my body. If I have one more piece of advice for you, it’s this: don’t be afraid of trial and error and straying from your plan to find what’s best for your life. Again, if you are trying to fit your life into a diet, you’re likely to eventually fail. It’s not supposed to go that way. It’s about a plan that best fits into your life. 

Lauren’s Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients:

1 Head Fresh Cauliflower, cut into florets. You can also sub with a couple of packages of frozen cauliflower florets (get the steamable bag).

Minced Garlic (equivalent to one clove)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

2-3 Tablespoons Cream Cheese (room temp is best for blending)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Splash of red wine

Directions:

1.) Steam Fresh or Frozen Cauliflower and drain

2.) Slowly add Cauliflower to food processor or blender and blend. Add in remaining ingredients and blend to preferred consistency. Serve.