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Career Profile | Lio Maldonado, Hair and Makeup Artist

CareerMaría Elena RodríguezComment
Picture by  Marcos Caballero/ Sky Lens Media  // Hair by Lio Maldonado

Picture by Marcos Caballero/ Sky Lens Media // Hair by Lio Maldonado

Every three months I go to my routine haircut with one of the funnest and talented persons I know: Lio Maldonado. I first met him back in 2012 when I walked into It's Miranda Salon in Guaynabo and asked for a hair stylist that liked to work on long hair, because I was so tired of hairstylists cutting my hair too short! (I bet we've all been there). They immediately told me "Lio is your guy!" And I've been trusting that guy for the last 5 years with absolutely no regret. 

He's the only hairstylist that I feel completely confident telling him to have fun with my hair. Plus, every time I sit on his chair, it's like I'm talking to a friend. We talk about hair, makeup, fashion and Beyonce, of course. But, I'm always mesmerized by all the advances in his career, by all the celebrities he's been booking and all the traveling he gets to do with them! He's living the life he loves and he has been achieving it by his talent and charm. I always knew I wanted to interview him one day for you guys and the day is finally here! 

What did you want to be as a child and why?

When I was a little boy I always thought I would be a cartoon animator. I loved drawing!

When did your interest in beauty and fashion start?

Lio and his dad // Pic provided by Lio

Lio and his dad // Pic provided by Lio

It's a funny story because I was never too attracted by beauty and fashion. I honestly started in this industry thanks to my dad. While I was enrolling at Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico (EAP), I had to move from Hatillo to San Juan and my dad couldn't afford my entire tuition. So he randomly suggested I took a cosmetology course before I started School so I could work at a beauty salon in San Juan and help him cover my tuition. 

It was super weird and random to me, but once I started studying cosmetology I liked it, so I stayed. Even though I registered for my first class at EAP, I decided to stay in cosmetology school since I already had a job at a beauty salon. 

What was your first experience doing hair and makeup?

Since this was such a random decision, my first experience was in the classroom! I had never done makeup on anyone before. Even though I was always really good drawing and painting, I was terrified of doing makeup. 

What was Your first experience in a beauty salon?

It was at a salon in Arecibo, where I stayed for about 8 months. Once I started getting called for all these shoots in San Juan, I decided to move closer to the fashion scene. 

You grew up miles away from san juan's Fashion Scene. how did get your foot in the door?

Once I started studying cosmetology I was more inclined to fashion. I remember going to Walgreens and seeing a magazine called InFashion and knowing that's what I wanted to do. And I don't know how, maybe by faith, but my first job in San Juan was precisely for that same magazine! A friend of mine, who happens to be the brother in law of one of the Ecliptica designers referred me. We clicked and people kept calling me for their shows from that moment on. All by word of mouth! 

What did you end up studying?

I have a degree in barbershop. Once I started cosmetology school, I knew nothing about the beauty world, so I wanted to learn about everything! I decided to start by what I knew and liked less, which was barbershop. My plan was to finish barbershop and then start studying cosmetology, but I decided to stop at barbershop!

Then how are you so good at makeup?!

I learned my makeup skills from Youtube. I already had a good hand because I had drawing techniques. But I was terrified of makeup! I had no idea of what was a foundation or face powder... That's why I started with hair styling.

Makeup wasn't like I was used to with painting, it was a person's face! It doesn't get more personal than that.

Do you believe that formal education is i important in order to be a hair stylist or makeup artist?

It's all about practice. Whenever someone comes to me and asks me how I do this, I always tell them to be realistic with themselves about their art skills. It is much more about practice than theory. Unless when it comes to hair coloring! 

Who was your first celebrity client?

I don't remember clearly, but I do remember I was very excited when I first started having celebrity clients! ¡Me jayaba! I didn't care that much about having them in my portfolio. I really wanted to satisfy every single client and be nice to them so they would call me back and take me into consideration for other events. 

I really wanted to satisfy every single client and be nice to them so they would call me back and take me into consideration for other events. 
— Lio Maldonado

How did you end up at it's miranda salon?

When they called me I had several offers from other salons and I was really indecisive about which decision to make. But I remember that at one of the Ecliptica shows, Sandra Miranda (It's Miranda's owner) came over to personally make me the offer. I loved how spontaneous and fun Sandra was! Her vibes clicked with me instantly and once she showed me the salon, I fell in love with the place. 

Even though a lot of hairstylists switch salons quite frequently, I have stayed here because I love that we all get along great and the management is super flexible with my bookings. 

To what do you owe your success in the fashion industry?

Lio Maldonado and Annie Jo Galib // Pic provided by Lio

Lio Maldonado and Annie Jo Galib // Pic provided by Lio

I honestly owe most of it to Annie Jo Galib, who was in my opinion, the best stylist Puerto Rico has ever had. 

I still remember that she recommended me for one of my first photoshoots with Gustavo Arango. He told me to do something a vanguard, so I got inspired by an Alexander McQueen runway for the model's hair. But once Annie Jo saw the model, she screamed: "She looks like Frankestein's wife! Take that off right now. So ugly!" I literally started crying while undoing the model's hair.

I really though they were never going to call me back but the complete opposite happened. She was actually the person who introduced me to Kany Garcia! She's definitely my mentor. 

What have you learned about styling big celebrities like Roselyn Sanchez, Tommy Torres, Denise Quiñones, Giselle Blondet, Juanes and Kany García?

The most important quality a stylist needs to make it into the celebrity scene is to be discrete. You can't be a celebrity worshipper if you want to gain the celebrity's trust. You could be out of the game in no time! 

I try to please them as much as I can. They know how the celebrity world works, so whatever they ask for, I deliver. You have to establish your creative stamp, while still pleasing them.

The most important quality a stylist needs to make it into the celebrity scene is to be discrete.
— Lio Maldonado

You were April Carrión's hair and makeup stylist for the reality show, RuPaul Drag's Race. How has that experience helped your career?

I have known Jason Carrión since before he became April, so once he entered the RuPaul Drag's Race, he asked me to be his stylist. 

Even though it was all behind the scenes, it expanded my network a lot. The art of the drag queen or transformation is not very well known in Puerto Rico, so once I helped April in RuPaul, I've had female clients come to me, just because they know my work in the show! 

Lio Maldonado and April Carrión // Pic provided by Lio

Lio Maldonado and April Carrión // Pic provided by Lio

As a makeup and hair stylist with thousands of followers, what social media advice would you give an aspiring artist? 

Social media is the most assertive way to reach people. I can say 85% of my clients are people who know my work from social media. 

I used to have personal accounts where I would share some of my professional work, but it wasn't my priority. Just recently I opened a profesional Instagram account and a Facebook page that have helped me a lot. 

Also, sharing Facebook videos of my makeup transformations has been a huge boost in my career! I really didn't want to do makeup tutorials because I am really private about my makeup secrets, but I wanted to share videos of my work so people could see my artistic skills. I wanted to show that my job is #nofilter!  

What is your proudest moment in your career so far?

Working with L'Oreal as a Brand Ambassador is one of my proudest moments since it is one of the most complete and important brands in the world. 

Also being able to travel with Kany García is super huge for me. I'm so lucky to be able to travel doing what I love. 

What advice will you give someone who wants to make it as a hair and makeup and stylist? 

You better work bitch! Honestly, give it your all and be objective with your work. Go the extra mile, look at your job from another perspective and listen to people's opinion. It's all about image! It's very important for people to like your work. 

Who's your dream client?

Obviously JLo is every makeup artist's dream! But it sounds funny and random, but I would have to say Belinda. I used to love her face since I was a little kid. She's so gorgeous! 

Random facts:

  • Eye Shadow Palette - Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani (sold out!)

  • Highlighter - Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit

  • Lipstick - Zoe's Red by L'Oreal Colour Riche

  • Blush - Infallible Blush by L'Oreal

  • Brows - L'Oreal Brow Stylist Definer

  • Foundation - L'Oreal True Match

  • Concealer - Nars Creamy Radiant Concealer

  • Bronzer - I don't use bronzer.

  • Shampoo - L'Oreal Total Repair

  • Conditioner - L'Oreal Total Repair

  • Leave In - It's a 10 Miracle Leave In Plus Keratin

  • Hair Mask - L'Oreal Total Repair

  • Curls, Blow Dry or Straight Hair - Blow dry always!

 

Shop Lio's Favorites:

Real Talk | Life's Too Short To Feel Guilty About These Things

Lifestyle, Real TalkMaría Elena RodríguezComment

After a night of browsing around the Sephora and Ulta websites, wondering if I really needed a $40 CC Cream and three new makeup brushes, I decided to finally checkout my order. But after I made my purchase and uploaded a picture to my Snapchat talking about how bad I felt about my decision, I asked myself this simple question: Why did I feel guilty about buying something I enjoy so much?

Why do we have to feel so guilty about giving ourselves a treat, something that makes us happy at least once a month? I mean, don't get me wrong, you better pay your bills and be careful not drown yourself in credit card debt. But if we know how to manage our money and spend it only whenever we can, why should we feel bad about giving ourselves a nice treat? We work really hard for our money (at least some of us) and life should be more about doing what makes you happy. Cliché, but totally true. 

That's why I was inspired to make a list of the things you should never regret spoiling yourself over:

Makeup

Even if you are a daily wearer or only wear makeup on special occasions, there is no doubt makeup makes you feel pretty and confident every now and then. If you want to buy another shade of lipstick, go ahead and do it! A confident boost is definitely priceless. You can read my latest beauty adventures here

Having a fancy skincare routine

I used to be a huge slacker with this. And I have multiple high school pictures to prove it, but you won't be amazed by those anytime soon. So now that I'm officially a quarter life person (I don't want to say crisis anymore), I know that I have to stick to a routine or suffer the consequences of my tanning days at the beach during college. I resolved this by mastering the art of looking at my skincare routine as "me time" every evening. I recently entered the rose water sprays world and I'm hooked! Does it do anything different to my skin? I doubt it, but it smells great and makes me feel fancy as hell. So to me, that is so worth it. 

Find a similar rose water spray here.

Traveling

It's not like I always feel bad about traveling, is that I was never used to buying airplane tickets more than once a year. But this year everything has changed and I have started to cut down on my Sephora hauls in order to have more money to travel to new places.  This not only has helped me to heal in several aspects of my life, it helps me create more valuable content for Ambinity, which I value the most. If you want to check out my most recent trip to California check these travel diaries:

I will also be traveling to a new place next week so make sure you follow me on Instagram @ambinity and Snapchat (elenarodrz)! I will be keeping you guys updated. 

Barcelona is next on my Bucket List! Check out a similar travel guide here.

That one fashion statement item you've always wanted

For me, this was my Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 in Damier Ebene. I bought it pre-owned almost a year ago as a reward for several goals I had accomplished. It was the bag of my dreams and I'm reminded of my hard work every time I wear it. I'm reminded that I can have whatever I want if I work really hard. 

Check out my latest "What's in my Bag" featuring my Speedy here.

Buying candles that cost more than $25

This may sound ridiculous, but to me, this is so relaxing. And just as my rose water sprays, it actually does nothing but gives my life an added luxury that feels rewarding and indulging. My favorite candles are sold during the fall and winter months so I am super excited about it! Here are some of my favorite luxury scents:

Bath and Body Works Candle

Getting pampered at the salon

Even if you go once every 3-5 months like I do or you're lucky enough to afford going every month, going to the salon must be a moment to splurge and celebrate your week's hard work. So if you feel like getting a mani/pedi while your highlights get done, go ahead and do it!

Buying Fresh Flowers for yourself

This is a huge one for me. I try to buy my favorite kind of white flowers (I have yet to learn their names) at least once a month. They make my room feel pretty and fresh. Plus, it makes killer flat lay Instagram pictures! 

That's it guys! I really hope you enjoyed this post. Just remember: Enjoy life while can people! It's too short not to enjoy it in your favorite things. 

Now I want to hear about you! What are your favorite ways to indulge? 

Until next time, 

María Elena

8 Things You Learn After Going Cruelty-Free

Beauty, Lifestyle, Real TalkMaría Elena Rodríguez6 Comments
animal cruelty-free beauty

I’ve been cruelty free for almost 6 months now and I can honestly say it has been a bumpy ride. I’ve read almost every article on Cruelty Free Kitty and stalked PETA’s Cruelty Free list many, many times but still, I’ve purchased brands that I thought were cruelty free only to find out they weren’t (I’m looking at you Jurlique Rose Water Spray!). Needless to say, I’ve become very aware of what I purchase because I really don’t want to support brands that agree with animal testing.

Sadly, all this research has lead me to one hard conclusion: In the beauty blogging community, the awareness about brands that test on animals is practically non-existent. This is why I think it’s my responsibility to do my part and show you the reasons why I strongly support the cruelty-free movement by creating this list for you. So here you go, 8 things you’ll learn after going cruelty-free:

1. Going Cruelty-Free is not as simple as you may think 

I flirted with the idea of going cruelty-free many new years eve. But my love for Sephora, Nordstrom, CVS and Walgreens was too strong and I didn’t feel mentally ready to give up on most of my beloved brands. My advice to you is to do your research on all of the horrible stuff these brands do to innocent animals just so you can have the perfect shade of long-wearing lipstick. If that still doesn’t make your eyes watery, just think about your pet going through that stuff just so you can look a little prettier.

2. You’ll be disappointed with the amount of brands that test on animals

Once you do your research you’ll learn that most of the brands you love and use daily test on animals, even if they they claim to be “natural”, like Originins and Khiels.

3. The wildlife will make you happier

I was never a big animal lover, but ever since I attempted to go vegetarian and went completely cruelty free, I have more appreciation towards animals. I hate looking at them in cages or aquariums and I just wish I could set them free.

4. You’ll feel better about yourself

We all know there are many ways society does inhumane and animal cruel things every day. But by going cruelty-free you are helping make the world a more compassionate place, because you know that everything you’re putting in your face was not tested on innocent creatures for your pleasure.

5. You’ll find a lot of really cool and indie brands that you wouldn’t have given a chance if you weren’t cruelty free

Hence Tarte, Josie Maran and my most recent love affair: Farmacy Cosmetics!

6. Many cruelty free brands are more natural focused

Win win!

7. Buying cruelty free brands at the drugstore is the hardest

Most of the big brands are cruelty free, but here is a cool link from the blog Cruelty Free Kitty that will actually help you on your next trip to the drugstore. For the record, my current favorite drugstore brand is NYX. :)

8. You’ll consider going vegetarian or vegan on all aspects of your life

So this is a tricky one! I experimented with going vegetarian for a while and it worked for like three months. -- It ended on Christmas, can you blame me? -- And even though I am not currently a vegetarian or a vegan, I feel guilty at times and I wish I could go back. Maybe one day... I’ll keep you guys updated.

 

Hope this helps you make the switch! Believe me, it is worth it.

Until next time,

María Elena

Save Your Money | Overrated Beauty Products

Beauty, MoneyMaría Elena RodríguezComment

I know that I'm always telling you guys buy this and buy that, but ever since I started this blog I've made it my mission to always be honest with you guys and tell you where not to spend your precious beauty routine budget. Specially now that the Sephora VIB Sale has us going all going cray cray! You can read my tips and tricks on how to find beauty products on a budget here

So you guessed it, this post will be mostly about the products I've tried over the years and I'm not quite impressed by, even though they have some pretty great reviews online. Hope it helps you make some wise purchases:

  • Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer: Everyone who's into the beauty blogging scene knows that people rave about this concealer everywhere. And I don't know if it's because I have super stubborn eye circles that no eye cream until this date has been able to completely fade, but I find this to be a very average concealer. It is good and I still have a little bit left that I will continue to use, but I think that for its price, there are much better options out there. If you still want to try it, I know that there are a lot of really good affordable dupes for this out there that I have yet to try.  

 

  • Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base: Smudge proof? Umm... don't think so! I bought this because Ingrid Nielsen swears by it and says it works wonders on oily eyelids. But once I put it on my eyelids I found it to be exactly what I didn't want it to be: suuuper liquid. It just feels weird and I feel like I have to wait about 3-5 seconds until it completely drys. Plus, why will I want a lipgloss applicator for this? Germs alert... Gross! 

 

  • Tarte Amazonian Clay: This may be a shocker for some of you who know how much I love Tarte Cosmetics. And even though I hauled this a while back and was super excited about it, over these past months I've come to notice this cakes really badly on my skin by the end of the day. So no,  this is definitely not a fail proof foundation for oily skin. 
    • What to buy instead? I have yet to find a holy grail everyday full coverage foundation for my bad skin days. So I would probably say to go for the super trusty Cover FX Cover Drops mixed in with your favorite SPF moisturizer. 
  • Aesop Skin Resurrection Hand Balm: After reading Into The Gloss' review on this products I was sure I needed it in my life. Specially because the packaging, I mean look at it, it's just gorgeous! So after giving it the ultimate test: 4 airplane rides and two different climate changes during my most recent trip to California, I can honestly say you can skip on this product. It smells amazing, but I felt my hands were super dry after 20 mins of application. Definitely not worth the $20+ price tag. 
    • What to buy instead? Ok I know, Aveeno is not a cruelty free brand, but is the only hand cream that I can honestly say it actually lasts and works how it says it's supposed to. So if you have a cruelty free dupe for this, please let me know! But until then, a really great trick to not have dry hands is to drink, lots and lots of water. ;)

 

  • Anastasia Brow Whiz: Now, don't get me wrong. This is an amazing product, but I found out it ran out a little bit too quickly for the price tag. So if you read my February Favorites you know that I just found an amazing dupe for half the price!

 

  • Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask: First of all, it is not clear if Origins actually testes on animals, so I am not longer buying this brand. Secondly, is it a good mask for oily skin? Yes. Is it worth the price? No. Plus, it is really not a good option for people with sensitive skin. Both my boyfriend and bff tried it and claimed their skin sting too bad. 
    • What to buy instead? I've been trying out a sample of Boscia Luminizing Black Mask and it is SO good. It is the first mas that I can actually see my black heads coming off and it actually makes my skin look and feel radiant. Definitely will be buying the full size version soon. 

 

  • Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Colors: If you're thinking this is going to be a great option to stop getting your "Shellac" nails at the salon, you're wrong. These chip just like any other nail polish.
    • What to buy instead? Now, their nail colors may be bad, but their top coat is another story. Use the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, use it over your favorite base coat and nail color and watch your manicure last more than three days! (that's my record at least). 

Now I'm dying to know: What have been your biggest beauty products regrets? Have you tried any of these products? 

Let me know on the comments bellow. Until next time!

María Elena

 

PS: Part II of my California road trip will be up next week! Stay tuned. 

Top Beauty Products of 2015

BeautyMaría ElenaComment

Yes people! I am alive. Want to know why I was missing? Because I don't think its fair for me or for you guys to post without any inspiration don't you think? The content would have been terrible. 

But to be 100% honest, I turned 25 this past November and I can't say I haven't had a mini quarter life crisis, even though I had a drafted post of "How I Got Over My Quarter Life Crisis Before it Happened" HA! I can be so optimistic at times. So as you can imagine, a lot of thinking, soul searching (super cheesy, I know) and after a weekend of cleaning, sleeping and just being with myself I can finally say I'm ready to start updating Ambinity for good this 2016! Sounds good right? 

Now, enough about the boring stuff... So what better way to start the year than by talking about all the good things from 2015?! YAAAS please. So here you go, my top beauty products from 2015:

 

Marshmallow Fireside Candle by Bath and Body Works

Why do I call this a "Beauty Favorite"? Because it helps me unwind before going to sleep. And we all know how important a good night sleep is for your beauty routine! This candle has been a favorite ever since BBW store opened in Puerto Rico. It's just how I like my candles: warm, vanilla-ish and with just a hint of spice. Heaven, just heaven. Fun Fact: I even like it more than my $65 candle. Yikes!

Cover FX Custom Cover Drops

I finally purchased this after watching Tati aka Glam Life Guru on Youtube rave about this on a First Impressions video. Even though this is definitely not a cheap foundation it is perfect for someone wanting save money due to its versatility. Just one drop mixed with your favorite moisturizer or sunblock makes it a tinted moisturizer. Want a bit more coverage? Upgrade to two, three or even four drops. Want a luminous look? Mix it in with your favorite liquid highlighter or facial oil. So many possibilities... I just love it!

Tarte 100% Maracuja Oil

Surprise? I don't think so. I don't know why but I kept trying different facial oils to see if it worked better, but nope! This oil loves my skin and I have been mixing it in with my Cover FX Custom Drops, which is working like magic. This would not be the first time I say this, but if you have oily skin, you need to try this asap

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm

Although this is not 100% animal cruelty free, I had to include it because I have been using it every night throughout all 2015 (I purchased this before I officially became cruelty-free).  I am already looking for a dupe for this lip balm that actually compares to how velvety my lips felt even after cold and dry air. So I just ordered Glossier's The Balm Dot Com to see how it goes... As always, I'll keep you guys posted.

Sonia Kashuk's Eye Shadow Brush 

I've always thought you could apply eyeshadow with anything. Even your fingers, which is true. But when I got this brush everything changed. Not only does it feel super luxurious, it deposits the product on my eyelids perfectly. I've been specially loving this with my Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadow.

Chloé Eau de Parfum

2015 is the year when I found my signature scent after years of wanting to switch from Miss Dior Cherie. It's not that I didn't like that scent, it's just that I smelled like that since High School and I was so over it! Chloe's scent is sophisticated yet youthful. It has a sweet but soft scent with a hint of spice I would say, but just go ahead and smell it by yourself. It could also be your signature scent. :)

Living Proof Sating Hair Serum

As you all know, I'm pretty low maintance with my hair, so I went from not wearing anything on my hair after I washed it to be entirely dependent on this stuff! It smells great and air drys my hair to perfection.

BeautyBlender

The original one. I tried the Real Techniques version of this for a while and I liked it, but not until I got the BeatyBlender on Sephora's VIB Sale. There should be a saying about "once you go beauty blender, you never go back", because let me tell you, I'm never using a brush to blend my foundation again.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal

If you've ever had a dull face day, you should buy this. Even if you have oily skin. I have oily skin and this gives my face a subtle glow that makes it look like I had 8 hours of sleep every day. I would suggest going for the travel size ($19) since a little goes a long way and that way you can really test it out before buying the $41 bottle.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster

I never knew I needed a serum until I tried this. I love how it smells and how it makes my skin look and feel every morning after I've used this the night before. I have a complete review here.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Another super raved mascara that I was super excited to purchase since I found out this brand is cruelty-free! I don't know if it is better than sex but, it is definitely a great mascara. It's super dark, voluminizing and it can go from day to night with just one more coat. I will definitely be re-purchasing.

So that's it guys. I must say that I really missed writing, and I will definitely keep updating Ambinity throughout 2016, but with some changes. I'll keep you guys posted. ;)

See you soon!

María Elena

Ole Henriksen

Going Animal Cruelty-Free

Real Talk, Beauty, wellness, LifestyleMaría ElenaComment

I'm turning 25 this month... and even though I'm pretty proud of who I've become, I know I can always be a better person. Plus, turning 25 feels like a benchmark age to make important lifestyle decisions. I feel like a big kid now!

But seriously, I may seem like a "grown up" who has everything figured out, but I don't. If you read the title and you know a little bit about the blogging world you must know closing my audience's niche is a very risky move for a beauty blogger. So believe me when I say I've never been this scared to publish a post ever since I officially announced my blog on social media. But this feels different...

First of all, I've always been into health which is the main reason I've always flirted with the idea of becoming a vegetarian. My excuses for not becoming one earlier were pretty much what everybody says: "but how can you give up chicken or bacon? It's so good! Where would you get your protein?" and so on. So back in 2013 I had the New Years Resolution of never buying animal tested products again, but sadly, my love for makeup and skincare products made me forget about this important cause very quickly. Plus, I thought how could I ever blog about beauty without trying out all those products from major brands who do test on animals?!

It took me one conversation with one vegan co-worker and re-watching Vegucated on Netflix to become a vegetarian and stop supporting animal tested products overnight.  How did I do it? I'm not really sure how, but I am positive it had to do with the fact that in every animal I saw being tortured on that film, I saw Fiona, my non-breed shelter dog. I couldn't stop wondering why we eat some but love other animals. But this is not that type of post so you can stop playing your violins!

Before you start making a judgement, I can imagine what most of you must be thinking by reading this post... "Ambinity is now a crazy hippy blog, shaming every brand or person who is not vegetarian or vegan!". Honestly don't even worry about it, because it isn't. You won't even notice the change. This means that my blog will stay the same, but from now on, I will not be endorsing or recommending brands that are tested on animals. And I know it's a risky move that will close many doors for me and believe me when I say I LOVE many, many brands who do test on animals. A simple Google search will let you know which major brands I'm talking about, and sadly, the list is pretty huge. :(

The thing is everyone should do what makes them happy and honestly, I feel like karma is on my side since I feel like in some way, my choices are making the world a little more peaceful. It also makes me feel more in sync with nature, now that I am more aware of animal cruelty and it's consequences on nature and our society. I really do believe I'm helping animals by helping you guys make healthier decisions. Win win situation, right?

As a last disclaimer, this doesn't mean I'm going to throw away all of my products that are animal tested. I will finish them completely, because let's be real guys, I spent money on them! As I said before, I just won't be endorsing them anymore, and I will make sure all my new beauty products are cruelty free. Hope you can all understand my decision and if you would like to join me on my journey, stick by! I will continue to give you my 100% honest reviews, only this time, it will be with brands who don't engage on animal cruelty. Sounds like a happy plan to me, doesn't it? :)

XO,

Elena

My Heat-Proof September 2015 Beauty Favorites

BeautyMaría Elena1 Comment

One of the things that I love the most about the advertising industry is how laid back it is. I could go a week without makeup and nobody would give a ***. But you know me, and even though I have no problem with sporting a bare face once in a while, I can't resist a good no-makeup/makeup session.

Thanks to the excruciating heat we are going through in Puerto Rico, these past months have been all about minimal/ glowing makeup and finding the perfect products to assist me in this venture. Check them out here:

Tarte'sAmazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation - I don't usually like wearing full coverage foundation for everyday, but I find this one is not as heavy. The reason I've been using this one instead of a BB Cream for everyday it's simple and I guess very relatable: bad skin days. Since it has SPF 15, it's the perfect foundation for those work days were you need to have better skin. Plus, it does last a long time.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal - I've always been a fan of a good liquid illuminator. After watching one too many Youtubers rave about Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors (liquid and powder), I had to go ahead and try it. Verdict? PERFECTION! You don't look shimmery, you just look glowy. I've even been mixing this with my body moisturizers for a slight glow.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer - I gave in the hype and purchased this. The applicator is amazing, and after trying it's Maybilline Fit Me Concealer dupe, I feel like the Nars one is worth the splurge. It is much thicker and I feel like it works perfectly under my dark circles and as a highlighter.

L'Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Plumper - I used to be the girl who wore clear mascara as brow gel because "it works just as well", but boy was I wrong! I had no idea this brow mascara will make my messy eyebrows look put together even after far too many days without plucking them. And as a bonus perk: They won't move! Must try, people.

Chloé Eau de Parfum - Right after being insulted by the tiny bottle of $75 that I received from Sephora, I loved this perfume. I feel like it smells so feminine and fresh, yet a little sweet. It's perfect for the daytime and work. I will definitely be repurchasing this at Amazon were it's so much cheaper!

So there you go! My heat prove September Favorites! What have you been loving this month?

XO

Elena

10 Old Fashioned Beauty Hacks

BeautyMaría ElenaComment
old school beauty hacks

My grandma is the person who introduced me to this whole beauty industry since I was in elementary school. I remember going through her makeup drawer and just looking at all the shades I knew I would be wearing one day. I even remember the first time she let me put me on some lipstick and how fabulous I felt looking in the mirror! As I got older, she started taking me to Benefit Cosmetic's counter at Macy's just so I could choose fun and light weight makeup to wear in high school, which was one of my favorite memories. So needless to say, my grandma is a very classy lady who believes natural beauty is an investment. Just look at this gorgeous picture from her back in high school! (btw, this was the only picture she let me upload to this post. lol)

I love how she embraces her natural beauty and has never done surgery or injections because "one should always grow old with grace and dignity". But besides the fact that she recommends that I invest in high end products for my skin, she has some pretty awesome tips and tricks she has taught me along her life and I thought you guys could benefit from them. Enjoy!

1. Add the gel of a Vitamin E capsule to your face moisturizer

She keeps a Vitamin E bottle on her medicine drawer to mix in with her moisturizer every morning. She breaks the capsule in half and adds the gel to her moisturizer as a way of boosting its benefits. And if there's a little bit left, she uses it on her night cream. 

2. Use rubbing alcohol to break in your shoes

She swears by this trick! If your shoes are a little tight just after you bought them, put on some alcohol and apparently it will help you break them in faster.

3. make an Aspirin paste to treat pimples

I hated this one when I was a teenager! Every time she saw a zit on my face, she will get an aspirin pill and mix it in with a little bit of water until it formed a paste. Then she will make me wear it during my sleep and when I woke up, bam! the zit was gone. Why does it work you may ask? Because aspirin has salicylic acid, which is the main ingredient in most acne products.

4. when it comes to skincare and foundation, don't bargain shop!

"You can't save money when it comes to your skin!", it's one of the first beauty lessons she taught me. Although I believe there are some really good cheap products at the drugstore, she does has a point. She went through a really bad skin allergy after using a cheap brand when she was younger and now she can only use hypoallergenic products on her skin. So when it comes to skincare, foundation and concealer, try to stick with high end products, unless recommended by a professional. You will be saving more money on the long run! 

5. use Olive oil as body moisturizer

She doesn't buy any of those brand name moisturizers for her body because she says that olive oil works better for her. And believe me, she has the softest skin ever. 

6. use White iodine for stronger nails

My grandma has the strongest and prettiest nails ever, which makes me question why I haven't tried this yet. She uses it right before applying nail polish since she was a teenager. 

7. use Baking soda to mask shoe odors

It's funny how my grandma uses baking soda for everything! But one of her best tricks is this one. It even works on cars. I like to call it the original (and cheaper) Febreze!

8. use Mouthwash to combat dandruff

Forget all the dandruff shampoos! She says that scrubbing your head with your fingers with a little bit of mouthwas will get rid of all of that nasty snow. Just make sure it has alcohol in it. 

9. use Baking soda to whiten teeth

Again, baking soda! She says that if you brush your teeth with just baking soda before washing them you will have whiter teeth in no time. 

10. use White vinegar for shiny hair

She claims that if you mix in a little bit of white vinegar with with your last rinse, it will make your hair shinier.

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Well that's it guys! I loved making this list for you. Have you tried any of these tricks? Would you like to see more? Let me know! :)

Until next time, 

María Elena

Walgreens Look Boutique and Sephora Haul

BeautyMaría Elena2 Comments

It's been a while since I've done a beauty haul, right? Let's get back to basics! I decided to gather everything that I've been buying these past months so I can show you what's being added to my beauty routine lately. Some of them I've tried, some of them I haven't, but I still wanted to show you what I got.

L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga - It was 2 for $9 and I couldn't resist. You know the story. But being serious now, have you tried it? I've read that it actually makes your lashes look cartoon-ish. Don't know how I feel about that... 

NUXE Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm - I already started using this every night to replace my beloved Carmex. I feel like this is way gentler on my lips, but I still don't want to give it a full review until I've been using it for an entire month.

NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base - Bought this after watching one too many recommendations by Ingrid Nielsen on her Youtube channel. I still don't know if I love it more than Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion, but I'll get back to you soon. 

theBalm Liquid timeBalm Spot Concealer - A lady at Walgreens' Look Boutique got me into buying this because she said it was the most amazing thing for acne spots. It was on sale since it's supposedly being discontinued by the brand so I got two of them, of course. One for me and one for my sister (who has stress breakouts) and she loves it! I still haven't used it, but I should. Soon. 

 - Sephora 500 Points Perk - No Sephora purchase is complete without some extra goodies! You guys know I don't usually use these many points unless I LOVE it, so you must know how I feel about this one. I mean, look at all these Laura Mercier stuff! Who could've resist? The lipgloss is a lovely everyday color and the blush gives me a beautiful sun-kissed glow. I gave my sister the Tinted Moisturizer since I thought it was too greasy on my skin and I'm saving the primer for a special occasion since I've read so many good things about it.

What do you guys think? Have you gotten any of these products lately? Let me know your recommendations! :)

XO,

Elena