What the pHuck?

Everyone from doctors, dietitians and beauty professionals are mentioning the importance of pH levels. Usually, people just smile and nod as if they know what the hell is going on. So what exactly does it all mean? Let’s say you had a garden and you wanted to create the best possible conditions for said garden to thrive. You would probably provide top of the line water, air and sunlight. Maybe even talk to it a little bit because you read an article once that plants liked that kind of stuff. My point is, you would facilitate a proper place for growth to take place. Your hair, skin and insides are similar to your (metaphorical) garden in the sense that they all require proper environments in order to thrive. Part of your wellness mission is to achieve and maintain the proper pH for your body to thrive.

Let’s get technical for a sec… pH stands for Potential Hydrogen and describes the alkalinity or acidity of a product/substance. The pH scale goes from 1-14. The higher the number, the more alkaline the substance. Just in case I’m losing you, here’s a chart!

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pH for hair: scalp should be 4.5-5.5 – to maintain this, your products should be a little on the acidic side (less than 7)

pH for skin: acid mantle should be 5-5.5 – to maintain this, your products should be a little on the acidic side (less than 7)

pH for body (internal): 7.5> – to maintain this, the foods in your diet should be as alkaline as possible (more than 7) *this includes a healthy vagina*

Usually, when shopping for any kind of beauty products, you can find the pH level listed on the website or can just research them online. pH level is especially important when it comes to shampoos and face cleansers because of the stripping of vital oils that may occur. When certain oils are removed, the pH of the skin is disrupted.

So stay balanced!

Water your gardens with the finest alkaline beverages

Keep your body clean

Stay away from bad products, bad foods and bad men! lol 

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20 Under 20: Cute, Quick & Cheap Secret Santa Ideas!

Every year, millions of innocent people around the world are pressured into participating in gift giving with relatives, co-workers and various other human beings. It can be a chore trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list without breaking the bank. Luckily, you have my cheap ass to help you! Here is a list of some of the best beauty and wellness gifts for $20 and under (which are all products I have used or will be trying out in the near future! YAY!

  1. Anatomicals Cruisin’ For A Snoozin’ Silk Sleep Mask $10.50
  2. Biossance Body Brush $17
  3. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil $9.80
  4. jKo Cosmetics Matte Liquid Lipstick $10.50 (currently on sale and there’s a color named after me!)
  5. Bevel Shave Cream $14.95
  6. Nasty Gal ‘Clearly Perfect’ Visor Shades $16.00 (on sale for 50% off w/ code GET50)
  7. AVEDA Shammy Cloth $9.50
  8. ZOYA Polish Quad Gift Set $15
  9. Squish-and-Bubble Mesh Mask for Body $10
  10. Soaptopia ‘Rozilla vs. DRYskinea’ Bar Soap $8.55
  11. MAC Lipglass Clear $17
  12. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser $18
  13. Frank Body Shimmer Coffee Scrub $20
  14. The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy Glowing Skin by Charlotte Cho $13.74
  15. Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie Softening Body Wash $10
  16. The Chemistry Brand Retin-Oil $20
  17. Hylamide HA Blur  $19
  18. J. One Jelly Vita 2-Step Mask $6
  19. ARGOtea Owl Infuser $8.95
  20. Creative Professional Large Wet/Dry Detangling Brush $17.90

 

 

Coming Soon: Mask Mondays!

You know what pisses me off? Seeing tutorials and skin care vids of women with beat faces sparingly applying mask products to their face. As if they are completely unaware that the skin around their brows, mouth and eyes also needs to be tended to. After providing these women with one too many views, I have decided that I will begin a weekly Periscope broadcast featuring myself and some of my fav masks and other products. Those tuning in will be able to ask me health, beauty and wellness questions. So you’ve got a week to download the app and follow. Can’t wait to see you there!

Not into livestreams and such? No problem! I’ll bring the best questions, suggestions and ideas here for your consumption.

Toes & Hoes: A Guide to Suckable Toes and Rubbable Feet

WARNING: IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE GROSSED OUT BY FEET AND/OR TOES, SCROLL PAST THIS ONE! 

Genetics blessed me with good feet. When I say good, I’m strictly speaking about the look of them (because they are big). I often meet guys who claim they “don’t do feet” but as soon as we are in intimate positions, my feet somehow find themselves in these young mens’ mouths and hands. Foot play was never even my thing, but there is something about having your partner love on all your parts that makes you (or just me) feel cared for and a little empowered. So if you’re trying to get your man or women or gender fluid bae to slob on your toes, here are some of my fav products and tips to preserve your feet and keep them kissable even in the colder months!

1. Baths! Baths are the answer to everything! Being able to soak in hot water and oils helps to make exfoliation easier and hydrates areas like the feet and hands (which house the thickest skin on the body). I like to add things like grapeseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, tangerine essential oil and whatever else I have around the house and soak for about 30min before scrubbing my feet of any dead skin. If you are opposed to baths, you can invest in an at home pedicure spa thing.

2. To prevent any flaking and crusties, hydration is a must. I try to stay away from products that are too thick or greasy. A few of my favs are  ha3 Hand Hydrator from Deciem and “First Place” Body Shimmer Oil by jKo Cosmetics. Yes, I use a hand hydrator on my feet but this is a judgement free zone so no worries! 🙂 Both these products smell and feel amazing! The body shimmer is usually reserved for special occasions.

3. Pedicures are a must! We put our feet through hell (and heels) on the daily so maintenance is crucial. Some people prefer to do them at home and that’s okay but I prefer to have a professional to get all in the nooks and the crannies while i sip green tea in a massage chair. The only real advice I have about getting pedicures at salons is make sure they use plastic liners in the tubs EVERY SINGLE TIME and clean their tools BEFORE they work on you! I would have for you to wake up to nubs or deadly infections because of something like cleanliness.

WTF is natural?

I have been gone for a while and I come to you writing with fresh eyes on various beauty topics. One particular thing has been bothering me for a while. What exactly does “natural” mean??

In my time away from you guys, I have sold over $2,000 in revenue as part of my vegan skin care line, Ara By Essence, traveled a little more, read a lot more and become a brand ambassador for a global beauty brand (I’ll tell you guys a little more about it later). All of which has affected the way I view beauty and the lengths that humans go through to feel physically beautiful. While my philosophy for beauty has not changed (less is still more), my understanding has definitely graduated. In my new role as beauty ambassador, I am often asked “Is this line natural?”. I think that what we (people concerned about overall wellness and ingredients) should be asking is if products are toxic instead.

There are plenty of natural ingredients out there that aren’t productive to overall wellness and skin balance. Things like essential oils, coconut oils, hard clay masks and apple cider vinegar are all natural but can throw off our skins natural functions by way of clogging pores, enlarging pores and messing up our pH balance. Being educated on what your own skin “likes” is not enough. As much as we love to hear that our favorite beauty product has some shit in it that comes from a tree, all “natural” products are not created equal!

Some natural ingredients that can be harmful to the skin (especially easily irritated and dry skin) include lavender, eucalyptus, witch hazel, peppermint, lemon, lime, bergamot, arnica.

 

 

Sun Kissed Dreams

Spring has sprung! This means the days are longer and everyone is eager to go out and show some skin. All my clients, friends and loved ones are ranting about how badly they need a tan. Since I live for 80 degree weather and a nice pair of short shorts, I am too!
My best advice for protecting and preserving skin in the summer is WEAR SUNSCREEN/SPF!!! 
Being a black person, I grew up with the belief that my melanin protected me from things such as skin cancer. This eliminated any notion I might’ve had to purchase sun protection. It was not until I became an esthetician that I realized how real sun damage was. It was also around this time that I took my first trip to Costa Rica (the closest to the equator I had ever been). That heat kicked my ass! I walked around for the first few days trying to figure out why I had pain all over my back/shoulders. Naturally, my first thought was that I had Zika. I had no bug bites on my body so I concluded that the Zika must’ve entered my body by way of ingesting a mosquito in my sleep. I have a big imagination. But anyway, it was sunburn… and it sucked.

Due to changes in the environment (AKA global warming), the sun’s dangerous rays are becoming harsher which means sun protection is more important than ever. In addition to preventing possible basal cell carcinoma (small tumor-like clusters of cells) and melanoma (skin cancer) sun protection also helps to prevent premature aging. Although these skin irregularities are more common in caucasian skin, they are statistically more deadly in people of color due to the fact that they’re usually detected in the later stages.

So do right by your skin! Here is this lovely chart to help you find out what level of sun protection you need because you have a whole lot more summers to show off that beautiful skin! I am somewhere between light and medium according to the chart, however, I use Dermalogica’s Solar Defense Booster which is SPF 50 (because I can’t risk having any more Zika scares). For other great sun protection options, you can also head over to one of my staple skin care sites, Glow Recipe

To Derm or Not to Derm

I have a confession to make. I have never been to a dermatologist. I never felt the need to. I’ve never heard anyone I know going to a dermatologist and being cured without their affliction popping up again in the long run. Most of the time they prescribe some topical creams that serve as a quick fix by striping the skin/body of necessary vitamins, bacterias and nutrients. Me being someone who doesn’t take drugs or even use medicated skin care products, I’m not willing to waste my time at a derm office. 

Many skin diseases/disorders as well as other health issues are just red flags our body is trying to send us regarding our internal health. I always recommend visiting your physician, allergist and/or nutritionist.

  •  Physicians can give you blood tests and let you know what vitamin deficiencies you have 
  • Allergists can let you know what allergies you might have that can be causing inflammation and irritation inside and outside the body.
  • Nutritionists can aid you in creating a plan to intake whatever vitamins and nutrients you are lacking.

It’s really the perfect combination for wellness! Disorders like depression, fatigue, skin rashes, and blood related illnesses can all be treated with vitamins and supplements. 

I currently take 

  • Niacin (key ingredient in Vitamin B) for skin and heart health as well as blood purification
  • Multi strain Probiotics for digestive health 
  • Spirulina Powder for protein, Vitamin K, iron, magnesium, chromium 

Check out this bomb ass chart below to help you figure out what vitamins and supplements you should be incorporating into your diet or taking in pill form to improve your health.