Glow Therapy: Candid Conversations With A Skin Specialist

So I’m having an event in NYC! Think of it as a TEDtalk for all things beauty and wellness related. I’ll be breaking down the functions of the skin, how you can get the most out of your seasonal skin care routines & much more. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask me any questions you might have about beauty (even professional questions). The best part is you will receive a free skin consultation from me as well! I hope to see all your beautiful faces there ❤ I’m so excited to meet you!

Here’s the link!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/glow-therapy-candid-conversations-with-a-skin-specialist-tickets-42162783019

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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.

From Me, To You


I literally always get asked the same few questions about skin. How to even/brighten skin and fade dark spots is the most common one. Most women resort to harmful chemicals or strong peels that are not suited for their skin type. I got sick and tired of hearing horror stories and seeing chemical burns. I got sick and tired of not having a good product to recommend. So I created one! 

Ara by Essence (Yes, Me!) is a natural, vegan skin care system that uses fruit acids to deeply exfoliate skin, leaving it brighter and even toned. It consists of two products (an exfoliating peel and a hydration masque). It’s safe for all skin types and can be incorporated into any skin routine. It is also safe for use on the body. It is available for purchase at Ara by Essence


Benefits of Enzyme Peels

  • Loosen and removes dead skin cells
  • Improves skin tone and texture
  • Diminish marks, age spots, discoloration 
  • Deeply cleanses pores

Birth Control Business

My Birth Control Experiences

I promised I would save this topic for a later date. Well now is the time. Let’s talk about birth control… and how much I hate it. Many women (and girls) use it as a way to control their cramps and other physical symptoms of their period like acne. I was once one of them. I began my period at 9 years old. Every month I would become violently ill (fainting, vomiting, etc.). This meant calling out of work every month and missing out on school. PMS would leave me in a deep slump that was similar to depression. I would spend the week before sobbing and hating myself. So naturally, when the doctor presented birth control pills as a solution to my problem, I was hopeful. The dosage she gave me was low. It worked for a couple of months. Afterwards, we went higher. Each time I tried a new brand or dosage, it would work for a short amount of time and then the wrath of my period would return. It was bullshit. After a while, I gave up and didn’t take birth control for a few years.

Then randomly, my sickness got worse. My OB-GYN informed me that it was hormone related and that I should try this thing called NuvaRing to help me out. Im sure she had great intentions… Im sure she thought her medical knowledge and experience was going to be the key to saving me from monthly agony. After reading the side effects of NuvaRing (vaginal infections and irritation, vaginal itching or discharge, headache, nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach cramps, changes in weight or appetite, breast pain/tenderness/swelling, headache and much much more) I decided I would go for it. There are very few things in this life I regret doing. Putting that little flexi circle of hormones into my vag is one of them. Everything went smoothly. I followed the directions. Put it in for 3 weeks and took it out on the 4th week so I could get my period. My period came. I still got sick. Then my period stayed. For 1 year. Not 365 days straight. Sometimes it would stop for a week or 2. I would think I was in the clear. Then it would return.

I consulted with three different doctors in that year. Each of them was completely baffled. One of them was convinced that I had done something to my own body to make it react this way. I got more sonograms than a pregnant woman. All three physicians recommended the same thing: an abortion. Even though there was clearly no baby up there. Apparently, the NuvaRing hormones interfered with the formation of the lining of my uterus. Every month, my body would try to rebuild itself, but the hormones had been so thrown off that it wasn’t happening. The abortion procedure consists of scraping away the lining of the uterus. The doctors were hoping that would allow the lining to come back regulated and healthy. I was not with it. I didn’t think it was a good idea. So i found natural ways to regulate my hormones. After a few months, I was back to my normal violently ill period. I was never more grateful for it!

Birth Control Industry

“Never has a drug whose target population is entirely healthy people been shown to be so pervasively carcinogenic in animals as has Depo-Provera”

-Medical Apartheid, Harriet S. Washington

The birth control business is shady af. Birth control is poisonous af. Prior to reading Medical Apartheid by Harriet S. Washington, all of my misgivings about birth control were simply due to my own experiences. I was skeptical about the use of synthetic hormones to regulate my living, breathing hormones. I was skeptical about the many side effects each birth control had no matter how much the doctor said there was a minor chance of them occurring. I figured if the birth controls are becoming better/more advanced, why the hell are the list of side effects nearly identical?!

Although Washington’s book is about the medical industry and its exploitation of black people in America throughout time, there is a particularly interested part about the inner workings of some birth control studies. For example, the Depo-Provera shot which was given to dogs (beagles), in 1978, before it was human tested. The shot was created with the intention of being a cancer treatment but seeing it helped to prevent pregnancy changed its destiny. All of the dogs developed breast cancer but didn’t get knocked up. So they moved on to phase 2: human experimentation.  Nearly 5,000 were injected. Because they were unable to find funding for the drug, it disappeared for a while. When I was in high school, the Depo shot was proposed to us as a new and easy solution to teen pregnancy. You didn’t have to worry about taking a pill every day and best part of it… no monthly period! I remember seeing commercials on TV for it and being envious of the girls I knew had it.

The birth control industry still texts on humans today. They usually do it in poor third world places like Nicaragua, Venezuela and various African villages. The notion attached to this is that black and brown women in these places are not only uneducated but also not cared about. Because the 17 year old girl in the Bronx does not care if 50 women had to become sterile in order to ensure she and her boyfriend can have unprotected sex. She was not taught to care. The saddest part is, sometimes these drugs are not just tested in third world countries. There have been incidents where drug research companies test birth control on young black and brown girls right here in the U.S. In cities with high teenage pregnancy rates like Baltimore drug companies are partnering with schools to administer birth control to students. This is wrong both because they are underage (with no parental consent) and because they do not have the girls medical histories and could be putting their health at risk.

Moral of the Story

If you read all of this so far, thanks! My point is, when you take hormonal birth control, you interrupt your body’s natural processes. Hormones are a vital part in every system within the body. When they are off balance, you are vulnerable. Also, many of them have life threatening side effects and can lead to major health issues like cancer. I’m not sure about you, but I would much rather have a baby than cancer. And from an humanitarian standpoint, when we give our money (or our insurance company’s money) to these drug companies, we condone their unethical business practices. We create a demand for a product that hurts other people. We give poor black/brown people around the world their death sentence.

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga Bones

I have always loved low intensity workouts. There is something deeply satisfying to my body about feeling my joints and muscles  move and separate cohesively with my breath. That makes yoga the ideal workout for me. Although I have always been interested in it, I found myself too shy to practice in a class setting. You could say it was nerves or fear of not being able to keep up with the rest of the class. What I think I really needed was a partner. Someone to go with that made my anxious ass feel more comfortable. That person came in the form of my friend/coworker and fellow esthetician, Andrea. She is the proactive, positive, and cool as hell friend every girl needs. She found Harlem Yoga Studio which offers great deals for potential yogis that find themselves lacking the funds for ritzy (and sometimes ineffective) yoga classes. 

We took a beginners class with instructor Sarah Snider. She was quirky yet committed. My goal is to strengthen my body and possibly elimate the many aches I have from a combinations of scoliosis and standing all day at work. Andrea’s goal is to help strengthen her lower back and knees. After today’s hour long class, we walked out feeling grounded and renewed. She said some of the chronic pains she deals with already felt relieved. I feel elongated. I’m standing a little straighter and more conscious of areas of my body that I previously ignored. Basically, we both feel good as f*ck!! We will be returning. I hope to make yoga a part of my lifestyle. 

At one point in the class, Sarah (our instructor) had us lay flat and breathe mindfully. As I laid there with my mind racing from person to place to obligation, she said “now thank that thought for coming and let it go”. And I did. I realize that there are so many thoughts in life we hold onto that do not need to sit with us. Being able to allow them to pass through my mind is a skill I would love to develop. Wish me luck! lol 

Five Benefits of Practicing Yoga

•increases blood circulation

•improves respiration 

•improves athletic performance 

•helps with weight loss 

•prevents joint breakdown 


My Esthetic Journey

It started at 30,000 feet in the sky while I was working a flight. In one of my many former lives, I was a flight attendant. As a result of being overworked, my body was completely unbalanced, my sleep was irregular, my diet was horrible, my vitamin intake was dangerously low, I had chronic muscle pain, and my skin suffered. I was 21 years old. I have always had issues with anemia and menstrual pain. Every month (since the age of 9), I would get sick and have to call out of work or miss school to deal with uncontrollable fainting and vomiting. I was usually good about keeping track of my period, but this time, it snuck up on me like a thief in the night. I was fed up. I fought through the sickness, worked my flights for the day and immediately went to my hotel room to writhe in pain and research ways to change my life.

With the wonder that is the internet, I expanded my knowledge of natural health remedies, herbs, and wellness. I found out ways to improve my lifestyle and adjust to finding healthier options while I was out traveling. I learned basic food knowledge from documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Food Inc. The more I uncovered about the relationship between diet, self care, and beauty, the more interested I became in pursuing it as a career. I also began to heavily consider my future as a flight attendant. Was I willing to trade off my health for a lifestyle I wasn’t truly satisfied with? No. So, I took the steps to enroll in the esthetics program at Aveda Institute New York. I chose them because I felt their ayurvedic approach to skincare and company philosophy aligned the most with my interests.

Since completing the program almost 2 years ago, I expand my professional horizons by learning as much as I can from whomever I can at all times. This means attending lectures and hands on skincare courses. The best resource for that is The International Dermal Institute which offers courses in every major city. Also, subscribing to professional newsletters and publications is extremely helpful. They notify you of new technologies and methods related to your field. But the best teacher is always experience. Practice whatever your craft is on anyone who is willing to be your guinea pig. Try everything you can. Understand that nothing great was built in a day. Then go build!

 

POP QUIZ!

Who knows what this beauty symbol is called? 


I’ll give you a hint… it’s on every beauty product you own. 

It’s called a Period After Opening symbol. It appears on products to make consumers aware of how long the products are usable for. Basically, it’s an expiration date (in months). Beauty brands conduct many tests on products to help determine how long it will take for them to lose potency due to oxygen exposure or simply how long it takes for them to be so contaminated by germs that they should be disposed of. 

When purchasing things like face masques, I pay close attention to these because I want to be sure I will get a good amount of usage for my money. But since I am a fan of natural products, I usually have to settle for ones that have less than a 12 month period of usage. 

One cosmetic product you should make sure you are constantly replenishing is your mascara. I believe the typical period after opening symbol for mascara reads to replace it every 6 months, however, to best prevent the spread of bacteria and lower the risk of infection, mascara should be replaced every 3 months. 

With that being said, to achieve healthy skin and a flawless makeup application, make sure you are replenishing your skincare and makeup!