Last Call for Alcohol!

In honor of the new year, let’s chat about alcohol. Not the kind that will have most of you tipsy come the stroke of midnight, but the kind that is found in our cosmetics. Any sensible esthetician or beauty professional would advise you to stay away from products that contain “bad alcohol”, but upon reading your product ingredients, you’ll see that many of them contain an alcohol of some kind. How do you know what to avoid? I made a chart (but we will get to that later).

Alcohols are part of a group of organic compounds. They can be at higher and lower molecular weights. Higher molecular weights mean they are heavier in texture and work to hydrate/protect the skin. In other words, we like high molecular weight alcohols! The lower molecular weight alcohols are the ones that are more watery in substance. They dry the skin out and can sometimes create chain reactions of damage in the skin.

Check the ingredients of your fav products to see if they contain any bad alcohols. Sometimes you may notice a small amount of low molecular alcohols in your retinol or vitamin C products. They are there to help disrupt the top layer of the skin to allow the vitamin A (retinol) and C to absorb into the skin more effectively. This means if the bad alcohol is (very) low on the ingredient list, it may not exactly be harmful to you. Just use the product sparingly!

Good Alcohols

(high molecular weight)

Bad Alcohols

(low molecular weight)

Caprylic

Cetearyl

Cetyl

Decyl

Isostearyl

Lauryl

Myristyl

Oleyl

Stearyl

Ethanol

Ethyl

Denatured alcohol

Methanol

Isopropyl

SDA

Benzyl

Happy New Year to you! Always remember to Glow Responsibly! 🙂

Advertisements

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

Laser Facial Results!!!

Today, I got my very first laser facial! Lately, my skin has been a little dehydrated due to winter weather. I also began to develop some blackheads which is a huge no no for me. I do facials at home (usually every other week) to maintain the glow but every once in a while you need a fellow professional to lay hands on you. Anyways, I recently had a new client come to me and recommend Skin Laundry. They are a relatively new business doing some pretty innovative things in the beauty field. In addition to a line of products that are gentle and nourishing, they offer 15 minute (or less) laser and light treatments. Typically laser facials require some recovery time, but not Skin Laundry’s. This is because they do not use the lasers on full blast! They gently help to offer the skin the boost it needs.

Laser/light therapy can be used on the face to diminish blemishes, even skin tone, boost collagen production, brighten skin and remove dirt. My main goals in getting the facial was to brighten and clean my skin. Because I am a brown girl with a “deep olive” complexion, I am a 5 on the Fitzpatrick Scale. This is the scale used in skincare to determine treatments that should/should not be used on certain skin. As a 5, the laser frequency must be lowered in order to prevent damaging the skin.

fitzpatrick-scale
The Fitzpatrick Scale

My treatment was less than 15 minutes. The first step is the laser which feels like small shocks to the skin. On a scale of 1-10, the pain I experienced was around a 5. It lasted about a minute and a half. The rest of the treatment was the photo treatment. I barely felt anything and chatted about skin care/waxing with my specialist while she worked on me.

The results!!!! Instant and amazing! My skin has a nice glow to it now. It looks and feels more refreshed. Immediately after the treatment, there was no irritation or redness whatsoever. I’m extremely satisfied with the results and will be returning for another treatment next month for my birthday. I will be doing the laser treatment as a preventative method for aging because it’s never too early to fight wrinkles! Here’s a photo of my skin right after the treatment with no products on. That glow!!!

ipl.jpg

The very best part about Skin Laundry is… your first laser treatment is free! Yes!!! So if this post has peaked your interest and you’re interested in giving them a try, go on their website and make an appointment! You won’t regret it!

Big Lip Bih

I have big lips. I have a big mouth. I have big teeth. I love them.

Like most things that people consider flaws, I was not aware that the nether regions of my face were larger than normal until people ridiculed me for it. There was always a joke being told about how my lips poked out or how my two front teeth made me resemble Bugs Bunny. Older women would always tell me that I would have no need for lipstick (or high heels because I’m tall) when I grew up. As a kid, things like that weigh on you. You somehow become convinced that looking different and being different is synonymous with being wrong in some way. For a long time, I believed there was something wrong with me. I shied away from makeup and anything that I thought would make my lips more noticeable. 

In 2011, I saw a Youtube video by a young black girl who, like myself, had huge lips. They were round and seemed to have a personality of their own. They added character to her face. They seemed to be in perfect coordination with the sound of her accent. Although we looked nothing alike, I saw myself in her. The title of the video was Are Your Lips TOO BIG!?. Her name is Jaleesa Jaikaran and til this day it is the best lipstick tutorial for ladies with lucious lips that I have ever seen! In it she makes fun of the things that women with plump pallets often say about why they stay away from bright colors or lipstick in general. She also has a point in which she says “this is the way you were made”. That was enough to inspire me!

Afterwards, I tried my very hardest to recreate her effortless and flawless lipstick application.  I worked to find neutral colors that made me feel comfortable but the only ones I was really drawn to were always bold and shiny. I simply couldn’t deny myself! LOL! Its been years of practing, purchasing and a few (hundred) pep talks to leave the house with a wild color that I know people will stare at all day long. I am grateful to Ms. Jaleesa and her wisdom.My lips are usually the focal point of my face. They pull together my makeup and make me feel extraordinarily beautiful. I love when they shine. I love when people take a second look at me because my new color caught their attention. It’s my own little way of playing dressup every day!

Me, November 2016

PSA: Beware of Nair 

Please stop using Nair

Please stop using Nair

Please stop using Nair 

If you have in your adult life used Nair hair removal products, you are making a major mistake. A mistake that could easily be avoided. A mistake I spend my professional and personal life trying to prevent unknowing women from making. Often times, they are lured in by the promise of smooth skin, no ingrown hairs and no razor bumps. What they fail to tell you is that you can suffer chemical burns and far worse from this product. Nair is in no way good for your skin or body- especially when used in reproductive areas!  

Lye is one of the active ingredients in Nair. It loosens the hair from the follicle by distrusting (raising) the pH levels of the hair. It literally is dissolving the bond. Lye can cause serious chemical burns and blindness. If you’ve ever seen the Malcolm X movie starring Denzel Washington, lye is the shit that made him stick his head in the toilet. 

Lately, I have been seeing a trend on social media among young and I assume unprofessional makeup artists/hobbyists doing their eyebrows with Nair. As previously stated lye can cause blindness. Putting Nair on your eye area is dangerous af! The skin around your eyes is thinner than the rest of the skin on your face (besides your lips) which means those harsh chemicals are not only going into your pores but they are wearing away at the already thin skin around your eyes. Many of the girls can be seen on Instagram with redness and lots of irritation in the eye area. These are burns and allergic reactions that they will then cover with makeup. 


At work, I see many women who suffer from severe chemical burns in their vaginal areas, legs, stomachs and underarms. Most of the time, they sum it up to ingrowns or razor burns. My first question is usually “Have you used Nair?”. Their answer is usually Yes. The burns are usually irreversible and you are also left with worn skin that is unhealthy. That increases your risk for sun damage and makes your skin more sensitive to pain.

For the safety of your reproductive system, sweat glands, skin, vision, hair health and overall wellbeing, I beg you ladies … please do not use Nair! 

Yoni & Me 

For the past month, I have been walking around with a stone in my vagina (most days). It’s a polished crystal gem that weighs about  half a pound. When my Yoni Egg isn’t inside me, it’s resting in a small velvet pouch or bathing in moonlight on my window ledge cause it’s fancy lol. 

Crystal gems are natural (often colorful) rocks that are composed of properties to help increase certain vibrations within the body. All beings vibrate because we are alive. The food you eat and things you put on/in your body can either help to increase your vibrations or decrease them. So basically, your energy/vibrations are determined by how naturally aligned your body is. Each type of crystal gem does something different for the body (chakras)

Chakra Chart

Choosing my stone took a while. I had to seriously assess myself as a person, think about where I am emotionally and where I want to be. Ironically, the color that is my least favorite was the one that seemed to be what I needed most: yellow. I chose the Citrine  stone. Citrine is known for aiding in open mindedness, acceptance of what is to come, manifesting dreams, emotional balance, pure thoughts and all that other good stuff. 

Aside from spiritual elevation, yoni eggs have been used for centuries to help women maintain vaginal health. It’s like weight training but for your pelvic muscles. Asian women believed inserting jade eggs into their vagina would help to hold in chi (good energy) so that it could be manisfested into positive thought and action. 

Benefits of strengthening your pelvic floor include improved bladder functions, reduced period cramps and more sexual pleasure. Anyone who knows me knowns I’m down for anything that will reduce period cramps (except birth control… but that’s a conversation for a whole other post). The yoni egg process consists of starting with a large/medium size and working your way down. 

So far, I have been using the medium size for exactly a month. I do notice a difference in myself both spiritually and physically! I’m very happy with the changes. I noticed that when I wear it I am more aware of my body. I focus on myself and protecting my own energy when I have it in. Physically, everything from urinating to sex has been different. I plan to continue using it and challenge myself with different sizes as soon as I find a distributor with a wide selection of stones near me. I like to buy them in person as opposed to online because I saw a few links where women were selling used yoni eggs. Yuck! 

The Secret Weapon 

This has been a staple in my medicine cabinet, beauty arsenal, and first aid kit for much of my life. It has helped me to cure burns, bruises, rashes, breakouts, and dryness. It’s known as none other than the North American Witch-Hazel Shrub. Used as a toner, it works wonders for absorbing key ingredients from beauty products. Scientifically known as Hamamelis virginiana (but who is going to remember that) has astringent and anti inflammatory properties which is why it can be used to treat acne and blisters. It also does magical things for ingrown hairs and razor irritation in beards (for my handful of male readers). There is truly no product that I have used that could replace this is my routine. I recently tried to substitute it with Micellar Water. It’s cute but it doesn’t leave me with the same refreshed feeling as my witch hazel. I will be back to it as soon as I run out!