• This Virtual Reality Facial Promises Zen AND Great Skin

    Getting an invitation to a virtual reality facial sounds a little kooky, right? Yes, you would be right. It IS kooky! The sheer logistics of getting facialed while wearing a VR headset is confusing, but the Natura Bisse team at Julien Farel uptown are determined to bring the concept to life. Why? To bring you moments of zen while your face is being massaged by a stranger.  Wellness – it’s all around us these days, pals.

    I arrive without any expectation, except knowing that the facial I’ll be receiving is all about collagen (perf, I have an event the next day I’ll be photographed at). The collagen treatment promises to sculpt and define my facial features while plumping the areas I want plumped, like my lips and cheeks. I’m invited to get cozy in my heated treatment bed (love a heated bed) and my friendly aesthetician Hannah guides me to put on an enormous black VR headset to get started. She tells me the virtual reality portion is only 7 to 8 minutes long and that I’ll enjoy a scalp and neck massage during the video and guided mediation that accompanies it. 

    I’ll do anything once, so, I say okay. I sit up to place them on my face properly (not feeling like a facial yet) and she guides me to lay back as I start seeing clouds appear in front of my face. A woman’s voice picks up volume in an in-room speaker and she welcomes me to my focused facial. 

    Let me just stop right here now and tell you that while the idea of a virtual reality facial is indeed a bit kooky, it’s also fucking AWESOME. I’ve never had a VR experience before, so doing so while simultaneously lying on my back, being massaged and listening to a soothing voice the Natura Bisse gals simply call “Her” gives me a feeling of melting away. The images on the screen range from different colors and shapes to ocean creatures floating by and sand dunes and white light and stars and electric, winding shapes. Sort of like the visuals in the Sahara Tent at Coachella but without the deafening base. I’m not high, but I feel like it, and it’s kind of lovely. Perhaps it’s the physical sensation of being on my back, allowing the VR experience and gravity to take over your senses that creates such an intoxicating experience, but now I totally understand the funny cartoons you see of people glued to their couches, trapped behind a VR headset. 

    During the VR-time, my mind shifts off of the multitude of “things” floating through my cranial atmosphere and slows down, just to focus on the party lights in front of my eyes. And that’s really the point – to allow the person receiving the facial, traditionally not the most relaxing spa experience compared to say, a 90 minute massage, to mellow out. And I do. The world is winding in front of my eyes, allowing me a sensory experience that could, under different circumstances, be classified as illegal.

    When the VR moment is over, I’m actually disappointed. Surprisingly so. Had Hannah been able to put collagen goo all over my face while also experiencing VR I’d give this facial 10/10 gold stars. Alas, the goggles are removed and we get into the actual skin treatment with a very gentle glycolic peel that doesn’t create redness or actual skin peeling a few days later. It’s a little tingly, as to be expected, and I get a nice massage of my pressure points while my face cooks. “Her” is still talking to me this whole time, mind you, reminding me to focus on my breathing and things of that nature.

    The collagen creams come next and we finish with a mask that is hooked around your ears and pressed gently down onto the face. I have no idea what was happening during that period of time, but it made me realize that all those cloth masks that are hot right now should totally have ear-hooks attached so they stay planted more firmly on the face. “Her” tells me to take 10 deep breaths, counting them as I go, and after an hour of listening to her soothing voice and being gently massaged and covered in creams, it’s time to hop back on the 6 and head downtown, back into my actual reality, the one I attempt to center every day.


    Want to try the Natura Bisse Virtual Reality Facial? Call over to Julien Farel and make an appointment, stat.

    Cartoon via CartoonaDay.com

  • Is it Possible To Get Rid Of Dry Skin For Good?

    With everything that surrounds us, from pollution to cigarette smoke, to salty food and over-zealous skin zapping beauty products, it’s pretty easy for your skin to look like a 5/10. I hate that, especially with spring upon us and dresses flying out of my closet and on to my pale body faster than you can say “75 degreeeeessss!”

    I’m always on the hunt for new products and methods to take care of my skin – from upping my water intake and overnight facial masks to fabulous lotions made with natural ingredients. My hunt has recently taken me towards Alba Botanica and a specifically Hawaiian influence, the natural beauty company that is having a real loud moment with their Hawaiian Detox line of products. Everything is full of clay, smells good, and pulls nasty stuff out of the skin while hydrating and making you smooth and soft all over. I feel like an island babe already, pals.

    My new hydration method (beyond drinking 2 glasses of lemon water immediately upon waking up) goes like this:

    Scrub, Scrub, Scrub 

    First things first – if you have dry skin already, you have to get it OFF! I’ve tried countless scrubs in my day. Some are too tough on the skin (including some DIY sugar/honey creations I’ve made), and some just don’t cut the mustard at all. The perfect scrub never irritates, is made of natural ingredients, rinses off the skin easily, and leaves it feeling a soft as a baby’s bottom. Can I just say that the Alba Botanica Hawaiian Detox Frothy Scrub is ALL of those things? For the real life example, see me taking a shower below.

    OH HEY GUYS, JUST TAKING A SHOWER, NBD.

    As you can see from the actual scrub on my face, it’s gentle enough to use all over the body. I also want to mention AGAIN how easily it rinses off – I’ve struggled with crazy coffee scrubs that literally will not leave my body or my shower walls. This one is quite nice.

    FROTH IT UP

    After an invigorating scrub, it’s time to use a moisturizing body wash that won’t strip the skin of natural oils and moisture. Step right up, Hawaiian Detox Body Wash. It’s a clear wash with actual clay in it (just like the frothy scrub) that protects what’s on the outside with pulling out the ick that’s on the inside. With Hawaii in mind, it’s formulated with coconut water, torch ginger, lotus flower, and Yerba mate. Sounds almost good enough to eat, am I right?

    The smell is really soothing and it bubbles up nicely on the skin. Good enough to get clean all over without sacrificing the good that’s already there.

    SLIP AND SLIDE

    The last step in my moisturizing routine, obviously, is LOTION. I have a secret way to apply it however, and that is to do it while your skin is still WET. Yes, it takes a bit longer to dry off and get dressed, but for some reason, I swear, the lotion works better this way. The Alba Botanica Hawaiian Detox Renewing Lotion does more than moisturize the skin however – it also protects it from pollutants in the air. How so?

    Hidden within the moisturizer is a cover of volcanic clay that protects the skin from the elements, allowing the cocoa butter, kukui nut oil, and lotus flower. It slides on smooth and lasts all day. No re-application necessary here!


    I always follow up with more water throughout the day and try to snack on fruits and veggies with high-water content as well. My favorite thing to do lately is combine coconut water with fresh watermelon, spun up together in the blender! That’s the taste of the islands right there, lovers!

  • I Tried A $49 Box Subscription Just To See What’s Inside

    I’m not really a fan of box subscriptions. I don’t like not being able to choose what I’m paying for.  I KNOW there are some decent ones out there, and because I do really like stuff, I asked a few of my friends which ones are actually worth it and which ones to avoid like the plague. Hence, here is my honest review about FabFitFun’s Spring Box – the company recommended to me most by other New York City gals. It costs $49.99 and is delivered 4x a year (so $179.99 annually). The gals at FFF tell me the box is worth over $200, so a good deal in my opinion (they also gave me a coupon code for you to use at your leisure – use “BOSWORTH” at check-out for $10 of your first box).

    Upon arriving at my doorstep I’m actually charmed by the design and size of the box. Being the founder of an online wellness company myself, I take packaging very seriously. I do NOT like waste, and FFF does a good job of sending an appropriately sized, recyclable box full of goodies. It’s pink too, and I like pink.

    I open the box expecting to find another box on the inside, but thankfully for the planet, there isn’t one. 10 points for FFF. The products are just right there waiting for me, and I get the feeling that I do on Christmas morning when I scope out what has my name on it under the tree (private shivers of excitement). There are so many THINGS! And they are FULL-SIZED THINGS. I love full sized things. Everybody does.

    In the spring box are some actual gems – the first thing I see is an exfoliator by legendary New York dermatologist Dr. Brandt (may he RIP). It’s the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator. And like I said, FULL SIZE. I’m stoked. It smells sort of like peppermint and leaves my face actually glowing after use.

    The next gem: a FULL SIZE round beach towel from Gypsy. I looooved Gypsy when I lived in LA. I don’t have a ton of use for their gear anymore living in NYC but with summer just around the corner I’m super happy to find this great towel in the box. I do have a backyard to perch in and this is perfect for it, and my upcoming trip to Turks and Caicos. It’s fringed and tie-dye and totally of the moment.

    The other highlight for me in the box: FOUR (yes, 4) Hydrating Face Masks from Karuna. They’re the cloth kind that you lay over your face and make you look like a crazy person during use. I absolutely LOVE a mask like this. I scare the pants off my boyfriend then he wants to wear one too. This particular one by Karuna is great because the cloth is a 100% natural fiber, and it’s a mask+serum duo which deeply conditions the skin.

    Outside of these 3 perfect surprises are nail polishes by Deborah Lippmann, lipstick by REALHER, gummy vitamins by Nature’s Bounty, a charming bracelet by Emerald Duv, a cosmetics bag from Milly, and a leave-in conditioning spray from Briogeo. I like this box concept because these items aren’t things I would purchase on my own, but now that I’m the proud owner of them, I’m using ’em and likin’ them!

    That’s the thing about box subscriptions, right? Some fabulous curator gets to pick what they think you’ll like, what’s on trend, or what they want you to like because they’ve been pushed to do so by their boss. Not EVERYTHING is a hit, but certainly a lot of the items are. Because of the really high-end brands included in FFF’s Spring Box, I’m temped to sign up for the next one too. Hopefully the summer box will even include a little SPF for warm days spent in the Hamptons or the French Riviera. Maybe I’ll petition them to include some Love Wellness in the next one!

    Okay… I signed up for it. Here’s to the next box reveal….


    Tell me honestly – what do you think about box subscriptions? Are you a fan? Let me know in the comments below!

  • Here Are My Fave Wellness Products That Cost Less Than $25

    Everyone is so into wellness these days. And I don’t even laugh at them. In fact, I’m a total CHAMPION of this movement. Why wouldn’t you want your mind and body to be at peak performance? 30 is the new 20, and 40 is the new 30. I know some serious BABES that are 40+, and how did they get to be that way? Well, good genes, but also the motivation to put health first.

    More and more companies are dedicating themselves to wellness and health. I even launched my own feminine wellness company (Love Wellness) last year after struggling with chronic infections and irritations for years, and the pharmacy goo just didn’t cut the mustard. It was only when I turned to high-quality ingredients and natural products that my problems went away and because of that I chose to share what my doctors and I worked on together with all of you.

    In general that has been my experience – turn to organic ingredients that come from the earth instead of a lab, and poof, yo problems dissipate into thin air. Not all of these on this list of $25 and under wellness grabs are for problems that need fixin’, but they do each hold a special place in my heart for what they ARE for. My picks span across different verticals – beauty to tummy troubles. Lets explore these affordable finds!

     

    Collagen ($17.25)

    So everyone has been drinking this brand of collagen drinks lately (the bottle is striped, dirty lemon I think it’s called) in an effort to plump their skin. Turns out you can just buy powdered collagen and skip the fancy drink scheme. Doin’ it yourself is way more cost-effective, plus you can add collagen to just about anything – smoothies, yogurt, water, a vodka martini, etc.

    Collagen is super great for filling out fine lines and wrinkles over time and improving skin elasticity. It’s high-time to add it to your list of supplements.

    Do It All Wipes ($24)

    Full disclosure, these feminine wipes come from my own line, Love Wellness, but they’ve made the top of so many “wipes” lists that I thought they were fair to include. My friends ask me for freebies of these so often I keep like 20 packages in my backpack all the time. I formulated these to be all natural, infused with coconut oil so they soothe sensitive skin down there, and the wipe itself is made from 100% cotton. The smell is really light and the packaging is petite and chic. These vag wipes really do it all – I even use them to get make-up off sometimes or clean something gooey off my hands. These wipes are sold in packs of 3 for $24.

    Aztec Secret Healing Clay Mask ($12.29)

    If you need to get goo out of your face, forget the crazy peeling masks you’ve been seeing all over Instagram. The true holy grail is Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. It’s just a bottle of calcium bentonite clay powder, one that you mix up yourself into a mask. Just combine a bit of water with the powder and you have an almost endless supply of green clay to clear your skin out with.

    This stuff seriously WORKS to get rid of blackheads and other nasty stuff lying beneath the surface. Don’t use it everyday though – it’s simply too powerful and can dry out the skin.

    Activated Charcoal ($17.65)

    Upset tummy? Instead of Tums, go the natural route and try an activated charcoal pill instead. Charcoal is found everywhere these days – from facial cleansers to tooth whiteners and now, stomach soothers. Keep a few in your purse on a date to avoid anything uncomfortable that may happen afterwards. I won’t say anything else about these, just use your imagination, and know they have 5 stars on Amazon.

    Maca Powder ($18.99)

    A little PMS-y? Feck, girl, me too. Pretty much always. Or at least for like 10 days out of the month. How unfair is that? 

    The good thing is that once you bring maca powder into the rotation, expect your symptoms to subside a bit. I’ve been mixing maca into my smoothies for a month or so now and I noticed that this most recent cycle was quite as painfully emotional. Maca is a renowned Peruvian root that’s been used for hundreds of years to balance hormones.

    Turmeric Tea ($13.95)

    God, I love turmeric. Just last week I wrote a post about Golden Turmeric Milk and the health benefits of this powerful herb. This is just straight up tea (a little quicker to throw together) and just as tasty as the milk. This is more peppery and the ginger also adds a digestive aid and benefit to the drink. Turmeric is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and I can’t say enough great things about it. My doctor recommended I add turmeric into my supplement regime and since I have all my old aches and pains have definitely calmed down.

    Squeezable Omega 3 Packets ($22.99)

    Everyone knows that fish oil is pretty much disgusting, but, so nutritious that we should be consuming it anyway. Thank goodness for this brand CoroMega. They make high quality Omega 3 supplements that come in this squeezable flavor packets you can add to water, smoothies, or just straight into your mouth. This is a big squeeze packet instead of the smaller, individual ones they have for sale (it was under $25) so you simply squeeze and close it back up when you’re done.

    Omega 3s lower your risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. They also make your hair, skin, and nails lovely. This brand has managed to make a product that doesn’t taste that weird or fake, so I give them a thumbs up for what they’ve done.


    Tell me, pals – what are you favorite wellness goodies I should add to my list? If they’re not under $25 that’s okay – I gotta know anyway. 

    xx

    L

  • I Tried Sunscreen You Apply After Your Make-Up

    While I don’t live in the land of perpetual sun and fun anymore (LA), the gloomy skies over New York City still allow some pretty killer rays to penetrate through the atmosphere, my skin absorbing them hesitantly over the course of the day. Rain or shine, those rays will get ya! Wearing sunscreen everyday is the most critical part of my beauty routine and finding the right products to help me along the way has always been a top priority. I switch around a lot when it comes to sunscreen, trying out different SPF levels, consistencies, and brands in my never-ending quest for the PERFECT sunscreen.

    Recently my dermatologist told me that for my skin to reap the full benefits of SPF protection, I should be re-applying my sunscreen every 2-3 hours. Um, say what? The glob I put on in the morning on top of my moisturizer isn’t enough? UGG, I’ve been doing it WRONG all these years. Well, not too wrong – I’m still wearing it, and avoiding the sun like the plague whenever I go on a beach vacation. Hats and umbrellas are a yes for me, thanks.

    And this leads me to the point of all this – how, if I wear make-up, am I supposed to re-apply my sunscreen lotion without messing up my face? The answer: a sunscreen spray or powder that’s formulated for post make-up application. Like, duh, how obvious is that? Had my brain made the connection years ago I could have just gone to CVS and picked up a bottle of Neutrogena spray and been done with it. BUT – the truth of the matter is, not all products are created equal, and some of the sprays on the market leave you looking super greasy/shiny which by 4pm, is not the best look.

    So let me introduce you to my 3 faves I’ve incorporated into my routine: Supergoop!’s Defense Refresh Setting Mist, Amore Pacific’s Resort Collection Sun Protection Mist, and Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant Mineral SPF 45 powder. Companies are finally getting hip to the (not) trend that is SPF. Very exciting for me personally as an X-treme lover of sunscreen.

    Supergoop!’s Defense Refresh Setting Mist comes in as my #1 post make-up fave. It has a nice smell (rosemary), a high SPF 50, and actually creates a matte finish on your skin after applying. I don’t really find that I need to use pressed powder anymore for a little shine – this spray just takes care of it. What I really like about this product is that the sunscreen comes out in a fine mist – it doesn’t leave little white dots of products all over my face. I’ve tried sprays that do – and they will remain nameless for now. But what’s the point if you have to rub it in and smudge your foundation? My only gripe with this product is that by the end of the day, it does almost TOO good a job of providing a finish to your make-up, and my skin feels a little bit tight at times. At $30, it’s a great item to throw into your purse for intermittent SPF touch-ups.

    Next up is cult brand Amore Pacific’s Resort Collection Sun Protection Mist. It clocks in at SPF 30 (not bad, but wish it was higher) and smells really divine. This company knows how to make a luxury product – that’s for sure. It comes in a bottle that’s bigger than Supergoop!’s, but it’s says it’s for vacay and not your purse right in the product name, so okay, cool. It definitely fits in a beach bag or my suitcase (it is 6.76 fl oz though so not in a carry-on). The product comes out a pump spray nozzle, and while it’s definitely shinier than the others on this list, it’s not overwhelming. It’s not like an aerosol spray shine at all. It provides more of a healthy glow to the skin, like if you were to apply a highlighter to the top of your cheekbones. It’s suggested you spray the product into your hands and then apply to the face (prob to protect your eyeballs) but I skip that step and just spray it right on. If the goal is to keep my make-up intact, then a direct spray is important. No rubbing allowed. The only other downside to this lovely spray is the price tag – the full size bottle is $75. After a big of digging I discovered you can get the 2.7L bottle for a more reasonable $32 here.

    Finally, my third fave product for a post make-up application of SPF is Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant Mineral Powder with a nice SPF of 45. This product has truly great potential – the actual powder itself is really nice! It’s smooth and soft and does a nice job of elimination shine. It’s hard to get it absolutely everywhere though, and the actual packaging itself is really lacking. The brush hairs come out a lot (kind of annoying) and it’s really hard to actually start using the product – like figuring out how to get it out of the bottle itself. If you’re more comfortable with a powder than a spray, it’s a good option, and nicely sized so it will fit into any purse imaginable. It will set you back $30, more or less like the others here. 

    I’m loving the advancements being made in the beauty industry right now when it comes to products like this. I’m loving that skincare is getting top priority with major brands. It means really good things for the health of our skin. If you have a post make-up sunscreen that you love, I’d love to hear about it! Leave the name in the comments!

    xx

    Lo

  • I Tried An Online Dermatologist and Here’s What Happened

    So, I got suckered into trying out Curology through video ads on Facebook. Have you seen them? Girls in their young 20s rave about this new thing for acne: just answer a series of questions about your skin online, send them pics of your zits, have a quick chat with a dermatologist (or an nurse practitioner – that’s who I got), and then a few weeks later they send you a little bottle of potion mixed up just for you.

    Seems too good to be true, right? Well, in some ways it is. The website is not totally user friendly, it’s hard to find your shipping and payment information, and a lot of the user’s posts on the homepage aren’t positive about the product. It also took ages (I did mention weeks, right?) to actually get the bottle in my hands and an email or two to figure out what was happening.

    As a business owner I understand the hiccups in user experience and customer service that can happen along the way, especially in a start-up situation – so they’re forgiven for the small things I wish I could change about the service. My nurse practitioner Emily seems to be a real nice lady who is well-informed about skincare and I dig the overall concept of creating custom solutions for each individual.

    The goals I discussed with Emily were to reduce overall pore clogging (black-heads, ew), reduce redness, and soften fine lines. I don’t get a lot of monster zits anymore now that I’m 30 (gasp), but in general I felt like my face could use some fine-tuning. I appreciate the face that Curology is open to addressing more than just acne – it was definitely the selling point for me that they’d also dive into my other concerns. 

    The formula Emily put together for me is as follows: Tretinoin (.009%), Clindamycin (1%), and Azelaic Acid (9%). Each element addresses my concerns and combines redness reducing acid with anti-bacterial elements and ingredients that help to shed skin cells (to help with disgusting black-heads and things of that nature).

    And what’s my verdict after using the product (at night only, per their recommendation) for a month? Honestly, I love it. I wasn’t expecting to, but I do. I didn’t get a single outbreak during my most recent period. The skin around my nose and chin is getting less red, and I think I look younger and more fresh. It’s also cheap AF ($19.95/month with a subscription service) compared to going to the real-life dermatologist and then the pharmacy.

     Turns out its sometimes okay to go down the Facebook advertising rabbit hole. You may just find clear, younger looking skin on the other side.

  • Why Doing Good Things Makes You Beautiful

    So I got tuned in to a new campaign from Alba Botanica this week that I’m really digging – a beauty brand committed not only to reducing their environmental footprint, using only 100% vegetarian ingredients, and never testing on animals – but one that is also supporting women in a MAJOR WAY right now. I’m just majorly feeling the lady vibes lately so I wanted to throw my support behind the #DoGoodDoBeautiful campaign.

    Here’s the scoop: the brand is featuring intimate, doc-style vids that journey through the day in the life of fave powerful women who are making a true difference in their communities. These 5 women featured protect animal rights, push for women’s empowerment, protect the environment, and demonstrate their commitment to community through social activism and service. Giving back has a way of touching your soul in a really beautiful and calming way, creating positive energy vibes that penetrate through your skin and out into the universe. At least that’s how I’ve always felt about activism. When that happens, your skin calms down, your eyes sparkle, and your entire aura just glows.

    The #DoGoodDoBeautiful Campaign is one I’m behind because I’m a true fan of Alba Botanica – the products very much align with my lifestyle. They contain 100% vegetarian ingredients and are made with vitamins, plant emollients, and therapeutic botanicals for fabulous beauty benefits. I’ve personally made a conscious decision in the past year or so to use natural products whenever possible, and the Alba Botanica ones totally fit the bill.

    I’d love to introduce you to the 5 incredible women featured in the #DoGoodDoBeautiful campaign now – please lend your support and leave comments on this post, on their YouTube videos and on Instagram! Much love!

     

  • How Often Do You Really Need To Wash Your Hair?

    It’s the age-old argument we constantly have with our girlfriends: how often should we be washing our hair? The answer, by the way, varies widely depending on your hair type, texture, color, and length—not to mention a bajillion other factors like weather, humidity, and daily activities. I’ve talked to a few of my brutally honest friends, each with different hair types, to get to the bottom of the mystery, and researched some expert opinion on what is and isn’t good for your beautiful strands.

    Calling All Curly Girls

    Let’s start with moi! My hair is very thin but I have a lot of it and the curl is REAL. I typically wash my hair twice a week, or when I find it to be unmanageable. I tend to stay away from shampoos or conditioners that contain sulfates—bubbles are no good on this head of hair! My hair holds product well, meaning I can put a lot into it without it instantly looking crunchy or oily. The oil that my skin produces doesn’t actually funk up my hair until the day I decide to wash it. If I change my regimen (wash my hair more frequently), my hair would become brittle and limp—a curly girl’s worst nightmare.

    Take a look at some of my favorite products:

    Amazing Au Natural

    One of my girlfriends has beautiful natural African American hair. When I asked her about her hair routine, nothing was off limits! She washes her hair 4 times a week because “anything more than that just strips my hair of the oils it needs and it gets really dry.” When looking for products to wash her hair, she tends to look for shampoos, conditioners, and oils that moisturize, strengthen, and prevent breakage because her hair needs to stay hydrated at all times. Coconut products are her savior unless they add buildup to her hair, so she says to find one that doesn’t sit on your hair and look for something that will essentially “feed nutrients” to your hair! Her last step in her hair care routine? Wrap up your hair when you sleep—it prevents the strands from breaking when you’re tossing and turning!

    Here are some of Natasha’s favorite products:

    Fine, Finer, Finest

    Another friend probably has the thinnest hair you will ever see. She washes her hair every day as soon as she wakes up due to the oils that build up when she’s sleeping. She’s so concerned about the oils in her hair that she’s even afraid to use new products because she doesn’t know how the product will build up in her roots. If she lets her hair dry naturally, it becomes a little bit wavy with a lot of frizz, so heat is a friend of hers. Dry shampoo is a godsend for her during the day if she feels the oil getting out of control, but she’s known to wash her hair twice a day if she needs to.

    Check out Elizabeth’s favorite products:

    Silky & Straight

    Finally, my roommate has super straight hair with an average thickness—not too thin and not too thick. She tries to wash her hair every day, but sometimes when the hustle and bustle of the day doesn’t allow her to, she’ll stick to her trusty dry shampoo. She’s got the type of hair that will work with any hair product but heat tool? She better hope luck is on her side! If she wants to add heat to her hair to curl it, she HAS to let her hair be “dirty” from the day before for her curls to hold. She uses moisturizing products to keep her hair from becoming brittle from washing it so much, but she feels the need to wash her hair often!

    Here are Kayla’s go-to products for her hair:

    Let’s get to the facts: Your skin produces oil, you have skin on your head, and your hair is attached to your head. Your hair gets oily in order to keep it from drying out and it essentially gives your hair the nutrients it needs to grow. While you may feel the need to wash your hair every day, you could be stripping your hair of its oils which actually causing your pores to produce MORE oil! Experts say washing your hair every other day is the most beneficial and it is possible to “train” your hair to make this possible. If your hair is really craving that wash, grab your dry shampoo until you absolutely have to later up!

    x

    Eliza

  • The Truth About Shaving Your Face (No, It's Not Taboo)

    To shave or not to shave? Well, isn’t that a question!

    In the latest saga of shaving trends, we’re “faced”—quite literally—with a dilemma. Should we or shouldn’t we? Yes or nahh?

    It’s no secret women have taken razors to unconventional places on their bodies. The cool thing is more and more women are actually going public with their grooming habits. Still, the task itself is daunting. The idea of doing the unthinkable can scare the very best lady away. I’m, however, here to shine some light on why shaving your face might just be the grooming habit you need to get into!

    The Myths

    The first thing you think of when you hear the phrase, “shaving your face,” might be the shaving cream and razor set your dad uses to get rid of his 5 o’clock shadow. That’s not how we do it. In most cases, women shave their face with a single blade razor or an eyebrow shaper on dry skin! The process takes less than 5 minutes to complete and the chances of you nicking yourself during it are very slim.

    Of course, after telling people I shave my face, I always get asked “but doesn’t your hair grow back faster/darker/thicker?” The answer is always no! If the hair on your face is typically dark or thick, that’s how it’ll grow back. But if it’s only peach fuzz and light, that’s the type of hair you’ll see. The hair on your face is growing constantly whether you notice it or not! It’s up to you to keep it or get rid of it!

    The Benefits

    If you’ve ever noticed your foundation or concealer appearing—well—hairy, you’ll experience a much smoother application after shaving your face! You’re essentially getting rid of all the little hairs and any dead skin when you shave so your foundation ultimately sticks to a smoother surface. Can you say flawless?

    Best of all, shaving is a cheap way to exfoliate! Think about it. In addition to removing hairs, you’re also removing a layer of dead skin that would have otherwise built up on your face. Removing dead skin cells speeds up the healing process, allowing serums or creams to penetrate better!

    How I Do It

    Everyone has their own techniques but for teaching purposes, I’ll just call mine the “Post Shower 30-Second Shave.” After I get out of the shower and before I do anything else (literally, fresh out of the shower, in a towel, not doing anything) I take the time to shave my face. I only do this once or twice a week and it takes no time at all, so it really isn’t a huge task. I take my eyebrow shaper, pull my skin tautly upwards, and use small, quick strokes going downwards in any area I deem shave-worthy. I typically only do my cheek/chin/lip area, but women have found shaving their forehead and around their ears beneficial! And, that’s literally it. Done!

    Immediately afterwards, I moisturize my skin and continue with the rest of my post-shower regimen. My skin usually craves a moisturizer of some sort (because I did just remove a layer of skin), but there’s no pain or discomfort once I give it what it wants!

    If you’re finding your face to be a bit fuzzier than you’d like or you want a smoother foundation application, take a go at shaving your face—I promise more women do it than you think!

    x

    Eliza

  • The Beauty Product that Saved My Mornings!

    Is it skincare or makeup?

    Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a round of applause to Philosophy’s Renewed Hope in a Jar Skin Tint! 👏 I’ve been an avid fan of Philosophy’s original Renewed Hope in a Jar, a lightweight moisturizer with a whipped formula, but this skin tint officially takes the cake! 

    I’ve always liked their lightweight moisturizer because it hydrates, minimizes my pores, and gives me that natural glow that’s PERFECT under some simple makeup. When I discovered their “2.0” version with color, I knew I needed to get my hands on them ASAP.

    On my effortless days, I usually just slap on some moisturizer, light coverage foundation, and top my beauty look off with some decent brows. Then, I’m pretty much good to go. I love multi-tasking beauty products that save me time when I get ready. Quite frankly, this one is bae. What more can you ask from a 2-in-1 product that works like skincare and looks like makeup? 

    The whipped, water-gel formula is to die for, especially because it feels like nothing on your skin!

    These Skin Tints come in five blendable shades—3.5 Sand, 5.5 Beige, 6.5 Tan, 7.5 Honey, and 9.5 Cocoa. To be honest, the colors on the Sephora website are not accurate at all. The ones photographed here are a better representation, just saying! I mix shades 3.5 and 5.5 to get the perfect color for my complexion. Since the skin tint is super buildable, you can get a good amount of coverage by using more of the product. To kick things up a notch, you can also use the darker colors to contour and give your face dimension. Did I mention they have an SPF of 20?

    This is my highly-recommended product of the month! It’s perfect for all skin types, provides hydration all day long, and gives you the cover you need for under $40.

    If you have any multi-tasking beauty favorites, please let me know in the comments below. Would love to try anything that will save me some sleep!

    xx,
    Courtney Xu
    Image result for instagram icon@courtneyxu

  • How I Left My Dairy Life Behind (And How Doing So Did Wonders for My Skin)

    Hi, everyone. I’m Eliza and I used to be a self-proclaimed dairy addict. In fact, I always took my coffee, extra light, with cream. Whenever I could, I would season my meals with an overabundance of cheese. And, truth be told, I had this special bond with full-fat dairy yogurt. But, one day, I decided to leave that life behind in pursuit of a dairy-free diet. This is my story.

    Read More

  • 4 Steam Room Etiquette Tips You Must Know

    Like many of you, I really love a good steam room. I find steaming to be an almost meditative practice, one that allows me to slow down the rapid-fire train of thoughts whirring through the Penn Station situated in my head. It also grabs the toxins sitting underneath my skin out, and allows any excess water weight and bloating to pour out of my skin. A good sweat is life-changing, a way to break through a nasty hangover or simply change your outlook on your day. If you’re not steaming, add it to your beauty routine STAT. You will look and feel better because of it.

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  • Everything You Need to Know About Glycolic Acid!

    A little late in the game, I recently discovered the beauty of glycolic acid pads (or peels). I’ve seen them around, but always had the misconception that my skin was going to literally peel off if I used them, so I’ve always stayed away. Ya feel?

    After a friend explained to me what glycolic acid pads are really all about, I decided to give them a try. The glycolic acid ingredient is an active compound that contains many benefits for the skin. It can treat everything from dullness to dry skin! While some products have a higher percentage of glycolic acid, I tend to go for ones that have a lower percentage, so that I can use them consistently for better results. After using glycolic pads, I find that my skin is  more smooth and bright! These products are great for all skin types from sensitive (me) to acne-prone skin.

    Keep reading to check out some of the products I recommend—all are great anti-aging products!

    MALIN + GOETZ RESURFACING GLYCOLIC PADS

    The Malin + Goetz glycolic pads come pre-moistened in a jar, which is great for the home. Swipe your face with these in the evening, and you’ll take up with a radiant glow—trust me!

    MURAD RAPID RESURFACING PEEL

    I love that these glycolic pads are individually packaged. These are great for travel, a time when skin tends to act up—with glycolic acid and vitamin C ingredients, the dullness in the skin will instantly go bye-bye!

    PHILOSOPHY THE MICRODELIVERY TRIPLE-ACID BRIGHTENING PEEL

    These are individually packaged as well! These Philosophy peels contain three acids and are great for brightening, tackling the appearance of dark spots, no matter what your skin type or skin tone.

    Let me know what you think of glycolic pads. Which ones do you use and do they work for you?  

    xx,
    Courtney Xu

  • Beauty Essentials for Valentine’s Day

    Hello there!

    Here are some of my beauty essentials for Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re looking to achieve that extra “going out” glow or staying home and indulging in some tub time, I hope these products tickle your fancy!

     

    BRING OUT YOUR NATURAL GLOW

    To achieve a natural glow, apply Volition Beauty’s Thanakha Radiant Bronzer with a Beautyblender to conceal and correct blemishes. I personally like to blend the bronzer fluid with my moisturizer before applying it to my skin for a non-shimmery sun-kissed look.

     

    SPRITZ ON A LOVE-INSPIRED FRAGRANCE

    I still remember purchasing Tory Burch’s first signature scent. I was at the Bloomingdale’s on Lexington Avenue when an associate introduced me to the fragrance. I immediately purchased the full size. In fact, I am probably on my second or third bottle of that scent! Tory Burch launched a few fragrances since, but they smelled nothing like the first. Recently, however, she introduced “Love Relentlessly,” a mix of warm florals. The fragrance is inspired by her parents’ love story and how they loved relentlessly. I don’t think there’s a better way to celebrate the romantic holiday than by spritzing this scent everywhere!

    GIVE YOURSELF A MANICURE

    I don’t know about you, but when my nails are painted, I’m always in a better mood. Give yourself a manicure (or #treatyourself at a salon) with your favorite pink-“ish” color. Here are some of my current favorites: Designated DJ, B’aha Moment, Backseat Besties, and Excuse Me, Sur. Which color do you like best?

     

    INDULGE IN A ROSY BATH

    I don’t normally try new things at Lush (I’m usually set on the Dragon’s Egg bath bomb), but when I do, I make sure I experiment during their Valentine’s Day season! They have such a beautiful array of love-themed products, and I’m glad an associate showed me how some of these products work. I loved how the Prince Charming shower cream felt on my skin. When the associate washed it off my hands, my skin was butter-smooth! That was first on my list of things to get, along with a couple of bath bombs, and a pink lip scrub! I’m especially excited for the Rose Bombshell bath bomb because there are real yellow rose petals inside! Check out your local Lush this weekend because you won’t regret it.

     

    Let me know in the comments below what you end up purchasing! Don’t forget to read up on How to Spend Valentine’s Day in New York City as well!

    xx,
    Courtney Xu

  • TheLoDown