Month: May 2015

How To Get The Best Skin In Your 20s

Your 20s are a great time to start taking good care of your skin, and doing so will prevent signs of premature aging. You want to be the 35 year old woman at Starbucks that gets mistaken for 26? Now is the best time to start working towards that! Here’s a dermatologist-prescribed skin routine that will help you achieve that. And when that time comes, you’ll look back and be beyond happy you got with the program.


Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash

Do you wash your face at night? No? Well start…like tonight. That wonderful mix of makeup, skin oils and dirt that you’re left with at the end of the day will not only just lead to blemishes. No, no. Cosmetics can also trap skin-damaging free radicals (really, really bad little suckers created by sunlight, cigarette smoke and pollution that latch onto cells like leeches and cause all types of mayhem that leave you with rough, saggy, wrinkly skin). These little hell raisers float around in the air against your skin and, eventually, lead to premature lines, wrinkles, and crepiness (not to be confused with creepiness, but is just as bad). I like Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash because it removes makeup and grime effortlessly without drying out your skin, and the spearmint scent is heavenly.

After a long day at the old ball-and-chain somehow you manage to fight traffic, crawl up the stairs, and pour yourself into bed. You’re too tired to wash your face and I feel you, no judgement here my friend. Face wipes are the laziest way to clean up when you’re too pooped to go the entire hundred. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are my go-to half-assed cleanup crew when I just cannot get with the idea of standing erect long enough to wash my face after a ten hour workday. Oh, and while you’re at it, give that phone screen of yours a good wipe too. All the dirt and bacteria on it can break you out. Yucky!

Foreo Luna

I know this may look like a self-love apparatus, and while it does vibrate, it’s for above the neck usage. Exfoliating cleansing brushes, like the Foreo Luna, get rid of the layer of dead skin cells that make your complexion look dull and boring. An unlike most cleansing brushes, this one is made of silicone, and that means it won’t grow bacteria so you won’t have to be all Monk about cleaning it. Use it once a day and watch how quickly your skin starts to glow. You don’t have to break the bank with this one, just find a great brush that will help the exfoliation process a smooth and enjoyable one.

Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Eye Cream SPF 20

Wear an eye cream with SPF every day. Every. Single. Day. The skin around your eyes is so thin and sensitive, even a few minutes of sun exposure can amount to wrinkles over time. And I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but there aren’t many good eye creams with SPF. Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Eye Cream SPF 20 definitely creams those other creams. It’s weightless enough to blend well with your makeup and it doesn’t irritate sensitive eyes. Your eyes are young, we want to keep them this way.

Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller

Puffy eyes look terrible on everyone and they scream, ” Hey everyone, look at me! I have terrible sleeping habits!” Luckily there are two great ways to get rid of the extra under eye baggage, the first being the Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller. It shrinks those ghastly bags with caffeine and a cold metal tip, if you keep it in the fridge it’ll work even better. Another way to zap a less than fab under eye area is with this makeshift mask: take a cotton ball soaked in whole milk, half-and-half, or artificial creamer and lightly dab it in, DO NOT rub it (its sensitive under there). All three contain fat and proteins that will take care of those puffy eyes in about ten minutes.

Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel

When your skin has ventured past the help of a tinted moisturizer, a facial peel with glycolic acid will revive it. Glycolic acid is a great exfoliator because it penetrates deep, that’s why its one of the best out. Try Avon’s Anew Clinical Advanced Texturizing Peel pads, they’ve won four Allure Best of Beauty Awards because they really get the job done. Tip: Apply a moisturizer right after using the peel, hydrating ingredients can penetrate the skin much more easily on freshly exfoliated skin.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to have a good moisturizer in your skincare regimen. The best ones use ingredients like glycerine and hyaluronic acid that actually suck water from the air and deposit it into your skin. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream is definitely a winner, it’s lightweight formula smells like cucumber (yum!) and gives you dewy skin on the spot.

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50V

Practically every facialist and beauty editor known to man is obsessed with Biologique Recherche Lotion P50V, and I totally understand why. This breakout obliterating wonderfulness contains niacinimide (which controls redness), lactic acid (which cleans out pores), and sulfur (which laps up oil and makes your skin produce less of it). The only problem is that its kinda hard to get your hands on, there are only seven worldwide retailers that sell this little miracle in a bottle. Thank God one of those places is in New York, you can contact them and place your order over the phone or in person. Rescue Spa in Philadelphia carries it and so does Vicki Morav, which is also in New York. It’ll run you about $57-$59 which isn’t so bad. Now ladies this is an acid toner, so it will burn. A fellow blogger, Kerry over at Skin & Tonics, did an awesome review on this product and found that the original 1970 formula caused a good amount of burning and redness (sooo you should probably opt for the new formula. But hey, it’s your life).

Dermalogica Pure Light SPF 50

If you only do one thing on this list (and I hope you do them all because they’re all muy importante) make sure its this: WEAR SUNSCREEN! This is the single best thing you can do for your skin ladies, you should be wearing an SPF 30 or higher everyday. An Australian study found that people who wear sunscreen everyday didn’t appear to age at all, and by at all I’m sure they meant much gracefully. Grabbing a bite to eat and being outside for even five minutes a day without sunscreen can break down collagen in the skin, and in a few years that could cause wrinkles. And while we’re on the subject lets debunk yet another silly myth that’s out there: My beautiful cocoa butter beauties need sunblock too! Yes, the melanin in our skin give us a sun protection factor (SPF) of 13 as compared to 3-4 for our caucasian brothers and sisters,but that does not completely protect us from ultraviolet sun rays. We aren’t immune from skin cancer either, so lather up. The sunscreen needs to be light, silk and sheer enough so that you’ll actually wear it. I like Coppertone Clearly Sheer Faces For Sunny Days because it doesn’t disrupt your makeup and the price tag won’t make you gag.

Okay ladies I’ve supplied you with the goods, now its time to take action. What’s your skincare regimen? Have any favorite products that cannot bear to live without? Tell me in the comments below! Stay beautiful my loves ❤ 🙂

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How To Grow Long, Beautiful Black Hair That Makes Everyone Jealous

One of the biggest myths out is that African American hair doesn’t have the ability to grow as much  as other ethnicities. WOMP! So untrue. Any hair can grow easily with the proper care. As a natural girl, I’ve experienced so much growth just by cutting out harsh chemicals in my hair care regimen alone. The natural, coily texture of black hair is fragile and not many people know what it takes for our hair to thrive (shoutout to all the natural vloggers on YouTube, y’all the real MVPs). So if you’re interested in learning how to grow long, luscious locks keep reading for some great tips.


PROTECTIVE STYLES

I love wearing my fro out, especially now that my growth is way more noticeable, but doing so can keep you from getting closer to your desired length. As wonderful as a great curly fro is, it leaves your ends exposed and that can lead to trouble. While your curls are blowing in the wind as you channel your inner Diana Ross, they are tangling and dragging again car seats, coats, shirts, and sweaters. Or, if you’re like me, you constantly are running your fingers in your hair and that leads to breakage. The ends are the oldest and driest parts of your hair, which is why its so important to keep them safe. Protective styles do just that. Havana twists, box plats, wigs, and weaves (done properly by licensed professionals and not in a $50 weave shop *shade*) are all great ways to protect your hair. Wearing a silk or satin scarf or sleeping on a pillow case in either at night is equally as important.

AVOID DIRECT HEAT

Black hair tends to be drier than others, so overuse of blow dryers and straighteners definitely don’t do any good. Air drying is always the best option for your hair, but if you’re in the shop opt for the hood or bonnet drier instead. When you’re at home and you absolutely must use a blow dryer or flat iron be sure to coat your hair with some type of oil first (I love olive oil), and use a heat protectant for good measure.

CONDITION, CONDITION, CONDITION!

I used to be so afraid to shampoo my hair because I knew shampoos strip the hair of moisture, and I wasn’t trying to have all that drama (my hair was dry enough!). But there’s this great little thing called conditioner that settles all of that. Shampoos cleanse your scalp, while conditioners replenish the moisture that gets lost in the process. And, actually, if your scalp isn’t too dirty you can always co-wash your hair. What’s that? Co-washing is when you cleanse your hair using only a conditioner or cleansing conditioner. I like to do this in between washes because when my hair is properly conditioned it retains a lot more moisture, which is what you want. But be careful not to over condition. Also, make sure you’re utilizing a leave-in conditioner and a deep conditioner at least once a month.

NO MORE ALCOHOL

Products that contain alcohol strip the hair of excess oils, which is counterproductive. You can look at the ingredients of any given product and not physically see the word “alcohol”, but don’t be fooled. There are other products that can cause just as much damage. Steer clear of the following:

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Propylene glycol
  • Mineral oil or petroleum
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sodium laureth sulfate
  • Chlorine
  • Diethanolamine
  • Momoethnanolamine
  • Triethanolamin
  • Imidazolidinyl
  • Urea DMDM hydantoin

COMB CAUTIOUSLY

Thick hair can be tough to work with, you have to be patient with it. While combing your tresses always remember to be gentle. When you’re detangling treat your hair as you would a young child’s, carefully and gently. Divide your hair into sections, start at the ends, and work your way up to the root. Never, ever, ever comb from the roots, that causes major breakage. And don’t try to detangle dry hair, that also causes breakage.

RELAXED GROWTH

While the chemicals in relaxers can be damaging to hair, you still can achieve long hair with the proper regimen. Before using a relaxer always use a scalp protector, this shields your scalp and hair shaft from possible damage from the affect of the chemicals. Only put the relaxer on your roots, this keeps the rest of your hair from being over-processed. Don’t just sit in silence while your scalp burns, that’s insane. You’re edges will be way smoother than you’d hoped for once you’re bald. After you rinse, use a neutralizing shampoo to remove the relaxer. Before I was natural, I’d let the neutralizing shampoo sit in my hair for about five to six minutes just for safe measure.

Like I said before: it’s totally possible to grow your hair out with a relaxer, but it will be a little more challenging. It is so important for you to know your hair and not just trust what your beautician says; at the beginning, middle, and end of the day you’re the one that has to deal with it not them. Know when you need a relaxer, and when you can go without one. Try to stretch it out as long as possible. Some say you should only get them every 8-10 weeks, while others say every three months if you can wait that long.

MOISTURIZE!

Black hair needs moisture! Our natural, curly texture makes it difficult for oils to travel from the scalp throughout the hair shaft, so oiling your scalp is not enough. Pay super close attention to your ends and seal them with natural oils. When I wear my fro out, I make a point of making sure my hair is moisturized before I walk out the door. Before I retained the length I have now, I was hesitant to add water to my hair. The shrinkage is real in these streets! I’d just gone natural and hadn’t quite gotten used to my new shorter length (I felt like a bald eagle). Now all of that is behind me, I actually welcome my shrinkage. I’ll wake up, shower, unbraid or knot my hair, spray it with a little water, and add my oil and conditioner. Sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, I’ll un-do it right after I get out of bed, shake it out, hop in the shower, and add my oil and conditioner. The water from the shower lightly dampens my hair all over which I love, because when I’m using a spray bottle I may miss some spots. Adding the oil afterwards helps seal in the moisture really well; adding the water after the oil will only cause it to bead off the hair because oil and water don’t mix (#science). I love doing this in the summer; while my hair is air-drying the air feels so great on my scalp.

TRIM CAREFULLY

There’s a myth floating around that says you must trim your hair once a month, and to that I say WOOOMP! The key to growing long hair is to only trim it when you need to, and that will vary depending on how your hair grows. If you have hair that’s prone to splitting, that may mean every three months. If split ends are a non-factor for you, try to hold out to once or twice a year. And even if you do have to trim your ends often remember, you hair grows from your roots. It is way better to have healthy hair that’s a little shorter than you want at the moment, than having long hair that is completely dead at the ends. Not cute.

MANAGE YOUR STRESS

This one is a biggie for me because I live that stressful girl life. Work, school, family, and my relationship (with my awesome, amazingly stellar, sweet, supportive and devilishly handsome boyfriend) are all sources of stress. I often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day; I’ll have to complete reports for work, do homework, find time to blog, wake up in time to make it to church, and try to spend quality time with my honey when we’re not both busy working or half past dead from doing so. My whole life is stress and that can be really bad for my hair growth; stress can cause significant hair loss, and I’ve been there. If you want hair like Rapunzel, you’ll have to find ways to alleviate your stress in a healthy way. Exercising, sitting a quiet place, reading a book, and listening to soothing music (with wine) are all great ways to stamp out the stress in your life.

Following all these tips are great, but they are no good if you’re not eating a healthy diet. You can’t expect to put junk in your body and get Erykah Badu hair. Your hair is mostly protein and needs it to grow, so make sure you include enough of it in your diet. Water is extremely important too and so is iron, vitamin E, and trace minerals like selenium and copper. These all keep your hair in good shape, and they’re great for your body too. I have an iron deficiency and at one point I experienced slight hair loss. You best source of iron in your diet is meat; clams, oyster, and lean meats are great sources of iron. For vegetarians: fortified cereals, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, white beans, lentils, and spinach are all great sources of iron. The problem with non-animal sourced iron is that the body absorbs iron less efficiently from plants. Its possible to eat a iron rich vegetarian diet and still not get enough of it. Talk to your doctor about your diet and ask for an iron test so they can check on whether you should consider taking an iron supplement. I hope these tips helped you guys, if you have any hair growing tips be sure to leave them in the comments below! Stay beautiful ❤ 🙂

Primer: The Great Houdini

I never realized how wonderful a thing primer was until I really got interested in makeup. I always used to think it was a little much until one day, it was a Tuesday, my world changed forever. I was so amazed at how smooth and easy it was to apply my foundation, it was like butter. And my pores? What pores?! The best thing, though, was that my makeup looked fresh all day. Before my great awakening, I’d have to stop and reapply my foundation throughout the day (which was such a drag). Primers are great bases for foundation, but there are many more great tricks this little miracle can tackle as well.

pink, green, and lilac primers

Dull skin is never fun, but there is definitely a simple solution for this problem. Lack luster skin is no match for light pink primers, they can add an amazing glow. I recommend the Benefit That Gal Brightening Face Primer. It’s silky, weightless and dries to a powdery finish. Lilac shades (like the one found in Revlon’s PhotoReady Color Correcting Primer) brighten sallow skin, and green formulas (like Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Correcting Primer in Green) neutralize redness.

dollop of primer

Too much of a good thing can be not-so-good, this is definitely true for primer. A little bit goes a long way, trust me. When you load up on primer, it pills under your foundation. A small drop, about the size of a raisin, is plenty. Gently apply it on the skin, and you’re good to go.

eyelid primer

The skin underneath your eyes is extremely sensitive, so when applying product in that area be cautious. Instead of rubbing, gently pat it into place and buff it out in a circular motion. Around the eyes and on the lids, primer is the ultimate three-point play (sorry, I’ve been watching the NBA playoffs with my boyfriend lol): it prevents makeup from smudging or creasing by absorbing oils, it diminishes crow’s feet, and it thwarts redness. Try Smashbox’s Photo Finish Lid Primer, it provides the perfect base for flawless eye shadow application.

lancome cils booster xl mascara primer

Want thicker, longer lashes? Layer on an eyelash primer under your regular mascara. Who knew such a thing existed? These formulas amplify sparse lashes and contain vitamin E or glycerin and condition lashes beautifully. Lancôme’s Cils Booster XL is the perfect candidate for such an effect. It’s thick, bushy brush is perfect for creating great fan-like lashes and the white formula goes on mostly clear. Just be sure to limit your mascara to two coats, any more will leave a big clumpy mess.

smashbox blemish primer

If your primer already contains anti-acne ingredients, its best that you skip spot treatments. Layering on too many acne-fighting products simultaneously can irritate the skin and cause inflammation. Try Smashbox’s Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control, the oil-free formula hydrates the skin but won’t clog pores—and the two percent salicylic acid content wards off blemishes.

Don’t you hate it when you see women with feathering lipstick, or when it starts to settle into lines of the lips? You see them everywhere: Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, DSW. The poor dears. Don’t be another victim! Use a lip primer, it locks down color and combats feathering, fading and transfer even after the world’s biggest cup of joe. I love the Lip Insurance Lip Primer by Too Faced, it’s hydrating formula is perfect for matte fanatics like myself.

makeup powder

Setting your makeup is a cakewalk, just remember this order: primer, liquid foundation (or tinted primer), translucent powder. I never thought a simple step could make such a huge difference, but it does. The water in your makeup and silicones in most primers repel each other, so if you touch your face both will come right off. A translucent powder stops this fiasco from happening. There are tons of these out, almost every line out has one, but my personal fave is the Smoothing Translucent Setting Powder from the Sephora Collection. It glides on effortlessly and I love the matte finish it gives my foundation.

If this hasn’t convinced you that a primer is a must-have in your beauty routine, I’m not sure what will. The benefits are numerous, so run to your nearest Sephora and scoop one up (I promise you’ll love it). There are even tinted primers you can wear alone like Sunday Riley’s Effortless Tinted Primer, doing so adds a nice wash of color (which is perfect if you’re going for an au naturel look). Seriously, go get one!

Stay beautiful loves

xoxo ❤

Floral Upgrade

Florals are a given once Spring rolls around, so it was no surprise that they were seen all over the runways. At first glance they may seem a little predictable, but designers have added a modern twist to this crowd favorite. Models sashayed down the catwalks in big, bold versions of the print and many sported the look from head-to-toe. Instead of flowing maxi dresses and dainty motifs often associated with the design, the pieces shown took a more architectural approach. We saw boxy capes in abstract watercolors, slender suits in pretty pinks, and tropical inspired jumpsuits instead of the expected sheer blouse or skirt. The pattern follows suit with the ’70s inspired trend that has re-emerged. Designers have been showing lots of white, fringe and gingham so fabulous florals were bound to make an appearance. From Chanel to Victoria Beckham, the runways flourished like a chic secret garden reminding us that some things just never get old.


THOM BROWN

                                    | Thom Brown |

CELINE

                                             | Celine |

CHANEL

                                            | Chanel |

carolina-herrera-oversized-blossoms-nyfw

                                       | Carolina Herrera |

DOLCE AND GABANNA

                                     | Dolce & Gabbana |

marc cain

                                       | Marc Cain |

MICHAEL KORS

                                       | Michael Kors |

Kylie Jenner + Lips = Yawn

Get-Kylie-Jenners-Lips ll

I don’t know about you, but I am so sick of hearing about Kylie Jenner’s lips. Are they real? Are they fake? “HA! I KNEW THEY WERE FAKE!” Why the heck do we care? The allure around Kylie and her family is absolutely insane. I keep asking myself and everyone around me why are they here, but that’s a can of worms I don’t have the energy to open right now. Plastic surgery isn’t a terrible thing nor is it the issue surrounding Kylizzle. The problem I have with it is her age. No seventeen year old should be going under the knife, ever. I think it’s unhealthy for her self-esteem and incredibly irresponsible for her parents to allow her to get any surgery of that type.

I remember when I was seventeen. I was chubby, incredibly shy and I wasn’t the best at choosing clothes. But now looking back, as an adult, that stage of my life really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. Yeah I felt like Shamu, but I had great friends, I got good grades, and I was always surrounded by people who loved me. I was extremely awkward, but what teenager isn’t? Our teenage years were a strange time for all of us; we weren’t children anymore, but not quite adults either. But if there’s been any time in my life I’m grateful for, it would be those years. Hands down.

My teenage years were a time when I got to know myself. I found out what I liked, disliked, who and what I wanted to be, what I stood for and valued. I thank God I had legs like an ostrich, a short trunk, and got overlooked by the varsity football players. Why? Because while they were chasing after tail, I was reading and comprehending at a college level. While my classmates were obsessing over what to wear to homecoming, I was practicing my violin solos. And when all the popular kids were going to parties, I was doing a superb job of not becoming a teen mother (we had quite a few of those at my school).

Seventeen year old Shaniece hated her flabby stomach, stretch marks, and little boobs. Twenty-six year old Shaniece loves her curves, wears her stretch marks with pride (like tiger stripes), and is fully enjoying her small boobs because she knows when she has kids she’ll wish they were small again. None of those insecurities matter in adulthood. That’s what I wish I could tell Kylie. They’re just lips! You’re still wildly attractive! I’m not condoning what she did but there is something people are failing to recognize: Kylie’s been growing up in the public eye for a while now. What may seem like a dumb teenage insecurity issue to us is magnified exponentially in her case. She constantly sees the embodiment of how society says she’s “supposed” to look like in her older sisters. Everyone expects her to follow in their footsteps, to be as cool or chic as them. That’s an incredible amount of pressure for a seventeen year old to have to deal with. Now throw in the fact that her mother is whoring out the family’s privacy for a quick buck, her dad’s now public struggle with being transgendered, and a completely clueless twenty-five year old father of one who’s praying on her innocence. With all that going on in the environment around her, for Kylie Jenner, using lip fillers is as serious an offense as getting a speeding ticket.

I don’t fault her for wanting full lips, or going under the knife at all. Hell, if I could afford liposuction I’d suck the fat out of everywhere. Kylie’s a kid, the real problem here is irresponsible parenting. Let’s just call a spade a spade, people. If my baby girl came to me and told me how much she hates her huge thighs, I’d tell her that every brick house and fine mama jama needs a strong base to keep her grounded. From a young age, I’d teach her that every freckle, imperfection and flaw makes her special and is absolutely necessary. I would not feed into her insecurities and suggest she alter her appearance, which is the route Kris Jenner took.

We need to do a better job at teaching our young girls to love themselves, flaws and all. Everyone loves to claim that they woke up like this

bey

(pun intended), but that just isn’t reality. We have this unhealthy obsession with perfectionism and pop culture feeds it. It sounds so cliche, but nobody’s perfect. No matter how hard your makeup bangs, how great you hair is on any particular day, or the superb level of fleek your eyebrows are on you will never be perfect, ever. And that’s ok. Every morning, I walk past the bathroom mirror as I enter the shower. Sometimes I stand there in front of it a little longer than necessary, stark naked, and stare. I look at my small breasts, my love handles (I call them handlebars), my thick thighs, my full backside and I say to myself, “Damn! I’m fine!” (quite loudly). I love the skin that I’m in, I love my flaws, I even love my little kangaroo pouch I get when I’ve eaten too much (my sister and I have coined this phenomena as a “food baby”). My awkward teenage years are to thank for that. I’m still awkward, and a little weird, but I own it. All my catch phrases, strange habits, and eclectic points of view are what makes me me. So yeah, I don’t give a hoot about Kylie Jenner’s lips. The tragedy in Nepal is more important than Kylie Jenner’s lips. Disbanding ISIS is more important than Kylie Jenner’s lips. And paying back Sallie Mae for my student loans is more important than Kylie Jennner’ lips. Imperfection is beauty, revel in yours.

Stay beautiful ❤