Skincare, K Beauty, and Me

Over this past summer, I noticed a cluster of bumps on my forehead. While I found them strangely peculiar, I assumed they would disappear within a couple of days and didn't pay them much mind. After about ten days, I started freaking out.

They were still there AND they seemed to be enlarging their territory.

I, for the most part, never really had problematic skin. I was born with dark circles around my eyes and occassional deal with one hormonal pimple, which can mostly be attributed to my diet pre-menstration influencing my hormones (meaning, health eats = no Pimple Pete). Oh, and I have oily skin but that's more annoying than problematic as it soley translates to excessive shine. But - besides those three things - there hasn't been much shakeup to my skin. And, this is even considering the fact that I barely take care of outside of washing and using [any] moisturizer that I can find.

Hence, why the forehead bumps where highly problematic.

A couple of Google searches lead me to the understanding that I, in my old age, had just had my first experience with blackheads. And, in true midlife crisis form, I realized that I needed to develop a skincare regimen. After doing some research, speaking to a few estheticians, lurking on online conversations with estheticians, joining a few Facebook groups catering to skin care for minorities, and ultimately becoming fascinated with Korean beauty trends, I decided that the 10-Step Korean Beauty Routine was the one for me. While it is a bit extensive, I loved that almost every product I looked up used fully all natural ingrediants with zero additives, parabens, sulfates, or other fillers.

You should know, I found a way to amend it to become a 6-step version because I'm lazy, noncommittal, and these products are expensive. And, also, I use a couple of non-Korean  products because I had already purchased them due to their rave reviews and I didn't want to waste money.

I apply in the following order -

  1. SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick: This all natural cleanser is made from a fermented damask rose extract that is gentle on all skin types that smells absolutely heavenly. My skin always feels soft and supple after use. And, what I love most, is that the cleanser is in an easy-to-use twist-up tube, meaning there is no mess or spills. Charlotte from The Klog did an extensive review of this product that I highly suggest you read. I think you'll soon realize you need it too!
  2. SkinFood Peach Sake Toner: This was the first K-beauty product I purchased. I never used toner because I never had a clue what it was for. Thanks to Al Gore's internet, I learned toners remove pollutants along with any residue that you're cleanser may have left behind while restoring pH balance. As this is the first toner I have ever used, I may not be the best rater of the product. All I know is I love that it takes of those last pieces of dirt away and it smells really delicious.
  3. Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid: This product is one that I have heard estheticians rave over for months. It's a leave-on chemical exfoliant that removes dead skin while hydrating and smoothing skin. If I could point out to one product in this regimen that helped clear up the blackheads, this one would definitely be it. After one week of use, my skin was visibly clearer and more radiant.
  4. Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence: I'm honestly not sure what essences do but I believe they are a type of moisturizer. My skin definitely looks and feels more hydrated after I put it on. I'm not sure if it is lifechanging and perhaps any essence will provide similar results but.. I enjoy this one.
  5. J. One Jelly Pack: I became sold on this when I was told that this one product multitasks as a serum, moisturizer, face mask, and makeup primer. It, literally, cut down the 10-step routine to 6-steps (which is also a bonus if you travel often and don't want to pack a lot of stuff). It  tightens my skin, hydrates my skin, and definitely primes for makeup. I think everyone should add this hardworker to their regimen.

In addition, I try to do sheet masks (i.e. Tony Moly, Benton Snail Bee Sheet Mask, etc) at least 2-3 times a week. On the nights that I do sheet masks, I take out the Paula's Choice BHA step and do the sheet mask there instead. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd honestly do one nightly because I love the after effects so much. As Charlotte from The Klog points out:

The secret to sheet masks? They force your skin to absorb the nutrients and moisture better than if you just applied a cream or serum—before the product has a chance to evaporate. The immediate effects are addicting, after one use your face is slightly more plump and much brighter due to all the moisture your skin just absorbed

I am officially three weeks into the full 5-product regimen and I absolutely love it. Four out of five of these products were new and I wanted to be mindful of potential allergic or other unbecoming reactions, so I decided to slowly onboard them. I used one product for two weeks before adding another product. I do the steps twice a day - in the morning and evening.  My blackheads have definitely cleared up a lot and my skin is softer and glowing - to the point that I don't even want to put on makeup! An added bonus to finally taking care of my skin is that my makeup application is deflinitely smoother and more exquisite looking. I'm thinking of tweaking this regimen a little bit and adding SkinFood Brown Rice Oil Cleansing Tissue in the evenings to remove makeup before I wash my face and using Makeup Artist's Choice Mandelic Acid Serum as an exfoliant in the evenings (because I already purchased it, have yet to use it, and am not about to waste it).

I've always read that you need about 4 weeks of consistent use to see effects but I've definitely already begun to see the difference so I can't wait to see what my skin looks like by the end of the year!

When it comes to skincare, I am a firm believer that consistency is key. I know there are tons of items on the market and it's easy to get tempted to try new things but I really want to stick these products out first before I try something new. I'm attempting to be disciplined not only in skincare routine but also in financial accountability. I've promised myself that I will only buy a new product if one I have is 100% not working well with my skin and/or I have finished an entire bottle and want to try something different. As all of these products seem to work well, I'm truly not too interested in trying anything new besides toner and essence.

Next on the list is to really create a regimen for winter lip care. While I do exfoliate regularly and drink ton of water, I still can't seem to get rid of dry, peeling lips during the colder months. I'm not sure what I need to do but I know brands such as Carmex, Vaseline, Chaptick, and Burt's Bees have not done much for me. I've been trying to do a bit of research on more popular brands that I have heard discussed such as Korres, Jack Black, EOS (speaking of which, have you seen the video when it melts like butter? It's phenomenal!), and Rosebud Perfume Co and I want to settle on which one I will commit to soon enough. Also, I'm considering doing lip masks. Yes, I'm slowly morphing into that person.


Collette Miller's Wings

Colette Miller created the Global Angel Wings Project in 2012 as a means of reminding humanity that we are the angels of this earth. There are about 52 of these murals painted all over the world and, its just so happens, that one popped up a few blocks away from my office in downtown DC.

Obviously, I had to take a picture in the classic fashion blogger pose - especially since my outfit matched.

To my DC folks, the mural is installed in the alley next to Bonfire, off of 19th St and M St.


1 novembre 2016

I like to use the month of November as a time for self-reflection and planning. My birthday/personal new year in December so November is always a great time for me to review and assess where I am and start planning for where I want to be & what I want to achieve in the upcoming year. I have so many ideas in my head in terms of travel, writing, brand expansion, creative directorship, and published publications that I hope to execute within the next year and I know none of these things can be achievable until I sit down and start making actionable plans. I'm a firm believer that if you want something out of your life, you have to be specific and intentional in orchestrating it. No one lives by accident; we all are who we are by design (whether that is active design or passive design is all on you).

ProTip: Try to make your goals as specific as possible. It's easier to achieve when you've detailed exactly what you need & want to do.

This year I am participating in a 21-day fast to help keep me disciplined and focus during this period. While I do want to take this time to pour myself into my vision, I do also hope to experience increased spiritual maturity and spiritual softening. I lived through a lot of heartbreak and emotional abuse in my mid- and late-20s and it left me a bit more hardened, guarded, frustrated, angry, and removed from God than I often care to admit. This first year of 30 has brought a lot of peace, clarity, and emotional safety back into my life and it is very important to me that I keep this progress in bloom. Being the bibliophile that I am, I stocked up on a few books to keep me on course to where I want to be. While I don't think I will get through all 4 books in three weeks, I've heard phenomenal things about Henry Cloud's 'Safe People' and Timothy Keller's 'Prayer' so I will start there. Of course, check out the links to the books:


I hope November is kind to you!