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Dahvi Shira

Beauty

What Is Slugging, and Why Are Skincare Experts Obsessed With It on TikTok?

May 7, 2021

I don’t know about you, but I’ve used some of the most critically acclaimed, buzzy moisturizers on the block, and after an hour into wear, my skin still feels (and looks) disturbingly dry and dull. If you feel me on this, here’s why you should try slugging.

Slugging (presumably named after a consistency that resembles a slug’s bodily secretion – gross, I know) is a skincare practice that’s grown in popularity over the last six months, namely on TikTok. Skincare guru Charlotte Parlermino really brought the emerging trend to the forefront, and I’ve been giving it a go myself as of late.

@charlotteparler

😇 ##skincare ##tiktokbeauty ##tiktokskincare ##winterskincare

♬ original sound – Charlotte Palermino

The practice requires the application of a pea-sized occlusive (most commonly petroleum jelly/Vaseline or Aquaphor) as the final step in your skincare routine. Doing so locks in the aforementioned moisturizer’s hydrating properties (along with a humectant like a hyaluronic acid serum, for example), which therefore gives you the glow you’ve failed to achieve with your products alone.

The occlusive creates a barrier between your skin and the environment, preventing any transepidermal water loss caused naturally as the day goes by. While the practice is most commonly applied to the face, the same goes for why you should try slugging on your whole body!

dahvi applies the slugging petroleum jelly technique to her face

But, it’s important to note that locking everything into your skin applies to natural oils, too, so if you have oily or acne-prone skin, this is not a recommended practice, as it can clog pores.

“It’s great for a short fix like right before a big event for example, but don’t do it all the time, especially if you have damaged skin,” celebrity esthetician and founder of her namesake skincare line, Kát Rudu, tells skyelyfe. “I recommend using it with Vitamin E to provide extra moisture.” 

As Rudu—whose products focus on skin barrier repair—points out, the outcome of slugging is only temporary, and the practice doesn’t actually aid in skincare repair.

“Once you stop, your face will turn back to where it was after a short period of time,” the expert explains. “It won’t be a longterm mend, and you’ll need to fix the outer skin barrier.”

Speaking of the skin barrier, HERE‘s why you should incorporate kakadu plum into your routine to help with skincare repair!

Food

Plant-Based Angelenos Have a Delicious New Meal Service Option That Won’t Break the Bank

April 27, 2021

Meal delivery services can be tricky. With unpredictable schedules, picky palettes and a lack of unlimited funds, it often feels easier to place that dependable Postmates order to get exactly what you want on demand. But as of last week, L.A.’s new Herb & Seed meal delivery changed my thoughts on such services.

A handful of my friends have used meal delivery services regularly, but I’m frequently out and about and can’t necessarily commit to a selection of pre-made meals in a number of days. I’ve also never been wowed by options. From what I’ve seen online, there’s always one part of the meal I’m averse to, or simply the portions look a little too small for my liking. Why order a tiny sun-dried tomato pasta dish that I don’t even like, when, for around the same price (including delivery cost), I can request a mega-order from Zankou Chicken that’s not only satisfying and delicious, but made with all of my preferences in mind?

When a rep for Herb & Seed meal delivery reached out about reviewing their plant-based dishes, of course I agreed. Even if I didn’t end up loving the selections, at least they’d be in my fridge for convenience while saving me Postmates money. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I was intrigued, so why not?

The Service

Herb & Seed meal delivery updates their menu options every Tuesday. Each item is entirely plant-based, and delivered on Monday mornings with each meal given a suggested shelf-life of four days. Each order requires a minimum of $54, and delivery is an additional $10 fee.

The menu consists of dinner options ($15.50 each), lunches ($13.50 each), breakfasts ($11.50 each), beverages (juices and latte types; $9.50 each) and extras (dips and cheeses; $7.50 each). The menu is also entirely organic and whole, so only the freshest, purest ingredients need apply! Meals are also cooked and served in sustainable kitchen and delivery products. There’s no use of plastic—only compostable materials.

The Meals

I was sent a VIP media menu of two breakfast items (apple pie overnight oats and berry banana pancakes), two lunch (pesto bowl and rainbow buddha bowl) and two dinner (creamy stuffed shells and chile relleno).

To begin, the ingredients in each meal tasted extremely fresh. Even the rainbow buddha bowl, which was probably the least flavorful of the five (because it was the most raw), was refreshing with each bite. In the case of that dish, the beet hummus was unlike any dip or dressing type I’d ever tried, and it totally completed the meal.

I was shocked over how each item was extremely filling, still tasted fresh after even 4-5 days and had me forgetting there wasn’t a traditional protein in the mix. I typically opt for chicken, steak or eggs in most of my hearty meals, and the richness in flavor and formulations of these ingredients truly made it easy to sidestep what I was used to eating.

What blew me away the most was the formulation of the cashew cheese. There was just no way this wasn’t actual ricotta. The creamy stuffed shells truly tasted like the slightly healthier (but no less flavorful) version of something I would have snagged at Jon & Vinny’s. That same said cheese accounts for much of the deliciousness of the chile relleno. And speaking of creamy goodness, the pesto sauce in the chickpea pasta bowl could not have tasted more like a dairy-rich delight.

The most common ingredients in the dishes altogether were hemp seeds, cashew, tomato and various greens. The dinner dishes both came with a small side salad.

Bottom Line

Plain and simple, if you’re big on home-cooking, this option may not be for you. But if you’re super busy or often too tired (or lazy) to cook, I promise these meals won’t disappoint. If you line them up next to some of their competitors (Model Meals, for example), these are significantly less expensive. Also, to reiterate above, you’re only obligated to spend $54 (+ delivery fee) to place an order (which can get you approx 3-4 meals). And I don’t know about you, but if I go out to eat or order Postmates, one meal (with tax, tip and whatever else) can end up costing $25 each.

If you enjoy eating whole and healthy but you’re not big on plant-based options, as someone who loves a good steak, I can assure you that you won’t even think about the difference. These meals are so fulfilling. There was an excellent variety, and I really enjoyed my culinary experience with each in different ways.

For more mouthwatering content, HERE‘s what you need to know about Whipped, the delicious DIY coffee frothing system!

Angelenos

How to Plan a Solo Overnight Staycation for a Zen Recharge Just Outside of L.A.

April 27, 2021

*This article was originally published on qooa.me

Ah, the solo getaway. We’ve all dreamt of the eat, pray, love life at some point, but who are we kidding? With most of us bogged down by family, career and general day-to-day life obligations, going on a lengthy soul-searching journey just isn’t practical. But what if you knew how to plan a solo overnight staycation that could at least somewhat aid in providing the mental cleanse we all need?

When we were in the thick of the pandemic, I thought about how fulfilling it would be to celebrate my eventual vaccination by booking a solo overnight stay somewhere just out of L.A. That said, the timing had to be right—and when a last minute change of plans altered a pre-scheduled arrangement last Thursday, I took it as my sign to jump on a 24-hour getaway.

It’s important to keep in mind there are many types of solo excursions. If you’re looking to meet new people, there’s a place for that. If you’re looking to soak up the sun by the pool all day, there’s a place for that. If you’re looking to sip cocktails with no cares in the world, there’s a place for that. I knew that my intentions were to go somewhere grounding and spiritual. Oh, it also happened to be Earth Day, so naturally it made the most sense to venture somewhere scenic and serene.

I considered my local options, and booked a quaint room at the Ojai Retreat & Inn. To be clear, this isn’t sponsored by any of the establishments I mention in this piece. I simply just learned a lot from my experience and want to share since many people expressed interest when I posted about it online. Keep reading for all my tips on how to plan a solo overnight staycation if you’re looking for a zen recharge outside of L.A.

1. Consider the Destination

It’s important to be mindful of the fact that just because a place involves lounging doesn’t mean it will be peaceful or mind-clearing. I think when Angelenos think of relaxing, Palm Springs is the first place that comes to mind. But quite frankly, it’s not where I’d personally go for a distinctly serene experience. To me, Palm Springs evokes Coachella memories and partying. It’s also a blistering hot desert, so if there’s no pool with refreshing cocktails to boot, count me out.

When I booked my trip, it was important for me to immerse myself in nature, first and foremost. While Southern California is beautiful with many outdoor activities at its fingertips, much of it is a scene or just L.A relocated (a la PS). When I think of serene, scenic solo getaways in SoCal, I think Ojai, Idyllwild and Topanga Canyon. And in my planning process and searching around for available hotels (easier than Airbnb), Ojai was the best fit in that moment.

2. Disconnect or Tie-Up Any Distracting Loose Ends Beforehand

When it comes to how to plan a solo overnight staycation, be sure to wrap up any unfinished business beforehand. To get the most out of your experience, you don’t want this to be a work remote situation. Take the day off and let everyone you know you’ll be out of pocket for 24 hours. I’d even advise putting your phone on airplane mode for at least half the time. If you’re in a situation where you do need to leave your phone on, at least make sure you have no lingering concerns or obligations that could interfere with your peaceful mindset on the trip.

For me, personally, the day/night I got there was fantastic. I explored the beautiful grounds on which I was staying, I walked to a beautiful restaurant for dinner and embraced the garden view from my bedroom. I turned off my phone after dinner, and when I turned it back on the next morning, I had a cryptic text waiting for me from a friend. When I replied, I got another cryptic reply, leading me to question if there was something I needed to worry about. The friend said they could only talk after work. Instead of agreeing and going on with my day, I wish I had blatantly asked if this had to do with me or to speak right then. Instead, it left my neurotic brain frazzled and poured out into the energy of what was supposed to be a mellow day. It ended up having nothing to do with me, but going into this situation next time, I’ll need to know off the bat so it doesn’t impact my peaceful experience.

3. Schedule a Healing Session

If there’s one place to take advantage of natural healing properties, it’s in nature, of course! Places like Ojai, for example, offer a slew of intuitive readings, reiki and crystal healings, sound bath experiences and other forms of re-centering and cleansing your energy. I just so happened to have a session scheduled with my bi-yearly healer later that week in L.A., but if I didn’t have that on the calendar weeks in advance, I’d absolutely have booked a session on my travel. Especially since I haven’t done any form of healing since just before the pandemic, this was such an opportune time!

4. Book a Room Somewhere Serene

Going off of No. 1, if zen is your goal for the trip, be sure your room reservation follows suit. For this sort of stay, I’m not going to book at the trendiest spot in town (even if it’s the most beautiful or luxe). I wanted somewhere small, quaint and scenic. I didn’t need room service or a full bar by the pool. I just wanted to be in nature and feel like I was in a whole new world with no familiar faces in sight. Again, I’m not big on Airbnb for solo travel (but that’s just me). I find it so much easier to book a hotel and not have to worry about anything except enjoying the experience.

5. Plan Your Trip on a Weekday

Planning your stay on a weekday is key when it comes to how to book a solo overnight trip. I went on a Thursday and stayed through early Friday afternoon. Not only do you beat the crowds (and yes, that includes some L.A. tourists), but you have better deals and vaster options. Based on my day of stay, my room was $10 off. I was also easily able to snag a last minute reservation at the hottest spot in town for dinner. And when I headed into downtown the following late morning, I felt like I had the area all to myself. I find it generally easier to decompress on weekday trips. You’re not soaking up the energy of masses of travelers around you and you don’t feel like you’re missing out on traditional weekend activities.

6. Ensure There’s a Dining Establishment Within Walking Distance

Nothing’s worse than getting in the zone and feeling at ease than having to hop into your car or deal with an annoying Lyft when all you want to do is eat a nice meal and enjoy a glass of wine. Avoid tampering with your energy flow by ensuring beforehand that there’s somewhere walking distance to eat (or somewhere [mellow] to eat on the premises of where you’re staying). I was fortunate enough to have an exquisite fine dining establishment waiting for me at the very bottom of my hotel’s hill called The Ranch House. I can’t think of a better place in that moment to enjoy a solo meal with an extraordinary view.

If you're itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you're looking for a zen recharge).

7. Set an Intention for the Trip

While getting away just to get away is all sorts of groovy, it’s so much more meaningful when you have a goal or outcome for your brief yet powerful journey. In my case, I wanted to connect with nature and clear my energy. While I’m no stranger to alone time (I’m single, I live alone and I’m very socially independent), it’s a lot different to stroll down bustling Sunset Blvd. to grab coffee than it is to stroll through an array of trees and waterfalls and peacefully reflect on life. Like with most people, the last several months have been wildly transitional. It was important to me that I shed some lingering energy that’s been piled up over the last year. While a step outdoors isn’t going to dramatically change your life or fix all your problems, it does help clear your head and put things into perspective when you don’t have the distractions of your day-to-day life clouding your mind.

Now that you know how to plan your next staycation, HERE are the best Instagram captions to accompany pics of your experience!

Lifestyle

Do Period Panties Really Work? Here’s Everything to Know About the Convenient (and Environmentally Conscious) Innovation

April 20, 2021

Undergarment discussion can be extremely sexy—but it can also go in the other direction. Case in point: period panties. Namely, the hot topic, does period underwear work?

While it may not be the most uplifting chat between you and your male S.O., periods are a fact of life for women—and ways to combat an unstoppable flow is always a relevant subject matter.

Okay, so does period underwear work? In one word, yes! I’ve used two different brands of period underwear, and both have been effective. I most recently tried proof., a patented leak-loc technology-based brand of panties that decreases odor and comes in seven different styles (including thong, lace, brief and bikini) and five absorbencies. Given my experience, I haven’t had any leaking issues. I also find the undies wildly convenient, as I’m saved from buying (or running out of) tampons.

To provide more insight from a professional standpoint, I reached out to Sarah Grotenhuis, proof.’s brand manager. Everything you could possibly want to know about period panties is listed below!

How to Officially Refer to Period Panties

“Period underwear, period undies, period panties all are good!” Grotenhuis tells skyelyfe. “Proof. period underwear have been called it all. You can also use the term ‘leakproof,’ but that’s unique to proof. as a brand as we’re the only brand of triple-patented and truly leakproof underwear out there.”

How proof. Panties Differ From Other Period Underwear on the Market

“Our [patented] Leak-Loc technology is what sets us apart,” Grotenhuis explains. “That’s our multi-layered technology that acts as a built-in replacement for pads, tampons and cups. The top layer pulls in moisture and keeps you dry, while our super absorbent middle layers disperse liquid so you don’t feel like you’re sitting in a pad. We use antimicrobial fibers that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fight odor for a fresh feeling all day, and back it all up with really, really leakproof technology and Leak-Loc edges that seal in leaks.

You can also expect to steer clear from toxins when you slip into a pair of these panties.

“Another key factor for us is what we don’t use,” Grotenhuis says. “Proof. pairs are free of lead, phthalates, PFOA-PFOs and other harmful chemicals—and we never use a sprayed-on waterproof top coating on our lining like some competitors do.”

How proof. Was Conceptualized  

“Proof was years in the making,” Grotenhuis says. “We spent close to three years perfecting our Leak-Loc technology. Kari, the youngest of [the brand’s founders] the Caden sisters, experienced really heavy postpartum bleeding despite delivering her son via caesarean section, and no one warned her about this leaking. We came to find out that many women struggled with similar problems. Friends with heavy flows bled through tampons and pads every 45 minutes, others experienced bladder leaks during workouts, and all of it made life more difficult than it had to be. We knew there had to be a better solution than uncomfortable disposables that leak—not to mention all of that single-use plastic waste—so we invented proof.”

How Period Panties Actually Work

“Period undies fit and feel like your favorite pair of normal underwear, but have multiple layers of absorbent protection,” Grotenhuis explains. “They act as a replacement for pads and pantyliners, and can replace or back-up tampons and cups. Simply wear, wash, and repeat! Period panties are for anyone who loves convenience, comfort and taking care of their body and the planet.”

Speaking of periods, click HERE for the best bathroom gifts under $25 that anyone will love!

Beauty

What Is Your Skin Barrier and How Do You Protect It? We Asked an Expert

April 16, 2021

Whether you’ve taken a dive through Charlotte Parlermino’s TikTok or you’ve been keeping up with the latest skincare launches, you’ve probably noticed that how to protect your skin barrier is presently the industry’s prime concern.

Last month, in fact, Codex Beauty had a huge digital launch to promote their Antü Collection. Hosted by Codex Beauty Labs CEO Barbara Paldus and environmental advocate Stephanie Shepherd, the plant-based biotech beauty brand introduced its Antü Brightening Night Cream and Antü Brightening Moisturizer—both of which are aimed at protecting the skin barrier against inflammation and aiding in UV recovery.

Kát Rudu is an example of a skincare brand that’s always had barrier protection in mind. Its esthetician-backed, medically advanced formulas include glycolic acid, sugar cane, B5, cucumber water and other ingredients that help the skin retain moisture while minimizing pores, irritation and inflammation. All products have peptides that relieve inflammation, nourish the skin and protect the barrier.

To break down even more information about how to protect your skin barrier (as well as how to repair it), we reached out to Kát, herself. The celebrity esthetician, who boasts her namesake Goop-approved skincare studio in Venice, answers all our questions below.

brunette girl places hands on chin face
(via Unsplash)


This Is Your Skin Barrier

The skin is broken down into three major layers: the outermost layer being the epidermis (which can be broken down further into five layers), the second layer, the dermis and the innermost layer, the hypodermis. The skin barrier is crucial because it protects the deeper layers. Once the barrier is compromised, you’re no longer protected from excessive transepidermal water loss, or TEWL, or the penetration of compounds entering the body. 

Apart from damaging the skin barrier on the outermost level, damage can happen at the lower levels through invasive procedures such as injections, botox or surgery. The skin barrier has always been a factor, but now with medical advancements, skin experts are trying to go deeper into the aging cycle. 

Why Skin Barrier Discussion Is Currently on the Rise

The skin barrier is being referenced now more than ever because the widespread consumer is looking more into the medical definitions of skincare. There has been a shift into conscious shopping and the need to understand the ingredients that are being put into products before purchasing. 

How to Protect Your Skin Barrier

Ways to protect the skin barrier are through the use of peptides, niacinamide, retinol, B12 and B5 to increase the amount of skin cells. It’s also crucial to increase your intake of water to add hydration on a deeper level. Additionally, getting enough sleep is imperative when it comes to allowing your skin cells to repair themselves at night.

Signs Your Skin Barrier Is Damaged

The skin barrier is important because without this protection, the skin’s pH is left unbalanced, and hydration retention is disrupted, resulting in dry, irritated skin, an increase in breakouts and loss of elasticity. Barrier damage can be a result of smoking, over-washing, the use of harsh ingredients, going into the sun without sunscreen and high stress levels.

How to Repair Your Skin Barrier

You can repair the skin barrier by layering serums and getting treatments that focus on infusing the skin with hydration and vitamins that aid in the repair of the skin. You can also use calming ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, pure hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. 

For more beauty guidance, HERE‘s our review of COOLA sun care’s first-ever skincare line.

                                                                                                                                          

Food

The Most High Quality Food Court Options You Can Find at Malls in L.A.

April 8, 2021

Ok, we know what you’re thinking: How chic can mall food courts really be? We’re here to tell you that shopping destinations all over LA have stepped up their game in considerable ways—so much so that it propelled us to compile this list of the best food court options in LA malls.

Usually, a trip to the food court means your sole options are McDonald’s, Panda Express and, if you’re lucky, Sbarro. But in 2021, refined eateries provide unexpectedly upscale alternatives that are both fresh and yummy. And with COVID-19 restrictions lifting, you’re absolutely lying if you tell us you’re not craving a trip to the mall.

Keep reading for our list of the best food court options in LA malls!

Big Fish Little Fish (Westfield Century City, Century City)

Westfield Century City (aka The Century City Mall) is a treasure trove of fine dining options. After all, the shopping destination is the nicest mall in LA. But we’ll save our ode to the hotspot for another day. With that, one of their finest fast-casual establishments is the incredible poke joint, Big Fish Little Fish. Their ingredients and toppings are truly the freshest and most unique, with a plethora of options to boot! From lotus root chips and Hot Cheeto flakes, to bamboo rice, macadamia nuts, sauces and fish galore, prepare to get served.

Bibigo Kitchen (Westfield Century City, Century City)

This Korean-inspired kitchen hits high on our list of musts, thanks to its variety in dishes and flavor. Where else can you get both small plates and chef-driven specialty items at a stop in the mall? Whether you’re in the mood for beef bulgogi or tofu ramen, this should be your first Century City stop as soon as you set foot inside.

Pitchoun Bakery & Café (Beverly Center, West Hollywood Border)

From fresh bread and pastries to healthy salads, sandwiches and soups, this French bakery is a major first-rate food court option at the Beverly Center. Everything is made daily from scratch with organic and local ingredients, two things that are a must for an elegant but affordable mall eatery.

The Melt (FIGat7TH, DTLA)

Sorry guys, if you’re vegan, lactose intolerant or on a dairy-free diet, welp — keep scrolling! But if you love cheese, then like the name of the eatery suggests, you’ve come to the right place. It’s hard not to get distracted as we breeze through the indulgent menu, chockfull of mac ‘n’ cheese variants, dripping hot sandwiches you only see in your dreams and sigh so much more. You’ll probably need to book a SoulCycle bike afterward, a few blocks down on Olive St., but a stop at this San Francisco-famous hotspot is absolutely worth it!

Bazille at Nordstrom (Various Malls All Over LA)

While not officially a food court destination, it’s a mall mainstay nevertheless. One of our writers is a South Bay native, who basically spent her upbringing at Bazille in the Del Amo Fashion Center. Located inside Nordstrom, this casual yet sophisticated joint is the place to go for deliciously upscale cuisine that won’t break the bank. It also doesn’t hurt that it has a complete bar to go with it either💁🏽.

Beleaf Café (Westfield Topanga, Canoga Park)

If you’re vegan, Beleaf Café is the perfect spot. There are truly no better words to describe it than delicious and nutritious. Located inside the Westfield Topanga mall (and possibly still Westfield Century City), this spot has tacos, burgers and nachos that are so healthy, they won’t even count towards a cheat day. In addition to their plant-based entrees, they also carry veggie parfait snack cups! Sounds questionable, but believe us when we say it’s a game-changer in the munchies department.

Coffee Commissary (Beverly Center, West Hollywood Border)

Although this option is more coffee-focused, it still makes our list for its unbelievable breakfast options. Their Texas Tacos, smoked salmon toast and brisket burrito are every breakfast lover’s ultimate dream. Their silky yet bold gourmet coffee also happens to be the perfect complement to these mouth-watering bites.

If you’re a sucker for a classic mall experience, you’ll want to know about THIS drive-through attraction that took place in Westfield Century City’s parking structure.

Lifestyle Featured

An Expert Explains How to Ease Out of Wearing Skinny Jeans If You’re Scared to Change Up Your Style

March 22, 2021

Feb. 2021 was a month of heightened tensions. With the election outcome finally behind us, there was another topic up for major debate: Are skinny jeans outdated? While opinions are mixed, the fact of the matter is baggy, high-waisted and wide-legged denim is definitely on trend. If this look has thrown a curveball in your regularly scheduled styling routine, you probably need some assistance with how to wear baggy jeans.

To be completely fair, unless you’re super into fashion or you dress incredibly casual, these updated denim trends can come off a little odd and tough to master. Especially going from skinny jeans, which are form-fitting and universally flattering, transitioning into the complete opposite overnight can seem like no easy feat.

(via Unsplash)

But, if you want to keep up with trends or you’re simply ready to leave behind the looks from your sorority days, you’ll have to welcome baggy(ish) jeans into your wardrobe.

If the struggle is real (and it’s ok if it is!), we enlisted the expertise of Jen Carcich, Director of Product at affordable yet fashionable Revtown jeans. I can speak personally on behalf of the brand’s designer-like denim when I say it made me a looser-legged jean convert. I wouldn’t say a was a skinny jean loyalist, I’d say I was just a non-jean-wearer altogether with a few skinny jean exceptions (I live in leggings, period).

As the pandemic appears to be on its way out, I realize I have no choice but to embrace “normal people clothes”—and why not be on trend while doing so (as attempted in the photo below)? With that, I’ll leave it to Jen, who provides insight on how to ease out of wearing skinny jeans if you’re scared to change up your style!

skyelyfe: For the girls who still love their skinny jeans, what are some ways to wear them so that they’re still staying in line with current trends and where fashion is going?

Jen Carcich: It’s a great question. While many of us may have already moved on from the skinny, I think styling is essential for keeping them on trend. And I must reiterate I also firmly believe that you should always wear what you love and what makes you feel good—so if that’s a skinny then you should continue to wear them. That goes for side parts, too.

Have fun with how you pair them, and play with proportions. Balance the streamlined fit of a skinny bottom with a super chunky knit sweater or an oversized blazer. I love monochromatic looks with a cool long jacket layered on top that’s classic like a camel, or a super fun plaid pattern. Chelsea boots or other chunkier lace-up flat boots look super cool when paired to a skinny, and will look good with many other more relaxed denim styles, too. 

SL: For the girls who want to transition out of skinny jeans but are too afraid, what are some tips to easing into other styles?

JC: Again, stay dedicated to yourself and your style. I think one key delineation is maybe try moving on from anything that’s a jegging skinny to even a slim skinny. If you really love the skinny fit, you can still wear something that’s body skimming and figure-flattering without it being super skin tight. 

A slim fit through the hips and thighs, but that’s more relaxed from the knee to the ankle is an easy transition. Some call it skinny, some slim, or even a slim straight leg. I think a simple straight leg, or straight leg crop can be a really easy transition for someone looking for something new but doesn’t want to venture into something super baggy or too slouchy. I’m personally a fan of no-fuss and less is more, so I tend to choose styles that lean more classic. I think an easy straight leg with a hint of stretch can be a really great transition. Jumping into a super rigid jean can feel like a big stretch for someone who isn’t used to anything but a jean with stretch (pun intended!).

SL: What are the best in-between cuts and styles when you’re easing from skinny jeans to mom jeans?

JC: I don’t look at this as a one-size-fits-all formula. I think you need to find what works best for you and your length or shape. I think it’s kind of cool how many new relaxed styles are showing up, because there really are so many new options to try, so you have choices. Similar to the above, I think a straight leg crop is really easy to style, it’s pretty season-less and it looks good on a lot of different body shapes. It’s not the latest trend, but it has a lot of versatility to it.

I’ve heard from a lot of women that they like relaxed jeans but have had a hard time finding something that doesn’t make them feel really frumpy or sloppy or like they are trying too hard. You don’t have to go to extremes with super slouchy dad jeans or ’70s-style flares. An ultra high-rise mom jean or a skinny flare keep it pretty simple and easy, and probably pair well with your other favorite wardrobe items. 

SL: What are the best ways to style mom jeans for any body type?

JC: I love a mom jean—especially those with a super high rise. I think they can give great coverage and ideally will sit at the smallest part of your waist, accentuating that waistline. Coupled with that slight tapered leg, they can really make your legs look even longer than might be. In terms of styling, I love keeping it casual. A boxier cropped tee or sweatshirt that highlights that waistline looks incredible on so many women of different size, shape and age. 

I also think that keeping that inseam ankle grazing can really pair well with so many shoe options from sneakers, to Birks, to platform sandals for spring and flat boots come fall. What I love about a mom jean is I do see this as a style that many shapes can wear. For us at Revtown, our version does have a hint of stretch and I think that accommodates more curves than you might find in a more traditional pair of vintage rigid jeans.

SL: Why do you think other jean styles are now taking precedence over the longstanding skinny jeans?

JC: I think with so many of us working from home, or just spending so much time at home, period, we all want more comfort—and more relaxed fits and looser styles can deliver on that. Also, I think we’re all hungry for something new after this year of so much of the same! I’m a mom of two little ones under 4, and quite frankly, trying to manage everything between home life and work is part of why I go for no-fuss, easy styles that just keep things simple.

I wear my Revtown Shadow Black Classic Straights almost every day. They look a little vintage with the faded black wash, but I’m comfortable doing all the things I do in a day, whether that’s on a Zoom or sitting on the floor with magna tiles with my kids. I’m a big believer in you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style—you can have both. And so when I think of the pandemic and this last year, I think it just accelerated this move into relaxed styles even quicker to where the market was originally moving. 

brunette haired girl in baggy light denim jeans walks on street in front of barney's new york
(via Unsplash)

**Revtown is available on Skimlinks and ShareaSale.

On the hunt for jeans or other closet pieces? HERE are five hidden L.A. shopping gems worth visiting!

Music

This Is the Only Playlist You’ll Need During Spring 2021

March 22, 2021

The last time I made a playlist that was only expected to extend through spring, I ended up calling it the Quarantine Turn-Up, and it spanned from March through September (wow!), adding and subtracting songs as I go. Only a lengthy, months-long soundtrack could really encompass such a definitive era we all experienced at the hands of COVID-19. While sitting at the same desk exactly a year later and crafting a playlist all over again (this time featuring the best new music of spring 2021), a flurry of memories and feelings buzz through my brain.

Quarantine (like, when we were in actual lockdown) was such a moment. I think I speak for everyone when I say we learned so much about ourselves and really honed in on our goals, hidden skills, relationships and future. That said, as we slowly but surely get vaccinated and move ahead with our post-pandemic lives, it definitely calls for some light, new tunes and happy, scenic drives.

palm trees in beverly hills on a sunny clear blue sky day

Scroll below for a playlist of the best new music of spring 2021. Like before, I’ll be adding and subtracting as the season progresses (but I’ll stop at summer this time!).

While springtime is about getting out of the house, HERE‘s the playlist to listen to if you still feel like cozying up with hot chocolate on a cold day.

Music

I Just Charged My 2012 iPod—Here’s a Playlist of Completely Forgotten Gems I Now Have on Repeat

March 14, 2021

Who says social media’s good for nothing? Thanks to a TikTok someone posted last week, featuring a clip from “We Run the Night” by Havana Brown and Pitbull, I was inspired to dig up forgotten songs from the early 2010s (and, naturally, I made my own TikTok to document the experience).

@dgidahvz

if you’re seeing this rn, it’s your sign to go charge your ##ipod 🎶 ##2010s ##2010smusic ##nostalgicmusic ##weho ##losangeles ##fyp

♬ CRAFT – OFEKNIV

I’d been saying forever that I wanted to charge my coveted cracked iPod from yesteryear, but I just hadn’t gotten around to doing it. That is, of course, until I saw this video clip online. In fact, someone else reposted it after, and it was then that I jumped out of bed and headed straight to the Apple store. There are definitely some kinks (the iPod has to be on the charger at all times for it to work, and if you try to tamper with settings—ie. taking it off airplane mode—it restarts). But, it works!

ipod recharged with throwback music from the early 2010s

And just like that, my Friday night was turned up in a major way. I went through all the hundreds of songs, desperately seeking out the most obscure rarities that were synonymous with that era alone. I found some true gems—some so rare that you can’t find any version of them on Spotify (hence why I made a second playlist with tracks that I could only find on YouTube HERE).

I found a handful of songs that I really haven’t heard or thought about in any regard since literally 2012. Some of the artists have even been entirely absent from music since then! Music hit so differently at that time. Even though these songs obviously sound dated, they’re truly a breath of fresh air—something we can use during the trying times our world has faced over the last few years. They evoke happiness, and what’s better than that?

Now, with that, the moment you’ve been waiting for: my playlist of completely forgotten songs from the early 2010s, thanks to my 2012 iPod!

Need more music to keep you entertained? HERE‘s the ultimate summer 2019 playlist if you want to relive that eventful time!

Beauty

An Expert Explains the Differences Between a Spray Tan and a Self Tan (Besides the Application Process)

March 11, 2021

Whether by bed (tsk tsk), airbrush, Versa Spa or straight from a tube, we’ve all tanned artificially at some point. And who can blame us? Using a few shades to elevate our appearance non-invasively in 60 seconds is quite the foolproof plan. But not all fake tans are equal! The differences between a spray tan and self tan are vast—and beds, well those may as well no longer exist. They won’t be covered here, at least.

With that, I reached out to Vita Liberata’s Brand Educator, Silver Goodwin, to elaborate on the differences between a spray tan and self tan (aside from the application process). I find myself dashing to the spray tanning salon for a guaranteed glow, while keeping a hefty supply of self-tanning products on hand for when I’m too lazy to leave the house or need a color pick-me-up in a pinch. Keep reading for everything Silver says about the two sunless tanning methods.

skyelyfe: How do self tan and spray tan formulas differ?

Silver Goodwin: The professional formulas differ from the retail formulas usually due to DHA levels being higher in the back-bar (spray tan). Both formulas contain the vita classic proprietary blends, dry down and moisture locking methods. The professional service itself also provides a more uniform spray pattern with a micro droplet, making sure the tan is more uniform.

SL: How does the coloring differ? 

SG: Both contain the option of a tinted range, which is the guide color, allowing you to see the initial bronze veil, and also we offer ranges in both the retail and professional.

SL: How does the longevity differ?

SG: The longevity and tanning payoff differs based on several factors such as skin hydration, pH, diet, stress level and menstrual cycles. The Vita professional spray tan collection was formulated with a higher level of skin conditioners that nourish the skin, in conjunction with penetration enhancers that helps DHA penetrate into the skin, and results are longer lasting with better payoff.    

SL: When would you recommend getting a spray tan, versus a self-tan—and vice versa?

SG: Getting a spray tan is suitable for people who are new to tanning and people who want flawless results for their special occasion. Self-tan is for people who are economical, private and want something they can apply on their own. The Sunless tanner clients need to have some skill and know how to apply the product for even tan and no streak. Ultimately, the privacy factor plays a huge role here.

SL: Do you recommend combining spray tans and self-tans? Why or why not?

SG: Choosing between professional tans and DIY self-tanners is an individual choice, depending on the budget, need and their desired outcome. Clients can chose one or the other or combine; however, the outcome will be different. Many people also incorporate the retail products into their professional services such as following up with our Moisture Boost or Body Blur to maximize their glow.

SL: Is there anything else you’d like to add on this matter?

SG: All Vita Liberata products are developed with the focus on skin health.  Not only do we provide different desirable shades for tanning, our products also nourish and condition the skin to minimize dryness and damage.   

Need some instant color on the go? Read all about tanning towelettes HERE!

Food

Definitive Ranking of the 12 Main Celsius Energy Drink Flavors, From Meh to Must Have

March 10, 2021

Celsius energy drinks gained immense popularity in recent years, but the brand has actually been in existence since 2005, gaining some notable momentum in the early 2010s. The Boca Raton-based brand has certainly evolved over time, now with 12 main flavors, spotted at every gym and grocery store in town. With so many flavors to choose from, a Celsius energy drink ranking is the only way to help you weed out what’s worth trying, and what’s worth leaving on the shelves.

Because I’m a diehard Celsius fan—and have been since I discovered it at an HBO gifting suite, of all places, in 2009—I’ve obviously tried every flavor. So I can proudly and confidently break each of them down for you. While no flavor will steer you wrong, some are tastier than others. Keep reading for my definitive Celsius energy drink ranking from meh to must have!

12. Sparkling Grape

Grape is a divisive flavor. Much like cherry, it’s unanimously a love or hate consensus. And, well, I hate it. Ok, hate is a strong word, but I don’t love it. The good thing about grape flavoring is you always know what you’re going to get. There aren’t typically variations of the polarizing taste. So, if you love grape, you’ll love this flavor—but because I’m on the other end of the grape opinion, this gets a placement at the bottom of the list.

11. Cola

Much like the aforementioned grape, if you’re a fan of cola taste, then you’ll be a fan of this flavor. My qualm, however, is when I think of Celsius, I associate it with nutrition and fitness. When I think of traditional soda, well, it’s quite the contrary. I think the two need to be separate. Leave the cola flavor to a can of Coke, and let the remaining flavors cater to energy drinks.

10. Sparkling Fuji Apple Pear

The apple itself here wouldn’t be too criminal, but I think it needed to be paired with something citrusy like orange. The apple-pear combo is a bit too sweet and doesn’t complement as well as I’d like.

9. Raspberry Açai Green Tea

Flavor combinations get tricky when green tea is added to the mix. The taste by itself is totally fine, but when it’s added to another flavor, it doesn’t blend well, in my opinion. I also think raspberry does better when paired with another berry. Plain and simple, this duo just doesn’t do it for me, which is why it’s ranked towards the bottom.

8. Sparkling Orange

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this flavor. Orange is what I’d consider a reliable go-to—you’re never going to crack open a can and regret your decision. It’s safe, which is totally fine, but if you seek to excite the palette, I’d move further down the list.

7. Grapefruit Melon Green Tea

This flavor trio was oh so close to making it to the top of the list! The sourness from the grapefruit and sweetness from the melon was such a pairing—until green tea entered the picture. Unfortunately it lessened the taste’s likability. That said, is it the worst thing ever? No.

6. Sparkling Watermelon

While White Claw’s hotly anticipated watermelon flavor ended up being a fizzled out flop, don’t expect the same result from Celsius. The light summertime fruit’s flavor comes through in full effect, leaving me totally refreshed.

5. Peach Mango

Peach and mango are a perfect pairing. I’m not a fan of mango as a solo fruit snack, but in soft drinks, it adds amazing flavor. And, well, you absolutely can’t go wrong with peach in any way, shape or form. This is a delightfully light and airy duo.

4. Sparkling White Peach

The only thing better than peach? Peach in sparkling form, of course! While other flavors on this list are elevated by a dual pairing, white peach is strong enough to stand on its own, confidently. so refreshing!

3. Sparkling Strawberry Guava

Strawberry and guava are two flavors unanimously beloved. Whether alone or combined with others, these two are always a hit. So, working together as a standalone duo? Oh, perfection!

2. Sparkling Kiwi Guava

The only thing more refreshing than strawberry guava? Kiwi guava! I’m not a fan of either tropical fruit as a whole, but in soft drink form, this is the ultimate pairing. Refreshing? Check. Delicious? Check.

1. Sparkling Wild Berry

When in doubt, go berries. Like, you really can’t go wrong with any pairing of these highly anti-oxidized fruits. This delicious duo of blueberry and raspberry has all the right touches of sweet, sour and everything in between.

Looking for more rankings? Click HERE for my definitive ranking of the 20 best songs of the 2010s.

Lifestyle

I Asked 5 L.A. Fashion Girls Over 30 If They’ll Still Wear Skinny Jeans—Here’s What They Said

February 24, 2021

Gen Z has spoken—and those beloved skinny jeans you swooped up from Madewell in 2016 can now be tossed! Kidding, kidding! We all know history repeats itself, so who’s to say the skinny jean trend is any exception? More importantly, who even says the younger generation gets to call the shots? After all, most of the trends they incorporate into their looks are ones they stole from the ’90s anyway. So, what do we think? Will people still wear skinny jeans after they (along with side parts) have been deemed “uncool?”

Well, who better to ask than a few style-obsessed girls in L.A. over the age of 30? Five fashion girls (with totally different aesthetics) were surveyed by skyelyfe on whether or not they’ll continue rocking those tight yet stretchy articles of clothing. Keep reading for what they had to say!

Girl wears light skinny jeans and white converse all-star shoes while sitting on a yellow chair
(via Unsplash)

Candice Cameron, Fashion PR Founder, Evocative LA

Consensus: No

This is funny because I always find myself saying now, ick I hate skinny jeans. I haven’t worn skinny jeans for some time now. They’ve just felt a bit outdated for a while. I work in fashion, so I started to see the decline of them a while ago. I don’t necessarily think they give off an older [vibe], just maybe not as into fashion trends. Personally on myself I just feel a little out of touch when I put skinny jeans on. I do love a super skinny jean though with, like, an over-the-knee or thigh high boot and an oversized sweater or hoodie. 

(Photo courtesy of Candice Cameron)

Allison McNamara, Former Fashion Correspondent/Producer, PopSugar; Founder, MARA Beauty

Consensus: Yes

Anything can look cool if you have style. And while I love a high-rise mom jean—my personal go-to—they aren’t always comfortable. My skinny jeans that I still wear aren’t overtly skinny either. If your skinnies could be mistaken for leggings, I’d pass on those. I do love a boot cut or relaxed pant, but as a short gal, sometimes they’re harder to style. Fashion is cyclical—skinny jeans will be back, and I also don’t think they look old! That said, if you’re wearing them with a round toe pump or peekaboo pump, then we have a problem. I love that they have a nice fit, they’re comfortable and flattering. I hate when they have fake-looking rips, bad distressing, intense whiskers, fake pockets or could be mistaken for leggings.

Sydne Summer, Editor-in-Chief, SydneStyle.com

Consensus: Yes

As much as I love trends, I believe in wearing what makes you happy. I feel good in my skinny jeans, so I most certainly plan on continuing to wear them. Plus, they’ve been in style for so long now that I consider them more of a classic rather than a trend. I definitely don’t think of them as older. One of the most stylish Gen Z girls, Zendaya, wears skinny jeans. I love skinny jeans for creating balance. If you’re wearing a cozy, oversized sweater, it’s nice to have a more streamlined bottom. The only thing I hate about skinny jeans is sometimes they can show your undergarments, especially in white. But we’ve been wearing them long enough that it’s become easier to find the perfect pair.  

Elaine Daneshrad, Editor-in-Chief, ElaineChaya.com (formerly Fashionlaine)

Consensus: Yes

Hell yeah, I’m still going to wear them—they’re the only jeans I’ve got! I wear what I like, and I love me some skinny jeans. I think people who choose to wear skinny jeans, like myself, think they’re simply a flattering fit. I have a pair of boyfriend jeans that are supposed to be the “cool” trend—and while I like them in some ways, I always feel baggier than I am. Since I’m a pretty skinny person, I love pants that fit my shape and don’t make me feel like I’m swimming in them.

I can’t foresee brands stopping skinny jean sales altogether but there might not be as many options as before to choose from. Maybe the “skinny jean out” trend has to do with people not feeling as much in shape maybe in the past year and also getting used to wearing comfy, loose-fitting clothes. Skinny jeans are obviously tight and the total opposite of complete comfort, so I assume that’s why this trend is changing. Coming from a girl who was all about wearing leggings, skinny jeans was a nice comparable transition to “normal pants.” I love how they fit my shape and make every outfit feel slicker. With skinny jeans I feel you can wear them for all occasions, from daily outings to on a date. Or at least I do!

Lisette Mora, Fashion Stylist

Consensus: No

I haven’t worn them for a while now. I find that the style direction I moved into didn’t work with the skinny jean look anymore. Like the shoes and tops I started to buy just looked better with looser, more relaxed denim. Also, putting something on that feels so confining and vacuum-packing seems a thing of the past. People are also way more aware of the environment and want to be part of a bigger shift in reducing pollution, waste and greenhouse gases. My favorite denim has always been my Levi’s 501s. You only need one pair, and if you care for them properly they’ll last forever! When I see people wear skinny jeans these days, I don’t pinpoint them as being older necessarily, just more not with it. Everything style-wise these days lends itself more towards relaxed and a bit oversized. So if you’re into fashion and style then you’re looking or shopping for things that look good together. What’s currently out there for purchase and being shot in editorials and advertising is not skinny. Jean sales have already been on the wane, partly thanks to the numerous controversies associated with their production. Denim brands are trying to survive by going more eco, but people are moving past a new pair of jeans entirely. It’s about vintage up-cycling.

I like how clean and sleek skinny jeans look. Hemlines are clean and not dirty from touching the floor. You can actually see more of the shoes you’re wearing as opposed to just the front. They look good tucked into high boots. An appropriate style can make your butt look really good and give your figure a really nice shape. But I don’t like that skinny jeans are full of toxic chemicals that can threaten human health. They also squeeze the fat around your hips, making you feel self-conscious. They cause UTIs and yeast infections. They also destroy the environment.   

LA stylist Lisette Mora poses in a throwback pair of distressed, black skinny denim
(Photo courtesy of Lisette Mora)

No matter what style of denim you prefer, HERE are the best tips to wearing jeans confidently, according to Hayley Kiyoko.

Music

Provocative FLETCHER Lyrics to Use as Instagram Captions for All Your Thirst Traps

February 16, 2021

If your goal is to get a reaction out of people on Instagram, the best FLETCHER lyrics are a great place to start. And by best, we mean most provocative.

The NYU grad-turned-singer-songwriter doesn’t hold back when it comes to dishing on her exes, her sex life and everything in between. Because her self-written raw lyrics come from the heart, they definitely make for the best Instagram captions. Surely whatever you’re doing can resonate in some way with what she has to say.

Whether you’re a huge fan of the “Undrunk” singer, or you’re only here for some quality content for social media, keep reading for the best FLETCHER lyrics to use as Instagram captions.

For the seductive shot of you sucking on a lollipop:

I know you think about me when you kiss her. I left a taste in your mouth, can she taste me now?

-“Bitter”

For the shot of you dripping wet fresh out of the shower:

You dream of me, dressed in white; I dream of you, dressed up in nothin.’

-“Shh…Don’t Say It”

For your next scantily clad bikini shot:

I wanna be young and party; be dumb and never feel sorry; become a freak with my body

-“Forever”

For the pic of you under the covers, revealing your bare shoulders:

If you’re gonna lie, at least do it in my bed.

-“If You’re Gonna Lie”

For your next mirror selfie:

I’ma have the last laugh, ah ’cause the second you forget me is the second that I come right back.

-“Last Laugh”

For the sultry headshot of you looking straight into the camera:

Say that you crave me, will you fixate me?

-“Over My Head”

Need more Instagram caption inspo? Look no further than THESE witty one-liners perfect for your next margarita photo!

Lifestyle Featured

5 Things You Should Buy Your Boyfriend—Just So You Can Steal From Their Closet

February 15, 2021

Nothing’s worse than feeling like your S.O.’s garb is cramping your style (no pun intended). Whether you cohabitate or simply spend a lot of time together, your overlap of clothing is bound to get in the way. That’s why, if you’re dating a dude, make your life easier by figuring out what to steal from your boyfriend’s closet.

While gender norms have greatly gone out the window (at least in L.A.), plenty of clothing articles are obviously still designated for men. Therefore, we’re here to help you keep your man’s wardrobe growing, while benefitting in the process. Especially with holiday season around the corner, why not swoop up something that will (secretly) appease both of you?

(Instagram via @deepikaa_malikk)

To break down the best items to buy for your BF (only to steal them from their closet), we reached out to BJ Panda Bear. BJ is the cofounder of fashion and lifestyle e-commerce space, QooA—keep reading for his 5 musts!

1. Oversized Sweater

An oversized sweater on him is an oversized sweater for you waiting to happen. If you’re lucky enough, it’ll be so oversized that it fits you both.

(via Dries Van Noten)

2. Eyewear

Eyewear is always a shoo-in when you’re fake shopping for the boo. Edgy on him is bound to be fashion on you. Try unconventional shapes and colors.

(via Loewe)

3. Mini Bag

The democratic experience of the mini bag is something anyone can enjoy and embrace. It’s a statement of love if you really know the persons taste, or rather the value of neutral colors to steal into your own selection.

(via Issey Miyake)

4. Hoodie

When you think about what to steal from your boyfriend’s closet, the classic hoodie’s the most natural first thought. The ’50s-era equivalent of wearing of your BF’s letterman jacket in today’s TikTok times is surely the worn-in hoodie, is it not?

(via Reese Cooper)

5. Bold Printed Button-Down

Versace Versace Versace/Gucci Gucci Gucci… We kid… sorta. But really, any brand with the most boisterous prints will do. Play with the XXL size. It might be a luxuriant and playful gift for him, but it will soon be a wrap dress belted for you.

(via Versace)

Now that you know what to steal from your boyfriend’s closet, be grateful because you also get to avoid THESE obnoxious dating profiles.

Food

Whipped Drinks Is a User-Friendly Kit That Makes Delicious, Frothy Coffee in 60 Seconds

February 12, 2021

I’m obsessed with coffee, so any innovative development in the space immediately piques my interest. Therefore, when I was informed of a whipped coffee kit launching this month, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it first.

Ahead of Whipped Drinks‘ official release, I was invited to the Zoom launch, where the brand’s husband-and-wife founders, Katie and Taylor Angel, gave attendees a demonstration of how to use their DIY froth kit. But everything looks better on camera. Would I be able to figure it out myself, I wondered.

Well, below is everything you need to know about Whipped Drinks’ whipped coffee kit.

The Product

The brand was conceptualized amid the pandemic, when not only was there plenty of extra time on everyone’s hands, but Katie was inspired by the sudden frothy coffee trend on where else—TikTok. Within months, Katie, with the help of her hubby, did her fair share of research and trial and error, and birthed this impressively packaged product.

The $49 kit comes with the following:

  • High-speed frother, batteries included
  • Gilded frothing jug
  • Carton Whip Sticks (contains 10 packets)
  • Recipe book
  • Beautifully wrapped box

Noted by the pair on the Zoom call, the packets are instant coffee (but with a much-elevated kick). The website describes the contents as “premium coffee refined to the perfect texture for whipping.” The 100% Columbian blend is infused with natural cane sugar, luxurious cocoa and a dash of sea salt. The product is gluten-free.

Aside from the kit’s contents, all you need to make your whipped coffee is a spoon, choice of milk, a glass, ice and a tablespoon of water.

The Experience

To be completely honest—I’m terrible at assembling things. And when I saw this called for batteries, I was even more concerned. That said, it’s a convenient touch that batteries are included. Things already started off on the right foot.

While the duo’s demonstration looked simple enough, who knew if I’d be able to tackle this solo. But one quick read-through of the user-friendly instructions, and it appeared to be easy as advertised.

I simply emptied one Whip Sticks packet into the frothing jug, added a tablespoon of H20, and applied the frother for 60 seconds. My result? A delightfully whipped concoction, ready to be devoured. Ah, but first—TikTok! I poured my frothy coffee on top of my iced almond milk, and took to cyberspace to capture the magic (see below!).

@dgidahvz

guess what launches on vday? this 60-second frothy coffee kit. delish! 💁🏻‍♀️☕️ ##coffeeaddict ##diycoffee ##covidcoffee

♬ Fake – The Tech Thieves

Bottom Line

In addition to the fancy factor of these whipped indulgences, the coffee itself is truly delicious. I don’t typically react well to anything made with sugar, but the amount is just enough to heighten the flavor without making it an overly sweet treat. I also wondered if I’d actually experience a much-desired caffeine jolt from one of these bad boys, or if they just tasted good. Thankfully, I got my energy boost!

Depending on how much coffee you drink (I drink a ton), you may go through the packets quickly. But if such is the case, you can purchase 10-pack refills for $24. Perfect for posting on IG, impressing a guest, or simply for the sake of enjoying solo, I highly recommend this impressive kit to any coffee-lover.

My only important note is the frothing can get messy, so be sure to do it over the sink or a towel, and avoid wearing light clothing in the process. Happy whipping!

whipped drinks frothy coffee kit review

Coffee is great during the day, but wine tickles our fancy at night. Click HERE for the best Instagram captions to capture pics of you and your grape-filled goodness!

Beauty Featured

Kakadu Plum Is a Buzzy Skincare Ingredient With an Insanely High Vitamin C Concentration—Here’s Everything to Know

February 10, 2021

When I read the packaging of various skincare products, it’s easy to gloss over hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, for example. This isn’t because they’re not powerful or sought after in the formulas I use—it’s because they’re so common that they no longer jump out at me. Kakadu plum in skincare, however, is a different story.

To be honest, three weeks ago, the ingredient was foreign to me. But during a recent PR mailer unboxing, I came across two products at the same time that boasted what I’ve learned is an incredibly powerful antioxidant. COOLA’s Moon Silk Moisture Recharging Mask and Elevé Cosmetics’ Organic Golden Beauty Oil both list kakadu plum as a hero ingredient in their formulas. A quick Google search informed me that kakadu plum in skincare has been (quietly) growing in popularity for a few years, and high-end products by Dr. Barbara Sturm and DERMAdoctor contain the game-changing component. It’s found in Australia and known for its wildly high concentration of Vitamin C.

Whether it’s been a name in the game for years or not, it isn’t something I’ve been familiarized with until now. Eager to learn more, I reached out to Ginger Averitt, co-owner of Elevé Cosmetics. Keep reading for everything you need to know about kakadu plum in skincare!

skyelyfe: First and foremost, what is kakadu plum?

Ginger Averitt: Kakadu Plum is a fruit found in Australia which contains the highest amount of Vitamin C of any natural food source in the world. In fact, it contains 100 times more Vitamin C than an orange! 

SL: What are its skincare benefits?

GA: Vitamin C is an antioxidant which reduces oxidative stress, neutralizes free radicals and helps protect our skin from environmental stress. Bonus:  It’s naturally antibacterial, which helps fight acne.

SL: What caused the decision to include it in your beauty oil, and how is it formulated in the product?

GA: Our beauty oil contains 15 different wildcrafted and organic ingredients that are combined to nourish, protect and stimulate collagen production. Kakadu plum is an amazing addition because of the high concentration of Vitamin C, which we all know is a huge bonus for healthy skin! 

SL: It’s said to be the most concentrated form of Vitamin C on earth. If such is the case, why doesn’t it pop up more frequently in skincare products?

GA: I think it’s a relatively new discovery, and most people haven’t become aware of what a powerful ingredient it is for repairing our skin. 

SL: Is there anything else you’d like to add about kakadu plum in skincare?

GA: We see it popping up in more skincare products across major brands now. We can attest to its effectiveness—our beauty oil has a cult following and has transformed our own skin. It’s our holy grail!

SL: Tell me about your background in skincare and how Elevé came to be.

GA: Elevé Cosmetics launched in 2015 with our Bombshell Beauty Balm. We believe that makeup should be stylish and long-wearing while it also heals, repairs and protects your skin. Packed full of antioxidants, peptides and active anti-aging ingredients, our products are designed to enhance your natural beauty while improving the way your skin looks and feels. Our philosophy of using natural, organic ingredients simply makes sense. It’s less about promising you a miracle and more about pampering your skin.

To learn about other rare skincare ingredients found in different parts of the world, click HERE for the hydrating benefits of chaga mushroom!

Lifestyle

The $25-and-Under Galentine’s Day Gift Guide That’ll Earn You Major Brownie Points—Without Breaking the Bank

February 3, 2021

Luckily, with everything that’s evolved over the last few years, embracing Galentine’s Day as its own special holiday has become one of them. What used to simply be a way for single girls not to feel left out on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) has transitioned into its very own date on the calendar (Feb. 13). Which means, of course, that a Galentine’s Day gift guide is totally in order (just like the rest of the totally serious holidays), amirite?

No two girls are exactly the same, so there’s got to be some variety in this list. I looked far and wide to dig up not only a unique array of giftable goodies, but also items that don’t break the bank. After all, you still have their birthday and the holidays ahead of you.

Keep it classy yet cost-effective with gifts they’re sure to love, at $25 and under. From the beauty babes to the foodies, to the wellness junkies and more, keep reading for the ultimate Galentine’s Day gift guide that’ll earn you major brownie points—on a budget!

For the Lipstick Lover

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Lip Lounge Mini Lip Set: $24

If there’s one day to embrace your girlie side, Galentine’s Day is it. This collection of 10 mini lipsticks will ensure your pal’s lips never go nude again (unless in the form of one of these highly pigmented hues). While complete with a semi-matte finish, each lipstick is enriched with Vitamin E to ensure the lips stay hydrated. With varying shades of aforementioned nude, along with some reds and purples, she’ll surely feel festive primping her puckers with one of these shades!

(via Manna Kadar Beauty)

For the Eyebrow Junkie

Ziba Beauty Brow@Home Signature Kit: $25

A girl who couldn’t care less about her brows? I don’t think she exists. I’d gone through all my various eyebrow pencils and was in desperation mode, when coincidentally, I received this game-changing kit in a Pro Safety Beauty Summit gift bag. I ripped it open, and it’s been my go-to ever since. The set comes with 16 eyebrow wax strips, a trio of different brow gel shades, a multitask brow brush and antibacterial sanitizing wipes. I promise this will appease.

(via Ziba Beauty)

For the Self-Proclaimed Wino

Argaux Discovery Bottle Gift Box: $25

Argaux is a BFF-owned business based in Costa Mesa, CA, that represents wine from all over the world at various price points. For $25, you can order-up a bottle in a fancy little box, complete with decorative crinkle paper. Leave impressing your pal to the experts. You choose between red or white—they take care of the rest!

For the Obnoxious Keto Devotee

Good Dee’s Low-Carb Baking Mix Bundle: $19.98

We all have that friend who won’t stop talking about her diet (namely, the friend who’s doing keto). Adhere to her restrictions (and sweet tooth!) by swooping up a brownie and blondie bundle that’s A-OK for her eating plan. Each of the two gluten-free baking mixes are free of dairy, preservatives, sugar, soy and grain. Ok, but they have flavor, too—promise!

For the Friend Who Swears She’s a Real Housewife

Best of Housewives Coloring Book: $16

Your pal may not have The Real Housewives in the flesh, but she can still bring them to life! This coloring book not only highlights the Bravo stars’ most outlandish escapades, but they can be plastered all over your friend’s fridge, given out as greeting cards—you name it. Your pal can color to her heart’s content, putting her best work into these decorative pieces of art.

(via Always Fits)

For the Sophisticated Young Lady

Best of Sips by Tea Box: $15

If coffee is beneath her, snag your pal this adorably designed gift box full of various teas. Each package comes with four tea flavors, including lemon and lavender—along with disposable tea filters, a reusable muslin cloth tea filter to steep loose leaf tea, and a printed insert with steeping tips and exclusive discounts to each tea brand.

(via Sips By)

For the Self-Help Queen

ban.do Wellness Workbook: $18

For the buddy who’s always trying to better herself, help her get into high-gear with this pretty-in-pink, 100+-page compilation of personal exercises and motivation relating to goals, exploration, action and relaxation. It includes artwork, tips, tear-away cards, balance charts and check-ins.

For the Face Mask Aficionado

Yellow Beauty Red Erase Facial Scrub: $20

Name a girl who doesn’t love a good face scrub? I’ll wait… Packed with turmeric, chickpea flour and coconut oil, Yellow Beauty’s brand new Red Erase facial scrub aims to shrink breakouts and reduce redness after just one use. Its hero ingredient turmeric is known to brighten dull skin, supply micronutrients, lighten facial hair, fade dark spots, heal acne and diminish acne scars. Suitable for all types, your pal won’t fault by using this if she has sensitive skin.

For the Skincare Obsessed

Pixi Beauty’s Let’s Glow Gift Set: $12

What Galentine’s Day gift guide would be complete without the ultimate love-yourself gift—a skincare trio! Pixi’s Let’s Glow Gift Set is not only on sale for a whopping $12, but its cute carrying pouch comes with a package of travel-sized products: Glow Mud Cleanser, Glow Tonic, Glow Mud Mask—and a bonus mini-pack of limited edition Glow Tonic Cleansing Cloths for removing makeup. Whether she’s on-the-go or staying put, she’ll have plenty of ways to get her glow on during her next self-care Sunday (or any day!).

(via Pixi Beauty)

For the Firecracker

LULUSIMONSTUDIO Keepin’ It Sassy Mug: $7

For the friend who doesn’t hold back, encourage her to embrace her attitude in style with this decorative coffee mug that says it all. Not only do we all love a good tongue print, but this bad boy is on sale for under $10, and the founder is Paul Simon’s daughter—which makes it all the more fun!

For the Artiste

Mini-Canvas and Easel Painting Set: $23.99

I recently attended a virtual listening party for musician Gilli Moon. Ahead of the event, I was sent a tiny kit allowing me and other guests to paint to the sound of Gilli’s music. It inspired this next Galentine’s Day gift idea. For the friend who can actually color between the lines, this exploratory painting set will allow her to play around to her heart’s content, while showing off her fine works in every room of the house. This incredible (and affordable!) set comes with 10 4×4 mini canvases with easels, a 12-piece acrylic paint set, 10 paint brushes and five palettes. She’ll never be bored again!

(via Amazon)

For the Girly-Girl

Rainbow Shops Faux Leather Heart Detail Crossbody Bag: $6.99

Let your gal pal know she’ll always have your heart by gifting her this adorable crossbody bag. Perfect for running errands or going on a walk, she can flaunt her femininity in this small yet oh-so-stylish must-have that’ll fit all the necessities.

(via Rainbow Shops)

For the Lotion Lover

Superzero Relaxing Lavender & Chamomile Hand Balm Bar: $22

We all have that friend who’s constantly asking to borrow lotion. You’ve probably wondered why they never have their own, and now you can wonder no more by purchasing them this brand new launch from Superzero. The innovative hand balm comes in the form of a bar, and is packed with hydrating antioxidants and calming aromas. It’s 100% clean, plant-based, vegan, silicone-free and plastic-free. So if your pal is big on the environment, consider that an added bonus!

If you’re looking for something to do with your best Galentine this year, try a Dragon’s Breath facial. HERE‘s what you need to know about the at-home process.

Beauty

COOLA Just Launched a Skincare Line—and My Dry, Winter Skin Finally Feels Refreshed

January 28, 2021

COOLA is a standout I see every time I roam the aisles at Sephora. That said, because their products previously focused primarily on suncare, I hadn’t used them up to this point. I have an array of SPF lying around, so I use whatever’s in front of me. That said, when COOLA’s skincare line launched this month, it would acquaint me with the brand in a whole new way.

I was fortunate to receive an invite to the Zoom meet-and-greet with the company’s CEO and founder, Chris Birchby, and its Vice President of Innovation, Christina Peng. Ahead of the call, I received a full shipment of its oceanic-designed packaging that Chris and Christina would introduce us to at greater length during the chat.

I was immediately drawn to the Moon Silk Moisture Recharging Mask. More on that below, but it can be used as both a rinse-off or overnight mask, and I’m in desperate need of a fresh leave-on. The collection contains six products total, checking the boxes for all the necessities in a standard skincare regimen. The collection as a whole was formulated to combat blue light/digital stress, pollution, UV rays and more. All in all, the products collectively aim to hydrate, refresh and renew, and they do not contain SPF.

Keep reading for my breakdown of each product in COOLA’s skincare line:

1. Glowing Greens Detoxifying Facial Cleansing Gel: $28

This cleanser is described by the brand as “a detoxifying juice cleanse for the face.” I will say, upon personal use, my skin feels completely refreshed after rinsing. Packed with nutrient-rich seaweed extract, organic aloe juice, celery leaf and cucumber extracts, this product aims to gently cleanse away dirt, makeup and impurities.

(via COOLA)

2. Pacific Polish Gentle Sea Salt Facial Exfoliator: $32

You can’t go wrong with a solid exfoliant! I was told this is gentle enough for everyday use (obviously depending on your skin type), but that using approximately three times a week is best to stay on the safe side. Made up of ultra-fine mineral sea salt, papaya extract, Ayurvedic oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil, this product helps smooth away dull, dry skin cells, while drawing out toxins. The end result should be decongested-looking pores and a refined, clarified complexion. I felt a difference immediately, and the mild-as-advertised scrub did not irritate my skin.

(via COOLA)

3. Vital Rush Skin Renewal Serum: $52

This nutrient and vitamin-packed product is made for wake-up and renew morning application. The combination of camu camu extract, goji berry and moringa oil aim to revive the skin’s appearance, while keeping it hydrated and nourished.

4. The Great Barrier Cream Fortifying Moisturizer: $48

Most definitely the personal standout on this list so far, COOLA’s moisturizer is accurately described as a “lightweight yet powerful organic cream.” A little goes a long way with this concentrated formula. I’ve had issues with moisturizers lately, but within just one use of this product, I definitely noticed a difference. My skin looked significantly dewier throughout the day. The formula was made as a resilient barrier to the everyday stressors of the environment. So, in addition to providing a little glow with the help of sea kelp and blue algae extract, the product’s Full Spectrum 360° complex fights the effects from blue light, stress and fatigue. And who can leave out its sleek glass packaging?

5. Rewakening Rosewater Mist Face Spray: $36

Also complete with the brand’s Full Spectrum 360° complex, this midday skin booster is a nourishing refresh, packed with ginseng and green tea extract to help de-puff, brighten and rebalance skin. It also contains cucumber extract, which helps calm and soothe. The vitamin-rich hero ingredient, Damask rosewater, hydrates and refreshes.

coola's rewakening rosewater mist skincare product
(via COOLA)

6. Moon Silk Moisture Recharging Mask: $48

Saving the best of COOLA’s skincare line for last, we’ve got this innovative ultra-hydrating luxury mask. Packed with Snow Mushroom extract for hydration, Kakadu Plum for Vitamin C-rich skin protection—and, once again, COOLA’s signature Full Spectrum 360° complex, this product fights the effects of blue light, pollutants and other skin stressors. Much like the aforementioned moisturizer, a little goes a long way here, so no need to over-apply.

In addition to its skincare benefits, the mask provides a whole experience upon application and wear. A facial mask brush is sold separately ($18) to help apply the formula evenly and sanitarily. Once the consistency is spread, you feel a cooling sensation on your face and see a holographic shimmer. Hello, Instagram! The mask can be rinsed off after 20 minutes or worn overnight for deeper hydration. You can apply as frequently as needed—I’ve used it every night so far! And its sleek glass tub looks dashing, adorning your beauty counter.

coola's moon silk moisture recharging mask
(via COOLA)

Are you on a beauty budget? Click HERE for the best and worst affordable skincare brands, according to TikTok.

Angelenos

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Is More Prevalent in L.A. This Year—A Mental Health Expert Explains How to Deal

January 19, 2021

Traditionally, winter months have been joyous for me. Growing up in Southern California, a rare rainy-day was a welcome reprieve from the blistering heat we experienced on the reg. All I have are fond memories of not leaving the classroom all day, or bundling up under the covers after school. Seasonal Affective Disorder in LA (OC) wasn’t a thing for me—not in the slightest. In fact, I’d never even heard the term.

Well, fast-forward to college and I learned its meaning within weeks. Upon embarking on a four-year experience at the University of Oregon, everyone warned me that it would rain more than I could probably handle. I laughed, adamantly believing it would be great. I was sorely mistaken. It rained almost every day, and it was dark and dreary—not fun and carefree. The air smelled like white bread and body odor—not campfires and bliss. This was definitely no singing in the rain-type experience. Days were o-k, but the moment the invisible sun set, I fell into a deep depression. It was a foreign feeling, and I couldn’t imagine where this was all stemming from. To make it worse, the waiting list for on-campus therapy was months long.

(via Unsplash)

After plowing through four dreadful winters, I made my way back to California, where I relocated to Los Angeles. Much like many residents of the sparkly city, weather-induced depression is masked by gifting suites and red carpet events at the hands of Awards Season. My career for as long as I can remember has had me wrapped up in endless events (whether big or small)—all of which keeping me busy and unaffected by the dreary outdoors that take a toll on so many people.

Well, as we approach almost a full year of coronavirus restrictions, Seasonal Affective Disorder in LA is hitting people a lot differently than in years past. Being stuck indoors without the distractions of typical LA events and other celebratory gatherings makes the realities of short days and extremely dark nights more prevalent.

If you struggle with this issue like so many people do, LA-based counselor and on-air expert, Sarah Michael Novia, is here to help. Keep reading for Sarah’s further explanation of the common disorder, and what may ease its negative impact.

(via Unsplash)

skyelyfe: What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and where is it most commonly experienced?

Sarah Michael Novia: SAD is a recurring form of depression caused by lack of light, and it’s mostly experienced in geographic areas where it gets (and stays) cold and dark for long periods of time. Oversleeping, weight gain, lack of energy, loss of interest in activities, and increased sadness are pretty common symptoms.

SL: Why does it tend to be less common in LA?

SMN: In LA, we have fun in the sun year ’round, so we’re less likely to be seasonally affected. 

los angeles
(via Unsplash)

SL: Do you expect this to rise in LA this year, given lockdown circumstances?

SMN: Yes! COVID is keeping many more people indoors, mostly due to fear of catching and spreading the coronavirus. We’re lucky that the sun still shines, but it’s so important to get it on your face!

SL: What are the best ways to combat feeling low this time of year?

SMN: Exercise, exercise, exercise! There are thousands of free HIIT videos on the internet that are under 20 minutes. I love Joe Wicks (The Body Coach TV on YouTube). All you need is a yoga mat and yourself. Get that body moving every day, no matter what. Also, the healthier you eat—greens!—the better you’ll feel. Great sleep is essential as well. And get out in the sun, whenever you safely can. 

(via Unsplash)

SL: Does SAD typically require therapy or medication?

SMN: SAD can require therapy and/or medication. The first step is usually light therapy. You can purchase a lamp online—it works best when you use it right when you wake up. And medication may be necessary, but that’s something to discuss with your personal doctor. It can help you get back to functioning, in order to help you make positive changes in your life. It’s time to let go of the stigma and do what’s right for you. 

SL: Is there anything else you want people to know about this issue?

SMN: Talk therapy is always essential. Even if you aren’t currently experiencing SAD or any other mental health issues, working with a mental health professional can help you set goals and work your way through them. In my experience, therapy can be the most helpful when we aren’t bogged down with other concerns. Most people wait until their situation is untenable. And this makes the therapeutic process more difficult because you have to deal with the presenting issue before you can get to the core of what’s really happening.

If you struggle with your mental health, you’re not alone. HERE are six habits that help clear my head when I’m feeling low.

Music

Best Lyrics From Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’ to Use as Instagram Captions

January 16, 2021

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, your eyes have surely been reddened by now after listening to the instant sensation that is “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo. The song, believed to be based on a real-life love triangle between Olivia, her on-screen High School Musical: The Musical: The Series boyfriend Joshua Basset, and fellow Disney darling, (aka “that blonde girl”) Sabrina Carpenter. Since no one can get the song out of their head, “Drivers License” Instagram captions are the best way to use those profound lyrics to your benefit.

The tearjerker tune, which features storytelling that’s been compared to Taylor Swift’s, has been praised by the pop star herself. To top it off, Olivia beat Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” record for most single-day Spotify streams of a non-holiday song. So yeah, this song is a smash. Whether you’re in a relationship, heartbroken or have never been in love, this beautiful ballad will tug at the heartstrings.

Take one look at its heart-wrenching music video below, and then keep scrolling for the best lyrics from “Drivers License” to use as Instagram captions.

For the pic of you proudly flashing your fresh set of keys:

I got my driver’s license last week, just like we always talked about.

For the shot of you leaving the city and heading back home:

Today I drove through the suburbs…

For the aww-worthy pic of you and an older female you look up to:

She’s so much older than me. She’s everything I’m insecure about.

For the cuddly pic of you and your pup:

I know we weren’t perfect, but I’ve never felt this way for no one.

For the pic of you pulling up next to your favorite place that went out of business:

You said forever, now I drive alone past your street.

For the pensive image of you unabashedly heartbroken:

Red lights, stop signs—I still see your face in the white cars, front yards.

For the shot of you ridding your kitchen from booze or junk food:

God, I’m so blue, know we’re through. But I still fucking love you.

If you still need more inspo after browsing through these “Drivers License” Instagram captions, read THESE incredible quotes to accompany pics of you drinking wine!

Beauty

I Tried an At-Home ‘Dragon’s Breath’ Facial—Its Founder Breaks Down Everything You Need to Know

January 14, 2021

One of the obvious perks of the pandemic is being at home to slather my skin in face masks each day. And what an especially good thing because it’s made way for me to try a new 50-minute facial from Nourishe Organics.

Where most face masks can be applied and rinsed in 20 minutes tops, this two-part, at-home process takes a wee bit longer. But it’s also no ordinary formula. To begin, it’s a Dragon’s Breath facial ($121). I mean the name alone had me instantly intrigued. Secondly, it has a very distinct, dominant scent (more so than any product I’ve ever used). But hey, the worse (ahem, earthier) the aroma, the better the results, amirite? Lastly, Nourishe Organics as a whole contains no water, preservatives or fillers in any of its products, and it’s completely vegan.

I joined the brand’s founder Kristin Bauer during her digital demonstration of the facial a month ago. After connecting more with the Florida-based beauty line, I couldn’t wait to get my hands (face) on the products she kindly sent my way (which also included a Shungite and Diamond Beautifying Daily Face Wash – $63).

After seeing immediate results from each of my four uses thus far of the facial, I had many questions for Kristin. One of the main topics she emphasized during her demonstration was the lack of H20 in any of her products, and why water in skincare can actually be a bad thing. She also discussed how she got to a place where she feels totally comfortable without a stitch of makeup and why she swears solely by plants. She elaborates on all of that and a whole lot more in her Q + A with skyelyfe below!

skyelyfe: How did Nourishe come to be, and what did you do professionally before launching this brand? Where do you currently reside?

Kristin Bauer: I’ve been in the skincare industry for 21 years already! Immediately after completing my training, I began working with plastic and reconstructive surgeons. I was originally interested in working with burn victims as I’d spent time in a pre-med magnet program throughout high school, volunteering in the physical therapy department at a hospital. I saw plastic surgeons burning people on purpose for beauty, so my interest in studying DNA repair and telomere extension drove me to want to understand skincare and burns within the beauty industry.  

Nourishe was born in 2004 after working with a fantastic plastic surgeon doing pre- and post-op skincare. I began doing healing work for medical issues I’d struggled with since I was a child. Through strong plant therapies with indigenous healers in Peru, I found that plants were much more powerful than I had ever understood. 

I was also cured of infertility with the plants, and when I got pregnant I had a big wakeup call in regards to how to give my baby the healthiest start in life. It was at this time that I really began to read labels of all my personal care products, and I had counted over 383 chemicals in my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, perfume, deodorant, face products, and now the belly cream I was slathering on every day. This was all before 9 a.m. I had the best bathroom purge ever and began my investigation into organic skincare. 

I went to work on my clients and realized I didn’t want to use chemical peels and synthetic products on them. I wanted to use plants that had high nutrition and power as I had seen utilized in the jungle! I began research and development in my kitchen, and started formulating with what I like to call Indigenous Herbalism, which are techniques deeply connected to old practices of medicine people that studied from the earth.

I currently reside in a small town just North of Palm Beach, Florida called Hobe Sound. I simplified my life four years ago when I moved out of a bigger town. I now live in a tiny home with my daughter that we decorated with tons of color, decoupage and chandeliers we made from flowers. It’s very fun and vibrant, which is inspires me on a daily basis. I’m definitely inspired by beauty and love to create from a space of unique and individual beauty, not defined by trends, but inspired by heart and soul.

SL: What exactly is Dragon’s Breath in skincare, and how did it get its name?

KB: In many ancient cultures, dragons are a symbol of power, wisdom and vitality. On one of my trips into the jungle, I was studying a resin called Sangra de Drago (dragon’s blood) and learning about the ancient culture around animals actually guiding humans within the indigenous healing world. When I came back into the country I told my daughter what I learned, while giving her an at-home facial. She looked at my face covered in the greenish-black product, blew on my face and then proceeded to tell me she was a dragon blowing on me so that I could be a strong dragon like her. It was so cute, so I had to name the product after her playtime with me.  

I consider aging to be a combination of a lack of repair and a lack of energy. So, Dragon’s Breath helps solve the first problem by supporting the repair mechanism of the skin. Daily, we’re around toxins that affect the health of the skin. Herbs and coconut charcoal in the Dragon’s Breath bind to positively charged particles in the skin, drawing them out before they can cause damage. At the same time, they leave minerals in the place of the toxins to prevent further oxidative stress. 

SL: What are the benefits of using Nourishe’s Dragon’s Breath at-home facial, and how does it work? How often do you recommend using it for best results?

KB: Dragon’s Breath and O22—pronounced O 2 squared—make up the At-Home Facial Kit. Essentially the first part of the process, Dragon’s Breath, is going to detox the skin. O22 solves the second aspect of aging, being a lack of energy, by using an active combination of herbs, roots, mushrooms and fatty acids that harmonize to mimic energy in skin cells. We combine this with berries, seeds and flowers, known as S.A.O. or super antioxidants. And it’s through this combination that we effectively create oxygenation or energizing of the skin. This experience creates valuable energy for the skin to keep it healthy, glowing and full of vitality.  

I recommend using the Dragon’s Breath and the O22 approximately twice a week when you first start your at-home facial process. Once you feel like your skin is about 50% improved, then I recommend focusing on once a week. I also recommend using this kit specifically when you’re doing a lot of traveling or if you’ve been eating a lot of foods that might be stressful on your liver, or you’re not getting enough hydration.

The benefits of this kit are obviously going to be detoxing and regenerating the skin with the oxygenation phase. This benefits the skin by detoxing pores (which allows them to tighten), reducing pigmentation and brown spots, balancing oil production, smoothing fine lines and improving skin color and circulation. It takes about five weeks of use to really see the skin healing, but often I have clients tell me that they see a difference after the first time they use this kit.  

I recommend that if you have acne, first you balance the acne on your skin before using this kit because the detox phase can be very strong. And you want to make sure you have normalized how the skin functions before you start the detox phase. I also recommend you’re at least two weeks into an organic skincare process before you add the at-home facial kit to your routine so that your skin is ready to receive this high-level nutrition. 

SL: You’ve mentioned the downsides of water in skincare. Can you explain why a high concentration of water in skincare is actually a bad thing? And also, why shouldn’t people get water anywhere near the at-home facial kit?

KB: Water is commonly used as a filler in skincare formulas. It’s cheap as an ingredient, and when it’s whipped or blended with oils, it makes it look like you’re receiving a lot more product. Also, adding water allows for mold and bacteria to form, which means there need to be more preservatives added to counter this effect. I prefer focusing on only what the skin needs to be the highest nutritional quality, instead of adding fillers. One of our philosophies in our formulations is that we don’t add any fillers to any of our products—just pure, potent raw materials.  

Also, the skin is an oily organ that requires oil to lubricate the cellular function of taking in nutrients, detoxing waste and creating its own natural and soft oils for protection. Water in products and over-washing skin creates an imbalance in the necessary oily mechanisms of the skin. This doesn’t apply to handmade soap though, because water is mixed with oil to make soap and this is how it lathers and cleans the skin. 

So, being water-free is recommended for your serums, moisturizers, creams, and balms. And just following this one tip for your skin will actually start making a big difference in your skincare goals. Especially for oily, acneic and greasy skin, despite what most people assume, proper oils are needed to heal.

SL: What are your best winter skincare tips?

KB: Internal circulation is definitely my No. 1. By getting more blood-flow to your face, you reverse the aging process. With this practice, you get all that deep, nutritious blood circulation all the way to your scalp and back towards your heart in a reverse direction.

Then we want to talk about external strength. A lot of old skincare philosophies suggest using scrubs, acids, exfoliants, washcloths, brushes and other tools to take off your outer layer of skin. I definitely do not agree! I teach that you want to make the outer layer of your skin stronger and healthier by using products that encourage the skin to build up its own natural oils for protection. Make sure all of your products are sans acids or chemicals that destroy or break down the outer layer of the skin, and don’t use any brushes or washcloths. 

Next is deep hydration, which is making sure you’re getting a lot of oils on your skin and that you’re massing them in. Make sure your serums, creams and balms don’t have any water in them. Massaging them in allows your products to go a lot deeper and create better absorption of nutrients.

You want to get more nutrition in your skin, and this is by making sure you use products packed with plants and super nutritious ingredients. For Nourishe, one of our philosophies in our formulas is we use whole plant complexes—so we don’t extract different parts of the plant to give you vitamin C or vitamin A. We actually use the whole plant and we don’t waste any part in the formulation because there are aspects of the plant that allow your skin to use the nutrients much more powerfully.

Next, I suggest adaptive skincare, which is really fun because this is basically taking plants that naturally can withstand very cold temperatures, and using these plants as part of your routine. Peony, catmint, arctic rose, pansy, calendula and geranium are some of my favorite flowers for winter, and we put those in a lot of our products. Also, our Earthy Balm is really a must-have for winter, as it’s an outdoor extreme cream that creates a beautiful seal of hydration because we use waxes from different leaves to create a barrier of protection on your skin all day.

SL: You’ve mentioned you don’t wear any makeup. What are some practices that have led you to go makeup-free? And why have you chosen to go that route?

KB: Being makeup-free is a fun practice that I teach. I’m a single mompreneur, and keeping my time focused on what’s most important is a daily practice of mine. Also, I think it’s great to feel so confident in my own skin that even at an event, my skin is perfect on it’s own! I do sometimes wear eye makeup (eyeliner, shadow and/or mascara) for events or photoshoots, but I haven’t owned a spec of foundation, concealer, powder or anything that covers my face in over a decade. 

My tricks for radiant skin without face makeup are: I use the Kakao Hydra Mask and Mid-Day Floral Spray a few hours before a big event, I use Earthy Balm (which is an outdoor balm designed to protect your skin) as my moisturizer because it has a lot of plant wax in it that seals in moisture and reflecting light so I look extra dewy. Also, using the Voluminishe regularly for a few months will give more color to the skin because some of the roots in it create the look of permanent suntan effect on the outer layer of skin.  And lastly, but most importantly, I always do a deep tissue massage on my skin to release any tension or stress, and to deliver deep hydration.  

SL: Is there anything else you want to share about Dragon’s Breath, Nourishe or skincare in general?

KB: Remember that divine beauty is a life force that shines from within. It’s developed and found through the love that we have for ourselves, and these magnificent bodies we’ve been gifted. I’d love for us to pass on to our children the knowing that a blemish or line can never take away from our beauty. Finding our beauty is a process of learning that these marks are messages from our bodies, and thus responding to our bodies in a healing or nurturing way, allowing for remarkable consciousness to begin to blossom.  

My favorite active practice to do to support my own skin health is the At-Home Facial Massage, which doesn’t have to be done just with the At-Home Facial Kit, but any organic skincare product that can be rubbed in.

Full At-Home Facial Video:

For more of my recent skincare faves, click HERE for my beauty and wellness 2020 holiday gift guide!

Beauty Featured

Heather Rainbow Is the Face of Anti-MLM TikTok—She Talks to Skyelyfe About the Dangerous Business Models of Arbonne, Monat and More

January 12, 2021

MLMs are much of a foreign concept here in L.A., but chances are you’ve encountered a “Boss Babe” (as their team members call themselves) on Facebook at some point, likely in the form of a former classmate or religious peer—claiming to own a “small business.” The worst MLMs are many of the ones you’re most familiar with (namely in the beauty industry). But you probably don’t realize they actually operate through a pyramid scheme business model that scams anyone who isn’t at the very top.

Before we get into the depths of multi-level marketing, let’s talk first about what drew me to this phony albeit fascinating facet of work. Growing up, I think we can all say we’ve been subjected at one time or anther to a Tupperware, makeup or sex toy party. The host boasts a night of wine and champagne, mingling, hors d’oeuvres and even free gifts! Sure, you feel slightly obligated to buy something, but it’s usually something you can use, so why not? Never did I realize the darkness and destruction associated with these seemingly harmless gatherings.

Years following one of those parties, I was actually approached by none other than Ian Ziering, who attempted to recruit me to Team 90210, his own group that falls under the much larger umbrella of Nu Skin, a luxury MLM that sells skincare and devices. His team is chockfull of—you guessed it—naïve Beverly Hills, 90210 devotees swayed to join out of pure fandom. He pegged me as potentially one of them.

I met Ian briefly at an event in 2017. He was there with his then-wife and none other than Tori Spelling and her entire brood. Being the self-proclaimed biggest 90210 fan who ever lived, it was exciting seeing the two former stars not only still pals, but also just casually chatting it up with attendees at this low-key Sunday event on the rooftop of a Miracle Mile apartment complex. No one (including the girl who invited me) had any real clue what this event set out to do. There were signs that seemingly promoted “Tori’s Beauty Box,” but there were no such boxes or details in sight. Oh well, there was wine and some snacking, so what did I care?

I snapped my obligatory shot sandwiched between Tori and Ian (see embarrassing grin below), told them I was a fan and didn’t think much else of it. Ian suggested I give his wife my info so we could connect about me reviewing “Tori’s Beauty Box” for the website I wrote for at the time. We exchanged emails and I went on my merry way.

The next day, I shot Ian’s wife a note—and to my surprise, she replied immediately: “What’s your phone number? Ian wants to give you a call about something. He’ll explain.” I didn’t realize we needed a full-blown phone call to discuss the contents of “Tori’s Beauty Box,” but alas I obliged. Who was I to turn down Steve Sanders, amirite?

What followed was an hour-long sales pitch—all while I was in the middle of my work day. Ian tried to convince me how easy it would be to sell an everyday necessity like toothpaste, and how I could join his exclusive Team 90210, and have access to him directly at all times. I could recruit my friends and “make money!” I was shook. So… guess there’s no “Tori’s Beauty Box” after all! When I finally got off the call and said “I’d consider it” (syke), I walked out of the conference room at my office, looking like I’d just seen a ghost. My coworkers were shocked by everything that transpired.

With the exception of telling my closest friends about my bizarre experience, I largely put the encounter out of my mind. Needless to say, I never joined Ian’s coveted Team 90210 clique, but I’m sure it’s a swingin’ time. It wasn’t until two years later, after watching Vice‘s detailed documentary on LuLaRoe leggings, that I really got invested in MLM culture. It’s an extremely fascinating world, and this doc is a must-watch.

Fast-forward to fall 2020, and I stumbled upon the TikTok account of college student, Heather Rainbow (yes, that’s her real last name). As the unofficial face of Anti-MLM TikTok, Heather breaks down every MLM’s business model, debunks all of their so-called perks and takes a stand against anyone who tries to counter her well-researched facts. Raised in an evangelical household, Heather regularly explains to her 100k followers why religion and MLMs go hand-in-hand.

@heather.elise.rainbow

Comment the other bossbabe phrases that you see on social media! ##antimlm ##pyramidscheme

♬ original sound – heather elise

Since liberating herself from her mother’s conservative practices, Heather has gone on to educate people so they don’t fall into the same traps as many of her peers growing up. Heather’s wealth of research and knowledge is so astounding that she even caught The Atlantic and Newsweek‘s attention. She was quoted in both, once TikTok announced a policy in December banning content that “depicts or promotes Ponzi, multi-level marketing, or pyramid schemes.”

I reached out to Heather, curious to learn more about how she got this deep into studying MLMs. She dished to skyelyfe on literally everything you need to know about this toxic culture, how to avoid being a victim and the worst MLMs out there. Keep reading for what she has to say!

skyelyfe: For those who don’t know, what’s an MLM, why are they so commonly joined, and what’s the issue with them? 

Heather Rainbow: An MLM, or a multi-level marketing company, is a company which uses a business model involving three key things: A product to sell, an incentive to recruit, and a multi-tiered compensation plan. Every single MLM out there has these basic features. They are so commonly joined because of No. 2: an incentive to recruit.

Every MLM compensation plan factors in some kind of incentive, usually monetary, to add new people into the company. This is often framed as an “opportunity” on social media posts trying to rope people in. Of course, this leads to the question, what’s wrong with that? Well, of course selling for commission is totally fine, but the recruitment aspect is what makes these companies so comparable to pyramid schemes.

A pyramid scheme is a model in which no product is sold (but as shown in legal proceedings with MLMs, the line is more blurred than just the presence of a physical product). Recruitment would be the sole money-making opportunity in this scenario. Unfortunately, MLMs are extremely comparable to this model, making them, in my opinion, unethical.

It is essentially impossible to make a living wage in an MLM without recruiting and adding new people into the company, so the selling aspect is much less important than the recruitment aspect. If an individual makes more money by recruiting than by selling, there is a significant issue in the business model. 

SL: Known as a “scam” by many outsiders, what keeps people invested in these so-called “businesses”—especially if they’re not making money?

HR: A couple key things go into this. First of all, the life portrayed on social media by MLM participants. Monat, Itworks, Arbonne, all these distributors and many more are known for displaying a lavish lifestyle in their posts to make the “opportunity” seem legit. Ultimately people believe what they want to be true, so an old friend sliding in your DMs because they want to help you make money when you’re in a tight spot can seem like an amazing opportunity, when in reality they have ulterior motives.

Another key factor in keeping people invested in MLMs is the sunk cost fallacy. Once you’ve sunk money into something, it’s only human to do absolutely anything to get that money back, especially if you have an upline telling you it’s possible if you only try hard enough. This fallacy essentially creates a bias toward the opportunity, telling you that you have to continue this MLM since you already threw money in. 

SL: Tell us about your educational and professional background. And how did you transition into becoming the face of anti-MLM culture on TikTok?

HR: I’m a junior in college right now, and I’m a pre-med student studying chemistry and math. This of course is totally unrelated to the legal and ethical aspects of MLMs, which are kind of a separate interest of mine that I started researching around the beginning of the pandemic. I’d always sensed something off about these companies, and growing up in a small town in a religious circle, they were extremely prevalent and normalized.

After seeing the companies spike in popularity and use the pandemic to their advantage via social media, I fell into a massive research rabbit hole where I uncovered the truth about this business model and the real ways it’s hurt people. I started making TikToks, and I was shocked by the positive feedback I got and how interested people were in knowing more. And the rest is history! 

SL: Do you feel like you’ve helped anyone through your platform? Or do you feel like none of the people deep in MLM culture are able to see your point of view?

HR: I’m so honored every time I receive a comment or a DM saying I helped someone get out of their MLM. I’ve had people in various MLMs—Monat, Arbonne, Younique, tell me they started rethinking their practices after seeing my videos break down the compensation plans and legal problems. It really is my greatest accomplishment to know I helped someone out there. Of course, there are people who’ll never understand what I’m trying to do, and will always see me as a negative hater, but such is life. I wish them the best, although sometimes it’s hard not to get sassy with them. I try to see them as a victim of the company they’re participating in. 

SL: Moving on from the business aspect, let’s get into the majority of products sold by MLM distributors—or what do they call themselves? Are these products ever high-quality? Or are they actually a scam, too? 

HR: Distributors, consultants, market partners—these are all words they use to describe themselves, although I, of course, think salespeople is the most accurate. Quality of product often comes down to a matter of opinion. Some products I feel very strongly negatively about, like the Kangen water filter that costs thousands of dollars, as well as ketones from Pruvit, and shakes from Beachbody.

Personally, with my knowledge of science and the human body, I think all these things are a massive waste of money. But of course, some people swear by them. I do think some sellers are genuine with their love for the product, and I wouldn’t want to call them all liars. But I do think they’re extremely biased and the placebo effect is extremely real. I know some people that genuinely enjoy Senegence lipstick or Monat hairspray, and I don’t fault them for that, although I wish they would support a more ethical business model with their purchases. 

SL: What are some of the most commonly known MLMs that people in L.A., for example, probably don’t realize are such?

HR: Being from a small town, I see a lot of smaller MLMs that maybe aren’t as pervasive in larger cities. These could include Zyia, Senegence, Paparazzi, Vantel pearls, et cetera. And even larger MLMs like Mary Kay, Pampered Chef and LulaRoe are way more prevalent here, from what I have observed. Everyone knowns someone in an MLM. 

SL: Going off of that, why are MLMs far less common in metropolitan cities like L.A.? Generally, who is your typical MLM salesperson, and why?

HR: There are many answers to this question, and it’s really an interesting one to think about. MLMs are often joined by stay-at-home moms wanting to make an extra income while spending time with their kids. This type of family, with a father working and a mom staying at home with the kids, is extremely common where I grew up. The conservative, “traditional” family is so often the target of these companies, because the “mom guilt” card is incredibly effective. Don’t you want more time with your kids? Don’t you want to provide for your family? These are all sentiments expressed by MLM recruiters. These families definitely exist in cities too, but being from a small town, I know just how important that structure can be to many people here.

Unfortunately, MLM money is thrown at the republican party as well, and the link between republicans, conservative evangelicals and MLMs is undeniable. As I like to say, spreading the gospel is remarkably like spreading the “good news” of an MLM. All these factors contribute to MLMs spreading like wildfire in small-town churches and families. 

SL: When celebrities (like Ian Ziering, for example) join MLMs, how does his “business” experience differ from that of a regular person? 

HR: Ah, celebrities in MLMs. These figures are often touted as success stories by MLMers, and they add credibility to the company’s name. For example, Blac Chyna joined Monat this year, and the distributors screamed it from the rooftops. Jenna Boyd from Atypical is near the top of Rodan + Fields. One of the major contributing factors to being successful in an MLM is a social media following, or better yet, a fan base. This makes it incredibly easy to skyrocket up the ranks, generating huge profit. People will do anything to talk to their favorite celebrity, or even any celebrity, and that includes joining a multi-level marketing company.

These opportunities can be hugely profitable for anyone with a built-in following, as recruiting will be laughably easy. This is unfair and unethical to say the least. People do enjoy Nu Skin products, although personally I see them as incredibly overpriced, and I find it hard to believe these products are the source of Ian Ziering’s good skin.   

SL: Are any MLMs better or worse than others? Or are they all pretty much the same?

HR: Even those within the Anti-MLM community have varying opinions on this. Some MLMs like Tupperware or Pampered Chef have extremely loyal customers who genuinely love the product, and these are seen as less predatory than other such companies. Unfortunately, I still see these companies as unethical due to the recruiting nature of the business model, although I’m not judging anyone for purchasing. Because the three key things that make up an MLM, as I mentioned earlier, include an inherently unethical recruiting model, I do not support or buy from any of them. 

SL: Is there anything else you want to share on this matter? And what else can you tell us about your life outside of TikTok? 

HR: Thank you so much for asking me to share! I’m always happy to talk about the ethics around MLMs and how we as consumers should be aware of what’s going on in the background. My goal is to educate those who vaguely know what MLMs are and maybe sense that something is off, but aren’t armed with the specific information to understand why. Remember that when someone is asking you to join, they are likely going to make money directly from your buy-in purchase.

On my platform, I also like to discuss my experience leaving evangelical Christianity and being homeschooled almost my entire life. I’m thrilled to have grown a social media following from talking about issues that are important to me. Aside from TikTok, I love being a woman in STEM, I love powerlifting and I love being a barista!

Now that we’ve got scammy skincare out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff with a review of Nudestix’s Nudeskin skincare line, HERE!