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Beauty

New Beauty Buys Worth the Splurge for Your Very Social Hot Girl Summer

June 9, 2021

Whether you’re the first one to get on a plane or you plan to lay poolside all day, every day, June 15 marks the date that California plans to fully reopen, marking more than a year since coronavirus has prevented us from traveling, dating, working, dining, yeah. Therefore, how to have a hot girl summer is obviously of peak importance.

Because we were deprived of all our summer glory in 2020, we’re ready to empty our wallets this year in the name of a celebratory post-vax life. Wondering where to spend your money? Keep reading for some of the best new beauty launches worth the big bucks!

two girls lie in bikini bathingsuits on the sand on the beach
(via Unsplash)

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Vitae Cologne Forte: $225

No summer is set without a signature scent—and just in time for the sunniest season, Maison Francis Kurkdjian launched three fresh aromas as part of its Cologne forte Collection. These fragrances are intended to evoke brightness, sensation and emotion. Our personal fave is Aqua Vitae Cologne forte. In addition to its striking gold bottle (which you can personalize if you order from the brand’s website!), it features a Calabria bergamot as its most prominent note, creating a light, citrusy-floral scent with sensual musks. Whether intentional or not, we actually sense hints of vanilla, too!

Vita Liberata Heavenly Elixir Advanced Tinted Tanning: $44

What’s a summer without a suntan? If all else fails, fake it ’til ya make it! Vita Liberata has always wowed with their self-tanning products, and their latest launch is no exception. This cocoa-scented, hydrating formula combines nourishing, organic ingredients with the latest advances in skincare technology. The vegan, eco-friendly product results in a noticeable yet natural-looking glow that continues developing for three days after application.

Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Eye Cream: $46

Manuka honey has been raved about for years now, and Antipodes is bringing its brightening and moisturizing benefits to the under-eye by way of this New Zealand-based product. Additionally, Persian silk flower blends with antioxidant-rich Vinanza grape seed and kiwifruit to create a formula that’s gentle yet effective.

Irene Forte White Wine Body Cream: $116

Skin is in—and if you’re figuring out how to have a hot girl summer, silky smooth arms and legs are a great place to start. This ultra-luxe body cream is packed with Sicilian organic white wine, hyaluronic acid, pro-vitamin B5 and Beech Bud, which help hydrate and condition the skin. Meanwhile, Vitamin E, grape seed oil, sweet almond oil and olive oil protect the skin from environmental stressors while helping lock in moisture.

Temptu Ultimate Airbrush Self-Tan Starter Kit: $219

Remember what we were saying above about the importance of making your glow a priority this summer? Well, if a self-tanning elixir isn’t enough for you, Temptu has a full-blown airbrush kit to take your artificial bronze to the next level. Two formulas are included in the set (which comes with the airbrush tool itself, obviously): an instantly hydrating exfoliator prep spray, and a golden self-tanning airbrush spray. Spritz on yourself or give a pal a personalized glow!

Hope Fragrance Lifestyle Collection: $200

While the price point may seem a bit high for three pocket-sized scents, all proceeds from the Hope Fragrance Lifestyle Collection go to depression research, namely the Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HFDR). In addition to spending in the name of a good cause, the aromas themselves are of high value. Made up of a signature classic white floral, a sporty citrus and a sensuous evening scent, the trio takes you from a beachy summer brunch all the way through a romantic candlelit dinner al fresco. Prepare for a scent-ual summer experience!

Madeca Derma Microbiome Ampoule Kit: $59.99

We were a little freaked out (in a good way) when we first saw these tiny glass bottles. They look so official, like something you’d see at your doctor’s office—aka intimidating. But whatever the case, they’re here to benefit your skin this summer (and beyond) in a major way. Powered by advanced biotechnology, each ampoule is packed with hyaluronic acid, includes anti-aging properties, defends against environmental stressors and strengthens the pillars of the skin. And rest assured, they’re not as complicated to use as you may think. The video provided in the link above will take you through the easy process in no time. Added bonus? They’re the perfect size for your endless summer travels!

Miss Swiss Makeup Case & Bundle: $60

Chances are, you’ll be out and about all summer long—therefore, beauty touchups are a must. But our summer bags tend to fill up quickly, and who wants to schlep around melted makeup all day? Miss Swiss was already to the rescue with their sleek, on-the-go makeup cases, but just in time for hot girl summer, they’ve kicked things up a notch by creating their own makeup bundle included with the case. So now, any time you head out, you’ve got eyeliner, lipstick, lip gloss and mascara at your fingertips and out of the rays. Whether you have an unexpected summer sleepover, or your lips are bare from sipping rosé all day, touchups are a cinch!

The Brow Trio Kit: $34

More than $30 may seem steep for a set that mainly consists of plastic stencils, but these are no ordinary cutouts. The Brow Trio’s nine shapely designs help fill in sparse brows, with the help of a sponge applicator and a pigmented pomade that matches your hair shade (there are eight to choose from). The result? Perfectly filled-in brows that look au naturel.

Beia Hydrating & Setting Mist: $48 (full size) / $23 (travel size)

While Beia’s full-size setting mist is $15 more than Urban Decay’s famed All Nighter Setting Spray, those extra dollars are accounted for by way of ingredients. Beia literally just launched a first-of-its-kind pick—one that primes and sets makeup, but also hydrates, refreshes and packs the skin with nutrients. Typically, you can only find products that do one or the other. Formulated with aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, squalene, green tea and caffeine, the AAPI-founded product works for all skin tones and textures. We had a chance to connect with founder Brittany Lo, leading up to the product (and company’s!) launch, when she told us sexual wellness products are up next for the clean beauty brand.

Lifetherapy Grounded Reed Diffuser: $65

In case you haven’t noticed, fragrance is a key theme of this roundup. Scent has always been of utmost importance, but with all of us breaking away from our pandemic hermit life, it’s time to reinvent ourselves with new aromas—and in our living space is no exception! While technically not a product we wear, the way our rooms smell is associated with how we smell, so we’re going to put them in the same category. Lifetherapy just launched five unique scents made to elevate our mood and uplift our energy. We took the brand’s detailed quiz to find our personalized match, and sure enough, Grounded was our best fit. Filled with notes of fresh citrus, heliotrope, dry amber, calming rose and vanilla, this diffuser in particular was formulated to create balance and help combat stress and anxiety (which is always needed!).

What else do you need to spice up your hot girl summer? A little tequila, of course! HERE are the best Instagram captions for all your margarita mischief!

Beauty Featured

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!

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.

                                                                                                                                          

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!

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!

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.

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!

Beauty Featured

What the Heck Is the Brow Lamination Trend That’s All Over Social Media? An Expert Explains

December 14, 2020

If beauty trends pop up your Instagram Discover page or TikTok FYP, there’s no doubt you’ve stumbled upon videos or images of shiny, slicked-up brows. As the result of a process known as brow lamination, these otherwise unruly brows stay in place, thanks to a noninvasive microblading alternative.

@paigeywillett

Okurrr I’m obsessed, go see my girl Chantelle at Hive Hair in Victoria!! ##browlamination ##fridaythe13th ##imaboss ##driftaway

♬ Supalonely (feat. Gus Dapperton) – BENEE

Brow lamination first drew mainstream attention in 2019, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that it really took off. With consumers on their phones nonstop and more open to going about things the DIY way, more innovative trends are popping up everywhere. Even so, all the visuals in the world still had me confused.

Prior to becoming informed, the only thing I associated with lamination was grade school. Here to teach me a thing or two was Kenna Murray, National Lash Stylist Trainer at Amazing Lash Studio. The company initially known for lash extensions—with L.A. locations in Sherman Oaks and Marina del Rey—recently launched its own line of brow products and services known as Raise Some Brows. Brow lamination services are part of their new launch.

Keep reading for Kenna’s explanation of everything you need to know about brow lamination.

skyelyfe: What is brow lamination, and how does it work?

Kenna Murray: Brow lamination straightens and smoothes fine or thinning brows, giving you a thicker and texturized look you’ll love. The Amazing Lash Studio brow lamination service is a three-step process, starting with a lifting cream that moves the brow hairs into a desired position. Next, we apply a neutralizing cream to hold the brows in their shape. And finally, the last step is applying a keratin hydration to combat any potential dryness.

The overall service normally takes 45 minutes. At the end of the service, licensed stylists provide guests with a brow trim for perfectly shaped brows that can last up to six weeks. Pricing varies.

SL: Is it for everyone? What brow type will see the most success from this service?

KM: Unlike other brow services, lamination is truly for everyone. It’s a versatile service, so you can customize how you’d like your brows to look. Some like the glam of a full-brow-brushed-upwards look, while some opt for the tail of their brows to flow with their natural hair growth.

SL: Once you get your brows laminated, what’s the best way to care for them until your next service?

KM: Typically, brow lamination will last about six weeks. Our brow hair sheds like all other hair; therefore, it depends on how quickly or slowly your brow hair goes through its shedding cycle. In order to get six weeks of beautiful brows, we recommend not getting your brows wet for at least 24 hours after your lamination and avoid applying makeup to the brows or the area around the brows. We also recommend not working out for 24 – 48 hours to avoid sweat coming into contact with your brows. Also, it’s best to avoid products that include retinols or acids for about 72 hours after lamination. After that time period, you can go back to treating them as normal.

In addition to the new brow lamination, waxing and tinting services, Amazing Lash Studio just launched its new Raise Some Brows retail products, which are available at participating locations. After a brow lamination, I recommend using the brand’s Precise Brow Pencil. This two-sided wonder has a pencil on one end to draw in hairs, and a spoolie on the other end to blend and primp your brows. Also, to enhance your overall eye look you can use our Eyebrow Pomade for a flawless and long-lasting look. 

SL: Is this something you can do at home? And if so, is it risky in any way?

KM: Brow lamination isn’t something I recommend doing at home. Laminating your brows requires the application of different types of chemicals that if not done correctly can have a negative implication to your skin and eyebrows. At Amazing Lash Studio locations, stylists are licensed and trained to perform this service for you. Now more than ever, I think we all agree we could use more self-love and self-care.

For more on social media beauty trends, click HERE for the five best and worst affordable skincare brands, according to TikTok!

Beauty Featured

SERUMKIND Just Launched a Concentrated Chaga Mushroom Serum Designed With Your Dry, Winter Skin in Mind

December 2, 2020

While cold, winter air may be soothing to the soul, the same can’t be said for our faces. The next few months will put our skin at peak dryness, and we’ll therefore need specialized skincare products to combat the issue. You’re probably unfamiliar with chaga serum, but I’m here to explain why this may be the answer to your winter woes.

Since launching only a year ago, the brand SERUMKIND has found its place by formulating a handful of single-care serum solutions with rare ingredients found all over the world. Their latest development? A Chaga Charging Drop, just in time for winter.

I was invited to test this highly concentrated chaga serum during its virtual launch, so keep reading for everything you need to know!

1. Chaga Is a Nutrient-Dense Mushroom Found in Siberia

Siberian Chaga Mushrooms are superfoods that contain more nutrients than any other mushroom. They can survive temperatures of under 45 degrees, and people have used them for centuries to boost immunity. When it comes to skincare, the mushrooms contain beta-glucans that help improve the skin’s elasticity and enhance epidermal hydration. As you can see below, these are no average mushrooms.

2. The Chaga Charging Drop Contains 500,000ppm of Chaga Mushroom

Also known as Inonotus Obliquus Extract, the contents of this chaga serum recharges, nourishes and hydrates the skin. It’s a highly concentrated formula, so a little will go a long way in this $55 glass tube. But as celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg pointed out during the launch, the consistency doesn’t get sticky despite how it may appear in its packaging. Though due to its thick formula, Jamie suggests using it as an overnight serum to wake up looking especially hydrated.

serum skincare drips from woman's hands
(Photo courtesy of SERUMKIND)

3. The Serum Can Be Combined With Other Chaga Products for Greater Effect

To coincide with the launch of the Chaga Charging Drop, SERUMKIND also released its first beauty supplement: Chaga Charging Powder ($37). The formula—which comes in a box of 25 powder sticks—can be consumed in the form of a tea or yogurt topping, or can be used by combining the Chaga Charging Drop in the following ways:

Chaga Wash-Off Mask: For a hydrating mask, mix equal parts Chaga Charging Powder with our Chaga Charging Drop and apply all over face as a mask.

Chaga Sugar Scrub: Exfoliate away dead skin cells by combining one packet of Chaga Charging Powder with one tablespoon of brown sugar and one dropper of Chaga Charging Drop.

SERUMKIND just launched its highly concentrated Chaga Charging Drop, a Siberian chaga mushroom serum made to hydrate dry, winter skin. Here's everything you need to know!
(Photo courtesy of SERUMKIND)

For additional new skincare launches we stand by, click HERE for a full review of NUDESTIX’s NUDESKIN line.

Beauty

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things—Skyelyfe’s Beauty + Wellness 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

November 25, 2020

Whether the epic year of 2020 has left you feeling high or low, it’s almost over, and you’ve made it through. If there’s one year to reward yourself with something special or show gratitude to the most important people in your life, this is it. Given the unexpected stressors imposed on literally everyone this year, a beauty and wellness gift guide only seems the most fitting.

While 2020 was an angst-ridden time for all of us, there were some material goods that allowed us to temporarily relax and reset. From game-changing skincare to show-stopping scents and so much more, it’s the perfect time to celebrate the things that did elicit a smile during this stressful year.

Keep reading for skyelyfe’s beauty and wellness holiday gift guide (listed in order of price from low to high).

christmas tree and gifts
(via Unsplash)

Beauty

Juno & Co. Junoskin Clean 10 Cleansing Balm: $14.50

I’ve raved about Juno & Co.’s microfiber sponges, so I was every bit curious when the brand forayed into skincare this fall. I was fortunate enough to receive the full line to try (it also includes a CBD + niacinamide soothing mask, and kale + probiotic deep cleansing mask). While I genuinely enjoy all three products (and at unbeatable prices with effective, natural ingredients), the cleansing balm is my standout pick. When it comes to cleansers, what’s more satisfying than feeling a full face of makeup melt into a buttery consistency and off of your skin? This product is packed with Japanese Pearl Barley Magic+ and Vitamin E, which brighten, hydrate and nourish the skin. The perfect stocking stuffer or standalone, this is a foolproof purchase for any recipient.

*Buy 1, get 1 for $1 Black Friday deal (on brushes and sponges)

NAILS OF LA Press-On Nails (The Muse): $16

Among the unexpected beauty trends of 2020 is the adhesive nail. What was once a cheap, one-time-wear, costume accessory, has morphed into a chic, lesser expensive way to up your hand game. Due to the pandemic and salon restraint, brands have emerged with innovative, long-lasting temporary nails. The latest to take the plunge? Celebrity nail artist, Brittney Boyce. With sleek, modern designs and manageable lengths, there’s really no telling these press-ons aren’t straight from the salon. Added bonus? Each pack comes with a set of 24 nails, file/buffer duo, cuticle stick, adhesive tabs and nail glue.

*Black Friday: (11.26 – 11.29) 35% off sitewide. No code necessary.

Cyber Monday: (11/30) 1 free set of press-ons for every 2 sets purchased. No code necessary.

Giving Tuesday: (11/31) 10% of sales from Giving Tuesday will benefit Ken-Mar Rescue, a Los Angeles-based small dog rescue non-profit group, in loving memory of the founder’s late dog Louie.

Sola Look Brenda ❤️ Dylan ❤️ Kelly 90210 Makeup Collection: $20

If you know a fellow self-proclaimed biggest-Beverly Hills, 90210-fan-ever (a la me), this is just the gift for them! Complete with three liquid lipsticks and a six-shade eyeshadow palette with names that speak to the soul, this is sure to tug at the heartstrings, drumming up memories of the most gut-wrenching love triangle in teen TV drama history.

ORLY Mini Gel Lamp: $24.99

As mentioned above, we’re living in a DIY world right now—and yes, that very much includes nails. If someone you know can’t live without their gels, now they can do them from home (and for cheap!), thanks to ORLY’s mouse-sized mini LED lamp. All they need is the brand’s GELFX polish and they’re good to go!

*Up to 60%-off ORLY gel color bundles

Jafra Royal Jelly Radiance Foundation: $31

While foundation may not seem like your quintessential holiday gift, hear me out. I came across Jafra cosmetics this year, and since getting my hands on their Royal Jelly foundation, my skin hasn’t looked the same. This magical, under-the-radar product provides full coverage, while still managing to make me look somewhat natural. It also has added glow, and I get compliments on my “skincare routine” every time I wear it. It’s also affordable and lasts a long time. And with built-in SPF 20, this item is a no-brainer.

Nudeskin Lemon-Aid Detox & Glow Micro-Peel: $34

Nudestix launched its debut skincare line in October—and of the five-piece collection, this clarifying, detoxifying micro-peel is hands down my favorite. When it comes to face masks and peels, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching particles of dead skin instantly come to the surface. Apologies for the visual, but anyone who receives this as a gift will understand the instant gratification—while feeling smoother, softer skin in less than two minutes!

Makanai Pure Beauty Travel Kit: $35

Longtime JBeauty brand Makanai just launched in the U.S., and after only a few weeks of using their deeply hydrating products, I’m totally sold. It’s hard to pick a favorite (it’s a tossup between the 24K gold Skin Jewel Oil Serum and the Kanazawa Beauty Face Cream)—but luckily the brand makes it easy to try everything at once with this handy travel kit. It even comes with a pretty carrying accessory. With chic packaging and luxe ingredients, whomever you’re shopping for will have no idea you didn’t break the bank!

Seiso JBeauty Fuwafuwa Foaming Cleanser: $38

With the unexpected skincare boom amid the pandemic, I tested more cleansers this year alone than in my total lifetime. So, when I say this one tops them all, you know it means something. Packed with coconut amino acids, fermented rice extract and glycerin, this product gently cleans, conditions, softens, clears and hydrates. Applied to dry skin, you can feel the dirt particles disintegrate as you gently use the product in circular motions. Once rinsed, you’ll instantly notice brighter, elevated skin.

*Purchase with Water Velvet Cream and use code CLEANSERFRIDAY to get the cleanser for free. Must add both items in your cart to redeem.

Native Atlas Universal Oil (Nairobi): $39

Native Atlas launched a collection of world travel-inspired universal oils. Omnis, Sanaa, Nairobi and Cocoa Beach are the four offerings, and each is a gender-neutral, plant-based formula made for the hair, skin and body. I’ve been using Nairobi for the last few months, and it’s become a staple in my skincare routine. It gives my face just the right amount of added shine, while keeping my often dry cuticles hydrated.

The Route Beauty Lil’ Skincare BFFs: $42

Whether you’re embracing a girls’ night in with your besties, or you’re having a solo self-care day, you can’t go wrong with The Route Beauty’s full-circle skincare routine. And, lucky for you, they’re making it ridiculously affordable with their gift set of minis. The Lil’ Skincare BFFs collection features five standout products, including a retinoid, primer, multitasking formulas for day and night and their signature glow mask, The Party Peel. Whether a gift for a friend or yourself, it’s impossible to disappoint with this purchase!

Boscia Berry Blend Smoothing Facial With 28% Acid Complex: $44

If you’re looking to give the gift of professional-level skincare at a fraction of the price, I highly recommend this product. Its 28% acid complex is something usually only found in spa-grade products, making this a first for the Boscia brand. This innovative formula exfoliates dead skin cells away, eradicates dullness and resurfaces the skin. While there’s a slight sting upon use, it’s only a sign that the product is working its magic.

RAINCRY Advanced Hair Mist (Blanc): $53

If you spent any time with me this summer, there was no escaping a spritz of hair fragrance, courtesy of RAINCRY’s Blanc scent. The sleek glass bottle from the luxe hair brand is packed with notes of soft floral, heliotrope, jasmine, morning dew and rose. Fitting for either sex, this alluring aroma is the perfect on-the-go addition for everyday use. And don’t expect the formula to dry out your ‘do. It actually infuses and hydrates your locks with amino acids. The line also carries three additional fragrances if you’re yearning for more!

Pureology Strength Cure Holiday Kit: $70

I have thick, damaged, color-treated hair, so it’s been a lot of trial and error finding products that actually make my mane look healthy. Especially with the chilly days of recent weeks, my hair is brittle as ever. I received Pureology Strength Cure shampoo and conditioner by chance in a gift bag, and I haven’t used anything else regularly since. Key ingredients keravis and astaxanthin fortify and repair damaged, color-treated hair—and a signature aromatherapy blend of raspberry, peach and water flowers leaves the locks with a refreshing fragrance. Complete with a multitasking leave-in spray and dry shampoo, this kit, valued at $101, should appease your pal with even the wildest of hair woes.

Pixi Beauty Glow Treatment Bundle: $72

While this year’s holiday season hits a wee bit differently, in a normal circumstance, we’d all have party upon party to prep for. Therefore, this five-part skincare bundle (valued at $90) provides that on-the-go glow we’d need for a night on the town. But whether we’re out and about in normalcy or locked indoors, no one will be disappointed to receive this set that gently exfoliates, refines pores and energizes complexion. Even if it’s solely for the sake of IG, a girl’s gotta glow!

MARA Beauty Sea Vitamin C Serum: $96

What beauty and wellness gift guide would be complete without a solid serum, amirite? When clean skincare brand MARA first launched in 2018 with its Universal Face Oil, I was drawn to its deeply hydrating properties. Fast-forward to a few months ago, the brand launched a Chlorella + Reishi formula that provides the same all-day hydration, but with the added effects of Vitamin C and other powerful ingredients. It’s a perfect gift for the skincare lover worth splurging on, and you can’t go wrong with that sleek glass packaging.

WEN by Chaz Dean Bella Spirit ReMoist Hair Mask: $180

When it comes to my breakout beauty star amid the pandemic, it’s hands down this product. I never understood the power of a hair mask until just one use of this magical formula. And months later, this remains my go-to. I’ve praised this nourishing mask countless times on Mane Addicts—and thanks to its blend of lavender, cucumber, eucalyptus herbal botanical waters, extracts, oils and amino acids, I’m left with good as new hair after each rinse. While the price point is indeed steep, Chaz explained to me firsthand that each tub provides approximately 16 treatments-worth of a $50 in-salon service. While this probably won’t be the gift you buy for everyone on your list, it’s definitely worth it for a special someone.

Wellness

Manna Kadar Hand Sanitizer & Anti-Bacterial Soap Caddy: $24

For the girly-girl in your life, this rose gold hand-cleansing duo not only looks darling atop a beauty counter with its accompanying caddy—but it smells absolutely divine. Featuring a combo of pomegranate scent and soothing sea water, this light, feminine fragrance is sure to please.

SERUMKIND Black Blossom Hand Serum: $27

As a K-beauty brand known for, well, serums, it only makes sense SERUMKIND launched a hand serum to accompany its face products. Fit for the dryness brought on by the winter months ahead, this new, deeply hydrating formula caters to the skin barrier with the healing effects of black tulip from the Netherlands. The result? Instantly silky hands. This product has stocking stuffer written all over it!

Som Sleep Zero Sugar 12-Pack: $29.99

If you know an insomniac (and we all do!), grant them the gift of sleep! I discovered these Som Sleep canned drinks in a self-care essentials kit from PitchBox Media, and I’ve got to say, I wasn’t disappointed. The gluten-free, non-GMO, berry-flavored beverages knock you out easily, without leaving you groggy the next day. While they certainly won’t fix any longstanding sleep issues, they’re perfect for those occasional restless nights tossing and turning sans Zzzs.

Trücup Coffee Pods: $39.95 (48-piece, three-roast sampler pack)

If there’s one wellness routine that got me through 2020, it was waking up early, showering, brewing a hot cup of coffee and taking 10 minutes to cozy-up in bed and meditate before kicking off my day. Coffee is a huge part of my daily life, and I include Trücup here in particular because their low-acid, boutique coffee blends are not only rich in flavor, but they’re less harsh on the stomach, creating a more seamless sipping experience.

Le Labo Body Lotion, Exclusively for EDITION Hotels: $58.65

Unpopular opinion, but I’m not the biggest Le Labo fan. That said, their black tea-infused body lotion made exclusively for EDITION Hotels makes up for any past fragrances that haven’t tickled my fancy. I love tea-inspired scents more than anything else, and this body lotion seriously speaks to me. Much like the vibe of the trendy hotel, this aroma is dark, mysterious and sexy. If you’re not sold by now, welp, more for me!

*Free four-piece Le Labo travel set with every ShopEdition.com purchase.

BX Glow Pure Energy Fitness Kit: $68

With L.A. going into lockdown all over again, you better believe this at-home fitness kit will come in handy for the workout junkie or simply the girl stuck at home with nothing to do. Designed by former Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada, this easy-to-transport set comes with all the essentials: three levels of resistance tube bands, three levels of resistance loop bands and a set of one-pound ankle weights. There’s no excuse now!

Moen Aromatherapy Hand Shower With INLY Shower Capsules: $129

For the loved one who’s still owed their housewarming gift, or for the one who simply needs a shower upgrade, lap them in luxury with this sleek, easy-to-assemble chrome shower head, complete with four aromatherapy capsules to match their mood. Adjustable settings are built into the shower head, so they can use however much of the refreshing fragrance as they wish.

MiHIGH Infrared Sauna Blanket: $499

This detoxifying, mind-calming, calorie-burning blanket is just the trick for your partner or close family member. Now only does the leather material keep you bundled, but you get the benefits of infrared saunas from the comfort of your own home. Complete with infrared heating and waterproof layers, about an hour a few times a week is all you need to be on your way to better sleep, less stress, rejuvenated skin and increased blood flow.

Looking for more skincare purchases this holiday season? HERE are some new CBD-infused beauty products to have on your radar!

Beauty Featured

Dry Brushing Isn’t Just for the Body—An Expert Explains Why You Should Do It to Your Face

November 17, 2020

Dry brushing your face may sound like a foreign concept—it did to me until recently.

Last week, I received a mailer from Daily Concepts, which included their brand new Daily Facial Dry Brush ($20). At first glance, I thought it was another body brush, but after looking closer I realized I wasn’t previously familiar with a product like this.

(Instagram via @dailyconcepts)

By now, wellness gurus know that dry brushing the body helps exfoliate dead cells from the skin surface and enhances blood flow. The drier the brush and skin, the more friction is increased to better exfoliate. As for dry brushing the face? Well, I imagine it has similar benefits.

Eager to learn more, I reached out to Daily Concepts’ founder, Emilio Smeke. Below, the skincare expert explains the benefits of dry brushing your face, and how to do it effectively.

skyelyfe: What, exactly, is a dry brush for the face?

Emilio Smeke: It’s a soft divide that will drain the lymphatic system starting in all the pathways we have in our face. It also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles by exfoliating dead skin cells and stimulating circulation.

(Instagram via @threetideswellness)

SL: How does a dry face brush differ from a dry body brush?

ES: They’re similar in their performance, yet really different in the level of abrasiveness of its components, making the facial a delicate brush that won’t be harsh on your skin.

SL: Is a dry face brush for everyone?

ES: If you have any breakouts or irritated, broken or sunburned skin, then this definitely should not be used. But in general, this is designed for all skin types.

(Instagram via @dailyconcepts)

SL: How do you properly use one?

ES: We’ve created a step-by-step process:

Step 1: Stroke along your lymphatic pathways

Step 2: Stroke downward along jawline

Step 3: Brush upwards along your cheeks

Step 4: Stroke around your eyes

Step 5: Brush forehead/nose downward

Step 6: Brush cheeks downward

Step 7: Brush neck downward

How to clean: Sprinkle cornstarch or clay powder and massage gently into bristles

If you’re looking for info on other new skincare products, HERE‘s my review of Nudestix’s skincare line, Nudeskin.

Beauty

Is Gold in Skincare a Gimmick or Actually Good for You? I Asked an Expert

November 10, 2020

Ah, gold… the metallic yellow chemical element that screams all things luxe. But gold in skincare products—is it all for show or actually effective?

I reached out to Maryann McManus, Director of Sales at Makanai, a longtime J-beauty brand that just launched in the states. As a company known for featuring 24K gold in skincare products, I had to understand what this ingredient does, aside from looking pretty.

Keep reading for everything to know about the benefits of applying this precious metal to your face.

(Instagram via @makanai_beauty)

skyelyfe: What are the benefits of 24K gold in skincare? 

Maryann McManus: 24K gold leaf helps improve elasticity through increasing dermal fibroblast production. It helps refine skin texture through collagen production when applied to the skin. 

SL: What makes Makanai’s products different from other 24K gold-infused skincare on the market? 

MM: Makanai contains only the purest form of gold—999.9%—which is made in Japan, with clinical studies to backup the science. *editor’s note: 999.9% is the way gold purity is measured.

SL: What’s Makanai’s hero product and why? 

MM: The Makanai Skin Jewel Oil Serum is formulated with 24K gold leaf flakes produced in Kanazawa, with a skin-compatible blend of seven botanical oils that absorb quickly to leave skin hydrated with a youthful luminescence.

(Instagram via @makanai_beauty)

SL: Is 24K gold always beneficial in skincare or does it need to be formulated in a certain way?

MM: If it’s the right quality, gold can be beneficial to skin on its own. Although, it’s even more beneficial when used together with our delivery system of botanical oils so that the ingredients fully absorb.   

SL: What makes 24K gold more or less expensive in skincare? Is it actually due to the benefits or formulation, or more about the luxe association of the ingredient?

MM: This is a difficult question to answer since we don’t know how other brands source their raw materials or formulate them into their products. At Makanai, we’re committed to choosing only ethical and sustainable sourcing, as well as only using premium quality gold leaf. Hence, our products are fair-priced. 

SL: Is 24K gold an ingredient for everyone? Or will certain skin types react differently to it?

MM: While we haven’t experienced customers having any reactions to using the gold leaf, we can’t be completely certain. We recommend either doing a patch test or consulting with a physician for those who may be concerned about skin reactions. 

(Instagram via @makanai_beauty)

SL: Is there anything else consumers should know about Makanai or 24K gold in skincare? 

MM: Makanai offers a full line of cleansers, face creams, toners, soaps and dedicated hand care products. Most of the products feature a proprietary KaESS complex, comprised of persimmon (kaki) leaf, rich in vitamins and antioxidants; eggshell membrane for hydration and collagen elasticity; and soybean sterol to combat dryness and the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots.

A collection of specialty products, including Goldays 24K Perfector Sheet, Skin Jewel Oil Serum and Goldays Magic Glow Balm harness the goodness of 24K gold leaf and shower the skin with moisture and luminosity. Our products are proudly made in Japan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phenoxyethanol free, synthetic color or perfume-free, silicone-free, carbomer-free and BHT free. All ingredients comply with EU cosmetic regulation standards, the most stringent in the world.

For more expert info on buzzy ingredients, click HERE to find out if CBD-infused skincare is right for you.

Beauty

My Honest Review of Nudestix’s Brand New Nudeskin Skincare Line

October 22, 2020

I’m always fascinated when a popular makeup brand forays into skincare. It seems like the most natural next move, but it’s still interesting to see which products and ingredients they choose to hone in on, and how they plan to hold their own in a heavily concentrated space.

When I received an invite to Nudestix‘s virtual soft launch of their Nudeskin skincare line, (which officially released Oct. 10), my interest was immediately piqued. First, there’s the colorful packaging and clean, vegan ingredients. I also like that the four-part (five-product) system is easy and straightforward, and each size adheres to travel guidelines.

My mailer arrived in a sleek Nudestix branded box with all of the packaging marked “biodegradable.” It came with full sizes of each product, and a branded face towel. There were also easy-to-follow descriptions placed in the order of application. But how did I feel once I put the line to use? Keep reading for my honest Nudeskin review.

Citrus Clean Balm & Make-Up Melt: $34

This citrus-infused cleansing balm includes rose hip fruit oil, essential oils and pore-cleansing oils. This is step one in the two-part cleansing process. This first step is optional, but I made it a point to test the line on a day I was wearing a ton of makeup. So yes, this makeup-melting step was indeed necessary.

I’ve got to say, these are my favorite types of makeup removers. I love feeling thick mascara disintegrate into my fingers. And even though it’s not the prettiest, makeup melts typically get the job done—and this is no exception.

Gentle Hydra-Gel Face Cleanser: $18

As the second step (but first on a minimal makeup day), this non-foaming clean water gel was made to remove natural makeup. It also clarifies skin tone and gently cleanses skin impurities without harsh surfactants and chemicals. It’s developed with bergamot fruit oil, natural AHAs and actives. It’s made to be suitable for the most sensitive skin, reducing inflammation, irritation, blemishes and dryness.

I’m glad this option exists in the line because after product one, I still felt like I needed an additional cleanse to fully remove any lingering makeup. Once this application was complete, my face looked fresh.

Lemon-Aid Detox & Glow Micro-Peel: $34

The third step is a skin clarifying peel that detoxes pores of excess oil, dirt and pollution. Papain enzymes allow for the peeling process, and apple and pomegranate extracts enable deep pore cleansing action. And, of course, Vitamin C renews and brightens the skin.

This is hands-down the best part of my Nudeskin review. This isn’t the most Insta-worthy aspect, but it’s certainly the most satisfying. Who doesn’t love balls of dead skin coming to the face’s surface? And, most importantly, my skin looked even more revived after the process.

5% Citrus Fruit & Glycolic Glow Toner: $28

Next up is the toner, made with a 3% glycolic acid and 2% fruit acid complex. This spa-strength resurfacing treatment is made to accelerate the skin’s cell renewal process by smoothing and brightening, minimizing the appearance of lines and pores, and leaving a plump-and-glowing complexion.

This comes with a push pump that makes the product easy to distribute, and the product’s 3-in-1 formula saves time and effort of having to apply a serum with similar benefits.

Citrus-C Mask & Daily Moisturizer: $38

The final step in the process is the active-rich hydrator. This can be used daily under makeup or overnight as a mask. Fermented yuzu oil and turmeric extract make up the cream. It’s formulated to deeply moisturize skin, gently boost collagen and help reduce environmental inflammation.

I feel a mild sting when I use this product, but that’s a sign the actives are hard at work! My skin feels instantly bouncier and hydrated after its application. There’s a very faint, expected citrus scent, but it goes away a few moments after the product is rubbed in. After completing the five-product process, my skin looks cleansed, hydrated and healthy as you can see in the image below.

Now that this Nudeskin review has you all caught up on your bathroom basics, HERE are the newest CBD skincare products to have on your radar!

Beauty Featured

The 5 Best and Worst Affordable Skincare Brands, According to TikTok

September 24, 2020

TikTok is a treasure trove of beauty tutorials, reviews, tips and tricks. I downloaded the app thinking I had a good hold on makeup and skincare, only to realize my sorely limited knowledge. Little did I know I’d quickly uncover the best and worst affordable skincare, which is frequently covered on the stimulating platform.

TikTok brings us the likes of resident skincare guru Hyram, who dominates the app. Other influential aficionados in the space include JC Dombrowski, Dr. Shah (@dermdoctor) Charlotte Palermino (@charlotteparler) and Young Yuh (@yayayayoung). I’ve impressively learned more about skincare during my short time on the platform than during the course of my life.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Hyram (@skincarebyhyram) on

These experts’ massive followings swear by their actions: micellar water is always a yes, whereas makeup wipes are always a no. But to get into it a little deeper, I’ve rounded up a list of what the TikTok experts generally classify as the best and worst affordable skincare brands on the market.

Keep reading to find out!

(via Unsplash)

5 Best:

CeraVe: Leading the pack of best and worst affordable skincare brands is CeraVe. A drugstore staple, the brand is known for its generous supply and effective ingredients. Like many, I quickly brushed their products to the side, due to lackluster packaging. But if the experts sway my desire to experiment, I’ll look into fan favorites, the Hydrating Cleanser and Moisturising Cream. The brand’s products are frequently sold out, and have been proven to work wonders on the skin. CeraVe is truly the all-star in the TikTok skincare space.

@skincarebyhyram

bruh the GLOW 🤩 ##duet with @uglyboimiguel ##skincarebyhyram ##glowup

♬ Spongebob – DrumCorpsKat

First Aid Beauty: This brand is heralded by the experts as a go-to for sensitive skin. But additionally, it’s touted for its antioxidant-rich sunscreen, which blends seamlessly. Hence its name, the clean beauty brand is also known for targeting specific skincare woes, including Keratosis pilaris (KP), eczema and acne.

@mellluuuu

This stuff is amazing!!!! HIGHLY recommend!!! 😍😭 @skincarebyhyram ##skincarebyhyram ##firstaidbeauty ##niacinamide ##fyp ##skincare ##dermatology ##skin

♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 夕依

La Roche-Posay: With such a fancy name and sleek packaging to boot, I’m always shocked to see La Roche-Posay posted up in CVS. The French skincare brand boasts an array of effective and affordable products geared toward sensitive skin. Derms swear by this brand, and its popularity is more evident than ever on TikTok.

@selenatepepa1

Obsessed✨ What should I try next?? ##larocheposay laroche ##skincare ##target ##skincareroutine ##oilyskintips ##fyp

♬ Breathe – What’s That’s Supposed To Be About Baby – Years & Years

The Ordinary: I’ve always abided by the saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” And in the case of The Ordinary, it may just defy the odds. It’s one of the most remarkably priced brands at Sephora, chock-full of effective ingredients and a wide array of products for varying skin types. To top it all off, its packaging, albeit simple, is sleek and professional. The Ordinary—most renown on TikTok for its AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solutionkeeps its products focused on prime active ingredients (like niacinamide and zinc, for example) and ditches the fancy frills.

@yayayayoung

A quick AHA+BHA “how to” with my tips! ##skincare ##beauty ##theordinary ##ahabha ##exfoliation ##fyp ##foryoupage

♬ original sound – yayayayoung

The Inkey List: Taking cues from The Ordinary, brand new The Inkey List is another ridiculously affordable skincare brand at Sephora. Known to include your standard buzzy ingredients (hyaluronic acid, retinol and collagen, to name a few), they’ve also released innovative formulas previously unknown to the common consumer: Polyglutamic Acid, Multi-Biotic Moisturizer and Heptapeptide Serum.

@whatsonvisface

Hyram inspired me! This routine by @theinkeylist is only $42. Check out their recipe builder to make your own! ##learnontiktok ##tiktokpartner ##ad

♬ original sound – whatsonvisface

5 Worst:

St. Ives: If you live by the “any press is good press” motto, St. Ives can thank TikTok for making it one of the most talked-about skincare brands on the app (even if it happens to be a best and worst affordable skincare list). St. Ives is the butt of every joke in these 15-second videos, but nevertheless, it has gained relevancy. Roasted for its ridiculously high concentration of fragrance, its harmful scrubs (which have been proven to cause tears in the skin), and the brand’s recommendation to exfoliate every single day, using St. Ives in your skincare routine is considered the ultimate no-no by the experts.

@akoniphoenix

Just don’t do it! 😅 @dermdoctor & @skincarebyhyram DON’T recommend! ##stives ##skincare ##poc

♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by St. Ives (@stivesskin) on

Clean & Clear: While I’ve never been a Clean & Clear user, it’s definitely synonymous with my childhood and acne commercials I saw every day as a kid. Having been around for so long, you’d think the company would have their formulas down by now—but according to the skincare experts, such is not the case. Clean & Clear’s products contain heavy concentrations of fragrance and other harmful ingredients for the skin, including alcohol and menthol. Also, in cases where beneficial ingredients are included, they’re often counteracted with other ingredients that make them either harmful or obsolete.

@skincare.noob

they won’t be missed🤢🤢 ##skincare ##badskincare ##cleanandclear##neutrogena ##teatree ##foryou ##foryoupage ##fyp ##theordinary ##hyramapproved ##cerave

♬ original sound – caleb

Bioré: Who doesn’t love a good peel-off mask or nose strip? Watching gunk seep out of your skin is oddly satisfying. It isn’t, however, actually doing anything for you. While yes, you may see a temporary removal of blackheads from a Bioré nose strip, these strips do absolutely nothing to treat or reduce blackheads longterm. Pore strips aside, many of the brand’s formulas are advertised as fitting “for all skin types,” when, in fact, they’ve been proven to cause redness, breakouts and excess oil production when used on dry or sensitive skin.

@skincarebyhyram

Great routine! 🤩 Use ##skincarebyhyram so I can react to yours 🥰 ##duet with @sammcgraww

♬ original sound – Sam McGraw

Thayer’s: Thayer’s is up there with St. Ives in the TikTok skincare space. Just about every expert swears against it, insisting that tannins-infused witch hazel is unacceptable on the face, no matter your skin type. Thayer’s is known for its array of witch hazel products, which have gained popularity based on their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But their high concentration of alcohol only causes the skin to produce more oil and trigger more breakouts. Steer clear at all costs!

@careclarkbsn

##dermatology ##dermatologynurse ##witchhazeltoner ##myskincaresecret ##myskincaretip ##productreview ##budgetskincare ##ulta ##witchhazel

♬ euphoria s1e1 OST – devyn

Mario Bedescu: When I think of this brand, Urban Outfitters immediately comes to mind. Trendy and affordable, it never dawned on me that experts deem Mario Bedescu one of the most hated-upon skincare brands. In fact, the company settled a class action lawsuit in 2013 for failing to disclose the inclusion of strong steroids in at least two of their products. Generally speaking, the brand’s ingredients lists are misleading and cheaply made.

@skincarebyhyram

He will be missed 😔🙏 ##duet with @no_no_care_ ##skincarebyhyram

♬ Cyber Sex – Doja Cat

 

 

For more skincare content, HERE are some of the newest CBD-infused beauty products we recommend trying!

Beauty

Should You Be Using CBD in Your Skincare Routine? An Expert Explains What You Need to Know

September 14, 2020

We’re no stranger to the CBD space. From applying The Good Patch Nite Nite to help us catch some Zzzs, to dropping tinctures of SMPLSTC CLM under our tongues to ease anxiety, we’ve certainly toyed with variations of this hyped ingredient.

While we usually feel immediate results from mood-enhancing CBD products, the skincare side of the phenomenon is a different story. What does CBD-infused skincare actually do, and is it safe on all skin types?

To help us get to the bottom of this, we spoke to Dr. Manisha Singal. The expert and Aethera Beauty ambassador is also the author of The CBD Skincare Solution: the Power of Cannabidoil for Healthy Skin. She answers all of our burning questions below.

skyelyfe: What are some general benefits of CBD in skincare?
Dr. Manisha Singal:

There are well-identified anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CBD. Topical formulations aim to deliver this natural plant-based compound to cool inflammation due to common toxic exposures, such as UV rays, environmental pollution and makeup. It also has properties to stimulate skin plumpness by its influences on collagen and elastin production, diminishing appearance of fine lines. Similar to aloe vera, topical CBD is proving to also take the sting out of skin injuries due to minor cuts and reduce the itch experienced from mosquitos bites.

SL: Are there any benefits CBD offers to the skin that other powerful ingredients do not?
DMS:

CBD is not a one-note natural compound. Chemically, it is akin to our own cannabinoids that we have been reliant on for health and balance since we were born. Whether CBD is applied topically or ingested, it works on the same Endocannabinoid System (ECS), network of receptors, neurotransmitters, and enzymes found throughout our body, including our skin. In the beauty and skincare industry, benefits are seen in skin healing, pain relief and youthful glow. What’s exciting but as of yet not regulated is the added benefits of combining CBD with other well-known ingredients for our skincare. Education and attention to details in these formulations is key for any consumer. 

SL: Is CBD comparable to other skincare ingredients on the market?
DMS:

The antioxidant powers of vitamins A, C, and E are comparable to CBD. For example, vitamin A, from which retinoic acid is derived, is credited with cell regeneration, skin firmness; vitamin C stimulates collagen production, and vitamin E fights those nasty free radicals. CBD is rich in all these properties.

SL: Which skin type(s) work most effectively with CBD? Which skin type(s) work least effectively with CBD? What can be the result of a negative reaction to CBD skincare?
DMS:

We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to understanding the science behind CBD’s many observed benefits. This is true as well for skin types. What we do know is that all skin types are susceptible to injury from UV rays and other environmental pollutants. CBD is well-poised to help us in our skin’s battle to protect from these and other exposures irrespective of our skin type.

Where we need to be extra cautious is to know what chemicals or oils are in topical CBD formulations. If one’s skin is prone to over-oil production, certain moisturizing creams may exacerbate and cause reactions. Always perform a skin patch test to see if the particular CBD product is right for your skin type. Avoid layering multiple products, as it will likely promote an unpleasant and undesirable response. If one does have more than a mild redness to a product, stop and contact your doctor for care and possible allergy tests.

SL: Are there any products you recommend in particular for people easing into CBD skincare for the first time?
DMS:

For people interested in exploring CBD as part of their skincare, I would recommend starting with a product containing CBD isolate. I have come to learn from amazing chemists that it’s very complicated to formulate broad spectrum CBD topicals, often leaving a consumer to experience the chemical additives and not CBD itself. I also recommend starting with a low mg dose concentration, as we all have our own unique genetic makeup. What suits one person may be an entirely different experience for another. Start low and go slow.

I would also start by introducing just one CBD product, such as a moisturizer, into your daily regimen. See if it has an effect and, if it doesn’t, replace it with a similar product containing a greater amount of CBD. Once you’re comfortable with that product, you can consider adding another one. CBD is the big new thing, and it’s expensive to process. Reputable beauty companies are understandably charging a premium for many of these new products, so it also makes good financial sense to ensure that you’re getting a noticeable result as a return on your beauty product dollar.

SL: What should consumers be looking out for on a CBD skincare label? (both good and bad)?
DMS:

You should make sure that your product has the amount of CBD that is stated on the label and without toxic impurities. A 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association that analyzed 84 CBD products sold by 31 different online companies found that 1 in 5 contained marijuana components. Other studies have shown that the CBD concentration in products is much lower or non-existent versus what brands have claimed on their packaging. I would make sure to only use a trusted manufacturer and ask to see their Certificate of Authentication. Legitimate companies test their product for potency and purity.

SL: Are there other ingredients that go particularly well or poorly with CBD?
DMS:

Since the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018 and the legalization of CBD extracted from hemp plants, there’s been an explosion of products in the skincare industry. Unfortunately, without full cannabis legalization by the federal government, consumers are in the wild west with dangerous product claims that CBD can be mixed with any ingredients. It’s highly advisable for a manufacturer to partner with chemists to do safety and sustainability testing when formulating products with CBD.

It’s also important to understand the relevancy of mixing certain ingredients with CBD. For example, CBD has great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The addition of CBD to other natural active vitamins, omega fatty and amino acids will have wonderful boosting and calming effects on our skin. On the flip side, we don’t have enough information on the relevancy of adding ingredients such as DMAE and kinetin.

SL: Are there CBD-free products you recommend that can still provide similar effects? 
DMS:

At Aethera Beauty, we’re aware that many consumers would not be comfortable using CBD and we have replicated our entire line of CBD skincare products in a hemp seed version. Hemp seed oil is rich in the omega fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants—all nourishing topically as well as internally, as seen in salad dressings. Hemp seeds and hemp seed oils contain none or minuscule amounts of CBD.

(via Unsplash)
SL: How did you start working with Aethera and why do you support its products? If you could recommend just one of their products to consumers, what would it be?
DMS:

As a consumer, I’ve had my fair share of reactions to various creams and body washes. As a doctor, I’m knowledgeable on the terrible side effects which my patients may suffer from the very medications we prescribe. My dive into CBD was due to both my own extreme skin reaction to hair dye and my husband’s need for relief from his Crohn’s disease. My research was eye-opening as to CBD’s powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. My husband has an inflammatory bowel disease. My skin rash was an extreme presentation of inflammation of my skin. CBD helped calm both of our bouts with inflammation. The aha! moment was the added glow on my skin, and this led to development of CBD skincare SKUs at Aethera.

Aethera is unique, as it’s a partnership with chemists at a reputed green lab with years of experience in formulating non-toxic prestige skincare lines. We take pride in using the highest quality CBD isolates and other well-studied active botanicals to create our line. It’s important to ensure the ingredients in our formulations go through rigorous testing and make sense for the expected user experience.

Our hero, my hero, is the Everyday Botanical Brightening Concentrate with CBD

Curious about other leading CBD beauty brands? HERE‘s what to know about American Vanity, the very first science-based CBD skincare line.

Beauty

5 Newly Released CBD Beauty Products Your Skincare Routine Desperately Needs

August 15, 2020

Between the social justice revolution and the pandemic, there’s a lot going on in the world right now—and you may find it difficult to embrace me-time.

But it’s not just our minds and bodies that need to decompress—our skin does, too! Typically, when something like CBD comes to mind, we’re thinking about our mental state. But the powerful ingredient does wonders for our skin as well, which is why we’re excited to bring you a handful of new innovations in the CBD beauty space.

Because you deserve it, treat yourself to one (or all) of the five brand new CBD beauty products below. From body creams to oils, these items should help you (and your stressed-out skin) relax to the max.

(Kimzy Nanney / Unsplash)

1. The Feelist’s Do Not Disturb Extra Strength Body Cream

Entrepreneur and digital industry leader Shea Marie is the brains behind The Feelist. Her line of plant-powered skincare is set out to pamper you when you need it most. There are two different creams and oils, along with a salt soak in this line. Every product is of interest, though the Do Not Disturb Extra Strength Body Cream really caught our attention. With 500 milligrams of broad spectrum CBD, this cream should aid in getting rid of aches and pains in your body.

2. Veritas Beauty’s Cucumber Eye Cream

Veritas Beauty is a CBD skincare line created by Veritas Farms, which is already well-known for their impeccable CBD products. Now, they’ve moved into the beauty industry. Veritas Beauty comes packed with a variety of products, including Rejuvenating Night Cream, Cucumber Eye Cream, Mattifying Blemish Cream and Hyaluronic Day Cream. The great thing is you can purchase them all in a handy-dandy kit. Though if your budget only allows for one, we’d opt for the Cucumber Eye Cream. A good eye cream is harder to come by than you’d think, so having this one in your skincare arsenal will make a world of difference.

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Raising the skincare bar! ✨#VeritasBeauty

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3. Philip B’s CBD Scalp + Body Oil

Philip B is one of our all-time favorite haircare companies, so we jumped at the chance to snatch up their CBD Scalp + Body Oil when it was released. Your scalp needs more love than you give it. We’re all so guilty of trying to undo years of damage to our tresses that we forget about our scalp. Featuring 100 milligrams of CBD and 25 milligrams of CBG, this scalp and body oil moisturizes your skin to reduce redness brought on by environmental stressors. It really is one of the most soothing oils on the market, so your skin will thank you for using it.

4. MyCHELLE Dermaceutical’s Enhancing CBD Rinse-Free Wash

MyCHELLE Dermaceutical’s released a new line of CBD skincare products that features a serum, lotion, lip balm, and… wait for it… a CBD Rinse-Free Wash. What is a rinse-free wash? Instead of having to splash your face with water, you can put this product on a cotton pad, swipe it all over your complexion, and you’re good to go. The CBD in this is aimed at hydrating and softening your skin, which is something we’ve been having trouble maintaining during quarantine.

5. WLDKAT’s CBD 50MG Cupuacu + Mango Butter Lip Balm

WLDKAT is a clean, vegan, sustainable, and cruelty-free brand that also happens to be “femxle founded and fronted.” Their packaging is bright and in your face, but in the best way possible. We’re particularly fascinated by their butter lip balm. Containing 50 milligrams of CBD, cupuacu and mango butter, these balms should keep your lips hydrated for hours on end.

Wondering if CBD can help you get better sleep? HERE’S what happened when we tried it!

Beauty

5 Pride Makeup YouTube Tutorials Anyone Can Recreate

June 12, 2020

We’re almost halfway through June, so if you haven’t already shown your support for Pride Month, we’ve got just the thing.

Whether you’ll be celebrating at home or out in the streets, these Pride makeup tutorials on YouTube are the perfect way to let your LGBTQIA+ flag fly.

No matter your makeup skill level, you’ll find one you can recreate. Scroll below now!

1. ’70s-Inspired DIY Pride Looks

This video is perfect both for people with basic makeup skills and those who consider themselves experts. There are a few different ’70s-inspired looks you can create, so find the one that speaks to you.

2. Neon Pride Makeup Tutorial

Not for the faint of heart, this tutorial is a look. You’ll definitely need to put your skills to the ultimate test to recreate this rainbow neon fantasy. Think you have what it takes?

3. Rainbowscale Pride Makeup Tutorial

Drag queen Miss Fame created this rainbow look two years ago, but it’s still one of the best we’ve ever seen. Miss Fame makes it look so easy, but this look takes plenty of patience to recreate on your own.

4. Unzipped Rainbow Pride Makeup Tutorial

Another oldie but goodie, this unzipped zipper tutorial is easier to create than you may suspect. And, it’ll help you stand out amongst all the other rainbow-inspired looks during Pride.

5. Dramatic Rainbow Eyes Pride Makeup Tutorial

For those looking to rock their pride with a relatively simple look, this one’s for you. Almost anyone can create this look on their eyes. The best part is, it can even be worn year ’round. Who says we can only wear rainbow-inspired looks in June?

Do you love celebrating during Pride? HERE’s why LA Pride is our favorite weekend of the year!

Beauty

American Vanity Launches First-Ever Science-Based Luxe CBD Skincare Line

March 10, 2020

(via American Vanity)

I’ve previously filled you in on my experience with CBD-infused products and it was an interesting one to say the least. Although I might have been a bit wary of anything featuring this supposed “magical” oil in the past, science-based luxury skincare line American Vanity may have just changed my mind.

I attended the ultramodern brand’s official launch party on March 4 at Sunset Tower Hotel, where the decadent, personalized space was filled with celebs, including Jeff Goldblum, Francia Raisa, Jamie Chung and more. Ethically sourced, formulated and manufactured here in L.A., co-founders Mary Nguyen (who has had a life-long passion for skincare) and celebrity esthetician Veronica Barton-Schwartz created an oh-so-fabulous line that honors inner beauty, confidence and authenticity.

Cutting-edge and natural, the line allows all skin types to maintain their radiance and youth through specially formulated, ultra-absorbent BioAdvance CBDTM. This organic CBD isolate is the purest on the market and has a much higher absorption rate than any regular old cannabidiol. Although the price tag may seem a little steep, these products take the healing and anti-inflammatory properties of the oil to new heights and is completely worth it in the end. I walked away with a very heavy gift box (the packaging of these products is unreal), and have been using each item ever since.

Scroll through below for what you need to know about the the brand’s core four products.

(Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for American Vanity)

American Vanity launch(Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for American Vanity)

Resilience Gold Replenishing Moisturizer – $220

The Resilience Gold Replenishing Moisturizer is devastatingly silky smooth. Formulated to be worn day or night, it’s laced with a high concentration of BioAdvance CBDTM that will effortlessly transform your skin. Renewed radiance and less visible smile lines? We’ll take five.

American Vanity Resilience Gold Moisterizer

(Photo courtesy of American Vanity)

Audacious Anti-Aging Serum – $220

Another necessary fixture for wondrous and radiant skin, this anti-aging treatment works overtime to stimulate collagen production and rebuild damaged tissue all while you sleep. It’s guaranteed to help you start the day with a revived, budding complexion.

American Vanity Audacious Anti-Aging Serum

(Photo courtesy of American Vanity)

Brilliance Brightening Serum – $145

Powerful botanicals and more BioAdvance technology deliver hydration for days with this luminous serum. If you struggle with dark spots, inflammation or uneven skin tone, this is the AV product made just for you.

American Vanity Brilliance Brightening Serum

(Photo courtesy of American Vanity)

Radiance Glow Serum – $125

For a warm highlight-without-the-highlight effect, you’ll want to try the Radiance Glow Serum. Filled with hyaluronic acid, jojoba extract and other powerful plant antioxidants, it’s perfect for dull, dry skin that could use a morning (or afternoon) pick-me-up.

American Vanity Radiance Glow Serum

(Photo courtesy of American Vanity)

Beauty

Valfré Just Launched a Cosmetics Line—And I Tried It First!

June 25, 2019

Valfré has been known since 2013 for its trendy, bold, affordable (nothing’s over $98) clothing and accessories designed by Mexican-born artist, Ilse Valfré.

But as of last Friday, fans of the company will get to explore the brand at a whole new capacity. Valfré just made its foray into makeup, with the launch of its very first set of eyeshadows, a 10-color collection of bold shades, called the Electric Garden Eye Palette. Consisting of mainly purples, blues and coppers, the colors reflect those of what you’d see in a bouquet of flowers.

(via Valfré)

(via Valfré)

I was lucky enough to receive an invite to the product’s launch party at a pop-up in L.A. (one day before it became available to the public), where a bunch of colorfully decorated guests danced to music from various decades, took pics in the photo booth, tried on makeup at one of the several beauty stands and sipped on Bev rosé.

In advance of the launch, I received a sample palette before it was made available to the public. I was sure to do a full face of makeup (as seen below) before my night out. I’m beyond impressed with the boldness and blendability of the shades, along with their longevity, as I made it through a full night of a fresh-faced look.

The palette of shades—each named after various flowers—is available on Valfré’s website for $38.

Beauty Angelenos

Jen Atkin Throws Her Version of Prom with a Very Hollywood Twist

May 10, 2017

No chaperones allowed!

Hair stylist to the stars Jen Atkin took things back to her youth last week by throwing Mane Addicts‘ Prom ’17, and (in her typical fashion) there was no shortage of Hollywood glitz and glam.

Photo Credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Mane Addicts

Photo Credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Mane Addicts

As expected, this was no typical prom–open bar and on a school night, just to give you a hint of how this all went down.

But aside from that, the event was held at new Hollywood hotspot Avenue, and guests (including Kaia Gerber, King and Queen Aaron Carpenter and Amanda Steele—and yours truly—to name a few) were treated to hairstyles at a Paul Mitchell Electric Youth station, cotton candy made from scratch, a DJ blaring today’s trendiest tunes, gift bags with Paul Mitchell hair product and a step-and-repeat for everyone’s photo-taking needs! And most classic of all, not a guest entered the private event without a canary yellow corsage on their wrist. Talk about festive!

Photo Credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Mane Addicts

Photo Credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Mane Addicts

Photo Credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Mane Addicts

But in case Young Hollywood’s elite needed to meet their “curfew,” rest assured the party was over by 10:00 p.m!

Beauty

No Matter the Season, Here Are 9 Makeup and Beauty Favorites I’m Wearing All Year ‘Round

March 23, 2017

Despite a week of rain (yes, I love it, but sure wasn’t expecting it!) and now even heavy wind (love it even more!), it is, in fact, no longer winter (cue the tears). It is officially springtime.

That said, with a new season comes new trends, new products, new must-haves, new everything—especially moving out of the colder months.

But winter, spring, summer, fall—there are some makeup and beauty products I feel compelled to wear all year ’round.

Regardless of the color or coverage intensity, I tend to have my regular rotation of items I consistently use, and during spring is no exception. Although winter and spring trends traditionally differ, I prefer to stick to the tried and true.

Keep scrolling for 9 items you can see sprawled out on my makeup counter at any given time of year (and find out why some of these more wintery shades can totally fold into springtime looks)!

1.  Sebamed‘s Moisturizing Face Cream for Sensitive Skin ($14.99) – Regardless of the time of year, dryness is definitely my biggest skin qualm. Even just one slight application of Sebamed’s magical product and my face stays hydrated all throughout the day. It’s rare I find a product that can maintain moisture on my skin, and this does just that! Plus, it’s super affordable, so why not?

2. Ever‘s Overnight Facial Cellular Renewal Oil ($88) – When I first read the words “overnight facial,” I was like, yeah, okay. But no joke, you apply a few droplets of this little guy before bed, and you wake up with minimized blemishes and softer, more hydrated skin.

3. TINte‘s Sun Kissed Universal Mineral Powder ($10) – This item is by far the biggest hidden gem of the bunch. I’ve been wearing this product for years, and once the highlighting trend came to the forefront, I messed around with every big-name brand I could think of, but found myself coming back to this right here. It’s so inexpensive, it comes with so much product, it’s all natural and it can be used as eyeshadow, blush, lipstick, you name it! Most importantly: It works! This provides the same highlight effect as Becca’s products, so why not save a little money and help a growing brand?

4. MACs Lavender Jade lipstick ($17) – This is by far my favorite find of 2016. I wear this shade to the grocery store, to dinner, to work, to play. You can almost always expect to find me wearing this. Not only does the color bring me endless compliments, but it seriously goes with everything, it comes off easily if need be, but stays on pretty strong otherwise. I can’t speak this product’s praises enough!

5. MAC’s Club eyeshadow ($16) – When I want to spice up a traditional brown, this is the shade I wear. For a more brown look, I wear it dry, but I go wet when I want the iridescent green to show through. I’ve been wearing this shade for more than a decade and it is a true classic. Green and brown are always in season.

6. Urban Decay‘s NAKED eyeshadow palette ($54) – I received this palette as a holiday gift from my friend Cass’ parents a few years ago, and for the longest time, I had it tucked away amid other unopened makeup items (who needs another set of browns, right?). But last year, I decided to give it a whirl after obsessing over the palette’s sister polish set. And, well, I can’t get enough! The browns are vibrant for going out and easy to tone down when making my way to the workplace—so basically a win-win all around!

7. Urban Decay’s Crash mega matte lipstick ($17) – If you know me, you know I can’t leave the house without a bold lip. Okay, maybe for yoga (I never wear makeup when I work out), but pretty much any other time, me and a vibrant lipstick go hand in hand. Although I do love a bright pink (here’s lookin’ at you, NARS Schiap) and a pastel purple (see No. 5), I get the most compliments when I wear a striking orange. I used to be obsessed with all things Kat Von D when it comes to that hue, but lately, I can’t get enough of Urban Decay’s Crash.

8. Armani Beauty‘s Emeraude eye tint ($39) – If your eyes need a pop of, well, anything, this is the hue for you! It’s a liquid-to-solid formula and can be worn lightly for some dazzling daytime color, or go on bold for nightwear. I’ve had this for a year, and I know if I want to make a statement on any given occasion, this is the magic trick!

9. Artdeco‘s Long Lasting Eye Kohl ($11.50) – When it comes to eyeliner, if I’m going to wear it at all, it needs to glide on easily and really make a statement. I typically steer clear of the product during the day, but at night, Artdeco’s Long Lasting Eye Kohl never smudges and takes two seconds to effortlessly apply.