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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m all about natural forms of healing. I struggle with anxiety and I subconsciously hold on to the past, so this affects my day-to-day life. I’ve received reiki many times, I’ve used healing crystals and I’ve even taken a special full moon healing bath which required tons of preparation. And, as of a month ago, I’ve been using virtual sound baths because I can’t fall asleep.
Sound healing is a powerful form of meditation. This is a different turn for me because I’ve never been a meditation kind of gal. It’s hard getting out of my head and sitting still for so long. After completing a traditional meditation session, I’ve never felt any differently—but you need to do it consistently. Recently, the founder of a major meditation studio in L.A. reached out about trying her new app. And that’s when things changed.
I likely have more restless nights than the average person, but there was a recent evening in particular that my mind was all TikTok’d out and I would’ve given anything to fall asleep. I downloaded the aforementioned app—and rather than opt for a guided meditation, I clicked on one of the sound healing selections. The 40-minute session required nothing more than for me to lie down, close my eyes and be able to hear. I kid you not, it knocked me out in five minutes. Sleeping pills wake me up in the middle of the night after they wear off; sleepy teas make me have to use the restroom in the middle of the night; CBD products give me crazy dreams. In other words, nothing’s worked up to this point.
I’ve gone to sound baths at various L.A. venues, and I’ve fallen asleep pretty shortly into the sessions. But honestly, I thought my simple snooze-fest resulted from my workplace, which zapped all my energy. The office always left me exhausted, but now I realize I actually fell asleep for a deeper reason.
I’ve been so excited to share my life-changing discovery with others that I reached out to Roxie Sarhangi, better known in cyberspace as @roxiesoundhealing. Keep reading for Roxie’s amazing tips on how to use sound healing to fall asleep.
skyelyfe: How did you get involved in sound healing?
Roxie Sarhangi: The first time I recall hearing the powerful sound of a gong in person was in a yoga class during Savasana. This was about a decade or so ago. It was a momentous visceral experience. I felt the vibration deep within my chest, and it brought my mind immediately to the present moment. I remember leaving, wanting to experience the gong for a longer period of time.
The first sound bath I experienced was in Ojai with Tibetian bowls, and it felt so calming and deeply relaxing. The ethereal sound really captivated me, so from there, I went to sound baths all over L.A. I decided I wanted to learn how to share it with others, so I became a certified sound healer practitioner in 2018.
SL: What were your initial experiences with it when you were exploring just for fun?
RS: I touched upon this above, but essentially, I always like to stay curious and have a learner’s mind. Sound healing is esoteric, unique and feels powerful. I loved the idea of everyone getting together to better themselves in this unique environment. I definitely wasn’t planning on becoming a sound healer!
SL: What’s the science behind sound healing and its ability to ease tension and assist with sleep ailments?
RS: Sound healing affects brain waves to slow down to a profoundly relaxing and restorative state. Notes of the crystal bowls are tuned to the seven chakras and energy centers. These help recenter us when we’re out of alignment. They’re also tuned to 432 hertz, the vibrational frequency of nature. If you think about it, everything has a frequency. Every living element in our body emits a frequency. The frequency of the crystal bowls is often described as a sound of the “universe.”
I’ll also play the symphonic gong, one of the oldest instruments. Its roots trace back to around 3500 B.C. The gong is used to release tension and blocks in the body, stimulating a higher functioning of the glandular and nervous system. I’ve heard many attendees share that they have the best sleep after sound healing. They’re in a deeply relaxed state primed for sleep, so that is why. As I understand it, you’re essentially moving from alpha and theta brainwave state. This occurs during sound healing to the next state—delta brain waves—which occurs during sleep. That’s one of the reasons why sound healing feels so magical to me!
SL: What’s the best way for a newbie to maximize their experience with sound healing?
RS: One of the many reasons I love sound healing is that it requires very little doing of the participant, mainly showing up! I approach it as easy, effortless, and transcendent. The more you can relax, the more you can receive the sounds. I recommend giving yourself the gift of coming into the experience as relaxed as possible, without pushing. If you go to an in-person session, allow plenty of time to drive to the location, park and get settled. Bring items that can allow you to feel cozy and good. A blanket, pillow, and perhaps an eye mask. Set yourself up to feel your best.
If you do an at-home sound bath, then light a candle, sage, or palo santo. Put yourself in a physical space that feels relaxing and healing. When I do in-person sessions, they’re always at inspiring locations such as the 1 Hotel West Hollywood on their rooftop deck under the night sky. We’re under a stunning large-scale sculpture, Dream Catcher by Janet Echelman. Our brainwaves when we dream is what inspired the sculpture. How perfect for sound healing!
When you can walk into an environment and feel uplifted, it makes an impact. If the space feels inspiring, you begin to feel inspired. Your space is very important. Another location I enjoy is at a museum style gallery, Barakat Gallery. Centuries-old artifacts, sculptures and life-size Buddhas surrounded us during our event last year. There’s an ineffable sense of depth and soul in a space like that.
SL: Are there any particular sound healing apps or YouTube videos/channels you recommend people listen to as they fall asleep?
RS: I don’t know if there are any apps only for sound healing, but that’s a great idea! I know there are sound healing sessions on Calm app, Insight Timer and YouTube. I also have a YouTube channel and IGTV with free sound healing sessions that I know souls listen to before bed.
SL: Is there anything else you’d like to add about your specific practice or sound healing in general?
RS: I feel truly honored to share sound healing. Sound is primordial. It’s the first vibration ever experienced. It is so powerful. I am constantly in awe of the power of sound. Thank you for asking me to share more about sound healing! See you under the influence of sound.
*Roxie is launching her 11 Days of Sound Healing this Friday (Oct. 16) in honor of the New Moon. To learn more or sign up, click HERE.
For more incredible healing tips and techniques, click HERE.
Some people stick to traditional spring cleaning, but I’m personally a huge proponent of doing it during autumn. There are always more things to get rid of when decluttering towards the end of the year than during Q2.
So yes, currently, as temps drop and leaves fall, I’m at peace going through endless drawers and closets filled with what I once thought I couldn’t part with. It’s the most freeing feeling, and I’m thisclose to being where I want to be with my environmental energy.
Whether during spring, fall or any season at all, getting rid of lingering belongings is always a good idea. That’s why I reached out to Decluttering for Dummies author, Jane Stoller. While doing this is important, like any other big project, it’s a daunting, time-consuming task.
“We’re busy—when we come home, we’re too tired or overwhelmed to even think about decluttering,” Jane tells skyelyfe. “I hope to change that mindset gradually, and not only show that decluttering is fun but it can be incorporated into your daily routine naturally. Though, nowadays we’re all working from home and many have made time to declutter!”
Kicking off a round up of decluttering is much like starting anything else.
“Ease into it the same way you would when starting a new exercise routine,” Jane explains. “Schedule daily or weekly decluttering into your calendar to hold yourself accountable and beat the overwhelming feelings. The goal is that decluttering will happen naturally once you make this process a habit.”
Keep reading for Jane’s list of six things to get rid of when decluttering.
1. Anything That Steals Your Energy
This is the time to get real. Look at each space in your home and workspaces and dig deep. They may look okay on the surface, but I want you to really acknowledge where disasters lie. Hidden drawers, piled magazines from three years ago, or antique furniture you can’t get rid of, haven’t used for years, but definitely steals your energy each time you have to dust its intricate details. Get real with yourself. Allow the energy you feel when you enter rooms and go towards each item to help you.
2. Most of What’s Packed Away in Closets or Other Storage Spaces
Anything taking up space is therefore taking up precious real estate. There are some common items that many of us store at home and they never see the light of day, or, we even have a separate off-site storage unit (and we shouldn’t be paying for it).
Furniture should be used, not stored. If you don’t use it, why are you keeping it?
By the time you find them, they’re either too old, are no longer relevant, or have been ruined by dust or the elements. Technology moves fast, so don’t store electronics.
Old Travel Bags
Not a week goes by that I don’t see an ad for the latest new travel bag or suitcase that’s lighter, more functional, has wireless charging, you name it! Holding onto old suitcases and travel bags is unnecessary. Keep your travel items up-to-date if you travel frequently—and if you don’t travel, then why do you have these in the first place? Plus, airlines are getting stricter with weight and sizes, so traveling with your old huge and heavy suitcases probably isn’t the best idea.
It always bothers me when photos are stored in attics because no one can ever see them! Photos are meant to be viewed, especially if you took the time to print them. They should be taken care of, not stuffed in a box where they’re likely getting ruined.
Packing Material and Empty Boxes
Get rid of these ASAP.
3. Photos of Your Ex (and Their Items)
This is definitely in the past! Memories and items, especially from past loved ones, are precious, and I completely respect that and want you to keep whatever brings you the most happiness. The key is to be selective in what you keep. Going through your sentimental items should be a joy, and the more selective you are about how much you keep, the better the process will be.
4. Anything That Can’t Be Used
While we know that trash is the most obvious clutter, everyone’s definition of “trash” can also be different. As the saying goes, “One’s man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” But a rule of thumb is anything broken or expired that cannot be donated should be quickly decluttered.
If it’s a document you need, scan it and upload it to the Cloud or any online drive of your own preference. Recycle all of your loose papers and shift to a digital mindset going forward.
Rethink buying in bulk in the first place. On the same theme of determining how much you should keep, I encourage you to change your mindset and keep only one of something where you have many, and make it count. Hanging onto multiples or bulk-saving will not make your items more special.
Especially bathroom products! I think being prepared for anything is important, from earthquakes to having spare toothpaste so you don’t have to run to the store at midnight. However, I don’t agree with storing multiples of all your bathroom products and certainly not more than one extra of each. If you’re at Costco and you see your exact moisturizer on sale in a set of 20, think twice. Will they expire before you’re even ready to use them? Will you switch moisturizers next month? Will your skin type change? Are you willing to give up your precious real estate in the bathroom for these to sit for possibly years?
Now that you know what things to get rid of when decluttering, click HERE for expert tips on how to take the best #OOTD selfies.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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)?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.