My Ride or Die Skin Care Products

Skin has always been in and the older I’m getting, the more I realize that I need to really start giving it TLC every single day. This year, I’ve been trying a good amount of skincare products. Some I was thrilled with and others… hmm. Let’s just say, I would like my money back. But, I won’t dwell on the negative. Keep on reading to see my absolute favorite skincare products!

 

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes /Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water 

The very first step in your skin care routine is to remove all your makeup (if you wear any). I’ve been using the Neutrogena makeup wipes since maybe 2013 and those are the ONLY wipes I’ve used since. It removes it all so easily and doesn’t burn my skin or leaves a weird odor. It usually takes me 2-3 wipes to clear all my makeup, depending on how much makeup I’m wearing that day. Now, don’t be fooled. Even though your makeup APPEARS to be wiped away, it’s not. While the wipes takes away whats on the surface of your skin, the Garnier SkinActive Micellar water really gets into your pores and removes dirt, oil AND makeup. You can use micellar water as your makeup remover as well. If you choose to do this, I recommend using a microfiber wash cloth. I personally use small cotton pads to remove dirt from underneath the surface of my skin after I wash my face. Speaking of face washes…

 

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CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser 

I picked up the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser from Walgreens one day off a whim. I was in between facial cleansers at the time and I heard a lot of great things about this line and their cleansers. So I just picked it up and hoped for the best. Now, for someone with oily skin, hydrating my skin is usually the last thing I want to do. WRONG! Sometimes your oily skin is a cry for hydration. After using this cleanser, I immediately started noticing that my skin was producing less oil. Don’t get me wrong, ya girl still gets oily! But it’s totally under control now thanks to this hydrating cleanser.

 

Alright so we’ve removed our makeup, cleansed our face and now it’s time for my favorite part – skin treatments!

 

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Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks by Wander Beauty

My dark circles are stubborn as hell. A lot of people have been telling me it can be one of three things. Either I don’t drink enough water, don’t get enough sleep or can be hereditary. It is for sure hereditary in my opinion. All I drink is water and no matter how much sleep I get, my dark circles stick to me like glue. So for my under eyes, I’ve been loving the Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks. These are the first eye treatment product where I actually see a difference. I love using these right after a long night or even right before bed. My favorite way to use these masks is to leave them in the fridge for a little while first. Usually, I’ll shower, eat dinner or tidy up while waiting for them to get cold enough then apply them under my eyes for 15-20 mins. Once they’re off, I pat the serum into my skin and let it soak up before applying my eye cream.

 

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Neutrogena Hydrogel Masks

Okay. Let me put it this way. If I had to choose one skin care product to use for the rest of my life. It would be these masks. I know that is a VERY bold statement to make but I’m being so honest. There are three kinds of Neutrogena Masks. I love the Hydro Boost hydrating mask for my dry days, the Radiance Boost brightening masks is best to prep your skin for makeup before an event and the Deep Clean purifying mask when your skin needs an extra *umph*. I like to keep these masks in rotation cause sometimes I need a little of this, a little of that. The best part is that you can find them at Target, CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart… pretty much anywhere you can get drug store priced skin care. And these face masks go great with…

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Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream with Hyaluronic Acid
To date, this is my favorite moisturizer. I was skeptical to try it at first cause it said “gel-cream” and thought for sure it wouldn’t work well with my oily skin. Boy, was I wrong. I tried this moisturizer during the warmer months here in NY and it kept my skin hydrated through the heat and now that winter is approaching, I’m confident it will do the same. The combination of the mask and this gel-cream always leave me with glowy skin and to be honest, that’s how we all want to look when we’re bare-faced.

 

Let me know what are your favorite skin care products below!

 

My Very First YouTube Video!!

Hey guys! Long time no talk. I know I’ve abandoned my blog, but I’ve been trying to dedicated time to my YouTube. Here’s my very first video that I uploaded back in March. It’s a very easy and simple review/tutorial using the ABH Soft glam palette and the ABH X Amrezy Highlight. I really hope you guys enjoy it! I

I will continue to post my videos here, but don’t forget to like an subscribe to my channel!

 

xoxo

Cha

Lighten Up Your Holiday

Holiday time is a time for family, friends and travel. During this season, people all over the world are trying to make it home to their loved ones as easy as possible. But with that comes your luggage. For some – like myself – it’s hard to pack light, especially for a makeup junkie. This post is specifically for the girl that wants to do her makeup during the holidays while carrying as little as possible in her luggage.

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My very first tip is to pack ONLY your must have items. The items you absolutely cannot live without. Trust me. By doing this you can avoid overpacking times ten. The following is my holiday travel must haves for whether I’m going for a nighttime or daytime look. My second tip is for those who subscribe to Ipsy, something similar to Ipsy. Most of the items that are sent are sample sizes and take up very little space. Plus, you get to test out new product on your spare time.

Starting with the face, my current must-have/go-to foundation is CoverGirl’s Vitalist Healthy Elixr Foundation. I never thought that I would have a drug store foundation that I love so much until I tried this one. It has a buildable coverage, makes my skin look absolutely flawless and gives me no flashback, which is perfect for taking pictures with flash. This foundation also doesn’t crease on my face and lasts over 12 hours. I can really depend on this foundation from morning all the way till the night time.

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Now to set my face, I use nothing other than Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder. With this powder and my CoverGirl foundation, I know everything is going to stay in place. Just like the foundation, there is no flashback and even with a light dusting, this powder is going to lock your makeup into place for sure!

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I usually don’t like to spend a lot of time on my eyes when I’m away but I do like to pack a small eyeshadow palette with me just in case I get the sudden urge to be creative. A perfect sized palette to bring on any trip would be any City Mini eyeshadow palette by Maybelline. My favorite one that has shadows for daytime and nighttime looks is the MakeupShayla x Maybelline City Mini Palette. There a perfect balance of warm and dark tones which makes for an easy transition if you’re going to be out all day. The best part? It fits in the palm of your hand! (Here’s a picture of the palette with and without flash.)

Speaking of the eyes, one thing that I cannot go without is mascara. Even if I’m not wearing a full face of makeup, I’ll never leave my house without mascara. With just a coat, you look awake and refreshed. Currently, I have a favorite mascara which is Lights, Camera, Lashes by tarte, but on my trip I always bring back ups. Usually every month in my Ipsy bag I’ll get a mascara sample, which is why I decided to pack two more with me for the holidays. Coming along with me are Excessive Lash by Makeup Forever and They’re Real by benefit cosmetics.

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For highlight, a go-to of mine is Maybeline’s Master Chrome in the shade Molten Gold. The Maybelline highlight is one of my favorites because the more you apply, the more intense it gets. It’s easy to go from daytime to nighttime with this one single highlight. Even with this one shade, this is one that I’ve seen looks great on all skin tones. My favorite way to apply this highlight is to first brush it over my cheekbones with a rounded blush brush, then blend it in with a thick fan brush. Every time I’ve applied this particular highlight this way, it comes or looking more natural.

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Last, but definitely not least, are the lips. Lately, I’ve been loving lip glosses because they don’t make my lips look super dry in the cold weather. My fave at the moment is the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer by Fenty Beauty. I had no idea that I would love this gloss so much and now I pretty much don’t go anywhere without it. It leaves my lips glossy for hours, doesn’t have a sticky consistency and goes great with any makeup look that I do. Oh. And did I mention it smells (and tastes) fantastic? Yum.

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With just under 10 makeup products, I feel pretty confident that I’ll look my best over the holidays – cause you know there’ll be plenty of picture taking. Not only that. I don’t have to care a luggage full of makeup I probably won’t use and I’ve saved a ton of space in my luggage for all the presents I’m bringing home! 😉

Happy Holidays!

What’s your must have items you travel with? Leave them in the comments below!

Wash Day: Makeup Brushes Edition

DSCN1539Just like my hair, my makeup brushes have a wash day. I wash my brushes once a week, but if I’m feeling lazy, I can stretch wash day for 2 weeks. But I do not recommend doing that! Washing your makeup brushes is a tedious and time consuming task but it has to get done for flawless application. So, put on some music or listen to a podcast and let’s get to work!

Why do we need to clean our makeup brushes anyway? Aside from poor makeup application, when you don’t wash your brushes, you are contributing to bacteria build up. You’re hoarding all the eyeshadow, foundation, concealer, etc., in your makeup brushes. Dirt, oil and dust can be found in them too, which can and will lead to breakouts and irritable skin. AND… If you happen to share makeup brushes, whether it be with your sister, mother or roommate, you are now making yourself prone to viral infections. If you are going to share makeup brushes, please, please, please, be careful! Taking care of your brushes will increase their lifespan and each fiber on each brush will surely thank you!

There are many cleaners out there made specifically for make-up brushes. I’ve tried a couple of them but haven’t found one that I really loved. I happened to be talking with a freelancer at Sephora and she told me she washed her brushes with baby shampoo. My initial reaction was, “Baby shampoo?!”. But then it really all made sense in my head. There are no parabens, no alcohol and if this stuff is safe to use on babies, it sure is safe to wash my makeup brushes. There is sulfate in it, but that’s totally fine since we need to clean all that makeup build up.

A bottle of baby shampoo would last me about 6-8 washes and leaves the hairs of my brushes feeling super soft and looking good as new. Since using baby shampoo, I find that my brushes last longer throughout the week. In addition to using baby shampoo, I also use a brush cleansing palette by Real Techniques. It has textured surfaces to clean in between brush bristles for a deep cleaning. The surfaces on the palette are made to thoroughly clean small, medium and large brushes. I purchased my palette at FaceValues for $14.99 and it can be found anywhere Real Techniques is sold.

Cleaning time:

If you have any beautyblenders or makeup sponges, run them under water and scrub the shampoo into it. Keep adding shampoo if needed and squeeze it underneath running water to ensure that all the makeup and shampoo suds are out of there. Do not use the cleansing palette for your beautyblenders, as this can ruin them.

For brushes, rinse them under luke warm water first, then add a drop of baby shampoo to your brush cleansing palette. Repeatedly, make circular motions on the palette using the textured surfaces according to your brush size. Squeeze out all the suds and excess water. If you see the water coming out of your brush is not clear, keep scrubbing until it is! Once all your brushes are clean, lay them flat to air dry on a towel overnight and when you wake up, your brushes will be all dry and ready to go!

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What’s your method to washing your makeup brushes? Share in the comments below!

Coconut Oil 3 Ways

Coconut oil has definitely earned its right to be called a superfood. When I first heard about all these things you can do with coconut oil, I thought it was all lies. But after trying out a couple of these things for myself, I must say – BELIEVE THE HYPE! Coconut oil might be the healthiest thing you can have in your kitchen and it has multiple uses for your skin and body.

Before we get into it, lets talk about the benefits. First and foremost, the best kind of coconut oil you can get is organic and unrefined. This is the purest form and has the highest antioxidant levels. Organic and unrefined coconut oil is extracted from fresh coconuts, while protecting all its beneficial properties.  Coconut oil is considered a healthy fat and can be consumed to improve cholesterol. When used on the skin, it helps cracked or flaky skin heal faster and can help soothe psoriasis and eczema.

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Here’s a picture of the coconut oil that I use. I found it at Face Values for $9.99.

Make-Up Remover

Aside from make-up wipes, if I’m feeling extra oily one day or I just have way too much make-up on, coconut oil will definitely help me take off any hard to remove make-up. I simply scoop out about a quarter hand full of coconut oil from my jar and begin rubbing it on my face and the oil with break down all of my make-up. Then to clean off the oil, I take a warm, damp wash cloth and wipe everything off.

If you’re anything like me, you have oily skin. My skin will produce oil like there’s no tomorrow. Here’s the thing: when there is no oil on your face, your skin will think it needs to produce oil. However, you can manipulate your skin by rubbing coconut oil on your oiliest areas. Then your skin will say, “Woah. There’s too much oil here. Let me stop for a bit.” Good oil will take away bad oil. Makes sense? Great!

Hair Moisturizer

I once had a manager that was Indian and she would always talk to me about Indian hair. She told me when she was a young girl, every Sunday her mother would rub coconut oil into her and her sister’s hair and that’s how, she said, her hair was so long and shiny. After encouraging me to do try it, I of course did. Obviously, my hair didn’t miraculously grow to the ground, but I did notice more shine and less frizz. Coconut oil will give you shiny, frizz free, moisturized hair. But don’t for get that scalp your hair comes from! When you massage coconut oil into your scalp, you are opening up your hair follicles to promote hair growth.

I found that when I heat the coconut oil in the microwave for about a minute before putting it in my hair, I get the best results. Section your hair in half and start from tip to root. I encourage you to start from the tip because this is where your hair is the driest and when you get to the root, massage your scalp. Then usually I leave it in for an hour, or if I have nothing planned that day, I leave it in the whole day. Make sure to wash out all the oil from your hair. We don’t want oily skin OR oily hair.

Cooking Oil

Yes, it’s true. You can cook with coconut oil. As I said before, coconut oil is filled with tons of antioxidants and healthy fats. So why wouldn’t you want to cook with this superfood? My favorite thing to eat when cooking with coconut oil is a fried egg. Simple and easy, right? Typically, I would use an entire tablespoon of butter just to cook one egg but with coconut oil, all you need is a teaspoon. Let the oil dissolve in the heat and cook your eggs how you normally would.

Protein Packed Hair Masque

Over the years, I have slowly grown to love my natural curls. It took a lot of TLC to get my curls to where they are today, but I want them to be better! Last summer, I did a no heat challenge for 3 months and I noticed that my curls were getting tighter and best of all, I was finally seeing some growth. However, once I started straightening my hair again, (maybe only 5 times the past year), I really neglected my hair’s health.

After much research, I finally found an all natural restoration hair masque that works great for my hair! This is a protein packed hair masque, so you should only use this if your hair is super dry, brittle and if you experience a lot of breakage. Too much protein in your hair can cause your hair to seem limp and straw-like.

Here’s the ingredients you need for this protein packed hair masque and the benefits of each:

  • 1 Avocado: Rich source of proteins, amino acids and vitamins and helps soothe the scalp
  • 1 Egg: The best source of protein for your hair and helps prevent hair loss
  • 1 Banana: Contains a great amount of potassium that helps soften the hair, prevents split ends and breakage
  • Coconut oil: Adds moisture, healthy fats with protein and antioxidants that deep conditions, heal and promotes hair growth
  • Castor oil: Carries Omega-6 which accelerates blood circulation in the scalp resulting in hair growth
  • Honey: Helps regulate and retain moisture

I start by whisking my egg in a bowl and smashing the banana so that it has a mushy consistency. I find that doing this to the banana helps it mix better into the masque. I combine the egg, banana and avocado into a blender and use the ‘Puree’ function and let the blender do its thing for about 45 seconds. Next, I’ll add the coconut oil, castor oil and honey into the blender. I didn’t put any measurements because it truly depends on what you feel your hair needs. This time, I use ‘Liquefy’ until everything is smoothed out.

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This is how the masque should once it comes out the blender

The actual application may be a little messy, so I suggest using an old t-shirt. Part your hair however you’d like, (I usually part in fours) and begin with the section where you feel needs the most care. Apply the masque from tip to root and once you get to the root, massage the section to stimulate your hair follicles. Once the masque is in your hair, leave it in for an hour and be sure to thoroughly wash your hair, then style as usual.

After using this masque, I noticed how much softer my hair became, the definition of my curls and how they appeared to be less frizzy. I’ve been using this masque about every 4-6 weeks and I know it’s going to take me a while to get my hair where I want it to be but regardless, I have been loving the results so far. I hope this masque works out for you too!

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Before Masque
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After Masque

Soft Skin is Always In!

I’ve recently took a Spring Break trip to the beautiful South Beach, Florida. While it was about 40 something degrees up north in New York City, I was having fun in the sun. Unfortunately, the heat and the sun dried up my skin by the time I made it back to NYC. So, I wanted to share with you how I used African Black Soap products to restore my skin back to greatness!

First off, if I’m wearing a full face of make up, I like to make sure that I’m removing ALL of it. I use Neutrogena make up remover wipes to take off my make up after a long day but I always feel like it never cleans beneath the surface. So to get a deeper clean feeling, I use Garnier SkinActive’s All-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water, which not only cleans the make up that was left behind, but it takes away dirt and oil on my face, leaving my pores feeling refreshed!

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Something else that became part of my skin routine is Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Acne Prone Face & Body Bar with Shea Butter. This soap has really helped control the oil in my T-zone and the clinical acne I used to have on my forehead. I rub the soap over my face in circular motions about 3-4 times week and rinse it with cool water.

For a mask, I absolutely love Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Facial Mask with Tamarind Extract and Tea Tree Oil. This mask hydrates my skin and again, controls the excess oil in my T-zone. And even though the packaging doesn’t say it, I really feel like it helps lighten my dark under eyes. I use this mask only once a week and I apply it with a flat foundation brush. I leave it on for 15 minutes before I rinse it off with cold water.

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And of course, last but not least, moisturize with your favorite moisturizer. At the moment, mine is Ahava’s Time to Hydrate Night Replenisher. This lotion is on the pricier side at $51, but for a drug store brand, my favorite is Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Lotion.

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Black soap is a gentle cleanser and is commonly used by people that suffer from rashes, dryness and other skin conditions. Here are some of the great benefits of African Black Soap:

  • Improves skin tone
  • Helps heal problem skin
  • Reduces inflammation and skin irritations
  • Improves skin tone
  • Acts as a deep cleanser

There are many other uses for African Black Soap. What do you use it for and how has it improved your skin? Share in the comments below.