Beauty

The Beauty Benefits of Charcoal

Beauty benefits of charcoalEvery so often, when I visit my mom in the north burbs, I stop by at the TJ Maxx in Evanston to scope it out. They have an “Off the Runway” department where I’ve come across killer finds in the past, but it’s very hit or miss. The last time I went, I perused the designer department and wasn’t impressed, so I ventured over to the beauty section. It’s not a section of the store I’m familiar with, but after examining the products for a minute or two, it captured my attention.

One of the products I was particularly interested in was this Charcoal facial detox cleanser. I (of course) immediately looked it up online to see if I could find reviews…and I found PLENTY on Amazon, mostly positive. I’ve tried the Boscia charcoal cleanser in the past, but felt it was too pricey for what it was so I stopped buying it. This one seemed like it was similar enough and 1/3 of the cost. I bought it with low expectations and started using it daily. After about 3 weeks of using it, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results. My face feels crisp and clean after cleansing, and the cleanser is able to take off most of my makeup (which is a HUGE for me, mainly because I’m lazy). I like that it doesn’t have a fragrance as I’ve been so against fragranced skincare products lately – there’s no way that stuff is good for your skin!Activated Charcoal beauty benefitsI then started wondering…what exactly is charcoal doing for my skin? Why am I liking this cleanser so much?! Turns out, there are quite a few beauty benefits charcoal provides (specifically activated charcoal):

Cleans out & shrinks pores: I’m not crazy for feeling like my skin is extra clean! The scientific explanation – charcoal acts as a magnet for dirt & toxins, so when you rinse your face, you wash out the dirt too. My guess is that the pore shrinking capabilities have lead to my brighter, more even complexion.

Fights acne: Charcoal’s ability to pick up dirt from pores makes it an acne fighting agent. Luckily, at this point in my life I don’t have issues with acne (I did have cystic acne in my early 20’s – that’s a story for another post!), but if I did, this would work wonders.

Soothes and heals insect bites or other skin irritations: Activated charcoal can help speed up the healing process when it comes to insect bites and certain skin conditions!

Whitens teeth: This one was the most surprising to me – there are charcoal toothpaste products out there. Does this mean I can get rid of the whitestrips?!

Removes toxins from hair & adds volume: Yes, charcoal shampoo exists too. The same way it removes dirt from your skin applies to hair follicles as well. The dirt & toxins are also responsible for weighing down your hair – that means when they’re out, your hair is more voluminous.

Now I’m looking for other ways to incorporate charcoal into my beauty routine. I actually bought this facial sponge with added bamboo charcoal over a year ago  – I need to start using it again! Below are other products I’ve had my eye on. Have you tried any of these? Would love to hear your thoughts!

How to Use Jojoba Oil

How to Use Jojoba Oil

I’m always one for testing new beauty products & mixing up my skincare rotation, but jojoba oil has been part of my routine for a couple of years now. It took me time to warm up to the idea of putting oil on my face – I used to think it would make me break out! “Oil free” was always a positive thing in my mind – but I’ve learned that’s SO not the case. I find myself using jojoba oil the most out of any other oil (I use coconut & vitamin E oil too), because it’s lighter and absorbs really well. In fact, it’s supposed to be very close to the natural oils our body produces. I buy mine from acne.org – it’s such a great value! I’ve had mine for over a year and there’s PLENTY left. You can also find it here & here. Now, on to how I actually use it…

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How to Use Face Gloss

How to Use Face Gloss

We’re nearing the end of winter (THANK GOD), which means my pastiness is at an all time high. I’m in desperate need of a tan – my go-to tanning pads aren’t even helping me at this point. I tried packing on more concealer, more bronzer, more moisturizer to help with my dry, pale winter skin, but nothing was working.

Finally, last week at Sephora, I discovered a magical product. One that brightened up my skin instantly, giving me the dewy look I’ve always strived for. I didn’t even care that my skin was pale because it was GLOWING. Introducing…Milk Face Gloss.

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Curly Hair Tips: How I Care for My Curls

Curly Hair Tips: How I Care for My Curls

I’ve been rocking my curls since age 3. Sure, I could straighten them (and sometimes do), but I think the curls represent me and my style. It’s sort of my “thing” at this point. Luckily, I’ve figured out how to manage these bad boys over the years. They didn’t always look like this. I can pull up some scary photos from my Facebook archive – apparently, I was very into the “wet” look in my high school days. Not sure it was intentional, but it definitely happened.

It takes time, lots of trial and error, but once you know how to manage your curls, you’ll put that straightener away for good. These are the rules I live by when it comes to caring for my hair.

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Latest Obsession: Benefit Gimme Brow

Latest Obsession: Benefit Gimme Brow

I’ve got thick, bushy, unruly eyebrows. If I didn’t maintain these bad boys, I’d have an eyebrow (that’s right, just one) that would connect with my hairline on both sides. It would all blend in real nicely. Though it took me quite some time to appreciate their unruliness, I’ve finally accepted my brows and learned to embrace them. More importantly, I’ve learned to keep them in check. This involves frequent trips to my girl Vanessa at Parlor 836 (if you’re into threading, you need to see this girl – she works magic), in addition to trimming and tweezing here and there in between visits.

Recently, I discovered a new product that has changed my eyebrow game…Benefit’s Gimme Brow. It’s essentially a brow-volumizing gel that grooms your brows and gives them a thicker, fuller appearance.

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Greek Yogurt Face Mask (with Avocado)

Greek Yogurt Face Mask (with Avocado)

Heading into my late 20’s, I started to prioritize skincare more than ever. I look back at my teens & early 20’s and cringe at how I treated my skin – i.e. no sunscreen, not drinking enough water, sleeping with makeup on…I can go on for days. I’ve started to notice & appreciate other women with gorgeous skin, and often ask what their skincare regimen is.

A couple of weekends ago at a family wedding, I was seated with one of my cousins at the dinner table. She’s in her late 40’s and has phenomenal skin. I asked her to share her skincare secrets – in addition to the usual ones (stay out of the sun, exfoliate, sunscreen it up, etc.), she mentioned that she has been using a Greek yogurt mask on her face 3X a week for 20+ years! She had me convinced that I needed to give it a try.

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Latest Obsession: Function of Beauty

Latest Obsession: Function of Beauty

It’s always good to switch up your beauty routine, especially when it comes to hair product. Your hair tends to adjust to the products you use frequently, and over time, you don’t maintain consistent results. I’ve been using Moroccan Oil shampoo and conditioner for years now, so when Function of Beauty asked me to try their customized shampoo & conditioner, I didn’t have to think twice.

Did you catch that? It’s customized shampoo and conditioner, for your hair. Just. For. You. As technology improves, customization will be key. From skincare, apparel, fragrance to hair care, everything will be customized based on your needs. Function of Beauty is one of the first to attempt this, and truth be told, I’m quite impressed with their product.

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Latest Obsession: Dr. Dennis Gross Glow Pads

Latest Obsession: Dr. Dennis Gross Glow Pads

This is the time of year when I wish I was tanner than I actually am. It’s too soon to have any color because we’re just starting to get some sunshine, but it feels like summer so I feel like I should have a little somethin’ somethin’. If my face is a little tan, my makeup looks better, and I get that “dewy” look everyone strives for.

I made my usual bi-monthly (or monthly really – who am I kidding) Sephora trip a few weeks back, and decided to give Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads a shot. I’ve heard from friends that they work well, and they get stellar reviews so…what did I have to lose?

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Fresh Spring Hair

Fresh Spring Hair

I’ve been trying to grow my hair out, so I haven’t had a hair cut since October. OCTOBER. My ends feel like the end of a broomstick. I know they say it’s best for hair growth when you get a cut every 6 weeks or so, but I refused to do it in fear that my hair just wouldn’t grow. I’m finally comfortable enough with the length where I’m willing to go in and get a fresh style, because this 6 month old hair cut has run its course. Here are some looks I’m loving lately. Which one should I go with?

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My Daily Skincare Routine – Winter

My Daily Skincare Routine – Winter

It took time to get my skincare routine down this winter, and after a lot of trial and error, I’ve discovered a few products that I absolutely love. My skin is on the drier side, so my main challenge is finding products that are hydrating and also contain the important ingredients I need. I’ve narrowed it down to 7 products that I use on a daily basis (I know, it seems excessive but trust me, it’s really not that bad!).

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