Could Your Bed Sheets be the Cause of Your Breakouts?

Could Your Bed Sheets be the Cause of Your Breakouts?

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There was a time when I couldn’t have cared less about my skin.  However, when cystic acne decided to attack my face I had no choice but to start caring.    My journey to obtain clear skin was a rocky one.  I had to learn what foods were causing my acne, I had to figure out the perfect regimen for my skin and I had to figure out the things in my environment that were effecting my skin.

The holistic dermatologist I use told me that I needed to start paying attention to my environment and gave me some key tips for keeping my skin clear.  For me, one of the main reasons I was experiencing breakouts was my bed sheets!

It’s important to change your bedding frequently, and here is why:

The Dirt
Throughout the day, your skin comes into contact with various pollutants, forms of dirt, and oils.  Nightly when you go to wash your face and/or shower the dirt is washed away.  But think about how the body sweats, especially at night.  Also, if you eat in your bed or allow your pets to sleep with you there are a ton of irritants that will be left in your bed.  If you have skin conditions like psoriasis; eczema; atopic dermatitis; and other ailments, not changing your sheets frequently can lead to outbreaks because of the irritants left on the sheets from the dirt, oil, food and pet dander.

Another dirt factor is saliva, many people drool when they are asleep,  I am definitely guilty of this!  At night your mouth is filled with bacteria so imagine the amount of bacteria that is passed to your pillow throughout the night.

Your Hair
If you’re like me, you don’t wash your hair every day. So that means that there is a build up of oils, gels, creams, dirt and more.  Even if you sleep with a bonnet or satin scarf on your head, the products and dirt on your hair seep through and end up on your pillowcase.  I dye my hair midnight black which gives it a blue tint.  When I look at my sheets I see how the blue dye has seeped through my satin scarf and ends up on my pillow.

So What Happens If You Don’t Change Them?
Not changing your sheets often can lead to breakouts and inflamed skin.  The build up of oil that transfers from your pillowcase to your skin can lead to blackheads, white heads and other rashes.  The dust mites and dander that build up over time on bedding can flare up eczema and other allergies. 

So How Often Should You Change Them?
The frequency of changing your sheets really depends on the time of year.

During the summer months, its recommended that bedding be changed every four to five days because of the amount of sweat and oil the body produces.   In the winter, it is recommended that bedding be changed once a week.

If you don’t feel like changing all of your bedding, then at least swap out your pillow cases weekly.   If you have environmental allergies (dust mites or pet dander) then you should change your sheets more often.

Take minute to think about how often you are changing your sheets?  Is it weekly? Or is it less than that?  If you’re changing your sheets less often than weekly you may want to change your habits ASAP!

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Blaq Roses

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In 2016 I decided that I would fall back a bit from purchasing products from mainstream companies and start purchasing from small businesses when possible.  A vast majority of my hair and skin care products come from small businesses owned by African Americans that I’ve found on social media, and  I always let you guys know about the ones I do and don’t like.  A few months ago, I found out about Blaq Roses, you may remember me posting about their Hemp Oil Moisturizer in my post last week on keeping my skin clear.  Blaq Roses is a beauty company that promotes self-love and creative freedom.  Their products offer a holistic approach to self-care, and you guys know I’m all about holistic approaches to beauty and after years of soul-searching, I’ve finally learned how to love myself.   I had the opportunity to try several of their products and I have to admit, there was not one item that I did not love. Continue reading “Blaq Roses”

The Importance of Toner

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I keep my daily skin care regimen fairly simple.  I do use masks and exfoliators once a week but my normal routine consists of washing, toning and moisturizing my skin.  Recently I posted a blog on Skin Care While Traveling.   One of the key things I mentioned for caring for your skin while traveling was to tone your skin to reset your skins pH.  One of my favorite bloggers and fellow Queen of a Feather Style Junkie asked a good question: What does toner do?

That’s an awesome question because I didn’t realize how many people don’t use to toner and are unsure of what it does. So… I’ve got the answers for you!

Toner does many things from cleansing the skin to preventing ingrown hairs

It resets the pH balance of the skin.

When we cleanse our skin, it disrupts the natural acidity of our skin.  This causes the skin to go into protection mode so that the balance of acidity can be restored,  many times people suffer from oily skin because of this.  Using toner allows the acidity to be restored quickly

It adds a barrier of protection 

Toners assist with closing pores.  Closed pores prevents impurities like dirt and oil from entering the skin.  Toner can even assist in removing certain minerals that are present in tap water (I’ve been thinking about ceasing washing my skin with tap water… we’ll see about that)

It shrinks pores

My pores are HUGE I mean they are just ridiculously noticeable.  I can tell when I do not use toner, because toner  removes oil from the skin and gives the appearance that the pores are smaller.

 

 

 

It’s an excellent moisturizer

Many toners on the the market are humectants, this means they assist with keeping the skin moisturized

It prevents ingrown hairs

One of the benefits of using toners that contain glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids is that they help with preventing ingrown hairs

It’s an excellent skin refresher

Toner can be used to cleanse the skin when its oily or dirty while on the go.  When I’m out on a hot sunny day I like to keep a small bottle in my purse to help remove some of the icky feeling you get from being sweaty all day.

 

My favorite toners are:

Rare Earth Pore Refining Toner by Kiehls

Cucumber Lotion by Mario Badescu

Diluted Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

 

For those that are already using toner, which one is your favorite? I’d love to hear back from you!

Until next time…

Spring Cleaning: How Often Should You Clean Your Brushes?

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Last week I was chatting with one of my good good girlfriends and of course the topic of skin care came up. I’m always on my friends speed dial when they have any kind of ailment or skin issue, since I seem to always have a good remedy or product recommendation. My GGF (good good girlfriend) was saying that her skin was breaking out and she couldn’t figure out why. So I went down my normal list of questions:

How are your eating habits? Good 

Have you been going to the bathroom regularly? Yep 

Are you keeping your hands and cell phone clean? Yes

What about your makeup brushes, are you washing them regularly? *silence*

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Ding ding ding!!!  She had no idea that she needed to clean her makeup brushes, and had been using the same dirty brushes for YEARS!!!   Ladies this is NOT acceptable behavior, your makeup brushes must be cleaned regularly even if you do not use them often.

It’s actually recommended by dermatologists that we wash our makeup brushes daily… But ummmm who has time for that?  So washing your brushes weekly is acceptable.  For me, I’m going to be honest since I don’t wear makeup daily, I wash my brushes about once every two weeks.

Danger Zone

Using dirty brushes on your skin can cause numerous issues.  Breakouts are a huge consequence of using dirty brushes.  This is because over time the brushes become caked with residue, built up product, oil, skin cells and BACTERIA!!!

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning your brushes is super simple, you can purchase brush cleaners from brands like e.l.f., Clinique, Mary Kay and M.A.C.  Since I’m a cheap skate I just use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Oil Soap.  You can also use: unscented bar soap, dish detergent and even baby wash to clean your brushes.  Also, when my brushes are super caked with product I like to use avocado or olive oil to break down the gunk easily.

Brushes can be clean in  a few easy steps:

  1. Gently work the shampoo on the brushes with your fingers (be sure to avoid the barrel so that you don’t cause the brush to loosen)
  2. Press the water out with a towel
  3. Reshape the bristles and lay them flat so that the brushes can fully dry

Whatever you do, DO NOT soak your brushes!!!  This can cause the glue to loosen leading to the bristles to loosen from the barrel.

How often are you cleaning your brushes?  What products do you use?  I’d love to get suggestions from you guys!

Stay tuned as I continue my Spring Cleaning segment and discuss when you should throw your makeup away!

Until next time….

Mario Badescu – Ceramide Eye Gel

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I never realized how important it is to care for the skin around our eyes.  A few years ago I was in Nordstrom buying a Clarisonic and I struck up a conversation with the sales associate about my skin care routine.  I told her what products I was using and she asked a question that stumped me.  “What do you use to care for your eyes?”  Never once had I ever considered caring for the skin around my eyes because I always thought that it was something I would do when I saw crows feet forming, or noticed puffiness around my eyes. Turns out, its never too early to start caring for the skin around our eyes.

The skin around our eyes is extremely delicate, and as we age the skin becomes thinner because of the breakdown of collagen.  The skin around our eyes can also become thinner due to smoking, sun exposure and other environmental factors.   The skin around our eyes has elasticity similar to a rubber band.  Just like a rubber band constant tugging and pulling cause the elasticity to break down.  Our eyes are moved 10,000 times a day by just blinking alone.  But think about how many times we rub our eyes during the day, smile, laugh, frown and make other facial expressions.  All of these effect the elasticity of the skin around our eyes, so its vital that we use some form of moisturizer, serum or gel that contain herbal extracts to keep the skin around our eyes looking picture perfect.

The Ceramide Eye Gel by Mario Badescu is packed with herbal extracts  and ceramides to help relieve tired and puffy eyes as well as keeping the elasticity of our our eyes in tact.  Its lightweight and greaseless so it won’t clog your pores.  One of my favorite ways to use it is to store it in the refrigerator as a way to refresh my eyes the morning after a long night.  You can find it at stores like Ulta, Nordstrom, Blue Mercury and Urban Outfitters for just $18!

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I’ve been using this product for about years now and I absolutely love it!  Try it out and let me know what you think.   What products are you using to care for the skin around your eyes?

 

Until next time lovies….

 

Bentonite Me Baby Clay Mask Review

Bentonite Me Baby

A few months ago I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across Alikay Naturals. Alikay Naturals is a line of natural hair care and beauty products for all hair and skin types.  The company is owned by YouTube Vlogger Rochelle Graham and can be found in your local independent beauty supply store, Sally’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Harmon Face Values and Target. As soon as I opened the site, I was already in love.  Of course, since I am obsessive I bought everything on their site.  My two favorite products from their line have been the Shea Yogurt (Later Post) and the Bentonite Me Baby clay mask.

When it comes to your skin, its really important to use some form of a detoxifier for your skin.  Detoxifying your skin removes impurities and deep down dirt that can clog pores and cause comedones (blackheads) to form.  There are many products on the market that can assist with detoxifying skin and removing impurities but many of them contain extremely harsh chemicals.  Alikay Naturals Bentonite Me Baby is made with 100% natural bentonite clay (aged volcanic ash). Bentonite clay is an excellent clarifier and detoxifier for your hair and all of your body.  Once the clay has been wet, its healing powers are activated.  Once you apply the clay to your skin or hair, it pulls out all impurities and toxins out of your skin almost like a magnet. Since my hair is extremely short, I only use the clay on my skin.

Mixing the bentonite clay is extremely easy.  If you have sensitive skin, It’s recommended that you mix the clay with water. For me, I use apple cider vinegar.  Mix the clay until it is smooth and creamy, you can add more clay or liquids if needed.   When mixing the clay, be sure not to use metal utensils.  The metal from the utensils can deactivate the magnetic effect of the clay which makes it less effective.

Once you apply the clay to your skin, leave it on for about 20 minutes.  Your skin will become extremely tight, this is the clay pulling the impurities from your skin.  Once the clay has dried, rinse the mask off with warm water.   Your skin may be a little red, but this will disappear within about 10 minutes.   After the mask, you can continue with your normal skin routine.

Bentonite Selfie

Once I used the clay, it seemed as if all of my blackheads came to the surface.  I lightly used a black head extractor to remove the blackheads.  After removing the mask I used my Rare Earth Face Toner from Kiehl’s and  Restorative Facial Milk from Julep.  The next day after using the mask, I noticed that my skin was a lot softer than normal.  My pores even seemed to be less visible.   I definitely think this will be a staple in my skin care regimen, especially because I frequently get blackheads.

I’ll be sure to post about the other Alikay Naturals products I have used very soon.  Because I’ve been obsessed with them, they are pretty much all gone so I’ll have to replenish in the next few weeks.

Which Alikay Natural Products have you tried?

 

Skin Care Routine Using Items You Already Have At Home… And Some You Don’t

Sometimes when I ask people about their skin care routine, they tell me they don’t have one because they can’t afford one.  Now that my friends is what is called… a load of poo!  A skin care routine definitely does not have to be expensive.  In fact, there are many drug store products that can be used annnnnnnnnnnnnnd there are also many products you already have at home that can be used in your skin care routine as well!  

Here are my tips for an inexpensive skin care routine:

1. Cleansing 

I like to use Noxema Classic Clean.  Its really inexpensive and it works great.  A standard jar can last at least two months.  You can purchase Noxema at any drug store and sometimes you can find it at any drug store and many grocery stores carry it too.  It usually runs for about $4.

2. Exfoliating

Baking Soda is an excellent exfoliator.  Its inexpensive and usually everyone already has it in their home.  Just take a few teaspoons and rub it on your damp skin.  the coarseness of the baking soda will gently give your skin a deep clean removing all dirt and oil from your skin. Baking soda can be purchased starting at $0.75 you can’t beat that!



3. Toning

Apple Cider Vinegar is like a magical potion that was sent down from heaven to cure all ailments and enhance our beauty.  ACV can be used to replace many beauty products.  ACV can even be used to tone your skin and set it back to its PH after cleasning and exfoliating. Just pour a little on a cotton ball and rub all over.  Since ACV is potent, you may want to dilute it with a little water first so that its not too harsh on your skin.  ACV can be purchased at any grocery store.  I prefer unfiltered ACV because its organic.  That usually runs about $3  or $4 but it lasts for months. 


4. Moisturizing

Now this one should be no surprise to you guys because you know I loooooooooooooooooooooove Coconut Oil.  Coconut oil can be used for pretty much anything.  Cooking, hair care, relationship issues… Coconut oil is the cure for everything.  Take a fingerfull of coconut oil and rub it on your hands and BAM you have a good skin moisturizer to end your skin care routine.  Coconut oil is probably the most expensive product on this list because it runs anywhere between $6 and $20.  Sometime you can go to stores like Marshalls and TJMaxx and find it on the clearance aisle.



Voila!!! You just got a whole skin care routine for under $20!  So get rid of the idea that you can’t afford a skin care routine because you can!

Until next time lovies…


Skin Care On the Inside


Last summer, I was taking a medicine called Phentermine. It’s meant to suppress your appetite. While it works, the side effects that come along with it are terrible (for some). The worst side effect I experien while taking phentermine was the cystic acne.  Everyday I was finding a huge knot of a pimple on my face.  I remember watching one closely  in the mirror one morning and I could actually see it forming.  They were all over my face and it was extremely painful.  I had no idea how to treat cystic acne since it’s basically pimples that form under your skin.


Cystic acne happens when the infection from a pimple goes deep into your skin.  It causes the development of a red bump that is filled with pus. Cystic acne itches but it also really hurts.  The worst thing about cystic acne is that if a cyst bursts, it can cause the infection to spread which causes more pimples to form.


After doing some research I learned that that cystic acne can be treat with prescription medicine such as Accutane  and birth control.  For me I did not choose this option because Accutane is known for having sever side effects and I choose not to take birth control for personal reasons.  This lead to me finding out how to treat cystic acne using other methods.  I decided my first step would be to take care of my skin from the inside.  



1. I switched my white sugar for coconut palm sugar.  It’s a bit expensive, but it has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar.  Sugar in our diet spikes blood sugar levels which has a direct effect on hormones.  This can lead to the development of cystic acne


2. I started taking vitamins that promoted healthy skin. Daily I take a multivitamin, hair skin and nail vitamin and I take fish oil vitamins.  Many vitamins and supplements like Vitamin C act as an antioxidant and keep skin looking youthful and healthy.


3.  I said goodbye to dairy.  This one was hard for me because I love cheese.  I switched to vegan cheese and started drinking soy milk and eating dairy free yogurt. This is an expensive addition to my diet but it’s worth it because my skin has changed dramatically as a result of it. Dairy can cause major hormonal imbalances.  These imbalances can cause the over growth of sebum, this leads to cystic acne and other skin conditions. 


It was amazing to me how much my skin changed just by changing a few things in my diet.  Within a matter of weeks I noticed less breakouts and that my cystic pimples were shrinking in size.  Now, this may not work for everyone but it did work for me.  If you are experiencing cystic acne I encourage you to do your research and see how changing your diet may change your skin.

Until next time lovies…

Silencing Blackheads

If I had to pick one thing that I hate about my skin its the blackheads that come along with having oily skin. I’ve always felt like having oily skin has been what has kept my skin to look youthful, but controling the blackheads the come along with  has always been a struggle for me.

Silencing Blackheads in My Bathroom

Since beginning my journey to obtaining flawless skin, I’ve gone through many products in order to find what works best for me when it comes to preventing and treating blackheads.


For some reason the volcanic eruptions known as blackheads love to pop up on my forehead and chin.  Anytime I see a mole like bump on my face, I know somehow a blackhead has snuck onto my soon to be flawless canvas.

To tackle this issue I do multiple things:

Change the Envirmonment

I’m not referring to Global Warming or anything like that, but what I am talking about it protecting your skin from items in your household that can cause blackheads to form.

  • Change your pillowcase at least twice a week.  Most people sweat in their sleep.  The sweat then is absorbed by our pillowcases and transfer back to our faces as dirt.  Many African American women do not wash their hair daily, so the dirts and oil from our hair is also absorbed by our pillows and transfers back to our faces.  This can play a huge role in the formation of blackheads
  • Clean your cell phone!  Our cell phones are dirt magnets!  We touch our phones daily with dirty hands, and when we talk on them the sweat and dirt from our faces 
Keep Your Hands to Yourself(off your face)

As stated in my previous post, our hands are dirty.  Blackheads are a mixture of oil and dirt that get clogged in our pores.  One way to prevent blackheads is to keep our hands clean and out of our faces

Develop a Good Routine
While it took a while, I’ve finally found a good product that helps me silence those ridiculous blackheads that like to hide on my chin, cheeks and nose. 
To get rid of my black heads I use two things: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay and Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.  This is probably THE BEST face mask you will ever have and its all natural.  The jar of clay will run you about $8 but it will last you for years.  I’ve had my jar since 2013 and i have not even used half of it yet.  The Vinegar (depending on where you buy it) should be no more than $5 but it all depends on where you live.  You can buy any brand of vinegar as long as it is raw and unfiltered.


To make the mask, simply mix equal amounts of clay and vinegar together until a muddy consistencty is formed.  Then using a sponge, brush or your finger tips spread the mask on your face. 

Note: when mixing use a plastic spoon because using metal spoons will draw out all of the nutrients in the mask like magnet and then it becomes useless.


After successfully applying the mask, leave it on for about 10 to 15 minutes.  You’ll know when the mask is ready to be removed because your face will feel really tight almost like a vaccuum and it will hurt to talk.  Rinse the mask off with a washcloth or Konjac sponge in warm water.  Your skin may be a bit red after, but that will go away in 30 minutes or less. For me, many of my blackheads are deep in my skin so the mask brings them to the surface but does not always remove them. So to get the difficult blackheads i use a blackhead extractor.  I got mine for .65 on amazon.com.   Wash your face with your normal cleanser (be sure to rinse with cold water to close pores) then tone and moisturize.  I like to use the the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Refining Tonic as a toner because it is also made from clay and i feel it blocks me from attracting more blackheads.

Get into this Indian Healing Clay, I promise you won’t regret it.

Until next time lovies…



Bargainista Chronicles: Coconut Oil Wonders

During one of my weekly trips to TJ Maxx… 


Wait before I start, let me just say how funny it is how our tastes change as we mature and get older.  When I was a kid, my mother would drag me to TJ Maxx EVERY SINGLE THURSDAY because that was when the one near our house got their weekly shipment.   I absolutely hated that store because it smelled like leather, and for some reason I hated the way leather smelled when I was a kid. 

Ok now back to my story.  So about a week a go I went to TJ Maxx… like I do every week.  I went looking for a birthday gift for someone but I stumbled up this beauty…
Sonoma Harvest Organic Coconut Oil from TJMaxx only $6

Ok so when I tell you I SCREAMED when I saw this!  Because not only is it probably the biggest jar of organic coconut oil I’ve ever seen, but it was also only $6!!!  Now granted it was on the clearance rack but who the heck cares a bargain is a bargain.  So me being the obsessive compulsive person that I am when it comes to products, I immediately (well not immediately about a week later) went to the TJ Maxx near my job to see if they had any and guess what!  I found two more jars of this same brand for $6.  But that wasn’t enough.. So I walked down the street to Marshall’s (TJ Maxx affilate) to see if they had it, and guess what they did!  But listen to this… it wasn’t on clearance It was $9.99  #byefelicia  so i left it right there on the shelf.  Hmph *flips imaginary Brazilian body wave*


Ok back to the product on hand… So i use coconut oil for many many many reasons. 
  • Cooking: Mainly because its a lot healthier than olive oil and I’ve really been attempting to change my lifestyle and my eating habits.  
  • Hair Care:preshampoo, condition and oil these locks (lets pretend my hair is as long asAfrica Miranda)
  • Skin Care: When it comes to skin… OMG coconut oil is the beezneez you hear me? I use it for my dry hands and feet, as an all over body moisturizer, I add sugar to it sometimes for a good scrub (so great for lip scrubs), to remove my eye makeup, shaving, and to cleanse my skin! 

One of the things I love most about coconut oil is that a little goes a long way and this jar should last me about six months!  Coconut oil  has a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years so you don’t have to worry about having to use it up before it goes bad.

Until next time lovies…