Skin Care 101: Best Exfoliators for Your Routine

Exfoliation - there are so many things that can be said about this. It's definitely the most misunderstood and can potentially cause more harm than good, but with a little trial and error can bring brighten your face and add some much-needed balance to your routine.



Unlike facial cleansers, most exfoliators should be done on a bi-weekly basis for smooth, glowing skin. (And in case you want to read up on cleansers, you can find that post here). 

Being the adult-acne-sufferer that I am, I absolutely love exfoliating. It's probably one of my favorite parts of the day because it sloughs off dead skin and (slowly) reveals the perfect skin I pine for. Now, exfoliants can either be physical (i.e. St. Ives Scrub) or chemical (these can be BHA or AHAs). They both have the same end goal, to reveal brighter, younger skin. This, in turn, helps your products like serums and moisturizers absorb better.

Personally, I lean towards chemical exfoliants since there's less of a risk of getting a micro-tear. Although, physical exfoliants help you achieve softer skin :).  

Here are a few I find myself going back to time & time again.

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m-61 PowerBlast Facial Mask
I absolutely love this mask and everything it's able to accomplish within 60 seconds. It's a foaming mask so you can "feel" the bubbles working away to reveal brighter, calmer-looking skin. I usually reach for this during bad breakouts as it's the only thing that makes my angry skin slightly happy. It's still a staple in my cabinet and used twice weekly.

Vichy Idealia Night Peeling
This is incredibly gentle which is surprising for a glycolic product. Unlike most products listed this is for PM use only and be layered on top of. It slowly, keyword here, renews and evens out the skin. I would imagine it would do the same for wrinkles long-term but the only improvement I've seen is faded acne marks. Can be used daily.

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion
This exfoliator has made multiple appearances throughout skin-related blog posts and my Reddit posts for good reason. It's an OG on my shelf and if you had to pick one chemical exfoliator out of all listed here, I'd recommend this hands down. The gentle formula means I can swipe on during the AM and not have to worry about red, flaky skin later on. Another reason I prefer to apply this in the morning, it smooths skin for even makeup application. Can be used daily.

m-61 PowerGlow Peel
Although these individual pads don't immediately give results after swiping they are extremely effective in showing you good skin over time. Skin looks tighter, pores look smaller, and acne marks fade quicker. The formula is a little harsh, I mean it is called PowerGlow, so I wouldn't recommend to those with sensitive skin. Can be used daily or 3x a week.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Daily Cleansing Pads
These daily cleansing pads are a super easy and convenient way to introduce Glycolic into your skin care regiment. I prefer my Glycolic acids to come in a bottle but I would recommend Nip + Fab's jar for traveling. The pre-moistened pads make it easy to exfoliate nearly anywhere - just make sure you keep the jar completely closed otherwise you run the risk of drying out the product. If you can't afford the cost of these, a close second I'd recommend is Stridex's Daily Pads. Can be used 1x or 2x daily.

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Derma e Microdermabrasion Scrub
I find myself coming back to this scrub time and time again. The scrub has fine-textured crystals made of detoxifying dead sea salt and citrus essential oils that buffs away dullness and smooths out acne scars. I also love how soft my skin feels right after. Use twice a week for the best results.



Derma E Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub
This scrub reminds me of the iconic St. Ives scrub but better. I found myself using this for those moments when I crave a good deep buff. It's a little on the pricey side but I do love how there's vitamin A to help renew skin. Can be used daily but prefer twice a week.



e.l.f. Exfoliating Scrub
This affordable scrub works to buff skin for a brighter appearance. I absolutely love that it contains no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. My skin doesn't feel dry after use but instead moisturized. You can use this daily.

Biore Charcoal Acne Scrub
The brand is known for its iconic pore strips but they released a slew of scrubs earlier this year too! This scrub, in particular, has a tingly sensation that feels amazing. The formula contains salicylic acid which keeps acne at bay but doesn't dry out skin. Pro-tip: use this stuff in the shower for easy clean up. You can use this daily.

What are your favorite exfoliators? Drop me a comment down below!

The Essentials: July 2017

I'm starting to realize my "essentials" posts is my very own version of "empties". And I ain't mad about it. 

There were quite a few empty bottles stored away in my tote bag so this time around I decided to break up my essentials into skincare, hair, body, and of course makeup. Maybe when I don't have a ton of product to review (or built up from stress-shopping) I can give my essentials more of a curated theme. What do you think?

Anyway, let's get to it!

Best of Beauty July Summer 2017

Hair: I am head over hair in love with Viva Curl's Whipped Coconut Milk collection. The formula is super gentle and hydrates my hair from root to tip. I actually had the opportunity to meet the family and experts and learn firsthand why they use coconut oil and shea butter within their formulas. So for my curly girls out there, head to your nearest drugstore and definitely pick my top faves: nourishing shampoo and leave-in conditioner. Sebastian's Whipped Creme is another favorite I'll be repurchasing this month. The mousse doesn't leave my curls crunchy but instead touchable and frizz-free. Even on the most humid of days, the mousse does not let me down!

Face: This one is going to be a doozy since each one is so GOOD. Let's start with my Holy Grail (and consistent space-taker on my shelf), Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. I use this first in my skincare routine to gently exfoliate my skin for even-toned skin. It also reduces redness and unclogs pores which helps clear up my adult acne. Next up is new-to-me brand Earth Tu Face's Toning Mist in Rose + Aloe. It's cruelty-free and earth-friendly (which I appreciate), but what I love the most is the scent, the refreshing feeling, and how it tightens my pores on contact. 

Last year, I got a chance to learn about True Botanicals in-depth and there is a blog post coming up. But, I did want to get Pure Radiance Oil on your radar now! The oil strengthens the skin's barrier, eliminates infection, reduces inflammation, and balances blemish-prone skin.

Then, my favorite heavy-hitters from Derma e, Microdermabrasion Scrub and Firming DMAE Eye Lift are true must-haves. I used the scrub weekly to diminish the appearance of acne scrubs and fine lines. And the multi-action eye cream is one of the best I've tried within its price points ($25).

Body: Like my last essentials mentioned, I absolutely love Molton Brown and am the biggest fan of their Dewy Lily of the Valley & Star Anise scent. I finally ran out of their Bath & Shower Gel (sigh) and but am finally considering making their perfume my signature scent. It's only available during certain seasons and holidays but if you ever come across it - GET IT. It's an incredibly light, feminine scent and reminds me of Sofia Coppola for some reason.

Makeup: It Cosmetics has been expanding their cosmetics line rapidly, some things I've been loving and others not so much. Two, in particular, their Confidence in a Compact and CC+ Skin Perfecting Brush, have simplified my beauty morning routine. Instead of doing primer, foundation, and concealer I can now do the compact and move onto my brows and head out the door. It has this fantastic dewy-finish too that I've been digging as of late too. Now, I wouldn't recommend the compact to those with oily skin as it would only call out the oily spots even more. Their new brush is also amazing and great for all skin types. And last but not least, Estee Lauder's Sumptuous Infinite mascara has an amazing bristle that coats every single lash and the formula really does make them look thicker and longer.

Any favorites you've been loving this month?

Shop my essentials below:
one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten // eleven // twelve // thirteen // fourteen // fifteen // sixteen // seventeen

Five Friday Faves

Happy Friday friends! As we near the end of June (and the fiscal year for my clients), all I want to do is walk out of work, board the LIRR, and lay on a beach out East. Unfortunately, there's this thing called rent that has me chained to my desk.

So instead, I've been settling for new beauty (and not-so-beauty) finds that make things a little more easier on the soul.


1. DevaCurl Decadence Line: No-Poo & One Condition
When it comes to products that actually work time after time, DevaCurl is my holy grail! But, I will admit that since going blonde I've gone astray and entered a new world of purple shampoos. Lately, my hair has been feeling a bit dry and the curls no longer curly so I re-accessed my current routine and opted for DevaCurl's new Decadence collection. 

You guys, the formula is so rich and creamy and made my strands feel so soft and easy to detangle. I honestly don't know why I stopped using this power duo! The line is made with chufa milk and quinoa protein to deliver moisture, strength, nourishment, and protection to each ringlet.


2. Completely Bare Moisturizing No-bump Shave Gel
I've never really been one to really rely on shaving cream. If anything, the ol' conditioner trick did the job pretty well. BUT THEN, Completely Bare sent me a trio of products to test out and their Moisturizing No-bump Shave Gel really impressed me and has earned a permanent spot in my shower caddy.

The gel leaves me bump-free and my legs incredibly moisturized (thanks to the Sunflower seed oil). The gel is also infused with Chamomile extract to help soothe skin and prevent irritation. The price is on par with other shaving gels too!


3. DermAppeal Microdermabrasion Treatment
In my quest to combat cystic acne and clear up old scars and marks, I decided to give DermAppeal a three-month trial. This tube of magic resurfaces and revitalizes skin by using minerals from the Dead Sea.

The formula also encompasses five different stabilized forms of antioxidant Vitamin C Crystals to give our skin all the benefits of a professional brightening microdermabrasion treatment - at home! I use this no more than twice a week and love the refreshing tingly feeling it leaves behind.


4. Royal Rose Stem Cell Mask
This straight-from-spa mask made the list for top hydrating masks. After a long weekend in the sun, accompanied by drinks or not, this mask instantly hydrates and calms my tired, dull skin. So every Sunday without fail, you can find me lounging on my couch letting my skin drink up all of the nutrients (shea, jojoba, soothing rose oil, and grape cell extract). Oh, and it smells divine!


5. Runa Drinks
I've always been a huge tea drinker but lately I've fallen into a bad habit of relying on coffee & cream to get me through the day. We're talking three to four cups every Monday through Friday. So after a little research and review-reading I came across RUNA. They pride themselves on making iced teas and clean energy drinks from Guayusa, a naturally caffeinated tree leaf found in the Amazon which they exclusively source from indigenous farming families in Ecuador. It's pretty neat how they work directly with the source.

As for the drink, RUNA teas contain the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, with no crash! Their drinks are naturally sweet and organic. You can find their clean energy drinks and iced teas on Amazon prime too!