I adore when celebrities give us a glimpse of products they’re loving.  Some of them are very generous with sharing some of their #notsponsored favorites.  Karrueche Tran is a favorite on this blog because (1.) she’s really into her skin and beauty routine and (2.) she shares what snapshots of the products she loves.

The other day, she shared a simple image of a product with no caption.  As usual, I took a screen shot.  After taking the screenshot, I did something I’ve never done before.  I immediately went online and purchased without even researching any reviews.
Luckily for me, I found a sample size to try.  The product is not cheap so I wanted to test it out for minimal investment.  Also, the sample is perfect for travel.  A few days later, the mask arrived.  At this point, I still hadn’t researched reviews so I had no idea what to expect.

Farmacy’s Honey Potion behaves much differently than your typical honey mask.  I’ve masked with pure honey before and loved it! This face mask is nothing masking with honey alone.  When you visually inspect the mask, it has the look, texture, and thickness of golden honey.  The best way to describe the consistency is like a gooey (luxurious) balm.

But once the product touches the skin, magic starts to happen.  During application, the mask quickly transforms into a rich cream.  Moments later, you start to feel a warming sensation on your skin as the mask begins to activate.  You heard me right, this is a warming mask that stimulates the skin upon application.

Some of the hero ingredients include honey (of course), royal jelly, and echinacea which is rich in antioxidants.  They also source the honey from bees who pollinate echinacea plants.  Studies have found that echinacea is effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles in as little as 1 month of use.   Basically, this mask is not only hydrating but has potent anti-aging benefits as well.

So far I’ve used the mask twice.  I’ll share my thoughts by first starting with the drawbacks.  Honey potion is marketed as a hydrating mask.  I’ll be honest with you, it’s not all that hydrating.  Honestly, using plain honey (or better yet, manuka honey) on my face produced superior hydration.  I’d describe this more as a nourishing mask. 

Even though it’s didn’t deliver with regards to its promise to hydrate the skin, I still love this mask and here’s why.  With most masks, you apply then wait patiently and passively to finally rinse it off.  With Honey Potion, you are expected to actively participate in the masking experience by massaging the skin while you wait.  THIS IS THE PERFECT MASSAGE MASK.  Your fingers easily glide over the skin without feeling sticky.  The more you massage, you more you engage the warming sensation.  The warming sensation is so valuable because that means that blood flow is being directed to the face.

This precious blood flow to the face is worth its weight in gold.  I believe that younger skin receives more circulation to the face than mature skin.  It’s part of the reason why younger skin has a certain glow while mature skin appears flat and lackluster. With Honey Potion, you manually promote facial blood flow via massage while enjoying a little extra help from the product itself.

NO OTHER FACE MASK PRODUCT IN MY ARSENAL DOES THIS.

For that reason, I absolutely adore this mask and plan on investing in the full size. I also believe this is one of those products that provide cumulative benefits with consistent use.  I say this because that has my experience from only using Honey Potion two times.  Once I get the full size, I plan on using it regularly while executing a full facial massage routine.

My tummy has always been my problem area.  Not only do I store a lot of belly fat in my midsection, I’m also prone to bloating.  Recently, I decided that I’ve had enough.  Instead of sitting back and hoping the bloat would go away, I implemented what I call the “bloat protocol” to massively reduce my daily bloating.

My tummy is rarely ever completely flat.  The culprit is a combination of excess belly fat and bloat.  Because I was bloated most of the time, I couldn’t accurately assess the amount of belly fat I was dealing with.  In order to get to the truth, I had to eliminate the bloating once and for all.
I created a regimen of sorts to directly fight the bloating.  For me, it wasn’t as simple as removing a specific food from my diet.  I had to attack it from multiple sides.  This is what worked for me.

Fight the Stagnancy
I hypothesized that a root cause of my bloating had to do with stagnancy.  The approach I took was to utilize multiple tactics that promote healthy circulation in the midsection.  I noticed that the bloating was the most obvious when I was drinking the least amount of water.  Sometimes we think that consuming a bunch of water will contribute to bloat.  It may, but only for a short period of time.  In the long run, water is an ally in the war against bloated bellies.  Water is a must because it stimulates the colon and promotes toxin removal.  When you’re dehydrated, digestion is put on hold. For this reason, adequate daily water intake is key if you want a flatter belly.

When I get really serious about bloating, I transform my water into a detox water simply by adding lemon and apple cider vinegar.  This helps stimulates the gut even more than water alone.  I’m now realizing that I’m prone to bloat and that I have to enjoy a lemon water tonic on a regular basis.  I can’t just take it reactively when the bloating gets bad. I have to make it a regular part of my routine.

The other way I attacked the swelling of my belly was to engage in a daily routine of walking.  This was done to also counteract stagnancy and promote circulation.  Walking for 20 minutes or more after a meal (or on an empty stomach) really stimulates the midsection.  Whenever I felt sluggish and bloated, I knew it was time to for a walk.  One hundred percent of the time, I feel better after walking because some of the discomfort related to bloating is lessened.

Water, lemon water, and activity usually helps a lot.  But when I really want to promote a flatter tummy, I need to implement phase II of the bloat protocol.

This is where I address my eating habits.

If I want a flatter belly, the most effective strategy I can take is to manage what I eat and how I eat.  There were only a few instances when I had an effortlessly flat tummy.  One of those times was when I practiced conscious eating.  Basically, that’s where I chewed eat bite thoroughly (between 20-30 chews per bite).  Doing this made me eat much less than ever before.  I got full from the tiniest meals.  Eventually, the size of my tummy adjusted my new food intake levels.  And because I consumed fewer calories, I lost weight naturally.   Conscious eating actives the digestive process early on.  All that chewing preps the stomach to easily digest the food. By the time the food reaches the belly, much of the work is already done.

It’s a good idea to nix the food that your belly doesn’t like.  For some people, it’s dairy, meat, or high carb foods.  Pay attention to what you eat and how your tummy reacts.  I know that if I eat 3 large meals a day, I’ll get bloated.  There’s no getting around that.  My best bet is to counteract it with lemon water and frequent walks.  It also makes sense to stay on top of your probiotic and enzyme consumption to keep your tummy healthy.  For example, if I eat a lot of meat, I make sure to take this.  Once you know your bloat triggers, you then have to make a choice if you’re going to keep consuming those foods.  If so, you should also develop a strategy to counteract the ill effects of those foods.

When I consistently follow these rules, my bloat is a non-factor.  After managing the bloat, I could actually see how much belly fat I actually had.  This is super helpful because then I could move on to my belly fat elimination protocol (which I’m currently working on).  Once I have that down pact, I’ll be sure to share.

I’m pretty sure that most, if not all of you have heard of dry skin brushing before.  It’s basically a holistic technique where you stroke your body with a huge bristled brush for the purposes of stimulating blood flow while exfoliating the skin.  Sounds good right?

Loads of women utilize their body brushes before jumping in the shower to loosen dirt and hopefully diminish the appearance of cellulite.  Before getting into rebounding, I’d often brush my body to stimulate lymphatic drainage and detoxification.

Dry brushing the body is cool and all, but I think I’ve stumbled onto something even better.
My newest obsession is dry face brushing.  Actually, I face brushed years ago but completely forgotten about until recently.  Now that brushing my face regularly again, I’m kicking myself for having ever stopped.

What is face brushing exactly? Basically, it’s just like body brushing except you’re using a tiny bristled face brush.  The same rules apply. You are still trying to stimulate lymphatic drainage while promoting toned, firm skin.

Face brushing does a wonderful job of exfoliating and bringing blood flow to the surface of the skin.  I started dry brushing again after reintroducing retin-A to my regimen.  Retin A always makes my forehead peel.  To combat this, I decided to gently remove the flaky skin with the help of a dry face brush.  It worked like a charm!  Then I remembered how much my skin improved when I dry brushed years ago so I’ve since kept up the habit.

Dry face brushing is probably one of the most potent forms of manual exfoliation.  I’m my opinion, it’s more powerful than scrubbing with microbeads.  If you have dry facial skin, you’ll actually see dead cells lift from the surface of your skin.

Beyond the surface exfoliation, one of my favorite reasons to dry brush my face is for the anti-aging effects.  I use similar lifting motions to when I massage.  I believe the skin responds positively to massage and manipulation.  Dry face brushing is a bit more abrasive to massaging the face with your hands.  So in theory, you might experience more lifting and toning than massaging with your hands alone.  It also really helps speed up cell turnover.  And, with the top layer of the skin removed, you create the environment for your products to absorb better.

Who wouldn’t want that?

I categorize this as a more advanced level skin treatment.  Meaning, if you have sensitive skin that’s irritated easily (or prone to flare up), you may want to sit this one out. Or, at the very least, approach with caution and dip your toes in by grabbing a more gentle brush to experiment with.  Your skin might eventually build up a tolerance so there’s no need to go overboard if you’re just starting out. I don’t face brush every day because I like to give my skin some time to regenerate in between sessions.  Body brushing, on the other hand, you can do on a daily basis.


This is the second post in a series where I gush over the effortless glow of a summer muse.  Last time, we analyzed the root cause of Gabrielle Union’s summer glow.  Today, we’ll rehash what we know of Kelly Rowland’s beauty rituals.

On the surface, Kelly looks like she’s a low maintenance type of gal.   But she’s far from that.  Although she keeps her look pretty natural, there’s a lot of work that goes into her effortless results.  I mean, just look at her.  She looks like a beautiful young lady enjoying a day at the beach.  She doesn’t look like a woman nearing 40 years old.  Her body is perfect, her skin is perfect, her hair is perfect.   Everything worked together to create this amazing moment.

One of Kelly’s best features is her skin.  We can all attribute her healthy glow to genetics but, in actuality, she puts a lot of attention and invests heavily in her skin.  Kelly has been known to brag about her love for Nutra Bisse products.  Specifically their peel off mask.  If memory serves me, Kelly is the one who introduced Beyonce to the brand.  Like every other celebrity with flawless skin, exfoliation is a staple in Kelly’ regimen.  Right now, she’s loving Dr. Denis Gross’ peel pads.  Apparently, they helped clear an unexpected breakout overnight and she’s been loyal ever since. We’ve already discussed how the key to flawless summer skin involves adding exfoliating acids to your regimen.  If you’re serious about glowing skin, don’t skip out on exfoliating acids.

Kelly’s wearing cut off denim shorts and a simple crop top.  I honestly thought the crop top trend would be over by now but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  Kelly proudly displays her midsection because she’s worked hard for her results.  If you recall, Kelly has been known to knock out a couple of hundred sit-ups a night to maintain a toned core.  She’s also faithfully worked out with her favorite trainer, Jeanette Jenkins.  I remember when Destiny’s Child first came on the scene.  You could tell that Kelly always had a small frame.  It’s easy to think that a body like hers comes naturally, but not so.  The toned legs and midsection come from focused exercise.  Stop thinking that you can live a completely sedentary life and enjoy a toned-fit body.  It doesn’t work that way.  The reason why Kelly puts in the work is because she “loves the way her clothes fit.”  I’m sure we all want that.  Kelly also loves munching on healthy greens like kale and spinach.  Not only does eating clean contribute to keeping her frame slim, it helps keep her skin pretty as well.

Another attribute I love about Kelly is that she enjoys the art of self-care. She loves treating herself to various beauty routines & rituals.  I think her entire lifestyle is centered around pouring into herself and feeling good.  She eats a lot of greens because of how they make her feel. She works out first thing in the morning to create energy to last throughout the day.  She invests in herself so that she can be the best version of herself for her family.   It’ a wonderful philosophy to have and it’s served her very well.

I was scrolling through reviews for a liquid hair supplement the other day.  I then came across a comment that immediately caught my attention.  The reviewer shared her disdain for the product. She then went on to say that taking probiotics and other vitamins gave her better results.

Probiotics? What do probiotics have to do with healthy hair growth?  At first, I thought this woman was sadly mistaken. But then I did some digging and realized that probiotics might play a major role in healthy, shiny hair growth.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the connections between a healthy gut and thriving hair.  The two are very closely related in several ways.

Before I go into detail, I want to remind you how crucial it is that we have a healthy gut biome.  We have about as many cells in our gut as the rest of our entire bodies.  This part of our health cannot be ignored.  Optimal health can’t be obtained without a strong focus on healthy gut bacteria.

While searching for the truth, I found a study that determined feeding probiotics to older rats gave them “a glow of health.”  These changes produced characteristics typically found in younger mice during their peak.  One of the most obvious side effects of probiotic supplementation in older mice was the growth of “luxuriant fur.”  This was in obvious contrast to the control group of elder mice who didn’t receive supplementation.  Somehow, probiotics produced shiny, healthy fur in these rodents.  The difference made by taking probiotics is like night and day.  Take a look.

Not only did their hair get shiny, their skin actually thickened as well.  A healthy gut biome also lead “robust hair growth” in mice of both genders. 

Why was this happening?

The reason why eating probiotic yogurt made such drastic changes is because probiotics stimulated their hairs to enter the anagen phase of the hair cycle.  This is the phase where the hair strands are growing and happy.  That’s exciting news, but do the same benefits translate to humans as well?

When I did a little digging, I found a testimony on a forum where the person talked about their experience taking probiotics for acne.

“It seems that when I take probiotics I get a lot of vellus hairs growing on my temples where there was no hair before. I haven’t been able to find any info on how probiotics could be related to hair regrowth. Although my hairloss isn’t caused by the usual reasons, it was caused by a drug called Accutane.”

In some of the responses, a huge piece of information was revealed regarding the link between gut bacteria and hair growth.  Probiotics produce biotin. Yes, the same biotin that we purchase to stimulate growth is produced naturally in our bodies with the help of probiotics.  Our friendly bacteria also produce folate (folic acid), vitamin B12, and panthenol (B5) just to name a few.  Each of these ingredients can be found in all of your favorite hair vitamins. 

When our gut bacteria is compromised, we potentially lose out on the natural production of these hair-healthy nutrients.  You might say to yourself, “no worries, I’ll just take hair vitamins instead.”  Yes, you can…..and you should.  But, if your gut isn’t healthy, don’t assume that your body will properly assimilate the nutrients.  If you want to maximize the absorption of all those wonderful hair vitamins you’re swallowing, thee absolute best way to do it is to focus on improving the health of your gut.

A lot us don’t even think about probiotics as a “healthy hair supplement” but it is.  Perhaps this is why that woman who left the Amazon review experienced such wonderful benefits.  She addressed the root cause.  If your diet hasn’t been that great or you’ve taken antibiotics over the winter, loading up on probiotics should be your priority.  If you’re currently working on your summer body, don’t forget to include probiotics as part of the plan. 

Probiotics are the answer to everything.