*This post contains advertorial content* 

When summer rolls around, I find myself getting into more of a structured beauty routine. I think it's because holidays and more exposed skin are looming over us, it gives us that little kick up the bum we need to get into a solid routine. Of course we want to look our best all year round but because the weather is better in summer (if we're lucky that is), I find myself wearing less products than I would in the winter months which means looking better naturally. I'm all about stripping it back to the bare essentials and using a few essential products that help give me a radiant and healthy summer glow.


The first products I can't be without would be my favourite Simple Kind to Skin face wipes which I take with my wherever I go as well as my elemis pro collagen cleansing balm - my skin cleansing dream team. There's nothing worse than feeling caked in makeup when you're hot and sweaty so I always have these two products with me to ensure I can remove my makeup thoroughly and easily. I'm also pretty lazy when it comes to skincare so they're ideal for a quick freshen up when I'm in a rush. I also find them really hydrating which is great on days my skin has been faced with any kind of sun exposure. The cleansing balm has been a favourite for years now - it literally melts makeup away with the tiniest amount, leaves my skin soft and radiant and it smells amazing too. 


To add an extra glow and some colour to my skin, I use the Khiel's midnight recovery concentrate before bed which gives my skin that added boost of moisturise it craves after sun exposure. This is one of those products that makes a difference after one use and leaves the skin so radiant and glowing - I can't recommend it enough. I've also been loving the Tan Luke self tan face drops which I mix into my moisturiser before bed. It contains a tanning ingredient so when mixed with moisturiser, it acts as a self tanner for the face without being quite as dark and unnatural looking as some regular tans. I always feel like my skin looks ten times better with a tan so this has been such a good find for me - I use it for a few days if I feel like my skin is starting to look a little drab and the colour lasts for a good week before I need to re-apply.


Another product I've been using every day recently is the Sensodyne Pronamel Strong & Bright enamel toothpaste. Much like my skin, I want my teeth to look good all year round but for some reason, I always want my them to look their best in summer. Maybe it's something to do with being more tanned and smiling more because the sun is shining and I'm happier? Who knows but either way, good teeth are a must for me and toothpaste is something that's often overlooked as a beauty product despite it being one of the must-haves for our overall health and appearance.

I wore braces for years to get my teeth straight, so keeping them in tip top condition is something that's really important to me. I've also suffered from worn enamel (which can be caused by too much acidic foods in our diet like fruit - something we probably all eat more of during the summer months). With this being said, I'm very fussy with the toothpaste I use and Sensodyne Pronamel has always been a brand I can rely on to do what it says on the tube. I used to use their Pronamel Daily Protection but their new Strong and Bright has the addition of polishing away stains as well as actively helping to strengthen enamel for healthy, whiter teeth* - the two key features I look for in a toothpaste. I mean, who doesn't want their teeth to be healthy, strong and white?! 


A couple of body products I use all summer round would be my Palmers Cocoa Butter natural bronze gradual tanner as this is the most natural looking gradual tanner I've come across and you only need a couple of applications for a nice healthy colour. I love to use this after I've been away to keep my tan topped up too! Not to mention is smells good enough to eat. 

To enhance a tan even further, I love using highlighters and my absolute favourites are No.7 shimmer body oil for the body and MAC Soft & Gentle for the face. These two paired together give the perfect glow that goes so perfectly with sun-kissed skin. Seriously, I'd bathe in the stuff if I could - you can never have too much highlighter, right?


Finally, summer fragrance. For me, it's all about the sweetly and fruity of citrus scents and one of my faves at the moment is definitely the Missguided 'Babe Power' - I was super sceptical about it at first but it's actually really nice! It has a fresh fruity scent - total summer vibes. Not to mention it comes in a rose gold bottle shaped like a can. YES!

What are your Summer essentials?! I'd love to know so let me know in the comments below.

You can pick up Sensodyne Pronamel Strong & Bright Enamel toothpaste here or at your local Boots

*VS Daily Protection. 
All views are my own.

*This post contains advertorial content* 

When summer rolls around, I find myself getting into more of a structured beauty routine. I think it's because holidays and more exposed skin are looming over us, it gives us that little kick up the bum we need to get into a solid routine. Of course we want to look our best all year round but because the weather is better in summer (if we're lucky that is), I find myself wearing less products than I would in the winter months which means looking better naturally. I'm all about stripping it back to the bare essentials and using a few essential products that help give me a radiant and healthy summer glow.


The first products I can't be without would be my favourite Simple Kind to Skin face wipes which I take with my wherever I go as well as my elemis pro collagen cleansing balm - my skin cleansing dream team. There's nothing worse than feeling caked in makeup when you're hot and sweaty so I always have these two products with me to ensure I can remove my makeup thoroughly and easily. I'm also pretty lazy when it comes to skincare so they're ideal for a quick freshen up when I'm in a rush. I also find them really hydrating which is great on days my skin has been faced with any kind of sun exposure. The cleansing balm has been a favourite for years now - it literally melts makeup away with the tiniest amount, leaves my skin soft and radiant and it smells amazing too. 


To add an extra glow and some colour to my skin, I use the Khiel's midnight recovery concentrate before bed which gives my skin that added boost of moisturise it craves after sun exposure. This is one of those products that makes a difference after one use and leaves the skin so radiant and glowing - I can't recommend it enough. I've also been loving the Tan Luke self tan face drops which I mix into my moisturiser before bed. It contains a tanning ingredient so when mixed with moisturiser, it acts as a self tanner for the face without being quite as dark and unnatural looking as some regular tans. I always feel like my skin looks ten times better with a tan so this has been such a good find for me - I use it for a few days if I feel like my skin is starting to look a little drab and the colour lasts for a good week before I need to re-apply.


Another product I've been using every day recently is the Sensodyne Pronamel Strong & Bright enamel toothpaste. Much like my skin, I want my teeth to look good all year round but for some reason, I always want my them to look their best in summer. Maybe it's something to do with being more tanned and smiling more because the sun is shining and I'm happier? Who knows but either way, good teeth are a must for me and toothpaste is something that's often overlooked as a beauty product despite it being one of the must-haves for our overall health and appearance.

I wore braces for years to get my teeth straight, so keeping them in tip top condition is something that's really important to me. I've also suffered from worn enamel (which can be caused by too much acidic foods in our diet like fruit - something we probably all eat more of during the summer months). With this being said, I'm very fussy with the toothpaste I use and Sensodyne Pronamel has always been a brand I can rely on to do what it says on the tube. I used to use their Pronamel Daily Protection but their new Strong and Bright has the addition of polishing away stains as well as actively helping to strengthen enamel for healthy, whiter teeth* - the two key features I look for in a toothpaste. I mean, who doesn't want their teeth to be healthy, strong and white?! 


A couple of body products I use all summer round would be my Palmers Cocoa Butter natural bronze gradual tanner as this is the most natural looking gradual tanner I've come across and you only need a couple of applications for a nice healthy colour. I love to use this after I've been away to keep my tan topped up too! Not to mention is smells good enough to eat. 

To enhance a tan even further, I love using highlighters and my absolute favourites are No.7 shimmer body oil for the body and MAC Soft & Gentle for the face. These two paired together give the perfect glow that goes so perfectly with sun-kissed skin. Seriously, I'd bathe in the stuff if I could - you can never have too much highlighter, right?


Finally, summer fragrance. For me, it's all about the sweetly and fruity of citrus scents and one of my faves at the moment is definitely the Missguided 'Babe Power' - I was super sceptical about it at first but it's actually really nice! It has a fresh fruity scent - total summer vibes. Not to mention it comes in a rose gold bottle shaped like a can. YES!

What are your Summer essentials?! I'd love to know so let me know in the comments below.

You can pick up Sensodyne Pronamel Strong & Bright Enamel toothpaste here or at your local Boots

*VS Daily Protection. 
All views are my own.

Marjani Beauty Company is one you should know. They are a one stop shop online “beauty destination for melanin women by melanin women."

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No more searching for hues that match your skin tone in today’s mass beauty market. Their company does the homework for you! To insure every product is melanin approved, they are tested by their own beauty panel. Each brand shares their passion for enhancing melanin beauty and provides quality, safe, on trend products.
(L to R: Kimberly Smith, Founder & CEO; Heather Jennings, Brand Strategy; Kimberly Harvey, COO) 

The Ivy League trained attorney, founder and CEO Kimberly Smith always had a passion for fashion and beauty. She states this is what Marjani Beauty is all about: “We aim to not just be a retailer, but a community where shopping becomes a memorable experience. Bringing international beauty and cosmetic products to the local consumer, and using this platform to empower women of color, across nationalities, age, hair textures, shades to embrace and claim their beauty.”


What I love the most about their site is the capability to shop by hue: Fair, Golden Honey, Caramel, Bronze and Mahogany. Also, you can find everything from Makeup, Nail Polish, and Lashes, along with Skincare, Haircare and Bodycare products. You can utilize their Buy It and Try It™ Foundation Match Program where you receive a FREE matching sample along with your purchase. If the products are not the perfect shade, it may be return (unopened) within 14 days to receive a full refund. Lastly, their mission and vision for the company highlights and celebrates diversity amongst women of color.

Have you heard of or ordered from Marjani Beauty? Share your thoughts!
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Monica is a Milwaukee native, wife, mother of two, step mother of one and working professional.  In her spare time she enjoys reading,  shopping and following the current trends of natural hair, beauty and health, all while pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Leadership. You can follow her on Instagram@allbeautyandhair and Twitter @allbeautynhair.
Summer is in full swing.  I'm sure we're all enjoying the longer days and the warm sunshine.  While you're enjoying fun filled days outdoors, I want to you keep a little something in mind.  Summer, may be one of the most damaging seasons when it comes to our beauty routines.

Let me explain.  Winters may seem like a harsh season when it comes to our skin, hair & health (and it is).  But we are well aware of the issues that arise from cold weather.  The side effect of dry air is pretty obvious. So we minimize the risk by amping up our moisture routines.

Summer is a bit trickier because the dangers aren't quite as obvious.  I believe that summer has the potential to accelerate aging and other beauty related concerns.  Worse yet, we might not even be aware of what's happening.   Let's discuss the potential downside of summer and how we can avoid it.
Skin
Let's start off with the most obvious.  I'm sure all of us are aware the dangers associated with UV rays.  Pretty much all of the visible signs of aging we see in others is related to the break down of collagen as a result of sun exposure.  As women of color, we do have some natural sun protection in the form of melanin, but that doesn't protect our skin 100%.  When my skin was observed under one of those machines that can see signs of sun damage, I was shocked to learned that I had some trouble areas.   The good news was that the sun damage was only evident near my hairline and around my eyebrows.  This tells me that wearing sunscreen daily was actually making a difference.....I just needed to pay a bit more attention to detail during application.

The worse part about sun damage is that it's occurring the below the surface. It'll take years for the effects to show.  Meanwhile, we act like nothing is happening while making the whole situation worse.  We have to religiously apply sunscreen whether we want to or not.  It's like investing in the future of or skin.  This summer, I'm taking it a step further and applying sunscreen all over whenever my skin is exposed (not just on the the face).  Especially when I'm wearing a cute summer dress.

Simply put, if you aren't putting sun protection as a priority, you are actually contributing to the aging of your skin.

Hair
The other thing we have to worry about this time of year is the health of our hair. There are threats coming from all sides.  First off, the sun hates your hair.  Too much sun exposure is taking away the actual integrity of your strands.  Take necessary action to protect your hair.  You might want to experiment with products that give your hair a little sun protection or those that contain 18-MEA. This is a compound found in the strands that protects it from damage.  Too much sun exposure is robbing your hair's natural lipid (18-MEA).  That's why your hair always feels so dry after a day outside.

On a positive note, our hair is growing faster this time of year, but on the flip side, we could be causing excess damage from UV rays, chlorine from swimming pools, and the like.  Summer provides the perfect recipe for dry hair and I suggest we stay on the offense by making sure we deep condition like crazy, find powerful products that actually impact the cuticle, and keep moisture levels as high as possible.  

Diet
The other pitfall of summer is our diet.  I noticed that last winter, all I ate was bone broth with rice noodles and I sipped on several cups of green tea or bamboo tea throughout the day.  Now, I'm eating burgers & fries while enjoying various tasty mixed drinks.  The amount of sugar and fat I'm consuming is not cool. Summer is all about BBQs, ice cream, and food festivals.  Not only are we at risk for gaining weight, put processing all the sugar and junk food is impacting us at a cellular level.  Junk food is typically harder to process & digest.  Most processed food are void of micronutrients and provide very little benefit to our gut bacteria.  Our gut bacteria is so important and must be protected at all costs!  This time of year we just have to be a little more mindful of what we're eating so we can balance it with nutritious, nourishing foods as well.

Dehydration
The last, and maybe not most obvious, danger of this season is dehydration.  Never mind the fact that we're sweating more than ever and need to replenish it with water. Keep in mind that we're more active and require more water on that fact alone.  Let me remind you of yet another reason why we should up our water intake this time of year.

The other day, my AC went out.  It's an older system so it was time to finally get it replaced.  The sales guy talked me through my available options.  As he walked through the features of newer units, he boasted of how they would remove humidity from the air making it a more comfortable environment.  In my mind I was like "hold up!"  The last thing I want is drier air circulating throughout the house.  I told the guy that I sleep with two humidifiers and wouldn't want an AC to rob me of valuable moisture.  He understood where I was coming from and showed me options that didn't have the special "anti-humidity" feature.

Even if you aren't outside sweating, your AC unit could be robbing your skin & hair of additional moisture.  Remember that.  It's the silent enemy that most of us aren't aware of.  Everything I talked about aren't concerns that create immediate consequences, but they are impacting us little by little.  So let's start practicing habits that reduce the possible damage that can occur this summer.


Some people associate freckles as a physical feature for only Caucasians. We know that is not true because there are brown beauties around the world that have the tiny speckles on their skin. In the world of beauty trends, who would have ever thought “fake it until you make it” would apply to freckles. Once upon a time, freckles were covered with concealer and foundation. Most of them appeared during childhood and increased by sun exposure. Now some envious beauty lovers without them are adding those trademark dots in their makeup routine.

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Here are a few reasons they are still popping up on the scene:

1. They create the illusion that you are not wearing any foundation – giving you a fresh, youthful complexion.

2. You can add the spots wherever you like to help hide blemishes.

3. It a cool way to express makeup

This trend is not a new one and it can be tough to pull off, but that is not stopping women from adding a few here and there to complete their look.

Here are a few celeb inspirations:
Sade

Chaka Khan

Nia Long

Rashida Jones

@beat.by.burst

@frauleinjones

@hey_itsparis

If you are interested in creating the look, check out this tutorial from faceovermatter. Skip to 13:00 to view the freckles application.



What do you think about this new trend? Share in the comments? 
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Monica is a Milwaukee native, wife, mother of two, step mother of one and working professional.  In her spare time she enjoys reading,  shopping and following the current trends of natural hair, beauty and health, all while pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Leadership. You can follow her on Instagram@allbeautyandhair and Twitter @allbeautynhair.