Several years ago, I was instructed by my facialist to stop using a towel to dry my face after cleansing.   She didn't go into detail as to why I should switch up this part of my routine but I took her advice.  Over time, I found myself going back my old ways out of convenience.

Now I'm ready to ditch the towel for good.  Because I'm convinced of the undeniable benefits.
The first, most obvious reason why you should seriously reconsider towel drying your face is because of the dangers lurking deep within the fibers of your towel.  Apparently, towels make the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.  What's the point of buying specialty cleansers only to wipe your skin with a bacteria-laden towel? This makes no sense.  Especially if you're dealing with skin conditions affected by bacteria (like acne).

The answer is to give up drying our faces with towels altogether.  But what should we do instead? 

Glad you asked. 

We've got options ladies.  Here are some of my recommendations for how to complete the cleansing process without grabbing a towel.

Leave the skin damp.  I watched a video where a skin expert proclaimed that applying beauty products on dry skin was futile.  Basically, the skin isn't primed to receive the goodness of your products in its dry state.  We've all experienced the difference after applying hydrating oils or lotions on wet/damp skin versus dry.   The same applies to the face.  As the water absorbs into the skin, it carries the skin enhancing product with it.  Sometimes, applying lotions on wet skin can be tricky so it's best to work it into damp skin versus wet.

My post cleansing strategy sometimes includes the use of facial tools designed to be used on wet skin.  For instance, my microcurrent rollers work beautifully with moisture because water helps conduct the electrical current deep into the layers of the skin.  This is exactly what we want to happen when using microcurrent tools.

I also find myself reaching for my Ultrasonic pore scrubber. That thing was designed for use on wet skin so it's perfect to use post-cleansing.  As a matter of fact, the scrubber does a magnificent job of drying the skin.  Using the scrubber only takes only a minute or so and is a pro at removing congestion just below the skin's surface.

The last option I offer you is a little more consuming but may be worth it.  In Korea, the women never use a towel to dry their face. Instead, they opt to dry their skin by conducting a mini facial massage.  I'll post a video demonstration below so you can try it for yourself.

I love the idea of executing a facial massage to help dry the skin because it promotes blood flow to the skin's surface. Blood flow brings nutrition to the cells and the appearance of health to the skin's surface.  Not to mention how massage keeps the skin firm and toned.  Plus, your face will still be damp which will allow for the absorption of serums.  Compare that with drying your skin with a scratchy, bacteria-riddled towel.

There's no comparison.

I'm a compulsive snacker.  When I'm bored, I'll reach for whatever's available.  Typically that means something sugary and devoid of nutrition.  But now I'm thinking about spring skin goals and I've made the conscious decision snack on foods that'll feed my skin from within.

I'm trying to keep everything easy & effortless. So basically, I plan to keep snack options around that I can feast on knowing that they'll bring me closer to my skin goals.  Here's the list I've compiled so far.

Goji Berries: Vitamin C, Protein, Amino Acids.
First and foremost, I'm stocking up on goji berries.  There are a myriad of reasons why goji berries top my list of snacks that'll feed my skin.  First, these berries are loaded with vitamin C, trace minerals, and antioxidants.  A lot of fruits have similar qualities but goji berries are one of the few fruits with a high protein and high amino acid content. You know what that means? Because they're rich in protein and amino acids, goji berries could classify as a healthy hair snack.  Also, the protein content helps make it a satisfying snack that helps curb my hunger. What I love most about goji berries is that they're not too sweet like dried cranberries or raisins.  This probably means that they don't spike my blood sugar as much their dried fruit counterparts.

Honestly, if you aren't hip to the goodness of the amazing goji berry, it's time that you're finally let in on the secret.

Japanese Sweet Potatoes: Hyaluronic Acid
Another of my healthy skin snacks is the wonderful Japanese sweet potato. They're cheap and highly nutritious. And compared to your typical sweet potato, they have fewer carbs and lower calories. These sweet potatoes supply our skin with valuable hyaluronic acid.  To refresh your memory, hyaluronic acid provides internal lubrication for the skin and body.  The more of it we have, the more "moisturized" we become.  There are a million serums on the market with this necessary ingredient.  Yes, I'll continue to slather HA serums on every day but if I can give my body direct access to HA via my diet, why not?

Also, I've enjoyed these potatoes in the past and they are very filling.  Perfect if you want a mid-day snack but want to save all of your calories for dinner.

Sunflower Seeds: Vitamin E
I don't take a vitamin E supplement. But I probably should because vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant.  The alternative is to up my vitamin E intake via my snack options.  This will be pretty easy because I love munching on almonds, sunflower seeds, olives and such.  I just have to keep more of it around.

Dark Chocolate: Flavonoids, Antioxidants
When my sweet tooth kicks in, my secret weapon is 85% pure dark chocolate.  Enjoying a piece of dark chocolate feels like a treat but I'm also rewarding myself with skin loving flavanoids. From a healthy skin standpoint, we already know that the active ingredient in pure chocolate has a positive influence on the skin's elastin.  A high-quality piece of dark chocolate satisfies our sweet tooth but isn't obnoxiously sweet.  It's great for when you're trying to retrain your taste buds away from sugary snacks.  The higher the percentage of dark chocolate, the better.

Seaweed Sheets: Vitamins & Minerals
Another snack that I plan to have laying around are crispy seaweed sheets.  Not only do I love the way they taste, but I appreciate the fact that they contain vitmain C, A, E, calcium, and B vitamins.  They also have a lot of sodium which means that I have to increase my water intake.

We've already established that sometimes our body will trick us into eating when we're actually hungry.  So I'm making a conscious effort to drink liquids that support glowing, beautiful skin.  I'm pretty much going to focus on consuming several cups of green tea + bamboo tea on a daily basis.  I've also reinstituted chlorophyll water to help facilitate detoxing from the inside out.

This is the list I came up with after a quick brainstorm session. If these foods aren't your cup of tea, feel free to come up with your own roster of nutritionally dense snacks that contribute to your overall beauty goals.  Again, the purpose is to achieve our ideal outcome with as little effort as possible.  Eating nutritious foods that we love is the epitmone of effortless. Let's keep plenty of these healthy snacks around so we can feed our skin a little bit each and every day.

The other day, an image flashed across my Instagram stories that I immediately screen grabbed.  It featured Kayla Nicole, the fiance of NFL superstar, Travis Kelce.  One thing about this woman is that she has amazing skin.  In most of her stories, she's either sporting no makeup or ultra-natural makeup looks.

Thankfully, I happened to be on Instagram the day that she revealed her number one skin secret.
Instead of displaying her everyday products, she featured her ultimate skin enhancing beverage.  Kayla proclaimed that beet juice is her #1 skin care favorite.  After capturing the image, I began my research.  I needed to know exactly why beet juice was so beneficial to the skin.

The first and most obvious quality about beet juice is its deep reddish-violet color.  We know that fruits and veggies with rich color are loaded with antioxidants.  Beets are no exception.  They contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C), carotenoids + flavonoids (both are phytonutrients), and betalains (antioxidants).  The betalains are not only antioxidant-rich, they also have superb anti-inflammatory properties.

Anything anti-inflammatory is amazing for the skin.  Why? Because it helps combat acne flare-ups which are the manifestation of inflammation on the skin's surface. When you research the benefits of beets for the skin, the first thing that pops up is how great it works to combat and prevent acne breakouts.  I found several instances where folks claimed that beet juice helped clear their acne.

I also stumbled on a study that determined that beet juice had greater antioxidant power than other well-known vegetable juices like tomato, carrot, orange or pineapple.  It ranked higher than 22 other fruits/veggies.  The only fruit studied that surpassed beets in their antioxidant power were pomegranates.  Pomegranates are great but can be a bit pricey when they aren't in season.  Good thing beets are fairly affordable and available year round.

Best of all, beets yield a high amount of juice so it's easy to enjoy shots of beet juice at home.  Or I might grab these premade organic beet juices available on Amazon.

By the way, the study I referred to earlier showed that beet juice as an array of beneficial properties beyond that of beautiful skin like heart protection and cognitive (brain function) enhancement, just to name a few. So even if your skin is fine, beet juice can protect our skin cells from free radicals while keeping our bodies younger longer.

 I didn't even touch on the blood flow benefits of drinking beets.  When we talk about anti-aging and promoting a youthful glow, enhanced blood flow HAS to be a part of the conversations.

I'm running out and buying a bunch of organic beets today.  I'm not a huge fan of beets but knowing what I know now, I'll make sure to get them in my diet on a regular basis.   If you decide to start juicing beets, don't throw out the leaves & stems because those are chock full of nutrition as well.

Let's all thank Kayla for reminding us of this amazing, skin enhancing, superfood.

The deeper we get into the fall season, the more I panic.  I'm already starting to feel the effects of the drier air and I don't like it.  Every winter, I suffer from this incessant itching that occurs mainly on my upper thigh area.  Since I'm not exactly sure what causes it, I'm forced to attribute it to the low humidity environment.

One of my strategies, this year is to fight against dry skin like my life depends on it.  The other day, I happen to catch an IG live featuring Teyana Taylor.  She revealed that her glowing skin was a result of her "good moisturizer."  Although I never determined the exact brand her holy grail moisturizer, I came up on some of Teyana's other skin secrets that have already transformed my skin.
I've written countless articles about women who swear by coconut oil for healthy skin.  The most recent featured Blac Chyna's nightly routine.  Coconut oil is amazing on its own  but Teyana has found a way to make it even better!

The process is simple!  All she does is combine coconut oil with the most amazing, skin loving ingredient in existence......vitamin E.

I'm talking about the pure stuff, without the added soybean oil or whatever.

If any of you have used pure vitamin E on your skin, you know how nourishing it feels.  Imagine the wonderful outcome of combining the two.  I had the pleasure of trying this mixture for myself.  After my nightly shower, I applied the coco-E oil all over (focusing on my legs and feet).  The next morning, I woke up to my softest skin of my entire life!  No lotion could ever replicate this result....ever.

Teyana's coconut/vitamin E blend may save my skin this winter.

*side note* I have to try this oil combination on my hair as well.
Let's get back to the topic of her moisturizer that's so nourishing that her natural glow was mistaken for highlighter.  Although I can't be sure the exact moisturizer Teyana used, we can still theorize.

Is it possible the Teyana uses a thin layer of her coconut/vitamin E oil on her face?  Back in the day, I used to go to bed greasy using pure vitamin E.   The compliments I received were never ending.  I walked around with an effortless glow that lasted throughout most of the day.

Teyana could be using a moisturizer formulated specifically to leave the skin looking radiant.  Don't be afraid to experiment with adding a tiny bit of your favorite liquid illuminator (like NYX's Born to Glow) to your moisturizer or foundation.  #JazzmaTaughtUs 

Perhaps she creates a hybrid of her favorite moisturizer and carrier oil combination.  Adding a tiny bit of oil helps your moisturizer to "stick" and leaves your skin with a glow.  You may have to play around with this depending on your skin type. Some oils (like vitamin E) are suitable for ultra-dry skin.  For normal, oily skin, you may want to experiment with rosehip which is a much drier oil.

Bottom line, you can have glowing skin by enhancing your daily moisturizer.  All you have to do is get a little creative.

I discovered the existence of cleansing balms back when Jourdan Dunn first revealed her entire skin care regimen.  Her cleanser of choice was moringa cleansing balm by Emma Hardie.  That was over a year ago.  I vowed to pick up that cleansing balm but never followed through.

Fast forward to this week when I a received notification that Teyana Taylor had launched an Instagram live video.  She was sitting in the back of an Uber, on her way to the airport to meet her idol, Janet Jackson.  Teyana was super nervous that she might miss her flight so she had a somber, serious look on her face.  The weather was cold & gloomy which explained why she cozied up under a dark hoodie jacket.  Even with poor lighting and her serious face, the girl was glowing. 
At the right moment, Teyana happened to look down at the questions and saw that someone was asking her about which highlighter she was wearing.

"Highlighter? Girl, I don't have any makeup on....I'm not doing my face until I get off the plane." She then made a disparaging comment about how to she looked to which everyone responded with overwhelming praise.   Teyana then continued to say "this [is] that good moisturizer." I listened closely to see if she would reveal a brand but that never happened.

Bummed, I decided to do some digging of my own to see what I could come up with.  But instead of a moisturizer, I was introduced to the skin cleanser that Teyana swears by.

And, surprise!  It's also a cleansing balm. But not just any cleansing balm, it's an even-toned cleansing balm that promises to deliver a brighter, healthier complexion.  Best of all, it's made by brand developed for women of color.  This 3-N-1 cleansing balm has several notable ingredients including oils, plant extracts, witch hazel (for acne control) and acids to brighten the skin.  This is a hard-working product. No wonder why Teyana is so in love.

One of my character flaws traits is my impatience.  I really wanted to try a cleansing balm but I couldn't bear the thought of waiting several days to receive it.  So I'm like "what do I have in my possession to create my own cleansing balm asap?"

1. Coconut oil.
2. Shea butter.
3. Black soap

Dassit!  Only 3 ingredients.  Coconut oil would be the base of the product. Shea butter would give it a nice, rich texture. Black soap would feel nourishing to the skin yet would create the "soapy" effect when I rinsed (plus black soap can help even out skin).

I'll be honest with you, my final product was.....ugly.  Hideous is probably a better word. Nothing mixed together properly but I couldn't be bothered with what it looked like.  My only concern was if it would serve its purpose.  And I'm happy to report that it did!

The "mixture" glided over my skin which made it easy to massage. And when it came time to rinse, the black soap came through!  My struggle balm left my skin smoother and brighter looking.  I couldn't stop touching it.  I finished up the routine with an acid-based toner then moisturized.  I'm a happy woman.

*side note* Perhaps if I would have melted the mixture together and allowed it to harden as it cooled, the final product could have looked more like a true balm. But this is only a theory that I will test out when I have more time.*

The DIY serves its purpose for now, but I still want to get my hands on the real deal.   I may write a part 2 to this post because, while searching for the brand of her "good moisturizer," I came up on a couple of Teyana's other beauty secrets.  Stay tuned.