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.

THEORY #1
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.

THEORY #2
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 

THEORY #3
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?"

HERE'S WHAT I CAME UP WITH:
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.

Weekends are made for masking.  With a little more free time on hour hands, we have the opportunity to get more creative.

You've already grown accustomed to all the clay masks in your collection, it's time to try something different.  Seasons are changing and the air is getting drier by the day.  Those clay masks aren't as relevant as they used to be.

Try this mask instead.
If you've ever attempted to purchase sheet masks, you've probably seen several have the word "collagen" on the label as a selling point.  The idea is that these collagen sheet masks can help plump your skin.  But, one has to wonder, how much collagen is in those things anyway?

I have this drawer that houses all of the sheet masks I've collected along the way.  One in particular, from Masqueology, is a Collagen Hydro Gel mask.  When I flipped the packet over to read the ingredients, I discovered that it contained hydrolized collagen along with other high-end ingredients like caviar and pearl powder. There's also some super-ingredient that allegedly activates the production of vitamin D levels in the skin.  Sounds fancy. Maybe that's why this mask retails for over $30.00!

That's quite a chunk of change. And maybe it's worth it? I dunno but I wondered if there was a way to incorporate hydrolized collagen into my beauty routine without breaking the bank.
Hydrolyzed collagen is special because the particles are small enough to penetrate. Does this mean that applying collagen topically will magically make your skin appear younger & firmer?  Who knows.  But, according to multiple reviews of collagen-based products I looked into....probably.   Many reviewers are claiming to experience toned, lifted skin from using collagen infused masks.

I have a tub of collagen peptides that I like to add to my beverages.  This stuff easily disappears into any liquid at room temperature (or warmer). Once dissolved, it leaves no traces of grittiness or taste behind. That's a testament to how tiny the particles are. Taking collagen internally has served me well, but I felt it was time to see if there were any benefits possible from using collagen topically.

The first phase of this project involved adding a scoop of collagen peptides to my Kanechom conditioner.  Unfortunately for me, temperatures recently dropped, cooling down my products so the powder didn't dissolve as it normally would. *Mental note, warm up the conditioner slightly next time to see if that makes a difference.*  After a bit of stirring with my Sprush, everything eventually blended together.

As expected, there was no grittiness or any other physical changes to the conditioner.  I applied as normal and waited until the entire process was completed to assess the results.  I didn't know what to expect other than to experience a slight improvement in the "health" of my hair.  If the collagen did its job, it would penetrate the strand and strengthen it from within.  It's been over 24 hours and I love the way my hair looks and feels.  The only thing I did differently was adding collagen to my conditioner and it made a noticeable difference. This is will be a permanent part of my routine.

Next, I'm envisioning ways to build collagen peptides into my skin routine.  One of the most obvious ways is to dissolve a little into my daily moisturizer.  I'm already mixing it with chlorella powder, what's one more ingredient?

Since collagen peptides are in powder form, it'll be easy to blend with any DIY clay mask mixture.  This will help your mask to lift and firm while it clears out your pores.  Collagen easily dissolves in liquids too so I might add a little bit of it into a homemade facial mist.  My first experiment will probably be a rosewater/collagen blend.

Lastly, I'm  thinking on how to make my own collagen sheet mask.  A brand called Huwala has these plain sheet masks that are perfect for DIY projects.  Sometimes, I'll look at an ingredient in a mask and wonder how much of the key ingredients are really in there.  With these plain masks, you whip up your own concoction for a fraction of the price.  You get 60 masks for one low investment.  When I get these, I'm making a brightening mask with enough of the active ingredient to make a real difference.

I'm daydreaming of making a green tea sheet mask soaked in 100% green tea!  Or maybe an aloe vera collagen mask. The possibilities are endless and I'm getting excited just thinking about it.

I also love this DIY video of how to make your own GEL SHEET MASK at home.  Getting some spring roll rice paper today to make a bunch of gel patches for my under eye and smile lines that I can use every day. Check it out.



Yesterday, I decided to start enjoying morning smoothies again.  A few years back, morning smoothies were my favorite activity of the day.  It was the easiest way to pack a multitude of nutritional products in one, easy to consume, beverage.
via @supanovaslam
I peeked in the cupboard where I keep all of my smoothie approved ingredients.  Sitting near the back was a large bottle of powdered chlorella. After reaching for the bottle, I noticed that it was nearly full.  A feeling of dread came over me once I realized that it was well past its expiration date.

Soon, my fears were confirmed.  Engraved under the bottle was a "use by date" of 2016.   I was screwed.  There was no way I was going to risk consuming this potentially expired powder.  But, perhaps there was another, much better, use for my super chlorella powder.
I searched the internet for answers.  Before I knew it, I was supplied with answers on how to salvage my stockpile of powdered chlorella.

According to a published study, chlorella is actually a powerful skin beautifier. And I'm not just talking about the benefits of taking it internally.  When applied topically, chlorella has the ability to impact the skin in so many amazing ways. But one result in particular really caught my attention.

The participants in the study were given a cream containing 1% dermachlorella (a solution of water & chlorella).  Eleven women asked to apply their chlorella cream 2X a day for 84 days.  At the end of the experiment, all the noticeable benefits were measured.  And the results were very good....
source
Basically, chlorella changed their lives. But more specifically, they experienced measurable changes in the following areas:

  • A "lightening" of dark circles under the eye.
  • Improvements in lymphatic drainage/increased circulation.
  • A decrease in the deep pigment of stretch marks by 32% after 84 days.
That's just some of the few highlights.  What I'm most excited by is the impact of chlorella on the firmness and tone of the skin.  Specifically, the 1% solution of chlorella increased collagen expression by over 150%.  As expected, this increase of type 1 & 3 collagen resulted in improved firmness and tone.

Well, that's all I needed to hear.  

The plan now is to convert my the dark green powder (once allocated only for smoothies) into an anti-aging, skin loving mask.  Because it's in powder form, chlorella can easily be blended into a clay mask.  All I have to do is mix in a little Aztec clay, some manuka honey, apple cider vinegar, and I'm all set!  


The women in the study applied chlorella in a cream form which means that the green algae was absorbed through the skin topically.  This is probably why there was such an impact at a cellular level.  So I have to find another way to apply it.  Right now I'm even considering adding a tiny sprinkle of chlorella powder into my super-hydrating emulsion to boost its skin enhancing intensity.

Today I gave it a try and, much to my surprise, the dark green powder easily melted into my facial lotion.  Once I rubbed my chlorella cream in, it sunk deep into my skin.  With the naked eye, I could see no traces of green tint on my face.  This is a big deal because this means that I could possibly recreate some of the elements of the study.  I'll proceed with caution to make sure that my skin reacts positively to being exposed to such a powerful detoxifier.  But, overall, I'm really looking forward to slathering on my new superfood moisturizer and I'm excited about the wonderful results ahead.


Because it's Fashion Week in New York, a bunch of models are coming out of the wood work with tips on how they get ready for the biggest fashion event of the year.  I checked out a recent article where the interviewer asked a slew of models to share one skin tip.

I casually read through the various pieces of advice but it wasn't until I stumbled on one model in particular that I stopped and took notice.

The woman's skin was absolutely glowing.  Of all the models interviewed, she appeared to have the healthiest skin of all. What was her secret?
Her one piece of advice was something we've probably all heard before (especially if you frequent this site).  It's a ritual that I was so passionate about that I spent quite a bit of money so I could have unlimited access to it anytime.
(Bibi showing off her glowing skin)
Model, Bibi Sharipova has quite an extensive resume of runway appearances and magazine covers.  She's been blessed with a bone structure that most of us would kill for.  As a high fashion model, Bibi often wears minimal makeup to ensure that the clothes are the main focus.  But honestly, her skin is so striking that it sometimes steals the show.

Heck, her skin even caught the attention of Shiseido who featured her in an advertisement for their world renowned products.  So what's her one healthy skin tip?  Did Bibi proclaim her love for a multi-step daily skin ritual?

Nope.

The routine that Bibi swears by are regular visits to the sauna.  Here's what she told an interviewer at a recent show backstage.

"I spend a lot of time in the sauna. I go once a week, and that's the number one tip I can give to any girl. It helps keep my skin clear, especially because at shows they use a lot of makeup on me." 

Clear skin is one thing, but glowing skin is something completely different.  Sauna sessions detox the skin on a deeper level (especially infrared saunas).  This produces effortlessly clear skin.  The origin story of my love for saunas began many years ago.  I joined a local gym that had both a sauna and a steam room.  For the longest time, I never stepped in the sauna.  Then, one day, I looked in the mirror and noticed that my acne was completely out of control.

Obviously, my products weren't working so I had to try something different.  Like Bibi, I committed to regular visits to the sauna.  A short time later, my skin was clear. The only thing I did differently was sweat for a few minutes a day.  Once I experienced the wonders of infrared saunas and how they offer an even "deeper detox,"  I was sold.  Investing in an at-home unit was a dream of mine.  But, as time passed, I used it less frequently. Especially during the hot summers.  But, as fall & winter approaches, I plan on taking my sauna regimen seriously.

If you're tired of spending oodles of money on products in search of glowing skin. I urge you to try something different.  A few visits to the sauna may do more for you than anything you've already tried.  Plus it's an amazing act of self-care.  Not to mention the slew of other benefits like increased circulation which will help keep your hair thriving during the slow growing months.