I'm becoming a huge fan of Etude House's collagen-based hydrating products.  My love affair began when I stumbled their Collagen Lotion Emulsion.  It's a lightweight lotion with super-hydration powers.

From there, I decided to graduate to a richer, thicker formula. So I moved on to their collagen cream.  I purchased this product during the warmer months and found it to be too rich and nourishing.  But, when winter came along, this cream and I became inseparable.  It's rich and creamy yet easily melts into the skin, hydrating it in an instant.

Since I was striking gold with Etude House products, I decided to go through their selection on Amazon to see if I was missing out.  Little did I know that I would soon stumble upon of my favorite purchases yet.
Prior to scouting my next purchase, I set an intention to find a hydrating product that also produced a natural, soft, dewy glow.  I didn't search long before I stumbled on exactly what I was looking for.

Etude House's Collagen Multi-Stick is unlike anything I currently own.  Sure, I have other beauty products in stick form but none of them are like this.  Let me explain.

1. I own a couple Haloscope highlighter sticks from Glossier. One thing I love about them is the wax/oil based center. This helps it provide additional shimmer on the skin but they don't really hydrate.
2. I've also love cocoa butter sticks which do an amazing job at attacking areas of intense dryness with a rich layer of nourishing butter.

Neither of these compare to Etude's Moisture stick.  Etude's stick has no actual shimmer. But it leaves behind the most naturally dewy skin imaginable.  Etude's stick isn't wax/butter based. It's like applying hydrating moisture directly on the skin in a way that isn't oily or greasy.

Prior to purchasing, I searched for reviews and found on a few.  Even though I couldn't find too many video reviews on Youtube, those I did find were highly favorable.  So I took the plunge.  Weeks later, the item arrived (directly from Korea, I assume). From the moment I first tested the collagen stick, I've been hooked.

This product is perfect for applying over your moisturizer.  In this incredibly dry air, it doesn't take long for our skin to drink up moisturizers.  Etude houses' stick can help seal in moisture (like layering an oil) without leaving the skin oily or overly shiny.  It too will be absorbed into the skin as time goes on but, upon initial application, it leaves behind the most natural looking, dewy glow.

I haven't even brought up the most amazing aspect of this product yet.  What really sold me was that collagen was the main ingredient.  In fact, collagen is the first ingredient listed and makes up more than 50% of the contents.  Will rubbing a hydrating collagen stick directly on the skin make your wrinkles go away? Who knows.  But it couldn't hurt. Right?

We already have a bunch hydrating skin products in your possession. But how many of them consist mainly of skin-plumping collagen?

  Lastly, I'm also completely enamored with the packaging which makes it easy to take with me wherever.  This stick is never far from me. I love applying and reapplying around my under eye, forehead wrinkles, nasal labial folds, and areas where I experience the most dryness.  I even apply a little on the skin after putting on makeup if I need to add a little hydration and dewiness to the skin.

Shout out to these ladies who helped convinced to me to take the plunge.

Many years ago, I came across the concept of lotion masking while researching Japanese beauty secrets on Youtube. This was well before the current sheet mask craze. The technique was pioneered by beauty expert Chizu Saeki, author of The Japanese Skin Care Revolution.

Th technique is simple, you create do-it-yourself sheet masks using products of your choice and special cotton squares.  At the time, I didn't pay much attention, but I finally purchased the infamous Japanese cotton squares and had a chance to experience them for myself.  Now I regret not getting them sooner and I'll tell you exactly why.
I would describe these cotton squares as the Japanese version of our cotton rounds.  Except they are 100X better.  In fact, I'm never buying cotton squares again because I've now deemed them as inferior.

Cotton rounds/cotton balls are well-meaning but they have one fatal flaw.  They rob you of your precious product.  We soak them in liquid only to get a small return on our investment.  Japanese cotton squares are the exact opposite.  They use little product and provide a HUGE payoff!  They're nothing short of spectacular.

The squares are about the same thickness as a typical cotton round, but the beauty of the squares is that they can be peeled layer by layer. This way, you can determine the level of thickness you prefer.  If I tried to peel a cotton round in the same way, it would be a mess. But these squares are designed to be peeled apart.

The thinnest layer is where the magic happens. Because then, you can transform your basic cotton sheet into an impromptu sheet mask.  All you need is a few drops of serum and you are ready to rock.
What I love most about these cotton sheets is how well they hold moisture. They don't soak it up only for it to disappear into thin air. They hold the moisture in for you.

Next, you apply to the soaked squares on skin and suddenly, you've developed your own hydrating sheet mask.  Here's a quick video demonstration of what I'm referring to.

As you notice in the video, the cotton squares stretch almost like they're made of cloth. Cotton rounds don't even match up. The girl soaked her squares in what appears to be water, prior to adding hydrating toner, to fully saturate for easier application. I find that I didn't need to do that, but if I wanted to go for maximum hydration, I just may try that next time.

After application, I noticed that my skin appears ultra-moisturized. I still had a little hyaluronic lotion on the surface of the skin that I rubbed in once I removed the sheets.  I had that post sheet mask glow but my skin wasn't as saturated.

Here's my detailed plan:
  • I talked about how I preserve all of the excess sheet mask serum in a glass jar.  The leftover mask serum will be put to good use thanks to these wonderful cotton squares.
  • Now I can fully experiment making my own brightening sheet masks using acid based products like this mandelic acid peel. I know there are a bunch of brightening sheet masks on the market but I always question how much of the active ingredient is in each mask. Now I can be sure.
  • These cotton squares are perfect for creating "alternative sheet mask" recipes like making my own collagen infused sheets or perhaps I'll experiment super greens like liquid chlorophyll.  
  • I talked about the benefits of masking before bed.  This could be a quick alternative for those days when I don't want to do a full sheet mask but still want to hydrate the skin before bed.  
  • Since these squares are pretty small, I can just wear a couple on my trouble areas like under the eye, forehead or nasal labial lines instead of having to do a full face mask.
  • If I get a breakout, I'll soak a sheet in witch hazel and leave on the blemish for targeted treatment. 
So many options.   And I didn't even mention how I used a thin sheet to quickly and easily remove nail polish using less product than with a cotton ball.  I also used them to tone my skin with apple cider vinegar and I loved how they stayed moist much longer than typical cotton rounds.

Your drug store cotton products are now obsolete. These squares are sheet masks and cotton rounds in one!  It's time to graduate to a superior product.  Japanese cotton pads are everything.

Check out this demonstration video featuring the OG herself.

Not long ago I had the pleasure of experience cryotherapy for the first time.  After the lady at the cryo center explained all the details of the treatment, she asked if I had any questions.  "Yes.....uh, do you do cryo facials also?"  Sadly, they didn't offer cryo facials so I made a mental note to search for spas in my city that offered the service.

Not long after, I watched a beauty video on Youtube from a Victoria's Secret model featuring her celebrity facialist. One of the pre-runway tricks shared was to fill a bucket with ice cubes and splash the ice repeatedly on the face.  The alternative was to purchase a set of super expensive cryo-sticks which are basically hand-held tools that you put in the freezer and place on the skin. They're a decent option, but they cost over $100 and I knew they couldn't create the same impact as ice directly on the skin.

Should I pay $50 or more for a single facial cryo facial session or do I buy the fancy stainless steel ice facial sticks?

The answer is neither! Because I've come up with a nifty little hack so that we all can enjoy cryofacials for just pennies a day.
Before I talk about the how, let's first discuss why cryo facials are even worth trying.  In my opinion, ice is a very underrated beauty secret.   Ice is the enemy of inflammation. We know this because we ice our knees & ankles when they swell up.  When I suffered from huge cystic acne breakouts, ice was my very best friend.  The other form of inflammation that ice handles well is morning puffiness.  One way to deal with morning puffiness is to activate your lymphatic system via facial massage. That, combined with ice therapy will guarantee that puffy eyes will be a thing of the past.

The other reason why I wanted to experience a cryo facial so bad is because ice can literally transform the look of the skin.  When we drop the surface temperature of the skin, we disrupt the flow of blood.  The body goes into self-preservation mode and redirects blood flow away from extremities and towards the organs.  As soon as the "danger" has subsided, the blood rushes back to the skin's surface.  The result of this wonderful process is bright, glowing, healthy-looking skin.  The post-ice-facial-glow is something we all should strive to experience because, with increased blood flow, comes heightened nutrient delivery and increased collagen production.

Let's not forget how powerfully, cold temperatures can impact our pores.  If you ever steam your skin to open up the pores, the right thing to do is seal those bad boys shut through the use of ice therapy. Whenever I want to achieve a smooth poreless, face, I just follow this simple 3 step system.
1. Clease using my Clarisonic
2. Steam for a few minutes and apply clay mask immediately after.
3. Tone, then close pores using ice tool.

I've tried a few different ice tools in the past, but this DIY hack is by far the most effective.  Instead of spending my hard earned money on a spa appointment, I picked up an ordinary popsicle maker.  Once filled, I place them in the freezer.  When I'm ready to use it, I remove the tray from the freezer and allow to melt slightly. Then I take one of the water popsicles and rub it on my skin.

Yes, it's cold, but it's way easier than taking a cold shower.  Plus, the nifty little handle means that I don't have to touch the ice with my bare hands.  This makes it so easy to use.  When I'm done, my skin looks so flushed and healthy. Best of all, I can do this as often as I like. No need to set an appointment at a fancy spa.  No need to dunk my hands in a bucket of ice.   Best beauty DIY ever!

Fanny Bourdette-Donon has been on my radar for quite some time. I think I may have stumbled upon her while looking into reviews and info about Dior's cult product--Lip Glow.  Fanny is a fan of the product. And rightfully so.  That's because Fanny is part of Dior beauty's public relations team.  

As the corporate face of Dior's beauty brand, Fanny knows the importance of putting her best face forward.  The woman has amazing skin.  Naturally, I wanted needed to know the intimate secrets of her beauty routine. It took a while but I think we finally have a glimpse of Fanny's favorite beauty items.
Obviously, Fanny endorses Dior beauty line. But what else does she use?  I happened to be on Instagram the moment she shared this story.
Winter is sheet mask season and Fanny is taking full advantage.  Because of the constant travel, she has to revive her  skin using ultra-hydrating sheet masks.  Apparently, Fanny loves her Joanna Vargas eye masks so much that she had to take a snap. These definitely a splurge item at around $60.00-$75.00 a pop. I know that sounds a bit insane but after looking at some of the hero ingredients, I could see why the Brightening Eye Firming Mask is considered a premium product.  
  • Hydrolyzed silk protein holds 10,000 times its weight in water while Hyaluronic Acid holds 1,000 times its weight in water, bringing ultimate hydration to the skin
  • Hexapeptide 8 is a peptide that works to prevent formation of wrinkles
  • Matrixyl is a powerful ingredient that mimics human collagen to stimulate collagen production
In the caption, Fanny reminds us that, to look and feel young forever, we must focus on hydration. She, of course is absolutely right.  Those of us with oily skin sometimes neglect the importance of hydrated skin because we think we don't need it.  Once, I experimented with putting all of my focus on hydration (similar to the Korean skin routine) and my skin flourished.  It had this healthy look to it that I was never able to accomplish previously.  Youthful, healthy looking skin is hydrated skin. Let's never forget that.

A post shared by Fanny Bourdette-Donon (@fannybourdettedonon) on

Fanny did a small reveal in August with the simple caption "Skin first."  In the pic we see a small spread of beauty essentials which includes:
My guess is that the black + white jar is Joanna's exfoliating mask which she proclaims at the secret weapon for glowing skin.  This mask exfoliates two ways and is powerful enough to get rid of a breakout overnight.  I'm not at all surprised to see a daily exfoliant in the lineup.  'Cause we all know that anyone with glowing skin makes regular exfoliation an absolute priority.  Along with her favorite products, Fanny proclaims to drink several liters of water a day (no surprise).  My guess is that she also pops in to see Joanna Vargas in New York for her well renowned facials. 

After doing a tiny bit of research, I learned that Joanna really has a fondness for including mandelic acid as an active ingredient to her skin masks.  Madelic acid is the ideal acid-based exfoliator for women of color because it lightens pigmentation without causing additional discoloration.   Although, Joanna's masks have a perfect 5 star rating, I'm still hesitant about the price point.  I did find these mandelic mask alternatives at only a few dollars a pop.  Maybe, it's a good idea to have a couple of quality masks for special occasions while having an arsenal of budget masks for normal, every day use. 

Let's watch Joanna Vargas' world famous facial in action.

*side note, Joanna mentions that she's a proponent of putting healthy greens into skin products.*  See....I'm not crazy.

Over time, I've collected bits and pieces of the routine beauty habits that create Karrueche's beautiful skin. For the most part, we've been surviving on scraps, but we are eating today girlies!  

Karrueche recently spilled the details to her entire regimen.  Because I'm such a creeper, I've already uncovered and written about some of what she does to create her glow.  But there were some new revelations in this article that I wasn't previously aware of.  

Let's discuss.
Thanks to an interview from The Cut, we know have full knowledge of the secrets to Karrueche's perfect skin.  I'm sure some of it is genetics, but this girl really puts in work. You can tell that healthy skin is something she's passionate about. These are the type of people that we can learn the most from.  I mean, just look at her skin.
A post shared by karrueche (@karrueche) on

The first secret that Karrueche reveals is that she's invested in a facial steamer.  She utilizes it to prep her skin prior to masking. This is absolutely brilliant because steaming before any facial treatment will only enhance the results.  When the pores are clear (post-steaming) the hydrating effects of a mask are amplified. Following the mask, she seals all the goodness in by closing her pores using ice cubes.  Here's the running list of celebrities who use ice-cubes in their regimen.

1. Naomi Campbell
2. Pharrell 
3. Jasmine Tookes
4. Karrueche Tran

That's just a few.  If you weren't digging my cold shower recommendation, an ice cube facial is probably the next best thing. 

She then goes on to name off a few of her favorite masks.  Turn out I was right when I guessed that her golden mask was Peter Thomas Roth's 24k Lifting/Firming Mask.  She says it herself in this interview.  Kae's other favorite masks include Glam Glow, Origins and LaMer.  Sounds like a pretty good line up if you ask me.

Beyond the intense masking regimen, we know that Karrueche is a big fan of saunas.  She relies on the sauna as a way to do a major detox on her skin.   She doesn't go into much detail in the interview, but we're already aware that this girl doesn't just sauna, she has a complete sauna-skin clearing routine

 One, not so healthy habit she has is obsessively picking at her skin.  For most of us, this is a death sentence.  Discoloration and acne scars will abound when we mess with our skin.  But, with the help of a steamer or sauna, removing gunk that lays beneath the surface becomes much easier.  That's probably how she's able to get away with it. 

If you're desperate to clear out white/black heads, laying below the surface of your skin, try this multi-step technique.  

The last thing I want to highlight from her interview is a reveal of her HOLY GRAIL skin product.  Although I prided myself in figuring out most of her ritual, I had no knowledge of the ONE ITEM that gets her the most compliments.

Karrueche once splurged on Chanel's Hydra Beauty Serum and has never looked back.  Apparently, this stuff is so good that she immediately restocks once it runs out.  It makes sense to always go back to the product that is guaranteed to generate comments. This item isn't cheap but seems to be pretty amazing.  All the reviews are glowing. If you want to give it a try, be prepared to invest over $100.00.  If you aren't ready just yet, consider trying the hero ingredient and see if you can get favorable results. One thing I noticed was that camellia seed oil was included.  This is the same oil that Gabrielle Union swears by.  I love Camellia seed but I haven't incorporated it into my skin care regimen. I'm definitely going to blend a drop or two into my favorite cream or serum and see what transpires.  Then adding Chanel's Hydra Serum to my splurge list.

One beauty secret that we're aware of, but wasn't mentioned in the article is the fact that Karrueche also indulges in various health tonics & juices that keep her skin glowing from the inside out.  She also goes into her favorite hair products.  But I won't spoil it, you can check out the full interview here