Is it just me or have you noticed the flawless skin trend on Instagram?    Not too long ago my feed was saturated with heavily contoured faces coupled with an opaque matte lip.  Slowly, things started to shift and everyone wanted to show off their bare face.  Once these skin selfies started gaining traction, my timeline became flooded with image after image of the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen.

My prediction is that perfectly poreless, glowing skin will be huge this spring & summer.  We need to get ready.
I’ve been on my skin perfecting journey for a while now.  Currently, my skin is doing ok, so I was going to chill for a bit.  But I realize that there’s still work to do so I must keep trekking forward.  There’s no slowing down until I reach my ultimate goal of achieving skin that looks absolutely extraordinary without a stitch of makeup.  Once that foundation is built, wearing makeup will only enhance the final look.

So let’s discuss what we need to do between now and spring to experience near-perfect skin.

1. Drink Water. 
 I’m not going to expound.  I’m just going to acknowledge that all of us have probably been drinking way less water than we should over the past few months.  It’s time to get back on track.
 ~Drink Water.~
~Drink Water.~
~Drink Water.~

2.  Nourish with veggie juices.
Days ago, I watched a video on Youtube of featuring 3 individuals. All three of them are avid juicers and consume more green juice than most our water intake.  One thing they all had in common was they appeared to radiate with a healthy glow from the inside.  Some of us have experienced this glow first hand after a juice cleanse.  Our skin responds to nourishment.  Even if you can’t do a full fast/cleanse, just add them to your current regimen. Maybe some beet juice here and there or perhaps an apple cider vinegar lemonade tonic.  I’m bringing chlorophyll water back into my daily routine because the benefits were too good pass up.  Figure out ways to incorporate more greens into your diet and do it consistently.

3. Eradicate Breakouts 
If you’re battling active acne, I suggest you give this regimen a try.  Basically, homegirl cleared up her skin in a major way simply by incorporating black soap, witch hazel, and rose water spray.  Speaking of witch hazel, I’ve seen this miracle toner praised for its acne fighting abilities by countless individuals.  Yesterday, I picked up some witch hazel cleansing pads that I can swipe over my face, neck, shoulders, and back.  I’m determined to do everything in my power to keep breakouts from forming.

4. Eliminate Congestion.
I’ve come to realize that treating congestion below the skin’s surface is a powerful strategy that helps keep my skin clear.  If I allow too much time to pass without deep cleansing, I’m setting myself up to experience breakouts down the line.
This means doing the following:
-Making sure I cleanse with my Clarisonic instead of using my bare hands.
-Steaming regularly using the white head elimination method. 
Masking frequently to clear pores.

5. Exfoliating.
Listen sis, if you don’t include regular exfoliation in your regimen, you will not get the type of results you’re looking for.  Glowing skin is the result of light reflecting off young, healthy skin cells.  Unfortunately, as we get older, our skin becomes stagnant and needs our help to remove old, dead, skin. Yes, you can layer on a bunch of highlighters to create a similar effect, but why not create skin that glows in the sun naturally?  Play around with the type of exfoliators that your skin likes.  Just know that almost every single one of your flawless skin inspirations probably exfoliates her skin on a very regular basis.

6. Deep Hydration.
Lastly, let us never forget the amazing wonders of well-moisturized skin.  I don’t touch on this subject enough.  Those of us with oily skin don’t do a great job of moisturizing because we think it’s not necessary.  This way of thinking is highly flawed and downright dangerous.  I was walking around with dry, oily skin for a long time because I thought using hydrating products would worsen the situation.  Once I learned how foolish I was being, I focused on moisturizing and my skin went from greasy to glowing.

Lastly, I encourage everyone to acquire makeup that perfectly matches your skin.  I remember watching a bunch of Fenty Beauty reviews where people were shocked to discover that their current foundations weren’t as close to their skin tone as once thought.  I was one of those people.  Prior to discovering Fenty foundation, I tended to go for shades with red undertones.  Then I was told I had yellow undertones and my world was flipped upside down.  When you find a perfect match foundation, you can rock a truly no-makeup-makeup look.  Just a little concealer, gloss, brows and suddenly, you become that girl who glows with very little effort.

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.