How I Deal With My Loved Ones When They Talk… Ish.

Hello, people!

Long time no hear…I know. I’ve started a new job in the past few weeks, so it’s taken up quite a bit of my time. Add to that my birthday (the divine 29, anyone), along with general spending time with the loved ones, and my time goes out of the window. On the subject of this topic, I’ve been thinking about this topic for years now, and finally….I feel mentally strong enough to write about it. Bear with me.

Now, don’t get it twisted. I love my peoples. My peoples are ride or die. Through thick or thin, they’ve been there. They’ve been there through my highest of highs… and my lowest of lows. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them.

However….. there are those days when they try me. Immensely. Sorely. Those are the days when I just want to blast Missy Elliot’s “Gossip Folks” from my headphones in an effort to un-hear what I have heard. Those are the days when I can’t believe what I’me hearing….and I’m just like, “What?” Now, in full disclosure, I know that people are human. After all, to err is human while forgiving is of a divine nature. Maybe it’s just me, but I do have the tendency to hold the people who raised me to a higher standard. I tend to expect more of them because they are the ones who raised me to have such high standards when dealing with others.

So with this in mind, here are the tips I use when I’m in this situation, whether at home in the living room or the dining room table, as well as in public with other loved ones. Since I was raised to not disrespect my elders, I do my best to stick to that mandate. I’m not always successful at it, but this is what keeps me in check. At least…most of the time.

(1) I listen. Quietly. This is my first step in Operation Keep-My-Wits. When I hear them go past the point-of-no-return, I listen, and I watch their behavior as they speak. If they’re speaking erratically, it doesn’t bother me. They’re just rambling on for the sake of attention. But if they’re enunciating every syllable in a clear and succinct manner……

(2) Count to ten. If I’m counting to ten, it means that I’m doing my best to keep my mouth shut…and the quiet listening part isn’t working. So, I count to ten in English, then breathe in, and out. If they’re still going on…I add another count in Spanish, and then I breathe in and out again. I do my best to repeat this until I’ve attained a measured state of calmness. This usually works well. However, if you’re at the point where you’re unable to keep a lid on it,,

(3) Then Walk Away. Yep. That’s right. Walk away. I know, that we millennials invented the clapback,  trademarked it, and put it on overpriced t-shirts hawked by *gag* influencers, but there is something to be said for the elegant exit. Sometimes, your loved ones seeing you walk away does the trick and makes them realize that they are not necessarily right at the moment. I always do my best to walk away. It saves you in the best of times, and you can do many things during that walk. You can meditate. You can say a prayer to your patron saint asking for guidance. (St. Jude has heard MANY of my prayers during those moments.) You can even just pray to God asking for guidance and wisdom in dealing with the ish-talking loved one of the moment.

I clapped back. Now what?

Trust me. I get it. As much as I would like to remain cool and calm, sometimes, I too have gotten into disagreements with my peoples. And since I’m a person who really does her best to remain calm as much as possible, when I handle my clapbacks, I get to the point. I’m not often happy about it, but we’re human, and it happens. The important thing that I remember in those moments is to let cooler heads prevail. Maybe you and the person you argued with don’t talk for a few days until the raw emotions have subsided. Or maybe, you chalk it up to normal occurrences and act as though nothing happened five years later. I’ve had both happen to me.

It’s important to keep in mind that no loved one is perfect. Many times with our elders, they raise us under the mandate of “Do as we say, not as we do,” and hindsight really is 20/20. For better or for worse, they raise us to be the people they wish they had been, and as much as they instill their jewels of wisdom in us, there are going to be certain habits that they themselves will not change. You can tell them how wrong they are, and you can be absolutely right about it, but the fact of the matter is that they. will. not. change. Period.

Throughout my experiences, I’ve learned that the only person I can control is myself. I am accountable to God, myself, and my community for how I act and conduct myself around others. I can do my best to explain to others how I feel when they have wronged me, and they could tell me that they don’t care how I feel, they said what they said, which is of course, their prerogative. They could also apologize. It’s a fifty-fifty split, really. If what they said isn’t going to matter in five hours, then I feel what I have to feel, and let it go once I’ve chewed the cud of the argument. However, if it’s been a week and I’m still feeling some type of way about our disagreement, then I take a long hard look at myself, and I ask myself what’s really bothering me. Is it what they said, or is it that they refuse to hear how they hurt me?

Once I’ve been honest with myself about that….then I come to terms with it.

For better…or for worse.

What it REALLY Means to be Pro-Life in America-A Discussion.

Today, March 14th is Pi Day. Pi Day was founded under the auspices of celebrating the number pi, which is  3.14159265359. My fellow nerds usually have celebrations of the magical number, while my fellow food-lovers use it as an excuse to create all sorts of sweet and savory magical concoctions with flour, fruit, caramel, and the like. Normally, I’d be in pi-e heaven. Pun intended.

However, the way that this world has turned has me in a more pensive mood today. Today is the National Walk-Out Day, which was developed by high school students as a way to protest our government’s lack of gun control. Now, as a Catholic who is proudly pro-life, I support this fully, and I’ll tell you why: when someone, whether they be a student, teacher, or otherwise, walks into a school of all places with a shoot-to-kill intention, that is as anti-pro-life as it gets. When parents send their children to school and then receive a phone call that their child has been shot to death, that is the opposite of pro-life. Schools are the cradles of the next generation. Children should not have to worry about their classmates or teachers pulling guns on them and ending all of their dreams in a round of bullets. They should not have to hide in closets that are locked in rooms, then barricaded with furniture by teachers who are praying that they make it to lunch period alive. Our teachers should be focusing on developing the minds of the next generation through art, science, literature, history, and many other subjects instead of learning how to shoot guns in self-defense and hoping that their students don’t suddenly rise up and kill them.

Clearly, this is a painful topic. What makes matters worse, however, are the people who claim to be pro-life saying “Why are these children protesting gun control but they’re allowing innocent babies to be murdered?” It’s at this moment I have to admit, that when I hear such statements, I’m furious. I tend to say a lot of prayers during those moments because those are the moments I want to go on social media rants, but the true reason that I get so angry is because of a lot of people who claim to be “pro-life” place a high premium on the life of the unborn without giving the already-living any further thought. It is most certainly true that a baby does not ask to be aborted. But it is also true that a child does not ask to be murdered in cold blood by a mentally ill person with a gun. We protest on the National Mall about the evils of Planned Parenthood, but we do not advocate for comprehensive medical care in the impoverished communities of America. We wax poetic about the advancements of Catholic-led ethically-based medicine especially in Catholic circles, but we only advertise them to mostly wealthy Caucasian Catholic circles. People of color…often are not invited to these conversations, and therefore, they have no access to the information about the existence of these developments. Let’s not even talk about racism. There are some Catholics who would have you believe that racism has never been a problem in the American Catholic Church, but if you ask many older Catholics of color about their experience with the Church in America, they will tell you stories about what it was like to be banned from parishes due to their skin color, denied Communion, and denied the right to serve as altar servers. If you ask many younger Catholics of color, they will tell of people refusing to acknowledge them and automatically making assumptions about their conversions, when in fact, the person in question has a family history in the Catholic church which dates all the way back to the eighteenth century.

So with this in mind, I’d like to suggest that you investigate these causes if you really want to claim that you are “pro-life.” Read on.

(1) Victims of gun-violence– Given what is happening today, I had to start this one. You cannot claim to be pro-life if you are not a staunch advocate for preserving life that already exists. If you claim to be pro-life, but you’re more concerned about your right to bear arms being infringed upon than burying too many of our nation’s people, then you are not pro-life. You cannot be pro-life and campaign for measures which would potentially put life in danger.

(2) Mothers of the Unborn-This goes without saying. The women who are privileged to conceive, carry, and birth children need to be protected as well as the mothers who mother via adoption. If you’re pro-life, then you need to be advocating for comprehensive pre-and post-natal care. The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, and Black mothers have an even higher risk of death during or post-delivery. For adoptive mothers, these mothers need support to ensure successful bonding with their babies. Having access to well-trained physicians and mental health professionals ensures a successful adoption. If you’re pro-life, this is another issue that you should look into.

(3) Survivors of Rape, Incest, and Abuse– This is a big issue that often goes unnoticed, and a lot of the male pro-life activists leave this issue out of a lot of discussions. One of the biggest issues that I hear from people who identify as pro-choice is that the pro-life movement does not address survivors of rape and incest, and if we do address it, we address it in a condescending way which dismisses the traumas that these victims have experienced. We have to LOUDLY advocate for comprehensive physical- and mental- health care for these women, especially if they have been impregnated. Many of these victims do suffer from PTSD, and not only is it traumatic for them to have been raped, but the trauma is compounded with the fact that they were impregnated, and every day of their pregnancy is a reminder of what they have gone through. We should not be shaming these women and telling them to leave children on doorsteps (trust me, I’ve seen this). We should not be telling them that God has a way of correcting “True rapes,” and we should not be telling them to keep their legs closed. We also should not be telling them that they asked to be raped with what they were wearing. Nuns have been raped in full habits. Children as young as newborns have been raped. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Rather, we need to provide these women with the best care and support possible. We, especially women, need to lead the way in working with these women to ease their pain and support them.

(4) Adequate Healthcare for all– You cannot be pro-life if you do not support the idea that every person is entitled to healthcare, and healthcare has more of a hold on our society that you would think. Many of our elderly citizens who have made valuable contributions to our society often find themselves choosing between food and medicine for the month because they do not qualify for assistance. That…is not pro-life. Other citizens are diagnosed with terrible diseases which their health insurance companies refuse to cover, and because they cannot always afford adequate treatments in time, they die. Is their fault? Absolutely not. Let’s not even talk about our military veterans, who fight on the behalf of the American people only to come home to the ineptitude of the VA. If a person has been fighting for our country abroad, then they should not have to beg for their medical treatments to which they are entitled upon their return. We pay the salaries of our elected officials through our taxes, and by extension, their healthcare. So why are we paying for them to have the best healthcare in the country FOR LIFE (yes, even after they retire or are unseated in an election, they still get pay and benefits) but we don’t think ourselves worthy? Nah…..true pro-lifers know….you can’t be pro-life if you’re not pro-health. Sorry!

(5) Racism in America From my experience, a lot of Catholics don’t like to talk about racism, especially when it has to do with our own Church, and I get it. We are the first Christians. We’re the first people who spread forth Christ’s message of loving thy neighbor, turning the other cheek, and spreading the good news of hard as well as accountability for one’s actions. But we tend to fall short when it comes to racism in our Church. A lot of people have fortunately been exposed to racism in our Church or they have never perpetuated racism in our Church, which I am most appreciative of. However, there are many racists in this country who proudly identify themselves as Catholic, and they are the ones who perpetuate the idea that racism is nonexistent in the Catholic church. I’ve heard too many stories about people refusing to shake hands with people of color during the Sign of Peace but shaking hands with their Caucasian parishioners (happened to me too, by the way). I’ve heard too many stories about children being told “to go back to Mexico” by their classmates in Catholic schools, as well as Catholic schools discriminating against children for their hairstyles and clothing worn in honor of historic individuals who made a difference to this country. Some people even complain about the way that Catholic masses are celebrated in mostly POC neighborhoods. If you support the subjugation of another group of people based on their skin color, then you’re not pro-life. Period.

(6) Sexism- Now, in many ways, the Catholic Church is misunderstood when it comes to the roles of women and men in the Church, and I freely admit that. Those who do not understand our traditions would think that we are a backward-thinking and antiquated people who believe that women belong in the home taking care of the children. Never mind that there is a strong record of entrepreneurship and business success amongst Catholic work-at-home moms, we automatically believe that Catholicism automatically equals sexism. For the most part, the naysayers are wrong. However, there is a subset of Catholics who believe that sexism is non-existent. Some of these men believe that women ask to be raped when they wear revealing clothing (Yeah, no), that women are lying about not making as much as men in the same position (as if), and other drivel I won’t write here. Let it be said that I agree with the differentiation of roles between men and women in the Church, even though there are times when the lines must cross amongst the laity. However, I do not agree that women deserve to be treated as less than in our Church because we are women and if you believe that….. #youarenotprolife .

I’ve written a long list here, and I’m not trying to attack anyone personally. Obviously, I wrote this as an observation of my own immediate community, but these can relate to anyone who identifies as pro-life, regardless of religious affiliation. The point that I’m making here is that a society is judged by how we treat our least fortunate of citizens, and if we show that we have no regard for our least fortunate of citizens, then we have no right to call ourselves pro-life. We have no right to say that we are advocates of life if we do not support a fair and equal standard of living for the already-living as well as the right of the unborn child to live.

Thank you.

 

The Reward Is In The Routine-The Importance of Consistency in Beauty

Hello, everyone!

Have you missed me? Well, I missed you. If you were to ask me where I’ve been, I’d say that I’ve been taking care of the business of living my life. I’ve been working on my friendships, relationships, my blessings, my food, and everything else.

But I haven’t been as consistent in my beauty routine, and so I decided to talk to you today about how important it is to remain consistent in maintaining your routines. Not only for your outer beauty, also for your inner beauty.

Now, I’ve discussed in previous blogs how important my day and night routines are to me because they help me greet the morning and welcome in the night. My daily routine gives me the confidence to seize the day and make great things happen. My nightly routine allows me to disconnect from the day and calm my mind enough to get ready for sleep. Together, these routines help me achieve my ultimate goal of balance.

However, sometimes life can get in the way of your goals to be consistent. A fastball here, a curveball there, and suddenly you’re so far off-course with no way out. Sometimes you come home late from work and you don’t feel like doing your nightly self-care routine. Other times, you’re rushing out the door, and all you have time for is moisturizer and sunscreen. It happens to all of us.

So how do we keep ourselves heading in a consistent direction? Well, here are my tips for maintaining consistency not only in beauty routines but also in life.

  1. Set an Intention-Make a conscious decision to form a habit.
  2. Ease Into the Habit-This is key. Don’t go blowing tons of money at the beauty counter and use all of it in one night. Your face will NOT be happy. Instead, get a new sample of a product to try when you have 25% or less remaining in a current one. Try it for seven days. If you like it, purchase it so that you can seamlessly integrate it into your routine once your current product is finished. Do this for all the products that you want to try.
  3. Keep Your Routine Manageable-If you’re someone who likes a simple routine of double cleansing, toning, treating and moisturizing…then stick to it. Don’t follow a 12-step Korean routine because it’s the latest craze. Now, personally, a Korean-style skincare routine has done wonders for my skin, but it’s a lot. There have been a couple of nights where I go to bed after washing my face alone. However, I stick to my routine for the most part because it has brought me great results. You’re more likely to stick to something if it’s easy for you to handle.
  4. Be Open to Adapting Your Routine-Sometimes, you will need an extra layer of something here or there. In the winter, I layer on moisture from the thinnest product to the thickest product, and I always use water-based products before oil-based products. However, sometimes I need something thicker to preserve moisture. I’ll use it. In the summertime, I use one layer of moisturizer…and that’s it.
  5. Stick to Your Routine-Our elders always tell us: “The Reward is in the Routine.” You only get the good results by showing up day in and day out. The same holds true for skincare. It takes at least 30 days to see if a product works due to skin cycles and skin-cell turnover. The Europeans, as well as the South Koreans, know this rule and teach their children this rule…but us Americans still need to understand this. 

I hope that I’ve given you something to think about. How do you remain consistent with your beauty routine?

Vulnerability-The Stone Blocking Your Path to Greatness

During this past Christmas season, I signed up for the opportunity to attend a Blessed Brunch which was to be hosted here in NYC. Blessed Brunches are part of the Blessed is She ministry, which aims to foster community and sisterhood amongst Catholic women via their website, social media pages, as well as in-person meetings. The brunch took place this past Saturday in Harlem, and a group of us from different parts of the five boroughs came together to talk about the value of Faith and its multifaceted importance in our daily lives. There were young professionals, young mothers, wives, career women all together in one room to talk about our love for our Catholic faith.

It should go without saying that this was one of the best discussions I’ve ever attended. Not only did we really delve into the nitty-gritty aspects of what having faith requires, but we also delved into the deep about what keeps us from having faith, and the word that kept on coming up was….. vulnerability.

Now, I’ll be real with you: I was raised to not show any vulnerability whatsoever, I wasn’t supposed to cry or talk about what bothered me. I was supposed to be strong, stand tall and always look as though I was happy even if I wasn’t. And to be honest, thinking strong and tall got me through the glories of the American education system. However, there came a point in time when I had to acknowledge that embracing my vulnerability was the key to moving on to the next stage of my life.

It took me a while to do this, but I’m glad that I did. In the spirit of sharing, here are some of the ways I learned to accept the need for the vulnerability in my life.

(1) Don’t deny feelings. I started with this one because this was really the first step. I’ve had many instances where I’ve had to swallow my feelings to placate someone else, and I was the one who suffered as a result. So, I started to acknowledge how I really felt. I began to speak up whenever I feel bothered. I started to own my discomfort with certain scenarios, and doing those things…has changed my life.

(2) Accept the possibility of failure- When you’re being open, you’re being open to everything. You’re being open to happiness, sadness, bitterness, and anger all in one shot. Sometimes, vulnerability will pay off, and you will grow in ways you never dreamed possible. But there are other times when vulnerability will cause you to learn a very hard and sometimes painful lesson. The point is, regardless of what happens, lean into both outcomes. There cannot be great reward without great risk.

(3) If being vulnerable leads to a bad result, harden not your heart. In Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians (12:9-10), he says this:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Basically, what Paul is saying here is that accepting our weaknesses is what makes us strong in the eyes of others, as well as the eyes of God. To accept one’s weaknesses is to accept new opportunities to turn those weaknesses into strengths. If we try to hide them, eventually, they will come out in ways we would not want. So don’t let your failures make you turn your face from the world. Instead, turn your face so the sun shines brighter upon it.

(4) Don’t listen to other people who say that vulnerability is for the weak. Some people were not raised to understand the power of vulnerability, and they choose to ensure that others live by this rule as well. However, the truth of the matter is that you don’t have to live your life by their mistakes. Their lives are their business. Your life is yours.

(5) Realize that people will treat you differently when you choose to accept your vulnerability. Your relationships with people WILL change. Some for the better, some for the worse. Some people in your life will be happy that you are opening up about more of your private triumphs and trials, while others will smile with you and laugh behind your back. I myself can attest to this. When I started being more vulnerable, I lost friends. But I also gained truer ones.

So those are my tips for vulnerability. What are yours?

Talk below!

Why We Need to Avoid Social Media Arguments-A Rant

I remember the days before social media.

They were halcyon days. They were peaceful days. They were “The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Music” days. Okay, maybe not.

However, if you disagreed with someone, then you argued with a person and ONLY that person. Maybe you did it via letters which were then burnt. Or perhaps you called who you needed to call on your phone and agreed between the two of you to never speak of the argument in question again. Or….you used my favorite method- you met up in person to break bread…and decided to never speak to each other again.

Now, the last one wasn’t the happiest of endings. However, what all three of the aforementioned methods had in common was that arguments were private. Nobody knew your business unless they were there themselves, or you spoke of it to the world. Which you most likely didn’t…especially if you lost the fight.

However, nowadays, with the advent of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, it seems as though airing dirty laundry in public is a national pastime. We keep receipts of Twitter beefs from ten years ago in order to fire people. Facebook snapshots are now de rigeur in case one participant in a group fight decides to delete their incendiary posts. Heck, even YT now has “Drama Channels” who aggressively store every Snap, Instagram post, Tweet and Facebook rant in order to increase their own CPM share with their analysis of the latest drama between YT stars.

And where are we regular users of social media? In medias rex of it all. We are in the middle of it, descending into the depths of madness and lost words. Now, I can’t lie….I’ve gotten into some major arguments on social media. I even got into two arguments tonight with people I didn’t even know! I was typing so much trying to keep with the arguments that my fingers went numb. Have you ever tried typing on your cell phone with numb, overheated fingers? #Nevertryit #JustSaying

The point of this rant is to ask you to think before you get in your next online argument with strangers or people that you know. The fact of the matter is, these arguments are no longer private, and they are costing us big-time offline. If you are job-hunting, you had best believe that prospective employers are looking up your social media handles to see what you’re saying because they care about the morals and ethics of the people who join their companies. If you’re dating with intention, then chances are that your dates have looked you up on a Google search to see if you’re secretly a crazy axe-murder from Kenosha or worse, an alt-right artisan from Seattle who believes in a White ethnostate. Heck, if you want to work in social media, companies might search to see if you’re too controversial to work with. If you are……bye-bye marketing campaign.

I’m not saying this to preach to you. I’m saying this because I’ve seen too many friendships go down in flames due to misunderstandings over social media posts. I’ve seen too many families fight over politics in Facebook feeds, and I’ve seen a rapper celebrate cutting ties to their child once they turned 18 on Instagram. If you have an argument, meet up in person and hash it out. If you can’t agree to disagree, then agree to stay out of each other’s way on social media. As Leonard Lauder said to his protegees, “Never put bad news in writing.”

Great advice for all of us to follow.

Three Product Roundup: Cleansing Oils

Hello, people!

I’ve been MIA for awhile, and I’m sorry! I’m currently in the midst of trying to get my life together (#adulting), and a lot of things have fallen off. However, I’m back with a three product round-up to show you that I’m still in this to win this.

Now, first things first: cleansing oils are not new to the beauty scene. For millennia, women have been using oils to cleanse their faces throughout the world. However, the modern iteration of cleansing oils (which originated in Asia) use emulsifying agents housed in oil bases to break down makeup, sunscreen, pollution, and other impurities on the surface of the skin. Some people say that they aren’t necessary, but considering the fact that we in the West wear long-wearing sunscreen and makeup which boasts about lasting more than 24 hours, we do need to safely break down those products. Water-based cleansers won’t cut it because those long-wearing products I told you about are housed in silicone, oil, and wax bases. Translation- They are made to stay ON.

Cleansing oils are one of my favorite products. I tend to use them as a first cleanse on the days that I’ve worn sunscreen, but not any makeup. If I wear makeup, then I use a cleansing balm. With that in mind, here are three different cleansing oils that I’ve tried, and here are my opinions on each.

They are:

(1) Shea Moisture Peace Rose Complex Cleansing Oil ($12)

Shea Moisture CLeansing Oil-Target

Photo Credit- Target

(2) Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil ($30)

Biossance Cleansing Oil

Photo Credit- Sephora

(3) Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil ($44)

Fresh Cleansing Oil-Sephora

Photo Credit- Sephora

I. Amount in packaging: 

Shea Moisture: 4 fl. oz

Biossance: 6.7 fl. oz

Fresh: 150 mL (5.1 fl. oz)

 

II. Marketing Jargon (Taken directly from company websites whenever possible)

Shea Moisture: This natural cleansing oil gently yet thoroughly melts away make-up, dirt and impurities without leaving an oily residue. Enriched with skin-nourishing certified organic Shea Butter and our proprietary complex of Alpine, Damask and Musk Rose Oils, it transforms into a creamy, soft emulsion when blended with water. Sensitive skin is left softer, smoother and refreshed.

BiossanceAn antioxidant-rich cleansing oil that gently removes long-wear makeup and leaves skin with a beautiful, healthy look and feel. Formerly known as “The Purifier”—it’s a brand new look, same effective formula.

The lightweight oil lifts away makeup and impurities, then rinses completely clean with water. Formulated with our sugarcane-derived, sustainable squalane oil, it helps keep skin hydrated and feeling fresh.

Fresh: Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil helps remove impurities and makeup, including waterproof. The blend of nourishing oils and protective extracts effectively cleanses the skin while maintaining natural moisture levels, so skin feels soft and supple and looks healthy and radiant.

 

III. Ingredients:

Shea MoistureHelianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter**, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Rosa Centifolia Flower Wax, Rosa Damascena Flower Wax, Rosa Canina Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Balanites Aegyptiaca Kernel Oil, Rhododendron Ferrugineum Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract.

Biossance: CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, POLYGLYCERYL-2 CAPRATE, SQUALANE, C13-15 ALKANE, POLYGLYCERYL-2 SESQUIOLEATE, TRIETHYLHEXANOIN, CITRUS AURANTIUM DULCIS (ORANGE) OIL, LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA (LAVENDER) OIL, ROSA MOSCHATA SEED, OIL, AVENA SATIVA (OAT) KERNEL OIL, OENOTHERA BIENNIS, (EVENING PRIMROSE) OIL, MORINGA OLEIFERA SEED OIL, LAVANDULA HYBRIDA OIL, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY), LEAF EXTRACT, ANTHEMIS NOBILIS FLOWER OIL, HELIANTHUS, ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, TOCOPHEROL

FreshVitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Bixa Orellana Seed Extract, Haberlea Rhodopensis Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance, Water, BHT, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Limonene, Linalool, Citral.

IV. Directions for Usage (According to company directions)

Shea Moisture: Massage the oil onto face with hands. Add warm water to transform the oil into a milky emulsion. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

Biossance: Apply to dry face with fingertips and gently massage. Add water and continue to massage to [break down] makeup and impurities. Rinse.

Fresh: Gently massage 3-4 pumps onto dry face and closed eyes. Add warm water to emulsify. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

 

V. Texture and Scent

Shea Moisture: This smelled like the generic European-style rose-scented soap that I like to buy from time to time. However, it felt like the cheap liquid handsoap you get from Target.

Biossance: The scent of this is very mild. It smells like the beginning of orange creamsicle, but it never actually gets there, so it’s not an annoying smell. It’s pleasant, but not cloying and annoying, as I like to say. Due to the squalane, this cleansing oil feels very decadent. It’s a thick oil, so if you prefer oils to remove your makeup, you will like this one.

Fresh: This smells like a mild version of berry and citrus together. Very mild, but a lovely scent. Unlike the previous two, this oil is very thin.

VI. How Did I Use It?

I used all according to the package directions. Like I said in the intro, I usually only use oils to remove sunscreen. However, for the Biossance and Fresh oils, I used four pumps each every time I used the product, and then I used a warm clean washcloth to remove it.

VII. My Thoughts on Each Product

Shea Moisture: This. Crap. Burned. My. Eyes. It removed my sunscreen quite well, but it burned my eyes. To be honest, this is more a soap than a cleansing oil. I hated it. I used it twice to be sure I had the same reaction, and then I put it in my cabinet and forgot about it until I needed a brush cleanser.

Biossance: I love this product. I love the size, the smell, and the feel of it on my skin. This product removed all of my sunscreen and the minimal makeup (on the rare occasion I wore any.) I’m a firm believer in the double-cleanse method for my skin, but if you are someone who likes a single-cleanse, then you should try this. Furthermore, you can’t beat the price for the size. This product had me questioning whether or not I needed my second cleanser. Major.

Fresh: This is another “I love it” product. The texture is very thin and delicate, but it packs a punch in terms of removing sunscreen and surface dirt. My washcloth looked disgusting when I used this for my first cleanse. I did also use this for a second cleanse, and I liked how my skin felt. Furthermore, this bottle may not look like much, but I bought this bottle at the end of August, and I just finished it about a week ago…so clearly, it’s worth the money, even though I did complain about the price. when I first bought it.

 

VIII. Final Verdict

Shea Moisture: For the skin, this product is not my cup of tea. I have very sensitive eyes, and if a product burns, I usually get rid of it pronto. However, this does make an amazing brush cleanser so I would buy it again to use exclusively for that purpose. But only as a last resort.

Biossance: I like this one so far. I’ve only been using it for a week, and I can tell that there has been some improvement in my skin since I’ve started using it. My skin is not nearly as dry as it usually is in the winter, and the texture of my skin seems to glow more. I find that it’s made my treatment cleansers work much more effectively. I will definitely be repurchasing this.

Fresh: I love this product. It’s compact, but it definitely does what I need it to do. The only thing that bugs me is the price. Since I live in NYC, the price of this goes from $42 to $45 thanks to sales tax. That being said, the Sephora VIB sale is approaching, and I would add this to my list of “nice to haves” that I usually consider buying once I’ve bought my essentials.

 

My Favorite Shops in NYC-Beauty Edition

Happy Tuesday, peeps!

So I was running an errand for my mom at the Macy’s on Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn, and I was perusing the makeup floor to look at some of the new(wish) goodies. It was weird seeing such a shiny new beauty concept store with brands that I’m used to seeing in Sephora. I mean, I remember the days when the cosmetics were sold by women in white lab coats behind elegant glass counters and I would watch my mom buy a compact and a lipstick, then leave with the GWP (Gift With Purchase). I wonder if Estee Lauder knew what she was getting herself into when she started the concept of GWP back in the 1950s as a way to get women to try new products…..

Anyway, so I saw that Tarte had a new palette out, and I searched for the tester. After being helped by a lovely associate named Octavia, the two of us began talking about beauty business and the state of the industry today. You know, which conglomerates are buying certain indie brands, which makeup brands have enough shades for us Brown girls, the glory of Aunt Jackie (aka Jackie Aina), and so forth. Then she mentioned to me that she was also a make-up artist looking to expand her kit with some different products. When I heard that, I couldn’t help it. I started fangirling, and I mentioned to her that in order to diversify her kit, she had to diversify where she shopped for her products. So in honor of the women who are constantly searching for new and better, I present to you my favorite beauty shops in NYC.

(1) C.O. Bigelow Apothecary:
Address: 414 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

This is one of the oldest continuously running pharmacies in the US, having been founded in 1838. After a negative experience here many years ago, I had to get a prescription filled here last year because they are one of the few compounding pharmacies left. (Compounding pharmacies make certain prescription medications on-site.) When I came here, I’ll admit, I spent more time perusing the beauty section than anything else. This is a great place to visit if you are looking for high-quality sunscreens that go beyond the typical drugstore fare, and they are always rotating new ones. Some of my favorite finds here include Supergoop, MDSolarSciences, and COOLA. They also carry Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup, ByTerry, as well as Smith and Cult nail polishes.

C.O. Bigelow Pinterest
Photo Credit-Pinterest

(2) CAP Beauty
Address: 238 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

Ahh, CAP Beauty. The eco-chic playground of the super-rich and (not always) famous. Founded in 2015 by the former owners of the fashion boutique Castor and Pollux, Kerrilyn Palmer and Cindy DePrima Morrisse, CAP Beauty has become the premier shop to find high-end natural skincare brands which actually work. This is the place to come if you want to find that obscure but high-quality natural skincare line from Hawaii (Leahlani Skincare) that everyone’s been raving about. If it’s a high-performance natural brand, chances are that you will find it here first, and they offer a full range of spa treatments in their gorgeous treatment rooms. They also have an in-house brand of supplements and foods which are yummy, but again…not cheap. The makeup lines they carry are not necessarily brown-girl friendly, but it’s okay. The skincare selection more than makes up for it.

CAPBeautyMotherMag
Photo Credit- Mother Mag

(3) SHEN Beauty,
Address: 315 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Founded by Jessica Richards, this Cobble Hill gem tucked away in South Brooklyn, is the place to go if you want to find both established brands and new brands which are going to be the next big hit. What I love about this place is that there isn’t a lot of faff and clutter. Jessica’s philosophy is to carry only the best of the best of a brand. She’d rather have the best three SKUs of a line than 15 SKUS which do nothing. Another aspect of this shop that I love is her expert curation of natural and cosmeceutical products. So while you’ll see Skinceuticals and Verso Skincare, you’ll also see Antonia Burrell and 37 Actives by Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas. This shop also offers brow services by Josh, who also happens to be the assistant manager.

ShenBeautyAllure
Photo Credit- Allure Magazine

(4) Apthorp Pharmacy
Address: 2201 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

This pharmacy has been an Upper West Side Legend for over a century. Built as the ground floor of the historic landmark the Apthorp Mansion, this is the place to go if you’re some who has a preference for the classic French brands but prefers to buy them at a mom-and-pop shop. They also sell the classic German body care brand Kneipp (AMAZING bath soaks), Mason Pearson brushes, as well as a host of other up-and-coming brands. I personally love the Kneipp section and the T. LeClerc polishes. They are also one of the oldest-running pharmacies in NYC, and they fill specialty prescriptions as well.

ApthorpPharmacyApthorp
Photo Credit:  Apthorp Pharmacy

(5) Anwaar Co.
Address: 354 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

This gem is located in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn along the beautiful Atlantic Avenue commercial strip. It’s one of my favorite places to shop for minority-owned natural cosmetics brands. They also sell perfume oils, supplements, Shea butter, and…….bulk raw oils! You can buy some amazing carrier and essential oils such as argan, moringa seed, carrot seed, pumpkin seed, pomegranate seed, and jojoba to name a few. Plus, the expertise of the owner is amazing. Go there. Your inner hippie kitchenitican will thank you. Trust.

Anwaar Co. Yellow Pages
Photo Credit: Yellow Pages

(6) Metro Integrative Pharmacy
Address: 931 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10065

I found this pharmacy on the Upper East Side when I stopped in to grab a healthy snack on my way to a function, and I was pleasantly surprised at the beauty selection they had here. This shop is a licensed pharmacy which dispenses medications and vitamins, in addition to cosmetics. The cosmetic product selection at this place is classic French pharmacy brands meet classic and new natural brands.  Think Avene, Institut Esthederm, and Leonor Greyl meets Dr. Hauschka, Trilogy, and David Goldfadden, M.D. They also have lower-priced brands in both the classic and natural categories for people on a budget. Another aspect that I love about this place is that they have dietitians, nutritionists, and aestheticians on staff to assist you with selecting purchases. WIN!

Metro Drugs-Natural Awakenings
Photo Credit: Natural Awakenings

Anyway, this is Round one of my favorite beauty shops here in NYC. I’ll be bringing you the scoop on more places as my travels expand.

What are your favorite shops for beauty? Let me know in the comments below!