This is the home for all of my beauty posts-my skincare discussions, haircare tips, make-up trends, manicure colors, you name it.

Three Product Round-Up :Cleansing Balms

Greetings, readers!

This is my first beauty post of 2018, and one of my resolutions was to create more meaningful content in the space of beauty which actually discuss care in detail.

So I’m starting a new series for this blog called “Three Product Round-Up.” In this series, I’m going to test three different versions of a product at three different price points:


Department Store:$$

Higher End:$$$

For my first foray, I’m going to do a three product round-up of cleansing balms. Now, what are cleansing balms, you ask? Cleansing balms are solid, oil-based cleansers which are mostly used as the first step in a skincare routine. Now, most people use them to remove sunscreen and make-up before using a second treatment cleanser, however, depending upon the product, there are some products which can be used as a second cleanse. 


The three cleansing balms which I am going to be comparing are the following:

Pixi’s Nourishing Cleansing Balm ($20) Available at Target  

Clinique’s “Take the Day Off” Cleansing Balm ($29.50) Available at Sephora and Macy’s

Sunday Riley’s Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm ($50) Available at Sephora and Space.nk Apothecary

Now…let’s begin, shall we?

I. Amount in packaging:

Pixi-3.04 oz

 NourishingCleansingBalm Open 04AUG16 web large

Photo Credit: Target

Clinique– 4.2 oz (Originally 3.8 oz)

 Clinique Take the Day Off Macys

Photo Credit: Macy’s

Sunday Riley-3.38 oz.

 Sunday Riley Sephora

Photo Credit: Sephora

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

Pixi: :A gentle cleansing balm that removes all traces of makeup as it nourishes, leaving skin silky-soft.”

Clinique: “Lightweight makeup remover quickly dissolves tenacious eye and face makeups, sunscreens. Transforms from a solid balm into a silky oil upon application. Cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely. Gently helps remove the stress of pollution so skin looks younger, longer. Non-greasy. Non-drying. Ophthalmologist tested. For all skin types.”

Sunday Riley: “Blended with gentle sugar-based cleansers, Sunday Riley’s ‘Blue Moon Tranquility’ balm will remove impurities and makeup without stripping your face of essential oils. It’s infused antioxidant-rich Cocoa Butter, moisturizing Mimosa Flower Wax and a calming blend of Blue Tansy and German Chamomile to soothe irritation. Tangerine and Sweet Orange Essential Oils tone and clarify while creating a relaxing, spa-like experience.” (Taken from

III. Ingredients:

Pixi: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Behenate, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Cocoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Cetyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance. 90 ml / 3.04 fl.oz

Clinique: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water / Aqua / Eau, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol.

Sunday Riley: Glycerin & Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides & Aqua & Sucrose Laurate, Jojoba Esters (And) Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax (and) Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax (and) Polyglycering-3, Glyceryl Behenate, C10-18 Triglycerides, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (Coconut Oil), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Moringa Oil/ Hydrogenated Moringa Oil Esters (Moringa Butter), PEG-8 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol (and) Ceteth-20 (and) Steareth-20, Polyglyceryl-6, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax (and) Cetyl Alcohol, Squalene, Tangerine (Citrus Tangerina) Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, Tanacetum Annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Matricaria Recutita (German Chamomile) Essential Oil, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Ylang Ylang (Canaga Odorata) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Var. Amara (Neroli) Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile Roman) Flower Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin And Caprylyl Glycol. (Taken From

IV. Directions for Usage (According to company directions)

Pixi: • Use AM & PM 
• Step 1: Apply a coin size amount onto dry skin & neck. 
• Step 2: Massage gently for 30 seconds. 
• Step 3: Remove with damp face cloth, using circular movements. 
• Petra’s Recommendation: For best results, follow with Glow Tonic.

Clinique:  How to Use
Use fingertips to massage balm over dry skin.
Rinse well with warm water. Pat dry.
Follow with your 3-Step Skin Care System.

Sunday Riley: How to Use
Massage balm into dry skin and remove with a warm cloth or apply as a hydrating mask on clean skin. 
Once open, most effective when used within 12 months. (Taken From

V. Texture and Scent

Pixi: This product feels like a solid oil. It’s very smooth, and goes on like a very slippery oil when rubbed on the face. I love the mild rose smell.

Clinique: This feels like Lard or Crisco. When you rub it between your fingers, it goes on like an oily cream. This has no fragrance, which is perfect for those who don’t like scented products.

Sunday Riley: This product feels rich, but it is quite grainy. I found the blue tansy scent quite calming, though. Still, the grainy texture..nah. I’m not a fan of it.

VI. How Did I Use It?

All products: I took a quarter-sized amount between my hands, rubbed them once, and then massaged it into my face for one minute to remove makeup. Then, I used a warm, clean washcloth to remove my make-up and sunscreen.

VII. My Thoughts on Each Product

Pixi: This was my least favorite. I used my usual method, and my face felt as though it was coated in wax. I had to use a stronger second cleanser to remove the remnants of this cleanser. Even on my hand, my hand felt as though it was coated with wax. A really nice smelling wax….but still…I don’t like wax near my face. Ever.

Clinique: I really liked this product. I’m normally a sucker for scent, but the performance of this was so good that I didn’t miss the scent. I was able to remove this in 1-2 swipes, and it even removed my waterproof eyeliner as well as my makeup. WIN! 

Sunday Riley: I do like this product. It performs well, and it can actually double as a moisture mask. However, I will not be repurchasing this product because there are much better cleansers which can be purchased for the price, and the grainy texture just wasn’t my thing. 

VIII. Final Verdict

Pixi: I will not be repurchasing this. Ever again.

Clinique: I really love this product. The issue that I have is Clinique is one of the flagship Estee Lauder brands. If you don’t know…Estee Lauder Companies sells their products in China, which requires internationally-owned brands to test their products on animals before they can be sold to the Chinese market. This issue is a LOT more complicated than it appears, and I will be making a separate post on it in the near future.

Sunday Riley: If the price point were $20 lower, then absolutely. However, it’s just not worth it to me.

The Joys of DIY Beauty

Good evening!

So I’ve been hunkering down in my lab for the the past week working on my skin treats.

¿Qué? Lab? Skin treats? Huh?!

Relax! Let me explain!

Now, if you’ve been following my blog, then you already know that I’m a huge fan of more higher-end, skincare-specialist-oriented skincare and makeup. It works for me. However, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the cheapest…or (admittedly) most practical of habits. So I circumvent the cost of these products by making certain products myself. This measure allows me to be more selective about the ingredients that I use, and it’s quite cost-effective in the long run because I can make large batches which will last me for a VERY long time.

Here’s a list of products that I make myself, as well as some examples of the ingredients that I often use to make them. I tend to stick to these types of products because they’re so easy to make, and you can never get them wrong.

  1. Detoxifying clay masks-Listen, I live in Brooklyn and I work in the Union Square area, so my skin is exposed to pollution on a daily basis. Therefore, a clay mask is necessary. I use them 1-2 times per week. I tend to mix clays such as kaolin, red clay, and montmorillonite with activated charcoal, probiotic powder, and fermented rice water infused with detoxing/brightening herbs. This mix keeps my skin smooth and clear.
  2. Exfoliating body scrubs-I’ve always said that a good scrub can make you feel as though you just came back from vacation, and for me, it’s true. For pennies per use, you can create a body scrub from kitchen ingredients. I like to use white sugar and brown sugar with kaolin clay and whatever oil I have on hand. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I’ll even add an essential oil or two. NOTE-NEVER USE CITRUS JUICES IN YOUR SCRUBS. Using this class of ingredients in your scrubs will cause phototoxicity and make you skin sensitive to sunlight. You. Will. Burn.
  3. Bath salts-It took me years to believe in the power of bath salts. I mean, they smelled nice, but I never felt any different. Then, two things happened: (a) I joined a gym, and (b) I read “Sacred Woman” by Queen Afua. Now, in regards to the former, when I started doing my heavy lifting, the nightly soaks became necessary, especially on leg day. As for the Latter, Queen Afua wrote something that really changed the way that I look at bath salts. She said that for bath salts to really work, you have to use a lot. Her suggested amount was 1 lb. I thought that she was crazy, but I tried it one night…and I’ve never looked back. I felt…as though I had just come out of Maracas. Since then, I’ve stuck to a recipe of 1 lb epsom salt, 1 lb pure sea salt, 1 lb pure baking soda, 3/4 cup kaolin clay, and 2 tbsps of activated charcoal. Depending upon how I feel…I may add essential oils to scent it. Use 1 lb of bath salts at a time. It may seem like a lot, but if you don’t taste the salt in your bath water, it’s not theraputic…and you won’t feel anything. Trust.
  4. Body butter-Decadence in a jar. The nice part of this product is that you can use pure butter alone if that’s what you want, or you can add oils to really supercharge its effectiveness. I’ve been making this since college, and I usually mix shea, coconut, and mango butters with a variation of infused carrier oils such as coconut, almond, grapeseed, jojoba, olive, apricot, rosehip, and argan.
  5. Hair oil-Now this is the product that I am the most picky about. I’m big on hair oils because they’re a huge part of my routine for hair health. I also refuse to buy hair oils because 99% of hair oils cointaim some form of silicone, which I’m not a fan of using in oil form. I tend to massage my scalp 4-7 times per week with my blend of infused coconut oil, essential oils, argan and almond oils.

So those are the products that I like to make on my own. Making those five products allow me to save some coin and explore my inner chemist. What products do you like to make on your own?

Talk below!

Cleanse the Day Off: My Night Skincare Routine

Good Morning, World!

I’m so glad that people liked the previous post about my makeup routine. I know that it is a lot of product to use for a regular workday, but there are some days that you just need to glam it up, you know? I ascribe to the school of thought that says if a little bit of make-up makes you feel better about yourself, then do it. Forget about what others think.

However, any fan of les artes du maqulliage will tell you that there is only one thing that they love more than giving the face a beat for the gods, and that is REMOVING the face paint after a long, hard day. So with that in mind, I’m going to share with you my night-time skincare routine. Enjoy!


When I’m ready to start the whole skincare process, the first thing that I do is use a balm cleanser like REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Balm. This stuff breaks down my make-up and heavy duty sunscreen like no other. Basically, all you do is take a little bit into your palm, rub it between your hands, and massage it into your skin gently for two minutes. Then you use a hot cloth to remove it. Easy peasy, Simple pimple. My skin doesn’t feel dry after using, and I rinse it off after to ensure that the reside is gone.


After my first cleanse, comes my second cleanse. Now, depending upon whom you ask, a second cleanse may not be necessary. However, I’ve seen a change in my skin for the better since I implemented a second cleanse, so I do it. I like to use a more active cleanser such as Dermadoctor’s Glycolic Cleanser. It helps to remove any excess make-up and keep my skin smooth. It’s not a foaming wash, which is good since I hate them with a passion. However, it does have glycolic acid to help remove the micro-particulates and help refine your skin’s texture.


This is a step that I’ve only recently added to my regimen, and I’ve already seen a huge improvement in the texture and luminosity of my skin. This daily exfoliation step involves acid pads, and the ones that I turn to are First Aid Beauty’s Exfoliating Radiance Pads. These pads have a combination of glycolic, lactic, and alpha-hydroxy acids which helps to remove dead skin cells and refine skin texture. Bonus point-they also help your other products work better. Now, unlike your typical drugstore acne pads, these are not harsh enough to take the paint off of your Honda Accord. Rather, they take the more gentle approach so that your skin isn’t harmed. WIN!

4.) TONE

This step involves the L’Occitane Immortelle Essential Water that I mentioned in my morning routine. I like to use this to neutralize any acid that may remain on the face, and the scent is calming to me.


Like my morning routine, my treatment is one of the most important parts of my routine. I alternate between a retinol serum like Peter Thomas Roth’s Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum and an AHA serum like Ole Henriksen’s Invigorating Night Treatment. These two products have also made a difference in the texture and tone of my skin. I usually alternate between then so that my skin isn’t too used to one or the other.


Again, I like a moisturizer that moisturizes. That’s it. Ole Henriken’s Nurture Me is simple, easy, and it does what it needs to do, which is keep my skin nice and moisturized.

7.) OIL

This step is sometimes optional, and sometimes mandatory. I like to use an oil to seal everything in. Depending upon what I feel like, I may use argan oil, or a facial oil sample from a Petit Vour box.

You’ve just read my night routine. As my morning routine is about getting me revved up to face the day, my night routine is about releasing the stress of the day. With every step I perform, it’s though I’m centering myself again.

Thank you for reading!

Next post- A Beauty Book Review.

When to Save and When to Splurge- The Ins and Outs of Purchasing Beauty Products

Good Morning, my fellow beauty novices!

It’s been a while!  I missed you all! Don’t worry, I wasn’t buried somewhere deep in the heart of Mogadishu! I was off….living life. You know…family, friends, job, etc. etc. Yep. That’s right. Living.

Today I wanted to talk about a topic that I think is incredibly important in the world of beauty which is not discussed ad nauseam NEARLY enough: budget.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Yes, we do! We even named a whole sector of the beauty market after that very thing (Here’s looking at you, budget skincare!).” But in all honesty, we really don’t. So I’m going to share my personal philosophy with you, and then delve into tips you can use to simplify your strategy when it comes to buying your personal care products.

My personal philosophy is quite simple: I only have one face, and I’m going to spend money on it. So when I look to purchase products, I test a LOT of a specific product before I commit to buying one. (I’m currently in the middle of a testing phase…and it’s showing. Breakouts galore.) You see, I was raised by people who were older, and the number one lesson I learned from ALL of them was this: Higher Rate of Investment=Higher Rate of Return. They were always willing to spend a little bit more in order to get something that was going to last them for a longer period of time. And in my case, it was true. So that’s how I’ve lived my life. I don’t necessarily live for Saks, but I will invest in key staples to last me quite a while every season.

With that in mind, here are the rules that I use when buying my beauty products:

  1. Set Your Limit: This one-the key to it all. Do some digging in your budget and figure out what you can afford to spend on your desired product. Figure. Out. Your. Limit.
  2. Invest First: What do I mean by “Invest First?” It’s pretty simple: I invest the majority of my beauty budget on the items that I use at least twice a week. So I invest in my skincare (duh), and the makeup I use on a daily basis. No matter what your budget is, always cover the NEEDS first. You don’t NEED the latest Naked palette. But you do need sunscreen. If you wear make-up, invest in a good foundation, concealer, corrector and powder. It’s worth spending the extra cash on those items to ensure that you have a perfect match on your skin. If you know that you like a good neutral eye every day, invest in a good palette that has a variety of neutral shades to choose from.
  3. Learn What to Save On: This is something that not a lot of people know, but it’s incredibly important because it can save you a TON of money in the long run. If you know that you like to change up your look everyday with different eyeliners, blushes, eyeshadows, mascaras, etc. then don’t be so quick to buy the latest social media sensation that costs enough to feed a child for a month in a war-torn country.
  4. Realize that low-price doesn’t mean low quality. I’ll readily admit this-in the field of make-up, the best eyeliner that I ever used was a L’Oreal H.I.P eyeliner. That jet black stayed put throughout prom night. You can find great deals at Target, Ricky’s, Ulta, and any other place that sells lower-priced skincare and make-up. I may not use many drugstore products in my routine, but I am aware of their reasonably-priced deals at the very least.

So those are my top four tips for figuring out when to save and when to splurge.

What are some of your tips? Share the love!

My Morning Routine-Act III

Hello, again!

I couldn’t wait until next week to share with you the finale in my morning routine, which is the finale of all finales: le maquillage. El maquillaje. The make-up.

There are days when I will happily wear nothing but some ByTerry’s Baume de Rose, and call it a day. However, there are other days when I feel like pulling a Rihanna/Fifth Harmony collaboration and putting in the “work, work, work, work, work.” I’m going to share with you my routine for one of these days.


My Morning Routine-Act II

Welcome back! If you’ve been reading along, I’ve split my morning “Get Ready With Me at the Gym” routine into three acts. Act I was about my shower routine post-workout, so keep on reading for Act II!

When I come out of the shower, I need to feel clean, as though I’ve scrubbed every inch of sweat, dirt, and city life out of my existence. Once that task has been accomplished, I can saunter over to my locker in nothing but my favorite blue bath towels from college (don’t judge me, my mom is the queen of Macy’s bargains) and begin my skincare routine.  Here  goes nothing: