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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(1) Shea Moisture Peace Rose Complex Cleansing Oil ($12)
Photo Credit- Target
(2) Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil ($30)
Photo Credit- Sephora
(3) Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil ($44)
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.
Biossance: An 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.
Shea Moisture: Helianthus 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
Fresh: Vitis 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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.
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: