Winter is here and I'm just trying to stay moisturized. To do so, I'm waging war against any dryness and dullness that winter brings to my skin. After almost three decades of just putting Jergens Body Lotion all over my face, I had an epiphany, decided to fix up and take my skincare more seriously. I have never had any major skincare issues in my adult years and would say I have combination skin so I never paid any attention to anything skincare-related. However in my late 20s, following eczema flare ups that left hyperpigmentation scarring, I started caring more about my skincare routine. After that, I developed an extensive skincare routine (double cleanse, tone, serum, SPF moisturizer), and my skin cleared up and has been glowing ever since, no filter.
A staple in my skincare routine and a winter essential has been Vitamin C. I would suggest using a Vitamin C serum in the morning after cleansing, to have you glowing all day long, even in the winter. I would follow that up with an SPF moisturizer and then you'd be good to go. It should be noted that when using Vitamin C serums during the day, SPF is a MUST. In addition to that, be careful of other serums or acids you mix or layer it with, for example dermatologists have advised against layering or mixing Retinol or AHAs/BHAs with Vitamin C.
What are the benefits of adding Vitamin C to your skincare routine? Well, it is an antioxidant that protects against free radicals from UV exposure which affects the skin barrier and environmental factors. It also promotes collagen production which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and brightens the skin, reducing hyperpigmentation and spot scarring as it inhibits melanin production which naturally evens out skin tone and brightens complexion.
In short, Vitamin C brightens your skin and prevents signs of aging.
The Best Vitamin C Serums For Dark Spots
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Glossier's serums are known to be all that, the beauty cult favorite brand re-released its serums this year, and the reviews are even better. This Vitamin C serum includes magnesium as a bonus for that extra glow.
Drunk Elephant's C-Firma Day Serum has been a beauty favorite for some time now. Although it comes in at a higher price point, this product is vegan and cruelty-free, and its gel formula makes it suitable for sensitive skin.
Lancôme Visionnaire Skin Solutions 15% Vitamin C Correcting Concentrate
This product contains 15% pure Vitamin C as well as the hydrating hyaluronic acid. Reviews have also mentioned it's lightweight and non-greasy, so it's perfect for daily use.
Vichy's Vitamin C serum contains 15% pure vitamin C and hyaluronic acid in the form of L-Absorbic acid, so you can glow and hydrate your skin at an affordable price point.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic has a high potency and has the dermatologist's seal of approval. It contains Vitamin E and Ferulic acid for increased effectiveness, so this luxury product is worth every buck.
A favorite with the YouTube community, OLE HENRIKSEN Truth Serum was rated a Harper's Bazaar Editor's Choice. Its formula is boosted with collagen and aloe juice.
Amazon's viral product has had almost 10,000 reviews, and is said to be one of its most reviewed products. It includes along with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, witch hazel and jojoba oil. Coming in at the lowest price point, it's a must try.
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Originally published November 23, 2019
There is something about sunshine that makes me want to get my hair braided up. Braids are one of my favorite go-to protective styles and every summer I jump on a different style. Last year, it was faux locs; this year, I'm into goddess box braids, also known as bohemian braids.
For those of you that don't know, they are generally smaller box braids, left open-ended with curls. I guess an updated version or the "pick and drop" braids style we lived for in the nineties. My favorite version of the style has been waist-length, low density box braids with curly ends.
Goddess box braids have recently been seen all over Instagram on models, influencers and celebrities alike, including Jhene Aiko and Jordyn Woods. I predict this will be one of the key braid style this summer. I've booked my appointment for next month, get your bookings in!
Check out my goddess box braids style crushes for some inspiration:
Featured image by Jordyn Woods/Instagram.
I went natural just over six years ago, and learning what works for my hair has also taken six years.
I watched every YouTube (YT) video available at the time and made several errors buying every recommend product despite the YT gurus curl type and hair porosity not necessarily aligning with mine. After years of living life as a product junkie, I found what works for my curls, one of which is a regular in my hair care regimen: Eco Styler Gel. And through thick and thin, it has laid every edge life's tried to snatch.
Low manipulation styles like buns and wash and go's work best for me and all looks were secured with my Eco Styler Gel at hand. Eco Styler Gel was the major key for me, and for so many other naturals - from your 3A to 4C girls - this was one of few unifying products that worked for everyone. (And it is alcohol-free, so we were all in agreement that this product is everything.) So you can imagine the outrage when allegations dropped all over YouTube, and subsequently Twitter and hair forums, about the alleged negative side effects of Eco Styler Gel!
Naturalistas everywhere were divided.
Olive Oil Eco Styler Gel - Water (Aqua), Carbomer, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Glycerin, Amino-2-Methyl-1-Propano, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Olive Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), CI 19140 Yellow 5 - Love and Pride.
Potential Side Effects
In short, my understanding is that some of these ingredients can be harmful in itself or combined with other toxic chemicals, which make them easier to be absorbed into the skin. The chemicals most concerning in Eco Styler Gel are said to be Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, CI 19140 Yellow 5, and the unlisted ingredient Triethanolamine (TEA). YT gurus reference trials that found side effects of these chemicals that include but are not limited to dry and brittle hair, hair loss, hair, and skin and eye irritation.
The literal and figurative nail in the coffin was that long term exposure can affect the respiratory system, damage organs, and can cause cancer. I did further research and found other YT gurus making similar claims.
Suffice to say, I took my Eco Styler tub, threw it in the trash, and began rigorously looking for less toxic alternatives because as far as I was concerned, my former holy grail product was officially cancelled.
A month later, and the dust has settled and follow up videos have emerged on YouTube, saying that Eco Styler Gel is no longer cancelled. I guess this is following Ecocoinc, the company that produces the gel's clap back in response to the backlash on social media and by updating their website to include an "About Our Ingredients" section, which provides some clarifications for some of the concerns consumers brought to light.
So is Eco Styler Gel still cancelled? I am still undecided.
- Affordable price point
- Lays every edge
- Works on different curl patterns
- Provides medium-strong hold without crunch or flakiness
- Great curl definition
- If these ingredients are in several products we use daily, what difference does it really make if I stop using Eco Styler?
- Use of chemicals within the ingredients are alleged to have short- and long-term effects on the body, varying from skin irritation to cancer.
- Use of the gel combined with other products with other chemicals can make those chemicals easier to absorb into the skin over time, exacerbating the products' harmful capabilities.
So if these ingredients, especially TEA, can be found in several hair and skin care products we use daily, what difference does it make if you stop using Eco-Styler Gels? If we follow the #CancelEcoStylerGel move, surely there are other brands that can afford to go for a similar ingredients list. Arguably, the only way to ensure we are not exposing ourselves to these chemicals is by getting your DIY on like Naptural85 taught us with her homemade flaxseed gel:
But, if you're like me and don't have time or patience to flex like a DIY Queen, hunt for brands that use more natural ingredients. For now, I'm taking a break from Eco Styler Gel and trying out more naturally sourced brands. I started with Mielle Organics Honey and Ginger Styling Gel (Amazon, $15), which smells amazing but has a low to medium hold so I've resorted to using it for wash and gos.
Let me know what you're using in the comments! Please no more cancellations in this 2018, I can't deal.
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Featured image by Shutterstock
A hot topic in the group chat over the last few weeks has been one critical question, "Why is everyone wearing bike shorts?" All of which have ended with me proclaiming my support for the movement, arguing its age appropriateness and instant cool factor. I reminded my friends that even though we are in the last year of our twenties, we too can tap into this trend without looking like freshers, if done correctly.
Bike, or cycling, shorts were all over fashion week, from Dolce and Gabbana's runway to Naomi Campbell sporting them for Virgil Aboah's Off White Runway at Arise Fashion Week. The Kardashians and co. have been pioneering this trend for a while, with the inclusion of the shorts in the Yeezy Collections. And your IG style crushes have jumped on the wave successfully in most instances, so why can't I? I have pre-warned everyone that I'll be making appearances in a pair this summer, especially at all the festivals and day parties I plan to attend.
Melodie Jeng/Getty Images
I reassured my friends that I could create a serious look with bike shorts with the right styling and in the right setting. At the very least the lack of chafing prospects this summer will be considerably reduced for non-thigh-gap-having individuals like me. I particularly think they go nicely with an oversized cropped denim jacket or blazer with a matching crop top or bodysuit or just even with an oversized t-shirt.
I took the plunge and bought a slinky pair from BooHoo and they are so flattering and comfortable! You will definitely see me posted up in a city near you in a pair. If you need any further inspiration, check out how some of these influencers styled their favorite pair of bike shorts: