Serums to Save Your Skin

Winter's coming; which means a change in weather, which means a change in your skin's appearance. For me, it means death for my skin is coming! What the best way to save it? SERUMS

I was in dire need to get a hold of a couple serums for my face. As you already know, my skin is super dry all the time; I have eczema on my cheeks; I have darker pigmentation around my mouth area.  After doing extensive research cuz there's a MILLION GILLION out there, I landed on two that would give me the results I wanted: pure hyaluronic acid and vitamin c serumPlus these items got over 5000 REVIEWS (what!?!)

It's a clear and a bit runny. Feels like heaven

It's a clear and a bit runny. Feels like heaven

Remember to use in conjunction with a moisturizer! 

Remember to use in conjunction with a moisturizer! 

3 is enough to cover my entire face and neck area too!

3 is enough to cover my entire face and neck area too!

Hyaluronic Acid

Get it here! 

Acid? ACID? No, it's not really "acid". Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in our body, mostly in our eyes and joints. It acts as a lubricant for our joints. It's also found in our skin and is able to attract and hold an extensive amount of moisture

In short, as we age, our cell walls weaken and lose the ability to keep moisture. The more moisture we lose, the more wrinkly we get. That's why babies have supple and soft skin, and elderly people have drier, looser skin. 

So using hyaluronic acid (HA) will help create that suppleness and plumpness we are all missing. It is great for dry skin. Remember that this stuff does not work on its own. You must use it WITH a moisturizer (see my other post about my skin care steps here). 

My favorite winter time moisturizer

My favorite winter time moisturizer

A little goes a loonnnngg way after HA serum

A little goes a loonnnngg way after HA serum

After toning, I drop 3 drops onto my palm and massage it into my face and neck. (It feels like diving into moisture heaven!). The little beads will kinda "pop". Then, I apply a face lotion. I've been favoring the Kate Sommerville Dry Skin Saver. If I feel uber dry, I'll wait for the HA to absorb, and then I'll apply another hydrating serum on my cheeks before I put on the face lotion.

I tried it for a couple of weeks with my nighttime regimen. I found that using this has reduced my eczema by about 75%. My cheeks were less red and irritated. My face felt softer and plumper.  I really really love the results. 

Tip: wait for everything to absorb before you go to sleep and rub it off on your pillow!

 

Very thick compared to HA- you'll need more

Very thick compared to HA- you'll need more

I love that this stuff is all natural! Store in a cool and dry place. 

I love that this stuff is all natural! Store in a cool and dry place. 

5 drops is perfect for my face

5 drops is perfect for my face

Vitamin C Serum

Get it here!

Vitamin C is an amazing thing for the skin. V-C is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the skin from free radicals. It's also an ingredient in collagen. Collagen binds cells together in order to give us stronger skin cells and more elasticity- thus, firmer skin. V-C also helps brighten and tone skin tone, while preventing breakouts. 

I added this serum into my morning regimen. After washing my face lightly, I'll use a cotton round to wipe it with witch hazel. Then, I'll drop about 5 drops into my hand and then massage it into my face and neck. I'll follow up with a moisturizer and sunscreen. 

After a couple of weeks of using both of these serums together, I'm really happy with the results. My eczema has been reduced. No more flare-ups. My skin is smoother and softer. The pigmentation around my mouth area has lessen dramatically. My face is almost the same color throughout. And I looove how plump my skin feels after the HA serum. 

Verdict: THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. Both products do exactly what they are suppose to and more! I totally recommend it for anyone needing a boost in their skin care. These products are more natural and more affordable than typical serums out there. 

Price: HA is about $15 for 2 oz and V-C is about $20 for 1 oz. I think it's completely worth it. Get it before winter comes too soon!  

Until next time, my beauties. Stay Golden. 

 

 
 

Charcoal Teeth Whitening

It's been a craze this past summer: whitening your teeth with charcoal powder! So I tested it out for 2 weeks to see if it actually works. 

 
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Instructions (what I did):

  1. Wet toothbrush thoroughly
  2. Dip toothbrush into charcoal powder (make sure to tap the container down to make the powder even prior to opening)
  3. Tap out excess
  4. Brush your teeth for 1 minute on the outside 
  5. Spit
  6. Add toothpaste to your toothbrush
  7. Brush the rest of your teeth for 1-2 minute
  8. Rinse and Smile
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  • Be careful when spitting into the sink. Spit first then run the water to rinse. It will go everywhere! Tip: keep a sponge nearby to wipe down the sink!
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush and don't brush too hard! 
  • Use it ONCE a day! 

 

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Verdict: I believe it works really well! My teeth are brighter and whiter after almost 2 weeks of use.

What does it taste like: tasteless. It's completely tasteless. It's really strange to get use to. 

It's great for people who have sensitive teeth since there aren't any chemicals used. The powder is super fine so it hasn't gotten stuck in my gums. However, I would just do a minute with the charcoal and the other minute with normal toothpaste. My gums got a bit sensitive from brushing it for two minutes with charcoal and another 2 minutes with toothpaste. 

The only problem I have is that my teeth are super white for the day and then it kinda fades back a little bit. I have to brush my teeth every day with it to keep the "whiteness". If you want "super white", I would go with crest whitening strips. But overall, I think it's a great investment.

Get it here for less than $12!

Stay beautiful, beauties! 

 

DIY Fresh Manicure That Lasts (almost as long as gels)

What if I told you that I can help you get a fresh manicure at home that will last almost as long as gels?  Yes, it's totally possible and I usually get it done in about 30 minutes.

Get ready! Long post, lots of photos!

Tools: 

  • Cuticle Softener 
  • Cuticle Oil
  • Makeup Remove Wipes/ Exfoliating Face Wipes
  • Bowl
  • Cuticle Pusher (optional)
  • Orangewood Stick
  • Cuticle Cutter/Nipper (optional) 
  • Nail Trimmer 
  • Nail Buffer
  • Nail File
  • Cotton Balls
  • Alcohol
  • Acetone (Polish remover works too, but I prefer acetone since it's stronger and faster)
  • Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Set 
  • Polish Color of Choice- I used Essie "Blossom Dandy"
  • Mess no more! Liquid Tape for Nails (optional)

Step 1: Remove

  • Tip acetone into cotton to soak through. Remove old polish (if you have darker or red polish on, you might want to use a couple of rounds of cotton to get everything off). 
 
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Step 2: Cut and Trim

  • Cut down your nails (optional). I've taken up climbing so I have to keep these babies as short as possible.
  • Take your file and shape your nails. I keep mine round because that's the strongest shape.
 
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Step 3: Soak

  • Add soap and warm-hot water into bowl. 
  • Soak fingers for about 3-5 minutes.
 
 

Step 4: Push Back

I like transferring my blue cross into a dropper bottle. It makes it easier to apply!

I like transferring my blue cross into a dropper bottle. It makes it easier to apply!

Be gentle when pushing back your cuticles! 

Be gentle when pushing back your cuticles! 

For this step, I recommend that you do one hand at a time

  • Take cuticle softener and add a couple of drops onto your cuticles.
    • Blue Cross is one of my favorite cuticle softener/remover. You can get it Sally's Beauty Supply. Please don't use this if you are allergic to lanolin
  • Take your orangewood stick and begin to push back your cuticles. Move from right to left, going in a crescent-moon shape. If your cuticles get dry, add more softener as you need. 
    • If you want to be gentle, or if you have sensitive cuticles, please keep to using the orangewood stick. It's optional to use a stainless steel cuticle pusher to push back your cuticles. Do not push straight into your cuticle. Raise the pusher to a 45-degree angle, push down onto the nail bed while gently pushing back. Be gentle! 
Don't lay the pusher FLAT

Don't lay the pusher FLAT

Do ANGLE it at 45 degrees

Do ANGLE it at 45 degrees

Step 5: Clean Up

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  • I picked up this tip from dear friend of mine who is a Hollywood manicurist: Take a makeup remover wipe and cut it in half (one for each hand). Fold it over your index finger. Begin pushing back and scraping in a windshield wiper motion from one side of the nail to the other. Use a clean side of the wipe every 2 fingers. You'll see all the gunk come off. 
    • Optional: cut any hang nails or trim any cuticles. Always use a sharp nipper. You actually have more chances of nicking yourself with a duller one. Grab one here.
  • Take your buffer and buff down your nails gently. This eliminates gunk leftover on the nails and gives your nails a fresh start. 
  • Apply cuticle oil all over your cuticles. 
  • Repeat on other hand.
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Step 6: Wash and Prep

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water to get rid of excess oils.
  • Lightly buff the tops of your nails one more time. 
  • Tip alcohol onto a microfiber (a towel works well, too) and wipe down all of your nails.D
    • DO NOT touch your nails with your fingers after!! Polish will last longer and stick better to dry and oil-free nails 
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Step 7: Mess No More! (optional)

This is a great option for those who cannot paint in the line. Think of it like blue tape for your nails! It's kinda magical when you want clean edges. Remember it's not going to be completely perfect, but it does help tremendously! This stuff is great if you want to marble or sponge ombré your nails!

Get it here!

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 Do not use if you are allergic to latex!

  • Paint a fat and wide layer the pink glue around your cuticle- be careful not to get it ON your nail bed! Go as far away from your nail as you need to. 
  • Add a second coat before the first one dries. 
  • Let dry completely

Step 8: Base Coast, Polish, Top Coat

My absolute must-have! 

My absolute must-have! 

Make sure your nails are wiped with alcohol/acetone before painting the base coat! It sticks better- less chips!

Make sure your nails are wiped with alcohol/acetone before painting the base coat! It sticks better- less chips!

Paint as messy as you want!  (I painted super messy to show you guys that the "Mess No More!" kinda-sorta-works)

Paint as messy as you want! (I painted super messy to show you guys that the "Mess No More!" kinda-sorta-works)

This gel lab set from Deborah Lippmann is amazing. It paints on like regular polish, but lasts longer and stays shinier. It is a bit thicker than regular polish, so make sure to use a sparing amount when applying! Get it here!  

  • Using a small brush or even a q-tip, wipe nails once more with alcohol or acetone really well. This is what will help your polish stick correctly. 
  • Apply base coat.
  • Apply 2 coats of color - Pick up enough in the brush and float the brush over your nail. Don't jam the brush straight down or else you'll get streaks.
    • Remove the liquid tape after polishing EACH nail with the second coat (while the second coat is still WET). Using tweezers is probably the easiest! If you wait too long like I did, the latex will peel off from under the polish and you'll still have polish stuck on your skin-booo. 
    • TIP if you are a skilled painter: Paint everything but your thumbs first- that way you have your thumbs free to scrape off any polish that hits the sides. Paint your thumbs last
  • Apply top coat. Remember to seal the bottom edge of your nails with one swipe from left to right. (this helps keep your nails from chipping!)
  • Clean up any bits of paint leftover with a small brush dipped in acetone.
    • If you have a copious amount of polish stuck on your skin and on your cuticles, wait 2-3 hours until completely dry and wash your hands in warm water. The excess paint will come right off! 
    • If you hate waiting for polish to dry, try drying drops! They literally "freeze" your polish so you can get going on your date! Beware! Some drops make the "shininess" fade away faster
Peel off latex on each finger right after second coat of polish 

Peel off latex on each finger right after second coat of polish 

Steal the top coat to give you man a couple more extra days. 

Steal the top coat to give you man a couple more extra days. 

Clean up with acetone dipped into a brush

Clean up with acetone dipped into a brush

Remember that practice makes perfect! It took me almost an entire year of constantly painting my right hand with my left to actually get good. Keep trying!

Tip: After 3-4 days, wipe your nails with alcohol (no more than 71%) with a clean microfiber and apply one more layer of top coat. Don't forget to seal! It'll keep your mani looking fresh!

Essie: Blossom Dandy

Essie: Blossom Dandy

Essie: Blossom Dandy

Essie: Blossom Dandy

Disclaimer:  Please be careful when using any tools or chemicals on your skin as most of the ones mentioned in this post are "for professional use only". Please note that I have had my professional license for over 10 years, and the technique I have shown here is my own way of doing my own manicure at home. I am not responsible for anything that happens to you. Following any advice in the blog post is done at your own risk.