Tag Archives: skin

Back to school Beauty: San Juan edition

by : Katrina

Hello everyone! As I said on Manicure Monday I recently relocated to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I’m a Virgo- I just can’t keep still. I got tired of work, work, oh and more work (& New Jersey) so I decided to just get up, leave, and go back to school. Why Puerto Rico? Why not? 😉 Coming from the hot NYC summer I figured the transition to the humid, rainy 90 degree weather everyday of PR would be a piece of cake but I was completely wrong.

1. my face freaked out – I have normal skin and never had problems with breakouts until I got here! It’s probably because of all the sweating. i know, gross.

2. Is there such thing as hair sun burn? because I definitely acquired that here.

3. I feel like I’m getting darker and darker by the second. Sun block has become part of my daily regimen for my entire body! (I don’t want to come back looking like a leather bag) same goes for OFF bug spray 😦

4. Last but definitely not least: Make-up. I’m limited to cool lipstick, mascara, little blush, and eyeliner if I’m lucky. Foundation or anything else? It’s just too hot for all that!

With the help of:

Cetaphil Dermacontrol Mosturizer SPF 30– Aveeno Daily moisturizer was too heavy and thick for me in this heat. This moisturizer is for acne prone skin, absorbs quickly to restore your skin’s natural balance, and provide a non-greasy, matte finish.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-touch Sunscreen – SPF 70- the sun is real out here! This is my favorite sunblock so far. It’s super light weight and smells like baby lotion.

Aveeno Calming Body Wash– showering 3x/day, sunblock, and bug spray can definitely dry out your skin so bars of soap are out of the question for me. This creamy lather moisturizes my skin and is enriched with natural ingredients known for their calming benefits.

Shea Moisture Deep Masque -weekly for my sun burnt hair (product review in previous post :P)

I think I’m back to school ready!

Here is a slide show of some of my daily looks! enjoy 🙂

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Anyone have suggestions on lightweight foundations with SPF? something that can withstand this heat!



Filed under Drug Store Gem, Hair, Makeup, Natural, Scavenger Hunt, Skin, Splurge, Uncategorized


By: Sam

There comes a time in every girl’s life when your skin doesn’t want to cooperate. Whether it’s a hormonal breakout or one honkin’ zit…we’ve all been there. When this happens, panic and stress ensues and you try to find any and every possible remedy. Desperate times call for desperate measures: heavily medicated spot treatments, face masks, experimenting with high end, all natural, or over the counter skincare products, or a top of the line facial. In recent weeks I’ve been dealing with more than just breakouts, I would call it an outright rebellion. Rashes, irritation, bumps you know, the skin apocalypse! I also was experiencing some stomach pains, nausea, and physical weakness. What gives?! After about a handful of meltdowns, I decided to see a dermatologist.

Two of my older sisters swear by Bobby Buka’s work with their respective skin issues. When they saw that my skin was in need of professional help (lol), they recommended that I set an appointment ASAP. I made an appointment with Dr. Amy Spizuoco and I found out more than I had bargained for! First and foremost, the office downtown (214 Sullivan St. New York, NY) is G O R G E O U S, very hip and modern, (no anxiety filled white walls or clinical feel). Anyway, I told the doctor my skincare history, including my most recent purchases and she even asked about my eating habits. After this, she called in a facial specialist to take a closer look at my skin. After basically being dissected, it turns out I am allergic to dairy. 😥 After reading about all the symptoms that come from a dairy allergy, all of my past boughs of illness and weird digestive behavior finally made sense. Dr. Spizuoco was very sweet and helpful and quickly knew what to prescribe me for my skin: Epidou & Tretinoin:

Epidou– An antibiotic-free, topical treatment. Contains 0.1% adapalene (a retinoid- a vitamin A derivative, great for anti-aging and scarring), and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. It is designed to get rid of any kind of breakouts you’re working with and keeps them away by unclogging blocked pores and penetrates beneath the surface of the skin. Results may vary and can be seen anywhere from 4-12 weeks. Epidou also as an APP to track your progress and to remind you to apply the cream/gel when needed.

Tretinoin– another vitamin A derivative used to treat acne and all that comes with it, dark spots, wrinkles, and sun damage. Can also be used to treat inflammatory red bumps (yes those pesky, painful hormonal breakouts on your chin and jawline!)

The facial specialist was equally as helpful, advising me to use a mild cleanser from Neutrogena or Cetaphil, use SPF 30+, and a night moisturizer that does not combat with the medications (no AHA or Glyolic acid). Also she told me to stop exfoliating and using toners 😯 , because the Epidou basically takes care of those functions. She also enforced the importance of using face masks at least once a week, preferably all natural. She was kind enough to write down a facial recipe for me to use:

photo (19)

Basically, you make organic oatmeal using soy milk and purified water and when it is ready you put it in the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Then, you leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse and proceed with your nighttime medication or moisturizer.*She advised I alternate between essential oils: Licorice oil for brightening properties for tired or dull looking skin. Calendula oil for its healing properties. (Both can be found at health food stores) You can also use honey in place of agave nectar in this recipe.

Here is a slideshow of my new and improved skincare routine:

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Overall, my experience at the dermatologist was an eye opener. After spending money on countless products trying to fix my own skin issues, I feel like getting insight from a professional is exactly what I needed to get on the right track.

Tell us! What is your favorite face mask? Have you ever needed a skinervention?


Filed under Drug Store Gem, Natural, Skin, Splurge, Uncategorized

Do You Smell Me?

By: Sam

I have a confession: I hate my body chemistry. It seems like a weird thing to nitpick but this has caused me some major problems in the fragrance department. Recently, I read an interesting article on the relationship between body chemistry & fragrance. However, it’s not so much that I can’t find a scent that I like (trust me there are many) but it smells seems like nothing actually stays on my skin. How do I fix this? I can’t buy a perfume based on a scent I like for 5 minutes when my main concern is how it’s going to smell (if at all) in the next hour. Even so, nowadays it is a little daunting to tackle the issue of fragrances with so many options: parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau fraiche, perfume oils, and solid perfumes. Then once you jump that hurdle, you have to decide whether you want a scent that’s “fresh and clean”, “feminine and floral”, “spicy” and the list goes on… eau de oh no!

Before we get overwhelmed, let’s B R E A K D O W N these fragrance choices! Shall we?

  • Parfum: Contains 15 to 30 percent of the essential fragrance and is the most expensive kind of perfume. It is also called “extrait perfume”. Joy Baccarat Pure Perfume by Jean Patou retails for a whopping $1000!
  • Eau de Parfum: Contains 8 to 15 percent of essential fragrance and is less costly than parfums. Dot ($89) by Marc Jacobs is an Eau de Parfum and smells lovely don’t you think?
  • Eau de Toilette: Can cost equal or less than Eau de Parfum but contains 5 to 8 percent of essential fragrance. Eau de Toilette is not meant to stay on the skin for long periods so make note of that ladies! One of the newest Eau de Toilette fragrances is Anna Sui La Vie De Boheme ($78).
  • Eau Fraiche: Lighter than Eau de Toilette containing about 3 percent or less of the essential fragrance. Chanel’s Chance ($90) has an Eau Fraiche version of the fragrance.
  • Perfume Oil: Is applied by massaging fragrance onto the skin and contains a stronger scent than alcohol based perfumes. Perfume oils contain 15 to 30 percent of essential fragrance. Perfume oils can be pricey such as Creed Acqua Fiorentina Perfume Oil ($160) or there are less expensive options from The Body Shop and LUSH.
  • Solid Perfume: Made with beeswax or petroleum jelly . It needs a carrier oil as a base and essential oils. Designer perfumes have made solid perfume versions of their fragrances such as Oscar de la Renta’s Espirit Doscar Solid Perfume ring($65) (how cute!). I also found a DIY recipe for solid perfume.

After you decide how potent you want your fragrance to be, the rest is up to your personal taste. 😉

Since I’m starting from scratch with perfumes, it doesn’t make sense (right now) to break bank on a light scent that will subside once I break a sweat. I’ve started using Devil’s Nightcap Perfume Oil ($59.95-139.95) by LUSH. It contains bitter oak wood, oak moss, clary sage & ylang ylang, which gives me a dark, mysterious, and earthy scent I’m looking for. I took the time to test out the scent at the store and browse their beauty products while the scent settled onto my skin. I love how they literally let you smell the coffee (they have coffee beans!) to refresh your sense of smell while trying out their various perfumes. I’m diggin’ it so far and have already received compliments :).

Tell us! What’s your favorite perfume?


Filed under Natural, Skin, Splurge

Review: Defend Argan Oil Moisturizer

By: Thirteenth & Hudson

A few weeks ago we were very excited to receive our first beauty samples from Purelement Naturals. We received the Defend Argan Oil Moisturizer ($48). This moisturizer contains 100% Pure Argan Oil (contains vitamin E), lavender, frankincense, bergamot, carrot seed, myrrh, and geranium. These are all essential oils that are beneficial to skin problems such as acne, wrinkles, eczema, redness, and uneven skin tone. It is also multifaceted, an all-around beauty product; applicable to one’s face, body, and hair. We all tried out the moisturizer and worked it into our individual skin regiments. Here below are our individual experiences with Defend Argan Oil Moisturizer:

Kim: I have combination/ oily skin, so once I heard our samples were actually an oil–I freaked out. Oil on oil? Sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, that wasn’t my experience at all. I experimented with the oil, combining it with my usual nighttime moisturizer (Neutrogena’s Oil Free Moisture for Combination Skin) for a few nights and using it on it’s own once or twice. I absolutely LOVED the result! I woke up in the morning with my skin feeling incredibly refreshed. Obviously I was thrilled with the results, as I usually wake up dying to wash off the oily buildup my skin. Now, a simple splash of cool water and my moisturizer/ SPF combo is all I need for my face in the morning. Let me just tell you, when Purelement Naturals says “defend,” they mean it!

Katrina: I have normal skin so I rarely see any difference between moisturizers.  I was excited to try the oil moisturizer simply because it smelled so good.   I  wasn’t expecting it to do much for my skin but the Defend Argan Oil Moisturizer worked great as a nighttime moisturizer. I apply it before bed after washing my face with my daily cleanser and wake up to perfectly moisturized and soft skin. It’s feels so good that I don’t  even want to wash my face in the morning! I just rinse with lukewarm water instead.  After I rinse my face, my skin still feels moisturized, but I apply a dab (not even half of what I would usually apply) of my Aveeno moisturizer for the SPF. I also love that all you need is just two drops! A little goes a long way.

Sam: Before using the moisturizer I had skin that woke up looking dull and uneven, so I immediately thought to try this at night before bed. I apply it over my night serum. Just two drops; rubbing into my hands and all over my face and neck. I have combination/sensitive skin with the occasional hormonal flare ups, so the Argan Oil Defend Moisturizer made me feel like my skin has calmed down and the scent is intoxicating, puts me right to bed. (lol) In the morning, I now wake up with glowing skin that looks well rested, perfectly balanced, and not to mention so soft. I still have some left but when it’s empty I’m definitely going to get the full size bottle! This definitely has me curious as to what other goodies Purelement Naturals has to offer.

Thanks again, Purelement Naturals, for the taste of your liquid gold! We are official fans!

Check out Purelement Naturals!


Filed under Natural, Skin, Uncategorized

Review: A Case of Deja Vu

By: Sam

Last Sunday, as I was walking in Soho, Oshi, a woman in front of a beauty shop called Shalva Dead Sea Minerals (68 Spring Street New York, NY 10012, (212)-219-8711)  offered me a sample of their lotion. As I gladly took a sample, she enthusiastically asked me to try out their body scrub for free. I had some time to kill so I decided why not? Here is a photo of the body scrub below:

Deja Vu Dead Sea Minerals Green Tea Luxury Body Scrub ($50). This body scrub is designed to cleanse and stimulate your skin’s natural activity, promoting smooth and refreshed looking skin. It is also ideal for all skin types, using dead sea minerals, tea tree extract and olive oil (safe enough to use on your face and whole body). Oshi put some of the body scrub on my hands and asked me when was the last time I washed my hands, which was 5 minutes prior at a Starbucks. I worked the scrub all over my hands, then she sprayed my hands with some water so I can rinse it into a bowl. I was so shocked and how clean and soft my hands felt I almost didn’t notice how dirty the water in the bowl was! It was that moment I became a believer.

Generally, I am skeptical about body scrubs and exfoliating because my skin is super sensitive and anything too harsh makes my skin freak out (although I know it is crucial to one’s skincare regiment). However, Oshi spent a lot of time convincing me that this body scrub (as well as their other luxury products) were the real deal and I saw and felt the results. Below is a slideshow demonstrating how I use the body scrub:

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I now use this body scrub every Sunday to wash the week off my body and start anew for the week ahead. My entire body feels so soft, supple, but deeply cleansed. It’s absolute heaven.  After scrubbing all you need is to rinse off with water and some body lotion. I highly recommend!

*Also, my manicure this week is Essie’s “Blanc”($8). 😎

I’m not sure they have other shops outside of New York City but a few seem to be available on Amazon.com  (from about $12-$20).

What exfoliators/body scrubs do you use?


Filed under Nails, Natural, Skin, Splurge, Uncategorized

Product review- Butter up!



Let me tell you about my secret weapon …

Name: Raw African Shea butter

Price: $5!

Where you can find it: Any local beauty store, I have yet to see it at the pharmacy or places like target.

Skin type: Normal, but reacts weird to extreme temperatures (too hot /too cold).

Why I like this product: My skin and the winter don’t get along. This cold weather leaves me feeling dry and sometimes itchy. Itching leads to scratching which leads to rashes and they are not a good look! Sam introduced me to this product about 2 years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since . You can use it for just about everything- the label speaks for itself.

I apply this once a day over my entire body (preferably after showering before bed) so I wake up with my skin feeling like a baby’s bottom.

The Shea butter comes sort of grainy and hard so rubbing it between your hands will melt it and make the application much easier . ( or you can count on your bf to leave it on top of a radiator by accident until it melts -which is what happened to me) It doesn’t have much of a girly/pretty scent so I like to throw on some baby cologne after wards.

This product is also great in the summer and can be used as sunscreen, oh and perfect for massages 😉


Filed under Drug Store Gem, Home Remedies, Natural, Skin, Uncategorized

On the Hunt…


We are three New York City girls on a scavenger hunt for the most beautiful hair, coolest nails, flawless skin, and makeup. When we find it, we want to know: What’s your beauty secret? A photo is snapped and the good news is spread for beauty lovers around the world to see.

As a parting gift, you get one of our cards (as you see above) to check out our site and view your photos while uncovering others’ beauty secrets.

Spread the word!

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