Skincare

Clarifying Cannabis Sativa in Beauty | Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil

Hemp is such a huge trend in beauty right now. Several products are popping up on the market, but not all oils are equal and it can be quite difficult to clarify them. Many beauty brands want a piece of this $1 billion pie, so they aren't all clear about their sources or ingredients. In fact, the dozens of articles that do exist can easily confuse someone who is new to the idea of hemp and CBD oils.

First, let's break down the basics:

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Hemp Oil

Hemp oil is pressed from the seed of the cannabis sativa plant. If you're looking to get high by consumption, it's not going to happen! Hemp oil contains low levels of CBD which means that it is super low in cannabinoids. It contains no THC, so it is non-psychoactive. 

CBD (Cannabidiol) Oil

CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is extracted from the flower, leaves and stalk of the cannabis sativa plant. You still won't get high since this oil contains very little to no THC making it also non-psychoactive, but you will be able to experience the many medicinal, or therapeutic, benefits. CBD oil obviously contains higher levels of CBD (thus the name), so there are more cannabinoids.

There are 113 phytocannabinoid compounds in cannabis resulting in different forms of CBD oil, so this is where it can get a little tricky when attempting to choose products and differentiate. 

Isolate vs Full Spectrum CBD

Isolate separates CBD from all other compounds in the cannabis sativa plant -- this is strictly CBD. Full spectrum can contain other cannabinoid compounds and may even have very small traces of THC. Depending on the benefits you are looking for, this is definitely something to pay attention to or ask about when doing your research and selecting specific products.

Uses & Benefits for Hemp Oil

While hemp seed oil or extract is used in several beauty products, it is greatly used for its nutritional benefits which makes it amazing for improving hair, skin and nails. 

  • Can help reduce inflammation
  • Grow stronger nails
  • Promote healthy and shiny hair
  • Helps alleviate skin conditions, like eczema
  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles; great for anti-aging

Uses & Benefits for CBD Oil

CBD oil is quite frequently used in skincare and body products for its therapeutic benefits. Many of the benefits for hemp seed oil apply to CBD oil, but here are some additional benefits:

  • Might help reduce and relieve stress and anxiety
  • Encourages overall skin, hair and nail health
  • Might help improve heart health and other internal systems
  • Might help relieve pain

Disclaimer: This blog post and graphics created by me is meant to aid in your overall research on hemp oil, CBD oil and/or the cannabis sativa plant. I am not making any medical claims and encourage all readers to do proper research for themselves before using these products whether orally or topically.

How To Achieve the 'Perfect Pout' with Sara Happ & Review

Last Saturday, I spent the afternoon with Sara Happ at Nordstrom (she's seriously the sweetest) -- I've wanted to try her products for a very long time, so I bought a few treats for my lips! While skincare has become one of my greatest topics on this platform, there are still areas of it that I'm interested in exploring more. Lip care is one of them. I've had an opportunity to try all of these products several times this week, so I want to share my thoughts and how I used all three to create the 'Perfect Pout'.

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The Lip Scrub

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When I sniffed the Sprinkles Red Velvet Lip Scrub, I absolutely had to have it! First of all, it smelled delicious. Second, I love to eat...so why not? Everything about this lip scrub was spot-on. While I've only owned this lip scrub for one week, I've used it about every other day and can totally vouch for it. It gently rids the lips of dead skin while moisturizing it with natural oils such as jojoba and grape seed. The texture is also much different than other scrubs I've tried -- many (like Lush) tend to be extremely dry or end up drying out quickly. I immediately noticed that Sara Happ's lip scrubs have a creamier texture and I could tell that the formula is packed with beneficial ingredients for repairing and nourishing lips. 

I also have Brown Sugar, but neither my sister or myself have dabbled in it yet; however, the ingredients are fairly identical aside from the flavor/aroma.

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Sweet Clay Lip Mask

This little pink lip mask has made its way to my "Beauty To Try" Insta bookmarks probably every time I see it posted. Needless to say, I've wanted to try this particular product since it was released...and now I've finally tried it! 

In my opinion, good lip treatments that aren't just a bunch of hyped BS are really difficult to come by. Even I've been fooled by fancy marketing. *shrug* I once spent about $50 on a treatment and was highly disappointed with the results...or lack thereof. Sitting at a retail price of $32, I will say that I initially hesitated to purchase it because there are so many cheap little gel lip masks out there. Sweet Clay Lip Mask is pretty unique with it's frosting-like texture and ingredients such as bentonite clay, shea butter, and Swertiamarin which helps heal and regenerate the lips. According to the instructions, you can apply a generous layer to the lips for 2 to 20 minutes (I admit that I could be using more) and it does not dry down or crack. As of now on the market, I don't think you're going to find anything like it on the beauty shelves. I would definitely recommend if you want to add something new to your lip care routine for extra benefits.

Lip Slip One Luxe Balm

When it comes to lip balm, I'll use pretty much anything I already have if it contains natural oils, doesn't quickly rub away and won't leave my lips feeling tacky/sticky. This balm definitely fits that description and there are no weird tints, so any skin tone or complexion can use it. I maybe only have a few lip balms (not glosses) that I use on a consistent basis. It sort of reminds me of the translucent pink Jouer Lip Enhancer which I do use often alone as a gloss and under lipstick -- between the two, I noticed that Sara Happ additionally includes macadamia seed and sweet almond oil which are both great ingredients for lips. I also spotted copolymers which I believe help the product last much longer. If you're on the hunt for ONE good lip balm that you can use consistently in an everyday routine, then I would recommend this. It is also available in a tube like Jouer for easier application on-the-go. 

Watch the tutorial:

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Does Oily Skin Need Hydration? | TULA Probiotic Skincare Routine & Review

The Answer Is: YES!

When TULA first sent their products my way to try out, I was a tad bit skeptical. I've tried so many skincare products that do absolutely nothing special at all for my skin and are, quite honestly, a waste of money. While some of these products just worked "okay" for me, others amazed me...so I definitely thought it was worth sharing my thoughts.

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Step One: Cleanse

Purifying Face Cleanser

This cleanser with blueberry extract, turmeric and chicory root may seem like a gel at first sight, but it's actually a foaming cleanser which I noticed upon lather. I wasn't really super impressed with this particular cleanser and could probably switch it out with other formulas that I prefer more. It wasn't extremely drying, but I might not reach for it unless I run out of my faves. For my combination-oily skin and because I'm always wearing makeup, I would want to try the Kefir Replenishing Cleansing Oil out next time.

If I did continue using this cleanser, I'd probably use it when I double cleanse at night -- Kefir Replenishing Cleansing Oil first, then Purifying Face Cleanser. 

Step Two: Multi-Mask

Exfoliating Treatment Mask

Now y'all know I LOVE face masks and I was really excited to try the Exfoliating Treatment Mask with lactic acid and bentonite clay. For this formula, I received a small sample size, but I pretty much got the gist of it and a little bit goes a long way as you only need to apply a thin layer. The number one thing I love about this treatment mask is that it exfoliates while performing as a mask. I'm not the best at remembering to exfoliate; however, I never ever forget to mask -- it's one of my favorite beauty rituals! I believe in using a face mask at least two to three times per week and that's exactly how much we should be exfoliating. It's a total win-win.

How It Works: Apply a thin layer to the entire face, let sit for 5-10 minutes, press warm towel against face for 10 seconds, rinse and massage the mask away

 A closer look at the consistency of the Purifying Gel Cleanser 

A closer look at the consistency of the Purifying Gel Cleanser 

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Step 3: Tone It Up

Pro-Glycolic 10% pH Resurfacing Gel

When I received these products, I couldn't figure out whether to use this or the Aqua Infusion Power Liquid first...but the Resurfacing Gel acts as a toner. I haven't had very much luck using toners/exfoliators with acids even with my skin of steel and I was reluctant to use it, but this one was very gentle. I've found that sometimes formulas can be way too harsh for my skin. The Resurfacing Gel is alcohol-free and combines 100% natural probiotics and glycolic acid to exfoliate minus dryness. It even has a hydrating effect with natural mushroom and beet extract which are said to be more hydrating that hyaluronic acid. *gasp* Contrary to what you may have heard, oily skin does need hydration, so don't shy away, Beauties! 

How It Works: Squeeze one to two pumps of the Resurfacing Gel to a cotton pad and apply to entire face. Let dry before moving on to apply serum.

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Step 4: Boost with Serum

Aqua Infusion Power Liquid

Serums are usually some of the best formulas in a skincare line because they have the most powerful and concentrated ingredients. This means that there are more nutrients and vitamins for your skin to drink up! The Aqua Infusion Power Liquid is a gel-like serum that feels super hydrating from the very first touch. I really liked using this serum especially at night and the overall health my skin each day was wonderful in appearance and texture. The serum uses one of my favorite skincare ingredients for improving texture, prickly pear, as well as hyaluronic acid and lactococcus ferment lysate probiotic. If you're going to switch up anything in your daily skincare routine and need hydration, I would recommend giving this one a try.

How It Works: Squeeze a dime size of the serum onto fingertips and gently pat into skin

Step 5: Moisturize All-Day

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Option 1: Hydration Day & Night Cream

Moisturizers seem to make my top favorites a lot when trying out a new skincare line. Between the Day & Night Cream and Gel Cream, I was so confused on which to use and when. I decided to use this one on most days in the morning and before bed. It contains rice nutripeptides, watermelon extract, retinol and Vitamin A. If you're really into skincare, retinol can be drying especially in serums where it's more likely to be stronger, so hydration is important. This cream gives your skin both a dose of retinol AND the hydration.

Option 2: Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream

I tried the Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream before going out just last night and I was stunned at how well my skin reacted even with makeup on. Even though the Hydration Day & Night Cream didn't leave my face feeling greasy and oily like a lot of moisturizers tend to, I think the Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream just might be my absolute favorite out of everything TULA sent because...it's just a game-changer! 

I've tried countless face primers and setting sprays...and most of them keep the makeup in place, but don't prevent serious shine. It becomes a waste of money and it can get frustrating as hell. As a matter of fact, many moisturizers play nice with makeup...but this one takes the cake. Based on my experience, I would absolutely purchase it on my own to use as a moisturizing primer. The skin absorbs the hydration ,which is exactly what oily skin needs, and fights the oil. By the end of the night getting in after 1AM, my makeup was still in place and my skin was NOT shiny AT ALL. Usually it's an oil slick....but it had a natural, dewy glow and texture. I couldn't believe it. NEED this in the larger size ASAP. 


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These products were received courtesy of TULA for review and editorial purposes; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Morning Skincare Rituals with nyakio | Demo + Review

As a beauty blogger, I receive TONS of emails to try new brands -- especially skincare products. Recently, I was given the opportunity to try nyakio™, a skincare brand that I learned is under parent company, Sundial Brands (i.e. Shea Moisture, Madame CJ Walker Beauty, Nubian Heritage).

I'm fairly picky about the brands/products I try and absolutely have to have some type of interest in order to accept them for potential review. When I researched the brand, there were a few things that ultimately intrigued me:

  • The brand is founded by a woman of color, Nyakio Kamoche Grieco (first-generation American of Kenyan descent). A large percentage of my readers/followers are black women like myself, so I always love when I can support a sista.
  • nyakio™ is available exclusively in Ulta stores and online -- something I didn't even know and I spend a lot of time wandering the store looking for new things to try! 

  • I appreciated the brand's focus ethically and sustainably sourced indigenous ingredients (I'm all about what's in my products) as well as philanthropy through non-profit organization, Girls Inc. 

  • Each product in the nyakio™ line has a story that ties to Nyakio's childhood and family traditions

Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil Balm

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I love a good melting cleanser/balm. A few that I've tried are: YesTo Coconut Melting Cleanser, Colleen Rothschild Radiant Cleansing Balm and EVE LOM Cleanser. However, none of those are quite like the nyakio™ Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil Balm. When I first opened the jar, I noticed the rose color and slight glowing shimmer in the light. It was gorgeous, yall! Plus, I love pink.

How To Use: The texture was smooth, simple to scoop and quickly melted from balm to oil from the warm touch of my fingertips. A small amount goes a long way with this balm. I massaged the Cleansing Oil Balm on my skin in tiny circles for approximately two minutes before placing a warm washcloth over my face and wiping away. You can also use tissue to remove, but I prefer a regular washcloth or muslin cloth.

The Results: After removing the balm, my skin felt baby soft and smooth from the nourishing sweet almond oils sourced from Spain. It is extremely conditioning! I didn't have makeup on the first time I used it, but these types of formulas are usually excellent for breaking down makeup and the Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil Balm is one of them. 

Kenyan Coffee Face Polish

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Exfoliating a few times a week is über important! I'd say two to three times depending on your skin is sufficient. I've been on the hunt for new exfoliating treatments to try out and this one combines antioxidant-rich Kenyan coffee beans, jojoba oil and shea butter. Initially, I assumed the formula would be a bit rougher, but it's actually quite gentle and creamy to have coffee grounds blended in it. It also doesn't have a strong coffee scent as I expected which wasn't exactly a negative thing whatsoever.

How To Use: Be sure to shake the Kenyan Coffee Face Polish before using it! When I squeezed my first bit out, it seemed that there was a little bit of settling or separation while it was in transit causing a runnier consistency -- nothing a quick shake couldn't fix. A quarter size of this exfoliator was just enough for a light layer over my entire face. I massaged in small circles and really focused on my nose, cheeks and forehead because those are the areas that tend to become the roughest and produce the most oil. After a few minutes, I rinsed the Kenyan Coffee Face Polish with a warm washcloth. 

The Results: Upon rinsing, I noticed a difference in my nose. No more roughness due to daily impurities, so it definitely did the job!

Tamanu Firming Face Balm

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No matter whether you have dry, combination, sensitive or oily skin, moisturizing is a step that none of us should skip. Since it's summer, my Tamanu Firming Face Balm was melted upon arrival; however, I always pop my completely melted products in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes or until solid again. This will help the product return to its natural smooth texture rather than crystalize and get lumpy.

How To Use: While the packaging states this moisturizer can be used for day and night, I recommend it for night if following an oil or serum. Whenever I did use it in the morning, I skipped my serums and oils so my face wouldn't be too oily and I could jump into makeup without having to wait for my skin to absorb all of the product I'd applied. For this balm formula, remember that a little bit goes a long way

The Results: The nyakio™ Tamanu Firming Face Balm's consistency reminded me of shea butter, but with tons of extra beneficial ingredients. Actually, shea butter is the very first ingredient of this balm, so it really provided and locked in all of the moisture. It's pretty intense unlike some formulas that are more water-based. Provided a tiny amount is applied, it can definitely be used prior to makeup.

Red Ginseng Line Smoothing Eye & Lip Cream

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I though the Red Ginseng Line Smoothing Eye & Lip Cream would be really cool to try because I've never seen a cream for both the eyes and lips. I don't really have lines or wrinkles in those areas, but it's never too early for anti-aging products, so I'm always down to use a good cream to help prevent or reduce those things especially with the benefits of red ginseng. 

How To Use: This works just like any eye cream where you press into the skin under and around the eyes, but it can also be use around the mouth area as well.

The Results: I can't say I noticed a difference or improvements for lines because I don't have any but, as I mentioned, I still use eye creams. Since I'm always using refrigerated masks to reduce puffiness in the morning because of tiredness or allergies, I'd like to try the Quinoa De-Puffing & Firming Eye Cream and see how that actually works for me. I will say that I can feel that it's hydrating which is huge plus because when allergies/itchy eyes kick in, the constant rubbing can cause dryness and the skin around our eyes is already very delicate.


Have you tried nyakio™ skincare products from Ulta before?

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6 Mistakes You Make When Washing Your Face

How can you possibly make mistakes in face washing for goodness sake? It should be pretty simple, right? Dunk your face in a sink full of water, work up a little soap lather on a washcloth, scrub it on and then rinse it off. Ahhh, but it takes a little more care and thought; how you wash your face, when, how frequently, and what you use all make a difference.

With a little consideration of method and products, you can improve your skin health, curb acne breakouts, and reduce skin inflammation. To these ends, I will become the Queen of Clean for your enlightenment.

Wash your face before bed

Even if you don’t wear makeup you should always wash your face at night before turning in. All day natural oils and sweat collect on the skin as well as dirt and pollution from the environment. Leaving this accumulation of gunk on your skin at the end of the day can cause acne breakouts, skin irritation, and inflammation.

Don’t skip the morning cleanse, friends

Cleansing your skin before bed is fine, but another rinse in the morning is a good idea. Germs like to leap from your pillowcase to your face as you sleep so you should wash your pillowcases often. Even then, bacteria from your saliva and oils from your hair make their way to your fresh new pillowcase and then to your face and eyes. A quick rinse in the morning will freshen your skin and ensure that any other skincare products you apply have the best possible base.

Keep the water temperature low

Hot water may feel good in the shower especially just after a muscle numbing workout, but it could also be causing damage to your skin. High water temperatures can cause dilation of blood vessels and the possible breakage of delicate tissue as well as strip the skin of its natural oils. Your skin will more quickly dry out and become itchy and flaky, so use lukewarm water to cleanse your face instead of hot.

Don’t use only a makeup wipe to clean your face

A makeup wipe or cleansing cloth is not good enough to deeply clean your face. They remove makeup and surface dirt but also leave behind a residue. If you do use them, rinse away the residue and then use a gentle cleanser for a deeper clean. Wet your face with lukewarm water and apply cleanser using your fingertips in a circular motion for 20 to 30 seconds, then rinse and softly pat dry with a clean towel.

Use the correct cleanser for your skin

That new cleanser on the market that your co-workers and crafting pals keep raving about might not be the best for you. Skincare companies create different product lines for different skin types for good reason.

  • Normal skin has an even skin tone and a soft texture with no blemishes, red or flaky patches, and the skin surface is neither dry nor greasy. Look for a simple cleanser that doesn’t go too heavy on the exfoliants or the moisturizers. Find a solution here for normal skin.

  • Dry skin has a dull skin tone and looks rough, flaky, and is often itchy. If your skin is on the dry or sensitive side, choose creams and lotions that are designed to hydrate while cleansing gently. Find a solution here for dry skin.

  • Oily skin appears shiny, often showing blackheads and pimples and is more prone to acne. Gentle foams and gels will be the best choices to cleanse an oilier complexion without leaving the skin totally stripped. Find a solution here for acne-prone skin.

Moisturize right after you clean

Studies have shown that applying moisturizer while the skin is still damp after cleansing will help to lock in that hydration. Waiting even a few minutes will allow the surface cells to dehydrate and they will become more resistant to retaining moisture. As an added note, even if your moisturizer does have an SPF factor, apply a sunscreen on top to ensure adequate protection for your skin.

So, how did the Queen of Clean do? Are you now enlightened and glowing in the knowledge of correct washing procedure? In all seriousness, if you follow these tips and use the links shown above for more information, you will have beautiful skin, glowing with health.

This guest post is sponsored and written by FacingAcne.com