May Beauty Round-up

May already feels like a lifetime ago and 2020 is proving to be an entire fucking decade in itself. I delayed sharing my beauty round-up for the month because it was time to step back, open my white ears and do some much needed listening, learning and reflection.

And now, I don’t think saying anything along the lines of “going back to normal” makes sense at all.

Yes, I’m going back to posting beauty-related content on this blog and on social media, but that doesn’t mean the education and action stops. Many of us are finally letting the scales fall from our privileged eyes and realizing intentions don’t mean anything without actions. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for this type of content. For me, this blog is a creative outlet that helps manage stress and anxiety and taps into another part of my brain. I think having an outlet like that is crucial for wellbeing, especially when there is a lot of pressure we absolutely need to be feeling right now. Take care of yourself, but let that pressure energize and inspire you. These changes are centuries overdue.

I will do a better job diversifying the brands and products I buy and post about. I will share the content of Black creators and experts more. And I will continue to donate, sign petitions, attend rallies and gather more resources as much as possible. You can follow along here and on Instagram and Twitter. Thanks for everything you’ve shared with me as well. Let’s keep our eyes and ears open and be kind to one another.

As for last month’s beauty empties, here’s where we landed:


Naturopathica Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel — From the moment the esthetician at Naturopathica in Chelsea put this peel on my face, I knew I had to have it. Cherry is my favorite sweet flavor and this stuff smell’s like straight-up pie filling. In just five minutes, the anti-inflammatory ingredients in this peel brighten your complexion and exfoliate for a smoother texture, all without burning or drying your skin out. Once a week, I like to spread it on before hopping in the shower as recommended so the steam can enhance it’s benefits.

SMPL. Cleansing Cream — Looking for a less expensive cleansing cream as an alternative to my BR favorites, I grabbed this travel-friendly cleanser at COSMANIA in Amsterdam. The pump makes it easier to dispense and it has a less liquid, almost whipped texture so it doesn’t leak. It’s fragrance and essential oil free and one of the main ingredients in almond oil, just like BR, to break down makeup and sunscreen. Best of all, it emulsifies and washes away easily, without the use of an additional cloth. My skin loved it. Soft, hydrated and no breakouts.

Glossier Mask Duo — I’m a big Glossier fan and these masks were among the first of their products I tried all those years ago. I hadn’t used them in over a year so naturally I impulse purchased them both (along with too many other things) during a visit to their NYC flagship. You can’t beat the price for this set, which makes for an easy at-home spa ritual if you have the time. I use the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack first for 20 minutes which deep cleans without drying and then follow with the Moisturizing Moon Mask to add hydration for another 20 minutes. Of the two, the Moon Mask is definitely my favorite. It’s so soothing.


Caudalie Vinopure Skin Perfecting Serum — Now I wouldn’t normally include a sample in my empties, but this baby lasted me a full skin cycle (28 days) so she counts. I’m including it on my pass list not because my skin disliked it, but because at 33 years old, I want some anti-aging and brightening benefits in all of my skincare products. The salicylic acid did help keep acne at bay but I can’t say I noticed any pore-tightening effects. That’s probably because I think that claim is bullshit anyway. If you’re in your 20s perhaps and looking for a step up from your teenage acne treatments, this is a good one to go for.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic — Oof. This one hurt. After being psyched to get this on sale for under $150, I was ready for all of the glowy goodness so many derms and bloggers promised. And for the first two weeks, that’s what I got. Using just a few drops, my skin was dewy and bright. Then, the trouble started. First with one, then two, then three large, deep, painful cystic pimples on my left cheek. After another two weeks of fighting to try and heal them, I did some more research, saw some warnings about using it on acne-prone skin and put this serum away. A month or so later I thought I would try again. Maybe my body was adjusting to a new PMS supplement I was taking, maybe it was quarantine stress. Either way, I’d spent a lot of money on it and couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. So I tried it again and like clockwork, I had another trio of whoppers show up on my right cheek two weeks in. Am I pissed I have scars it will now likely take me a year to fade without medical intervention? Yes. But thankfully I was able to use it up on my chest without issue and it actually helped soften some keloids I have from mole removal.

Lesson learned. Buy for your skin type, always, not just because of hype.

See what else I’ve used up here.



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