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The $5 Product Jennifer Aniston’s Makeup Artist Uses to Keep Lipstick in Place


Have you ever looked in a mirror three hours after applying your lipstick to see it has smudged, budged and completely faded? Yeah, we’ve all (sadly) been there. Swiping on a liquid matte lip deters that fate for a while, but it can leave lips feeling dry and cracked. So instead of tossing all your cream-based lipsticks, take a tip from Jillian Dempsey, who has saved the pouts of celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Emilia Clarke.

The makeup artist recently revealed on Instagram that she uses blotting papers (or rice papers) to “blot excess cream lipstick, to mattify the color and create a stain look.” The product is usually used for seeping up excess oil on

$5 Product Jennifer Aniston’s Makeup Artist Uses


The biggest bonus is that you won’t transfer as much of the color as you would if you used a tissue or other cotton-based product. It’s basically a win-win-win situation — long-lasting smudge-proof lips, high pigmentation and moisture.

If you have oily skin, these sheets might already be in your arsenal, but if not, you can snag 100 of Dempsey’s preferred DHC Oil Blotting Papers for $5. Pucker up: You’re about to hit celebrity lip status.

Originally posted on StyleCaster

Expert-Approved DIY Ways to Remove Self-Tanner


When it comes to getting your glow on, nothing is better—and safer—than a little self-tanner. A golden or bronze complexion in a bottle? Sign us up. The trouble is that sometimes your application process doesn’t go as smoothly as expected, leaving you with streaks, uneven application or a too-deep/dark hue. Talk about a faux no-no! To help you avoid any further beauty blunders, we spoke to a handful of experts to discuss the best DIY methods for fixing a self-tanning blunder. You can thank us later.

Astringent or apple cider vinegar

“I recommend removing self-tanner with an astringent-type toner, or if you have apple cider vinegar at home, you can use this as well,” explains celebrity esthetician, Olga Lorencin. “Also, if you apply oils at night before going to bed, this usually helps to remove self-tanner or minimize color streaking, but it might take a few nights for it to fully work.”

Baby oil

Nearly every expert suggested coating yourself in baby oil, and here’s why: “If you need to fix a mistake fast, like dark marks or streaks, the quickest way is to apply baby oil to the darker area and leave for 10 minutes,” explains St. Tropez skin-finishing expert, Sophie Evans. “Leave drenched on your skin for 10 minutes, then either soak in a hot bath or take a hot shower and get scrubbing!”

“The baby oil will make exfoliation more efficient and take that tan down a few shades. If you came out too pale, simply reapply. St. Tropez also makes an amazing tan-remover mitt that you use in the shower. It will erase any unwanted dark patches and remove self-tan completely once it starts to get old,” adds Evans who counts Kate Moss, Margot Robbie, Victoria Beckham and Bella Hadid as clients.


It’s not just for pearly whites! “Tooth paste is a good [trick] if you get a little bit on the palms of your hands. It is just extremely sticky and not great for large areas — think of this more for removing little stubborn areas,” explains Molly Quiddington, social media manager at Australian tanning company, Bondi Sands. “Don’t be afraid to reapply again to fix any missed areas.”

Her pro tip: Try tanning at least two days prior to your event to give yourself time to fix any major mistakes.


If your color is too deep for your liking, dermatologist Dr. Gervaise Gerstner recommends hitting the shower. “[To tone down excess color] and make it look more natural, buy a dry brush and exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Use a body scrub to up the exfoliation and take a long, soaky bath,” she advises.

For those who continuously have bad self-tanning experiences, she suggests Wonderskin Skin Perfected Body Foundation. “This works great to even out tone and fix any streaks. I use the natural color one on my legs to give an illusion of long, lean airbrush legs!”

Lemon juice & wedges

Still streaky? “Mix baking soda with lemon/lime juice, and use a face towel to rub it over your skin to help to take down your streaks,” shares avid self-tanner and founder of his namesake line, James Read.  “Resting your over-tanned elbows on lemon wedges will also help to remove tan.”

“When selecting your self-tanner, you may want to try a gradual tan — it’s great for tan virgins or for someone just wanting a glow or wanting to custom-design their tan by building it up,” he explains. Try his Coconut Water Tan Mist if you are a newbie.

Hair color remover

“Stain remover that hair colorists use can be good for treating small areas if needed,” adds makeup artist with Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa Marlena Orlowska. However, “this would likely be used in a more professional setting like a salon or spa if needed.”

Her advice is to always apply tanning products in bright daylight. “Your bathroom is likely not a good place since there are probably too many shadows and it could be a little dark. Also, make sure you do not exercise/sweat or go swimming until the next day post-application!”

Shaving cream

It’s not just for your legs, ladies. “I recommend rubbing your hands with shaving foam [or toothpaste as stated above] to help to reduce the orange on your hands,” Read adds. “Using rubbing Nivea wipes over your skin can help to reduce your tan or any patchy areas,” explains Read, who works with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Lily James, Laura Kitone and Ellie Goulding.

One of the biggest mistakes he sees is overapplication. “The best approach is to gradually apply your tan in thin layers. You can always add more if you want a darker color!”

Hair-removal cream

According to Evans, hair-removal cream (like Veet or Nair) is also very effective. “The hands will lose their color very fast, so don’t freak out if they do turn out darker, but a great tip: Use hair removal cream on a Q-tip.”

“Leave on the area for half the recommended time stated on the bottle,” she cautions. “We want to take the color down — not remove it completely. We want to make the skin match, so half the time is recommended.

Sauna or steam room

If you aren’t in a rush, using the steam room at your local gym can also minimize your color. “Sit inside for 20 minutes and then wipe your skin with a towel — this will remove your tan,” adds Read.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

5 Summer Skin Care Tips Black Women Should Keep in Mind


There’s a misconception that deeper skin tones are automatically protected from the sun in the summer, but that’s not true. “Dark skin is better protected from the sun, but that protection is not perfect,” says Dr. Michelle Henry, a NYC-based board-certified dermatologist.

“Even the deepest, richest skin tone is just SPF 13.” That’s why women with deeper skin tones should stock up on SPF 30 to protect their complexion and avoid sunburns because, “yes, dark skin does burn.” Deeper skin tones are also susceptible to other issues, such as unevenness and acne flares, in addition to sun exposure.

With the help of Henry, we’re looking at five ways to keep deeper skin tones happy and healthy this summer.

More20 Jelly-Based Beauty Products for Your Coolest Summer Yet

Invest in glycolic acid        

It’s hotter outside, and you’re sweating more, so cleanser is key. However, not all cleansers are created equal. The ingredients inside are what really make the difference, especially for deeper skin tones. Henry recommends using a cleanser containing glycolic acid to “help exfoliate but not dry out the skin, as glycolic acid is a humectant.”

This will help you maintain clean and glowing summer skin without stripping it of its moisture, which can lead to unevenness. We love Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, which helps reduce minor discoloration and is also formulated with herbal extracts for soothing benefits.

Summer Skin-Care Tips For Black Women: Using Glycolic Acid

Avoid chemical peels & laser treatments

Who doesn’t want to have a flawless, glowing complexion in the summer? After all, it’s the time we bare the most skin. Nevertheless, resist the urge to brighten and smooth with the help of chemical peels or laser treatments. Deeper skin tones are especially prone to hyperpigmentation, and that risk increases a lot when you “mix chemicals, laser and sun exposure on delicate skin,” says Henry.

Instead of chemical or laser treatments that can be harsh, use an acidic exfoliator at home once a week. Sunday Riley’s Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment is gentle enough to use even on sensitive skin but still contains enough purified-grade lactic acid to clear your complexion and encourage natural collagen production.

More: 3 Black Women Share Game-Changing Skin Care Routines

Stock up on vitamin C

Make vitamin C your new best friend this summer — it’s both beautifying and protective, especially for deeper skin tones. “This antioxidant will help maintain an even skin tone and protect against damage caused by pollution encountered during outdoor activities,” says Henry.

Make vitamin C work for you this summer by buying a multitasking serum you can use in the morning under moisturizer and makeup or in the evening as part of your nighttime skin care routine. Skinceuticals C E Ferulic with 15 percent L-ascorbic acid is legendary for its firming, plumping and protective qualities. At $166, it’s also famously pricey, so Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster is an effective yet affordable choice at just $49.

Summer Skin-Care Tips For Black Women: Using vitamin c

Make hydrating moisturizer & masks part of your routine

“During the summer, excess sweating can deplete the hydration in one’s skin,” says Henry. That’s why your skin care arsenal should feature some hydrating products to avoid issues of blotchiness and coarseness, which many people with deeper skin tones face.

Glamglow’s ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment will quench your skin with the hydration it needs with hyaluronic acid, leaving your skin supple and silky-soft after use. Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream is a great moisturizer that quenches dehydrated skin and supports the skin’s moisture barrier.

More: Game-Changing Skin Care Tips Every Black Woman Should Know

Keep a nourishing oil on hand

Deeper skin tones don’t just need a little extra love in the face; dryness and unevenness can extend to other body parts if not taken care of properly. Henry recommends using oil to maintain skin’s suppleness and softness as well as bestowing a luxurious sheen on skin.

Body Shop’s Honey Bronze Shimmering Dry Oil has a hydrating yet nongreasy formula with a bit of shimmer to make your legs glisten. It’s filled with skin-conditioning ingredients and contains honey from Ethiopia to banish dryness. Prepare to wow everyone with your beautiful gams.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

6 Expert-Recommended Cream Cleansers That’ll Let Your Summer Skin Breathe


Without fail, beauty experts encourage the use of lightweight products in the summer—us included. We’ve rounded up everything from jelly cleansers to tinted moisturizers that promise not to leave your skin feeling suffocated. But these kinds of products aren’t for everyone; especially when it comes to cleansing.

Even if we’ve forgone a full face of makeup, sometimes we want nothing more than a heavy-duty formula that really gets rid of the sweat and gunk on our face. Cream cleansers are typically more popular during the winter because of their heavier consistencies, but according to Dr. Susan Bard, MD, of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists, there are a select few that clogged-pore-phobes can feel good about using this time of year.

Ahead, she shares her top picks for creamy yet lighter-weight formulas that get the job done.

More: 11 Ultra-Affordable Drugstore Products Recommended by Dermatologists

Cream Cleanser for Summer Skin: Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser

This drugstore favorite “contains three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to repair and moisturize dry and eczema-prone skin.” Ceramides are the lipids (fats) found in the most upper layers of the skin. Their job is to hold skin cells together and form a barrier that locks in moisture and protects against environmental stressors. They’re used in skin-care ingredients despite already being inside our bodies because over time their effectiveness diminishes, mostly because of our natural aging process.

$13.29 at Amazon

Cream Cleanser for Summer Skin: La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser

La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser

Dr. Bard recommends this dual cleanser and makeup remover because it “contains glycerin to help prevent overdrying, and antioxidant-rich thermal spring water to soothe dry, irritated skin.” Glycerin is a colorless humectant—meaning it attracts water—commonly used in beauty products because of its ability to gobble up moisture like a sponge and deliver it to the skin.

$14.99 at Target

Cream Cleansers for Summer Skin: Noxzema Classic Clean Moisturizing Cleansing Cream

Noxzema Classic Clean Moisturizing Cleansing Cream

“Indeed a classic, one of the original cream cleansers contains soy to moisturize and eucalyptus to soothe,” says Dr. Bard. It’s also made with linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil, which can be a huge help for those with skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.

$5.29 at Walgreens

Cream Cleansers for Summer Skin: PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser

PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser

Dr. Bard recommends this pricier option since it “contains antioxidants and aloe vera leaf extract to soothe the skin.” Those with dry skin will be happy to know it’s also made with yucca extract, which shows up as a lightweight foaming agent that won’t strip the skin of moisture.

$32 at PCA Skin

Cream Cleansers for Summer Skin: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Creamy Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Creamy Hydrating Cleanser

Free of added soap, parabens, and dyes, this lightweight cream was formulated with sensitive skin types and those with conditions like rosacea and eczema in mind.

$7.78 at Amazon

Cream Cleansers for Summer Skin: Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk

This cream-based makeup remover and cleanser is “residue free and contains glycerin and dimethicone to keep the skin moisturized, as well as caffeine to help with puffiness.”

$28 at Clinique

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

The Unusual Eyeliner Color Princess Diana Wore That Meghan Markle & Kate Middleton Won’t


Whether it’s the royal baby dresses Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, wore to present her two sons or the British beret Meghan Markle, aka the Duchess of Sussex, wore for one of her first royal engagements, Princess Diana has influenced her daughters-in-law’s fashion and beauty countless times. But there’s one signature Princess Di look that you won’t catch the duchesses sporting: blue eyeliner.

Though Diana was far from a rules-breaker when it came to the royal beauty code, with clean, short nails and natural-looking makeup, where she let loose was with her eyeliner. From dark navy to teal, the late princess has been photographed dozens of times with a thin blue lid and a dash of blue eyeliner on her waterline. The beauty trick — which Meghan and Kate won’t likely wear, as it’s a signature of Princess Di — helped accentuate the skylike color of the princess’s eyes.

Princess Diana's favorite color eyeliner

Princess Diana's favorite color eyeliner: Princess Di in Blue and White Suit

Princess Diana's favorite color eyeliner: Princess Diana Blue Coat

And though pictures show that Princess Di later matured to standard black eyeliners (her blue eyeliner fascination was mainly in her 20s when she was the new wife of Prince Charles), it’s still a timeless beauty trick that we’re taking.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

5 Sunscreen Sprays & Oils Made to Protect Your Scalp


Our scalps are very sensitive by nature, so when harsh UV rays burn us, it can be very painful (not to mention damaging). Once you’ve been burned, you know that you’ll do anything in your power never to be burned again. Luckily, we don’t have to go to great lengths to protect the skin thanks to scalp sunscreen.

Designed to shield your scalp from the sun and also add moisture to your hair, this wonderful product is a must-have for summer. Below are the favorites we think will suit your need for protection all season long, from sprays to leave-in conditioners.

Best Scalp Sunscreens for Summer: Q-Science Q-Sunshade Leave In Conditioner & Scalp Protectant SPF 30

Q-SkinScience Q-Sunshade Leave In Conditioner & Scalp Protectant SPF 30

Especially helpful for color-treated hair, this dual hair treatment utilizes green tea extract and vitamin E to smooth and soften strands as well as deliver ample UV protection to the scalp.

Q-SkinScience Q-Sunshade Leave In Conditioner & Scalp Protectant SPF 30, $22.68 at Amazon

Best Scalp Sunscreens for Summer: Coola Organic Scalp & Hair Mist SPF 30

Coola Scalp & Hair Mist SPF 30

Gotu kola extract improves blood circulation and panthenol delivers moisture, while monoi oil offers natural UV protection, so you needn’t worry about sunburn or itching.

Coola Scalp & Hair Mist SPF 30, $26 at Sephora

Best Scalp Sunscreens for Summer: Banana Boat Sport Performance Quik Dri Spray Sunscreen SPF 30

Banana Boat Sport Quik Dri Scalp Spray SPF 30

Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, this spray dries quickly without leaving behind greasy residue.

Banana Boat Sport Quik Dri Scalp Spray SPF 30, $10.92 at Amazon

Best Scalp Sunscreens for Summer: Vita Liberata Passionflower & Argan Dry Oil Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Vita Liberata Passionflower & Argan Dry Oil Broad Spectrum SPF 50

A luxury oil that can also be used as a body moisturizer, this SPF is water-resistant, nongreasy, and made with natural ingredients that deliver fatty acids to the scalp and skin.

Vita Liberata Passionflower & Argan Dry Oil Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $45 at Sephora

Best Scalp Sunscreens for Summer: Nioxin System 2 Scalp Treatment – SPF 15

Nioxin Scalp Treatment 2 – SPF 15

In addition to improving the appearance of thinning hair, this nutrient-rich treatment includes sun protection so your scalp can flourish, too.

Nioxin Scalp Treatment 2 – SPF 15, $12 at Amazon

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

How Motherhood Has Impacted Zoe Saldana’s Self-Care Routine


You might know Zoe Saldana as a green, extremely strong extraterrestrial or a large-and-in-charge blue royal Na'vi. Although she doesn’t actually look like the characters she plays in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar respectively, their fierce and playful personalities match hers perfectly.  

It makes sense that the actor blends power and play in her everyday life because she has a ton on her plate: work, activism and three baby boys — twins who are 3 and a 1-1/2-year-old. Amid her busy schedule, we had the pleasure of catching up with Saldana as she enjoyed an Italian getaway with her family. 

Among talking in Italian to her children, telling us she wishes she could send us photos of them dressed as jaguars and tigers, and eventually sending them outside to play, we found out quite a bit about Saldana. Ahead, in her own words, she tells us how she treats herself, how she and husband Marco Perego find time together and most important, her comfort food. 

Her definition of self-care

"I think it’s a mixture of definitely having good hygiene while trying to work with your body’s natural scents. Like, whatever your body’s natural essence or scent or smell it is that you have, match it with the products that you use. I think there are so many products that we like to use for ourselves that don’t necessarily match our chemistry, like our physical chemistry. That means taking the time to go and invest in good brands, finding them and going through different products and testing how everything is on your body — how it smells in the morning, and the afternoon and then in the evening. I think it’s the best thing you can do for yourself because self-care is always being super-clean and taking a bath, washing your face and flossing right before you go to bed no matter how late you get home, but also trying to match your body’s natural temperature."

Learning to invest

"I think it’s a combination of both [learning self-care from a young age and having it change as I grow older]. I was always taught to take pride in the way that I clean and maintain myself. I think using a lot of home remedies and natural products like olive oil and things that are super-pure, like shea butter, are things I learned growing up as a New Yorker. But I’ve also learned as I grow older to invest in brands, not necessarily expensive or inexpensive brands, but to look into how these brands are put together, the pride that the company takes into making their products for their consumers. It’s important to know what you’re putting on your body or skin, the specific ingredients. I like nurturing myself by paying close attention to what I’m doing with my body."

Hero beauty products

"I really like Davines. It’s an Italian brand, and I like them because they use a lot of organic ingredients for their line. And for face, I’m a huge fan lately of Dr. Hauschka, but I also like to wash my face with regular Cetaphil from the pharmacy. I love it."

Her ultimate day off

"Oh, my God, I would sleep. I would sleep in the most comfortable bed that’s not too soft and not too hard, with pillows not too thin but not too thick, the perfect temperature, and perfect darkness in the room so my mind won’t just turn on. And I would sleep maybe 18 hours. I haven’t slept for eight hours straight in, like, three years! [Laughs]

"It has to do with the fact that our children are still so very young. We have a set of twins [3 years old] and a 1-1/2-year-old. So their demand for their mommy is exceptionally high right now. They’re so vulnerable and so codependent, and I know as they get older it’ll get easier. I’ll be able to go back to my earlier routines and things that I used to do when I had a lot more time to dedicate to myself. But right now, my husband and I, we do what we can, and we’re grateful — even if it means staying up later so we can spend time together and have conversations. Right now, the best thing that we do when we have those 30 minutes off is that we reminisce on how fun it was when it was just us! [Laughs]"

On her go-to comfort food

"Oh, my gosh, there’s too many, just too many. But so many of them have rice in it. I love rice. I grew up with rice. It’s a part of my heritage. I also married into a culture where rice and pasta are comfort food. Anything with rice I completely live for!"

In our series “Operation Recharge,” we task celebrities and influencers with sharing what self-care means to them as well as the activities, products and treatments they indulge in for downtime done right.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

DIY Facial Massage & Mask Tricks That Make a Major Difference


As time wears on, we come to accept certain things. For example: If you eat an apple every day, you won’t get sick. Or if you step on a crack, your mother will wind up in a hospital somewhere with a suspiciously inexplicable back injury. Similar to the way we regard these age-old "-isms," we’ve come to understand that if it’s good enough for Duchess Meghan of Sussex and Jennifer Lopez, it’s probably worth trying. We’re no fools.

Luckily for us, the latest and greatest in beauty wellness comes from none other than the new Duchess of Sussex herself. People generally call it “that weird inner-mouth massage” or something along those lines, but it actually has a name: sculptural deep-tissue buccal facial. Of course, these things go for $250 an hour. (Hey, if they work and you can afford them, by all means — go for it!) But for those of us who don’t want to spend a small fortune on a kinda weird-sounding inner-mouth massage… our time has come.

StyleCaster sat down with Danna Omari, founder of New York City’s famous Noy Skincare, to learn more about the techniques she uses during the buccal facial. Unsurprisingly, we learned that it’d be nearly impossible to recreate the exact facial at home (which is probably why they cost $250). But Omari let us in on some massages and skin secrets that you can try at home — so, obviously, we’re going to tell you all of them.

Danna Omari’s instructions for at-home DIY face massage:

  • Prepare: Always cleanse and prep your skin first. After cleansing but before applying serums/moisturizers, use a cosmetic roller to punch micro-channels through the outer layer of dead cells so products can penetrate into the skin. This works great to plump fine lines and wrinkles. You can also include this step prior to applying oil before your massage.
  • Massage: Massage the cheek and jaw area with your fingers, starting from the center and moving outward in a circular motion. Bend your index and middle fingers and place them on your jawline, moving from your chin toward your ear. Be firm but gentle. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Do the same on the cheekbone. With both hands, use your index finger and thumb, making slight pinching movements where you’d get crows feet around the eyes, going in different directions.
  • Work your facial muscles: Stick out your tongue as far as you can about 10 to 15 times. Puff you cheeks 10 to 15 times. For nasolabial folds (laugh lines), move your tongue back and forth along your inner cheek. Do this 30 times in the morning and 30 at night. Repeat on the other side. Then do the same movement on both sides while slightly squinting or grinning.
  • Finish up: Use a cold jade roller (stored in the fridge) to calm, de-puff, increase circulation and achieve a healthy glow.

Later, we spoke with the spa manager at the Marigot Bay Resort in the Caribbean — Saint Lucia to be exact — to learn about DIY face masks. Darcel Beausoleil says you can make them with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. And there’s a method to the madness — Beausoleil’s recipes generally consist of a cleanser/toner, an exfoliant, a base (to hold everything together and create an even consistency) and a moisturizer.

Beausoleil had a lot of recommendations, so we broke it down into some recipes for you.

Darcel Beausoleil’s instructions for at-home DIY face masks:

To mattify oily skin

Apply the following mixture to a clean, dry face. Leave on for 10 minutes before washing off.

  • Oats: help with dry, itchy and irritated skin
  • Ground oatmeal: exfoliates skin
  • Cocoa powder: rich in antioxidants
  • Honey: hydrates skin
  • Coconut oil: nourishes skin

To rejuvenate skin

Apply the following mixture to a clean, dry face to stimulate blood flow and slough off dead skin. Leave on for five minutes before washing off.

  • Cinnamon: exfoliates skin
  • Honey: hydrates skin

To calm inflamed skin

Apply the following mixture to a clean, dry face to improve hydration and repair the skin barrier. Leave on for 10 minutes before washing off.

  • Avocado: contains natural oils that are effective for calming/hydrating
  • Ground coffee beans: contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation, act as exfoliant
  • Whole milk: improves paste consistency and has calming effect on the skin

To tighten pores

Apply the following mixture to improve skin tone. Leave on for 10 minutes before washing off.

  • Honey: hydrates skin
  • Lemon juice: evens out skin tone
  • Egg white of one egg: tightens pores

More: 9 Low-Key Face Masks You Can Wear Comfortably While Traveling

In the event you don’t have all the right ingredients for a full mask, we also asked Beausoleil which ingredients could be applied to the skin individually and what effects they’d have on your complexion. Here are her suggestions:

  • Coconut or olive oil: cleanses and moisturizes skin
  • Coconut or shea butter: works as makeup remover and moisturizer
  • Tea bag (herbal and non-caffeinated, like lavender or chamomile) soaked in water: acts as toner
  • Epsom salt, ground coffee beans or cocoa powder: cleanses pores, helps improve circulation, acts as antiaging and wrinkle-fighting agent

More: 5 Things Dr. Pimple Popper Wants You to Know About Skin Care

Luckily for us, these masks are efficient, inexpensive and easy to make. (Not to mention expert-approved and perfect for summer-ready skin) So, next time your bank account is in the red, ditch the spa treatment and opt for the DIY version. Everything is better from the comfort of your own bed, anyway.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

Meghan Markle’s Facialist Shares Her Easy, At-Home Routine for Removing Blackheads


Meghan Markle, now Duchess Meghan of Sussex, is a minimal-makeup kind of girl. From her natural wedding makeup to her love for showing off her freckles, Meghan isn’t one to cover up with a heavy foundation, which is why she keeps her skin in tip-top condition. But Meghan’s secret to duchesslike skin isn’t some royal mystery. It’s actually an easy, at-home routine that you can do in less than 10 minutes according to her facialist, Sarah Chapman.

In an interview with Hello magazine, Chapman revealed her routine to shrink pores and remove blackheads safely at home. “First, wash your hands. Then begin by using a facial steamer to open the pores and prepare the skin — or have a bath or shower,” Chapman said.  

Next, Chapman, who is the founder of the skin care brand Sarah Chapman Skinesis, suggests applying "a balm cleanser like my Ultimate Cleanse to the whole face, using massage techniques to work it deeper into the skin, and then circle the blemish with the pads of your fingers to soften the blockage further.”

Megan Markle At Home Blackhead Treatment

More: 20 Beauty Products Meghan Markle Swears By for a Princesslike Glow

After you’re done cleansing, Chapman recommends pressing a warm face cloth (what they call a “flannel” in the U.K.) on the trouble areas and gently applying pressure to either side of the blemish. “Apply a warm flannel to the affected area and start to apply gentle pressure with a wiggle to either side of the blemish, stopping immediately if you see any blood. It is important to always use your fingers and to avoid using your nails, as this can cause trauma to the skin,” Chapman said.

Then, voilà! Your pores should be smaller and your blackheads should be pretty much gone. While sometimes the best advice is to leave pimples alone, if you have to pop them, Chapman’s routine sounds like a safe one.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

How to Properly Wash Textured Hair According to a Curly Girl Pro


Cleansing is so much more than slapping on some shampoo in the shower. We’ve got to think about the type of ingredients we’re using, whether our scalp is getting as much attention as our strands and, if you have textured hair, maintaining your curl pattern so it doesn’t fall flat by the time you need to leave the house. Throughout my natural-hair journey, I’ve come across so many different cleansing methods — I’ve used the same one for years, and at this point, I’m not sure if one is actually better than the other.

But as I continue to make hair health a priority, it’s become clear that there are probably just a few adjustments I could be making for the better. Ahead, Mia Emilio, senior stylist at DevaChan Soho, breaks down exactly how a cleansing routine for women with textured hair should look.

More: What to Know About Dry Shampoo If You Have Textured Hair


We already know that thicker hair types aren’t required to cleanse on a daily basis, but their hair also shouldn’t be neglected for weeks at a time. So, where’s the happy medium? According to Emilio, textured hair can still be cleansed on a weekly basis.

“It’s best to cleanse the scalp at least once a week. Some do more frequently if they feel necessary, but you don’t want to cleanse too often or it’s possible you will dry out your hair,” she says. “Co-washing in between cleanses is helpful to help keep hair hydrated and tangle-free.”

At the same time, your curl pattern and texture also play a big part in determining how often you cleanse. The tighter your curl, the dryer your hair may be, so those with kinkier strands definitely shouldn’t be cleansed more than once a week. (And hydration in between is always helpful.). But for finer hair, “you can cleanse more in order to remove oil from the scalp, but I recommend no more than twice a week,” says Emilio.


To pre-'poo or not to pre-'poo

The biggest mistake Emilio sees women make during the cleansing process is using harsh chemicals and stripping ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate. Reading the labels of your products is a must. However, there’s also the question of whether a pre-'poo—a pre-shampoo treatment that’s supposed to provide a protective barrier between your hair and the stripping ingredients of a shampoo — is actually necessary. Many natural experts recommend using one, but according to Emilio, it isn’t always necessary unless your hair needs a serious reset. (For me, this is usually right after I’ve taken out a protective style, such as braids or extensions.)

“If you know you went multiple days in between washing, putting your pre-'poo on before cleansing your hair can help detangle, and it’s also a great way to help the water penetrate faster into your hair, making your washday much easier and even a little faster,” she says.

Extra conditioner — before or after cleansing — is always a good thing too. “If your reasoning for adding conditioner before you cleanse is because you’re feeling too tangled up, then, sure, go ahead. But if not, don’t waste your conditioner,” she says.

More: The Best Edge-Control Products for Textured Hair

How to cleanse

Once you’ve got a better understanding of the type of cleanser you need and how often you should be using it, exactly how do you go about lathering it up?

“I start by wetting the hair; I go around the hairline and base of the neck, then by the ears pushing in toward the crown area. Add a little water to help move the cleanser around and give a good scrubbing,” says Emilio. “If you feel it’s necessary to move the cleanser toward mid-shaft and ends, start to scrub the hair as well. One of the most important things to remember is to always scrub while you are rinsing your hair. Sometimes water pressure is not enough to remove all your cleanser from the scalp area. Scrub in and scrub out.”

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

Do Weird Cures for Cellulite Actually Work?


Ah, the C word. Cellulite is nothing to be ashamed of, because one, it's a natural part of body development and two, almost all of us have it. Seriously, it’s believed to occur in roughly 90 percent of post-adolescent females; makes you wonder why we've been taught that it's somehow a bad thing.

There are a number of variables that factor into the development of skin dimpling, and for as long as we can remember, brands have been trying to convince us that removing it is actually possible. In fact, that's the biggest misconception about cellulite: that it can be magically erased with the swipe of a topical or touch of an expert hand. So if that's what you want, is it even possible?

More: Expert-Approved Lightweight Oils to Slather on This Summer

What is cellulite?

Before we go to the "cures," let's make sure we have a clear understanding of what cellulite is. According to Dr. Robb Akridge, cofounder of Clarisonic, "cellulite forms in the body when underlying fat deposits begin to push through layers of collagen fibers, or connective tissue, under the skin. This combination of connective tissue and fat is what causes the dimplelike appearance which is often found in the buttocks and thigh areas."

It can also form in other areas, like the arms and stomach.

More: A Starter Guide for Must-Try K-Beauty Ingredients

The misconception

One of the biggest misconceptions is that cellulite can be treated with topical creams or DIY concoctions, such as these:


Given their watery, hydrating, vitamin-rich composition, it's believed that the phytochemicals in cucumber tighten collagen to firm the skin’s outer layer.

Coffee scrub

Caffeine has long been renowned for its ability to provide antioxidants (aka compounds that delay damage to skin cells) and energize the skin. This is why many believe when applied topically, it can tighten the outer tissues of the skin and speed up metabolism.

Seaweed baths

Thalassotherapy is a French skin care treatment that involves applying hot water and seaweed to the skin, either in the form of a bath or a wrap. And according to experts (and the internet), it's a prime anti-cellulite treatment because of its high iodine content, an ingredient that when used consistently can slow down signs of aging.


Consuming gelatin has numerous health and body benefits, but it all comes down to the unlikely ingredient’s supposed efficacy in increasing collagen production. Typically, people consume it in the form of gelatin powder mixed in with beverages to counteract collagen deficiency.

All of these look like a relatively quick fix, right? Unfortunately, all they do (with consistent use, of course) is make your skin feel tighter. Akridge also says, "While there are creams that will tighten an area temporarily, they do not pull the fat in to reduce the dimples. Some people think that at-home devices will work to treat cellulite, but these are also temporary."

The truth about topicals

So, if you're hell-bent on diminishing that dimple action, what can you do? According to Akridge, the best way to get rid of it is through old-fashioned exercise. There are also in-office treatments, such as laser therapies or more invasive procedures where the connective tissue is physically clipped away.

"While these do help treat cellulite, they may not resolve all cellulite issues completely because they don’t remove the fat," says Akridge. "Unfortunately, some bodies are just designed in a way that is more prone to cellulite."

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

The Best & Worst Hair-Removal Techniques


The warm weather does wonders for our souls, but we could certainly do without the extra time it takes to shave, wax and laser off every exposed hair on our bodies. Before you reach for that razor, make sure your preferred hair-removal technique is also kind to your skin.

Because there's no point in removing unwanted hair if it's only going to expose skin that we're damaging in the process, it's high time we find out, once and for all, whether we should be shaving, waxing, getting electrolysis treatments — or none of the above.

We spoke with Dr. Diane De Fiori, consultant and research dermatologist with the Rosacea Treatment Clinic, and esthetician Felicia Alva of Flutter Beauty, and got the scoop on the best and worst ways we can remove hair on our legs, bodies and faces.

Here they are, ranked from worst to best.


7. Shaving

The easiest, and one of the cheapest, methods we rely on is also one that can leave our skin bumpy, stubbly and even bloody. 

"Because the razor cuts the hair at an angle, it has a tendency to regrow inward (causing ingrown hairs), particularly if hair is curly," De Fiori said. "The result is bumpy and inflamed, infected skin which will not resolve until the ingrown hair is removed."

De Fiori adds that possible complications from shaving can include scarring, breaking fine capillaries when removing the hair and permanent dark marks (hyperpigmentation) after healing has completed. One possible benefit? "The razor itself does have a moderate exfoliating effect, removing dead surface skin cells as you shave, which leaves skin smoother."

6. Hair-removal creams

Products like Veet and other hair-removal creams are similar to permanent solutions, according to De Fiori, and can dissolve hair at the skin level. Because the hair remains in the follicle and is burned away evenly, there is less chance that ingrown hairs will develop. Sounds great, right? Hold that thought. 

"The main risk with these products is chemical burns because they are strongly alkaline," De Fiori said. "A burn is more likely if you leave the product on for longer than directed on the packaging. Some hair types are not removed effectively within the directed timeframe for use therefore patients will leave them on longer. By the time the hair is dissolved the skin is also burnt." 

Know your skin — if it's sensitive, it may be best to stay away from these creams. And, if you do use them, make sure you're removing them thoroughly or you risk developing a "slow burn." Ouch!

5. Electrolysis

De Fiori says electrolysis has pretty much been replaced by lasers, which are "faster and more efficacious." If you're still devoted to this method, be aware that risks include "scarring, infection and hyperpigmentation."

4. Threading

A lot of women are opting to have their eyebrows and/or the little annoying hairs on their faces removed using threading instead of waxing or shaving. De Fiori says this is the method least likely to damage skin, as it is gentler on skin than tweezing, but it has a major downside: It's only feasible for use on small areas of the skin. Unless, I guess, you're one of few women who love torture and can deal with the insane pain of getting your legs threaded (we won't judge you).

3. Waxing

Both De Fiori and Alva are in agreement about waxing, especially when it comes to the eyebrow area: It can cause major skin damage. 

"Waxing removes a top layer of skin every time you use it," Alva said, adding that the thin, delicate skin around the eyes has no oil glands and requires as gentle a method as possible. "It's OK on the body, but it's too rough on skin in the eye area." 

Alva recommends tweezing, which gives an esthetician more control over your brows and gives you a fuller, more natural brow.

De Fiori cautions women with rosacea and other inflammatory skin disorders, such as psoriasis and eczema, to avoid waxing altogether because, although it weakens hair growth, it causes hair growth to actually accelerate during the first three to six months, which increases the need to wax more and can lead to hyperpigmentation.

2. Eflornithine hydrochloride cream

Women who feel they have been plagued by little chin hairs or thick facial hair can now benefit from this effective, but costly, prescription product. After approximately two months of twice daily use, the cream slows down hair growth, according to De Fiori. 

"Some possible, more common side effects are temporary redness, stinging, rash or folliculitis (inflamed, bumpy hair follicles)," De Fiori said. "This is a rather expensive product, however it is FDA approved and reduces the need for other hair-removal methods."

1. Laser treatments

Ding, ding, ding — I think we have a winner! 

De Fiori says that, although older lasers can damage darker skin tones and weren't effective on very light hair, modern lasers can be used to treat an individual's skin and hair type. 

After a treatment, hair remains in the skin, but will fall out after four to eight days. And how is this for an incredible added bonus: Depending on the laser used, you may even experience some skin rejuvenation due to the formation of new collagen. A method that removes hair and can fight fine lines? Yes, please.

So, let's review

Modern lasers are De Fiori's preferred method, shaving beats out depilatory creams, waxing should only be used on skin types that do not have a history of reacting to it, and a killer, long-lasting combo worth trying on facial hair: threading and eflornithine hydrochloride cream.

Adios, unwanted hair!

Hair removal Pinterest imageA version of this article was originally published in August 2015.

How an Allergic Reaction Inspired Jessica Alba to Start Her Honest Beauty Empire


What do you know about starting a business? That was the question posed to Jessica Alba as she tirelessly pitched the idea for what’s now a billion-dollar empire. “I had a lot of people telling me for, like, three years that I was cuckoo bananas,” said the 37-year-old actor while discussing her entrepreneurial journey at the #BlogHer18 Creators Summit in New York on Thursday, Aug 9.

It’s been over 11 years since Alba launched Honest Beauty, yet her hunger for turning passion and purpose into profit remains. As most of us know, Alba didn’t grow up dreaming of selling personal care products. Instead, we watched her climb the Hollywood ladder and make a name for herself in a slew of films (Sin City, Honey) and the TV show Dark Angel.

But after suffering an allergic reaction from laundry detergent during her first pregnancy, the beauty boss quickly realized the only way to get what she wanted — safe yet stylish products — was to create them herself. Reflecting on her quest to fulfill the basic needs of her family without jeopardizing their health, Alba says that most of what she discovered in “alternative” stores was crazy-expensive, hard to sort through and fell into three color categories: cream, beige or hemp.

More: How Gabrielle Union Reacted to a Headline Calling Her "Old & Ugly"

Worse, the ingredients in the products Alba saw were dangerous compared to what was used by brands sold outside the U.S. For instance, around the time she started to develop Honest Beauty, “there were about 11 chemicals that were banned in personal care in the United States, while there were over 1,100 banned in Europe.”

So she did something about it. And contrary to what the uninformed might imagine, those beginnings were very humble to say the least. Writing fancy business plans and crunching numbers were never Alba’s forte, so instead, she started the only way she knew how: by getting it all down on paper. What started as a simple desire in her head turned into countless inspiration collages (think Pinterest, but IRL) piled into binders upon binders.

How Jessica Alba to Started Honest Beauty

From there, and with the encouragement of her hubby, 39-year-old film producer Cash Warren, Alba researched to find a partner who would be able to take her ideas and turn them into a business plan worthy of execution and also help fill any gaps in her own experience and skill set. Alba then took her mission a step further by expanding into policy and making regular trips to Capitol Hill, where she lobbies for chemical reform.

While we could wax poetic about all that Honest Beauty has accomplished in store aisles, what Alba is proudest of is creating a community that values transparency as well as the well-being of women. For example, one of the standout benefits of working at Honest Beauty is a generous maternity leave that affords women 16 weeks of paid time off and men eight.

“And as they ease back into work, maybe it doesn’t start full-time. Maybe it’s three days a week until they get their childcare together or they feel more comfortable. We work with them on that,” said Alba. “I also built a really beautiful nursing space in our office with pumps and refrigerators and couches. So they can do it all with dignity. [Breastfeeding] is something that should be celebrated, not shameful.”

She went on to talk about her own experience transitioning into motherhood. “I felt so alone when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I was 27; it wasn’t planned and it happened,” she said. “It was the best thing that happened, but I was very overwhelmed. I feel that having a community, especially around that time in your life, is important.”

Above all, running a business from the ground up has taught Alba how important it is not only to do the work but do it in a way that inspires others to take that first step — however big or small it may be.

More: Why Brooklyn Decker Plans to Chop Off Her Hair in the Name of Minimalism

“I didn’t realize until about three years ago how important it is for women to see someone like me. My parents were teenagers when they got pregnant. They had three jobs each my whole life,” said Alba. “But I had the capacity to dream and think that I could eventually be a leading lady and that people like me would want to be represented on the big screen. Listen, I didn’t have agencies lining up to work with me — I had everyone telling me no way. I just pushed through and I made it happen. And I think that representation now as a business leader is just as important.”

Well, if that’s not damn inspiring, we don’t know what is. Alba’s living proof that no matter what your goal is, remember four important things: remain patient, stay humble, know what you’re good at and what you’re bad at too. It’ll make or break your next big idea.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

The 9 Best Primers People With Oily Skin Need in Their Lives


Having oily skin can be maddening any time of year — how are you supposed to keep your makeup on when it keeps sliding off? But that frustration increases when all oil-production hell breaks loose.

The default solution to this conundrum is to say that a primer will solve all your problems, but the truth is not all primers are created equal. The best primer for oily skin, however, can change your makeup game and keep it that way. You'll get smoother, clearer skin, a more balanced complexion and makeup that lasts all day long.

Below, we've gathered the very best primers for oily skin out there right now.

1. Givenchy Mister Mat

Givenchy Mister Mat Mattifying Foundation Primer

This luxurious mattifying powder-gel is an oily skin lifesaver whether you wear it alone or under makeup. As a primer, its lightweight texture softens and hydrates, and plant extracts help control sebum overproduction for a long-lasting matte finish.

Givenchy Mister Mat, $67 at Amazon

2. bareMinerals PrimeTime oil-control foundation primer

bareMinerals PrimeTime™ Oil Control Foundation Primer

This oil-free foundation primer is formulated specifically for people with oily skin to create a silky-smooth canvas from the get-go. Throughout the day, it holds up to combat excess oil and absorb shine while hiding pores, fine lines and wrinkles.

bareMinerals PrimeTime oil-control foundation primer, $22.39 at Walmart

3. Smashbox Photo Finish Oil-Free Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil-Free Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer

When primer pros Smashbox release a new formula, makeup lovers pay attention — and this one did not disappoint. The nondrying formula locks in makeup and absorbs oil to keep your face shine-free throughout the day. Plus, it's sweat- and humidity-resistant for up to eight hours, so consider it a safe choice for summer.

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer, $31.73 at Amazon

4. Benefit The Porefessional

Benefit The POREfessional

This lightweight primer quickly minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines to help makeup stay put. The super-silky texture leaves skin smooth and shine-free, and the vitamin E in the formula protects skin from damaging free radicals.

Benefit The Porefessional, $22.16 at Amazon

5. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

This mineral-based, water-resistant primer — with SPF 15! — neutralizes and balances skin to minimize shine. The satin finish minimizes the appearance of pores and leaves makeup feeling fresh and decidedly non-slippery all day.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, $54 at Amazon

6. Too Faced Primed & Poreless

Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer

This primer is scientifically formulated — whatever that means — to achieve the appearance of smooth, poreless skin even without makeup. It contains vitamins A and C, mulberry extract and an impressive amount of retinol to conceal pores and leave skin firm and hydrated. 

Too Faced Primed & Poreless, $38.60 at Amazon

7. Per-fékt Skin Perfection Gel

Per-fékt Skin Perfection Gel

This primer wants to replace traditional foundation, primer, color corrector and powder to enhance the appearance of your skin in one fell swoop. On top of keeping your makeup on all day, it also works to improve skin tone, help maintain hydration and reduce the appearance of redness, discoloration, pores, fine lines and shine. A multitasker for the ages.

Per-fékt Skin Perfection Gel, $34.40 at Amazon

8. Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Primer

Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Primer

This formula is water-based, so it has a super-lightweight feel that really lets skin breathe. Pomegranate extract is an antioxidant powerhouse that helps tighten pores while willow bark extract balances skin, witch hazel mattifies and keeps impurities out, and rice starch absorbs excess surface oil and softens skin.

Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Primer, $33 at Korres

 9. Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

BECCA Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

Ever-matte, indeed: This one controls oil and keeps skin mattified and pores minimized for up to 12 hours. Think of it as a liquid blotting paper to keep skin matte and shine-free all day long — sans silicone, oil, alcohol or fragrance.

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector, $14.98 at Amazon

Originally posted on StyleCaster. A version of this article was originally published in October 2016.

17 Unexpected Yet Practical Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil


Even if you’re not well versed in the world of natural and essential oils, chances are you’ve read that tea tree oil is an all-in-one ingredient with the ability to fix almost anything. Above all, some swear by it as a fast-acting acne treatment — and as we know, blemishes big or small can be notoriously difficult to remove. Just dab some onto a cotton ball, swipe over your problem areas and voilà: clear skin.

But there are way more uses for tea tree oil than just treating acne-prone skin. According to the internet, it can also be used as a detergent, a gargle, a bug repellent… the list goes on! Scroll down to learn 17 unexpected, bizarre and super-practical uses you probably didn’t know existed.

More: 5 Sunscreen Sprays & Oils Made to Protect Your Scalp

1. To treat wounds

Tea tree oil is a super-effective treatment for healing open wounds because it’s antimicrobial — meaning it kills (or at least stops the growth of) bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms. TTO is also an anti-inflammatory, so it can soothe redness, swelling and pain. Before applying tea tree oil to an open wound, it’s recommended that you clean it out with some water and hydrogen peroxide.

2. To fight fungus

We know tea tree oil is often praised as a highly effective topical treatment for acne. But it can also be used as a topical treatment on your toenails to fight foot fungus. Tea tree oil is known to kill all kinds of yeast and fungi, so you can use it to prevent or treat conditions like athlete’s foot.

More: The Best Lightweight Oils for Getting the Summer Moisture You Need

3. To soothe sunburns

If you’re hitting the beach this summer, it’s definitely in your best interest to slap on some sunscreen. However, if you still find yourself a little crispy at the end of the day, you can turn to tea tree oil to soothe your sunburn. Its anti-inflammatory qualities help to reduce redness, itching and burning. For this reason, it can be found in a variety of sunburn-soothing lotions.

4. As an all-purpose cleaner

If your home is in desperate need of some sparkle but you’re sick of using harsh chemicals around the house, tea tree oil might be your perfect solution. Combine 10 drops of tea tree oil with two cups of hot water and a half-cup of white vinegar for the perfect natural all-purpose cleaner. However, skip your granite and marble countertops, because vinegar can damage the finish.

5. To treat bad breath

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland confirm that tea tree oil kills the bacteria colonies that cause bad breath. For an at-home solution, it’s recommended that you use a TTO-infused toothpaste, add a few drops to your regular toothpaste or gargle with a cleansing product that includes tea tree extract in order to achieve fresh breath.

6. To prevent or kill lice

According to Reader’s Digest, TTO contains two elements that combat lice. One is 1,8-cineole, a common natural insecticide, and the other is terpinen-4-ol, which is both antibacterial and antifungal. A study out of Italian research university D'Annunzio University suggests that 1 percent tea tree oil can eradicate 100 percent of head lice in half an hour.

7. As insect repellent

Tea tree oil contains another 1,8-cineole insecticide known as eucalyptol. Eucalyptol can be used to repel and/or kill many types of critters. 

8. To eliminate foot odor

If you notice your feet starting to smell, you may have athlete’s foot or another fungal infection. Luckily, since TTO has antifungal properties, you can use it as a topical remedy to treat any fungal skin conditions. Treating fungus, in turn, can help to stop odorous feet.

More: The Best Ways to Use Essential Oils This Summer

9. To treat dandruff

A common cause of dandruff is the overgrowth of Malassezia, a fungus that lives on the scalp. Since tea tree oil is known to be antifungal, it can kill or prevent the growth of Malassezia, thereby curing dandruff.

10. To treat bug bites & stings

Due to TTO’s anti-inflammatory properties, it is extremely effective at reducing swelling, itching, burning and redness (all symptoms of insect bites).To treat your bug bite with tea tree oil, apply a few drops to a cotton ball, and press it onto the affected area so the oil can fully absorb into your skin. Applying a bandage afterward will ensure that the oil doesn’t evaporate, giving it the chance to do its job.

11. As air freshener

If the apartment is starting to smell funky but you aren’t into chemical sprays, we recommend going all-natural. Mixing tea tree oil, eucalyptus essential oil and lemon essential oil makes for a delicious-smelling combo that can be sprayed in every corner of your abode.

12. As a laundry detergent booster

We’ve already told you (a million times over) about TTO’s bacteria-fighting properties. Who knew they’d be so versatile? Another way they come in handy is by refreshing your musty-smelling laundry and giving your detergent a little extra cleaning boost. It’s basically a natural disinfectant for your clothes.

13. To fight mold & mildew on hard surfaces

Tea tree oil’s intense fungus-killing abilities make it the ultimate killer of mold and mildew. Combine it with water and spray it on affected areas before wiping it away to permanently eradicate the gross stuff from your hard surfaces.

14. To help your plants grow

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: tea tree oil is antifungal. Plus, it’s an all-natural insecticide. Do you know what that makes? Happy plants with a critter-free habitat to grow in. 

15. As makeup remover

Tea tree oil is extremely effective at breaking down makeup, so it’s a perfect natural addition to your bedtime routine. Be super-careful around your eyes and mouth. After applying TTO to the skin, rinse off with some warm water and swipe on a toner.

16. To eliminate cold sores

Tea tree oil’s antibacterial properties definitely come in handy when tackling those pesky cold sores. But before applying it directly to the sore, dilute it with a carrier oil (such as coconut or olive oil) so you don’t damage your skin!

17. To fight hair loss

Sometimes, clogged hair follicles on the scalp can mean shedding… and lots of it. If you’re noticing significant hair loss, try applying tea tree oil to cleanse your scalp. It’ll likely unclog your follicles and kill any harmful fungus or bacteria that’s preventing the regeneration of your hairs.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

6 Pro Tips You Need to Keep Chemically Relaxed Hair Healthy


Although it may seem like the hair scales have completely tilted in favor of curly girl domination, chemical relaxers — or creams that semipermanently straighten hair — are still very much a thing. With any hair texture, curly or straight, establishing a routine that will keep strands healthy, hydrated and full requires a hell of a lot of work. For those who don’t have the time or interest to put into a multistep style or care routine, relaxers may seem like an easy fix, but it’s actually the opposite.

When any kind of chemical is involved, hair is instantly compromised — so your daily habits are crucial for maintaining the integrity and health of your mane. But if you’re someone who swears by a relaxer every couple of months, hairstylist Pekela Riley has some helpful info on exactly how to keep your locks luscious through it all.

More: What to Know About Dry Shampoo If You Have Textured Hair

Perfect the process

One of the most important things you can do for relaxed hair is stick to a consistent touch-up schedule. Although it varies from person to person, six to 10 weeks is the general range of time that you should go between treatments. Even if you feel like your roots are growing out fast and you’re due for a touch-up, stick it out and don’t re-treat too soon. It can lead to serious damage.

“Parts of the hair can be overprocessed and under-processed, which creates uneven tension and break points when not relaxed consistently,” Riley cautions. Also, try to avoid any overlap, which is when the relaxer is put on the previous section of hair that has already been treated. Make sure the formula is applied to new growth at the root.

Don’t erase the texture

Relaxers have always had a degree of healthiness to them, and because fewer stylists are doing them these days, they’re taking the time to become more educated on the application and how to make them healthier for hair. Where relaxers can go all wrong is when you try to make the strands too straight.

“There was a time when people would get mad if their hair wasn’t bone straight via a relaxer, which takes a lot of processing time. This extreme demand for straight hair led to the misuse of relaxers,” says Riley.

Relaxers were meant to relax a curl or wave, not straighten it out, which ultimately eliminates its elasticity. “The intention was to relax it enough to do a roller set, blow-dry or style it. The relaxer was a process to aid in styling ability,” says Riley. She always warns against combining keratin treatments with relaxers because it’s just too much for hair to handle.

More: How to Repair Damaged Strands Without Chopping Your Hair Off

Color with caution

If you want to add color on top of your relaxer, stick to either a semi- or demi-permanent dye — never permanent color, which is bound to cause breakage. “The exception is if you have really short hair, like a pixie — you can cut the hair faster than the rate of damage,” Riley notes.

Add metallic dyes that you mix with water to the list of don’ts as well. They don’t interact well with relaxed hair. Some spray-on hair colors that have metallic pigments in them should be avoided as well.

If you want to play with color, consider your style or cut. Natural hair allows for more color. There’s an option to have both relaxed and natural texture at the same time. “For a lot of women with medium- and short-length hair that needs relaxing on the back and sides — I leave the top and crown natural to have color. This merges the best of both worlds,” says Riley.

Try the texturizing method

A texturizer and regular relaxer are the same chemically. Often, texturizers are mild relaxers. The difference is the timing instruction, as texturizers don’t sit on the hair for as long. The texturizer processing time is fractional, which allows it just enough time to smooth the curl, versus a regular relaxer, which erases all waves and curls completely out of the hair.

Any texture can withstand a mild or normal relaxer. The variation comes with the degree of processing time needed, which should be adjusted according to the texture. The rule of thumb is you should only use the lowest strength of relaxer you need, so you have time to apply properly without overprocessing.

Look for signs of damage

Relaxed hair becomes unhealthy when it’s overprocessed. Overprocessing happens when the hair is broken down more than it should be, past the point where the keratin protein, naturally found in hair strands, is compromised.

All hair textures and styles, relaxed and curly, have the same fundamental needs. Riley calls them the Power Threes: moisture, protein and essential oils. “With curly hair, the curl in and of itself represents elasticity, so it can expand and contract back into place,” she says.

Relaxed hair takes out too much of the elasticity, so it cannot return into place without breaking. It becomes like a stick — if you try to pull on it, it can only break; there’s no wave, curl or recoil for it to contract back into place. Curly hair can stretch sometimes twice as much as relaxed hair without breaking. “You can tell it’s not healthy because it will be limp or mushy and very easily broken,” says Riley.

Maintain your mane

No matter what your texture style, curly or straight, keeping your ends trimmed will prevent splitting and breakage. Riley also suggests rotating among the Power Threes in three-week intervals: Do a moisture treatment the first week, switch to a protein treatment the second week, and for the third, swap in essential oils.

Also, keep heat styling on relaxed hair to a minimum. Any hair is susceptible to heat damage, but relaxed hair is even more vulnerable. If you’re going to use a curling or flat iron, set the temp to the lowest option. “You never ever need hot heat on relaxed hair,” says Riley.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

9 Quick Tips That Will Make Your Mani-Pedis Healthier & Longer-Lasting


There are few things more cathartic than having your hands and feet pampered at the salon or blocking out time to carefully paint them yourself. The process forces you to put down the phone, focus on one thing and treat yourself to a little sparkle (or color, depending on your style). Rigid rules would definitely take the fun and relaxation out of a mani-pedi sesh, but there are a few guidelines that will keep your nails healthier and extend the length of your paint job.

More: Stunning Celebrity Nails to Inspire Your Summer Manicure

Play nice with your cuticles

According to Skyy Hadley, celebrity manicurist and owner of As U Wish Nail Spa in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Blink Beauty Boutique in Harlem, New York, one of the biggest misconceptions about mani-pedis is that the cuticles have to be trimmed or cut off completely.

“Trimming or cutting cuticles is purely cosmetic and sometimes doesn’t even benefit the nail in any way,” she says. “It’s important to remember that the cuticle is the barrier to protect the surrounding skin and help protect the nail from infections.”

Push them back if you must, but they’re there for a reason.

Don’t forget the other side

Understandably so, we’re more concerned with the top part of our nail — especially if we’re doing them at home — but don’t forget about the bottom.

“When cutting your nails, always make sure that you clean under the nail,” says Hadley. “Otherwise, bacteria could form.” Also, keep your clipping supplies separate. Keep one reserved for your fingers and the other for your toes.

Match your nail shape & cuticle

Ever been stuck on how exactly to cut your nails? If you’re unsure of what shape they should be — whether round, square or in between the two — just look at your cuticles.

“The U-shape of the cuticle should be reflected (upside down) by the top of your nail. The primary goal is to mirror the shape,” says Hadley.

More: 30 Stiletto Nail Art Designs That Aren’t for the Faint of Heart

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Contrary to popular belief, cuticle oil shouldn’t be an optional part of nail care. According to Hadley, not only does it keep your feet and hands soft and moisturized; it also keeps your nail polish from chipping too.

Don’t forget your base

A base coat helps to give the color something to sink into besides your actual nails, and it prevents the nails from getting stained. You only need one coat of this and should wait at least a minute before applying color on top. There’s no need to wait until it’s completely dry.

Seal the top

In addition to sealing in color, a topcoat is what gives your mani-pedi its shine and luster. Again, give your color (of which you can have two layers if the color is light or transparent) 60 seconds to settle before adding just one topcoat. Wait 2-3 days if you want to add a second.

Avoid heat

Try not to handle any blow-dryers or hot ovens right after painting your nails. “Most people don’t know, but nail polish takes about 12 hours to harden,” says Hadley. “Too much heat can actually melt your polish. If you stick your nails in cold water for a few minutes, it will actually help harden your nail polish faster.”

Stay away from scents

Scented lotions with synthetic fragrances can cause your nail polish to crack. Make sure to use lotions that are unscented if you need to moisturize.

Gel should always be short-term

Be careful with gel manicures. You should really only keep the gel and/or acrylic nails on for two weeks, but the cut-off would be three weeks. It’s not good to keep them on any longer, as they will damage the nail beds and cuticles. Expired polish will also make infection more likely.

“There are nail polishes that actually don’t have a shelf life, like organic nail polishes, which can actually be kept in the fridge if you choose,” says Hadley. “However, polishes that contain chemicals like toluene and formaldehyde should be replaced every six months as a good rule of thumb.”

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

The Face Oil Kate Middleton Recommended to Meghan Markle for Their Duchess Glow


The beauty secrets of Duchess Meghan (née Markle) of Sussex and Duchess Catherine of Cambridge, more commonly known as Kate Middleton, are sought after by thousands around the world, and though we might not be able to know exactly what’s in their vanities, we’re at least one step closer to learning the secret behind their royal glow: sleeping oil. According to sources for the Daily Mail, Kate has been keeping the same sleeping oil on her Kensington Palace nightstand for years. And now, after a recommendation from her sister-in-law, Meghan is doing the same. (Duchesses who skin care together stay together.)

Per the Daily Mail’s sources, the Duchess of Sussex recently became a fan of Beuti Skincare’s Beauty Sleep Elixir ($65 at Credo) at the recommendation of the Duchess of Cambridge. The nighttime face oil, which contains 98 percent organic oils, is said to counteract inflammation and prevent skin aging, acne and sun damage thanks to a combination of vitamins, minerals and various omegas.

More: 20 Beauty Products Meghan Markle Swears by for a Princesslike Glow

Beauti Skincare's Beauty Sleep Elixir

More: 10 Affordable Drugstore Beauty Products Kate Middleton Swears By

If it’s good enough for the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, it’s good enough for us. Thanks for the rec, Kate.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

A Crash Course on the Ins & Outs of Skin Pores


For some, the word "pore" is more than one of those overused skin care terms we say almost daily but actually know very little about. And despite our limited knowledge about just what they are, those teeny-tiny holes all over our skin can be a major source of insecurity for some, depending on their outward appearance.

For instance, can they actually change in size, or is it only possible to alter their appearance? Ahead, aesthetician Nayamka Roberts-Smith, also known as “LaBeautyologist,” delivers a crash course on what you need to know.

More: The Beauty & Wellness Benefits of Mushrooms

What is a pore?

In the simplest terms, Roberts-Smith describes a pore as “an opening in the skin that allows liquids and oxygen to pass through.” A lot of these pores also house hair follicles. And within each one, you’ll find oil and sweat glands. The pores themselves are the openings that allow these substances to reach the surface of the skin.

Do they open & close?

One of the biggest assumptions, which we can partly attribute to the tricky language used to promote beauty brands, is that pores can open and close or change in size. And while this would seriously be a dream come true, the unfortunate news is that it’s simply not true.

“The idea behind that myth is that pores contain sebum (oil) that softens when warmed. Think of it like melting butter,” says Roberts-Smith. “Liquified sebum exits the pores easier and allows for products to penetrate the skin easier too. So it only seems like the pore is more ‘open.'”

Splashing the face with cold water after cleansing also does nothing to alter the size of your pores. However, be wary of using water that’s too hot, as it will leach all the oils from the pores and overdry the skin.

More: The Ingredients That Actually Diminish the Appearance of Under-Eye Circles

So, what causes the clogging?

No surprise here: Roberts-Smith says pores typically clog with debris, dead skin, bacteria and oil. She also adds that “oily skin, inflamed skin and under-exfoliated skin tends to clog the most.”

The size of your pores depends almost entirely on genetics, but they can become more visible as the skin’s elasticity decreases with age. “For those with already large pores and oily skin, the skin dries out in the aging process, making pores less visible,” says Roberts-Smith. At the end of the day, what will really seal your skin’s fate is how you take care of it from day to day.

Can you alter their appearance?

There are four surefire ways to change the appearance of your pores: controlling oil production; exfoliating the surface of the skin; exfoliating within the pores to clear out oil, bacteria and debris; and extractions.

“Oil production can only be controlled by adding more hydration to the skin,” says Roberts-Smith, although mattifying products aren’t the best choice since they actually dry the skin out more, causing more oil.

Exfoliating acids such as glycolic and lactic acids are the best way to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. These are also known as alpha-hydroxy acids and are usually derived from fruit enzymes. For instance, citric acids are a derivative of citrus fruits and malic acid is extracted from apples.

As for the clearing out the inside of a pore, salicylic acid is the only exfoliant that will penetrate it deeply. This is by far the most popular type of beta-hydroxy acid, which is best described as an oil-soluble substance that reaches the deeper layers of skin. 

Lastly, manual extractions — or when a physical tool is used to clear the skin — should only be done by a professional.

If you need a refresher on which acids fall under the AHA or BHA categories, this exfoliation guide is a great place to start.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

The Expert-Approved Way to Use Your Hair Diffuser for Camera-Ready Curls


There are many paths to the near-perfect curl. You can utilize a spiraling technique, such as shingling or the classic twist-out. For lazier beauties, cream and gel stylers are the best bet. And if you've got a thing (and the arm strength) for hand tools and despise air-drying, the diffuser is your saving grace.

Unfortunately, a lot of us are clueless about how to use it. And when you're dealing with hot air and wet strands, it can go from normal, everyday routine to straight-up disaster in a matter of seconds. So, if you're looking for volume and definition without the extra legwork, here's the proper way to do it the first time.

More: The Tried-&-True Products That Enhance Naturally Curly Hair

Expert Way to Use Your Hair Diffuser

What is a diffuser?

For starters, a diffuser is not a blow-dryer. It's an attachment for your blow-dryer that disperses air over a large area of hair. And according to Mia Emilio, senior stylist at DevaChan Salon, its purpose is "to disperse the air coming out of a blow-dryer evenly so it is not blowing air in one area of your hair."

In short: A diffuser ensures that your hair can dry completely and in one fell swoop before you walk out the door while also retaining the natural shape of your hair, whether it's curly or straight (although diffusers are typically better suited for the former).

Prepping the hair

Before hovering the diffuser anywhere near your head, Emilio recommends applying your styling product first. (Her faves for curly hair are DevaCurl’s Styling Cream or Super Stretch.) "I like to let the hair sit 10 to 15 minutes on its own before I begin drying it. I feel it allows the curls to settle in their ways," she says.

Using the diffuser

Everyone's frizz factor is different — and some of us couldn't care less about it — but if you do, Emilio suggests starting your dryer on a low setting to discourage high frizz from growing.

"I think the best way to diffuse is in circular motions around the head. Keep moving around while drying all over. You don’t want high heat or wind speed on any one area," she says. "Sometimes, you can cup your ends into diffuser, but you need to be careful depending on your curl texture." If you're cupping your curls, only do it for 30 seconds at a time so you don't alter your hair's natural curl pattern. Also, try to keep the touching at a minimum.

And in addition to starting your dryer at a low speed, begin with low heat too. "As you begin to dry more, maybe you can turn the heat up a little, even switching from warm setting and then hitting with cool. I like that trick for really adding height in the root area," says Emilio.

Expert Way to Use Your Hair Diffuser

Adding volume

When you want to create the illusion of fuller-looking hair, start to dry your hair in an upright position and then eventually bring your head down and forward. According to Emilio, "Drying upside down offers maximum volume." Once you are almost dry, use your hands to gently break up the cast that your product has created and massage or gently shake at the root.

"If you aren’t looking for volume, I would suggest keeping your head upright and turning your head side to side to dry your hair to avoid its getting too full," she says. Once you're finished, a little hair spray provides extra security, though it's not completely necessary.

"Honestly, diffusing your hair is a form of speeding up your drying process, so be gentle with it. I don’t feel the product you use before or after makes a huge difference," says Emilio. In the end, using the diffuser correctly is what will make or break your 'do.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.