Toners might be the one place where I really go nuts. I literally switch them out according to my daily skin care needs. It’s rare that I use any one formulation consistently because I’m in and out of hot and sometimes questionable environments (teaching yoga) so my face goes through a lot. I’m partial to essences because they stick to the skin and set up a nice base for my moisturizers.

If my skin is acting like it has some sense, then I’ll use whatever toner is calling me in terms of ‘mood.’ Typically that means HABIBI Organic Essential Essence (which smells like ylang ylang and chamomile), or Whamisa Organic Flowers Essence (which smells like fresh cut flowers). The scents are warm and cool respectively and are the result of essential oils (not fragrance), which I love. Whamisa gets used a lot in the morning hours, and Habibi a lot in the evenings. I feel like one kind of wakes me up and the other calms me down.

If my skin is acting an acne-prone mess, I’ll reach for Sunday Riley’s Martian. It really works to deal with those highly irritated acne bumps (you know the ones) that refuse to dry out like they need to. I think its the addition of the clay. However, long term this stuff really dries habibi essenceme out and irritates the crap outta my skin. So I normally only use it for an emergency fix (then slap a CosRx pimple pad on top) to balance out my skin before going back to the more soothing formulations.

If my skin is super dry (typically after a peel), I swear by May Coop Raw Sauce. The hydration levels are too high for me to use daily, but after a peel my skin dries out like nobody’s business. So I love to use it just before my moisturizer to really help things bind. It helps my foundation sit better too. I use it most often at night when my skin is dry. Works like a dream.

Between classes (especially if I’m teaching a triple), I’ll grab a cotton pad and use the HABIBI Essence to keep my skin clear of gunk (I keep a little travel bottle in my gym bag). I learned the hard way to keep my skin fresh between classes. All that touching students, and blocks, and sometimes weights and then accidentally touching my face… NO MA’AM. Just all the way bad. So I’m super diligent about keeping it clean and clear. I don’t typically add a moisturizer between classes because the essence is enough to keep everything clean and balanced until I get home.

The Santa Maria Novella waters work for a quick fix if I’m just reaching and running (with no time to let the essences sit to a couple of minutes to bind), but they don’t have any real hydration levels so I have to use a moisturizer immediately after. They’re much better suited to cleaning the face imo. But they feel and smell amazing so they can pull double duty in a pinch.

Skin Care: CLEAN

I’m trying to get it together y’all. I did not photograph my own products because they look awful. They looked fine to me until I took pictures, and then I was like EWWWW. Suffice to say they are very well used. Most of the labels are torn or rubbed off… so no. Have you ever looked at your stuff through another person’s eyes and really seen how raggedy it is? That’s what happened when I took the photos. Like…DAMN. So y’all get stock photos. Hush.


I think I  mentioned that I’m good for using water in the morning. I’ve since upgraded to herbal+mint water, courtesy of Santa Maria Novella. Now, can I make this stuff myself? Probably. Do I want to? No. This stuff smells amazing. I also have the Rose and Orange Blossom variety, but I have to be honest: I reach for the herbal water much more than the other two. It’s refreshing and I LOVE the smell. Plus it takes off whatever residue I have on my face from the night before and leaves my skin refreshed without stripping it. I normally wet a cotton square (I love the ones from IPSA) and just swipe it over my face. Easy Peasy.


If I’m taking off a face of makeup, my go-to is Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil. I don’t know why they title it ‘pure’ (it’s not),  but it does work. It’s honestly one of those products that clean skineveryone swears by, and it’ totally worth the hype. Tatcha did get in front of this yelling and screaming by sending a bunch of people a bunch of free stuff BUT since it works so well I’m not even mad. They believe in this product, and they should.

I’ve tried a ton of oil based cleansers and most of them burn the crap out of my eyes, or require a double cleanse. This stuff takes everything off with no overbearing scent, no eye-burning ingredients, and no muss. I use a warm flannel to take everything off. One swipe and I’m done. I splash my face afterwards, and there’s no need to use any other cleanser. A swipe of a cotton pad comes back absolutely clean.GAIA wash 1


At night, I take the day off with Habibi GAIA Brightening Wash. The fruit extracts pull off dirt and what not… and also dead skin cells. I love this formula so much on my skin, that I only use my former go-to (Oatmeal & Peppermint) once in a while. It still keeps my acne tendencies at bay, but the addition of the extracts really digs deep for me. I’ve heard complaints from sensitive skin types about this cleanser, so I don’t recommend it if your skin is reactionary. But my skin LOVES it so I use it every night. No exception.

Okay, that’s the cleansing part of my skin care regimen. The rest will come in toning, moisturizing and treatment breakdowns.

Ciao for now!

FOTD: Gone Back to Chantecaille

I still love so much about this brand, particularly the classic offerings. Chantecaille can get beside itself sometimes with overpriced mediocre palettes that only use 5% of charitable donations to entice us into the mediocrity (I know… some brands do that with NO charitable contributions). But for the most part, I’m ever a fan. One of the stores I frequent jokes that I’m their best Chantecaille customer. I’ll be that.


For this FOTD, I went back to Future Skin (Banana is my color). I love this foundation to pieces. The finish is so fresh and skin-like and the coverage is blur-perfect. I love that it’s oil free but doesn’t dry the crap outta my skin. I just hate the packaging. Still so cheap and raggedy and unsanitary. They need to put this stuff in a  pump and be done with it. No one wants to fuss with a messy pot all the damn time. That’s honestly why it gets passed over when I’m in a hurry. I don’t have time to mess with it and make sure I’m not letting grossness in while I’m trying to get goodness out. I honestly don’t understand why they’ve opted out of bottles for all of their skin products. Those heinous little tubes they use aren’t cute either.

I used a Beauty Blender to sheer it all the way out, and then highighted with a sheer layer of Ardere Concealer in #5. I set it all with Viseart Loose Powder in Cedrat. Blush is the darkest bronze (which has a plum shimmer) from the Viseart Plum/Bronze Palette.

Eyes are courtesy of the Chantecaille Le Chrome Lux Eye Duo in Tibet (the best of the bunch). I also have Gardens of Marrakesh… and to be honest I may get the rest of them. The formulation is insane, and the color payoff is so gorgeous. Lips are Louboutin Matte in Zoulou (still my favorite of all of them) patted out with fingers to stain over sheer gloss. The eyes were so shiny that I just didn’t want the overall look to translate as ‘piled on.’

I’ll break down the new Chantecaille Lion Palette in a bit. It’s better than the last effort (Magnolia); still not as good as my favorite (Sea Turtles). But you know I’m here for it. I just… am.

Viseart Blush & Contour/Highlight Swatches

As promised:

viseart swatch plum bronze
viseart swatch rose coral
viseart swatch orange violet
viseart swatch contour highlight

All of these are swatched with my fingers. This is one swipe, so the skipping you see on some of the colors is true to form if you go in too heavy with a brush. You will get kick-up. However, the product blends out so beautifully that I completely forgive this. My advice is to ‘pat’ the brush into the pan and layer accordingly. With all of these palettes, a little goes a long way. The shimmers imitate ‘skin’ much better than the mattes, with the exception of the contour palette. But with minimal blending (you really don’t have to work hard for this formula), you can get a skin-like finish with any of them.

I’m a fan. I’ve been using them all over my face (laziness rules) and so far, so very good.


Agenda Magazine Beauty Shoot

At some point I’m gonna sit my ass down. I’m not sure when that will be … but for the moment I’m going non-stop. I get a call from the EIC at Agenda to do a ‘beauty video shoot’…

agenda beauty 2Say what?

By the way that’s my favorite role for Chris Pine… damn fool! “It’s the way of the world! Way it’s always gon’ be…” Anyway, you see what a hot mess he looked in that movie… that’s about how I feel on the inside. I GOTTA start saying no and get my life.Oh yeah, and some damn sleep.

Well, not for Agenda or any other beauty thing because I love that mess. LOVE it. But the rest … LISTEN. So I moved some stuff around, subbed out some classes, cancelled some crap I didn’t really wanna do anyway, and made it to the shoot.

The idea was to talk about things that I adore in skin care, hair care, and makeup. I purposely left out anything I do myself because… CONFLICT. I’m still a journalist people. I know better. And even as I woke up this morning and realize I misspoke on two items (I was ad libbing a lot ’cause I couldn’t find my damn notes), I’m still really glad I did it. This was a case of ‘just do it anyway.’

The EIC has been threatening to put me on camera for about a year now. And she never calls when I’m super svelte or my skin is super awesome. Noooooo… that would be too much like right. It just so happens that at the moment I’m wearing an extra 15 pounds because I’m teaching more than practicing and bread has declared itself my friend. And then Monday, after teaching three classes, THREE PIMPLES showed up on my face like… wassup? Thankfully they are on my bad photo side, which you never see. Trife. I know. I’mma get it together. I promise I am.

I got my makeup together for the shoot:

I later switched the lips to a cooler pink (OFRA Pasadena) and blush (Viseart Medium Plum) because it looked better on camera. Back to those Viseart Blush palettes for the overall look too; I used the orange on the cheeks and eyes, and added shimmer from the contour/highlight palette. Lips are Nude #3 from Black Up Cosmetics (those damn things are so much more expensive than I thought. I was all cute in Nigels … WHICH HAS BY TERRY NOW… scooping them up. Got to the counter like WTF. Just raggedy) before the lip/cheek upgrade.

I hope it turns out okay. Either way, I just did it anyway. Here’s to stepping out of my comfort zone.


And NO that does not mean my ass will be on some Youtube Channel sitting in front of a manufactured ‘makeup room/office’ because I’m sooooo busy you guys, or running down my block vlogging…

Yet. 😉

Viseart Blush and Contour Palettes

YES I know that I’m raggedy.

YES I know that I’m supposed to do a skin care update.

YES it’s still happening as soon as I make products that can be photographed because mine basically float around in random containers and look ugly as hell. I’m not selling them to me. I just need them to work.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way:

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I know RIGHT! Stunning. Just like the incomparable eyeshadow palettes, the new blush palettes are EVERYTHING. OMG. The pigmentation is amazing, and I don’t see any skippage so far. They DO kick up though. I did better patting the brush and applying. As soon as I rubbed the colors in any way, I got kick up. On the face, the colors literally become part of you. The contour palette does its job of adding a ‘shadow’ instead of color and the deepest shade has the smallest hint of red in it to accommodate those undertones. Any lighter shades with pink or red can use a blend of the blush with the contour and you’d get the same result. The palettes are definitely geared toward pros because they allow you to mix and match. But they’re not so far removed that a novice would be turned off. The colors are gorgeous and wearable, and have incredible staying power.

Of COURSE I went right to the orange shades for the blush, but for this first FOTD I used just the contour and highlight palette, including on my eyes (it’s really a lot like a massive version of the Cashmere palette if I’m being honest). The only other thing I’m wearing is foundation (Les Merveilleuses LAUDREE in #3) and powder (Tilbury Pressed in Dark ’cause that mess is too light but it’s yellow as hell so it works with my skin tone), mascara (Armani) and lip gloss (LQ in Avarice).

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Even my brows are the medium and deepest contour colors. The shimmer on my eyes is from the highlight side, with the lightest (inner corners) and darkest (lids) highlight colors. The ‘eyeliner’ is the darkest contour color on the lashline, and the lightest color on the waterline (a little water and a fine liner brush). The palettes are fabulous. I love each and every one of them. It also helps ease the sting from Makeup Geek and those sub par blushes I picked up at PHAME. I’m all better now.

At $80 a pop, these are not cheap. If you can only get one, pick a blush family that you KNOW you use every day (not the one that you think you’ll use when you decide to get out there and explore color). The contour palette is not a must have unless you’re lazy like me and you’ll regularly use that joint for your entire face. I’m all about the 15 minute face unless I really need to take time for something special. So these palettes (particularly the contour and the plum bronze) really speak to that need. I’m going to mess with them and a mix medium for lips. Let me find out I can make a gloss or lipstick with no effort and go on about my life…


I need to tell ya’ll about more OFRA and Jung Saem Mool and the one time I dropped my Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip in Cranberry Stiletto and it spilled all over the floor… GAH! So mad. Ordered a replacement and it’s not even close to the original. Seems to be the regular for liquid lipsticks and these new companies. Hell even the old ones (Anastasia, I’m looking at you). I need people to stop sh*tting out these formulas every five minutes in an attempt to compete with each other, and selling us crumbly skippy crap that I wouldn’t gift to a 5 year old. Dammit.

Anyway. Swatches next.