If Your Face Has Pores You Should Give Charcoal A Chance!

Give Charcoal A Chance

I like to switch up my skin care routine every once in a while to target specific needs, especially as seasons change. Since we’ve had a few humid days here in NY, I think it’s wise to consider some products to keep skin feeling refreshed and renewed.

Activated charcoal, also called activated carbon, is ideal for “detoxing” skin (especially oily or acne-prone skin) and drawing out bacteria and toxins (which increases the more you sweat and stew in your summer makeup–Eww!).

The carbon in the charcoal itself acts like a magnet, grabbing the impurities trapped in your pores and gradually pulling it out of your skin without drying it out. I find that products containing active ingredients like charcoal and clay might cause a minor breakout when used for the first time.

If you check out Google or YouTube, you’ll find a bevy of uses for this stuff, including water filtering, DIY teeth whitening, antidote to poisons and doctors may administer a dosage for treatment of diarrhea and alcohol poisoning/drug overdose (of course, please consult a doctor before ingesting!).

This article explains a bit more of the science, this article breaks down the most common uses, and this article gives some us some interesting history–Did you know charcoal was used as early as 3750 B.C. by ancient Egyptians and that the “father of modern medicine” himself, Hippocrotes, began using charcoal for medicinal purposes around 50 A.D.?


Now that you know a bit more about nature’s original detox agent, why not consider adding it to your beauty regimen?

Two products I have been enjoying are from Bioré and Freeman:


Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser

Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser (8.46 Fl. Oz.)

Average Price:  $7.99 USD

Product Claim: “Draws out and traps 2x more dirt & impurities than a basic cleanser, purifying pores to leave your face deeply cleaned and your skin tingly-smooth. Pore are twice as clean after just one use.”


First Impression: The consistency is like a thick gel with tiny beads. The gel has a mentholated/cooling effect and the beads are very gentle, less for exfoliating and more for helping to move the product around the face. There is a slight minty, fresh fragrance but I actually like it (I don’t find it too overpowering).

I like to wet my face, take a very small amount (pea size) to create a light lather and apply it onto my skin for 1-2 minutes.

I prefer to use this face wash daily–especially on a hot day, after a workout or in the shower, as it is very refreshing and cooling.

Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser





Freeman Facial Polishing Mask Charcoal & Black Sugar


Freeman Facial Polishing Mask Charcoal & Black Sugar (6.0 Fl. Oz.)

Average Price: $4.00 USD

Product Claim: “This unique mask and scrub works double time to detox skin. First, naturally purifying Activated Charcoal helps absorb oil and impurities without over-drying. Then, Black Sugar helps exfoliate away dulling skin cells for softness and clarity. Perfect for all skin types.”


Key Ingredients: 
Activated Charcoal
Coconut Extract

Ingredient List:
Sucrose, Propylene Glycol, Carbon*, Kaolin, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract , Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Maranta Arundinacea Root Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Nasturtium Officinale Extract, Aleurites Moluccana Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Carbomer, Fragrance (Parfum), Iron Oxide (CI 177491).
*Activated Charcoal

First Impression: This mask/scrub combo pretty much matches the description. The consistency is just like a concentrated sugar scrub paste for the body (why not use on your legs, too!) that goes on fairly easily. This is not your typical cream, clay or gel mask.

I like to apply a generous amount and make sure to keep it away from the eye area. I would recommend lightly wetting the face first so the paste has something to adhere to and moving the scrub around to help the formula enter the pores. The formula has a slight fruity, clean fragrance and actually feels luxurious on the skin. You only need 5-7 minutes for the mask to dry so you could definitely do this in the morning before school or work.

Unlike the Bioré cleanser, this formula actually feels warm once I work it into my skin. It could just be heat caused by the pressure from the black sugar granules, but it feels nice and calming. The scrub is gentle enough to use 2-3 times per week, depending on the condition of your skin.

Freeman Facial Polishing Mask Charcoal & Black Sugar


Check out this video for a quick lesson on the difference between absorption and adsorption. Do you remember learning about this in school?


Have you tried using activated charcoal in your skin care routine? Let me know!


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Mink: The Personal 3D Makeup Printer


Michelle Phan "Robot Chic" YouTube Billboard, NYC

Michelle Phan “Robot Chic” YouTube Billboard, NYC


If you’ve been around New York City recently, watched networks like ABC Family, or opened a copy of Allure, you may have noticed the YouTube campaign featuring the biggest beauty gurus. It’s no wonder we continue to witness the rise of beauty bloggers and vloggers; The Internet is a huge force in revolutionizing the concept of beauty and how we consume beauty products.

We buy and sell cosmetics online, review beauty products online, and watch countless makeup tutorials online. Wouldn’t it make sense to eventually create our own makeup at home with the help of the Internet and 3D printing technology? Yes!

All you fellow tech geeks out there might be familiar with TechCrunch Disrupt and some of the hype surrounding 3D printing. But what does that have to do with the beauty industry? Imagine taking the color from any image on your phone or computer and printing custom makeup at home–essentially creating your own personal Sephora (okay, maybe that’s just me being really hopeful).

I was so excited to see this article and demo spotlighting Mink, a mini 3D makeup printer created by Grace Choi, a Harvard Business School grad.

Grace Choi, Mink

Grace Choi, Mink at TechCrunch Disrupt

Mink, The Makeup Printer

Mink, The Makeup Printer

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You basically use any image software to identify a specific color, copy and paste the Hex Code and send the color to print. Choi’s prototype currently produces a powder eyeshadow pigment, but she explains the printer would also be able to create lipsticks, foundations and creams.

The evaluated price point is $300.00 for the printer (no set price yet for the ink/substrates). If you’re intrigued, you can request an invite to receive further updates regarding Mink.

I wonder about the quality of the “ink” and pigment ingredients. Even though Choi mentions the ink is FDA-compliant, I would like to know the composition in comparison to other trusted brands. Also, what else could the software and printer produce?

Will this technology really drive down the cost of cosmetics and help consumers save money in the long run? I hope so!

Regardless, the emerging 3D printing technology is pretty exciting and I like to think that an at-home makeup factory could be on the horizon!

Take a moment to watch this demo and let know what you think. What type of beauty product or invention would you create?





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Happy Mother’s Day!

Call Your Mom Cup

Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous moms out there🙂

Only a parent can truly understand the sacrifice and support that goes into loving someone unconditionally, and a mother has the special power to show you how to be beautiful inside and out.

I make it a point to thank my mom for being amazing and to let her know that her strength and passion has paved the foundation for me and my sister to grow into confident, independent women with big dreams and ambitions. I know I should show her my appreciation more often and I hope she knows that all my hopes and accomplishments are because she first believed in me.

If you are fortunate to have your mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, or daughter please take a moment to connect and share your love with them. Celebrate them. Cherish them 

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Beauty Retail: Kenig +Alcone

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Here’s to a beautiful Friday (despite the gloomy weather)!

I got excited when I read this article on Fashionista.com about Kenig +  Alcone, a new beauty and hair store in NYC!  Yay to more beauty retail therapy🙂

I have not been there yet, but will be checking it out very soon. The address is 538 Avenue of the Americas (6th Ave & 14th street).

The founder of the NYC beauty and costume staple, Ricky’s, has opened this ‘beauty lab’ that carries a wide variety of beauty tools, cosmetics and even hard to find hair pieces and salon products. There is an in-store salon and the website states they will be offering hair and makeup classes for all you aspiring MUAs!

There are also several “daily deals” posted on their Facebook page.

I think the concept of a one-stop beauty candy store is amazing. According to the article, they will eventually have more MUA’s available for makeup application, and they will even apply your falsies for free when you purchase eye lashes!

Has anyone checked out Kenig + Alcone? Thoughts?



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Signs of Spring

It’s Spring in New York. It’s still chilly, but the sun is glowing in all its glory.

Signs of spring are popping up everywhere in fashion and beauty, which means there are so many new items to covet and try. Below are a few items on my Spring wish list!

To get you into the mood for the season, here’s a Spring To-do List from Glitter Guide:




Other things I’m loving for Spring?

A burst of sheer energy: High-performance Naturals set in Energy from Tarte ($10.00, what a steal!)

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Natural Radiance: The Forever Nude Makeup Palette from BH Cosmetics (it is now on sale for $11.95!)

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Lavender, Rose and Sugar Pink: Esmeralda Bubble Statement Necklace from Olive +Piper ($36.00)

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Mix of translucent and lucite accents: Mini Ombre Links from BaubleBar (for a limited time, $20.00)

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Earthy Statement pieces: Tortoise Monaco Collar from BaubleBar ($46.00)

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Black, White and Yellow: Vintage-inspired jewelry from Catbird (prices vary)



The new T-shirt dress: T-Shirt + Pencil Skirt + Strappy Sandal from H&M Spring 2014, feat. Miranda Kerr (prices vary)




What are you lusting for at the moment?


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Spring Renewal Tea

Spring Renewal Tea

It’s officially spring (finally!) and it’s time to feel renewed.

Each morning is a chance to set the stage for the rest of the day, so I like to make sure I do at least one good thing for myself. Stretching, meditating and drinking tea make up my ideal routine. If you can’t do all three, try this tea recipe. You can sip it while you get ready and take it on the go.

Okay, I call this a tea–even though the base has no tea leaves! You can certainly add this mixture along with your favorite teas or drink alone for a simple, all-natural morning detox.

This recipe is so simple, affordable and guaranteed to rejuvenate you and put a ‘spring’ in your step.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger (fresh ginger root or organic minced ginger from the market)
  • Half lemon (clean lemon skin with 1 part vinegar + water mixture)
  • 1 teaspoon organic honey (optional)
  • 1 mint leaf (optional)


Heat the water (on stove or microwave).

Stir in ginger and mix well.

Squeeze half a lemon (or more, according to your preference).  I like to keep the lemon peel in the tea. If you choose to use only the juice, try re-using the lemon peel to freshen your garbage can, add to a home-made cleaning spray or add to the compost for your garden!

Try some organic honey if you want to add a bit of sweetness.

The key to this tea is to drink it every morning–before you eat breakfast and even before drinking coffee or a smoothie. Sip slowly, while you medicate, watch news or catch up on emails.

Enjoy the natural flavors and let the ginger and lemon detox your system. Ginger and lemon both have energizing qualities and help boost your immune system all year long.

Tip: You can chill this tea and enjoy on warmer days. Add some mint (or mint ice cubes) for a cooling effect.

Now, take a deep breath. Exhale. Acknowledge the beautiful sunlight and get ready for an amazing day🙂

Clear Tea Cup

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Spotlight: Beauty & Style Apps

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Too busy to fit in that long-over due haircut? Forgot to schedule that appointment to weed-wack the upper lip fuzz? It’s been a busy start to the year but don’t let crazy schedules keep you from pampering and looking fresh!

I want to spotlight a few useful beauty and style apps that can help you stay chic while you’re on-the-go:


Type of service: StyleBee is a team of professionally trained stylists and makeup artists who are available to come to your home, office or hotel room. Before booking, be sure to check out their tips for the best way to prepare for an appointment.

  • Blowouts
  • Style and Makeup
  • Only Makeup
  • Updos
  • Updos and Makeup
  • Massage (in select locations)

Coming soon:

  • Eyelash extension
  • Mani/Pedi

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Why it’s worth a try: If you are super busy or not sure which salon to book with, why not have the professional come to you? Have a party to attend? Inquire about group rates.

Link: https://www.stylebee.com


Type of service: Same day booking for beauty and spa appointments. The Beautified team searches for the best partnered establishments to ensure you get the service you want:

  • Haircut
  • Bikini Wax
  • Massage
  • Blowout
  • Manicure
  • Pedicure
  • Brow Wax
  • Facial
  • Makeup

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Why it’s worth a try: Have a last minute interview or date? Never fear being turned away at a spa or salon because you don’t have an appointment!

Link: http://www.getbeautified.com



Type of service: Mobile fashion source connecting you to your favorite fashion and style bloggers and helps you discover and share their style.

  • Follow your favorite bloggers
  • Discover new bloggers
  • Engage with the fashion community
  • Easily share your style inspirations on multiple social media platforms

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Why it’s worth a try: Take your blog roll up a notch and start a dialogue with other fashion junkies. Learn style tips from bloggers you admire and find new bloggers to adore.

 Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id798552697


Type of service: A curated stream of the most cutting-edge street style looks you can shop. Create your own Lookbook and follow the streams of fashion designers, models and celebs.

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Why it’s worth a try: Great coverage of Fashion Week trends and simple format for sharing your inspiration. See what fashion influencers are into and buy the looks you love.

Link: http://www.style-tag.com

Have you tried these apps? What do you think about them? What apps do you use to make your day even more fabulous?