I’m getting more in tune with what works with my skin and what doesn’t, adopting a very Glossier “Skin First, Makeup Second” attitude as I get older. So I was naturally intrigued by NŪR Skincare‘s philosophy, a very holistic approach which combines the latest technology and natural methods to increase cellular turnover. Translation: they developed a system so your skin gets better and better and STAYS that way.
In the treatment room [@nurskincare]
I came in for their 12-Step Hi-Tech facial with founder Anisa Noor (who greeted me sans makeup and gorgeous skin herself). The minute you step into the clinic, you enter a beautiful oasis designed with elements of Sufi art and calming floral and wood accents (a design dreamed up by her talented architect husband, Suhail). I learned that this is their second location. The first place they set up shop was LA, where regular clients of her’s include Michelle Phan.
Entrance to the skin clinic
The first step was filling out a questionnaire, and then removing any makeup for the Visia Skin Analysis, which is normally a $150 service but is added free to any skincare package they do. It essentially helps you determine the state of your skin on the surface and beyond in terms hyperpigmentation, inflammation, wrinkles, etc., and ends with giving you your real “skin age.”
The good news: it analyzed my skin to be a skin age that was a good 5 years younger than I actually was. But for those of you who think my skin is perfect, thank you, but not the case (unfortunately!). Here are my results (not my cutest moment):
What does it mean? This shows my skin condition in comparison to others in a similar age bracket. So for example, 82% “wrinkles” mean only 18% of others in a similar age bracket are doing better than me in that category (so that’s not a bad number!), but my spots, pores, and UV damage situation was no bueno. This helped Anisa determine what my problem areas were and over time, we can see if my skin condition improves.
Doors leading to the treatment room
The actual facial was customized to these results, which included a light exfoliating peel, extractions (my least favorite part always, enzymatic infusion, serum infusion, a vitamin infusion, oxygen treatment, and ended with LED light therapy which I may or may not have fell asleep during. My skin was positively glowing after, and I was given aftercare instructions which included avoiding makeup for the next couple of days (and a week if I could swing it).
My skin didn’t start peeling until day 2 after the facial. It was light peeling that made my skin look dry but nothing crazy noticeable to others. It progressed into day 3 and 4. I managed not to wear even a lick of makeup for 3 days until I had a video shoot on day 4, which my skin was glowing for. It looked like I was wearing highlighter all over, and since the facial I stopped wearing makeup daily altogether, saving it for events.
The expertise and individual care at Nur Skincare was extraordinary. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone local looking for a good skin investment and professional advice. In fact, I loved it so much, I want one of you to experience yourself!
WIN A FACIAL AT NUR SKINCARE!
The good folks at Nur Skincare partnered up with me to give away the same 12-Step Hi-Tech Facial (valued at $225) for one of my followers! This contest will run on Instagram, and all you have to do is be following me (@beautyndfeast) and @nurskincare and comment on my latest post tagging a friend.
This is for both LA AND Chicago locations, so please comment if you or someone you want to experience this live in either of these areas. Contest runs for a week until January 6th, and I’ll announce the winner on the 7th :). Good luck!
I was introduced to Drunk Elephant when viewers at TINTED kept asking me to review the line, known for its non-toxic ingredients and clean packaging. I was taken aback at how well my skin was reacting to my new regimen, which included cleansing with their Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, C-Firma Day Serum, T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, followed by their Marula Oil. My skin was glistening by the end of two weeks. Considering the price points though (the least expensive of the ones mentioned here is $34), it’s not the most inexpensive line. Worth the investment? If you have the means, absolutely. But if you had to choose one luxury item from their collection, I have to tell you about their T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial.
DE Sukari Babyfacial
THIS has, IMO, made the biggest difference in my skin. My skin type is normal/combination with occasional breakouts (usually hormonal), and is vulnerable to scarring afterward. **IF YOU HAVE sensitive skin, please do a patch test. The formula is said to be compatible with every skin type but you’ll see why I say this in a second.
For starters, this is a chemical peel, so think of it as an at-home facial that contains several acids like glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic to gently resurface. The result? It removes dead skin cells and effectively exfoliates. They also combined antioxidants like matcha tea and plant oils to help restore moisture so you’re not raw. Essentially, it helps smoothe the skin, which is what I found it did for me.
HOW TO USE IT:
*The suggested use is once a week — I use this at minimum once a month, at most, twice a month to help brighten and smooth my skin.
Just take a couple pumps, enough to apply a light layer to clean, dry skin. Leave on for 20 minutes (DO not overdo this part because it could start burning). Also note, this part is not the most comfortable — slight stinging is normal. Finally, rinse with warm water and apply a moisturizer of your choice immediately after.
THINGS TO KNOW:
My skin is usually a little pink after washing this off. Your skin is resurfacing, so this is normal. I also try to do this before bed, so I’m able to apply a balmy moisturizer that really locks in moisture (one of my favorites is Farmacy Sleep Tight), or I’ll use their Marula oil because it’s pretty heavy as well. I always notice my skin is brighter, and my scars are less noticeable after using this which is why it’s one of my favorite peels.
Let’s start this by saying, I’m way overdue for a haircut. I haven’t had as much as a trim in seven months, and I have all the split ends and snags in the world to attest to that. But even so, people have been complimenting my hair, asking me if I cut my hair because something looks different. The only thing I could think of is the product I have been testing (rather skeptically at first), and that’s hair primer.
I need a trim so bad.
More specifically, the Aquis Water Defense Pre Wash. I was intrigued when I read what it does (this is not sponsored at all by the way, but was sent to me by the brand to test). Face primers to help your makeup last I can understand, but a hair primer? Essentially a primer for your hair is to protect it, repelling water that can potentially dull it. This one from Aquis says it helps protect hair against damage from washing, drying, and styling to leave it less frizzy and stronger. With ingredients like coconut oil and keratin amino acids, I already knew it had the makings of a good repairing product (also note, it’s not made with any sulfates or parabens).
Aquis Water Defense Pre Wash
I’m usually not a fan of adding another step to my routine, but this was an easy one to integrate. I just had to spray it on dry hair prior to showering (leaving it on for 2 minutes minimum). I always leave it in a little bit longer — somehow I always find errands to do before I actually jump in the shower. But the fact that it wasn’t much of a time commitment to begin with made me more keen to use it. Plus, it has a nice, coconut-y scent. Then, just shampoo out.
Take note: the first few times I used it, I couldn’t REALLY tell if it made a difference. I felt like my hair looked better, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was actually doing. I think only because it was so easy to use, I continued doing so. Then a few weeks in, I started noticing my hair was much shinier, and almost like it was adding weight to my hair by way of repairing it. I noticed less hair falling out in the shower (as the bottle states “wet hair is weak hair”). And as I mentioned, others started noticing too.
Which is all great, but when it comes down to it, do you NEED this product? It’s $29 for a generous 12 fl oz. What I would say is IF you do heat style or color your hair, or if you feel like your hair is dull, I think you’ll find this will help your hair look and feel healthier. While I noticed less hair falling, I don’t think it’s exactly recommended for hair loss or hair thinning, so don’t expect anything crazy if you’re looking for volume. And if you DO end up getting it, give it a couple weeks to see if you notice a difference like I did. If you have severe damage, I’d even leave it on overnight. It’s not oily but your hair will be wet so make sure you wrap your hair or protect your pillowcases before sleeping.
What other products do you want to hear about for hair? Let me know if any of you try it and what you think!
I’ve been thinking a lot about what products to start our banter with and TBH, skincare has been my latest obsession. Gone are the days I can be frivolous about which products I use, and trust me, my skin went through hell and back when I moved to LA. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about what works for me, and I’ve been in good hands by getting occasional treatments by Dr. Nadia (her PRP facials have changed my skin — more on that later!). The hardest part about skin-related topics are the obvious disclaimer: everyone’s skin is different. My skin is pretty combination, that veers dry in the winter (even in LA!). Since there are so many I’m loving lately though, I figured I’d start with cleansers.
First, one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is my skin can use all the moisture it can get, so I try not to go crazy and overdo the cleansing (hence, stripping my skin of the oils it needs). I’ll usually skip a morning cleanse and use a micellar water if anything (more on that in a sec). But generally, this is what I find has been working best for me:
This is a little pricey as far as cleansers go, but there’s few that I’ve come across feel as good as this one does. It keeps my skin in check, and gets all the dirt out with the power of three different charcoals. A little goes a long way to remove all my makeup at the end of the day. It also has licorice and AHAs to help keep skin bright and encourage cellular renewal. I’ve even had friends stay over and use it, and notice the brilliance of this from the first go.
If you feel your skin can use a little more of a deep clean, and you’re not looking to spend $30 on a face wash, I’ve been using and really liking Soap & Glory’s Vitamin C Wash. First of all, the bottle is massive — for 11.8 oz, it might as well be your body wash. In fact, I keep it in the shower so I can use it on my face and my upper back too after a workout. It has tiny exfoliating beads that helps get a deeper clean in, and it has mint and chamomile so your skin actually feels refreshed after using it. Vitamin c is also one of my favorite skin brighteners — which is also notoriously hard to stabilize, so I can’t speak to how effective it can be in this gel form, but it does make my skin feel clean without feeling tight or dry after.
I haven’t used this one in a minute because I’ve been so happy with the two I’ve already mentioned, BUT I’m always asked about gentle, drugstore cleansers, and CeraVe has always been my favorite no-frills cleanser. My favorite thing about this one is it has ceramides, which helps protect the skin. If your skin is breakout-prone, you may also want to consider their SA cleanser that has ceramides AND salicylic acid.
I don’t use this every day, but on days I need a little extra, I’ll go over my face after cleansing with micellar water. Micellar water helps to cleanse the skin and leaves good-for-you ingredients (like peptides and skin softeners) behind so your skin benefits as well. This one from It Cosmetics is gentle and helps get every last bit of grime out before I go to sleep. It’s, again, a little on the high end as far as toners go, so if you’re looking for a good drugstore alternative, I also really like Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water ($7). I keep their makeup wipes next to my bed on the days I’m feeling extra lazy and just want to do a quick clean. Otherwise, I use toners sparingly, and mostly if I have a lot of makeup on that day.
I’ll have more AM and PM routines to come, and what products have been working for me to come! What have you been using that you love? Leave me a comment below!
I don’t know if you’re good about facials, because I’m not. I’m also really bad at getting massages, manis and pedis…you would think I’m just in the wrong field completely. Unless I’m going with a friend, I just get bored waiting for my services to end. That’s why I took so well to a concept like Skin Laundry.Skin Laundry, founded by Yen Reis, is a laser and light clinic that also has their own skincare line. The concept is simple – drop in, get a 15-minute YAG laser that deep cleans, and IPL treatment (to help with scarring), with no downtime. You’re in and out.
Skin Laundry in the Le Parker Meridien Hotel, NYC
The process is pretty simple. I usually go without any makeup, but they will do a double wipe with their cleansing cloths to make sure your skin is makeup free. Next they’ll cover your eyes with goggles, and gently tie back your hair so it’s not in the way. Then, they’ll go over your face twice with a laser. I’m sure the level of discomfort varies from person to person — I’d give it about a 3 on the pain scale (it’s really not much). it feels like a rubber band pinching your skin. Afterwards, they’ll spread a gel on your skin and apply an IPL light treatment that will help improve your complexion. It’s just burst of warmth on your skin (again not painful). They end by spreading on a little moisturizer and SPF, and you’re off. They advise to stay away from any exfoliators, scrubs, and retinol for a day following your treatment.
Personally, I prefer this light, non-aggressive treatment. I also love their easy online booking system (just pick your time, day, and location online and walk in), it’s pretty much the most simple and effective service I’ve committed to lately. It’s $65 per treatment, and you can get it in bundles which saves you a little money long term. I’ve found it worth it for myself, so it’s something I don’t mind investing in (I usually buy a bundle of three at a time). It’s my once a month refresh. Most of their locations are in NYC and CA, but I’ve heard whispers of more locations opening soon, including in the Midwest. If you have access to one, the first visit is free, so I really recommend going in to check it out!
I get this question a LOT, so I figured I’ll put it all in one place. Here’s the riveting story about how I style my messy lob, and what products I like to use.
As a preface, I did this quick IG video tutorial about it:
I start with wet hair and if I’m feeling more volume, I’ll use this Liss & Plump gel-cream styler from L’Oreal Professionel. Even if you’re not particularly doing this style but crave volume, THIS is it. It helps give you hair more body without being crunchy like you might using mousse. I use a dime-size for my hair and just finger brush it through.
Then I spritz my favorite Wave Spray from Ouai. I’ve tried other “waving” sprays but haven’t found one I like quite like Ouai’s yet.
Then I do a rough blow dry. No brush, no tools. My hair naturally, by the way, is wavy…ish. After I did a Cezanne keratin treatment years ago, I think it changed the structure of my hair and it veers more on the straight side lately (I never did a keratin treatment before or after this instance!), but I guess it’s naturally somewhere in between.
After my hair is dry, I use a 1″ FLAT iron. You can use a curling wand too, and when my hair was freakishly long that was my tool of choice. But I find using the flat iron makes it look a little more messy and undone which is more what I’m going for. I first part my hair and clip it up to do the bottom layer first. Starting from the roots, I twist my hair in the flat iron to make bends, leaving the ends straight (about 2 inches from the bottom). Then, I unclip the top layer and curl it the same way (you can see in the video how I do this). Then I’ll just go around and straighten the ends with the flat iron to make it look messy.
And the grand finale (and also how I came to appreciate this product): Texturizing Spray. It helps give your hair grit and look more worn in. Again, my favorite is from Ouai, but I also LOVE Amika Un.Done Texture Spray (and it smells like perfume!). Just spray it all over and shake your fingers through your hair.