Category: Beauty Tips

General Tips and Product Recommendations for Oily Skin

Published in: Beauty Tips, Guest Post, Skin Care

Oily Skin Tips Products

Having oily skin, blotting paper is like an extension of my hand, LOL!

After battling oily skin my whole life (well, since my teens, more like), I think I’ve finally come to terms with it. For the way I see it, you just can’t win a battle against oily skin, so the sooner you realize and accept it, the better.

I mean, think about it. If you have oily skin, it means that your sebaceous glands produce more oil than normal… Do you really think you can change the amount of sebum you produce just by applying something on top of your skin? I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t think that’s possible.

You can use products containing oil-absorbing ingredients that do help a little, but if you really have oily skin, nothing will keep you shine-free all day. What I try to do is use products that won’t make me oilier, which unfortunately, in my experience, is not as easy as it sounds, especially because many products specifically formulated for oily skin on me have opposite effects than they promise.

But luckily, after about 15 years of trial and error, I can now say that I’m finally satisfied with my skincare regimen, and today I’d like to give you a few general tips and product recommendations that I hope may be beneficial to at least some of you.

At which point I’ll insert the usual disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist, and all the advice and recommendations in this post are solely based on my personal experience. Obviously, what works for me might not work for you.

That being said, if you have oily skin and are not satisfied with your skincare, the following tips and products might inspire you to change something in your routine that will hopefully help keep your skin under control.

Cleanse with gentle, yet effective products

Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser

I use the Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser in the morning to wash off any excess oil and dirt that have accumulated on my skin overnight

You’ve probably heard it a million times already, but I’ll tell you for the million-and-oneth: cleansing properly is essential to keep your skin healthy. As an oily-skinned gal, it’s important you find the right products that get rid of any excess oil without being too stripping.

The Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser fits the bill perfectly. It’s not one of those cleansers you remove your makeup with (for that I love my Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm – been using it for years!), but it’s great in the morning (which is my favorite time to use it) or as a second cleanse at night.

Opt for an alcohol-free toner

Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion

The Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion is alcohol-free and contains salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant that helps prevent any blemishes

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I Haven’t Used My Acne Medication in Four Weeks: Here’s What I’ve Been Using Instead

Published in: Beauty Tips, Boots, Guest Post, Skin Care

boots-no7-skincare-regimen

From L-R: Boots No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil, Protect and Perfect Day/Night Cream, Protect and Perfect Intense Eye Cream, and Youthful Eye Serum

If you’ve been reading my posts here, you know that I’ve really struggled with adult acne, and especially with being comfortable in my own skin. Recently with my dermatologist prescribed medications, I finally felt that I had found a routine that worked for me, but the products often left my skin dry, red and, at times, very itchy. Sometimes, after using these medications, applying different products and makeup on my skin would also cause irritations.

Then I found the Boots No7 Protect and Perfect and Boots No7 Youthful lines, and now I think I’ve finally figured out exactly what my skin’s problem is.

It’s moisture. I actually need more of it.

I was a little wary of all of the moisture in these products. After all, I can be sort of an oil slick, and I’m always afraid of waking up in the morning to discover that the products I applied the night before haven’t sunk into my skin, and now I have a giant grease face.

But these products didn’t just work well; they actually improved my skin over time. On the packaging they promise better looking skin in four weeks, so that’s how much time I gave them.

Let’s start with the Boots No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil. This is the product I start with every night before bed, applying it to a freshly washed and cleansed face.

boots-no7-youthful-replenishing-oil

Boots No7 Youthful Replenishing Oil ($22.99 for 1 oz.)

Ingredients
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosa Moschata Seed Oil, Isostearyl Isostearate, Alcohol Denat,. Tocopheryl Acetate, Parfum (Fragrance), Isopropyl Myristate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Tocopherol

This non-greasy blend of jojoba and rosehip seed oils sinks into my skin in but a moment. I usually concentrate it around the areas where I’m driest and red, like the apples of my cheeks; the sides of my nose, where I have some broken capillaries; and the areas on my chin where I have some acne scarring.

There’s also a little warning on the back that literally says, “May make surfaces slippery,” and they aren’t kidding. The bottle is glass, and I almost dropped it on my bathroom floor several times. In spite of that fact, though, it makes a wonderful precursor to…

protect-perfect-night-day-cream

T-B: Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Night and Day Cream ($22.99, 1.6 oz.)

The Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Night Cream, which is my follow-up to the Replenishing Oil. It blends in seamlessly, and has a clean scent that doesn’t irritate my skin. As far as the Day Cream goes, I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the time when I use moisturizers with SPF, they tend to clump up when I try to put makeup on top of them, but that isn’t the case here. It dries nice and matte.

Night cream ingredients
Aqua (Water, Eau), Glycerin, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether, Sorbitan Stearate, Demethicone, Butrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter, Beurre De Karite), Ethylhexyl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Acid Glycol Ester, Dimethiconol, Butylene Glycol, Parfum (Fragrance), Sucrose Cocoate, Methlparaben, Carbomer, Laureth-7, Ethylparaben, Dipropylene Glycol, Retinyl Palmitate, Xantham Gum, Ascorbyl Gluoside, Tetrasodium EDTA, Potassium Hydroxide, Lupinus Albus Seed Extract, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Polysorbate 20, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extratc, BHT, Tocopherol, Butylparaben, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Silica, Propylparaben, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7

Day cream ingredients
Avobenzone (3.0%), Octinoxate (6.0%), Octisalate (2.5%), Aqua (Water),Glycerin,C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate,Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter,Dimethicone,Isononyl Isononanoate,Cetearyl Alcohol,C18-36 Acid Glycol Ester,Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide,Sorbitan Stearate,Mica,Polysorbate 20,Alcohol Denat.,C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethiconol, Butylene Glycol,Methylparaben,Potassium Cetyl Phosphate,Ethylparaben,Parfum (Fragrance), Laureth-7, Retinyl Palmitate,Sucrose Cocoate, Dipropylene Glycol,Xanthan Gum,Ascorbyl Glucoside,Tetrasodium EDTA,Citric Acid,Lupinus Albus Seed Extract,Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol, Carbomer,Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract,Potassium Hydroxide,Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, BHT, Tocopherol, Butylparaben, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben,Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7,Cl 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).

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Egyptian Magic Skin Cream: A Multitude of Uses for This Multifaceted Potion

Published in: Beauty Tips, Guest Post, Skin Care

egyptian magic, skin cream, acne treatment, spot treatment

Positively magical…

Typically, I do everything I can to remove grease and oil from my face. At 25, with adult acne and a slew of medications to combat it, I never thought I’d actually slather my face with anything oil based. I’ve tried coconut oil, as well as oil-based cleansers, and they never seemed to perform any magic.

Egyptian Magic, on the other hand, might have a few tricks up its sleeve. Containing only six ingredients, the cult beauty favorite has been around since the early ’90s, and it’s easy to see why it’s become such a must-have item.

My first impressions upon investigation were that it did seem very similar in the style of packaging to Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (with the prayers and simple fonts). The red font, coupled with the blue and white background, screams drugstore product, but EM seems to fall somewhere in the middle. Price/size wise, I would have to call it “lower to middle high end,” with a 2-oz. jar ringing in at $26 and a 4-oz. jar coming in just under $40 (though you can also purchase it at drugstores).

Egyptian Magic Skin Cream

Touted as an “all-purpose skin cream,” Egyptian Magic contains six ingredients that are said to be identical to a formula found in ancient tombs. While I’m not sure of that, I am sure that this formulation is somewhat of a miracle worker when it comes to difficult skin.

Here are just a few of the different ways I’ve used it over the past two weeks:

As an eyebrow tamer and conditioner

Seriously, I don’t know what possessed me to put this on my eyebrows, but something told me, “Marcy, put it on your damn brows. It’ll do them good.” And it did. I found that just dabbing my finger in the cream and applying before bed left my brows silky and soft (all the better for filling, my dear).

Note: it looks slightly wet if applied too heavily.

As a cuticle cream

This was sort of a “duh” moment for me. Applying EM to my cuticles daily and letting it sink in (5-10 minutes) is like heaven for my constant hangnails. I typically do so before bed, but if you have to during the day, it won’t make too much of a mess.

A moisturizer

A few times during testing I found myself without my regular moisturizer, or that I had forgotten my moisturizer. I was also moving at this time, and at one point, all of my products, except this one, which was in my purse, were packed away. Enter Egyptian Magic. Slathered on my face and properly rubbed in, I could go about my day without looking greasy. I didn’t exactly look matte, but I didn’t look overly oily, you get me?

A spot treatment

Also packed away were my acne treatments. Dabbing this on any problem areas has kept the few spots that have reared their ugly heads (literally) away for the last few days. Stress zits are real, ya’ll, especially when you stay up until 5 a.m. on the day your lease ends moving the last of your possessions (and your terrified cats).

To relieve hives/allergic reactions

I have a severe mold allergy, and due to some wayward mushrooms I found myself with a tiny patch of hives. This product did the trick better than the prescription cream an allergist (that I spent potentially hundreds on) prescribed me. Additionally, my boyfriend had a strange allergic reaction at this time, resulting in red welts on his arms, and rubbing a little bit of EM on his arms daily helped the itching.

As a lip balm

The first thing I thought of to apply this as was a lip balm. NYC winters and the winds that come with them can be extra harsh, and up until a few days ago, it was mighty cold around here. When I applied the cream to my lips, it was slightly exfoliating at first (TMI, that might have just been because of all the dead skin on my lips), and then came the pillowy softness and the realization, IS THIS WHAT SOFT LIPS FEEL LIKE? Applying this before bed and after a lip scrub will have you ready for any lipstick.

(Here’s a more comprehensive list of the product’s possible uses.)

All in all, I thoroughly enjoy this product. The only thing I own that is similar that I have enjoyed is Lush’s Ultrabalm. For $14.95 for 1.4 oz., it’s just slightly more expensive per ounce than the 4-oz. jar of Egyptian Magic. While Ultrabalm is vegan, I feel it doesn’t have as many uses as its contender. EM is a thoroughly universal product that anyone can find a practical use for.


Marcella Yakalis


Marcella Yakalis is a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn, New York, with two cats, one snake, and one very patient boyfriend. She writes about family, relationships, and oppressive retail culture. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram.

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A Mini Guide for Your Winter Malaise, or How to Treat Yourself When You’re on the Mend

Published in: Beauty Tips, Guest Post

selfie, sick, illness,

Pale? Puffy? Three days without washing your hair? Might be a viral infection.

This week I struggled for a subject to write a longer post on when it came to the subject of beauty and beauty related things. I grappled for an idea, when suddenly, like a message from above, it hit me, and hit me hard.

Bronchitis.

No, this post won’t be  exclusively about bronchitis, but it will be about how to feel more like yourself and how to enjoy the products you use every day, while you’re battling a cold, infection, virus, what have you. 

I used to get bronchitis every year as a kid, so when I started to get a dry, raw cough that kind of felt like a hole in my chest, I did what any 25-year-old might do, and tried to self-medicate for a few days. I don’t recommend it, but I took some cough syrup and hoped that this was not bronchitis. I had also already planned a night out in New Jersey to see some friends for my boyfriend’s brother’s birthday, so I wasn’t going to miss that just because of a little cough.

Come Sunday morning after the birthday celebration, and I couldn’t tell if it was the one (one!) shot I was convinced to do or the hacking cough that had me feeling so low. Either way, the alcohol probably didn’t help, and by Monday it was time to see an actual doctor. One listen to my chest and a solemn nod, and my prognosis was clear. Bronchitis it was! Next time I should probably forgo the alcohol and see a doctor sooner.

My current squad.

My current squad.

In the meantime, here are some of my words of wisdom on how to feel a little more like yourself while you’re recovering from/dealing with an illness.

Moisturize and hydrate

Every time I say the word “moisturize” to myself, I get an image ofLady Cassandra from Doctor Who, screaming “MOISTURIZE ME” and imagine strange men in suits misting me with a water planter.

Sounds nice, right?

Not if you’re basically just skin and a face. Anyways.

Since moving into a new place and dealing with dry air all winter long, boyfriend conceded and purchased a humidifier, which has been a godsend. As a cool mist humidifier, I’m not sure what the exact differences are between this and a warm mist (besides temperature), but it has made our bedroom much more tolerable, and in the first few days, has really helped my chest congestion. It also seems to have helped his winter nosebleeds!

This one from Crane is available at Target and comes in a bunch of funky colors. The one night I went without it, my nose was in absolute agony.

Don’t forgo the H2O

We’re all told that we need to drink more fluids, and this one can’t be any truer than when we’re sick. Now, there’s only one time you can rip my coffee from my cold dead hands, other than me actually being dead, and that’s when I’m sick. I’ve learned that I can’t even drink soy milk when I’m sick. Anything in milk form makes it that much worse. Water and tea are where it’s at. Treat yourself to your favorite brand of tea, and get to brewin’.

tea, harney & sons, owl mug,

Current fave: African Autumn by Harney & Sons; rooibos, cranberry, and oranges.


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My Manicure Essentials

Published in: Beauty Tips, Guest Post, Makeup Tips/How To, Nails

manicure essentials

I love doing my nails. It’s relaxing, and I always feel proud of myself afterward for saving a few dollars (so I can spend it on more makeup, obvs).  

That being said, I usually don’t have a ton of time, so here are my essentials to get the job done as quickly and easily as possible.

Nail Clippers and File

Pretty obvious choice, but nothing ruins cute polish like ragged nails.  I’ve bought more expensive nail files, but I always go back to these cheap ones that come like a dozen to a box.  I like being able to stash these at work, in my purse and in my gym bag.  I also use the nail file to clean up the polish around the edges of my nails.

Cuticle Remover

I felt like such a pro the day I incorporated Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover into my manicure routine!  I never had the patience to soak my nails in water before pushing back my cuticles, so this product is perfect.  I squeeze it around my cuticles, lightly, push them back with my fingers, and then rinse it off.  It’s easy and really effective.  Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover is available at Target for $5.

Base Coat

I’m always looking for the best base coat, and lately I’ve been reaching for Orly Bonder.  I think it works well with different polishes, and I love that it dries quickly.  

It’s an extra step, but my nails won’t last more than a day without base coat.  Orly Bonder is available at Ulta for $10.

Nail Polish

I’m usually choosing between a neutral and a bold color, but I almost always end up going for the neutral.  I’m really hard on my nails, so I like to pick something that won’t show the chips.  When I sat down to do my nails the other day, I debated between Golden Sand and Cashmere, both by Mineral Fusion.  

I ended up choosing the nude, of course!  Golden Sand is a neutral tan with subtle silver shimmer.  It’s a unique and really pretty shade.  I like how it’s close enough to my skin tone to be subtle but doesn’t look muddy or boring.

mineral fusion polishes
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