Monthly archive for September 2016

10 Latin American Beauty Brands You'll Want to Add to Your Vanity

Growing up Latina, there’s a good chance that the women in your family taught you the ways of beauty early on, passing on their lists of tried and true products they can’t live without and their impressive DIY secrets , and maybe even telling you to replace your favorite drugstore and Sephora buys with brands that they knew and loved back home.

While you may be too attached to your Urban Decay Naked Palette (we don’t blame you) to abandon all your usuals cold turkey, we rounded up some favorite Latin American brands that are hands-down worth a try and could easily become your new beauty go-tos. Grandma will be so proud!

Additional reporting by Alessandra Foresto

This Golden Milk DIY Mask Is a Drink of Hydration For Your Face

Golden milk is one of the hottest buzz terms in health right now. This magical concoction has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and features a mix of turmeric , coconut milk, and sometimes coconut oil. We already know turmeric has amazing beauty benefits (for bringing down inflammation and offering antiaging elements). Coconut oil and milk have been seen “superfoods” for hair, skin, nails – you name it – thanks to their naturally hydrating abilities. So when you combine this all together, you get a DIY formula that will make you look and feel your best.

To get an exclusive skin mask DIY featuring golden milk, we asked Joanna Vargas , a celebrity esthetician and owner of her eponymous brand and spa. Joanna whipped one up for us and also explained why it’s so damn good for you: “This anti-inflammatory and hydrating face mask recipe is a treat to your skin, similar to the Ayurvedic drink golden milk being a treat to your body. It’s wonderful for anyone who has supersensitive skin, but even for normal skin types, it makes the skin look flawless.”

She also notes that not all turmerics are created equal. “Make sure you are using pure organic turmeric,” she said. “Some generic store-bought options contain dyes that can stain your skin after application. This is one ingredient where you must go organic.”

Here is what you need to create it:

DIY Golden Milk Mask
1/2 cup of coconut yogurt
1/4 tsp. organic ground turmeric
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. coconut oil

Instructions: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Apply to face and leave on for 10 minutes; rinse thoroughly with a warm washcloth, being sure to not leave any traces of the mask behind.

Why it works: “Combining coconut milk/oil with turmeric makes for an anti-inflammatory super combo,” Joanna explained. “Coconut oil is loaded with essential fatty acids to lock in moisture. Add that to its additional anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties and you have the perfect base for a face mask. Turmeric is an ancient skin care treatment and rightfully so: it also provides powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties to the skin. Both of these ingredients work simultaneously to create a flawless complexion.”

Can't Get Your Breakouts Under Control? You Need to Read This

Tackling day-to-day acne is quite the process as it is, but when you add hormones into the mix, it gets increasingly frustrating. Getting hit with a hormonal breakout is a major letdown: it makes me feel like I have to start from scratch to get my skin balanced again. I know I’m not the only one who knows this struggle all too well. That’s why I spoke to some leading experts in the skin care industry to find out what causes hormonal acne, how to prevent it, and ways to manage once you have a flare-up.

Acne: An Overview

Let’s start with the basics of what causes acne in general. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always about the amount of oil but the quality of oil. Some of us get breakouts when the production of excess sebum and oil is too thick and waxy. “Instead of flowing freely through pores, this type of oil becomes blocked and forms a plug,” New York City dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross explained. That plug congests the pore and results in a blemish.

Oily complexions aren’t the only source of spots. If you have dry, flaky skin and still suffer from breakouts, you may have an oil flow problem. Dead skin cells prevent sebum from making it to the surface of the skin, so it gets trapped inside of pores and creates acne-causing bacteria. This typically results in blackheads, enlarged pores, and even drier skin.

Francine Porter, founder of Osmotics Cosmeceuticals , told me another root of acne can be “abnormally sticky skin cells” because they don’t properly shed, clogging hair follicles. That’s why cell turnover is so important when combating breakouts (more on that later).

Keep Eczema Rashes at Bay With These 5 Drugstore Beauty Buys

If you suffer with eczema, then you’re familiar with the dry, itchy flare-ups that come with the topical condition. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common genetic condition that causes itchy rashes on parts of the body. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to keep the frustrating itch and pain of the ailments at bay.

In addition to avoiding stressful situations and following an anti-inflammatory diet , you can tailor your body and skin care regimen to soothe your rashes. You don’t have to splurge on costly goods to do it, either. In fact, there are a handful of effective dermatologist-approved products you can find at your local drugstore to help keep your irritation at bay (they also work wonders even if you don’t suffer from eczema!). Read on to learn about which ones you should be picking up on your next drugstore run.

Hate Your Skin Tags? Here's What You Can Do About It

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

There are a few beauty woes that are just unavoidable, no matter how sincere your efforts are to bypass them. Rain will ruin your hair at least once. You’ll smudge your lipstick . And, at some point, your epidermis will sprout a skin tag. We consulted Manhattan dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz , host of and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz . He gave us the scoop on what these bothersome bumps are, what causes them, and (if you must!) how to get rid of them yourself.

When dealing with a complexion issue, it’s important to know what you’re up against. First, make sure what you’re looking at is actually a skin tag. Unlike moles, which are usually pink to brown in color and feature symmetrical borders, skin tags are more oddly shaped and tend to match your complexion’s shade.

“They grow out from your body, but vertically,” Dr. Schultz stated. The benign tumors are comprised of epidermis and a little bit of dermis – the two upper layers of skin. “Their height is usually much greater than their width. Sometimes they have a very narrow stalk so they are virtually hanging off by a thread,” he explained.

When I asked Dr. Schultz what causes these pesky spots, he told me that this remains unknown. “To a certain extent, they are hereditary and tend to occur in certain characteristic places, where skin folds on skin,” he said. Skin tags frequently crop up under the arms and where the legs meet the body. “They seem to occur more often in people that are overweight,” the doctor added.

However, if your skin tags are darker than your complexion, you may be dealing with dermatosis papulosa nigra, or DPN, a raised skin lesion that is commonly seen on complexions of those of Hispanic, Asian, or African descent. Dr. Schultz said that these tend to occur around eyes and on the cheekbones. “They look similar [to skin tags] but are not the same.” These benign tumors come from keratinocytes, the cells that are responsible for producing skin pigment.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Benjamin Stone

If you were concerned that these skin conditions were a sign of cancer or another ailment, relax. Neither DPN nor skin tags are an indication of any health risks. “They’re not dangerous,” declared Dr. Schultz. “Just annoying and inconvenient.”

Despite being innocuous, you might find your skin tags to be unsightly. If that’s the case, a dermatologist can remove them fairly easily. Dr. Schultz prefers to use the tip of a very fine pair of scissors to snip a skin tag off at the base. Other options include using an electric needle to cauterize the skin or freezing off the tumor, which he particularly doesn’t recommend.

“Freezing is so imprecise that it tends to affect the skin around the skin tag,” he explained. And it’s this imprecision that disturbs him when patients try to remove these bumps themselves.

“While it doesn’t take eight years of medical education to remove a skin tag, there are certain basic principles that have to be observed,” Dr. Schultz cautioned, citing using sterile tools and completely disinfecting your skin as essential.

While we don’t recommend taking off your own skin tags, if you feel that you must, Dr. Schultz declared that the most sensible method is to use a tight piece of string. We advise consulting with your doctor beforehand, then proceeding with caution!

Use a sterile piece of gauze and isopropyl alcohol to thoroughly cleanse the area and a length of thread. After looping the string around the very base of the skin tag, double knot it so it is very tight, cutting off the blood supply to the skin tag. Finish your DIY dermatological procedure by trimming the ends of the threads with a disinfected pair of scissors, so the string doesn’t catch on anything.

Patience is key! Once you’ve tied the string, do not touch the skin tag except to dab it with a bit of alcohol. After a few days to a week, the tiny tumor should fall off on its own. When this happens, be sure to nourish the small wound with a bit of antibacterial ointment, keeping it covered with a bandage until the area has healed – that way you won’t leave a scar.

The doctor is particularly against most of the over-the-counter medications available for removing skin tags. When people apply these caustic formulas at home, many get more of the product on the surrounding area than the actual tumor itself, which can lead to blistering and scarring.

A skin tag is harmless and practically invisible to others, so if you don’t think you can remove it safely, don’t risk it. In the end, you could make a blemish more noticeable (and painful!) than that tiny little bump.

20 of September's Buzziest New Makeup, Hair, and Skin Care Launches

Time to relegate your beach wave sprays and tropical-scented body lotions to the back of your closet and make room for Fall products . The cooler season calls for fresh makeup in berry shades, hydrating face serums, and crisp hair (buh-bye, humidity). To help you get started on your back-to-school shopping list , we rounded up our favorite items launching in September. From a pearly natural skin care moisturizer to a standout new dry shampoo, you’ll likely find something you fancy!

Frank Ocean's Mom Saw a Need For Universal Sunscreen – So She Created It

Image Source: Getty / Kevin Mazur

Katonya Breaux, mother to R&B artist Frank Ocean, was on vacation when she noticed five or six more moles on her face that hadn’t been there before. When her dermatologist attributed the moles to the extra sun exposure, Katonya saw a need in the market for a more inclusive SPF product for people of color . . . so she made it herself.

In a recent interview with The Cut, Katonya spoke about Unsun , her line of SPF products that protect a wider range of skin tones from fair to dark. Katonya explained feeling unsatisfied with existing sunscreens that were either too chemical (and thereby irritating) or natural but too white for her skin tone. She said, “It might be easier if you’re going to put a foundation over the white film, but for me it was just frustrating. It would get into my eyebrows, my hairline, it was just very frustrating.”

After linking up with a friend in the hair industry, Katonya spent two years creating her ideal (i.e. universal) sun protection product. Currently, Unsun only offers a tinted mineral sunscreen with SPF 30 , but Katonya does have plans to add body and lip products.

Unsun. Sun protection for ALL skin tones! Coming soon ..

A photo posted by Katonya Breaux (@katonya1) on Mar 24, 2016 at 7:28pm PDT

As for her son, who practically incited panic over his long-awaited album , he’s “very supportive,” according to Katonya. She said, “He’s been using sunscreen for a long time. He takes really good of his skin.”

While she plans on sticking to the sun protection sector of the beauty industry, Katonya hopes other brands will also recognize and address this need for more inclusive products. She said, “Women of color, we’re just underrepresented in many different areas of fashion and beauty. We’re one of the largest purchasing sectors, so we have to be acknowledged . . . The voices are getting louder, but of course there’s a need.”

Unsun SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen ($29)

These 28 Travel Beauty Items Are the Only Ones You Need to Pack

Packing for a long weekend is one of the most stressful tasks a beauty junkie can endure. Editing down your favorite goods (do you really need a dry shampoo and a texture spray?) can be daunting and take hours if you’re not prepared. You also may be confused about what to splurge on (skin care!) and what to save on (hairspray, trust us) when it comes to buying travel-size products .

To help you get ready for long Summer weekends, we are offering up the ultimate selection of beauty minis. Basically, we made the good decisions for you, so all you need to do is decide which cosmetics case to put them in (the struggle is so real). Keep reading to see our travel picks for skin, hair, and body care .

Say Goodbye to Pesky Dark Circles and Spots With This Makeup Routine

The following post was originally featured on Love, Grey Skies and written by Tiffany Diana Torres , who is part of POPSUGAR Select Latina .

Who knew that adult acne was a thing? Not me.

Up until about a year and a half ago all I had to worry about was the occasional break out from Aunt Flow and the dark circles under my eyes. Boy how things have changed. A year and a half ago I developed adult acne which has really taken a bit of a toll on my self esteem. Hey, I’m a work in progress. Since then I’ve learned ways to cover and conceal not only my dark circles, but the scars left behind from the acne and I’m going to share it with you!

Step 1: Start with a clean & moisturized face. After that, apply a thin layer of primer. This allows your makeup to stay on all day and go on smoothly. I used the MUFE hydrating primer, because it’s my favorite! Glides on nicely and really makes my skin feel nice and plump.

Step 2: Apply an orange/salmon colored concealer under your eyes. This will cancel out the dark purple/blue shade and help neutralize the “bags.” Plus, this little trick makes you look fresh faced and wide awake!

Step 3: If you have any fresh acne that is irritated and red, then it’s best to go in with a green concealer . This will help cancel out the redness and allow the foundation to do its job by covering up afterwards.

Step 4: For the under eye area, I take my ring finger and blend, but I’ll use the beauty blender for the other spots.

Step 5: Apply foundation. This is one of my favorite foundations because of the finish and coverage!

Step 6: Apply a thin layer of concealer. I used the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye first in the shade Light, but I felt like it was too bright so I went in with my favorite; Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Light Neutral. I concealed under my eyes but I also highlighted areas in the center of my face such as my nose, cupid’s bow, and forehead.

Step 7: Set your face! I use the Laura Mercier Translucent powder which allows everything to just stay in place.

Now it’s time to just glam up!

These are steps that I take every time I do a full face of makeup, because I like to look as even-toned as possible. This definitely helps those days when my face isn’t in the best condition, but remember that it’s really important to have a skin regimen and to drink lots of water. Your makeup only looks as best as your skin does, so remember to take care of it.

Why You Should Be Stocking Up on Skin Care Products With Copper Peptides

Peruse any shelf in your favorite beauty store – virtual or otherwise – and read the label. Chances are, you’ll see many mentions of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, vitamin C, and retinol. While you’re likely pretty familiar with those buzzwords, it’s safe to guess that you’re not as acquainted with copper peptides. However, more and more products are taking advantage of copper’s powerful properties, so it’s time you got a quick lesson on the science and skin care benefits.

The Science and History

Copper peptides were first developed and utilized in products that helped expedite wound healing. But over the last couple of decades, scientists and researchers have studied the ingredient as it pertains to the regeneration of collagen production and antiaging. What they’ve found has been promising and has led to more brands incorporating copper peptides into products.

“Copper peptides are supported by voluminous scientific research and play an integral role in age prevention skin care regimens,” said Francine Porter , a product development expert and the founder of Osmotics Cosmetics.

She explains that copper is something our bodies produce naturally and that it serves as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. According to recent studies, copper peptides in skin care have been found to not just increase collagen and elastin (the materials responsible for firm, taut skin) but also nix old, damaged collagen and elastin to make way for a more youthful complexion.

The Skin Care Benefits of Copper Peptides

Products utilizing copper peptides are best for those who want to slow down signs of aging. Will it give you an instant facelift? No, the only thing that can do that is, well, a facelift. But according to many researchers, it can improve the quality of your skin.

“Proteins are the key building blocks of most living tissues,” explained Bella Schneider, a clinical skin care expert and founder of Bella Schneider Beauty. “Copper peptides can help minimize the damage from daily wear and tear of the skin. They also have the potential to improve wrinkles, skin texture firmness, and thickness. Copper peptides are effective against various forms of skin irritation, mainly due to their anti-inflammatory effects.”

Products Containing Copper

Sunday Riley Bionic Anti-Aging Cream ($125) contains an antiaging cocktail of copper, resveratrol, coenzyme Q10, and prickly pear. I find that a little goes a long way with this thick, custard-like formulation and that it’s ideal for mature or dry skin types since it’s so moisturizing. I apply a thin layer at night after cleansing and toning, and as the night progresses, my skin slowly sucks up the sweet-smelling product. In the morning, my skin is noticeably softer and plumper.

CU Shine Copper Mask ($46) is a shimmery peel-off mask that looks like molten metal and contains a mixture of copper, magnesium, and zinc. I apply it to clean, dry skin and let it set for about 10 minutes before peeling it off in one layer. Afterward, my skin feels exfoliated, soft, and firm. Bonus: it makes for fun Instagram selfies.

Lastly, Korres Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixir ($98) combines copper with saffron, hyaluronic acid, and oat. These ingredients work together to plump skin, minimize fine lines, and hydrate and soothe your skin. I like that it has a velvety slip to it and my skin drinks it up within minutes after applying.

Established Ingredients vs. New Ones

“Remember that many cosmetic ingredients come into popularity in cycles,” said Stephen Alain Ko , a cosmetic chemist. “Copper peptides, in combination with retinoic acid, was popular in the mid-2000s as a treatment for acne scarring on online forums.”

Ko says that the jury is technically still out in the case of copper peptides and that many of the studies are currently “in vitro,” which means they’re still being tested on skin models within a lab. For that reason, some arguments say you should avoid new ingredients (like copper) entirely and stick to those that have a long and solid history. While it’s hard to argue with that line of thought, there’s still something to be said for innovation, even if it’s young.

20 New Beauty Launches That Will Have You Yearning For Fall

While sharpened pencils and fresh composite notebooks have their places, we’ve swapped the thrill of buying new school supplies with stocking up on fresh Fall beauty products. This season’s crop of new formulas is truly lustworthy. From a glam black lipstick to a seductive hair perfume, the following offerings will inspire you to start saving so you can stock up on swag.