Beauty brands and how they’re helping Black Lives Matter

Beauty brands are stepping up. 

When COVID-19 hit, beauty brands didn’t miss a beat and brainstormed innovative ways to support healthcare workers and customers. The same is true for the BLM movement. Beauty brands are stepping up and donating, encouraging their customer-base and followers to do so. Through the power of social media campaigns, actually opening up their wallets for change, and promoting education, beauty brands are trying to help.

SEE ALSO: 40 Black-owned and founded beauty brands to support

Hopefully beauty brands and consumers alike are realizing this is only the beginning of the revolution as they publicly pledge to aid the BLM movement and fight against racial injustice. Very Good Light hopes more brands both within the beauty community and outside will stand up and use their platforms to spark change and encourage others.

Below, a list of beauty brands lending a helping hand. We’ll continue to update this list so feel free to drop us a line on our Instagram if we have missed any.

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Anastasia Beverly Hills pledged a total of $1 million, making $100,000 donations to @blklivesmatter, @innocenceproject, the @NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, @blackvisionscollective, and @marhsallproj.

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Anastasia Beverly Hills stands in solidarity with the Black community. We are pledging 1 million dollars towards the fight against systematic racism, oppression, and injustice. This weekend, we began with a donation of $100,000 across the following organizations: Black Lives Matter, The Innocence Project, The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Black Visions Collective, and The Marshall Project. We are taking the time internally to discuss new initiatives that will financially support Black owned businesses and artists in the beauty industry. When the details have been finalized, we will announce the process for submission or nomination, and we will update you monthly on recipients. We vow to remain constant and vocal supporters of equality. We vow to use our platform and our privilege to amplify the voices of marginalized groups that deserve to be heard. Thank you to our community for being a continued source of inspiration and accountability. #BlackLivesMatter

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Athena Club

Athena Club pledged that 100% of its profits for seven days starting on June 1st would go to the @NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

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#BlackLivesMatter

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Biossance

Biossance is donating $100,000 across multiple organizations including the @mnfreedomfund, @aclu_nationwide., @colorofchange, and @blklivesmatter.

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#blacklivesmatter

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Bliss

Bliss believes The Antiracist Research & Policy Center is working hard to understand, explain, and solve problems of racial inequity and injustice. They have donated $40,000 in response.

Boy Smells

Boy Smells announced the brand has donated $10,000 to the @NAACP, @blklivesmatter, and @blackvisionscollective

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PLEASE READ. #blacklivesmatter

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Caudalie

Caudalie has donated to @aclu_nationwide..

Cirque Colors

Cirque Colors is encouraging followers to donate to @blklivesmatter and they will MATCH the donation until they reach their goal of $5,000.

Cocokind

Cocokind has been incredibly active on social media spreading information, donation links, and ally resources. They have donated $10,000 to @aclu_nationwide. and 100% of their profits from every day this week are set to go to a different organization aiding the movement each day.

ColourPop Cosmetics

Colourpop has donated $25,000 to the @mnfreedomfund and $25,000 to the ACLU.

Deciem

Deciem is donating $100,000 to @blklivesmatter and the @NAACP Legal Defence & Educational Fund. The brand has also noted that they want to make their Instagram Stories a dedicated space to continue conversations. “We want to amplify as many voices as possible and ask you to join us. Please email videos (1 min max) or words to voices@deciem.com (kindly note that anything sent to this email will be made public)”.

ELF Cosmetics

ELF Cosmetics has donated $25,000 to @colorofchange.

Farmacy

Farmacy Beauty has donated $10,000 to @colorofchange and has made a note that it is only a starting point.

Fur

Fur has donated to the @NAACP Legal Defense Fund and The Brooklyn Bail Fund to bail out individuals arrested during protests in Fur’s hometown.

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🖤

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Glossier

Glossier has donated $500,000 across @blklivesmatter, the @NAACP Legal Defence & Educational Fund, the Equal Justice Initiative, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, and We the Protestors. In addition to making an effort in the beauty community, Glossier has also donated $500,000 in the form of grants to black-owned beauty businesses.

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#BlackLivesMatter

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Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe has donated $10,000 to the @blackvisionscollective.

Golde

Golde noted 100% of its profits through Monday, June 1st was to be donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In less than 72 hours, Golde was about to donate a little over $10,000 to the @NAACP.

Herbivore Botanicals

Herbivore Botanicals has raised about $46,000 after declaring 100% of profits would be donated. They will be directly donating to @aclu_nationwide.and @blklivesmatter.

Hourglass

Hourglass is donating $100,000 across these organizations: @NAACP, @blklivesmatter, Marsha P. Johnson Institute, Loveland Foundation, and Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

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WE STAND AGAINST RACISM, INJUSTICE AND VIOLENCE. As a first step, Hourglass is donating $100,000 across these organizations: NAACP, Black Lives Matter, Marsha P. Johnson Institute, Loveland Foundation and Thurgood Marshall College Fund. See below to learn more about how each one is combating racial injustice. We are committed to listening, learning and working towards systemic change. @naacp – Fights for equality for the Black community and people of color. @blklivesmatter – Builds power to bring justice, healing and freedom to Black communities across the globe. @thelovelandfoundation – Provides therapy and healing resources to Black women and girls. @mpjinstitute – Defends and protects the human rights of black transgender and gender non-conforming communities. @tmcf_hbcu – Champions opportunities for Black students in their journey to college and beyond. Link in bio to learn more. #blackouttuesday

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I Dew Care

I Dew Care has made a donation to @mnfreedomfund and is encouraging their community to do so as well.

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✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻⁣ To our Dew Crew Community,⁣ ⁣ Our heart has been heavy these past few days and we feel sick to our stomachs.⁣ ⁣ WE ARE DEVASTATED. WE ARE UPSET. WE ARE HURTING. You should be too.⁣ ⁣ As a company, I Dew Care has been silent for far too long and we are frustrated with ourselves for not speaking up sooner. We stand in full solidarity with the black community, with those speaking up, with those taking action across America, and with those on the right side of history.⁣ ⁣ Institutional racism, inhumane police brutality, and this systemic cycle of racial injustice must all be upended. Police officers who resort to excessive use of force must be charged and convicted for their crimes committed. ⁣ ⁣ Take ACTION. Educate yourself. Speak up. Sign petitions. Retweet. Donate, if you have the means. MANIFEST CHANGE.⁣ ⁣ BE LOUD. BE PROUD.⁣ BLACK LIVES MATTER.⁣ ⁣ This is for George Floyd. This is for Breonna Taylor. This is for Ahmaud Arbery. This is for Alton Sterling. This is for Tamir Rice. This is for Michael Brown. This is for Eric Garner. This is for ALL the innocent black lives that have been lost from inhumane police brutality.⁣ ⁣ We must dew more and we WILL dew more. We have made a donation to @mnfreedomfund and we highly encourage you to do so as well – link is in our bio and in our stories. ⁣ ⁣ We all, as human beings, must start valuing lives EQUALLY. Let’s change this world together. You and us. ⁣ #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter

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Ilia

Ilia Beauty has donated a $50,000 donation split between @blklivesmatter and the @NAACP Legal Defence & Educational Fund.

Innisfree

Innisfree has made a donation to @aclu_nationwide.and @mnfreedomfund.

IT Cosmetics

IT Cosmetics has donated to @blklivesmatter.

Jouer

Jouer has made a donation to the @NAACP, @aclu_nationwide., and @blklivesmatter.

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Hi guys. Usually I show up on Saturday’s to tell you about products I love and to give you guys a promotion. But this week it wouldn’t feel right to promote products when we all have such heavy hearts and the world feels like its falling apart. We at Jouer are all devastated by the blatant murder of George Floyd. We are sick and tired of racial injustice and know that the only way to bring about change is by speaking out. Every week Jouer has been donating money, makeup and resources (masks, sanitizer, makeup and more) to hospitals, healthcare workers and heroes working on the front lines from postal workers to grocery store clerks to doctors and nurses & more. But we feel it’s imperative to shift our focus right now to the horrible injustice and murder of George Floyd and to helping organizations fighting on the front lines of racial inequality. Jouer has made a direct monetary donation to the @aclu_nationwide, the @naacp and to @blklivesmatter. We will be highlighting the work of these organizations and more in our stories and urge you to help and donate as well. Thank you all for your understanding and solidarity. We stand together. @czjouer

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Kaja

Kaja Beauty has donated to @mnfreedomfund.

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#BlackLivesMatter Kaja stands in solidarity with the black community. Our hearts are broken by the tragic and inhumane loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and all the black lives lost at the hands of police brutality and systematic, institutionalized racism. We refuse to be silent or complicit in the face of racism, discrimination, brutality, or social injustice in any form. We support those taking action across the nation and we join you in demanding justice now. In response, we have donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund (@mnfreedomfund). We encourage you to do the same. Head to our bio, Story, or Highlight for the link to donate, as well as info on more ways you can get involved. Let’s make change happen. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

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Kiramoon

Kiramoon Beauty hasn’t officially launched just yet, but all proceeds from The Magic Pouch makeup bags through June 1st went to the George Floyd memorial fund. They matched all donations that were made through Magic Pouch sales and raised a little over $2000.

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As a brand, it isn’t advised to use our platform to discuss race, politics, religion etc. But this type of senseless, targeted mistreatment can’t be ignored and it CAN NOT continue. Every one of us holds the responsibility as a fellow human being to fight for the safety and equality of our brothers and sisters in the Black community, and in all minority communities. Let’s use our voices. ⁣ ⁣ Today through June 1st, all proceeds from The Magic Pouch will go to the George Floyd memorial fund, link in bio if you’d like to contribute. We will be matching all donations that are made through Magic Pouch sales ❤️⁣ ⁣ You can also text FLOYD to 55156 to sign a petition to demand justice via @colorofchange

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Kosas

Kosas will be pledging $20k to @blklivesmatter, Black Lives Matters LA, and @colorofchange.

Krave Beauty

Krave Beauty has donated $5,000 to @blklivesmatter, @blackvisionscollective, @mnfreedomfund, @reclaimtheblock, and the George Floyd Memorial

Milk Makeup

Milk Makeup is contributing to @blackvisionscollective with @snitchery; she will be donating the entirety of her earnings from sales that use her affiliate code SNITCHERY and Milk Makeup will proudly be matching it.

Revolution Makeup

In addition to the $10,000 Revolution Makeup donated to @mnfreedomfund , they have pledged 10% of profits from the launch of @XXRevolution will go to organizations focused on combating racial discrimination.

Maybelline

Maybelline has donated to @naacp.

Necessaire

Necessaire has donated $10,000 to the @NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.

NYX

NYX Cosmetics will be donating to the @mnfreedomfund and @blklivesmatter.

Orosa

Orosa Beauty has made a donation to @reclaimtheblock@blackvisionscollective, and the George Floyd Memorial Fund.

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#BlackLivesMatter. We are devastated by the tragic events that have unfolded recently. We all have a responsibility to raise our voices against the systemic racism that deny Black communities justice and safety and we stand in solidarity with all those who are taking action.⁠ ⁠ We encourage you to listen, educate yourselves, have tough conversations and speak up about these issues.⁠ ⁠ We have made a donation to @reclaimtheblock, @blackvisionscollective, and the George Floyd Memorial Fund on behalf of Orosa Beauty. If you have the means, please consider supporting and contributing to these organizations:⁠ ⁠ @blackvisionscollective: a Black-led, Queer and Trans centering organization whose mission is to organize powerful, connected Black communities and dismantle systems of violence…through building strategic campaigns, investing in Black leadership, and engaging in cultural and narrative organizing.⁠ ⁠ @reclaimtheblock: organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.⁠ ⁠ @blklivesmatter: a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

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Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice has made a $10,000 donation to @colorofchange.

Peach and Lily

Peach and Lily have donated to @aclu_nationwide.

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Peach & Lily celebrates ALL people, and the injustices against Black lives must stop. We believe in integrating with our community to make a positive difference together. Some might wonder, “why should a beauty brand speak up about social issues?” To us, a business is not distinct from society. For the past five years, as an example, we have partnered with @restorenyc to speak up and take action against sex trafficking and violence against women. We can’t help but see the racism, injustice, and cruelty that plague our country and continue to attack Black lives. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” That's why we’re donating to @aclu_nationwide, a nonpartisan nonprofit that has fought to protect civil liberties for 100 years, and is fighting for justice for George Floyd. Peach & Lily is a safe space for EVERYONE — regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or age. As a business, and as individuals, we are speaking up and standing up for what's right. We encourage you to do the same. Black lives matter. WE STAND WITH YOU. – @aliciayoon212, Founder & CEO

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Saie Beauty

Saie Beauty has made a $10,000 donation split between two important organizations: @colorofchange who is providing immediate support in the wake of injustice, and @fairfightaction who is fighting for fair elections so we can all vote for the longterm reform we need.⁣

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Like many, we spent yesterday having honest and direct conversations, about our own bias, with our kids about racism, looking into the many organizations who need our help and reflecting on how we need to commit as a business and individuals long term. ⁣ ⁣ One of the core pillars of Saie is that we are a brand built on two way conversation, not just about beauty but all kinds of important topics. After our last post asking how we can do better, we heard from a lot of you in our DMs telling us what you want to see (and we’ll be sharing more on that throughout the week). But above all: You want action, commitment, and real long term change. ⁣ ⁣ To start we’ve made a $10,000 donation split between two important organizations: @colorofchange who is providing immediate support in the wake of injustice, and @fairfightaction who is fighting for fair elections so we can all vote for the long term reform we need.⁣ ⁣ We commit here to stay in this fight as long as it takes.

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Soko Glam

Soko Glam has donated to @blklivesmatter.

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As a company and as individuals, we are guided by helping all people and doing what is RIGHT. Given the recent and ongoing racial brutality and social injustice against the black community, we cannot stay silent. We stand with the black community today and always. As a company, we’ve donated to @blklivesmatter and encourage you to research organizations and support where possible. If you’re looking for ways to educate yourself and for how to get involved, please visit: @mnfreedomfund, @nationalbailout, @colorofchange, @reclaimtheblock, @naacp. This has to stop. #BlackLivesMatter ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Additional actions you can take:⁠⠀ Text FLOYD to 55156 ⁠⠀ Call County Attorney Mike Freeman at 612-348-5550 ⁠⠀ Call Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison at 651-296-3353⁠⠀ Call Minnesota Gov. Walz at 651-201-3400⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀

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Summer Fridays

Summer Fridays has donated to @blklivesmatter & @mnfreedomfund.

Sunday Riley

Sunday Riley had donated $50,000 to the @NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

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George Floyd and I are both from Houston. We actually both went to Lamar High School, though he graduated from Yates. We were separated by time. We weren’t the same age, we weren’t in the same year. But we walked the same hallways, maybe sat in the same classrooms, albeit at different moments in time. We had entirely different lives, different opportunities, and faced different challenges.  Had we both been in the exact same situation, at the exact same moment, I think it would have ended differently for me. Actually, I know it would have. That reality pierces me to my core.⠀ ⠀ Being from Houston, as a team, we want to support the black community locally and are looking for meaningful ways that we can support. Hopefully we’ll have something firmed up in the next day or so. But in recognition that this level of discrimination, hatred, and brutality is rampant across the entire United States, yesterday we made a $50,000 donation commitment to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. We are limited in our resources, but not in our voice.⠀ ⠀ Wishing everyone a peaceful Sunday, but not a forgetful one. 🤎⠀ – Sunday

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Supergoop!

Supergoop! has made a donation to @blklivesmatter.

Tarte

Tarte has made a donation to @NAACP.

Tower 28

Tower 28 made donations to @aclu_nationwide ,@blklivesmatter,@naacp , and Campaign Zero.

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At Tower 28, we are a beauty brand that talks a lot about sensitivity. But with so much ugliness in the world, it's hard to talk about beauty. And in a time when insensitivity and injustice pervades, our hearts break. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Tower 28 stands with George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all that have been affected by systematic racism and white supremacy. We stand in solidarity with those fighting against social injustice. We need to make a change, together. We stand with you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In an effort to help make a change, Tower 28 has made donations to: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @aclu_nationwide @blklivesmatter @naacp Campaign Zero ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you can, please consider donating, anything helps! We thank you for standing with us! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Incredible graphic 📸 (edited): @brandychieco – thank you !

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⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Urban Decay

Urban Decay is donating to @mnfreedomfund and @blklivesmatter.

Ursa Major Skincare

Ursa Major will be donating $10,000 to help fuel the dreams of young black entrepreneurs in urban areas across the US. Ursa Major also noted, “we will also start pushing harder for a more diverse workforce here at Ursa Major as we continue to grow, because it’s the right thing to do, and because the best way to help Vermont become more inclusive is to create more economic opportunities here for people of color.” They also stated they will be creating a cause to be focused on creating opportunities for minority populations to experience the benefits of nature.

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As white people living in Vermont, one of the whitest states in the country (about 94% white), it feels impossible to really know what it's like to be a black person living in America. George Floyd's brutal and unjust death, and the world's rightful indignation of it, is a long overdue wake-up call for the US, and the entire world. This event underscores an obvious fact: the system needs to change fundamentally if we are to deliver on America's promise of equal opportunity and dignity for all people, regardless of race, religion or gender. Complacent white people need to start doing more today in order to be the change we want to see, versus continuing to be bystanders who, though maybe concerned and compassionate, aren't really doing much to help (beyond casting our vote periodically to help effect change). The first thing is to unequivocally express our solidarity with the black people of this country who are fighting for dignity, freedom, racial equality every day – all things most privileged white people now take for granted. These are fundamental rights for every human being on earth, yet the majority of folks still don't yet have them. Next, in the immediate term, Ursa Major will be donating $10,000 to help fuel the dreams of young black entrepreneurs in urban areas across the US. We’re big believers in the power of entrepreneurship to help mobilize positive change and this feels like a tangible thing we can do today to help the black community. For a small company, this is a big check to write – but we recognize these limited funds will only go so far. It’s not a lasting solution. Longer term, we must strive to gain a better understanding of the minority experience in America, and in Vermont. Right now this feels like a big blind spot for most white folks, happily ensconced in their mostly white neighborhoods. Gaining clearer awareness and understanding has to be the first step. (Continued in comments) #BlackLivesMatter

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Versed

Versed has donated to the @NAACP  and @blklivesmatter, and are “working as a team and business to support this movement through our platforms to help create permanent change.”

Vesca

Vesca has made a donation to @reclaimtheblock@blackvisionscollective, and the George Floyd Memorial Fund. 

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#BlackLivesMatter. We are heartbroken at the tragic events that have unfolded this past week. At Vesca, we aim to pave the way for inclusivity, diversity and transparency and in these times more than others, it is important for us to use our platform and speak up about these issues.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ We stand in solidarity with those raising their voices in the fight to dismantle systems of violence, and oppression against the Black community. We encourage you to listen, educate yourselves, have tough conversations and speak up about these issues.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ We have made a donation to @reclaimtheblock, @blackvisionscollective, and the George Floyd Memorial Fund on behalf of Vesca Beauty. If you have the means, please consider supporting and contributing to these organizations:⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ @blackvisionscollective : a Black-led, Queer and Trans centering organization whose mission is to organize powerful, connected Black communities and dismantle systems of violence…through building strategic campaigns, investing in Black leadership, and engaging in cultural and narrative organizing.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ @reclaimtheblock: organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ @blklivesmatter: a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

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Youth to the People

Youth to the People has donated $50,000 across three organizations working to dismantle systemic violence and institutionalized racism: @blklivesmatter , @BlackGirlsCode, and the @NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

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We won’t stop speaking out against racism. But action is needed. Action as unrelenting as the racism and violence committed against the Black community in this country, and beyond. + Youth To The People will act in solidarity with the protestors, the activists, the community leaders, and those individuals who have been given no choice but to rally for their children’s rights, safety, and lives. + We have donated $50,000 across three organizations working to dismantle systemic violence and institutionalized racism: @blklivesmatter , @BlackGirlsCode, and the @NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. + Not everyone can give, and not everyone has a platform to amplify the message. We believe that the words spoken in your home, among your friends and family, and to your children are transformative. Speak for justice. For those able and wanting to act alongside us, here is a list of organizations. If we have overlooked any, please share in the comments. Thank you.

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Starface’s Spacewash is your summertime facewash

Acne-prone AND sensitive–not a super popular skin type combination.

But actually, a lot of people who experience acne sensitize their skin over time due to harsh ingredients and improper chemical mixtures in skincare products. When we think of face washes for acne-prone skin, we think of tea tree, harsh scrubs (hello, dryness and inflammation), and that minty, almost astringent feeling that our skin is conditioned to think means, Congrats, we’re clean. 

SEE ALSO: These acne patches are the quickest fix for all of your breakout woes

Starface is looking to change all of that with their new face wash called Spacewash ($16). If you haven’t heard of, or at least ~seen~ what Starface is all about, I’m sorry, but you’ve been living under a rock. Not only is Starface a brand that’s aiming to change the conversation around acne with their cute, bright yellow star-shaped pimple patches, but they also just launched in September 2019 and have made enormous strides as a brand since. 

Spacewash being squeezed into someone's hand

Their signature product, as I mentioned, are their bright yellow star-shaped hydrocolloid pimple patches. They come in a Gen-Z vanity-worthy package that they call “Big Yellow”. It’s like an AirPod case for your pimple patches, and it has a little mirror inside. Starface lovers can buy refill packs of patches for Big Yellow and they come in all different kinds of fun designs. They’ve launched rainbow packs of patches, holographic, and most recently, glow in the dark! 

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album dropping soon

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Since launching in September 2019, the brand has skyrocketed to social media success. More specifically, on platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok. On Instagram alone, they’ve gained 76K in followers and their community engagement among Gen Z is a force to be reckoned with. On Tik Tok, they have 260K in followers and popular Gen Z influencer, Charlie D’Amelio, and upcoming artist, Leo Reilly have sported the trendy stars in fun videos. Safe to say, they’re killing it. 

@starface

gold star 4 u @charlidamelio #starface #lifeathome #foryou

♬ ily uwu_kajak – uwu_kajak

@starface

@loveleo.o + Party Pack 🌈🎈#partytime #quarantine #haircut #starface #foryou

♬ just so you know its a bath bomb haha – 𝘮𝘺𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴

My skin type

I’ve had combination skin almost all of my life. I was blessed in high school with little acne woes. I maybe had one pimple a year, and it was absolutely nothing to fuss about. But, when I came to college, my skin was transitioning from combination to full-blown oily and cystic acne-prone skin. I also suffer from eczema and many allergies, which have made my skin a bit sensitive. During my freshman year of college, I had no idea how to handle the acne. Sure, I was knowledgeable about skincare, but it took me a while to figure out my new skin type and its triggers. 

Since then, I’ve learned my triggers for cystic flare-ups and I’ve been able to balance my oil and sebum production pretty well. I quickly gravitated to gel face washes. I’ve always been told to spend very little on face wash, as the ingredients don’t stay on your face for very long, so there’s no point to invest in an expensive product. While true, if you’re acne-prone, the face wash you choose is extremely important and can sometimes make or break your skincare routine in terms of preventing breakouts. 

For years I’ve loved gel face washes like The Body Shop’s Seaweed Deep Cleansing Gel Wash and Skinfood’s Egg White Pore Foam. The search for a gel face wash that had acne-fighting ingredients was more difficult. Most that I’ve come across have a lot of fragrance or too much of an acne-fighting ingredient like charcoal, tea tree, or salicylic acid, which is not something my cystic acne can always handle. 

Ingredients 

Upon first glance on the box, I was shocked at the ingredient list. The ingredients were so simple! I thought to myself, Have I been overdoing it? Were the acne-fighting ingredients I was using before too much for my skin?

The formula contains white willow bark, sage leaf, and calendula flowers. I was so relieved when I saw there weren’t any added fragrances or sodium laureth sulfate, which can be triggering irritants for acne-prone skin. 

Spacewash is oil-free, 100% vegan, and is in compliance with European standards, so you know it’s the good stuff. Besides its acne-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties, Spacewash lifts away makeup and dead skin cells while you wash, too.  

The review

To be honest, the first 3-5 times I tried Spacewash, I wasn’t completely in love. While I loved the texture and how the formula became a nice frothy wash, it made my skin feel a little stripped. However, as the weather started to become more hot and sticky, I craved washing my face with Spacewash. It started to agree with my skin more, or at least help me out as this new climate was wreaking havoc on my face. I haven’t had any new cystic pimples for the entire month of May (seriously amazing), but I have been getting a couple of whiteheads and I’ve been super oily. Spacewash cleared that right up. 

I’m not sure if Spacewash would be the first thing I grab to clear up a cystic breakout. However, it is gentle enough and has proved its anti-inflammatory properties. I believe I would still need the help of my topical acne medications in conjunction with Spacewash. I do wish Spacewash had more of a refreshing or tingly after feeling, but I think that’s the little voice inside my head telling me what every acne-fighting face wash that’s come before it should feel like. Overall, this is an acne-fighting face wash meant for people with sensitive skin, which is rarely catered to in skincare.

As the weather continues to get warmer and summer will soon be in full force, Spacewash is great to get rid of dead skin cells from sunscreen residue and excess sebum. I’ve used Spacewash in the morning, in the middle of the day when my sweaty face is in need of a refresh, and at night. Harsh scrubbing and ingredients are often the cause of inflammation and redness in acne-prone people, but Spacewash aims to change the game. It’s definitely your new summer cleanser. 

TLDR;

  • Starface launched an acne-fighting gel wash called Spacewash!
  • It’s meant for sensitive, acne-prone skin
  • It’s $16, but you can subscribe and get it for $14.40
  • 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, oil-free, and complies with EU standards
  • No added fragrance, phthalates, or sodium laureth sulfate!
  • Lifts away makeup and dead skin cells

BUY OR BYE? 

A good BUY for summertime cleansing needs.  

BUY HERE, $16

Being an Asian American healthcare worker means you’re called a hero and villain

May is officially Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, celebrating the journey of Asian Pacific Americans, what they’ve accomplished, and what’s to come. For an entire week, Very Good Light is kicking off a series of Asian American stories, highlighting the future of Asian America. From Generation Z activists, healthcare workers on the front lines, music artists, and more, we’re uplifting Asian stories. We’ve partnered this week with Hate Is A Virus, a grassroots campaign that aims to raise $1 million to businesses affected by COVID-19. Together, we hope to spark conversations, change, and community. After all, the Asian American experience is the American experience. We’re in this together. For more on Hate Is A Virus, go here. 

Asian American healthcare workers

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear scrubs.

Asian American frontline medical professionals are working to save the country despite falling victim to blatant racism.

As quarantine continues and coronavirus-related anxiety reaches fever pitch, hate crimes against Asian communities across the United States have also experienced an upswing. Asian Americans are being targeted, verbally and physically harassed at alarming frequency. It doesn’t help that President Trump’s branding of COVID-19 as “the Chinese virus” prompting insults such as, “Go back to China,” or inferring that a Chinese American reporter doesn’t belong. 

For Asian American medical professionals, weathering a pandemic on the frontlines is much more political than simply showing up to save lives. Not only do they work day-in and day-out in conditions they have never before encountered, but forced to confront and ease racial tensions in the process. A new video of Asian American healthcare workers published Tuesday, proving how these professionals are both heralded as heroes but also vilified as well. Another video from TIME tells the story of Dr. Chen Fu, a hospitalist at NYU Langone Medical Center who shared with of his experiences with racism as a health practitioner in a pandemic. “It’s tough to reconcile being both celebrated and villainized at the same time.”

Though Asians make up about 5.6 percent of the population according to the last U.S census, they compose 18% of the medical field according to a 2018 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges. They’re sacrificing their lives and putting themselves at risk for the betterment of others.

To celebrate the hardworking individuals in the medical field represented in Asian American communities, we’re uplifting 15 doctors and nurses around the country. We’ve asked them to share with us how they’re navigating this new world and what their important experiences have been. Here are their real stories: 

AJ Angelia , New Jersey, RN

I work as a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital. I graduated from nursing school in May 2019 and have been working as a nurse for 10 months now.

When COVID-19 hit my hospital, it was a shock to the system. Cases were rapidly increasing, the demand for staff shifted between departments, and policies and best practices were constantly changing. In the ICU, we quickly became short-staffed. We had reached our patient capacity. 

We are required to wear surgical masks at all times. When we enter the room of a COVID-19 patient, we must don personal protective equipment for “airborne” precautions, which include: a gown, two pairs of gloves, an N95 mask, and a face shield or goggles. We put on and remove each of these items with each pass into and out of a room. In efforts to preserve PPE (personal protective equipment), other nurses and I try our best to cluster our care so that we can do our job properly while entering the room the least number of times possible.

Being Asian-American during these times has shown how false the Model Minority Myth is as we were swiftly stabbed in the back by Yellow Peril. In the context of being in the medical field as an Asian-American, I have raised my voice louder for both the safety of my colleagues facing COVID-19 head-to-head and my Asian-American brothers and sisters experiencing racism. While I have yet to experience the levels of blatant racism that I have read about — and I hope I never will — I continue to see and hear microaggressions.

Sometimes when I’m in the store to pick something up from work, I often feel that my obvious Asian ethnicity coupled with hospital scrubs marks me as a target. I wonder if the person from down the aisle will be the one to break the silence and say, “Thank you for all that you do” or, “Please don’t come any closer,” with a touch of racial slurs. 

Dagny Zhu, California, MD 

I was born in Shanghai, China, and immigrated with my parents to the U.S. at a young age. I graduated from UCLA college and from Harvard Medical School where I discovered my love for ophthalmology. I now work as a cornea, cataract, and LASIK surgeon as an owner of a practice.

We shut down our clinic and furloughed about 75% of our staff for about one month. I continued to only see urgent patients about two times a week. As a small practice owner, it has been very difficult financially because, without surgeries, our clinic does not generate any revenue, but continues to accumulate high expenses like rent. It’s been especially difficult for my staff as they have had to file for unemployment during this time to get by. Fortunately, we are slowly opening back up as non-urgent surgery restrictions have been lifted in California, but we are continuing to be very cautious and taking multiple safety precautions.

I have had colleagues who have had patients refuse to see them because of their race, so every day, I am self-conscious about how my own patients view me and whether I may experience the same. It’s disheartening to hear about people of Asian descent including children and the elderly being attacked verbally and physically solely based on their race. They have to worry not only about contracting the virus but also about being attacked whenever they leave their homes. 

There’s irony in the situation. Asian Americans make up almost 20% of medical doctors in the country, many of whom are on the front lines risking their own lives to save others. Sadly, many of them have either been personally discriminated against or had their family or friends experience first-hand attacks. Regardless, as physicians, we do not discriminate against who we treat and will continue to provide the best care possible to all our patients. 

Jerry Tsong, New York, MD

I’m an ophthalmologist and retina specialist. I’m Taiwanese-American, both of my parents are immigrants from Taiwan but I was born in New Jersey and grew up there.

I am an attending physician in a private practice in a group of other eye doctors. We operate at the local hospital and cover the ER and consulting services too. COVID-19 has been very stressful to me, my fellow doctors, and my medical teams. We have had to provide eye care to patients with new diagnoses of COVID-19, we worry about getting COVID-19 and spreading it to our loved ones, and as small business owners we worry about keeping our business afloat in the face of severely reduced numbers of patients and lost revenue. 

In March we limited our practice to only seeing emergency patients and patients with unstable eye conditions. Instead of six doctors working full-time, we reduced it to one doctor each day, and for a limited number of patients. We stopped operating except for emergency cases. We have had to deal with shortages of PPE and have had to purchase directly on Ebay and online with a huge mark-up. We reuse masks and provide masks to patients who are not wearing them.

The federal government and other government leaders have not done enough to stand up against Anti-Asian racism during the pandemic. The President and other officials calling it the “Chinese virus” is clearly inciting racism and, in turn, Asian-American discrimination. This is incredibly disturbing and flat out wrong. There is a distinction between the Chinese government and Chinese citizens in America. Just like there is a distinction between the Chinese government and Asian-Americans – totally different groups that should not be lumped together.

As doctors, we are taught to treat everyone with the same compassion and care. I do this every day when I see patients at work. It’s the same with my fellow Asian-American physicians. There’s no hesitation involved. It’s what we’re trained to do. It’s just what’s right. But it’s especially painful to experience anti-Asian-American discrimination now. This is at a time when Asian-Americans make up a significant portion of healthcare workers and are fighting the virus on behalf of all Americans.

Fortunately, I have not had anyone shout racial epithets at me or experienced violence against me. But I know it could happen anytime, anywhere. I live in New York City and I avoid going outside at night, even in “safe” neighborhoods, out of concern for my safety as an Asian-American. This is the first time that I have avoided going out at night in NYC, ever. I am also more careful and more aware of others around me.

Racism towards any one group of Americans is flat out wrong and distinctly un-American. More Americans need to realize that and other minority groups need to come together to promote this. We are all Americans.

 Kimberly Shao, Connecticut, MD

I am a Chinese-Polynesian American. I was born in the States and I grew up in New York. I went to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania and I am currently in Connecticut doing my dermatology residency.

For dermatologists, limiting face-to-face encounters while still seeing urgent in-person patients in order to steer them away from overcrowding emergency rooms is key. The majority of our patient visits have been through telemedicine, with the exception of 4-5 clinics a week seeing in-person urgent appointments.  We stopped all elective procedures, and surgery has been limited to only melanomas (which are lethal if left untreated), and high-risk squamous cell cancers.

Being in the medical field as an Asian could mean I am tasked to treat patients who hold bigoted opinions. It means that I may be confronted with harrowing news of members of my ethnicity being attacked, while I have no other moral choice other than to maintain my job and oath to help others. It means that some Asian health care workers, especially those in major cities, may be harassed on public transport on their way to risk their lives to save others. 

I called a patient the other week to let him know we needed to change his appointment to a phone visit and reschedule his in-person appointment for a later date. He became frustrated and irate. Telling me that our clinic was making a big deal out of nothing, that this “China virus is hocus pocus.” Questioning how we could be real doctors. Though I introduced myself as Dr. Shao, I wondered if he would have said the same things to my face seeing as I was Asian. The next day we saw a woman with a diffusely pruritic rash. She thanked us profusely for seeing her and for what we do as physicians. It’s definitely a strange time to be an Asian doctor. On one end, doctors are being applauded for their sacrifice. On the other end, Asians have increasingly become the target of hate crimes.

It hit home for me when it started affecting my grandma. She normally goes to a senior center in NYC for Asian women. Obviously they had to put that on hold during the pandemic, but her senior center friends stayed in touch via WeChat. They would share stories – many about the uptick in verbal and physical hate crimes towards Asians. My grandmother became afraid to leave her apartment – just as scared of the virus as she was of the possibility of harassment.

This is all while racism against Black people runs rampant in China. Chinese-Americans have landed in the middle, and as a result, this has stirred even more negativity towards Asian minorities. I do not condone xenophobia of any nature. But it is disheartening to see Asian Americans here, many who have and continue to contribute to the health and wellness of our country be demonized. 

Leslie Kim, New York, MD & MPH


I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and emigrated to NYC when I was one-year-old. I’m a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist (ENT). I practice exclusively in aesthetic and reconstructive procedures of the face, head, and neck.

Being a sub-specialist, I have been largely “sidelined” by the COVID-19 pandemic.  I stopped seeing patients in the clinic and doing elective surgeries in mid-March. For the past seven weeks, my practice has been reduced to virtual visits, post-op/urgent clinic visits, and cancer reconstruction cases. However, it is well-known that otolaryngologists or ENTs are one of the specialists at the highest risk of occupational exposure to COVID-19 due to our work in the nose/mouth/throat. So we have had to take extra precautions in surgeries and when seeing patients. 

COVID-19 has also impacted me because my mom is a registered nurse on Long Island, NY.  She has been on the frontlines, working tirelessly to treat all/only COVID-19 patients. She ran out of PPE and I had to mail her some. Despite this, she messages me after every shift to make sure WE are doing okay.  She is my personal hero and now has been a hero to many.

My heart breaks, hearing about fellow Asian-Americans struggle with racism and xenophobia during this novel coronavirus pandemic. Being attacked for no reason. It is not something I have personally experienced but I find myself being more vigilant these days.  So many of us are immigrants or the children of immigrants who came to this country to seek a better life and career in the land of opportunity. Now, many of us have become physicians and other health care workers who work so hard to give back to our communities. 

Especially in times of crisis, there is no place for hate. We are all human and underneath the color of our skin and our appearance, we are all the same people.  We all seek to live our best life of love, health, success, and happiness. We all struggle similarly in this pursuit with heartbreaks, losses, failures, disease, and death. Yet, our differences are what make this world, and this country in particular, so wonderful and interesting. 

Victor Liou, Massachusetts, MD

My parents immigrated from Taiwan and I was born and raised in the Midwest. My fellowship training is in ophthalmic plastic surgery, a small but amazing subspecialty of ophthalmology. We perform surgeries on the eyelid, orbit, and tear duct system as well as facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

To protect the patients and staff, our hospital has postponed all “non-essential” surgeries and appointments. This means we are only seeing urgent issues that might potentially result in blindness. For non-urgent issues, I have had to find ways to help the patient virtually rather than in person. COVID-19 has forced me to make these decisions with a blurry photo or pixelated video call. Patients are afraid to come to the hospital because they do not want to contract the virus. I often give out my email address and phone number so patients can update me on their symptoms from home.

Still, we occasionally have patients who are very sick and need to stay in the hospital. I must examine them face to face. Early during the pandemic, COVID-19 test results took almost a week to come back. It was nerve-wracking to enter a room of a potentially infected patient. I was constantly worried there was a leak in my N-95 face mask. After exiting the room, I would wash my hands three times, my face once, and then use antiseptic. I was not worried about overkill. Fortunately, obtaining COVID-19 results is much faster now.

Though I am hopeful for a brighter future, we cannot expect discrimination and ignorance to cease overnight. It is important for us Asian-American physicians to recognize that our contributions are a product of not only our medical training but also our personal histories. We should acknowledge not only the expertise we provide but also the diversity in our understanding of each person and our approach to patient care. Both parts coexist and should be celebrated together.

Ari , Pennslyvania, RN

I am a second degree BSN, which means that I earned my first bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field (for me it was hospitality management) and then applied to an accelerated BSN program. 

I am not currently working in a hospital. I finished my ABSN program in December 2019 and passed my RN board exam at the end of April. Since my program ended, I have been volunteering my time with the Medical Reserve Corps to conduct COVID-19 tests. My husband is a physician and is also a frontline worker. We are anxious over every occasional cough or tickle in our throat. We have both been feeling a certain level of anxiety because of the pandemic. We are worried about our family in CA, each other, and our own health. 

It is difficult to put into words. Violence against Asians in America has been glossed over for decades. I would encourage any Asian American who does not know the name Vincent Chin to Google his name and learn his story. My message to other Asian American medical workers is to try and rise above hatred. We are integral parts of our country’s response to COVID-19. We play a vital role and no one can take that away from us. We are Americans, period. Pity those who throw hateful words at us because they are being un-American. 

I was called racial slurs in broad daylight by someone a few weeks ago after I had come off a string of days conducting COVID-19 tests. I feel that as much as all healthcare workers (HCWs) are celebrated right now, there needs to be equal energy directed at supporting HCWs of Asian descent. I implore HCWs of every ethnic background to support their Asian American colleagues and call out problematic speech and behavior when they see it (in a safe way, of course). 

Shim Ching , Hawaii, MD

I’m a board-certified plastic surgeon. I was born in Japan but was raised in Vancouver, Canada. I was trained in Canada and moved to the U.S 15 years ago. I specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery.

I no longer work at the hospital, but we shut down our private practice for five weeks for the good of our community. I do feel fortunate in that I have not experienced racism in our current situation. The population of Hawaii is predominantly Asian so we are sheltered from those concerns.  

Although the origin of COVID-19 may have been from China, blaming people of Asian heritage for this pandemic is ignorant and wrong. I would hope stories like Dr. Chen Fu will raise awareness of this issue and prevent this from happening to Asian American doctors and healthcare workers.

Scott Fujimoto , California, DO

I am a Japanese-American, born and raised near Philadelphia. I am an interventional radiologist, meaning I perform minimally-invasive image-guided therapies for anything from oncology to vascular disease. 

We have had to postpone many outpatient procedures to minimize risk to HCWs and at-risk patients. Unfortunately, this often means that patients with the diagnosis of cancer or potentially have cancer will have to wait for their diagnosis and treatment. However, much of our procedures are inpatient or considered urgent so we have remained pretty busy. Because of the essential nature of our service, we tried to split our teams as much as possible to prevent a mass exposure from causing illness or quarantine that would limit the availability of people throughout the hospital. Procedures done on COVID-19 positive patients are done at bedside if possible, or in a converted negative pressure cardiovascular lab in the operating room if fluoroscopy is required. 

Thankfully, I have not encountered any personal attacks or discrimination. I have had colleagues that have been heckled leaving the hospital or who have had patients themselves make comments about their race. The doctor who could save your life might end up being Asian, and we will treat you compassionately no matter your race.

The thing that struck me most about Dr. Fu’s story is the racism he encountered when he was in scrubs obviously on his way to the hospital. I have treated all kinds of people, from inmates to white supremacists, and everyone is respectful to their doctors because they know their lives are in the doctor’s hands. Now, with this irrational fear of Asians, that line of respect is being blurred. I don’t need to be treated like a hero, but I do need to be able to do my job without fear for my safety.   

Also, as a Japanese-American whose family was impacted by the internment during World War II, it has saddened me that there have been calls on Asians to increase their patriotism. This mindset led to the assimilation of Japanese-Americans to the point where their unique culture was lost. I don’t believe that we need to prove our American-ness, we are just as American as everyone else.  

Katrina von Kriegenbergh , California, MD

I am the daughter of Filipino immigrants. My parents immigrated in the ’70s during the large healthcare worker immigration- my father is a general surgeon who was educated in the Philippines, but completed his residency in the US. I am a double board-certified pain management physician and anesthesiologist

Prior to the pandemic, I was doing outpatient chronic pain management 90-95% of the time and surgery center anesthesia half a day a week. I performed injections and minimally invasive surgery for pain from the low back, neck, abdomen, pelvis, etc. Since the pandemic, I joined a group of anesthesiologists to form the invasive lines team to take care of COVID-19 patients

Some people have targeted Asian and Asian-Americans because the first outbreak of the disease was in Wuhan, China. I personally have not experienced anything, but I have read about Chinese and Chinese Americans being physically assaulted for not wearing a mask or for simply being Asian and may have also endured racial slurs. 

Many people are thankful that we continue to work and we will continue as long as we need to. Honestly, many healthcare workers, including myself, are uncomfortable with the “hero” title. I feel like I have a specialized skill set as an anesthesiologist that is of great use, especially during this time. However, I am merely showing up and doing my job. I am fortunate to have appropriate PPE at my hospital. I realize this is not the case everywhere. I feel like we are also being villainized when we try to give guidelines that people do not want to hear, especially regarding how and when to reopen the country. 

Micah Yu , California, MD

I am Chinese American and I decided to become a rheumatologist because of my own disease. A rheumatologist mainly treats arthritis and autoimmune disease. My struggles with my own disease have motivated me to help others and empathize with those who are dealing with the same medical problems.

My office has stopped all procedures and have switched to telemedicine. I am taking care of more coronavirus patients on top of taking care of rheumatology patients while in the hospital.

Being Asian-American in the medical field has not changed much for me. However, some of my colleagues have had racist comments made towards them just because they were Asian. It is hard being Asian-American at this time even though we are taking care of coronavirus in the hospital as we also have to fight the racist virus outside the hospital. Hearing about racist comments and hate crimes towards other fellow Asians in the USA has been heartbreaking.

It is very hard being an Asian-American doctor at this time. We are helping fight this virus in the hospital but at the same time when we are out of the hospital, people see us as Asians and possibly linked to the coronavirus despite the fact that we are doctors fighting the same battle that everyone else is fighting. 

Lyly Nguyen , California, MD

I am Vietnamese-American and I started my career as a general surgeon and am specializing in plastic surgery. Soon, I will be in my last year of plastic surgery fellowship.

During COVID, my plastic surgery program, as well as my institution, took great measures to decrease exposure to its staff. We decreased to half staff and alternated weeks on and off. As a plastic surgery fellow, many of our elective cases were canceled to maintain safety of our patients and hospital staff, however any urgent reconstructive cases still continued keeping us busy. 

I’m fortunate to not have experienced any racism or negative remarks firsthand. However, I have heard countless attacks or comments to fellow physicians, some risking their health and safety on the frontlines. Hearing these accounts always makes you concerned about how other people perceive your external appearance even if they haven’t outwardly expressed it. This looming fear or anxiety is unprecedented, something that I never felt I had to worry about before.  

I worry about how my race will affect how my patients perceive me and how it will affect their trust in me, not because of my skill or intelligence but because of my background. I am lucky and hopeful that I will never have to experience that. 

Christy Chen , Minnesota, MD

I was born in Shanghai, China, and grew up in Michigan. I have now been on staff at Mayo Clinic for six years, taking care of patients in the outpatient setting and nursing homes while educating learners on all levels including medical students, residents, and fellows.

COVID-19 impacted my outpatient practice and nursing home practice. In an effort to keep our patients and community safe, many long term care facilities were on strict lockdown, which limited our ability to care for them face to face. We needed to quickly adapt to these changes and discover other ways to take care of them including telemedicine options, which unfortunately had its limitations when dealing with multiple chronic health issues and complex care coordination needs. Despite maximizing our efforts, the infection still made its way into these vulnerable populations across the nation which was very devastating to see. It reminded us how ill-prepared we are for situations like these, not just in the hospital setting, but across the community and especially in our older adults. 

For me, being an Asian American in the medical field during this time is the same as it has always been. We are a part of a team, and that has not changed. We are all critical players despite our background and race, and we should not let the increase in discrimination downplay our skills, efforts, or worth. Our goals as healthcare workers are uniform- we want to keep our patients healthy, safe, and alive. We want to do everything in our power to meet these goals, which do not discriminate. Racial attacks may have increased, but I believe this is largely driven by fear and misconception. I still choose to believe that deep down, people have good intentions and hatred or fear can only be broken through building good relationships, listening to each other, and taking care of each other with kindness. 

It saddens me to wonder if the perception of Asian-Americans has changed permanently because of this pandemic. It saddens me, even more, to recognize that there are many people who feel discriminated against in some way every day of their lives and were born into this. Discrimination and racism of any kind should not exist, but the roots run deep and span many generations across many cultures. It is my hope that we will continue to break this mentality throughout time.

Austin L. Chiang , Pennsylvania, MD

I’m a gastroenterologist sub-specializing in advanced endoscopy. I’m an assistant professor of medicine at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia and I’m also the director of the endoscopic bariatric program and chief medical social media officer for the institution.

We aim to minimize exposure to our patients and staff, conserve resources while making sure that people who need urgent procedures can still get the care they need. We’ve had to postpone non-urgent procedures and reconfigure our schedules so we can take turns caring for patients in the hospital. We’ve also had to figure out our protocols for COVID testing and equipping ourselves with appropriate protective gear when encountering patients. Additionally, we are having to anticipate how to reopen our practice to prioritize those who need immediate attention.

It has been an interesting dichotomy. I have encountered one instance where someone shouted a racially-motivated coronavirus reference at me despite the fact that I was in medical garb. Fortunately, I consider Philadelphia to be a diverse city, and I can only hope that this translates to acceptance and understanding. Health professionals regardless of race are working hard to protect and treat our patients. It’s a difficult and stressful time for everyone, so we could all benefit from exercising a little more empathy through all this.

Daniel Sugai , Washington, MD & FAAD

I am a board-certified dermatologist in private practice. I am originally from Oahu and did my medical school training there at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine where I met my wife in our first year of medical school. We both moved to Boston to do our residency training. I did my internship in internal medicine and my dermatology residency at Harvard Medical School. My wife, Dr. Erina Sugai, is a hospitalist physician in the Seattle area on the frontlines battling COVID-19.

When the pandemic started, we immediately responded by cutting our outpatient clinic time to a small fraction where I was only working 1-2 half days a week and limiting my practice to high-risk medication follow-ups and emergency cases in order to lessen the burden on our local ERs and Urgent Care centers. I had diagnosed fast-growing skin cancers and helped treat serious skin infections and blistering rashes during the pandemic. Thankfully the curve has flattened, and we are able to slowly open up clinic hours to more patients.

My wife and I are Asian-American physicians and I have personally experienced racism during my medical training years before this pandemic. Thankfully we have not experienced racial discrimination or hate during this pandemic but I am very concerned for my fellow Asian-Americans. Our healthcare workers are on the frontlines fighting this virus and caring for our communities yet are facing racism outside of the hospital.  There is no way hate will be the answer to these dark times; only love will heal us eventually. It will take time to recover from this but we will get through this together as a community.

We as physicians have a duty to our communities, to serve and put our families and our own health on the line but the public should not take that for granted regardless of race. The profession of medicine is a noble one but I feel that it also keeps us from standing up for ourselves to not come off as “unprofessional” or “insensitive.” Physician burnout is a real thing that has led many to suicide and depression. Moreover, physicians are facing pay cuts during this pandemic despite risking their lives every day. Physicians do not deserve nor have the time or energy to battle the racial hate that is inflicted on them outside of the hospital — on the subway or in the grocery store. We need to not only flatten the curve of infections but also flatten the curve of hate during these dark times.

Milk Makeup’s latest KUSH launches did not disappoint.

Milk Makeup knows how to hype up a good launch, even in quarantine.

Known for being 100% vegan and all about self-expression, Milk Makeup works hard to put out nothing but the very best time and time again. Cult-favorite lip + cheek sticks, Hydro Grip Primer, and of course their KUSH line. They know what they’re doing that’s for sure. 

Their latest launch expanded on their KUSH line and came right on time for 4/20. Though it could have been really difficult to create buzz around a new launch, Milk Makeup had no problem teasing their new KUSH Triple Brow Pen on Instagram and announcing a live tutorial just days before. But they didn’t stop there, they also launched 3 color versions of their popular Kush Lip Glaze.

Was it VGL Approved? Read our thoughts!

KUSH Triple Brow Pen ($22)

Featuring a triple tip like no other brow pen we’ve seen before and the power to fill, condition, and detail. The product comes in eight different shades and you can make your swipes as minimal or intense as you’d like depending on your preference. It’s water-resistant and uses plant-derived and sunflower oil along with aloe to hydrate and condition even the thickest of brow hairs. The felt applicator is angled and triple tipped perfect for feathering in hair-like strokes. Milk Makeup says it best themselves, “the look of microbladed brows, no appointment necessary”, and we can’t disagree.

VGL’s take

This pen was exactly what my untamed beastly quarantined brows needed. Usually, I skip filling in my brows because I’m both terrible & lazy about it. However, this pen has taught me it’s easy and I swear, I have a new face now. 

I must admit, once revealing the tip of the pen I was a bit intimidated. I wondered how a tiny tip resembling a crab claw could help me out. I wasn’t sure how to start and I thought it would be best to practice on my hand a couple of times. When I was ready to commit to my brows, I tried to be as light as possible to create a feathered look. It’s actually an incredibly easy-to-use pen and the triple tip actually acts as a guide when applying. Since it’s waterproof, you’ll need an oil-based makeup remover but it slides right off. Milk Makeup recommends you store it upside down or horizontally to take care of it. 

KUSH Lip Glaze ($18)

A high shine lip glaze with all the good stuff and none of the sticky sh*t. The launch included 2 new shades, Nova & Rosebud. The cult-favorite product only came in clear before these were released. These can be used alone for subtle color or on top of any lip color to add high shine and lots of pigment. TBH, I’ve been trying both ways. Plant-derived oils, shea, cocoa, and mango butters create the magic behind the hydration these glazes offer. Perhaps the best part is they taste like peppermint. 

VGL’s take

I’ve never met a shiny gloss that isn’t sticky, until these. I usually opt for subtle lipsticks over glosses because I can’t stand stickiness. I was unsure if the lip glazes would be sticky given the word ~glaze~ but both colors were too up my alley to not try. I’m bad at describing colors but I feel Nova is a subtle orangy nude while Rosebud is a dusty light rose. Both formulas are soy-free and gluten-free.

I’m pretty fair-skinned and my lip color already resembles something like Rosebud. But, after telling a few friends about these new lip glazes they wanted them too. It’s clear these shades are universal and complement many skin tones and lip colors. Also, I tried them with a full face of makeup, and then on days when I went makeup-free…they just work for whatever vibe. 

First thoughts: insanely pretty colors. If you’re looking for a bold lip, these aren’t it. But, if you’re looking for a fancy natural gloss that can take you from a day of errands to date night…these ARE IT. Although they’re considered ‘high shine’ I thought they offered an effortless, natural-looking sheen. They left my lips hydrated all day long and never once became sticky. Oh, and they taste good due to that peppermint extract.

TLDR;

  • Milk Makeup launched some awesome new products within their KUSH line
  • The triple brow pen takes some practice but your brows will never look better
  • Their new lip glazes are hydrating, never sticky 
  • As always 100% vegan and cruelty, paraben, silicone-free
  • triple brow, $22…lip glazes, $18

BUY or BYE? For this one, definitely BUY!

Why you’re breaking out during quarantine

It was quarantine’s last straw when pimples started sprouting up left and right the other day.

I don’t know about you, but my skin type feels like it’s completely changed in the past few weeks. Friends have told me that I’m not alone as they’re experiencing severe dry patches on their faces like never before. Others say they’ve become increasingly more oily. Why TF is this?!

I had to ask a dermatologist for answers and was heartened to know that Dr. Lamees Hamdan was open for my interrogations. Dr. Hamdan (@shiffbeauty) has been studying dermatology for over 20 years. When it came time to merge her medical background and love of beauty she launched her skincare company, Shiffa, and her supplement company, DL.MD. She says there are three key reasons as to why we’re experiencing changes in our skin and seeing an increase in acne.

SEE ALSO: How self-isolation is messing with your skin and what you can do 

Lack of exercise. Turns out moving our bodies is one of the biggest culprits of bad skin. “Exercise is a time where we let go of a lot of stress and receive oxygenation to our skin,” she tells Very Good Light. “And if we’re not getting enough exercise or as much as we’re used to due to quarantine, it can seriously mess with our skin’s ability to breathe and maintain a healthy moisture barrier.”

Diet. Simple carbs and sugars have been comforting us in a time like this but it hasn’t been doing our skin any favors. “Sugar causes inflammation and it also wreaks havoc with your blood glucose levels, creating inflammation and then a lot of acne as well,” says Dr. Lamees. (You can read more about your diet in quarantine here.)

Stress. We know how stress can influence our skin. Breakouts, red patches, puffiness; we’ve seen it all. And even if you’re handling everything well during this time, it doesn’t negate the fact that you could still be stressed. Scrambling to turn in last-minute assignments or dealing with the woes of online learning/remote work…there’s a lot that can be stressing us out right now.

So what are the solutions? Dr. Hamdan gives us a crash course of her recommendations, below!

Acids are your BFFs!

Dr. Hamdan believes everyone should own a toner or peel containing salicylic and glycolic acid. We can’t disagree, both acids are heroes in treating and healing acne during many different stages. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid or a ‘BHA’ and it’s a very common ingredient within most acne products.

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid or ‘AHA,’ one of the smallest on a molecular level, allowing for deep skin penetration. Glycolic acid is responsible for taking away the pigmentation that your pimple leaves behind. Dr. Hamdan says if you have a darker skin tone, glycolic acid is especially important as often the pigmentation can be seen longer than the pimple itself.

Finding a salicylic and glycolic acid peel or a liquid solution is key to treating your quarantine acne. Dr. Hamdan recommends using a liquid solution as a spot treatment every night. If you have a peel, she says to start your routine twice a week using it as a mask on your entire face. You can wash it off and continuing the rest of your routine as usual. 

VGL’s Picks: Shiffa’s Tri-Acid Radiance Peel (on sale for $57.12 currently!), M-61’s PowerGlow Peel (10 treatments for $30), or The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution ($8.70).

Facial steaming. 

To help your pores out a bit, steam them! Sometimes they need a little extra nudge to get that bacteria and gunk out that is causing you to break out. Fill a bowl of hot water and put a few drops of tea tree, thyme, or even rosemary essential oils in. If you don’t have those on hand, Dr. Hamdan says a squeeze of lemon will do the trick. Letting your face sit over the steaming bowl of water will open your pores and help with any puffiness due to decongestion or inflammation. Pro tip: You can do this as many times a week as you’d like before you begin your nighttime skincare routine. 

If you need to give your existing pimples a little bit more love and you have any essential oils or a fresh lemon on hand, you can spot treat with those as well. Tea tree, lavender, and even chamomile are perfect for this. Just be careful if you’re using an oil that is ‘neat’ or ‘straight’ to dilute with water a bit. 

Muslin cloths. 

If there’s one thing Dr. Hamdan is passionate about, it’s muslin cloths and their benefits. She coins them as “the cheapest skincare game-changer, ever.” With any cleanser or mask, rinsing it off with a muslin cloth offers a slight amount of exfoliation, improves your circulation, and brightens the look of your skin almost instantly. And, they’re 100% eco friendly! Just wash and reuse.

VGL’s picks: Shiffa’s Organic Muslin Cloths (it’s a 3 pack, and currently on sale for $16.80!) 

Clay masks.

Using a clay mask once or twice a week is great because we’re not going outdoors. By not going outside as much, our skin isn’t being exposed to important vitamins and minerals. Dr. Hamdan loves clay masks due to their richness in silica and other minerals that our body and skin needs to remain healthy and balanced. Clay masks can help combat excess oil and draw out any impurities stuck deep into your skin. If you have cystic acne, clay masks are able to get deep, deep into your pores and ease the inflammation and bacteria that causes your painful cysts.

VGL’s picks: Aztec Secret’s Indian Healing Clay ($13)

TLDR; don’t overdo it

While now seems like the perfect time to catch up and indulge in a crazy number of treatments within our skincare regimen, we can’t overdo it. By overdoing it, we could be stripping our skin and causing breakouts. 

Instead, Dr. Hamdan recommends taking the time to treat your skin with care while making sure not to overwhelm it. Taking the time to cleanse a bit better, adding in a 2 minute facial massage, masking regularly, and even a FaSha tool to improve your circulation and get your lymphatic system moving. With these steps in mind, rest assured, even if you don’t get your perfect quarantined skin, don’t worry. “Perfect” is subjective after all. Truly, all that matters if that you’re safe, healthy, and staying hydrated. 

Milk Makeup’s Melatonin Overnight Serum gave me my best night’s glow

We know melatonin is the natural hormone that regulates our snooze time.

But the ingredient is now being touted in beauty products as of late. It makes sense, especially for nighttime skincare routines. From soothing lotions, a depuffing eye cream, or an infused toner, melatonin seems perfect for getting you that restorative sleep and glow. Sounds dreamy. 

When Milk Makeup launched their Melatonin Overnight Serum and Lip Mask I was instantly excited. As I learned, melatonin isn’t just a product that makes you sleep – it also has great anti-aging benefits, too. This is what I learned:  

Why does our brain release melatonin?

According to the Sleep Foundation, melatonin is the hormone responsible for controlling your sleep and wake cycle.  When something excites us, our brain releases dopamine. And when our brain notices the day changing to night melatonin is released to help us sleep better. It’s commonly in pill form or tea to take before bed if you have trouble falling asleep with your natural release of melatonin.

How can melatonin help your skin?

Besides helping you catch some zzz’s, melatonin is rich in antioxidants. It’s one of those ingredients that seriously feeds your skin with much-needed nourishment. Because we’re exposed to free radical damage from the sun and environmental pollution we need antioxidants to protect us and help turn over new cells. Ultimately, it will help fend off the visible signs of aging due to environmental stressors. After all, pollution is the second leading cause of aging, with sun exposure being the number 1 cause.

Review

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Serum ($36)

My skin is very oily and honestly, I wish I had tried a serum stick sooner. I’m always on the fence if I need gel-like serums or oil-based serums. Sticks really seem to cater to everyone. But sometimes, when a product claims to be hydrating it makes me feel and look even more oily than normal. However, this was not the case with this product.

Using the Melatonin Overnight Serum by Milk Makeup gave a new experience to my bedtime ritual. The cooling and instantly hydrating feeling the serum gives paired with the calming scent of lavender relaxes and soothes your skin. I truly felt ready to drift away into a relaxing slumber. And in the morning, my face has been looking renewed and replenished almost as if I just had an intensive facial treatment.

I totally recommend popping it in the fridge and putting it on when your face is damp from toner or facial spray. You’ll thank me when you’re feeling calm, cool, collected, and oh so dewy. $36 isn’t a new price when it comes to Milk Makeup serum sticks, but it can seem a little steep. However, the stick is a good size and after 2 weeks of using it, it’s clear you’d have to coat your face a ridiculous amount of times before you make a dent. I can see this lasting me a while and I reallyyy like to lay on the serums. So do with that what you will. 

Ingredients

Its antioxidant benefits go far beyond melatonin. A berry blend of goji, blueberry, blackberry, and acai also load your skin up with a defense to fight free radical damage. Persian silk tree extract helps to balance your skin’s melatonin levels which leave you waking up looking more refreshed than ever. At the same time, this serum aims to hydrate with hyaluronic acid and soothes your skin with the scents of lavender oil and chamomile extract. From the ingredients alone, this product is a real experience for your skin and your senses.

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask ($22)

The  Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask is no different ingredient-wise when compared to the serum. And they’re lovely when used together. I’m a die-hard Laneige lip mask fan so I wondered about the differences. I bite my lips when stressed and I don’t always give them the TLC that they need. There was a clear visual difference when I woke up in the morning after using the melatonin lip mask compared to my trusty Laneige. They looked more hydrated, a bit more plumped, and felt super soft. Normally I wake up and my lips are still a bit chapped and not as healthy looking. It was a good thing to feel. 

The only thing I wish is that it came with a little spatula of some sort to scoop and spread the product. I ended up using one from another product so NBD. For the little your lips need and how big the pot is, $22 is a great price too.

TLDR;

  • Melatonin is the buzzy ingredient in skincare now
  • It can help with antioxidant replenishment and protection against free radicals
  • Milk Makeup’s Overnight Melatonin Serum and Lip Mask will leave your skin bouncy, healthy, and dewy
  • These products offer a sensorial experience like no other thanks to lavender and chamomile

Bye or Buy?

Definitely BUY – and say hello to some fabulous beauty sleep.

BUY HERE, Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask ($22)