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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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

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)

How to protect yourself from bluelight rays indoors

Protecting yourself from sun exposure has long been drilled into us, but as it turns out, even staying inside doesn’t necessarily keep your skin safe.

That’s right, as we’ve heard, blue light rays can be just as damaging. Between the boredom of self-isolation and working long hours from home, we’re now staring at our digital devices more than ever. And while we may be aware of the damaging effects of all that screen time to our eyes, dermatologists claim it’s also subtly damaging our skin over time.

SEE ALSO: Best products to help fight blue light rays

Besides attempting to scroll Instagram a little less or slowing your roll on the Netflix intake, it’s not like you can just give up technology altogether. So how do you protect yourself? We asked the experts on mediating blue light’s impact to keep your skin fresher, longer.

Wait, what is blue light?

You’ve heard of ultraviolet rays (UV and UVB) aka the unseen colors on the light spectrum that cause visible sunburn (ouch). But blue light is less acknowledged and actually visible to the eye. Dr. Michele Green, board certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor, explains that while UV light affects is known to effect the front of the eye and forms cataracts, blue light damages the back of the eye. It also beats out the other color rays in its potency.

“Electromagnetic radiation is a combination of red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays and other variations of each of these colors,” Green says to Very Good Light. “The combination of these colors creates a visible and invisible light spectrum with different wavelengths. Blue light has the shortest wavelength on the spectrum; however, it has the highest energy.”

For this reason, blue light has the capacity to keep us awake or motivated (read: think of all those times you’ve struggled to fall asleep after extended phone time), and has grown to become an integral component of our sleep cycle. Still, too much of a good thing always has the capacity to do some serious damage, and blue light is no exception.

How does blue light affect skin?

It’s easy to compare blue light to high energy visible light (HEV), the radiation emitted from electric lights or appliances like microwaves which has also been known to strain eyes, but of late, blue light has been a much more consistent subject of studies – particularly surrounding skin. A medical school in Tokyo linked blue light to possible animal oxidative stress, one of the primary causes of aging caused by cell-destroying free radicals overpowering the antioxidants in your body.

At the same time, our interaction with this amount of blue light is relatively new so we may not know for decades it’s exact impact on our skin’s well-being. Nonetheless, Dr. Green says you may notice your skin take on a “sallow” tone from too much time spent on electronic devices, or damage may manifest as hyper-pigmentation, inflammation, skin laxity or just straight up wrinkles.

Dr. Green breaks it down: “Long term exposure to blue light causes stress on the skin, which results in changes in skin texture and color. It also weakens the skin surface, which exposes the skin to free radical damage and premature aging.”

Interestingly, blue light or “photodynamic therapy” has proven to be very effective on skin disorders such as acne, sun spots, psoriasis, scars and even skin cancer, by targeting lesions and killing bacteria or can cancerous cells when coupled with a topical photosythesizing drug.

How can we stop blue light damage in its tracks?

While there might not be any definitive research around it (yet), sun protection definitely can’t hurt. Broad spectrum sunscreen is all-encompassing when it comes to combating with every colored ray, so when make sure to make it a part of your daily routine – even if you’re not planning to leave the house. There are also sunscreens that repair and prevent blue light damage and therein, premature aging (hi Murad!).

Antioxidants are also a must, bolstering skin’s defense from the oxidative stress caused excess free radicals such as blue light and UV light. Brands such as Bare Minerals and Estee Lauder have created antioxidant-packed sunscreens and overnight repair creams that address blue light specifically. Vitamin C also serves to address any hyper-pigmentation caused, so stock up on those serums and make sure you’re working a lot of citrus into your diet.

There are also pretty effective methods of lowering your blue light exposure that you can take now. Blue light screen protectors work wonders in intercepting harmful rays, and you can also set your color and brightness on your devices so they don’t hit you as hard. Remember: protection is prevention even in doors. You’ve got this.

Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask Review: Your lips are saved

Quarantine skin, how real are you?

I don’t know about anyone else who’s surviving these now normalized (?) times, but no matter how much I pamper, massage, or drench my pores, my complexion still looks like I’ve woken from a tomb from the depths of hell. My eye sockets are swollen, my skin is bumpy and my lips are super dry. The latter is due to a mix of using a heater and then suddenly trading it in for an air conditioner (if you couldn’t feel spring, does she really exist?).

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

As my lips have crackled and become two dehydrated pieces of jerky, Charlotte Cho from Then I Met You, sent over her latest. And it’s a lifesaver. Following in the footsteps of the brand’s Calming Tide Gel Cream, which has the most soothing consistency, one perfect for sweaty months ahead, the brand just launched its first lip mask. Called the Honey Dew Lip Mask ($22), it’s supposed to both heal your chapped lips as well as make it even plumper with each wear.

Honey dew has a special meaning to Charlotte as it conjures memories of her youth. “My fondest memories were when my grandma lived with me and she’d take care of me and my siblings. She’d cut up honeydew melons when the weather got warmer and I remember watching her cut them for us,” she tells me during a Zoom call.

Taking her nostalgia for the fruit along with her need to soothe her own lips, Charlotte and the Then I Met You team took honeydew as the main ingredient in its lip mask. With so many lip masks coming in a dew pot or a round container, Charlotte wanted to ensure that bacteria from one’s hands never touched the products. “It comes in a silicone tube and it’s the most hygienic way to apply something on your lips,” she says.

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

What really awesome is that all first-day sales (yes, 100%!) goes to the Amalgamated Foundation’s Families and Workers Fund, one that will go towards supermarket and grocery store workers – truly, some of the heroes during this pandemic.

The main ingredients include: Avocado, squalene oil, honey and honeydew. But perhaps most surprising is that the formula includes lactic acid. “It’s the most moisturizing AHA and helps with dead skin cells,” Charlotte says. Not only is it great for plumping your lips, but the AHA ensures your lips are constantly regenerating new skin cells to replace the ones that have died.

It makes sense that you need extra TLC for your lips. Like your undereyes, your lips have no pores, leaving them to become dehydrated, fast. This, especially in dry climates or air conditioned indoors.

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

While I tested this for a few days, I did feel as if the formula was super hydrating without being sticky. Most lip masks on the market are thick, goopy, and glue-like in form. That makes sense as it’s usually used before bed and needs to last through the night. Unlike competitors, this one glides beautifully – like sweet nectar from well, a honeydew – and stays on your lips.

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

Though from honeydew, I didn’t feel as if there was a flavor. This was is relatively fragrance-free without a particular flavor profile. If you’re seeking more of a sensorial experience with smell and taste, this isn’t for you. But if that’s not too important, this one seems like a true winner. Not only do your lips glide, your lips do recover in no time.

Meaning, instead of thinking about your chapped lips, you can use your brain power during quarantine for more important things like, is it a hot dog with Doritos for dinner, or chicken fingers for the seventeenth time?

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

TLDR;

-Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask glides on smooth without stickiness

-Ingredients include: Honeydew, honey, avocado oil, squalene, lactic acid, and more

-No flavor or fragrance

-Super hydrating and can be used day and night

BUY Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask here, $22

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

Skin feeling, well, isolated from the world? We hear ya. With quarantine and self-isolation rules having changed our lifestyles, we’re discovering how to cope when stuck indoors. This applies to your skin. With so much stress, indoor pollution, lack of sun or Vitamin D, it’s going through a lot. How do you stay afloat with dewy skin when you’re feeling dry AF inside? How do you breakup with breakouts when you’re staying in closed quarters? How does your skin thrive while isolated? Bookmark this series – it’s all going to be okay. 

I think we can all agree we’re overindulging more than usual.

Skincare in isolation

It’s no surprise there’s been a recent spike in comfort foods sales. You may have noticed your skin has changed and while due to a variety of things (thanks, quarantine) diet and indoor air pollutants are playing a bigger factor than we realize. If you’ve felt a need to grab processed foods and refined sugar, dairy, anything fried, you’re not alone. Why? Because they’re easy and comforting in a time when it feels like we don’t have much. So how does this affect your skin? In lots of ways, says Dr. Lamees Hamdan, founder of Shiffa and DL.MD. The dermatologist and entrepreneur tells us that skin health starts with what you eat. Dr. Hamdan says these things are what to be mindful of. 

SEE ALSO: How I learned to go with my gut – literally

Coffee

WFH seems to be requiring more coffee than we usually need. A cup here and there eventually adds up and by 5 p.m. we’re wired. Unfortunately, caffeine is a natural dietetic that can quickly cause dehydration. But also, excessive consumption of caffeine has been linked to stress – and stress can often cause acne. 

When we’re stressed, our body produces a hormone called cortisol. If we have a big day at work or a ton of assignments to get done, our instinct is to load up on caffeine to help us get through it. And all this extra cortisol signals to our body to pump more insulin, making excess oil production and increasing inflammation. 

Bottom line, avoid more than a cup of coffee a day. Especially now when stress levels and emotions are running high. 

Dairy & Sugar

Typically, the results of consuming too much dairy and/or sugar are excess production of oil and inflammation. Many times, individuals who experience cystic acne react heavily to dairy & sugar consumption due to their inflammatory nature. Consuming too much of either can also lead to minor signs of aging and dullness. We love a good after-dinner treat but not when it could be a contributor to these quarantine under-eye dark circles or grumpy looking complexion.

Alcohol

Much like coffee, alcohol will dehydrate you fast. But, alcohol comes with its own set of problems too. Besides dehydration, your skin may become red and blotchy from one too many drinks. Conditions like eczema and rosacea are known to be triggered when you consume too much. Drinking water consistently after a night of drinking will help you put moisture and oxygen back into your skin. 

Dr. Lamees says our skin thanks us when we eat a diet full of fruits and veggies. If we make the choice to add in a few cookies or extra servings of pasta, we should be making sure we add in foods to counterbalance. Things like avocados, nuts, berries, eggs, turmeric, and green tea are all great to add into our diets to counter any inflammatory foods and acne-provoking foods. 

Improving our indoor air quality

Who knew a walk to class or to work was doing wonders for our skin? Suddenly, we’re spending a lot more time indoors. Some of us just aren’t able to get out as much as others. But when you have the chance to fill your time by getting outside, by all means take full advantage. 

Dr. Lamees noted the air quality within our homes is not nearly as good as the outdoor air quality for many reasons. One being the humidity levels within our homes but also, we have lots of things in our spaces that inhabit allergens and pore congesting particles. 

It’s time to invest in our indoor air quality. The main reason being our physical health but also to help our skin and calm our minds. Dr. Lamees recommends buying a humidifier or finally using that one you have laying around.

Essential oils work.

Her best tip is to add in a blend of essential oils that will help destress you. Lavender and chamomile are the perfect choice for de-stressing and clearing the mind. And rosemary can offer antiviral benefits and a sense of clarity. Taking some time to meditate next to your humidifier is helpful as well. Opting to meditate and take in a moment of calm will decrease your stress levels and actually raise your immunity.

This bar soap cleared and healed my cystic acne.

I’ve never read a good thing about bar soap when it comes to face washing.

I cringe when people tell me they wash their face with a Dove Beauty Bar or worse, Irish Spring. Even bar soaps said to be meant for your face catch me off guard a bit. In high school, a friend turned me on to the Neutrogena Facial Bar to help with the single pimple I contracted every two months or so. Years later, I’m certain the bar did absolutely nothing and those pimples just cleared on their own. 

Carbon Theory Bar Soap with pink background and yellow sparkles

It wasn’t until college when I experienced some ugly side effects of stress, leading to cystic acne. I’m talking stubborn, painful, and hot to the touch acne. I’ve iced, patched, doused myself in salicylic acid, and I’ve even snagged a tretinoin prescription from my dermatologist. But no single product or action ever worked and these cysts needed their time to be alone. I’ve learned to be patient with them. As they throw temper tantrums, I’ve given them space. And so, I’ve come to accept them as a part of me. 

SEE ALSO: This $7 acne gel destroys your cystic bumps in a day

That is, until I heard about this brand called Carbon Theory.It’s a UK brand that’s been shaking things up when it comes to acne-prone skin. Their claim to fame? A miracle face wash that’s a bar. Yes, a soap bar. It’s one that’s made with tea tree and charcoal, not unusual in terms of acne-fighting ingredients. But it was being written about everywhere and in February, it hit shelves at Ulta and completely sold out online after one week in stock. Okay Carbon Theory, you have my attention. 

Upon first glance, this brand is ~very~ cool. They believe in ‘clear, cleansed, and clean AF skin’, a motto I can get behind. They’re 100% vegan and cruelty-free as well as affordable (their bar is only $10), and they’re committed to sustainability within ingredients and packaging.  But still, could this product actually clear and ultimately heal my cystic acne? That’s a tough test to pass. 

Ingredients:

The science behind this bar is all thanks to activated charcoal, organic tea tree oil, and shea butter. The activated charcoal in the bar acts as a sponge to unblock your pores by drawing out dirt and excess oil. Tea tree oil cleanses the skin and kills the bad bacteria. It’s also a natural antiseptic that reduces inflammation (cystic acne’s specialty) and redness. Lastly, shea butter is able to nourish your skin with moisture without clogging your pores. And because shea butter is rich in fatty acids and Vitamin K, it helps pimples heal faster. 

VGL’s take:

When I got the bar, I was immediately relieved it came with a resealable package. The biggest inconvenience of a soap bar is not having a soap dish to let it dry out after each use. 

My best piece of advice is to get the bar wet and lather it in your hands, not put the bar on your face. This way, you can keep the bar free of all that acne-provoking bacteria on your face and it’s just easier to wash your face this way too. 

The bar gives you a tingling clean feeling after washing. There’s actually a tiny bit of exfoliation from charcoal specs but, this bar is totally gentle enough to use as a daily wash. Cystic pimples almost never come to a head and if they do, it’s usually a process you see happen over many days. But after just one wash with the bar, I woke up seeing the 3 cystic pimples I had for weeks, had actually come to a head. A white, poppable head. And no, it wasn’t due to my acne medication. I actually stopped using it to really see if this bar was the real deal. It was. 

But what about pimples that were in the early stages? The bar brought my cystic pimples stuck in purgatory to a head but could they send one’s that are sprouting to pimple hell? You bet. I felt a tiny bump forming on my chin one day and I hadn’t used the bar since it worked its last miracle. Knowing if I let the bump go its natural course, I would wake up with a full-blown cystic mess. I washed with the bar and went to bed eager to see what would happen. To my surprise, I woke up and the beginnings of my pimple had been banished. I haven’t skipped a day washing with the bar ever since. 

TLDR;

  • Carbon Theory sells a magic face bar that sends cystic pimples running
  • You can snag one for yourself on ulta.com
  • 100% Vegan & Cruelty Free
  • It’s only $10

Bye or Buy?

Definitely BUY – and say bye to cystic acne for good.