The clean essentials kit by Follain

When Follain reached out to me about joining their ambassador program, I flipped out for a good 10 minutes. As an intro to the program, they gifted me their Clean Essentials Kit—a kit that is curated with a solid range clean beauty basics.

So what’s included in the Clean Essentials Kit?

The kit comes in a cute green pouch with trial sizes of the Osea Ocean Cleanser, Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner, Ursa Major Golden Hour Recovery Cream, and Follain Refillable Soap. You also receive a $10 off offer for the full-size versions of these products when you purchase the kit. I’m already planning to pick up the Follain Refillable Soap with the $10 offer.

The thing I love the most about this kit is that the brand selection is extremely thoughtful. I got to try out so many green beauty brands that I have been wanting to try for a while now. I also appreciate the trial sizes because it allows you to try out many products without the commitment (as admittedly, clean beauty is not always easy on the wallet).

To cover all the bases, let’s talk about first impressions.

If I had to rank my top two favorites, I would have to say I was most impressed by the Osea cleanser and the Follain soap. The Osea Ocean Cleanser has a nice gel-cream consistency. It’s also has a bit of a grainy texture, which I believe is from the clay, that makes the cleanser great for detoxifying the skin. On the other hand, the algae extracts and jojoba oil make it hydrating and soothing. The cleanser overall is very gentle and smells lightly of citrus. I find it so refreshing for daily use.

The Follain soap is another lovely product. I love the lemongrass scent that it has. I’ve been using it as a body wash because I find that it washes off very easily and leaves zero residue. I also really love the consistency of this soap. It has a jelly-like texture. composed of a medley of coconut, jojoba, and olive oils. I think the true winning factor is the versatility of the product. You can use it as a body wash, hand soap, dish soap, pup shampoo—it’s an “Everything soap” as Follain calls it. Absolutely fitting. I’m also planning to refill my trial-sized bottle to bring with my when I travel.

The last two products are the Indie Lee toner and Ursa Major cream. The toner only had a couple uses in it, but overall I liked the product. Formulated with aloe and hyaluronic acid, the toner is hydrating and balancing. It’s a nice product, with a light floral scent. The only downside was the packaging. The mist was very concentrated, so it would completely douse small sections of my face. Other than that, I would consider repurchasing this toner.

The Ursa Major recovery cream’s key ingredients tick all the boxes in my list. It contains meadowfoam seed oil, neroli oil, and calendula extract, making it perfect for dry and combo skin types. I would definitely say that this cream is on the thicker side. However, it spreads easily and leaves a dewy glow, which I love—especially in the winter time. Overall, a luxurious moisturizer. What else can I ask for?

Follain was kind enough to provide a promo code “theopalgray” for you all. You can receive 50% off and free shipping when you purchase the Clean Essentials Kit (currently retails for $22). It’s a really great deal if you’re interested in trying out more clean beauty brands.

Until next time, Megan

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the tahnyc to save you from your winter woes

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The mornings are getting chillier and while I’m loving the cozy, sweater weather seasons, my skin has not. For some reason, my skin is always at its worse during the colder months. I get itchy red patches, hives, and cystic acne. Luckily, I got the opportunity to try TAHNYC’s Rose Milk Nourishing Rose Essence Moisturizer, courtesy of Palm (@joinpalm).

TAHNYC (pronounced “tonic”) is fresh and nourishing—and best of all, it’s clean. All of TAHNYC’s products are fueled by natural ingredients to help you achieve one goal: healthy glowing skin. I chose to try the Rose Milk Essence Moisturizer because the description sounded so appealing. The moisturizer has a decadent milk-like texture that melts into skin and a very subtle rose scent. The key ingredients in this product are rose, organic neroli, organic jasmine, aloe and hyaluronic acid to nourish the skin.

After testing this product for a couple weeks, I’ve found it to be a great product to use after toner and before I layer on my face oil and moisturizer. While this product is marketed as a moisturizer, I don’t think it’s moisturizing enough, even for my oily-combo skin. As an essence though, it is absolute perfection.

TAHNYC’s Rose Milk has a very thin, runny texture that actually resembles milk, so it’s certainly true to its description. However, I would say that the product has more of a slip-like texture once you apply it to your face. It sinks in completely after a few seconds. I’ve found the best method of application is to smooth the product onto your face and then pat it in until completely absorbed. It makes the perfect base for heavier serums, face oils, and moisturizers. The quick absorption also makes it suitable for daytime and nighttime use. Another thing I really appreciate about this product is that it has a very subtle rose scent—emphasis on subtle. I feel like a classic rose scent may feel too soapy so this is actually perfect.

So the bottom line: Do I really need this product? No. However, it’s a great product if your skin need all the hydration it can get during the colder months. It has really helped calmed my skin down.

Special thanks to TAHNYC and Palm for allowing me to try this product at a great price point.

Until next time, Megan

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Glow with Dear Brightly

October is off to an exciting start.

This month, I’m partnering with Dear Brightly to expand my skincare regimen into retinoids. I feel like at this point, I’ve basically covered all the bases in my acne regimen. I have talked about my struggle with hormonal acne and using acne treatments several times on the blog. While it has done wonders to keep my breakouts under control, I’m still left with the aftermath of my hormonal breakouts—scarring and uneven texture.

Dear Brightly offers a retinoid-based treatment service--personalized without the hassle of leaving your home. It’s perfect for someone who struggles to free up the time to visit a dermatologist in person. It’s not only accessible, it’s also more affordable and adds a more personal touch to curating your acne regimen. Simply fill out a 5-minute survey, attach 3 photos of yourself, and a board-certified dermatologist will get to work on your consultation. I found the whole process to be pretty quick and straightforward. Once I completed the survey, they got to work on my customized retinoid treatment immediately.

So why retinoids? Retinoids are more concentrated and potent than retinol. It’s clinically proven to be the most effective topical treatment for an assortment of skin problems, such as wrinkles (fun fact: it promotes collagen!), acne, large pores, dark circles, hyperpigmentation, and scarring.

I always steered clear of retinoids in skincare in the past because, to be totally honest, I didn’t know much about them. However, I’m actually at the age to start incorporating age prevention aspects to my skincare since I’m in my early 20’s.

The brand gifted me their Glowgetter Lite Starter Kit which includes a personalized retinoid treatment and their oil-free moisturizer, the salve. It was recommended that I start off slowly, using the product once a week and increasing usage, to allow my skin time to adjust and reduce peeling. Although my skin leans more on the oily/combination side, it can get quite sensitive. I tend to get random red spots or hives on my cheeks throughout the day. I used Glowgetter Lite Saturday night and so far, no redness or itchiness. I also noticed the next morning that my skin immediately purged the pimple I had under my jaw. Wow, it works fast.

The most notable thing: the texture. The retinoid has a primer-like feel when you first apply the product. It leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. The Salve also has a similar, thicker gel-like consistency. I find that the Salve applies like a watery gel cream though. It spreads really nicely on my skin and absorbs quickly. It pairs perfectly with the retinoid.

I hope to see more improvements in my skin over the next couple weeks. I’m so happy to be starting my journey with Dear Brightly. & special thanks to Dear Brightly for partnering with me. If you’re interested in trying out this service, you can use my promo code GLOWWITHMEGAN for 10% off your order.

*Dear Brightly is currently only offered in California. However, they will be expanding to other states in the upcoming months!

Stay tuned.

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The essential skincare trio with Context Skin

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To give you some Context…

I have been testing out this trio of skincare products from Context Skin for the past couple weeks and today I want to share my thoughts on these essentials items.

I feel like Context Skin’s products cover all the bases. The brand gifted me their Total Oil Cleanser, Hydrating Toner, and Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer. They pretty much set me up with a new skincare routine.

So a little bit of appreciation for the brand — I love the simplicity of the product names. They clearly tell you what each product is, & believe me, they deliver just that. My favorite product is the Hydrating Toner. It smells lightly of citrus, but instead of being astringent or harsh, it’s actually quite gentle and hydrating. I find the scent to be energizing as well. I love using this toner in the morning to freshen up my skin for the day.

I’ve also found myself reaching for the Total Oil Cleanser every night. It’s perfect now that it’s starting to cool down. The product is a bit difficult to wash off—sometimes I find it leaves behind a residue on my skin—but I appreciate that it doesn’t strip my skin of moisture like some oil cleansers do. I think it would be really great for drier skin types. However, if your skin is on the oilier side, I would be weary of using this in the warmer months as it might leave your skin feeling kinda greasy. Also, I’ve found that it rinses off best with warm water.

The last product they sent me was their Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer. I love a moisturizer that has SPF in it. However, I still use sunscreen on top of it because I can be a bit excessive sometimes. The moisturizer has a nice thin, cream-like texture even though it’s oil-free. It sinks into my skin very well without any residue. It’s a pretty basic moisturizer but it gets the job done. Plus, it’s unscented so it’s great for people with sensitive skin.

Overall, I think Context Skin’s product are really great—especially for someone looking to simplify their routine. I would seriously recommend the Hydrating Toner. It has definitely been my go-to toner these past few months.

Special thanks to Context Skin for sending me these products to try and review.

Until next time, Megan

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The goodbeing review: september edition

September was a busy month of travel for me. And for that reason, my skin has suffered a bit and I’ve caught a bit of a cold. Luckily, the September Goodbeing beauty & wellness box well-equipped me with the essentials to help pick me back up.

So without further ado, let’s get on with the review.

The first item in my box that I want to talk about today is this packet of MegaFood C Defense Tangy Citrus gummies. I was super excited to get these Vitamin C supplements in last month’s box. I am a believer of taking Vitamin C as a cold remedy. My mother used to always buy my Cold Busters from Jamba Juice every time I had a cold. And so, these gummies could not have come at a better time! The fact that these supplements come in the form of gummies makes it even more appealing. They look like gumdrops and taste like tarte, sugary oranges. If all vitamins were like this, I would probably remember to eat my vitamins a lot more often.

Next, let’s talk about this Spearmint & Vanilla Scrub from Moody Sisters. I love the refreshing sensation of mint, especially in a scrub. I’ve tried this product as both a face scrub and a body scrub and have found it to be super gentle. The texture is quite coarse, given that the exfoliant is sugar-based. However, if you apply it on damp skin and rub gently, in circular motions, it will not cause irritation or break skin. Every time I’ve used it, my skin has been left soft and not dry.

This month, I also received an anti-blemish facial serum from Bonnie. The serum is composed of a powerful blend of essential oils including meadowfoam seed, thyme, parsely, cypress, lavender — to name a few. The oil serum has a bit of an herbal scent to it, but it’s actually quite refreshing. I had a couple random breakouts since I was traveling last month. While my Curology treatment helped bring those breakouts to the surface, I found that the Bonnie serum helped calm the irritation I had from those angry pimples since its intended to fight the bacteria in your pores. Overall, this serum paired with my Curology was just what I needed last month.

The last two items in my box are hybrids of skincare and makeup. The DeVita Primer Corrective Light Refracting Primer helped give me a smooth base for foundation when my skin texture was not at its finest last month. I love how smoothly it goes on. The texture of the primer is like a gel that has a light, weightless finish. Other than that though, I don’t find it to be a necessary step in my morning makeup routine. The last item is the Mychelle Lip Hints in Plum. I adore these little pots of lip tint because they are super hydrating and deliciously minty. The size makes it nice to carry around in a purse. I find that the plum shade gives my lips a hint of color. Just enough to even out my lip shade.

As always, special thanks to Goodbeing for gifting me their latest box. If you are trying to make the transition into clean beauty and lifestyle, this subscription box is a great start. Plus, it's very affordable at $24.95/month. 

Until next time, Megan

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Let's chat about indie beauty discoveries ft. Amazon

I have exciting news today!

[And sorry for the absence on the blog lately—work has been a bit crazy due to high turnover.]

Anywho, thanks to Palm (@joinpalm) and Amazon (@amazonlifestyle), I was able to try some amazing brands from Amazon’s new Indie Beauty shop. So today, I want to talk about the products I had the opportunity to try, as well as invite you all to shop through Amazon’s curated indie beauty collection. Maybe you’ll discover your new holy grail products, like I did!

To prep for the cozy fall season, I received two decadent body creams that smell sooo delicious. Vervan, wow. This Vervan Shea and Almond Oil Nourishing Body Butter legitly reminds me of almond tea. The scent is so nostalgic and warm. I just can’t get enough. Plus, I feel like after I started using this nightly before bed, my skin has been clearer and less irritated. In my box, I also received the Basd Creme Brulee Body Lotion. The plant-based body lotion smells like a cupcake, sweet & luxurious. I love the rich scent. However, if you’re sensitive to fragrance, I’m not sure if this product would be a good fit for you. I use it post shower and it absorbs into my skin in a pinch. All that’s left is smooth, moisturized skin. My hyper-sensitive KP-prone skin really seems to appreciate it.

Next, I got the opportunity to try two serums from Eleni & Chris and Vervan. If I had to choose, I would say my favorite is the Eleni & Chris anti-aging serum. While pricey, this antioxidant-rich serum delivers results. It contains cloudberry seed oil which makes my skin feel so plump, hydrated, and healthy. I have yet to attest to the anti-aging properties, but I believe that the extra TLC this serum give my skin will have great anti-aging benefits in the long run. Only time will tell. The Hadria by Vervan Brightening Serum is another great serum. It applies like a lightweight lotion and is crafted with Vitamin C and magnolia extract to “improve skin tone and give luminosity.” I’ve been alternating between the Eleni & Chris serum and this one and so far, my skin tone has seen major improvement. My skin has seriously been glowing these days.

Final thoughts. I’m so excited to see what else Amazon’s indie beauty shop has in store. The curated collections feature so many great natural beauty brands which range from cosmetics to skincare to hair care. You can shop these brands through my Amazon Associates affiliate link below:

https://amzn.to/2xg27WX

Special thanks to Amazon and Palm for sponsoring this post. Full disclaimer: As always, my opinions are 100% my own. I do receive some commission if you shop through my Amazon Associates link. The compensation would really help support my blog.

Until next time, Megan.

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The goodbeing review: august edition

September - fall season - is now here. So, let's recap on Goodbeing's August box.

First, the contents. In the August box, I received some all-natural, good for the soul skincare products, including the Rutz Natural Physical Attraction Hydrating Serum, Good Medicine Lab Every Little Thing Balm, and Sade Baron Vulcano Castile Soap. To top it all off, I also got another Aila Cosmetics nail polish in a very fall-appropriate dark gray-taupe shade. 

To elevate my skincare routine. So in fall weather, it's a lot more brisk in the mornings. Thus, I find that my oil-based serums absorb into my skin a bit too quickly after cleansing. The Rutz Natural serum creates the perfect buffer for layering on my oil-based serum and moisturizer, since it's a gel serum. Plus, the added hydration is pretty nice.

Next, this Good Medicine Lab balm has been a miracle worker for random dry patches, especially on my hands/cuticles, and for healing any cuts/broken skin. It also makes a great lip balm. Only downside is that it has a slight earthy, medicinal smell. It doesn't really bother me, but if you're sensitive to scents I would be cautious of this one. Nonetheless, I found this product to be super handy on my recent trip to Seattle. 

The Sade Baron Vulcano Castile Soap--this product checks all the boxes on the list of things I look for in a body wash. It has detoxifying properties from the activated charcoal, making it very suitable for those who suffer from body acne, like me. However, this liquid soap contains an arsenal of hydrating ingredients--avocado oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, olive oil, to name a few. This product also smells soooo delightful and fresh because of jasmine and peppermint. I have yet to try it as a face wash, but I definitely plan to soon.

Lastly, the Aila Cosmetics nail polish. First of all, I love Aila Cosmetics' nail polish for several reasons. The formula glides on smoothly, doesn't dry out my nails, and is cruelty-free. The nail polish also removes easily with the Aila Cosmetics wipe or regular nail polish remover. I'm pretty obsessed with the shade I received in last month's box too. It's a perfect taupe-gray shade that is soft, yet has a slight edge. So perfect for the fall.

 

As always, special thanks to Goodbeing for gifting me their latest box. If you are trying to make the transition into clean beauty and lifestyle, this subscription box is a great start. Plus, it's very affordable at $24.95/month. 

And because we all love free products, you can use my referral code to get a bonus item in your first box. 

*Disclaimer: As a Goodbeing ambassador, I do receive a commission through this referral code. This would help me continue to purchase products to review on the blog, so your support means everything to me!

 

Until next time, Megan

 

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The goodbeing review: july edition

Hey all! I'm back at it today with another monthly Goodbeing box review. For those who are new to my blog and this subscription box, Goodbeing is a monthly service that provides you with a curated box of sample and full-size goodies intended to nourish the body & soul. You have two options for curated products. You can either select the wellness box, which will include a wide variety of snacks, beauty products, and aromatherapy products, or the beauty box, which will be tailored towards skin, hair, makeup, and body. 

Here's what I received this month:

In the July box, I got a mix of interesting products that I never knew I would need--a lip nectar, post-shave serum, cuticle oil to name a few. I have been partnering with Goodbeing for several months now, & they never cease to surprise me with these thoughtfully curated boxes. The two things I was most excited about were the lip nectar from Delia Organics and the Ursa Major Face Wipes. I've always seen these babies from Ursa Major around but never got to try them until now. They really come in handy when I travel or just need to clean my face quickly after a long day of work. Seriously a no fuss refresher to my skin--especially with my crazy work schedule at the moment.

The lip nectar from Delia Organics is one of my favorite lip products right now. It smells like oranges and leaves a smooth, glossy finish. I love a good lip product that also doubles as a gloss. 

The Lauren B. Beauty Reparative Cuticle Oil has been a major lifesaver for my calloused fingertips. Lately, I've been working such long hours that I let all my chores pile up until Sunday. Since I've been spending my entire weekends deep cleaning the apartment, honestly my fingers have gotten super dry and rough. However, this cuticle oil has seriously helped my hands recover. It's a concentrated oil that targets dryness for hands and nails. Plus, I really love the little dropper/squeeze tube hybrid. I'm a sucker for thoughtful packaging.

"Sexy Vulva" When I saw the writing on this Ultra Soothing Hydration Serum from Gorgeous Glo Body Care, I giggled for a good minute. Although this serum is targeted towards sensitive areas like your bikini line, my skin is honestly pretty prone to irritation in general. I shave my legs quite regularly and for that reason, I'm always getting razor bumps and patches of irritation on my legs. I've been alternating between this serum and my Fur Oil, and I have to say, my skin is a lot calmer these days. This serum is definitely a lot thicker than the Fur Oil, so for that reason I'll reach for the oil more. However it's got the soothing hydration part down. The peppermint oil is also a nice touch for post-shaven skin. 

    Lastly, the all-natural setting powder. For the longest time, I was using the Honest Beauty Invisible Blurring Powder. It was so mattifying that it would sometimes be a bit too drying. This Setting Veil from Gia Minerals, on the other hand, has a semi-matte finish that is more comparable to my Glossier Wowder, which is my holy grail. The light tint is great for blurring those pores as well. I still find that throughout the day, the shine starts to peak through, but it's expected. The only thing I'd have to say is the packaging can get a bit messy. Other than that, I have no major complaints.

As always, special thanks to Goodbeing for gifting me their latest box. If you are trying to make the transition into clean beauty and lifestyle, this subscription box is a great start. Plus, it's very affordable at $24.95/month. 

And because we all love free products, you can use my referral code to get a bonus item in your first box. 

*Disclaimer: As a Goodbeing ambassador, I do receive a commission through this referral code. This would help me continue to purchase products to review on the blog, so your support means everything to me!

Until next time, Megan

 

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Fur smoother hair and skin, everywhere.

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A few weeks ago, Fur reached out to me about a social media collaboration. When they asked me which product I would like to try, I knew that I had to try this cult-favorite.

For those who are new to this brand, & this oil, it's marketed to nourish and soften pubic hair. However, the product itself is so much more than that. It's actually multi-faceted for use on your hair, body, and face. 

To keep this short and sweet, the oil is composed of grapeseed and jojoba oils as the carrier oils, and essential oils (such as tea tree and clary sage) that refresh, soften, and soothe. I personally love the light citrus scent that the Fur Oil has. It's super lightweight and soaks in very quickly for instantly soft, lush skin and hair. If you're new to oil-based skincare products, this one is definitely a great one to start off with. It hydrates without the greasy shine. Overall, I've been using this oil nightly with my Elemis Superfood Night Cream and my skin's texture has improved drastically. Plus, it has done a great job of calming my skin down since it's been so irritated and red from work-related stress.  I've also seen less of those pesky ingrowns, so that's an added benefit. At $44, I really believe the Fur Oil is well worth the price tag. Besides, a little goes a very long way. The 75ml bottle is intended to last 6 months.

Special thanks to Fur for sending this product my way! 

Until next time, Megan

 

currently: curology update, insecurities, & mejuri everyday

Let's chat.

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I promised myself I would be braver this year & start posting more self-portraits, including this one, on my blog and social media because I want to be completely honest about my skin journey, etc. 

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CUROLOGY

 I've been using Curology for several months now & I have to admit, if it wasn't for this treatment I would probably be more hesitant to photograph my face/skin. This acne treatment has been so good to me. I still get small pimples here and there from stress or hormones but for the most part, my skin has cleared up. I haven't had cystic acne since I incorporated Curology into my routine. In my previous update, I mentioned that I was experiencing dryness and irritation. I'm happy to report that my skin has fully adjusted to the treatment and I no longer experience any dryness or itchiness. I don't know how long I will continue to use Curology, but for now it's a godsend.

INSECURITIES

I want to broach on the topic of insecurities today because it's something I have struggled with a lot throughout the ages. I'm far from perfect & I know that but sometimes I tend to focus on those imperfections a little bit too much. A lot of it is superficial too--just being uncomfortable in my own skin. When I see a photo of myself, the first thoughts that run through my head are always ugh my skin looks so oily today, or my skin looks so blotchy and textured. I also suffer from body acne as well, which used to make me feel very self-conscious. Up until college, I never wanted to wear tank tops or anything that would show my back or chest. And when it's not my skin, I'm attacking the fact that I have hooded eyes or a big nose. The importance of self-image mixed in with our ideals of Western beauty being the only definition of "beautiful" really ruined my confidence when I was younger. However, as I get older, I'm learning to accept my flaws. I'm learning to embrace natural makeup looks and mascara-less eyes, and very minimal foundation. 

MEJURI

On a lighter note, I've been loving a few pieces from Mejuri. I decided recently to splurge a bit and pick up the Bold Sphere Studs and the Starburst necklace because Mejuri has quality that I can trust. First of all, the studs are so beautiful. I ended up wearing them during my wedding reception because they add the flair of pearl earrings, yet are lightweight and easy to maintain. For the longest time, I was wearing my Claire's starter studs and they were a pain to take off. For that reason, I never wanted to change out my earrings. I noticed the quality of these Mejuri earrings immediately. The backings slide on and off so smoothly, like buttery smooth if that's a good way to describe it. I love that the studs are quite big but I barely feel them throughout the day. The Starburst necklace is also another amazing staple to my jewelry collection. The necklace is simple but really ties an outfit together. The length is perfect as well. It falls right at my collar bones for a nice bit of shine. 

Ps. The lip look features Milk + Honey's Cardamom Vanilla Lip Butter, Glossier Gen G Lipstick in Zip and Lip Gloss

Until next time, Megan

 

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