Skin Care

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale Roundup….Platinum PJ edition!

black friday sale


It’s that time of year that sends this PJ into a frenzy….Black Friday and Cyber Monday!!!!

*tosses glitter and confetti*

I can’t lie, I’m a year round shopper, but something about the massive discounts, just sends me over the ledge.  I go HARD in the paint this time of year, as do the rest of the PJs. So in an effort to share the shopping “wealth” and the savings, here is our Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale round up.  This post will be updated frequently over the coming days, so check back frequently for all the steals and deals!!!!  Should you know if a deal that we’re missing, please leave us the heads up in the comments and we will update accordingly!


Natural Hair Sales

Over on Confessions of a Blog Vixen, WestNDNbeauty has an extensive list of all sales for natural hair vendors for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we are linking to her awesome, detailed post!  But, as always, the PJs have partnered with some of our favorite vendors to offer our fans several EXCLUSIVE  and limited edition items highlighted below:



B.A.S.K Beauty
Platinum PJs has teamed up with Rashida to bring you all an exclusive, limited edition hair syrup *knock me over with a feather*.  Here are the deets:

Apple & Sorghum supple hair syrup.  A conditioning hair oil used as either a pre or post shampoo oil rinse or as a moderate oil leave-in for more coarser hair types.

Ingredients: Castor Oil,  Sesame Seed Oil, Virgin Hemp Seed Oil, Virgin Olive Fruit Oil, Mango Butter, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol,  Natural Apple Fruit Extract, Premium Sorghum Syrup,  Fragrance Oil, Vitamin E.


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BoBeam Naturals

Platinum PJs has teamed up with Laquita at BoBeam Naturals to bring you all an EXCLUSIVE shampoo bar.  We can’t give you the details just yet, but this will be a 5.8oz  moisturizing shampoo bar that will cleanse and nourish your hair.   Click here for a sneak peek JUST for PPJ fans!




A portion of the proceeds from the limited edition items created by B.A.S.K Beauty and BoBeam Naturals will benefit the Foundation for Women’s Cancer.  The Foundation for Women’s Cancer is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization dedicated to funding research and training, and ensuring education and public awareness of gynecologic cancer prevention, early detection and optimal treatment. 





NJoi Creations

Platinum PJ has partnered with NJoi Creations and she has created this yummy Holiday treat…A Limited Edition BLACK FRIDAY Chocolate Lipbalm.  NJoi’s lipbalm is handmade from scratch in small batches to preserve freshness…using shea, mango and cocoa butters, a drop of honey,real chocolate, glycerin,candellia wax, rice bran oil, coconut oil.






Platinum PJs has teamed up with Soultanicals to bring you two…that’s right TWO limited edition, exclusive hair products.  The Plait’num PJ Gift Set! Set Includes (1) 4 oz Plait’num Roots Scalp Oil and (1) 4 oz Plait’num Roots Scalp Butta!


Plait’num Roots Scalp Oil: Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Hempseed Oil, Murumuru butter, Carrot Seed Oil, Sapote Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Blends of Essential Oils, Drizzled with an extra slip of LOVE!

Plait’num Roots Scalp Butta: Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Hempseed Oil, Murumuru butter, Candelilla Wax, Carrot Seed Oil, Sapote Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Blends of Essential Oils, Drizzled with an extra slip of LOVE!


Beauty (Makeup and Skincare) Sales

For all you budget beauty lovers, you must check out our favorite blogger Nouveau Cheap and her drugstore Black Friday Sale Roundup post.  She’s done all the detective work on all the sales at the major retailers (CVS, Riteaid, Walgreens, Target, Ulta, etc).  So head on over and show her some love!


Here are the online beaut sales that have caught the Platinum PJ’s eyes…..don’t forget to use ebates to maximize your savings!!!  We’ve added all the cash back savings to each listing so you can maximize your savings!!!!


Becca Cosmetics

20%off site wide

Complimentary shipping w/ any $50 purchase

Code: FAMILY13

Now until Dec 2


Costal Scents

50% off entire site

Free Shipping w/ $50 purchase

No code necessary

Now until Dec 2


Cherry Culture

20% off all orders

Code: TKG2013

Now until Dec 1


Dr. Brandt
40% off purchase

Free shipping

No code required.

Midnight Nov 27 thru Nov 29


Giorgio Armani

20% off $75 purchase

No code needed

Now thru Dec 5

Ebates cash back: 4%


Kate Somerville

Friends and Family Event

30%off your entire order

Now until Dec 2

Code: Holiday2013

Ebates cash back: 6%


MAC Cosmetics

Limited Edition Black Friday Lipstick Release

“Hautecore”  (matte black lipstick) $15, online only

Available Midnight Black Friday morning until supplies last



#Giftopia…several $10 gift items that retail for MUCH more!!!

Black Friday ONLY

No codes, quantities limited.

Available online and in stores.

Here is a link to the deals.

Ebates cash back: 8%


Understanding the New FDA Sunscreen Labeling Guidelines


As I type this, most of the country is in the middle of a heat wave.  Temperatures here in DC have been in the high 90s with a heat index of over 100 degrees!  I guess it’s safe to say that summer is in FULL effect even though it was tardy to the party!  With summer in full swing, comes increased sun exposure and the need to increase our SPF coverage.  Yes, brown girls…I’m talking to you here too!  Contrary to popular belief, we too need increased SPF coverage in the blazing hot summer.  While we have some natural protection thanks to the melanin in our skin, with the eroded ozone layer we are exposed to UVA and UVB rays at alarming rates so sunscreen is a MUST.

What many people may not be aware of, is that in June of 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized new labeling and other requirements for sunscreen products that took effect in December of 2012.  The FDA is taken the following steps to help protect consumers while also standardizing how sunscreens are marketed and labeled.  The measures taken by FDA include:

  • final regulations that establish standards for testing the effectiveness of sunscreen products and require labeling that accurately reflects test results
  • a  regulation that would limit the maximum SPF value on sunscreen labeling to “SPF 50+”

Below is a round up of the labeling changes that you should look for on your sunscreen products and what these changes mean.

  • Products that pass the broad spectrum test will provide protection against both ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) and ultraviolet A radiation (UVA).  Under the new regulations, sunscreen products that protect against all types of sun-induced skin damage will be labeled “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF 15” (or higher) on the front.
  • The back of  sunscreens labeled as both “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF 15” (or higher) will include a statement that the product not only protects against sunburn, but, if used as directed with other sun protection measures, can reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.  For these broad spectrum products, higher SPF (Sun Protection Factor) values also indicate higher levels of overall protection.
  • Sunscreens that are not broad spectrum or that are broad spectrum with SPF values from 2 to 14 will be labeled with a warning that reads: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert:  Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”
  • The terms “waterproof”, “sweat-proof” and “sunblock” will no longer appear on packaging.  
  • Water resistance claims on the front label must tell how much time a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of protection while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Two times will be permitted on labels: 40 minutes or 80 minutes.
  • Sunscreens cannot claim protection immediately on application (for example, “instant protection”) or protection for more than two hours without reapplication, unless they submit data and get approval from FDA.
  • Additionally, the FDA is finalizing requirements that  sunscreen products that have SPF values higher than 50 to be labeled as “SPF 50+.”   The FDA feels there is not sufficient data demonstrating that products with SPF values higher than 50 provide additional protection compared to products with SPF values of 50.

Its important to note that the FDA only considers products in the form of oils, creams, lotions, gels, butters, pastes, ointments, sticks, and sprays to be over the counter (OTC) sunscreen products and eligible for approval to use these new labeling guidelines.  Suncreen products in the form of wipes, towelettes, powders, body washes, and shampoo not eligible cannot be marketed as suncreen products without an approved application.  For sunscreen spray products, the FDA is reviewing data to establish effectiveness and to determine whether they present a safety concern if inhaled unintentionally.

The changes that the FDA made only apply to the labeling, not the ingredients or the effectiveness of the products, the SPF content, or any other aspect of the product.  If you are a bargain shopper, you might have noticed lots of high end and name brand sunscreen products popping up in closeout stores such as dollar tree, five below, big lots, family dollar and dollar general.  From my research, it appears that these products are safe to use, though it is questionable if the SPF looses its effectiveness over time.

So there you have it PJs…everything u need to know about the new FDA sunscreen labeling guidelines.  If you would like more information, check out the frequently asked questions page on the FDA website here.

Product Junkie DIY: Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil

Cleansing oils can be a very natural way to cleanse, nourish, and pamper your skin; but many of the cleansing oils on the market are full of cheap filler oils and are WAY over priced for the ingredients they contain.  I maybe a PJ, but I’m also a budget beauty lover so dropping $28 for 7oz of cleansing oil just wasn’t on my list of things to do.  Especially if the first two ingredients are mineral oil and safflower oil!  So I decided to put this Chemistry degree to use and reverse engineer myself a cleansing oil that meets MY specific skincare needs.

The way a cleansing oil works is based on the common principle of “like attracts like”.  The oil in the skin attaches to the oil in the cleanser, and then you rinse both of them off, resulting in  gentle yet effective deep-pore cleansing.  Oil cleansers also bind to makeup and other daily dirt and grime — and flush that away completely, too. Your skin is left clean, but not parched.  I wanted a cleansing oil that will remove makeup, rinses clean, and doesn’t aggravate my oily acne prone skin.  It’s interesting because as many of you know, when you are oily, adding more oil to your face seems strange and foreign.  However, using an cleansing oil to remove dirt and makeup is exactly what many oily people do.  It prevents over stripping your skin and over time helps regulate the oil production of the skin and your skin produce LESS oil long term.

After looking at the ingredients of a few popular cleansing oils on the market, it was quite easy to see that most of them contained 4-5 main ingredients…oils, an emulsifier, various extracts, fragrance (some) and preservatives (most).  I decided that my cleansing oil would not contain preservatives, mainly because oils (as long as no water is introduced) do not NEED preservatives.  I decided to skip the preservatives and prevent introduction of water by putting the finished product in a pump bottle.  Originally I decided to skip any fragrances because I’m not scent sensitive, but later I decided to add in tea tree oil which adds a bit of fragrance as well as medicinal properties to the final mix.  So that leaves the bulk of my cleansing oil mix as the actual oils and an emulsifier.

I did a lot of research into which natural oils were good for acne or oily skin. I determined that I wanted my mix to contain castor oil, jojoba oil, hemp oil, and neem oil.  I am including castor oil because it has potent anti-inflammatory properties, but is also healing and cleansing to the skin.  Jojoba oil because it is most similar to the oils that the skin naturally produces.  Hemp oil has anti-inflammatory properties, helps clean and detoxify your skin, and because of its rich in omega 3, 6, and 9 oils it also evens out your skin tone. Finally neem oil is ideal for acne-prone skin because it can help to soothe irritation and inflammation, clear up pimples and remove bacteria from the surface of the skin that can cause more break-outs.

Now that I knew which oils I wanted to use, the last step was the emulsifier and then figuring out the ratios of oils for the mixture.  I knew I needed an emulsifier that when water was added to the cleansing oil on my face, it would completely emulsify the oils with the water and ensure removal of all traces of the oils from my face.  I decided to use polysorbate 80 because it works better with heavier oils such as castor and neem.  If you are unable to find polysorbate 80, polysorabate 20 would work as well, but my suggestion would be to increase the amount in your final mix.  As for the ratio of the final mix, at least 20% (1/5) needs to be the emulsifier, the rest oils.  So to keep the math simple, I make my cleansing oil in 10 oz batches; of which at least 2 oz is emulsifier.  I decided that I wanted at least 1/2 my mix to be castor oil, and 1/5 of it neem.  The rest is divided between the jojoba and hemp oil.


So here is the final cleansing oil mix

  • 4oz castor oil
  • 2oz neem oil
  • 1oz hemp oil
  • 1oz jojoba oil
  • 2oz polysorbate 80 (if you can only find polysorbate 20, increase to 3oz)
  • Tea Tree Oil (about 60 drops)

Directions: Measure everything with a measuring cup, mix to incorporate all ingredients, and pour into a pump bottle.  To use, take 2-3 pumps to apply to DRY skin (The neem oil may tend to settle out, so shake well before use).   Massage well to loosen and dissolve makeup, dirt, and grime.  Rinse with water and voila. Clean makeup free skin that’s not tight!

I appreciate your feedback and comments, so if you decide to try this DIY project, please let me know your thoughts and results in the comment section below!

Giveaway: Natural by Design Cosmetics


Natural by Design Cosmetics was started to showcase the bevy of hair and skincare products made with natural and naturally derived ingredients.  Natural by Design Cosmetics refuses to add any parabens, mineral oil or petroleum to anything that is created. A majority of the products offered are vegan as well.  One of the main reasons that Platinum Product Junkies exists is to bring to you our loyal readers new and innovative products that you might not have other wise heard of and Natural by Design products certainly fit the bill.

We are excited to offer you a chance to win a sample pack from this innovative Etsy Company. Included in the Sample Kit are:

  • Curl Magic Leave in Conditioner
  • Peach Coconut Moisturizing Hair milk
  • Curl Magic Cleansing Conditioner
  • Body Basics Body Lotion
  • Body Basics Body Wash
  • Body Basics After bath Moisture Splash

natural by design package

To enter the contest, register at Platinum Product Junkies forum then leave your screen name in the comment section below!  We’d love for you to introduce yourself in the “Introduce Yourself” thread and jump right into the conversation.

To earn additional contest entries

  1. “Follow” the Platinum Product Junkies and Natural by Design Cosmetics  on Twitter.
  2. “Like” the Platinum Product Junkies and Natural by Design Cosmetics on Facebook.

Please note: Giveaway is open to US residents only. Contest winner has 48 hours to respond to email notification (please double check your email in the comment section), with a valid shipping address.

Good Luck!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hillery’s Monthly Favorites: March 2013

March 2013 favs

March has come “in like a lion and out like a lamb” and it’s now April and spring is officially here…at least that’s what my calendar says even if the weather man doesn’t agree.  The temps in March here in DC have been up and down…nice warm balmy 60 degrees one day and a freak snow storm the next.  With such weather fluctuations, it can be difficult to find products that work in both weather extremes.  Here is a quick look back and round up of some of my favorite products from March.

  • C. Booth 4-in-1 Multi-Action Body Lotion: This lotion works equally well in warm and cooler weather by delivering great moisture without leaving you greasy.  It also has AHA which helps sloth off dry scaly skin to leave your skin soft and even toned.  Check out my more in-depth review of this product here.
  • Philosophy “The Present” Clear Makeup:  Philosophy calls this clear makeup but it’s really a primer…and a darn good one to boot!  Nefertiti and I like to call this “makeup glue” because whatever makeup you apply sticks to it and lasts ALL DAY.  It’s great when the weather is cooler because it locks in moisture from your moisturizer, but when the weather warms up; it keeps your makeup in place and prevents the “melt down”.  I’ve been using this daily for the past few weeks after taking a break from it to test and try other things and I couldn’t be happier to have it back in rotation!
  • Ulta Super Blending Sponge:  I never really got the hype over the beauty blender…I always thought it was just an overpriced sponge and surly my makeup brushes provided just as good application or better.  While pursuing Ulta one day, I decided to try this “generic” version and now I FINALLY get it!  I have been using this sponge daily for a few weeks and my foundation has gone on sooo smooth and flawless.  The real selling point for me is that I get coverage without that “heavy” feeling that some foundations can leave.  This blends out the tiniest amount of foundation perfectly and my skin looks like skin and not “foundation on top of skin”.  LOVE this thing and I’m going to pick up a few more!!!
  • Hairveda Almond Glaze:  I haven’t been doing much lately with my hair other than twists and puffs.  My hair has grown out of its pixie cut and I’m on the fence about cutting it short again, letting it grow, or locing so I’m just letting it be for now until I decide.  After washing and conditioning, I apply my leave in de jour and seal in the moisture with this.  I LOVE that it’s all natural yet shields my hair from the temperature fluctuations.  It leaves my hair soft and shiny without being too greasy (unless you over apply).  I can apply it directly to my scalp in areas where it gets tight and dry or I can apply it to the ends to keep them from drying out.  My jar is almost out so I’ll be picking up 1-2 more to add to my stash!
  •  Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 15: If you know me from Curl Talk or any of the natural hair forums, then you know I’m a HUGE fan of Kiehl’s products, especially their facial moisturizers.  I have extremely oily acne prone skin and it can be difficult to find a product that adds the perfect amount of moisture without causing a breakout.  I have found that Kiehl’s products perform exceptionally well for my skin in this regard.  As the days have started getting longer, I wanted to add in a lighter SPF to my routine (I use SPF 50 in the summertime).  This product provided enough moisture on those bitter cold days, without being too heavy for the nice balmy days we’ve had in March.  An added bonus is that the SPF doesn’t leave that dreaded white ashy cast to my dark skin.  I’m not sure if I could use this in the summer as it might be TOO heavy once the humidity sets in, but for late winter/early spring usage I have found this to be a winner. 

What products have you incorporated into your routine over the past month?  What are your standout performers or favorites that have amazed you?  Share them with us in the comments.

Product Review: C. Booth 4-in-1 Multi-Action Body Lotion

FTC Disclosure:  The item discussed below ( C. Booth 4-in-1 Multi-Action Body Lotion) was purchased with personal funds.  This is not a paid endorsement.  All thoughts and ideas expressed are those of the reviewer.

Product: C. Booth 4-in-1 Multi-Action Body Lotion, Vanilla Butter scent

The premise and claims (from

“Simple, natural, trusted.

Why should faces get all the special treatments?  c.Booth believes in equal rights for the skin below the chin.  Take a close look at yours and see if it doesn’t deserve the four fabulous benefits of this extremely busy lotion:


  1. A potent combo of alpha hydroxy acids works tirelessly to ditch dead skin cells and even out skin tones so even sun-damaged areas look healthy and happy.
  2. Sweet almond, apricot kernel and shea butter oils work in perfect harmony to hydrate needy skin.
  3. Vitamins and minerals perform like superheroes, valiantly fighting off the dastardly deeds of the harsh environmental forces that threaten our skin.
  4. Caffeine firms and tones less-than-taut skin, making it feel youthful, revitalized and wide awake. “

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Dimethicone, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil (Coconut), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter (Cocoa), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (Shea), Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) (Vitamin E), Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A) (Vitamin A), Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond), Prunus Armeniaca Kernal Oil (Apricot), Sea Salt, Lactic Acid, Maleic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Niacinamide, Carbomer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, BHT, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, 2 Bromo 2 Nitropropane 1, 3 Diol

Size:  32oz (1L)

Price:  Varies, but is generally priced between $8-$10.  I usually purchase on sale at Ulta when it is BOBO ½ off or BOGO Free.

Availability: Ulta, RiteAid, Wal-mart,, and select major drugstores and supermarkets

Consistency/Application:   This is a slightly thick body lotion.  It’s very moisturizing without being greasy and would work for most people year round.  It glides on smoothly to the skin, sinks in fast, yet keeps ash at bay all day. 

Scent:    I’m not scent sensitive so the vanilla butter scent seems very faint to me.  It fades away fast and doesn’t interfere with my perfume.  This lotion comes in three scents (vanilla butter, coconut fig, and lemon sugar) so if you are not a fan of vanilla, you have other options.  I generally prefer unscented body products so I would love to see an unscented version of this product in the future.

Over-all Impressions:  What I really like about the C. Booth 4-in-1 Multi-Action Body Lotion is the addition of the maleic and glycolic acids which help to sloth off dry skin and help with cell turn over.  My knees, elbows, and hands have taken a beating in the gym doing planks, various yoga mat work, and lifting weights.  This lotion sat in my product stash for a while before I decided to try it and I couldn’t be happier with it.  It keeps my knees and elbows from getting scaly and it has also helped with the mild body acne and keratosis pilaris on my shoulders/upper arms from all the sweating my workouts produce.

I can’t really speak to the skin tightening benefits of the caffeine because I believe that nothing really tightens loose skin except removing the excess skin and everything else is temporary.  All in all for the price and quantity you receive, I think this lotion is a winner.  If you’re in the market for a good all over moisturizer that does what it’s supposed to without breaking the bank, I’d highly recommend this product!



Over-all Impressions

Final Grade






FTC Disclosure:  The item discussed above was purchased with personal funds.  This is not a paid endorsement.  All thoughts and ideas expressed are those of the reviewer.

Skin in review: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel


FTC Disclosure: This product was purchased by me and this is not a paid endorsement. The views expressed here are my own.


For me, one of the skincare goals I struggle with achieving deals with uneven skin tone. From years of adult acne and repeated popping (yes, I admit it!) of these blackheads I’ve paid the price with pretty ugly hyperpigmented scars. I’ve heard of a lot of the different treatments out there, but minus bleaching creams and prescription retinoids I’ve yet to try more.

Before, I mentioned investing in some products from the Dr. Dennis Gross skincare line, but there was a reason I chose him—The Alpha Beta Peel. It’s a two step formula that’s another multi-tasker in terms of anti-aging, and anti-acne benefits, but the buzz surrounding it actually reducing dark spots fast got me excited. I ordered a 30-day supply of the extra strength version (for normal to less sensitive skin).


Ingredients (from

Extra Strength Step 1:
Water, Alcohol Denat., Glycolic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Potassium Hydroxide, Salicylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Soy Isoflavones, Disodium EDTA, Copper PCA, Zinc PCA, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate.

Extra Strength Step 2:
Water, Sodium Bicarbonate, Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Resveratrol, Ubiquinone, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Soy Isoflavones, Phospholipids, Copper PCA, Sodium PCA, Zinc PCA, Simethicone, Octoxynol-9, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol.

**This product is vegan and cruelty free.

Supplied in: 30 day, 60 day,

Cost(s): $85, $126.50

Availability: Dennis Gross, Sephora, Blue Mercury, Nordstrom, QVC,


The peel system consists of two jars (labeled #1 and #2) indicating the order in which you should use them. Each jar has 30 presoaked towelettes. After washing my face, I used one from each jar, going in circular motions over my entire face and underside of my jaw line until the towelette is pretty much dry. In between #1 and #2, you have to wait a few minutes before using the last towelette. After my skin has dried I follow with the Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution and then a smidge of the Vitamin D serum oil to moisturize.


The cons: The two steps do take time to do so for the skincare minimalist you may not want a stepwise system. The peel states that for best results follow with the Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening solution OR Vitamin D serum oil. I used everything in tandem, but cost wise it may be hard to justify making that large an investment. You’ll have to decide based on your skin’s needs.


 My Skin Results:


Final Impressions

I’ll let you be the judge, but for 30 days given what I started with, this is a good result. Of course, my skin was jumping off the deep end in the before shot, so I wasn’t expecting to be completely clear in 30 days after years of skin problems. Any process takes time and dedication. Actually, when I first started using the peel it was cathartic—meaning, it drew out blackheads. I brought out blackheads I didn’t even think I had, and blackheads that were already visible or palpable it brought them to a head faster, I remember a few days when on contact with the towelettes the blackheads would pop. Now that’s strength!


My skin tone definitely appeared more even and my hyperpigmentation scarring lessened. The older scarring as you can see is harder to combat, but new blemishes (in combination with the Ferulic Acid serum) cleared rapidly. Using this system helped me not only detoxify my skin, but recover from those periods faster. I look forward to continuing to progress in my skincare journey. For those looking to try an at home peel, I’d give Dr. Gross a serious look!


Have you tried Dr. Gross’ products or similar types of facial treatments at home? Let us know your finds and successes! We love hearing from you!


FTC Disclosure: This product was purchased by me and this is not a paid endorsement. The views expressed here are my own.



Skin in Review: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution


FTC Disclosure: This product was purchased by me and this is not a paid endorsement. The views expressed here are my own.


Dr. Dennis Gross is a NYC based dermatologist/dermatologic surgeon who has been making major waves in the skincare industry with several products that have received rave reviews. I invested some items from his skincare line during the black Friday holiday and went into major testing mode! After over 2 months of exclusively using this skincare line. I definitely felt I could weigh in and share my thoughts on what I purchased.

The Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening solution was designed to combat uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation by reducing their appearance. The combination of Ferulic Acid and Retinol (along with its anti-aging and pore reduction properties) acts on the skins imperfections to lighten them, but not beyond your original skin tone. This, Dr. Gross refers to as the skin “self-correcting”. So basically, this was made to help put your skin on autopilot to clear!

Ingredients (from

-Ferulic Acid: Sun damage protection; Plant-based antioxidant that enhances properties of other vitamins for healthy skin.

-Retinol: Helps smooth wrinkles and lines while increasing moisture and elasticity.

-Bearberry Extract: Corrects hyperpigmentation and helps increase cell turnover; natural alternative to Hydroquinone.

-Azelaic Amino Acid: Helps control oil secretion to prevent formation of blackheads and whiteheads; fades darks spots and brightens skin.

Licorice Root Extract, Mulberry Extract, Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Willow Bark Extract, Hyaluronic Acid.

**This product is vegan and cruelty free.

Size (s): 1 fl oz (30ml), 2 fl oz (60ml)

Cost(s): $85, $125

Availability: Dennis Gross, Sephora, Blue Mercury, Nordstrom, QVC,

How I used this: I applied it twice daily; once in the morning after washing my face prior to applying moisturizer, and in the evening after cleansing and using their Extra Strength Alpha Beta peel. It’s a lightweight serum that spreads easily across the face. The dropper makes dispensing the product clean and efficient. Supplies of microfiber pads are included to help distribute serum more evenly onto the face. At first, I used these pads, but found that I lost more product to the pad than what actually got onto my face, so I switched to dropping the serum directly onto my skin (3 drops each section: forehead, cheeks, chin). I conserved much more serum using this method. I bought the 1 ounce size which was more than enough for 2 months of use.

My results:  Within the first 10 days I saw a difference! At the time I starting using the serum, I had a fresh blemish from a recent pimple that looked pretty ugly. By day 10 that area was noticeably not only smoother, but lighter in appearance and much closer to being healed than my other existing blemishes still pretty dark 2-3 weeks after my last breakout. On early skin problems, it gets an A+. On older scars, it took a little while longer, but after the third week I needed less foundation and the texture of my skin improved by at least 60%. I also noticed another thing– I needed less under eye concealer. By a month, I needed NO under eye concealer!   Dennis Gross 1: Dark circles ZIP. 

However, I will say that once I stopped using it for a few weeks to test some other stuffs, my under eye darkness returned. You best believe that serum is back in the rotation!

Breakouts were definitely less severe (3-4 blackheads at the most), but the oil control was non-existent for me. My oiliness is pretty tough to control though. As far as wrinkle reduction goes, I don’t have issues with wrinkles (unless you count my minor laugh lines), so I couldn’t see an appreciable difference in that area. It didn’t do much for me in the way of pore-size reduction, but my skin did look and feel smoother overall.

Final Impressions:  The formulation (Ferulic Acid and Retinol being #6 & 7 respectively in the ingredient list out of 25+) gave me faith that this product would help my skin get back on track and I was right. In the 2 months that I used it in my skincare regimen, I experienced most of the benefits this product provides with reduced hyperpigmentation, reduced breakouts, and improved skin texture. I think one of the major drawbacks for most people would be the cost, but I would have to say in the end it’s cost effective. I used it twice daily for 2 months and still have plenty left, so it balances out in my opinion. The real drawback for me would be that my under eye results weren’t permanent. They do have a dedicated eye serum though, so perhaps I will invest in that in the future, or simply stop by his office and say hello!

Have you tried or want to try this product? Tell us your thoughts. If you’re curious to see the pics of my results using the Alpha Beta Peel, click here!



FTC Disclosure: This product was purchased by me and this is not a paid endorsement. The views expressed here are my own.



Naki Nagi Body Scrubs: Grapefruit Ginger Sea Salt


Grapefruit Ginger Sea Salt Scrub


FTC Disclosure: This product was purchased by me and this is not a paid endorsement. The views expressed here are my own.

Lackluster, dry, itchy skin? Body discoloration? Need more circulation? There’s nothing better than sea salt scrubs!  They exfoliate, tone and detoxify the skin. They feel amazing. I prefer them to sugar scrubs, because I like a little more “scrub” in my mix. I live at, so I’m always looking for new hair and body products to try. Discovering Naki Nagi Body Scrubs on Etsy reminded me of my need to get my skin ready for the arrival of Summer- the time for bare skin, sandals and light clothing.

Rachel’s sea salt and sugar scrubs contain an antibacterial soap, and she also offers a sulfate-free option. Her scrubs can be used on the face and body, and she makes a peppermint scrub for the feet. I ordered the Grapefruit Ginger Sea Salt Scrub, and I’m SO glad I did!  I love the smell of citrus and ginger, and the combination is heavenly. My shower experience was exhilarating – I’ve been experiencing the itchies, so the gentle, yet effective scrubbing action worked wonders. The soap in the scrub keeps the “oilies” down – the scrub rinses off, with no greasy residue. My skin felt stimulated and insanely soft. I glowed  Wow. Note: This is not a “foaming” scrub. Do exercise caution in the shower.  The shower/tub will be slippery.

Shipment was quick, and my package arrived safely (no leaky jar).  The scrubs start at $15.95, and now thru the month of April there’s a $5 coupon code – SPRING



FTC Disclosure: This product was purchased by me and this is not a paid endorsement. The views expressed here are my own.



Lip Melts: Buttery, Organic Goodness For Your Kisser!


Organic Lip Butter

I’m a collector of lip balms/butters.  I own a gazillion tubes and pots.  I’ve tried them all.  Yes,  I’ve tried your favorite too.  Most are nothing special.  A few need to be pulled from the store shelves,  and a few are noteworthy.  You’d think it would be pretty easy to create a stellar lip lubricant – there’s so many butters, oils and waxes to choose from.  Yet, the average lip balm is nothing more than souped-up Vaseline™.   I got a little giddy when I stumbled upon Lisa’s Lip Melts Organic Whipped Lip Butter Etsy store.  My eyes quickly found the Blood Orange and Vanilla lip butters, and after reading the descriptions I decided to pull the trigger and find out if these lip delights are truly hype-worthy. Lisa’s order turnover time is about two (2) weeks, so I tried not to get too anxious. I waited patiently for my order to arrive.

Okay, here’s the deal:

These lip butters should work fine for those who don’t need a heavy duty lip lubricant.  I kept the Vanilla and gave the Blood Orange to a friend. I had to reapply several times during the day, and it didn’t give me that “smooth” feeling of waxier lip balms.  If you need a bit of slip, before applying your lipstick, or if you’re in search of a light  lip conditioning product,  Lip Melts would probably be a good choice. However,  my lips  need a heavier, waxier product for the winter season.

The ingredients: butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter) fruit, theobroma cacao (Cocoa) seed butter, helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil, cucurbita pepo (Pumpkin) seed oil, olea europaea (Olive) Oil, rosa canina (Rosehip) fruit oil, ricinus communis (Castor) seed oil , oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) oil, euphorbia cerifera (Candelilla) wax, tocopherol (natural Vitamin E), essential oils.