Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, vegan lifestyle

5 Steps for Clear & Acne Free Skin Fast

The flu or something like it hit me hard, ya’ll. I’m still only 98% with the remnants of a cough and lingering sniffles and headaches. Now that I got my boo hoos out of the way, it’s time to talk about how to get clear skin and finally enjoy an acne-free complexion. Personally, I struggled (very minimally) with acne as a teenager, but not so much since. Since Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or forget that it’s V-day at all day is a little over a month away, it’s time to show your face some love so you can enjoy a date night at home or out on the town with full confidence. Whether you’re celebrating with Cupid or not, these tips will ensure you get smooth skin fast and keep it that way!

Step 1: Wash Your Face with Natural Cleansers

Simple Skincare is free of all the nasty chemicals you would find in most commercial face washes. They pride themselves on creating, “products [that] have no dyes, artificial perfumes or harsh irritants that can upset skin and contain skin-loving ingredients and added vitamins for natural, healthy-looking skin.” (NOT sponsored!). It’s important to use such chemical-free cleansers so as not to strip the face on your skin of the beneficial things it already does, like turnover skin cells and produce important oils that help prevent wrinkles (hello, natural botox!).

VCF Cleansers

After washing your face, it’s important to exfoliate your face with–and this is important–a GENTLE exfoliator 2-3 times a week when you’re trying to get rid of a pesky pimple, and just once a week to maintain acne-free skin. I’ve been using the Microdelivery Exfoliating Face Wash from Philosophy since my skin had a major breakout from stress in May. I’ve tried a lot of exfoliators and I like this because:

  1. The “beads” are super gentle. If you’ve used the popular St. Ives Apricot Scrub, you know that those are pretty harsh (and hard). While it may feel like it’s more effective, it’s actually causing micro-tears in your skin which can cause premature wrinkles as your skin tries to repair itself.
  2. It includes Vitamin C, which is important for that glowy skin (here we come, JLo).

Step 2: Maintenance Cleanser

Once your skin is clear of acne, it’s important to keep up with a safe cleaner. The cleanest face soap on the market I’ve found (seriously, you should’ve guessed this by now) is from Asili Naturals. The Shea Face Soap is full of nutrient-rich softening oils to help you maintain baby-butt soft skin. The below is the Rose Hip soap I use to help my the skin on my whole body nice and soft.

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Step 3: Moisturize According to Your Skin

If you have oily skin and acne, opt for oil-free serums and lotions. Once your face has cleared up, maintain your skin with the ultimate skincare secret weapon: Rose Hip Oil.

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Step 4: Medicate

This is where the chemicals come in, and the only time it’ll be ok to use them because it will clear your skin fast. Guaranteed. The first thing to do is recognize the type of acne. If your acne is just skin colored or slightly red bumps, you’ll need to treat it definitely than those pesky painful pimples with the little white tops. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Pimples with the white tops: treat with salicylic acid, like the Clear days ahead lotion from Philosophy.
  2. Skin-colored or reddish pimples: treat with benzoyl peroxide.

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Step 5: Maintain Clear Skin

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Now that your skin is free and clear of acne, it’s time for upkeep! In addition to washing your face every day and after sweaty workout sessions (at most 3 times a day–more and you’ll strip your face of its natural goodness) and proper moisturization, use a clay mask once a week. This Spirulina clay mask will naturally pull out the impurities and prepare it for all the right moisturization.

Question of the Day

What is your secret to clear skin? Share!

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Vegan Food, vegan lifestyle

5 Tips on How to Become a Vegetarian or Vegan in 2018

There are two theories on setting resolutions for the New Year: 1. Yaaass honey fresh start clean slate I’m gonna slay this year, or 2. Ahem, you shouldn’t have to wait 365 days to start a new resolution. I hear you both. But there is something especially special (redundant?) about January 1st this year…it lands on a Monday. What’s more resolutiony than that? Whether you decided to stop eating meat (yay you!) On November 25th or want to start fresh at the beginning of a new year, more power to you! It never matters when you start, it just matters that you start a change and most importantly, that you stick to it. Here are 5 steps to help you become a vegetarian or vegan so that you can make 2018 better not only for you, but for the plant and all the animals on it.

Step 1: Tell Everyone

There is absolutely zero shame in you wanting to a) better your health and b) better the planet. The latter is pretty much the foundation of every religion, right? And no one will bash you for what you believe in (go away trolls!). And if you do happen to deal with those negative naysayers who make fun of “vegan food” or act negative around you, just shroud it out with your good vibes cause that’s all you’re putting out and lettin’ in sistah. Some show on Blue’s Clue’s (hi, 80s baby here) told me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. If you’ve tried to nicely explain your way of life or amazing decision to stop eating meat to someone and they just don’t get it…move on. You do you.

Step 2: Expect Bumps In the Road

Giving something up is never easy. If you’ve eaten meat your whole life, it’s hard to go cold turkey. Know that you may have a setback here or there but one setback isn’t the catalyst to failure. Just get back on the buggy.

Step 3: Educate Yourself

Piggybacking on step 2, the main reason most people fail at resolutions, regardless of what it is, is because they’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Someone may want to lose weight because they just want to be skinny and may get there the unhealthy way. Setting up a resolution should come from a desire for change. If you want to become vegetarian or vegan, but aren’t sure why or what to say when people ask you why, then it’s time to educate yourself! Once you feel compassionate about your cause, your resolution becomes less of a goal and more of an intrinsic belief. Check out numerous documentaries on Netflix and YouTube, get a vegan starter kit from PETA, and follow inspirational social media influencers to surround yourself with likeminded individuals.

Step 4: Plan for Success

You may be stuck on your daily ham and cheese sandwich for lunch or chicken and broccoli for dinner. As with every resolution, becoming vegetarian does need some work, but minimal at best. Googling vegetarian versions of your favorite recipes, new recipes all together, finding inspirational meal planners on social media or YouTube, these are all things that can help you plan for success.

The easiest way to start is to take a weekend and meal prep 2-3 vegetarian meals or vegan meals you can use for lunch and or dinner. It’s as easy as even preparing the ingredients you need to pull the meal together in minutes once you get home from work or after picking the kids up from school.

I have some What I Ate Wednesday videos on my YouTube channel with ideas to get you going!

Step 5: Enjoy the Journey

This resolution you set to not eat meat shouldn’t be a stressful one. Your body takes about a month to detox all the blood, spirit and chemicals from the meat products you’ve eaten over the years. Expect withdrawals, bad skin (a part of detox) which turns into amazing skin, stress and pressure. But all this in such a small period of time will lead to your best self.

Please always consult your physician before making any drastic physical or dietary changes.

Question of the Day

What is your resolution for the New Year?

I’m giving up processed sugar of any kind for the month of January. If all goes well, then another month after that and so forth.

Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

Farsali Elixir and Farsali Serum Review

If you waste half your life on Instagram (hi.), then you will have seen that gorge beauty Farah work her magic. Half the time she uses her own line of products like the Farsali Rose Gold Elixir or her Farsali Unicorn Essence. And if you’ve never seen these products, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to get your hands on these (spoiler alert), mostly because the packaging–and the products–are to die for. I picked up the samples, which are the perfect size as gift toppers and stocking stuffers–hint hint.

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Farsali Unicorn Essence Review

Perhaps one of the most popular Farsali products, this pinky cloudy liquid smells like cotton candy and sinks like a song into your skin. It’s packaging describes it as a Skin Enhancing Antioxidant Serum. It also claims to work as a dual product: it infuses your skin with beneficial skin care and also preps it for putting on moisturizer or makeup. So I did both.

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I washed my face and put a drop each on both my cheeks, my forehead and my chin and patted it in. In almost immediately sinks into your skin but also has a slight sticky feeling, which can feel unwelcome at first. BUT it’s this sticky feeling that makes makeup application a dream.

USE: I DO NOT suggest using this as a stand-alone moisturizer. If you use this, definitely top with moisturizer or top with a moisturizing foundation. I used it alone as well and it made my face feel tight–you know that feeling after you wash your face and don’t moisturize it? That. (yuck).

RESULTS: I waited a while after I got this to review and guys, when used as a primer, it’s amazing. Definitely go with the sample to see if your skin agrees. Even if it doesn’t…you may get addicted to the smell if you like sweet sugary scents. Photo Dec 20, 3 03 00 PM

Sample Size: 0.34 fl. oz.

Price: $20.00, the full size (1 oz.) is $54.

Worth It?: If it was $20 cheaper, yes! If you have a coupon, yes! Otherwise, not so sure TBH.

Farsali Rose Gold Elixir Review

If you guys are into luxe things that are 100% extra (hi again), then you want this, believe me. The Farsali Rose Gold Elixir is marketed as a 24K Gold Infused Beauty Oil and it literally has flecks of 24K gold in it. How’s that for extra?

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While the Unicorn Essence is cloudy in appearance, the beauty oil feels like a true dry oil, not unlike my skincare secret and anti-aging hack: Rosehip Oil. It has Vitamin A (retinol–scientifically known to help fight wrinkles), and Vitamin C, which is why it smells a bit citrusy.

USE: Best used as a moisturizer.

RESULTS: I’ve been using it as a moisturizer before going to sleep and man, I feel like I’ve aged backwards at least like 3 days. But really, I love it.

Photo Dec 20, 3 03 29 PMWhat’s nice about this beauty oil is that it absorbs SO quick. I HATE the feeling of being covered in oil, especially when I sleep with it in. Since I’m extra as all hell I sleep on a (far too expensive) silk and copper-infused pillow case and the last thing I want to do is ruin it with oil. BUT I can put this oil on, let it dry for a hot second and go to sleep knowing my pillowcase wasn’t a total waste of money.

Sample Size: 0.34 fl. oz.

Price: $20.00, the full size (1 oz.) is $54.

Worth It?: Yes! Wait until you get a Sephora coupon then spring for the full 1 OZ. Yo welcome.

VCF? Yes, according to the About Us page, they are cruelty-free!

Question of the Day

Have you tried anything from Farsali Beauty? What are your favorite night serums or moisturizers?

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Vegan Food

Beyond Meat Burgers: Delicious or Gross?

These are the most aptly named patties…maybe ever. These burgers not only look like meat, but I personally think they taste better than meat! I was a meat-eater until 2007, when I went vegetarian, so while I don’t remember what all meat tastes like and while I rarely had hamburgers then, I can say that this tastes much better than any dead carcasses.

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Not only does it look like meat in the packaging, but it also cooks like meat.

When I immediately put it on the pan:

Photo_Dec_16,_12_53_17_PM[1]After I flipped it once, you can see how it browns:

Photo_Dec_16,_12_53_45_PM[1]What’s weird is it even stays a little pink in the middle. Also, since it already has some fat in it, I didn’t cook it in any oil or vegan butter. I just plopped it onto a high-medium heated pan as is and it immediately started sizzling away.

I paired it with some Angelic Bakehouse hamburger buns and had it with a side salad and some Daiya provolone cheeze.

While it may be a little higher in fat, it certainly is high in protein and completely 100% plant-based. If you’re going vegan and crave a big, juicy burger with all the fixings, this Beyond Meat Burger will definitely quench your craving.

Photo_Dec_16,_12_59_39_PM[1]Photo_Dec_16,_12_59_57_PM[1]Question of the Day

Have you tried these? Do you like them? What are your favorite alternate meats for burgers?

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Uncategorized, Vegan Food

Low-Calorie Vegan “Meat” Substitutes

When I first went vegan on January 2016, I couldn’t stay away from carbs. I ate broccoli and rice almost every day and a lot of pasta…and let me tell you where all this carbo-loading went (I put Kim K’s butt to shame). It took me anywhere between 2-6 months to really figure out a balance in my “diet”, air quotes because ya’ll know it’s a lifestyle. Part of this balance is finding “junk” food and sometimes wanting a little more than your faithful greens. Ya girl can only eat so much broccoli without turning green [P.S. it’s kinda true–my husband ate so many carrots as a baby he turned orange.] So to change it up, I opted for some vegan meats. Now while I like to stay as clean and as few ingredients as possible, these little patties, balls and strips (Las Vegas club name?) make salads just a bit more fun when you need to change it up. FYI you can get all of these vegan meats at Trader Joe’s!

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1. California Veggie Burgers

If you like veggie patties or want to make more delicious burgers, opt for these low-calorie, nutrition-packed vegan patties (see the little circle with the heart on the bottom?). While they don’t taste like meat, they don’t taste like squashed veggies either. Something about them is so tasty!

Not so Secret Tip: If you do want the look and taste of meat, Beyond Burger patties are EV-UH-REE-THING. I’m getting them again this Friday and will talk about them on Monday, in case you were considering them ^_-.

Calories: 120

Highlight: Cleaner than most other patties (Veggie Masala Patty is a close contender)

2. Chickenless Crispy Tenders

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These are so delish. If ya’ll want to add a bit of something naughty to your salads, add these dumplings that are FAR from meat! Or if you want to trick your friends, these do the trick too 😉

Calories: 150 for 3 chicken tenders

Highlight: They’re hella tasty. Like dang yum yum. Unfortunately, one serving has 7g of fat, which is pretty dang high. Most should aim for 0-4g of fat per serving.

3. Meatless Meatballs

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PC: PinchofLovely

Now the above picture isn’t of the Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs, but it’s a recipe where you make your own. Now if you don’t have time to make your own, sub those kinds of recipes with these “meatballs” and you’ll be good as vegan gold. Also, if you miss spaghetti and meatballs, I got yo back! These work great with tomato sauce or also make a great addition to salads. I’ve even made them just as snacks, and they’re great for that too.

Calories: 140 for 6 meatballs

Highlight: It’s good for those on a low-calorie diet. These are the best of the worst products for you, because it’s high in sodium and highly-processed.

Question of the Day

What are your favorite naughty “meats”? Share!

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Friday Face Off, Uncategorized

Friday Face-Off: Vegan & Cruelty-Free Foundations for Oily Skin

FFO6-1If your face is a natural oil-slick like mine and you like playing with makeup, then you’re on a never ending hunt for matte foundation. The Clinique Stay Matte Foundation was my holy grail, until I found out that Clinique is NOT VCF (like why?). So my hunt continued and after a lot of research, I caught a new animal. Check out the face off below to see if this new VCF foundation measures up to the Clinique foundation.

Clinique Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup

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This is probably my 5th or 6th bottle of the Clinique Stay Matte Foundation, that’s how much I loved it. I tried foundations from Giorgio Armani, Estee Lauder, IT Cosmetics, Pacifica and so many more looking for a VCF foundation and haven’t found one that keeps my oil at bay.

This is a lighter consistency foundation that doesn’t leave a cakey look. Best thing though is that it leaves your skin looking radiant and oh so nice.

Longevity: About half-a day, best when touched up with powder foundation every 4-5 hours.

Price: $26.00 

Quality: Amazing. Goes on smooth, dries nicely and is build-able.

VCF: No 😦

Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation

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The Kat Von D Lock-it Foundation is definitely a thicker foundation. A little bit goes a long way and I found that it’s best applied with a damp beauty blender…I use the orange sponge from Real Techniques. It comes in a lot of colors, so be sure to get color matched to get the right shade, only because it’s a high-coverage foundation. Last thing you want is a face that’s a much different shade than your body.

Longevity: It stays on ALL day–verified. Best when set with a powder.

Price: $35.00 for 1 oz.

Quality: Fantastic! Doesn’t feel cheap, but CAN look a little cakey if too much is applied.

VCF: YES!

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite VCF foundation?

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Uncategorized

Sephora & Vegan Beauty Haul

What else do you do when you have a coupon for Sephora? You spend your life savings and withdraw from your 401(k) to spree is what (jk–but am I really). Well I’m on a tight budget (hello dream house), so I really only got the things I need. Come snoop through my cart!

1. Fresh Sugar Lip Caramel Hydrating Balm

If you need a new lip balm that smells like divine heavenly angel food cake and caramel on a plate, then you need to get this. Not only that, it feels dang good on the lips–your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, lover, cat will thank you.

Unfortunately guys, I learned some tragic news thanks to Ethical ElephantFresh is NOT CrueltyFree! Sadly, this doesn’t look good for Fresh considering all imported cosmetics into Mainland China are required by law to be tested on animals and by Fresh choosing to sell in these stores, they must consent and agree to have their products/ingredients subject to animal tests.

2. Farsali Beauty

Ya’ll, I am BEYOND excited about these two. I only got the mini sizes of Farsali Beauty Unicorn Essence and the Rose Gold Elixir because I wanted to test them out first, and also because the full-size options are hella expensive (bye bye dream house), so I opted for the little bottles. Also I like Farah, so I had to support her.

From their website:  Our naturally inspired products are always cruelty-free, and made with exceptional-quality in mind. YAY! <– not from their site, only my enthusiasm.

3. Asili Naturals Bath Bomb

I mean, you know I can’t go a couple weeks without talking about my #1 homie, Asili Naturals, my most favorite VCF brand of all time. So of course, this Rosemary Jasmine bath bomb joins the haul party.

4. Fresh Sugar Roll-On

Aside from the fact that Fresh Sugar is NOT VCF (did you hear that noise? That’s my heart breaking), I am most excited to try this product because it’s both an anti-perspirant AND deodorant and most “healthy” deoderants are only the latter. This will most likely go back because it’s not VCF. Womp womp.

P.S. I also got a little sample of the Solid Beauty Blender cleaner because I love my Real Techniques Beauty Blender…is that cheating to us the BB cleaner for my Real Techniques sponge?

Question of the Day

What have you guys picked up lately that you’re loving?? We want to snoop!

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Vegan Food

The Easiest Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Before you read on, you’re welcome. This is by far the easiest vegan chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever find, and best of all, they came out tasting amazing all thanks to serendipity and some experimentation (and a whole lotta taste-testing). I started with this recipe from Daily Rebecca, but ended up making it my own. They take less than 20 minutes to make so if you need a last-minute (omg I need to bring something to Thanksgiving dinner), then these cookies got you covered. Plus, you probably have all the ingredients on hand.

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup almond milk + 2-3 tbsp. reserve on the side
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used the ones from Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 cup (or as many as you want, really) vegan chocolate chips

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Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a big bowl, mix the coconut oil with the brown sugar.
  3. Add ¼ cup of almond milk and the vanilla extract.
  4. Into the same bowl, add in the flour and baking powder (salt is optional).
  5. Mix it all together. If it looks crumbly, add in 1 tbsp. of almond milk at a time. If it feels wet, it’s probably not wet enough, so it’s okay to add some more until it feels wet and soft.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Roll into small sized balls and flatten with your hand before placing on a pan with a silpat sheet on it or an un-greased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes and check. These cookies should be a bit hard coming out of the oven, so you may need to add 2 minutes at the end.
  9. Let cool and serve!

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You can throw some of these into a clear plastic bag, tie them with a little string and give them away as affordable presents to your co-workers, the mailman, or just about anyone! (but not your dog, cause hello, chocolate).

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You can make these cookies just about however you want. Feel free to nix the chocolate chips and throw in cranberries, or nuts, toffee, or any other vegan mix-ins. Enjoy!

Question of the Day

What are your favorite vegan cookies? We’d love to know!

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Friday Face Off, Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty

Friday Face-Off: Face Masks!

I don’t know about you guys, but this week has literally felt like an eternity. Am I 80 yet? Well, no but I dang sure feel a century older. Luckily, I’ve got self-love on my side. That’s right, I’m not afraid to admit that I’m working on loving myself, and a part of that if taking care of your skin so your inner glow can shine just that much brighter, and who am I kiddin, so we can look hella cute, amirite? So, Friday night = self-care because I really do have the soul of an 80 year old. Curling up with books and wine is my kinda Friyay. Anyways, it also means slathering on a face mask and scaring the hubs (what I do best). So to start your Friday night self-care routine off right, you need to have the right face mask on deck. Today, I’m reviewing a face mask from Glam Glow and a face mask from Asili Naturals (which ya’ll already know is my ride or die, but will it beat the godliness that surrounds Glam Glow?). Let’s put the two to the test!

1. Glam Glow

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Glam Glow definitely lives up to it’s reputation. This Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment Mask feels cooling on the skin and is fairly easy to apply with a makeup brush. Fingers work too but it’s too messy, because it tends to dry up pretty fast.

Quality: After I put the Glam Glow face mask on, I left it on for 20 minutes. They suggest you leave it on for either 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes, so I went with the latter because ya’girl needed some clearing. What’s cool about this mask is that it has something called a Pore-Matrix™ technology that show up as dots where it apparently extracted dirt as it dries. After it dried, I washed it off with warm (scalding) water and it felt smooth after that! I can’t tell if my face had less dirt on it or if the Pore-Matrix was life changing, but overall, I wasn’t mad at it.

Best Way to Apply: With a makeup brush.

Price: $24 for 0.05 oz/15g aka hella expensive.

Where to Buy: I bought mine at Sephora with a discount, but you can find it at various retailers, including Amazon.

VCF?: According to ethicalelephant, GLAMGLOW is not cruelty-free and they do test on animals when required by law. BOOOO.

2. Asili Naturals Spirulina Clay Mask

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As always, we can count on anything from Asili Naturals to be made from plant-based ingredients, and this Spirulina Clay face mask is no different.

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Quality: As you can see, this Spirulina Clay Mask is MUCH thicker in consistency and a little drier than the Glam Glow mask. It goes on the skin thick as well but spreads out pretty easily, again with a brush. It does harden and while it doesn’t have the Pore technology that Glam Glow has, I trust it’s working because it’s made for all-natural ingredients, specifically: Purified Water, Bentonite (Clay), Safflower Seed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Spirulina Pistensis (Spirulina) Powder, Lavendula Augustifelia (Lavender) Essential Oil.

I left it on my face for about 5 minutes (they recommend 1-5) and I washed it off with warm water after wards. I can honestly say that my skin felt like a baby’s butt, or what I imagine a baby’s butt would feel like.

Best Way to Apply: With a makeup brush.

Price: $24 for 12 oz/340g aka hella affordable. (Look at the size of the tub!)

Where to Buy: Ordering through Asili Naturals is the easiest.

VCF?: 100%!!!

The Verdict

Asili Naturals wins by a LANDSLIDE. That’s right, the famous Glam Glow mask has been dethroned. If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or a fun “thinking of you” gift, you can never go wrong with self-care products, and this whole tub will last what will feel like a lifetime.

Question of the Day

What face mask is your favorite? Share with the VCF fam!

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