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    I’ve Always Struggled With My Skin Until These Products Stepped In

    Like most adolescents, acne hit me hard starting during the blissfully awkward middle school years. Looking back, my acne really wasn’t as bad as it seemed. It was never cystic and only amounted to a few spots at a time (unless you count the body acne—I still shudder at the memory—but at least that was coverable with a strategically cut shirt).No, the acne wasn’t the real problem. It still isn’t. I don’t mind the occasional hormonally-induced pimple, that’s just life. What has frustrated me the most over the years is what happens after a breakout. To this day, no matter how carefully I treat a pimple—no picking happening here—I end up with stubborn hyperpigmentation that can take years to fade. 
    I’ve tried countless serums that claim to send dark spots packing, professional peels that shed-off layers of skin, and have even sipped on not-so-great tasting teas that promise glowing skin. I thought I would never crack the code. But to my very happy surprise, in the past year or so, the puzzle pieces have fallen into place! I finally landed on a skincare routine that actually helps me avoid breakouts in the first place and makes hyperpigmentation heal faster. Is my skin perfect? Of course not, but these products are keeping it in a really good and glowy place. 

    As much as I love the immediately smoothing effects of a physical exfoliant, I know they can be a bit damaging if not used carefully. I’ve found that using a chemical exfoliant on a regular basis gives me more sustainable results. Products designed for acne dry my skin out and never seem to actually make acne go away. So, now I avoid any products specifically targeted at drying out acne and reach for a chemical exfoliant instead. This combination of PHA, AHA, and BHA really does it all. I experience fewer breakouts, smoother skin, and my dark spots fade quicker when using this clarifying liquid. Win, win, and win. 


    I’ve seen good results with retinol in the past, but you’re not supposed to combine retinol with acids. So, I take a day off from acids once or twice a week and use this super hydrating sleep mask that contains retinol. I find if my skin is feeling sensitive or needs a bit of extra moisture after a breakout, this mask is the way to go. There is also a non-retinol version of this mask available, which I liked, but I appreciate the extra benefits I get from the retinol version. 


    This is where things get fun. While there’s no denying that professional microneedling sessions can do wonders, I wasn’t willing to drop major bucks on a problem that was going to keep popping up again. After years of wanting to try microneedling, I took matters into my own hands with this home device. It’s so easy to use, and when I use it regularly, my skin tone is much more even. Products absorb better post-microneedling, so I’ve found that overall my skin is more moisturized, smoother, and brighter the morning after use. Not to mention, the process is very cathartic after a long day. 


    As I mentioned, I’ve tried a lot of serums with not a whole lot of brightening success. Still, I kept up the search, and I’m glad I did. This very gentle combination of acids and niacinamide is pretty darn effective on new breakouts. It doesn’t irritate my skin, and I’ve been able to use it in conjunction with stronger acids and retinol. Fair warning, my skin isn’t super sensitive, so you may want to check with your dermatologist before combining products. At the very least, do a test on a less sensitive spot of your body first.


    Anyone who struggles with hyperpigmentation knows that wearing sunscreen every day is a key step towards not letting those dark spots get deeper, darker, and more permanent. I’ve bounced from sunscreen to sunscreen and found the perfect formula. Moisturizing, solid SPF protection, and the prettiest lightweight tint—all in one product. Most days, I simply pair this sunscreen with my favorite concealer (read my review here!) and have enough coverage and glow to hop on any last-minute Zoom calls. 


    When a major breakout does happen, I seem to be stuck with a rather unpleasant healing process—think scabs and flaky skin (sorry for that visual). When my skin really needs a little extra TLC, I reach for this super clean facial oil. It is soothing and healing and just makes my skin feel great. Not to mention, it’s a great oil for locking in moisture and nourishing my skin.


    I have a bit of a confession to make: I hate using makeup remover. I have sensitive eyes and removing eye makeup often leads to tears. Luckily, this cleanser removes makeup effortlessly and doesn’t irritate my eyes. My skin obviously looks way better when extra makeup doesn’t get left behind by a bad wash!


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    The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Self-Love Routine

    Remember February 14th as a child? It was a joyous holiday where you got to express your creativity through crafting a cool box and picking out themed cards from your favorite television show or movie. This was a day where you celebrated love: love for your friends, love for your teachers, and love for your family. There was something about giving love (passing out your Valentines) and receiving love (dumping out your box and reading each one) that made you feel warm and fuzzy inside. You always looked forward to it (and all the candy that came along with it). At some point, the meaning of this date changed. It transitioned from pure platonic love and bliss to fragile romantic love. To be honest, as we’ve got older, we’ve made the concept of this day much more complicated than it needs to be. 
    Valentine’s Day is still the same beautiful holiday it was when you were a child, and its meaning is chosen by you. You can choose to have this holiday represent loneliness, or you can reclaim this as a day of gratitude for all the love you have in your life. Regardless of if you have a romantic love interest, you have people in your life that you can show love to: family, friends, coworkers, and yes, yourself. After all, there is no one in this world who will ever love you more than you love yourself. 
    What better way to spend Valentine’s Day in quarantine other than indulging in an easy, budget-friendly yet gratifying self-care routine?   

    Light a candle (or two)
    Candles bring a feeling of closeness and warmth into your home. Try floral notes like rose or jasmine, or go more sweet and sultry with notes of vanilla and amber. 

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    Diffuse some essential oils 
    Aromatherapy is essential to setting the right mood for any pamper day. Lavender, bergamot, and rose are associated with feelings of relaxation, balance, and harmony. If you’re in the mood for something more sensual, try a mix of sandalwood, patchouli, and ylang ylang. 

    Play some background noise 
    To make the day special, find a new playlist with sing-a-longs from your favorite era. If you’re not in the mood for songs, check out Spotify’s “Love Stories” section for podcasts filled with heartwarming stories about love and friendship. 

    Take a long bath or shower
    Show your body lots of love with a bath bomb infused luxurious bath or taking an extra-long steamy shower. Exfoliate with a dry brush before stepping in or use a body scrub once you’re in the water. After you’re done, lather up with a softly scented body oil for extreme softness. 

    Do an extensive skincare routine
    Use this day as an excuse to give your face all the tender love and care it deserves. After cleansing and exfoliating, apply your favorite nourishing serums followed by a hydrating mask. Start with a gel or cream mask and then use a sheet mask afterward. Need something to do while your masks work their magic? Why not take time to unplug by reading a book instead of mindlessly scrolling your phone. When you’re done, finish off with a beloved moisturizer and facial oil for a quick little facial massage.
    P.S. Don’t forget to give your lips some attention too.  

    Put on comfortable clothes or PJs
    Once you’re done pampering yourself, get dressed in a special comfy matching set or satin nightie. No outfit is complete without a spritz of perfume and a pair of fuzzy socks or slippers; these are essential for the occasion.   

    Order or cook something special
    Valentine’s Day is absolutely an excuse to step away from your regimented meal plan. Order in from your favorite restaurant (make sure you arrange this early as takeout demand will probably be high) or cook a really nice dinner. Brush up on your quarantine baking skills by making a fun Valentine’s Day dessert too. Don’t forget to crack open a nice bottle of wine. You have overcome a lot since last Valentine’s Day, and that is something worth celebrating!

    Paint your nails and watch a movie
    No self-care routine is complete without a mani-pedi in front of a movie. Fortunately, the romance genre is full of many different approaches, so you can always find a flick that’s right for every mood. If you’re craving passion and drama, try Netflix’s new Malcolm & Marie. Feel like crying? That’s OK too, A Walk to Remember and The Fault in Our Stars usually get the job done. For stories of love and friendship that will keep you laughing watch Sex and the City: The Movie. And if you’re just looking for a series that is both modern and relatable, try To All the Boys. 

    Get to bed early
    When you are ready to wind down, it’s time to choose the mindfulness practice of your choice. Whether that is meditation, journaling, or prayer, chose something that helps center your thoughts and inner emotions. Give gratitude for all your loved ones and think of little ways you can improve on showing love to others. Finally reflect on how you can continue to cultivate a loving, healthy, long-lasting relationship with yourself. Because no matter where life takes you, you’ll need it.  More

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    5 Outfits to Wear When You Want to Stand Out

    Back in the days of yore (read: pre 2020 madness), there was a meme that kept resurfacing every few months. It included a group of girls going out somewhere, all of them wearing slightly different variations of an all-black outfit.Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve worn an almost identical outfit to the people around me, especially when the discussed outfit of choice is “jeans and a nice top.” But after a year of wearing sweatpants, sometimes you want to wear something that nobody else will be.
    Looking to spice up the next time you leave the house? Look no further than these five outfits—there will be no accidental twinning in sight.


    jeans (size 0-18) / jeans (size 16-26)/ sweater / bodysuit budget)/ bodysuit (size XS-5X) / necklace / boots


    shirt dress / belt / sneakers / sunglasses


    dress (sizes XXL-4X) / dress (sizes XS-XXL) / boots / bag / necklace


    blazer (size XXS-XXL)/ blazer (size 14-22) belt / jeans (size 00-18) / jeans (size L-4X) / T-shirt / sneakers


    jeans (size 16-24) / jeans (size 00-14) / top (size L-4X) / top (size XS-XL) / corset top / boots / sunglasses More

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    Spring 2021 Hair Trends: Every Cut, Color, and Style You Should Try

    For the first six months of quarantine, I got dressed and did my makeup just about every day. It felt so good to have a routine in the morning, wear the clothes I love in my closet, and get creative with my makeup. But I’m not joking when I say I didn’t even touch my hair. Maybe I’d throw it up in a bun or pull it back with a clip, but I had little-to-no motivation to heat style whatsoever. Nothing was convincing me to do my hair. Fast-forward a little bit, and I’m reformed. One day, I really craved a bouncy, curly look with my makeup and outfit, and I just went for it. Now? I’m back to styling my hair just as I was pre-COVID. It’s become a ritual to spend time on my hair most days, and it’s getting me very excited to try the abundance of new trends and styles popping up for 2021. 
    Behold: the cuts, colors, and styles we’re looking out for this spring.

    1. Face-Framing Color

    I won’t say Charli D’Amelio started this trend, but she had a pretty significant role in convincing us all to do it. Whether you opt for some light “money pieces” or go full-out with a bright color, this look gives a bright, fun flair to your typical color.

    2. Balayage

    Why yes, the 2010s biggest hair trend is back, thanks to a pandemic in which low-maintenance color is essential. This color grows out with grace while still maintaining lots of dimension and brightness, regardless of your natural color.

    3. Queen’s Gambit Red

    If all you could stare at while watching The Queen’s Gambit was Anya Taylor Joy’s gorgeous red hair color, then you’ll understand why this trend is popping up. If you already have light hair, this is pretty easy to achieve, but adding a red-tint to your dark hair super easy with a color conditioner like this one.

    4. Dirty Blonde

    “Dirty dishwater” hair is everything right now, and it doesn’t help that it’s very low-maintenance. This is a dark, sandy, textured blonde that’s full of dimension and tone. Some sandy blondes are very honey and golden, while others look gorgeous with a grey-ish tone; this trend is super versatile and universal depending on your skin tone.

    5. Semi-Permanent Color

    Getting bored with your color in quarantine? Semi-permanent color is the answer. Whether you try a color conditioner or a true semi-permanent color, it’s easy to do at home and won’t (totally) annoy your stylist when you finally make your way back in the chair.

    1. Shag

    We’re thanking Miley Cyrus for making the mullet cool again, and it’s convincing us we need a shag haircut ASAP. This style works on fine, wavy, and curly hair types super well (coily/textured hair might struggle with this, but it’s not impossible! Finding a good stylist is key) and looks unique and updated from the trendy cuts of the past few years.

    2. Bangs

    While quarantine bangs might have seemed like a fad, stylists are still incorporating every single bang style into their current cuts. Curtain bangs might seem like the biggest option, but full bangs, shaggy bangs, wispy bangs, and even side bangs are practically everywhere right now.

    3. Blunt Lengths

    As far as low-maintenance cuts go, this is basically at the top of the list. One-length hair is perfect for anyone who wants to create lots of volume on thin or fine hair types, but it also looks sleek and sexy on thick or textured hair.

    4. Curly Pixie

    Curly and coily hair don’t have to forgo stylish short cuts! In fact, this short pixie is truly better on a curly hair type because it has lots of volume, texture, and shape without having to do too much. Ask your stylist for a short pixie. You can opt for some layers, or keep it blunt; either way, it’s cool as hell.

    5. Short Bob

    The chic French-inspired, ‘90s bob is the new way to keep your hair prim and polished. This look is great for anyone who wants an easy-going style, as this looks great with straight, wavy, curly, and coily hair.

    1. Barely-There Waves

    These “baby waves” look natural, high-fashion, and ultra-cool. Take a 1 in. curling iron and lightly curl random sections of the hair, pulling each piece taut afterward to straighten it out a bit. Keep it light by combing through your hair with a wide-tooth comb afterward instead of a brush. The trick to this style is keeping your ends and roots straight.

    2. Sleek

    For a really sleek look, blow dry your hair straight with a blow-dry brush or blow dryer and round brush, and then pass over each section with a flat iron. To seal it all in, spray a light hairspray and a little bit of a lightweight hair oil into the palm of your hand, rub together, and lightly run your fingers through your ends. This keeps the look really touchable and soft while staying sleek and shiny.

    3. Tons of Shine

    After years of matte, beachy looks, shiny hair that bounces off the light is officially back. Get this look by using a shine product while you blow dry or heat style your hair, and then follow the look with a lightweight hair oil. Make sure to keep any oils away from your scalp to not look too greasy.

    4. Pulled-Back With A Clip

    This is 2021’s updated version of the “messy bun.” It’s equally as cute, versatile, and practical as the messy bun but with an extra “cool-girl” factor. You can pull your hair into a clip into dozens of ways: low on your head, half-up, with ends sprayed out, tight and sleek, extra messy–you name it.

    5. Curled Ends

    This fluffy, curled style is reminiscent of hot rollers and the ‘90s, which might just be why we love it so much. To achieve: blow dry hair straight to give it lots of body and shine, and then curl just the ends with a big curling iron, holding it horizontal to get as much volume in your curl as possible. Curl in different directions to create dimension, and brush it all out once the curls have cooled. This style looks extra cute in a half-up pony! More

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    5 Fears About Wearing Prints on a Plus-Size Body—and How to Get Over Them

    If you’re anything less than what society deems beautiful, you may feel like you’re supposed to be heard rather than seen. People who don’t uphold traditional beauty standards may not feel worthy of admiration or attention, or like they are supposed to take up space. This feeling may bring up many fashion fears, like the fear of wearing prints.If you’ve ever felt like you’re not what society deems “beautiful,” you might feel like you’re supposed to be heard and not seen. This feeling might bring up fashion fears, like the fear of wearing prints, and I’m here to address and squash some of them:

    1. You don’t want to be the elephant in the room

    Or the leopard, cheetah, zebra, or snake either. I’m talking about animal prints! I’ve heard women say, “I’m too big to wear zebra, because I’ll look like one.” *Record scratch* Wait just one minute, ma’am. No one is going to mistake you for a tiger if you wear tiger print. What they may say is that you’re feisty, fun, and looking sexy in your ensemble. Animal prints won’t make you appear any larger or smaller, but they will definitely make a statement.
    When I wear animal prints, I feel fun and super sexy. My favorite animal print to incorporate into my wardrobe is leopard print. I have leopard print shoes, bags, shirts, pants, and dresses. Now, of course, I wouldn’t wear all of these different items together, but hey, I could if I wanted to! Here’s a look that’s easy to recreate:
    I’ve paired my midi-length, bodycon leopard dress from Rebdolls with a cute and classic black moto jacket I scored from Eloquii for $13! The dress I’m wearing has sold out, but Amazon has a similar one.  I added a cute, black, heeled bootie to top it off. I like the boots because they’re easy to walk in and are very versatile. I bought these particular booties from Torrid a few years back. They’re not available now, but Torrid has these available and they’re a close match. 

    2. You’re afraid someone will “connect the dots”  

    I hate to be the one to break it to you, but people will be able to tell you’re plus-size regardless of what you’re wearing. I know wearing all black is supposed to “slim you,” but do we really care about being slim or are we more concerned with how people may respond to us because we aren’t slim?
    Too often, many plus-size women share the sentiment of wanting to “hide” their weight, and they use their clothing to do it. I’m all for wearing what’s flattering and what fits your natural body shape best, but prints have nothing to do with that. Wearing plain or dark clothing won’t hide your body, but it will make you less memorable. If you’re not super comfortable with prints yet, try a look like this. I’ve chosen a black tube dress with white polka dots then paired it with a long denim shacket. I finished the look with white Steve Madden sneakers and voila! You’ve got an easy, fun casual look to go about town. 

    3. You’re afraid of being “seen“

    You deserve to be seen, admired, and complimented, and regardless of your personality, bold prints can do a lot of the talking for you. Walking into a room wearing a bold, graphic print places a lot of attention and focus on you and some people aren’t OK with that. I know that some of us are just naturally shy, but I think some plus-size women try to avoid the spotlight because of insecurity. If you’re feeling insecure or body-conscious, I’d like to encourage you to try wearing prints. 
    Take this dress from Eloquii, for example. It’s a white, knee-length dress with a bold, abstract snow leopard print (told ya I like leopard). When I wear this dress, I’ll undoubtedly stand out in a crowd. My dress will say “I’m here, I dress well, and I’m confident,” and all of those things are true. I’d wear this dress for a date night, dinner party, or social event. Wear it with or without a bright moto jacket, like this one from Eloquii. Remember those boots from earlier? Here they are again. You can find ways to incorporate staple pieces into different outfits. It’s a sensible thing to do that can save you tons of money. 

    4. You take yourself too seriously

    Girl, why so serious? Clothing is supposed to be fun and experimental. I know, someone said you shouldn’t wear stripes and you believed them; someone said you shouldn’t experiment with bold colors and you believed that too. But they’re wrong! Don’t worry about if you can “pull it off,” because you can! Your unique style is just that: yours. There really aren’t any rules to this. You’re plus-size, yes, but you aren’t a stick in the mud. Feel free to experiment with color, shape, texture, lengths, and more.
    I love pieces that are fun and help me stand out in a crowd. My favorite skirt is from a small boutique, Love’s Lost Phoenix. I like to shop independent boutiques because they carry unique items, which makes it less likely for you to catch someone in the same outfit as you. I love this skirt because it breaks all of the fashion faux pas for plus-size girls. It’s striped (horizontally and vertically), brightly colored, and has an exaggerated shape. I’ve paired it with a graphic tee and a pair of combat boots. It’s eclectic! And whether or not you hate it or love it, you won’t forget it. That is what I want to convey in my wardrobe: I’m unforgettable. 

    5. You don’t think prints are professional

    I can hear you now, “Yes, Jasmine all of this sounds great, but I’m a professional! I can’t wear prints at work!” Well, I’m here to tell you that you can. I’m a professional too and I wear prints to work. When it comes to work attire, you may have to tone it down some, but you can definitely still incorporate prints into your wardrobe.
    Here, I’ve paired a solid black mock-neck tee with a pair of plaid pants. It’s simple and understated, but still shows a bit of my personality in the boardroom. Gone are the days of wearing plain black slacks and white button-downs to the office. It’s 2021 and our work attire should have evolved by now. Don’t be afraid to show up in your prints, just choose them carefully.
    When I’m considering what prints I should or shouldn’t wear to work, I think about what image I’m trying to portray. Yes, I want my personality to show, but I don’t want to come off as immature. Polka dots, animal prints, stripes, and more are all fine, but definitely consider color and style. Also think about how much print you’re wearing in one outfit. I’d balance the prints with solids just to be on the safe side. 

    I’m not sure if it’s fear, shame, or the fear of shame that keeps our beliefs limited, but I am sure that you are beautiful and worth showing off. I don’t care if you’re a size 2 or 24 (like me), you deserve to feel good in your skin and clothing. I think that the fear of wearing prints on a plus-size body is less about the prints themselves and more about the insecurity and sense of inferiority society has instilled in women who don’t meet “the beauty standard.” The beauty standard is a lie. You deserve quality, fashionable clothing that speaks to your individual style, energy, and flair. Gone are the days of hating your body. You are beautiful! Now, show yourself off.  More

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    The Best Presidents Day Sales to Shop This Weekend

    We love a good sale. Like, really love a good sale. It’s the perfect excuse to snag that splurgy item you’ve had your eye on or find a great deal on the essentials—who doesn’t like saving a little money on things you’ve been wanting or needing anyway? Enter Presidents Day sales. Whether you’re searching high and low for home decor that will liven up your (now very familiar) space or just ready for a little early spring wardrobe refresh, there’s a sale out there with your name written all over it.Sifting through sales to try and find the good stuff can be frustrating, so we’ve done the hard work (someone had to!) and rounded up some of our very favorites to browse from the comfort of your couch this long weekend. All you’ll have to do is click “add to cart.” Happy shopping!

    sign in or sign up for a Madewell account; discount reflected at checkout

    no promotional code necessary

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    5 Hyperpigmentation Myths About Darker Skin Tones

    As a Woman of Color, I’ve often struggled not only with finding foundation and color cosmetics that match my skin and its undertones, but also with finding the right skincare for the one condition that affects Black and Brown people the most: hyperpigmentation. Folks of any complexion can experience hyperpigmentation, as anatomically all skin is the same. We all have the same types of dermal layers, pores, blood vessels, and glands. However, there is one small and very obvious way that our skin differs, and that is in pigment. Skin color is determined by the presence of melanin, a pigment made by cells called melanocytes. Contrary to popular belief, we all have the same number of these cells, but depending on where we are from geographically and genetically, these cells make more melanin for some of us versus others. Darker skin is still prone to hyperpigmentation and needs all of the protection that fairer skin tones warrant.
    Hyperpigmentation happens when cells produce too much melanin at one time, causing what we commonly call a dark spot or a blemish. So, why does this happen, and why does it happen more frequently in darker skin-toned people? Surprisingly, it all leads back to one of two things: hormones or inflammation. Hyperpigmentation can happen when our hormones are out of whack due to pregnancy, changes in birth control, or even menopause. Changes in skin pigment due to these causes frequently show up on our skin in larger brown patches, or in a “mask-like” formation and should be addressed by your medical doctor.
    However, most of the dark spots that we seek to correct with skincare products are caused by inflammation and cause Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, or PIH. Have you ever bought a bag of fruit and one random apple slips out of the bag and bounces onto the floor? Though said apple is now slightly dented, you place it in the bowl with others. A day later, you may notice that the apple has a bruise or a brown spot around the dent? This inflammation is its response to trauma. Our skin responds much in the same way. 
    Any “trigger” to darker skin, even the seemingly innocent ones–which can include exfoliation, acne, waxing, or shaving—can cause melanocytes to overproduce skin pigment (melanin), causing a dark spot. So, what can we do about this? First, we can debunk a few myths about hyperpigmentation and Brown skin.

    source: @gethyperskin

    1. Dark skin is less sensitive than fair skin
    You may have already guessed after reading the above that this is false. Though fair skin can easily reveal any irritation or changes due to its lighter pigment, dark skin can mask irritation and have more visible and prolonged reactions to irritants and trauma.
    Therefore, it is important that skincare regimens for Black and Brown skin contain calming and soothing ingredients to prevent irritation, thus the overproduction of melanin. Even during exfoliation, it’s important to be sure that manual or scrub exfoliants are not harsh and exfoliating agents, such as acids, are not irritating.
    2. Dark skin tones can’t use peels
    This myth is a tricky one! Black and Brown skin tones have long been warned against laser treatments, and rightfully so. Early lasers and those used for hair removal were designed to find and zap pigment in the skin, preventing them from being an option for deeper skin tones. However, there have been a number of new developments in this space including, the invention of Pico Lasers, which can work on various skin tones!
    Peels have long been a go-to for lightening and brightening dark marks left by acne or sun damage; however, if you recall, inflammation can be caused by irritation, which means that things like strong acids can actually cause more harm than good. It is important to make sure that the peel you choose does not contain an acid that you may be allergic to. Peels tend to have varying strengths, from lighter strengths that you can perform at home to deeper peels that only a dermatologist should perform. If opting for a medium to deep peel, it is recommended that you have it performed by a professional who understands darker skin tones and your unique needs.

    Source: @blackgirlsunscreen

    3. Thinking acne is not the culprit
    I rarely break out, but when I do, whether I squeeze my pesky pimple or not, it almost always leaves a dark mark. This is because acne is, by definition, the occurrence of inflamed or infected oil glands in the skin. So, the best way to counteract dark spots from acne is to prevent them.  
    Use a clarifying cleanser to keep your face free of bacteria and your pores decongested, especially if you’re oily. This is an important step in preventing breakouts from happening in the first place. Unfortunately, once the irritation has happened and the pimple has erupted, it can be days to weeks before that dark mark makes its exit.
    4. Using lightening products will help
    Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you may have heard that many of the lightening products used by our moms and grandmothers have actually not only caused skin damage, but may have caused some serious side effects due to toxic ingredients that went under the radar for many years. In addition, society has begun to address the use of these products as they have historically promoted colorism in certain cultures.
    I personally am glad to see this conversation at the forefront of the beauty industry favoring safety and inclusivity in skincare. That said, lightening products can indeed still be the solution if you take the time to vet ingredients to ensure their safety. Ingredients such as licorice root, kojic acid, and skin superhero vitamin C are all great options for safely lightening and brightening dark spots.

    source: @blackgirlsunscreen

    5. Thinking you don’t need sunscreen
    Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the biggest myth of them all! Yes, we the Brown people have more melanin, but our melanin isn’t stronger than the sun. 
    The biggest culprit of hyperpigmentation is UV exposure from the sun. Though Black people have lower rates for skin cancer, we have higher rates of dying from it, as we typically will go undiagnosed for a longer period of time. Therefore, it is important for all skin tones to wear sunscreen each and every day, even in the winter or when it’s cloudy out. In addition, if you are using products to lighten PIH, your skin may actually be more sensitive to the sun, and you may be undoing all the correcting effects of your regimen by exposing your skin to UV harm.
    Lastly, I have experienced the common complaint of “ashy” or “gray” skin after an SPF application. Luckily for us, given the current heightened visibility of the beauty industry in addressing melanated skin, we are now seeing new brands that have launched expressly to address these concerns. One such company, Black Girl Sunscreen, manufactures SPF products with no white cast or residue. More

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    8 Outfit Formulas to Look Like an Off-Duty Model

    You know when you’re walking down the street, and you catch a glimpse of some girl who just looks… effortlessly cool? Like she just woke up, threw on the things that were at the front of her closet without much thought, and those things just happened to work together perfectly? I hate to break it to you, but that probably isn’t what happened.
    Of all the different styles to master, in my humble opinion, one of the hardest is that effortless, cool, je ne sais quoi of that girl on the street and off-duty models being photographed by paparazzi. It turns out, it actually isn’t that easy to look like you put no thought into your outfits and just came out of the womb fabulous and in an impeccable combination of perfectly-fitted basics. But the good news? With a little bit of effort, it can become second nature—and yes, all those people we’re emulating are trying just as hard as us behind the scenes.
    Ready to step out into 2021 looking like you’re a celebrity dodging paparazzi? Look no further than these eight outfit combinations.

    1. Distressed denim + ribbed turtleneck + a layered tank

    This season, bra tops and sheer tanks are going to be one of the top trends; and both of them sound intimidating, until you think of styling them like this. Layered on top of a tight, thin turtleneck, they give all of the visual appeal with none of the unwanted reveal. The result? An effortless combo that you’ll turn to again and again.

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    2. A matching set + teddy coat + chunky boots

    You know when you want to run to the grocery store, but don’t feel like wearing the same thing you have every day for the past two weeks? This is your answer. Leave on one of your usual matching sets, but top it with a teddy coat and chunky combat boots. You didn’t try at all, but it sure looks like you did.

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    3. Leggings + a long, wool coat + a beanie

    I’ll be a sucker for a pom beanie until the day I die, but something about this pom-free one with a sweatshirt, wool coat, and black booties makes me want to run out and buy one in every color. It’s easy and thought-free with all of the put-together payoff.

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    4. All black + a structured blazer

    When you want to look like a celeb hoping the paparazzi don’t spot you, you can hardly go wrong with an all-black ensemble. A base of black skinny jeans and a black turtleneck are made completely un-boring here with the addition of a structured blazer and knee-high boots. 

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    5. Distressed denim + hoodie + combat boots

    Sometimes, outfits with less pieces do more talking, and this is an example of that. A plain hoodie, distressed jeans, and combat boots are the cool girl’s off-duty uniform.

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    6. Baseball hat + a camel coat + pointed-toe boots

    Our love for a baseball hat knows no bounds, and this is a visual example of why. If you aren’t feeling the leather pants and booties shown here, just pair your favorite crewneck with a pair of jeans, sneakers, your camel coat, and a baseball hat, and you can have the same effect with more comfort. 

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    7. A tee with shoulder pads + mom jeans + white shoes

    Interested in the shoulder pads trend but don’t know how to style them without feeling like you’re out of an ’80s music video? This is for you. This shoulder-padded tee is the perfect, easy swap for any old T-shirt, but the effect pays off in spades. Since the upper half of your body will do so much talking, the bottom can be effortless with your favorite jeans and sandals or sneakers.

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    8. Straight denim + black turtleneck + leather jacket + sneakers

    Even if you feel more like a maximalist than a minimalist, this is an argument for minimalism if I’ve ever seen one. This look is simple and clean, but put-together and appropriate for just about anything—it’s impossible to look over or under-dressed in this.

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