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    The power of the perfect smile

    September’s – ‘The Power Issue’ – Download Now
    Never underestimate the power of the perfect smile. If you prefer perfecting what you already have than replacing it, Dr Maysoon is the go-to in the industry for a naturally flawless finish.
    What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?
    My morning routine is quite simple. When I wake up I brush my teeth, do a few stretching exercises then have my breakfast before I leave for work.
    In your role you have to have the ability to wear a lot of ‘hats’ in terms of understanding marketing, working with patients directly and of course the dentistry itself. What do you think are your natural strengths and which part do you enjoy most?

    Most of the patients who have written me reviews have complimented me on my communications skills and on the way I’ve made them feel relaxed so I would say my communication skills are definitely one of my big strengths. I love to sit with my patients and take my time when explaining their dental challenges and treatment options. And of course, the dentistry itself comes naturally to me after many years of experience and the hundreds of courses I have attended and continue to attend. I believe the best marketing tool is word of mouth, and the majority of new patients that visit me are through recommendations from current patients.
    Have you seen any trends in terms of cosmetic dentistry changing in recent years and if so what?
    Treatments such as composite bonding (or cosmetic bonding) and composite veneers have become more popular recently because they are relatively quick and conservative treatment options that enhance your smile. You can do so much with composite bonding, such as changing the shape, the length and texture of teeth. Most of the time there is no drilling or injections involved.

    The other trend is teeth straightening using clear aligners such as Invisalign. More adults are opting for these nearly invisible aligners to straighten their teeth as they can wear the aligners with more confidence and are able to remove them for important events.

    Tell us about how you create the perfect smile and would you always suggest trying to perfect what you naturally have before turning to other more extreme solutions?
    For me the perfect smile is enhancing what someone is naturally born with rather than destroying their teeth to achieve or copy someone else’s smile. This can be done in many ways depending on the patient’s goals, teeth, budget and time frame. I would always advise my patients to opt for the most conservative option if possible. For example, if someone has crowded teeth or a narrow smile then orthodontic treatment would be the least invasive option. I think Invisalign is a fantastic option and we can achieve so much with it. It allows us to transform the patient’s smile whilst still maintaining the uniqueness and natural shape of the teeth.
    On average how long can someone expect to spend going through this process?
    It really varies from person to person, depending on the position of their teeth to begin with. Teeth straightening can take any time from 3 to 24 months. Composite bonding and composite veneers can take 1 or 2 appointments.
    How do you aid the patient through the process?
    I always offer support, advice and encouragement throughout their treatment. Sometimes I would show them photos of their progress to increase their motivation and this ensures the time it takes to achieve the final result is minimised.
    Can you describe the process for us in terms of stages?
    The first appointment would involve a dental examination to check that the teeth and gums are healthy before embarking on any treatment. It’s essential to check if the patient is suitable for Invisalign and discuss a treatment plan accordingly. The second appointment would be to take photographs as well as impressions of the teeth and send them to the US where the aligners will be manufactured. After receiving the customised aligners, the third appointment would involve placing attachments on some of the teeth and fitting the first pair of aligners. After this, the patient will typically visit the dentist every 4 weeks to check progress and make any necessary adjustments until the treatment is complete.
    Who for you has the perfect smile?
    Anyone who has straight, bright, healthy teeth and gums has a perfect smile!
    This year has proven challenging for many business and leaders. If you face a challenge –  what have you found is personally the most successful way to overcome it?
    I try to think positively and focus on my mental and physical health. Things somehow end up falling into place when you do this. We cannot control the challenges and problems that come in our way, but we can try to change our mindset towards them.
    Do you have any pre-bedtime rituals?
    I try to avoid bright light and screen time an hour before I go to bed. I always make time for my skin routine before I sleep as well. I’ve recently started spraying lavender on my pillow just before I sleep, lavender helps me relax.

    What effect has social media played in the cosmetic dentistry industry and which channel do you feel will be strongest in future?
    Social media has made dentists more competitive in a good way. Dentists can now share their work in terms of  what can be achieved through photos and videos. Followers can engage with dentists and ask questions making the idea of treatment more accessible. Social media has definitely increased awareness amongst the public with regards to the importance of having a healthy, beautiful smile. Many influencers are documenting their smile makeover journeys on social media and sharing it with their followers. This has increased the demand for cosmetic dentistry. There are filters on Instagram and TikTok that make your teeth appear whiter and straighter which inevitably makes people think twice about their smile.
    If you were not working in the role you are now, which other role would you choose career-wise?
    I would have probably chosen a career in the culinary world. I’m very passionate about food and cooking!
    This issue is The Power Issue. What is powerful to you?
    Power is good health. Without a healthy body and mind we cannot achieve anything. Being powerful is being forgiving.
    For more details contact Dr Tosun Dental Clinic (04) 3435051 or @doctormaysoon
    September’s – ‘The Power Issue’ – Download Now
    – For more about Dubai’s lifestyle, news and fashion scene follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Getty and Supplied More

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    Our Editors’ Favorite Drugstore Beauty Products

    When people ask how I spend my money, my answer is always beauty products, and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. The desk of my college dorm was filled with makeup and haircare products, and basically every penny of my first job went to building out my beauty collection. However, this doesn’t mean that I’ve always spent my money on the likes of Pat McGrath Labs and Natasha Denona, and I still have quite the affinity for drugstore beauty products years later.There’s no better feeling than roaming the beauty aisles of Target, aimlessly checking out every display, from new products to old favorites. But now that we can’t exactly do that, here’s my solution to getting your drugstore beauty fix. I combed through every editor empties, editor-favorite, product review, and more to come up with our editors’ top drugstore beauty products.

    Skincare

    Neutrogena
    Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Gel Face Moisturizer

    This is my all-time favorite moisturizer in the summer, and it just happens to be available at Target. I love this when my skin is oily, when it’s dry, or when it’s right in-between. The texture is a gel consistency, making it really comfortable and weightless for during the day and right before bed (I love a thick moisturizer sometimes, but in the summer, I am just too damn sweaty). This makes my dry skin feel uber hydrated, but it’s also light for oily skin. Truly, no one can wrong with this moisturizer if you ask me.

    Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Body Cream

    I wouldn’t shut up about this moisturizer in 2019 (I even included it in my favorites!), convincing multiple of our editors and other people in my life to buy it immediately. If you have dry, sensitive skin that craves moisture, please give this a go. I love it on acne that’s drying up, to give my cheekbones an extra glow, and when I’ve used too many acids and my skin is crying for help.

    Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner Facial Mist

    For a non-drying toner that feels soothing and cooling on the skin, try this one, a favorite from our Director of Brand Partnerships, Ally. This facial mist contains witch hazel which soothes and hydrates the skin while regulating your pH balance. Use this as a makeup refreshing mist, as a toner, or after a hot and sweaty workout.

    SheaMoisture
    Matcha Green Tea And Probiotics Soothing Relief Eye Cream

    This is a new find, but one that I need to tell everyone about. I’m currently doing the Brown Girl Swap by BrownGirlJane by swapping out five of my everyday beauty products for ones by Black-owned brands, and I snagged this one from Target as soon as I ran out of my other eye cream. I love how soothing and relaxing this feels on my eyes. I love it for the morning when my eyes are tired and puffy, but it’s also nice to relax right before bed.

    Peach Slices
    Acne Patches

    These are, hands-down, the best acne dots on the market. I pick these up on every CVS run because they’re affordable and effective. Catch me on basically every Zoom call with one of these on my face, getting rid of zits while I do my magic (AKA this).

    Glow Tonic

    This is the best acid toner at the drugstore, especially if you’re new to acid exfoliation. This contains glycolic acid, an AHA that’s gentle-yet-effective for all skin types. This toner exfoliates away dead skin, revealing bright and glowy skin after just a few uses.

    SheaMoisture
    African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask

    A mud mask is essential for oily and acne-prone skin, and this one is one of the best on the market. You’ll immediately notice a clearer, brighter complexion after one use. Plus, this tub is huge, so you’ll never run out of it.

    Garnier SkinActive
    Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Makeup Remover & Cleanser

    Having a good makeup remover on hand is essential, and this one from Garnier is a favorite amongst our editors and readers because it’s effective while remaining super affordable. Apply a little bit to a cotton swab to fix uneven winged liner (guilty as charged), at the end of the day for a quick cleanse (again, guilty), or in the morning to refresh instead of going in with a drying cleanser.

     
    Makeup

    e.l.f Cosmetics
    Primer-Infused Blush

    I included this product in The Everygirl’s makeup collection capsule for a few reasons: it’s affordable, it’s easy to store, and it works as good as any blush should. It doesn’t have a bunch of bells and whistles, but when you want a pretty pop of blush on your cheeks, this goes above and beyond. It’s long-wearing, and I love the shade selection.

    Conceal + Perfect Longwear Concealer

    After one of my most-watched beauty vloggers shared her favorite drugstore products, I snatched up this concealer immediately, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s the perfect finish that looks exactly like your skin, and it never creases on me—ever. I have used this nonstop this year to spot conceal when I don’t want to wear a lot of makeup, and it looks amazing every single time.

    Juvia’s Place
    The Nubian Eyeshadow Palette

    Juvia’s Place has the best eyeshadows at the drugstore—there, I said it. I have three palettes, and I use them all constantly. The Nubian was their first palette, full of warm-toned browns that are perfect for everyday and smokey eyes galore. Their formula is easy to blend, highly-pigmented (meaning it shows up very well on dark skin tones), and doesn’t stain my eyes. I give them a solid 10/10.

    Physicians Formula
    Butter Bronzer

    This bronzer has a cult-following for being basically the best one at the drugstore, and our editors have to agree. Available in six shades (which is OK, but please Physican’s Formula, make a couple more), this bronzer will make you look and feel like it’s summer all year round.

    e.l.f Cosmetics
    Poreless Putty Primer

    This $8 primer blew my socks off the first time I tried it, rivaling a $52 similar one (you’ve maybe heard of it before, *wink*). I rub this into the areas of my face that I want my makeup to stay extra long or that I want to smooth my skin (such as my nose and forehead), and it’s basically an Instagram filter in a tub.

    Wet N Wild
    MegaGlo Highlighting Powder

    Repeat after me: makeup can cost the same as your favorite $5 Target wine and still be amazing. This inexpensive highlighter has been a go-to of mine for years, and it’s a beauty product that I constantly get compliments on because it looks both striking and natural—it’s basically magic. My go-to shade is “Precious Petals,” but I have “Golden Flower Crown” and “Blossom Glow,” and I love them too.

    e.l.f Cosmetics
    Wow Brow Gel

    A brow gel is one of my makeup staples, and this one takes the cake. For less than a latte, you’ll have thick, model-esque brows that won’t even need a touch-up. I’ve repurchased this twice now, and it gets better every time.

    Maybelline
    Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush

    I tried drugstore dupes for my favorite high-end products a few months ago, and this one beat the high-end version. The shades, the gel-like texture, and the longwear make this my favorite cream blush at the drugstore.

    Micro Brow Pencil

    You can never go wrong with a classic eyebrow pencil like this one, and NYX’s rivals expensive brands big time. This pencil has a super fine tip that creates hairlike strokes and includes a spooly to blend it all out. I go through brow pencils pretty often, and this is one I repurchase over and over again.

    Butter Gloss

    This gloss has been in the collections of our editors for years, and you’ll basically have to pry it out of our cold, dead hands. It’s the perfect gloss: non-sticky, comes in a variety of gorgeous shades, stays on for hours, and has a cake-like smell that makes putting it on extra enjoyable.

     
    Hair

    Wonder Water

    Editor Maddie reviewed this hair product at the beginning of 2020, and our editors have basically all purchased it by now. In a mere eight seconds, your hair feels like you just stepped out of the salon: shiny, sleek, and so soft. This is super easy to use and works for basically every hair type.

    SheaMoisture
    100% Pure Argan Oil

    A classic argan oil is essential in your hair routine for hot oil treatments, smoothing curls, hydrating ends, and more. But they can get quite expensive, so I love this one from Shea Moisture. It’s your typical argan oil at half the price you’d pay somewhere else. Plus, you get to support a Black-owned business in the process. Don’t skip this one!

    Kristin Ess
    Dry Finish Working Texture Spray

    You’d be hard pressed to find an Everygirl who isn’t an absolute Kristin Ess stan. We’re obsessed with her products and spend our free time discussing her newest launches every time. But one product we always agree on regardless of our hair type is this texture spray. To create a beachy, wavy texture, add extra volume to a blow-out, or keep curls in tact without the crunchiness of a hairspray—this texture spray does it all without feeling sticky or heavy on the hair.

    Kristen Ess
    The One Purple Shampoo

    If you’re prone to brassiness in your blonde (or want to remove yellow-tones from any hair color—looking at all of you with grey and cool-tone dark hair!), this purple shampoo knocks every other one out of the water. It removes brassiness like no other. And while I won’t say it’s the most hydrating purple shampoo on the planet, it isn’t drying enough to be a problem either.

    Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer

    Kelly bought this, shared the amazing results in her review, and then we all had to try it. Needless to say, it’s become an Everygirl editor staple for all of us. I use it to blow dry my bangs in place every time I shower, Kelly and Social Editor Abigail love it for volume, and Contributing Editor Blair uses the straightening brush on her coarse, tightly-coiled hair.

    Mielle Organics
    Babassu & Mint Deep Conditioner

    Our Contributing Writer Jeannine Benoit Adams chronicled her journey from relaxed to natural hair and shared this as one of the products that helped her. This deep conditioner helps restore protein and moisture for dry and damaged hair. It’ll leave your hair feeling soft and nourished without weighing it down.

    EverPure Volume Hair Care Collection

    This shampoo and conditioner is perfect for fine or medium hair that needs a little extra oomph. It’s the best volume shampoo and conditioner I’ve ever found. It never makes my hair feel dry or heavy—just full and soft!

    Miss Jessie’s
    Jelly Soft Curls Gel

    Kelly uses this product after the shower to keep her waves soft and smooth. Use it right after the shower on wet hair to help your curl pattern form into soft waves or curls.

    Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish

    This is my favorite nail polish at the drugstore, hands down. It dries so fast, and even the lighter shades only need two coats.

    Body

    Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly

    The Everymom’s Contributing Editor Laura put this in her beauty empties, saying that she loves this line at Target and especially this product. She said it keeps her curls in tact even through heat and humidity.

    SheaMoisture
    100% Raw Shea Butter

    Shea butter is a natural, inexpensive way to moisturize your whole body, but especially your feet. Even though pedicure season is over, we all still crave soft, smooth feet. Slather this. on and cuddle up with your favorite blanket and fuzzy socks, and your feet will thank you.

    Frank Body
    Original Coffee Scrub

    While this isn’t technically drugstore, you can pick it up in Ulta with your other drugstore staples. This is the best exfoliator on the market—so good, it’s worth clogging your drain with coffee grounds.

    Wet Skin Shea Oil Body Lotion

    I will never be without this product for as long as I live. At the end of your shower, slather this all over your body and then pat dry. Your skin will feel smooth, soft, and hydrated, and it barely feels like you added an extra step into your routine. Busy people who just can’t with sticky body lotions, this is your match.

    The Honey Pot
    Sensitive Feminine Wash

    It’s always good to have a feminine wash on hand for days you just want to feel a little extra clean, namely during your period. But many of these washes contain fragrances and harsh ingredients that have no business being anywhere near your bits. That’s why we love this one from The Honey Pot. It’s pH-balanced for the vagina, meaning you won’t get any irritation or infections just from trying to feel clean. Plus, it’s ultra-gentle and soothing.

    Moisturizing Cream

    Many of our editors rave about this thick moisturizing cream. Whether they use it all over their body for soft, smooth skin or for extra-dry skin on their face, it’s in constant rotation on their beauty shelves. More

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    I Just Finished 5 Months of Isotretinoin—Here’s How It Went

    Many articles about acne start the same—but that’s because the struggle with acne, one of modern society’s most frustrating skin conditions, is far too common. The often-painful-and-often-shameful ailment is frequently lauded as adolescent and pubescent—but a Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School study finds about half of women in their 20s, one-third of women in their 30s, and one-quarter of women in their 40s will be bothered by breakouts.For the last 12+ years, I have struggled with acne on my face, chest, neck, and back—so when my dermatologist suggested isotretinoin for the third time (yes, literally the THIRD TIME), I was all too eager to sign on the dotted line.
    I grew up knowing that acne was a likely possibility, as both of my parents struggled with acne as teenagers themselves. My older sister’s skin broke out a few years before mine did, so I knew it was only a matter of time. When I was in seventh grade, my face erupted with painful cystic acne—and I spent an absolutely massive amount of time each day layering makeup on, hoping to disguise my greatest source of shame. While each person and their insecurities are different, I speak for myself (and hopefully other acne sufferers) when I say that I would not wish cystic acne on my worst enemy. I felt betrayed by my body and ashamed of my face—sometimes even turning down sleepover invitations or trips to a friend’s pool, knowing I’d be expected to be makeup-free in front of my friends. In the scheme of problems in this world, I know this is not major—but to a little suburban teenager who was already uncomfortable in her tall and gawky frame, it was an absolute nightmare. (Good God, I wish I could hug that little teenage Abigail and tell her she’d be engaged to a global pop star someday! That’s technically not true yet, but I do think she’d like to know.)

    Wait, what exactly is isotretinoin?
    Good question. Isotretinoin is a naturally occurring derivative of vitamin A. Doesn’t sound familiar? You probably know it as Accutane.
    Note: There are many other brand names for isotretinoin (like Claravis, the one I took), but Accutane is its most common, despite the fact that its manufacturer pulled it back in 2009. In this article, I’ll be referring to the medication by its clinical name.
    Isotretinoin has been known as a controversial drug to take for a few reasons. First of all, its success rate comes with some heavy side effects–which can reportedly include anything from annoying dry lips to serious mental health problems. As Emily Goldberg wrote for The Atlantic, “Since it became FDA-approved to treat acne in 1982, it has also been linked to inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and increased rates of suicide. While studies have not proven that isotretinoin causes these conditions, they remain among the risks of taking the medication.”
    Additionally, becoming pregnant while taking the drug can cause severe birth defects to a fetus—so there are strict rules regarding your birth control while taking it. Those who menstruate are required to commit to two different forms of birth control (for example, both hormonal birth control pills and male latex condoms, among several other options) and to enroll in an online program designed to educate users on the importance of not getting pregnant while taking the drug. All that being said, isotretinoin is still a massively popular option because it’s highly effective at clearing up cystic acne (or, as your dermatologist might call it, “acne vulgaris”—a term that does NOT make a self-conscious teenager feel good).

    Wait… you said you’ve done this multiple times?
    I went on isotretinoin two different times while I was a teenager. The first time, I was in eighth grade, and the drug worked incredibly well—for a time. Given (probably) that I was still a teenager filled with hormones and not yet through puberty, my acne came back with a vengeance. I tried again during my junior year of high school, but was pulled off of it midway through the cycle (about three months in) by my parents and dermatologist due to my declining mental health. This is another article for another day—but I do want to make it clear that I have no idea if my mental health problems were related to the isotretinoin. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for many years, and I’m not sure if it would’ve happened regardless. Like I said—that’s a bigger discussion, but it is worth noting. 

    So, why did you do it again?
    I spent most of college blissfully acne-free, but my early 20s were once again plagued with breakouts, extreme scarring, and a lottttt of concealer. By the end of 2019, I was living with my parents, gainfully employed, and covered in cystic acne—not a great Bumble profile, but the great makings of a candidate for the (very expensive) treatment.
    When my dermatologist and I discussed it, I was sold immediately—but knew I needed to be practical. With such extreme possible side effects, the drug was a risk. I was afraid of the same mental health problems I had had nearly 10 years earlier, I was afraid that it wouldn’t work, and I was afraid that it was too expensive. After a lot of discussions with my family, the introduction of a new therapist, and much prayer and deliberation, I decided to begin… which is far easier said than done.

    Pre-treatment
    Given the potential birth defects, it’s notably more difficult for those who have a uterus to go on isotretinoin than it is for those who do not. Before you can fill your prescription, you need to be on birth control for at least a month, and you need to take a negative pregnancy test and a blood test (in addition to the requirements of the online education program—which includes monthly quizzes determining whether or not you’re well-versed in reproductive knowledge). I was cleared to begin in December 2019, but couldn’t fill my prescription until January 2020. 
    And that’s where our story TRULY begins (lol, what have you gotten yourself into?). Here, I share a breakdown of the five months I spent taking isotretinoin every day.

    pre-treatment, wearing lots of makeup; November 2019

    (Yet another note: You would be HARD-PRESSED to find a photo of my face from the side from the last six-ish years. Most of my acne affected the sides of my face, my jawline, and my neck, so I very purposefully avoided profile shots, side angles, or candid looking-off-into-the-distance moments. This photo from November 2019 is the closest thing I have to a “before” picture, thanks to my intense insecurity and desire to hide my skin—you can see that the pimples are clustered, kind of in a line across my face, and cystic (read: under the skin).) Double parentheses!

    Month 1: January
    After my month of new birth control (I have a blood disorder that prevents me from taking certain types of birth control, so this was a minor debacle. Not horrible, but a hurdle worth mentioning) and two negative pregnancy tests, I began my treatment cycle on January 11, 2020. My dermatologist predicted that my treatment cycle would last anywhere from 3-7 months, depending on how well my skin reacted to the drug. 
    Something that I have yet to mention is that isotretinoin is allegedly hard on your liver—so my dermatologist told me that I should have literally zero alcohol throughout the course of my treatment. I love my wine, but I figured it would be easy to give it up in the pursuit of flawless skin. Indeed, the first few weeks WERE easy—I reveled in how well I was sleeping, how much energy I had, and how consistent my workouts felt. I was in the sweet spot—no alcohol, the hope of clear skin, and no side effects yet.
    Side effect tracker: My lips started getting dry, but smooth sailing otherwise!
    Progress tracker: No improvement

    Month 2: February

    the peeling on my face after getting my eyebrows waxed; February 2020

    Ah, the month before coronavirus derailed our lives. I spent February working a lot, fighting the bitter Chicago cold, and missing red wine by the fire. When I went out with my friends, I’d order sparkling water with lime, and I was still relishing the benefits of a sober lifestyle. My skin started getting drier, but I felt like it was improving. Was it really? Hard to tell.
    At the end of February, I got my eyebrows waxed (something that is frowned upon during the isotretinoin cycle, as sensitivity in your skin is obviously heightened) and was given my first interesting effect: a chunk of skin ripped out by the wax. If I’m being perfectly honest, I was relieved—it felt good knowing that SOMETHING was happening within my skin.

    hand dryness, smothered in Vaseline; late February 2020

    Side effect tracker: My hands were dry, scaly, and almost a little swollen (see photo), and I didn’t feel like exercising—but that probably had more to do with the fact that February in Chicago is a little slice of hell and less to do with the fact that I was a few weeks into an invasive drug.
    Progress tracker: Little to no improvement

    Month 3: March
    The month of March 2020 was, as in life around the world as with my acne journey, quite a catalyst. At the beginning of March, I flew to Texas for a close friend’s wedding. While at said wedding, I received a double whammy: the email that our office was closing indefinitely, and the interest of a cute groomsman. This combination of things provided me with the justification I was so desperately seeking to break my streak of sobriety and drink some champagne. I got tipsy VERY quickly.
    In other news, I felt that my skin was beginning to clear up. I sent the following picture to our fashion writer/one of my best friends Maddie, and I marveled that, though still red and noticeable, the texture of my acne was decreasing into flatter blemishes. I was pleased with this progress.

    skin progress; early March 2020

    Side effect tracker: As the weather started to warm up for spring, I was running more—but began noticing increased joint soreness accompanying said workouts. My lips were cracking, and my skin reddened more easily.
    Progress tracker: New pimples felt less frequent, but still scarred aggressively. No improvement in prior scarring–resulting in flatter texture but the same (if not increased due to sensitivity) redness.

    Month 4: April
    At this point, it’s honestly hard to tell what was happening due to an invasive drug eating up my insides vs. what was due to an increasingly horrifying global pandemic. I felt consistently downtrodden with the weight of the world, and my desire to participate in activities I loved weakened. I turned 26 and celebrated with alcohol—something that was (regrettably) growing more consistent in my routine.

    the peeling skin abrasions that showed up in place of breakouts; early April 2020

    This was the first month that my skin was becoming noticeably devoid of breakouts—but in their place came deep “burns” (I’m not sure if that’s what they were—but they were flat, bleeding abrasions that came from picking at and shedding my dry skin) across my cheeks. I had read that this would happen, and it proved to be completely true: I was literally shedding layers of skin.
    During this month’s visit to my dermatologist, we discussed my progress and the likelihood that my treatment would need not be longer than 5 or 6 months. I was most excited for the reemergence of guilt-free alcohol into my life, but I was also ready to feel moisturized again.
    Side effect tracker: The shallow abrasions on my face were unable to be hidden with makeup, and I resorted to covering them up with band-aids to avoid picking at them further. My lips and hands continued to flake, scale, and peel—and no amount of stretching or cooling down could ease the joint pain in my ankles after a run. I woke up stiff and sore every single day.
    Progress tracker: The raised pimples on my face came to a minimum, but an overall redness was left in its place. The scarring formed a kind of a Pangaea on my face—merging into red splotches on my cheeks as opposed to more defined single scars.

    Month 5: May
    My treatment ended in mid-June, and the six weeks leading up to that date were some of the most physically painful I’ve ever experienced. As my dermatologist increased my dosage and the medicine “built up” in my system (that is not medical terminology—I am not a doctor), my skin reached a point of dryness that I genuinely felt I would never recover from. I had a steady regimen of moisturizing products (see below)—and it helped—but the dryness came from within. I was constantly thirsty, tired, and sore. I was frustrated with my running times, I limped when I walked (that is not an exaggeration—my ankles hurt constantly), and my skin was still peeling off. For these six weeks, I could think of little other than that the clear-skinned light at the end of the tunnel. I was THRILLED with my results, but the price with which they came was high. The joint pain was unexpected—I knew it was a likely side effect, but I did not anticipate the level to which it would affect me.

    This is what my skin looked like without makeup on—skin abrasions, but lessened scarring and redness; mid May 2020

    Additionally, this month brought with it more painful, peeling facial abrasions. I used an ill-advised pore strip, and the skin on my nose peeled off in a sheet. I was left with a gaping nose sore for the duration of my treatment. 

    This is what my skin looked like with makeup on—dry, peeling, and caking; mid May 2020

    Side effect tracker: Intense joint pain, facial redness, skin sensitivity, painfully dry lips (like it-hurts-to-even-smile level painful)

    This was when my dryness and pain were at their worst—it felt like I had lost all power over my skin (for better and for worse). You can see the nose peeling in addition to the overall sensitivity and shedding; early June 2020

    Progress tracker: To quote The Fault In Our Stars, my skin cleared the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. My progress photos from early May show scarring, a few raised bumps, and angry redness—but as the weeks wore on, the scarring and bumps went down, leaving angry red “scrapes” in their place.

    Post-treatment
    Within just a few weeks of stopping treatment, my skin once again reached a normal level of moisture. I continued use of my mid-treatment skincare products, and one of them (the toner) is, to this day, still in my twice-a-day regimen. Also within weeks, my joints and body felt a lot more comfortable—I started running at a faster pace, and I stopped waking up stiff and sore.

    post-treatment, with light makeup; August 2020

    Yes, my skin cleared up. The skin I have now is skin I didn’t know was possible for me—it’s still scarred (but to a much lighter degree), and it’s now been completely bump-free for almost three months.
    That being said, the physical pain that came with the treatment is not to be understated, and the emotional and psychological risks are nothing to be taken lightly. I prepared for this by choosing to live with my parents (who are well aware of my mental health struggles and kept a close, watchful eye on my behavior) and by committing to a therapist who was also aware of my medical history and current treatment plan. While my situation is unique in that it took place in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic (and therefore it’s difficult to determine what emotional side effects were caused by the medication as opposed to anxiety-inducing current events), the fact remains that the medication took a visible toll on my body. I’m thrilled with the results—but I cannot in good conscience recommend the drug to anyone who may feel physically or emotionally fragile. I sincerely implore anyone who is considering isotretinoin to take the side effects seriously and to passionately discuss options, potential harm, and subsequent action plans with their medical professionals and loved ones.

    post-treatment, with makeup; August 2020

    Since June, my self-confidence has skyrocketed. When I look in the mirror, I see a whole person with great features, as opposed to just a face riddled with acne. For years, I assumed that when people looked at me, they saw nothing but a face full of flaws. Now, I try new makeup looks because I want to, not because I’m covering up. I’m embracing my fashion sense in a fresh way, I’m more interested in dating than I have been since college, and I’m not afraid to go makeup-free on all my Zoom calls.

    post-treatment, without makeup on; September 2020

    While I do know that I am more than my skin and that my acne never defined me, I admit that I allowed myself to forget that all too often. For those who suffer from acne, the simple act of meeting someone new, stepping outside, or standing up in front of a crowd can feel debilitating. Thanks to my treatment plan, a helpful therapist, and my supportive family, I no longer have to live under the weight of my acne. And while that’s exciting—it’s even more exciting to consider all I can do with the time I’ll no longer spend covering up.

    Abigail’s isotretinoin skincare routine
    My dermatologist urged me to use minimal products during my treatment cycle, but encouraged moisturizing agents. I used these products consistently during various phases of my treatment.

    ROSEN Skincare
    Super Smoothie Face Cleanser

    For the most part, I rinsed my face but didn’t use a cleanser (unless I had makeup on, in which case I would double cleanse). When I did use a nighttime cleanser, this is the one I used. It’s lightly exfoliating, which made me feel squeaky clean but not uncomfortably tight.

    First Aid Beauty
    Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner

    I would die for this toner. Unlike what you may think of as an “astringent,” this toner is deeply light and moisturizing. I used it twice a day, every day during treatment and have continued ever since.

    Calming Moisturizing Lotion

    As someone who also struggles with eczema (I am a dermatologist’s dream/nightmare), I stan colloidal oatmeal. This moisturizer is light enough to not feel heavy or greasy, but was hydrating enough to soothe my poor, troubled skin. A little goes a long way, and I’m still using this product now.

    Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30

    I’ve always known I should be using sunscreen on my face EVERY day, but it took the sensitivity that came with isotretinoin to make me believe it. This SPF is hydrating and brightening yet protective—so I justified the price with the multitasking capabilities (plus, it smells good!).

    Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask

    This product is UNREAL (and I do not say that lightly, because I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to skincare claims). I applied this product before bed 3-5 nights a week (depending on my dryness levels) and would wake up every subsequent morning with plump, glowing skin. This was the most noticeably moisturizing product I tried, and I used it consistently throughout treatment. It’s a little sticky before bed, so I’d recommend applying it about 20 minutes before you hit the sheets. I have since repurchased—this is going to be my holy grail during the Chicago winter.

    ROSEN Skincare
    Rose Water Face Dew

    When my skin was feeling particularly dry, or when I wanted to “seal in” my moisture, I spritzed this bad boy all over my face. It sounds a little extraneous, but I promise that this hydrating spray made a big difference in my comfort level (and dewiness level).

    Cortibalm Lip Balm

    This is the absolute worst-tasting thing I have ever put on my lips—but in the deepest depths of my dryness, this was also the only thing that could soothe me. I put this on every night before bed (and during miserable moments throughout the day). This is not for people who are like “oh, my lips are kind of dry”—it’s intense enough to calm broken, cracked lips, but the taste and smell are not worth it if you’re not desperate (note: I was desperate). More

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    Huda Kattan explains why she’s been absent from social media

    While she’s had a fair few product launches over the past few months, Huda Kattan has been rather quiet on the social media front.
    The Huda Beauty CEO opened up about why she took a short hiatus on social media after revealing she had been getting a lot of questions from people asking where she had been.

    In a seven-minute video she posted to her personal Instagram page, the 36-year-old revealed she needed a break after admitting things in her life have moved at an incredibly rapid pace over the past 10 years since launching her Huda Beauty blog.
    “Things have moved so fast for myself and my family and my team since starting my blog in 2010 – it’s been 10 years,” she explained.

    Kattan went on to reflect on her younger years as a child, admitting she always felt unattractive. When she discovered makeup, she felt it was the tool that was going to give her the “power” to make herself feel better.
    “At the time I didn’t realise I don’t need those tools – I didn’t realise I had it within me,” she said. “At the time, I thought it was always the products that made me feel that way.

    “Now, I know better, now I know we have so much power within us.”
    Recalling when she started her blog over a decade ago, Kattan admitted she thought she was just going to be “a service to people” as a source of information when it comes to makeup and beauty.
    “I never in a million years thought I was going to have a business – thought I was going to have a brand and sell products,” she said.
    Little did she know Huda Beauty would turn into a globally recognised beauty brand and would eventually go onto launch a skincare line too – Wishful. However, along with this Kattan reveals she consistently had to be on her top game to continue the success she was experiencing.
    “I had to become a higher version of myself continuously,” she said. “I don’t know if I ever took a moment to centre myself.”
    With Kattan having been on the constant grind, ensuring her brand would be as successful as it could be, the beauty CEO admitted she needed time to reconnect with herself, hence the hiatus on social media.
    “I needed time to go back to the most basic version of myself,” she said, adding ti was extremely “liberating and empowering to do so”.
    However, the much-needed break has left the makeup mogul more ready than ever to get back to creating content, connecting with her creative side and connecting with her audience. “I want to share things I haven’t before,” she added.
    It sounds like there’s plenty of exciting things happening with Kattan and Huda Beauty, so watch this space.
    – For more about Dubai’s lifestyle, news and fashion scene follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Supplied More

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    Two Editors Share Their Unfiltered Thoughts on Fenty Skin

    There are constant new releases in the beauty world. We’re all well aware of “fast fashion,” but “fast beauty” is quickly becoming a new discussion to be had. There are new trends, new palettes, new products, new innovations, new brands, and more—but we’d be lying if we didn’t say we were at least a little bit intrigued for some of them.The first on that list last month was Fenty Skin, Rihanna’s highly sought-after take on skincare following her renowned makeup line, Fenty Beauty. Rihanna launched her line in August 2020 with three products: a cleanser, a toner/serum hybrid, and a moisturizer with SPF. Two of our editors decided to test the products and share their honest thoughts on the line.
    But first, some need-to-know information: Fenty Skin offers free U.S. shipping and free returns up to 60 days after your package is shipped, so if you purchase something and don’t love it (as one of our editors did!), you can easily return with zero added stress. This is genius and makes it so easy to try a product without fear that you’re going to waste your money if you don’t love it. Fenty Skin is also clean, vegan, cruelty-free, and the products are made with sustainability in mind, as the Hydra Visor Moisturizer comes in refillable packaging. Fenty Skin also supports Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting education, health, and emergency response all over the world.

    What We Tried

    Let me start by saying: I am a GIANT Rihanna fan. I’ve been a card-carrying member of Rih Rih’s Navy since about 2007, and I have all the albums and concert ticket stubs to prove it. And since I am already obsessed with Rihanna’s makeup line, Fenty Beauty, it seemed only fitting to try out her new Fenty Skin line, too. Spoiler Alert: it was a great decision.
    I was thrilled when the package arrived—partly because everything to do with Rihanna makes me happy, but also because I loved the packaging. It was such a beautiful design, and once I learned that everything was Earth-conscious, I was even more impressed. All the boxes my products were shipped in were fully recyclable and had no excess packaging.
    The Fenty Skin crew used recycled material in most of the bottles, tubes, and jars. And they even incorporated a refillable system on some items. I can’t stress enough how happy all of this made me. I already loved Rihanna, but when I read her quote on the website— “Nobody is perfect, but I really believe we can try our best to do right and we’ll keep evolving as we go”—I felt fulfilled in a way that stretched beyond skincare.
    OK, on to the products. Before I tried anything, I of course watched Rihanna’s skincare routine tutorials on YouTube. Mostly because I love watching Rihanna talk about stuff, but also because I wanted to be sure to use the products correctly. For someone who loves to play in makeup, I unfortunately have not developed a regular skincare routine, so some of this was new for me.
    After watching Rihanna’s video, I felt confident and ready to go. I must say… nothing was as easy for me as it was for Rihanna! (Which makes sense.) Still, the products were all easy to use, mostly due to the design and packaging of each of the bottles. I loved the ability to easily twist open each tube and get to the product using only one hand. This really made things simple while washing my face in the shower.
    As a person who is always on-the-go (mostly from Zoom to Zoom these days, but still), I really appreciated the thought that went into making these products multifunctional and efficient. Each of the products I tried out served two functions. First was the Total Cleans’r, which was not only a facial cleanser, but also a makeup remover. I used this cleanser right after a hard workout when I was super sweaty, dirty, grimy, etc. It cleaned my face very well, getting rid of all the dirt and grime. I didn’t even wipe my sweat off first! I especially enjoyed using this product in the mornings, because it would wake my face up, leaving it feeling refreshed, soft, and clear.
    I will say, though, that when I tried this cleanser to remove a full face of makeup, I had to use it a couple times and work a bit harder to get everything removed. There were some areas that were tricky to get to without the ease/mobility of a makeup wipe, for example. Still, I felt this product did a good job of cleaning my face and turning it into a blank slate for whatever was coming next.
    And what came next was probably my favorite product in the bunch: Fat Water. I loved the unique texture of this Pore-Refining Toner Serum, which was liquidy but also kind of soft—almost like a thinned-out gel. Looking at it, I thought it would be sticky, but it was not sticky at all. On to what’s really important: I loved the way my skin looked after using this product! I will say that I did not have the “instantly absorbed” experience that Rihanna described in her video, but the more I tried it, the closer I got to finding the exact amount to use and absorb relatively easily into my skin. And even after just a week of using the product, I noticed subtle changes in my usual dark spots. My face was bright and smooth after each use without feeling dried out. I’ve used several products that make my face feel tight, but this one was the opposite!
    Finally, I tried the Hydra Vizor Moisturizer, which is also an SPF 30 Sunscreen. This was a very cool product and will likely work well for anyone who is looking to both moisturize their skin but also be prepared for the possibility of being exposed to sunlight throughout the day. This product did have more fragrance than the others, which I think was probably to mask the sunscreen smell. (Because who likes walking around smelling like sunscreen all day?). I absolutely did not get this feel when using this product. I was also very excited about the fact that this product was made intentionally to complement different skin types, complexions, etc. In her tutorial, Rihanna specifically talked about how she didn’t get any white “cast” when using this product… well, unfortunately, I did. But it went away after I rubbed it in well. After some time, the shine turned into “moisturized.” You could maybe even call it the Rihanna glow…
    When using all three products, my face felt light, hydrated, and ridiculously soft. I had a Zoom date with a friend after my skincare routine one day, and she complimented my skin, describing it as “dewy.” I wasn’t quite sure what it meant, but I attributed it to the glow. I also liked using these products before bed, because it wasn’t too long of a process; plus, after using the products at night, my skin felt delightfully soft and smooth in the morning.

    Overall, I loved these products! As a busy mom, wife, writer, PhD candidate, AND nonprofit director, I appreciated the functionality. And as someone who—unfortunately—does not have a standing skincare routine, these products were easy to use, and the routine was fast to figure out. For people with a standing skincare routine, this might even seem “too easy.” For me, that was a big plus. I used these products as a part of my morning routine and it only added an additional 10 minutes, if that. And my face was primed and ready to go if I decided to then put on makeup—which, by the way, my makeup looked awesome going on after using Fenty Skin! Since I don’t spend much time in the sun these days, I might do without the moisturizer, but otherwise, I definitely plan to continue using these products. They gave me a confidence and glow that made me feel ready to join Rihanna on the yacht for the afternoon.
    Seriously, Rihanna… I’m ready to join you on the yacht. Have your people call my people. 

    Rihanna needs no introduction, but my absolute obsession with her might. I’ve loved her since I first heard “Don’t Stop the Music”—or was it “Shut Up and Drive?”—but her music is honestly secondary to my affinity for her. I am not being dramatic when I say this, but I would do just about anything for Rihanna. I have a print of Rihanna on my living room wall, I wrote my first-ever beauty story for The Everygirl about her (baby me!), and I place in the top category of women I aspire to be in life. She’s fun, hilarious, smart, strong, and kind to boot—and we haven’t even discussed her ever-popular beauty line yet. Fenty Beauty is at the helm of the beauty industry for me. From her iconic foundation launch to the Cheeks Out blush and bronzer collection that practically broke the Sephora website a few months ago to the mascara I refuse to ever live without, her beauty brand has become one of the biggest names in the industry. 
    A natural next step had to be skincare. With the “skin first” approach taking over from heavy, matte foundations in the last few years, it makes sense that Rihanna would want to promote healthy, hydrated, protected skin before applying your makeup. I was elated to try her brand the second I heard it was launching. I love her makeup, so of course, I’ll love her skincare. The response wasn’t exactly that simple. 
    The first thing I need to discuss is the scent. Rihanna says the product only contains 1 percent fragrance, but that 1 percent is as strong as all hell. If fragrance in beauty products upsets your skin, you will not like this. I noticed that the scent is actually ever-so-slightly different in each product. The cleanser and toner have the most, and the scent is very vanilla. Think Warm Vanilla Sugar by Bath and Body Works. The moisturizer/SPF is a little less vanilla-y and more “beauty product” to me, and the scent isn’t as strong; however, it stayed on my skin for HOURS. When I use that moisturizer, it’s like I’m wearing a really distinct perfume for hours. As I type this, I can smell that moisturizer on my skin. So, take this as a caution that if you hate scented products—these are a doozy. 
    First up, the cleanser. This is a really thick cream consistency that lathers up A LOT when you add water. If I’m being completely honest, it feels like you’re rubbing a Bath and Body Works Shower Gel all over your face. The cream is so thick that it feels good going on your face, and you’d think it’d be quite hydrating, but my face felt so dry once I rinsed it off. This is definitely my least favorite product in the line. If you’re looking for a great, cream cleanser that hydrates your skin and doesn’t leave it feeling tight, our editors (including me!) swear by CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser. 
    The Fat Water Toner/Serum Hybrid was the first product I picked up. The name intrigued me (I mean, come on, “Fat Water”? Genius), and I liked the idea that it was both a toner and a serum, eliminating one step from my skincare routine. Upon first impression, I loved the texture. It’s truly a hybrid; it has a water-y consistency that thickens up into a serum on your face. I squeeze a little bit into the palm of my hand and pat into my skin. I really enjoyed this product, but the scent is so overpowering that it infringed upon my joy of using it. I also didn’t notice it doing really anything that it said. This product is supposed to refine pores and reduce dark spots, and I noticed none of that. Did it make my skin look absolutely atrocious? No, but it didn’t really do much. I actually noticed my pores were quite clogged, as pictured here (shoutout to my iPhone camera quality for capturing my skin at this gorgeous level): 

    After a few uses though, I noticed the Fat Water was breaking me out. I started getting little bumps under my eyes that I’ve never gotten before, and little pustules (arguably the worst word in the English language) all over my forehead. Once I stopped using this product, they went away. I was a little bummed because I enjoyed the way it made my skin look when I used it in the morning. Unlike many reviews, the witch hazel in the product didn’t make my skin feel dry; it actually did quite the opposite. 

    I won’t lie and say this was the “worst” my skin has ever looked, but I had a lot more redness and little acne spots than normal. 

    The last product I tried was actually my favorite of the trio: the Hydra Visor Moisturizer. I’m always on the search for a nice moisturizer to use in the morning before SPF and makeup, and this fit the bill quite well! This has a lightweight consistency that blends into the skin easily. I don’t feel like I have to rub it into my skin with intense vigor to get it to soak in, which is a plus for a product with SPF in it. I also love the glow it gives to my skin; it lasts all day long under my makeup, almost enough to barely need highlighter (LOL, but of course I still add it). 

    I brought this to the lake last weekend, and my friend who has pretty fair skin tried it, and she had to apply something a little thicker by midday because it wasn’t protecting her against a sunburn. So, don’t go into this thinking it’ll be your savior against a hot summer day in the sun; the sun protection is just enough for sitting next to my window or going for a walk.
    As for the trio, I think they work well together, but I wouldn’t repurchase unless Fenty Skin decided to remove the fragrance down the line. It really hinders the experience; instead of focusing on good the products are for my skin, I’m thinking about when I slathered my body in Warm Vanilla Sugar body butter before the Jonas Brothers concert in eighth grade thinking one of them would fall in love with me as I sat in the 300 section of a gigantic arena. When I use all three products, I do certainly feel like a glowy goddess, but it doesn’t make up for the fragrance and the way my skin has responded to them.

    A completely makeup-free selfie after I used all three products back-to-back. If this glowy look is selling you anything, it should 100 percent the moisturizer because all the glow on my face is coming from that—if you can handle the scent, it’s a winner! More

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    The $10 Foundation That Replaced My High-End Ones

    Of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures, the top two are 1. watching reruns of Dance Moms and 2. spending money on expensive makeup that I don’t need.Since the years that the only money I had to spend was cash I made from babysitting my neighbors’ kids, I relished walking into a Sephora and buying something new to put on my face the second I got home. And the thing I’ve always loved to buy the most? Foundations.
    I have been a high-end foundation addict for years and years. I’m a consumerism sucker, and every time a new one is released that sounds like something I’d like, I convince myself that it will change my life and make me look a goddess. Inevitably, I usually like them, get sick of them, and then repeat the cycle again a couple of months later. The things I look for in a foundation are dewy coverage that helps my dry skin appear more hydrated (and that doesn’t stick to any dry spots), a light-medium coverage, and wear that stays looking natural all day. My all-time holy grail is the Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation, and my winner of 2020 thus far has been the Bite Beauty Changemaker Supercharged Micellar Foundation (I wear the shades “Figi” and “L40,” respectively).
    Quarantine has made me consume endless beauty videos on YouTube, which is how I stumbled upon my newest obsession. I was watching one of my favorite YouTuber’s (and fellow Chicagoan), Dacey Cash‘s videos when she mentioned a new drugstore foundation that she said was one of her favorites of the year. The year! She put it on as she explained that it keeps her skin looking skin-like, but in a way that she just got a facial, and when I saw her glowing, glorious complexion when she was done, I knew I needed it.

    L’Oreal’s Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation is described as “a carefully formulated foundation for mature skin, made with vitamin B3 and hydrating serum. It provides lightweight coverage while also being suitable for sensitive skin.” Granted, I don’t have mature skin, but every other part of the description hits the nail on the head for me: hydrating, lightweight, and suited for sensitive skin.
    I ran to a few stores around me trying to find it, and after I couldn’t find it anywhere in Chicago, ordered a bottle on Amazon and waited two painstakingly long days for my Prime order to arrive—but when it did, my foundation world turned upside down.

    Here I’m wearing the shade “Golden Vanilla”

    This foundation comes out of the tube in a watery, serum-like texture. I applied it to my face with a damp sponge, and it melted into my skin and left a radiant, dewy finish that had evened out all my imperfections but looked like skin. The foundation wasn’t detectable at all, but also managed to perfect any blemishes and redness I wanted to cover—like magic. It also stayed in place all day long—even after multiple mask-clad dog walks.
    I keep my favorite foundations on top of my vanity, and whatever I reach toward every day is truly instinctively what I like the most—and every time I’ve done my makeup since I got this foundation, it’s the one I find myself reaching for (over foundations I have that are 5x the price). Both on days that I’m just working from home and want to look put-together and days where I’m leaving the house and wearing real clothes, I’m able to use this foundation to get the skin I want. It can be built up while remaining lightweight and undetectable and leaves your skin looking like your real skin 100 percent of the time. It’s—dare I say—my perfect foundation, and after having it for going on two months, I haven’t felt the need to explore anything new. After my endless searching, I found a foundation that I actually feel committed to, and lo and behold, it costs less than what I spend getting lunch delivered.  More

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    Every Jaw-Dropping Deal at Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty

    STOP EVERYTHING!! Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty is back, and this time, it’s better than ever. Every single day until September 19, we’re blessed with 50% off a variety of popular brands and products. So if you’ve been dying to try a high-end skincare product but don’t want to pay the high-end price tag? Now’s the time. And if you’ve been wanting to test out a trendy makeup look? Add to cart. Can you resist a deal this good? We definitely can’t (I’ve already added alerts in my calendar). Pro tip: make sure to score the deals of each day ASAP before they’re out of stock (and if it were the first thing you did every morning until September 19, we’d be right there with you). Shop the jaw-dropping deals below and get ready to save 50% on the items you’ve been dying to try, or the beauty shelf staples you want to stock up on while they’re at a major discount. Your updated beauty routine can thank us later. More

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    This New Probiotic Skincare Completely Transformed Our Skin

    Some people love to talk about books; some are obsessed with sharing their favorite playlists; others have a favorite recipe to hand out at all times. But if you asked our three editors—Beth, Bianca, and Maddie—beauty is our thing. We love to dish out our favorite products, talk about trends, give recommendations (and take them just as much—often from each other), and try new things. And one of the most common amongst us is skincare. All three of us have different skin types and concerns, from acne-prone to sensitive to oily, but we all have a few common goals in our skincare: it has to be clean, cruelty-free, at least somewhat affordable, and easy to use. So when we saw Beekman 1802 launch at Ulta, it was a clear fit. Our three beauty-obsessed editors gave Beekman 1802’s probiotic skincare line a try to see how it fit into our daily skincare—and these products have become new staples in all of our routines. Read on for our favorite products, how they’ve transformed our skin, and why we all can’t stop recommending this line.

    WHAT WE TRIED
    available at ULTA Beauty

    I was one of the first girls in my class to get boobs, just as I was the first to start getting acne. My hormones have always been a little wacko—thanks, endometriosis!—but I’ve had a hard time finding the right skincare routine for me. I’ve tried expensive creams, recommendations from dermatologists, and every drugstore favorite you’ll ever see, and while some worked and some didn’t, I had the hardest time creating a routine. I’d try a cleanser, get excited about it for a few weeks, and then be over it and try something else. (Not to mention, I had a major issue with drinking a little too much and falling asleep with my makeup on—I know, you have permission to take my beauty-lover license.) 
    Then, the world imploded, and I had nothing to do every night but figure out my skin. I finally had enough of breakouts, dry cheeks, an oily T-zone, and blackheads beyond abandon. So, I hopped on a call with my dermatologist and created a routine that I knew I could stick to. After months of this, I was really excited to add some new products in. I write about beauty products for a living—it’s not feasible for me to use the exact same products every single day and not try anything new. When Beekman 1802 launched at Ulta, it sounded like the perfect fit.
    It can be frightening to add new products to your routine, but I was thrilled to try Beekman 1802 because their products are Clinically Kind—meaning they’re clean, safe, and cruelty-free so you can enjoy good skin without worrying about what’s in your products. I get nervous that a new product will disrupt the rest of my routine or will break me out, but these are filled with probiotic ingredients that help balance your skin’s microbiome (the community of both good and bad bacteria).
    Out of the line, I’ve identified three hero products that have completely transformed my skincare routine. In the morning, my main focus is on hydration. I wear lots of makeup, so I like to make my skin look as good as possible first so my makeup goes on evenly and smoothly. 
    My #1 product in the lineup is the Bloom Cream Probiotic Moisturizer. It’s made with a triple-milk complex (a core ingredient in all of Beekman 1802’s products) that hydrates and soothes irritated, sensitive skin. Whether you were born with rosy red cheeks or love to use retinol or acids (me me me), many of us have sensitive, reactive skin every now and then that needs a little extra something to calm down redness and balance the skin. Bloom Cream is also formulated with Epsom salts, aloe leaf extract, chamomile flower extract, and cucumber extract—all ingredients that are known to calm irritated skin. I use this product before SPF every morning, and I’ve noticed a major difference in how radiant my skin looks and how soft and smooth it feels all day. I’ve actually been skipping foundation lately because my skin already looks healthy and radiant thanks to this product. 

    no makeup, just Bloom Cream 😍

    My acne-prone skin really needs a salicylic acid wash in the evening, but I like something that will gently remove any acids or oils from the night before without drying out my skin in the morning. The Milk Wash Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser has become my absolute new favorite. I love the texture; it comes out like a jelly, but as you rub it into your skin with a little bit of water, it turns into a milky consistency that leaves your skin ulta-hydrated. This is the first cleanser I’ve ever tried that makes my skin feel soft and hydrated after I use it with absolutely no tightness, but my combination skin also loves that it contains a few acids to gently exfoliate. Made with lactic acid (a great natural acid gentle for all skin types), glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and malic acid, this cleanser combines a light exfoliation with goat milk (a cornerstone of all of Beekman 1802’s products) and milk probiotics to soothe tired, irritated skin in the morning. I’ve also tried it in the evening and loved it too; it’s great at removing any excess makeup after I use an oil-cleanser. But I love how soft and supple my skin feels when I use it with the Bloom Cream in the mornings. 
    Like I’ve said too many times to count, I’m known to cover my face in makeup: glitter, eyeshadow, blush, bronzer—the whole nine yards. So at night, I focus on deeply cleansing my skin to make sure I’m not going to sleep with any makeup on. This has had the biggest impact on my skin, especially breakouts. Right now, Beekman 1802’s Buttermilk Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm is my go-to. I love a cleansing balm—it’s perfect for taking off waterproof mascara, bright eyeshadows, liquid lipsticks, blush stains, and my favorite this summer, all that sunscreen you applied all day. But this one is special in my routine because it uses all of those same ingredients I love in the Bloom Cream—aloe leaf extract, chamomile flower extract, and cucumber extract, goat milk, and milk probiotics—to calm sensitive skin, which I love at bedtime. The other great thing about this product is that it never gets stuck in my eyelashes or gives me cloudy vision—if you know, you know.

    I like to think of skincare as my thing. Ask me about a specific ingredient, and I can give you a product recommendation. Ask me about a face mask that does just what it claims it will, I’ve got you. Though I like to think I’m pretty well-versed on skincare, my skin is far from perfect. For everything from my hormonal breakouts to the hyperpigmentation aftermath, I’m always trying new things and learning about new and cleaner ingredients (and just trying to have a good skin day at least once a week.)
    I typically like to keep my tried-and-true products in rotation with little deviation from my routine, because the moment I add anything new, my skin will give me a visible, “Now, why did you do that?” With my negative experiences at the forefront of my mind, I was a little nervous about Beekman 1802. However, as I looked into their mission and ingredients, I felt a little less apprehensive. One of Beekman 1802’s key ingredients is goat milk. Now, if someone had told me I was going to be using milk from a goat on my face, I would have given them a firm side-eye. But here we are.   
    Since goat milk is rich in fatty acids and high in vitamin A, your skin is in excellent, moisturizing, exfoliating hands. Probiotic skincare can also be beneficial for those with skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. When it was time for me to give this a try, my skin was going through one of its breakout moments. I still can’t pin down what caused it. However, one thing I know that my irritated, breakout-prone skin always benefits from moisture. With my skincare history in mind, I switched out my foaming cleanser for a jelly cleanser I know calms my skin. Then, I added the Beekman 1802 Milk Foam Calming Bubble Mask to my routine.
    I learned from a dermatologist that you should never throw out your entire skin routine and start with something new. Instead, it’s best to add one new product at a time to ensure your skin doesn’t react negatively to that new product. On the off chance that your skin doesn’t mesh with the new product, you’ll know what the culprit is and can eliminate it. I applied a couple of pumps of the bubble mask to my skin. My experience was sensory overload in the best way.

    As the foam started to show up on my skin, I could feel the sensation too. We all love a fun mask, right? I left it on for 20 minutes, rinsed it away, and followed up with the Milk Drops. Like I said before, I am usually leary about trying new skincare products. But again, the ingredients sold me. Ceramides? Check. Squalane? We love to see it. Hyaluronic acid? Please and thank you. These are the trifecta of ingredients the skin needs to keep the skin barrier protected, hydrated, and plump. 
    I used the dropper to pinch a few drops of product on to my skin and patted it gently. What I liked about this product is how nice it played with my vitamin C serum and tinted moisturizer. The drops didn’t cause any peeling, which I was honestly expecting. The other plus was neither of these products caused any new breakouts. My skin also felt less irritated and looked healthy, even though I was dealing with an active breakout.
    I can’t say these new products gave me perfect skin after adding them to my routine, but what I can say for sure is the calming face mask and milk drops helped my skin start to look and feel like itself again because of the gentle, calming ingredients. I suggest those with sensitive, reactive skin give Beekman 1802 products a try, because it’s nice to reach for a calming product at the first sign of irritation without fear of making matters worse. 

    Over the past few years, my skin and I have been on quite the journey. I’ve never really struggled with acne, but I’ve dealt with just about everything that comes with having ultra-sensitive skin: redness, endless dryness, and what feels like constant irritation.
    But sensitivity aside, my biggest skin concern is my struggle with perioral dermatitis, a rash that I get around my mouth for a reason I’ve yet to figure out. Long story short, perioral dermatitis can be inflamed by just about anything, so I have to be very, very careful about the products I use. Striking a balance between effective skincare that doesn’t irritate my skin can be a struggle—but that’s where Beekman 1802 comes in. 
    Adding new products into my routine can be scary for me, since more often than not, knowing what’s going to irritate my skin versus what isn’t is a shot in the dark. But once I heard about Beekman 1802’s Clinically Kind™ products, I knew the formulas would be safe for someone with skin like mine. Since my skin is so dry and prone to rash flare-ups, one of the things I prioritize most in my skincare is making sure my skin’s natural barrier isn’t compromised in any way (something that can happen from use of acids and harsh active ingredients). Beekman 1802’s products are transformative without stripping my skin like other products do, and have left me with my healthiest-looking skin to date.

    The best product I’ve tried for my skin in 2020 is the Milk Drops Probiotic Ceramide Serum. Milk Drops are packed with ceramides, squalane, hyaluronic acid, and plant enzymes to invigorate dull skin. Usually I’m so preoccupied with avoiding irritating my skin that anything beyond that is a bonus to me, but the Milk Drops have completely transformed my skin for the better. They have helped my skin’s hydration deeper than the surface—my skin feels healthy from the inside out, rather than like I just have a product sitting on top of it. My skin’s overall appearance has gone from dull to radiant, and the Milk Drops actually soothe any irritation—something I’ve found extremely hard to find in a product. 
    The hardest part of my skin’s irritation is that I struggle to find products that actually help it—I’ve always just waited out flare-ups with a bare-minimum skincare routine until it passes. Beekman 1802’s Milk Foam Bubble Calming Mask is a soothing mask that’s meant to calm and cool redness—an absolute dream for someone like me. The first time I used this mask, I was quite literally speechless. After I put it on, it bubbled up into an airy, foamy texture, and when I rinsed it off 20 minutes later, there was a noticeable difference. All sights of redness had diminished, and my skin felt soft and hydrated and calm—three words I normally would never use to describe it. This has quickly become a skincare staple for me; I’ve been using it three times a week, and it’s helped me avoid any major skin disasters. I no longer feel like I need to fear my skin or risk irritation to make a noticeable change in it.

    This post is sponsored by Beekman 1802, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More