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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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    6 Energizing Rituals I Tried to Upgrade My Morning Routine

    My morning routine has always been one of my favorite times of the day. An easy, breezy, care-free time to sip on a cup of joe, listen to St. Lucia, and primp for the day. Although, with lots of big changes in the past year, it made me think: what changes can I make to my morning routine that could bring more balance to my beauty goals? Essentially, I wanted to add a side of healing health habits that I could easily do at home.With radical self-care being the talk of the town, there are no shortage of articles to do my research. Whilst looking into healing habits that might fit my morning routine, I happened upon a little quote that pointed me in the right direction: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare,” said Audre Lorde, writer, civil rights activist, and inventor of self-care. The word “self-preservation” echoed in my head, and I again asked myself these questions. What am I doing other than my skincare routine and a K-beauty facial mask here and there to preserve not only my skin, but body, mind, and spirit?
    My new motto: this morning is the perfect morning to take on some habits that I am able to keep up with. Below are some habits that I chose for myself and tried for two weeks:

    1. Drinking hot lemon water
    This is a simple morning step that, if nothing else, aids in hydration. This was an extra step in my routine, so I definitely had to allot for it timewise, but it was worth it. This simple morning ritual set my mind in motion for a day of good habits, and I got to use my oh-so coveted Bodum Bistro Gooseneck Water Kettle. This new ritual was fresher than coffee, warmed me up, and felt like a less acidic base for my tummy than coffee. 

     

    2. Practicing intermittent fasting
    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day… or so I thought. I know you have heard of intermittent fasting. I wasn’t sure about it, but the more I looked into this, the more I was convinced that it would help me in my beauty goals, inside and out.
    Reading further into it, I learned that snacking all day long could be taxing my digestive system and not allowing me to absorb our food and its nutrients well. Fewer nutrients could mean essential vitamins not getting to our organs but also missing our hair, nails, and skin. Trying this for a few weeks was an adjustment to say the least, especially when Netflix and binge-eating came into play. I had to be super intentional about what and when I was eating. I substituted random late-night snacks with tea and water, which you are able to drink during the fasting period. Let’s just say you will be the most hydrated person you know, which will make your skin uber happy.

    Source: Rawpixel

    3. Drinking juice and smoothies
    This was top of the list for me in the new year, so much so that I asked for a Breville Cold Pressed Juicer for the holidays. I have always been an avid smoothie drinker and was looking for natural ways to boost my immunity daily. Let me just tell you: my energy levels were through the roof, my thinking was clearer, and might I say, my stress levels were a little lower. I was drinking 32 oz. of juice every day around 11 a.m. My go-to juice concoction included cucumber, celery, lemon, ginger, and apple.

     

    4. Taking cool showers
    This, by far, was the most difficult one to do, especially in chilly Chicago this time of year. The potential was very motivating though: decreased inflammation, increased circulation, strengthened immunity, increased energy, and more hydrated skin. I definitely felt more energized, and my skin was less inflamed in areas where I suffer from the most dryness. I felt as if I was breathing a little deeper too, which helped my body process the cooler water. I used The Nues Forest Lungs for aromatherapy in the shower. It is inspired by the art of forest bathing, and it offers aromatherapeutic benefits to promote calm. 

     

    5. Doing a gentle workout
    I have never felt energized or less stressed coming out of a rigorous workout. (I even read in my horoscope once that my spirit does not like lofty workouts!) I spent much of my life as a yogi, dabbling in pilates and meditation. Then, I found Melissa Wood Health. Her method is to provide a series of precise, low-impact movements that create long, lean lines. MWH focuses on building a stronger relationship with yourself through workout videos that are about 20 minutes long. She also provides a stretch series at the end of most of her videos. Many of her videos include meditation and the option for strength training via ankle and arm weights (I own the Bala one-pound weights) and resistance bands. Virtual workouts are not going anywhere, and I suggest that if you are like me and want low-intensity workouts that leave you feeling more connected to yourself and ready to take on the day, try MWH. 

     

    Source: Colorjoy Stock

    6. Writing down ideas
    To make it easy on myself, I limited this to 3-5 ideas a day that I jotted down in my yearly agenda. Some of my thoughts I wrote down ranged from creative ideas, small changes I would like to make, and even things I was grateful for. What I noticed in myself once I started writing these little tidbits down provided a little stress relief. It boosted my creativity and made me more aware of what is going on in my brain. Overall, this is a sweet little something that is easy to keep up with and put me at ease, knowing that the ideas were down on paper and not swirling around in my head.

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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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    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 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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    Priyanka Chopra shares ‘profound regret’ over promoting skin-lightening creams

    Priyanka Chopra Jonas has shared her regret over promoting skin-lightening creams in the past.
    The Hollywood and Bollywood actress previously appeared in adverts for Garnier and Pond’s which promoted skin lighteners.

    In particular in an advert for Pond’s, the plotline centred around Chopra playing a darker-skinned woman who lost her partner to a lighter-skinned woman. The storyline saw Chopra use the Pond’s skin-lightening product to eventually win the man back.
    The controversy surrounding the advert re-emerged in 2020 when Chopra shared her public support for the Black Lives Matter movement last year, with people pointing out she had previously been paid to promote skin-lighteners.

    List of Indian actors who are speaking on BLM and their fairness cream ads, a thread : pic.twitter.com/yUeRNLch6U
    — anti pigeon (@aluminiummaiden) May 31, 2020

    The actress, who is married to singer Nick Jonas, has now opened up about the controversy in her new memoir Unfinished, apologising for her actions.
    The 38-year-old reflected upon her childhood, admitting her darker skin had made her feel “unattractive”, leaving her self-worth diminished.
    “I thought about how pained I’d felt when I was called kaali [a derogatory term meaning dark-skinned] as a child,” she said in her memoir. “I was now promoting the destructive messages that had so eaten away at my sense of self-worth when I was growing up, and I knew the only person I could blame was myself.”
    She went on to say that appearing in those campaigns are one of her “most profound regrets”.
    “I can’t go back and change what I did, but I can apologise, and I do so sincerely,” she explained. “To all the people who saw the harmful messaging that I contributed to, to all the people who still have to see commercials like these in every medium – I am deeply sorry.”
    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Feature Image: Priyanka Chopra Instagram More

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    The perfect Valentine’s Day gifts for your loved ones this season

    As Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, this gift-giving occasion for showing your love can make the month quite a daunting task with such a variety of options available in the market.

    With all the out-of-the-box gifting ideas you need this month, we’ve compiled a list of items your significant other. Whether it be self-care favourites or simply a piece of jewellery to touch their heart these sentimental keepsakes will make you admire them forever, no matter how many years pass by.

    Opyum leather sandals Dhs4,750 Saint Laurent available at Level Shoes

    Ladies’ watch Carrara silver-rosegold Dhs2,352 Aigner

    Speckled ceramic jewelry box vase Dhs897 Anissa Kermiche

    Love small 18kt yellow-gold wedding band Dhs5,106 Cartier

    Menottes dinh van R12 bracelet yellow gold and diamonds Dhs11,559 Dinh Van

    Baies candle limited edition Dhs324 Diptyque

    Lost Chery Eau de parfum 50ml Dhs1,332 Tom Ford Beauty

    Boxed white flower Dhs78 Spongellé available at balmessence.com

    Panama textured-leather notebook Dhs256 Smythson

    Triangle logo mini bag in brushed leather Dhs5,400 Prada available at ounass.ae

    Butterfly Anagram fitted sunglasses in acetate Dhs1,200 Loewe

    X Salviati set of four Murano wine glasses Dhs2,065 La DoubleJ available at Matchesfashion.com

    Enjoy a staycation at Hilton RAK with rooms starting at Dhs850 for a beach access suite and breakfast.

    1955 horsebit-detailed leather belt Dhs1,928 Gucci

    Rouge à Lèvres mat lipstick Dhs155 Gucci Beauty

    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Feature image: Instagram @YSL  More

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    Everything You Need to Know Before Getting Bangs—Plus, How to Style Them

    Maybe it was my teenage obsession with the movie 500 Days of Summer or how I’ve always romanced anything and everything French. But for whatever reason, I’ve had a long-term, love-hate relationship with bangs. I’ve saved one too many Instagram photos of flawless models with perfectly-imperfect fringe to understand the disappointment of a haircut that over-promises and under-delivers. Sigh.After scrolling too long on Instagram yourself, you might feel the urge to call your hairstylist. “I could pull this off!” you say, only to be reminded of how high maintenance, unpredictable, and often unruly bangs really are. If this sounds familiar, take heart in knowing we’ve all been there. The on-again-off-again relationship with bangs is universal. But I’m here to tell you there is hope. Perfectly-imperfect fringe, despite what the naysayers say, is attainable. 
    The wonderful thing about bangs is that there are endless styles to choose from. Baby bangs, curtain bangs, side-swept bangs, the inimitable Zooey Deschanel bangs–if you’re brave enough, try them all on for size. Experiment and have fun; it’s just hair, after all. But if you’re the indecisive type, hear me out. For bangs that are not only tolerable but adorable, here’s what’s worked for me. 

    1. Blunt bangs aren’t (always) your friend
    Of course, lots of people rock this bold look, and face shapes should be taken into account. But from personal experience, I’ve found that subtly choppy bangs with edges that blend into the rest of your hair are a game-changer. Those slightly longer pieces do a wonderful job of framing your face, making your morning routine that much easier. 

    2. Master the delicate balance between too thick and too thin
    This is both an art and a science, and sometimes it’s a matter of trial and error. But before you make your way into the hot seat at your next appointment, consider not just the length but the thickness you prefer. Ask your hairdresser to slowly cut into your bangs so you can get a sense of how wispy or heavy they should be. Somewhere right in the middle is what I recommend aiming for. This will make a world of difference in how manageable they are.

    3. Be prepared for frequent trips to the salon
    To have bangs is to accept the major upkeep that comes with them. Your stylist may offer complimentary bang trims, and if so, be sure to take advantage of this perk (just don’t forget to tip!). I beg of you, resist reaching for the scissors. I’ve learned the hard way over and over again.

    4. Collect all the mini hair tools
    Instead of the usual paddle brush, I love using a tiny round brush for some extra oomph. Blow-dry the ends of your bangs in opposite directions, and softly curl the middle section for a bit of volume and movement. Although my hair is naturally wavy and sometimes just straight out of control, this technique never fails. 
    A tiny flat iron is another must and can give your bangs a polished, sleek look. It’s also known for saving the day when they’re just a little out of whack. To spruce them up, apply heat protectant spray and repeat the same curling method you used with the round brush. I’ve found I can even skip the awkward bang wash if they’re in disarray just by using a flat iron.

    source: @scunci

    5. Utilize hair clips and dry shampoo
    Lately, I’ve been trying to limit how often I wash my hair to avoid stripping it of its natural oils. But bangs are another story. Too much dry shampoo is a no-go, but I’ve found that it can be extra helpful when used proactively. Sometimes after I’ve washed and styled my bangs, I like to lightly spray some dry shampoo on the roots to keep them lively and fresh all day long. And although not the cutest look, I make a habit at night of pinning them away from my forehead with some clips.

    6. Let your bangs live
    With so many types of bangs to consider, along with various styling techniques, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Bangs are a commitment. But the one trick that might be the most important has nothing to do with your hair itself, but your mindset. Embrace the occasional chaos. Learn to love your bangs, even when they’re out of place, and you might find they’re actually effortless after all.

    Want to try bangs? Here’s what to ask your stylist for: 

    Curtain Bangs

    Full Bangs

    Wispy Bangs

    Face-Framing Layers
    (Not to be confused with curtain bangs–face-framing layers are chin-length; bangs are eye-to-cheekbone-length)

    Side-Swept Bangs

    Baby Bangs More