Flight fancy: make your own travel spa

I usually loathe it when people groom in public. Whether it’s brushing your hair or putting on a full face of makeup on the train, it’s always squicked me out. I get that some people don’t have time in the morning, but still… so unhygenic for you and those around you. Especially that person who has the audacity to spritz on perfume. I’m looking at you. There are some things that should just be done in the privacy of your bathroom.

Watching Lisa Elridge’s pampering video has got rid of my prejudice! I had a long flight scheduled and remembered to pack face masks and the rest of my face routine in my carry-on. Considering my luggage, 50% was skincare, 30% books, and 20% clothes. That’s how we do.

The recycled cold air in plane cabins can make your skin dry, dull, and uncomfortable. 14+ hours of air conditioning and lacking the facilities to tend to your skin makes it easy to look haggard upon landing. I modified my Elridge routine because I have oilier skin than she does. I’m also much lazier.


visualize the serenity of 3 crying babies and a hacking grandma

Steps to soft, supple skin in flight:
1. Crank up the old school Mariah Carey jams, courtesy of Emirates air. This is required. Skin cells respond to her crooning and dolphin-range pitch. It’s like science or something.

2. With sanitized hands, use a baby wipe or makeup remover cloth to degunk your face. Bonus tip: use the wipe as a buffer between your fingers and incorporate a facial massage. Use your ring fingers and give firm pressure on the space between and above your brows, temples, sinus points, and jaw line.

3. Apply your favorite face mask by smoothing it on carefully and take the extra serum down to your neck and decollete. Make sure to make silly faces at any children sitting near you. You know you’re successful when babies cry upon seeing your face! I used the My Beauty Diary black pearl mask because it comes with so much frickin serum that I can use it on my neck and arms . It also sinks in fairly quickly, feels light, and make your skin feel lush.

4. Relax. After the mask dries a bit (~10 mins), you can put on an eye mask to block out light and really get into it. Face masks usually dry out within 30 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to pull off when the mask cloth starts to pucker.

5. Remove mask and massage the remaining serum into your skin. If you’re as germaphobic as I am, use the method described in #2.

6. When the serum fully dries, apply your moisturizer. I also like to use a heavier duty moisturizer under my eyes and cheeks because I have a bit more dryness there.

7. Apply sunscreen.

8. Fill in your brows and under-eye concealor because you know you did not get enough sleep since the flight attendants insisted on waking you every couple of hours for service. Also your rude neighbors who played armrest wrestling.


I honestly had the biggest trouble with step 8 because somehow I was more comfortable looking like an alien with the face mask . Putting on makeup in public, no matter how minimal, still makes me uncomfortable. But if Lady Elridge can do it, why shouldn’t you? Just don’t use loose powder. WHO DOES THAT!?! That’s the one line I will not cross.

LOVED LINKS: skincare

I’ve spent my entire life struggling with bad skin, from an unfortunate combination of genetics and environment. As a teenager, I was a sucker for those adverts for the types of products that promised to nuke your skin. I also foolishly gallivanted in the sun without any protection because laziness. I’ve since atoned. It’s never too late to treat your skin health as lovingly as you can, because skin health is an indicator of overall health and fitness. Not to mention that melanoma is one of the rising killers of Americans.

Instead of half-assing my way towards a skincare routine (what, you have to have a routine!??), I’ve taken the evidence-based route. There is so much misinformation out there about the science of skincare. Don’t be a sucker for fancy packaging and futuristic promises that are too good to be true. Know your ingredients. Skincare doesn’t have to be expensive, but whatever you choose, make sure you are consistent.

Above all, rely on evidence-based medicine, not fads. I’ve learned a lot in my skincare journey. The following are a few of my favorite blogs that deconstruct and analyze claims about ingredients, formulations, and the latest research.

Hoojoo Skincare

Beauty Brains: cosmetic scientists who also have a great podcast!

Beautiful with Brains

Brightest Bulb in the Box: Beauty for Critical Minds…. she is the bestest, no bullshit betch

Chemist Corner


PocketDerm: yes, they are a service, but they’re also amazing doctors.

Skin and Tonics: great reviews, esp of Korean products

July Favorites

July Favorites
July has whizzed by us with some record setting heat. Most of my health concerns this month has revolved around skin health, which as you all know, is a very good benchmark for evaluating your over-all health. With my improved skincare regimen, I no longer have the kind of skin that would make BP envious. It’s now a more manageable combination skin with an oily tzone. The Skinfood Peach Sake BB Creme is great at oil control, especially with the NYX HD loose powder lightly applied on top. The Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge is a game changer. It makes even the cakiest foundation looking more skin-like; I am so in love.
I still double cleanse with mineral oil at night to take off the makeup, sweat, and city pollution off every night. The My Beauty Diary face masks are such a nice, luxurious treat, especially on hot days. The heat and sun has made my lips so dreadfully parched; I’m practically molting. Lansinoh is meant to be a nipple cream for breastfeeding folks, but this 100% lanolin is the Holy Grail for my lips as an overnight lip treatment. I’ve been trying to use up my other sunscreens as a part of my Project 10 Pan, but my EltaMD UV Clear  is still my first love. I just wish it weren’t so expensive!
I also found a hat big enough for my giant head. Don’t laugh, it’s been such a challenge! Haha. The silly thing about this F21 floppy hat is that while it looks cute and casual, it’s made of friggin wool. WHO DOES THAT? Whatever, I’m happy to withstand the forehead sweat for the sake of my skin.

summer heat solutions

It has been ungodly hot this summer. On the one hand, heat and humidity is good for suppressing appetite. On the other hand, it also makes you sticky and grumpy.

I have a few favorite ways of dealing with the heat that doesn’t revolve around me crying and giving into buying an air conditioner. That’s for wussies. When I was younger, I did silly things like hiding in libraries or going to the malls to bask in their cool area. It gets a little awkward when you don’t buy things. As much as I like mooching, my goal in life is to avoid becoming Mr. Panera. Mr. Panera was a stocky older man who would bring in his big ass MAC computer and settle into a booth. For 8+ hours, he would play World of Warcraft and sip on sugary lattes. I once had to “work from home” and our wifi wasn’t working, so I had to share shitty internet with him at Panera. For some reason, I visited that cafe quite frequently that summer and always noticed him in his corner. At any time of day. Alone. I guess, at least he wasn’t sweating.

Three things that make me feel like I’m not a sweaty mammoth:


cheap and effective!

so luxurious!

so luxurious!



kid tested, mother approved

kid tested, mother approved








1. Rosewater spray. Ignore the hippy shit on the side of the bottle. It’s a great product for a little extra hydration if you layer it under your moisturizer. In the summer, I like to give my face a few spritz of this and get next to a fan. INSTANT SATISFACTION. F-U heat! Bonus: this stuff is cheap as chips (~$6) as opposed to Avene thermal water ($18) or the Evian Mineral Water Bullshit spray ($17.50).

2. Face masks. There is nothing more sumptuous than relaxing with a glass of wine and a nice, rich face mask. Sure, you’ll scare all the children and animals, but it’s 30 minutes of bliss. Also, your skin will thank you when it’s over. I wish they made body wraps for at-home use. You can find these at HMart or on Amazon for about $15 (box of 10).

3. Baby Wipes. Sweat comingling with dead skin is a disgusting combination. Even if you shower multiple times a day, in the thick of the worst humidity, it’s nice to wipe down strategic areas with baby wipes.

Moolissa? More like, BOO-lissa: the dish on dairy + acne

You might know me as the person with the best skincare routine ever. I was preaching the gospel of “actives” across the intertoobs. Not one to toot my own horn, but I pretty much miracle-workered myself. Within 6 months, I went from pizza face to one that was fairly clear, smooth, and healing from hyperpigmentation scars. Since puberty, I’ve always had acnegenic skin that managed to be both dehydrated and oily. Genetics, right? What a bitch. Finding r/SkincareAddiction saved my skin. I learned about BHA and AHAs, how chemical exfoliants performed better than physical exfoliants. Tossing out my face scrubs (go to hell, St. Ives apricot!) and creating a routine that kept my skin moisturized and clear (no more oily skin!) meant that I could go bare face more often.

And then… this happened.


acne 7-1 wm

There’s a cluster of acne on the chin with some closed comedomes and whiteheads joining the party.


There’s a lot of contributing factors to acne, almost as many as the number of treatments out there. I’ve been experimenting with some new skincare products in the past month. I know, I know, why mess with perfection? I couldn’t help myself to new skincare! Luckily, no deleterious effects came from the new products. I always patch test and add one new product at a time. That way, I can easily identify the cause of any skin irritation. Aside from a couple closed comedomes, my skin didn’t explode with this level of acne until a week ago. In fact, I haven’t had a break out this bad for a few months. The last time this happened it was because I was consuming a lot of skim milk. I haven’t consumed dairy in earnest for a number of years. From time to time, I’d have some cream sauce, stilton, or ice-cream, but never made the connection between dairy and acne.




Apparently, I am allergic to dairy. I didn’t know that was a thing. I’ve heard of lactose intolerance, but this is a whole different ballgame. I tried lactose-free milk for a few weeks because I thought lactose was the problem. LIES. These past few weeks have been full of fro-yo and ice-cream bars. Bad for the fitness bet, and bad for my face. I should know better.

Should you abstain from dairy for clear skin? Technically, the scientific literature is unclear about this. THERE IS NO STRONG CORRELATION, much less causation, BETWEEN DAIRY AND ACNE/INFLAMMATION. At least universally.  For most folks, dairy products are harmless. In fact, it’s one of the best high-satiety foods for diets. If you have an intolerance or allergy to dairy, however, you might want to double check your skin to see if abstaining from dairy products will make a difference. I know it’s hard, but put down the cheetos. And walk away.


works cited

Top 3 things to quit now for healthier skin

Back to basics. Before you begin your search for the holy grail skincare routine, check to see if your personal habits aren’t detrimental to your skin health. Below are the top three things you can do to keep your skin at its best:

1. QUIT SMOKING. It’s hard. It sucks. But you have to. Really. Luckily, lots of people live in places where cigarettes may be cost prohibitive, or where laws are shunning smokers out of public and private places. With availability and accessibility out of the way, temptation may be easier to resist. If you need any reminders about the hazards of smoking, here they are.

2. QUIT DRINKING. Or if that’s not realistic, make sure you rehydrate well after drinking. Get them electrolytes and sleep it off.

3. QUIT TANNING. UV rays in tanning beds are no better than the rays from the sun. Tanning is skin damage, no matter the source of UVs. Use sunscreen when you’re out and about, and for god’s sake, don’t bake yourself. Melanoma is one of the leading killers of Americans.

Project 10 Pan 2014: makeup + skincare megapost

Project 10 Pan 2014



Lately, I’ve found myself using the same products over and over again. Despite using the same items, I keep buying new products to try out since I’m always on the search for the Holy Grail whatever product that will change your life and make you ride shining unicorns off into the sunset.

My makeup collection feels a bit cluttered, so I want to use up some products that need a little love and attention. Enter Project 10 Pan. The goal is to finish or make a significant dent in each of these items by the end of 2014.

Set aside an assortment of makeup products that you want to make progress on or use up entirely. You might have enough things for several full face looks, or maybe just a few products here and there to incorporate into your makeup routine. It might be a good idea to create a “makeup basket” to store all of these items in the same place. If they’re out of your drawers, you can’t avoid them!

I put a blue dot of nail polish on all of my Project 10 Pan items and make sure to add at least one or two in my routine each day. I’ll update on any progress I’ve made as well as do reviews of the items.


Additionally, I also have some skincare products to finish up:


Project 10 Pan 2014


Missha BB Deep Cleansing Oil [$27]: Dear god, the fragrance in this. Bought this in 2013, but then discovered mineral oil (aka Baby Oil) works even better for me at dissolving makeup and sunscreen. It also breaks my out, so I will try this for my body.
HydroPeptide Cleansing Gel [$40]: Why the fuck is a cleanser that expensive? It was a gift so I didn’t pay for it myself, nor would I ever. It’s an effective cleanser with which to follow up the Missha, but it’s not $40 amazing. It’s a nice unfragranced gel cleanser that cleanses without stripping all the oils off your skin. It’s as good as my Simple Gel Cleanser, which is only $7.
Stridex Sensitive BHA pads [$6]: Use after cleansing to treat any closed comedomes. I used Stridex in the red box but picked up this one because the store didn’t have the red boxes in stock and hey, curiosity. Turns out, the green box does not have the right Ph balance for skin, which means the product is not effective for exfoliation. Boo-urns. I only have a few pads left so I will use it up as a toner.
AlphaHydrox Enhanced Lotion 10% Glycolic AHA [$16]: I’ve started using this for my body because it was a touch too harsh on my face. I got too excited about starting AHAs and irritated my skin by over-exfoliating. I’ve since ordered the Paula’s Choice 8% AHA gel. Based on the reviews and raves, I expect that to be more gentle and suitable for my skin.
Biore UV Perfect Milk PA+++ SPF50+ [$17]: I LOVE this. It dries quickly, matte, and makes a great base for my makeup. I’ve had this bottle on rotation for a while and I also want to finish it up because I want to try other sunscreens.
Trader Joe’s Jojoba Oil [$8]: Tried this for OCM, broke me out. I’ll be using it on my body and scalp. Merp derp.

how to human in 7 steps

There are days in Seattle that mock you.

In fact, that’s every day, but it gets worse in the spring. Being bed-bound when the first few proper spring days roll out in fluffy clouds and bright blue skies sucks major culos. Suffering through such a dreadful winter to be robbed of the first signs of springs is the moment you try to convince yourself that it’s all coming up Milhouse. Those losers outside are probably getting cancer frolicking in the sun. So you roll yourself over and flip your snuggie to the clean side. The spots forming in your vision just means you are one step closer to being a real potato.

It’s probably high time you get your bitter ass outside. #REALTALK. But how do you turn your smeagol face and human when you’ve shied from civilization for the past week? You only need 7 items to get ready.


how to human in 7 steps

1. Cleanse your face with a gentle gel cleanser. I love Simple because it’s an inoffensive cleanser that makes your face feel clean without being over-stripped or taut. If you’ve been scrubbing your face raw to get it clean, you’re doing it wrong.

2. Hydrate with your favorite moisturizer that reacts well with your skin.

3. Protect your face, neck, and decolletage with a great sunblock. DO YOU WANT CANCER, SON? My current love is EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46. It is a cosmetically elegant combination chemical and physical sunblock. It dries matte and clear (aint nobody got time for that whitecast).

4. Cover up with a buildable concealer. Something like Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (what a mouthful) can be enough coverage without having to use a foundation. It’s spring. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, do you really want to spend your time worrying about your face? Keep it quick and easy.

5. Multi-functional palettes make shit simple. Blend that dark brown on your lids and the light brown on your crease. Roll your brush into the bright pink and tap that on your cheeks. This shit is pigmented, so use a light hand unless you want the world to know that Bozo is your cousin.

6. Mascara. You know how we do.

7. Anyone who can rock this shade is a badass betch (and you definitely are a bad ass betch). Even if you disregarded steps 1-6, slap this ish on and you’ll gain attention. Maybe not for the best reasons, but who gives a damn. You finally got yourself to your front porch and ready to conquer spring. Or something like that.