AHA vs BHA and the Alphabetical Lingo of Skincare Products


AHA vs BHA Neostrata Glycolic Wash

So, you’ve just run out of your favorite cleanser.  You head to your local pharmacy or beauty shop to pick up a new one.  But as your browsing the aisle, you’re shocked at all the new product releases.  You pick a few up and scan the bottle.  Okay, deep cleansing…brightening…hydrating…that words are familiar.  Then you get deeper in to the aisle and you start seeing: PH balancing…AHA…BHA…

Now, you’ve wondered in to unfamiliar territory.  All the “new” products just confuse you.  Like what are they supposed to do for your skin? You think,”The packaging looks cool, so it must be good right?”

If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place.  I’m here to decode the alphabet for you because when it comes to skincare products you shouldn’t buy blind.

AHA vs BHA

Nowadays, it just seems like skincare products should come with their own dictionaries.  What does it all mean? Well, there are two very popular ingredients in skincare: AHA vs BHA.

Both AHA and BHA help with exfoliating the skin and improving collagen levels.  Basically it gets rid of the GUNK and leaves you with smoother, plumper, and more radiant skin.  If you want to know about the importance of exfoliating regularly click HERE.  Now what’s the difference between AHA vs. BHA?

Let’s start off with what it stands for.  AHA is an acronym for Alpha Hydroxy Acid.  It’s a gentle exfoliant that clears away the lingering dead skin cells the surface of your face.  Plus, AHA restores moisture and builds up the collagen.  For this reason, people with sensitive, dry skin love this stuff.  And if you’re still looking for the perfect mother’s day gift.  Any type of skincare with AHA will be great for her because AHA builds up collagen (which plumps up the skin) and prevents sun-damage by strengthening the epidermis.

BHA is short for Beta Hydroxy Acid.  It’s a deep-cleansing acid that is amazing for treating acne-prone skin and clogged pores. Unlike many cleansers in the market, BHA can get through the excess sebum on acne-prone faces.  By penetrating through this gross layer, BHA can kill the bacteria and reduce the inflammation of blemishes from the inside out.  Because BHA exfoliates while treating blemishes, BHA also is great for treating hyper-pigmentation.

Remember, to always use a good moisturizer and serum after exfoliating because that’s when your products absorb best!

For more detailed info, check out Skinstore and Stylecaster.

Which One Do You Need?

I prefer a combination of both.  AHA in the morning and BHA at night.  I use the NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash every morning to gently exfoliate my face and prepare it for smooth makeup application.  I love how the Neostrata wash foams up and never leaves my face tight or stripped of moisture.  After using this was for a month, I’ve noticed less bumps on my forehead and reduced pore size around my t-zone.  Plus, the wash is fragrance-free so it doesn’t irritate my skin or cause any breakouts.

For days when I have a major breakout or I’m starting to noticed some pretty large blackheads, I go in with the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid from CosRX.  I take a toner pad and soak it with the liquid and just wipe it gently over my t-zone to get rid of the blackheads.

But for dryer skin, I definitely recommend the AHA vs BHA because BHA is definitely dries out my skin if I use it too frequently.  AND FYI, I have acne-prone combo skin, oily in the t-zone and dry under the eyes and around my chin.

Would you give AHA or BHA a try?

Comment down below!

**Disclaimer: I received the NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash free for reviewing purposes.

All opinions expressed are my own.**

Book Review: Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso l Should You Read It?

girl boss sophia amoruso

Girl Boss is a hit! Ever since HULU released their exclusive show, the book’s popularity has soared once again.  Quite frankly, I read this book a few months ago amidst the Nasty Gal bankruptcy and Sophia Amoruso controversy. Despite working insanely hard to grow Nasty Gal in to a huge fashion franchise, Amoruso stepped down as CEO once the company started taking financial hits.  Instead she focused on her own new-found popularity as a Girl Boss (or to her playing a more important role as an author and general famous person).

I started reading Girl Boss around November and didn’t actually finish the book till mid-January.   It was one of those books that I read a chapter of and tossed aside.  But as I was back in school again (after swearing up and down that I’ll never go back).  I needed a pick-me-up so I thought hey, why not?  And picked up Girl Boss to continue reading where I left off.

Book Review: Girl Boss

At this point in the book, Amoruso is just starting to get her sh** together.  She works harder than ever before and starts devoting most of her time building her ebay store.  Her hard work pays off (sort of).  Spoiler alert! She starts getting regular customers at her ebay store.  After getting a few good checks from Ebay, Amoruso took the plunge and quit her job.  She devoted every second of her life to fixing pictures, answering questions, writing descriptions for each vintage piece, and styling them for cover photos.  Her devotion and concentration paid off because just a year from that day she started up her own website.  The the website got bigger so she expanded.  She built a company that had to move in less than a year because they simply outgrew the space.

The book documents the growth of Amoruso’s company and her own personal growth.  It’s an inspiring novel that speaks to younger generations who are fed up of hearing about their parent’s hard work pays off lecture.  Amoruso speaks to us in a fun and encouraging way.  She has a call-to-action in her book that is simply too hard to ignore.

The Nasty Gal Controversy

However, as we’ve read from financial reports Nasty Gal did take a financial hit and to the media, it seemed like Amoruso was jumping ship when she stepped down as CEO.  But some financial advisors said it was smart, praising her for getting as far as she did with no prior knowledge of the inner workings of business.

What do you think? Did you like Girl Boss? Are you watching it on HULU?

So, when’s the best time to moisturize? and The Three Step Skincare System You HAVE to Try


best time to moisturize Jan Marini Hyla3D

It seems like there is a new step or a new product to try every day.  Like it never ends. And with so many bottles of toner, serum, essence, lotion, emulsion, and whatever else I have on my vanity cause a beauty guru told me I needed it.  (I know you guys feel me.  I mean who else’s vanity is cluttered with #youtubemademebuyit?)

Anyway, where do I even start? What exactly goes on my face first? Because on days that I wear makeup, it feels like I’m putting everything except the kitchen sink on my face.  But that’ll probably be a new DIY mask coming soon! Am I right?

Well, this is the no-fuss skincare routine for all my lazy girls out there.  I love the Korean Skincare routine but there are days (sometimes weeks, possibly a month) where I just need to be done in five minutes flat.  So, here we go…

What’s the Best Time to Moisturize?

Well, the best time to moisturize is when the clock is exactly 11:11:11.  (LOL just kidding) There isn’t literally a time, but there is a place for it in your skincare routine.

If you are a true believer of the three step skincare system then, the time to moisturize is right after your cleansing or exfoliating.  Because once your face is clean of the junk and grime it accumulated through the day, then it’s ready to be nourished and pumped back to life.

BUT before you moisturize, use a hydrating serum to really protect your newly cleaned pores and hydrate the skin.  Personally, I’ve been trying out the Hyla3D from Jan Marini for the passed month.  The serum hydrates my face and gives my skin a nice dewey glow.  Because I have combo skin and don’t want to look like an oil slick in the day, I only use the Hyla3D serum at night.

The Jan Marini serum has a loose gel-like texture.  It doesn’t really have much of a scent, which makes the serum great for people with sensitive skin.  When you first apply it to your face, it feels slightly tacky.  But after rubbing the product in, that tacky feeling completely goes away, leaving your skin feeling baby smooth.

Then, when you’re ready to moisturize your moisturizer is sealing in all that prep work, so your skin stays plump and radiant with just three steps.

The Three Step Skincare System

So, I’ve been a firm believer of the Korean 10 step skincare for almost a year now.  And I can honestly say that I’ve seen improvements in my skin.  However, exam week has recently killed my buzz and desire to do a lot of things like facial masks, essences, and toners.  I’m tired and I just don’t want to.

For the passed month, I’ve been trying out my newly invented three step system:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Apply Serum
  3. Moisturize

I’ve been using a gently exfoliating cleanser as my daily cleanser because I love a dual-working product.  Plus, with this cleanser I can skip exfoliating and give myself another five minutes in bed.  Because when you only sleep about an hour, five more minutes is much needed.

At night, after my double cleansing and exfoliating, I apply serum and finish off with moisturizer.

For the day, I apply serum and a CC cream after cleansing.

Through this whole post, what I’m trying to say is that the best time to moisturize is right after washing your face because applying a moisturizer over clogged pores and oil is not good for your skin.  It’ll only make matters worse because you’re sealing in the dirt with a moisturizer.  GROSS.

The next time you ask yourself, “When’s the best time to moisturize?” After cleansing and as the last step to your skincare.  Just remember that moisturizer is the icing on the cake.

**Disclaimer: I received the Jan Marini Hyla3D serum free for reviewing purposes.

All opinions expressed are my own.**

P.S. Check out these other awesome VA bloggers!

7 Madewell Pieces You Can Find At The Thrift Store

thrift madewell inspired pieces

Spring is in the air in RVA (for the next few days at least).  We’re in the upper 60s and 70s so all I’m thinking about is off the shoulder tops, cutoff shorts, and denim dresses.  Now that I’m in school, most of my money goes to tuition and textbooks.  So, I don’t have much left for any shopping.

After doing a bit of online window shopping (like six hours worth), I’ve concluded that I would like to buy every item that Madewell has to offer.  But that would require having a few thousand dollars in my bank account that I can spend on clothes.

Instead of sitting around and sulking at my bank account, I’m heading to the thrift store to thrift Madewell inspired pieces.

The 7 Classic Madewell Pieces

  1. Chunky sweater
  2. Scarves
  3. Denim dress
  4. Denim Shirt
  5. Skinny Jeans
  6. Basic T-shirts
  7. Denim Jackets

How to Thrift Madewell Inspired Pieces

As with all thrifting trips, you need patience.

Chunky Sweater

I’ve been in love with Madewell since Alexa Chung’s first collab with them.  The Madewell style is classic and chic.  And I’m in love with everything.  There newest designer Joyce Lee Rose has designed some amazing pieces.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to save up for those!!!

Rant aside, let’s get started with the “juicy stuff,” AKA the seven pieces you can always find at Madewell.  The first thing we’re going to talk about is the Chunky sweater, which is a winter essential (Especially in the 20-degree weather we have in RVA).  It’s great for layering over maxi dresses, denim dresses, or just a pair of jeans.  Throw on an oversized hat and you’ll have a Rachel Zoe approved outfit.

Scarves

Blanket scarves, square scarves, knit scarves, or skinny scarves, add the perfect pop of color or texture to any outfit.  And you can find a TON of them at the thrift store. I am currently in love with the plaid blanket scarves from Madewell. They go with everything from t-shirts and jeans to dresses and skirts for the winter.

I’ve been in love with the Madewell brand since Alexa Chung first collaborated with them in 2011. Alexa Chung has been rocking the skinny scarf since 2015 and I’m obsessed.  It’s definitely on my thrift store treasure hunt list.

Denim Dress

One of my favorite pieces from Madewell is their classic denim dress.  It’s perfect for layering and even looks chic on its own.  The denim dress looks great with ankle boots or a pair of sandals. There are always a TON of denim at the thrift store. After a few trips, luck will come and you’ll be able to thrift Madewell inspired pieces for a fraction of the price.  I got my denim dresses for $7 each and a great linen tunic (that looks like denim) for $5.  I love great deals.

Denim Shirt

In order to thrift Madewell inspired pieces, you need to have a style and color in mind.  This will help you navigate the aisles of clothes at the thrift store more efficiently and maximize your chances of finding that classic piece!

When you’re talking about classic pieces, you can’t forget about the denim shirt.   It’s perfect for business casual days at the office or an easy weekend look.  There are a ton of denim shirts at the thrift store.  While you’re looking through aisles, pick up shirts that aren’t typically your size because you never how shirts fit especially if they’re vintage or been shrunk in the wash by the previous owner.

Skinny Jeans

These are definitely a wardrobe staple.  They are perfect for tucking in to boots or worn with converses for an easy casual outfit. Skinny jeans are so versatile.  You can dress them up with a blouse and heels or dress them down with a comfy t-shirt and sneakers.

Thrift stores are overflowing with jeans.  If you’re thrifting for skinny jeans, then block out about three hours for your thrifting trip because you’re going to be browsing many aisles and trying on many pairs before finding a select few that fit.

BUT it’s totally worth it because I’ve scored jeans for $2 that fit like a dream!

Basic T-shirts

With thrifting, you sometimes hit thrifting gold and you find everything you’re looking for and sometimes you find nothing.  But don’t be discouraged.  Go to another thrift store or go back another day because there is always new items being placed on the shelves.

I love shopping for t-shirts at the thrift store.  They have a ton of cool graphic tees and plain tees.  Most of the time, the tees are color coordinated so walk in to the store with a color in mind and you’ll have a much easier time going through the aisles.

Denim Jackets

This last item is very hit or miss at thrift stores but with a little bit of patience, you’ll find the perfect one.  It took me a month to find my perfect one but I found it!  The jacket was only $7 and it was in the perfect wash.  I’m now on the hunt for a black denim jacket.  Wish me luck!

And that’s it for my guide on how to thrift Madewell inspired pieces at the thrift store.  It’s fun and super easy, you just need a bit of patience.

Tell me down below, what you’re favorite thrift find is!

For more awesome posts on this AMAZING Cinco de Mayo,

check out VA Blogger’s Friday Link-UP!

Best Cleansers for Acne-Prone Skin (That I’ve Ever Tried!)

best cleansers for acne-prone skin

The problem I have with many cleansers designed for acne-prone skin is how drying they are.  My skin felt stripped and tight and it just wan’t a good feeling.  Plus, my skin would start flaking around my eyes and my mouth and parts of my chin and forehead because it was so dry.  It was like the cleansers just sucked the moisture out of my skin.  If you have the same problem with your cleansers, check out my list of the best cleansers for acne-prone skin.

The Best Cleansers (like ever!)

My first suggestion is the Biore Charcoal cleanser.  I’ve been using this cleanser for almost two years now.  And it’s amazing.  It lathers really well and leaves your skin feeling soft and clean.  Take one pump in your palm and massage the product on to your face.  When you take a minute to really massage the cleanser in to your skin, you’ll get a light tingly feeling. For me, this feeling is ahhhmazing because I can feel my pores getting de-clogged.  After using this cleanser, make sure you grab a super hydrating moisturizer because this cleanser can leave your skin feeling a little tight and dry.

For moisturizer suggestions, check out my previous post here.

DermaE Charcoal and Algae cleanser is my current favorite.  Much like the Biore cleanser, this is a deep cleansing cleanser (Try to say that five times fast…) that helps unclog pores and keep your pores clean.  What I love about this cleanser is that it is much less drying and stripping than the Biore charcoal cleanser.  The whole DermaE line is gentle and great for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

When my face needs a little pick-me-up, I love using the DermaE charcoal mask.  And this mask is a great dupe for the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing mask.  For more info on this dupe, click here.

I also love the Soap and Glory Cleansing milk.  This is the perfect example of Youtube-made-me-buy-it.  I heard Tati from GlamLife Guru rave about this cleanser and Zoe from Zoella and Louis from Sprinkle of Glitter all love Soap and Glory Products.  So, when I saw this cleanser in Ulta.  I had to try it.  And it doesn’t disappoint.  I love the scent of this cleanser. It’s peaches and cream and smells heavenly!  This cleanser is super gentle, doesn’t break me out, and removes most of my makeup.

The BEST series continues…

That’s it.  Those are my best cleansers for acne-prone skin. I don’t experiment with too many cleansers out there because once I find one that works, I just keep using it.  But I have been testing out a variety of serums, toners, and essences so be on the lookout for that post coming soon!

Do you have a cleanser to add to the Best cleansers list?

Comment down below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

**Disclaimer: I received the Derma E charcoal and Algae cleanser free as a press sample.  All opinions expressed are my own.**