What is breaking you out: the Skincare Ingredients You Need to Know About! + Bonus Review of ZenMed

what is breaking you out + skincare ingredients

“What is breaking you out?” is a question many of us ask ourselves whenever we see yet another dreaded zit pop up.  Is it that time of the month already?  Did I eat one two many slices of pizza the other day?  Or was it that new moisturizer I used?

With so many skincare products in the market, it’s hard to make a decision and find out what works best for you. What determines a good product from a bad one are the ingredients.  Better known as the sneaky culprit.  You think you’re skincare is helping your skin but what if your skincare is the one causing your breakouts?

Whenever we get breakouts, we’re always asking, “What is breaking you out?”  And with so many different culprits out there.  It’s sometimes hard to determine. But here’s a guide to help you on your journey.

What is breaking you out

Hormones, poor diet, stress, and your skincare routine are all possible culprits.

Once you’re pass that time of the month and you’ve started to eat healthier.  You still don’t notice that much change to your skin. Well, here’s when your skincare may be the problem.  Many skincare products, especially high-end ones, tend to have heavy fragrances.  These fragrances can irritate the skin and cause breakouts.

Lately, I’ve been way more careful with what I put on my face.  And I’ve learned very quickly expensive does NOT mean better.  I tried out the shisheido white lucent line recently and it broke me out. The line has a pretty strong floral scent to it and a list of ingredients I cannot pronounce.  Either way, my face was red, blotchy, and covered in little red bumps for weeks after using their cleanser one time!  I’m not sure what ingredient in the line broke me out but I’m staying far, far away from the brand now.

In skincare, I think less is more which is why I’m super excited to share with you my experience with ZenMed.

Zenmed products are paraben and fragrance free.  YAY!  I’ve been using their gel cleanser for months now and I’m happy to say that my skin feels clean and soft.  I know what you’re thinking a gel cleanser?  Most gel cleansers on the market are harsh and leave the skin feeling stripped and tight.  But this one from Zenmed is super gentle.  It cleans my skin without stripping it.  Plus, it’s pretty good at dissolving my waterproof makeup too.

Another product I love from Zenmed is there Skin protecting lotion with SPF 30.  The lotion hydrates my dry face and feels light on the skin.  It absorbs quickly too so you’re not left with a sticky film.

If you’re currently suffering from a random breakout, then take a look at your diet, stress levels, cycle, and skincare for answers.  If skincare is the culprit then take a look at the list below.  These ingredients actually cause breakouts in a lot of people.

The Skincare Ingredients You Need To Know

  • parabens (such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben) can clog pores or even mess with the hormones in your body
  • alcohol can dry-out your skin, leaving you with skin that feels raw and tight
  • fragrance irritates the skin
  • dimethicone (silicone product) clogs pores

For more information: check out this great blog post about Silicon vs. Silicone

**Disclaimer: I received the ZenMed products free for reviewing purposes.

All opinions expressed are my own.**

The Perfect Drugstore Dupe for Urban Decay 1993 and Kat Von D Lolita

drugstore dupe

Drugstore dupe?

Heck yes!  What a great way to finish off the holiday season, am I right?

Since I had a day off from work today, I decided to have a little fun with makeup (as you do).  And I put on my latest obsession which is a warm matte eye look.  Then, finished off the look with my favorite nude lipstick, Urban Decay 1993.  As I was applying my go-to NYX lip liner I discovered that I had a dupe in my hands.

From the perspective of a working college student, I knew I had to share this amazing revelation.  I’ve searched google and Pinterest for thousands of dupes.  What can I say?  I have expensive taste.

I love how the cool toned nude balances out the warm-toned eyes.  Currently, my go-to lipsticks are Urban Decay 1993 and Kat Von D Lolita.  And with some quick swatches, I actually found out that they are almost identical.  What???

I’ve had these two in my collection for over a year now and just discovered this.  It’s honestly mind-blowing.  But save yourself some cash this New Year and grab up these awesome dupes!

The Drugstore Dupe

drugstore dupeFor this dupe, you need the NYX lipliners: Nude truffle, natural, and mahogany.   Now mix and blend.  Congrats, you have an identical shade to the Urban Decay 1993 lipstick and Kat Von D Lolita!

This dupe matches perfectly in both shade and tone.

Plus, the NYX lipliners are super creamy, blendable, and don’t have that harsh pencil smell.  These lipliners give you that perfect brownie nude pout without the hefty price tag!  Plus, I love using these lipliners on their own too.

FYI, Nude Truffle is the perfect brown nude.  It’s cool toned without looking too harsh.  Honestly, it is the perfect shade in my humble opinion.

Quick makeup tip: Mixing and blending lipliners is a great way to create an endless number of looks with just three lipliners!

Playing with makeup is fun.  When I’m mixing lipliners I feel like I’m five again, mixing all my lipsmacker lip glosses to create my favorite shade, ultra glittery.  I’m like an evil genius. MUHHAHAHAHA!  Anyone else have that Dr. Jekyll and Hyde song stuck in their head from Arthur now?  Just me?  Cool, I’ll see myself out.

What’s your favorite lipstick at the moment?

Looking for more drugstore dupes? Click HERE!

Find Out How I Cleared Up My Skin in 1 Month + My Must-Have Skincare Products for Cystic Acne

clear skin in 1 monthI cleared up my skin in 1 month!  Is it possible?  Yes, it is! #Iwokeuplikethis can be a reality.  Clear skin is a combination of products and diet.  So find out what works for you.  To give you some ideas, check out what I’ve been doing this month.

For me, acne is not something new I’ve been struggling with it since my first breakout in middle school.  I blame genetics for my terrible acne.

But for the passed five years, I’ve had a pretty good control over it.  I didn’t break out terribly until last month.  My skin got progressively worst through the summer but by October/November I had clusters of cystic acne.

cleared up my skin in 1 month

One month later…find out how I cleared up my skin in 1 month and the products I’ve been loving!

cleared up my skin in 1 month

How I Cleared Up My Skin in 1 Month

First, my skin got used to the products I’ve been using so the Neutrogena on-the-spot cream with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide was no longer cutting it.

For more information about skin changes, click here!

I started using the Neutrogena Rapid spot treatment with 10% benzoyl peroxide and my skin started clearing up again.  The stronger treatment also dries out my skin so I have added a thicker moisturizer to my skin routine and a gentler cleanser too.

Because the 10% benzoyl peroxide is so drying, I’ve also incorporated hydrating masks and a serum with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.  The hyaluronic acid is perfect for hydrating and the vitamin C is great for brightening.  This is a win-win combo!

But my diet has also been a factor.  I’ve been dairy-free for two months now and my skin looks and feels so much better.

Dairy is packed with hormones and can cause your skin to create excess sebum.  This pore-clogging oil will produce acne concentrated in the chin and jaw-line.

For more information on what could be causing your breakouts, check out this article from InStyle!

My Current Must-Have Products

I cleared up my skin in 1 month with these five products:

First on the list is a 10% Benzoyl peroxide treatment gel.  This stuff works!  Sadly salicylic acid never did anything for my face and most of the products targeted towards acne is made with salicylic acid.  Where are my benzoyl peroxide folks at?  There are only three brands at the drugstore that are made with benzoyl peroxide: AcneFree, some Neutrogena, some Clean and Clear, and Up and up (target brand).

Next, I have my favorite serum of the moment.  DermaE concentrated vitamin C serum.  It has a ton of vitamin C to help your skin look more radiant plus an added bonus of hyaluronic acid for a good dose of hydration.

Another DermaE favorite is the Psorzema cream, which is a thick facial moisturizer that leaves skin feeling hydrated and soft without being sticky.  For extra hydration I love layering the Laniege water sleeping mask on top of it!

My gentle cleansers of choice include: Farmacy Green Clean cleansing balm and the Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean cleansing milk. They’re both super gentle while also being really effective at washing my makeup off and all the dirt I accumulated throughout the day.

What are your current Must-have products?

Purple Shampoo for Bottle Blondes


purple shampoo HASK drugstorePurple shampoos are amazing for preventing and treating brassy hair when you go from dark hair to blonde hair.  The undertones of dark hair are red/orange.  This “brassy” look is generally not the most flattering.  So, many of us wash our hair with purple shampoos and conditioners.  However, after using a purple shampoo for a few weeks, I noticed that my hair still feels dry and coarse.  This is the case with many purple shampoos (including the name brand ones!).  They only treat brassiness without hydrating plus they contain hash chemicals such as sulfate that can lead to further drying of your fried hair.

Honestly, if my hair gets any drier then it’ll just be straight straw.

The Purple Shampoo Dilemma

Now, it seems like you have to pick between having brassy hair or dry hair.  But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to choose because HASK came out with the perfect solution!

Blue shampoo for blonde hair that is made with hair-nourishing oils!  My hair has been dry and brittle ever since I bleached it.  Like Jenna Marbles said, “It feels like Doritos.”

Unlike many shampoos out there, HASK does not have any parabens or sulfates in their products.  When a shampoo and conditioner contains sulfate it can lead to further drying and damaging of color-treated hair and normal hair.  And HASK blond care shampoo and conditioner contains Argan to help nourish and hydrate your damaged hair!

I love the ingredients in HASK products and I love that I now have a shampoo that treats brassiness without trying out my hair!  Plus, HASK is super affordable.

And if your hair is in need of serious hydration then you have to dry the HASK hair masks because they smell amazing and make your hair feel soft and look shiny.  Trust me, after a treatment, you’ll feel like you’re in a hair commercial.  So feel free to let yourself do a little sexy hair dance.

Did I mention you can pick HASK up at Walgreens and Ulta?  Points and discounts?  Sign me up!

**Disclaimer: I received the HASK shampoo, conditioner, and treatment mask free for reviewing purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own.**

3 Trendy Ways to Style Tights (That You NEVER Thought Of)

Tights seem like something your grandmother told you to slip on because your ankles are showing.  But I’m here to show you that tights CAN be trendy, so here are 3 trendy ways to style tights (that you never thought of).

My Inspiration to Style Tights

Korean street fashion is seriously #lifegoals!  It’s cute, trendy, and polished.  All three of these outfits were inspired by various Kpop idols and random people on the street.

Fishnet Stockings

I think it was about six months ago when I saw the first Instagram post of fishnet stockings and socks paired with ripped jeans and a pair of oxford shoes.  Lua from Le-Happy since then has posted multiple shots of this style and I fell in love.  I’ve been following Lua P. for almost six years now. Her Lookbook account was totally #goals!

Using her outfits as inspiration, I’m going to pair these flesh-toned stockings under a ruffle skirt for a cool girly vs. grunge contrast.

Colored Tights

style tights

Colored tights are a statement piece that if done wrong could lead to serious clown vibes.  But done the right way it can be the perfect street style outfit.  I love pairing colored tights under monochrome outfits. This look is simple and super chic- not like your five-year old more is more self with rainbows and glitter and seven layers of necklaces.

Or you can play with color and have an all pastel outfit.

keep it simple!

Black Tights

style tights

Worn under shorts and paired with a button-up for a cute and polished look, paired with sandals

or worn with distressed skirt or shorts with a graphic tee and beanie for a cool 90s and grunge look, finish off the look with combat boots or platform boots.

There are seriously a hundred ways to style tights (and maybe even more).  Whether you’re styling them for some extra warmth or using them for a pop of color, don’t forget to rock them with confidence!

For more style ideas, check out my “How to Style Colored Tights” post!