The Most Unbelievable Claims Celebs Have Made About How Their Skin Looks So Good

In my free time, I like to overthink all of the potentially embarrassing things I’ve ever done or said in front of other human beings. On the off chance that I have run out of things to cringe over, I give my nerves a break from roasting myself and instead put the heat on a topic that’s been hammered into my little noggin since I first developed spatial awareness: why do celebrities look so good, and how can I do it, too?!

Although I could be reasonable and focus on the facts (entire teams of people are paid to primp them and they generally have incredible genetics), there are a few incredibly cursed claims that I simply cannot unhear. If my brain sounds like a horror movie, that’s because it is. Except, instead of a bloody figure popping up in the mirror while I’m winding down for bed, it’s the ghost of a celebrity sponcon post touting a holy grail beauty product and a discount code that will essentially shave $1 off the retail price. Here are a few unrealistic things celebs have said about how they look so good. These tend to pop into my head usually when I’m perusing CVS for a product that will drastically change my appearance (without breaking the bank), or when I’m simply in a phase of blissful self-confidence, during which I’m convinced simply drinking enough water is making me objectively stunning.

Don’t Let Your Body Tell People How Old You Are

Do you have at least five Kardashian-Jenner quotes floating around your head at all times of the day, or are you normal? (I am truly just a girl caught between “phone eats first,” and Kim’s deranged mantra: “Instagramming photos of food isn’t sexy.”) Ever since Khloé shared her “new mom beauty routine” with Vogue, I’ve been unable to shake the sound of her voice from my subconscious when I get ready each morning. After toning, Khloé says she lathers SPF 46 on her face, hands, neck, and chest, “because this is where we all show our age.” Sorry, but that’s essentially my entire body? You mean to tell me that my entire body… shows my age? Damn. It really do be like that. Now, when I moisturize and apply sunscreen, I make sure to work the product all the way down to my toenail cuticles, lest anyone do the math and find out when I graduated college. Next, I cycle through five different photo editing apps and gaslight anyone with access to photos I haven’t doctored first. (But trust: I owe it all to the SPF.) 

Stop Being A Potato

You know what will totally save you after a long night out? Potatoes. Unfortunately, you will not be eating hash browns, but you will be rubbing them on your face if you subscribe to the ways of Lauren Conrad, who once suggested, “to reduce puffiness, slice up a few refrigerated potatoes, soak them in water for a moment or two, and then place them over your lids for 15 minutes. Works like a charm.” Although, I have to wonder: if I am the kind of person who is whimsical enough to calmly sit with chilled potatoes on my face, what lifestyle mistakes am I making to suffer from puffiness in the first place? There must be some other habit I can eliminate. LC, LMK. 

Enough With the “I’m Practically A Vegan!” Charade

During a chat with Extra, Halle Berry revealed that if you want to glow, you simply cannot be vegan. Relax, vegans, she did not call it out like that, but if you want to be beautiful, you’ll have to be able to stomach potentially seeing an animal carcass. Her skin care secret is simple: homemade bone broth. “You can go to the butcher and get all the bones they’re going to throw away and he’ll give them to you for free. Take the bones, boil them up for 24 hours… and you drink the broth. It’s so full of collagen that it’s crazy.” You heard it here, folks. It is officially free to look like Halle Berry. 

Beauty Is Pain

Oh, the $28 Glossier serum you use to decrease inflammation isn’t working wonders? You should probably trash it immediately and opt for nature’s fix: letting a bunch of bees sting you. If you’re feeling skeptical, let Gwyneth Goop Paltrow calm your nerves: “I’m open to anything. I’ve been stung by bees. It’s a thousands of years old treatment called apitherapy,” she told the New York Times. “People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It’s actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it’s painful.” Perhaps the best part of Gwyneth’s suggestion is that even she doesn’t sound sold on it… which somehow makes me want to try it even more? It’s like when you meet a friend for a Starbucks run, and when she takes one sip of the $11 unnaturally colored drink and says, “This tastes like shit,” your first instinct is to grab it and try it for yourself. 

But Also, Don’t Worry Because Everything Is Optional!

Bella Thorne has done a lot of things that made the internet collectively scream, “Oh no!” so it’s understandable if you missed the day everyone was spiraling over her beauty routine. The former Disney star revealed, “I don’t use moisturizer or anything,” which is simultaneously the most reassuring and troubling statement I’ve ever heard in my life. When a casual happy hour turns into all-night karaoke, the one thing I can typically manage to do when I get home is slap some kind of hydrating concoction over at least a portion of my face. If I lose sight of the most foundational skin care rule, I’m not really sure where I’ll end up next. But on the other hand, I know that even if I finally pull the trigger on the $70 Drunk Elephant moisturizer that’s been sitting in an online cart for a week, I’m still going to wake up and reenact Mia Thermopolis’ “This is as good as it’s going to get” scene from The Princess Diaries every day for the rest of my life. 

Images: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Good American

It’s Hard Being An Average-Looking Jewish Fan Of ‘The Bachelor’

I’ve been a Bachelor fan for over seven years, and while our relationship has always been one-sided — me committing every Monday night to the show and getting nothing but broken engagements in return—I may finally be close to reaching my breaking point. While I’ve been getting older, the contestants have been getting younger. While I’ve become more convinced that no God could possibly allow *gestures broadly at the world* this, the leads have been getting more religious. While I look more and more like my great aunt Connie each day, my jawline receding like Steve Carell’s hair in the early seasons of The Office, the women look more and more like the same impossibly beautiful Instagram model. Hannah B., Hannah G., Hannah Ann — shouldn’t you at least try using a different first name?

I miss the days when contestants would show up to Paradise with new lips, higher and thicker brows, a fresh batch of highlights, and a growing thirst for sponsorships. Back then, we’d at least get a glimpse of their “before”. But now it seems ABC will only cast women who have either completed their transformations or were gifted with unnatural beauty and a 0% body fat at birth. Has someone started a Bachelor franchise farm somewhere where women are bred with the intention of reaching an Emily Ratajkowski level of perfection? Because I spent some time in the world before the pandemic, and I’m pretty confident that the majority of humans don’t look like this . Where are you finding these people????

But it’s not just the entirely unrealistic and arguably destructive beauty standards that have, over the past few years, made it harder and harder for me to relate to the show, to listen to Chris Harrison talk, to believe in love. It’s also that producers appear to be more afraid to show Jewish (and other non-Christian) storylines than I am to talk politics with my conservative aunt on Facebook. Sure, there have been Jewish contestants (Adam Gottschalk, Lacey Mark and Jason Tartick, to name a few), but did you know they were Jewish? And if you did, did you know that while they were on the show or because like me, you have a fun little hobby of googling “is xxx Jewish” every time someone remotely Semitic-looking appears on your television screen?

There are people who aren’t Christian! There are people who aren’t religious! #TheBachelor https://t.co/1gMNMDjfXY

— Brett S. Vergara (@BrettSVergara) January 5, 2021

While there are as many Jesus references and cross necklaces as there are “perfect places to fall in love”, you’d be hard-pressed to find any air time spent on a belief other than Christianity. Even last season, when Tayshia broke up with one of her final three over their religious differences, the show didn’t air the discussion about what those differences were. Who am I kidding, we can’t even get them to acknowledge the existence of agnosticism and I’m over here hoping we’ll get a hometown date with a nice Shabbat dinner.

But season after season I keep coming back. If Jesus still loves Hannah B. after she had sex with Pilot Pete four times in a windmill right before dumping him, can’t The Bachelor still love me after I refuse to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior?

It’s not like I’m asking for a Bachelor-like love story for myself. In fact, I turn to the show for reassurance: even ridiculously good-looking people pick the wrong men, even the Tyler C.’s of the world get rejected, even a show about finding love has somehow managed to… barely ever find it. But I am asking to be able to see myself reflected in one of the many Hannahs of the franchise — it’s a very popular Jewish name for God’s (and Jesus’) sake! And fine, maybe they have a binding contract with the Emily Ratajkowski farm and are strictly prohibited from casting an average-looking woman, but the least they could do is cast someone who doesn’t have a Bible verse in their Instagram bio.

The opening scene of Matt James’ season showed some promise :  a short brunette strolling up to Matt and introducing him to her vibrator. But I’m afraid the shelf life of its relatability for me lasted about as long as Peter and Hannah Ann’s engagement. Because, before even getting a first impression rose, we got the first group prayer. And as Matt knelt down to pray to “Heavenly Father” on behalf of all of the women, I couldn’t help but puke wonder—what the f*ck am I still doing watching this show?

Anyway, I’ll be tuning in all season to see if anything changes . Because just like with any toxic relationship where I feel neglected, taken advantage of, and generally unworthy, I’d rather have that than nothing at all.

Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; giphy (3); @BrettSVergara

Does Dry Brushing Do Anything? Here’s The Deal With This Wellness Trend

Self-care has never seemed as important as it has in the last few months, and with everyone having so much more time at home, there’s no excuse not to show your skin some love. Although wellness trends seem to be a dime a dozen, some of them are actually a worthy addition to your weekly routine, even if they don’t perform all of the miraculous functions they’re touted for. 

Dry brushing has been around for centuries as an ancient way to detox the body, increase circulation and aid in digestion. In recent years, it’s ridden the wellness wave into our homes as an easy way to reap major benefits and rid the body of toxins from the comfort of your own bathroom. But what is it, and does it actually work? We spoke to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adam Mamelak and pharmacist and natural health and wellness expert Dr. Lindsey Elmore to comb through the details (see what we did there!)

What Is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is a centuries-old practice that is well known in Ayurvedic healing. It employs a brush with stiff yet soft bristles and a wooden handle to softly and methodically brush away dead skin cells over large portions of the body. Although primarily an exfoliation practice, dry brushing has been plugged for potential detoxifying properties. It’s also been heralded as a way to miraculously brush away cellulite (if only it were that easy!). Unfortunately, there is no hard evidence to support the idea that dry brushing is the dream technique your tush has been looking for, but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of all benefits. 

What Are the Health Benefits?

That’s a bit of a gray area. It’s been said that dry brushing can help reduce cellulite, increase circulation, and detoxify the body. Wellness influencers and celebs alike have been drawn to this trend, with beauties like Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria’s Secret model Josephine Skriver adding it to their routines. Hell, even dream girl Cindy Crawford calls it a “miracle tool.” However, the results are mixed, and there isn’t much hard science to support all of the things you’ve heard. 

Dr. Mamelak says that “Exfoliation is by far the greatest benefit of skin brushing. The dry bristles help remove dead and flaky skin from the surface, leading to a brighter, healthier and more vibrant glow.” As we know, exfoliation is a great way to scrub away dead skin cells, unclog pores, and leave you with a more lively look. It is also thought to increase circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage, which would in turn encourage detoxification, says Dr. Mamalek. Dr Mamalek says “Rubbing the skin could theoretically increase circulation to the area and encourage lymph movement. While this could help encourage fluid movement in and out of the area, the brushing itself would not necessarily eliminate toxins from the body.” Dr. Elmore goes on to explain that by stimulating the skin’s lymphatic system through brushing, it could help to release waste and environmental toxins from cells.

When it comes to reducing cellulite, Dr. Elmore says, “Unfortunately, though many women swear by it, there is little to no evidence that dry skin brushing can improve the appearance of cellulite. What is likely happening is that the increased circulation makes the cellulite dimples plump up. 

How Do You Do it?

As the name suggests, neither the brush or the body should be wet. Use a brush with soft, yet stiff bristles and a wooden handle (this one from Goop is specifically designed for those hard-to-reach places). Dr. Elmore suggests starting at your feet, then “gently drag the brush bristles over the skin in sweeping patterns towards the heart.” She recommends adding this practice to your morning routine (before your shower) as it’s thought to have some energizing properties, and could give your skin a more vibrant appearance.  Dr. Mamelak recommends starting with 5-10 sweeping strokes per area of the body about 1-2 times per week.

Can Anyone Do it?

Although almost anyone can dry brush, Dr. Elmore says there are certainly some people who should exercise caution or avoid it altogether. If you have inflamed or irritated skin, or if you’re experiencing a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, it’s best to skip it. Also, she notes, you should definitely not use a dry brush on wounds or skin with an infection.

The Bottom Line?

Dry brushing is a fantastically effective way to exfoliate and reenergize dry or dull skin. It can also increase blood circulation and might help to support lymphatic drainage. If you want to add an easy, energizing and indulgent wellness practice to your routine, this is a great one to incorporate. All other miracle cures should be met with a skeptical eye.

Images: Zainchkovska Kateryna / Shutterstock.com

How To Get Ready At Home For Your Corona Wedding

Once upon a time, getting ready for a wedding (whether or not it was your own) meant endless salon trips and overpriced beauty treatments. As COVID-19 changed literally everything to do with modern celebrations, it makes sense that the global pandemic would royally f*ck up a bride’s beauty plan. While some salons have reopened, that doesn’t mean all brides have the option to go about the traditional pre-wedding glamming ritual. Whether your finances are all out of whack thanks to lost wages or you’re in a position (whether physically or morally) where you don’t want to risk spreading the virus, you’re probably wondering how tf you can still feel like a plucked, pruned, and polished bride the day of.

As someone who hated leaving her home even before the pandemic hit, I’m here to tell you that it’s totally possible to indulge in some hardcore beauty prep before the big day without ever setting foot outside your door. From teeth whitening to manicures, self-tanners to Botox, you can make all of them happen from home (yes, even the Botox). While it might not seem as glamorous as the prep plan you had back when the world wasn’t a dumpster fire, just think: If you film the process as you get ready, that’s content for TikTok.

Teeth Whitening

Myth: You have to be an influencer-level #girlboss to utilize teeth whitening kits. While they are the bread and butter of sellouts on Instagram, a teeth whitening kit is an easy way to up your look without doing things like exercising or leaving your house. Some kits take a few days while others take 30, so time it out to ensure your best results line up with the big day. A kit like Colgate’s version of those IG LED light whiteners is a great option since it only takes 10 days, you only have to use it for 10 minutes a day, and it doesn’t cause sensitivity like a lot of other products/strips do.

Colgate Optic White At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit

If you’d rather go the most classic route, these Crest Whitestrips have over 15K reviews on Amazon (with a majority of them being positive). Just make sure to use toothpaste for sensitivity during treatment to avoid discomfort if you’re not down for the whole “beauty is pain” thing. 

Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips

Waxing

If you feel the need to ditch the razor to eliminate any cuts or bumps on the big day (still, as someone who shaved hunched over in the shower, painfully hungover the morning or her wedding, it’s really nbd), waxing a few days before your wedding will ensure you’re stubble-free for your wedding night. For smaller areas (like the lip, fingers, toes, and even brows), simple wax strips will get the job done. Opt for something created for sensitive skin like these strips which are dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and cheaper than bottomless brunch. 

TOPNaturePlus Hair Removal Wax Strips

If you’re looking to do larger areas like your legs, arms, or your (peace be with you) bikini area, depilatory wax (aka what the salon uses) is the answer. To make things simpler, a hard wax kit that doesn’t involve strips streamlines the process. This kit from Amazon is $35 and works like a charm. Just know that it will take much longer than however long you would spend shaving in the shower, so block out a good chunk of your day if you plan to go from “Corona au naturel” to hairless from the ears down.

Bella Verde Waxing Kit – Home Wax Warmer

Tanning

Having a ~glow~ is something most brides crave to make the white of their gowns pop. While spray tanning might give you flashbacks to the scene in Bride Wars when Anne Hathaway turns orange, not all of the options out there yield secondary color results. St. Tropez is one of those brands everyone seems to universally love, and for good reason. The products are high-end yet affordable and they don’t turn your skin orange. Snatch up the wildly popular bronzing water mousse which will give you more of a medium glowy tan that’s shockingly easy to apply. 

St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse

While the bronzing water is ideal for anyone wanting a medium tan, there are other options depending on what level of baked you’re looking for. If you want a dark tan, opt for the bronzing mousse, or if you just want an “I hung out at the pool and responsibly applied sunscreen” sun-kissed look, the gradual tinted body lotion will get the job done. Whichever you choose, make sure to use an applicator mitt to avoid telltale streaks and give you even coverage. 

St. Tropez Applicator Mitt

Manis & Pedis

Even the most laid-back bride usually opts for a mani and pedi on her wedding day. With plenty of ring shots, having at least polished nails is a simple way to feel put-together on your big day. If you want something quick and simple, swipe a polish on your nails the night before or morning of the big day after a quick shaping sesh with a file. Sally Hansen Insta-dri is great if you want a rich color and are notorious for smudging your mani. While it doesn’t actually dry instantly, it does dry faster than anything else out there (just keep your coats thin). Just make sure to use a top coat, obvi.

Insta-Dri Sally Hansen Finger Nail Polish

If you want a thicker, more salon-quality mani (and have the time/patience to do something more than a few swipes of traditional polish), consider getting a powder dip kit. While it will def help to watch a few YouTube videos before you accidentally spill blush-colored powder all over your bathroom, the results are just as good as a $50 mani after a bit of practice. 

Acrylic Dip Powder Nail Color Kit

Hair Coloring

oVertone Golden Brown Healthy Color Duo

While home hair coloring is a gamble, there’s a way to get rich hues without going to a salon or drying your hair out with box dyes. oVertone offers a variety of shades from traditional colors like brown, black, and ginger to vibrant ones like pink and blue. The semi-permanent dyes are great if you want to add some warmth or depth without the commitment or damage of a permanent dye. Try out a few options in the months leading up to your big day to figure out what feels right. If you’re looking for just a subtle change, the color conditioners add some richness without a full-blown color change. 

Deep Hair Conditioning 

Deep conditioning to hydrate your ends and eliminate frizz is Beauty Prep 101. While most people have their tried-and-true deep conditioner selections, now’s the time to up your game because uh, even if there’s a global pandemic, it’s still your wedding, dammit. And by God, you deserve to feel pampered AF. First, grab a deep conditioner or hair mask to soak into your follicles and soften all of your “I can’t f*cking believe I had to postpone my wedding twice” damage.

It’s a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask

From the end-all-be-all line that makes your hair looks like you haven’t been swimming in split ends for months, It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask is under $30 yet still more high-end than the old bottle of Suave in the corner of the shower. After rinsing, spray some It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In product on your damp hair and get yourself married with silky, “she didn’t just live through a pandemic, did she?”-worthy locks. Oh, and in a few days when your hair feels brittle and dull after drinking champagne and eating cake for an entire weekend, repeat the process and thank me later. 

Deep Moisturizing

Whether or not you plan to rock a wedding day tan, having smooth, sleek, hydrated skin will not only photograph better, but it will also give you a glow no matter your skin tone. In the days leading up to your wedding, lather on some hardcore moisturizer to glisten the day-of. CeraVe’s famous Moisturizing Cream is dermatologist-approved, gentle on skin conditions and your wallet, and wins tons of awards year after year.

SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

If you want something a little less “everyday” and a little more special, Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream combines a blend of cupuaçu butter, antioxidant-rich açaí, and coconut oil which wakens dry, dull skin. Oh, and it smells like a tropical vacation, which will 100% up the exotic vibes day-of, even if you’re getting married in your backyard.

Extensions

Whether you have baby-thin hair that tangles in the slightest breeze, decided to give yourself a DIY cut during quarantine and lost more inches than you care to admit, or you just dream of rocking mermaid locks for your wedding photos, extensions are the key to getting those hair-envy wedding looks. If you’re forgoing a professional stylist and plan to do your own hair, however, selecting extensions that are easy to utilize by yourself is key. If you plan on wearing your hair down, Hidden Crown extensions are by far the simplest solution out there (and great for half-up half-down styles). Instead of clips or tape (which are tricky to perfect on your own, no matter how many YouTube vids your watch), Hidden Crowns are full crowns of hair that are secured with a piece of wire kind of like a headband. This means the chances of you throwing it across the room in frustration are greatly reduced.

Hidden Crown extensions

If you’re looking for something even simpler and plan to wear your hair in either an elegant pony, some sort of bun or updo, or get all boho with some braids, the Insert Name Here ponies are quite literally the simplest hair accessory I’ve ever used. You put your natural hair in a bun or ponytail, and then you just wrap the velcro of the pony extension around your elastic. It takes five minutes and gives enviable results. Add some Baby’s Breath or clips for an additional elegant pop.

Botox

No, I am not advising some back-alley at-home Botox injectables. If you’re looking for neck wrinkles and crows feet solutions for your bridal portraits and don’t feel like that’s a valid reason to leave your home and go to the doc for a non-essential visit (RESPECT), you can still have that “I’ve never squinted at my computer screen for 12 hours straight” wrinkle-free look. Firming creams and serums are literally everywhere, so don’t be afraid to test out products to see what works (bc wtf else are you going to do right now?). If you want a famous celeb-endorsed option, The Athena 7  Minute Lift cream is one of those products you’ll probably try once and then buy for the rest of your life. It’s all-natural, plant-based, and smooths out lines on the face, neck, and décolleté. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s cheaper and less invasive than actual injectables, so it could be a solution for your wrinkles even after the world opens back up for good.

The Athena 7  Minute Lift

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you prep for your wedding. 2020 is a whole new era of nuptials, so when it comes to prepping, do what makes you feel best. Whether that’s an entire home pampering day or just rolling out of bed and saying your “I dos” in your pajamas, as long as it’s with the person you love (and as long as you throw a kick-ass party when Corona is over), you’ll still make plenty of people jealous. And at the end of the day, isn’t that the point of weddings in the first place?

 

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Images: Elena Taranenko on Unsplash; Giphy; Amazon; Sephora; Ulta; oVertone; Alex Gaboury / YouTube; Hidden Crown Hair; 7 Minute Lift

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The Beauty Products I Swear By As A Black Woman

My freshman year of college can be summed up with one word: cringe. It’s the year I thought it was a #lewk to wear a bra, leggings, and combat boots to dorm parties; the year I really mastered the art of the peace sign, duck face selfie; and it’s the year I tried my hand at filming my own makeup tutorials. Now, please don’t get me wrong—there is nothing cringeworthy about makeup tutorials in and of themselves. In fact, there have been many a morning when I’ve woken up with “the grumpies” (as my free therapist calls them) and have been seconds from giving up, ordering chicken parm for breakfast, and going back to sleep, only to be saved by my favorite makeup artist, Katie Jane Hughes, and her divine ability to film perfect winged eyeliner tutorials while dancing to ABBA. Makeup tutorials have never been the problem; it was me doing makeup tutorials that were the problem. Me—sitting at a bulky wooden desk, filming on a used MacBook Pro, my twin extra long bed as a backdrop, and the casual cameo from my roommate who did not speak to me—filming makeup tutorials. That was the cringe factor. Needless to say, I took a quick look at the footage from my first 55-minute video, made the Jay-Z yikes face, and decided to permanently retire from the makeup tutorial filming profession. (Okay, you got me—I had every intention of posting that 55-minute video, but my laptop crashed, making the difficult but necessary decision to end my beauty blogger career for me.)

Although my YouTube influencer dreams never came to fruition, my passion for makeup and beauty never stopped. But then again, how could it? Long before I could even spell “going viral,” I had a well-established, indelible, even, relationship to beauty that ran deep. Some of my earliest memories include my mother scrubbing my face every night with Ivory soap and my dad laying down my eyebrows with a thick, nourishing pomade. My parents agreed on very little, but thankfully, they were able to come together on the essentials: skin care. As a teen, I technically was not allowed to wear makeup, so I joined the cheer team to bypass the system, as a glitter eyeshadow was a mandatory part of our getup. But what really solidified my affinity to beauty was my first trip to Sephora. I was a senior in high school touring colleges in New York, and my mother and I had some time to kill (how every great Sephora tale begins). We spent far too many hours and far too many dollars in that black and white striped oasis than I’d care to admit publicly.  

All this to say, if there is one thing I know well, it’s makeup and beauty. I’ve always received much joy, confidence, and even peace in discovering new products and new beauty routines. You have your healing crystals, I have my Bobbi Brown shimmer brick (we both should see health care professionals). But as a Black woman, specifically, my passion for beauty discovery has had to be far more intentional than your average (okay, white) consumer. Let’s face it, despite Black women being a majority demographic for beauty brand consumption, very few products are actually made with us in mind. I can’t tell you how many eyeshadow palettes I’ve opened that disappear entirely on my skin; how many skin care products that seek to fight “redness” when very few dark-skinned people encounter that issue. So, after years of being makeup and beauty obsessed, and even more years of being a Black woman, here are some of the beauty products that I swear by. 

Skin Care

Every girl has a moment in her life that she’ll remember forever. For some, it’s her engagement day, for others, it’s the birth of her first born. For me, it was the day my roommate asked me if I was wearing makeup when all I’d done was wash my face. What can I say? There is glory in proper skin care! In the last few years, models, influencers, and makeup artists alike have been raving about one universal craze: glow. That sunkissed, radiant bronze that screams “I spent the entire summer on a nude beach in Brazil.” Now, amateurs will try to achieve this look with bronzing powders or shimmering highlights or booking an illegal (COVID, etc.) flight to Brazil, but real radiance experts know: the perfect glow starts with the right skin care.

Shea Moisture African Black Soap Facial Wash & Scrub

In all honesty, I first started using this product accidentally. My family lives in California, and whenever I went home to visit, I hated lugging around my entire beauty cabinet. So, I decided to go to Target and randomly select a travel-sized tube of this African Black Soap Facial Scrub and keep it in California. While I was home, I would use this product every day, and would also start saying things like: “Wow, my skin is so much better in California—must be the water!” It took me a couple of trips home to realize that it wasn’t the California tap water that was revitalizing my skin, it was this Shea Moisture Facial Scrub. I then started incorporating this product into my daily routine (the right way, I must add—this is an exfoliant and shouldn’t be used daily, but rather 2-3 times a week max). And, at the humiliating risk of sounding like an infomercial, after using this scrub, my skin feels like legit silk. Not only does my skin feel softer, it is so much clearer. This facial scrub leaves your skin looking clear, feeling soft, and providing you with the perfect canvas for the rest of your skin care routine.

First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads

I discovered this product recently, during the height of COVID quarantine. I was depressed and had a promo code that was “expiring soon”—a lethal combination. I’d been looking for a better alternative to the toner I was using at the time and will be forever grateful that this impulse buy was just that. These radiance pads are unique because they are 3-in-1: they tone, but they also exfoliate and illuminate the skin. I use these pads after I cleanse my face, so they also help remove any excess makeup, oils, dirt, etc. And I can honestly say that within days, I noticed my skin became brighter and more radiant. I also love First Aid Beauty products because they’re conducive to all skin types. My skin is very dry and very sensitive, but I’ve been using this product regularly for about four months now, and haven’t had any negative reactions. Who knew that glow could start with your toner? This product is definitely a must.

Tatcha Violet-C Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Full transparency: the first thing you’ll notice when you look up this product is that it is disgustingly expensive. And to address your questions now: no, I do not have a trust fund, I just have a credit card with no real sense of the word “debt.” And that, I get, is a “me” thing. But I do also sincerely believe that if there is one thing to splurge on, it’s your skin. You only get one face, unless you are a Real Housewife, so I choose to take care of mine at all costs. You’ll also notice that this product is a serum. Honestly, I did not start using serums until about a year ago because I “didn’t find them necessary,” but really because I didn’t know what they were or how to use them. After some research, however, I found that serums are attractive skin care aids because they target specific skin care concerns. Truly whatever concern you may have, there is probably a serum for it. My major issue has always been hyperpigmentation, which is a multisyllabic word for dark spots on your skin. I love this Tatcha Serum, in particular, because not only does it eliminate dark spots, but it also, you guessed it, radiates the skin! I’m looking for glow anywhere I can, babe. Pro tip: this was the product I started using when my roommate asked me if I was wearing makeup. Needless to say, it is worth its weight in gold—and is probably a similar price! 

Makeup

While deeply humbling, it’s important that I admit: it has taken me a while to master the “no-makeup makeup” look. If you unearth any of my Instagram photos circa 2012, you might have trouble identifying me, as in most of the pictures I look like a woman in her 50s going through a nasty divorce, painting on blush and eyebrows to mask her pain and be strong for the children. It’s been… a journey. But after much trial and error and watching Rihanna’s 10-Minute Beauty Routine sincerely once a month, I finally have a makeup routine that’s comprised with products that make me look natural and youthful. So now when I look like a woman in turmoil, it’s because my life is in disarray, not my makeup!

Fenty Beauty

Believe me, I tried to narrow this list down to one Fenty product. But asking me to choose only one product from this brand is like asking me to choose between cheese and sauce on a pizza—it’s simply not done. A few years ago, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line garnered critical acclaim and traction when it launched foundations and concealers that were inclusive to, dare I say, all skin tones. From the palest to the darkest coverage seekers, Fenty formulated a hue just for you. As such, I simply cannot mention makeup must-haves without highlighting the Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer. This is a full coverage soft matte concealer that can be used on its own or combined with your favorite foundation. I often find that some matte concealers can be chalky and overpowering, but this one provides the perfect amount of coverage while still offering a dewy, natural look. I bought this concealer a year and a half ago, and it has remained in my makeup bag ever since.

Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer

While we’re talking Fenty, I also have to shout out their Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer. Bronzers have always been sort of an enigma to me. I loved how they looked on other people, but I, myself, was unsure of how to use them, especially as someone with darker skin. But, after watching the aforementioned Rihanna video, I learned that bronzers are used to warm the face. After applying your foundations, concealers, and powders, chances are you’ve eliminated blemishes, but you’ve also probably eliminated any warmth in your skin along with it. Bronzers bring that warmth back, and this bronzer, in particular, brings it back effortlessly by bringing out the undertones within your skin. I can’t recommend this product enough. 

MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream

Earlier this year, I was on the hunt for a great highlighter. I researched powder formulas, cream formulas, and finally came across the MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream. This product is unique because it’s not a typical highlighter, meaning you don’t apply this product to the high points of the skin toward the end of your beauty, like most highlighters. Instead, this product can be combined with your favorite foundation at the very beginning of your routine, providing for a more natural, radiant glow. This is because the deceptively lucent white cream has iridescent undertones. I wear it every day, either on its own for a natural radiance, or combined with a finishing highlight, for even more drama. This product is one of my most prized (and top-secret) products in my toolbox. You’re welcome. 

Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner

I couldn’t honestly tell the story of my makeup journey without mentioning my personal never-ending plight: trying to find a liquid eyeliner that is very black and easy to use. In my quest, I’ve found tons of eyeliners that have been extremely pigmented, but also extremely hard to use, or a liner that glides on effortlessly, but doesn’t show up on my skin at all. Which is why we simply must give thanks to Pat McGrath and her precision liquid eyeliner. If you don’t know Pat McGrath, she is a prominent makeup artist, and she is a Black woman. If there’s one thing she knows, it’s how to formulate beauty products that are bold, pigmented, and inclusive. And she’s done just that with her perfect liquid eyeliner. Admittedly, I can’t take full credit for discovering this product because I first learned about it from watching Naomi Campell’s 10-Minute Beauty Routine (I watch these videos like most people watch the news). It was good enough for top model Naomi Campbell, and it has been more than good enough for me. When it comes to liquid eyeliners, this product is top-tier. 

Beauty products are an integral part of most of our daily lives. At the very basis, they are preventive maintenance agents that work to provide us with healthy and youthful-looking skin for years to come. But beyond that, they’re simply fun—offering so much to play with, discover and explore. Which is why some of us (@ing myself here) decide to throw caution to the wind, foregoing contributions to a retirement plan, and invest in rejuvenating eye serums instead. But believe me, beauty products are far less enjoyable to play with when you don’t feel represented by most of them, when only select products are accessible to your skin concerns and hue. The discussion of beauty inclusivity is a big one and shouldn’t stop here, as there is much work to be done in this arena. And while some brands are making strides to better diversify their products, the work isn’t done until this mindset is adopted widely across all brands. I hope that this list is helpful to you in the meantime.

Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.

Images: Alex Sorto / Unsplash; Giphy; Shea Moisture; First Aid Beauty; Tatcha; Fenty Cosmetics; Mac Cosmetics; Pat McGrath

How Long Can You Really Go Without Washing Your Hair?

Being in quarantine has f*cked up just about every aspect from our lives, from our gyms to our self-care routines, and it’s easy to see why. When you’re not leaving the house or interacting with people (your delivery guy doesn’t really qualify here), it’s easy to let certain aspects of your hygiene routine fall to the wayside. You’re not alone if you’ve been rocking an oily slicked-back messy bun for all your Zoom meetings these last five months. I mean, we have all the dry shampoo options in the world, so why put in the extra effort of washing your hair? Sure, it doesn’t come close to how amazing it feels when your hair is freshly washed, but it gets the job done on those days when you just can’t be bothered to jump in the shower.

Just like with showering, we’ve all undoubtedly asked ourselves how long we can really go without washing our hair. Most of us really aren’t going places, so what’s the point, right? We asked a hair and scalp expert and consulted dermatologists to find out how often we really should be washing our precious locks, even in quarantine. 

Dry Shampoo Is Our BFF—But Is It Actually Helping Our Unwashed Hair? 

Dry shampoo is great for those mornings when you need extra time in bed before starting your work from home routine, and we’ve all sung its praises before. Again, any product that enables our laziness is a win in our book. Unfortunately, this beauty hack may not be great for your hair or scalp. 

According to The Healthy, dry shampoo can clog your hair follicles while absorbing the natural oils that your scalp needs to be healthy. This could result in hair loss and stunted growth, meaning you might want to stop spraying yourself with dry shampoo like you’re a middle school boy with Axe body spray.

Dr. Jeannette Graf, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and anti-aging expert in Great Neck, tells Betches, It is important to look at the ingredients of dry shampoos to ensure they do not over-dry hair or leave a chalky residue in the scalp.” She adds, “Dry shampoo should only be used 1-2 times a week and up to 3 times if you have oily hair to allow the scalp time to breathe in between applications.” You hear that? One to two times per week, tops!

It’s Time For the Truth. How Often Should We Really Be Washing Our Hair? 

how many times a week have you been washing your hair in quarantine? for me it’s 0.06

— Betches (@betchesluvthis) August 18, 2020

We’ll start with the news you don’t want to hear: Anabel Kingsley, president and owner of Philip Kingsley and respected Trichologist, , says that we should be washing our hair daily. “Especially if you are active or have a scalp condition such as an oily or flaky/itchy scalp. Good scalp hygiene is essential to hair growth—after all, your scalp is your hair’s support system,” she states.

But if that’s just not happening for you, don’t freak out. Kingsley does acknowledge that that feat may not be realistic, saying, “People with coarser or curlier hair often find their hair is time consuming to style, so daily shampooing isn’t realistic, plus their hair doesn’t get oily as quickly as fine hair.” She says that it is okay to take a day or two off from shampooing your hair, but she does not recommend leaving it any longer than three days. 

Dr. Patricia Wexler of Wexler Dermatology says that you don’t have to wash your hair every day: “that’s a misconception,” she tells Betches, even during the summer time where we may find ourselves the sweatiest. She says that overall, washing your hair can make it dry, “because you’re taking the essential oils out of your hair.”  

“In summer, it’s hot out, the sun is getting on your hair, so that’s making your hair dry and brittle,” she explains, and in winter, “you’re going inside, the heat is on,” and those factors can also contribute to dryness. Dr. Graf echoes that winter can cause more dryness in the hair “since the air is generally dryer”, and says that “washing your hair too much during the colder months can diminish the moisture it needs to remain healthy.” She also says, “it’s okay to wash the hair a bit more in the summer, as the warmer months call for extra sweat and oil.”

But Dr. Wexler understands the impulse to shampoo every day. Just like many of us, she says she used to wash her hair every day, then reduced it to every other day, and now she washes 2-3 times a week. 

Both doctors state that washing your hair a few times a week is sufficient: “Twice a week is more than enough,” Dr. Wexler says. Dr. Graf recommends washing hair “one to three times a week, depending on your hair texture, type, and how often you exercise and sweat.” 

Your Hair Type and Texture May Determine How Long You Can Go Without Washing

At the end of the day, how often you wash your hair depends on your hair type as well as your activity level. So, if you have thicker hair that doesn’t get oily quickly and are not at all active while in quarantine, enjoy those 2-3 days off from washing your hair. 

Those who have finer hair may have a different experience and different washing needs.“Each hair follicle has an oil gland attached to it, and thus people with finer hair tend to get oiler, quicker,” Kingsley explains. So going a long time in between washes may not work.  

Dr. Graf advises, “When washing your hair, do what works best for your normal hair care routine as hair needs to be cleansed on a regular basis to allow for hair growth.” 

For those who have always believed that washing your hair too much causes damage, Kingsley assures us that this statement is technically not true. “A well-formulated shampoo won’t strip your hair or scalp, nor will it make your scalp greasier.” 

Dr. Wexler says that it’s more about the ingredients in your shampoo that can cause damage, rather than the act of shampooing itself: “The most important thing is what not to use in your shampoo. You don’t want to use parabens, you don’t want to use sulfates because they’re bad for you.” She recommends using a shampoo that is also free of formaldehyde and that is clean and gentle on the hair, preferably with olive or canola oil as an ingredient (if you do not have thin hair).

What About In Quarantine?

gonna go take one of those triple threat showers u know what i mean (wash my hair & shave my legs & cry)

— dirt prince (@pant_leg) February 25, 2020

Quarantine has brought out a different side in most of us. We’ve collectively fallen behind in doing things that were key parts of our daily routine when ya know, life was normal. Dr. Graf says that many people have cut back on washing their hair, which is completely understandable. “For some it may work and for some it may have the opposite effect.” She explains that everyones scalp coats the hair at different rates, which could lead to someone not washing their hair for an extended amount of time and having improved results, while another person may develop a strong stench—yikes. 

So basically, if you want to shampoo every single day, more power to you (and please tell us your secrets for keeping up your motivation). But if you want to rock three-day-old hair, that’s probably just as cool, so long as your hair doesn’t get super oily or smelly. It’s different for every person, so if it’s working for you, keep doing (or not) doing it. 

Images: Alliance Image / Shutterstock; betchesluvthis, pant_leg / Twitter

At-Home Beauty Devices You’ve Seen On IG That Aren’t Worth It

Every day during my daily social media scroll, I pass by influencers, friends, and just general Instagram users who are now self-proclaimed skin care experts. You know, the friend who watched six TikToks and now believes she knows more about your own skin than you. We are living in a strange time where 15-year-olds dancing on an app are as influential as the Kardashians, and if you ask me, that signals the end of society—but that’s not really why we are here.

I have seen every skin care tip and trick in the book shared across these platforms, and while some tips are amazing, some are not so great. I know, hard to imagine that social media can be misleading! But, on a serious note, don’t believe everything you see (especially on the internet). Since I’m actually upfront about the fact that I’m not an expert, you don’t need to just take my word for it: I spoke to Candace Marino, aka the LA Facialist and Kourtney Kardashian’s trusted medical aesthetician. I asked her to break down the negatives of self-care at home, and which shiny new tools and tricks you may want to avoid.

“There are brands out there that want to cash in on professional services, making them ‘easy and convenient’ for at home use, but let’s be honest, they do not compare,” explains Marino. “Medical device companies spend thousands of dollars on research and development and clinical trials to ensure professionals can safely and effectively treat people with lasers, and microneedling, etc.”

If you’re currently worshipping your $150 at-home microdermabrasion tool, prepare to be heartbroken. So what products should you not bother with? We’re here to break it down for you.

Triple-Digit Tools

Bergdorf Goodman Face & Body Roller, $290

Let’s start basic and broad, because these are the tools that most of us have fallen victim to. Any massage tool, roller, gua sha, or sculptor with a triple-digit price tag is a ripoff. If something is real stone, it has the same impact whether it costs $10 or $100, and that is where the trouble comes in. “These prices are NOT worth the investment. I’ve seen these gorgeous facial rollers at Bergdorf Goodman for $290, I have to roll my eyes,” Marino explains. Because, as mentioned before, these expensive rollers are the same thing as an inexpensive tool.  Or you can even forego the tool entirely: “Save that money for a treatment that will actually do something for you,” Marino advises, “and massage your face with your hands.”

Her reason for passing on these products? “Half of you are going to see an ad, get jazzed about it, buy it, do it for one week and then lose it in your sea of beauty products,” she says. Okay, I feel attacked but also seen. I don’t want to say this rattled me, but I will admit that I’ve definitely considered splurging on a “good” gua sha or face sculptor. That being said, as long as the stone is real, it’s safe. And if you want to skip altogether, your hands are always free.

Facial Steamers

Pro Facial Steamer, $149.00

I am proud to say that while I’ve seen these all over the ‘gram, I have not been tempted to purchase. After all, I live in a Manhattan apartment, aka my windowless bathroom doubles as a steam room. “Are you really going to waste $50-200 on a facial steamer when steam is FREE? Boil a pot of water, throw a towel over your head and voilà,” Marino says, validating my thoughts. “Or simply jump in a shower. Plus, I don’t think people should be regularly streaming, it’s actually more harmful than good when done too much or too regularly. This is definitely not an essential piece of beauty equipment. Save. Your. Money.”

Dermarollers

GloPRO Microneedling Tool, $199.00

What is a dermaroller, you may ask? Well for starters, if you’re asking, you can mark yourself safe from these. But, if you search the internet, you’ll see that a dermaroller is a spikey little torture device used to poke holes in your face. JK—sort of. “These are NOT the same as professional microneedling,” Marino is quick to say. “I see people digging into their faces with these. First of all, you should not be puncturing yourself with anything that isn’t sterile. You’re opening up your skin to infection, and also potentially damage.”

Marino emphasizes, “I’m not an advocate of home dermarolling. Of course people are going to still do it, but I hope they have a professional to guide them. I’ve seen more harm done from these than good.” If you are going to use one, she advises, “make sure the depth is less than .5mm. Anything larger than that is just tearing the skin, and you should be leaving anything that punctures the skin to a trained professional.” I for one would never purchase one of these, simply because I don’t trust myself doing such a risky procedure. But, I do have many friends who own these, and furthermore rave about them. So for this one I’d say, (derma)roll at your own risk.

Pore Vacuum

“This is a great way to break capillaries, damage your skin and cause bruising,” explains Marino, urging people, “Please don’t buy into the hype. It’s a $260 investment that will literally damage your skin. I’ve had customers debate me on this, saying ‘diamond glow and hydrafacial and microderm all use suction, how is this any different?'” The first is rather obvious: these are professional devices used by trained professionals who have the knowledge and skillset to properly treat skin issues. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but someone’s gotta do it: watching hours of YouTube does NOT make you a professional.

The second, less common-sense reason is that blackheads are waxy plugs in the skin (ew), so the approach with this device might be wrong from the start. “A vacuum isn’t the answer, it’s going to have to be awful strong to magically pull a true blackhead from the skin. What you do get is bruising, sensitivity, and broken blood vessels,” Marino explains.

Extractors

DERMAPORE Ultrasonic Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser, $99.00

Again, if you’re like “wtf is an extractor”, do a little internet search and you’ll likely recognize these sneaky little tools. The good news is, these aren’t dangerous when used properly. The bad news is, your favorite influencer is probs using it incorrectly, and therefore you likely are too. “I see people digging into the skin…that’s not what they’re intended for,” Marino says. “You should be gliding the extractor gently, not pressing, which causes injury and may lead to scarring.” Yes, scarring. So be careful!

I also asked Marino to help debunk some myths floating around TikTok and the internet in general.

I recently saw a video that basically tried to *end* jade rollers, saying that jade stone holds in dirt and particles (gross). The video also mentioned rose quartz was the safe way to go, so I asked Marino what the truth is.

“The healing power of stones and crystals have been used for centuries—their ability to cool the skin, yet warm up once worked with makes them great tools to use at home and in the treatment room,” Marino says, confirming that jade is OK to use, when real. “When discussing the powers of rollers, I always say, don’t look for a miracle. This isn’t going to change your life or your face. Is it a good self-care practice? Yes, you’re doing no harm, you’re encouraging circulation and you’ll definitely look more plump, alive, awake. Go for it, just be realistic with your expectations.” *sigh* When rolling my face, am I expecting to come out of it looking like Bella Hadid? You bet I am. I guess I’ll have to live on with chubby cheeks for another day.

I also asked about the ever-popular ingredient debate. Are clean beauty ingredients really better? Are essential oils all safe for your skin? Are there any ingredients you should actively avoid? I, for one, have a skin care cabinet that could last me a lifetime, and I wanted to be educated by someone other than the internet.

“I don’t chat ingredients,” Marino says.  “What’s important is formulation. People want to talk ingredients like they’re chemists. They question simple things like an alcohol, an ester or an oil and automatically assume a product is bad… you can’t base a product on one ingredient alone.” To this I say, stick to your dermatologist’s advice. Different ingredients work for different people, and Marino can’t exactly diagnose all of our skin needs simultaneously.

So now that we’ve addressed the bad and the ugly, don’t be afraid to rid of your favorite tools. Trust me, a few dollars wasted today is better than permanently damaging your skin. On the bright side, I can keep my $12 jade roller and put that rumor to rest. On the even brighter side, I am now one step closer to being the first (naturally) blonde Kardashian. An all around win if you ask me!

Stay safe out there kids, and be good to your skin.

Images: Mariya_nova / Shutterstock.com; Candace Marino, Instagram; Bergdorfgoodman.com; Dermstore.com; Beautybio.com; rodanandfields.com

12 Ways To Shop To Support Pride & LGBTQ Organizations

We may not have a Pride Parade this year, but we can still celebrate in various ways, including donating to LGBTQ organizations and buying from LGBTQ-owned brands. There are also a number of brands out there that are supporting Pride and giving all or a significant portion of proceeds to organizations advocating for the LGBTQ community. From makeup to candles to cookie dough, justify your next online shopping trip with these brands and products that are supporting the LBGTQ community in a variety of ways.

Morphe

Morphe launched their “Free to Be” Collection, and the colors are a rainbow DREAM. I have gotten almost too comfortable being a hermit in my home, but I swear this palette makes me want to go out, just so I have an excuse to put on R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The shade names will make you smile, and so will the brushes and lip gloss that complete this set. 100% of net proceeds from the sales of this collection (purchased through Morphe.com and Morphe Stores) during Pride will be donated to GLSEN to help create safe and supportive school environments for K-12 students.

Youth to the People

Youth to the People’s “With Pride” Kit is made up of three existing minis, formulated to cleanse, resurface, and hydrate your skin. As someone who uses this brand religiously, I can confirm the products are amazing, but what makes this kit even more worth purchasing is the fact that 100% of profits are being donated to GLSEN as well. (In case you forgot, they are the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ+ students). P.S. This kit works on dry, combo, and oily skin, so regardless of your type, this is worth the purchase.

Bliss

If you’re covered in glitter and glam post-Pride celebrations, Bliss’ Makeup Melt Wipes will be your new best friend. Originally, Bliss pledged to donate 100% of net proceeds from the Limited Edition wipes with the rainbow design (pictured above) to The Trevor Project, but with Pride events being canceled nationwide, Bliss is now extending the donation to include 100% of net proceeds from its complete collection of Makeup Melt Wipes. The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth.

innisfree

innisfree’s “Spill the Equali-tea” mini lip balm set is great, because we all know that lip balms go missing faster than anything else in the world (aside from maybe bobby pins) and backups are always necessary. innisfree has partnered with the It Gets Better Project for Pride month, and will be donating to help support and empower the LGBTQ+ youth in our global community.

NOTO Botanics

NOTO is a natural, multi-use, gender fluid cosmetic line packed with high-performing organic ingredients. They focus on representation and celebrate those choosing to be their most authentic self. Every sale of NOTO’s Agender Oil (pictured above) goes to non-profits including LGBT Youth Center LA, Planned Parenthood, ACLU, the Audre Lorde Project, Black Mamas Matter, and more. Founded by Gloria Noto, a queer woman, the brand has raised $22,000 and counting in donations.

Marc Jacobs Beauty

Marc Jacobs Beauty sometimes goes under the radar, but I am actually obsessed with this product. The Enamored (With Pride) Hydrating Lip Gloss Stick is basically a dream come true, as someone who loves lip gloss but could do without the mess it makes. All of the colors are fairly neutral and wearable, and work with every skin tone. Marc Jacobs Beauty will be donating to two charities—SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ older adults, and Le Refuge, a French organization dedicated to preventing the isolation and suicide of LGBTQ+ youth by providing shelter and support.

Hi Wildflower

Hi Wildflower was created and founded by queer Bangladeshi novelist, Tanaïs. Their muse was wildflowers, hence the name, and the brand is for the socially conscious consumer looking for luxury goods. Ranging from fragrance to candles and lipsticks too, Hi Wildflower’s well sought-after products are as good as they sound. The Dianthus Lipstick is the perfect universal red, and the Mojave Extrait de Parfum is the best thing you will ever smell, and is unisex!

Boy Smells

I have a freakish obsession with candles, so I was thrilled to see that my favorites, Boy Smells, made a six-candle set titled Bundle of Pride to illuminate inclusivity. Founded by partners Matthew Herman and David Kien, you can feel the love when lighting any of these candles. The collection will support The Trevor Project, with all purchases contributing towards a $26,500 donation minimum. The smells vary from citrus to floral, woody and warm. They also make for a beautiful display!

(MALIN+GOETZ)

I’ve been a long-time fan of (MALIN+GOETZ) because, you guessed it, candles. Founded by couple Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, M+G brings you an “uncomplicated” regimen for body, hair, and personal/home fragrance. Their Bergamot Hand Wash and Grapefruit Face Cleanser are two fan favorites, but the candles are the bread and butter. Neroli is my personal go-to, but the Dark Rum is a rumored must-have.

As someone with a very intense sweet tooth, edible cookie dough is music to my ears. This year, dō launched their love is love pack, which, as you can see, is a rather intense but very delicious scoop of rainbow deliciousness. The pack comes with four flavors: signature chocolate chip, cake batter, sugar cookie, and rainbow dō (which is also sugar cookie flavor). 20% of every purchase of this pack will be donated to the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBTQ and same-gender loving (SGL) people.

Reebok

This year, Reebok launched an entire Pride collection. I can say with confidence that I would wear every single thing out of this collection, and it varies from the brightest of rainbows to the most simple of designs in the form of sneakers, athletic wear, and accessories. As part of their campaign, Reebok is donating $75K to the It Gets Better Project.

Ruthie Davis

I feel like I must put a disclaimer here that I am 6 feet tall and even two inch heels makes me nervous, but I could not resist adding this collection in for obvious reasons. This Pride Pump screams “love” (literally), and Ruthie Davis is donating 20% of sales from the Pride Pump (pictured) and Pride Kick to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York City. Both styles are offered in extended gender fluid sizing up to 43.

I am thankful to see more and more brands using their platforms to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and donate to help organizations on the ground doing the work. Happy Pride, everyone!

Images: Isi Parente / Unsplash; Morphe.com; Youthtothepeople.com; Courtesy of Bliss; Innisfree.com; Marcjacobsbeauty.com; Cookiedonyc.com; Courtesy of Vivrelle; Reebok.com; Courtesy of Ruthie Davis; Boysmells.com; hiwildflower.com; notobotanics.com; malinandgoetz.com