Increase Collagen Production

What is collagen and why is it so important?

Collagen functions as the support system of the skin, providing firmness and elasticity. As we age, the body naturally produces less collagen which leads to skin thinning, sagging and wrinkle production.

According to my dermatologist, using retinol, a vitamin-A derivative,  is the only substance proven to increase collagen content in your skin. Retinol, paired with healthy habits such as exercising, hydrating and using sunscreen, provides the basis for an effective skincare routine.

How do retinoids Work?

Retinol  is by nature an irritant. It essentially micro-wounds your skin to spur cell turnover and promote new growth. Over time, retinol thickens the dermis and stimulates the production of collagen.

Where can I purchase a retinoid?

Prescription retinoids can only be purchased through a dermatologist.  According to Chicago-based dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, MD, prescription retinoids are  “100 times as potent as the retinol-containing products sold without prescription*.” A $60, .7 oz tube of prescription Tretinoin lasts me 3 months.

Is a retinoid a good option for me? 

Visit a dermatologist to learn if  this vitamin-A derivative would be a good addition to your skincare routine.

*Retrieved from


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Product Review: Aquage Defining Hair Gel

This gel provides just enough hold and shape for my medium weight S-shaped curls without being too sticky or creating too much of a crunchy gel cast. The gel eliminates frizz and leaves a shiny finish. The formula is not as thick as a traditional gel and borders on runny. For chin to shoulder-length hair, a quarter-sized amount does the job. This gel will set you back about $20 for 6 oz. Amazon offers the best deal on this product and can be purchased here.

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Makeup…An Adult Form of Coloring

  Here is my answer to the age-old question, “Why do you wear makeup?”

Simply put, makeup is my medium and faces are my canvas.  My goal in doing my makeup is to highlight my best features. I think of it as an adult form of coloring.

I think it is irritating when people make assumptions about why women wear makeup. As a woman who enjoys wearing makeup, here is what I would like others to know…

Enjoying wearing makeup is NOT synonymous with being shallow or lacking confidence

Wearing makeup does NOT necessarily mean that one wants to impress others or draw attention to oneself



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Multipurpose Makeup and Beauty Products

Here are a few of my favorite multipurpose makeup products:

Eyeliner/eyebrow pen or pencil/dark eyeshadow: you can use these items interchangeably as both an eyeliner and and eyebrow filler

My favorites include: Physicians Formula eyeliner pen in brown, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil and any matte  eyeshadow (applied with an angled brush)



Cream blush: you can use cream blush on your cheeks and on your lips

My favorites include: NYX cream blush in Tea Rose and Maybelline Master Glaze blush stick in Make a Mauve






Bronzer: you can use bronzer as a complexion color  booster , a gentle face contour and a transitional eye shadow crease color. (Caveat that  a matte, cool-toned bronzer -as opposed to a glittery, orange-toned bronzer- will work best UNLESS you like the oompa look)

My favorite is Benefit’s Hoola bronzer


My favorite multipurpose beauty products include :

Witch Hazel: facial toner, astringent for minor cuts, scrapes and burns

Coconut Oil: moisturizer, makeup remover, deep-conditioning hair treatment

Orajel: designed to help ease the pain associated with teething, Orajel can also be used  to numb the pain associated with plucking or waxing eyebrows

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Strong, Shiny Nails for Weeks


IMG_2820 Top: My Sensationail LED lamp. LED lamps do not damage your skin like UV lamps. Below: This is the NaiLuv base/top coat I found on Amazon. This is a versatile product as it can be cured with both UV and LED lamps.

When the fad for UV/LED curable gel nails hit the market, I started a mission find out how I could achieve the same results as home. My “at home” setup consisted of a SensatioNail® starter kit (that included a LED curing lamp) and few NaiLuv polish colors, and NaiLuv base/top coat that I purchased on Amazon. I really liked the results and the strength and protection that the gel provided to my nails, however, I got tired at having the same color on my nails for weeks. Thus was born my brilliant idea…

Apply the gel base/topcoat, cure it, and then stop short of adding a color polish.

Why is this such a great nail trick?

-The gel coat gives you super shiny, strong nails. The shine does NOT dull like a typical clear polish.

-The gel coat fills in any nail ridges and creates a smooth nail surface.

-You can trim and shape your nails without harming the clear coat.

-You can apply a regular color nail polish over the clear gel coat , remove the color polish using non-acetone nail polish remover, and you will NOT disturb the clear gel coat base. The clear gel coat also eliminates the need for applying a base coat.

-The clear gel base coat will grow-out with your nails, but the grow-out will not be obvious as the coat is clear. You can also remove the gel base coat at anytime. I will show you how to do this in a different post.

-This technique provides me with up to 5 weeks of amazingly strong, shiny nails that I can shape, trim and upkeep with minimal effort.

Nail thumbnail view

The NaiLuv base/top coat was applied and cured with my LED light on the nails in the picture. The shininess you see in the picture lasts for weeks.


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