September 1, 2015

How I Cleared My Skin!

Hello my loves! VERY EXCITING VIDEO TODAY :) I wanted to wait a while to film this to make sure my skin wasn’t just going through a “good phase” but that it was clear for a consistent period of time so that I could share exactly what had been working. Well the time has come!! If you’ve been following me for a while, it’s no surprise that I’ve been dealing with a lot of skin breakouts this past year and it affected me tremendously! I was the “cleanest” I had ever been (in terms of diet and products I used), but my skin looked at it’s worst. It affected my desire to film, socialize and honestly I just felt like a total alien. On the days that I DID film, I of course wore makeup (mineral) and camera lighting can be quite forgiving.


About a year and a half ago I discovered the high raw vegan diet and read about all the amazing benefits it can have for your health, including your skin – and being curious and open minded, I decided to try it! One of the recommendations by all the experts was to ditch the skincare products and allow your body to heal naturally. I was a little apprehensive but decided to give it a try. I was of course expecting to have the most amazing glowing blemish-free skin of my life… but what I got was quite the opposite.

As mentioned in the video, some people experience amazing results right away, but for others it can take a little longer. Whether it’s really a “detox” or not is arguable, but nonetheless introducing a new diet / lifestyle can take some getting used to. Personally however, the combination of a new diet, totally new beauty routine and some stressful personal stuff I had going on at the time resulted in tons of breakouts – I was so unhappy dealing with it.

Is it to say that this diet gives you acne? No… to an extent. In my experience, it also depends on YOUR body and on SO many other factors apart from food, such as stress levels, skin care and your over all feeling of well-being. Taking on such a major change with both diet, lifestyle and beauty became a little too overwhelming. Also remember what works for one person might not work for you. For example I noticed a big decline in breakouts when I stopped eating lots of dates and bananas, they were my staple for a while, but they just broke me out like crazy. This could be due to their lack of water and high sugar content. Some people however do well with this combination. It's all about experimenting and seeing what works best for YOU.

As of today, after a good few months now of my skin being almost consistently blemish free (some discoloration and acne scars remain but they will fade in time) I finally feel like myself again!! SO THANKFUL :)

I am using some really amazing skin care products now, taking Zinc and Maca supplements and most importantly have eased up on being “so clean” with both my diet and the skin and makeup products I use. But with that said, my diet is still probably super clean in comparison to average but that’s just because I love to eat healthy anyway as it makes me feel good – BUT what I mean is, I am not eating only fruits during the day or super low fat like before. I still eat plant-based, eating till I’m full, never counting calories, and it keeps me energized and lean.


How did I do it?
1. Patience
I knew this diet was the best for my body, but my anxiety and stress around why my skin was acting up did not help. The stress that came from worrying was worse for my body than any “bad” food or makeup product I put on my skin, plus was most likely hindering the positive effects of the healthy food I was eating. Relaxing, trusting and believing is so important.

2. Skin Care 
As mentioned, I totally went all natural and hardly used any products for about 8 months.. as much as I wanted it to work, it simply didn't. It might for some, but not for me. It’s important to note that it doesn’t have to be these EXACT products, as we might not have the exact same “skin chemistry”, but the products mentioned is what’s really been working for me. Cleansing your skin off excess oil, debris and any external pollution is very important. Treating your skin with either Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid (also Retin-A) is optional but can be very effective. Restoring balance and light moisture is also good. I love occasional treatments like the scrub or mask mentioned. I also have some great DIY ones if you search back in my videos :) It’s important to not overdo it though as that could backfire (just like underdoing it can) so my advice is to experiment until you find your happy balance. 


3. Supplements
Zinc is a skin savior!! It’s a totally natural element and although it’s not as strong and effective as antibiotics, it still works really well – minus the medicine of course. Tests have shown that zinc can kill acne causing bacteria and is a powerful antioxidant which helps reduce inflammation and sebum production. Highly recommend doing some research into it. Maca is another amazing little skin hero. Maca is actually a root that belongs to the radish family which is grown in the mountains of Peru and has been called the “Peruvian ginseng”. It’s very rich in vitamins such as B, C, E and is high in calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids. It is really good for balancing out hormones in women, thus optimizing energy levels, mood, SKIN and general health. 


4. Nutrition
I love to eat lots of fresh plant based foods, not just because it’s good for my skin but because it makes my body feel good, gives me energy and keeps me lean without calorie restricting. Something I do avoid though are dates and bananas (and too many sugar-concentrated foods) as they are not very rich in water and I notice they irritate my skin. I will of course eat them from time to time in small quantities but NOTHING like before where I would literally make an 8 banana smoothie haha J live and learn! 


5. FEELING GOOD / Eliminate Stress
I know this is easier said than done, but to say this is important is an understatement. Ever notice when you're stressed, you experience more breakouts, hair fall, tiredness etc? Stress is no good for us and I strive to live as stress and drama free as possible, surrounding myself with good energy from positive people and environments. When my skin was at it's worst, my stress was very high. I think it's pretty obvious that the sight of your face totally red and irritated would make you stressed, but I was also dealing with a few things in my personal life that really took a toll on me. When that problem started to disintegrate, so did my breakouts - they kind of went hand in hand. When it comes to feeling good, this is an area where we all differ as we’re not all passionate about the same things. I personally love eating healthy, exercising, wearing makeup, doing my hair sometimes, wearing cute clothes or a beautiful perfume, pampering myself with a bubble bath and face mask... you might enjoy this too or have other "pleasures" but whatever it is that makes your soul happy! I honestly got into a bit of a cleanaholic-mode for a while where I was so bummed about my skin and was too afraid to put makeup on it, too afraid to put any products on it and literally just wanted to cry every time I looked in the mirror. My life turned into skin-saving mode and it wasn't fun. I eventually managed to pull myself out of that hole and started switching my mindset. As of the last few months, I’ve really been getting back into my groove and it's such a relief to not stress over little things again.

So I’ve definitely learnt A LOT about skin care throughout the last few years and as I know a lot of you guys are going through the same thing, I just hope you stay positive and confident – even though I know it can at times be so frustrating. Be open minded and try different things, but remember what works for one person might not work for you. What I do know works for A LOT of people, including myself are GREENS – especially green juices due to their high alkalinity. I made a video on it which you can watch here.

Additional Quick Tips:

  • Drink plenty of water 
  • Avoid picking at your skin - it might be tempting, but it's not worth the bruising / inflammation / scarring... trust me haha
  • Eat a vitamin, antioxidant and mineral rich diet - lots of fruits & veggies
  • Take note of your digestion - it is closely linked to your skin
  • Keep your makeup brushes clean
  • Find time to relax and have fun!


So what shall we call this? Annie's biggest beauty experiment of all? As a beauty and health blogger, I try A LOT of new things, but this would have to take the cake - vegan cake haha :) Well I am very happy that I have gained so much insight on health, diet and mindset this past year but most of all that I have my healthy skin back!! CELEBRATION!



HAIR
Sleeked back pony using Giovanni Eco Chic Styling Gel

FACE
- Becca Ever Matte Shine Proof Foundation (Tan)
- NARS Creamy Concealer (Biscuit)
- Tarte Contour from "The Sculptor"
- Cover FX Blotting Powder (Medium)
- Bare Minerals Bronzer in The High Dive
- 100% Pure Blush in Healthy 

EYES
- Sigma Warm Neutrals Eyeshadow Palette 
- Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Liner 
- Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Dark Brown 
- Eyeko Tinted Brow Gel 
- Bare Minerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara

LIPS
- Tarte Lipsurgence in Bare
- Tarte Power Pigment Lipstick in Glisten

TOP
By H&M 

I will be doing a few more skin care related videos in the future as I know this is a topic you guys are quite interested in, and I've definitely learned a lot! :) Please leave me your comments / questions or personal stories about acne below, I always love hearing from you guys. Hope you found this post and video helpful!! XOXO

August 30, 2015

Gorgeous Hair Tips

Hi my loves! Hope you guys have been having a nice weekend  So one of the questions I get asked a lot is about HAIR - everything from my own personal hair routine to tips on how to make it grow faster, break less, have more volume etc so I thought I'd combine my personal 5 favorite ways for keeping my locks in the best shape possible!

Photo from a recent trip to Los Angeles, taken by Veggie Jenny


1. Use A Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Sulfate is an ingredient found in lots of beauty, household and even car wash (yes!) products which acts as an surfactant - the stuff that makes something foamy / bubbly. Even though it feels nice to have a product that lathers up with lots of bubbles, it's not the best for our scalp as the ingredient is quite harsh and can strip lots of nutrients and natural emollients from our scalp. Thankfully, there are LOTS of sulfate free alternatives these days, including one of my personal favorites, the Giovanni Triple Tea Tree Treat Shampoo. I'm always trying out new natural shampoos but this is hands down of my of favorites! It still has a beautiful lather and leaves my hair super clean and refreshed! Another nice one is the 100% Pure Burdock & Neem Shampoo.

2. Top Knot Waves
I LOVE styling my hair from time to time either using a blowdryer or curling wand, and I don't think it negatively affects your hair unless it's done too often. But on the days when I want to go more natural, I twist my hair into a top knot bun - which not only is a cute little style on it's own - but once it's taken down, it leaves your hair with beautiful soft waves and natural body. I sometimes have my hair up like this during the whole day (you could even spritz it with some water to allow it to mold better), and by nighttime it literally looks like I had my hair done! Amazing. 

3. Deep Treatments 
If you have frizzy or colored hair, look into doing a weekly deep treatment mask, either store bought or DIY. There are lots of fun recipes to try, but one of my favorites is simply using coconut oil. A product that I used to swear by was the Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Masque which works amazing and is cruelty free. 

4. Give Yourself A Scalp Massage
This is one of my favorite most-loved tips! I made a video on this, showing you exactly how I do it, click here to watch. Not only will the oils moisturize your hair and scalp, but it is amazing for promoting hair growth and strengthening and stimulating the follicles by increasing circulation and blood flow. This is a beauty treatment which is highly practiced in South Asian and Middle Eastern countries, where women are known to have beautiful thick hair. Above all of this, it is just super relaxing and feels amazing. 

5. Focus on Feeling GOOD! 
I can't emphasize this one enough. Stress and anxiety are no good for your hair, skin or overall health of your body. I do a lot of experimentation, and I have to say going the totally all-natural route of not doing my hair, hardly wearing makeup, not using ANY products - in hopes of blossoming into my best-self, simply did not work for me. I just didn't feel the same - and at the end of the day our bodies respond to our emotions and feelings so much. For instance have you noticed if you are going through a period of stress, you see more hair fall or skin breakouts, even though nothing in your beauty routine changed? Our bodies can "hear" us, and it is so important to FEEL good! We are obviously all different, but whatever it is that makes you feel a million dollars, go for it. For instance when it comes to my hair, I use to feel horrible and "guilty" if I styled my hair with heat - and the stress and anxiety of that alone is more damaging than the heat itself! My mindset has become so much healthier now as I've found a good balance again! SO THANKFUL ♥ 


It's of course super important to nourish yourself from within with healthy foods and lots of water - I've covered this quite a bit so I'm sure you guys are up to speed on that one ;) Taking the right supplements can also be beneficial, such as biotin and black strap molasses. 

Let me know what your favorite tips for healthy & beautiful hair are below in the comments! Much love XOXO

August 25, 2015

Beauty Products I'm Loving!

Hi beautiful! As you may know, I was recently in Los Angeles and it was seriously so good being back in the states. Not only is the weather, the healthy food and fresh juice places on almost every corner in LA amazing, the shopping is unmatched! I was like a little kid in a candy store going through the beauty section at WholeFoods (aka WholeBody) as well as Sephora. I use to go there so often when I lived in New York, I definitely missed it! I also got a few things from Amazon sent to my hotel so I'm pretty stocked up on beauty goodies now :) I filmed a video for you sharing the products I've been loving the most. I hope you enjoy it and let me know if you would like to see a makeup video featuring the Tarte palette, similar to the look I have on in the video! Hope you guys are doing amazing! XOXO



BEAUTY ITEMS MENTIONED:
  • Energy Noir Palette by Tarte
  • The Sculptor Contour Shade by Tarte
  • Ever Matte Shine Proof Foundation by Becca (Tan)
  • Illuminizing Wand by Josie Maran
  • Tinted Brow Gel by Eyeko
  • Soft Matte Lip Creme in Milan by NYX
  • Lipsurgence in Bare by Tarte
  • Power Pigment Lipsurgence in Glisten by Tarte
  • Cover FX Blotting Powder in Medium
  • Miracle Sponge by Real Techniques
  • Maracuja Creaseless Concealer by Tarte (in light medium)
  • Swirl Power Cheek Brush by Tarte

BODY CARE:
  • Coffee & Sugar Body Scrub by Pacifica 
  • Tree Active Anti Acne Sulfur Wash & Mask (http://amzn.to/1V6KpKB)
  • Therapeutic Sulfur Mask by Peter Thomas Roth 
  • Shikai Hand & Body Lotion in Gardenia
  • Luxe Lotion in Vanilla 


Swatches


Hair & Makeup Details

HAIR
Curled with 19mm wand by NuMe (from the set shown in my previous video). I didn't blow dry it first this time as the little bit of frizz just adds to the natural style.

FACE
- Becca Ever Matte Shine Proof Foundation (Tan)
- Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer (Light Medium)
- Tarte Contour from "The Sculptor"
- Cover FX Blotting Powder (Medium)
- Bare Minerals Bronzer in The High Dive
- 100% Pure Blush in Healthy

EYES
- Tarte Energy Noir Clay Palette
- Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Liner
- Falsies from eBay
- Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Dark Brown
- Eyeko Tinted Brow Gel 

LIPS
- Tarte Lipsurgence in Bare
- Tarte Power Pigment Lipstick in Glisten

August 21, 2015

How I Do My Hair

Hey my loves happy Friday A new video just went up on my channel showing you how I've been doing my hair lately. This has been requested a lot so I'm happy to get this up for you! As you'll see from the video, I first blow dry then lightly curl the hair using a larger sized barrel which creates these gorgeous bouncy sleek waves. I absolutely LOVE doing my hair this way. Learning how to blow dry is a total game changer haha - bad hair days are very seldom now. This style will last me about 2 / 3 days, it will be curly like this the first day, and the next it will have a softer wave to it, still very sleek and shiny. By the third day I usually put it up into a ponytail and it looks really nice and polished as the hair is blowdried nicely. Hope you enjoy the video!!





Lipstick: Tarte Power Pigment Lipstick in "Glisten"

August 19, 2015

Palm Tree Yoga

I am back home now after an incredible trip to LA! I am so grateful I get to travel a lot and meet people from different parts of the world. I haven't been to the states in what feels like forever, so being back felt SO GOOD. I especially loved going shopping at some of my favorite stores again (America has the best stuff!) particularly picking up some new makeup and beauty items.. I missed it! I will be doing a little haul soon featuring some of the goodies I got.

I was also able to meet some amazing people, one of which took these photos of me doing some yoga.. against a palm tree :) California is seriously so beautiful! Thank you Jenny for the photos :) You can see her website, Veggie Jenny, here and Instagram here. The swimsuit I'm wearing is by Vitamin A and I am totally in love with it ♥ It's cool to see how much I've progressed in my yoga this past year. It's so good to challenge yourself and try new things. Obviously yoga isn't always about pretty poses against trees haha but it's fun taking it outdoors and creating beautiful shapes with nature. Are you guys into yoga? So good for body & mind!

August 16, 2015

Eyelet Look Of The Day

I've always loved lacey / eyelet tops  I'm like a little magnet towards them. They're so classic and always look chic and elegant without having to really "dress up". I especially love this mustard colored one with a frill on the back, which I recently got from Zara. I paired this top with some classic black jeans, rose gold strappy flats (so comfortable!), a gold necklace and nude faux suede bag. What do you think of this look? Details below! xo


 What I'm Wearing 
Lace Top / Jeans / Sandals / Necklace, Zara
Faux Suede Bag, "Leyla Chain Strap Bag" by Violet Ray
Gold Cuff, H&M
Diamond Stuff Earrings, Etsy
Sunglasses, Nasty Gal
(Makeup post here)

Makeup Of The Day

Hi everyone! Hope you've all been doing amazing ♥ Yesterday I had a full packed day in LA so wanted to glam myself up a little. I thought I'd share my makeup / face of the day with you. I am currently loving this lipstick by Tarte in the shade "Glisten". It is their power pigment lipstick and it comes in 9 different shades, is paraben and phthalate free, has great color payoff, is long lasting plus the brand doesn't test on animals. I posted a photo of this look on Instagram, and a lot of you were asking about my hair color and if I had something done to it. About two/three months ago I got some soft highlights and slight ombre in my hair, just wanted something very natural looking. Over time though it has gotten lighter in the sun and is starting to show up more. I think it's been over 3 years since I've had any color put in my hair, so this change is quite fun for me :) Let me know if you would like to see an updated hair care / hair talk video :) xoxo


FACE
- Becca Ever Matte Foundation in Tan
- Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in Light Medium
- RMS "Un" Powder
- Bare Minerals Bronzer in The High Dive
- 100% Pure Blush in Healthy 
- Josie Maran Illuminizing Wand  

EYES
- Tarte Energy Noir Clay Palette 
- Kat Von D Tattoo Liner 
- 100% Pure Mascara 
- Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Dark Brown 

LIPS
- Tarte Power Pigment Lipstick in "Glisten"