Monthly Favorites: August 2018

Here are a few of my favorite things from this lovely August month, here as summer meets autumn:

This is a prescription level vitamin A cream that is available over the counter in France! Also, it is easily available online on Amazon for around $20. It is between a strong prescription strength and a normal retinol cream. Therefore it promises to create changes in the skin (smoother, clearer, build collagen and elastic) but not irritate and cause peeling and redness. And guess what… It does exactly that! I have tried both hard core prescription retin-a and OTC retinol and was too irritated, or saw no improvement. This is easy to use every night and it actually works! I can't imagine not using this for my whole life…

This is another prescription cream from France, but again is easily available on Amazon for around $15. This is prescription level hyaluronic acid. This "acid" really just plumps you skin and binds moisture deeply to the skin. It a compound naturally found in healthy youthful skin, and using it will bind more moisture to the skin. I prefer this with a serum or oil underneath to bind even more moisture. Did you know water does not moisterizer skin, but requires other ingredients to bind moisture to the skin? Don't skip a good moisturizer if you want pretty skin! I even prefer this to hyaluronic serums because it is creamy and really appears to trap in moisture, also it is a prescription level concentrate.

I bought this on a whim at a local grocery store. Not expecting much from a product that only cost 7€, but I was happily shocked. My split ends are finally decreasing so that I can grow out the long princess hair I have always longed for. It works well on both dry and wet hair. I use it after washing at night, and also some mornings. My ends are more full and healthy since using it.

"Desert Flower" by Waris Dirie instantly attracted me after I had heard her name mentioned in Vogue. I forgot to google her, and a week later she stood in front of me at a local bookstore. This is her autobiography of her life. She escaped an arranged marriage by traveling across the African desert alone. She survives assaults and abuses and comes out in the end a gorgeous advocate, model, and political influence. I have the most respect for her and I am finding my heart blooming for women everywhere endearing hardship across cultures, but rising above in the end. (Trigger warning for assault survivors in this work).

I was a bit skeptical over this new Anne and I admit maybe I would have casted some characters a bit differently if I had a say, but I really enjoyed this show! Season one and two are both on Netflix. Season two was my absolute favorite! I love that the show is full of marvelous hair and dress inspiration. Also, Anne's frequent literary quotes and constant positive attitude despite hardship left me feeling refreshed and light after watching. The show also deals with deeper issues such as sexual preference, abuse, beauty and self-esteem, and social stigma.

Five French Skincare Products That Changed My Skin

I have spent the past two summers in the South of France, and during my days I made sure to research and try skincare products that aren't available or known in the US. My skin is prone to all sorts of reactions, so saying these products are life changing is no exaggeration!

1. Biafine. This appears to be a cult favorite of the French. I have no idea how I had never heard someone mention this product. They use it in France for cuts, scrapes, burns, and many types of inflammatory skin issues. It generally costs about $5! I use it after exfoliating, or after derma-rolling because it aids in rebuilding of skin tissue. This cream is famous for being used in the hospitals in France because research shows it helps rebuild the skin of burned skin victims. If you don't try any other product, I highly suggest this one!

2. Avenue Cicalfate. I have red-tinted skin. (I'm sensitive!) when I get out of the shower at night after removing dirt and makeup this redness is the most noticeable. This cream is said to help both redness and skin issues (such as breakouts) and wow! It removes all of my redness from my face within a minute and heals any small or medium spots I may have by the morning significantly. If you have irritated or reddish skin naturally or by sunburn this is a good staple for your skincare!

3. Embryolisse Lait-crème Concentré . This is used by models world wide. This moisturizer is an ultra-hydrating cream. I use it over any essences or serums. It's a bit oily for me during the day, but I can't imagine not having this on my shelves for at night especially during the winter or when my skin feels rough from swimming all day in the ocean.

4. Caudalie Beauty Elixir. A little goes a long way. I've had my tiny bottle bought in Avignon for four months! This product makes you look like you have an internal glow and makes the skin look and feel very healthy. If you have oily skin (like me) you may need to blot a little bit of the mist off your face with tissue. I like to use this when I'm in cities with pollution or during a long day at work.

5. Yves Rocher hommage à mixer. Not everyone should use harsh scrubs. If you are sensitive I wouldn't try this on your face. However, I have oily skin that can take a little bit of scrubbing, so I use this on my face and body once every week or two and it feels absolutely refreshing. I've never had a product get the old epidermis off my skin so easily! I layer biafine on my skin after for a renewing effect.


6. Reviva skincare products. I found these in the US in a health food store. They are a French brand and extremely affordable! (Talking $5-15). One study showed it has the exact same ingredients in many high end skincare products!Sometimes we buy brands without realizing we are paying for the pretty packaging. I know I have many times. Everything in this line I have used is gentle and natural, and I have recently switched my expensive cleanser for their organic milk cleanser and I am enjoying it!

I hope one or more of these products works for you! Feel free to let me know your thoughts below!