I’m incredibly fortunate to have my mom instill in me the love for travel and exploration at a very young age. I first obtained my passport when I was seven years old, and I can still remember my first experience riding an airplane was a 14-hour flight from Manila to Los Angeles. I’ve been traveling every year since, having explored nearly 31 states and 7 countries… and counting! It’s an insatiable and lifelong lust for travel that I’m happily and helplessly infected with. My passport will only retire once I take my last breath. Listed below are my top 10 travel essentials.
Genetically, I’ve been blessed with good skin. I did suffer from mild acne breakouts during my teenage years, but for the most part, the skin gods have been in my favor. With my 24th birthday coming up in a few weeks, I am aware that I’m not getting any younger, and I can no longer rely on genetics alone to keep my skin vibrant and healthy.
Below are my top 7 products I use to take care of my skin!
1) FRANK COFFEE BODY SCRUB:
I’ve experimented with a lot of body scrubs in practically every price range before I discovered Frank Coffee Body Scrub. A good friend of mine introduced it me last summer, and I’ve been obsessed ever since.
Frank is dry coffee-based skincare scrub, and all three kinds (Original, Coconut & Grape Seed, and Cacao) are packed with a special coffee blend with natural oils and vitamins and minerals. My favorite is the Cacao, because… CHOCOLATE & COFFEE, YO. The prices are $14.95, $17.95, and $16.95 respectively, which is reasonable and affordable. Plus, “American babes” (Frank’s words, not mine) can take advantage of free shipping!
My skin is fairly dry, yet voodoo magic occurs within the 10-minute window I leave Frank on to dry while I’m in the shower, because for the love of all things holy, my skin feels so soft and smooth afterwards it’s U N R E A L. It’s like every pore and crater in my body disappears. When I rinse off the scrub, it feels as if I rubbed body butter on, but minus the grease. And the scent! Oh god, it makes my bathroom smell like a coffee shop. Mmmmmmm!
When I first started Frank scrubbing, I used it about 2-3 times a week, since I have a tendency to get excited over new products and discoveries. It’s been about 6 months, and I’ve slowed down and Frank scrub only once a week, which probably has something to do with its nature and consistency. Perhaps the only downside to using Frank is the clean-up afterwards. It has a way of getting into every nook and cranny of my bathtub, and it takes me a solid 10 minutes to clean all of the residue, which can be a nuisance.
Frank proclaims to target problem skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, stretch marks, and cellulite, but personally, the progress I see with my stretch marks are very very very minimal. I started using the scrub because of the hype and because I was curious if it can actually solve skin problems like it claims. The results from my personal experience with making my stretch marks fade have been ehh at best, but I continue to use the scrub for other benefits.
2) LUSH’S DARK ANGELS FACIAL SCRUB:
I first got a taste of the Lush Life during the holiday season last year. Walking in for the first time at the LUSH Cosmetics store in Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade has been both a blessing (for my skin/hair/body) and a curse (for my bank account). I recall only purchasing the Gold FUN, which is a multipurpose shampoo, soap, and bubble bath since at the time I was going through a phase where I regularly want to pamper myself, either with relaxing bubble baths or full-body massages. Their very helpful and friendly sales associate also provided me with free samples of two of their facial cleansers: Let The Good Times Roll and Bûche De Noël. These two cleansers turned my”phase” into a “lifestyle,” thus converting me into a “Lushie.”
I’ve since tried all 5 LUSH cleansers, but my favorite of them all is Dark Angels. It contains black sugar crystals, charcoal, Morroccan lava clay, and cold-pressed avocado oil among other natural ingredients.
Dark Angels is my top pick for facial cleanser because it’s both gentle and gritty, which is probably a 9.2 on a scale of 1-10. Mentally, I believe that if a “scrub” doesn’t hurt when I rub it in my face, then it’s probably not doing a good enough job of exfoliating and deep cleansing my face. Twisted, I know.
I have combination skin; My cheeks dry out, but my T-zone spots (forehead, nose, chin) are oily. Dark Angels tackles both, with the black sugar and charcoal absorbing the excess oils as the cold-pressed avocado oil lightly hydrates.
They sell the product in pots of varying weights and prices, and one jar typically lasts about 2 months for me. It smells charcoal-y and Earth-y, and it can get a tad bit messy to clean up after washing my face, but it’s a small price to pay for my healthy and glowing skin.
Dark Angels Facial Scrub
3) LUSH’S ULTRABLAND FACIAL CLEANSER:
I have a few friends who aren’t familiar with Lush products ask me for recommendations and advice as to which product they should buy if they can only buy one Lush product. Ultrabland has my vote. The label of Ultrabland states that it is “the LUSH founders’ No. 1 Desert Island Product,” and I couldn’t agree more.
Ultrabland is a facial cleanser/make up remover consisting of essential oils, beeswax, and honey. It’s suitable for all skin types. The consistency is rich, thick, and a tad bit little greasy, so it almost feels like rubbing a greasier version of body butter in your face. Depending on how much make up I have, I use about a dime size or nickel size dollop amount. A little bit goes a long way with Ultrabland. I rub it all over my face for a good minute, and the results are instant. Even my waterproof mascaras and eyeliners are no match for Ultrabland. It removes EVERYTHING: dirt, dust, makeup, excess oils… and the beeswax still keeps moisture locked in, so it doesn’t dry out my face.
Ultrabland is incredible! I CANNOT QUIT this product. Can’t stop, won’t stop. By far, it has been the best facial cleanser I’ve ever put on my face. Ever.
4) AVEENO DAILY MOISTURIZING LOTION:
I’m really picky with lotions because my skin is dry, and I need something that I can put on early in the morning that will last all day. I’m picky about the consistency, the scent, most importantly, its moisturizing powers. Aveeno definitely meets my all of those standards.
5) VICTORIA‘S SECRET’S SECRET ESCAPE BODY BUTTER:
I’m all about pampering myself, even when I’m only going to sleep. Over the past few months, I’ve developed a ritual of putting Victoria’s Secret’s Secret Escape body butter every night before I go to bed. Victoria’s Secret scents for me tend to be too strong or too overdone, but Secret Escape is just right. Plus, it doesn’t feel too greasy or too sticky afterwards.
Victoria’s Secret Secret Escape
6) LUSH’S COSMETIC LAD:
Cosmetic Lad is another LUSH product I swear by. It’s a facial moisturizer and I use it every morning before I apply makeup and every night before I go to sleep. It’s very light, and just like Ultrabland, a little bit goes a long way, so I only apply about 2-3 dabs and spread it all over my face and neck.
7) A! ABSOLUTE MAKE UP CLEANSING TISSUES
I pair up these Absolute cleansing tissues with item Ultrabland (#3), which is meant to be wiped off, not washed off. I didn’t really like wiping off Ultrabland with cotton pads since they’re dry and tend to leave cotton fibers behind. These facial wipes work the best with wiping away all of the make up and dirt and dust in my face, and they make my face feeling so fresh and clean afterwards. Plus, they smell really good!
Do you have any skin/beauty products you can’t live without?