Wow! I can’t believe it has already been an entire year since my last Year In Beauty article. Like most years, it feels like so much has changed and yet no time has passed.
What has changed: On a personal note, I got engaged! In fact, as you read this, I am days away from walking down the aisle.
What hasn’t changed: My hormonal cystic jawline breakouts and my ongoing quest for the perfect nude nail polish.
On the ABLE side of things, the biggest change in the pipeline is the discontinuation of our hero product Cat Eye 101 as you now know it. Have no fear! We have new iterations and ideas on the horizon. I think a lot of people fail to realize ABLE is a one woman band (cough, cough) with two talented consultants. We are a small fish in a big, saturated ocean, so there’s never a shortage of challenges, goals, and improvements.
With that being said, my Year In Beauty review is focused on all things bridal. I’m sharing all of the brands, tips, tricks and names I believe in, both personally and professionally. I’ll try to keep it short and to the point, but no promises because I am consumed by my own bridal situation and have a lot to say..
With thousands of products on the market, how is anyone supposed to find what really works for them personally? It’s so tempting to buy every pretty bottle and spend all your rent money on fun masks and products that pop up in your daily social media scroll. After years of researching my own product line and learning how certain brands develop their products and the integrity of various ingredients, as well as experiencing my own battle with hormonal breakouts, greasy eyelids, and crater sized pores, I can confidently say I am very close to having the ultimate skincare lineup. My routine for the last year has been a mix of organic products and heavy-hitting chemicals. It’s all about balance, amiright?
On a surface level: I have fallen in love with Drunk Elephant’s Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser, which seriously melts away everything. Just massage the formula directly onto your face and rinse with warm water. I like to follow that up with Avalon Organics Intense Defense. It’s a gentle cleanser that leaves me feeling so fresh and so clean. It’s full of Vitamin C and smells like fresh oranges. When it comes to exfoliating, I take that pretty seriously and use JECT Exfoliating Cleanser Deeply Cleanse + Exfoliate. I tell all of my clients that they have to exfoliate! It’s so crucial to remove dead skin and dirt. Exfoliating also provides a clean, smooth surface to work with makeup-wise. I went back to using the good old Biologique Riche Lotion P50. I will never get used to the smell but I will definitely get used to the results. I follow that up with my go to serum and moisturizer duo is from Strange Bird Beauty. I use the Inner Balance Serum & Inner Light Moisturizer. These two products together have CHANGED MY SKIN, and the little self-loving mantras on the back of the bottles don’t hurt one bit..
On a not so surface level (literally): I have fallen for Botox. A little here and a little there really does make you glow. I go to N4th Spa in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where Dr. George and his conservative approach give me just enough. However, I am not someone who is religious about keeping up with Botox. I always try to give my muscles a break from paralysis for a few months at a time. To sculpt and de-puff, I use Angela Caglia’s Vibrating Rose Quartz Sculpting Roller. Yes, you read that right - a vibrating roller. It’s a total game changer. I roll when I watch TV or have some down time in between work and life. I’m borderline addicted, but I’ve honestly seen a huge difference in my cheekbone definition. Lastly, Gabby at JECT gave me a perfectly bee-stung pout that will definitely be adding some va-va-voom to my bridal pics.
As a makeup artist, I have always gone back and forth about whether or not I’d do my own makeup on my big day. After being behind the scenes at so many weddings, always being the makeup artist and never the bride, I decided I wanted to be just that on my wedding day - a bride and only a bride. I will be getting my makeup done by a trust professional, but I’m planning to do my own eyes. Even though someone else will be doing my makeup, I’ll be bringing everything I’m mentioning here to the table. I think it’s nice to step back from the driver’s seat. We all have preconceived notions of how we look from the outside and they’re entirely influenced by insecurities and everything else going on in our heads and hearts. Sometimes, you’re just too close to identify the solution, so I have become totally open to someone else’s expert opinion on how to make this pony shine her brightest. I searched high and low (price-wise) for the perfect products and ended up landing on a group I have always loved, which proves the whole “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” saying. Below is a list of my top picks that I have used and plan to use on my big day...
- Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation I use shade 4
- Wander Beauty Dualist Matte & Illuminating Concealer I use shade “light” and I only use the illuminating side
- Cle Du Peau Concealer SPF 25 I use shades Ivory & Beige
- Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original
- Tom Ford Eye Color Quad in Cocoa Mirage (an absolute staple)
- ABLE Cosmetics Cat Eye 101 Obviously
- ABLE Cosmetics No Mess’Cara No one has time to mess around on their big day.
- Ardell Natural Lash 174 The style of these lashes is natural but they are fluffy and dramatic enough to read well on camera.
- Tom Ford Shade & illuminate I use Intensity One
- Chanel Blush I like 02 Rose Bronze
- Benefit Cosmetics Precisely, My Brow - Eyebrow Pencil in Cool Grey
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel A to-go
- KKW Classic Icon Lip Liner The perfect neutral to go under any lipcolor.
- Chanel Rouge Allure Ink 168 Serenity
- Urban Decay All Nighter Set it and forget it
Diet / Exercise
I wasn’t sure how I would approach the whole “bridal body” challenge, as I tipped the scales at my heaviest weight to date after starting circuit training. Lesson learned. Circuit training can make you bulk up if you aren’t balancing it out with cardio and/or pilates. To say I was scarred from the uninvited gain is an understatement. I would be lying if I didn’t also mention that the stresses of being a brand founder were sometimes taken out in the kitchen. This is probably why I landed on the Ketogenic route for my transformation. I worked with a coach named Taso at Ideal Protein and lost 17+ lbs! I am not going to sugarcoat it, this diet was hard for me, especially in social scenarios. I’m also well aware that a lot of people (including my fiance) aren’t fans of Keto BUTTTTTT it did help me cut out crap like dairy and sugar. I kept telling myself it’s a cleanse (where you can eat diet mac ‘n’ cheese, rice crispy treats and chocolate shakes until you’re skinny). About a month ago, I decided to give cardio a try. Something I have never really tried because of my asthma. I have to say, it makes me feel accomplished, even if it was just a walk on an incline or a jog for 2 miles. I’d tune into female empowerment hip hop (shout out to Cardi B & Lil Kim) and I’d pretty much forget I was even out of my comfort zone.
My hair is my thing. What do I mean? Long story short, I grew up with an unruly and disobedient afro that was chemically straightened at an early age to save me from my peers. Since then, my hair has always been a security blanket. I have worn extensions for as long as I can remember and decided for my wedding, I would go LONG - as in 22 inches long. Chris Perez at ABL hair studio is my go-to guy. He installs my extensions, then colors and cuts them to blend with my natural hair. Not sure what I'd do without him, to be honest. I try to make it a habit to sleep in a braid with a silk pillowcase. I shouldn’t have to say this, but the better I take care of my hair (aka my extensions), the longer they last. Teddi Cranford at White Rose Collective gave me the Bridgette Bardot bangs of my dreams and I feel ready to go!
I know this all seems like a lot, but I can honestly say that grooming is my only real vice. Unless you count naps. When it comes to self-consuming habits, I’m pretty much in the clear.
I’d like to wrap this up with a little advice from the inside. In the spirit of being smarter, stronger, and happier in 2020, I would suggest refraining from trends and impassioned purchases driven by paid influencers and sponsored social promotions. Stick with what you know works for you and consciously explore alternatives and new products with a discerning eye. I know it’s fun to try new products, but be smart about it! Ask questions, read reviews, and don’t get too caught up in the lifestyle you’re being sold. Focus on the products themselves and invest in those that make YOU look and feel better according to you and not anyone else. If it’s Botox and lip fillers that make you happy, go for it. If you feel your best when you exclusively use plant-based products, then you know what to do. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the brand side of things, it’s that quality costs money. It’s not always an easy or obvious decision to go the expensive route - as a maker or a consumer - when there are so many cheap and quick options in the marketplace, but it’s important to educate yourself before you buy. Find out about the ingredients, the formula, the packaging, and everything in between. Save money where you can, but spend it where it counts. Rest assured, I’ve taken all of my own advice when it comes to ABLE, so you can be sure it’s the “best of” from the formula to the function. Long story short, be you and OWN IT. You’re smart, you’re beautiful, and you know yourself, your skin, and your hair better than the rest of us combined.