5 Amazing Summer Skincare Products

I can never get enough of skincare products. My skin is so important to me, and especially in the summer when it shows the most. Here are 5 amazing skincare products I use religiously in the summer. I take these babies with me everywhere, and I hope you love them as much as I do. If you haven’t already seen my skincare tips, read more about them here.

5 AMAZING SUMMER SKINCARE PRODUCTS

Photo taken by @makeupsessions

Fresh Beauty’s Sugar Lip Treatment

I’m addicted to this super moisturizing lip treatment. It’s a high quality lip balm stick with a sheer tint, giving my lips the perfect dosage of subtle color for the beach. I love wearing this because it’s protective (SPF 15) and since my lips tend to get dry in the heat, this makes them softer than ever. I love the different shades they come in as well, as they’re all very subtle in color and suitable for all skin tones. This treatment also contains Vitamin C and E and is rich in antioxidants! LOVE.

 

Photo taken by @thisisvalentine_

Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion

This lotion is perfect for my sensitive skin, which tends to breakout if there are any harsh chemicals involved. I love this lotion because it’s gentle, and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do–moisturize. Plus, unlike other brands I’ve tried, this one works amazingly for oily skin and doesn’t leave your face looking greasy afterwards. It’s hydrating but super light, which got me hooked from the beginning.

 

Photo taken by @yretty20

L’Occitane Hand Cream

L’Occitane hand cream is by far the best to hydrate dry hands in the summertime. This hand cream is made with coconut oil, honey and marshmallow root which makes it super moisturizing and powerful for most skin types. There’s also shea butter for extra softness, and you can actually feel the cream penetrating the dry layers of your skin. It works wonders for me all year round, but I carry one of these lotions around with me during the summer months no matter where I go.

 

Photo taken by @ellelisabethh

Evian Facial Spray

I know this sounds a little crazy, but Evian Facial Spray is particularly one of my favorite beauty products of all time. Yes, it’s basically just water in a can, but I love the convenience of having a cooling mist sprayed on my face in the summer, anywhere I go. It’s perfect for those super hot beach days. I usually bring this with me to the beach, spray it on mid-tan, and it just feels so hydrating on my skin. The other benefits of this spray help fix and set makeup in place if you use just a little. I also use this water to replenish and tone my skin’s surface after workouts.

 

Photo taken by @jesshuet

Sephora Green Tea Eye Mask

I love these green tea eye masks from Sephora because they contain all-natural ingredients and they just feel amazing on my skin for any time of day. I find them super hydrating for dry, flaky summer skin–which is why the summer is the perfect time to invest in a bunch of these masks. The masks also help really well with under eye bags and puffiness, which is sometimes from dehydration in the heat. It’s also an easy way to boost your skin’s surface with some good-for-you vitamins.

Would love to hear your favorite summer products in the comments, or if you decide to try any of these products out! 

Also, click here to read about of my favorite all-time “splurge” skincare products that I swear by.

-Lyss

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My Best Tips for Clear and Healthy Skin

My Best Tips for Clear and Healthy Skin

 Hi everyone!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. Every day, I receive a lot of questions about my skincare routine and how I keep my skin so clear.

Over the years, I’ve experimented a ton with different skincare products and I’ve found things that really work for me and things that don’t. 

I also noticed that as I’ve gotten older, my skin has become way more sensitive to harsh chemicals found in skincare products that I never knew about before.

My skin triggers breakouts super easily, so I always know when a product’s formula doesn’t agree with me. 

With lots of trial and error, these are some of the best tips and products that have worked wonders for my skin.

In no way is this post sponsored by any of the brands mentioned. I genuinely have tried it all and these are what I’ve loved so far, and have found

to help keep my face super fresh, glowing and clean.

Note: my skin type is combination, a mix of oily and dry depending on the day. This is simply what works for me!

  1. Avoid oil-based foundations and other makeup products. Yes, your makeup could be the cause of your constant breakouts. When I was in LA a few months ago, I was testing out this new foundation that looked beautiful, but by the end of the day, my skin was caked with oil and looked super greasy. It took me several days to figure out that this makeup was primarily oil-based, and that it was completely clogging up my skin. By the end of the week, I was fully broken out — tons of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples all over my cheeks, chin, creases of my nose and forehead. I realized I had switched up my foundation, and so I immediately tossed it out and went on a 7 day makeup-free cleanse to relieve my skin. I opted for mascara and chapstick — and skipped the foundation and bronzers for a full week. Also — be sure to clean your makeup brushes with soap on a regular basis. I wash my brushes once a week.
  2. Wash your pillowcases and bedsheets once per week. I know this may sound like a total pain to do every single week (let’s be real) but, if it means preventing your skin from getting pimples, it’s worth it, right? I used to wash my pillowcases every 3-4 weeks. Since I usually shower before I go to sleep, I never thought much of it and having to wash them on a weekly basis. Turns out, your pillowcase and blankets rack up all the oil from your skin while you sleep, and your skin will often leave residue on your sheets. Not only will your face feel cleaner laying on a fresh pillowcase, but it actually prevents a buildup of dirt and oil that can rub off into your skin while you’re sleeping.
  3. Invest in a really good toner. Toner has been my lifesaver in my skincare routine. You can always find a toner at the drugstore to help strip away dirt and oil from your face, but a lot of them are super strong and contain way too much alcohol. I discovered these amazing toner pads from a brand called Arcona that are infused with cranberry, witch hazel and rice milk. The ingredients are minimal, and I can tell by using them there’s nothing harsh about them while I’m cleansing my face. The pads make it easy to swipe away dirt and oil buildup, and they feel SO refreshing. They’re also a perfect makeup residue remover. I use them right after I wash off my makeup and they wipe up any excess leftover foundation, mascara smudges, etc.
  4. AVOID DAIRY. This step is probably the hardest one for most people, but also the most IMPORTANT one. It took me a long time to fully cut out dairy, but it has been proven that there is a direct correlation between it and hormonal imbalances. Dairy is a known inflammatory, so it can really irritate and inflame your skin. Whenever I eat dairy products, my skin breaks out in crazy welts all over my chin and neck. I stopped eating it about a year ago and it completely changed my life. I cheated once and had pizza (I miss it so much haha), and because I hadn’t had it in a while, my skin was literally breaking out as I was eating it. 
  5. Exercise regularly and drink a ton of water. I think this one makes the most logical sense 🙂 Working out is a hormone stabilizer, and helps reduce inflammation in the body. There’s nothing better than a great workout and sweating out all of your toxins. While you work out, make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your sweat flowing and your body hydrated throughout the process. I feel so much better when I’m sweating and letting all the toxins from my body and my skin out. If you have access to a steam room, that also helps post workout to sweat out toxins from your skin. Then, I follow up with a cold shower and a gentle facial soap (non oil based!) to close my pores. One of my favorite oil-free facial washes is Tatcha the Deep Cleanse.

Most importantly, make sure you always wash your face before you go to bed at night so your skin can repair itself while you rest! Washing your face with a gentle cleanser is vital to healthy and happy skin. I always opt for oil-free products on my face, because the oil tends to clog my pores and make me break out frequently. If you have super dry skin naturally, oil might be a good option for you — but this is just what works best for me and my skin type. Also, when I wake up, I wipe my face down with a makeup remover pad just to swipe any dirt or oil build up I may have gotten in my sleep. My current go-to makeup remover wipes are the Clinique Take The Day Off ones. They’re gentle and don’t burn my eyes, unlike a bunch of other drugstore wipes I’ve tested out on my skin.

I hope these tips were helpful to you, if you have similar combination skin. Let me know if you decide to use these tips in your skincare routine 🙂

Also would love to hear your own personal skincare advice in the comments!

Xoxo,

Lyss <3

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Living with PCOS and Why I Went Vegan

Hi everyone! Bare with me since I’m currently in Dubai and it’s 2 AM here. I can’t sleep and this blog post may have a few typos or unnecessary words, haha.

So as (some) of you may know, I have completely transitioned into a vegan lifestyle, and I often get the same questions about it:

  1. Why are you a vegan?
  2. What differences have you noticed after being vegan?
  3. What made you transition?
  4. How long have you been a vegan for?
  5. What do you eat daily?
  6. Do you get enough protein?

After debating whether I should make this post or not, I decided I feel strongly enough about my lifestyle to fully discuss it and be open and honest with my followers. I know a lot of you may disagree or feel strongly about another lifestyle, which I respect. I honestly refrained from writing about becoming vegan simply because I feel that everyone is super quick to argue against it and attack others if they live a different type of way. I am not here to criticize other lifestyles, I am just here to share what mine is about. 🙂

The Short Version of my Story

  1. I’m vegan for a few reasons. I love animals and I have such an emotional connection with all of them and any kind, so I don’t wish to eat them anymore. I also love the health benefits it provides, as meat and dairy always made my stomach hurt and I was constantly bloated/sick after eating them. (more details later in this blog post)
  2. The differences I’ve noticed after being vegan are amazing! I used to have a ton of health issues and now I feel so much healthier. I never get bad stomaches, my skin is always clear and smooth, and my hair is much thicker and healthier. I feel more energetic and happier eating vegan foods.
  3. I had a lot of health complications and that was the ultimate reason I decided to try becoming vegan. After I tried it out, I started educating myself more on the benefits of it and more about the whole process of where meat and dairy comes from, and it made me realize this was the best choice for myself.
  4. I have been fully vegan for a year now.
  5. I eat SO many amazing and delicious foods. What people usually don’t realize is that you can make almost any food in a vegan version. And usually it will taste just the same if not better. Some of my go-to meals include acai bowls, avocado toast, rice with veggie stir fry, veggie cheese-less pizza, quinoa, salads, tofu, veggie burgers, baked sweet potatoes and baked fries, avocado / cucumber sushi rolls, pasta with tomato sauce, etc. The list goes on!!! There’s so many options when going vegan. I eat lots of delicious but healthy carbs.
  6. I definitely get enough protein being a vegan. Green veggies like spinach, kale and broccoli have protein, as long as you eat enough. I also get my protein from things like all-natural peanut butter, cashew butter, hummus (chickpeas have lots of protein!), and my faves for lunch/dinner: tofu, seitan, tempeh, mixed with veggies — all valuable and major sources of protein. Chia seeds and pumpkin seeds are also a great way to get some extra protein in as well.

 

My (Very Personal) Long Version Story – Living with PCOS

From my point of view, I grew up in an Italian household and my diet consisted of meat, fish and dairy foods daily. I couldn’t remember a day I didn’t eat chicken as a kid. Chicken parmigiana was one of my favorite homemade dinners that my mom used to make for me a few times a week. So to say I’ve “seen the other perspective” is an understatement. I also judged vegans and said it was “silly” to eliminate all meat, fish and dairy because there was no real way of getting enough protein from just plants. My doctors convinced me that my diet also had absolutely no factor in my growth and development as a child, which I will elaborate on in the next paragraph…

As a teenager, I experienced a TREMENDOUS amount of hormonal issues that doctors could never pinpoint or give me straight answers about. When I was 12, my skin started to form white patches all over my face that were dry and itchy, and looked very strange. I also developed cystic acne all over my back, which was painful and difficult to control. When I confronted my doctor about these ongoing issues, they assured me it had nothing to do with my diet and lifestyle habits, but they could never tell me what the root cause of my skin issues were. At this age, I knew nothing about hormones and how they control majority of skin issues, especially on your face. All I knew was that “doctors know best” and they would prescribe me the right medication to fix everything.

After those skin issues, came a ton of other hormonal problems. My doctor informed me I would probably get my period by the time I was 13, based on my body development. Flash forward to 3 years later, I was 16 when I got my first menstrual cycle (which is super late) and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. 2 weeks before I got my first period, I was sitting in my bed and I felt a sharp, knife-like pain stabbing at my ovary. I was doubled over in the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life and had no idea what was going on. My mom rushed in and I explained what I was feeling, and she immediately knew what it was because she had dealt with the same issue as a teenager. I had a huge cyst erupting on my ovary. The pain lasted about 30 minutes before it completely subsided.

After this incident, I visited the doctor who performed a pelvic sonogram and informed me that a cyst had burst on my ovary and had caused me that excruciating pain. “Will that happen again?” was the first question I had, and all he said was that some people’s “genetics” will cause cystic ovaries to occur, and since my mom had experienced them, I would most likely experience them often too. I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I was so scared to feel that type of pain again in just a few weeks when my next period would happen. The doctor suggested I go on birth control to control my hormones and eliminate the cyst issue as much as possible. Birth control sounded like a great plan at the time, considering the amount of pain I had went through.  I experienced at least 5 more cysts, one equally as painful as the next, before I officially decided to get on birth control to try to regulate my hormones.

After being on the pill for just a month, I already felt its side effects slowing down my body. My PCOS had worsened. I had less energy, I started putting on weight, I started developing more cystic acne on my face, and I looked and felt so unlike myself. I was so stressed out from taking the pills and dealing with how I felt, and balancing school and work on top of everything, that my hair started thinning and falling out. I was a total mess inside and out, but I kept taking it and hoping it would eventually balance everything out. 6 months later, I was about 30 pounds heavier and more drained than ever. The doctor said it was in my head and I was “doing” that to myself, but the hormones are artificial and played with my mood constantly. I was seriously depressed and felt horrible about myself. I decided to go off the pill after months of trying to make it work for me with no positive results.

After gaining a lot of weight and feeling lost, I googled more holistic approaches to treating hormonal imbalances and to suppress the PCOS symptoms. After countless articles recommending me birth control (no thanks), I found a case study from a university on the 4th or 5th search page. It was buried in between dozens of other links recommending medication to treat patients with hormonal problems. The study said that people who engaged in a healthy diet and cut out refined sugars and processed carbs, and exercised regularly, saw dramatic improvements in their PCOS symptoms. By cutting out sugar, and training their muscles daily, insulin levels were improved, estrogen levels were improved, and the symptoms of PCOS were reduced drastically.

I decided I would do whatever it takes to heal my body without medication. I started working out every day, eating wholesome nourishing foods, and I stopped eating sugar (my weakness). I also started eating lower glycemic carbs (carbs that spike sugar super high can alter your hormone levels and affect PCOS so they’re not the best!) I kept up this consistent routine every day for 6 months. Slowly but surely, things started to change. I was less tired, I had shed off the excess weight I had put on during birth control, my skin cleared up, my hair was growing thicker, and I felt just BETTER. Still, my period didn’t come for those 6 months, and I thought maybe I would have to go on birth control again or try a new medication in order to get it. I kept pushing back the idea of the medication because I was so against it – I knew it wasn’t the “answer” for me, somehow. I kept believing I was going to heal my body naturally.

After another month or so, I suddenly felt nauseous during class. I left class early because I was feeling so sick, and I ended up going to sleep as soon as I got home. The next morning, I woke up and I had gotten my period – naturally. For the first time ever in my life, my body just worked all on its own. I was in total shock and disbelief. How could this happen?! I thought, but I knew exactly how it happened. I had taken control of my health and with time, my body had healed itself through a healthy diet and a consistent exercise program. I was ecstatic.

To make a very long story short, after I got my period, my body continued to get it at the same time every month from that point forward. My symptoms of my hormone imbalance were gone– no more  fatigue, no more cystic acne, no more weight gain, and I most importantly felt more and more like myself. My cysts on my ovaries disappeared. I continued to work out daily and maintain a healthy diet and with that, I felt stronger and more powerful. I felt like for the first time in years that I was normal.

Every time I get my period now, it still makes me grateful and appreciative to know that I’m healthy, my uterus is functioning, my hormones are stable and, I’m going to be able to have children someday. Through this entire rollercoaster of my health, I decided going vegan and maintaining a vegan lifestyle is the best way to stick to a clean, balanced diet filled with lots of nutritious vegetables and protein. It works for me and it makes me feel amazing, so I enjoy it and I’m proud of it.

Needless to say, I don’t have anything against others’ lifestyles. I feel that although it is my job to share my story to the people who follow me, I don’t judge or look down upon others for choosing other lifestyles or habits. This was not a post to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do. All I can do on my end is inform and share my personal experience, and for those who want to take something from it, that’s great! Even if this story about my health and my journey transitioning into this lifestyle can inspire or help one person, I know writing this very personal post was worth it. 🙂

Xo,

Lyss <3

 

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