Freelance Writing

Everything you need to know about cactus in beauty, DORÉ, August 2020

More beauty companies are highlighting cactus in their skincare products. LA-based beauty brand Freck Beauty launched their skincare collection in November 2018 with cactus as their main ingredient, citing its hydrating and nourishing properties when used topically. Brands like Japanese brand, Boscia, created their ultra-lightweight moisturizer and peel-off mask with cactus water while Youth to the People released a face oil containing prickly pear cactus extract.

This all left me wondering – can a dry, prickly plant hydrate your skin with long-term benefits? To find out, we asked two founders, a dermatologist and a chemist to weigh in and tell us everything they know about cactus in beauty…

This Highlighter Helps Me Look Awake Despite My Newborn Keeping Me Up All Night, Byrdie, August 2020

I can remember as far back as elementary school when my best friend and I would walk to the local pharmacy to scour the makeup aisles for product releases. Now, as a pharmacist and beauty enthusiast, I love researching new products but with one caveat: I’m often skeptical. Although, when I do find a product I love, I am forever loyal to the product and the brand.

That is exactly what happened with the clean beauty brand Saie and one of their latest products, Dew Balm. The brand launched with their first product, Mascara 101, and the Liquid Lip Balm shortly after. After loving both products, I continued to try more of their offerings and eventually found and fell in love with Dew Balm. It helps me look awake in the morning despite being up all night with my baby. I’ve used the Dew Balm since he was born in March and continue to use it now, four months later. He’s still keeping me up all night and I’m still using the Dew Balm to pretend like it never happened….

From pharmacist to clean beauty advocate, DORÉ, July 2020

You can say I’m a clean beauty advocate, but an apprehensive one. Afterall, clean beauty companies are still trying to sell us products. I was cautious and had issues with writing off products as toxic without data to back it up. What is clean beauty anyway? Is it legitimate or another way to promote a product? What does it mean when an ingredient is possibly linked to cancer or is known as an endocrine disruptor? I was seeing brands discuss ingredients like phthalates and parabens being linked to hormone disruption and autoimmune diseases. Aluminum in antiperspirants being linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Talc, a mineral commonly found in cosmetics, potentially being contaminated with asbestos. Were all of these statements definitive? It felt as though many companies were making unsubstantiated claims and labeling their products as nontoxic and safe to differentiate themselves in a crowded market…

The 9 Skincare Products a Breastfeeding Mom Swears By, Hello Giggles, September 2020

Given that I spent many years scouting pharmacy aisles for the latest skincare products, I must confess that I didn’t start paying attention to their ingredients until I was pregnant with my first daughter. It was then that I realized I had to be super safe with what I was putting on my skin since it could transfer to her. Five years later, I’m breastfeeding my third child and I continue to be cautious.

Many of the ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy should also be avoided while breastfeeding. Retinoids, for example, can be excreted in breast milk and negatively affect fetal development. Obviously, I nixed that from my routine and cut down on many more. After going through so many hormonal changes and the constant lack of sleep, I craved simplicity and clean skincare to give myself some peace of mind…

My Newborn Helped Me Feel Empowered About My Breasts, Hello Giggles, August 2020

This morning at 3 a.m., I breastfed my 4-month old baby while the rest of the house slept quietly. I keep telling myself I should start sleep training him, but a part of me loves this quiet time in the early hours of the day—just the two of us. I took a minute to really appreciate the moment: his blue eyes staring up at me, his body curved alongside mine, his tiny fingers holding my arm, my body providing the nourishment he needs. It’s exhausting, of course, but I know it’s temporary.

Breastfeeding has not come easily for me. However, despite the constant worrying about my milk supply, crying in the middle of the night from sheer exhaustion, and the endless energy it takes to feed my baby, it’s the most beautiful yet emotionally strenuous activity I have done in my life. According to Forbes, a year of breastfeeding comes out to about 1,800 hours of a mother’s time, which is almost as much as a full-time job (1,960 hours based on a 40-hour work week). With that time commitment comes a lack of autonomy as you’re tethered to this fragile human being who depends on you for sustenance and on-demand feeding…

How to achieve the deconstructed curly girl look in 10 easy steps, according to experts, Hello Giggles, May 2020

If you’ve ever looked at your curly hair in the mirror and wondered how to manage it in the least amount of time possible, know that you are not alone. I’ve spent over 20 years straightening my curly hair into submission, but, thankfully, educating myself on how to keep my curls healthy was a turning point. After speaking to experts, I learned how to achieve an everyday deconstructed curly look that was key to embracing my natural texture without a tremendous amount of effort.

The main key is to focus on hair health and then move on to styling. “It is important for curly-haired textures to view their curls and hair fibers as a delicate fabric that needs to be nourished and handled with care,” says Bridgette Hill, a trichologist and stylist at Paul Labrecque Salon. According to her, curls thrive when they retain their spherical structure and coil patterns, and she adds that less is more with curly hair when it comes to manipulating and disturbing their pattern and definition…

Experts suggest following these 7 tips to keep curly hair healthy all summer, Hello Giggles, May 2020

There are some things that only people with curly hair understand, like avoiding brushing your hair when it’s dry. Similarly, anyone with curly hair understands the challenge of keeping curly hair healthy in the summer. Learning how to take care of curly hair can take years, and just when you think you have it down, the seasons change and the new weather conditions require a few modifications. With an increase in temperatures comes increased humidity, and this can make curls more frizzy, change the shape of a cut, and make hair particularly hard to style, says celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan.

In addition to humidity there is also the issue of harmful UV rays. We all know how the sun can have harmful effects on our skin, but there is also research on how UVA and UVB rays affect the scalp and hair. Studies show that UVA radiation is responsible for hair discoloration, and UVB radiation leads to hair protein loss. The absorption of radiation in amino acids produces free radicals, which affects hair proteins such as keratin. That is to say: Our hair requires sun protection, just like our skin. Even chlorine—although great for ridding public swimming pools of bacteria—can strip the hair of its natural oils, causing a damaging effect…