Sorry for the slight little radio silence on the blog this week since I’ve been shooting with my sister in London all week for a brand, and I have been having issues with links do to my being oversees. I wanted to share at least a little bit of London with you guys before I get back on American soil. Shoreditch has always been my favorite part of London, because of its grittiness and edge (and hipster dive bars with a plethora of craft beer). It’s where I imagine where types like Alexa Chung first came to find their personal style, taste in music and creative influence. Brick Lane, where once can find a good bowl of curry at just about any storefront. Shoreditch is a reliable treasure trove for the vintage denim wearing crowd. Something that it can also indeed be made fun of when trekking through crowds of young, good looking and grungy looking twenty somethings. But it seems to have grown up a bit since the last time I’ve visited. Red Church Street full of chic boutiques and restaurants for those looking for a fine culinary experience without the nose in the air vibe found in other more posh spots of London. It’s laid back and cool and haphazard and random in the best possible way. I can’t really ask for more out of a neighborhood. So here I am back in London, wearing my favorite blazer at the moment. I’m not ashamed to say that this baby is Old Navy and goes with everything. I also wore it everyday whilst here in London. I was committed to traveling light this trip, so this one blazer made the cut.
During my trip to Hawaii last month, I made it a goal to minimize my skincare routine, use less makeup and protect my skin as much as possible (while at the same time enjoying some leisurely time under the sun). And I was curious to see how these changes made to my routine during my balmy, summer vacation (when continued) would translate and extend into a muggy summer in NYC. It’s been over a week since my trip to Hawaii, and my skin still has that dewy, healthy glow that I am usually scrambling through my beauty cabinet to achieve. So it looks like those changes that I made really worked. It seemed like what I needed most was a cut down on products and a stronger focus on a more simple, minimal, and very direct routine that really targeted exactly what my skin was in need of. This is where MŪN came into play. While in Hawaii, I partnered with the organic skincare line to showcase the benefits of a clean and minimal skincare routine, as well as the after effects beyond just my time on the island (where the concept of less is better). The island was actually the inspiration behind this beauty challenge. What happened when I turned the cards and went basic when I cleansed and moisturized my skin with non-toxic, botanical-based products by MŪN? Everything good. Not only that, it’s better for the earth, as well. Let me show you . . .
In Maui we were blessed with luxuriously warm weather. It was also a bit humid which called for a lot of time in and out of the ocean and pool. I was committed to less makeup, and more time to do other things on this trip. Trust me, as a beauty lover, cleaning out one’s beauty case can be a tough one, but I learned the easy way how much better things are when they are pared down. MŪN‘s skincare line isn’t as widespread as many brands out there, but the products that they do offer are really all you need once you break down your routine into steps. And that is exactly the point. CLEANSE. TONE. MOISTURIZE. The best thing about MŪN is how these three simple products overlap and complement each other so that all grounds are covered. The benefits of many different products, packaged up perfectly into three simple bottles:
This oil-based cleaner really gets the job done when it comes to makeup removal. Even waterproof makeup! Its balmy texture comes from the moisturizers in the Castor Oil (cleanser and detoxifier), Argan Oil (nutrient rich). and Camelia Seed Oil (for extra moisture). Many cleansers out there now strip the skin of essential, natural oils. This one does the opposite. I rinse, and my skin doesn’t feel dry or tight, but lightly moisturized and brightened. For extra exfoliation, I gently massage my face with a warm wash cloth before rinsing. I was using this cleanser for months before my Maui trip, and I applauded the way it made my skin look and feel since day one. This cleanser is the real deal for those looking for a way to cleanse and moisturize at the same time.
This rose toner is like a SUPER TONER! Think about a super food. Imagine that for your skin. Not only does it refresh, but it balances the skin’s pH. Hyaluronic Acid firms and hydrates the skin. Willow Bark Extract contains salicylic acid, which removes dead skin cells . . . so it’s a natural exfoliator. Goji Berry Extract supplies anti-aging benefits. It feels velvety with just one spray, and keeps me dewy throughout the day. It’s the step right before moisturizing, and helping the next step settle in and absorb into the skin in the best, deepest way.
This nutrient rich serum is the final step. it’s made up of three oils: Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Argan Oil, and Bulgarian Rose Essential Oil. Together these oils repair the skin’s surface and barriers, as well as gets absorbed deep within the top layers for protection, to sooth inflammation and to stimulate collagen production. This serum is an important in the anti-aging process. My skin feels supple and soft after I use it, and it’s so effective that there is no need for any other extra moisturizer on top. This makes it perfect for traveling. The less to pack, the better. I like to use a little extra around my eyes as an eye oil at night. A wake up looking bright eyed. No puffiness at all. With this final step, I know my skin is rejuvenating during my sleep. Calm and well rested. That is exactly how MŪN makes my skin feel.
These were the only skincare products I brought with me on my trip (well sunscreen, as well, of course!!), along with the Ayour Body Toning Serum for my body and the Argan Pure Argan Oil for my hair and cuticles. Both are amazing for after the sun nourishment. I didn’t do my hair once on the island. The hair straightener made no appearance. Instead, my hair was wet most of the day, air dried or up in a low bun. The Argan Pure Argan Oil was the only thing my hair needed to survive the sea salt and chlorinated waters that made up my days. I’ve been back home now for a bit, and my friends are still telling me that my hair looks extra healthy even after my trip. The Argan Oil was the best form of protection for my hair by repairing split ends and providing endless moisture throughout the long and hot Maui days. The same goes for my fingernails and cuticles. When I’m at the beach, my cuticles tend to get more beat up and rough from all the sun, water and play, but this time around they looked very much in tact thanks to a Pure Argan Oil application first thing in the morning and right before I went to bed. This one in particular smells spectacular, as do all the MŪN products. That’s the good side of using all natural products. It’s like a fragrance from nature.
I came to Maui to get a tan, of course. But no tan is complete with toned, smooth skin all over as a base. MŪN’s Ayour Body Toning Serum was my first time using a serum for my body. Unlike a normal lotion, it’s far more potent and powerful in how it affects and treats the skin of the body. I knew this was going to be a product I loved since I spent the majority my time in Hawaii in a bikini. It’s enriched with Moroccan Olive Oil which brightens and evens out skin tone. The serum is a mix of oils that minimizes wrinkles and stretch marks, so that your skin (in particular the arms and legs) are beach ready. I was sure to use sunscreen on top of this everyday, so as not to burn. Together with sunscreen, this serum is a major anti-aging game player. I never felt more comfortable in a bikini than before I started using this every day. I like to use it in the morning, so it has time to absorb before I get too much sun exposure.
My beloved new MŪN routine has allowed me to bring back a bit of that Maui simplicity with me home to NYC. In a way, skin is a reflection of a state-of-mind. It’s like the food we eat, the spaces we surround ourselves with, the nature and art that we look at. It affects us from the inside out. Like they always say, a little goes a long way, and substance should always come before style. MŪN just happens to have both, and that’s why it wins. I’ll be continuing my routine for the rest of my summer and beyond. My skin has been feeling as vibrant as ever and I don’t feel the need to cover up my skin with as much makeup at all. That’s how much of a difference it’s made in just a few weeks time. But I’ll keep you updated on my skin in another another week’s time!
Once again, click below to be linked to product pages:
My friend Deborah is from Oahu, but has made many trips to Maui. She put together a list of places we should visit during our trip. Sadly, many of the places she recommended were on the Road to Hana or in Hana itself, which is on the entire opposite side of the island, which we didn’t have time to hit up. Next time! We drove up the west side of the coast in search of the beautiful and hidden Chutes and Ladders Tidepool, but for some reason couldn’t seem to find it all. We didn’t have wifi in the area, so we turned around and headed back to the one place we passed earlier on the way that had cars parked outside, and went to do some exploring. We found ourselves at Honolua Bay, a popular snorkeling bay. To get there, you had to spend a few minutes walking through a lush, hidden forest off the side of the main road. We were very occupied with oggling over the super cute chicklets following their momma around the green. The west side of Maui is the drier, less wet side, so I was actually quite shocked to find myself in this forest, full of green, that seemed more tropical. Photographing the intricacies of tropical forests is my favorite on adventure trips. It brought back memories of when I trekked through the rainforests of Puerto Rico one time. So, you can be sure that I had a lot of fun at this place. This place was a hidden gem. It was a blessing in disguise that we couldn’t find the Chutes and Ladders Tidepool, for it would have been a pretty steep hike to get to anyways, something much harder to tackle with our parents with us. Sometimes the best things happen by accident. At Honolua Bay, we watched the funny chickens running around like they owned the place, sat on large rocks, enjoyed the view of the bay and the snorkelers, and got to enjoy a little oasis away from the resort life of West Maui. Make sure it wear water shoes if you decide to go in, it’s super rocky!
For me, the summer season is always about bringing out the vintage dresses that I have collected over the years. Many are from my Philadelphia days, when I would regularly dig through the boxes of the Fishtown vintage warehouse. I did a lot of digging back in the day. And never paid over $15 for a piece. Those were the good old days. But now look at me, full blown summer mode in NYC, and I have no idea what to wear. Really my clothing rack is full, but for some reason . . . everything feels old. So that gave me an idea for a refresher. This slinky little black dress is perfect for the weather right now, but I felt like it needed something extra for it to be worn out again. I had this little bright red bandeau from VEDA. I was feeling some Caribbean vibes from it, and it matched perfectly with the red flower pops on the dress. Instantly, my well worn vintage dress that I probably paid $5 for 6 years ago feels brand new again. Now I have no reason to get rid of any of my vintage. There is always a way to recreate it, even with one little touch.
Lacking a bandeau in your wardrobe? Try a long printed or colored scarf and wrap it around. You will get the same effect.