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The Ultimate Zit-Fighting Game Changer: Guest Blogger

Our latest guest blogger, Ally of Allyson in Wonderland, is an oil and gas professional with a serious eye for great finds. We can’t get enough of her gorgeously crafted blog, where she shares her love for style, travel, and photography. This week she’s giving us a peek into her personal beauty treasure chest—and we’re taking notes.

Pictured: Ole Henriksen invigorating night gel

For most of my life, I had been blessed with my mother’s perfect skin. But when I turned 30, my clear complexion took a turn for the worse. Suddenly, I was having breakouts and dryness at the same time. It used to be that any old product would work on my face, but seemingly overnight, my skin started to reject everything. So I took my friend’s advice and bought Ole’s Three Little Wonders.

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My Skincare Essentials: Guest Blogger

This week’s guest blogger, Vida Lee, hits close to home for us—literally! She’s a beauty guru based in our hometown: New York City. Aside from being a product addict, she’s also a medical school student (whoa!) who makes time on the side for her pretty blog, P.S. It’s Vida. Over the next few days, the smarty savant will be sharing her greatest tips and tricks for staying prepped and primed for summer.

Skincare is one of my absolute favorite things. I love experimenting and trying new things, but there are a few products I’ve found that will probably never leave my routine. These are some of the skincare items I use on a daily basis.

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Have You Tried Blemish-Clearing Black Soap?

Based in Washington D.C., Ayren Jackson-Cannady is so savvy that we wished she lived closer to NYC so that we could swap products with her. This beauty writer knows what’s up (she’s written for Fitness, Glamour, and Gloss Daily) and we’re excited to have her sharing her know-how and multi-culti beauty expertise as a contributing editor.


First, a little back story: I have acne and, eh… let’s just say I’m well past my teenage years. Since I’m in that awkward place where I’m battling zits and fine lines at the same time, I try a lot of products (you should see my bathroom sink). Some products I’ve used were for zits; some were for wrinkles. But, I’ve never found anything that I could use to address both. Until now.

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Girl Crush Kimora Lee Simmons Reveals (a Few) of Her Beauty Secrets

Based in Washington D.C., Ayren Jackson-Cannady is so savvy that we wished she lived closer to NYC so that we could swap products with her. This beauty writer knows what’s up (she’s written for Fitness, Glamour, and Gloss Daily) and we’re excited to have her sharing her know-how and multi-culti beauty expertise as a contributing editor.

One of my beauty girl crushes is Kimora Lee Simmons. Not only is she incredibly successful, but her cheekbones are ridic, she’s got the best skin, and her eyebrows are crazy-perfect. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to speak with her directly and get the 411 on her beauty regimen. The Cliff’s Notes version is this: Simmons just launched her own skincare line (Shinto Clinical), her grandma taught her everything she knows about being gorgeous (drink your water!), and she love love loves anything packed with Argan oil (i.e. Shinto Pore It Out, FIXX Argan Oil Shampoo, and Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Lotion). Check out my one-on-one after the jump, and then tell me who your beauty girl crush is in comments.

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My Skincare Regimen: Guest Blogger

Don’t let the name fool you. Jessica Chu’s Tumblr Of Vice and Men doesn’t have anything to do with hot male model eye candy — but it does cover in great detail the best kind of vice: lusting after pretty things. This week she’s sharing her expert eye with us and dishing on everything from the best winter skin savers to the YouTube beauty gurus you should be following.

1. philosophy Purity Made Simple One-step Facial Cleanser — I am not at all surprised that my favorite cleanser also happens to be the favorite of Cynthia Rowley, Birchbox’s July guest curator. I was so excited to receive a sample of this in my Birchbox that month especially because now I have a reusable travel size bottle. This gentles cleanser removes makeup, cleanses, tones, and lightly hydrates my skin. When I need some extra deep cleaning, I’ll use this with my Clarisonic.

2. Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado — I’m a Kiehl’s junkie. I’ve been using this eye cream since college and it’s incredibly thick and really hydrates my eyes. However, I think I’ll be in the market to purchase a more ‘grown up eye cream soon.

3. Pangea Organics Toner for Normal/Combination Skin — Thank you Birchbox for introducing me to Pangea Organics. It was fate. I had been complaining and asking Twitter whether or not I should start using a toner (I really didn’t have a clue at the time about what it actually does) and when my Birchbox came, it was right there for me to try! Since work has been pretty much been crazy these past few months, I look to my toner to help control and balance my skin’s pH.

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Pimple Principles: You’ve Got Male

Once a week, Birchbox’s resident yoga and men’s product expert, Eric, will gives us girls some insight into his world in You’ve Got Male. Whether he’s giving his expertise on skincare (boys need advice, too!) or highlighting his new favorite grooming trend, this guy has got taste—so we’re lucky he’s on staff and willing to share.

Photo: On the Ground Looking Up

Nobody likes dealing with pimples. They are unsightly, can even be painful, and tend to pop up at precisely the worst moments (first dates, family photo ops and the like). This is another instance where women have an unfair advantage in that they are able to cover blemishes with makeup. For (most of) us men, this is not an option. If you are like me and have generally good skin and occasionally get a really bad pimple, here are some tips for preventing, and quickly getting rid of, those pesky zits.

Clogged pores are how it all begins, so be sure to keep yours free of dirt and oil. About once a week, I use the amazing multi-tasker Fresh Umbrian Clay Face Treatment on my T-zone and forehead. I let the clay dry for about ten minutes and rinse. Pores are immediately shrunken and clean. If I sense a blemish coming on, which is usually indicated by some redness and swelling in one of my typical “zit zones,” I immediately start using Kiehl’s Acne Blemish Control in the morning and at night. This is the best spot treatment I have ever tried – it won’t dry your skin out and usually takes care of any issues I have. The key is to be relentless with application.

When things do progress to full-fledged pimple status, the main issue for me tends to be the swollen, red appearance. At this stage, I use good old-fashioned hydrocortisone overnight and it really does the trick. To sum up, pimples are not fun, but we must be patient with them. At all costs, resist extracting (read “popping”) anything on your face. A zit might be ugly for a week or so, but a scar is ugly forever! 

Pick up skincare essentials in the Birchbox Shop.

Read all You’ve Got Male installments here.

Skin Rx: Oily Edition

When it comes to skincare, we’re constantly learning about new ingredients and formulations. There are loads of amazing products out there, but it can be tricky figuring what your particular skin — at this particular moment — needs. Luckily, we have our own expert right here in the office. Our new brand relationship manager, Rachel, isn’t just a whiz at juggling accounts, she is also a trained aesthetician. (When she accepted the job, she didn’t realize that she would become team content’s official skincare expert.) We’re excited to get her blogging about her favorite subject in Skin Rx, a new recurring feature. She’ll decode myths, give troubleshooting advice, and prescribe products. First topic: Oily skin.

Typical characteristics: Shiny, waxy to the touch. Prone to occasional breakouts, blemishes, and blotchiness. Big pores are generally associated with oily skin.

Common complaints: Blotchiness, uneven texture and appearance. Always feeling like you look greasy or shiny.

Myth: Using soap, alcohol, or drying products will help to correct oiliness and give skin a more matte appearance.

Truth: Soap and harsh chemicals actually causes oily skin to produce more oil, as it feels stripped. 

Ingredients to look for: Salicylic Acid, Retinol, and Benzyl Peroxide. Kaolin (clay) is used in many at-home masks.

Regimen: Serums, serums, serums! A serum containing vitamin A will effectively control oil production: it helps the skin maintain moisture so that it doesn’t feel the need to produce more oil. Use a a light non-comedogenic moisturizer as well, and for skin prone to breakouts, look for a product with salicylic acid. Use it to spot treat blemishes and kill bacterial growth.

Star products: If you have oily skin, you should go for Pangea’s Balancing Oil and use it as a moisturizer — it has vitamins and antioxidants to help battle free radicals. If you’re scared of oil, the Pomega5 Green Tea Mattifying Moisturizer is a great alternative. For acne-prone oily skin, the Erno Laszlo Blue Bar is extremely healing.

Find these and other skincare picks in the Birchbox Shop.

Got a skincare question? Ask us!