Health + Beauty

  • How I Cleared Up My Acne in 1 year

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Soooo I know you’ve ALL been wondering about my skincare routine (had to make that joke I’m sorry)! Seriously though, the change in my skincare routine over the last year has made all the difference in the health of my skin and my confidence.

    Your skin is affected by so much – diet, skincare products, stress, hormones and gene – that it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what the cause of your acne is. Acne and skin care management definitely is something that you approach based on the level of severity.

    At the beginning of senior year, I noticed that I was getting acne a lot more frequently than I had before. These frequent breakouts started to come closer and closer together. I felt like as soon as I cleared up one breakout, I would have another. I also began to experience cystic acne – basically painful acne that is caused by bacteri under the skin.

    Now, I wouldn’t recommend everyone to immediately to go to the dermatologist when experiencing acne, but when my acne was leaving scarring I knew it was time to go into the doctor. If you feel like 1) you cannot manage your acne 2) your acne is leaving permanent markings or 3) acne is affecting your self worth, it’s always worth a visit to the dermatologist.

    After visiting the dermatologist, I learned that in order to manage my acne I had to approach it in 2 different ways: skin care products and lifestyle choices.

    No filter (just window lighting) on how my skin currently looks

    My Current Skincare Routine – Morning

    1. I wash my face using Sensitive Skin Dermalogica Face Wash.
    2. I moisturize my face with Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Gel-Cream.

    My Current Skincare Routine – Night

    1. First, I use Smartly Makeup Wipes to remove all my makeup (these are good for sensitive skin since they are unscented).
    2. Next, I wash my face using a prescribed face wash – Sulfa Cleanse 8/4
    3. I wash my face a second time using the Sensitive Skin Dermalogica Face Wash.
    4. I moisturize my face with Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Gel-Cream.
    5. I use a small amount of prescribed anti-bacterial cream – Dapsone 5% for Cystic acne.
    6. On smaller white-heads I use “Yes to” Detoxifying Zit Zapping Dots. These draw the whitehead to the surface so that you don’t have to pop pimples and get scars!

    I exfoliate weekly using Tula’s dual-phase skin reviving treatment pads. All the products I use come from either my dermatologist, Ulta or Target.

    I made a few lifestyle changes that has also affected the reduction of my acne. First off, stress reduction!! Taking time to reduce your stress level is crucial to reducing acne (especially if it’s concentrated to your forehead – that’s a sign it could be stress induced acne). I also limit the amount of caffeine I have (I was having Starbucks 1-2 times/day when my acne was at its worst).

    My best recommendation is trial and error. It can be a long road to figuring out how to manage your acne and I KNOW it’s frustrating. Another important note is to try your best not to let your acne dictate your life. I used to not leave the house or cancel plans if I got a zit. Don’t fixate on small imperfections, I guarantee no one notices it as much as you do.

    With Love, Marin

  • My Favorite Hair Styling Tools

    Hey, pretty girl!

    If there is anything I’ve learned from listening to my hair stylist, it’s that what hair tool you use on your hair is just as important as what products you use to protect it. While some hair tools can be a bit of a splurge, they will ultimately last you longer and save you from hair problems.

    These are the hair styling tools I’ve been using for the last two years. They are tools that I trust on thin, prone to breakage, hair.

    Hair Dryer

    It’s no secret that Moroccan Oil is a high end hair product haven. This hair dryer comes with 3 swap-out end pieces (including a diffuser for my curly hair gals). The cool setting is my favorite part because unlike some cheaper hair dryers, you don’t have to press and hold the button to keep cool air flowing.

    Flat Iron

    Now, fair warning, do not use this straightener every day. The quality that this straightener was and how smooth it made my hair was the very reason why I used it everyday. In the long run it caused major breakage… mostly because I didn’t use heat protectant. I still use this on occasion if I’m feeling that having straight hair.

    Curling Iron

    Hot Tools creates some of the very best hair curlers – it’s probably what your hairdresser uses on you at the salon to give you those pretty post-haircut curls. If you’re not a fan of curling irons, they have wands as well. I’m aware that irons can be tricky to learn how to use, but I love that it can produce natural and formal curls.

    If any of y’all are interested in a tutorial on how I use these hair tools – vote on my Instagram story for which one you’d like to see first!

    With love, Marin

  • Restoring Damaged Hair
    Hey, pretty girl! When it comes to damaged hair, I know everything about it. From ages 14 to 17, I straightened my hair close to 365 days a year because I disliked my natural wavy hair. My hair was very thin prior to straightening it, and putting heat on my hair every day was only making things worse. My hair was barely hitting my shoulders, broken off terribly everywhere and thinner than before. The summer after my junior year of high school, I decided to make a change in my hair care. The following things helped me transform my hair (and hopefully yours too)! How I took my hair from this : To this : In one year….

    Cut off all Heat Usage

    I know, not being able to change how your hair looks can be scary but I guarantee it’ll make you more confident in the long run. However, if you do have a big event and need to use heat on your hair – USE HEAT PROTECTANT. I use Living Proof Perfecting Spray directly out of the shower and work into my wet hair.

    Use Restoring Shampoo/Conditioner

    This is where I saw the majority of my hair frizziness from breakage, be reduced. If you are able to not wash your hair everyday, this also helps. However, if you’re like me and have super oily hair, buy a quality shampoo and conditioner. I use Kerastase Resistance Levels 3/4 Repair on a daily basis. While you technically only need to condition prior to shampooing, I do both to help keep the ends of my hair smooth.

    Take Biotin Gummies Daily

    I know there are lots of people who joke about Sugar Bear Hair Vitamins, but they actually work! It takes about 3 months to begin seeing results, but this helped for my hair growth. If you are already getting enough of this vitamin through your diet, you probably won’t see as drastic of results. However, most people aren’t. I buy mine on a monthly delivery through Amazon.

    Only Wear Satin Scrunchies

    This one is a biggie for girls with thin or damaged hair. Elastic hair ties cause breakage every single time you use them. This will only accelerate your breakage. Satin is soft on your hair and comes in so many cute colors, you won’t be missing out! My favorite satin scrunchies are from Ulta.

    Use a Weekly Hair-mask

    This is a general hair care tip for everyone, not just for those with breakage. Hair masks help restore nutrients to your hair and can actually help prevent breakage! These can get expensive which is why I only recommend using it weekly This is so that your hair doesn’t get used to the product and not work anymore, and you don’t rack up a big bill. I use this hair mask that matches my shampoo/conditioner set. With Love, Marin
  • Fitness Routine

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Prior to college, I am realizing how important it is to establish a good fitness routine! Once classes, clubs and hanging out with your new besties starts up, it can be difficult to start on something. That’s why I decided to start my fitness routine today (8/6/19).

    The routine I am using is through the BBG/Sweat app (only 28 minute workouts!!). Kayla Itsines has been known to produce results in helping women add muscle and tone their bodies. I’ve heard so many good things about the program, so I decided to check it out for all of you to see if it’s worth the hype!

    Subscription Plans:


    $120/year (50% in savings)

    What the Subscription Comes With:

    • Shopping List/Meal Plan
    • BBG Program
    • BBG Stronger
    • Body and Mind Yoga
    • Post-Pregnancy
    • All workouts can be compatible with an Apple Watch

    Most college campuses have a free weight room/health center, but if they don’t or you prefer body-weight workouts, there are options for either!

    Day 1:

    Thoughts after Day 10 :

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this program so far!

    I didn’t take any progress photos because honestly, physical results in 10 days is nearly impossible. I will, however, note that I’ve had a lot of positive mental results from this program. These workouts are hard and completing them gives you an extra boost of energy for the day.

    I love that the workouts are quick but also leave you sore (I’m doing the regular BBG Program). The descriptions of the moves are very easy to follow, along with vocal instruction. My favorite part of the workouts are the opportunity to play your music through the app itself, so much nicer than dealing with multiple apps!

    As for the other aspects of the app, I haven’t used them much. While I don’t use the diet feature, because I just don’t have the time, it’d be super helpful for someone looking to meal-prep.

    With Love, Marin

  • Smoothies : Breakfast, Fruity, Healthy & Dessert

    Hey, pretty girl!

    Going to college this fall, the freshman-fifteen MUST BE AVOIDED. Thankfully, there are some easy to make smoothies (with the occasional splurge dessert smoothie) to help you get through the year.

    In order to make my smoothies I purchased a personal blender that is perfect for dorm living. Just be sure to follow the instructions on how to not over-work it!

    All recipes are brought to you by “The Smoothies Bible.”

    Breakfast Pom Smoothie (2 Servings)

    • 2 ripe bananas
    • 1 cup mixed berries of your choice
    • 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
    • 3/4 to 1 cup milk
    1. Combine banana and berries in blender until smooth.
    2. Add juice and milk; blende until smooth.
    3. Use extra berries as garnish

    Tropical Breeze Smoothie (2 Servings)

    • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
    • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    1. Combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth.
    2. Serve immediately due to frozen fruit.

    Light Lemon Strawberry Smoothie (2 servings)

    • 1 cup fresh strawberries
    • 3/4 cup reduced-fat milk
    • 1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • Lemon wedges for garnish
    1. Combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth.
    2. Use extra strawberries and lemon wedges as garnish.

    Banana Split Smoothie (2 Servings)

    • 2 bananas
    • 1 1/2 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons strawberry syrup
    • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
    • Optional : whipped cream, maraschino cherry, sprinkles
    1. Peel banana, cut into small chunks and seal in plastic wrap. Ice/chill for about two hours.
    2. Combine chilled banana chunks and milk in blender until smooth.
    3. Pour 1/3 of mixture into 2 separate cups.
    4. Add strawberry syrup to remaining mixture, blend until combined.
    5. Pour half of strawberry mixture over banana mixture in each glass.
    6. Add chocolate syrup to remaining mixture, blend until combined.
    7. Pour rest of mixture into each glass.
    8. Top with whipped cream, cherries and sprinkles.

    With Love, Marin