Fall Is In Full Swing: The October Recap

A week ago, I was wearing sandals. Today, my heat is on. If that isn’t fall in New England, I don’t know what is!

October has been as good of a month as a month can be in a pandemic world. We had seven weddings, which is less than half of what we would have done, but better than nothing! Our October brides were all lovely, beautiful and fun to work with, so we lucked out there.

We had a lot of trials this month for 2021 brides, and it’s been great to meet everyone. We think 2021 is going to bring us a much more normal wedding season, so we’re very happy about that.

Personally, I got to (safely) see some of my family and friends, which was great. I secured my Charleston winter apartment, and you know I have a countdown going. I bought (some would say too much) decor for my Newport home, started re-watching Community and voted. A good mix of productivity and socialization, right?

And now, time to schedule trials for my August 2021 brides. If you’re an AB Beauty bride who hasn’t done or scheduled a trial yet and your wedding is before August 2021, let’s connect.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Patchwork: Why Patch Testing Beauty Products Is Essential

Please do some patch work before you commit!

If you’ve never had a reaction to a beauty product, you really haven’t lived. (Kidding.) Even if you don’t have any known ingredient allergies or aren’t generally sensitive to products, chances are you’ve met a product or two–or will in the future–that your skin is just not that into. That can cause breakouts, redness, itchiness, a burning sensation or other types of irritation. Not exactly what you want on your face, right?

There is a way you can stave off a bad reaction though: patch testing. Patch testing means applying a small amount of product to the skin to see if you have a reaction. This is an important thing to do with any product that’s going to be on your face for a while (so basically anything other than cleansers, although the super sensitives may want to patch test cleansers too).

I do a multi-phase patch test and overall test because, girlfriend, I’m nothing if not thorough. I first test a small amount of product behind my earlobe so that I can see if my skin reacts, but that area is mostly hidden so it’s not a big deal if there is a little irritation. I leave the product on for as long as I would if I was actually using it on my face. So if it’s a moisturizer, I leave it on all day then wash it off at night. If it’s a treatment that you’re supposed to leave on for 15 minutes then wash off, I do that. If it’s a sleeping mask, I leave it on overnight. If I don’t see any irritation after that test, I move onto Phase 2. But if I do see or feel irritation at any point, I stop using the product.

For Phase 2, I put a small amount of the product on the back of my jawline on the left side of my face. I do the second patch test on my face, because that skin is different–and generally more sensitive–than the area behind my ear. I choose the left side of my jaw because I wear my hair parted on the right, so it covers or shadows the left side of my face. If you wear your hair down or if you have bangs, you can find your own hiding spot! I once again leave the product on for the directed amount of time. If I’m irritation-free after Phase 2, it’s onto the final phase.

Here’s where shit gets real. In Phase 3, I apply the product to my entire face (or whatever the full area you’re supposed to apply it to is). That’s technically not a patch test, but it’s part of my process, so I’m including it. But here’s the catch–I don’t leave it on for the full amount of time. For example, with a sleeping mask, I’ll leave it on for 15 minutes instead of overnight. I did this with a sleeping mask yesterday, and even though I had no issues in Phase 1 or Phase 2, in Phase 3, I ended up with two angry red welts on my face. With moisturizer or serum that’s supposed to be left on all day, in Phase 3, I leave it on for an hour.

If a product gets through the first three phases without issue, I use it regularly for a full week (or for a few weeks if it’s not meant to be used daily), but I make sure not to introduce any new products during that time. Because if I do introduce another new product and I get a reaction that’s anything other than immediate, how will I know which product my skin doesn’t like?

Occasionally, a product will cause no irritation for me during the three phases, but once I start using it regularly, it causes a breakout or even just one blemish. Breakouts can be a sign of sensitivity to a product, so when that happens, I stop using it.

80% of the products I try don’t irritate my skin, and with the 20% that do, I catch the irritation early on before I experience any widespread bad reactions. That’s why when someone tells me they had a bad reaction to a product, I ask them if they patch tested first or went full force into using it. Guess what I hear most of the time? They didn’t even do a Phase 1! It can be much harder to calm down skin or clear a breakout when a product has been used as directed right from the start without testing. Why put yourself through that?

If you want to save your skin from potential bad reactions, you now have a tried and true system to follow. Your dermis will thank you for it.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Things I Love: The Fall 2020 Edition

While I may not love 2020 (who does?), I’ve found things I love about this fall. To not share them with you would be wrong, don’t you think? So here we go, my little leaf-peeping, sweater-wearing friends.

Vegan Rob’s Turmeric Crisps. I’ve tried turmeric chips before, but these bad boys might be my favorite. I don’t know if it’s the black pepper or the Pringles can, but I’m really feelin’ these. Props to Vegan Rob.

Coconut Oil Pulling. Whenever I have sugar (really just in my Coffeemate) or alcohol (which I’ve had maybe a little more of than usual, in that pandemic way), my tongue turns either a little or a lot white. Weird, right? I mentioned that to a friend, and she said the same thing used to happen to her. She started oil pulling with coconut oil, and it got rid of the problem. So I got me some coconut oil, starting pulling, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t work. I do it every day now, and it’s really made a difference.

Fur Ingrown Concentrate. I’m super prone to ingrown hairs, and nothing has ever helped. When I saw an ad for the Ingrown Concentrate, I thought it looked interesting, so I did my own research. It had great reviews across the board, so I went for it, and I’m glad I did.

My ingrowns are down by probably 80%. It started working within days. The Ingrown Concentrate contains coconut oil, tea tree oil, tamanu oil and chamomile extract, and the moisturizing-astringent-antimicrobial-calming combination, along with the adorable mini-exfoliating mitt it comes with, really does the trick. This little bottle of smoothness has earned itself a permanent home in my post-shower routine.

InBooze Spicy Margarita Cocktail Kit. I’m into tequila and I’m into spicy, so the Spicy Margarita Cocktail Kit from InBooze was a no brainer. It’s almost too easy to infuse your tequila with this dried orange, lime, grapefruit, pineapple and jalapeno magic. You simply put the pouch in a covered container (like a Mason jar), pour in some tequila, let it sit for a few days, and you’re done. It’s easy, tastes fantastic and allows you to support a black-owned, women run small business. What’s not to love?

Total Blackout Window Film. During the day, give me all the natural light. My Newport apartment has lots of windows and skylights in every room, and I thrive in that shit. But at 6:30am, when I’ve only been asleep for five or six hours, my relationship with natural light is much different. I don’t need to see the sunrise because there are enough pictures of it on Instagram, and I certainly don’t need it to rudely interrupt my slumber.

Back when I used to be a big Amazon shopper (I try to avoid it now), I bought the Total Blackout Window Film. It took me about a year to remember to ask a friend who was visiting to help me, but I finally did recently (thanks, Jenn!). You cut out the size you need, spray the window and the back of the paper with a soap and water mix, press it on, smooth out the bubbles, and enjoy a later wake up time. My eyes have not opened before 7:30am since the window film went up, and a couple times, I even slept until almost 9:00am! A well-rested Allison is a happier Allison, and that’s worth the $15.99.

UnREAL. I had heard good things about this show a while back, so when I stumbled upon it on Hulu, I figured I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did, because I love it. It’s a drama about the filming of a The Bachelor-like reality show. It’s dark, it’s suspenseful and it makes you kind of like characters you know you should hate. I’m on the last season now, so I’m bummed about that. All shows should have unlimited seasons waiting for us until this pandemic ends.

My New Favorite Salad. I’ve been on watermelon kick since mid-summer, often eating it with a little salt, which is a gamechanger. I had a watermelon, jalapeno and some kind of cheese salad at Mezcal in Worcester, MA that I loved and I’ve been recreating it, with some changes, at home. I use arugula then add in watermelon, japaleno, feta cheese, mint and sometimes grilled chicken. I could eat this every day, and some weeks, I do!

That’s all for now. We’ll see what other little joys this fall brings. A new show? A new skincare product? A new president? Only time will tell…

Have a beautiful day 🙂