Episode One: Vitamin C Serums

Thanks for joining me for the very first episode of The Glow-Up: Skincare for Twenty-Something’s podcast! In this episode, I introduce the show and discuss vitamin c serums.


Content for this episode:

Intro Music: “Too Cool” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Info on Vitamin C:

Paula’s Choice

Oregon State University

Interview with Esthetician @skinbyLianne – All Your Questions Answered!

As a skincare enthusiast I’m always interested in learning more about the different careers in the field, what different specialists do on a daily basis, and of course their secrets to glowing skin. I had the pleasure of meeting esthetician Lianne and asking her a few questions about her field and how she stays glowing.

The Glow-Up (GU): What does an esthetician’s job entail?

Lianne (L): Estheticians are skin care specialists and consultants. They perform facials, waxing, and body treatments, applied both manually and with the aid of machines. They may also offer makeup and lash extension application. Estheticians will make skin care and product recommendations based upon their clients’ unique skin and lifestyle needs.

GU: What is a typical day for you?

L: A typical day for me starts with arriving to work a bit early to prepare the treatment room. With every client, I will evaluate the condition of their skin and determine/discuss what treatments will best enhance his or her appearance. After the treatment is complete, I spend time going over what I believe is the best at-home skin regimen, along with product recommendations.

GU: What skin concerns do clients most often approach you with?

L: Acne and hyperpigmentation is the most common skin concerns clients approach me with.

GU: What advice do you share with your clients in terms of anti-aging/achieving glowing skin?

L: In terms of anti-aging/achieving glowing skin, the advice I share with my clients is simple, in addition to regular facials, is to use skin care products with the RIGHT active ingredients, apply sunscreen, drink lots of water, and most importantly get plenty of sleep. While you sleep, your body and skin regenerates, repairs itself and absorbs your skin care much more effectively.

GU: What are your go-to products? 

L: Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel by Peter Thomas Roth

Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Treatment Toner by FRESH

Lotion P50 Original 1970 by Biologique Recherche

Midnight Recovery Concentrate Serum by Kiehls

THIRSTYMUD Hydrating Treatment by GLAMGLOW

GU: How do you maintain your glow?

L: You cant expect to see results until you are consistent and know what your skin needs. A religious and balanced skin care routine is how I maintain my glowing skin.  

Follow Lianne and get her latest recommendations on Instagram at @skinbyLianne. 

Beautycounter’s Balancing Mask Is Nothing to F*ck With

NEW BRAND ALERT!! I’ve had the pleasure of being gifted a few samples of @beautycounter Balancing Collection. My face has been hit by hormones, sugar overload, and stress all in the same week causing an extreme breakout. This mask came just in time and it was BOMB.

The Balancing Collection Facial Mask is made with kaolin clay, a natural ingredient used in skincare for centuries. It cleanses, brightens, tightens skin, and draws out impurities. No artificial colors or synthetic fragrances. I was unable to find a complete ingredients list on the packaging, but online it is listed as:

Aqua/Water/Eau, Kaolin, Charcoal Powder, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Illite, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Xanthan Gum, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Powder, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Powder, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Powder, Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract, Allantoin, Lactic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil*, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol. *Organic/Biologique

There are synthetic ingredients in the product, such as Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (antioxidant, conditioner), Pentylene Glycol (Preservative, Skin conditioning, Solvent), and Allantoin (Skin conditioning, Soothing, Sensory Enhancer) however, the brand lists the origin of each product and details why it is present their site. I really respect and love that this brand is being so open about how it formulates its products.


Once applied It dried within, and I kid you not, 30 seconds. I left on for about 10 minutes while I got ready for work and then washed to reveal smaller pores and tighter skin. I never get to mask before work as they typically take too long to apply and dry, but this one was on and off in 10 minutes making it a winner for me!

I’ll definitely be using again later this week!

Perhaps More Often Than She Should…

Hello, there! Today I was feeling inspired by a few instagram posts that I happened to come across featuring lovely black pumps and classic lines. I decided to bring out my Steve Madden Dainna d’Orsay Ankle Strap Pump in black suede, a black high-neck, A-line dress, an H&M light pink blazer, and my Kate Spade Park Avenue Beau Bag in Stormy.

The bag is by far the most precious item in the lineup as it was the very first designer bag I ever bought. I bought it second hand as, by 2015, they were no longer sold by the designer. It took me over a year to save up for the bag, but it was worth every penny. I remember seeing the ad below when I was still in high school and thinking to myself that I wanted to be living the life of the girl in the photo – power-walking through the city, in control, and living a fabulous life.

To this day, I still think those very words to myself when I’m leaving the office for lunch: “She took coffee breaks with her beau perhaps a little bit more often than she should.”

Keep It Clean

After going though the ingredients of what used to be my go-to skincare I realized just how uncomfortable a some of the top ingredients made me. Paraffinum Liquidum (mineral oil – derived from petroleum?!) as a second ingredient? Pass! Isopropyl Alcohol as a first ingredient? No thank you!

So, after doing my research on brands that were all-natural, vegan, and cruelty free (very important to me!) I decided to purchase a multitude of Derma E eye cream, night cream, and cleanser, Yes To daily moisturizer, and a second purchase of Thayer’s Natural toner. I’m so excited to begin sharing my experiences with the products and my final recommendations!

Morning Prep for No-Makeup Monday

I was so pleased with how nice my skin looked after not wearing makeup for a day that I decided to carry it out for the rest of the week!

This morning, I cleansed with my Cetaphil cleanser for normal to oily skin. Cetaphil is one of those polarizing beauty products where my opinion falls somewhere in the middle. The cleanser is cheap – about $11 for 16 fl oz, and lasts me about two months total when I use night and day. It is unscented, non-foaming, and has a gel-like consistency. The top three ingredients are common, water, glycerin (a humectant aka attracts water), and PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate (another humectant). A full list of ingredients and more information about the product can be found here. I’m trying to use few products that have alcohol-based top three ingredients, but this is proving to be quite the challenge! While I may be a bit skeptical of the ingredients, I doubt I will ever stop buying this cleanser.

After cleansing, I dabbed on my Mario Badescu Special Cucumber Lotion, a toner I’ve been using day and night for the past three weeks. It is costs about $15 for 8 fl oz, but I got it as a sample size and am about halfway through the bottle after three weeks. To use, the brand suggests moistening a cotton ball and sweeping in upward motions across the face until clean. I do this very motion twice a day, using a quarter sized amount of product each time. The first three ingredients are even more disheartening than Cetaphil’s: Water, Isopropyl Alcohol (an anti-foaming agent), and Propylene Glycol (a humectant and conditioning agent). Two alcohols in the first three ingredients! Overall, I love this toner but will probably not repurchase due to the heavy amount of alcohol. For more information on this product, please visit here.

Next, I delicately applied a small amount of the Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream. It may be $18 for 0.5 oz, but this cream goes a long way! The top three ingredients are water, glycerin, and paraffinum liquidum (Mineral Oil, Huile Minérale). Read more about the product here

Lastly, I applied a healthy amount of the Mario Badescu Oil-Free Moisturizer. Sunscreens make up the top ingredients, followed quickly by water, Isononyl Isononanoate (a conditioner), and Ethylhexyl Methoxycrylene. For a full list of ingredients, please visit here.

This took me only about 5 minutes to complete and I was out the door! Since I’m writing this the night after, I can say that my skin looks even better than it did this morning – less red and irritated for sure. While I do love a lot of the products mentioned above, I am going to be on a search for similar products that contain less alcohol. Once I find such products, I’ll be sure to update!

Nighttime Prep for No Makeup Monday

Today, I did something I hadn’t done before: I went to work without any makeup on.

Now, for someone who has hidden behind makeup for years in fear of my acne being exposed, this was a pretty significant move. To prep my skin for this brave new world, I washed my face with my Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser, used a dab of his Special Cucumber Lotion, and followed it up with the Oil-Free Moisturizer. On top of that, I put on a small amount of The Ordinary’s 100 percent Plant-Derived Squalane Oil to seal in the moisture.

To prep for this momentous occasion, I went for my most glow-inducing products the night before.

Last night, I forwent the Acne Facial Cleanser and instead lathered on my trusty Cetaphil Normal to Oily face wash with my Clarisonic brush. After, I applied a small amount of the Drying Mask to my trouble areas – cheeks, jawbone, and T-zone.

A quick rinse later and I dabbed on pea-sized amount of Mario Badescu’s Vitamin C Serum. This serum is ridiculous – I’ve never used a product that makes my skin more radiant! After the serum, I gently massaged in my moisturizer-of-the-moment Origin’s High-Potentcy Night-A-Mins.

I originally got the moisturizer as a sample in a Sephora box and have been using it consistently for 3 weeks. I love the smell, how easily it absorbs, and the way it makes my skin feel the morning after use. I’m not sure if I’ll buy after the sample is finished, but I am definitely leaning in that direction!

What are your most glow-inducing products?



Toner Review

Toner review! Before I started listening to beauty podcasts, discussing skincare with friends, and avidly following bloggers, I’d distrusted anything that I considered “extra” skincare as something that could potentially wreck havoc on my acne-prone skin. I lived and died by the pm routine of cleanser/epidou and am routine of cleanser/spf moisturizer. I was convinced any oils, masks, or creams would destroy my complexion.

Boy was I wrong!

The first “extra” product I got into was toner and I started with @neutrogena alcohol-free toner. It came in a 8.5 fl oz bottle and I am still not all the way through it. I chose this as my first toner as all the articles I read decried alcohol- based toners, warning they could strip skin of moisture. I liked this toner immensely and did see my pores shrink, my acne decrease, and my skin began to feel tighter overall which I personally like. During the time I used this toner, I saw the clearest skin of my life – granted I was also only eating salad! I may go back to this toner one day, and would give it 4/5 stars

Next, I used @thayersnatural Witch Hazel toner with aloe vera and rose petal. It is also alcohol free, and smells like a freshly cut rose. I bought my first one from target in a 3 fl oz bottle months ago and still have half the bottle! This toner is not drying, decreases pores, and provides an 360 experience with the scent, results, and cooling effect. My acne did not get better using this toner, but it also didn’t get worse. I’d give it 3/5 stars and may purchase again.
The current toner I’m using is @mariobadescu’s Special Cucumber Lotion. This is the most drying of the toners I have, but it also leaves my skin feeling the cleanest. Designed for acne-prone skin, this stuff is powerful and has the second “cleanest” ingredients list. I have seen smaller pores, tighter skin, and my acne has remained about the same. I’d purchase again, however, and give it 4/5 stars.

What is your favorite toner?

Post-Thanksgiving Butternut Squash Smoothie

The day after Thanksgiving is always a nightmare for more reasons than just Black Friday shopping. I feel bloated, tired, and am basically human garbage. To combat these feelings and get some healthy fats and nutritious veggies in me, I like to make this Butternut Squash smoothie. It is thick, creamy, and takes under 5 minutes to make.

It tastes just like pumpkin pie but  without the regret!



  • Add in almond milk + Butternut squash
  • Put on “crush ice” for 3 pumps
  • Turn to “liquify”
  • Once all squash has liquified, add in the 2 dates and crunchy almond butter
  • Liquify that mess!
  • Add in the chia seeds and cinnamon, stirring in with a spoon before putting to “stir”
  • Add in ice cubes if desired and enjoy!


Work It

I’m trying to get better at laying out my clothes the night before to increase the time I can sleep. I’ve found that 8 hours is simply not enough! I decided to choose my all-time favorite @jcrew Teddy Sweater, cotton button down, @stevemadden cognac suede mules (only $15 at @nordstromrack!!) my pearl necklace, beloved @katespadeny Ariel tote in hatched leather, and of course my @stilacosmetics Stay All Day liquid lipstick in beso. For breakfast (and tonight’s dinner) is @leefromamerica‘s cauliflower and blueberry smoothie (thanks @soretrograde!)