From our founders: Summer Favorites 2018

Rather than the usual summer favorites post we thought we would get our founders to each post their personal product favorites. They have different skin and haircare needs, as well as different preferences when it comes to makeup. It also gives them a chance to talk about whatever they want. First up is Kawthar, enjoy!


Hello internet! I am glad I have a chance to engage with you all directly. We learn about new products in multiple ways: our own research, direct recommendations from friends, family, and or instagram followers, and of course youtubers. Being that we prefer to test a product for at least 3 months before giving a review, it takes a looooooong time to get information out. However, this summer I finally got around to trying some products I have been hearing about for a while as well as some that are new launches. Below are my personal favorites. Do let me know if you have tried any of them and what you think.



Full on protective style mode would be how I describe my summer haircare philosophy this year. I pretty much only do wash and go’s year-round but I just could not deal with my hair this summer. Which turned out to be quite great because it allowed me to experiment with color and texture, as well as different ways to really care for my hair under or within those protective styles. Check out our Fall Beauty Guide for tips on how to experiment with protective styles and care for your hair as well.


This summer I finally got around to trying some of the skincare products touted by a few of my favorite youtubers. And let me just say they did not disappoint! The product I was the most nervous about trying has become a staple for me. Let me take a step back, and describe my skin. I have oily acne prone skin. When I say oily, I mean I will look like an oil slick by noon. Well, I would if I didn’t have such great skincare that keeps my sebum production under control. With oily skin it is all about balance and consuming excessive amounts of water every day. Now to my summer faves!


MaeLove The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum: MaeLove is actually a brand I have had on my very long list of products to test for quite a while but then when Renee (@gothamista) mentioned it in her vitamin c video this summer I just knew I was right to give it a try! MaeLove’s glow serum is a Vitamin C (15% L-ascorbic acid) serum with Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, and Hyaluronic Acid. You might recall from our Bible of Acids post that this particular formulation of vitamins C, E, and ferulic acid is considered the Holy Grail trifecta of skin loving acids. The ferulic acid enhances the stability of antioxidants vitamins C and E. There is also an eight-fold increase in UV protection when ferulic acid is added to vitamins C and E. Hyaluronic acid provides hydration. Its primary benefit is its capacity to attract and hold large amounts of water, up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture. I apply this in the morning, after cleansing, and before toner. I allow it to fully sink into my skin before applying the rest of my skincare. And as always my last step is sunscreen. I am a seasoned pro when it comes to regularly using Vitamin C serums and I usually opt for one a little stronger. However, my skin loves this serum and my wallet loved that it’s an affordable dupe for the Skinceuticals serum!


Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask: I have been listening to Melissa Alatorre (@alatorreee) talk about this night cream forever! Every time she mentions it, I think “oh yeah I need to try that”, but always found myself in the middle of testing other products. Finally, the time came this summer that I needed to either try a new night cream or go back to my tried and true summer moisturizer, the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra. As I mentioned, I am oily and acne-prone so I was very nervous about trying the Jet Lag Mask because it appeared to be more suited for dry skin types. I am happy to say that I was wrong! Even in the hot, humid, NYC summer nights this cream did not make me breakout even once. While it is dense the consistency is a bit airy and a little goes a long way. As you can see from the pic, I have been using this for over three months now and I still have half a tub left! It spreads easily and absorbs quickly. My skin felt as smooth as a baby in the morning. In general, this has done wonders for the texture/feel of my skin. It is chock full of antioxidants including Vitamin C and Green Tea to brighten skin tone, reduce inflammation, and guard against environmental stressors. Niacinamide reduces pores, uneven skin, and fine lines. The peppermint oil gives it a very satisfying soothing effect that lulls you right to sleep.


Teami Detox Mask Green Tea Blend: This recommendation comes from Megan Bowen (@megan_bowen_). While it would be great for any skin type, I think it is perfect for oily acne-prone skin. I use this 2-3 times a week. It just keeps my giganto-pores (yep, I just made that up) detoxed and reduces inflammation. The three main ingredients are Matcha Tea, Bentonite Clay and Lemon Grass. The organic matcha green tea clears your pores. While bentonite clay soothes any skin irritation, lemon grass evens tone and brightens your complexion, and glycerine and aloe vera provide hydration. I use a brush to apply an even layer, let dry for 20-30 minutes, and rinse off with luke warm water. Now if you have all kinds of free time and like being extra you can follow this mask with the Boscia Luminizing Black Charcoal Mask, an essence toner of your choice, a deeply moisturizing sheet mask like the Farmacy Coconut Gel Sheet Mask, and seal the deal with the Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask. I do this “being extra for no reason” routine once a week.

One question we get often is about the best sunscreens, particularly for persons of color. While I do have my staples, like the Earth’s Recipe Waterful Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA+++, if I am honest, I hate sunscreen. I wear it every day and have done so for many years because I love not having sunspots or skin cancer and looking 10yrs younger than I actually am. However, you will never hear me say that there is a sunscreen I love. There are a few I like more than others. The Earth’s Recipe is an old favorite and a new one that is growing on me is the Supergoop 100% Mineral Matte Screen SPF 40.



Not only do I have oily acne-prone skin, but I am convinced I am usually 10 degrees warmer than everyone else. So you can imagine what makeup is like when it is almost 100 degrees Celsius with over 50% humidity. As a result, I rarely wear base makeup during the summer. Natural or not I always breakout after extended wear during the summer. However, below are some of the things I reached for the most this summer.

The Ordinary Serum Foundation: I might be mildly obsessed with skincare from The Ordinary, but this is the first time I have considered their makeup products. I love how transparent this brand is about ingredients and their combination of nature and science. They fully understand that not all natural ingredients are good for you and not all synthetic ingredients cause harm. They rather focus on simplicity and only including essential ingredients. The serum foundation not only did not easily sweat off, was not immediately swallowed by my pores, and did not lead to excessive breakouts. Deciem describes this as a moderate coverage foundation but I would say it is light to full coverage but super lightweight like you are putting tinted water on your skin.


SLA Paris: I got a chance to hang out with some of the women at SLA Paris while on vacation in Paris. This is a plant-based luxury make-up brand and I fell in love with some of their base products. I used the plant-based silicone primer under every foundation this summer. I love a primer than can work with multiple brands. The Make-up Studio Finish Skin Primer perfectly smooths texture and mattifies without clogging and or irritating pores. The same goes for the Photo Foundation Perfect Glow. I know you’re thinking, if she is oily why is she using a foundation with “glow” in the name. Well, this isn’t the stop traffic, hail aliens from Mars kind of glow. This is more of a demi-matte finish but with the primer and lightly powdered it is much more on the matte side. The foundation is also naturally derived but doesn’t break up after only a few hours of wear.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick Spiced Collection in Smoked Za’atar: I am not a huge fan of lipsticks and own very few and even fewer that I would consider wearing on a regular basis. However, that changed when I came across the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick Spiced Collection. The shades are warm toned and several make for very nice nudes. I landed on the Smoked Za’atar which is described as a chocolate plum. This ended up being a great everyday color and it felt like just putting on a creamy colored lip balm. The soothing feeling is no doubt due to the 12 nourishing oils included in their lipstick formulation; with the first ingredient being castor oil. I am looking forward to exploring more colors as we transition into fall.

Thank you for listening to me prattle on about my favorite summer products! If you have tried any of these do let me know what you think of them.