A Sustainable Complexion

Pictured: covered in oils
Have you ever wondered why your skin still isn’t making the cut even after using tons of fancy products? For one, the wide array of products are part of the problem, as well as the ingredients that are conveniently hidden. What you see can’t hurt you, right? Quite the opposite. Today's article was written for an Australian blogger magazine, She The Queen. It features microbloggers like myself, and shares their favorites products, tips, and methods.

A tip to follow is by reading the ingredients listed on the back of the product. They’re in the ratio order of largest to smallest. If the first few ingredients are names you can’t pronounce, odds are they shouldn’t be going onto your skin and getting absorbed into your bloodstream. The best way to avoid these products while learning more about ones that are right for your skin type is to make your own. Popular and effective ingredients for supple, radiant, and overall fresh skin are coconut oil, raw honey, tea tree oil, jojoba oil, avocados and their oil. If you add sea salt into these ingredients, you can make a scrub that will dissolve and remove dead skin cells, and nourish the new layer of skin that you just revealed. Zero chemicals and sustainable.

The ever-changing side table

Aside from the obvious holy grail pieces of beauty advice to drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and to stop stressing so much, you also need to realize that what’s happening on the surface could be, and is almost always, due to what’s happening inside.  

Take probiotics. The story of your gut will be told on your face and sometimes all over your chest. Probiotics are good bacteria that are all about balance and eliminating toxins. Balance is needed for reigning in your hormones (as difficult as that can be sometimes), keeping your immune system strong, and generally controlling how you feel.  

Oil isn’t just for your face, you can also incorporate it into your diet— Preferably one that has Omega-3s in it. These are full of fatty acids which are the good kinds of fat you need to retain elasticity and moisture. They also help in the departments of hormones and your immune system. There’s never too much help when it comes to either of those functions.

If you’ve ever used skincare, which I’m sure you have, you’ve probably heard of collagen. Most think of it as a topical cream or serum that plumps the outer dermis, leaving a youthful glow and firmness. While that seems practical, collagen is a harder worker when ingested. The molecules of collagen are too large to penetrate the skin, so taking a supplement of it is the way to go.

Dry brushing— I don’t hear it being talked about it enough. It’s helped my skin dramatically by draining toxins through my lymphatic system with a soft-bristled brush and ridding my top layer of excess cells. Be sure to do this before your shower and never make the water too hot. It will only start the process of drying out your skin again.

My last piece of holistic beauty advice is to exercise regularly. Circulation is the best skincare there is. It pumps oxygen to the skin and reveals a glowing complexion. If you think there are too many steps involved, take your time and choose the ones you can see yourself doing to start with. Like most things, it will become easier and more natural over time. You’re not only helping yourself with these tips, but the environment too. Think of it as giving and receiving. You give back to earth, and in return it will be a better place for you to inhabit and stay healthy. Sustainability is the future.  

x Nicki

Things I Loved In August

You might think of a favorites post as a plethora of beauty products, an exorbitant handbag purchase, some chic basics, and a statement piece thrown in for good measure. As a small blogger, I figured I would start with a small selection. Before I get into the goods, I want to give you all a quick overview of August. I turned 25 on the 1st, (woohoo I'm a quarter-century old now!), lost my job in the middle of the month due to position cuts, and now am focusing what I truly love: photography and writing for my blog. I love nothing more than creating content and storytelling for my platform. I'm one of those people that believes everything happens for a reason, so this could've been the push I needed to dive into what I genuinely want to do. I know there are many obstacles ahead, but if I'm doing what I enjoy, I'll be able to overcome them. Alright, let's get into what you all came here for. These are the products that I constantly reached for all month, and have no intention of putting down anytime soon.

diptyque huile de parfum pour la douche: The dreamiest shower oil you will ever use. This one is in L'Ombre dans l'Eau, or Baies. The liquid version of the candle we all love.  

Notes: Blackcurrant, Bulgarian rose, Ambergris.  

My favorite use for this is on the legs, elbows, and to rinse your hands with after you've chopped garlic or onions. You can skip perfume if you use this since it leaves an adequate veil of a scent behind.

Chanel Le Vernis Longwear Nail Lacquer: This red... it's perfect. A blend of a tomato hue with a hint of spice. I'll be wearing it every season. It also really is longwear-- I've had it on a for a week without any chipping. The formula is also 5-free with bioceramics and ceramides to improve the quality of your nails. Win all around.

diptyque Cyprès: If you want to feel like you're on the Amalfi Coast of Italy sipping limoncello or on the Greek island of Santorini staring out into the deep cerulean (pop quiz: what movie is this color mentioned in?) ocean while relaxing on a lounge chair, you'll want to get this candle. It means Cypress tree, those of which thrive in Mediterranean climates and terrains. I'm almost out, and I can already feel the vacation coming to an end.

Avène Thermal Spring Water: I'm pretty sure this is one of the products that has kept my acne at bay. A big pro for me on this is the mister. It comes out fine and gentle, because no one likes a sharp gust of water in their face. It keeps me hydrated without feeling oily, and soothes my sensitive skin.

That's it for now-- do any of you use these products? What else would you like to see in these types of posts? Leave me a comment or follow me on Instagram @nickifrances and we'll chat :)  
Happy September!

Friend Feature: Charlotte Craven

If Charlie and I weren't in the right place at the right time, we probably would never have met. I'll never forget that day as a high school senior walking into a real New York City campus accepted students day and seeing a girl with long, blond hair looking just as nervous as I was. I took comfort in the fact that someone else had an array of emotions running through their brain, and knew that the next step in my journey would be filled with people who were also trying to figure everything out. I kept walking closer to her (probably seemed like a creeper at the time) and finally introduced myself. I was with my father, she was with her mother. Once they started talking, I realized our families had a lot in common, and that this was someone who I could truly be friends with. Fast forward 7 years later, we still have the same dynamic of friendship. As my first friend in New York, it's only fitting that Charlie kicks off the Friend Features series. Let's take a look at what she's loving, and a glimpse into her life.

Almay makeup remover cleaning towelettes are gentle, yet pack a punch. These are always step one in a routine so you don't have to cleanse as hard later on. I was in awe of how her makeup glided off without any residue.

Charlie's skin is nothing short of flawless. Never a spot or a hint of redness, with the ideal amount of freckles.  I'm fangirling over my own friend. She uses Mario Badescu's Vitamin C Serum to boost vitality and natural luminosity.

Thayers Witch Hazel in Rose Petal is used to get that extra deep clean, and a personal favorite of mine as well. Anything that has a soft scent of rose is instantly calming and adds a boost of luxury. It helps cleanse your pores and blast away any makeup or dirt that's left behind. As a children's specialist for a renowned New York organization, Charlie has meetings at all locations, therefore is constantly running around Manhattan. She definitely needs to take the city off at the end of the day. As for when she's heading to said meetings, she prefers a natural, elegant look. Ladylike is the word I would use to describe her, and she truly has the lashes to go along with that. Covergirl Supersizer Fibers is the tool of choice to give her that feminine flutter. The pigment is impressive, along with its lengthening abilities.

Before makeup though, Charlie uses Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré to prep her skin. It leaves a smooth, plump canvas before she puts on a bit of IT Cosmetics CC Cream with SPF 50.

Nails are another thing that she has down pat. Perfectly manicured, she chooses a blush nude to compliment her skin tone, with her favorite top coat to seal it all in place - Sally Hansen Insta Dri, in the red bottle.

Add a touch of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, her signature scent, and she's ready to go.

A peek into Charlie's humble abode on the Upper East Side. 

Au Revoir, Redness

Super Pure by Glossier - Niacinamide & Zinc Serum

As Glossier never ceases to amaze me, it's no surprise that Super Pure is nothing short of a miracle product. Oh, you have a spot on your face the size of a planet? Put some Super Pure on it.  *said in the voice of Gus from My Big Fat Greek Wedding* A couple months ago, I had a horrible, on-going hormonal breakout. The spots were cystic, sensitive, and so so enflamed. I was blown away when I put Super Pure on at night before my moisturizer, and the next morning the acne would barely be red and very noticeably diminished in size.

According to Glossier:

In a poll of existing Super Pure daily users...

  • 96% saw a reduction in redness within one week or less
  • 79% said their blemishes were visibly less noticeable 

You can only imagine what continuous use of this serum did. Today, I am 100% acne free with a major thanks to Glossier. I'll be sure to write a post on my other acne-fighting steps and products soon. P.S. SP is great for all types of acne, not just hormonal. There's no judgment here if you ate an entire pizza or bucket of french fries and have some unwanted guests on your skin as a result of that. I haven't been so adamant about a product being this effective in a while, so don't sleep on this and grab yours at glossier.com/reps/nicki. Newcomers receive 20% off, and everyone receives free shipping on orders of $30 and up when shopping through my page. If you purchase all three supers, you'll save $19 :)  Cheers to good skin days!


Mac Cherry Lip Liner
Glossier Generation G in Zip and Clear Lip Gloss
Nails - Chanel Le Vernis in 510 Gitane

It's baaaack. You no longer have to hoard your precious Glossier lip gloss that was limited edition in their holiday 2016 Black Tie Set. Glossier gloss is now a permanent item. Guys, how many times will I say the word gloss in this post. Gloss gloss gloss. Ok. Done. No really, what is Glossier without an actual gloss? It's so perfect and shiny, and it truly is clear. There's not a speck of glitter, which makes this look like actual glass gliding over your lips. There's also all sorts of goodness in this-- straight from Glossier's pout:

Gloss-Lock TechnologyA mixture of emollients that bind to your lips, so the shine stays put.
Conditioning PolymersHelps the gloss smooth and spread out evenly—no goopy feeling!
Vitamin E
Leaves lips feeling moisturized and cushiony soft.  

As a kid of the 90s, I freaked out about this launch pretty heavily. Lip gloss was theeee thing back then. If you didn't own every single lip smacker / gloss from Limited Too, I didn't want to hear about it. Little Nicki would have been so excited about this chic, minimalistic gloss, even though she probably didn't know what chic, minimalistic products were. You can now fulfill your 90s and early 2000s dreams of glossy perfection, without the stickiness. It *is* 2017 for goodness sake, there must be some sort of gloss technology by now. Shop all Glossier with me at glossier.com/reps/nicki-- 20% off for newcomers, and free shipping always on orders of $30 and up. xx

The Winter Skincare Edit

East Coasters: How did you like the snow day? I personally opened the front door and got smacked in the face with ice pellets, so, yeah. I took that as enough of a reason to do my entire winter skincare regimen. There were lots of yummy snacks involved today and candles (so hygge), etc, so I really can't complain.

First, I always start off by putting balm dot com on my lips, preferably in rose. We all know I have to have all rose everything. This frigid wind is no joke and will take a toll on the skin on and around your mouth. Next is a dropper full of Super Glow. The vitamin C helps to brighten the skin and prep for the rest of the steps. Make sure you press and pat on, never pull downward. Once that sinks in, apply a generous layer of Priming Moisturizer Rich (down to the neck as well) and let it sink in for 5-10 minutes. My favorite part is the last step: oil. The Moroccan Argan Oil by The Ordinary is faaaantastic. It adds just the right amount of glow, but sinks into the skin and really gets the hydrating done.

Don't forget hand cream-- you don't want crumbly cuticles and super red fingertips, do you? The one I've been using for a while is by Molton Brown in the scent Orange and Bergamot. Smells heavenly. This stuff is so good that I even have my family using it in the body wash version. Once the moisturizers and oils have fully been absorbed, you'll have a radiant finish to your skin and be ready to once again get hit in the face with ice pellets propelled by freezing wind. Except this time, you'll have a dewy shield of goodness. If you have any questions about these products or the regimen in general, don't hesitate to reach out. You can also save 20% on Glossier if you're a first time customer by shopping with me at glossier.com/reps/nicki.

Also, be sure to check out my beautiful friend, Izzy Sarj, talk about some of these products in her winter skincare routine. She's a cool chick and you should definitely subscribe to her YouTube channel here. :)

Stay warm, friends xx

Up In The Clouds

Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk, Puff, Beam, and Haze

Let me start by saying I have never loved a cream product more than I love Cloud Paint. I can't even choose a favorite color because they're all that good. By default, you would think Dusk would be my favorite because it's nude, but the two light shades, Puff and Beam, have completely surprised me and stole my heart. Not only do they blend seamlessly and have serious pigment, they are hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free. They also have a cooling and soothing effect once applied, which makes them that more enjoyable to use.

Key Ingredients from Glossier:

CollagenRetains a high amount of water to hydrate and visually plump skin up with moisture.
Smooth-Gel SystemOne-of-a-kind, lightweight gel-cream texture makes for silky, even application.
Blurring Powder PigmentsProvide a soft, diffused, seamless finish—no more streakiness.

Dusk: true nude with hints of brown to add definition
Puff: vibrant pink to brighten the face
Haze: deep berry for a natural flush
Beam: coral peach for that "I just came out of yoga" blushed look

If you're a first-time Glossier shopper, you can receive 20% off and free shipping on orders of $30 and up through my link glossier.com/reps/nicki. Your support is greatly appreciated! xx

Ordinary Is The New Luxury

The Ordinary.
Advanced Retinoid 2%, Rosehip Seed Oil, Moroccan Argan Oil

The Ordinary, that is. This line provided by Deciem is beyond affordable for such high quality products. Advanced Retinoid 2%? $9.80... what?! Amazing. Now, all I'm waiting on is a store in New York. They just opened one up in London in Old Spitalfields Market, so I know where my first stop will be when I cross the pond. As if I needed another excuse to return. *checks flights to London*

The texture of these products is very luxurious, as well as the packaging. Very Aesop, if you ask me. The oils are extremely silky, emollient, and palliative. They gradually sink into the skin, leaving a healthy and nourished glow. I saw Tamira Jarrel highlight her skin with oils, so I'm pretty sure that means I should try highlighting my skin with oils. After seeing the dew effect of the rosehip oil paired with the moisturizing benefits, it will most definitely be going on top of my cheekbones.

I'll keep you posted on how the retinoid journey goes. Switching skincare can always lead to interesting things, so follow me on Instagram @nickifrances to check in on the adventure. Have you tried anything from The Ordinary? Let me know what your favorite product is :)

Art Class for Your Lips

e.l.f. Cosmetics Runway Ready Lip Palette

As a part of e.l.f.'s beauty squad, I received this beautiful lip palette in the mail yesterday. As you know from a previous post, I've been a diehard customer since my middle school days. If little Nicki with the frizzy hair, awkward, thin metal-framed glasses, and the rubber band palette-expander braces knew that she would one day be a part of #elfbeautysquad, I think her rubber bands would've snapped. Like me, learning how to smooth my frizz, e.l.f. only keeps getting better and better. Their premium quality products with beyond affordable prices never cease to amaze me. I wore this lip palette all day today, and like their other cream formulas, this one fades beautifully. The color is still there, but since it's so creamy, it won't look like you just applied it by the end of the day. I prefer cream over matte anyway. I also popped a little on my cheeks for blush, and this is pigmented. Since I'm obsessed with nude everything, I branched out and mixed the rose and lilac shades. This concoction is definitely going to be my spring lip go-to. It's super easy to slip into your purse, and even has a mirror for touchups on the go. My makeup bag now has one more e.l.f. product in it, but I knew that was going to be inevitable with all of their amazing launches happening recently. Next time you're at Target, CVS, or your local drugstore, give them a try. You'll fall in love too.

#TBT: Baby's First Top Shelf

Nicki's Top Shelf circa 2016

Not long ago, this was my baby top shelf. Well, this isn't all of it, but these were, and some still are, my most-loved products. You always need an SPF on your top shelf, a solid face mask (for me that's Glossier's Mega Greens Galaxy Pack), face mist(s), and a special cream (or two, or three, or four... you see where I'm going with this). Having these essentials will simplify your routine, and make your skin awesome. Your makeup will look even better. Bonus. Being a voracious reader of Into the Gloss, I've seen my fair share of top shelves. These top shelves aren't just your average medicine cabinets of Vaseline, moisturizer, and the quintessential jar of miscellaneous skincare. These are a peek into the lives of the people who curated them. Top shelves to me are more of a creative statement captured in a photograph rather than just explaining what certain products are and why you love them. As my top shelf evolves, I'll be sure to document it and share with all of you. Leave me a comment and let me know what your current favorite product on your top shelf is. :)

generation G: The Age of Sheer Beauty, Quite Literally

Whenever I say generationG, I hear the Spice Girls' song, "Move Over" in my head. Anyone else? Only me? k. Alright, so let's talk about these colors. You have Cake - a pale, warm nude, Like - a rosy blush, Crush - a punch of red-magenta, Jam - a true berry, Leo - my favorite of them all: a 90's brown nude with a hint of warmth, and Zip - bright cherry red: named after the red zipper on the famous Glossier pink pouch. Clever. Photographed above is Leo, hanging out with Chanel in Quartz, which is a whole other topic. But back to the lippies-- they go on very sheer, but can be layered to achieve opaqueness. I use Leo for eyeshadow and blush, as well as a lip color. It blends like a dream and adds the best natural color to your face. Also, it's just such a great name. After all, it was named after Leonardo DiCaprio. Shop genG with me for 20% off at glossier.com/reps/nicki :)

Priming Moisturizer Rich: The Answer to Skin Dilemmas

It's a primer, it's a moisturizer, it's rich. First of all, PMR smells aaaa-mazing. Basically like the best possible version of an earthy-scented cream, with a hint of lavender. I would describe this product as holy grail. I wear it even when I don't plan on putting a stitch of makeup on; I just really enjoy looking like I'm glowing, ok? It's a non-greasy formula, which truly makes it a primer and a moisturizer. It plays nicely with all of my other skincare, but then again, Glossier always does, and makeup sits beautifully on top of it. It really doesn't allow your foundation to get cakey because of how satiny it leaves your skin. This one is a big win. I highly suggest running, not walking, to go get some for yourself.

Elf On My Shelf

No, but really. There's a ton of e.l.f. on my shelf. e.l.f. Cosmetics was one of my very first makeup brands. They hold a special place in my heart, especially since last summer I went on a trip with them to San Francisco, made amazing friends, and really launched myself into this thing called the beauty world. Not only is e.l.f. affordable and extremely accessible, it's seriously really affordable. Like, $1 affordable. Don't let that fool you about the quality. It's premium in pigment, texture, and longevity. The brand itself is very inclusive, and just wants people to have fun expressing themselves. That to me, is awesome.

Super Bounce: The One-Stop-Shop for Hyaluronic Acid

This serum by Glossier is aptly named, since it really is super. Hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 serum are Super Bounce's components, and wow does my skin love them. Although I have oily skin, that doesn't mean it can't get dehydrated. In fact, if I don't moisturize and give it some extra love, too much sebum will be produced, therefore making me look like an oil slick. After cleansing my face, I apply Super Bounce and allow it to sink it for around 5-10 minutes. I'll then follow up with retinol, a moisturizer, and usually some rosehip oil. Taking the extra step in my skincare routine matters. It'll always give me more of a natural glow, evenness, and a smooth complexion when I do. Super Bounce, you are one of a kind.

For the Love of Glossier

Glossier.  Where do I begin.  This brand encompasses natural beauty, lifestyle goals, and a sense of community all in one.  I have the awesome opportunity of being a brand rep with them, and through this, I have met so many incredible people who have inspired me.  To me, Glossier started of as this cool beauty brand with great aesthetic that I was drawn to.

After using their skincare and seeing the results, I was hooked.  I mean, who doesn't want to naturally glow?  Once they introduced makeup, it was all over.  I have been using them close to the beginning of launching, and it's been such a wonderful process of watching them grow.

I'm so excited to see what the rep program brings, and most importantly for the future of Glossier. You can shop with me for 20% off at glossier.com/reps/nicki :)